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3 mechanics to steal from mobile gaming.

I wonder what kind of content you have seen in a mobile game that would translate well to tabletop gaming? I run a pathfinder homebrew setting every two weeks. As I have been dming for over 15 years and still have to look up the rules from time to time I have incorporated many new forms of technology to my game. Youtube for background music, Pinterest for character ideas, D20pfsrd has replaced my hardcover books, And a laptop has replaced my dm screen. I am sure this is the case for many Dm's and gamers in the community. So what can we take away from the plethora of mobile rpg games? What things do we appreciate about app's and what can be incorporated into tabletop gaming?

As a fan of the gacha games I think the first thing I have done is have a few combat npcs that I keep leveled and have available for any guests that want to game. This also provides a different feel to combat my mage likes to summon evil creatures to do his bidding whereas the wandering swordsman excels with a blade in combat. It may be one of the oldest tricks in the book running an npc for your players, But give them the choice on who to bring. I also believe that adding a good story to the Npc's can encourage players to care about them. I have an npc who was captured and raped with the ultimate goal of creating a demon from him. Well the party saved him but over time he began to change until he finally went full demon crazy and had to be locked away in what my players refer to as the phantom zone. Having this npc get captured turned into saving him, dealing with him, and now how do we bring him back? 3 adventures that all spawned from taking out what I thought was an unimportant npc.

Now I love a city builder game and I have probably tried every major app out there that lets me build a city and raise an army. As soon as the build time reaches about 24 hrs im done. I don't want to wait I want to upgrade advance and move on now not 3 days and 16 hours later. I feel that players often get this way too. Make your cities important, I have the heroes of the deviant army building towns and developing the land around them. This has been a bit of a challenge but they now have access to a blacksmith with enough skill to forge any kind of masterwork item they can dream up. The army is getting funds from collecting taxes and reinvesting into these areas of the game. Normally those towns quickly become unremarkable and lost to memory as that one place we went that one time and beat up so and so.

The rules of tabletop are to have fun and what could be more fun than running a nonstop cutscene of epic proportions? Sometimes the rules just don't cut it. When I will play a party based combat game the characters will have a signature skill that is theirs and theirs alone. I think about brave frontier marvel strike force, raid shadow legacy, and kirita the white knights. Action is pretty standard but having that final move be a cutscene described by the player or giving them a made up ability to use is often times more cinematic. It has lasting impact "Remember that time when I killed the bandit leader? vs "Remember when I impaled the bandit leader on the spear that I had stuck in my gut" Now I agree that this falls under the rule of cool and alot of people do it. But i'm going to take it one step further. My next gaming session is going to be completely off the cuff, I have a bad guy planned and the heroes will all be stuck in a dream like state (This has happened before to them) I will then initiate combat with the spirit of a pissed off oni whose grave they recently disturbed. The rules will not be a major part of this encounter. I will allow them to make up there own moves special powers and moves inside the dreamscape. Once they wake they will have their own unique move that is in no book but came from their own imagination.

In conclusion take what you can from mobile games there are a ton out there with loads of content t come up with great ideas from. I feel the three mechanics i want to incorporate into my game are large cast of unique npc's, kingdom building, and signature skills. I am most looking forward to the last one as I have yet to try it out. I would like to hear about other people's ideas of mechanics or ideas they have stolen from a mobile game and how it translated to tabletop. please feel free to leave a comment below.

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