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Author Topic: Omega Point (long)  (Read 3047 times)
C. Edwards
Member

Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« on: October 11, 2002, 12:11:12 AM »

Hey all,

Omega Point is a game I'm designing based on the ideas presented in this thread: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3696

The basic concept revolves around the existence of The Universal Equation, which contains all the physical laws of the universe in mathematical form.  Each segment of this equation represents a universal truth.  These mathematical entities impinge directly on the human brain and can affect the world just by thinking about them.  Discovering a new segment of the U.E. increases your Insight.  It is believed that completing the U.E. will take you to the Omega Point.  

The twelve houses of the Quantum Zodiac (a fictional zodiac based on real-world zodiacs) are each based on a segment of the U.E.  When a person is born all the great forces of the universe combine in subtle ways to stamp the human consciousness with a particular pattern, an area of universal knowledge ingrained in the body and soul.  When you have an enlightening experience (near death experience, deep meditation, vision quest, etc.) the power and knowledge of your native House are opened up to you and your first Insight is gained.

Insight represents the awakening of the human consciousness as it gains knowledge of the U.E.  For every segment of the U.E. discovered a point of Insight is gained.  Gaining Insight takes you closer to the Omega Point and gives you access to special disciplines, Formulae, built upon the segment of the U.E. discovered.  Insight itself increases your powers of awareness in various ways.

The Omega Point is the point at which human consciousness melds with existence, the multiverse, obliterating any sense of self.  Human consciousness is a manifestation of the universe's emerging self-awareness.  A sufficiently strong Ego can keep the self from being obliterated.  It's only conjecture but many believe that surviving the Omega Point with the self, the Ego, intact opens up vast realms of power.

The Ego is the immune system for the psyche.  It protects the mind from the ravages of the truth.  A person with Insight can use the Ego to wage Psychic Combat.

Those are most of the basics.  I've got over a dozen pages of notes that need putting in order.  I'm currently working on a draft of the rules.  I started with the basics of resolution.  Here's what I've got written so far:

Quote
Resolution

~The Basic Mechanic

Omega Point uses a circular dice mechanic based on the roll of a 12-sided die.  To perform actions first determine if it requires a Body Roll or an Ego Roll, then add any additional modifiers from Traits.  Roll the die and attempt to get inside the target number, which is the number of the characterís House.  For convenience all non-player characters use the same target number.  You can move towards the target number an amount equal to the total modifiers.  The amount of modifier inside the target number counts as the number of successes.  

Example - Grayson, a character of the 3rd House attempts an action.  Her total modifiers, Body plus relevant Traits, equal 4.  Her action will succeed on a roll of 12, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6.  Since the mechanic is circular, like a clock face, the number 12 and the number 6 are both the same distance from the number 3.  Grayson  gets a 1, which gives her 2 successes.

Opposed Rolls

An opposed roll is made when there is direct conflict between the character and an obstacle or opponent.  Both participants roll simultaneously with each success being canceled out by an equivalent amount of success by the opponent.  The side with left over successes is the victor and the degree of success is determined using those remaining successes.

Example - Grayson finds herself in a struggle with a Jesuit Assassin, they are both trying to reach a gun that was knocked to the floor.  Graysonís target number is 3 and she has a modifier of 3 on her roll.  The assassin has a target number of 6 and a modifier of 4.  The Moderator rolls a 9 for the assassin giving him 1 success.  Graysonís Player rolls a 2, giving Grayson 2 successes.  The assassinís single success and one of Graysonís successes cancel each other out.  That leaves Grayson with 1 success, which means she got to the gun before the assassin but not by much.


Physical Conflict

In a physical conflict at least two people are trying to do bodily harm to each other.  This is often called combat, and maiming, killing, or subduing the opponent is often considered a good thing.  The procedure for combat is as follows:

1. All parties declare actions.
2. Roll the dice for all actions.
3. Determine who has the initiative.  The action of the person with the most successes will happen first,  
    ties take place simultaneously.
4. At this point, before any actions have taken place, a player can abort an action and opt for a last second    
    defense.
5. Resolve the results of all actions in initiative order using the existing rolls.  Players who abort an  
    action for defense must re-roll based on their new strategy with a 1-point penalty against the roll.

Defense

Choosing to defend against an attack can reduce the damage you take or cancel it altogether.  Defense utilizes opposed rolls.  The successes on a defense roll cancel out the successes from an attack.

Wounds

Being the target of a successful attack means that you have been wounded.  The severity of the wound depends on the number of successes against you.  One success would be a 1-point wound; three successes would be a 3-point wound, etc.  A character can sustain as many points in wounds as they have Body.  When a characterís wound points equal Body they lose consciousness.  Death is the result of receiving wounds beyond the total of Body.

