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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 68 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [sic] Edge Kinghts  (Read 1942 times)
Chainsaw Aardvark
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Posts: 17


« on: July 23, 2007, 07:20:36 AM »

I wasn't able to find my old notes on a computer based magic system, but I was able to recreate it and sync it up with a new combat/skill mechanic that I thought up a few days ago. (Oddly enough, while my advice to most designers is to think of setting first, many of my games come as system ideas without defined locations first)

Anyway, I think I'll make the attempt. I'm going for Set D - Cyberpunk Fantasy

Setting
The land is ruled by MegaKingdoms and the Great Clock God Sysop - the holy word spread by the order of WatchMen. Though factories can be automated - run by magical difference engines, the position of serf remains in society. Indeed, their lives are more regimented than ever - to allow your watch to run 5 min. slow is a criminal offense, those who lose it are slain. A BBS and electronic banking system exist, allowing the government to control the flow of money and information in an Orwellian System.

Edge Knights are those who dare to dream, who stop the clocks, and throw shoes in the automatic looms. (Useless fact: this is the origin of the term sabotage derived from the french word "Sabot" - Shoe.) They want to rebel against the order of the hours and reintroduce the concept of leisure without supervision.

System
Roll a d10 vs a GM set difficulty. Skills do not affect difficulty, but rather increase the degree of success. A novice with a skill of 1 and a master rated at 4 will both have a difficulty of 7+(ie 40%) chance of deciphering a scroll, but the latter will decipher 5 lines of text, while the latter only 2 (1 success+skill)

Attributes can be spent on rerolls, but otherwise don't affect difficulty either.

Combat is worked out according to a pool of Action and Combat points. CP are spent swinging, aiming dodging, while AP are to quaff potions, move, or cast spells.

Light attacks cost 1 CP, and inflict 2 damage+skill, Heavy cost 2cp, inflict 5+, but have notably reduced chances of hitting. (6+vs8+ to hit)

Magic is hacking the universe. One attunes with the Local Aura Nexus (LAN) and gathers 1d6 of bandwidth per AP spent. Once they have collected a sufficient amount of magical energy it is split between the three types of Reality Altering Memes (RAM) SD-RAM, M-RAM, and E-RAM (Self/distance - range in meters, Multiple - number of targets, and Effect - points of damage) There is probably a cap on output/input dependant on the character's level, but I haven't decided what that is yet.

To this, I'm thinking of thinking of adding another resource to spend (no name yet, possibly chips or bytes/bits) that is what determines the intent of the magic. Firewall points heal/repair (white helm mage), Plague/virus points destroy (black helm) and Create Real Things (CRT) points allow the hacker to manifest objects, walls, etc.

Concerns
I'm an RPG Geek and not a computer Nerd, so feedback about the computer terms and what else would be appreciated. I'm thinking of setting up character creation as kind of an annotated character sheet, just fill in the blanks - but I don't know if that is particularly clear. Actually, I'm not sure if this system is really simple enough to be "instantly playable" or if its too complex for this particular challenge.

Perhaps the most pressing issue, is that I don't really have a mechanic for fancy-free or spirituality. Do we need a physical representation of the themes for these games? (ie Vampire had humanity loss to underpin its alienation theme) Escaping the tyranny of the kings who own the means of production is part of the story, not the rules. Of course, when stated that way, I should iterate some opiate of the masses comment and make it about Marxist medieval iconoclasts hacking reality.
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xenopulse
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Posts: 527

Heretic Forgite


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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2007, 07:34:13 AM »

Hi there,

I think you could possibly make this playable in 10 minutes if you can press the different moves and the likes into easily referenced tables that can be used during the game. That way, players don't actually have to study all the options in the game. The biggest starting factor will be character creation, and how involved that is.

I think your alternate use of computer acronyms is witty, but I'm wondering whether it'll confuse players during the game when they have to re-learn all of them from what they're used to.

I don't think a game needs a score to represent the theme. In fact, Vampire's humanity serves more as a choice-limiter than a theme exploration tool, but that's a whole separate discussion.
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Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2007, 11:27:48 AM »

You could include some starting skill packages for character creation, and list the maneuvers on the character sheet for reference. For the record, instant playability requirement is only about setup time, and you can assume that the players will familiarize themselves with the game before the session.

However, I can see a potential problem here. It seems like a rather standard setup centered around the GM. However, such setup usually requires some prep on the GM's side - thinking up the scenario, NPC stats etc. I think you might need some simple way for figuring out NPCs competence. But first and foremost, an "ignition spark" will be needed - something that will immediately push action forward, and make it possible for the group to produce interesting situations on the fly.

As for the flight-of-fancy part, hacking based magic sounds fancy enough to me Smiley Unless you want to actually focus the game on exploring some of the themes, you don't need to include mechanics for it - it's sufficient if it's somewhere in there, even on purely aesthetic level.

Regarding magic system, I look at it all - black/white helms, knights, computer terminology - and what comes to my mind is a chessboard. 8x8 squares, that's 64 bits, with 16 black and 16 white pieces. Spells could be constructed by moving the pieces on the chessboard somehow - maybe the piece determines the effect, and it's position determines the parameters of the spell, or something like that. Just a thought - maybe you'll find it useful.
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ja-prozac
Member

Posts: 41

nerd with an attitude


« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2007, 12:03:14 PM »

Going further with Filip's idea. Write the game with chessboard as central mechanic to resemble
cyberpunkish matrix kingdom and hackers or vrtual intelligent programs. Let the chessboard
be actual board making the map of virtual world.
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Chainsaw Aardvark
Member

Posts: 17


« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2007, 12:31:01 PM »

For the record, instant playability requirement is only about setup time, and you can assume that the players will familiarize themselves with the game before the session.

