18 January, 2016

FUBAR Layout


I'm determined to get a printed version of FUBAR ready before I go back to University, I'm also running a revised version of "Dead and FUBAR'd" at EttinCon at the end of the month. that means I need to start doing some layout work and it also means I need to finalise the text.

The original version of FUBAR was deliberately experimental in it's page layout, and I feel the new version needs to be just as artistic, but perhaps a bit more user friendly. There are certain elements of the rules that people have indicated elusive over the years, so I'll have to make sure they are clearly explained with plenty of sidebars and play examples. Luckily that stuff is written up. The new version of the rules will probably blow out from 50 pages to 96, but that's mostly due to extra explanatory text and the inclusion of a setting.

I did a series a few years ago where I looked at games I liked, then analysed them based on where certain game elements were placed. What came first: general rules, setting, setting specific rules, character generation, etc. Then I looked at how any pages were dedicated to each of these sections. Looking at the design decisions applied to existing gaming properties (whether deliberate, instinctive, or simply following the trends of the day), it allows a designer to consider what decisions might be made in their own products.

For example:
Mage: 3rd Edition (2000) (I'm not going to do the 600-odd pages of the 20th Anniversary Edition Version)
Prologue Flavour Text (1-17)
Intro (20-25)
Setting Details (28-40)
In-Game Lexicon (40-43)
Character Types (46-81)
Character Creation (84-94)
Explanation on specific character traits (94-129) including Attributes, Abilities, Backgrounds, etc.
Character development (130-131)
Magick Theory (134-156)
Magick Types/Spheres (156-194)
More Integration of Magick, setting and characters (195-207)
Mechanisms driving magick in play (208-209)
General rules (212-219)
Specific dramatic rule ideas (222-236)
Combat (236-249)
Setting History (252-257)
GM ideas (260-271)
Antagonists and Others (274-285)
Appendix: Merits and Flaws (287-301)
Index (307-309)
Character Sheet (312)

Rifts (1990)
Index (4-6)
Intro/Glossary (7)
Basic creation of a character (8-13)
Rounding out a character (14-18)
Insanity tables (19-22)
Skill lists then descriptions (23-32)
Combat skills (33)
Basic combat rules (34-37)
High tech combat rules (38-43)
High tech combat skills (44-46)
Character Occupations including special rules for those characters (47-96)
Dragon characters (97-101)
Psychic characters (101-112)
Psionic powers (113-127)
Setting history (128)
Setting geography (137-152)
Magic theory (161-165)
Magic combat (166-167)
Spell list then descriptions (168-190)
Military Equipment (191-204)
Black Market (205-208)
Other Weapons and Equipment (209-228)
Cybernetics and Bionics (229-242)
Conventional Weapons (243-245)
Other Equipment (245-247)
GM Section (248)
Monsters (249-256)

Cyberpunk (1993)
Overview (3)
Character types (4-24)
Character generation (25-29) with full character sheets (27-28)
Fast-n-Dirty character generation (30)
Fast-n-Dirty character sheets (31)
Lifepath generation (33-39)
Rules
Using skills (41-46)
Skill List (46-53)
Advancing (53-54)
Money and equipment (57-59)
Weapons (60-66)
Armour and other special equipment (67-71)
Cybernetics (72-93)
Combat rules (96-113)
Healing and medicine (115-121)
Drugs (122-123)
About netrunning (127-131)
Netrunning Gear (132-141)
The Net (141-149)
Netrunning Combat (149-169)
Making the Net real (170-174)
Setting Info (176-189)
Sample adventures and setting (190-250)
More character sheets (251-254)

Cadwallon (2006)
Setting/Intro (4-9)
The World (10-19)
The City (20-115)
Basic rules (118-129)
Character development (130-131)
Character creation (133-163) including character types (142-153) and advantages (154-161)
Specific skill rules (165-193)
Exploration rules (adventuring) (197-217)
Confrontation rules (combat) (219-229)
Interaction rules (231-255)
-including NPCs (234-245) and guilds/factions (249-253)
Incantation rules (magic) (257-289)
- including magic theory (257-262) and spells (263-289)
Divination rules (spirituality/calling on gods) (291-307)
- including theory (291-297) and litanies (298-307)
Evolution rules (magical high tech) (309-331)
- including theory (309-314), items to make (315-327), and improving normal items (328-331)
Appendix: Equipment (333-345)
Character Sheets (346-349)

...and more modern smaller books...

Cold City (2008)
Introduction
- Intro to setting (4-9)
- Game tone (10)
- Trigger warnings (11-12)
- Setting tone (13-20)
Character Generation
- Metarules surrounding the character generation process (21-32)
- Actual character generation (33-46)
- Sample characters (47-50)
Rules
- Setting scenes (53-54)
- Agendas (55-56)
- Conflict resolution (57-71)
- (Generally friendly) NPCs (72-75)
Setting
- Overview (79-95)
- Ally NPCs (96-104)
- Adversaries (105-110)
- Expanding the setting (112-118)
- Sample adventures (120-139)
Appendices
- Glossary (143)
- Alternate History (144-145)
- Equipment (146-148)
- Inspiration (150-155)
- Afterword (157)
- Character Sheet (158)
- Index (159-160)

Monsterhearts (2012)
- Game Overview (4-6)
Character Creation
- Character Generation (8-15)
Rules
- Setting scenes and resolving conflicts (17-19)
- Specific rules (moves) (20-24)
- Strings and conditions (25-29)
- Character and story development (30-44)
Character Types
- overview of types (46-47)
- 10 character types at about 5 pages each (48-99)
GM (MC) Rules
- General rules and tips about how running this game is different to others (101-127)
Running the Game
- More stuff about how this game is different to others (129-137)
- How to make villains convincing (139-144)
- How to hack the game (146-149)
- Play example (150-155)
- Inspirations (156-157)
Index (158-160)

Simply looking at how many pages a book has dedicated to a specific topic (or whether a book even addresses a specific topic) really implies what that game is about.

Rifts has combat rules scattered all through it. in multiple different types and with multiple sections of weapons, it says nothing about relationships between people.

Mage is clearly all about magic, it has different sections on how magic has affected the world, how characters can manipulate magic, how it can backlash against them. There's still 12 pages dedicated to combat, but there's over 70 pages on magic.

With 20 pages on combat and about 40 pages on netrunning, it would seem that Cyberpunk is more about the digital world, but 6 pages of weapons and 20 odd pages of cyberware pull the focus back to the physical world.

Across all the games you can see how important they treat their setting. Where many of the more modern games have less setting information because they allow a group to develop the game world as it becomes relevant to their story. Intricate detail gets in the way unless it supports story in some way. Cold City is dripping in story ideas and hooks, but generally avoids minutiae so that players can fill it in as they go (as indicated by the negligible detail regarding equipment and weapons).

Generally, Cold City is probably the closest to what I'm aiming for in this edition of FUBAR.
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