So I was hoping that people could suggest RPG's and or share their thoughts on these concepts.
Basically I envision a type of game where the main conflicts are set over a long timeframe but the "living" parts are not totally skipped but represented fairly equally, if not a higher percentage of "living" scenes than "main conflict" scenes. Imagine something like Stardew Valley (well, harvest moon, but I've only played the former) where you mostly play out the "chore" type parts and now and then you get little scenes with the characters or little main story scenes. The chores are still fun and allow for a lot of freedom and decisions of what you want to focus on, but the story parts are also something to look forward to.
Now there are two challenges here, as I see it. First, making the day-to-day living not boring. It needs to be equally enjoyable as any other roleplay scene, otherwise you should just skip it, which is exactly what we're trying to avoid. This is certainly a challenge, but there are many videogame designs and boardgame designs that tackle these kinds of subjects (gardening, running a business, building a town) while remaining fun. This is complicated by the second challenge, which is making it a roleplaying game. I don't think it would be effective to simply bolt on some boardgame mechanics to an otherwise rpg system. There needs to be some level of integration there and the mechanics also need to allow for player character expression, in my opinion, for them to feel like you are still playing a roleplaying game. For instance, D&D combat can, if you play it in a dry rules only kind of way, feel like just a boardgame bolted on to the RPG. Other games, and even D&D played in a certain way, make combat include just as much character expression as other parts of the game and this feels better in my experience.
Why do I want this? I suppose I'm looking to recreate the coziness I feel when engaging with certain fiction where there are parts that aren't the main plot but just feel nice to live in, and you find yourself imagining all the things that you would be doing or could be doing in those worlds if you were just a regular joe and the main plot conflict wasn't necessarily there. Not sure if that makes sense.
Blades in the Dark long term projects are an example that I think is pretty close. I like the freeform nature, the ability to express your character via the longterm projects. It works well for this game, though its a smaller part of the game and very abstract, but perhaps abstraction is what is needed in this area. I think the idea of creating things (eg. crafting, building a castle) is something that a lot of RPG's kind of include but don't pull off especially well and is related to the ideas I'm talking about.
Now Gardening is not the be all and end all of my interest in this, but I thought of it as a good example of something in this category, and I challenged myself to make a mini RPG about gardening which I've done and needs a bit more playtesting.
I have some thoughts on the matter, but I'm afraid that I don't necessarily have the language to convey my vague ideas.
So what do you think? Is this coherent? What would you keep in mind if you were making a gardening RPG for example? Do you know of examples of RPG's that do things along these lines in an interesting way?
Now I'm definitely coming at this from a more traditional rpg (using that term broadly) perspective than full on story game, but I welcome thoughts involving both. For example I think A quiet year might have some interesting elements to draw from, though I haven't played it.