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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 66 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Gladius Roleplaying Game  (Read 1160 times)
Nebul
Member

Posts: 5


« on: March 12, 2010, 08:13:51 PM »

Here, I'll give the description of the game that I posted on Facebook a little while ago...

"The Gladius pen & paper role-playing game is designed to be simple, and easy-to-use, for people who just want to build their character and go, and likewise for gm's who don't want to worry about things like game-balance and just want to plan adventures, write npc's, environments, and magical items without having to become a rules lawyer.

In short Gladius handles all of the numbers and statistics and leaves the players and GM to imagine and have fun, but it does so without losing the depth of play required to make it an enjoyable game."

Right now everything is medieval fantasy flavored but I have plans in the works to write resources for modern and sci-fi settings as well.  The full and up-to-date resources for players and GM's can be viewed for free at my website, www.gladiusrpg.com.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2010, 07:58:18 PM »

Hi, welcome to the forge!

Do you have any playtest accounts you'd like to give, showing what happened fictionally and also what the people at the table did? Doesn't have to be long, just a sentence or two is good. Smiley
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Philosopher Gamer
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Nebul
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2010, 03:49:23 PM »

Well, lets see... I ran a complete campaign with a group of four players long enough for them to advance from level 1 all the way to 12.  And this was before each adventure was worth one level, usually they would level once every other session rather than once per session as it is written now.

The main reason I retired the group was because there was simply too much, "stuff," that they had, that I had to keep track of.  When we began the campaign the players immediately started conquering towns and killing people since the area they were in was almost defenseless due to invading hordes of monsters.  I wasn't so worried about the campaign being a, "long runner," or not at the time, I mostly wanted to have fun, see what the players would do, and see where the game went and whether or not I had a good system that I should develop further, and whether or not we would keep playing and even turn the campaign into a more serious game. 

So I allowed them to basically take control of a small horde of peasants with pitchforks, (the inhabitants of the towns that they conquered.)  The system handled it nicely enough, I adjusted the encounters so that they could handle the players' power increase and it was only a small horde so it didn't really overpower the players, they eventually each wanted their own dragon mount, and their own individual pets and this worked out okay though it bogged down combat a tiny bit, the real problem arose however when I let them take control of a major city and suddenly they had a real army.  I tried to write some simple rules to handle combat on a massive scale but I didn't come up with anything that really seemed fun to play, and I eventually decided that I wasn't going to write more complicated rules to handle massive units of monsters and I was going to stick to play-testing the rules that I already had as they were actually working pretty well.

So to the dismay of at least one player I wrote each adventure so that the armies were off in the background or were unable to participate, (for whatever reason,) while the adventures centered on the players and their various, "pets."  Eventually I decided to end the campaign when I noticed other people in our group getting anxious to run their own games, and because each session I wrote was more difficult to exclude their army than it was the time before and because I needed to take a break from GM'ing to refill my inspiration well.

The only problems I had running this campaign were that in the first sessions the players were, "bursting," too much, (blowing all their abilities in the first couple turns and prematurely terminating the encounters,) and the special abilities made the standard attacks look like kitten scratches.  Some of the players didn't have damaging special abilities, they took buffs or summons instead, so they were very disappointed when they had to resort to standard attacks when their comrades were reaping the rewards from their buffs and dealing ten times as much damage. 

After about the fifth session or so I had to tone down the special abilities so that they were closer in power to the standard attacks, lower the starting ability scores so that they were 1 to 4 instead of 1 to 8, and I had to altogether remove one ability called, "Slash and Dash," which was a free action that recurred on hit creating, (with the help of a min-maxed attack using an ability score of up to 8 at that time,) would just about never miss and therefore created an infinite damage loop.  It was a cool ability and I have tried many variants of it with not much success.  I also had to limit the players to taking only abilities with power values equal to one plus their level divided by five.

After I made these changes the battles began looking somewhat as I had imagined them and everything seemed to be under control.

The only other problem I had was not really a game-balance problem but due to there not being any classes I had a bunch of players with the same abilities but with entirely different initial designs.  I fixed this, (hopefully,) when I put the website up, by adding new abilities to support different and more diverse character designs, and by linking each ability to a specialty, (initially only a few abilities were tied to a character specialty, and now they all are.)

Overall I call this campaign a success even though I made at least one GM'ing mistake, (allowing the players to have an army rather than leaving them with a horde of peasants,) and I am currently working on starting a new one with possibly some new players.  I am also contemplating starting a forum game, and I could probably do both simultaneously since it only takes a few minutes to plan for a session.
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Nebul
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Posts: 5


« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2010, 03:53:16 PM »

Sorry... I was actually trying to make it, "short."
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Callan S.
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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2010, 04:23:11 PM »

No no, more info is useful - any play account is useful. Thanks for that!

