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Thread: MRR-RPG? Model Railroad Role Playing Game! Any Thoughts or Suggestions?

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    Default MRR-RPG? Model Railroad Role Playing Game! Any Thoughts or Suggestions?

    So, I have been making progress in cleaning up what will be the eventual train room and as I get closer, I go through my "givens and druthers" in my mind as I do the work. I keep telling myself to "start small" like any startup railroad would. Which gives way to the track plans, then industries and lighting effects and sound effects, night ops, etc.... "STOP! Start small! So again, I start at a basic switching plan and one or two industries. And then... Yeah, that vicious cycle.

    But this past week, I did not get too far into that loop. Small layout... CHECK! Simple roster.... CHECK! Industry... CHECK! Ok, this will be great! But then another little gem of an idea popped into my head... "What about building the model railroad, but in an RPG like fashion?" And this need not be limited to people starting a layout, but even to those with basement empires!

    I did a search, and have not seen any combo of MRR and RPG ideas out there, so here is what I was thinking.

    Start with whatever you like. A basic short line entrepreneur would start with a low cost switcher, maybe a GE 44 tonner and a caboose, with trackage rights and customer rights. Then, as you serve that customer more and more to their liking, more profits come in. That means investment capital! Maybe you
    • Add another loco, or
    • Get some second hand rolling stock.
    • Begin refurbishing an old plot/facility near a siding as a maintenance shop.
    • Bid on new customer service rights.


    But be careful! Additional equipment/facilities may eventually add up to more revenue, but it also means additional costs!

    At the end of each session, you tally your revenue based on service to the customer and your operating costs. (All these revenues and costs are arbitrary and up to each aspiring rail baron! )

    After a while, add some difficulty to each session. Use six sided die to determine scenarios. Such as:
    • A happy customer which might add more freight service to your duties.
    • Or, a catastrophic engine failure. Hope you have enough money to get it fixed quickly! If not, lease another loco quick! That leased loco will cut into profits!
    • An accident has damaged the crossing gate and an extra crew member is needed for traffic control. That means more wages paid out!
    • And don't forget the MOW crews! Neglected track increases that chance for issues each operating session!


    I posed this idea over on the nSn Chatbox for some feedback. Some great ideas were:
    @JennyC6 ideas:

    - Excursion Trains - using older rolling stock (gotten on the cheap) as an excursion train. Would be great for scenic railroads!
    - Start with simple/basic motive power for that era. A 4-6-0 or an early Geep.
    - Derailment penalties. Paying wreck crews (especially if not your own) to re-rail the equipment, plus repairs, penalties for late delivery, etc....
    @dwwojcik ideas:
    - Paying rent on trackage that you lease/use.
    - Competing shortline(s).

    Obviously, this is not for everyone. Some people like switching ops, other like watching engines chase their own tails. But, I wanted to throw this out there to see if anyone out there has done something like this or knows of someone who has. Maybe this will inspire someone to try something new.

    Please add any ideas you feel would be challenging to someone who may want to add some spice to their operating sessions! Input/constructive criticism is welcome!

    Happy Railroading!

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    Something just clicked in my head that didn't last night in the chat box, and it relates to this:

    Or, a catastrophic engine failure. Hope you have enough money to get it fixed quickly! If not, lease another loco quick! That leased loco will cut into profits!
    I would change this over to rolling 2D20 instead of 1D6, then we could influence the likelihood of a failure and the severity of the failure. Factors that play into that:

    * Age of the unit (Weight - 1 per 10yrs of age, with a full restoration resetting this)

    * How well maintained it is (Weight - 1 for perfectly maintained on down to 10 for a loco held together with duct tape, bailing twine, and the hopes-and-dreams of her crew)

    * Whether or not it's been in a wreck (Weight - 0 if it hasn't been in one, 1-10 for the severity of the wreck)

    * whether or not it's been in the shops for repairs after that wreck (A full service would reset the above to 0, the longer the loco runs after a wreck without a full service the higher this goes up to a max of 10)

    * Quality of the fuels, oils, filters used in services (Weight - 0 for high quality stuff, the cheaper your oils and filters the higher it gets, and low-quality fuels mostly apply to steamers running on coal since it's pretty damn hard to get oil for a diesel/oil-burner that's low enough quality to harm it)

    These factors only apply to steam locomotives:

    * The quality of the water fed into the boiler would play in heavily, as would the treatment of said water (Weight - Distilled water is 0, it will never harm the boiler, untreated river water would be a 10, scaling is left up to the GM's discretion. Treatment would reduce the severity of the risk the water taken on carries by 2-4 points.)

