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General Forge Forums => First Thoughts => Topic started by: MacLeod on September 19, 2009, 07:04:28 PM



Title: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: MacLeod on September 19, 2009, 07:04:28 PM
Alright, this topic is to be used for the discussion of my unnamed ruleslite super hero RPG.
Discussion about its semi-free form Powers creation system can be found here (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=28733.0).

I consider my character creation to be lacking. Of course, this isn't a completed game so I'm not sweating it. =)

Character Generation is done, currently, in six steps...
1) Attributes
2) Stats
3) Powers
4) Skills
5) optional Distinguishing Traits
6) Equipment

I don't include steps like talking to the GM or creating a character concept because these are inherent within the character creation process.

Step One: Attributes
Distribute 16 points across the six Attributes; Might (MI), Toughness (TO), Agility (AG), Perception (PE), Intellect (IN) and Will (WI).
Attributes are ranked from 1 to 5. 1=poor 2=average 3=potent 4=superhuman 5=superhuman peak
Each Rank is associated with a die from D4 (1) to D12 (5).

Step Two: Statistics
20 points are split between Hit Points and Power Points. These form the Base values for these two statistics. Hp is increased by [TO] and Pp is increased by [IN].

Step Three: Powers
Step A) Keywords The group decides between Manual and Random Keyword selection, or a perhaps a medium in between. Random is resolved by a die roll on a table. The group is also responsible for determining if there are any restricted Keyword combos or if there are specific Keywords that are not allowed at all. In addition, encouragement for creating new Keywords is present as long as everyone agrees it is okay.
Step B) Theme Players now write out their Theme based on their character's Keywords. Theme is basically a description of what Keywords mean to their specific character's powers. In essence Theme is primarily used to tighten the focus and arrange more restrictions for the next step.
Step C Techniques Players now create three Techniques. Techniques represent what a hero's know-how as relates to his powers. These are extremely specific in nature but are only as detailed as the group decides is necessary.

Step Four: Skills
Each player creates 2 to 4 Skills and then distributes 8 points amongst them. Skills are ranked the same way as Attributes. Since Skills are created, their applications must be described in short.
All characters begin with the Power Control Skill at Rank 1. This is the Skill each character uses when determining the success or failure of his power use.

Step Five: Distinguishing Traits
Completely optional and totally superfluous. Each player may roll on the Distinguishing Traits table to generate some kind of special mark like a tattoo, scar, etc... Nothing major.

Step Six: Equipment
The players discuss amongst themselves an agreeable method of gaining equipment... mostly based on Skills and Powers (specifically if powers are built as gadgets).

Resolution Mechanic
Actions that require resolving are done like so...

1) Choose one applicable Attribute and Skill. If no Skill applies, no problem. You just won't be rolling two dice.

2) You roll the appropriate Rank Die for both Attribute and Skill.

3) Take the highest result between the two dice. Apply difficulty modifiers, which often range from +2 to -2. The final value is called the Effort. If the Effort is four or higher, success! Or, if it is higher than the opponent's Effort, success!

4) Hero Points can be spent if you are using the Power Control Skill. Hero Points are split into Fate and Fortune. Fortune is replenished daily while Fate serves as a cap for Fortune. Fortune allows rerolls, Fate causes automatic successes.

5) If the Effort is 4 or higher than the TN (which is either 4 or the result of an opponent's roll) than a Critical Success is gained. Critical Success allows the character to gain one of the following; do it faster, do it better, do it with more versatility or do it with additional effects. The precise effect of the selection should be discussed between the player and the GM.

Battle Note: Battle works pretty much like this only with an Initiative Phase to determine order. Additionally, damage dealt is equal to the Effort plus any damage bonuses. The average character should have about 22 Hp and with the application of attack powers and clever use of the environment... most heroes won't survive more than 3 hits.

A lot of Savage Worlds inspiration here in the mechanics, I realize.
Any observations, comments, questions, criticisms and what-not are welcome. =)


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: Sebastian K. Hickey on September 20, 2009, 04:01:49 AM
Hi MacLeod,

Have you tired applying your free-form method of power generation to other parts of character generation?

While making a character in the other thread, I noticed I'd a pretty solid idea of my character after choosing powers, without any need for attributes and stats.  Since this part of the process, the powers, are the biggest identifier of a character in a super hero game, why not have this as the first step in character creation?  I think you should be aiming to strip the rules right down, right to the bare bones of the story, and then you need to ask yourself 'what can I add to make this better?'

I would consider shuffling the steps in character generation to focus on the most important parts of character generation first.  In my mind, this would be powers first, then skills.  After that, I would consider whether stats and attributes are important.  Does including stats for your characters improve the story, or the purpose of your game?  If you're aiming for rules lite, are they necessary?

For example, let's say I create a character (continuing Hugo Babbage from the last thread)...

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1) Powers
Keywords: Create, Machine
Theme: Robot bug generator inside his body
Techniques: Creepy (Can scout ahead with his army of unseen robot bugs), Crawly (His insects can crawl over him to create a kind of moving armour), Swarm (The bugs shoot out from the dark corners to attack with chitting blades and buzzing prongs)

2) Skills
Assuming there are no attributes, I can be vague.  Let's say I just choose a 'skill set', which represents my job, like in Primetime Adventures.  I'll choose Experimental Engineer.

After that, as a Story player, I'm ready to go out in the world.  I don't need anything else to roleplay that character.  But maybe you need some other things to resolve conflict or to encourage more variation.  What's missing?  Allies, social skills?  You mention Hit Points.  Do you need to use that mechanism?  Is there another way you could resolve the consequences of combat?  Is there any way you could use the powers system you have already designed to answer these questions?

I think you have a solid power generation system for a story game - and something I could use for myself when generating a character for a more mainstream super heroes game - and I think you can build on that to make the game you envision.  One way to write a game is to add what you need, another is pare what you don't, and the other is to piece together prototypes.  I use the last method a lot, because that's what I'm used to from my career, but I believe the best method is the first.  You seem to have a good opportunity to start with a little and add on as required.


