Phoenix RPG has a lot of great things going for it so far, and the simmer time has helped me isolate those things that work well, from the things that
Here are some of my high-level notes so far.
Things that work well:
- Base combat mechanics. Taking out the to-hit roll completely really makes combat faster, and noone has missed them. At all.
- Exploding Dice. Very exciting in play. Crits (explosions) feel great when they happen in any system, but exploding dice take it up a notch. And not just for combat - in any situation where dT is called for (the 2d10 basic check), an explosion can provide a sudden burst of skill, diplomacy, or knowledge right when it's needed most.
- Initiative. It's individual and random, without being time-consuming, and the special cards add a healthy dose of "crit" feeling, creating excitement in an otherwise administrative task.
- Single actions. Only worrying about 1 thing on a turn makes turns cycle exponentially faster than systems I've played that allow for multiple actions (i.e., most of them). This helps to make combat feel faster.
So, overall I have an enjoyable core engine going. It's not all great yet, though. These topics still need work:
- Class/Race/Aspects. I feel like they are a) too homogeneous and b) not exciting enough in general. I am edging back towards my original ideas (prior to the current draft) where each class felt fundamentally different to play. Ideally, the classes would each represent an approach, or method, of play - and the players would have enough other choices that they can still create novel builds without it all being too cumbersome. We'll call this the Holy Grail of RPG Game Design.
- Advanced combat mechanics. I need to figure out the best way to approach armors, shields, and situations like cover. In absence of standard mechanics like "to-hit" rolls, how does combat reflect the advantage one has for cowering behind a low wall with a crossbow? Some things have worked ok here, but I need to do a new draft on this section to pick up on lessons learned.
- Specialties. I like these, but perhaps not the number that can be chosen. I'd prefer fewer and more meaningful choices (as a general rule).
- Setting. Not setting as in cities and nations and NPCs, but setting as in the "feel" of the underlying worlds that Phoenix RPG represents. My "angle" is going back to root sources and doing some reinterpretation. I'll cover this more in the near future as it has been an fun topic to explore.