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Author Topic: (almost) non-random system  (Read 1914 times)

Posts: 5

« on: March 12, 2008, 02:49:20 PM »

Hello everyone. I'm new here so I think I'll open up strong and give you my system. I call i ADF.
   The philosophy behind ADF is to create a gaming system almost completely void of random chance by doing away with dices. The reason behind this is to create better game flow, focused on faster logical operations rather than crunching statistics while faster and more intuitive then dices.
   This is the basic idea, I will take it from the very basics in order to avoid misinterpretations, so bear with me;
   In order to simulate the competitive moments, instead of using a dice, I propose the use of cards. I know that this has been done earlier and I do not propose anything extraordinary with just that. The ideas of cards is to lend a greater control over events to the players and DM, while opeing up a far greater range of strategies.
   In order to reduce the number of cards to keep track on the system is based on a rock-paper-scissors model, three types of cards symbolises three different combat Manoeuvres. Attacks that beat Defence, Defence beat Feint and Feint in turn beat Attack. Every player is secretly dealt a number of these different Manoeuvres corresponding to a previously set values, this disposition of cards, his Hand, is the players most important secret.

   1.A match goes like this: out of the cards dealt, each player choose one card each and play it at the same time. A player should strive to beat the opponents card with his own, for example playing a  Defence against a Feint and so on. This is what we call a Set.
    If a Set end in a Draw (both players played the same card) then both players card are put face up    in Store. Cards in Store are still in play, but can not be played as a card from the Hand.
   If the players plays different cards, the one playing the winning card puts his card in Store and chooses a new card to play for the next Set.
   The player that played the losing card ( for example having played a Defence against an Attack) puts that card in front of him, he is now considered as the Defender and the Manoeuvre in front of him is now Locked, meaning that in order to play this Manoeuvre again the next Set, the player must now spend two (2) Manoeuvres for one to count.

   2.I f a player is Defending and the Set end in a Draw, the Defender put the card(s) played and the card in front of him (the card representing the Locked Manoeuvre) to Store, the Attacker (Any player not Defending) puts his card just played to Store. Neither player is then considered Defender. Go to 1.
   If a Defender win, he put his card(s) played and the card in front of him to Store, also he is no longer considered Defending.
   If an Attacker lost, tables are turned and the Manoeuvre he played becomes Locked, and is considered Defender.
   If a Defender lose, the Locked card and all his cards in Store is removed from play, they are Scrapped.  Card(s) just played are put face up into Store.

   When either one player has zero cards on hand, both players retrieve their Store and starts over, Scrapped cards are not retrieved!
   The match ends when one player surrender or his whole Hand is Scrapped, at his opponents mercy..

Okay, thats the basics. more to come.

Posts: 803

Kitsune Trickster

« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2008, 05:32:00 PM »

I've considered doing something similar in the past.

I was going for a high-low approach.

3 levels of attack: high, medium, low

3 levels of defence: high, medium, low

At the beginning of the combat round, each player chooses an attack and a defence.

High defence automatically beats high attack, medium defence automatically beats medium defence, low attack automatically beats low defence.

High defence doesn't block a low attack at all, and Low defence doesn't beat a high attack at all. These count as critical hits.

When comparing high to medium, or medium to low, you'd compare the stat values of the characters involved.

You may ask why a better classed warrior wouldn't go for medium attacks and defences all the time, the simple reason is that the damage will always be less and there were a few other complications like armour and weapon strengths. But everything came down to no more than two simple numbers on a scale of 1 to 5.

I've read through your description twice now and I'm having a bit of trouble with the locking, manoeuvring, and scrapping of cards. Maybe it's because I'm between classes and I've got other stuff on my mind...it just seems a bit convoluted, and "convoluted" is a natural enemy to "game flow"...IMHO.

I'll read over it a few more times though, the system looks like it has some potential. 


