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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 95 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: New Game Idea: Kill Team  (Read 3494 times)
Aapov
Member

Posts: 8


« on: September 20, 2009, 10:26:31 PM »

The name Kill Team is the name I will use for now because that is how it is associated in my head.

The idea is an RPG that is entirely combat-centered. The game might have some covert/stealth centered stuff, but mostly the game is combat. The characters are members of a Kill Team and every game session is a suicide mission (that hopefully the players will survive). The game will be balls-to-the walls violence, non-stop action, and in-your-face brutal combat. Here's what a typical scenario might look like:

You and your teammates have just been inserted on an alien vessel. Your mission is to destroy the ship and escape (hopefully). Not much time to plan, because you hear aliens approaching.... GO!

I want the game to have a lot of tactics and strategy as much as I want fast-paced action. Every game should either be an adrenaline rush from combat, or intense suspense while trying to remain hidden.

I have talked to others about this idea and many seem quite enthusiastic. However, it seems many want the game to be generic so it can easily be applied to missions in occupied France during WWII or Chicago mobsters in the 1920s. However, my friends and I have created some "fluff" to go with the action: in the year 2012 the gods of every pantheon in every religion in the world suddenly came to earth. Earth has turned into a world-wide crusade with the followers of every god imaginable fighting each other for dominance. I like this idea for several reasons: 1) lots of character options; unique abilities associated with every god; 2) mixes fantasy & sci-fi in a unique way; characters can be sword-fighters, gunslingers, priests, technologists - basically any combination of technology, firepower, and/or magic; 3) a crusade with every god in the world creates all kinds of suicide missions: destroying a relic, stealing a powerful artifact, desecrating holy ground, etc. as well as standard spec op missions: assassination, espionage, sabotage, etc.

Here are the questions:
1) Is the background idea too broad? It seems to me that using every god is a bit overwhelming and may provide too many options for any option to be fully explored.
2) Is the basic concept feasible? A game that is all about combat may be too one-sided, so I'm not sure it will work.
3) Is there a market for this type of game? While it seems to me that there is, what do you think and why?
4) Assuming the game is feasible, what kind of system would work best for the game? I have an idea for the system I will use, but I'd love to hear your input first.

Please don't feel like you need to answer every question. If you have a good answer for just one of my questions, or if your just have a thought about the idea, I'd be happy to hear it. Thanks in advance for your input.

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David C
Member

Posts: 262

lost in the woods...


« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2009, 11:34:34 PM »

1)  Yes
2)  Yes, it's very pure which usually makes a better game (because you can spend more time polishing it)
3)  A market or a big market?  RPGs aren't usually good businesses to make money in.
4)  Fast character creation. Very tactical choices.

You have a system idea, I'd work on your system.  Forget the setting for now.  Honestly, I wouldn't pick up a game based on any of the settings you've mentioned (except the aliens if it was horror, too.)  When you play test your game, use whatever setting you feel like, but personally, I think a universal system would serve your idea best.

Just my 2 cents.
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...but enjoying the scenery.
Sebastian K. Hickey
Member

Posts: 141


WWW
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2009, 05:17:19 AM »

1) I think that it's too broad, and, unless you're just using obsolete pantheons, it is too sensitive.

Kill Team looks less like a game about combat and more like a game about tension (using combat and conflict as a tool).  That might be fun.

4) I'd make sure it was cinematic, quick, fluid and punchy.  I wouldn't use an intricate damage system or high physics.

As far as setting goes, I'd stick with generic.  Instead of putting time into the fluff, I'd come with a game structure that suits any setting.  You've already highlighted the 'drop zone' scenario, where soldiers find themselves in the s*** and have to survive.  Could you model that into the game rules?  What if every game started that way?  If you could spend time making a scenario building mechanic for the GM, so that the game was easy to run, it would probably be more useful than a fluffy setting.
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Jason Morningstar
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Posts: 1428


WWW
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2009, 11:47:20 AM »

Don't listen to these guys.  The idea is timeless; make your game timeless.  It's is about a team - a team that kills people.  That is strictly awesome. 

I will echo the thought that maybe a roleplaying game needs more "about-ness" than you've described.  What are you really after?  What's really important to the experience?  If it is straight-up fighting to be fighty, why would you choose the roleplaying format? 

