Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The CORPS, a new RPS in progress

Oh the progress that can be made when all other ambitious projects are thrown to the wind. As I have eluded in my one and only post of 2012 (yeah I'm totally on top of posting updates) I have been working on a new table top game for quite some time. Well I am happy to say that a great deal of progress on has been made towards putting together, what in my opinion is, an epic game. We've even go so far as to actually decide on an official name for the game which has been something that was a long time coming. So without further ado allow me to introduce to all of the two people reading this post,The CORPS! Also known as The Combat Oriented Role Playing System. Obviously the system is centered around combat as that was the core starting point for where the game was started. While we've been through many iterations of this game finally having it given its own name makes the things feel so much more real.
I'll try to stay on point here since I tend to ramble but to give an overview The CORPS is a classless role playing system that is based in a high magic medieval fantasy setting. The original idea for this game came about from my playing another game called H.A.R.P (http://ironcrown.com/harp/). So while playing HARP was fun there are many glaring flaws with the game. Namely the fatality of combat. Actually playing the game as is, not pulling die rolls, will lead to character death very quickly. Generally within a level or 2 someone, if not everyone is dead. Given the randomness of the dice, even for the cautious player, the player will die, always. While dying isn't necessarily a bad thing, in this games case it is.
So the task for my brother and I seemed pretty simple, fix HARP, make use of a fun and 'deadly' critical hit system without guaranteeing players WILL die, regardless of anything they can do. Seemed clear enough, have fun, risk and reward without a bad dice roll or two ending things prematurely. Thus started out rework of HARP which we fondly coined the term of HARP 2.0. Granted we had no affiliation with HARP or anyone remotely even close to ICE. What we did have was creativity, over two decades of amateur game designing/modifying experience and a knack for what is balanced and fair in a game system. However only a few months into the project both of realized that things were just going from bad to worse. Being a rules heavy game to being with, adding in new concepts just make things more bogged down. In the end we could say what we came up with was perhaps a nice dueling system but for more than 2 players it just wasn't practical.
Scratching HARP 2.0 from our ledger we turned our collective energies to starting things from scratch. Something that was based solely on our core ideas and then supplemented by ideas and concepts we liked most about other rpgs. Thus AEGIS (Awesome Epic Gaming Is Scary) 1.0 was born which while it held many new creative ideas quickly fell apart trying desperately to hold together mechanics from so many different systems. Again back to the drawing board. We simplified some of our core concepts, reshaped others and overall tried to cut out the fat and thus created CORPS 1.0. We finally committed our name towards we really were hoping to accomplish, which was to create a fun and strategic combat system that offered all players a number of options beyond the simple, I swing my sword or I shoot my wand. We also started getting a lot (well relatively for a two person design team) of play testing in and were becoming content with our vision of how the game was shaping up. However there were still things that were holding us back. There were lingering complexities from old concepts that while once were neat and versatile were now awkward and clunky. So again we decided to take the game through a bit of an overhaul. We pulled out the core features we really wanted in the game and stream lined them so that while the options still existed, the possibility of building a horribly flawed or crippled character was more obvious and less likely something someone would do by accidently merely by picking and choosing options that didn't benefit their character. Thus our current iteration (at the time of writing this) was born, CORPS 2.0. Since then our play tests have been much more positive and while there is still a lot of work ahead to do, the feeling that we may have something that is really fun to play on our hands is exciting. My hope is that as our player documentation is built up we can extend our testing to players outside of the immediate development process (I.E. have DMs who haven't had a hand in the creation of the game). Perhaps it'd even get to the point where people viewing this very site could download some materials that would allow them to run an adventure using the CORPS with their own groups. I think feedback like that could prove invaluable but first we need to get there. So now the question is would you, the poor reader who ended up here from a random google search about something D&D 4e related be interested in trying out a new role playing system? Is it worth your time to even try to convince your gaming group to even adopt a new system, if for only a single session? I think it is! But then again I'm pretty biased on the subject.

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