Semester(s) Offered: Spring
Credits: 4
Course Call Number: GAMES-GT 154, GAMES-UT 154
Taught By: Luke Crane

Roleplaying games represent one of the most important design spaces in modern gaming. Beginning in the early 70s, these games quickly took root and influenced games far beyond their own sphere. Mechanisms like levels, classes and hit points have been adopted in a far-reaching swath of board, card, digital and mobile games. But despite their influence, the design of RPGs is largely unexamined. This class will walk students through the design process from concept, to testing, to writing and production. At the same time, students will engage in meaningful play with historically significant games. The combination of design and play will allow us to examine these living games for their trends, tropes and strengths. From week to week the students will experiment with and design systems for roleplaying games with the ultimate goal of designing a complete game as part of a team. The class will operate on discussion, play, design, test cycle: We will discuss historical RPG design; students will play these designs; they will then design their own; and test them with each other in class.

Upon completion of this course, the student will:
1) Learn roleplaying game design through an iterative, hands-on approach.
2) Understand the fundamental principles of the medium while pointing to a broad horizon of uncharted possibilities.
3) Discover many of the ephemeral and magical qualities of roleplaying games often overlooked in more system-oriented approaches to design.