For example, Gregor Hutton's 3:16 is all about the killing - it's Starship Troopers on crack, it is all kill counting all the time - except that it isn't - the longer you play, the more you see the hideous moral choices and absurd comedy of deterministic errors that comprise a never-ending war.  It isn't about counting kills after all.  It's about something way more interesting. 

With that in mind, what's Kill Team about?
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Sebastian K. Hickey
Member

Posts: 141


WWW
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2009, 02:35:51 PM »

Quote
Don't listen to these guys.

Jason, nothing you said contradicts anything we said.  Were you listening to your own advice? (Yes, very bitchy, sorry)

Aapov, I've been thinking about question 2, and to me, the answer is yes.  I'd like to run a game like this, but maybe not for the long term game.  How do you conceive a succession of games?  Would there be a high character turnover?  Would it be episodic?
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Aapov
Member

Posts: 8


« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2009, 08:14:17 AM »

I think I will scrap the fluff, at least for now. The fluff is just way too big to fully develop.

After giving the ideas here serious thought I think my game is actually more about tactics than actual combat. Different scenarios will require different tactics. In one scenario speed might be the best choice, in another stealth, in another strong application of serious firepower, etc. Combat itself will have a lot of tactical choices that will give instant benefits either to the character or to his teammates (or both), or will take away enemy advantages. Generally the game is almost always going to have combat. The characters may be able to sneak all the way in, but as soon as they have the target the s*** hits the fan. Every scenario will start in media res, basically right after deployment or insertion. The reason for this is that the characters have to plan on the fly, rather than take half the game session to plan out the whole thing (that's Shadowrun). They have to think quickly and react to the immediate situation. Some missions may allow for more planning than others. There's potential for storyline and/or campaigns if a GM wanted to link together several missions. Every mission will have the following:

1) Insertion: how the characters got there and/or where the characters are in relation to the opfor (opposing forces) and the objective
2) Objective: what the characters are trying to accomplish
3) Opposition: strength, numbers, and location of opposing forces (characters won't be able to see everyone)
4) Extraction: getting to this point ends the mission

Here are some insertions:
1) Air-drop behind enemy lines; enemy is not too far away and is unaware
2) HALO (high altitude, low open) jump into installation; enemy is very close and aware (combat may start in the air)
3) Beach landing from submarine; enemy is far away and completely clueless
4) Helicopter insertion, enemy is far away and unaware
5) Hot-drop helicopter insertion, enemy is close and aware

These aren't the only options, or the only combinations. You could have the characters HALO jump with the enemy far away and aware, far away and unaware, close and unaware, etc. The opfor matters too. Maybe the characters insert close to some sentries or a patrol, but far away from the main force, or maybe they insert right into a hornet's nest.

The opfor should always be either stronger and better equipped than the kill team, or should out outnumber the kill team.

Here are some mission objectives:
Sabotage - the object is to destroy a target building, vehicle, installation, etc.
Assassination - the object is to kill a specific individual
Hit & Run - what the object is (place a homing device in the middle of an opfor base, access battle plans, poison water supply, etc) the characters must get in and get out as quick as possible
Recon - the object is to observe and record as much information about the opfor as possible
Ambush - the characters lie in wait to attack an opfor convoy or armored column
Surprise Attack - the object is to cause as much damage to a particular section of the opfor defenses and leave before reinforcements arrive

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Warrior Monk
Member

Posts: 85


« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2009, 11:23:50 AM »

Hmmm, mission varibles look interesting. I'm wondering if they could be made into a short series of tables so in a few rolls at the beginning of the session you could design a complex mission in no time. Of course, that part could be shown to the players as the debriefing escene for the mission, and then the GM could roll some extra dice to find what's gonna go wrong with the mission: Perhaps insertion fails and players have to reach the target on their own, perhaps intelligence is wrong and opfor is stronger than anticipated and so on...
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Aapov
Member

Posts: 8


« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2009, 09:39:04 PM »

Yes, but why an RPG?

