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Author Topic: Starting Designs for a Fantasy (aD&D-like) RPG - stuck already  (Read 14313 times)
Necromantis
Member

Posts: 34


« on: March 13, 2010, 11:37:08 PM »

Hello. I am new to the forum. I am a member of a few forums though I read them more than I post myself. I found this wonderful sight tonight
and searched to no avail to find the help I seek. Maybe some experienced gamer will have something for me. Thanks in advance.

Now to preface this request with some back story. If you dont Care about the backstory skip ahead to where in all caps it says "NOW FOR MY PROBLEM"

I came late into my Geekdom. I have been playing Tabletop rpgs for around 5 years now Refereeing them for 4 of those.
The first system I ever played was 2nd Edition D&D. I Like it best out of most of the games I have played since.
I have recently been running a campaign with green ronins "song of ice and fire roleplaying" system (SIFRP) which I like a lot.
I feel however that it works well in that worlds setting only (well in a world like that at least) with there being no magic system in place etc.

This was one of the first games I had played with more than 6-8 abilities. 19 in fact. Thats a ton. Too many I originally thought.
Having had 2 long gaming sessions with the system I started having Ideas.
After playing D&D again (2e) I started noticing things that I'd like to Fix. That lead to this lead to that and Soon I realized that I should just make my own system - id&d - improved D&D (JK i wouldnt call it that)

could be helpful in getting help
I read somewhere on here that it helps others help you to state your games intent. That makes sense so I'll do that.

Objectives with my system:
1) Adaptable rules. - Meaning only that you dont screw the pooch when you leave one out or add one (d&d 3.5 is wretched because of this)
2) I'd also like the system to be universal  (not locked into one world type - like SIFRP)
3) It would be great but beyond me to minimize MIN-MAXing through character development
4) balance speed of combat with realism as much as possible.
5) fixing the nonsense that passes for armor class in the games Ive played. different armor was designed for different purposes
at least 3 AC values are needed. vs. Piercing, vs. slashing & vs. bludgeoning (not to mention unarmored / high ground etc)
Note that I see the realism factor as making the GMs life tons easier. Common sense is then used rather than looking something up/referring to a chart.

I am sure there is more but that will do for now seeing as how I am already stuck in the early stages. Smiley

NOW FOR MY PROBLEM
While coming up with my Abilities I stumbled across this issue.

I need something that relates to a priests divine magic. Something like devotion or Zeal or somesuch but I can't seem to make one work in my mind.
I am really pretty happy with my list so far and how they work in my mind. (I am not terribly confident that is relayed on paper however)

They breakdown (mechanically) like so

      Might- +/- to attack damage         
    Prowess- +/- to attack chance (to hit)
  Precision- +/- to ranged attacks and backstabs
    Agility- +/- to defense rating and initiative results
Forbearance- +/- to fighting while injured
 Heartiness- Effects Hit points   
  Knowledge- +/- to wizards spells    ---- What has been learned
  Reasoning- +/- to ??
 Leadership- Effects hirelings/henchmen/followers
 Comeliness- +/- reaction adjustment.

 
The hang up is that I think that reasoning is important. the counter to knowledge - the 2 basic types of thought. (recollection and logic)
example:
Someone could remember that 9 times 12 is 108 (like multiplication tables in grade school are memory based)
or could reason out that 9 sets of 12 is equal to 108


 I first thought of it as wisdom in 2Ed&d but immediately chucked that notion aside for not liking it.
The more I have thought about it the more I think they messed up with wis/int. but the model T wasn't a good car either. Smiley But the model T is no longer around where as WIS/INT is. ugh.
I am very fond of Forbearance although it seems to cause problems in this area for me as well.
Explanation:
Forbearance is like fortitude (infact fortitude was my original choice for the ability) - the ability to take a hit. to overcome. its like will power but more physical that mental. Some may disagree but I am modeling this after myself. For example I do not bruise. Hit me with a baseball bat. I wont turn blue 99% of the time. its more of a pain recognition level Not a pain tolerance level almost. But nevermind all that. It will mechanically affect how well your fight when injured and I really don't want to replace it (maybe a more appropriate title?) or combine it with another ability.

