Monday, March 7, 2011

Kicking The Tires and Checking Under The Hood

When I look at a RPG for the first time I usually look at the character sheet first. Why? Because the character sheet can tell me a lot about the game. The level of detail present can indicate the complexity of the rules. Or how involved creating a character can be. Its a microcosm of the rules. What factors are the most important: in combat, skills checks or even character interaction? The quality of design can be seen in the layout of the sheet. Was it cobbled together at the last minute? Or carefully planned from the start? The lack of one doesn't have to mean something bad. Perhaps there are plenty available elsewhere? Maybe the game is such that they not required. Checking the character sheet is like kicking the tires and looking under the hood of a car. A quick check of the basics to see if everything is all right. I used to work in an electronics store. I would tell people looking for a new stereo that you should get the most expensive one you afford with the fewest controls on the front. The least number of knobs and switches, lights and other bits. You are usually getting the best quality that way. My own preference for rules-light systems works like that. As I can plainly see how rules light or heavy the game is by the character sheet. I don't think that rules-light systems are better than rules-heavy. I just prefer them. The character sheet can be a guide and intro to the rules. More visual than skimming over the rulebook.
For your Swords & Wizardry needs I have created a simple sheet for the White Box rules, enjoy