When a character sustains wounds equal to half their Body they suffer a 1-point penalty to all actions.  Each wound point beyond that causes an additional 1-point penalty.


Psychic Conflict

Ego versus Ego conflict is referred to as psychic combat.  It is resolved in the same manner as physical combat but utilizes the Ego instead of Body.  Only those that have at least one point of Insight can initiate psychic combat.  There are three disciplines that can be used during a psychic conflict.

1. Ego Hammer:  this is the destructive force of the Ego. It can be used to batter another Ego into submission.

2. Ego Shield:  this is the Egoís defense mechanism.  It can be used to resist the Ego Hammer.  It is the only discipline available to those without Insight.

3. Ego Whip:  this discipline can be used to manipulate another Ego into accepting a minor subliminal suggestion.  It cannot be used on a target that is already under psychic attack.

Trauma

Any damage taken during a psychic combat results in Trauma, mental stress or damage that can lead to a permanent mental Disorder.  Trauma works just like Wounds.  Once Trauma equal to half the Ego has been sustained a 1-point penalty is applied to all actions.  Each point beyond that results in an additional 1-point penalty.  Taking Trauma equal to the Ego results in a delicate mental state where the character is stunned and unable to concentrate or function.  If Trauma increases beyond the amount of Ego the character lapses into a coma, which may or may not be permanent.


Many of you may have recognized a modified version of Jared Sorensen's clockworx mechanic.  I think it works well and fits nicely with the rest of the game.

There are quite a few important aspects to the game, like building your own Formulae or how to rip Insights from someone's mind or Outlooks and Schools of Thought, that still need mechanics to back them up.  I pretty much have all the mechanics commited to paper now though.  They just need to be put together in a comprehensible form.

I would greatly appreciate any feedback on what I've presented.  And if you read all of this, much thanks.

-Chris
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RPunkG
Member

Posts: 35


WWW
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2002, 12:22:30 AM »

Okay,  so everyone is running around ad figuring out these equations... but what do they do and what are they fighting?  Is this a cyber punk world?
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"I'll tell you what I think of it.  I live to see you eat that contract!  But you better leave enough room for my fist, because I'm going to punch you in the stomach and break your god d*mned spine!"
C. Edwards
Member

Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2002, 01:37:36 AM »

Just having Insight will make the characters targets.  So eventually, like it or not, something is going to happen that will kick the characters out of their comfy normal person mode into the not quite as comfortable not a normal person mode.  Insight can be stolen, either at the moment of death or by smashing someone's Ego in and ripping the Insight from their mind.

Characters can do whatever they want.  Hopefully they will want to find or steal segments of The Universal Equation in order to gain power and/or enlightenment in order to reach the Omega Point.  They can hunt down others like themselves, dig around in ruins and lost cities,  hack into massive corporate databases, or a host of other things in search of Formulae.  They can even sit around and attempt to create their own Formulae.  Beyond that though characters will have more intimate normal struggles they will have to deal with, particularly at lower levels of Insight.

The setting is going to be our world.  Most setting information in the game will only be enhancements, various factions, secret societies, fictional personae, things of that nature. It could be yesterday, it could be tomorrow, even a Cyberpunk version of our world would work.  The only real limitations as I see them are:

1.  Any game played before the founder of a particular School of Thought was around cannot include that School of Thought.

2.  Playing the game in a setting where people are born on planets other than Earth would be severely stretching the idea of how the zodiac is determined.  If the Moderator wanted to create additional zodiacs for the other planets where characters could be born then I don't see a problem.

-Chris
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RPunkG
Member

Posts: 35


WWW
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2002, 01:44:49 AM »

I really love this idea!  Tell me more about the 12 different signs and what each one can "do" for the characters.

One problem I forsee is this.  If a player gets "power hungry," what is to keep him from going around and cracking open the other players heads with a louisville slugger to steal their equasions?  It would seem to me that eventully teamwork would break down and become a chinese cluster frag as they scramble for power.

Is there something that keeps the team working as a team?
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"I'll tell you what I think of it.  I live to see you eat that contract!  But you better leave enough room for my fist, because I'm going to punch you in the stomach and break your god d*mned spine!"
C. Edwards
Member

Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2002, 02:19:34 AM »

Quote
One problem I forsee is this. If a player gets "power hungry," what is to keep him from going around and cracking open the other players heads with a louisville slugger to steal their equasions?


A character's Outlook and maybe their particular School of Thought (Nietchean anyone?) would determine if this was appropriate in-character behavior.  There will be bonuses associated with adhering to the philosophy of one's Outlook and School.  

That said, if a Player wants to mindjack the other Players' characters there's nothing stopping him, except for the other Players.  I see no particular reason why the characters should automatically be allies.  

