Friday, August 19, 2016

RPGaDay 2016 #19 What Is The Best Way To Learn A New Game?

I'm sure someone would say that play is the best education on a game system. Take a pregenerated character and put them through their paces, learning how the dice work and how no to die in combat. And there is a certain truth to that.

But I think that, especially with the character-focused systems that are coming out these days, you don't get a proper taste until you build one yourself. Burning Wheel is one game that is so complex that I didn't get a proper understanding of how a lot of the pieces fit together until I built a character.

The other thing that Burning Wheel character generation taught me is how the process can inform the character. My initial goal was not only to make a Burning Wheel character, but to create the Burning Wheel version of Bob the Fighter, that generic guy with a sword that fills up every fantasy RPG out there. But because of how it was structured and the sorts of decisions I had to make to fill out that sheet, My "generic fighter" wound up being very un-generic. He became a product of some very interesting decisions and someone that I wanted to play. Never got to, though. Ho-hum.

The kinds of decisions that character creation wants you to make often inform how you play the game. This can be choosing a race and class in D&D or writing aspects for your Fate character, or anything else. A pregenerated character isn't going to give you those choices.

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