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Author Topic: Is This System Broken? Feedback Please.  (Read 823 times)
Alokov
Member

Posts: 62


« on: April 06, 2010, 12:36:08 AM »

This is a system that I came up with a few days ago, but, due to my bias, I can not determine whether or not it's broken. I will be playtesting it soon, but I would like some feedback first so that, if it's irredeemably broken, I can attempt to fix it before I play it.

It uses a pool of d20s with 12+ counting as a success. Degrees of succes/success levels/whatever are determined by number of successes, rather than the number on the die, although a natural 20 counts a 2 successes. Characters have 10 skill/experience points at character generation to spread among as many things as they want. modifiers work on a 1-1 basis (1 point to +1) There's no set list of skills or experience (which roughly equate to feasts) and each dharacter defines these for himself.

Beliefs


Beliefs are also defined by the players, rather than chosen form a set list. There is a ten point Belief Pool at character generation. If you can narrate how your beleif applies to a conflict you get to add a number of dice equal to that beliefs rating into your pool. However, you lose a point in your belief for every "belief die" that you do not get a success on. If a belief gets reduced to zero, you cannot invoke any beliefs until you gain a new belief (or regain that one) at +1. If a belief ever reaches 10, you must begin making compulision rolls in order to avoid obsessively following that belief. You take a cumulative -1 to compulsion rolls for every point above ten in that belief. You can also invoke beliefs in belief duels. In a belief duel, each person picks a belief to use that round, makes an arguement, and wagers a number of points on that arguement. The other side goes through the same process, lather, rinse, repeat. The hitch is that each person loses all points wagered each round whether or not they win the duel in the end.

Combat

damage is completely skill-based. You roll the number of dice you have in the relevant skill and count successes. 1 success = 1 point of damage. Characters start with a base 10 hit points, pass out at 0, and die at -10. They can gain extra hit points through skills and experiences on a 1-1 basis (1 skill pint to 1 hit point). Each point of damage taken results in a cumulative -1 penalty on all rolls. There is no initiative system eexcept as adjudicated by the group. Each character gets to take an action each round no matter what happens that round (within reason. If they die, for example, they can only perform actions that they could have performed while being dealt a killing blow, such as a last-ditch attack or warning.)


1/2 Modifiers

a  1/2 Modifier increases or decreases the minimum number that counts as a success by one.



Sorry for the long-windedness, bad spelling etc. Hopefully I'll be more coherent in the future.

Thanks in advance for all feedback.   
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horomancer
Member

Posts: 54


« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2010, 03:39:25 AM »

if i have a point in a skill, does that mean i get an extra d20 in my pool when i do a  certain action related to that skill? How many d20s would i get for an unskilled action?
Also, do Beliefs get built up from the same experiance point pool that skills do during character creation?
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Callan S.
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Posts: 3588


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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2010, 04:44:29 AM »

Hi again,

Quote
If you can narrate how your beleif applies to a conflict you get to add a number of dice equal to that beliefs rating into your pool.
Who determines if a belief applies? Does it rely on participants authoring integrity, where if they decide it applies, then everyone else takes it seriously that it applies? Or does it work as if everyones stil twelve years old and talks shit all the time and needs some 'wise father' GM to decide if their characters belief applies or if they are just talking shit.

And I think I'm even putting down twelve year olds there - alot of them could really decide when their imagined characters belief would apply, rather than just talk shit.

Quote
If a belief ever reaches 10, you must begin making compulision rolls in order to avoid obsessively following that belief.
Why?

I mean, how is that fun for you? Genuinely asking. I'm also wondering if this is some causal thing - like if belief is at max, as if it'd have to mean something or other. Like if a character fell a thousand feet onto concrete, he'd just have to die! Well no - is that fun in some way? One can think something causally must happen - but that doesn't mean it's actually in any way fun.

