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Author Topic: [Makyo] System kernel for critique  (Read 8482 times)
Akuma Kyo
Member

Posts: 17


« on: August 23, 2004, 01:30:38 AM »

Hi all,

Thought I would present the very barebones of my system in hope for a little inspiration from your input. This is very barebones. I do have other rules ideas but there is no need to present them as yet. Iím really dissatisfied with combat, as it is currently resolved with one roll, and seeing that this game has a lot of combat Iím looking for some more rules to add a bit of drama and even tactics-as well as seeking general opinions.

Anyway here it is:

Attributes
All the items on the Character Sheet are known as Attributes. These are your Characters personality traits, skills, passions, desires, beliefs-indeed anything that is important to your character is noted on the Character Sheet. Each Attribute has an associated level, and a dice at that level, defining the depth or proficiency of the Attribute. In system terms, there is no difference between any of the attributes; a characters traits, skills, etc. all function the same and can Ďconnectí with each other; traits can affect your skills, or the camaraderie you share with your fellow men on the battlefield can increase your chance of victory, for instance. But more on this later. Some entries we might find on a Character Sheet may look like this:
   Horse training   1D6
   Horse Riding  2D12
   Archery  2D20
   Generous 1D8
   Impulsive  1D4
To understand the meaning of those dice next to the attributes letís look at the dice ladder:

The Dice Ladder
There are seven dice, from low (d20) to high (d4), on the dice ladder, these are:
d20   d16   d12   d10   d8   d6   d4
Now this dice ladder lies within another ladder of bigger steps or levels. So if a d20 is the bottom and a d4 is the top, how do we go higher than a d4? We simply use a d20 but at level 2. The level is represented by a number before the dice. Therefore 1d20 means a dice 20 at level 1. 3d8 means a dice 8 at level 3. Although the characters will frequently transcend it, Level 1 is considered the human level. This means the average person will have average (1d10) strength, wisdom, intelligence etc.

Target Rolls
Uncontested rolls are rolled against a TN (Target Number) set by the GM. The default TN is 5 at any level. The PC rolls the dice. If the number is 5 or less then it is a success, a roll of 6 or above is a failure. In uncontested rolls the GM should move the TN up or down instead of modifying the characters dice level.

Contested Rolls
Contestes Rolls are used when two characters are in a contest. Both contestants roll their dice and the difference is noted. In contest rolls the results are always deducted from each other and the margin of success noted for the the person with the lowest (best) roll. When the two opponents are at different levels a margin can still be easily found. Just add 20 to the opponent on the lower level before deducting them. E.g. Player A rolls a 5 on a 1d8 (d8 at level 1), Player B rolls 16 on a 2d20 (d20 at level 2). Player B beats Player A by a margin of 9. In combat, a Players Character may roll a minor victory over his opponent and the opponent leave sulking in one scene, and yet in another, the GM may have the opponent tenaciously fight, making numerous rolls until his demise by a total victory.
- If there is a tie, there is a tie.
- If the difference is 1 to 5 then the victory is fairly negligle.
- If the difference is 6 to 10 it is a minor victor.
- If the difference is 11 to 15 it is a major victory.
- If the difference is 16+ it is a total victory

Total Victory
The Player can decide on the results of a total victory, In combat this may mean he chooses anyhting such as:
Death to the opponent, severe injury, the opponent is knocked unconscious or humiliated, a ransom is asked or the opponent is taken into slavery, ask the opponent for a favour/help etc. etc.

The Critical Success
A roll of a 1 is a critical success and the PC may immediately reroll with a d20 at the next level.

Equipmet
Eqipment; weapons, armour, grappling hooks etc. work differently to attributes and are used to modify them. They represented by bonus die as +1, +2, +3 etc. e.g. A dagger might be +1, a broadsword +3.

