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Rimworld Tabletop RPG

Cognisant

Condescending Bastard
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#1
RimWorld-Free-Download.jpg


Rimworld is essentially a time management game, from the moment your colonists make landfall you're setting their priorities and telling them how to make the most effective use of their time. In D&D, Pathfinder and I assume most every other TTRPG system a character's downtime is mostly glossed over, hence why it's called "downtime", but in Rimworld there is no downtime, a player must choose what their character (or characters) do for every hour of every day.

For example in a given in-game hour (each daily period is broken up into 24 turns) a player may choose to have their character build a wall and (assuming the requisite materials are available) how many sections that character completes depends upon a combination of the character's stats and how well the player rolls. Characters, particularly those that aren't skilled in the task they are performing can make mistakes and these mistakes can result in lost time and/or wasted resources depending upon how well or poorly the player rolls. Granted building walls isn't very dramatic but player characters will also be performing surgery, crafting weapons, tailoring clothes, constructing machinery, attempting to tame and train dangerous animals, bartering with traveling merchants and negotiating with hostile natives, etc.

Of course this being Rimworld the game isn't all about growing crops and sculpting artwork, there will be events such as raider attacks, mechanoid poison ships, megaspider attacks, herds of man-hunting elephants, etc. During these events the game switches to the more typical six second combat round format as the PCs fend off their attackers. Alternatively the PCs can seal themselves up in their base thus initiating a siege scenario, during a siege (insofar as the PCs aren't counter-attacking) game play returns to the hourly format, giving the PCs a chance to patch their wounds, strategize, plan to wait out the raiders until they run out of supplies, only for mortar shells to start coming through the roof in the middle of the night.

Sound interesting?
I'm curious to hear people's 1000ft perspective, what about this seems appealing to your or doesn't.

I will say that I'll be fiddling with the way certain tasks are handled so that they're not dreadfully boring, for example cooking for an hour will produce a lot of food so character's won't have to be tied down doing it all the time and rather than cooking meals of a specific type (simple, fine, luxurious) the quality of the meals will depend upon the character's stats and the players rolls. Also because there's no computer running a simulation things like hunting for food and chopping down trees for wood will be made more abstract so the person running the game doesn't have to track the location of trees/animals, nor will hauling be its own task unless it's a specific hauling scenario like after drop-pods have landed nearby.
 

Cognisant

Condescending Bastard
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#2
Can I get a reply? The complete lack of replies has me somewhat demotivated.
 

Hadoblado

think again losers
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#3
I don't really have time to commit to these sort of things anymore.

If I were in the market, I'd say I love rimworld, but that I see the value of it as being in controlling a whole community at once. The first-person view for a game of that scope doesn't really appeal to me.
 

Cegorach

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#4
I definitely like the management aspect, but the biggest difficulty with something like this would be creating a satisfying narrative experience, or, alternatively, a clear challenge and end goal that the players could be working towards, something that would be somewhat in contrast to games like D&D and such. Your narrative options may be more limited in this type of anchored survival-management tabletop game and I don't think players would be satisfied exclusively keeping a camp running without any real direction or flexibility except for periodic events; so an end goal, like a rough retrieval time frame and retrieval objectives, if the characters had crashlanded, may be something to consider. Different scenarios with different goals could exist, like the Lost Tribe or Rich Explorer ones.
Rimworld itself did eventually add a caravan that could travel outside of the bounds of the initial map, so there's some precedence for adventure beyond the colony, to mix things up, but the need to maintain what you've built minimizes the ability for truly grand enterprise and I have a feeling players would abandon all of that forever if there were no limits on excursions.

Creating some interpersonal conflict between player characters with specific types of events could enable a competitive element to form, which seems to be something a lot of people enjoy, and it could keep things a bit more dynamic; a suggestion may be randomly assigning personal goals or complexes to the characters as conditions that the player would have to secretly abide by. I think it was Mansions of Madness that did something like that when the characters went insane.
The counterpoint between players trying to work together to survive while also secretly implementing some selfish design, like stealing every shiny object they see, or gluttonously hoarding food, can create very memorable experiences.

Hadoblado already mentioned it, but the limit of a single character is a bit curious, considering how the video game this is based on works in contrast. I imagine you were envisioning it being played by a pretty large group, possibly on a forum or something?

You could allow each player to operate multiple characters, which can work so long as the players are willing to roleplay against themselves; a list of basic personality traits, alongside stats could be helpful in that case. Alternatively, assuming I'm remembering at all correctly, Planet Mercenary, by Howard Tayler of Schlock Mercenary fame, encourages narrative development of background crew members so that when a player character dies they can be replaced.

It's a very different type of game, but the changing round format reminds me a little of a game called Microscope where you build a collaborative history; the player doesn't so much have a set character, instead temporarily performing as a character of their choosing when somebody decides to focus on a roleplay scenario at a point in the timeline.
There're a lot of ideas you could mine from Microscope, actually.

Other thoughts are that tangible markers for resources, something like poker chips with pictures, may be a useful periphery tool, so that you can conceptualize your situation at a glance, without having to spend too much time documenting specifics.
Instead of a day being 24 turns, you could map out 24 tasks that you intended a colonist to take throughout the day, each turn being a day, then have opportunities to dynamically change them in response to the events. Just an organizational thing.
Maybe events could be done by drawing event cards from a deck at certain points during each turn?
Who knows.


