I've heard stories of many a game developer participating in DnD (The id teams lengthy game mentioned in the book "Masters of doom" for example!) so I hope participating will give me an opportunity to participate in a different style of gaming that may even result in learning about game design from a different angle. So I grabbed my battleaxe and dove right in!
The first meeting was pretty light the GM (a seasoned DnD veteran and experienced game designer) gave us the run down of how things work, expanding on the details he had given to us on the Facebook event page. Our IRL (in real life) party consists of myself, a game development tools QA tester with zero experience points in my DnD stat. A producer who also has zero experience. A lead QA tester with previous DnD experience and a lead environment artist also with previous experience. So a good mix!
Last week we had our first meeting, we discussed possible races, the race of the character you play, typically humans, orcs, elves, dwarfs etc. The roles, tanks - the players who soak up the damage, damage dealers - pretty self explanatory and healers - your standard battlefield fantasy paramedics. And then the specific classes. Anyone who has played a RPG or MMO and even certain modem day FPS's will be familiar with classes. A class determines the players strengths and weaknesses. For example a rogue and a ranger are both damage dealers but they are separate classes that have different abilities within the damage dealer role, which is great when it comes to multiplayer games as it gives each player a feeling of uniqueness and lets them feel that they are actively contributing to the game, something that would be difficult to achieve if every player had exactly the same abilities. MMOs and RPGs play heavily on this mechanic often with specific classes required to overcome certain situation, a very handy tool for games designers.
Thus my currently nameless Dwarf Fighter was born! To take up the role of our parties Tank.
One thing I did notice about the initial character creation is that compared to games, the creation is much more focussed on abilities, roles and party balance than aesthetics that tend to be the focus in games, a benefit of games as a medium perhaps? The process is not dissimilar to creating a group or raid for a high level dungeon in an MMO. Would this be something that could be incorporated into character creation in games more? more role and class customization?
For now that's all! Next time we continue with character creation and dig deeper into stats!