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Author Topic: Tales from the Rusty Broadsword Inn - Combat Aptitudes  (Read 905 times)
Narf the Mouse
Member

Posts: 96


« on: October 11, 2006, 11:33:37 AM »

Sorry, no real-life name - I just don't feel comfortable using it on the internet.

The RPG name is just a placeholder; it was chosen because of a backstory that's too long to bother with.

I guess I'll start with the Power 19 questions to explain what kind of game I'm aiming for - I wrote the answers late at night and did a quick edit today.

Quote
1.) What is your game about?**

Epic fantasy in a low-power world. A mix of The Lord of the Rings and The Three Musketeers. Kingdoms in peril and swashbuckling heroes.

2.) What do the characters do?**

Meet challenges, search for opportunities, advance their causes, meet goals and grow more diverse in capability.

3.) What do the players (including the GM if there is one) do?**

The players create a shared story, navigate their characters through obstacles, pursue the parts of the story that are interesting to them and add things to the story that they like.
The GM makes judgements on rules questions and wether or not what the players want to add to the story is admissable.

4.) How does your setting (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?

Don't really have a setting yet, but I'm thinking characters and magics light and dark, factions and plots spinning threads throughout the setting - But not so much that the characters need get bogged down or need run into a conspirator or conspiracy everywhere.

5.) How does the Character Creation of your game reinforce what your game is about?

A number of different Aptitudes(Professions) allows a player to approach anything (Including combat) from the angle that best fits their character and the setting. Guidelines should be included for making aptitudes.

6.) What types of behaviors/styles of play does your game reward (and punish if necessary)?

The game rewards risk-taking, goal-setting and roleplaying. No style of play should be punished, save by the gaming group themselves. However, characters may tend to find that teaming up gives them better odds, so perhaps that is a type of punishement for loner play. Or reward for team play.

7.) How are behaviors and styles of play rewarded or punished in your game?

I intend to include Themes as part of a character which the players can use to add things to the game, to increase their chances of success, to increase their characters' capabilities and to do grand magical effects. Themes are a sentence written by the player which define the characters' personality, goals, connections or anything else the player wants. Thus, the player is rewarded by/for playing the type of game they like.

8.) How are the responsibilities of narration and credibility divided in your game?

The player should narrate their characters' actions and the GM should narrate NPCs and decide on the credibility of actions.

9.) What does your game do to command the players' attention, engagement, and participation? (i.e. What does the game do to make them care?)

Since a characters' themes are decided by the player, they are rewarded for pursuing the type of play that interests them and can influence the story towards what interests them..

10.) What are the resolution mechanics of your game like?

( 3d6 + One Attribute (Base trained capability) + one Aptitude (Base learned profession) + Penalty if no proficiency (Base learned skill area ) ) / 3, for a success count. Sucesses can be spent for different effects.

11.) How do the resolution mechanics reinforce what your game is about?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

12.) Do characters in your game advance? If so, how?

Yes. By pursuing their themes and possibly by the passage of time.

13.) How does the character advancement (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?

Only insofar as players pick themes appropriate for that style of game.
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14.) What sort of product or effect do you want your game to produce in or for the players?

A satisfying game session, having played through a good story, killed some bad guys and gotten some rewards.

15.) What areas of your game receive extra attention and color?  Why?

Various aptitudes(professions) and proficiencies. So that players can have varied and diverse characters without having to define what the word 'Shock Trooper' means themselves, for example. Or wether Sword and Two-Handed Sword should be seperate areas. Complex characters, quick play.

16.) Which part of your game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?

The varied character options and the magic system. The varied character options hopefully make for diverse characters and the magic system hopefully will provide a fun, free-form way of simulating an epic, low-magic system.

17.) Where does your game take the players that other games canít, donít, or wonít?

There are lots of epic games and there are lots of low-magic games, but not too many epic, low-magic games. Plus, adaptable magic through themes, crunchy-feeling play options without too much crunch.

18.) What are your publishing goals for your game?