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

Posts: 469

also known as Josh W

« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2008, 08:02:40 PM »

How about generalising? White wolf has their triple stat system of strong, flexible and passive, put into their three contexts. At first glance that looks very similar to your attack feint defend system, although there are differences. How does the hidden information effect the rest of roleplaying: "My character is really angry, with a murderous gleam in his eye. He .... Defends, hah! Got your feint!" As you can see, I have some reservations, but I'm sure they can be overcome. Furthermore, it seems reasonable that the rock paper scissors would work the other way, with a feint opening someone's defences, and a defence swallowing an attack. But if you are busy feinting and the other person twats you round the head, then you wish you had been defending. Does this make sense to you?

Posts: 5

« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2008, 11:41:05 AM »

I've read through your
description twice now and I'm having a bit of trouble with the locking, manoeuvring, and scrapping of cards.
Maybe it's because I'm between classes and I've got other stuff on my mind...it just seems a bit convoluted,
and "convoluted" is a natural enemy to "game flow"...IMHO.

Hm, I will try to explain by example. Two players; Adam and Bob. Each of them has for simplicity sake six(6)
cards each.
Both players has 2 Attacks, 2 Defence and 2 Feints

First Set:
For the first Set both player chances on their Manoeuvres (Fancy word for card to play).
Adam plays an Attack, Bob plays a Defence Attack wins against Defence so Adam put his Manuvre (The Attack-
card just played) aside face up (In Store). Bob lost the Set and his Defence Manoeuvres are now Locked
(Indicated by putting it face up in front of him).

Second Set:
Adam's hand: 1 Attack 2 Defence 2 Feint
Bob's hand:  2 Attack, 1 Defence 2 Feint
Adam know that Bobs Defences are Locked, meaning if Bob wants to play a Defence he must pay 2 cards. Forcing
Bob to play Defence will drain his hand of 2 cards but if Adam win Bob's Locked Manoeuvre in front of him. (the Defence card) is Scrapped (removed from game]).
Bob play an Attack, to counter a Defence or draw against an Attack.
Adam plays a Feint.
Bob lose again and removes his Locked Card from play (Scraps it) and indicate that his recent manoeuvre, (Attacks) are Locked.
Adam put his Manoeuvre(Feint) in Store.

Third Set
Adam's hand: 1 Attack 2 Defence and 1 Feint
Bob's hand:  1 Attack 1 Defence and 2 Feint
Both play Feint, the set is a draw, Bob's Attacks remain Locked.

Fourth Set
Adam's hand: 1 Attack 2 Defence
Bob's hand:  1 Attack 1 Defence 1 Feint
Adam plays an Attack, Bob plays a Feint. Adam's Feints are locked, Bob's Attacks are Unlocked.

Fifth Set
Adam's hand: 2 Defence
Bob's hand:  1 Attack 1 Defence
Both play Defence, the set is a draw, Adam's Defences remain Locked.

Sixth Set
Adam's hand: 1 Defence
Bob's hand:  1 Attack
Bob play Attack, Adam play Defence Adam lose and all of his Manoeuvres in Store and Locked Manoeuvres(the card currently in front tof him) are Scrapped. The cards just played remain to indicate the Manoeuvre as Locked.

Seventh Set
Bob retrieve his Store; 2 Attack 1 Defence 2 Feint
Adam has no hand to retrieve and lost the match.

Should Adam had some cards left in store, then he would have retrieved those and the Match would have continued with an eight Set and so on until one player either surrender or lose all his Manoeuvres.

Posts: 803

Kitsune Trickster

« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2008, 06:13:26 PM »

How would you handle 3-way battles?

Or do you not address these at all?

Just asking...


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

Posts: 5

« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2008, 09:04:26 AM »

How would you handle 3-way battles?

Good question, each player would decide against which other player to play a Maneuver against. Any player facing multiple opponents would play a corresponding amount of cards.

If Adam is attacked by Bob and Caesar, Adam play a Maneuver against each of them. If Adam lose against one or both of them he becomes Defender and the maneuver(s) played are locked.

For example Adam play an Attack against Bob and a Defense against Caesar. Bob play a Feint and Caesar play an Attack. Adam lose against them both. For the next round Adams Attacks and Defenses are both Locked.

