Tabletop roleplaying is, and has always been, a remix culture. I’ve written about that before, so I don’t want to completely rehash it all here. Where it works best is when remix culture balances the familiar and comfortable with new and cutting edge ideas. This is why so much fantasy looks like Dungeons &Dragons, science fiction feels like Star Trek and Star Wars, horror continually references Cthulhu, and superheroes all feel like alternate versions of the DC or Marvel universe.
My major project right now is the Hippogryph Codex. I refer to it as the collision of D20 and Fate. Which, I realize, is a rather violent way of saying “mashup”. It uses the core mechanic from D20 — roll a d20, apply modifiers, beat a target number. Said target number, however, is a variation of Fate’s ladder. It shows you the degree of success or failure. The equivalents of class, race, feats, and spells are all expressed as aspects, which for reasons explained elsewhere are called elements.
The object was to take something familiar — all of the basic tropes from D&D — and make something that feels more modern. Yes, I know that Fate is already over 10 years old, so it’s not that modern. There’s also more to Hippogryph than remixing two systems together. The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts, which is — wiat for it — the reason I named it Hippogryph. It isn’t a horse, and it isn’t an eagle. It’s not Fate, and it’s not D20. Yet it still has recognizable bits that pull it back from the edge, and allow players to find it relatable.
How Remix Culture Balances Comfortable with Cutting Edge
RPGaDay is an annual event held each August. It asks tabletop gamers to use provided daily prompts to express something fun, interesting, and positive about the hobby. David F. Chapman (Autocratik), the award-winning game designer, created it.
About Dancing Lights Press
Dancing Lights Press is a lo-fi publisher of tabletop roleplaying systems and system-agnostic creative aids, including the best selling Building series, the DoubleZero action thriller system, and Hippogryph, a fantasy story game system with traditional roots. Our products embrace a minimalist aesthetic in design and presentation because roleplaying is an activity, not a collection of expensive rulebooks.