What is the ENIOTS Manifesto?
ENIOTS is an acronym for:
Everything Needed Is On The Sheet: E.N.I.O.T.S
(NOTE: this is still a work in progress!)
Games which comply with the ENIOTS Framework follow these rubrics:
1. Everything a player needs to know, in order to play successfully, is on the Character Sheet s/he uses.
2. Both sides of the sheet may be used, although the reverse will be reserved for notes written during play.
3. Not all players' sheets need be identical.
4. Rules 2 & 3 do not necessarily imply, that all characters are pre-gens.
5. Players do not necessarily need to know all the rules.
6. Players do not necessarily need to know how characters are generated.
7. In a pure ENIOTS game, all the rules the GM needs, are also on one sheet.
8. The reverse of GM's sheet can contain creature lists, item or spell or skill descriptions etc.
9. Rules 7 & 8 do not necessarily imply that all of the rules of the game are written on a single page.
10. ENIOTS games are not necessarily one shots. Character progression may be possible.
What ENIOTS is, and what it is not.
The ENIOTS Framework is a set of rules or rubrics to which the designer of a role playing game adheres when creating a rules set. It is designed to aid both designers and players. If a game announces itself to be an ENIOTS game, players will know what to expect to some degree when they sit down to play.
ENIOTS is not an attempt to claim that one way of designing a game is any better or worse than another. It is not a call to make all rpgs, ENIOTS compliant.
Why would designers want to use these rubrics?
The aim of the ENIOTS Framework is to create games which do not overburden players with information, things to learn or time spent carefully calculating statistics. The idea is to make games which can start very quickly, with little explanation from the Referee. The aim is also that in an ENIOTS game, the Referee too, is free from clutter and from the need constantly to refer to tables, calculation methods and exact rulings on trivial details.
This does not imply, that ENIOTS games are of necessity, 'rules light', although many games will be. There is nothing in the the rubrics which prohibits the rule book for a game being long and detailed: As long as all rules required for both players and referee to play, fit on one page per person, the game may still be called an ENIOTS game.
Designers, writers and artists often find that having a set of guidelines to work to, can create a focus which aids creativity rather than constricting it. Hopefully, using the ENIOTS Framework will help to create rule systems which are more tightly written and less filled with clutter.
Although an ENIOTS game would seem to lend itself to one-shots, Con games or fillers, this need not necessarily be so. There is nothing in the framework which is designed to inhibit longer running games or campaigns. Gamers who become very familiar with a set of rules, become so fluent in their use that they rarely need to consult the rule book(s). The aim of the ENIOTS framework is that this state of expert use, happens quickly and easily.
Finally, there is no plan to 'vet' any games which are designed to fit the ENIOTS Framework at present. I do not propose to set myself up as a judge of the continually excellent work that gamers in this astonishing hobby create. If a designer says s/he has used the ENIOTS Framework, then that's enough for me. There will be a post which should provide links to ENIOTS games which have been made.