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Author Topic: 2 Systems For Your Consideration  (Read 2387 times)
Christopher Walck
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Posts: 3


« on: February 26, 2006, 09:35:28 PM »

Hey all.  First time posting on the boards.

The subject basically says it all.  I'm looking at 2 different system ideas for a modern day roleplaying game.  What setting that game will finally take form as is currently still being worked out.  One of them is a toned-down version of the 80's comic and cartoon GI Joe.  The other one deals with people who have been imbued with abilities by the 12 signs of the zodiac (I know there are 14, but I'm going with the 12 I know at this point).

Anyway... here are the 2 systems.  Are either of these systems cinematic enough for what I might be looking for?  Like I said, the setting is being worked on.  Of course, this might turn into a general system for use in many games if it happens down the road.

System 1: This system uses 4d10 as the base die mechanic.  Here, whenever a player needs to make a task check, he rolls 4d10 vs. the skill or attribute that's been determined as relevant.  Any die that rolls equal to or under the value is a success.  In this system, the average value turns out to be 2 and before we get into 99.9% success rates, it only goes up to 6.  It doesn't give a lot of room for improvement but when someone does increase their skill, it does boost quite a bit.

System 2: This uses a variable d6 dice pool.   This might seem similar to Star Wars (the WEG version) to people.  A player's skills/attributes make up the dice pool.  You take the highest die and compare it to the difficulty of the task.  In this system, you get rewarded for dice that come up in like value.  For every die beyond the first, you get an additional +1 to the result.  In this system, the difficulty stays fixed at 6, with the average die pool being 3 and going up to 8 before things get ridiculous with the success rate.

I'm not sure about how the skills in either system will work.  Which again seems more cinematic to you guys and gals?

1 - Everyone is rated in 6 attributes and 10 Fields of Expertise.  These Fields are, for example, Firearms, Close Combat, Vehicles, Technical, Academics, Street Smarts, Military, Interaction, Intrusion and Athletics.  There is a specialization ability where someone can take Technical: Computers +1 or whatever it is but again, no further level than the 10 FoE.

2 - As 1 above, but instead of stopping at the Fields, there are 5 to 6 skills underneath each Field.  The Fields come into play more in character generation as depending on what type of background the character has, he will have more points to use in some of the fields more than others.

3 - This system uses 6 or 7 attributes.  A player then chooses from a list of 30 to 35 specializations/careers.  There are considered to be 2 types: Primary and Secondary.  Any roll that involves either the Primary or Secondary specialization will get a bonus either to the dice pool or the value rolled against.  For example, if a player has Coordination 3 and has taken the Primary Specialization of Small Arms, his total value would be 5.

The damage system for both systems are not well defined at this point, but just looking for thoughts here and there to see if I'm barking up the wrong tree.
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2006, 12:23:55 AM »

Hi Viper, and welcome to the Forge!

I think it might be best to take these one system at a time -- let's focus on one of them right now and leave the other one to a second thread (which you could go start immediately) so we don't get mixed up or confused.

Here's my basic thoughts on what you've got right now.

It seems like you're putting the cart before the horse a little bit.  Before we talk about what sort of dice you roll, or how you divide up skill points, let's talk about what you want to achieve with your game design.  There's a set of questions that's been popular around here for focusing game designs, and I'm going to ask you a couple of them, if you don't mind.

1)  What is your game about?
2) What do the characters in the game do?
3) What do the players in the game do (including the GM if there is one)?

Why don't you pick one game for this thread and try to answer those questions about it?  If something's unclear, just ask.

Hope to hear back from you soon.

yrs--
--Ben

P.S.  What's your real name, if you don't mind us using it?  We tend to go by real names here.
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Anders Larsen
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Posts: 270


« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2006, 04:51:13 AM »

If you want a cinematic feeling for your game, I would suggest you have a mechanic that reward the player when he do something (you see as being) cinematic.

But I like to know more about what you want with this game, and I like to know more about the setting(s) (the setting where the people have abilities related to the zodiac seems to be a very interesting idea).

 - Anders
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Tommi Brander
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2006, 11:07:03 AM »

Quote from: Anders Larsen
If you want a cinematic feeling for your game, I would suggest you have a mechanic that reward the player when he do something (you see as being) cinematic.
Alternatively, a mechanic that lets people reward each other for doing what they think is cinematic.
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Christopher Walck
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Posts: 3


« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2006, 10:38:03 PM »

I do get the horse before the cart.  I think that's because the way my mind work is get the system in place and the setting will come as it develops.  BTW - the real name is Chris, I'm just so used to giving that name on boards...

I'll try to answer the questions put before me 1 by 1.

