Tiny Adventures and Repeatable Mysteryon August 17, 2012 at 8:00 am
This is probably the last one of these before my post where I “bring it all together” and talk about some of the things I’m actually doing with the concepts.
Dungeons & Dragons Tiny Adventures was a no-nonsense, mostly-automated hands-free kind of Choose Your Own Adventure game. You would create a character by choosing a race-class combination, and there were usually only two options available for each class: human cleric and half-elf cleric, for example.
When the game first became available on FaceBook, there were only about sixteen different characters you could play, though more options appeared throughout the game’s life as new handbooks were released. You had only one character at any given time, and a few adventures (randomly selected) to choose from.
Choosing an adventure would send your character off on an adventure, and every fifteen to twenty minutes, you would complete an encounter. Entering an encounter would give you a little bit of flavor text, and upon its completion, you’d see what happened to your character (success / failure), and the start of the next encounter.
The majority of encounters were drawn randomly from a large pool and categorized by terrain type – castle, dungeon, temple, forest, mountain, lake, swamp, and so on – and each terrain type had two “primary” abilities it would check on, from your various ability scores, the standard six, plus your “Attack” and “Armor Class” abilities.
Though most of the game allowed for very little interaction, and the adventures themselves were normally just one or two “story” encounters with random encounters padding out their length, this was a ridiculously addictive game.
When your character was critically injured, you would limp back to town, failing the adventure. Your character would regain hit points every few minutes or so, and you could put them back on the path to adventure as soon as you were ready. You would gain experience regardless of success, though treasure came only with victory.
I loved Tiny Adventures almost more than playing around the table. First of all, it was always about my character, and I advanced through my adventuring career faster than anything. You carried damage from the end of an adventure, and healed during the interim, plus you got treasure which could be sold or traded up.
There were no arguments about alignment, rules, or character death, and you or your wounds were generally the only thing preventing you from moving on.
If I were asked to improve upon the game, I would do only a few things – encounters would be rewritten to use the Second Person, addressing their player as “you” instead of using the character’s name, giving it more of an Interactive Fiction feel. I would be sure to include a “retreat” option to abandon a doomed adventure early.
Players would be able to choose any race-class combination they wanted, and the random encounters for each terrain type would be more consistent in checking their “primary” ability scores. (Seriously, the difference was so minor, why even bother?) I’m pretty sure I’d keep the game a series of solo adventures, though.