Sunday, December 04, 2011

Sample Rules

Ok this is the start of me putting down some of my game ideas.  I will probably start pretty general and then work on detail as I have more and more feedback.  This is something of my philosophy for the game as well.  I want do a game that has a configurable level of detail. So you can dial up focus in some areas and down in other areas. For example a thief heavy fantasy campaign could increase the level of detail around traps and go with a simplified version of magic rules.

While the above is my philosophy I also have a set of goals in mind that will have effected my ideas.  For example, I really want to be able to capture aspects of brawler video game combat.  I want there to be moves and chained combos.  I also want to be able to simulate timed events with increasing stress.  Finally i want to do things with a percision that allows the difference between success levels to be clearly distinguished.
well lets get down to it. Combat seems to be the heart of most systems, but I have never seen a "Good" system that doesn't derive combat from the basic task/skill resolution mechanic.  having two entirely different systems for combat and general roleplaying sort of sucks for everyone involved, so i want to steer clear of that.

taking that in mind I have stolen from a couple of game and came up with a system based on roles and automatic successes.  Borrowing heavily from hero wars skills are repressented with a number of successes and a modifier to role.  For example Toad has a stealth of 1S3; meaning before roling the dice Toad already has one success and when rolling gets to add 3 to the role.  I am going with a set dice role, say d10, for all skill and attribute checks.  I really hope to do the same in combat and everywhere else but we will see what happens.

For dice i dont know why but I am going with D10+D4, its weird like me.  also it bears out on the earthdawn step math I have been using to check things with.  I am not sure if i will stick with it, but i do know its exploding.  With all the standard open ended dice rules.  I hope everyone reading this will be clear with this but assume you reroll and add the total to your roll if you max out a die.  Keep doing it if you role max again.  In rolling you are going to add you role total with that modifier.  For example Razgum has a seduction skill of 0s7.  When he tries to lay down his best lines at the local bar he starts off with a failure already but he has 7 to add to the die role.  Lets assume he roles 6,4 and 1 for 11 plus his skill of 7 for 18. 

Alright lets talk about different types of skill checks now that we have Razgum's role. I am currently thinking there needs to be two types of skill roles.  A basic skill check where the GM sets the difficulty and the player tries to meet it.  And an actively opposed check.  THis is where you have an undefined difficulty that is set by the defenders resistence role to an action.  Perhaps a parry being made against an attack for example.  So what is the difference here.  When a character makes a basic skill check they are trying to meet the GM defined target number and then every 7 beyond that counts as an additional success.  On the opposed check the lower role just becomes the target number for the higher role.  Every 7 beyond that role counting as an additional success.  Lets go back to Razgum, and lets say the situation is Razgum is trying pick up lines on a no consequence NPC.  So if the GM set a target of 9 then Razgum would have generated 2 successes on his check.  If Razgum had a skill of -1s7 he would have only come up with a single success.  I will talk about multiple successes later on but you need to assume you need a single success to do an action and the rest are considered additional successes.

Moving to the other type of role.  Lets have Razgum try and seduce an improtant leader in the opposing army with his trollish charm.  The GM would probably role some sort of willpower check to resist.  Taking Razgums roll of 18 the army leader rolls 28.  Comparine 18 to 28 that 10 more so the army leader gets two successes.  In this case Razgum needed to suceed to even zero successes would have worked for the army leader.  Normally a role must generate one success, which additional successes being used else where but here both success can be used against razgum.  While thinking about this you will notice it is possible for a 4s2 to generate a lower number than a -1s7 skilled person which could be total bs.  after the roll and the calculation of successes and subtract the lower from the higher.  This makes it a dual step process which sort of sucks but makes stuff more fair.  Giving Toad a chance with a 4s7 seduction and a roll of 18 against the 0s7 army leaders total roll of 28.  We now have Toad with 4 automatic successes and The Army Leader with 2; allowing Toad to succeed with 2 successes.  As opposed to resistence Toad needs 1S for success leaving 1 additional success. 

I am talking a lot about additional successes without really addressing them.  The come out sounding a lot like WOD or Shadowrun, which I actually dislike.  I hate how nebulous the difference between 3 and 4 successes.  Going back to my goals, I really want these things to be clear.  My solution is to allow players to uses additional success to buy better results.  I like this because it give me a clear idea how things resolve and I think it would be fun for the players.  Earthdawn sort of had an example of this where two success levels equalled and armor defeating hits on an attack.  I dont have enough details on this but I would like to say a stealth with a lot of additional successes could spend those successes to make a search or spot check more difficult.  In some cases I think the character could buy options to use additional successes for.  Like having a rogue who can spend 2 additional successes to make it impossible to tell if they picked a lock.

I understand I am talking about tons of additional successes here.  Which brings me to my next component of the games.  I am going to use pente stones as additional successes that anyone can throw in with their role.  You will have a limited pool of these but they will be there when you want them.  Its really a rip off of Karma from Earthdawn or chips in deadlands.  The only real difference is i am going to have three colors of stones.  Green, Clear and Red; which represent Positive, Neutral and Negative alignment. I will be giving out stones as rewards during play.  On occassion I will say ok this represents high magic in the area.  Chris will often be playing a mage and will say oh some of my abilities require magic, so that is positively aligned; meaning i can use it as a green stone to power some specific ability.  Rich is playing a Xambrian who has a hinderance against magic, because he likes to roleplay gothy guys.  He says oh I have a magic hinderance that is a negatively aligned red stone.  I am playing something totally stupid that talks in a funny voice, its nothing to me so I take a clear stone.  We can all use them whenever we want and they function the same (as an additional success) but Chris can also use the red as magic.  Some of his spells/abilities may require a few magic stones.  I will just used the stone as normal, thats all i can do.  Rich may take an exp penalty for using a non aligned stone.  Also these stones could be used at the end of a night for exp.  If you have more than one positive alignment category just count them as flexible, it gets too much of a pain to track many types of things.  I was thinking of having tons and tons of types of these stones but ugh headache.

