Saturday, 11 February 2012

helping hands

Some people complain about the near-nonexistence, in many medifantasy RPGs, of people engaged in the majority of jobs that such peasants would be in order to keep their society going, in favor of things that are expected to be 'interesting' to the adventuring party. Which largely boils down to magic, weapons, booze, and sex.

However, there's a lot more needed to actually have a comfortable life, and all that gets handwaved.

I ponder an RPG in which your adventuring party also has squires/servants/whatever following you around. People whose job is not to fight, but to keep the fighters happy and in good condition. People who can cook, wash clothes, mend armor, gather mushrooms, bind wounds, dig latrine trenches, safely extinguish fires, stand a watch and so on. ***

At a system level, they would function like another piece of inventory. Keep your squire safe and upgrade it when possible, and it will give you bonuses for fighting. But from a sociological perspective it would be interesting to try and instill some respect for roles that aren't just about killin'stuff.

*** - which is another thing. Much as we love the Infinity Engine games, it's a little ridiculous that you are 'awakened from your rest' by monsters spawning practically on top of you. But hasn't every D&D party ever got a watch rotation, and in many cases an exciting setup of strings and bells just in case? :)

Maybe it's supposed to represent the time spent struggling into your armor after being woken up? Which is another thing that would be a lot easier with trained squires around!


Ian N said...

I considered an MMO like this, a season based game with new campaigns and worlds made from a template. Players would have to assume all roles to make the town successful and beat the game, so while some people would be expected to fight, others would have to make swords, or boats.

It would likely be easier to have it done in a single player game and probably an interesting simulation game like dwarf fortress. But then it’s very hard to have a caravan with all the people needed to have a safe, comfortable life and still travel the world and fight wizards like you see in most RPG’s, harder still to make people care about them from a narrative sense.

AxiomMan said...

Doesn't Ars Magica have this?

Whiner said...

I was wondering when someone would mention Ars Magica. :)

I've never played it, actually. I've heard that it works that way but I can't draw on it as personal experience. (Also, I was kinda talking about CRPGs, as I do not design for tabletop.)