Humanity is a shared narrative, story telling game where the
main characters have incredible inhuman abilities. As time
progresses the powers these characters have increase but
only as they lose grip on their own humanity, falling deeper
into the clutches of the power they try to wield.
I’ve been toying with the idea of creating my own rpg system for a little while and this is what I have so far: Humanity RPG v 0.1. There’s no character sheets yet, but you should be able to make the required notes on some sheets of plain paper.
It is still a work in progress, but it is in a playable state. I’m hoping to play-test this version of it myself in the next couple of months, once I can get some people together.
There were a few design elements I was trying to achieve whilst writing Humanity:
1. I did not want to have a GM (in the traditional sense).
I’m still not 100% certain that this is the right choice but I found that some times GMing a game feels like you’re playing a different game to everyone else and I much prefer to part of the group. I’ve played a few games where there is no GM at all, and this seems to usually work by having conflict between the characters, such as in Fiasco or In a Wicked Age, to create the tension. However, I wanted this game to be cooperative. So the system involves everyone being GM at the same time as everyone being a character.
This works by interjecting with a challenge whenever seems appropriate, and putting something in the way of another character. The deal is sweetened for the character who has something bad happen to them with a bonus dice to roll in the future.
2. I still wanted to roll dice.
I like not knowing if my character is going to succeed or fail sometimes and dice, although not ground breaking, are a good way of doing this.
3. I wanted it to be as easy as possible to determine dice results.
What I don’t like is having to add up lots of numbers when trying to create a story. I’ve tried to keep this to a minimum but perhaps its not as simple as I’d like. At most a player will have to add a d20 to a d6 and compare it against one of 4 numbers. This certainly is not as simple as something like Trollbabe, which has a really elegant system, with a single stat and a single d20, but it’s nothing like Pathfinder (which is where I cut my RPG teeth).
4. I wanted character creation to focus on, character rather than statistics and figures.
The majority of the character creation is to do with the character, loves, fears, mannerisms etc, the four ‘mechanical’ attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence and Charisma) are the last thing to be completed. This should encourage the attributes to come from the character rather than the other way round.
5. I wanted set-up to be as quick as possible.
There’s not that many choices to make in setting up the game, however they are quite big choices. The system is not genre specific so there is risk of too many choices when deciding what to play. To remove this problem I intend to write some quick set-up sheets for specific game types.
6. I do not want characters to level-up but I do want them to change.
This is a double edge sword, it does feel nice getting new abilities when playing an RPG, however it can take so long. The focus of my game is the internal struggle with the Powers the main characters wield. I pleased with the way that as their Power increases, they can use it more often in a guided way but as they do so the characters lose their grip on humanity.