As such, I had to be on top of my game. One of the biggest offenses in most of their writing was something referred to as parallelism.
|Parallelism in math...|
Parallelism in writing...
Under usual circumstances, parallelism comes on the individual sentence level. To use the example from the Purdue Online Writing Lab,--one of the more pre-eminent writing centers in academia:
My degree, my work experience, and ability to complete complicated projects qualify me for the job.
My degree, my work experience, and my ability to complete complicated projects qualify me for the job.
The 'correct' example uses the same structure throughout the sentence, which is more correct from a grammatical standpoint and is more appealing when read aloud.
Now, what does this have to do with gaming, you may ask? Well, you see, while most RPG manuals are fairly well-edited, parallelism doesn't just stop at the sentence level. Rather, it can (and should!) be continued on a paragraph and even on a piece-length scale.
But what about parallelism within actual game structure?
4e D&D was unique for its verisimilitude between classes. While each individual class received its own class abilities at level 1--Fighters got a Weapon Talent and Combat Challenge, Warlocks got Shadow Walk and Warlock's Curse--every class worked in the same manner: 2 At-Wills, Encounters on levels that ended with 3 and 7, Dailies on levels that ended on 5 or 9.
Many gamers critized for 4e for this maneuver, saying that classes were "too similar", but from a written standpoint, the design was flawless. But, it made me wonder whether parallelism in design could provide a driving force behind a game mechanic....which explains some of the reasoning behind my work on Cold Steel Wardens.
Part of the "MAFIANAP" mechanic--the fundamental system that I'm writing to drive CSW is built on parallelism--players have 8 Vitals, four of which govern Mental faculties and four of which govern Physical ability. The 25 skills are arranged into five groups of five--Physical, Investigative, Social, Knowledge, and Technical.
But, what I'd like to consider the most crucial bit of parallelism to CSW is the "Strain" system. Every hero can take a specific abount of Strain, before bad things begin happening to them. This occurs in both the Physical realm (through fights, wounds, and physical exertioin), but also in the Mental realm (through stress, fear, and mental trauma).
|Don't reach your Breaking Point,|
or you'll be taking a MAFIANAP!
If CSW comes out as planned, the game should be streamlined and easy for newbies to understand, with mechanics that fade into the background during investigation and social encounters. We'll see, though! Next up: Powers!