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Author Topic: Walkers (Working Title)  (Read 2245 times)
Demada
Member

Posts: 29


« on: August 02, 2004, 03:01:56 PM »

Here's a little RPG I thought up. The idea actually came to me when thinking about Amber and an anime called Scrapped Princess at the same time, but Scrapped Princes really hasn't figured in much. This is a very rough draft, and I'm not very experienced with RPG design, but I guess there's no other way to get experienced in RPG design. Here it is:

Walkers is an RPG about problem solvers, trouble shooters, who walk the 'Net fixing glitches, battling viruses and supressing rogues. In the infiverse of the Net, all worlds exist, all settings, and all problems. The only people keeping it together are the Walkers. Think Reboot meets Amber with a healthy dose of anime looks, music, and sensibilities. The fact that it all takes place in a computer permeates the terminology but only provides tone, the various settings, called systems, run the gambit, from fantasy to science fiction.

Terms:

Delete: To completely destroy something. Killing a program merely sends it away, it can return. Deleting a program completely eradicates it.

Glitch: An error within a single system

Hack: To damage or remove things within a system

Meta-: A prefix used to denote something that spans more than one system, or something that is big/expansive

MetaVirus: Technically a virus which attacks several systems, but usually means a rogue Walker

Net: The whole of connected systems

Program(noun): A "living" being within a system

Program(verb): To add or change things within a system

Resident: A program attached to a specific system, the vast majority of
programs are resident.

Rogue: An inhabitant of a system who is trying to damage that system

Ronin: A program that is not attached to a specific system. All Walkers are Ronin, as are MetaViruses and some other powerful programs and rogues.

Shortcut: A method of crossing large distances within a single system in a short amount of time

System: A single world/setting. A single computer.

Virus: A being who was created to harm a system

Walkers: One who can walk between systems, take Shotcuts, Program and Hack

PCs in Walkers are all... well, Walkers. I should think this would be obvious. Now, the first thing you do when creating a character has nothing to do with traits or numbers. Think about who your Walker will be, what kind of person he or she will be. Walkers travel between worlds, solving problems and helping programs; they are friends of existence. Walkers have left their home system and risked their lives for the stability of the whole of 'Net. Your character can either be a born Walkers, from Citadel, the Walker's system, or be from another system, picked up and instructed by a group of visiting Walkers. Walkers are of a set number, if one is deleted, he may be replaced, and often is by a local of wherever the Walker died.

Now, once you have thought of your personality, time to work with a few numbers. Walkers uses a pretty lite system, characters are defined by four stats. These stats are: Programming, Hacking, Walking, and Skill.

Distribute 9 points among these traits. With 2 points in a trait you can do most actions in normal circumstance automatically. Examples:
Walking: Move from system to system alone or with one or two passengers.
Programming: Give yourself a pocket full of gold coins/bills/credit chips.
Hacking: Remove a minor inanimate object (lamp, piano, bed).
Skill: Most any unapposed, untimed task.

With a 1 in a trait, it means you are below average and have a chance at failing at things most Walkers consider easy.

Traits:

Walking is about transportation. Moving from system to system, or using Shortcuts within a system. It is a useful, if not a very diverse, ability that only Walkers (usually) posess. It can be taught to others, but it is only taught by Walkers to new Walkers. Walking from system to system is an Easy Challenge, and you can bring around two others with you easily. Shortcuts are harder, and require more effort. Bringing a large group of people into another system, or bringing a small group of people through a Shortcut, is a Difficult Challenge.

Programming is, usually, the trait of creation. Small things (Money, weapons, handheld objects, etc) can be programmed as an Easy Challenge so long as they suit the system. Large things (mansions, towns, programs) and things which do not suit the system are harder to program (Running from Standard to Hard Challenges, GM's decision). Programming can also be used to edit the nature of things (The hardness of a certain rock, the freshness of food) but if harm or destruction is the goal Hacking is used instead of Programming

Hacking is, usually, the trait used in combat. Hacking is always destructive, and always invasive. You are literally invading the being of another program, and attempting to destroy it on the most basic level. Whether it takes the form of a sword fight, a quick draw, or a shoot out, if you are trying to delete/damage another program, Hacking is used.

