Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Along Came A Glitterboy!

Ah Rifts. Only in Rifts can you play a Blue Whale with flyfishing and enough cyber up his gills to fly in space. Rifts was a giant toy box if the toys were made out radioactive materials, legos, and bits of Thor post Ragnarok. The point of Rifts was...I dunno, but I could play a mutant cat flying around in Robotech jets. Rifts.

Rifts was also a very weird MAKE stuff game. (As in my previous Big 4 post.) There were so many character options, magic items, gear and kitbashed stuff to allow crafter characters YEARS of wacky customization. And customize my groups did. Trying to figure out how to strap the main cannon from a Glitterboy onto a hovertank. Link multiple missile bays to the same targeting computer, all scores of wonky player invented gear swap. Add in the Macross and TMNT rules and WOOBOY! It was like an adult frenzy of creative Destroy, Build, Destroy.

But there is a strong need of players to enjoy the MAKE Things style of play. Exalted's crafting system for example. I know many players that just drool at the ability to crank out artifacts, magictech or no, and to use things like Ritual of Elemental Empowerment and some magical material to cook up a full set of PC gear.

Our Wizard/Sorcerer players in various Pathfinder, D&D, and such games had laundry lists of gear they were working to create. Ultimate Equipment for Pathfinder came out and our Tony Stark Gnome wanna-be jumped in with a manufacturing order list. If the group was going to travel his downtime was going to be dedicated to draining money for magic items.

Other games allow for character building much like item building. Anima's KI rules allow for character to craft their own unique martial arts trees. I did much the same in GURPS with their MA rules. Ninja HERO too.

Why I remember my players reverse engineering the mecha rules for guns from GURPS MECHA to build custom guns in GURPS.

Mind you the 3E GURPS Vehicle rules were terrible. Volume? Eh?

That said, there are cafe style item building games like Shadowrun with it's lists and lists of gear and customizations for that gear. Shadowrun 4E with Augmentation and Arsenal books turns you into a scary monster. Star Wars WEG and Edge of the Empire editions have ship and gear customization rules. Those alone give my players hours of delight.

There is also kingdom building. I remember many an hour drawing up my forest keep when a Ranger hit level 10 or so in oD&D. That alone...the trapdoors and such. So much FUN! Logistics may be boring for some but there is a reason why the Civilization games do so well.

The crafter, the tech, the cyberdoc, the mage, the artificer from Eberron! These are a type of play and player. If you are a new game designer out there take the time to learn this crowd. You won't be disappointed if you cater to them.

After all, give them the tools and they'll build half the goodies themselves!