Now.
what about Reasoning.? what Mechanical role does it play. (aside from skill checks. that just isn't enough for me)
it doesn't fit the Priest problem I am having. Priests (i feel) need a defining attribute that would alter the effectiveness of their casting ability
which is the HEART of my real issue.
What about Divine Magic. What ability affects it?

I am sure you are wondering "what does that have to do with forbearance?"
Well heres the thing.
Zeal or Dedication seems too close to forbearance to me
Is the answer to make divine magic forbearance dependent?
I see Dedication/devotion as a problem also in this way. Would not Dedication be needed for any type of class or skill?
you need dedication to be more than average at anything. be it swordsmanship or needlework or playing a musical instrument
I hope I haven't made A mess of this. If so welcome to my head right now.
I cannot seem to find a solution that doesn't require what I would consider Cheating my system.
If I wanted to cheat I'd do what D&D did (Wisdom for priests) and just say Reasoning. Wink

any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Necromantis
South Carolina, USA
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Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2010, 02:02:37 AM »

I feel I can relate to you because we have similar goals for our designs. 
My system's primary attributes:

Fitness
Strength
Speed
Endurance

Coordination
Dexterity
Reflex
Agility

Perception
Awareness
Focus

Reasoning
Logic (deductive)
Insight (inductive)

Magnetism
Charisma


Why is this relevant?<
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Necromantis
Member

Posts: 34


« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2010, 03:06:16 AM »

Wow! Thanks for such a quick response. You are very articulate and its easy to catch the subtle differences while "micro-tuning" these attributes. I don't mean that to sound like I'm saying we shouldn't "micro-tune". I think its totally necessary. Otherwise terms like wisdom would work without any problems.
I won't say that I have it all figured out by what you said but It was very helpful. I was doing that without really knowing it. Trying to nail down the exact function rather than use such broad all encompassing terms. More precision which I found takes more terms. 12 abilities instead of 6 or whatever.
This game design gig is all new to me and i really appreciate the help. I am interested in something about your system (not trying to steal it or anything - not in its entirety anyhow -- hahah jk)  but do you have 5 abilities and from there break them down into several sub abilities? or more to the point. Does each attribute get its own assigned number to perform checks/tests with?  for instance ..

(using d&ds 3d6 method for this example)

Fitness 16
Strength 12
Speed 16
Endurance 8                   ------      Similar to The "2.5 D&D players options rules?


or

More like

Fitness:
Strength 12
Speed 15
Endurance 9               ------       Where Fitness is the umbrella term from which the actual abilities are rendered?


another curiosity is how you fit your abilities to the mechanics of your game. for instance .. I would assume that strength would effect the damage dealt when/if using a sword/warhammer where as reflex would keep you from being hit so easily while being attacked, but what about ...say... hit points (or something similar)
which of your ability scores would provide a bonus there?Assuming of course that anything like that is in your system at all.

I am just looking to understand new things. I'm open to any knowledge those who have found some during their journney are willing to Share.
I am not looking to publish this new system if/when I get it sorted (unless its unexpectedly awesome) just for my players and myself to enjoy.
Thanks again.

Necromantis
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Necromantis
Member

Posts: 34


« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2010, 03:15:51 AM »

just an edit here. and it appears the editing is removed right now

Quote
(using d&ds 3d6 method for this example)

Fitness 12
Strength 12
Speed 16
Endurance 8                   ------      Similar to The "2.5 D&D players options rules?

I started with 16 then went to 12 and forgot to change the governing ability's number. OOPS Wink

so that the average of the 3 sub abilities would equal that of the governing ability. I had to fix it.
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Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2010, 05:07:42 AM »

url=http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=29257.15]model combat in a very realistic manner .
model combat in a very realistic manner [/url].
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Excalibur
Member

Posts: 94


« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2010, 11:37:55 AM »

You have admitted that you've only been playing for about 5 years now so I'm going to give you a bit of advice. Play more games! Different games! LOTS of games! Diversify, it will help you to see different points of view through game mechanics. Why didn't Palladium Books stick with a straight d20 mechanic? Why did the Hackmaster series come into being? (Hackmaster is, btw, a re-imagining of AD&D) What's the difference between Hero System, d20, AD&D, Storyteller (Vampire, Werewolf, etc. by White Wolf), Fuzion, or Warhammer Fantasy?

