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What are the basic building blocks of a Playthrough idea? (versus a Challenge)

LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,294
So if we want to start sharing creative ideas for playing this game, what are some of the basic elements that can be cobbled together? I.e., using the notion of modularity.

I'll make a distinction at the outset: one device that has become quite popular is to design a competition using various rules, and in this subforum we have designated that as a Challenge. These are typically tactical in nature, although theoretically they could involve roleplaying.

But for this thread I'd like focus more on how a non-competitive game can be played in some sort of creative and fresh way that might inspire others. I'd like to start listing ideas that people come up with for components with which to do that.

PC Build
The most common form of a playthrough idea, I think, is a particular PC build.

Party Composition/Theme
It seems to me that the next most popular form is a particular party composition, which is often organized by a theme such as all-evil party, all-mage, soloing, four member, etc. Most often such parties seem thought up in conjunction with the PC build.

The next most common playthrough idea that I see is a tactical concept, which is often accurately described as a "challenge" although not necessarily used within a competition that has a set of rules for all to abide by.

Roleplaying ideas for a game seem next most popular, although what is meant by roleplaying tends to be rather subjective (see here). I think to most of us this means delving into character according to class, alignment, and any backstory the player creates for the PC. The roleplaying might be just tactical in nature, without delving deep into the psyche of the character and relationships with NPCs. The approach may or may not prohibit meta-gaming. And it may or may not involve roleplaying the rest of the party members as well. It may or may not be shared in first person journaled form of creative writing (which takes a lot of time and dedication).

The most vivid form of a roleplayed game is to journal it. But honestly, few players have the time, dedication, or inclination to do that. So most often threads about a roleplaying idea simply offer a basic description of the idea, and some information on how the game is going, or went if it was completed.

Random Generation
The next component I see used most often is random generation of the PC and/or random party generation (such as my update of Drone's system). This has taken the form of competition in recent threads, but it certainly can be used for a non-competitive game.

Dice Rolling
And the last component that I have seen on these boards is to use dice rolling (which can include flipping playing cards or a coin for yes versus no situations).

Audience Participation
A recent excellent suggestion: Forum members may vote about decisions that various characters make, and vote about various things that would otherwise be decided using the dice rolling method. Or other forum members can roleplay NPCs, most likely in a PbP style journaled game.


Now, bear in mind that any of these basic design concepts can be used in conjunction with one another in a modular fashion to customize the game according to taste.

Have I overlooked any? What sorts of other building blocks might we come up with in such a modular approach? General impressions? Comments, other ideas, etc.?

Post edited by Lemernis on


  • JalilyJalily Member Posts: 4,681
    One that I haven't seen done yet is audience participation.

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,294
    Hmm! Sounds interesting. How might that work?

  • JalilyJalily Member Posts: 4,681
    Perhaps like a CYOA, where the audience could vote for PC characteristics, party members, and occasionally what the main character does? From the player's perspective, it would be similar to random generation/dice rolling in that it introduces an outside element to the decision making. But depending on the audience, you could end up with better "drama."

    Or, if it's a roleplaying game, the audience could decide which party members have hidden agendas and what they are, and the player would play out the conflicts in the game. I don't know how feasible this would be in practice though. Probably more suited to an evil-themed game. Have there been any multiplayer playthroughs on this board yet?

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,294
    edited May 2013
    I'm not aware of any multiplayer games yet being shared yet. (Multiplayer games are very, very tough to keep going, btw. Due to differing time zones and schedules, and the sheer length of the game.)

    That's a fascinating idea. One way this could be tried is a journaled BG:EE game run by the player who plays the PC, and in which other participants play different NPCs, responding as they would in a PbP game via text. So at one level the game gets played on one player's computer and journaled in a thread (that the other participants respond to). And on another level there are the roleplayed responses in the threads that, taken together, determine how the party behaves and what it decides, etc., both in the game that's progressing on the computer and in the thread.

    So to provide a more concrete example, one would take what I've essentially done in the "Let the Fates Decide" game and instead of me roleplaying the NPCs and sometimes rolling dice for their decisions, other players would post that material into the thread instead.

    Where it would differ from a PbP game is there is no need for a DM to plan the adventure, and no dice rolls. So it's easier in certain respects. But the combat would have to be carried out individually by the one player who is actually playing the game on his or her computer. And I wonder: would the sense of investment then be as great for the participants playing the NPCs? Also, the game could get stalled if the player who is playing the BG:EE game and journaling it gets sidetracked from playing/journaling IRL. Just saying that there's a lot of moving parts here.

    We could probably get enough players interested to try such a game, I would think. And hey, even if it eventually petered out it would be a fun experiment, no doubt.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
  • OlvynChuruOlvynChuru Member Posts: 2,689
    Generally, the way I make an interesting playthrough in various games is that I set some restrictions, then I do whatever I can to beat the game while obeying those restrictions. This usually makes playthroughs pretty fun.

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