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Author Topic: [Nevercast] - A hyper-simulationist role-playing game, overview  (Read 8286 times)
Ar Kayon
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Posts: 190


« on: January 18, 2010, 06:49:37 AM »

What is it about?
Nevercast is a post-modern rpg set in a made-up world, about 50 or so years technology-wise in the future.  Economic and social decay has crumbled the infrastructure of most nations, and the few thriving communities are typically de-centralized organizations.  This downward spiral was called the Nevercast, and many things suffered or were destroyed in the process: manufacture, emerging technologies, consumer culture, culture in general (including many languages), the enforcement of law, et. al.  Most of the activity is centered on a region of the surviving Urs Prime Republic called the Des Xiac nations: a melting pot of cultures, a place of violence and lucrative opportunities, and a political hotspot, where various national, local, and international groups fight for control.

Who are the players?
Player characters in the game will carve out their niche, typically by hunting for fringe technologies abandoned during the Nevercast, or selling their skill set to any politically-charged group.  Some players may be charged with helping to stabilize particularly chaotic areas, and others may be hopeless philanthropists, emissaries, wandering opportunists, or spiritual warriors.  The setting's complex environment allows for a myriad of playable professions, each with their own useful perks, but flexible enough to allow the player to customize future character development.

What are the mechanics like?
Nevercast's engine in progress is designed with the philosophy that dazzling realism and complexity may be achieved with simple execution, and will be explained in my next post.








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Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2010, 08:17:06 AM »

Please inquire for further elaboration.

1.  The system is semi-diceless, which means that dice (d4) are only occasionally used. 

2.  There are no character levels and there are no skill levels.

3.  There are no hit-points.  Health and damage is based entirely on an intuitive and vivid effects system rather than abstract numbers.

4.  Resolution is based predominantly upon tactical superiority.  The more skilled you are, the more tactical freedom you are given in lieu of an improved success rate.

5.  There are no experience points.

6.  Combat is based upon an action/reaction exchange; combat time is extremely sensitive..

7.  Via points 1-6, Nevercast boasts an elaborately realistic, yet streamlined and intellectually rewarding engine, while maintaining rules-consistency.
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lumpley
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2010, 10:01:10 AM »

Hey Ar.

I've merged your two threads into this one, just for tidiness sake.

"Intuitive and vivid effects system" sounds great. I'd love further elaboration.

-Vincent
(site tech admin)

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Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2010, 01:39:29 PM »

Thanks for the merger.  I'm still getting used to this site.

To answer your inquiry, the effects system is my answer to frustration with an abstract health and damage value system.  All my attempts to make a working model of realism using hit points turned out to be overly complex, cumbersome, and just plain ugly.  So I decided to scrap the whole thing entirely, and devised something that is, in my opinion, much more elegant.

It works like this:
*  When you score a hit, the directness of your hit is based upon how much you succeeded your check by.  This is called the "gradient of success".  The range goes from +1 (a glancing blow) to +4 (a perfect hit).  For each gradient, there is a progressively severe effect(s).  The effects are based on the attack type.  So, whereas a +4 from an unarmed punch will knock your opponent out, a +4 from a shotgun blast will kill you instantly. 

*  An effect is a qualifier that alters a combatant's effectiveness in some way.  For example, you get a +2 on your sword blow, and it causes the "profuse bleeding" effect, which means that in x amount of time, you will suffer the "incapacitated" effect, and die sometime after that if not treated.  Let's say you get +2 with a shotgun, then not only do you score the "profuse bleeding" effect upon your opponent, but you also knock him off his feet from the "knockdown" effect.
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lumpley
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2010, 03:35:42 PM »

Oh now that's cool, I like it.

So the rules include a list of effects, linked to their weapons or particular attacks, with their special rules (like "profuse bleeding becomes incapacitation")? How many effects are there? I'm imagining quite a few.

-Vincent
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Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2010, 05:16:03 PM »

*Effects are split into types for ease of memory.  So far I have: injury, bleeding, fear, and physics (for lack of a better name).
1. Injury effects - Stun, Hurt, Damaged, Crippled (typically for limbs), and Incapacitated
2. Bleeding effects - Bleeding, Profuse Bleeding, Excessive Bleeding (e.g. a severed artery)
3. Fear effects - Fear, Berserk (pending), and Frozen
4. Physics effects - Off-Balance, Knockback, Knockdown
5. Fatigue effects - Winded, Fatigued, Exhausted
6. Pain effects (pending) - Pain, Excrutiating Pain

*For further ease of memory, each effect in a specific type is assigned a category of severity, in which a category 1 will logically degrade into category 2 and so on.  Let's say you take a hard body blow and leaves you hurt for the round: if you get struck hard like that again within the round, you will suffer the "damaged" effect.  The GM might represent this as a fractured rib.