Skill is a general rating that covers everything that a skill list is used for in other games. Skill covers any kind of knowledge and any learned talent. Although you might use Hacking to delete an opponent, and that contest might be a visualized as a swordfight, high Hacking does not mean you are a good swordsman. A high Skill would make you a good swordsman, but you could only kill your opponent, not delete him or her, using Skill.

Resolving Challenges:

Resolution is handled through a "guess a number" mechanics. The GM sets the Challenge, picks a number between one and ten and the player will guess a number. The comparison of the two determine the results of an action. In a standard resolution, the character can be within his trait rating of the number picked by the GM on the following line:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4

So in a standard challenge a character with a trait rating of two has a 50/50 chance of succeeding. The following table lists a variety of challenge difficulties and their modifiers.

Easy: +2 modifier. Easy covers things which are ordinary, that are not timed or in stressful circumstances. Solving a crossword puzzle because your bored is an easy task, you will usually succeed after a time.

Moderate: +1 modifier. Moderate tasks cover challenges that are stressful or have a time limit. The time limit may be lax, and consequences of failing are not severe, but exist. No one will get hurt if you fail, but you may be embarrassed and ridiculed.

Standard: No modifier. This is the normal test. An inadaquate time limit, particularly distracting conditions/consequences, or someone opposing you makes a Challenge standard. Someone may get hurt, or even killed, if you fail.

Difficult: -1 Modifier. The challenge involves two of the following: inadaquate time limit, disctracting/harsh conditions, severe circumstances. Someone will definately be hurt and may die if you fail. Working with inadaquate tools to repair a car while an enemy army approches is an example of a Difficult Skill challenge.

Hard: -2 Modifier. This challenge involves all the complications listed for a Difficult challenge. Someone wiill die if you fail this, usually someone you care for. If you run into a lot of hard tasks, it's a good sign you've done something wrong.

Now, a Moderate or Easy task brings a Trait to 4 or greater, there is usually no need to resolve, success is simply assumed. If a modifier brings a trait below zero, failure is assumed. Otherwise, the challenge is resolved using the above method.

Now, if someone is opposing a PCs success, a slightly different mechanic is used. The modifier applied to opposed character's trait is -(Opposing Trait-2).
So, opposing character's relevent trait is 3, the modifier applied to the opposed character is -1. Opposing trait is 4, modifie is -2. Opossing trait is 1, modifier is +1.

Combat:

Combat is handled as a series of opposed Challenges. A character must win or lose a certain number of challenges in a row to fail/succeed in combat. The exact number is set by the GM based on how long the GM wishes the combat to last. There are four different “goals” in combat, which every combatent must declare.

Show Up: You are attempting to embarrass/humiliate the opposition, but not hort them (badly).
Injure: Self explanitory. You attempt to cause a serious but not deadly/mortal injury to your opponent.
Kill: You are attempting to kill your opponent (note: Death is not permenant, Walkers return to Citadel, other beings may have other means of returning).
Delete: You are attempted to Delete the opposition. Irrecoverable.

A PC fighting someone with a different goal with modify the PCs trait. For each level the PC has a less damaging goal, the PC gets a -1 (If your opponent is trying to kill you, and you are trying to Show him up, then you would be at a -2; If the opponent was trying to delete you, and you were trying to kill him, you would be at a -1). For each level the PC has a more damaging goal, the PC gets a +1 (Trying to kill an opponent trying to injure you +1; trying to delete an enemy trying to show you up +3).

This CAN be changed in the midst of combat, but usually requires some reason, and you forfeit any bonuses/avoid any penalties for the first Challenge after a mid-Combat change in goal.

Note: If you are trying to Delete your opponent, Combat uses Hacking. Otherwise, it uses Skill.

