Why Does Character Classes and Races Work?
The biggest one is that it makes it terribly easy to get into. Defining your character with a couple of words is huge. I am an elf barbarian tells me that you are tall, agile and brutish. There is an economy there that really can't be beat and helps players get into the game quicker. The other thing it does is let's players find an affinity to latch onto and be a part of. Players want to be a part of a clan, a bloodline, a faction, a color, a race, or class. Giving them the option gives them the chance to be part of something. Both the ease of getting into the game and defining yourself is half the battle for a character. So... classes, races, clans, factions, etc., are really great for removing the barrier of entry.
Outside of dice, though, there is more to a game mechanic than rolling dice. We also started thinking about how stats on characters should be used to modify the dice. Should they add to some totals, should they mean more dice to roll? Do they let you reroll dice? There are so many options, really. You can break them down into a hierarchy of how much mental power (and thus complex) things are to understand to help find out what to do.
- Matching is the easiest thing to do.
- Adding is the next easiest
- Subtracting things gets a little difficult to do
- Multiplying is terribly tricky to do while playing a game.
- Division is... well, forget about it.
Honestly, it's a lot to think about, and most things have been done before.