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Honestly, there are a lot of directions you could take this, those are just some ideas off of the top of my head, not all of which are as thought out as they could be.
You seem to have a lot of interesting ideas here, in any case. If you can manage to stay motivated I'm sure you could brainstorm many ways to make it an overall satisfying experience. There's definitely potential.
 
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Cognisant

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#5
I definitely like the management aspect, but the biggest difficulty with something like this would be creating a satisfying narrative experience, or, alternatively, a clear challenge and end goal that the players could be working towards, something that would be somewhat in contrast to games like D&D and such.
Well in Rimworld there's the goal of building a spaceship and getting off the planet, when you start building the ship the game's difficulty ramps up quickly so it becomes a desperate final stand as you prepare to escape, it's pretty epic.

Granted it would be great if there were alternate end game goals, like to solve the mystery of where the mechanoids are coming from, or to eliminate all the raider camps, or to activate a doomsday device that bathes the planet in cleansing fire. Although really the true ending to a Rimworld game is always going to be "something went wrong and everybody died", that should always happen more often than not.

Rimworld itself did eventually add a caravan that could travel outside of the bounds of the initial map, so there's some precedence for adventure beyond the colony, to mix things up, but the need to maintain what you've built minimizes the ability for truly grand enterprise and I have a feeling players would abandon all of that forever if there were no limits on excursions.
The game has to be brutally hard, a lot of people play the computer game with mods that make it easier and end up with a colony that just goes from strength to strength and that does get boring, the game needs to be hard so the players are always making tough decisions.

Just traveling around raiding the supplies you need is possible, after all the raiders do it, but consider how far it gets them... I mean you could win a dozen battles in a row but the scars are going to accumulate, people are going get sick sooner or later, some people do this with the computer game but everyone knows it's a dead end strategy.

The counterpoint between players trying to work together to survive while also secretly implementing some selfish design, like stealing every shiny object they see, or gluttonously hoarding food, can create very memorable experiences.
I totally agree, as I see it there's three aspects to a TTRPG, there's roleplaying between the DM and the players (social encounters), combat between the DM and the players (combat encounters) and conflict between players which is the really special part of the game. I'm currently with a D&D group playing as a warlock tiefling named Alex in a party with an Aasimar paladin named Helios and as you'd expect they don't see eye-to-eye on many things. The great thing about Rimworld is that there's a lot to disagree over, the players will have a limited amount of resources and will have to make life and death decisions about how those resources are used. There will also be times when the tyranny of democracy comes into play, if three players have grievous wounds but two could be fully healed if the third has their organs harvested (or it could be food shortage scenario) the group may turn on that individual.

How often in D&D do you cannibalize people, harvest their organs and use their skin to make clothes and furniture, or sell them into slavery, because it was the most practical thing to do?

Hadoblado already mentioned it, but the limit of a single character is a bit curious, considering how the video game this is based on works in contrast. I imagine you were envisioning it being played by a pretty large group, possibly on a forum or something?
A player could have multiple characters in the colony, although again those huge colonies you see on r/Rimworld are the result of mods and/or a favorable difficulty setting, in the true Rimworld experience a colony that large would struggle to defend itself, they need to build a ship at that point.

From experience forum games are either painfully slow or require too much player investment to be practical over the timescale they're played.

It's a very different type of game, but the changing round format reminds me a little of a game called Microscope where you build a collaborative history; the player doesn't so much have a set character, instead temporarily performing as a character of their choosing when somebody decides to focus on a roleplay scenario at a point in the timeline.
There're a lot of ideas you could mine from Microscope, actually.
Very interesting!

Other thoughts are that tangible markers for resources, something like poker chips with pictures, may be a useful periphery tool, so that you can conceptualize your situation at a glance, without having to spend too much time documenting specifics.
Chips are good, I was also thinking of using an abacus for some things.

Instead of a day being 24 turns, you could map out 24 tasks that you intended a colonist to take throughout the day, each turn being a day, then have opportunities to dynamically change them in response to the events. Just an organizational thing.
It being a time management game I really want the players to have to choose when they sleep eat and relax, there being penalties if a character doesn't get enough of these to satisfy their needs. Going hour by hour when the players could have their character's tasks planned out well in advance seems tedious but I don't want to encourage players to abstract away the core gameplay like that. Also it should take time, the players need time to observe what each other is doing and to interrupt them if they want to discuss it and I don't want the days between event to fly by so it seems like the colony is always under attack.

Maybe events could be done by drawing event cards from a deck at certain points during each turn?
I really like that, if the raids were more abstract I could do away with the need for a storyteller entirely, at which point I may as well do away with the whole base-building aspect and it can just be a purely storytelling based game.

Honestly, there are a lot of directions you could take this, those are just some ideas off of the top of my head, not all of which are as thought out as they could be.
You seem to have a lot of interesting ideas here, in any case. If you can manage to stay motivated I'm sure you could brainstorm many ways to make it an overall satisfying experience. There's definitely potential.
That was very helpful, thank you.
 
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