The Reality Institute

R.P.G.ology by Tim Anderson

Here is the basic premise: a job-based RPG and dating simulation game set at a large university.

Players can choose from a range of playable characters and choose a major for them at the outset. Their chosen major will determine a variety of features, including their stats, their skills, their tools and weapons, their languages, and their clothing, which will all develop over the course of the game. Certain plot details will also be affected by your major. Players can also choose to be “undecided” for the first half of the game, and they can also choose “Interdisciplinary Independent Study,” which does not allow them to specialize, but it makes a broader range of basic skills available to them and also gives them the ability to “mimic” in battle.

Throughout the course of the game, characters can buy or rent books. Each book contains various skills and abilities that can be learned at varying rates; characters can permanently or semi-permanently learn new skills upon completion of a book.* They can also learn “citations,” which are an important aspect of gameplay that work like summons in other RPGs. For example, if an American Studies major reads The Poor Farmer’s Almanac, he or she may then learn the citation “Ben Franklin,” and can then cite Ben Franklin during debates to utilize his powers, which include lightning, the glass harmonica, and diplomacy. A European History major may read Spain in the Mercantilist Era (or some such thing) and then become able to cite “The Spanish Armada.” East Asian Studies majors may cite the Japanese sun goddess “Amaterasu;” Astronomy majors may cite “Supernova;” Zoology majors may cite “Africanized Bees;” and so forth.

*(Note: players do not actually have to read entire books to learn citations, however, the full text of each book will be included in the game so that players may read them if they are interested.)

Battles are called “debates.” The more debates a character participates in, the better his or her stats become and the faster he or she learns citations. Stats also automatically improve at the end of each school year.

In addition to majors, characters may also get jobs and join clubs that provide them with additional tools, skills, abilities, and plot points and interact with the stats and skills granted by majors. For example, joining the baseball team may allow characters to equip a baseball bat as a weapon, and sports clubs in general will increase stamina but also increase stress and lower education points.

Debate parties are made up of four characters. One idea I had (though it might not work) is to give any two characters in a party the ability combine citations after they learn them (in a skill called “synthesis”) to create new citations. For example, a Psychology major may synthesize the citation “Sigmund Freud” with a Film major’s citation “Woody Allen” to create “Neurosis,” a citation that will confuse and debilitate opponents. Biochemistry majors may synthesize “Photosynthesis” with a Computer Science major’s “Artificial Intelligence” to create “Cyborg Plant,” a self-energizing helper robot.

There will also be a dating sim aspect to the game. Characters do not have pre-set sexual orientations, so players can choose any other characters they like in the game to pursue romantically. However, unplayable characters do have pre-set sexual orientations, so characters need to be careful in choosing who they pursue. Dating will affect stats and plot points.

Let’s see, have I forgotten anything? Oh, there will also be status ailments. In addition to typical RPG status afflictions such as “confusion,” “sleep,” and “mute,” there will be new university-themed statuses like “hangover” (lowers vigor and defense); “mononucleosis” (randomly causes “sleep” and can affect other party members); “stoned” (removes ability to attack in debates, causes “slow,” and randomly uses food and healing items on self and opponents); and “meningitis” (gradually kills player over the course of a debate).

I have more in my head, but this is already too long. Here’s some drawings!

The first is an East Asian Studies major (dressed as Lupin III) citing “Amaterasu,” flanked by an American studies major brandishing a Colt 45 revolver and a Louisville Slugger, and a Zoology major using the “Falconry” skill.


Next there is an Art major standing guard while a Psychology major attempts to use the skill “Psychoanalyze” on an opponent.


Next is the Central Quadrangle, flanked by a humanities building and a sciences building (like at Occidental, but more old-school). In the background there is an auditorium called the “Founders’ Hall,” which has a bas relief on the facade depicting humans’ domination of nature, the cosmos, and man-made items. I want there to be a phrase in Latin written underneath it, something like “Mastery of all naturalia and artificialia.”


And finally we have an American Studies major citing Benjamin Franklin, who uses the ability “Lightning is Electricity” to attack a Level-2 Football Player in the quad.



P.S. I haven’t been able to think of a good title for this. Any ideas?

One Response to “R.P.G.ology by Tim Anderson”

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