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General Forge Forums => First Thoughts => Topic started by: Luminous on March 28, 2010, 09:00:52 PM

Title: Mixed-up Mechanics - A blending of games...
Post by: Luminous on March 28, 2010, 09:00:52 PM
A long, long time ago in a game store far, far away... I played a game called Highland that used a system they called Swordmaster.  Briefly, I had the bright idea to create an RPG that used those mechanics, but I never did anything about it.  The idea has come around again and I was curious what others thought about it.  If I did do any extensive work on it, I'd probably blend D&D 4th Edition mechanics in with the Swordmaster mechanics, to create a new style of game that uses the best of both.

For anyone that doesn't know, the Swordmaster mechanic used cards as attack and defense. Each card had a 9-square grid in the corner that had one to six squares filled in a variety of patterns to roughly represent the direction an attack came from and what part of the body it was aimed at.

I haven't given much thoughr past each player has a small deck of so many cards based on either skill, level, rank or some other form of measurement and they can choose whether they are focused more on defense, offense, or a balance of the two. Player decks would replenish after short and extended rests, just like encounter and daily powers do in 4th edition. The DM gets one huge deck that they recycle constantly. Basic attacks and defenses (basically at-will powers in D&D4e) would be shuffled back into the deck and there would be multiple copies.

I know one complaint will be the randomness of drawing attacks and defenses, but I rationalize it as drawing the card presents and opportunity to shift the battle in some direction.  Perhaps I could even include that as an optional mechanic on each encounter / daily card.  The player can discard the attack or defense to enact some effect on the battlefield like Bravery: All allies gain +5 temporary hit points.  Drawing a full hand of defense cards would suck, but I'm sure I could come up with some rationalization for it and a discard mechanic to draw a new card.

So.... thoughts?

Title: Re: Mixed-up Mechanics - A blending of games...
Post by: Luminous on March 28, 2010, 10:03:16 PM
Been thinking about this some more since posting the intial thread.  I'm wondering how far away from dice would I want to go with this system.  There's always the option of including a number in the corner on each card and using that to generate a random number.  It could also be used for initiative and would help make this both a competitive card game which you can play against other players and as a tool for an rpg.

Title: Re: Mixed-up Mechanics - A blending of games...
Post by: FetusCommander on March 28, 2010, 10:10:23 PM
I'd never heard of Swordmaster, but I'll have to look that up now.  That sounds really interesting.  The attack direction thing sounds like it adds a kind of complexity that I'd like.

Now, would the cards just be to influence mechanical stats, or do you have some that influence things about the world too (like cards that change things about the scene, or add things to it)?

I always thought a card deck system would make for some really interesting "randomness" in challenges, where parts of the environment change and you have to react to it.  So maybe you're fighting in some high grass, and you pull a card that says that throws a pit or something else random into the area that your character might get caught up in, or use in the combat.

Title: Re: Mixed-up Mechanics - A blending of games...
Post by: Luminous on March 28, 2010, 10:21:39 PM
I think it's a really interesting mechanic that never caught on well enough. In Highlander, attacks usually targeted one square, but there were slashes that targeted three squares in a row or column.  These could be translated into damage by the number of squares blocked. A three square attack that makes it through does three cards worth of damage. Two squares two cards of damage and one square one card of damage.  These would be the encounter/daily attacks that permanently get discarded.

There were six basic defenses that covered three squares in a row or column.  Blocks that would cover six squares (the two left/right columns and the two top/bottom rows).  Dodges were all nine squares and worked against melee and ranged.  That's the sticky part of the swordmaster system. Ranged attacks, though I'm sure something could be worked out. Guards were the same size as blocks, but they stayed on the table like a stance lasts for an encounter.  The drawback is that you could only attack through the open squares of your guard.  So if you had the top two rows blocked, you could only make low attacks through the bottom row.

I'm at work and bored. I think I'll start work on an outline for this.