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: MacLeod on September 20, 2009, 10:55:33 AM
I need to get something out of the way before I start this post up for real.
I believe in creating entertainment through games. For me, if the end result is entertainment then the job of the game has been completed.
If entertainment is found through the creation of an in-depth story or strong roleplaying, that's great. However, if it is found through the "shallow" exploration of combat and just plain using special powers in cool ways... how can anyone possibly deny the value of such entertainment?

To me the super hero genre is about two things; 1) Cool characters 2) Heroic acts.
To make a hero look cool, he performs heroic acts. Heroism involves saving folks and putting oneself in the path of danger. Danger is often provided by villains. Villains create violence. Violence requires combat. Combat requires the quantification of certain items.

How do you think the removal of stats and Attributes enhance the game?
Do you think the implementation of these items make the game 'medium crunch'? Or, is that an association that is automatically assumed when Attributes and Hp are included?

All of that said, how would you go about creating an entertaining combat system with detailed powers but with no method of measuring health or limiting power use?
I know alternate methods of measuring health exists and that many folks believe Hp to be an antiquated idea... but I find it simple and familiar... Comfortable.

Have you tried applying your free-form method of power generation to other parts of character generation?
The Skill system is based purely on player creation... so in a way, yeah. =)
However, while the variation created by the Skill and Power system is nice... I like to have things with which to compare each character with; Attributes and Statistics. Its a nice little core that each character shares to remind them that they are all still human.

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While making a character in the other thread, I noticed I'd a pretty solid idea of my character after choosing powers, without any need for attributes and stats. I think you should be aiming to strip the rules right down, right to the bare bones of the story, and then you need to ask yourself 'what can I add to make this better?'
I'm gonna be straight forward here... Of all the comics, movies based on comics and TV shows based on comics that I've read/watched... the reality of the draw comes from action and art. I'm not bashing the stories or anything but they certainly aren't the core of their strength.
The current game text isn't even 8 pages long and likely won't end up much longer. Additionally, the most complex parts of the game you have already seen. If that is too crunchy then I likely won't be able to please you. =)

It probably looks like I'm about as inflexible as they come... but the truth is, I'm just resistant when it comes to too much abstraction.


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: Sebastian K. Hickey on September 20, 2009, 04:01:36 PM
It sounds like you know what you want from the game and that's great.  GO for it!

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How do you think the removal of stats and Attributes enhance the game?

You got me wrong.  I don't think there shouldn't be any stats, I just think that the stats should be considered, one by one.  I'll offer an example of how I might follow my own advice (which I'm loathe to do myself most of the time) to run a system without attributes.

Let's say I have powers and a couple of skill-sets chosen for my character, but there are no other stats.  What differs me from another hero or villain?  My skill-sets and powers.  These are the only traits I have.  So when I get to resolve a conflict, I can either determine my chances for success with a standard rule, or I can invoke skill-sets or powers to improve my chances for success.  In other words, I can roll with poor odds, or I can try to include my skill-sets and powers to improve the odds.

Using your system as a guideline, I would instruct average characters to roll 2d6 to complete an action.  If they can invoke one of their skill-sets, they could promote the dice to 2d8.  If they could invoke two of their skill-sets they could promote the dice to 2d10, etc.  This would include techniques too, therefore offering the best chance of success to actions that involve a character's skill-sets and his powers.

Example: Hugo Babbage tries to hot-wire a car to get away from the goons who are firing machine guns at him.  The GM asks me to roll 2d6.  I advise the GM that Hugo Babbage is an Experimental Engineer, so the dice should be promoted.  The GM agrees.  Now I roll 2d8 instead.  However, I'm not done.  I also add that because I'm going to protect the car with the Crawly technique, that would help me to relax and get the job done more efficiently.  The GM nods.  Now I get to roll 2d10.

The problem here is that characters can't be terrible.  As in, they can't be really clumsy or dum or particularly ugly.  You could add flaws (skill-sets that the character rolls at 2d4).  Perhaps by invoking these, the player receives Hero Points...

Look, this is just something I came up with here.  It's not perfect, and not very likely to be anything close to what you want from your game, but I think it shows that there are other ways to resolving conflict without the old school stats.

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Do you think the implementation of these items make the game 'medium crunch'? Or, is that an association that is automatically assumed when Attributes and Hp are included?

None of the above.  I think a game should be implemented for the vision, not for the heritage.  Forgive me, but isn't it easy to assume that people are using stats because other systems use stats?  Don't take it personally.  I've been asked that about my own game design.

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All of that said, how would you go about creating an entertaining combat system with detailed powers but with no method of measuring health or limiting power use?

Well, you say...

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The average character should have about 22 Hp and with the application of attack powers and clever use of the environment... most heroes won't survive more than 3 hits.

Why not just say that a hero can only take 3 hits?  If they have some power, like armour, give them an extra hit.  In combat, a successful attack does 1 hit of damage.  That's how I'd do it for rules light stuff.  As for powers, I'd limit power use to Hero Points, if it was important to limit power use.  I'd have that as a currency for power use, and have it be inflated by invoking flaws, character hooks or other negative traits.

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I like to have things with which to compare each character with; Attributes and Statistics. Its a nice little core that each character shares to remind them that they are all still human.

I'm anxious about that part of the post.  For rules light stuff, I would think that the stripping of extraneous data is important.  Deriving differences in characters should be more important that exemplifying similarities.  If there were such a thing as a 'Rules Budget' for game writing, would you spare a rule, or multiple rules, showing how characters differ from one another, or would use those rules to show how they are alike? What's more important to your game vision?

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If that is too crunchy then I likely won't be able to please you.

Really, I think your reading me all wrong.  Or I'm writing all wrong.  What I'm saying is that it seems to me (and I've only got my own perspective), that the game works for character generation without attributes or stats.  It works, because super heroes are their powers (most of the time), and that's why the character generation I experienced worked so well.  Once I realised that I didn't need anything else to play the character, I wondered if I'd need any more stats at all.  At that moment I thought, 'Hey! This guy could make a super easy, super rules light, super generic super game.'

When I read all the attributes and stats stuff, I wanted to express an alternative to you, even if it wasn't viable, because I think that's what this forum is kind of about.