In essence it is playing two games with the same set of Maneuvers (I haven't actually done the math yet, but fighting against multiple opponents should according to this put you at a severe disadvantage against multiple opponents)

Posts: 5

« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2008, 06:51:02 PM »

   For this I will categorize to types of skill tests. Dramatic and Opposed.
   Dramatic tests incorporate any important actions complicated by internal, external and/or static limitations. Example: long jumping is limited by gravity, length of runway, distance to target, obstacles intersecting the course of optimum jumping angle, wind and the physical condition of the initiate.
   Opposed test occur when the initiator is actively opposed by a reactive force. Example: prying up a door actively held shut (for example by mechanical servo or other persons) rather then trying to pry up a jammed door. In short any particular task, which calls for pro's and con's of all active participants working in a competitive manner. A tie results in a new test for everybody  involved.

   My goal is to create a system of testing linear and gradually modifyable, avoiding frequent occurrence of extremes (critical successes and failures, please refer to Appendix A) while at least comparably simple and quick to dices.

   Some amount of thinking around the box was needed, the supplementation of dices was,  for my dice-indoctrinated mind, a counter intuitive task. Dices has been with gaming forever, the quintessential gaming part of RPG. Without dices Role Playing Game would just be Role Playing. I met a lot of negative feedback from my fellow gamers during the planning and hypothesis formulation phase. The dice is seen as approaching the technological singularity of  random generation, the ultimate tool superior to all up to and including computer generated random algorithms. Dices are small, fast, easy to roll, read and carry with you but still customisable and massive. A dice rolled in a critical test induce excitement and an adrenaline rush, the work and time laid down in a well crafted PC is at stake on the outcome. Doing away with dices was simply put sacrilegious. But it is important to differentiate between the material aspect of a dice, and the metaphysical aspect.

   Cards hold four (as far as I have discovered and considered of any importance) very beneficial traits.
   First of all, cards are common, every one has at some point in their life owned a deck of cards. Every home known to exist on the western hemisphere, even those in which a gamer never put his foot, there is bound to be a deck of cards lying around somewhere.
   Second: they are cheap.
   Third. they are manufactures in all shapes and forms that might suit personal taste.
   Fourth. Most important is that a deck of cards only hold a limited amount of cards until reshuffled which allows the forming of  strategies in a wider range. Counting cards one knows which has gone and which are about to come up. The exact order is impossible to predict but  remaining values can be foreseen. Some people might see this as an argument against cards, be as it might with that, I have nothing further to add at this point.

   I drew inspiration from existing games in order to postulate the hypothesis. A system that favours those most skilled, leaving room for failure corresponding to their skill while keeping a cap on the frequent occurrence of critical rolls (Appendix A). I begun by forming a basic system:
   The basic system is completely static, without random chance. A difficulty rating assigned to the hypothetical task and a numerical skill value possessed by the PC. Cross reference skill level with difficulty rating, if equal or above  the task succeed. Tasks can be solved by cooperation, adding together all the participants skill levels, cross reference the sum against the difficult rating. Difficult tasks, with a higher rating then that of the PCs skill level might be completed by spending more time to on the task. The gap between skill level and difficulty rating is multiplied with a time-index (the time to complete a general task using a particular skill). Tasks can be done quicker by a skilled person then by an amateur by reversing the operation, i.e. dividing the skill level with the time index and cross reference it by the difficulty rating.
   The observant reader has noticed two critical flaws (once again, as I consider important enough to discuss). First of is that this is boring, dices are there for a reason, they deliver adrenaline and endorphine to the brain, enhancing and intensifying the gaming experience (creating a surge of immersion). Doing mathematics, multiplications an divisions around the gaming table don't really do the trick. Second of all, multiplications and divisions takes, for the great majority of us mortals, a hell of time without a calculator, and calculators are slow compared to the brain.
   The brain is our fastest instrument of arithmetic operations and should thus be fully employed for this task. The use of fractions are only excusable during character generation since a spread sheet can be tailored in short time to solve equations. In EVERY other instance fractions equals   running headlong into PRG bottleneck hell. Thus arithmetic operations during actual play should be kept to addition and subtraction (with a remote possibility of multiplying single digit integers) of numbers in the ranging of plus/minus 1-10. Numbers exceeding this interval took tests subjects (friends and unsuspecting store clerks) considerable longer time to compute.
   From knowledge gained above the next step was to create add a system of random elements judged by the following criteria:
2.Adrenaline inducing
3.Working with great ranges
   Two different systems crystallised themselves, one based on  colour and the other on card values.
   The colour model is first out. Performing a Static skill test, the player draws an amount of cards corresponding to his skill value, red cards count in his favour. If the numbers of red cards drawn surpass or equals the difficulty, the tests outcome is a success. Opposed tests are performed similarly, all participants draw their cards and the side with the greatest amount of red cards win.
   Example One: A skill value of five equals five cards drawn every test. Every red card count as one in favour for the player and if they exceed or equals the difficulty rating, it is a success.    Example Two: The difficulty rating is set to two for a particular task, the PC has a skill value of five. Five cards are drawn, three black cards and two red cards. The amounts of red cards drawn equals the difficulty rating and the test result in a success.
   According to the mathematics I did and plotted, this resulted in a exponential curve that ranged from 50 to 92 percent chance of success for skills in range of 1-5 (ten was included for comparison).

