I’ve been thinking about leading another edition of the GameCola RPGCast. Since I like adventure games more than RPGs, I had the idea of making up an RPG based on an adventure game! Specifically, I decided to go with Awakening: The Dreamless Castle, the fairytale princess game.
That game has a very structured intro section, so it’s perfect for testing things out. The game is puzzle-based, so I figured that puzzle solving could be determined by dice rolls. Accordingly, I made this stat sheet based on puzzle types:
- Repeating a Pattern
- Getting Things In Place
- Matching Things
- Finding Hidden Objects
Yesterday, I did a test run with my 1,000-word mockup. It went somewhat poorly. Even when I sliced all the player’s stats in half, they easily won 90% of the rolls. And, on the three occasions that they lost a dice roll, the game got stuck because I didn’t know what to do.
What do you do when someone loses a roll in an adventure game RPG? Game over? Your character can’t solve the puzzle because you didn’t roll well enough? It’s one thing to get a game over because you were killed by an ogre, but a game over because you didn’t spin the disc in the right direction seems pretty bad.
That was the main problem with my game. Dice rolls are too easy to win, and I let the player win even when they lose, because otherwise the game wouldn’t continue. The player said it was too hard to figure out what to do next, but since they did everything in the exact same order as the game’s tutorial, I doubt that’s true.
When we finished, I showed the real game to the player. We both agreed the original game was better than my RPG mockup. So I guess my first attempt to make an adventure game/tabletop RPG was a failure.