How Strong is my Robin

Today’s we continue to look at the foundational game design principles, true as they were in the game’s first publication, back in 2017.

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 tosome kindof 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...

Files 528 MB
Version 5 95 days ago 525 MB
Version 5 95 days ago

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