Comments? Criticisms?
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anonymouse
Member

Posts: 302


WWW
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2004, 05:34:37 PM »

Things 'mouse likes:
* Reboot
* Scrapped Princess
* Any kind of decky/hacky-cyberpunky things

Result: =D

Comment #1: on the Forge, it is always far more helpful and desired if specific questions are attached to a design. Rather than the usual "is this cool, questions/comments, blaseeee" it's best to ask something like, "Is the pick-a-number thing too funky-weird? I like it because it's different, but is there some reason I shouldn't use it?" (just as a complete example)

Comment #2: I -like- the pick-a-number thing modified by trait difference.

Comment #3: Do you see most games/sessions involving a fair amount of combat? The rules for it are cool, but if you see this as a "storytelling game" or somesuch, they might not be appropriate. I'm just wondering why you feel they're necessary, rather than having combat being unbrella'd under some general-conflict rules.

Comment #3a: In which case, you might go with something a la Shadowrun: Hacking tests, Skill tests, Walking tests, Programming tests. the User (you KNOW that's what you have to call the GM! either that or Sysop ;) can determine what test is appropriate for what challenge.

Comment #4: Personally, I'd like to see some kind of setting-based Big Bads in the game text. For example, Reboot had Megabyte and Hexadecimal, and then later on.. I forget the program's name, the one that took over the Guardians. Looming specters are great for atmosphere and tone.

Comment #4a: In other words, don't just say, "It is infinite netverse!" Write up some "pregen" systems besides the Citadel. Maybe 10 of the biggest systems, and 5 of the most dangerous. The most-dangerous don't necessarily have to be the Big Bads' systems, maybe those are unknown-ish.

Summary: Cool! I'd like to play this.
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You see:
Michael V. Goins, wielding some vaguely annoyed skills.
>
Demada
Member

Posts: 29


« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2004, 06:37:28 PM »

Quote from: anonymouse
Things 'mouse likes:
* Reboot
* Scrapped Princess
* Any kind of decky/hacky-cyberpunky things

Result: =D

Comment #1: on the Forge, it is always far more helpful and desired if specific questions are attached to a design. Rather than the usual "is this cool, questions/comments, blaseeee" it's best to ask something like, "Is the pick-a-number thing too funky-weird? I like it because it's different, but is there some reason I shouldn't use it?" (just as a complete example)

Quote

Ah, thank you for the tip. I don't think it is too weird, but do you think there could be too much of a whiff factor? I don't plan on using the resolution mechanic TOO much.
Comment #2: I -like- the pick-a-number thing modified by trait difference.

Thanks!
Quote

Comment #3: Do you see most games/sessions involving a fair amount of combat? The rules for it are cool, but if you see this as a "storytelling game" or somesuch, they might not be appropriate. I'm just wondering why you feel they're necessary, rather than having combat being unbrella'd under some general-conflict rules.

Not in particular, but I thought it would be best to include some guidelines. I guess I could call it an "Extended Conflict" and make it generic, although I think inserting some rules about consequences of multible failures in an extended conflict (Wounds in combat) would be useful *marks that down*.
Quote

Comment #3a: In which case, you might go with something a la Shadowrun: Hacking tests, Skill tests, Walking tests, Programming tests. the User (you KNOW that's what you have to call the GM! either that or Sysop ;) can determine what test is appropriate for what challenge.

Not quite sure what you mean here... I havn't had much experience with Shadowrun.
Quote

Comment #4: Personally, I'd like to see some kind of setting-based Big Bads in the game text. For example, Reboot had Megabyte and Hexadecimal, and then later on.. I forget the program's name, the one that took over the Guardians. Looming specters are great for atmosphere and tone.

I'll definately think about it. I was thinking about having the Walker Higherups be pretty cruel and heartless, "For the greater good" types. But other than that I havn't got an idea... yet.
Quote

Comment #4a: In other words, don't just say, "It is infinite netverse!" Write up some "pregen" systems besides the Citadel. Maybe 10 of the biggest systems, and 5 of the most dangerous. The most-dangerous don't necessarily have to be the Big Bads' systems, maybe those are unknown-ish.

