Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, the recently released character RPG developed by Owlcat Games, looks really cool. I love the writing so far and the character work seems solid. But damn it, he might have the most overwhelming character creator I’ve ever touched. If your game asks me to process 25 different classes, each containing about 4 archetypes, I’m going to have to take a nap before I finish this damn thing.
The wrath of the righteous is directly based on the original Scout role-playing system, which was notoriously crisp. For those of you unfamiliar with tabletop crunch, if a game lets you keep track of more than five digits, and tracking those digits is necessary for you to actually play the game, then the game is crisp. The crunch can be good! We often talk about crunch and expressiveness of the player in opposition, but this is not always true.
Fortunately, the person running your game in person may just dismiss the crispier aspects if you don’t like them. This is the power of TTRPGs, you just have to do the shit that you find interesting. It comes down to the rule of cool. If the thing your player wants to do is cool and narratively reasonable, throw out whatever rules you want to make it happen. A specific class or race does not have access to a particular alignment? Fuck that! Cool baby rule.
Unfortunately, the same cannot always be said of TTRPG-based video games, which bring all crunch, and none of the accompanying flexibility of a real gamemaster. normally just make a cool character and let my GM adjust the game’s balance around the damn weirdo I made, by The wrath of the righteous In fact, I have to put in place some sensible construction. Which is fucking hard, because it is Scout, and Scout has a lot of crap in it. Again, there are 25 fucking classes in the video game.
This is aggravated by the fact that the introduction of the game to the Scout system does not really start until after you build your character. Since all text is of course onscreen, the game tells you which throws use which stats, but it doesn’t show you any in practice beforehand. I would have given anything for a pre-character prologue that actually gives you an idea of what a good construction looks like. And of course, the game has prebuilt archetypes to make it all easier, but there is a joy in making your own crazy weirdo. Sadly, this joy is buried under more than a decade of almost impenetrable systems.
I wanna make a cool guy in your video game, really. I just don’t have five hours to do it. I’m happy to spend five hours browsing reference materials when I’m with my friends, but I’m not doing this shit all by myself in front of my computer to play a game by myself. Please make your shit more accessible. I beg you.