Mods
Mods or modifiers are bonuses or penalties that alter your dice ladder, they are added by the PC or GM. In a given situation the PC may modify his main attribute with other relevant attributes to gain an increase in dice. The additional attributes give a bonus in dice equivalent to the level of the attribute.
Example:
Akira is wielding his mace in war. He is using Mace Fighting (1d8) as his main attribute for the situation. His Mace has a damage potential of +3 and because mace fighting also requires strength for effectiveness he adds the level of his Strength (1d8), which is 1. Now Akira rolls a 2d16 (1d8 +3, +1) for his attack.
The GM may grant bonus dice or penalty dice (usually no more or less than 5) according to the situation. For example shooting a moving target may give a 1 dice penalty, fighting from higher ground may give a +1 bonus etc.


So thatís the basic kernel of the system.

* Critiques?
* Suggestions for tactical/dramatic/interesting combat?

Thanks,
Akuma Kyo.
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Andrew Martin
Member

Posts: 785


« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2004, 01:48:59 AM »

Quote from: Akuma Kyo
Iím really dissatisfied with combat, as it is currently resolved with one roll, and seeing that this game has a lot of combat Iím looking for some more rules to add a bit of drama and even tactics-as well as seeking general opinions.
...
* Suggestions for tactical/dramatic/interesting combat?

I've noticed that your game seems to involve a lot of combat so far. Is combat what the game is about? Is there any other interesting part?

Have you checked out D&D3E or Riddle of Steel (for challenging combat systems), or IronClaw and the Window (for step dice systems) yet? In what ways, would your ideal system surpass or exceed these systems?
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Andrew Martin
Akuma Kyo
Member

Posts: 17


« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2004, 02:46:13 AM »

Hi Andrew,

Yes, there is a lot more to the game than combat but my post is specifically addressing this part of the game. It is too much to go into my entire sketchbook here and at the moment it is only really combat- or multiple contents, to be more precise-that is bugging me. I understand what you are asking and realize here at the forge you like people to delve deeper than just combat stuff but in this post I really am just wondering about this aspect.

Quote
Have you checked out D&D3E or Riddle of Steel (for challenging combat systems), or IronClaw and the Window (for step dice systems) yet?


D&D3E - Haven't played this since AD&D, oohh a long time ago. Does my feudal japan game really need so many extraneous rules (e.g. races: elves, dwarves, gnomes etc.)? Or is it the D20 system you mean? Don't know much about it all, is it really worth looking at? oh yeah, and I like the idea of wargaming but the stuff I want to do is like with thousands, millions of units, think of the CRPG: Shogun: Total War. - I don't think this sort of stuff is accomplishable with D&D is it?

TROS - I have the quickstart rules. Can't live with the magic section. I've never actually played it so I may be being unfair here - but combat looks terribly complex and slow. Do I really need to be so realistic (my game is more cinematic samurai/ninja stuff)

IronClaw - Don't know anything about this game. I will look it up.

The Window - Yep, a big inspiration in fact. However, The Window is really skill and trait based, with very little player power. it touts itself as a 'new wave' rpg but it really is quite old style these days. My game has a lot more funkier stuff going on, all attributes being synonomous for instance - I just haven't mentioned all that jazz because my post is about the basic dice mechanics.

Besides, I think I am too attached to my system, something really amazing would have to come along for me to abandon it now and go for that. I'm just showing you a part- the very bare bones of the dice mechanics- of the system. At the moment I am just pondering multiple contest rolls and after suggestions.
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Andrew Martin
Member

Posts: 785


« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2004, 02:56:54 AM »

Quote from: Akuma Kyo
Besides, I think I am too attached to my system,..


This should be an alarm bell to you. It means that you are deliberately blinding yourself to other possibilities. It's far better to focus and become attached to your goal, what you want to achieve, rather than becoming attached to the means to accomplish something.
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Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
Member

Posts: 785


« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2004, 03:07:15 AM »

Hi, Akuma Kyo. (Sorry, I can't tell which is your personal name.)
I'll just try to reveal what your goals seem to be in your post above:
Quote from: Akuma Kyo
...it is only really combat- or multiple contents, to be more precise-that is bugging me.

