Saturday, April 28, 2012

Infinite Earths Overview: Roles

So far, we've been a little down--we've spent more time examining what we aren't, through rules we don't like, instead of examining what we are.  That changes today, as we start defining and previewing what we're on about, what makes us "unique and special."

Infinite Earths is an OGL-based gaming system designed to simplify and streamline the mathematics involved in gaming, while opening up new capabilities to players.  This is not a game to be played merely in dungeons, fighting monsters--this is a game designed to be played on the streets of cities and small towns, in musty tavern backrooms, in the courts of the kingdoms of men, and in the ruins of once-great civilizations.

To that end, we have divided the standard "classes" into a triune system, where you can customize your character by choosing not only three different roles, but the priorities you give to each of the roles.
  • Combat Role:  These are the roles of classic fighting styles--will you be a deft archer, a shadowy assassin, a stout fighter, or a mysterious spellcaster?  The combat role determines your overall durability in a fight and the techniques you can use to harm others.  We currently have eight defined combat roles in the system, each based on a separate and distinct fighting style.
  • Social Role:  These are the roles you take up when you are communicating with other people--would you be an easygoing charmer, a dainty courtier, a crowd-manipulating demagogue, or a crass trickster?  The social role determines who you are most skilled at communicating with, and provides options for every character to participate in social play.  We currently have fifteen defined social roles in the system.
  • Vocational Role:  These are the roles that define how you interact with the world and the world interacts with you--your "skillset," as it were.  From the hearty blacksmith to the clever thief to the greedy merchant to the wise sage, vocations define what you can to when you're not in direct conflict with someone else.  We currently have twenty-four defined vocational roles in the system.
Each of the three roles you decide upon (you get one from each) can be slotted into your Primary, Secondary and Tertiary role slots.  Each of these slots helps you define how powerful and focused you are in that particular role.

That means that, as of this writing, there are almost twenty-four billion combinations of roles that can help you define your overall "class."

"But," you might be saying to yourself, "wouldn't I be gimping myself if I didn't make my Combat Role my primary role?"

Excellent question!  And the answer is--not at all.  Because this game isn't just about crawling through dungeons, murdering their denizens and stealing their equipment for your own use.  This game is about convincing allies to help you, authorities to look the other way while you do your work, crafting powerful and dangerous equipment, sneaking past house guards so you can get to and unlock the secret treasure vault. . .and so much more!

Do you want to be a skillful character who's not particularly good at combat, but can still hold his own?  Do you want to be a combat jockey who can convince the local sheriff that protecting the town requires deploying the guards a certain way?  Do you want to be first and foremost a diplomat, only resorting to violence when talk has failed?

There is a place for all of these character types in Infinite Earths, and the rules--and the adventures, campaigns and supplements--that we produce will reflect that.  We aim to break the classic tabletop roleplaying cliches, and we hope you'll join us!

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