The fascinating pen-and-paper origins of Fallout 3


The cross-over between old-school video game RPGs and tabletop RPGs has always been huge, and many of the most iconic video games of that era — Baldur’s Gate, Wasteland, Planescape: Torment, Fallout — have their origins in pen-and-paper roleplaying.

Now, with the release of Fallout 4, a former developer on Fallout 3 (the first, early version of Fallout 3 anyway, since that series has a… complicated history) has given us a fascinating look behind the scenes at the tabletop roleplaying system which underpinned the design.

Designer Chris Avellone explained in a presentation at NYU Game Center’s Practice 2015 Conference that the original design for Fallout 3 was prototyped using two different teams of six developers, with Avellone acting as DM for each group and implementing each team’s decisions (and consequences) into the game of the other team without notifying them.

One of the most interesting parts of the early playtest was that each character had their own iconic theme music, which they could play to gain a boost to any particular skill test — an exceptionally cool idea and one I’ll be keen to steal.

Polygon has some great coverage which you should click through and read. Theme music!

Source: Thankyou, Brenna!

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