1 - The game is set either on this Earth or an alternate world Earth.  Astrology and the Zodiac as a whole has been frowned upon for centuries as being either hokey or not based in fact or science.  What can't be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt is frowned upon.

There are twelve Scions, godlike beings who came into creation when astrology first took root on Earth.  Some believe that these godlike beings came from another realm of existence or were in fact a manifestion of man's unconscious ability to create things if enough people believed in it.  These Scions watched over the Earth, each given rulership for 2000 years.  The Age of Aquarius began in approximately 2001 by our calenders.

With the lack of believers in astrology growing and only New Age people as well as others who read horoscopes in the newspapers, the Scions have lost a lot of power.  In an attempt to rebuild their power, the Scions began choosing humans who seemed to be as close as the Scions in temperment.  The Twins found those who enjoyed communicating and learning, The Lion found those who enjoyed organization and the willinginess to be the leader, while the other Scions began to choose still others.

However, the Scions did not grow in power equally.  Some Scions grew more powerful than others.  Aries the Ram, one of the most aggressive signs began targeting other signs to be destroyed or weakened so much that it could take control instead of Aquarius etc.

As the Scions fractured, so did the imbued humans on Earth.  Now a secret war is being waged, not only in the heavens but also on Earth as the followers of these Scions struggle either to balance things out between the signs (Libra), have all bow before one (Aries) or watch from afar and record everything that happens (Gemini).

But beyond this, another force is arising.  To each Scion there is a counterpart.  These counterparts wish to tear down what was built by the Scions and create their own reality... their own world to corrupt, enslave...

2 - See 1 above.  The characters can either be unimbued characters who become imbued and learn about the war that is being waged in the hearts and souls of men on Earth.  If they are imbued already, they must determine what sign they wish to follow and try to do what is best for their sign, making allies where then can, striking down their enemies if they need be.

3 - There's definitely a gamemaster in the game. I don't know what you mean by what they do besides roleplaying etc.  I don't intend to have massive astrology charts or whatnot for the game.  That would be cool but way too complicated for anyone excpe those who truly have studied astrology.  I really think that there would be 2 imbuments... 1 being the Sun sign and then the other would be the Ascendant sign (how we truly are vs. how we are to society).

I know this might be rough, but that's where I'm thinking of going here.
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Anders Larsen
Member

Posts: 270


« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2006, 06:20:03 AM »

I will be annoying and ask some more questions.

I see some different conflicts here:
  • The conflict between the occult and science
  • The conflict between the different Scions
  • The conflict between the Scions and there counterparts
  • The fight for the souls of men on Earth
Which of these conflicts is the most important?

Is there a downside to possessing the power of the Scions? Do you succumb to the 'bad' aspect of the scion if you do something wrong?

Is the process of being initiated into the world of the Zodiac an important element of the game? is it something all player have to go through when they make there character?

What is the main task for a character that have chosen a sign? Which conflicts do they engage in. Is there any personal conflicts?

What kind of feeling are you going for: Is it horror, occult mysteries, action or something else?

With these question I am trying to find what is the most important elements of your game. Before that it is hard to say anything about the system.

By the way, an explanation of the three question can be found here:
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=16996.0 (Troy's Standard Rant #2: Follow Up)

 - Anders

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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2006, 07:09:45 PM »

Hey, Chris.

1) Is great.  A game about secret conflicts between astrological entities and their human pawns, right?

I'm going to push you a little bit more about 2 and a lot a bit more about 3.

2) Okay, so I want you to imagine a character in your game.  Now, imagine what sorts of things might this character do over the course of a scene?  A session?  A longer arc of play?  'cause I really have no idea at this point.  Yeah, the characters are supposed to scheme and fight and make alliances but how do they go about doing this?

3) Are the players supposed to "get really into character" and experience the GM's predetermined storyline?  Are they supposed to strategize about their character's goals and manuever their character into a position of power?  Are they supposed to address the differences between an occult world and the real world?  Or something else?  Do the players provide any information for the GM, other than their characters?  (For example: in a lot of games the players have various signals to the GM about what they want in the game.)  Do the players control things that are not their own characters?  Are there aspects of the characters that are out of the players' control?

Likewise, does the GM come prepped with a dungeon?  A pre-determined plot arc?  Nothing at all?  A few NPCs and their motivations?  A setting?

yrs--
--Ben
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Christopher Walck
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Posts: 3


« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2006, 10:44:43 PM »

I'll take things again one at a time here as much as I can.  Can you also tell that I'm sort of new at this kind of designing? :)  And don't think that you are being annoying because you are asking questions.  I don't have a problem with that.  Besides, it helps to get my mind thinking as well on this end.

To answer the question about which is the most important conflict in the setting... they are all important but I think the most important one would be "the Scions against their counterparts".  Again, I would say that might be the most important.  But there is always counterplay between the signs.  Some of them are more compatible with others while some are just out and out enemies (signs in opposition).