Listen, this is your baby.  What do I know anyway?


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: MacLeod on September 20, 2009, 05:33:44 PM
I think you've cleared up a lot of your points and I'm pretty sure that I misinterpreted what you were saying previously. =)

When you said
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'Have you tired applying your free-form method of power generation to other parts of character generation?'
I didn't really grasp precisely what this could mean. But your example puts it all into focus. =)

Using your system as a guideline, I would instruct average characters to roll 2d6 to complete an action.  If they can invoke one of their skill-sets, they could promote the dice to 2d8.  If they could invoke two of their skill-sets they could promote the dice to 2d10, etc.  This would include techniques too, therefore offering the best chance of success to actions that involve a character's skill-sets and his powers.
It sounds to me like you are speaking of player created, free form attributes... invoked like FATE Aspects only far more often and without a cost.
I think your idea is a strong one. Its likely that we could run with it. =) I'd still like Attributes to boost one die and Skills to boost a different die. Perhaps Techniques boost both dice? Also, I think if the Target Number stays 4 that starting off at D4s isn't a bad plan. =D

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The problem here is that characters can't be terrible.  As in, they can't be really clumsy or dumb or particularly ugly.  You could add flaws (skill-sets that the character rolls at 2d4).  Perhaps by invoking these, the player receives Hero Points...
I'm not too keen about this though. The best stories are about the critically flawed because perfection isn't interesting (nor realistic). =] I do think that introducing specific flaws to use as Hero Point generators would be cool. =)

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Why not just say that a hero can only take 3 hits?  If they have some power, like armour, give them an extra hit.  In combat, a successful attack does 1 hit of damage.
This just seems like an oversimplified version of Hp. I'm not really sold on this bit yet.


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: MacLeod on September 20, 2009, 09:36:50 PM
I've let some of these ideas brew for a while...

Characters consist of four items, mechanically speaking: Traits, Powers, Equipment and Hero Points.

Traits are broken down into Attributes, Skill and Flaws. Rookie characters have 8 Traits, split across the three categories as they see fit.

Task Resolution is largely the same except that now Traits are selected. Any amount within any, some or all categories may be selected as long as they apply to the situation.
Dice are thrown as D4/D4, AKA Rank 0. Each Attribute selected increases the Rank of the 1st die by 1, Skills increase the 2nd die's Rank by 1, Flaws decrease the Rank of both dice by 1 and Techniques increase the Rank of both dice by 1.
Invoking Flaws during resolution gives you a chance at snagging a Hero Point if the roll is still successful. Folks may force others to invoke their Flaws by taking the appropriate precautions (such as wielding Kryptonite against Superman). When exploited this way, you gain a Hero Point if you fail.

I still haven't figured out what I want to do with health/damage though. Dealing damage to Traits is too PDQ/RISUS and I'm not entirely positive its that great of a system.
I'm still thinking about the Hp mechanic... its simple and the numbers differ great enough to give characters a reason to big up a boulder instead of throwing a punch.

Then again, perhaps I can combine the two?
PCs and Greater Villains have 18 Hp. Lesser Villains have 12. Minion have 6.
If a non-Minion is brought to 0 Hp, he enters a Critical State. While Critical, the character can barely move and any kind of exertion will result in unconsciousness.
Every time a non-Minion is damaged, he may choose to check off an Attribute or a Skill. If he does so, he does not take any damage from that attack. When task resolution comes along that would logically include the checked off Trait, that roll takes a -1 Rank to the appropriate die.
If a non-Minion enters a Critical State and has all of his Attributes and Skills checked off, he dies.
Every 24 hours, players may remove one check of their choice.
Hp automatically regenerates to full whenever someone has had a good 30 ~ 60 minutes of rest.

Or... Whenever a non-Minion enters the Critical State, he may check off an Attribute/Skill and regain 6 Hp automatically. Either way it is a choice to check anything off. Sometimes the player would rather let his character get captured than die. Other times, a death match is in order.


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: Sebastian K. Hickey on September 21, 2009, 03:29:59 AM
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Traits are broken down into Attributes, Skill and Flaws. Rookie characters have 8 Traits, split across the three categories as they see fit.

Nice.  I love that.

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Flaws decrease the Rank of both dice by 1

Does that mean 1d4/1d4 will be demoted to 0/0?

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Folks may force others to invoke their Flaws by taking the appropriate precautions (such as wielding Kryptonite against Superman). When exploited this way, you gain a Hero Point if you fail.

This could be fun to use against villains too.

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Whenever a non-Minion enters the Critical State, he may check off an Attribute/Skill and regain 6 Hp automatically. Either way it is a choice to check anything off.

I think this is the best.  In comics and films, there's a lot of... "If I... Could... Just... Move.. My... Arm..."  and 'second wind' situations.  I think 0 should be a straight K.O.   Then, like you say, the PC can 'spend' an attribute or skill to regain some HP.  He could even spend more than 1 Attribute at a time.

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When task resolution comes along that would logically include the checked off Trait, that roll takes a -1 Rank to the appropriate die.

By removing the Attribute or Skill, the character is already suffering a loss to his die roll.  Is it necessary to add in further punishment (and book keeping)?


The system really appeals to me.  It's pretty open ended.  Could you describe a damage roll for me?  I'd like to see how a quick, light character (let's call her Aikida) would use a kung-fu style to hurt a big boulder fellow (let's call him Dr. Meteor)... but also how Dr. Meteor would use his strength attributes and powers to hurt her in turn.  Any chance of a quick two round example of combat between the two?


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: MacLeod on September 21, 2009, 10:15:13 AM
Nice.  I love that.
Heh, I'd imagine so, its more you idea than it is mine after all!

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Does that mean 1d4/1d4 will be demoted to 0/0?
There isn't a Rank below 0 as of right now... Hm. Maybe Flaws/Techniques apply a -1/+1 to the roll instead of modifying Rank? I think at that point, we could go back to the original design... Each Attribute/Skill applied increases the Rank of all dice thrown.