I've been thinking about that a lot. I like RPGs. I like character progression, advancement, and development. But I also like Shadowrun. Shadowrun is the closest thing to the game I'm designing (at least that I'm familiar with). In Shadowrun I can create a character concept and almost perfectly create him. My concept does what he's supposed to be able to do in the first session. Yeah, sure, there's character development. But really I never need to do much (or anything) to my character once I've designed him. So I guess that's why RPGs: in-depth character creation with lots of options that allow players to create a concept exactly how it's supposed to be. There really doesn't need to be any advancement, although I'm currently working on ideas for advancement.

But then I'm thinking about character turnover. Part of my inspiration for Kill Team is Paranoia, which has high turnover (so much, in fact, that you automatically get 6 lives). What point is there to spend all this time and energy creating the perfect character when he dies halfway through the first mission? Dang, that sucks. I also want character creation to be quick and easy so you can start playing right away. That kind of counters the idea of an in-depth character creation with lots of options. 

I guess I'm kinda stuck. Any suggestions?
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Warrior Monk
Member

Posts: 85


« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2009, 08:14:05 AM »

Well, you're talking about two different kinds of fun. Is either a quick start with characters with no depth (or randomly created in the beginning of the session) so players don't develop an attachment to them and dying becomes part of the fun; OR fully customizable complex characters with some sort of advancement system (even if it's quite limited) but a combat system that allows them to survive for a longer time.

So it's either you choose between those or...

What if you make that two different stages of the same game? Like, first session your characterr goes in ignored into the platoon. Since he is a noob,  nobody in the team wants to get close. Once he survives the first mission, he gets a reputation and THEN he gets to tell his story. Once the character has gain relevance, combat system should award him with something he can use to survive even longer. Not that it makes him inmortal in higher levels, but just a bit more hard to kill in a cinematographical sense...
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Aapov
Member

Posts: 8


« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2009, 11:52:41 AM »

Quote from: Warrior Monk
What if you make that two different stages of the same game? Like, first session your characterr goes in ignored into the platoon. Since he is a noob,  nobody in the team wants to get close. Once he survives the first mission, he gets a reputation and THEN he gets to tell his story. Once the character has gain relevance, combat system should award him with something he can use to survive even longer. Not that it makes him inmortal in higher levels, but just a bit more hard to kill in a cinematographical sense...

I love that idea. What if all the characters start out the same "out of the box" and then customization comes with gameplay? No, that's too generic, and too boring. Gotta have some customization at character creation. So character creation is dirt simple and provides a minimal amount of character creation. Every character is a noob, but every mission the noob survives he becomes tougher and stronger until he eventually becomes a veteran. Nice.
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Warrior Monk
Member

Posts: 85


« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2009, 08:08:57 AM »

Cool! What about the chances of surviving in your game? What dices / dice system you think it fits a war setting? Would you keep the chance of dying by a single headshot for more advanced characters (even if it was shooted by a level 0 minion)? or it gets to be more cinematographical as the character advances?

I've been having trouble designing a quick creation system that allows players to create interesting characters. Some time ago a friend of mine brought my attention into Maid RPG -not something I would EVER play -because of the setting- but definitely it has a few interesting mechanics for quick character and plot creation. Problem is character creation is totally random, which fits the insane comedy orientation of this game. I was amazed, though, by how quick the mechanics could generate an interesting array of characters and situations. I found a character generator for that game here http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/maidrpg.html, but you should see the actual book to get a better idea of how it works

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Aapov
Member

Posts: 8


« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2009, 08:09:43 AM »

The chances of surviving are going to be based on three factors:
1) the character's "level" - while there won't actually be characters levels, the more experienced characters will have a better chance of survival than noobs
2) character decisions - stupid decisions can be lethal, smart decisions can save your life; also, there will be opportunities for characters to sacrifice themselves to save their team and/or accomplish the objective (which will have huge rewards)
3) randomness - sometimes the dice just fall in the bag guys' favor, but characters will still have ways to save themselves if they play smart

The odds are always going to be against the characters. There is a certain amount of randomness in the game, but it's really about what tactical decisions the characters make and how they work together that is going to determine success. There's also going to be advancement, with initial rewards for surviving and accomplishing the mission. Characters will quickly advance but will always be in danger of dying. I've thought about the idea of awarding "player points" which is basically like XP for players instead of characters. If a character dies, a player can use their player points to build a new character that starts off more experienced than a noob.

