It’s Tabletop Tuesday, and something I’ve been thinking about recently felt like a good topic to post about. You see, when I get bored at work, I find myself thinking about games I wish existed, and lately those games have been tabletop games. I mean, how cool would it be to have a tabletop where you created your own Fire Emblem army and pitted it against the forces of evil? Or to create a party of adventurers using the races, classes, and fantastical settings of the Final Fantasy universe? I bemoaned the fact that these did not exist and completely intended to write a post about how I might approach making these games.
Turn out, I didn’t think of this first.
BOTH of my ideas, a Fire Emblem tabletop and a Final Fantasy tabletop, technically already exist. These are fan-made projects, called FEd20 and FFd20 respectively, and both are available online for anyone to pick up and play. Of course, I took a look at them to see exactly how legit these fan projects appeared to be, and found that one greatly surpassed the other (in my humble opinion).
FFd20 is a very detailed fan-made hack of the Pathfinder system. It uses the basic Pathfinder rules while adding mechanics that help to create the feel of a Final Fantasy game. Such added mechanics include an MP bar and limit breaks. Of course, the races of the game are altered to better represent the races of the Final Fantasy universe. This game, in addition to a main playbook, also has special playbooks for magic, tech weapons, and FF monsters. I mean, I can’t really review the game without actually having played it, but it looks legit and the fact that it’s based on a well-liked tabletop game certainly lends it some credibility.
Conversely, there’s FEd20. This tabletop is not based on an existing game (other than Fire Emblem, of course) and the rulebook is pretty bare-bones. The mechanical aspects of the game are pretty well laid out. How to create a character, how the classes work, what the equipment does, all that kind of stuff is there. But none of the essence of how to play the game is present. As the person who usually GMs for my group, I found it quite distressing that there were no details about how to actually run the game. I found myself asking questions like “how many characters does each army start with? Do players battle each other or work together? How do you deal with the roleplaying sections of the game?” Overall, this tabletop felt more like a 2-player Fire Emblem combat simulator than a full-length game intended to be played by a group of people.
I had one other idea for a tabletop that I really liked, and this one apparently does not already have a fan-made game, though plenty of bloggers and redditors share my desire for such a game to exist. The idea is to have a game based around the Myers-Briggs theory of personality. I spoke about this personality indicator in a post a LONG time ago, but in case you haven’t been reading for that long and aren’t familiar with it, allow me to somewhat enlighten you.
Myers-Briggs theory is based on the work of psychologist Carl Jung. The idea is that the general scope of a person’s personality can be summed up by examining four things: how they recover energy, how they take in information, how they process that information, and how they act on that information. Each category has two different options: Extroverted or Introverted, Sensing or iNtuition, Thinking or Feeling, and Judging or Perceiving. Your combination of four letters sorts you into one of sixteen personality types.
Now as a gamer, these sixteen personality types (and the four temperaments that they are organized in) are what make me think that a Myers-Briggs tabletop would be cool. You see, they all have cool names like Healer, Navigator, Mastermind, and Protector. Perfect class names for a game, right? And think of what the different letters represent. An introverted character could gain energy from resting and accomplishing tasks alone while an extroverted character would be more likely to heal by hanging out at the tavern during the night. A sensing character would have good skills like Spot and Listen while an iNtuitive character would rely on more esoteric ways of gathering information.
I’ve been interested in this idea for a long time, and it seems like if I were to jump on creating a hack, I might be the first person to make a game out of it. In all likelihood, I’d want to use the Powered by the Apocalypse engine (the source for Dungeon World, which my longtime readers have heard me praise near-constantly). I’ve already made some homebrew content using these mechanics and I think they could lend themselves well to a game based on psychology. After all, the World games are narrative-driven, perfect for a game that would ultimately be focused around personality.
Most likely I’d be making such a game for my close-knit RPG group. I’ll leave the task of creating a quality fan-made Myers-Briggs game to the professional amateurs.