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I think this is the best.  In comics and films, there's a lot of... "If I... Could... Just... Move.. My... Arm..."  and 'second wind' situations.  I think 0 should be a straight K.O.   Then, like you say, the PC can 'spend' an attribute or skill to regain some HP.  He could even spend more than 1 Attribute at a time.
0 Hp is pretty close to a KO, without some outside assistance... the hero is likely going to be taken prisoner or left for dead.

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By removing the Attribute or Skill, the character is already suffering a loss to his die roll.  Is it necessary to add in further punishment (and book keeping)?
True. I just tend to twist knives, if you know what I mean.
I'll probably include it as an optional rule, since it will only take a line or two. =)

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The system really appeals to me.  It's pretty open ended.  Could you describe a damage roll for me?  I'd like to see how a quick, light character (let's call her Aikida) would use a kung-fu style to hurt a big boulder fellow (let's call him Dr. Meteor)... but also how Dr. Meteor would use his strength attributes and powers to hurt her in turn.  Any chance of a quick two round example of combat between the two?
Sure. Give me a bit and I'll fire something out. =)


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: MacLeod on September 21, 2009, 01:16:16 PM
..........Mana Hart, AKA Aikida
Occupation: News Reporter
Weapon of Choice: Ancient Kung-Fu Mastery
Traits: (A) Perceptive, Genius, Fleet Footed (S) Investigative Journalism, Computers, Martial Arts, Stealth (F) Refuses to kill.
Keywords: Air, Time
Theme: Aikida is a descendant of an ancient line of supernatural martial artist. The legacy of the Hart clan is the ability to manipulate the immortal force known only as the Ageless Winds.
.....Techniques
Temporal Wind Lance
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Aikida is capable of gathering the ambient energies of the Ageless Winds to create a sky blue spiraling shaft of power. This energy shaft may emanate from any of her limbs and is capable of piercing or bludgeoning. Using the bludgeoning power she can actually launch herself high into the air.
Fast Forward
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By summoning the Ageless Winds, Aikida can accelerate the rate at which she moves exponentially. She may also use this effect on objects and beings she touches.
Form of the Ageless Winds
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By attuning herself with the Ageless Winds, Aikida's body takes on its properties. This allows her to move short distances instantly while remaining intangible.

..........Dmitri Aronofsky AKA Dr. Meteor
Occupation: Meteorologist
Weapon of Choice: Natural Propensity Towards Brawling
Traits: (A) Calculating, Tough, Iron Will (S) Brawling, Earth Sciences, Meteorology, (F) Blind with revenge, Easily Taunted
Keywords: Metal, Fire
Theme: Dr. Meteor has strange space metal fused to his flesh that he can control psychically. The metal that suffuses his body can take many shapes, it also contains a fiery core that can be summoned.
.....Techniques
Space Steel Shift
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Dr. Meteor can alter the shape of the metal that surrounds his torso. He can create any shape as long as the size of these creations doesn't exceed 3' x 3'.
Lava Core
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Dr. Meteor is capable of covering his metal ally in flames hot enough to melt most common metals. He may also fling these flames.
Fiery Constructs
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Dr. Meteor is capable of hurling parts of his space steel by first melting it. These parts automatically form specific structures that are controlled by Dr. Meteor psychically. These creations cannot exceed the size of a 5' man.

.....Setup
Dr. Meteor has a grudge against Channel 3 News for firing him ages ago. Dr. Meteor's nefarious plan involves walking in and killing everyone. Fortunately for the Channel 3 crew, the resident super hero happens to work for them!
.....Round 1... FIGHT!
[Initiative]
Aikida selects Fleet-Footed and Fast Forward, she rolls D6/D6+1, getting 2/4 for a total of 5.
Dr. Meteor selects Calculating, rolls D6/D6, getting 4/4* for a total of 4.
Aikida goes first.
* maybe doubles should mean something?
[Action! A]
Aikida confronts the psycho and says, "Revenge isn't worth it, Dr. Meteor! Just turn around now!" Dr. Meteor scowls at her before replying, "Oh, it will be... I intend on getting away with it, or do you think you can actually take me? Bwhaha! Your forecast for today is pain with a high of trauma and a chance for... DEATH!"
Aikida is infuriated by this cheesy line and charges the mad man, sliding along the the ground while gracefully transitioning into a palm strike. Sky blue energies circle around her shoulders before rocketing out of her palms! Dr. Meteor doesn't care much for this sort of thing so he attempts to ward her off by flinging a flaming hunk of metal at her.

