Most role-playing games quantify a player character’s abilities through a series of statistics, or stats, such as strength, dexterity, and intellect. It helps the player visualize their character – Am I strong? Am I fast? – and also provides a baseline competency for any challenges the character might encounter. It’s obviously easier for a stronger character to break down a door, and a smarter character to out-think a guard.
Nocked! has no such set of statistics. Being, or at least purporting itself to be a role-playing game, there was a long, hot debate between the writer (me) and the game designers (me, and also me) on the decision to ultimately exclude character stats. Without such benchmarks, how does a player know what Robin can accomplish?
The answer became far more than a simple display of aptitude; it informed the entire design and structure of the game at a foundational level. Robin Hood is a character of surpassing ability, an expert bowman, a consummate sword fighter, charming, witty, and intelligent. When he (or she!) fails, perhaps when challenging Little John to a staff fight, it serves to further the story in new and interesting ways. Robin’s choices should always lead to some kind of success. The key was to layer that success with interesting and unintended consequences.
Nocked! is *your* story of Robin Hood; there are no haphazard deaths, no impossible setbacks. Every path in the game leads to The End; there, the sum of your choices will be weighed, determining your place in legend.
In a future post, I’ll talk about resource management and the ways you can’t win them all...
The Continuing Adventures of Development Robin!
Your choices will decide Robin's fate each week.
Results from last week's adventure:
Help is a Step Away
Part 3 - A Dangerous Mission
You take refuge with Little John, and quickly supplant Much the Miller’s Son as his lieutenant. With the information from the castle in hand, you lead a series of covert strikes against the Sheriff’s forces, to great success. Seeing resistance is not futile, the peasants flock to your cause. As Little John’s Tavern can no longer accommodate the size of the resistance, he sends you to establish a larger base in Sherwood Forest. Before you go, Little John would like you to undertake one final mission.
- The Sheriff is about to marry Maid Marian against her will. I stage an objection during the wedding to rescue her.
- The Sheriff’s men are about to confiscate Friar Tuck’s church and imprison his loyal Crusaders. I take my men to enforce the separation of church and state.
- Prince John is “promoting” Will Scarlet to Ambassador of Spain, a post so distant he will no longer be able to influence the nobility. I catch up to him at his ship, and recruit him to our cause.
- I raid the Sheriff’s treasury, emptying it of gold before disappearing into the forest.
The Adventures of Development Robin are complete. Follow the story in subsequent blogs, or read the most recent blog to take part in our new adventure, Marian and the Sheriff, beginning July 26th!
This is the Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood development blog. Every week I’ll discuss some aspect of the game’s development, show off some art, and give you the opportunity to create an entirely new Robin Hood story.