06 October, 2012

Walkabout Rulebook Contents

After developing a series of ideas for a new game (or a new revision to a game), I like to develop a framework for the information. This typically forms a table of contents for the rule book.

With this table of contents I can try to ensure everything is presented in an interesting and coherent order for a new reader, and all of the things needed for play can be found in a logical place for those who are referencing the book later.

I've read too many RPGs where the book has been a tough slog to read through on first attempt (but where things make perfect sense after a few a sessions of play). I've also read a few that seemed to easily draw you into their world (but which made some awful indexing or crazy cross referencing when you actually decided to use the text during a game). Then there are the terrible games that are hard to read at the beginning, and make no logical sense later on either (I've noticed that these tend to be the games heavily hacked or transformed by other designers if they have some kind of redeemable feature hidden in their labyrinths).

For Walkabout, the game will be divided into three books (I've mentioned this a few times before). The first book will be the actual rules to play the game; this will be filled with plenty of images, infographics and examples to thoroughly explain the nature of play from as many perspectives as possible. The second book will be a survival guide describing the world and it's hazards; this will be a clinical look at the world with a general overview, but particular interest on surviving the various form of wilderness, dealing with spirits, and interesting cultural customs from the newly established nations and tribes (there will be no game mechanisms in this second book). The third book will be the diary of explorer across the changed world; basically a travelogue describing the personal experience of one particular person in the Walkabout world, it is intended to give story ideas and open the world in much the same way that Marco Polo's writing opened Asia to the Europeans at the start of the renaissance (this book will also have no game mechanisms).

My tentative table of contents for the first book...

96 pages – Game
The Framework of Play (8 pages)
Game Theory
Characters (24 pages)
Character Types
The Path of the Survivor
The Path of the Wayfarer
The Path to Transcendence
Action Resolution (16 pages)
Story versus Game
Tokens and Relationships
Simple Conflict
Detailed Conflict
Opposed Conflict
Dynamic Conflict
Preparing Tales (20 pages)
Creating a Settlement
Creating a Wilderness
Creating Meaningful Survivors
Creating Meaningful Spirits
Creating a Story
Resolving Tales (20 pages)
Timing – Scenes, Acts, Stories and Journeys
Keeping it Real
The Community of Wayfarers
Myth, Magic and Belief
Experience and Transcendence
The Onward Journey
Index and Quick Play Sheets (8 pages)
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