Aikida selects Martial Arts, Temporal Wind Lance and Fleet Footed. She rolls D8/D8+1, gets a 4/5 for a total of 6.
Dr. Meteor selects Tough and Lava Core. He rolls D6/D6+1, gets a 2/6 for a total of 7.
Dr. Meteor successfully avoids damage!
Dr. Meteor brings up his massive right arm and deflects the attack as he launches a flaming junk of steel. Aikida moves her head just in time!
[Action! D]
Dr. Meteor is on Aikida's flank now, he decides it would be a great time to drive a spear-like protrusion into her side. The metal around his chest takes on a slime-like substance as it unfurls and quickly whirls into the shape of a spear before thrusting at Aikida's ribs.
Aikida knows how wide open her signature palm strike leaves her so she is ready for this, her body blurs for a moment as she prepares to escape the attack. As Aikida does so she yells, "Compensating for something, Dr. Meteor?!"
Dr. Meteor selects Calculating and Space Steel, he rolls D6/D6+1, gets a 5/6 for a total of 7.
Aikida selects Fleet Footed, Martial Arts, Form of the Ageless Winds. She rolls D8/D8+1 and gets 2/6 for a total of 7. However, Aikida's taunt evoked Dr. Meteor's 'Easily Taunted' Flaw and so his Effort is reduced by 1 to 6. Akida dodges in time!
Aikida's form dissipates before the spear can harm her. She appears behind her foe, ready to strike!
.....Round 2
[Initiative]
Aikida selects Fleet-Footed and Fast Forward, she rolls D6/D6+1 for a 1/2, total of 3.
Dr. Meteor selects Calculating, rolls D6/D6, getting 4/5 for a total of 5.
Dr. Meteor goes first.
[Action! D]
Disgruntled but not discouraged, Dr. Meteor rolls away while allowing his space steel to drip off of him and form a 5' tall construct with four legs and four arms! The creature stands before Aikida with flaming fists, barring her way.
Dr. Meteor selects Fiery Construct, rolls D4/D4+1, gets 1/2 for a total of 3. This means the Construct will live for 3 Rounds unless destroyed first, it has Minion* Hp.
* Perhaps Minions always roll D6/D6 instead of generating Traits for them?
[Action! A]
Aikida isn't exactly enthralled by the idea of beating up this thing but she can see that it is slowly falling apart. She whirls over the creature while placing a single hand on its head. A quick burst of temporal energies flow into the creature! In its defense, the construct tries to grab her.
Aikida selects Fleet Footed, Martial Arts and Fast Forward. She rolls D8/D8+1, gets a 7/8 for a total of 9.
The construct cannot even attain such numbers. The attack hits and the the construct is fast forwarded 9 Rounds into the future but it falls apart long before it reaches the 9th Round.
.....Round 3
[Initiative]
Aikida selects Fleet-Footed and Fast Forward, she rolls D6/D6+1, getting 4/2 for a total of 5.
Dr. Meteor selects Calculating, rolls D6/D6, getting 1/1 for a total of 1.
Aikida goes first.
[Action! A]
After completing her amazing cartwheel, Aikida immediately shifts into a baseball slide! Dr. Meteor isn't very familiar with baseball but he won't let that stop him! He allows a hammer of steel and fire to burst from his chest and bear down on Aikida!
Aikida selects Fleet Footed, Martial Arts and Temporal Wind Lance. She rolls D8/D8+1, gets a 7/1 for a total of 8.
Dr. Meteor selects Tough, Brawling and Space Steel. He rolls D8/D8+1, gets a 3/2 for a total of 4.
Aikida's attack is not only successful but it is a Critical Success! She decides to select 'Do it Better'. Dr. Meteor will suffer 12 points of damage from this attack!
Aikida's attack lands, the hammer blow smashes into the floor creating a massive crater. As Dr. Meteor's falls forward, Aikida rises with a temporal and air energy infused uppercut!

and so the fight continues until eventually Aikida reduces Dr. Meteor's Hp to 0 upon which he marks off his Calculating Trait. Instead of restoring Hp, the GM rules that Dr. Meteor knocks a pillar over onto a group of kids while racing off. Aikida has to save the kids and Dr. Meteor gets away...


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: Sebastian K. Hickey on September 21, 2009, 03:01:51 PM
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True. I just tend to twist knives, if you know what I mean.

No problem with that at all.

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Your forecast for today is pain with a high of trauma and a chance for... DEATH!"

Awesome.

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However, Aikida's taunt evoked Dr. Meteor's 'Easily Taunted' Flaw and so his Effort is reduced by 1 to 6.

I presume that in game, the flaw would have been invoked by the player/GM before the roll?  How would that character be rewarded for announcing the flaw, in this case?

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The attack hits and the the construct is fast forwarded 9 Rounds into the future but it falls apart long before it reaches the 9th Round.

I like this attack.  Very cunning indeed!  So, you get to choose how the damage is implemented?  Cool.  Just to get back to numbers, how was the damage determined?  Is it a case of 'beat the target and use the die result'?

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* Perhaps Minions always roll D6/D6 instead of generating Traits for them?

Sounds good to me.

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Instead of restoring Hp, the GM rules that Dr. Meteor knocks a pillar over onto a group of kids while racing off. Aikida has to save the kids and Dr. Meteor gets away...

I like the idea that you can spend an Attribute to retreat.

Now, the issue I see with this design (and it may not be an issue really, just a design choice) is that when two characters compete, up until characters get properly damaged (and lose attributes) most of the fray could be pretty random.

Let's say I've got two creative players in a fight.  They will most likely come up with wild ways to incorporate their skills and attributes, making it a bit of a dice roll-off.  Like, say my guy is super strong and tough and great at fighting.  If I meet a skinny nerd, I should crumple him.  But if the nerd starts dodging and pre-empting my attacks with his 'Cunning' and 'Strategy' traits, we might be rolling the same dice as one another.  Do you think that kind of situation will happen a lot?  Where two characters are rolling the same sorts of dice each attack and defence?  Will Veteran characters have much of an advantage?  Where would that advantage come from?

Having said that, I don't mind this kind of combat... because the only reason two very different kinds of character types will be able to compete in combat is through wild creativity.  And that's brilliant fun, regardless of randomness.

How do you see team-work happening in play?  That's a common strategy in super hero comics, no?


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: MacLeod on September 21, 2009, 03:52:00 PM
Awesome.
Hehe, I figured if I was going to write this thing that I should have some fun with it. On review of the post, I sort of wish I would have made Dr. Meteor more interesting.

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I presume that in game, the flaw would have been invoked by the player/GM before the roll?  How would that character be rewarded for announcing the flaw, in this case?
Yeah, the attacker announces his intentions, including Trait and Technique choices. Then the defender does the same. If the defender wishes to force a Flaw to be invoked ('tagged' in FATE) then he has to come up with a way to do so.
The difference between invoking a Flaw and having it tagged is this... If you invoke, you must succeed at the roll to gain a Hero Point. If you are tagged, you have to fail to gain a Hero Point.
So yeah, once all proclamations are made... then rolls are performed. The example of play was a bit messy in that regard, my apologies.

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I like this attack.  Very cunning indeed!  So, you get to choose how the damage is implemented?  Cool.  Just to get back to numbers, how was the damage determined?  Is it a case of 'beat the target and use the die result'?
Yeah, die result is the fastest way to determine things so I just went that route. Stuff like that is likely to be determined on the fly but little exceptions like that could (should?) be noted next to the appropriate Technique upon discovery... to keep things consistent.
That Fast Forward attack wouldn't have dealt any damage if the Construct had survived... so you can see how an attack can be become versatile. The intention of effects like that would likely be announced before the roll is made unless the GM feels that the specific effect being applied is capable of being used on the fly.

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Sounds good to me.
Resplendent! ^_^

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I like the idea that you can spend an Attribute to retreat.
I like it as well because then the battle doesn't turn into a long drawn out affair unless it really needs to be.

