Both Eran and I have been playing a lot of the video game XCOM lately. Even though it is NOT a roleplaying game. Still, even though it is not a roleplaying game - there is a lot we can learn from it.
What is XCOM?
A series of computer games. Started in 1994 with X-COM enemy unknown and many sequels. Rebooted in 2012 with XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
Would you like to know more?
What's interesting about XCOM?
- XCOM knows what it is and what it's trying to do, and goes about it in a direct mannar.
- It has a strategic layer and a tactical layer
- You always know the odds but need to make hard choices.
- Your actions and decisions have harsh repercussions ("[That's XCOM baby](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuP3lQl9HMQ)")
Why does XCOM matter to us roleplayers?
- In XCOM 2 The game continued to surprise you: new enemies, new abilities, new things to worry about. Creating a mounting tension.
- Decisions in the strategic layer affect missions in the tactical layer (which I always found lacking in roleplaying mechanisms. It is always "now I manage an empire" and "now I'm delving in a dungeon".
- You care about your characters beyond their tactical value. How? Customization, names, details, variety of abilities. Downtime due to injury.
- Common objective for all your missions.
- The new XCOM does something very interesting with initiative that changes the genre of the game. The old init system vs the new (we've mentioned the effects of init in [episode 81 - initiative mechanics](https://dwarves.podiant.co/e/initiative-mechanics-episode-81-37f1f4549b8f9e/))
Adding a strategic layer to an RPG (21:20)
Most games don't have it, some games must have it.
Blades in the Dark
Pathfinder Adventure paths - running a kingdom, a rebellion, an army, a circus. Ultimate Campaign
Exalted 2nd ed, Mandate of Heaven
Ars Magica, Adventurer Conqueror King
One Ring, Adventures in Middle Earth
Clear roles, clear actions
Add randomised events/resolutions - for everyone, for every role/action
Maintenance - paying just to keep afloat
Have clear effects on the tactical level
Don't be afraid to fish ideas from games. Both in terms of crunch and fluff.
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Taking the load off (33:46)
Our published adventures:
Eran: All three adventures now available
Uri: Want more review for [Rolling with Laughter](https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/306078/Rolling-With-Laughter?affiliate_id=29668), currently working on a Romeo and Juliet version for 5e.
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Intro and outro based on On the Shoulders of Dwarves by the Cliches Duo. On the Shoulders of Dwarves is shared under [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International](https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/).
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Brought to you by Eran Aviram of
On the Shoulders of Dwarves