I wanted to talk about crits and fumbles.  Basically there are no crits that is just a very open ended role that give lots of successes.  Fumbles is a D10+D4 roll of 11 that ends with 0 successes or less.  I know this is going to be a problem with low skilled characters so i will probably give a confirmation reroll if you have 0 or less automatic successes.  You can even throw in you stones, but the GM will probably also be throwing in stones against you knowing what is at stake.

This brings me to another concept the devils hand.  While boss and sub boss NPC's will probably have their own stones the GM can always draw a random stone against you.  this effect happens during a roll.  On the up side the opposed player gets a random draw from the stones immediately after resolution of the action.
I probably should get onto the linked action thing now.  this is my way of doing timed actions and multiple attacks on high skill characters.  You can link actions on top of each other and they will be resolved within the same round.  This can go on indefinetly but the mechanic is going it going to take X+1 successes to link an action; where x is the previous number of actions taken in the round.  So you first link will cost you 2 successes.  This gets you to another action and another roll.  From here you would need 3 successes to link a third action.  I like this because I have always wanted to be able to generate suspense related to quick actions like jumping from a falling pipe into a roll under a portculus.

Combat Round
Ok Lets move onto the meat of this.  COmbat is pretty unfleshed out in my mind but i have a few idea.

Initiative is simultaneous so all actions happen and then are resolved.  So dont even roll it, its 2 second rounds or something.  If you want to interrupt an action you will need the specific ability and then pay the stones.  Or already be doing some sort of reactive action, parry dodge etc.  Chained actions are resolved within the same round but not all at once.  Everyone goes then resolution occurs.  Then the next link of the chain goes and is resolved, and so on.  You may infact die before getting to your linked action in which case it is lost.  Also some characters will have abilities to break linked actions cancelling out your next action.

I have been thinking of just having to hit rolls being based of of size and distance.  That would be assuming a target that is just there for the taking.  Active defense of parrying or dodging, could increase the target number to hit the same way opposed roles work.  that will make it pretty easy for melee hits to occur though.  I am not sure what i want to do with that perhaps we could subtract automatic dodge or parry successes.  Or maybe its just and aspect of the game where you are trading blows if not using an active defense. ONly very defensive characters would be able to dodge and then chain for a return attack.  I would have the defense stand for the rest of the round in this case.
Armor will be deducted from damage rolls just like earthdawn
Damage rolls are going to be opposed roles.  The attacker is trying to generate damage numbers with the roll,their modifiers AND THE DEFENDERS HIT POINTS, the defender will be doing a soak roll.  Your are going to compare the rolls and generate success for the higher rolling party. Next check if the attacker was the high roller if so the damage goes directly onto the defenders hit points.  Now compare successes!  Should the defender have more he could completely soak the wounds from the hit.  A really good role could generate some sort of rage stones or effect on certain defenders.  If the attacker has more successes they are applied to the defender as wounds, which deduct from all actions.  Certain attackers may even be able to force a death save by spending their successes.  Normally a death save are made according to the monsters death save chart which defaults to 5,7,9,10,11,etc.

My one fear of that damage system is i am hitting players twice.  If they are getting a bunch of damage they are going to have a harder and harder time soaking it, and if they have wounds they will have a harder and harder time soaking that damage.
The round would go something like this

1. Dont roll initiative.
2. Resolve Defensive opposed rolls
3. Resolve Attack Roles
4. Role for damage on success
5. Deduct Armor from damage
6. Determine Soak roll as Damage roll + current hits
7. Roll for soak
8. Apply damage and wounds to total
9. Resolve Special Actions
10.Death Checks
11.Check if there are any further linked actions
12a. if yes then proceed with 1 with linked actors.
13b. if no then new round
(an interrupt action can happen whenever the conditions are met) interrupt actions are more like AOO's in a way.

1. Dont roll initiative:  THis should be easy for some players.
2. Resolve Defensive opposed rolls:  Any one useing Parry or dodge as an opposed roll will make that roll at this point.  They may generate linked actions as well.
3. Resolve Attack Roles:  Attackers roll against the opposed roll or a target size ,modified by distance, roll.  Again Linked actions can be created here as well.
4. Role for damage on success:  Attackers make a str roll modified by weapon and make not of damage and any make not of any automatic successes they may have.  they should report a number such as 15 hit points and 1 automatic success.
5. Deduct Armor from damage.  subtract armor from the damage.  AC 5 would mean that 15 is now 10.  This has nothing to do with the 1 automatic sucess and it still remains.
6. Determine Soak roll as Damage roll + current hits:  Ok, add the victims current hit points onto the attack roll.  From above the 10 + 13 from a previous attack for 23.
7. Roll for soak: Ok the victim rolls their soak and has a target number of 23.  Lets say we roll great and get 27.  the damage is soaked but with no automatic successes. 
8. Apply damage and wounds to total: Any damage now officially it added to hit points.  From above we have zero.  This is where we remember that 1 automatic success.  This will normally be applied as a wound, even if no damage was applied.  Some characters may have other options allowed to them and could forces a death save or convert the success to Hit points of damage.
9. Resolve Special Actions.  Here we resolve everything else. players running or doing something else.  Everything is resolved
10.Death Checks: Any player that has hit a number of wounds equal to their death save chart must make a death save now.  Also any character that has been forced to make a death save in set 8
11.Check if there are any further linked actions: If anyone has linked an action in this round we start another action phase.  This will be sort of a side pot, with only those with links going.  At the end we check to see if more linked actions occur.
12a.Run that linked action round
12b.New round for everyone.

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