    * Quality of grease used on the running gear of steam locos (Weight is 1 for high quality grease, on the basis that even UP 844 has experienced a rod bearing failure in the 21st century despite having the best steam crews in America lording over her every second of the day, on up to 10 for using the cheapest crap you can find on Autozone shelves)

    * Frequency at which the crew stops to grease the locomotive (Weight - 0 for every 5-6 hours of running, on up to 10 if they do it once every couple of days.)

    * Skill level of the engineer and fireman (Weight - 0 for a highly trained crew, on down to 10 for a couple of blokes that walked up and qualified themselves by saying they ran a 4-4-0 on an HO christmas tree layout three years ago)

    These factors would all be averaged up and the resulting number would determine what point of the D20 constitutes a failure, as well as its severity. With everything kept tip-top and operated by skilled crews you'd have to roll a D1 to have an issue, and that issue is going to be fairly minor as you'd have to roll a second D1 to have a catastrophic failure. If you're running a railroad wreck you're gonna need two D20 rolls to carry on running.

    Could also roll a third dice to determine what part of the locomotive has failed, if you really wanted to get in-depth, and that opens up the possibility of having a failure occur that requires immediate crew reactions to prevent a wreck rather than just saying 'Your locomotive has broken down, you'll need to get it fixed or lease a replacement while it's fixed'. Turbo failure, loss of brake control, prime mover runaway, boiler feedwater injector failure, things like that which require more from the crew than just poking the radio for a tow and whippin' out Angry Birds.


    Oh, and yes, in case any of you are wondering, I am a young'n and I have played regular pen-and-paper tabletop games before.
    Welcome to the AHHR, where Steam and Diesel work together!


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    The only thing I have found (not looked very hard) is TICKET TO RIDE but that is way simpler than a true RPG. I would think the trick is to make it so flexible that you can play it any way you want.


    Game
    https://www.daysofwonder.com/tickettoride/en/
    Adaptation
    http://store.steampowered.com/app/10...icket_to_Ride/
    Thanks!

    Bob

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    Only if you can and in getting laid off, bumped, transferred. Called out on your wife's birthday, miss your sons first Christmas, and get to step in a snow covered ground hog hole and snap your ankle. (non of which have happened to me yet, but to my colleagues)

    Just like the real thing!

    In all seriousness I like the idea of adding that touch of realism to a layout. This helps make a smaller layout much larger. The idea of dice for scenarios is a good one.

    I did a similar thing for a defect detector... Like Monopoly's Chance space... Every time the train goes over you pick up a card. 80% are nothings wrong, but a few bad wheel/bearing cars are mixed in.
    I support the Mike & Scotty Live model railroad podcast.

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    The name Train Tycoon pops into my mind.
    Use what you know about the world to model…
    Learn from modeling what you don't know about the real world.



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    This is a great idea however for accessibility and usability I suggest a companion app instead of dice.

    a few things you could do:

    Choose a starting budget.
    Give your company a name.
    Randomly receive events
    Start events and see their results


    Here's an example in real life:
    1- Go switch cars for a client.
    2- Pickup MT
    3- Go to client, take car out.
    4- Spot MT for client.
    5- Roll out, derail on tight curve.

    What the companion app would do with that:
    1- It tells you client X needs a fresh car and it needs its full car out. It tells you Client X is near [something of your choosing] and needs a [specific car type]. Begin a count up timer.
    2- You tell the app you have [specific car type] and you're coming.
    3- Nothing needed.
    4- You tell the app you're taking the car and spotting the MT for the client and you're done. App stops timer, deduce a bit of money for diesel used based on timer. Adds good amount of money for switching job done. It then saves the info that this client is good for X amount of time and waits for you to tell it you're back at the engine shop.
    5- You've derailed a car. You tell the app you've derailed a car. Based on the insurance you took at the start of your company it then tells you how much it will cost. Either the insurance company covers the cost, you cover the cost or you borrow money to cover the cost. This means that the next derailment's cost will be higher if you claim it or that you will have to pay up with that hard earned money or that you will be in the red by borrowing money.

    With all of these features you could choose a difficulty level meaning that maybe the insurance company's cost wouldn't go up by a lot or maybe that you could borrow a lot of money for a low low interest rate or that you start with a very large capital.