Were you heading the campaign toward any particular climax? If so, were you doing that manually as GM, or do you have mechanics that actually determine when a campaign ends?

If not, how about the climax of each session - I dunno, save the princess, save the town, destroy the summoning alter, whatever. Do you manually guide the game session towards that climax (which is pretty traditional to do in roleplay) or have mechanics that determine how close and when the climax of the session happens?

I mean, if you take it that each battle is the smaller picture, the larger picture had no rules for it at all and was kind of up for grabs - and the players went off with this whole army thing. Which is kind of beyond the scope of your mechanics, I think you even say so yourself.

Your mechanics actually seem, from my skimming read, to cover the smaller picture pretty damn tightly. But play seemed to be dipping into the larger picture - either the climax for the nights session, or with the army even bigger picture, the climax for the entire campaign! And it had no rules to cover it. And yeah, the players are doing a bunch of stuff that requires rules, but dang, they don't expect to do the work of making them, they not only punt that onto you but look askance if you don't include the army stuff they invented. I know the feeling!

That's my brief overview. Was it helpful in some way or another?
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Philosopher Gamer
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Nebul
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2010, 05:31:09 PM »

To be honest this was actually a step out of my comfort zone, I usually put years of thought into my worlds, npc's, and plots, and in to each campaign I run as well.  This one was... well, it was kind of an experiment on multiple levels, I wanted to see where the players would go and what they would do and develop it from there.

After a little while though they didn't seem to be feeding me enough exploratory spirit to build the sessions from so I started helping them out by writing snippets about potential directions they could go in after each session ended and letting them choose one.  That way I could design that session during the following week and have it ready for them to play by the following weekend.

After a few sessions I started to conceive a master plot which I allowed to run behind the scenes without the players noticing until the climax.  They didn't unfortunately reach the BIG bad guy because of one completely unexpected action that one of the players took that allowed him to achieve his goal and go unnoticed, but they did encounter his second in command which made for a pretty amazing climax anyways.  They didn't seem that interested in the, WHY of any of it and since they weren't demanding answers I just let it end and saved the, (now much more powerful,) bad guy for another day.

This campaign was actually more of an excuse to play games than it was a serious game, but we held it together because it seemed like they were having fun, and I was having fun building encounters for them.

As far as mechanics go, I like to write games that only handle one aspect of reality, (combat in this case,) and that the, "larger picture," as you put it should either belong to the participants, or it should be handled by a separate system, or possibly even written into the setting itself.  I have contemplated writing systems to handle storytelling and role-playing for instance but so far I haven't actually seen the need.  Combat on a massive scale I believe should definitely be it's own system, as massive simplifications would be required to make it playable and then we have to find a way to make it fun and... well, then you are really getting into writing another game entirely.

In addition to this I believe smaller scale, "adventurer," combats actually fall somewhat in a different genre as these stories will seriously emphasize a few, "heroes," which make soldiers and uniform units look kind of insignificant or the other way around.  As it stands I think my future campaigns will end when the players become influential enough to actually control such a large force, and their characters will become part of the setting for our next go-around as npc's or they may choose to graduate to a different game system where they command armies.  Mostly I plan to be sure that the players have a better idea of what to expect going in.

And yes it was helpful thank you, Wink
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Callan S.
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2010, 12:54:02 AM »

Well, I dunno - your bigger picture seemed to get frayed. If you contrast that against your battles, they sounded like they ran nice and smoothly due to the rules you'd written for them. Just leaving the bigger picture to the participants to support didn't seem to work out nearly as neatly?
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Philosopher Gamer
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Nebul
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2010, 02:29:55 PM »

Well, do you have any suggestions?  I mean, I could have reduced massive combat to a few charisma vs. charisma rolls, or as I said before, I could have used a different system to handle it.  The only problem is that I wouldn't know which one to use, so I am left with the lone option of writing my own system which at the time I was not prepared to do.  So if I did write this how do you think it should work?  My original thought was to do everything in units, with a battle-grid similar to the way I handle combat normally.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2010, 08:26:20 PM »

Well I'd actually instead decide how I wanted the ending to go. Do you want it to go to giant army stuff? Roughly how do you want it, in terms of the big picture, to end?

After that we can look at rules for it. Smiley
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Philosopher Gamer
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