There is an option for groups with 3 players to create characters that are members of the same Triad.  Each Sign can link Egos with two other particular Signs creating a synergistic effect that allows them to use their Egos like one big Ego for purposes of psychic combat.

The Quantum Zodiac still needs to be built.  This won't be difficult, it's just going to take some time.  Fortunately I have a good idea of how it should function.  Each of the 12 Houses will have a particular Formula associated with it.  These Formulae are sub-equations of the individual segments of The Universal Equation.  These will be things like Cosmogeometry, which allows you to fold space (it beats taking the bus), and Astromedicus, which can be used when somebody has stuck an icepick in your chest or you need to regenerate your little toe.  There will also be Traits associated with each sign.  I'm definitely going to enjoy building the Quantum Zodiac.

-Chris
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2002, 05:57:00 AM »

Hmmm. Sounds a bit like Highlander. There can be only one to reach the Omega Point.

For action, I see one of two things happening as you describe it. Either players just run around trying to obtain knowledge from each other, which will get dull quick (one good Highlander movie), or you get metaphoric episodice play (like the Highlander Series). In the latter case, you have the PCs encountering other empowered charcters, and, given the demeanor or past of the characcter met, the information transaction becomes a metaphor for some sort of relationship problem.

Are either of these how you see play?

On another note, are there downsides to having these abilities, other than being a target? Something that might make players think twice? Or are new equations always a good thing?

Mike
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Kuma
Member

Posts: 25


« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2002, 06:32:27 AM »

Meestah Edwards --

Like the idea, love the mechanic (isn't Jared a godsend?), but I have a couple of ideas/questions for you.

[list=a]
[*] The characters should not *gain* points to reach the Omega Point.  Given that your mechanics (et al) revolve around the number 12 (literally), I suggest that you have all characters start out with 12 and then subtract 1 from their Insight down to 0 ... zero dimensions of course being a point.  Much more in tune with what you're trying to express.
[*]Please don't keep the Psychic attacks named as such.  Ego Whip = 1st Edition D&D (Psionic Attack A, I think) ... I'm sure that there are tons of better-suited names to use.
[*]I'm curious about the setting of the game ... is it modern-day?
[/list:o]
I look forward to reading about the Quantum Zodiac - I'm a big fan of modernized systems like that.
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C. Edwards
Member

Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2002, 05:11:41 PM »

Mike Holmes wrote:
Quote
Are either of these how you see play?


I want play to be driven by the players.  One may decide that their character wants to try and mantain their normal life (wife, kids, etc.) and not develop their awareness any further.  It will be difficult trying to protect their family and keep a low profile when another person like them, but with more predatory tendancies, comes to pick their brain.

Another player's character may be part of one of various factions and societies that will be in the game.  They may be the very person coming to visit the first character.  Maybe they decide to search out new Formulae like an archeologist, traveling to remote parts of the world in search of knowledge.

There will inevitably be conflict with other people with Insight (I'm looking for a good name for people with Insight by the way).  Whether players look specificly for it is up to them.

Quote
On another note, are there downsides to having these abilities, other than being a target? Something that might make players think twice? Or are new equations always a good thing?


The more a character discovers of The Universal Equation, the more likely it is that the truth will have negative side-effects on their mental stability.  Having your Ego smashed in during a psychic combat isn't the only way to develop Disorders.  That of course will make it harder to function or act "normal".

Kuma wrote:
Quote
The characters should not *gain* points to reach the Omega Point. Given that your mechanics (et al) revolve around the number 12 (literally), I suggest that you have all characters start out with 12 and then subtract 1 from their Insight down to 0 ... zero dimensions of course being a point. Much more in tune with what you're trying to express.


Hmm, how about I scratch the term Insight and substitute something like Facade or Preconceptions.  Take that from 12 to 0, to represent the disection of a character's webwork of beliefs and assumptions, at 0 you hit the Omega Point.  The decrease of Facade would still have the possibility of fracturing the character's mental state, resulting in Disorders.

Quote
Please don't keep the Psychic attacks named as such. Ego Whip = 1st Edition D&D (Psionic Attack A, I think) ... I'm sure that there are tons of better-suited names to use.


Hehe, I had already planned on changing them. How do Assault, Deflection, and Compulsion sound?  Maybe not original but certainly better then the other terms.

Quote
I'm curious about the setting of the game ... is it modern-day?

Right now I see the default setting as being Modern-Day.  I think that a Cyberpunk styled setting would also be very cool, as long as I can keep every character from wanting to be some sort of chromed-out killer.  Some low-key low-tech Cyberpunk?  Minimal implant technology, cloning, not such complete control by the corporate structure?  Still needs more thought.

-Chris
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