The downside of possessing the power of the Zodiac is that you slowly become very focused on that particular aspect.  Not to the exclusion of everything else  but it does become a true focus.  You start to lose your subjectivity and the ability to see other people's point of view. 

I think the process of being initated is important but depending on the group it can be dealt with in the generation of characters or  actually use it as a catalyst for the campaign itself.  I mean, it could be the first adventure/story or it could have already happened and the characters have already been established.  I think it's important that characters go through it in play, but not truly necessary by any stretch of the imagination.

The main task of a charcter who has been chosen is to in fact further increase that Scion's power by doing things that would be in alignment with the sign.  Like I have said (I think), each sign will have some of focus to it and that focus is important throughout the game.  Of course that focus would cause problems in some ways.  Aries for example are very singular in nature and not interested in listening to other people's opinion.  They are the most likely to get into a fight with someone over their viewpower.  Remember, when you are chosen, that aspect becomes more and more enhanced in you until it gets truly out of control.

Conflicts would occur with 'rogue' followers who have strayed from the path of that sign, fights with their couterparts, etc.  There would have to be other beings besides the Scions that might cause conflict in the setting to add more fuel to the fire.

As for the feel of the game, I love horror but I don't think it would work here. I think a mix of occult mystery, secret socieites, and manipulation behind the scenes is where this game fits.  Remember, things would be in the shadows because normal society doesn't really know or care to know about what is going on.

To answer Ben's questions, I think I might have answered two a bit more (if needed, I will brainstorm and elaborate more).  As for 3, I would like the players to get into their characters.  No dungeons. It would work to have some sort of arc where the major scenes are mapped out to see what needs to be done but how the players get from one scene to another is up to them and their work as characters.  I do a lot of Game Mastering where I have the idea for the plot and let things develop as the game goes along.

Definitely players need to give feedback and ideas to where their characters may want to go.  I also don't think that anything should be out of the player's control as far as characters.  However, if as they grow in stature, it may be a plus/minus thing.  At this level, you gain this ability but you also get this restriction or whatever.

Like I said, the idea is very rough and I'm doing as I go here.
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Tommi Brander
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2006, 09:37:50 AM »

Definitely players need to give feedback and ideas to where their characters may want to go.  I also don't think that anything should be out of the player's control as far as characters.  However, if as they grow in stature, it may be a plus/minus thing.  At this level, you gain this ability but you also get this restriction or whatever.
One way is to reward the players for playing the sign they have. Especially if it would hurt the character. Increase the reward as the contact/bond grows stranger, and the player is more likely to do nonoptimal stuff.
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Anders Larsen
Member

Posts: 270


« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2006, 10:51:56 AM »

Quote
To answer the question about which is the most important conflict in the setting... they are all important but I think the most important one would be "the Scions against their counterparts".  Again, I would say that might be the most important.  But there is always counterplay between the signs.  Some of them are more compatible with others while some are just out and out enemies (signs in opposition).

Maybe the most important conflict is the Scions failure to unite against their counterpart: They are so busy backstabbing each other, that they can not properly fight their real enemy.

The reason why I want you to focus on what you see as being the most important element in the game, is because it will then be much easier to decide what mechanic/ rules that is right for the game. Your answers to all these questions (What is you game about, what do the character do etc.) will give you concepts about your game you can use to justify the rules.

Every time you have a rule you should ask yourself: "does this rule support what I want with the game". And if "no", you should properly drop the rule. Or the other way around. Take what is important in your game, and make rules from that.

The thing I normally do to get a handle on the rules, is that I try to decide what concepts that should be on the character sheet. Because what is on the character sheet is what is important for the character (and the player), and therefor what is important for the game.

I will stress: This is how I do it. You may have another approach, and that's fine.

The following is what I would put on the sheet:

* The initiating process should be represented on the sheet. the player build the character while he play through the initiation.
* The power given by the Scions should be represented on the sheet.
* There should be something that shows how deeply the character is affected by his sign.
* There should be something that shows how affected the character is by the counterpart.

There should properly some more concepts on the sheet, and maybe the thing I have mentioned is something you would not put on the sheet. And that is fine, as I said, I am just telling you my approach.

Quote
As for the feel of the game, I love horror but I don't think it would work here. I think a mix of occult mystery, secret socieites, and manipulation behind the scenes is where this game fits.  Remember, things would be in the shadows because normal society doesn't really know or care to know about what is going on.

Just to comment on one of your earlier question. I do not see a cinematic mechanic to be important for a game about occult mysteries. Not that it would create a problem, but it would not be necessary for the feeling of the game.

 - Anders
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