Revelation 2019-08-07

By Max Woerner Chase

Okay, I'm writing this at like 11, so I'm not going to have examples handy to point at, of the stuff I'm describing. A while ago, I encountered the definition of "Choose Your Own Adventure" that parts of the internet are using now. Given how trademark protection has been for that term, and the fact that it bears little resemblance to the books that bear the name, I'll be moving right along from it, and switch to talking about the iteration on it that I'm going to try to design, which is currently called, for reasons that will later become less non-obvious, the Revelation (Meta-)System.

Before describing Revelation, I'll try to describe its direct inspiration. These so-called "CYOAs" are typically presented in the format of one or more images of somewhat reasonable width and utterly ridiculous height. There is usually an introduction at the beginning, and the remainder is mostly rows of titled and captioned pictures corresponding to things players can take for a "build", providing they meet the requirements, such as number of points, or other things. So, in a fantasy theme, a player might have the option to select proficiency with a bow, or affinity for different schools of magic. In a science-fiction theme, there could be options for cybernetic implants, or otherworldly allies. The thing that kind of bothered me, and maybe it doesn't bother many other people, is that once the player designs their build, they can't precisely "test" it. There are no facilities for putting builds through their paces more rigorous than free-form RP. So I tried to figure out a variation on the format that would allow a player who wants a feeling that the destiny of their build is being decided, in part, by impartial forces.

Revelation is supposed to be a small core of rules, and guidelines for expanding on them. The intention is that allows authors can put in somewhat more effort than is required to design a typical "cyoa", but the result is similar to a solo-able tabletop RPG. So far, I have two ideas that I'm going to try to use for this: rolls as in various "Powered by the Apocalypse" games, and d66 tables, from which rolling is sometimes mandatory, but in other contexts, the player can choose freely.

For now, I'm just working on a single system that's honestly probably not going to be too interesting, but I want to work my way up to having some kind of core rules, and then each specific system adds in some common rules, and each choice the player can make brings in rules that are specific to that choice.

One thing that I'm going to have to see how it shakes out is, everything I've come up with so far just adds length to the document, and I don't have a good idea of where it should go, whether there should be cross-links of some kind. I also want these to be primarily some kind of hypertext, because navigating text in the form of image galleries is obnoxious, at least to me.

I'm currently roughing out how things are set up in the first system, but it's slow going right now, and probably a case for outlining. I'll try to get on that tomorrow.

Okay, I'm not at an obvious end-point, but it's midnight, so, I want to end this, regardless. Good night.