Friday, May 10, 2013

Play Test Rules 1

As I have stated I wanted to open up my game creation process to you folks.  What I am hoping to accomplish is a series of scenarios can be run completely with the information provided.  At first these will be simple situations that try to verify my basic rules for combat are functional.  I will be running these with my group and reporting on the results but you are also welcome to try them out.  If you would like to leave comments I would be grateful, but nothing is required.

Our first scenario is going to be an armed fire fight with modern weapons. The assumption is a team of four players will be facing waves of four man teams controlled by the game master.  The players squad will be in control of a variety of equipment and character statistics.  The enemy gm squad will be average troops equiped with a unitform arms.  In this first attempt at verifying rules ammuntion will not be tracked.  Rules will include two versions of the initiative system for testing.  Additional rules will be add through additional posts.

Let us begin with attributes.  Attributes generally speaking provide modifiers to rules but in this rules lite test we are going to include the most applicable attribute directly into the skills section for ease of use.  Attributes will be provided for direct attribute rolls.  Since we are setting out a situation that inplies combat drones only physical statistics will be provided in this initial run.  This attributes are Strength, Resistance, Manipulation, and Observation.  The rating system currently is configured to handle attributes of 1 to 7.  The assumption is there is room at the top and bottom ends for alien and fantasy creations.  Attributes are always listed as a singlue numerical value and never include automatic success or failure.

A second component of attributes is the attribute is the attribute modifier which is a value which can be applied to a skill roll. Any time you make a skill roll an attribute modifier should be applied but it is not always the same attribute that provides the modifier. In some cases your climb skill could be modified by physical strength for holding on with a load. But this skill could also be modified by physical resistance for holding onto a rope above shark infested waters. Very often it will be modified by physical manipulation should be applied too. Though you will find a particular skill and attribute are very often used together it is up to the game master.

This chart is displaying the value that modifies your skill value so -1 to +3. The next value presented is +s1 to +s2, seems odd to you I am sure. This is an optional rule that accounts for pushing the skill to the next success value. It means you can use that much of the +1 to +3 to cape a skill to the next success value. In this first play test attribute modifiers are added directly into the values and the follow chart can be ignored. Assume any skill role is already modified with the most applicable attribute.

I am going to figure you all are game players so lets not talk like we are five, you know what skills are.  Skills in this game are presented by two values.  The first part is the die roll modifier and the second is a number of additional successes that you automatically have. So a number off 3s2 means your skill roll will add 3 to it and even if you roll poorly you have 2 successes.  I will get into some extra additions and subtractions in the Skill roll / Check section next.

Skill Checks:
Our Skill checks start with a dice roll of a D10 and a D4, Why I dont know I am weird. Also I like the probabily of these two dice combined.  These dice are open ended or exploding or whatever you want to call them.  This means if you roll max on either dice, roll it again and add that number to the result.  If you max out again keep on going until you don't roll max.

The result is your actual roll which is a numeric value.  This is compared to a target number to determine success.  If you roll equal to or higher than the target number you have a success.  If you roll higher than the target number you may generate more successes.  For every seven points beyond your target you generate an additional success.

  • Example 1: A roll of 34 against a target number of 15 would generate one success for equaling 15 and additional success at 22 and 29.  For a total of 3 successes plus any automatic successes the characters skill may provide and any success stones the player throws with the roll.

The addition to this on both the player and Game Master sides is the use of success stones.  This can be added to any roll for an additional success. Players will start the scenario with three. The GM also has a pool of their own stones.  The GM's success stones count as a negative success.  Their pool starts at zero but one is added every time the players use a stone.

Target Numbers:
The target number charts are included below both a base line for the Game Master to set the difficulty of general tasks and a set of charts for combat based shooting.  These two ideas are different.  Generally speaking in combat the basic idea is size and distance for determining ranged combat target number.  With Melee combat being an opposed roll of some weapons skill vs a parry or dodge skill.  Melee combat will be covered in breif here and in depth later.