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Do you think that kind of situation will happen a lot?  Where two characters are rolling the same sorts of dice each attack and defence?  Will Veteran characters have much of an advantage?  Where would that advantage come from?
There is definitely room for tweaking and major alterations. For instance, I think doubles might allow one to add his dice together. This could be pretty devastating though... then again, heroes have a lot of cushioning with all those Traits to check off. =D
I do imagine that greater and lesser villains will present these kinds of challenges.
Then again most battles are likely to be composed of Minions with D6ers and 6 Hp whom are destroyed when they reach 0 Hp.

A solution might be to rate each Attribute/Skill and only allow one Attribute and one Skill to be used per roll. That way, if you put your points into combat-related Traits you will be a tough fighter but if you don't you'll get whupped on.
This creates a different problem though... making smarties useless in battle. You know even the tough guys will have a utility skill and/or power to help outside of battle...

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How do you see team-work happening in play?  That's a common strategy in super hero comics, no?
Combat wise? Hm, combining powers for new effects comes to mind immediately. Perhaps heroic saves where an ally spend a Hero Point to make a defense roll for his buddy so that he'll take the damage or he'll stop the attack. Especially someone with a Green Lantern-like power. Perhaps an ally could spend a Hero Point to assist his buddy, increasing the Rank of his dice or even add a third die.


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: HeTeleports on September 21, 2009, 07:40:20 PM
Have you read the lite version of Capes[/url ]?

I'm clearly a newbie here, but it seems like a natural thing not to want to cover the same ground someone else has. If you do cover the same ground, you want to be able to contribute to it or cover different land.
GURPS, Capes, and With Great Power... all seem like superheroy games, but there's something that each contributes to the genre.
What do you want to do differently than they have done?
Superficial differences ("new powers!") won't stick, but a substantial divergences ("You're a normal human nurturing a relationship with a super!") will give the game enough heart to see its creation through to the end.

(Anyone, feel free to take over the 'normal human with a relationship'. I am *not* using that one yet.)
 (http://www.museoffire.com/Games/downloads.html)


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: MacLeod on September 21, 2009, 08:10:18 PM
I'm not trying to come off as dickish here, so you know Mr. Youssef. =)

I don't know anything about With Great Power but I do know that GURPS and Capes both do a lot of things I don't like. I've read through Aberrant, Hero, M&M and Wild Talents as well. None of the aforementioned games  provide what I am looking for.

So, I figure... if I haven't found what I'm looking for in a superhero RPG, then perhaps others are having the same problem? I wouldn't be so arrogant as to think that my solution will be the key to their problem but you never know.

Finally... I'm not 100% positive that I really need to be too careful of treading on a preexisting idea. First of all, I don't currently intend to make any money off of this idea. Second, this is more for me than anyone else. Who knows if I'll ever even get to playtest it! I do know that I really want a superhero RPG that I can personally enjoy.

Also, at this stage I'm just trying to get a core set of mechanic pounded into shape, ya know? I'm not sure what will happen once everything else falls into place. I'm not exactly the type to 'finish' anything anyways. x_x


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: Ken on September 21, 2009, 09:31:24 PM
Like what you have down so far. The power creation rules are very innovative. Though I don't usually like free-form power rules, choosing the two elements and putting them together is creative, and see power creation as being very fun.

I'm a bit pinched for time, but had some questions. I'll try not to linger on ground that has been covered too much.

With the characteristic rules as free-form as they are, are you concerned with players gravitating towards creating attributes, skills, etc. that contribute solely to combat and nothing else? If so, do you see any way to cap or provide disincentive for doing thing? Is it important that characters be diverse in there abilities?

I only bring this up from playing in games, where one person (or maybe a couple; just no the entire group) puts a bunch of eggs in the combat basket, making them much better at fighting. The more well rounded players feel they've made a dumb choice to be good at something other than combat, so they start doing the same thing. I would imagine this is not uncommon among other gaming groups. Do you see this happening with your game? Is this a concern to you?

So far, the powers seem to operate in the same range of potency. Have you given thought to powers that have extra effect upon success? Perhaps resolution proceeds as normal, but on a successful hit, extra effect is added to mark abilities that have more raw power behind them. Perhaps instead of choosing an additional technique, the player can put a star by an existing technique, making it more potent. Just an idea. Thoughts?

At some point, I remember reading about Power Points. Is that still a game element? How does that work?

In the combat example, the characters each picked a technique and some characteristics, and brought it to bear against the opponent. What would happen if one of the combatants just wanted to defend themselves without the chance of inflicting damage? Would you see a defensive bonus for this? How would that work?

Also, I don't think there is a problem with Hit Points. The term (and concept of) HPs make me think of something a little bit deeper than just Health. I think of them as the narrative mix of health, luck, skill, etc., and I think this works pretty good for supers. Considering the lite nature of the game, HPs seem to be a perfect fit.

Like what you have so far. Looking foward to reading more.

Keep it up,

Ken


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: Sebastian K. Hickey on September 22, 2009, 02:45:48 AM
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I think doubles might allow one to add his dice together.

Careful here.  Lower dice (2d4s) double more often than larger dice (2d8s).

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A solution might be to rate each Attribute/Skill and only allow one Attribute and one Skill to be used per roll. That way, if you put your points into combat-related Traits you will be a tough fighter but if you don't you'll get whupped on.
This creates a different problem though... making smarties useless in battle. You know even the tough guys will have a utility skill and/or power to help outside of battle...

You know, after thinking about it, I think I raised that point of Davids vs Goliaths too early.  I was doing some thinking, and it occurred to me that it's actually a Good Thing that wimps can compete in combat (as long as the player is creative enough).  You may be playing a wimpy nerd, but he is a super wimpy nerd after all.  I'd keep the original idea (tagging attributes/skills/etc.) and see if there are problems during playtesting.  Sorry for muddying the issue.

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Perhaps an ally could spend a Hero Point to assist his buddy, increasing the Rank of his dice or even add a third die.

Good idea.  Or he could use an action to add one of his techniques to the roll (adding a +1) [So if 3 PCs teamed up against a giant robot, for example, the acting player might get a +2 bonus to his roll].

