I spent a bit more time poking around Keith Davies’s site. I’m not sure whether the site is technically called “In My Campaign,” of “Keith Davies – In My Campaign,” it seemed a little ambiguous to me. I mean, the initials would seem to indicate there’s a middle name in there too, so it’s hard to say. Anyway, there’s some good stuff here.
Actually, I’m not quite sure how I got from the Echelon d20 page to the main page. I think it took some acrobatics of navigation, since clicking “home” just about anywhere just brings me to the Echelon d20 home. I must have clicked on one of the recent/popular posts and somehow got transported over to the main site. *shrug*
So, I’m really not sure where to start with this site. There’s tons of cool ideas and information related to game design, and a lot of it looks like it covers the same ground (and the same kind of information) that I do, just in different ways. There are even clear influences of wuxia, which I totally drew on for a bunch of my own stuff.
…Hehe, I just found a page wherein he describes reviewing another d20/system project (“Threshold d20″) for comparison to his own Echelon d20. And here I am reviewing his system for comparison to mine. So. Meta. Threshold d20 Review.
Reading through the content of Keith Davies’s site actually spurred me to review the Revised System Reference Document and related legal material in case there was something I needed to watch out for – I don’t think there is, I don’t devise d20 System material for a purpose other than commentary, criticism, or research.
I agree with a lot of the design principles that I’ve seen here, it’s just… I don’t know. Maybe there’s a liberal-traditional split here. I see lots of designs that fall within the strict confines of the d20 System that don’t really innovate or add anything new. They’re variations. They don’t fix design problems so much as displace them.
Classless systems seem to me like a recipe for boredom and aimlessness. I know some people really like classless systems but one of the things I notice about some of the heavy-hitters (like White Wolf/Storyteller products) is they have another character-defining system comparable to classes, like “vampire traditions.”
It’s mostly just a different way of doing thing. But then, in games that lack classes, or class-like mechanics entirely (like Big Eyes, Small Mouth), something fundamental is lacking: Context. Cohesion. Part of how you define a character is through his or her companions, and if you don’t “get” your companions, your own character suffers.
Maybe it’s just me. Or maybe I don’t hang out with the right kind of roleplayers. Maybe if I played GURPs, I’d have a better understanding. I mean, I like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls (for all the class structure they lack), but those are games that I think function largely because they’re single-player computer games. Solitary, not group games.
But now I’ve gotten totally off-topic. *frown* I’ll come back to this.