With the rough draft of the new gathering system out for player feedback I wanted to provide some visibility into how we got where we are. When I started the new gathering system I told myself I was going to get rid of the chance of failure as that’s been one of the biggest complaints. I played with probably a half dozen different systems and ultimately landed somewhere very different from where I thought things were going.
The primary issue with gathering, and crafting in general in this game, is that you need to make the high end stuff scarce but attainable. Otherwise everything else becomes pointless. The old d100 system did this by limiting how often those items are even available to be acquired. This wasn’t a great system and got a fair amount of negative feedback so I wanted to do away with it completely. My goal was to make a system that still kept rare materials scarce enough to be cool, encouraged group play, was significantly less random, and felt like a living part of the world that could be engaged with.
After a bunch of ideas (mostly based on farkle and re-rolling d6s trying to get three of a kind or better), I switched gears. I put the idea that failure wasn’t an option to the side and asked myself: “Is failure such a bad thing if you can just retry.” I think the big issue with the old system is that you’d only get a shot at very rare materials once a month or so, and if you failed you had to spend CP for probably another month just for the chance to try and get that material. This randomness is what was really killing the system. Failing only felt so bad because you knew you’d spend another month rolling a d100 every day until you got another chance.
“How can I make a gathering system that isn’t random, but doesn’t end up with a bunch of ignored materials?”
Make it story driven. I decided that if I can put the reins in the players hands to tell us what they are interested in, not only does that give us free plot hooks into missions and faction quests but it solves almost all our issues. By creating these time sensitive locations and including lots of ways for players to interact with them outside of just gathering resources we can have a gathering system that feels alive, that engages players and that can create a diverse list of materials that players are actually interested in.
You can check out the new gathering rules in Downtime and Crafting linked to in the right hand menu.