Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mistfall: Not a Zombie

I’ve been a long standing fan of JourneyQuest, an independently created video web series about a group of somewhat unlikely adventurers trying to complete a heroic quest of utmost important. I like to come back to some of the episodes now and again, which usually ends in me watching the whole series start to finish

JourneyQuest is a deeply amusing indulgence, and some say that you will get the most of it if you are or have been a gamer – specifically: a role player – because it uses a lot of the tropes most often observed in role playing games. From the cast of characters and villains, through the main plot to some of the absurd but endearing quirks of its world, all seems to be borrowed from a role playing game.

Most certainly a zombie by Enggar Adirasa
When designing Mistfall (a game we are currently Kickstarting), I would also borrow – and I would borrow a lot, since I have been and partly still am a role player. I built the characters thinking about the well known classes and roles they would fill within a party of adventurers. I made them “handle” similarly. I made sure that if you like casting spells – from powerful blasts to small tricks – you will feel right at home with the Arcane Mage. I made the Shieldbearer a simple to use warrior. I made the Dawnbreaker Cleric a healer and destroyer of the undead. The Seeker - your basic rogue if you like - is sneaky and handy with the dagger. You probably get the gist now.

What I also did, was make sure that Mistfall plays well with people who did not or would not have anything to do with role playing games. Every building block added to the game, every Enemy or Feat, was crafted both with theme and playability in mind. It was supposed to invoke a specific feeling, but still remain a cerebral experience which (with the addition of fully deterministic combat and despite all the trappings of Dungeons and Dragons or Warhammer) would first and foremost build a board game a board game. And a damn good one, if I may say so myself.

I’ve seen people who would not be caught dead playing an RPG have fun with Mistfall – just as much as those who spent years crawling through dungeons. So, Mistfall is not an RPG. JourneyQuest is not a game. And Carrow is not a zombie.

And yet, it’s all so much fun.

Oh, one more thing: if you’ve not seen JourneyQuest yet, do yourself a favour and go watch it now. If this can get a chuckle out of Andrei (the least probable person to play an RPG in this century), it can sure as hell get a chuckle out of you.
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