...I like the idea of wargaming but the stuff I want to do is like with thousands, millions of units, think of the CRPG: Shogun: Total War.

TROS - ... Can't live with the magic section. ...combat looks terribly complex and slow. Do I really need to be so realistic (my game is more cinematic samurai/ninja stuff).


I get the feeling that there will be samurai and ninja, lots of showy martial arts with samurai swords whirling and flying shuriken from the ninja. There's really big battles as well, where the fates of rulers are decided on the battlefield. And there's no Western magic, but there might be some low level Eastern magic? Something that fits a fantasy Nippon? Players roleplay samurai in service or daimyo?

Is that about right? Or is there more?

Could you outline a typical playsession, without any reference to a game system?
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Andrew Martin
Akuma Kyo
Member

Posts: 17


« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2004, 03:35:41 AM »

Quote
I get the feeling that there will be samurai and ninja, lots of showy martial arts with samurai swords whirling and flying shuriken from the ninja. There's really big battles as well, where the fates of rulers are decided on the battlefield. And there's no Western magic, but there might be some low level Eastern magic? Something that fits a fantasy Nippon? Players roleplay samurai in service or daimyo?

Is that about right? Or is there more?


Nice. I am imagining somewhere in between Monkey Magic and Dynasty! (Remember those old TV shows?) There will be strong Buddhist/Taoist themes, political dramas-twists and subplots, and yes some ďreally big battlesĒ for regions.

But I guess I am brushing broad strokes and counting on different play sessions having different moods/themes. When you are in the mood you could embark on a thriller, ninja assissination, mystery type genre - and yet in another a very serious exploration into aggressive empire-building. I am entertaining the idea of a mass combat meta game - moving completely away from the NAR at times and playing a tactical war game with perhaps a completely different set of rules. But that is not yet evolved enough.

I like the simplicity of my design as it stands but I fear it may be too simple in resolving complex challenges between characters and would like to stretch it out a little here. You and everyone else around here will probably curse me for saying this but perhaps it is better if you don't think of the setting, and take a "uiniversal" approach to this design.

Seeing them as dice mechanics for resolving potentially long conflicts-regardless of the setting/genre/modern day/ancient times- is the way I am looking at it.

P.S.

It's Akuma.
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Joshua Tompkins
Member

Posts: 32


WWW
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2004, 11:09:22 AM »

Hi, Akuma!

First, I love your setting idea - seems like it offers a lot of potential for conflict (both social & physical).  It helps, too, that I've always liked Asian-themed settings. :)

If you're still looking for some system or setting information, you might check out WotC's Oriental Adventures ruleset for d20.  Even if you can't stand the d20 system, you could probably glean a few ideas from it... I remeber the martial arts stuff in particular having some neat ideas.  I think there was a Sorcerer supplement that included rules for martial arts, too, though I don't remember which one.

I've got a couple of questions about your rules, though.

For target rolls, the default TN is 5.  How does this work when you have a level greater then one?  Do you add an automatic 20 to the TN?

Could you tell us a little more about character creation?  What does it cost to move up the dice ladder, etc?

Cheers,
-joshua
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Akuma Kyo
Member

Posts: 17


« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2004, 02:05:06 AM »

Hi all,

Quote
This should be an alarm bell to you.


Sorry, I somehow missed this post Andrew. I won't rule out you being right. I am very open to adopting another system, but honestly, what are the chances that one will fit your bill?