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    When I was a kid, we played outside. Little TV, no Video Games, or other fake outlets. We experienced life, and actually interacted (in person) with other humans. Most model railroaders are older now, and they need to get off of their collective asses and experience actual life again. The World is starting to resemble the MATRIX.

    PS: Just pulling your chain (electronically, of course). LOL

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    I like the idea and have considered something similar, though more strategy than RPG. One big draw for me was the concept of starting in 1820 and trying to transition through through the eras, like trying to make the jump from steam to diesel - operating costs are less but its a big investment and you already have steam. This gives a great excuse to own all different eras of equipment, BTW!
    Daniel Dawson

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    If you go further down that road, also check out Transport Tycoon Deluxe or TTD and particularly its open source clone OpenTTD - a lot of ideas in this thread strongly remind me of it, like calculating the likelyhood of an engine breakdown, transitioning through eras, catastrophes... maybe you could take over some of their ideas and algorithms for an RPG.

    Heiko

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    I like the event-based approach to a model railroad RPG. I think that if I were taking that approach, I would reverse the thinking of how a model railroad is built.

    Normally, when we plan model railroads, we think up the trackplan first and everything else follows. That's precisely opposite of how things often really worked. Flip your thought process. Build a natural landscape, but fully so. No buildings, roads, and absolutely no railroad tracks. Just mountains, hills, rivers, and vegetation. Then build roads and towns. Add some industries. Then build a railroad to link it up, following the most favorable grading of your terrain, using cuts, fills, bridges, and tunnels sparingly. (Remember these were major construction costs for real railroads!) Use dice or some other method to randomize your objectives so it is all less preconceived.

    For some reason, the RPG talk made old text-based RPGs spring into my head, and out of the other side came this train of thought, albeit sideways.

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    JERSEY CENTRAL LINES -- Road of the Friendly Trains

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rwerner View Post
    I like the event-based approach to a model railroad RPG. I think that if I were taking that approach, I would reverse the thinking of how a model railroad is built.

    Normally, when we plan model railroads, we think up the trackplan first and everything else follows. That's precisely opposite of how things often really worked. Flip your thought process. Build a natural landscape, but fully so. No buildings, roads, and absolutely no railroad tracks. Just mountains, hills, rivers, and vegetation. Then build roads and towns. Add some industries. Then build a railroad to link it up, following the most favorable grading of your terrain, using cuts, fills, bridges, and tunnels sparingly. (Remember these were major construction costs for real railroads!) Use dice or some other method to randomize your objectives so it is all less preconceived.

    For some reason, the RPG talk made old text-based RPGs spring into my head, and out of the other side came this train of thought, albeit sideways.

    Code:
    |
    |
    | ,
    |ol"""]p
    |ol"""]
    | l o ]\
    | j   ]H
    | l o ]/
    |oL___]-
    |oL___]b
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    |oIIZ"],
    |o[/--j;
    | K---j;
    | H---j;
    | K---j;
    |o[\--j;
    |oIIII]'
    | ;
    |oi-*
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    | ;
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    | |IIII[}
    | |---|I
    |o|---|
    |o[---i
    | ;  
    |oIITTT]]
    |o[||||]]
    | [||||]]
    | [jjjj|]
    | [llTl|]
    | [iiii]]
    |o[||||]]
    |oIIIIIII
    | ;
    |o]IZ""]]
    |o//---j0
    | K----j0
    | H    j]         8
    | K----j0        88
    |o\\---j0       88
    |o]IIIIII      88
    | ;            88
    |o[===i7       88
    |o[___|       88
    | [___|Z      88
    |([__/\;,     88
    | [_/__\:     88
    |o[/___|:    88
    |o[____7     88
    | ;=====m    88
    |o{I  U H    88
    |:\I____H    88
    |CD[:::]i    88
    |CD[|\\]    88
    |CD[l 7]}   88
    |CD[lK I    8
    | h[d !]   88
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    | P7 '"*
    | '
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    i have no idea what th

    - - - Updated - - -

    i have no idea what that is.. lol

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    ^^^
    A LOT of typing!
    Thanks!

    Bob

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    All I can hear is the buzz of a dot-matrix printer and see the scowl of the computer room attendant. You
    Use what you know about the world to model…
    Learn from modeling what you don't know about the real world.



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