  • Trivial: This is a task nearly anyone could do, a modicum of skill or aptitude might be needed but most people can figure it out.
  • Easy: This is anything a novice can do without much effort.  
  • Average: These skill checks are something where the results become unsure.  In the below two cases the dice average almost covers the difficulty.  Here you are getting to the base line of difficulty required to make a skill check.  This might be something beyond the beginner but no problem for the semi experience.  Clearing a jammed gun perhaps.
  • Tricky: Anything beyond the norm.  This becomes is where the person of average skill busts out the book and watches a couple youtube videos before trying.
  • Hard:  This is going to be a days work and mistakes are expected.  Anything requiring technique and knowledge to accomplish is hard.  This would usually take some explanation from an expert or some hours put in to get the feel for the task.
  • Expert:  These tasks you know you should hand off to someone else.  Usually people are walked through these tasks on the first attempt or have hand very extensive schooling or training.
  • Grand Challenge:  This level has sort of two elements.  For task this is meant to be one of those tasks that hang around for years.  Fermat's last theorem being solved, or shooting an arrow through a thrown wedding ring.  Mechanically though this level has a weird effect.  Since the bonus numbers don't often go past 7 for skills and 3 for stats this becomes a difficult roll to make.  But as some characters have successes even before the roll this level often will mean success are the only thing measured. 

Contested Skill Checks:
 Any time one person is attempting a task that another is trying to prevent or avoid a contested skill check is made.  This seems like it would be rare but in the "Crescent Star Games System" (yes lame i know) it seems to happen all the time.  Any time the Game master uses a success the role is being contested.  These are a little convoluted but please bear with me.

When you have a contested roll look at the lower actual role, this becomes the target number for the higher actual roll.  Determine the number of success returned by the roll.   Add those to the automatic skill successes and the success stones.  Cancel out the successes generated by each player.  Generally this will result with one party at zero successes. but Game Master success tokens can take a play to negative.

Whats up with all these successes:

I have described a situation where players are left with a handful of successes above, I am going to guess your are saying well what do I do with them.  This is not a game of game master arbitration of success.  If you have a single success you have succeeded at the task from the Game Masters side.  The rest of the successes are yours to spend on additional effects.  

Many times what you can spend the successes on is dependent on the task performed.  There are a few general purchases that are common though. Most of the time you can use extra successes to make an element of your job harder to deal with for the guy trying to undo it.  The person trying to free himself after being tied up may need to achieve more successes or the person looking to see if a lock had been picked may have a more difficult job.  The time of a task can be halved with an additional success.

There is another concept of chaining actions that allows players to rapidly perform a series of actions.  This is meant to simulate two things.  The first of is the character being in the flow making every shot and move is complete precision.  The second is timing where a series of events must be completed quickly and accurately.  This actually is meant to simulate elements of the prince of persia game where the player must move through a series of obstacles under a time constraint.  The Game Master can work out with the character the types of role that are needed before the roll.  Every link of the chain costs one plus the number of previous actions.  So 2 successes are required to add a link to your first action, then three are required to add to your second action.  There is not limit other than the rolls.

  • Example 2a: Razgum smashes a giant spider with two extra successes and decides to use them for another attack on another arachnid.   His second attack roll comes up with three additional successes which he again uses to smash a third spider.  Razgum is in a spider smashing frenzy.
  • Example 2b: Presented with a quickly raising draw bridge Rocky asks is Game Master how can he jump up the water and get up the backside of the drawbridge before it closes.  They agree he needs to chain a jump roll, an acrobatics roll and finally a climb roll. Rocky jumps the water chaining the second action.  His acrobatics roll is successful but not enough to link.  He makes some distance running up the now vertical bridge but is unable to grab a hold and pushes off into the water.
Nuts, battle and bolts:
Ok, I have started with two systems for initiative, that sounds like a ton of work but one is throwing out the initiative system for simultaneous actions and the other is a  blatant rip off of something from the advanced rules of Phoenix Command.