Lastly, just to reinforce the point, I think the nerd vs. brawler potential could actually be one of the best parts of the game.  Where other super games reward combat ferocity, your game, with its young, barely super characters could beat the oppressors with wits and cunning.  The system lends equal bonuses to characters with a few combat attributes and to characters with no combat attributes and big imaginations.  (Example, I could get 2d8+1 for invoking Guns, Veteran and 'Blast of the Gods' [to shoot the enemy] - but I could also get the same 2d8+1 for invoking Computers, Strategy and 'Overclock' [to wait for the enemy to get near the server room and then cause all the computers to discharge their energy].  One route is easier to improvise than the other.  But here's the thing... You get rewarded for being creative!!  Even for the nerdy skills.  Sweet.  I'd almost be tempted to disallow ANY combat skills, just to see how players would have to come up with strategies to defeat their terrible enemies.  No one's done that before... surely.]


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: MacLeod on September 22, 2009, 03:14:14 AM
I don't usually like free-form power rules
I've always been a bit iffy about such things as well... as of late I have (obviously) grown to like the idea. It use to be that for me to even want to play the game, it would have to have detailed rules for every maneuver possible.

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I'm a bit pinched for time, but had some questions.
Feel free to come back when you have some more time, sir. =) I'm hungry for any kind of input I can get.

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With the characteristic rules as free-form as they are, are you concerned with players gravitating towards creating attributes, skills, etc. that contribute solely to combat and nothing else? If so, do you see any way to cap or provide disincentive for doing thing? Is it important that characters be diverse in there abilities?
It depends on the group, honestly.*
I think the character creation process is stronger if done as group. That way, everyone can get out in the open the kind of campaign they want to run. Additionally, it is my hope that the GM (of any game) will look at the PCs and recognize a situation for each of them to excel at. I'd like to think that, as a group, each player would like his hero to bring something different to the table... Because that will bring a highly varied campaign to them. I believe that is a strong reward.
Furthermore... I expect that any player whom creates his character as a narrowly focused combat monster will find that his GM will challenge him in ways his character will not be ready for.

* This isn't to say that it isn't the responsibility of the game author to lay out advice for avoiding these problems.

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Do you see this happening with your game? Is this a concern to you?
The way powers are built... its likely you'll know if you are going to be a combat guy right off the bat. Growing into that role is pretty tough unless you have a very lenient GM. Its my hope that no one ends up feeling this way though... Look at the Justice League, for instance... Batman has no powers yet he is always figuring out important information and allowing the big guys to do their thing when the time comes. If a player can enjoy being the cunning tactician and forge a solid personality for his character, I don't think he'll feel the draw of being a combat monster that easily. At least, not until he makes a new character. =)

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So far, the powers seem to operate in the same range of potency. Have you given thought to powers that have extra effect upon success? Perhaps resolution proceeds as normal, but on a successful hit, extra effect is added to mark abilities that have more raw power behind them. Perhaps instead of choosing an additional technique, the player can put a star by an existing technique, making it more potent. Just an idea. Thoughts?
Much of the fiddly bits haven't been worked out quite yet... but I don't see why Advancement couldn't include 'Mastery' or something similar of an existing Technique.

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At some point, I remember reading about Power Points. Is that still a game element? How does that work?
As of right now, they have been removed. I was thinking that as part of the mechanical suggestions that players could add 'Draining' to a Power to limit its number of uses BUT give it additional effects.

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In the combat example, the characters each picked a technique and some characteristics, and brought it to bear against the opponent. What would happen if one of the combatants just wanted to defend themselves without the chance of inflicting damage? Would you see a defensive bonus for this? How would that work?
One thing I didn't represent in the example of play is how I tend to treat Hp in games I design... If a character wanted to defeat his opponent without the use of harm that is 100% possible, as you say Hp means more than physical health. The game text description of Hp is, "Hp measures your health, combat advantage, level of fatigue, luck and perseverance." To damage that, a combatant simply has to attack one of those aspects. Thus by making an opponent feel helpless, you may damage his Hp.
If everything works out, I'd actually wouldn't including a mechanic for mid-battle Hp restoration based on heroic successes. A villain lashes out a near by crowd by you stop the attack dead in its tracks, making you feel like a million bucks... you regain 4 Hp automatically. That sort of thing.

Careful here.  Lower dice (2d4s) double more often than larger dice (2d8s).
Indeed. x_x How about a +1 instead? Its not too massive but it still produces a positive effect.

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You know, after thinking about it, I think I raised that point of Davids vs Goliaths too early.  I was doing some thinking, and it occurred to me that it's actually a Good Thing that wimps can compete in combat (as long as the player is creative enough).  You may be playing a wimpy nerd, but he is a super wimpy nerd after all.  I'd keep the original idea (tagging attributes/skills/etc.) and see if there are problems during playtesting.  Sorry for muddying the issue.
I was a little hesitant to add numbers anyways. =)

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Good idea.  Or he could use an action to add one of his techniques to the roll (adding a +1) [So if 3 PCs teamed up against a giant robot, for example, the acting player might get a +2 bonus to his roll].
I should definitely make a note of all the team work possibilities, as suggestions of course. =) I'm not too worried about creating a lot of crunch anyways... after that major revision towards the beginning of this thread, the rules only game out to be 4 full pages.

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Lastly, just to reinforce the point, I think the nerd vs. brawler potential could actually be one of the best parts of the game.
Agreed. I'd love to have a game where everyone feels useful more often than not.


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: Sebastian K. Hickey on September 22, 2009, 03:38:36 AM
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Indeed. x_x How about a +1 instead? Its not too massive but it still produces a positive effect.

That sounds fair.

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I'm not too worried about creating a lot of crunch anyways.

Good call.

Looks like you're ready for play testing, more or less.  Let me know when it is written and I'll try to run a session with my group for you.


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: MacLeod on September 22, 2009, 04:01:49 AM
For sure, Mr. Hickey. =)
Today is class day so I won't get much time to tinker with it unfortunately. Which is sad because I had this great momentum going for the project, too.


