I wager this is an old hat for most of you but for me it is rather new. Apathy Games has recently released the “Temporal Probability Agency” setting. I plan on having a closer look at it and write my first review later on. For now I want to latch on something they have devised I personally find to be a small stroke of genius. We all know, love or hate the ages old Statblock. Born from the necessity to have all the information for an NPC condensed and available in one glance. And they still seem to be mostly alike nowadays. As Innovative as RPG products have become, here time seems to move slower. Three examples:
|The DnD Statblock for 4E. Most of us are familiar with it in some form or other. It has not changed much right?||The OpenQuest Statblock. It Contains lots of numbers, but that is normal for a D100 system. Still, that is one A4 page of Information!||The Savage Worlds Statblock. Better because smaller? But still just a list of basic Information.|
All Statblocks seem to mostly be the same. Please note I do not want to bash the other systems/statblocks. I DMed DnD for a decade and I have a soft spot for OpenQuest. If you are not familiar with any of the two give them a whirl. OpenQuest is OGL too. There are different Design goals in all these systems, but besides system specific content they are pretty interchangeable. What they all have in common that they are so bare bones that when you are in the middle of a game it is still hard to find the Information you need “right now”. Can you do it better than that? I mean these formats of Statblocks have been with us for years so they can´t be all bad. And they are not. They all work for what they intend to do. I am wondering if that is all you can do with a Statblock though. And along comes Apathy games with this:
|The new and shiny Apathy Games Statblock|
At first glance there is alot more information on there and it seems harder to read. Personally I find it is invaluably better then our ususal Statblock for several reasons.
- It not only has stats but also vital role playing information. It has an entry for several senses.
- The entries are colour coded for offensive/Defensive Edges and Items. I see immediately where to look if he attacks or is attacked.
- The colours are so smartly picked that the effect remains even in BW!
- It has a small description of all the edges/hindrances a character has, so no digging through books.
- It is placed where I need it in the adventure.
- For me as a more “Winging it” and “Go with the flow” GM this is really a great help, especially in reminding me of important rules I may otherwise forget.
Is this still a Statblock or a really condensed NPC entry? From now on I wish I would only get blocks like this in published adventures. I have to admit as preparation it could be too time consuming to fill out completely, but I will try to use it a s a template to at least approach some of the level of detail.
When the Statblock is presented like this it not only saves me a lot of time but actually enhances my game. Sadly I was not able to playtest this as much as I wanted, so I may revisit this topic in the future. For more Information regarding the new Statblock check here and here.
Read you soon!