Ok, so anything can be made interesting in games, but not everything has to be made into an interesting mechanic. Like talking to the Sentient Mushroom Cloud can be interesting in any game, but when do you want a mechanic for handling talking to mushroom clouds? Or making toast? Or finding toast? Or any other thing in a game, whether or not it's toast-related?
I will tell you.
You know what mechanics are interesting in games?
1) The ones where you have to do things fast, and...
2) The ones where a partial result means something.
And both is the best.
-Oh look, a radio, can I fix it? Roll your radio skill. Yep. Rock.
-Oh look, a radio, can I fix it? Roll your radio skill. 38% success. That means you can only get FM country stations and 50% of the Evil Overtyrant's Orders To The Command Fleet, but that's it.
(Kinda exciting. Especially if it's relevant later and every time you want to listen to Radio Unfree Tyrannyzone you get these garbled half-messages to interpret.)
-Oh look, a radio, can I fix it before the orphanage explodes? Roll your radio skill vs. the demolitions skill of the mutant dog children across town trying to blow up Grandma Gummy's Orphanage. 56% success! That means that you'll be able to communicate 1 word per round to the rest of the party (who are at the orphanage, but clueless about the bomb) until such time as the bomb goes off. Choose your words carefully.
This is why the combat mechanics are almost always interesting mechanics in games (not that combat's always the best part, merely that these parts of the rules are usually interestingly crunchy)--because combat is always about getting shit done fast (do unto others before they do unto you) and a partial result (taking damage, giving damage, moving the enemy into a tactically convenient position) always means something.
(In case you want to argue, what I mean about "partial results" in combat is it's not just hit or miss--even if you hit, the damage is usually only part of the damage you hope to eventually inflict. So a hit is a "partial success" until the bugbear's dead.)
That shoves the players right into the texture of the experience, between the seconds. Oh oh allllmost....ok...ok...try again...
So there you go.
Julius Moessel (1871 - 1957)
5 months ago