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: Ken on September 23, 2009, 01:06:41 AM
As of right now, they have been removed. I was thinking that as part of the mechanical suggestions that players could add 'Draining' to a Power to limit its number of uses BUT give it additional effects.

I skirted around that with Ten-Cent Heroes, by just considering it as damage. Another way of dealing with it without having to create extra stats may be just to create an action penalty for being drained. You character uses a power and then succumbs to the penalty for a certain amount of time. Just an idea.

A villain lashes out a near by crowd by you stop the attack dead in its tracks, making you feel like a million bucks... you regain 4 Hp automatically. That sort of thing.

That is an interesting idea, and neatly fits into both the genre and your esoteric use of HPs. In comics, a character's most important attribute is their relevance. It doesn't matter how strong or powerful they are, if they are not important to the story, fate usually finds a way (no matter how unrealistic) to take them out. Likewise, important characters always seem to come back dramatically when they are needed (not when a doctor says its possible for them get back to work). Good stuff!

Glad to see this developing. I'm a big fan of super games and really like your angle here. Keep it up!

Ken


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: MacLeod on September 23, 2009, 11:53:54 AM
I skirted around that with Ten-Cent Heroes, by just considering it as damage. Another way of dealing with it without having to create extra stats may be just to create an action penalty for being drained. You character uses a power and then succumbs to the penalty for a certain amount of time. Just an idea.
Very reminiscent of Talislanta... which is interesting considering... =)

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That is an interesting idea, and neatly fits into both the genre and your esoteric use of HPs. In comics, a character's most important attribute is their relevance. It doesn't matter how strong or powerful they are, if they are not important to the story, fate usually finds a way (no matter how unrealistic) to take them out. Likewise, important characters always seem to come back dramatically when they are needed (not when a doctor says its possible for them get back to work). Good stuff!
Haha, indeed! Justice League is the worst when it comes to this. With Superman and Wonder Woman arrive and they somehow get beat back for a plot point only to come back later and ground those fools into dust, it tends to remind one of those goofy comic story requirements. =)

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Glad to see this developing. I'm a big fan of super games and really like your angle here. Keep it up!
I'm not one to finish anything I've started but at the same time this game has gotten way more attention than any other project I've started... so perhaps I'll actually follow through with this one for a change. =D


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: Ken on September 24, 2009, 03:14:07 AM
I'm not one to finish anything I've started but at the same time this game has gotten way more attention than any other project I've started... so perhaps I'll actually follow through with this one for a change.

Don't get me started. Ten-Cent Heroes, version 2, has been finished and on the work bench awaiting a rewrite for a while now. It sounds like, based on your expectations or how long the rules were going to be, that you could be almost done. You could always come back to it later with a revised version. Playtesting is key. Get to it, and good luck.

Ken


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: Zebediah on September 26, 2009, 08:19:29 AM
This looks really nice.  The freeform power generation is one of the better focused prose power description systems I've seen.

I think you may be underutilizing the "flaw" mechanic, here.  In particular, you mention that you like to "twist the knife," so powers crossed out give a penalty instead of a bonus when that trait would have been used.

Folding that into the "flaw" mechanic -- crossed off traits become flaws until you can fix the issue -- and not only do you have fewer "moving parts" but you get some lovely moral/tactical choices.

Do you invoke your opponent's flaw and hammer him, thus strengthening his resolve to fight back?

Or do you, out of a sense of mercy or honor, avoid poking him where it hurts?

Do you strive to overcome your weakness, knowing the path is harder but the rewards great?

Or do you husband your strength, avoiding unnecessary difficulties?


Especially since the bad guys are more likely to poke at people's vulnerable spots, this means that fighting and losing to a vicious villain you can build up the ooph to take him out later.


Second place for reusing the Flaw mechanic -- if there are powers with extra punch, rather than making them cost some generic resource, you could have them apply a flaw to the character for a short period.  Maybe Battle Rage helps you lay on the hurt, but you're Stuck in the Red Tunnel -- unable to pay attention to anything but smacking your foe as hard as possible.  Or perhaps your Stonebody lets you eat up damage like nobody's business, but makes you Ponderously Heavy.  Or the Omega Power Band Blast leaves you Weak and Strung Out.

I read a comic once where one of the characters would start to bliss out if she used her powers too much, and lose track of the battle in the face of the high.  It was pretty nifty.


Anyway, this looks like an awsome light system for people into creative superhero play.  I'm looking forward to more updates :']


Title: Re: [Crepusculum] CharGen & Mechanics
Post by: MacLeod on September 27, 2009, 01:26:21 PM
It sounds like, based on your expectations or how long the rules were going to be, that you could be almost done. You could always come back to it later with a revised version. Playtesting is key. Get to it, and good luck.
This week has been a strange one... I've been actually busy. @_@ It won't last though, I'll be able to sink some more time into this thing soon.

This looks really nice.  The freeform power generation is one of the better focused prose power description systems I've seen.
Anyway, this looks like an awesome light system for people into creative superhero play.  I'm looking forward to more updates :']
Thank you kindly sir. =) I need to get accustomed to my schedule and then I'll be good to go. Also, a laptop would help a lot. @_@

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I think you may be under utilizing the "flaw" mechanic, here.  In particular, you mention that you like to "twist the knife," so powers crossed out give a penalty instead of a bonus when that trait would have been used.
Folding that into the "flaw" mechanic -- crossed off traits become flaws until you can fix the issue -- and not only do you have fewer "moving parts" but you get some lovely moral/tactical choices.
I think something like this could be explored during playtesting to iron out what works best. =)

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Second place for reusing the Flaw mechanic -- if there are powers with extra punch, rather than making them cost some generic resource, you could have them apply a flaw to the character for a short period.  Maybe Battle Rage helps you lay on the hurt, but you're Stuck in the Red Tunnel -- unable to pay attention to anything but smacking your foe as hard as possible.  Or perhaps your Stonebody lets you eat up damage like nobody's business, but makes you Ponderously Heavy.  Or the Omega Power Band Blast leaves you Weak and Strung Out.
I think this would be a great idea for the Powers' mechanical suggestions section! Thanks for the great idea!