Playtesting, a .pdf, playtesting, a .pdf with art, editing, playtesting, editing(Professional), selling a .pdf and possibly book form - See where it goes from there.

19.) Who is your target audience?

Gamers, non-gamers who want to role-play, people who want to tell stories with other people, people who want to RP epic adventures without high-powered characters, Lord of the Rings fans, fans of adventure stories like The Three Musketeers.

My current stalling point is combat aptitudes - I feel like I've got too few and a few of them feel derivative, but I'm hitting a block when I try to either make them not derivative or come up with more. If nothing else, ideas might get knocked loose.

Aptitudes are based on professions; for combat aptitudes I'm currently writing it so each has three pieces of flavour which can give a bonus if the character fights according to the flavour. However, I'm still rough-drafting.

And, if nothing else, talking about my blocks sometimes gets my mind working around them.

What I've got:
Quote
Hoplite - Formation fighting, similiar equipment, following orders.
Skirmisher - Ambushing, disrupting formations, escaping engagement.
Shock Trooper - Chaotic meelee, disrupting formations, fighting while outnumbered.
Duelist - One-against-one fights, formalized rules, prepared area.
Swashbuckler - Using terrain, one-against-one fights, keeping on the move.
Brawler - Chaotic meelee, fighting while outnumbered, constantly moving
I could replace one of the brawler ones with 'Using terrain'. That would also fit.

Thanks for any and all help. Hope this wasn't too long.
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Adam Dray
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Posts: 676


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« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2006, 12:27:22 PM »

Hey there! Welcome to the Forge!  Did you have any specific questions? I don't know if you want help and, if so, what kind.

The part of your post that most caught my attention was this:
Quote
17.) Where does your game take the players that other games canít, donít, or wonít?

There are lots of epic games and there are lots of low-magic games, but not too many epic, low-magic games. Plus, adaptable magic through themes, crunchy-feeling play options without too much crunch.

This is the part of your design that makes your game unique, right? Otherwise, you'd just be playing D&D 3.5 without the spellcaster classes. Or better, Iron Heroes, right? Obviously, you have some ideas and think they're best served by a new kind of game, and I'm cool with that. I'm working on a FRPG myself, and I'm pretty clearly in my head designing something that I can't find out there anywhere.

So how are you making your game better than D&D for epic, low-magic games? First of all, what do you mean by epic? I get the feeling you mean long-running stories where pretty ordinary people get embroiled in big things, learn a lot about themselves, and eventually beat the bad guys. Right? I'm also fascinated by your ideas for magic. How do you reconcile "low-magic" with all the attention you're giving to it with all these "crunchy-feeling play options"?

You skipped #11:
Quote
11.) How do the resolution mechanics reinforce what your game is about?

Rephrased for your specific game: How do the resolution mechanics reinforce epic fantasy? a low-power world? How do your resolution mechanics give me play that feels like a mix of LotR plus Three Musketeers? Swashbuckling resolution mechanics would be awesome (have you seen the game, 7th Sea?) Kingdoms in peril? Are there resolutions for that, because if there are, I want to play already!

I think you also skipped #13, sorta:

Quote
13.) How does the character advancement (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?

Only insofar as players pick themes appropriate for that style of game.

If you want your game to be low-power, you're going to have to think carefully about whether you want to include typical FRPG advancement where the PCs start out as weak nobodies and grow to be nearly invincible superheroes. Again, this goes to your definition of "epic." Does your idea of epic include the PCs growing to become all-but-unstoppable forces or not?

Also, Tales from the Rusty Broadsword Inn is a fantastic name for a game. I hope you use it and work it into the game somehow!
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Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
Hereward The Wake
Member

Posts: 173


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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2006, 12:52:19 PM »

Are players limited to one apptitude? or can they have more than one?