Lets start with the no initiative system.  Initiative is simultaneous so all actions happen and then are resolved.  So dont even roll it, its 2 second rounds or something.  My idea is that in all the games with initiative systems you are taking turns with the bad guys and it ends up working the same anyway.  Only the round you kill someone, if you act before them, are you getting an extra turn over an enemy NPC.  That is a lot of time rolling and counting down actions for something that is meaningless. 

There is one rule I do use for organizing the round, bad guys go first.  This is actually go allow players the benefit of seeing the bad guys action and reacting to it.  There is the added benefit of the players not getting hung up on a dead enemy shooting them.  Let me explain that as it happens, everyone gets their full action for that round in simultaneous action, so they get off their last shot.  Even when they die that turn.

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 in fact die before getting to your linked action in which case it is lost.  That sounds weird doesn't it? It sort of contradicts the paragraph above, but that is ok.  Think of the above round lasting until resolution occurs then the next link happening in a sub round they are effectively extra rounds involving only the parties with linked actions.

I will talk about the counting clock initiative system later but, it is intended for use with firefights.  The idea is to have an ever incrementing clock and a number of phases that character and npcs must wait for actions.  This would be different dependent on the combat effectiveness of the character.  Also fear effects would be factored in as delays in actions.  This is to factor in speed of combatants and coolness under fire.  Chained actions cut your delay down significantly allowing for a deadly flurry of action.

The first consideration for ranged fire is the size of the target.  Below is a chart with the target number for a particular size.  Keep in mind this is not always the full size of an object, but rather what is presented.  Hitting a prone target may be shooting at a target the size of a cat in many situations.

After you have decided on the size of the target you will then be looking at the range distance.  These will be measured in hexes on a grid for this beta phase of the rules.  After you have the distance apply and addition two points of difficulty to the shot for every range increment of distant.  Note there is a max range increment any weapon can reliably fire, sniper weapons can shoot well over 1,000 yards in the hands of an expert.  A thrown knife can not fly that far no matter what you roll.

After you have added the size value with the value for the range you will have your target number.  There are going to be modifying factors to this but they are not included in this initial phase of the play test.  This target number is what the characters ballistic skill check is made against.   As with anything you roll  D10+D4 and in the value listed on the character sheet for your roll.  That number is compared against the target number and successes are determined.   If a single success is returned move on to damage, if more are returned consult the success chart below.  Not some characters may have other options specific to themselves.

Damage and Death:
After you have successfully hit an opponent you can move on to the damage roll.  Damage values for weapons are represented as a dice roll and a number of automatic successes, which can be 0.  These values could appear as 3d4s1 or 2d10s0 for example.  Melee weapons are most often as physical strength +X value.  In these cases you would roll the dice indicated per the weapon or make a D10+D4 roll with strength modifier and the +X value.

When you do roll the number is added to the characters existing damage total.  After the new damage total is added up you are done if there is not wound check.  If a wound check is forced the characters current total wounds are used as the target number for the wound save.  Next we cancel out successes, should the character end up with any successes they have avoided taking a wound.  If they have no successes a wound is added to the character, per attacker success added to the wound save.  This acts as a longstanding disability presenting a negative success on all rolls.  Any time the character has a number of wounds equal four modified by his physical resistance attribute modifier he is dead.

UPDATE:  this is a first draft and is i complete.  I need to get movement rules settled, a list of gun stats and a dozen other things.  I am already unhappy with the way every roll seems to have its own set of purchase options.  That just seems mess and to complicated.  I think I will be creating general rules that encompass these charts as general things all skills roles can purchase.  Their will be specific options for purchase associated with each skill but these will probably be purchase and not automatic. 

for now assume 6 hexes of movement if performing other actions and 24 if only running.

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