Sounds good, I'll work on it.
Quote

Summary: Cool! I'd like to play this.

Thanks again.
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Jason Petrasko
Member

Posts: 66

Rocking out!


WWW
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2004, 11:05:59 AM »

I've read your post and think the idea has merit, even if to me it seems to need more direction. What do the player's do? What kind of conflicts do they face?

I see many possibilities for the idea. Here are some of the ones I find interesting:

You say the walkers are a set number in any given system. They seem to me to be appointed guardians of the system by the system. Kind of like people chosen by 'the powers that be'. There are two obivous game enhancing ways this could be used:

1.) The walkers are like Jedi. They have a commune with the system few others have and therefore have mastered new abilities to defend it.  They are faced with maintaining this commune on a daily basis.

2.) The walkers are 'dead' programs. They are no longer needed but instead of being deleted they have been given a new role by the system.
They are now looking at dealing with the struggles of a new life.

In either scenario, the players have been given power above and beyond the regular program to help defend the system. While it may be tempting to use such for personal gain, it goes against the nature of the power. Such use would of course be noticed and then eventually the system could make an abuser as a rogue walker?

I think it needs a better distinction between Hacking and Programming. Perhaps its a matter of authorization? Hacking being attempts to exceed your station as a program, and Programming being everything you can normally do.

anonymouse had mentioned the concept of the big bad. I think that would work in either of the two upper scenarios since the bid bad would be a rogue walker that abused their power. There could also be a natural force seeking to wipe out this whole existance, and return the system to a primal (no AI) state. Sort of like a dark side of the same power the walkers use.

As the flexible setting goes, I wonder if the game might get caught up to much in the 'shouldn't this do this?' type of jam that can happen there. That though would be just a run and see thing. I personally might find it had to latch onto the game if the system stays this simple and has a fluid form as well.

Mechanically it seems simple enough.  How does one handle things like injury. I think the only thing I'm not getting from your mechanic is the feel. I mean what the scale of the game like? Is it Matrix high-action super stunts? Or perhaps a more mind bending story driven type? It seems so generic as to not even create a feel, which is something that I think is important.

Those are my initial thoughts,
Jason
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Demada
Member

Posts: 29


« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2004, 11:32:19 AM »

I seem to have given the wrong impression, Walkers are of a set number... overall. In all systems, there is a total of X walkers, and it can never exceed X. If a Walker is deleted, a new Walker is initiated. There are two methods of doing this, either a trainee in the citadel is put  through the final courses, or a  resident program that shows promise is given a crash course, depending on how urgently the Walker is needed.

As for the Matrix super stunts... I would think, yes, they would be present, if not so common and over the top as in the Matrix.

Hacking and Programming, well, technically they are the same thing, it's editing the system or something in the system to suit your desires, I just felt a split was neccessary because I didn't want to put too much into one trait.

I've been brainstorming on lasting consequences of extended conflicts, and I think that I will have something like this: Failing two challenges in a row results in a certain consequence, which will effect you, on average, for a certain amount of time, losing three will be a more severe consequence that will effect you for longer, etc. Obviously I need to fill in the specifics, but I think that will work.
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Demada
Member

Posts: 29


« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2004, 03:08:01 PM »

Walkers 1.1, revised character creation and resolution rules, added in Extended Contest and Consequences rules. I have been thinking about Big Bads and setting stuff, but I'd really like to run it once and see how it goes, then add on more to the setting.

Walkers is an RPG about problem solvers, trouble shooters, who walk the 'Net fixing glitches, battling viruses and supressing rogues. In the infiverse of the Net, all worlds exist, all settings, and all problems. The only people keeping it together are the Walkers. Think Reboot meets Amber with a healthy dose of anime looks, music, and sensibilities. The fact that it all takes place in a computer permeates the terminology but only provides tone, the various settings, called systems, run the gambit, from fantasy to science fiction.