That's the best advice I can give in terms of your relative newness to the RPG scene.

Now, about your initial question.

Ar Kayon hit it right on the head when he mentioned the Player's Options books for AD&D 2nd Edition. I have all of them and for a while played 2e strictly with those rules. They break down each of the different AD&D attributes into 2 aspects and allow the player to raise/lower the character's sub-attributes to differentiate between them.

Quote
Might- +/- to attack damage         
Prowess- +/- to attack chance (to hit)
Precision- +/- to ranged attacks and backstabs
Agility- +/- to defense rating and initiative results
Forbearance- +/- to fighting while injured
Heartiness- Effects Hit points   
Knowledge- +/- to wizards spells    ---- What has been learned
Reasoning- +/- to ??
Leadership- Effects hirelings/henchmen/followers
Comeliness- +/- reaction adjustment.

I actually see your list this way:
  • Might: +/- to attack damage
  • Strength: General lifting ability, thrown weapon range
  • Precision: +/- to attack chance
  • Prowess: +/- to AC
  • Agility: General bonus to skills involving balance, coordination, hand-to-eye coordination.
  • Forbearance: (I like this) Stamina, Fatigue, the general physical ability to push your body to the limits.
  • Heartiness: +/- bonus to hit points
  • Leadership: Hirelings/henchmen/followers (I have yet to see anything like this used outside of war scenarios and wargames)
  • Comeliness: Physical beauty, general good looks. +/- bonus due to attractiveness, first impression reactionary bonus.
  • Charisma: Personality. +/- bonus due to how well people like you (you can be awesomely beautiful but have the personality of a hag and people would hate you). Takes over the comeliness bonus after the first few interactions.
  • Knowledge: Knowing stuff, general knowledge. +/- bonus to skills (no spell-related junk? Why? see below)
  • Thaumaturgy: How much magical energy flows through your character? This would be a good "wizard or sorcerer spells per day" kind of stat. Since you need energy to cast them and magic, in the D&D sense, isn't about a character's energy but about "the weave" which is a magical energy flowing through reality. This could be replaced with Willpower if this is not the case and you could state that Willpower is the ability to bend "the weave" to produce spell effects.
  • Reasoning: This is inductive and deductive stuff. You might consider making this a bonus to characters when trying to figure out clues to a mystery or crime.
  • Piety: How devoted is your character to his god? I think this would be a good "divine spells per day" kind of stat. Since the spells come from divine interaction than from knowing.
I've never liked that if you didn't have a high enough "wisdom" or "intelligence" that you couldn't know a particular spell because you've "run out of space in your head". Instead, I like to use an intelligence-based skill:
Spellcraft: How many spells you know for your given class. This obtains a bonus from your knowledge and the higher the skill's rank, the more spells you know. This works for both divine and magic spell casters (as well as those who depend upon nature, song, what have you).

This is one way to go. I've always been fond of point-based systems of spell casting that allow the player to exceed those points by using a fatigue mechanic.

One of my favorite games of yesteryear was d6 Star Wars by West End Games. They had xd6+n associated with each stat and skills associated with those stats. The stats all had the base stat score (say 1d6+3) but you could increase the "pips" of the skills or the stat. Interesting system.

But, overall, for me, K.I.S.S. is my philosophy. Smiley Then again, I'm working with people who prefer TCGs over pen & paper RPGs.
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-Curt
Callan S.
Member

Posts: 3588


WWW
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2010, 12:02:49 PM »

Have you had a chat with your game group about this, and how they would think it'd go?
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Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
stefoid
Member

Posts: 319


WWW
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2010, 07:43:19 PM »

Hi

Q1) What do you mean by realism?   

