« Yeah, but... Why? | Main | The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Film) »

RPGnet Wiki: The World of Virtual

As those IMAGinewSers who browse the RPGnet forums are probably aware, the managers of RPGnet have set up a Wiki for public use. Now, before certain of you rush over there to start a Lexicon game, you should know that the RPGnet Wiki has been created with a purpose: to allow community development of RPG-related projects, such as new systems and sourcebooks for existing games. So to paraphrase Seinfeld, “No Lexicon for you!”

However, I am thinking of setting up a section of my own in there. Ever since I purchased Fantasy Flight GamesHorizon: Virtual mini-RPG, I’ve wanted to develop the ideas, rules and setting and contained therein a bit more. You see, what Virtual does is take the D20 system as presented in the Dungeons & Dragons version 3.5 books (and the D20 System Reference Document) and, to borrow a term from Winamp and computer gaming, “re-skins” it with new classes and feats it so that it can run a game set inside your computer (in other words, Horizon: Virtual draws much of its inspiration from the Disney movie TRON and the animated series ReBoot).

The only problem is that Virtual can only do so much in sixty-four pages, and although it tries to not be Another Fantasy Setting, its very reliance on the D20 SRD winds up being rather constraining. As a virtual world can look like anything, it starts to look like a fantasy wilderness so it can use the regular environments and beasts rules.

And although the classes known as Programmers and Thinkers have been able to gain some level of universal Admin privileges due to their intuitive understanding of programming languages, use of said privileges is accomplished by using the standard D&D magic spells (with some of the names changed). Now don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a very natty idea, not to mention one of the best explanations for “magic” in any given setting. But I think the re-skinning needs to go a bit deeper, so that immersion in the game isn’t wrecked by having to leaf through the spells lists in the Magic section
of the Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook v3.5 and trying to remember that Magic Missile is called "Code Bolt" in Virtual.

Thankfully, the D20 Open Game License allows one to do just that, so long as no money is charged for the results. In other words, I can take chunks of the System Reference Documents (such as the Skills, Feats and Magic Spells lists), re-work them to fit in more with the world of Horizon: Virtual, and post them on the Web – or as the case would be here, post the Feats and Magic Spells lists on the Web to be re-worked by myself and others (which a Wiki allows you to do with ease, once you get used to its markup).

I've already done a fair bit of the groundwork. Mid-last year, I downloaded the d20 System Reference Documents, noted the various ways of using the Virtual nomenclature (Waker, rewriter, counterwriting etc.) and went on a massive find-and-replace binge on the Spells and Feats Lists using Microsoft Word. The individual listings need some reading and adjustment, especially after the components and alignments issues are hashed out.

The only constraint I would face would be the inability to post any closed content or product identity from Horizon: Virtual; while I can include the names and game statistics of the new spells and feats introduced in the game, I can’t include their descriptions or any other text from the book itself. Staying within the bounds of that restriction should be easy, though. A simple note reading, “The description of this rewrite/feat is closed content. Please see page XX of Horizon: Virtual.” would do.

So, I’ve made a posting about the idea on the horizonvirtual Yahoo! Group and the Fantasy Flight Games forum. I’ll put a post up over on the RPGnet Forum sometime today.

Let’s see if anyone’s interested…

If you liked this post, please check out more RPG Notes