Features and Philosophy, Part One

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This is Part One of a series on Unchained Heroes that will go over the Features and Philosophies it embodies. As a Tabletop Roleplaying Game in a thriving market, it is important to understand what Unchained Heroes brings to the table and how it might interest you. Today we are going to talk about the “Gamer Vs Roleplayer” Philosophy, because this is one of the key concepts that Unchained Heroes was meant to bridge, and the features Unchained Heroes brings to help alleviate this mentality.

Gamers and Roleplayers

So what is the Gamer vs Roleplayer Philosophy? It is the idea that a “Gamer” is a person that is playing for the mechanics and the system while the “Roleplayer” is more interested in the stage acting concepts of the game. We have all met the people at these two ends of the spectrum. They both bring great value to the table each night. Their idea of fun is very different from each other, though, and game systems can tend to neglect one over the other. The Gamer usually gets heavily into the minutiae and, dare I say, “crunch”, reveling in combat and the finer points of the Game System. The Roleplayer prefers the story elements and exposition that occurs when players are interacting with the Gamemaster. You could boil these two areas down to “In Combat” and “Out of Combat.” Players can fall anywhere on this spectrum. Unchained Heroes wants to bridge this divide. Those familiar with the Vancian Magic System can understand why this divide needed a bridge. For your players that picked the wrong spells or decided to choose roleplaying spells rather than combat spells (and vice-versa) they really suffered when the story didn’t match with the spells they chose for the day. Who could predict what the GM was going to do?

Problem Identified, so let’s expand on it.

Unchained Heroes identified the problem that the Gamer and the Roleplayer were at odds with each other and that this was making players unhappy, so features were made to alleviate this. First of all, Unchained Heroes uses an Resource Pool System. This means that performing an action–any action–will cost varying degrees of a Resource Pool (generically called Energy) from Free to 50 Energy (or more). This is a universal fact that applies within combat and out of it as well. With this as a base, it was then identified that we had another quandary between the Gamer and Roleplayer. There are a finite number of the Spell or Power slots you have available to you, a fact in Unchained Heroes as well. In most games, they would let you choose one or two abilities and if you choose combat abilities, you would be great in combat, but terrible in the roleplaying aspect. On the flipside of the coin, if you chose roleplaying abilities, you would be terrible at combat. Do you go for balance or somewhere in between? In addition to all that, Combat Abilities usually needed strict rulesets to define usage, while Roleplaying Abilities worked best when the rules were relaxed and open to interpretation.

Now it’s time for the Solution.

How does Unchained Heroes account for all the Gamer Vs Roleplayer Ability choice conundrum? Unchained Heroes uses two tracks of progression for every Hero: the Battle Skill and Hero Class Track (let’s call it Gamer Track) and the Character Skill and Talent Track (let’s call it Roleplayer Track). They are kept separate from each other and do not interfere with each other, but use the same base rulesets as common ground. Action Times, Energy Cost, Range, Duration, Skill Check usage, and so on, are all used in the same fashion for each track. The separate Gamer and Roleplayer Tracks allow each and every player to be able to create the character they want to create, without having to worry about sacrificing one type of fun for another. Do you love to be able to travel through space and time? In Unchained Heroes, that would be part of the Roleplaying Track. To get that, you would work on acquiring the Warp, Gross Teleportation, or Ley-line Transport Talents for your Hero. Do you love to wade into your enemies and thrash them? You get that through the Gamer Track of Unchained Heroes with the Juggernaut, Carnage, and Steel Cyclone Abilities. Do you want to do both of them? You can. You won’t need to sacrifice a spell slot or power slot to pick the roleplaying power that you love when the combat power would be more immediately useful in your next dungeon. You pick both. Combat powers are more singularly defined and detailed. Roleplaying Powers are more powerful, more broad, and wide open to interpretation. With being able to choose both areas, your Hero becomes a more well-rounded character in the story.

The Philosophy of Unchained Heroes is that we don’t cater to the Gamer more than the Roleplayer, we bring them both together and make everyone feel equally as useful at the table. You still might have those that love one way more than the other, but you won’t have to worry about a person having to make sacrifices and feeling useless in one aspect of play more than the other.

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