Q2) why is realism one of your goals?
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Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2010, 08:53:47 PM »

When others speak of realism I have an implicit understanding of what it is they are generally referring to, and I'm sure others here do too although they may not readily admit it.  I think your question would be better if it were rephrased as, "What parts of your designs do you want to be realistic, and how do you intend to model that realism?"

I'm not trying to speak for the OP, but rather reinforce what I believe is his intent.  I think realism, from this implicit understanding, is a good design goal because it is aesthetically pleasing; it gets you excited about the game world and its internal logic independently of the GM's storytelling abilities.  A good violinist is a good violinist, but even better with a Stradivarius.
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Locke
Member

Posts: 85


« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2010, 09:41:23 PM »

why is prowess and precision different.  they sound the same to me...  i get it... if you want an archer you get the shootie thing and if you want the swordsman you take the melee thing and if you want the monk you take the unarmed thing...

but practically when a player makes a shootie character they OF COURSE will always take the shootie attributes.  so why have two sets for attributes?  who cares if the archer can swing a sward as well as a swordsman if he's never gonna use it.  also a swordsman will likely have more HP's to keep in combat longer and a whole list of other things to make him better at close combat.  so practically you don;t need a billion options for combat as the entire character can be defined in combat.  So really mechanically all you need is one combat stat to show how well the character attacks in general.  DnD does this through THACO or the base attack bonus, but them mucks it up with weapon specialization and crap like that.

Each character doesn't have to be exemplary as long as the group prevails.  The only reason DnD needs high stats is that it can be randomly generated by 3d6 and that attributes can take damage.  It makes much more sense to start attributes at zero and a 1 = +1 and a 2 = +2...  But many groups now default to a point buy system anyway as its more fair and balanced for all players.

Also what do these stats do?  do they add to skills and combat like pretty much every other system.  ie. vampire and shadowrun...  the agility + dodge = pool to dodge?

And combat reality is a joke.  Meaning that if you come to hit me and i don't want to be hit i'm not just gonna let you run across the room and smack me.  I'm gonna back away as you start to come toward me.  SO combat is really more like waiting for opportunity to strike when one person thinks they have an advantage.  But its very hard to replicate this on table top as you would have to add sub initiatives and actions that can go between character's turns thus making the system mechanically unplayable.

Also I agree that armor classes suck, but in the end it is just abstract.  DnD's combat is BASED on 3 things. 
1. armor ratings
2. dexterity
3. magic progression and attainment

These 3 things are controlled and all of combat is based around some scheme they have developed.  Rifts and my system (in sig) use actions through the round with active defense.  Some systems use an opposed check to determine a hit usually with armor being a second line of defense...  or some use an absolute if i make my roll then i defend myself.  The first is a bit better as you can incorporate trample damage and regulate a good hit is a really good hit, while the later says a really good hit can be mitigated by a barely made my dodge roll.

I would suggest NOT starting with attributes.  I would start by listing how you want combat to happen.  In order.  Then figure out what you need to make that happen.  Also determine how you want characters to be built, then start crossing the 2 until you make it work.

Attributes are so derived in games now and its hard to separate ourselves from how they should work.

here is what i suggest from what you've listed. Just about every system uses these but calls them different things.
Physical Strength
Physical Agility
Physical Endurance
Mental Strength
Mental Agility
Mental Endurance
Social Strength
Social Agility
Social Endurance

attractiveness is subjective as you can argue that presence is also attraction.  i would suggest making attractiveness a "feat".  same with precision.

For mechanics you could:
1. add the attributes to some skill (like dnd & pretty much every other game in existence))
2. add them together to make a composite skill... ie priest casting = Mental Endurance + Social Strength... (priests should need social strength)
3. make the attribute the skill and not have skills

Things to consider
1. how do feats interact the character
2. are character's built on class or on point buy?
3. how are these abilities increased? and how often?

It sounds like you want a DnD clone with a different and more robust combat system.  you might just want to make a character build modification and use 95% of whatever DnD system you like.

