Monday, April 8, 2013

G is for Gear and Gizmos and Gadgets Galore

This A to Z challenge really let's me go nuts with alliteration... I am going to need an intervention before the month is up. Okay... On to gear. In my last several game designs, I have endeavored to limit gear and its impact on the game. I felt that the purchasing of gear, especially during character creation, often slowed things to a crawl in needless ways. I would spend valuable play time trying to decide whether to get ten or fifteen torches, how many days' worth of iron rations to procure, and whether my deity would respond better to a silver vs. wooden holy symbol. I wish I could say I was kidding. For Mythweaver, gear faded to the background. However, for an army ant, your gear is a large part of defining your character, and the clout mechanic, which sets stringent limits on your available 'cash' to purchase upgrades, makes the spending decisions matter. Since gear also becomes a fundamental way to differentiate characters of the same specialty, it is important to have a relatively robust and well-rounded gear section. You should be able to invest a large chunk of you clout into the finest rifle known to insect kind, or you should be able to purchase a serviceable albeit unremarkable weapon, picking up a bevy of tools, gizmos and sundries to make your character more versatile dependent on the situation. I also like the expanded view of the importance of gear because this becomes fertile ground for later game expansion. You can always add some funky new technology into rotation without breaking the game or layering in a 'must have' character element that supersedes the core rules.