On the Shoulders of Dwarves

Lessons from XCOM (Episode 101)

On the Shoulders of Dwarves
Lessons from XCOM (Episode 101)
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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 Reign 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 Summary (33:07) =============== Don't be afraid to fish ideas from games. Both in terms of crunch and fluff. * * * * * 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. * * * * * Email us at with questions, topic suggestions, and comments, and check out [our Facebook group](https://www.facebook.com/groups/dwarfpodcast). We have a [Patreon page](https://www.patreon.com/dwarfcast), in case you'd like to support us in a monetary fashion. Also, most links to [DriveThruRPG are affiliate](http://drivethrurpg.com/?affiliate_id=29668), which means we get a bit of money if you buy through them, with no added cost to you. 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/). * * * * *
Brought to you by Eran Aviram of On the Shoulders of Dwarves