Do it first, do it better, or don't do it at all.  So really I guess after all of this I would ask "Why, how does creating this system better gaming?"
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https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B-7APna9ZhHEZmRhNmFmODktOTgxNy00NDllLTk0MjgtMjI4YzJlN2MyNmEw&hl=en

Thanks!
Jeff Mechlinski
stefoid
Member

Posts: 319


WWW
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2010, 12:48:24 AM »

When others speak of realism I have an implicit understanding of what it is they are generally referring to, and I'm sure others here do too although they may not readily admit it.  I think your question would be better if it were rephrased as, "What parts of your designs do you want to be realistic, and how do you intend to model that realism?"

I'm not trying to speak for the OP, but rather reinforce what I believe is his intent.  I think realism, from this implicit understanding, is a good design goal because it is aesthetically pleasing; it gets you excited about the game world and its internal logic independently of the GM's storytelling abilities.  A good violinist is a good violinist, but even better with a Stradivarius.

No, my questions stand as is.
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Falc
Member

Posts: 80


« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2010, 02:32:50 AM »

I've always felt that the 'Articles' link at the top of the page could use a bit more attention-drawing.

http://www.indie-rpgs.com/articles/9/ seems nicely appropriate.
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Excalibur
Member

Posts: 94


« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2010, 04:28:09 AM »

Another option would be Palladium Books' Armor Rating system.

First off, roll a d20. If you roll 4 or higher, you hit. No ifs, ands, or buts.

You damage an opponent by having that roll higher than the opponent's armor rating (if I remember correctly).

It's close to Armor Class, yes, but you can add other stuff onto it such as damage reduction or armor points that reduce when the character is hit.

All-in-all, it was ThAC0 that I really hated.

In the case of realism vs abstractionism...Realism is nice to have if and only if it can be handled efficiently and not bog things down. Unfortunately, the more realistic you want the game the more bogged down the game gets. This is why abstracting the system to an easy and fast system is a desired goal. To up the realism factor, results can be narrated.

Personally, I do not like stat bonuses. I prefer straight stats and therefore enjoy what True20 has done. They've abstracted out the attribute scores (the 3d6) and use just the bonuses. Since, afterall, aside from a few mechanics in the d20 system, the character is almost always defined by his bonuses.

Now, I also dislike using strength to determine melee to hit bonuses. Have you ever seen a ridiculously strong person try to move or swing a baseball bat (just think back to the Conan movies with Arnold Schwarzenegger) they are neither fast nor more accurate than someone who is weaker in terms of strength. Actually, if you see many baseball players, they're more wiry and dexterous and far more accurate with throwing and swinging bats.

If you want realism, relegate "strength" to damage and "dexterity" to accuracy and precision.

Personally, I really like the idea of separating to hit for melee and ranged weapons out to skills which force a player to pick which one gets skill points at each level. I'm not a big fan of classes and their rigidity towards combat modifiers, that's why I like this system.

If I recall correctly, the old Runequest RPG had a d% mechanic for everything. When advancing in level, the player rolled d% for his skills. If the roll was higher than the skill's score, it went up. If it was lower or equal, nothing happened.

Just ideas that floated into my head...and I am no officially to sleepy to write much more coherent stuff.
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-Curt
Locke
Member

Posts: 85


« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2010, 08:18:13 AM »

Another option would be Palladium Books' Armor Rating system.

First off, roll a d20. If you roll 4 or higher, you hit. No ifs, ands, or buts.

You damage an opponent by having that roll higher than the opponent's armor rating (if I remember correctly).

It's close to Armor Class, yes, but you can add other stuff onto it such as damage reduction or armor points that reduce when the character is hit.

All-in-all, it was ThAC0 that I really hated.

In the case of realism vs abstractionism...Realism is nice to have if and only if it can be handled efficiently and not bog things down. Unfortunately, the more realistic you want the game the more bogged down the game gets. This is why abstracting the system to an easy and fast system is a desired goal. To up the realism factor, results can be narrated.

Personally, I do not like stat bonuses. I prefer straight stats and therefore enjoy what True20 has done. They've abstracted out the attribute scores (the 3d6) and use just the bonuses. Since, afterall, aside from a few mechanics in the d20 system, the character is almost always defined by his bonuses.