Hey Josh, thanks for the interest and the tip, I will definately look into Oriental Adventures. As far as Target numbers go you can just set the default at 5 at various levels I write this as 1t5 (target number of 5 at level 1), 3t5 (target number of 5 at level 3) etc. of course you can make the target 1t7, 2t16, 3t8, whatever....I havn't really delved too deep as yet into the Chargen, points etc. but I am thinking of basing the advancement on characters following the "right path' in a buddhist way. In chargen the character may represented 1 of the 12 animals in the horoscope and have an exaggerated virtue and vice of that animal (very monkey magic like) to explore.  However I'd rather not expose too much about that as yet as it is still all unclear to me and at the moment I am focusing on the basic dice mechanics.

I have some ideas for combat, just throwing it around:

Combat Rolls
There are two rolls to determine combat. The first to establish initiative, the second for attack and defense.

Step 1. Both characters roll one dice for initiative.
INITIATIVE = Weapon Mastery (Main Attribute) + Any Appropriate Mods (agility, speed etc...) - Deduct Armour/weapon strength/weight ???

Step2. The better initiative roll now rolls attack, the loser rolls defense dice.
ATTACK = Weapon Mastery (Main Attribute) + Any Appropriate Mods (strength, eagle eye, etc...)
DEFENSE = Weapon Mastery (Main Attribute) + Any Appropriate Mods (armour, shield, dodge etc..)
All rolls Moded with other appropriate attributes like; love of fair maiden, anger, hatred of huns etc. of course.

It should still be pretty fast with only two rolls.

Other stuff to potentially ad are tactical things like;

Weapon stats
A sword can thrust (+0 Initiative, +1 Attack)
A sword can swing (-1 Initiative, +2 Attack)

Other stuff like;
Defensive stance - Character can adopt a defensive stance adding +2 to his defense but does not attack, waiting for rienforcements perhaps.
Aggressive attack - Character can launch a haymaker adding +2 to initiative and attack (if successful) but risk losing the initiative and suffering -2 (or more?) when defending.

Y'know that kinda stuff..

I'm also thinking of other things which aren't key issues as yet: like points in the kitty being able to be burnt to temporarily boost attributes (combat or otherwise). But funky stuff can be focused on later.

I think what I really need to work out is what the margins do. For instance does a minor victory over the opponent in a contest with multiple rolls affect his abilities, applying penalty mods for a round or more?

Anyway, any suggestions?


Akuma.
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Akuma Kyo
Member

Posts: 17


« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2004, 04:22:42 AM »

Sorry, couldn't edit last post but I forgot to add equipment mods, should look like this:

Combat Rolls
There are two rolls to determine combat. The first to establish initiative, the second for attack and defense.

Step 1. Both characters roll one dice for initiative.
INITIATIVE = Weapon Mastery (Main Attribute) + Any Appropriate Mods (agility, speed etc...) - Deduct Armour/weapon strength/weight ???

Step2. The better initiative roll now rolls attack, the loser rolls defense dice.
ATTACK = Weapon Mastery (Main Attribute) + Any Appropriate Mods (strength, eagle eye, etc...) + weapon
DEFENSE = Weapon Mastery (Main Attribute) + Any Appropriate Mods (armour, shield, dodge etc..) - deduct weapon strength/weight???
All rolls Moded with other appropriate attributes like; love of fair maiden, anger, hatred of huns etc. of course.
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eef
Member

Posts: 40


WWW
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2004, 06:14:28 PM »

Akuma,

I think you need to take a good hard look at how the system works.  For instance, 1d6 vs 1d6 can't get more than an "incidental victory".  Is how you want things to run?  It might be,  but it does seem a little counter-intuitive.

Why is 1 a critical success?  If high is good,  don't you mean "max result" or something like than?

Be advised with the critical rules as they are I'll take a 1d4 against 1d6, 1d8, maybe 1d10.  1d4 has a 25% chance each roll of getting a critical, and then next round I get the big 1d20 and get a good chance of putting my opponent away.  A little counter-intuitive.
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Akuma Kyo
Member

Posts: 17


« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2004, 09:36:27 PM »

Dear eef,

I think you have got it wrong.

