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adding breadth to rules-lite

Started by fig, February 13, 2008, 03:14:35 PM

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I've always been a fan of Fate (I've been posting on their boards, too), and I've always wanted to make it a bit "crunchier". I'm designing this for play with a group that is more crunchy and less free-form-y. The only real obstacle with Fate is that you're dealing with a rather small range for attributes/abilities, which limits what you can do with bonuses/penalties. I started by expanding the ladder to 11-13 steps (still deciding between the two), as my group will be taking their characters across many campaigns. The expanded ladder also allows for more character development while somewhat minimizing the drastic jumps in ability from each increase (which is a whole other topic). Not to mention, it helps with managing modifiers, which is the point of this post.

I also (almost) came up with a way to handle modifiers. Because it's a heavier system, I need to be able to account for various factors. In combat alone, there's cover, flanking, higher ground, darkness, terrain, and so on. At the same time, with such a limited range in abilities, one has to keep the bonuses under control. So, I came up with "advantage" and "disadvantage". It's totally half-baked at this point, but I'm hoping to fix that. There are three types of (dis)advantage: situational, tactical, and resourceful. Situational advantage is based on the environment (higher ground, cover, home turf, etc.). Tactical advantage involves strategic actions on the part of the character (flanking, parrying bonuses and penalties, etc.). Resourceful advantages are based on a character's personal resources and innate abilities (attribute modifiers, equipment, magic, etc.). Side note, this is going to apply to all skill tests, I'm just using combat as an example.

Any bonus will fall into one of these three categories. While they won't directly influence rolls, the character with the most bonuses/penalties will have that type of advantage/disadvantage. Additionally, it's always one or the other. For example, Person A has a situational bonuses against a Person B with a situational penalty. Either Person A will have advantage, or Person B will have disadvantage, not both. Also, I like having three categories because someone will always have more of an advantage (they won't be split evenly), providing more motivation for characters (namely, the players) to maintain or gain advantage. And, a +/-3 in either direction isn't too drastic on this scale. Well, it kinda is, but it can really help give a clever/lucky underdog an edge.

I haven't set the categories yet. There may be a better split than situation/tactical/resourceful, especially when you consider that some situational modifiers *could* be tactical, as one may be using tactics to take advantage of a situation. Naturally, appropriate categories depend on the game. For this setting, a lot of the drama revolves around combat (individual and unit based, all using miniatures), social interaction (from personal to political), magic (the study of, as well as spellcasting), item creation, and even includes sustaining a career. I aiming for categories that can be applied to all these situations reasonably equally, and I'm open to suggestions.

One problem I have with this is that advantage is "sensitive". That is, characters can get advantage with just a 1 point bonus. Therefore, in (almost) *every* situation, someone is going to be able to find a way to gain situational/tactical/resourceful advantage, rather than perform tasks at their ordinary ability, which is just kind of odd. I thinking of creating a threshold of bonuses necessary for advantage (at least for unopposed tasks) which varies by the difficulty of the task, though I haven't figured out how yet.

Of course, all this together (dice + advantage), it looks like there's a range of +/-7 modifiers to every roll, about half based on character choices and the other half based on chance. I like the split, but I'm wondering if it's too much for an 11-, or even 13-, tier system.

Anyway, this is where I'm at, and I'm wondering what the community thinks. Thanks.