As for the dice system... well, I'm still working on that. I have a few ideas that I like, but I'm not committed to anything yet. d6s seem to be the quickest and easiest, but I prefer d10, or even d20s for more granularity. I'm certainly open for suggestions as far as what dice system fits a war setting. I'm also working on developing some kind of RPS system into the action, but I'm not really sure yet how I'm going to pull that off. I really like the idea of cinematographic action, but I have no idea how to incorporate that into my game. Any suggestions?
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Warrior Monk
Member

Posts: 85


« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2009, 01:59:57 PM »

I think the Pool mechanics or something alike may fit your game. I can't find it now but I readed about some variations of that system somewhere in the forum... anyway the idea is this: Player defines relevant skills (no more than 3 usually) for his character, then he assigns a number of dice to each skill. Each time a player rolls the dice, one of those dice is designated the Exploding dice. On a normal result that dice just adds it's value to the roll. On the highest result it allows a re-roll which is added to the previous. Gm can translate this last number into a cinematographic result on the narration.

You can also give 3 fixed skills to players and let them create a last relevant one just when they need it in the middle of the session, for a cinematographical effect like:

"Your team arrives too late to the bridge, explosives are already set and about to explode in no time. Squad leader turns back and says -Let's get outta here, mission has failed! We've got nothing to do!
Suddenly Johnny noob steps ahead. -Sir, I think I can disarm the explosives, sir!
Squad leader stares at the noob silently for a second. Still angry for the interruption he shouts curse after curse and finally agrees -Ok, I'll give you ONE chance to play hero! Don't mess it!"

Another good thing about the pool system is that you can emulate the character getting tired by having players rolling one dice less for each round of continued physical effort their character has to endure. They can take one round to catch their breath and regain a dice or more. Same could be done about mental effort for each continued hour.

You can even add "adrenaline dice" to be spent with your normal rolls, somewhat linked to character levels. That could be a fixed number of dice, once burned they are gone until next mission.
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Aapov
Member

Posts: 8


« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2009, 05:38:13 PM »

Those are great suggestions, Warrior Monk, I'll have to consider incorporating them into the system. The "Exploding die" system you describe is almost exactly how the d6 Star Wars game works. I have a few ideas for using exploding dice, one of which is every die can explode. The cool thing about the "Wild Die" in Star Wars and the "Drama Die" in Dune is that it creates a narrative opportunity. Serenity and Dune both use an "Exceptional success" system that also gives narrative opportunities for cinematic gameplay. Not sure exactly how I'm going to work it out, but I think the game definitely deserves a mechanic like that. Another thing my friends came up with is a "Combat Mishap" table. Whenever a player rolls dice, 2 of them are percentile dice that indicate a particular mishap if the roll is a failure. I could arrange the table so that it includes good and bad results. That way the "wild dice" could indicate an automatic success or failure, or simply change the nature of the success or failure. Not quite sure about that yet, but it's worth considering.

I like the "relevant skill" idea too. That just makes so much sense it's not even funny. I'm currently running with "tag skills" from the SPECIAL video game rpg system, and the "relevant skill" system coordinates very well with tag skills (one tag skill would remain unspecified).

I like the idea of "Adrenaline Dice" also. I have a similar idea, but I called it something else. I have a lot of ideas for interesting mechanics that I'm really gonna need to post. I don't think I'll be able to use all of them as that would be just too many rules to make the game quick & easy to play.
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Warrior Monk
Member

Posts: 85


« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2009, 08:42:24 AM »

Glad to be of help, Aapov! the combat mishap table sounds great, a friend of mine was helping me with something similar for gun damage. Our logic went this way: in real life, when you get shot you don't lose hit points, but something happens to you. So in the game each time you can't avoid a shot you don't roll damage, you roll in a table of effects that could be either no damege,an scratch, a wound that is gonna stop you soon, a deep wound that frozes you in pain or even an adrenaline pump that allows you to fight with increased strenght and speed... for a single round before you drop dead on the floor XD

Well, we were thinking of a game where dying quick is part of the fun, so this probably don't fit in your game. My point is, yes, there are a lot of awesome mechanics here and there, but you have to choose just the ones that make your game achieve a certain atmosphere better. Follow your instincts, and if you're not sure throw all in and you can edit the rules while playtesting later.
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