The Greatest Game Mechanic In The World … Tribute.

Last night, gripped by exhaustion and insomnia, unable to stay up or lie quietly, with half my body burning up and the other half freezing cold, I had an amazing idea for a game mechanic. I wasn’t awake enough to go write it up, so I tried to take some notes about it, to make sure I didn’t lose this amazing idea for ever.

Sadly, the notes are literally useless, and while I remember thinking about the idea — every aspect of where I was when I had it, what time it was (3:45 am), and how much I tried to burn it into my brain so I would not forget it… the idea itself is gone. A complete blank. other than knowing it has to do with ttRPGs, I have no clue what it was like.

So, in tribute to that Greatest Game Mechanic in the World, which is gone forever, here is an entirely different RPG mechanic ideas, which is NOT the Greatest Game Mechanic in the World and may, in fact, be bad.

Blurred Positioning

Most ttRPGs have some form of segmented movement, where on a character’s turn they take an action or set of actions (such as “move, draw a weapon, attack”), and then the next character takes their actions, and so on. This causes the problem that it is difficult to represent actions interrupting other actions in the natural flow of an encounter. All too often, someone either runs from point of cover to point of cover with no one having any change to shoot at them unless they have stood around waiting for just that (and let’s be honest, if someone is dashing 20-40 feet, there’s at least a chance that someone with a firearm could pop off a round at them), or is behind cover and wants to pop up, fire once, and duck behind cover, is stuck for a full round standing exposed and away from cover because they couldn’t complete the action before the end of their round. Instead of some cover, they have no cover for everyone else’s turn.

Blurred positioning accepts that even if your character is in a given place at the end of their turn, someone might have taken an action in a rush as they repositioned. At the end of a character’s turn, they state one of those positions to be their “main state” even if it’s not the one they ended at. (You may have ended standing up from cover at the end of your turn, but you spent most time ducked behind it on your round).

Each character is a legal target at every place they have been since their last turn. However, actions taken actions a position other than their end-state suffer a penalty (-4 or -20% or roll twice and take the worst result, depending on your game system).

That’s it, that’s the whole mechanic. Wherever you were at any point on your last turn, you can be targeted as if you were there. But, for al but one of those places, people are at penalties for trying to get you at that exact moment.

No, seriously, the idea I had last night was SO good.

Whatever it was.

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About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps.

Posted on August 30, 2022, in Game Design, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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