Now, I also dislike using strength to determine melee to hit bonuses. Have you ever seen a ridiculously strong person try to move or swing a baseball bat (just think back to the Conan movies with Arnold Schwarzenegger) they are neither fast nor more accurate than someone who is weaker in terms of strength. Actually, if you see many baseball players, they're more wiry and dexterous and far more accurate with throwing and swinging bats.

If you want realism, relegate "strength" to damage and "dexterity" to accuracy and precision.

Personally, I really like the idea of separating to hit for melee and ranged weapons out to skills which force a player to pick which one gets skill points at each level. I'm not a big fan of classes and their rigidity towards combat modifiers, that's why I like this system.

If I recall correctly, the old Runequest RPG had a d% mechanic for everything. When advancing in level, the player rolled d% for his skills. If the roll was higher than the skill's score, it went up. If it was lower or equal, nothing happened.

Just ideas that floated into my head...and I am no officially to sleepy to write much more coherent stuff.

I have to agree a lot with what excaliber said, and I have employed a lot of this in my own fantasy game (in sig).  Step back from what you know.  Think about how things work.  DnD 2nd edition was pretty broken as far as things to do.  No real crafting rules or skills, non-weap profs were as close as it came to non-thief skills.  That's why 3rd implemented its skill system and using the d20 was just an evolution as the white wolf and shadowrun systems had mad skillz!

As we evolve as players we see that some things that were implemented were done so without much thought or reason.  Reduce reduce reduce!  Occum's razor! 

For example in my game (Age Past) I wanted to make a system where you could build any type of fantasy character that could do anything.  So I focused on a rolling mechanic that could be used across the entire system.  Leveling controls how fast characters build so a level system for monsters can be used and points are used to buy stuff to control balance.  I hated the fact that warrior types in most games generally can't do anything as far as skill so i implemented a system where a fighter can actually be a good sailor as well.  The dice and skill pool system allows for characters to get better at something quick then slow down forming an S-curve on a chart so it smart to invest to a point but only those dedicated invest to a greater value for a smaller return.

Now these don't make the game perfect, but make it good in some ways that other games lack.  I would suggest trying to find a way to do this as well.  Find a way to make this your own and design it from a holistic approach.  You've already gotten some good feedback... (more than I got, but I'm not bitter or anything...)
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Thanks!
Jeff Mechlinski
Necromantis
Member

Posts: 34


« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2010, 09:10:43 AM »

Wow lot of responses.

Let me start by stating my appreciation. Thanks for all the help.

I am, in general a picky guy. I like what I like and can't help but be that way.

I have played (or any least read carefully the rules of) many of the games listed below (with the exception of white wolf - a big one i know but Seeing as Anne Rice and the frenzy she created ruin vampires and the like forever for me I have had no interest in trying them... though maybe I should look at the system)
Warhammer frpg I tried (Parts I like)
3rd edition (no love on the the system as a whole but parts were ok)
4th is horrid. impossible to kill characters - way overpowered and all characters are the same.
as I said I have tried and really like the song of ice and fire game (green ronin not the d20 system)

I should state that in general I don't like the d20 system.
I don't care for Feats. I feel like Character builds are a form of min-maxing and I hate min-maxing. Its a role-playing game not a video game.

To answer some of the questions (before my lunch period ends)

Realism.
As I stated in my original post I'd like a balance in speed of battle and realism.
I know its really easy to muck up a battle with too much realism. I have tried on the fly and it never goes well.
But if i can build it into the rules of the game I feel I can at least achieve something that you can use common sense rather that some chart that explains why something happens
Its a difficult line to walk and I don't have high expectations for gaining a lot of ground here.

one example of realism that I WILL be installing in the rules for my game is weapon types.
Through history weapons where designed to fight different armor types. and vice versa.
chain mail doesn't hold back the destructive force of a bludgeoning weapon well but against a slashing weapon it does.

OUT OF TIME HERE.
I'LL FINISH ANSWERING THE REST OF THE ?'S WHEN I GET HOME
thanks again guys for the help
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