Quote
Why is 1 a critical success? If high is good, don't you mean "max result" or something like than?


On the contrary low is good. The person with the lower roll wins. Thus a 1 is the best roll you can make.

Quote
For instance, 1d6 vs 1d6 can't get more than an "incidental victory".


hence this, taken directly from my notes:

QUICK ROLLS
When two characters are a similar level e.g. They are both contesting with 1d8 and they are both engaged in a contest of multiple rolls, it is not nessecary to tediously narrate each roll as there could be a long succession of negligible margins. In this case each character Quick Rolls until a critical success is achieved. The GM can simply make sweeping statements to gloss over the quick rolls and then narrate the significant event.

I think this is actually a strong point, people of equal strength do battle for a very long time until some final advantage point is gained making one suddenly the vicor (think of the final duels between the protagonists and antagonists at the end of any movie you can think of).

Good points but if you see that the ladder is actually the reverse of what you currently think it is it will be clearer. Actually the dice are stepping down on levels that are stepping up.

Lower roll is better (within a level), roll a 1 and you can immediatley roll again at the next level up. When I say "level" I mean another whole set of 7 dice.

DIAGRAM:

LEVEL 1-------------------------|-LEVEL 2-------------------- etc..
d20 d16 d12 d10 d8 d6 d4 | d20 d16 d12 d10 d8 d6 d4 etc..
Amateur -------------Perfect | Amateur------------------Perfect

Does this help?
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Akuma Kyo
Member

Posts: 17


« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2004, 10:28:36 PM »

Just thought I would step back a bit here and reply to one of Andrews posts, only because a question he asked has stuck in my head and really made me think .

Quote
Have you checked out D&D3E or Riddle of Steel (for challenging combat systems), or IronClaw and the Window (for step dice systems) yet? In what ways, would your ideal system surpass or exceed these systems?


Well, what I like about this system is that it is Universal. Many games claim to be "universal"; D20, GURPS, The Basic Role Playing System, but NONE of these are truly universal systems because they rely on predifined attributes/stats (strength, charisma, intelligence etc.). In a game where strength isn't important these system becomes fairly useless. My system says "Hey, pick whatever attributes are important to your game and modify them with other important attributes". I like that.


It's also simple. All contests are resolved with the same mechanic. Step die-how simple can you get? simple math as well-deducting two numbers from each other. All attributes are significant, therefore your skill in combat can be effected by your mood, beliefs, desires, relationships etc. We find in Roman literature on warfare that generals should smile before entering battle to boost their soldiers morale. I don't think D&D takes this into consideration. A scene involving David slaying Goliath could easily be
accomplished with this system.

I like the fact that amateurs can fluke good scores but those well trained narrow there chances of failure - this is quite realistic.

I like that it can scale indefinately-Superheroes would work a treat.

I like that there are no Hit Points, health etc..- just victories with different meanings according to the situation and player/character.

There's something about rolling a "1" that gels well with perfection.

Anyway, enough ranting, just thought I'd divulge why I have a little attachment to the system.
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Andrew Martin
Member

Posts: 785


« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2004, 12:17:11 AM »

Quote from: Akuma Kyo
Hi all,

Quote
This should be an alarm bell to you.


Sorry, I somehow missed this post Andrew. I won't rule out you being right. I am very open to adopting another system, but honestly, what are the chances that one will fit your bill?


Extremely high, if one focuses on the goal rather than the means to get somewhere. By always knowing what kind of game play you want, you can then design, make, test, refine, rebuild, replace game systems until it matches your desired end point.

How do I know this? Just from personal experience and knowing the 7 habits. Have a quick look at this page: http://www.quickmba.com/mgmt/7hab/ and habit number 2: "Begin with the End in Mind". Knowing what your system will achieve, allows you to create the system that will achieve it. Otherwise, you're merely hacking paths in a jungle of possibilities, with no one looking to make sure you're headed in the right direction to your goal.
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Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
Member

Posts: 785


« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2004, 12:37:23 AM »

Quote from: Akuma Kyo
There's something about rolling a "1" that gels well with perfection.


