Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Cryptography in Gaming

This is a post from an much older version of this blog, circa 2009, that I have reposted here without rewritting for archival purposes

You know what the worst obstacle to gaming is? Work. So now that work is starting to slow down a bit for me I decided it was time to start posting some of the stuff I've been thinking about since I last posted, which up until last week was also the last time I did any gaming.

First up, Crypto. I am fascinated by cryptography and have for some time now been looking for a way to integrate it into a roleplaying campaign. The biggest problem with the way cryptography is traditionally handled in gaming is that it's glossed over with a few dice rolls, after which the character either understands the message right, understands it wrong, or has no idea what it means. What if you want have your players more involved in deciphering the message. Well you could give them the sheet of cipher-text and hope they know some cryptanalysis techniques, or you could give them a Ceaser cipher and watch them break it with ease (especially if they have computers with them), but neither of those have any relation to the character's actual skill in cryptography so you've removed all incentive for players to spend anything getting or upgrading those skills.

What we really need is some sort of system that is based on the characters' skill but still has some involvement of the players solving the puzzle, and since I'm posting this I've obviously got a suggestion for use which I'm calling Cryto Cards.