Best
Jonathan
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Above all, Honour
Jonathan Waller
Secretary EHCG
secretary@ehcg.net
www.ehcg.net
Narf the Mouse
Member

Posts: 96


« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2006, 01:19:42 PM »

Quote
Adam Dray: Hey there! Welcome to the Forge!  Did you have any specific questions? I don't know if you want help and, if so, what kind.
As I said, I'm kinda stuck on diversifying and expanding my combat aptitudes, or wether they need to be expanded and/or diversified, but perhaps I wasn't clear on that. Thanks for the welcome!
Quote
This is the part of your design that makes your game unique, right? Otherwise, you'd just be playing D&D 3.5 without the spellcaster classes. Or better, Iron Heroes, right? Obviously, you have some ideas and think they're best served by a new kind of game, and I'm cool with that. I'm working on a FRPG myself, and I'm pretty clearly in my head designing something that I can't find out there anywhere.

So how are you making your game better than D&D for epic, low-magic games? First of all, what do you mean by epic? I get the feeling you mean long-running stories where pretty ordinary people get embroiled in big things, learn a lot about themselves, and eventually beat the bad guys. Right? I'm also fascinated by your ideas for magic. How do you reconcile "low-magic" with all the attention you're giving to it with all these "crunchy-feeling play options"?
There will be spellcasters. My concept is basically low-powered heroes, low-powered magic. Aragorn would be about as high-level as you can get, but if Aragorn gets a sword in the stomach, he's going to die. Not so a 20th-level D&D character. So basically, it's skills that make a character high-powered, not damage resistance.

I don't know for sure if I could find it out there or not; I've only been playing two years. I've been messing around with game design for about that long and I feel that I finally have something I can make playable. Plus, I've got this desire to make it myself.

Ordinary insofar as it can be applied to people who intentionally seek danger. :) Otherwise, pretty much it. On the other hand, characters of more or less power could easily be made by varying the starting XP (I'm using point-buy)

By 'crunchy-feeling play options', I meant the whole game. For example, the aptitudes. Each combat aptitude gives bonuses for different styles of fighting and will therefore hopefully encourage different styles of fighting in play, without the need for extensive rules.

For magic, I'm thinking free-form, with enough information on options so that the GM can know or easily figure out the important information about a spell ('Ok, you're trying to paralyze him, so the spell should last about...'). The aptitudes could provide for different styles of spellcasting, again without adding too many rules. I don't intend to over-focus on magic.
Quote
Rephrased for your specific game: How do the resolution mechanics reinforce epic fantasy? a low-power world? How do your resolution mechanics give me play that feels like a mix of LotR plus Three Musketeers? Swashbuckling resolution mechanics would be awesome (have you seen the game, 7th Sea?) Kingdoms in peril? Are there resolutions for that, because if there are, I want to play already!

I think you also skipped #13, sorta:
I think our understanding of what 'resolution mechanics' is is different. I've been thinking 'Dice rolling and success counting'. If you mean the entire question of how things are resolved...
First, Attributes and Aptitudes are bought at increasing costs. I'm currently using 1-3-6-10-15, but have thought about cost doubling. This means that attributes and aptitudes don't get too high, which re-inforces low-powered gaming.

Second, the game currently has two wounds mechanics; one gives a penalty to any roll and is the basic health mechanic, the second applies a penalty to the use of specific body parts and only lasts untill combat is over. Both are done in equal measure by weapons, so you have characters clutching body parts for a short time after combat, then by the next scene change the're just generally scuffed up - Which certainly reflects the genre.

Third, I intend to add options for combat manuevers and using terrain - Something that won't add too many rules - That's basically a design goal. I want options without burying the player.

Fourth - Hey, any ideas you can give me... :)

Quote
I think you also skipped #13, sorta:
I don't think I quite understood it. To expound, seeing as your stats increase on ever-increasing costs, characters with diverse skills will be more common than characters with with a few, high skills. Therefore, play should be low-powered and tactical, with players applying the option that seems to best fit the situation - Which fits the characters in the genre, who aren't supermen but who do have a lot of skills.
Quote
If you want your game to be low-power, you're going to have to think carefully about whether you want to include typical FRPG advancement where the PCs start out as weak nobodies and grow to be nearly invincible superheroes. Again, this goes to your definition of "epic." Does your idea of epic include the PCs growing to become all-but-unstoppable forces or not?