Like the falling onto concrete doesn't have to, by game design, end in PC death, do you have to get to some point where you must begin making compulision rolls in order to avoid obsessively following that belief? Does that really have to happen? Why? It just sounds like following a line of causality rather than some kind of fun. Or maybe I'm off track and it is some kind of fun?

Have I said fun enough times yet? Smiley
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Philosopher Gamer
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Falc
Member

Posts: 80


« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2010, 05:12:31 AM »

Also, at what rate do you gain 'belief'? Because it seems you can lose it pretty quickly... Which, you know, doesn't quite fir the word 'belief' as I tend to see it. A belief, IMO, is something you will tend to hold on to, despite setbacks, despite (minor) evidence to the contrary, despite people telling you you're stupid for believing that.

Otherwise, it's not a belief, it's just an assumption. "I believe I can pick that lock!" *try* *try again* *try some more* "Okay, I no longer believe I can pick that lock..."
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Jim D.
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Posts: 20


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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2010, 05:47:18 AM »

Falc seems correct in that belief points are trivially easy to lose but very difficult to gain.  At that point you'd be better served using action points (an expendable resource that adds dice to rolls, or adds automatic successes, or what have you).

What exactly are 1/2 modifiers in the fiction?  I understand modifying the difficulty of rolls; is that a GM tool for when an action seems easy ("this lock is old and broken, so it should be easy to pick; roll against 11.") or hard?  If so, you might want a wider range than +/- 1 -- you're increasing the expected number of successes by +/- 5%, which is far less than the variance inherent in the rolling system.  +/- up to 5 (or more!) might do better, or just dispense with the "12" and set a difficulty (target number) from 1-20 depending on how tough the task at hand is.

Is there a way to defend against an incoming attack?  If it doesn't provide a defense roll, does it strip successes from the attack?  Increase its difficulty?  If not, am I simply doomed to take damage when my opponent rolls successes on his attack?

I don't mean to bash your system as "broken" -- hardly.  Your mind is in the right place for a rules-light, fun system; what I will say is that it seems incomplete.  Look at things from a player perspective; if an edge case is missing and seems necessary, figure out a ruling.  If something doesn't seem fun, take it out.  Everything else will work itself out in playtesting.
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Alokov
Member

Posts: 62


« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2010, 01:27:46 PM »

Allright, I'm gonna try and answer all questions at once.

First

Experience

Experience can be spent at any time. I'm not sure exactly what the model is for earning it, but you can only spend it on stuff that you 've used since the last time you spent experience. After character creation, there are no separate experience pools. You can spend any number of points on anything you've used since youu last spent it. Buying new stuff: if you've used an ability of that type (belief, skill, or experience) since you last spent XP, you can buy another one.

Tentative XP-earning model: 1 point per failed use of an ability (by this I mean an overall fail, not failures on individual dice)

Dice Pools

Every schmuck is assumed to have 1d20 in every simple skill. Some skills are trained-only (such as using guns) 1 point spent in a skill equals 1 extra d20 (so a character with one point spent in Climb would have 2d20s in his Climb pool, while someone who spent one point in "Rifles" would have 1d20 in his Rifles pool).

Beliefs

Unless he's obviously talking shit, and everyone agrees that he is, it applies. The GM only comes in if there's an inter-player argument over whether or not it applies. If all the players agree that something that obviously doesn't apply does, the GM has veto power but unless it's really silly (Hatred of Psions applies when fighting a cougar etc.)

Compulsion Rolls

It seemed col to me, but that doesn't necessarily mean fun of course. I also thought it was necessary for game balance  (to prevent beliefs from getting insanely high) but that's total crap, given all the ways to lose belief points. So this is gone.


Also, belief points do seem trivially easy to lose, so I'll dispense with the (lose points on rolls that fail) mechanic. I really like the belief duel mechanic as is, however. It, combined with the damage mechanic (-1 per point of damage) creates a pendulum effect whereby people will keep switching between belief duels and fights as one gets too low to be of use. Plus, without either of those, it's impossible to lose belief points. While I agree that they should be hard to lose, I don't want them to be impossible.