Cards drawn (Skill level)-Numbers of remaining cards in deck (red/total)-Approximative percentile chance of one red card drawn
1                                  26/52                                                            50%
2                                  25/51                                                            74%
3                                  24/50                                                            85%
4                                  23/49                                                            90%
5                                  22/48                                                            92%
10                                16/47                                                            93%

   From this calculation we see that, even at a skill value at mid-level (skill value three) , we have a fairly big chance of failure in menial tasks (on difficulty one, about 15%) while an amateur has in a straight 50-50 chance of success. An avowed master would despite decades of training have a fairly large chance of failure (around 8-7%).
   Second. Since the system is static (as opposed to cumulative) one can never attempt a task of a difficulty rating higher then ones skill level.
   Thirdly. Short range  and the sharp curve favours bold actions by those with low skill levels.

   The second system are based on cards values, this system was split in two separate system based on different principles, the Quantitative and the Qualitative system. The quantitative system holds many similarities with the colour system. For every level of skill, draw one card, but instead of adding colours, sum the values of the cards and cross reference this to the difficulty rating.
   Example: The difficulty rating is 20 and the skill level is five. A skill of five equals five cards drawn; 1, 2, 4, 6, J  (J, Q and K counting as 10). The values of the cards are summarised for the total value of 23 and referenced towards the difficulty rating, 23 beats the difficulty rating of 20 and the test indicates a success.
   This system shows a greater range of numbers and a flat curve. Failure and success are customisable to skill levels. But drawing and counting several cards takes time and a deck is quickly worked through forcing a reshuffle. The quantitative system is thus slow and  there for it breaks rule number one.

   The qualitative system works close to the basics system. Every skill value is a numerical value ranging from 1 to a hypothetical infinite number. This value can actually be greater than some difficulty ratings, symbolizing that the characters experience are at a level where some obstacles no longer pose a  hindrance. Up to that particular skill level the character is accustomed of handling challenges outside a perfect environment. Unless spectacular circumstances ensues, there is no call for a skill test.
   Example: A task that for an amateur would end quick and bloody such as a knife-throwing show on a circus would for a professional knife tosser, who have reached a skill level where avoiding to impale her handsome companion during a standard routine, no longer demand any extraordinary feats.
   To perform a skill test, the player draw one card. If it is a numbered card (2-10) the player adds the value (2-10) to his skill level and cross reference it with the difficulty rating per normal praxis (over or equal means success). Should he draw a face card, he adds ten (10) to his skill level (for this test only) and draw another card. If this results in a second face card, add ten (10) once again and draw yet another card, etc. Should the card draw be an Ace, subtract ten (10) from the skill level and draw another card. Additional cards drawn after drawing an Ace are counted as normal, I.e. Their value is added to the skill.
   Example. The difficulty rating is 30, Adam has as skill value of 25, he draws one card. An Ace; Adam subtracts ten from his skill value (25-10=15) and draw yet another card. This time it is a Jack and the Ace is cancelled out (15+10=25) and Adam draw a third card, a 6. Adams skill value now amount to 31 (25-10+10+6=31). Since the last card drawn was neither a face card nor an ace, no more cards are drawn. The skill value (31) is referenced with the difficulty rating (30) and surpasses it, the test indicates a success.