Terms:

Delete: To completely destroy something. Killing a program merely sends it away, it can return. Deleting a program completely eradicates it.

Glitch: An error within a single system

Hack: To damage or remove things within a system

Meta-: A prefix used to denote something that spans more than one system, or something that is big/expansive

MetaVirus: Technically a virus which attacks several systems, but usually means a rogue Walker

Net: The whole of connected systems

Program(noun): A "living" being within a system

Program(verb): To add or change things within a system

Resident: A program attached to a specific system, the vast majority of
programs are resident.

Rogue: An inhabitant of a system who is trying to damage that system

Ronin: A program that is not attached to a specific system. All Walkers are Ronin, as are MetaViruses and some other powerful programs and rogues.

Shortcut: A method of crossing large distances within a single system  in a short amount of time

System: A single world/setting. A single computer.

Virus: A being who was created to harm a system

Walkers: One who can walk between systems, take Shotcuts, Program and Hack

PCs in Walkers are all... well, Walkers. I should think this would be obvious. Now, the first thing you do when creating a character has nothing to do with traits or numbers. Think about who your Walker will be, what kind of person he or she will be. Walkers travel between worlds, solving problems and helping programs; they are friends of existence. Walkers have left their home system and risked their lives for the stability of the whole of 'Net. Your character can either be a born Walkers, from Citadel, the Walker's system, or be from another system, picked up and instructed by a group of visiting Walkers. Walkers are of a set number, if one is deleted, he may be replaced, and often is by a local of wherever the Walker died.

Now, once you have thought of your personality, time to work with a few numbers. Walkers uses a pretty lite system, characters are defined by four stats. These stats are: Programming, Hacking, Walking, and Skill.

Distribute 20 points among these traits. With 5 points in a trait you can do most actions in normal circumstance automatically. Examples:
Walking: Move from system to system alone or with one or two passengers.
Programming: Give yourself a pocket full of gold coins/bills/credit chips.
Hacking: Remove a minor inanimate object (lamp, piano, bed).
Skill: Most any unapposed, untimed task.

With a less than 4 in a trait, it means you are below average and have a chance at failing at things most Walkers consider easy.

Traits:

Walking is about transportation. Moving from system to system, or using Shortcuts within a system. It is a useful, if not a very diverse, ability that only Walkers (usually) posess. It can be taught to others, but it is only taught by Walkers to new Walkers. Walking from system to system is an Easy Challenge, and you can bring around two others with you easily. Shortcuts are harder, and require more effort. Bringing a large group of people into another system, or bringing a small group of people through a Shortcut, is a Difficult Challenge.

Programming is, usually, the trait of creation. Small things (Money, weapons, handheld objects, etc) can be programmed as an Easy Challenge so long as they suit the system. Large things (mansions, towns, programs) and things which do not suit the system are harder to program (Running from Standard to Hard Challenges, GM's decision). Programming can also be used to edit the nature of things (The hardness of a certain rock, the freshness of food) but if harm or destruction is the goal Hacking is used instead of Programming

Hacking is, usually, the trait used in combat. Hacking is always destructive, and always invasive. You are literally invading the being of another program, and attempting to destroy it on the most basic level. Whether it takes the form of a sword fight, a quick draw, or a shoot out, if you are trying to delete/damage another program, Hacking is used.

Skill is a general rating that covers everything that a skill list is used for in other games. Skill covers any kind of knowledge and any learned talent. Although you might use Hacking to delete an opponent, and that contest might be a visualized as a swordfight, high Hacking does not mean you are a good swordsman. A high Skill would make you a good swordsman, but you could only kill your opponent, not delete him or her, using Skill.

Resolving Challenges:

Resolution is handled with a ten sided dice, with the player attempting to roll equal to or under a certain target number. This target number equals the character's trait plus modifiers.