Also, Tales from the Rusty Broadsword Inn is a fantastic name for a game. I hope you use it and work it into the game somehow!
Advancement, but as discussed above, increasingly-costly advancement.
Epic in terms of scale. Aventures should start out small ('Take the ring to Brie') and end large ('Free the rightfull prince from the dungeon'). However, the characters remain only mortal, even if more skilled than the average mortal. Or even the not-so-average mortal.

Thanks! I've been worried that if I name it that, people will expect it to be about telling tales in an inn. :)
It's named after a game I GM-fiated (Untill I burnt out - It's hard making rulings without rules) of the same name, based around whatever the players brought to the table. Since the game design was originally based around whatever popped into my head as I rough-drafted the basic concepts, I decided to re-use it. So I guess the story isn't too long, after all. :)

Quote
Are players limited to one apptitude? or can they have more than one?

Best
Jonathan
They can have as many aptitudes as they want. I see no reason why someone couldn't learn how to brawl and how to duel. And then add some diplomat for spice. The more the merrier!

Thanks.
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Hereward The Wake
Member

Posts: 173


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« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2006, 12:09:25 PM »

Quote
Are players limited to one apptitude? or can they have more than one?

Best
Jonathan
They can have as many aptitudes as they want. I see no reason why someone couldn't learn how to brawl and how to duel. And then add some diplomat for spice. The more the merrier!


Ok that clears thinsg up a bit. After all someone who is trained in Hoplite (soldier) who is trained for fighting in formations, would generally be able to fight in several other syles as well, as after all fighting in battles would be fairly rare, and most of their combat experience would be in skirmishes, raids etc, and being a soldier you are likely to have been in a few brawls as well.

You mention differnt maneuvers etc. Can you expand on these ideas?

Best
JW
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Above all, Honour
Jonathan Waller
Secretary EHCG
secretary@ehcg.net
www.ehcg.net
Narf the Mouse
Member

Posts: 96


« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2006, 12:40:17 PM »

I don't have anything fleshed out for combat manuevers; I do have a few ideas, like bonuses for shield walls, standard feint/counter/cover/etc. bonuses...

Basically, my current idea is to have a penalty to the roll for actions; I'm currently calling this an Action Penalty. Base AP is -3. Also, since the results of rolls are divided by 3 to get successes, I can fiddle with that. Manuevers could increase or decrease AP, increase or decrease the Success Rate or whatever I end up calling it, give attack and defence bonuses or penalties or give different results for an attack.

I'm currently leaning towards an initiative system where each combat exchange can result in damage to either character, with a penalty for each time you roll. But, a final descision on that needs playtesting.

For now, though, I'm still rough-drafting the aptitudes. I plan on several passes through the document, expanding each section based on what I wrote in the other sections. For example, I can't really expound on the combat aptitudes until I have a combat section and expounding on the combat aptitudes will allow some more detail in the combat section.
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Callan S.
Member

Posts: 3588


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« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2006, 04:44:54 AM »

What I've got:
Quote
Hoplite - Formation fighting, similiar equipment, following orders.
Skirmisher - Ambushing, disrupting formations, escaping engagement.
Shock Trooper - Chaotic meelee, disrupting formations, fighting while outnumbered.
Duelist - One-against-one fights, formalized rules, prepared area.
Swashbuckler - Using terrain, one-against-one fights, keeping on the move.
Brawler - Chaotic meelee, fighting while outnumbered, constantly moving
With your block - well, these all sound more like ways of life and handling life, than technical read outs of what shape the man/cog is and where he goes in the (war) machine.

You might want to explore them more as ways of life and attitudes to living and see if you can use what you find there.
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Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
Narf the Mouse
Member

Posts: 96


« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2006, 01:02:55 PM »

Hmm, interesting idea. Anyone know of some good RPGs that handle professions that way? Preferably ones I can download? for free?

Thanks.
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