Appendix A to follow soon

Posts: 803

Kitsune Trickster

« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2008, 09:05:06 PM »

Just a person hate of mine...

I like a roleplaying system to be consistent across all aspects...rather than being a disparate bunch of components (one system for magic, another system for skills, yet another for combat).

How do you keep consistency between skill use and combat activity?

Do you keep consistency across these or do you consider them entirely different from one another?

Whichever you've decided, Why have you come to that conclusion as the best for your system?


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

Posts: 5

« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2008, 05:04:37 PM »

How do you keep consistency between skill use and combat activity?

Do you keep consistency across these or do you consider them entirely different from one another?

Whichever you've decided, Why have you come to that conclusion as the best for your system?

As stated earlier I based this system of a completely static system without any random element. What I didn't say was that both the Static System and Qualitative System where based on a rule system originally formulated using dices.
The combat system would be of similar type as the skill system. Draw a card, add your Combat skill and compare to opponents Defense skill. If the test is a success, defender puts down damage and tests Combat Prowess to remain fighting. Repeat until one man standing.

I tried to spice the system up by including special rules for Cumbersome, Long and Fast weapons, but that did only add a myriad of special rules to keep in mind. My idea was to first emulate the d20 combat system in the aspect in which the d20 is and remains unsurpassed; Its dynamic flow of action while still remaining highly flexible when combined with feats, magic and whatnot.
As I had higher aspirations then to straight out steal magic, feats and whatnot from d20 I had to find out what I could add to the good bits and what bad bits to remove.
First of all I wanted to get rid of critical misses, critical hits could also be a pain when they happen to you and your carefully thought out battle plan is foiled when a goblin with a scythe loops of the head of the half orc barbarian. Then i realized that the source of this random fluke, the dice was in it self no more a fundamental part of RPG then the "crit". I started snooping around for alternative systems and laid fourth some theories only to be made aware that it had been done in Tales of the weird west (i think). Well, ripping off one system is bad enough, but ripping of two systems and combining them into a third, that is just plain nasty. I cut my losses and retreated into contemplation how I could make cards add a completely new element while still remain the sole furnace that drove the pistons of game mechanic.
A couple of months later I was watching a new Anime series that I finally had found worth watching beyond episode 4 (Keiji, dark tragedy about gambling but with a VERY interesting political message). In the first course of the series the plot circles around a set of twelve cards, marked with rock, scissors and paper. Thats when it hit me like a bolt out of the blue, early on I had some idea of a trinary system as opposed to the common binary combat systems (Attack-block, block-attack etc) with an RPS model.
Combining cards with a Rock Paper Scissors could be a foundation of a new kind of strategic reasoning around gaming, doing away with the dependence on blind chance in favor of statistics while still keeping the initial dynamics intact. The next logical step was to analyze cards and device new ways for them to be used. Cards compared to dices is first of all are limited and there by predictable, second cards are tailored to communicate much more information than a dice. A dice communicates only ONE piece of information, numbers, sides of a dice are not distinguishable in any way other then their numeral inscription. Cards on the other hand communicate not only numbers, but also color and rank. First of all, cards are numbered, second, each number is repeated four times through each color "Spades, Clubs, Hearts and Diamonds" and thirdly they are separated into Face and Value cards with the Ace as a wildcard. Thus, ONE card could communicate THREE messages to the players, and it is this aspect of cards that I try to exploit in order to make cards replace dices.
Thus I actively, at the moment at least, encourage multiple uses of systems as it ads to the versatility of cards. The final version is long from finished and is in a constant process of evolution.

Hope this did answer your question Cheesy
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