Wednesday, 15 January 2014

RPG data visualisation experiments

RPGs contain large amounts of tabulated data.

One of my design ambitions is to prevent the rulebook looking like a generic collection of spread sheets and make data visualisation appropriate to its subject matter. Tables and lists are, however, super efficient ways of presenting complex data and so I am conscious not to damage the practical nature of the rulebook with annoying 'innovations'.

Anyway, had a rethink about the previous calling/warrior page. T'was a bit dull and samey for such an important section, it needed to say more than 'Armour: All' etc. The warrior's flexibility in combat is one of their defining aspects, I wanted players to see it as a big deal (For example a lot of options will unavailable for other callings!)

The design below is a bit space-greedy and I may look to tighten it up as I want to fit Health points and Attack bonus on this page too. Prolly do this when I have a complete view of all the character callings.

The aim is to make this double page spread consistent across callings to allow for quick comparison. Unique class skills will be detailed on subsequent pages.

Combat data
This table shows all options that are available (and unavailable) to the calling. Unavailable options will be greyed out or locked. It's a flexible system, as I am anticipating that the Warbot may only be allowed Dreadnought armour, with lesser armours greyed out (Rey?) You could also accommodate specific restrictions with an additional table note, if required (e.g no cutting weapons, small shield only)

Aptitude progression
I wanted a presentation that made it clear (at-a-glance) which of the calling's aptitudes have the best score allocation. A simple bar chart seemed like a good fit, and a visual device that could be replicated on a character sheet (looking similar to a CRPG stat bar).

This design fails to show how the stats progress with level though, although maybe this could be solved with a little text (e.g. +1 per level for each stat). Would also benefit from a key (Black = starting score, Grey= level 10 score). Anyway, needs further development.

Illustrated tables
Of course the skill lists are also a form of data visualisation. We are already using a variety of them for species, quirks and spells. As well as allowing for additional meta data/iconography, one key thought is to extract the flavour text from the mechanical description make the information quicker to consume.


  1. Our bot buddies have a choice between model types; one has built in Paragon Armor and the other built I'm Dreadnought.

    I dig; the progress bars for aptitude are as kickin' as theorized

    1. Be good to know min/max hit die (war bots = d10/12? wizards = d4?)

      Also give me a sample of other callings weapon/armour restrictions so I can test out the presentation. Ta.

    2. Will aptitude progression always be uniform across all stats? e.g +1 per aptitude per level?

  2. Sounds good - doing the basics is actually pretty quick. Obviously they'll need some fluffing later, but the rules are there.

    I honestly like the uniform progression a lot, so probably? The advanced classes may deviate somewhat.