However, I can see a potential problem here. It seems like a rather standard setup centered around the GM. However, such setup usually requires some prep on the GM's side - thinking up the scenario, NPC stats etc. I think you might need some simple way for figuring out NPCs competence. But first and foremost, an "ignition spark" will be needed - something that will immediately push action forward, and make it possible for the group to produce interesting situations on the fly.

I was under the impression that the IP requirement was about how quickly the rules are understood/grasped and characters made. Good thing you pointed out my mistake.

The setting was to be introduced through a short fiction piece that kind of set the characters up in media reis. "I see you managed to make enemies in high places, welcome to the club, this is what we do, why not join us for a raid and get some hands on training..." type deal. Aside from the corporate raid cliche though, I don't have much else as a preset adventure though.

One element that I did want to include, was to have several NPC boxes on each character sheet. Thus in combat, each player controls a section of the enemies, rather than forcing one person to manage an entire side of the fight. I could probably expand this to other major characters, and share GM responsibility somewhat.

Thanks for the chessboard idea, its quite brilliant. However, I'm more of an SF person, so my experience at designing magic system is rather lacking, and that might be a bit complex for such a short format and one week development. I'm also a little wary of including actual cyberspace in that manner. My general hacking system in games is that the level of success on a skill roll is the number of actions one can take before they need to fight the sysop for continued access.

While I will include a table of actions, I don't think there's an unusual number of them. 2 attacks, parry, dodge, quaff, move, collect mana, cast. Magic is just freely asigning atributes. My bigger problem with the that system is that its posible to be very powerful. One point range, one point target, 10 points effect (the result of 2d6) yeilds an instant death touch attack (presuming about 10 hp for average NPC, Players get 20). RPGs don't nedd to be zero sum, but there is definitely some balace issues to attend to.
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Filip Luszczyk
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Posts: 746

roll-player


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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2007, 06:40:55 AM »

As for magic system, consider something like this:

There are 6 types of white and 6 types of black chess pieces. That's twelve general spell effect templates (e.g. pawns are weak healing/damage, and then you have three medium destructive effects, three medium helpful effects, two major destrucive and two major helpful effects). "Collecting mana" might be "buying" pieces, standing for "packages" of magical energy. I.e. chess pieces purchased would be added to a pool of available effects.

Then, when you cast the spell, you take one of the pieces, and place it on the chessboard. The piece determines the effect, and its position determines specific parameters (e.g. one of the edges is base damage/magnitude, from 1 to 8, and the other edge is range/targets, also from 1 to Cool. You roll those 2d6, and distribute the results between both parameters, to determine the pieces position.

Then, on your subsequent actions you can add more pieces to the board or move already placed pieces around, to repeat the spell with stronger effects.

For example, you can collect three pawns and a piece with shielding effect. On your next action, you cast the shield on your team (say, you manage to place it on C5 for three targets and 5 points of effect - so it will absorb 5 damage per turn). Next turn, you can move the shield piece to cover more allies or increase damage absorbtion (it might be a good idea to have some movement caps, maybe based on magic skill). Or, you can add a pawn to the board. If you add the pawn to D2, for example, it would deal 2 points of damage to four targets per turn from now on. Then, you can add another pawn, let's say to C3. After activating all those effects, in each turn you give your team 5 points of damage absorbtion from shield, deal 2 dmg to four chosen targets and 3 dmg to three dmg to three chosen targets.

Opponents might have some means to move your pieces to less beneficial positions or remove them from the board completely, countering and nullifying your activated hacks.

Or something in these lines.

Well, I can only second Kamil - a game with chessboard based magic/hacking as a central mechanic would be cool. With something like that, regardless how you'd approach it, the game wouldn't really need much more elements.
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Vulpinoid
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Posts: 803

Kitsune Trickster


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« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2007, 02:05:49 PM »

Sorry I didn't add much more to this thread as it was progressing, but I thought there were some good ideas and avenues of discussion being followed.

I tried to add some insightful statements a few times, but my mind kept drawing a blank.

I like the chess analogy to tie the quasi-computer terms and the mystical.

While I will include a table of actions, I don't think there's an unusual number of them. 2 attacks, parry, dodge, quaff, move, collect mana, cast. Magic is just freely asigning atributes. My bigger problem with the that system is that its posible to be very powerful. One point range, one point target, 10 points effect (the result of 2d6) yeilds an instant death touch attack (presuming about 10 hp for average NPC, Players get 20). RPGs don't nedd to be zero sum, but there is definitely some balace issues to attend to.

This could always be addressed with a variable base effect. First roll determines the parameters of the "spell", 2d6. Allocate the results between the three variables, but each point spent in "Effect" costs 2. (Example 1: A roll of 8 could generate: 3pts for Range, 1pt for Target, 4 pts for an effect level of 2. Example 2: A roll of 12 could generate: 1pt for Range, 1pts for Target, 10pts for an effect level of 5.). Once the base parameters of the spell are determined, roll an extra d6 to add to the effect level to determine the final result. (If the spell in example 1 made a follow-up roll of a 6, it would end up with a total effect of 8. While the second example could end up with a result of 6 to 11 depending on how well the final die result went).

V
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
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