I agree. I quite like it as well. It's one of things I intend doing some time to my own step-die combat system based on Easter and Cinematic martial arts.

Step 0.
Assuming the goal is: a Eastern & Cinematic Martial Arts combat system suitable for having battles between expert samurai, ninjas, and so on, in Medieval Japan, as described in comic book, manga, anime, and movies, and it should have options for a short contest and a long contest, with the long contest being "more interesting".

Steps 1+
I would remove the large steps in the quality rating table and remove the uncontested target number of 5, replacing it with the GM rolling an appropriate number of D4 - D20, so all rolls are contested. The lowest die roll win the contest. The number on each die is the number of faults that each character made in the flurry of blows. The character whose player rolled the lowest, had found the flaw in it's opponent's defences, gets their blow through and so wins the duel/contest. The difference in the two totals is the number of facts the winning player can narrate. The player that lost the contest/duel gets to narrate the effects the winning player has on the loosing character, if any.

There's several ways of making a contest "more interesting". What makes it more interesting to you, Akuma? Would it be more rolls? The interaction between weapons and armour? Stategy and tactics, like flanking or getting behind your opponent? What about the samurai semi-mystical perception abilities? What about video game options, like throwing fireballs from the hands, dancing on bamboo stalks, or flying?
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Andrew Martin
Akuma Kyo
Member

Posts: 17


« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2004, 02:16:37 AM »

Quote
There's several ways of making a contest "more interesting". What makes it more interesting to you, Akuma? Would it be more rolls? The interaction between weapons and armour? Stategy and tactics, like flanking or getting behind your opponent? What about the samurai semi-mystical perception abilities? What about video game options, like throwing fireballs from the hands, dancing on bamboo stalks, or flying?


I most definitely imagined flying, fireballs and tactical maneuvers! Indeed all of the above. And i do have some ideas for these already (flying being in the realm of magic but usuable in combat). "more rolls?" I don't want the rolls to be more complicated as such, just to give a sense of fairness (by players being able to roll more than once), add drama, and perhaps offer an opportunity for tactics-replicating the fictional contests we see in-as you say- "comic book, manga, anime, and movies".

Step 0

Yep.

Step 1+

Quote
remove the large steps in the quality rating table


Good idea, something I did consider but will most certainly review again.

Quote
and remove the uncontested target number of 5, replacing it with the GM rolling an appropriate number of D4 - D20, so all rolls are contested.


I did think of this too but thought it easier and more appropriate to use a target number for "static" things. For example the hieght of a wall doesn't change so a target number would be more appropriate than a roll if the character wanted to jump it. But again, it is something to reconsider.

Quote
The difference in the two totals is the number of facts the winning player can narrate.


I like your thinking but I didn't really see the victory as a powertool for the player to have dramatic narrative control, altering the plot-as such. This is not a moment like "the monologue of victory" in the pool. I have another technique for that, that is a lot more subtle but certainly gives players some power in story development. No, I see the victory as more like just a decision that someone would make in this period by the player; kill, injure badly but let live, put into slavery, ask for a ransom etc... Sure the outcome is completely in the hands of the player but it's not a licence to describe what's happening in the next room.

And what if one character rolls a critical and the difference ends up being 35! That's a lot of facts to narrate.

Struggling with the margins of victory as I am, I will, as you suggested, think about alternatives to the chunky steps. is still doesn't solve my dilemna of multiple rolls though.

The 7 habits of highly effective people is a good read, I've saved the page to read again.

P.S.
Andrew, I noticed on your site some wargaming systems that I am fascinated with; S and simply skirmish, I find the different actions in Duel very interesting. I haven't had a good read as yet but am about to do so.
Just off hand, have you ever come across anything that dealt with armies of thousands?
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