Combat

Any defense-related skill you have can be used to avoid damage (except for something that obviously won't work, like trying to dodge a bullet) Any successes you get are subtracted from the attacker's total successses. Guns are un-defenadble however, except by magic that's already in effect.

Mods/Target Numbers

I would just say "set an appropriate Target Number and ignore mods" but I don't know if I can succesfully do that. And a system that the creator can't run is rather pointless.

[Prototype Magic System/u]

Ten points base. Adjudicate how much each spell should ost but add 1 point for a continuous effect. If it's continuous, they must pay the cost each round. Evil (antagonist) psions get 20 points base because of a ritual they got thorough, which doubles their power.

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Callan S.
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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2010, 02:01:14 PM »

Quote
If all the players agree that something that obviously doesn't apply does, the GM has veto power but unless it's really silly (Hatred of Psions applies when fighting a cougar etc.)
And who polices the GM in regards to what is silly? Your not going to be there to actually show him what is and isn't silly, so your treating him as being responsible (or you somehow think your going to completely convey your knowledge on what is silly, through a few paragraphs of text). Why not treat everyone in the group as being responsible, then? Also this tends to have a backlash effect in how you treat people is how they act - treat only one guy at the table as being responsible and the rest will start acting irresponsible, simply because fuck it, they are treated as irresponsible no matter how they act.

But in general I think RPG's need to crack out of this 'we need a faux father figure at the table' thing. For younger players, they probably do need someones real, actual father at the table. And for older players, they are either quite responsible (if ecentric), or they are lost to the winds of chaos anyway. I think you have some substance of play there in what you've made. I just think what I'm describing are kind of like holes that let the fun of that play pour out of the game, so to speak.

In terms of belief one thing I've seen is you make it that players can spend the points to very slowly raise their stats. That way beliefs drop down, ready to be raised again by play. I don't know if that'd suit what your shooting for, but it's one option to mull over.
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Philosopher Gamer
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Alokov
Member

Posts: 62


« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2010, 02:23:11 PM »



In terms of belief one thing I've seen is you make it that players can spend the points to very slowly raise their stats. That way beliefs drop down, ready to be raised again by play. I don't know if that'd suit what your shooting for, but it's one option to mull over.

Ok, I'l take out the GM veto thing. What do you mean by this about beliefs? I think you probably have a good point I just don't get it.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2010, 12:24:26 AM »

Sorry, I'll outline the idea a bit more - at the end of the session they can take their belief points and spend them to up whatever stats by some degree (a small degree, even). Thus their belief lowers and next sessions play involves them working up their belief again.

The riddle of steel RPG used this - it had spiritual attributes and you could build them up during play, then spend them at session end to lower them again, ready for more play.

If you want beliefs to lower somehow, it's one way of doing it. If it suits what your trying to get at with the game. Smiley
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Philosopher Gamer
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Alokov
Member

Posts: 62


« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2010, 03:38:34 PM »

But then how do their beliefs again? Plus that would require reworking the xp system cause otherwise they'd get too powerful too fast.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2010, 04:25:11 PM »

Well, how were you going to have them raised before? I was assuming you had a way already?

With riddle of steel they raised them each time the character attempt to forfil his belief, whether he suceeded or failed. Though who deterimes what qualifies as an 'attempt' needs to be hammered out, I'll note.

And on getting too powerful too fast, okay, switch the idea from a permanent stat bonus to being able to spend belief to buy a stat bonus of some kind (make a few up for players to choose their purchase from) that lasts for only one session. That way they get more powerful, but it goes away at the end of the next session (and they'd need to spend more belief to buy it again).

It's just a way of having beliefs drop down again, as you mentioned you wanted some way they could do so, I think. I hope this describes it in enough detail.
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Philosopher Gamer
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