So in a standard challenge a character with a trait rating of 5 has a 50/50 chance of succeeding. The following table lists a variety of challenge difficulties and their modifiers.

Easy: +4-5 modifier. Easy covers things which are ordinary, that are not timed or in stressful circumstances. Solving a crossword puzzle because your bored is an easy task, you will usually succeed after a time.

Moderate: +1-3 modifier. Moderate tasks cover challenges that are stressful or have a time limit. The time limit may be lax, and consequences of failing are not severe, but exist. No one will get hurt if you fail, but you may be embarrassed  and ridiculed.

Standard: No modifier. This is the normal test. An inadaquate time limit, particularly distracting conditions/consequences, or someone opposing you makes a Challenge standard. Someone may get hurt, or even killed, if you fail.

Difficult: -1-3 Modifier. The challenge involves two of the following: inadaquate time limit, disctracting/harsh conditions, severe circumstances. Someone will definately be hurt and may die if you fail. Working with inadaquate tools to repair a car while an enemy army approches is an example of a Difficult Skill challenge.

Hard: -4-5 Modifier. This challenge involves all the complications listed for a Difficult challenge. Someone wiill die if you fail this, usually someone you care for. If you run into a lot of hard tasks, it's a good sign you've done something wrong.

Now, a Moderate or Easy task brings a Trait to 8 or greater, there is usually no need to resolve, success is simply assumed. If a modifier brings a trait below 1, failure is assumed. Otherwise, the challenge is resolved using the above method.

Now, if someone is opposing a PCs success, a slightly different mechanic is used. The modifier applied to opposed character's trait is -(Opposing Trait-5).
So, opposing character's relevent trait is 7, the modifier applied to the opposed character is -2. Opposing trait is 9, modifie is -4. Opossing trait is 3, modifier is +2.

Combat:

Combat is handled as a series of Challenges. A character must win or lose 4  challenges in a row to succeed/fail in combat. This number can be changed if the GM wishes for a longer/shorter fight, and mooks should usually only take one success to down. There are four different “goals” in combat, which every combatent must declare.

Show Up: You are attempting to embarrass/humiliate the opposition, but not hort them (badly). +2 trait modifier
Injure: Self explanitory. You attempt to cause a serious but not deadly/mortal injury to your opponent. +1 trait modifier
Kill: You are attempting to kill your opponent (note: Death is not permenant, Walkers return to Citadel, other beings may have other means of returning). +0 trait modifier
Delete: You are attempted to Delete the opposition. Irrecoverable. -1 trait modifier

.This is not meant to be realistic, but to encourage the players to kill and delete as few enemies as possible, which, IMO, is more heroic.

This CAN be changed in the midst of combat, but usually requires some reason, and you forfeit any bonuses/avoid any penalties for the first Challenge after a mid-Combat change in goal.

Note: If you are trying to Delete your opponent, Combat uses Hacking. Otherwise, it uses Skill.

Extended Contests:
Extented contests are handled in the same way as combat, but without the goals. This could be a pivotal debate, a arm wrestling match, or anything that is important enough that the GM would like to draw it out longer than a single challenge. The GM sets a number of required successes/failures to end the contest, and the player rolls away, GM or player describing after every roll.

Consequences:

Combat and Extended Contests come with consequences if a player fails two or more challenges in a row.

Two challenges failed(Disadvantaged): Player is at a -1 to Trait until he or she succeeds at two challenged in a row

Three Challenges failed(Injured or Drawback): Player is at a -1 to trait for at least the rest of the extended conflict, and possibly longer. Note: In combat, if the opponent is not trying to atleast injure the PC, this is a Drawback and lasts till the end of the fight, otherwise it is an injury and will last until the GM deems it has healed.

Four Challenges failed (Incapacitated or Lost): The player is defeated. If it is combat and the opponent was atleast trying to injure the PC, then the player is at -2 to trait until the GM believes his wounds would have healed. If the opponent was trying to kill or delete the PC, the PC is not at the opponent's mercy.
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