*Several effects don't actually do any lasting damage, but will affect you negatively.  For example, if someone jabs you and you are stunned, you will lose an action.
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JoyWriter
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also known as Josh W


« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2010, 05:56:37 PM »

What if you change physics to force?

How did you gauge tactical freedom and flexibility? What conflicts do you have tactical factors in?
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Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2010, 08:00:58 PM »

What if you change physics to force?

How did you gauge tactical freedom and flexibility? What conflicts do you have tactical factors in?

Force is good.  Thanks.

When you develop an action-based skill discipline (as opposed to knowledge-based), you learn techniques instead of improving your success rate.  Each technique is ideally suited to certain situations, and poorly suited for others.  For example, it's easier to counterattack after a dodge than a parry, block or evasion, but it's harder to pull off a dodge.  An adept combatant may choose to dodge and counter against an opponent with particularly strong defense.  It's even more difficult to catch his kick and throw him to the ground in one smooth motion (an example of a reversal), but the benefits of pulling it off are great and potentially combat-ending.  A jab may not be particularly destructive, but the higher success rate will allow you to stun your opponent so you can set him up for heavier blows.  Take note, however, that these mechanics are not restricted to pugilism - I just use it as a descriptive example.   

It goes even further.  Since the core of the system is diceless (the d4 randomizer will be explained later), success is determined by comparing attributes in which techniques are based upon.  For example, Kanu Gon throws a jab and Lo Din parries.  The GM then compares the attribute of the jab (quick attack: speed+2) against the attribute of the parry (ward off: dexterity).  Kanu Gon has 6 speed and Lo Din has 6 dexterity, but the technique's bonus to speed gives Kanu Gon the edge.  Therefore, not only do techniques give you freedom of expression, but because they are based directly on your attributes, you can tailor your strategy to your strengths.  So, a strong fighter might plow into opponents in order to deliver punishing blows or subdue you, a dextrous fighter might prefer elaborate and precise counter-techniques, an agile fighter might try to submit his opponents with grappling, and a fast fighter might try to overwhelm his opponents with sheer offensive volume.
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JoyWriter
Member

Posts: 469

also known as Josh W


« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2010, 07:57:12 AM »

So presumably they start off only with jab and block, or other simple actions, but over time gain more skills? One thing I also notice is so far I've only seen flat bonuses, rather than rock/paper/scissors "non-transitive" relations. You talked about this obviously, but I can't quite see where it sits in the rules.

The main trade-off I spot here is play it safe vs gamble, presumably with jab and dodge having high bonuses but lower effect. That's sort of like having power attack (in D&D terms) both on defence and attack, which is still random from your perspective if you don't know how the opponent will react.

Now that's not the only bit of tactics, there's also the idea of matching your behaviour to the terrain/finding advantages in specific moments that won't be there normally. Is this likely to be in the game? I ask because without it, conflicts gain a timelessness that means you can find "the best tactics" and just repeat them against similar opponents. The most rewarding systems are those where old adversaries can duel on different days in different places and have to switch up their tactics in order to accommodate the situation they are in. On the other hand, many games do without heavy environment interaction by just switching up your opponents frequently.

Also what kind of conflicts use knowledge based skills?
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Ar Kayon
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Posts: 190


« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2010, 09:10:08 AM »

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Ar Kayon
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Posts: 190


« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2010, 09:33:37 AM »

/i
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lumpley
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« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2010, 09:46:41 AM »

This all makes a lot of sense to me.

Have you playtested?

-Vincent

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Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2010, 09:50:56 AM »

And now, to demonstrate tactics from a group perspective:

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Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2010, 10:30:19 AM »

This all makes a lot of sense to me.

Have you playtested?

-Vincent



No, I have not playtested yet, unless if simulations run in my own head count!  Designing the game's architecture has demanded an overwhelming amount of effort and time spent on research and brainstorming, and of course screwing around with dice theories and probabilities to come to the conclusion that semi-diceless with an exploding d4 was the best method for what I wanted to accomplish (the exploding d4 is magical).  The reason why I'm confident the system will work is because the rules are consistent - they all fit together like puzzle pieces - and because the nature of the system is based on small numbers and qualifiers instead of quantifiers, therefore bookkeeping is kept to a minimum.  My design philosophy is to achieve the maximum amount of complexity and flexibility, appropriate to the setting, with as little entities possible.
So, anyway, for right now I'm posting my ideas here because it's imperative that I practice explaining my system as well as recieve critical feedback in order to objectively evaluate the validity of my engine, as well as the clarity of the language I use to describe it.
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whoknowswhynot
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Posts: 55

MAYA the RPG


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« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2010, 07:44:36 AM »

Very interesting.  This all covers areas that I neglected in MAYA not because I wanted to, but because I simply didn't know how to incorporate.  You explained it well too.
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We are equal beings and the universe is our relations with each other. The universe is made of one kind of entity: each one is alive, each determines the course of his own existence.
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