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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Ruined Lands] First draft, RFC  (Read 1290 times)
ghostwolf
Member

Posts: 37


« on: August 07, 2003, 07:04:37 AM »

Hi folks, thanks for the attention.  I'm looking for comments on this system/setting that has been bugging me for weeks.


Concept-
Players are members of a community that lived underground for centuries following the great wars.  A generation ago, they returned to the surface world to rebuild civilization atop the ruins of the ancients.

Synopsis-
As told by the loremaster:
"In the last days of the ancients, the land was ruined by spears of fire flung by the great warriors of that age.  Our ancestors fled underground, chased by waves of fire, and slammed the doors closed behind them.  Here, we have lived and persevered, waiting for the wrath of the ancients to cool.  At last, when I was born, the tools of the loremasters showed that the land was safe to live in again,  the doors were opened, and the people stepped out to a new world."

Over the centuries, a large community lived in safety of a mountain stronghold, protected from most of the radiation left by the destruction of the civilized world. Residual radiation and evolution have gifted some of them with psionic powers and abilities.  Technological knowledge was carefully maintained by the loremasters. Over the years as Loremasters became more of a priesthood than teachers, and some knowledge was lost or corrupted.

Now, the radiation has receeded, and the community has moved back to the surface to repopulate the planet.  The stronghold peoples are most likely the most 'normal' survivors of the holocaust, but they are not the only ones.

Character Generation-

Stats:

The stat block is split into 2 sections; Statistics and Focus.

Statistics: 8 points divided among 3 stats, max of 5 points in a stat.

Vitality- A measure of health, strength and endurance.
Agility- manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination, reflexes
Aura- Raw psionic power

Focus: 12 points total, max of 5 in one focus.

Combat-  combat abilities, be it with weapons or hand to hand
Lore- Knowledge of the ancients and how to use their technology
Psionics-  Ability to direct psionic power to a useful end
Personality- leadership ability, diplomacy, charisma

Mechanics-
System uses opposed dice rolls, modified by Focus.  Example:
NPC vs Player combat, NPC has combat 2, player has combat 3.  GM and player both roll 1d10, add Focus to the roll.  Highest number wins and scores a hit.


Still in the works:
Skills system.
Free-form psionics rules.
Detailed combat.
Weapons and armor.
Bestiary.


/edit for formatting/
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2003, 08:09:25 AM »

Welcome to the Forge. :-)

OK, you've got an "ark" Post-apocalyptic concept, with some nifty mutation powers for characters. Something like Earthdawn, Alyria, Aftermath!, Metamorphosis Alpha, and a couple of other games I can think of. This has proven popular in the past, so it ought to make a playable game (not that I think that any concept is unplayable). The question is what are you going to do to make this game stand out from all the similar game out there. Why play this when Bruce Baugh is putting out a new edition of Gamma World? What aren't we seeing here?

Why do you have "stats" and "focuses"? What do stats do? Why not just make them one block of "traits" or something? Why the cap at 5?

Mike
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ghostwolf
Member

Posts: 37


« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2003, 08:19:24 AM »

Thanks for the response.

Ok, I didn't explain the stats quite as well as I could have.  They affect the game flow.  Vitality equates to hit points (much as I hate that), Agility helps determine combat flow (d10+ agility, highest goes first), Aura affects how much psi-power you can use per combat round.

What (I hope) sets this apart is the way I plan to handle Psionics.  I'm still working on the mechanics, but I want to give the player the leeway to determine just what his psionics can do at any given point, within the limits of Aura for gross power and Psionics for refinement.

I capped the stat and focus levels at 5 becuase I didn't want the random factor of the dice roll to be totally overridden by stats, as an anti-munchkin kinda thing.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2003, 09:05:54 AM »

Quote from: ghostwolf
Ok, I didn't explain the stats quite as well as I could have.  They affect the game flow.  Vitality equates to hit points (much as I hate that),
That's confusing. If you hate it why do it? There are other options than hit points.

Quote
Agility helps determine combat flow (d10+ agility, highest goes first),
You have simultaneous resolution ("Highest number wins and scores a hit."). Why do you need an initiative mechanic?

Quote
Aura affects how much psi-power you can use per combat round.
Cool. I like dual stats that affect different aspects.

The question is, what if I have an armwrestling competition against somebody? What focus do I roll against? Why can't I roll against Vitality? I mean, I assume that there will be special rules for how your Psionics Focus works to control Psionic powers. So, given that they all seem to be "roll-worthy" for resolution, and they all seem to have special rules attached to their use, why call them different things? Seems pointless.

Quote
What (I hope) sets this apart is the way I plan to handle Psionics.  I'm still working on the mechanics, but I want to give the player the leeway to determine just what his psionics can do at any given point, within the limits of Aura for gross power and Psionics for refinement.
Cool. Is there anything about that which we can help with? Do you know what "effects first" design is about? Like is used in Hero System, Sorcerer, Hero Wars? I'd strongly suggest going with something like that.

Anyhow, if this is the core of the game in terms of interest, there's not a lot to comment on until we see it.

Quote
I capped the stat and focus levels at 5 becuase I didn't want the random factor of the dice roll to be totally overridden by stats, as an anti-munchkin kinda thing.
Hmm, that's problematic on a number of levels. For one, some "munchkins" will see the restriction as just another reason to "munchkin out" on the system. That is, if the best chance I can get is 80% (and that would be the level 5 master against the level 1 novice), then I better do that.

Secondly, why allow dysfunctional players to dictate your design? It's a commonly held opinion that you can't change a dysfunctional player with rules. As I said above, your fix won't work to do what you want, anyhow. Instead, a good principle to uphold instead of preventing dysfunction is to promote the style that you'd like to see. Reward the good instead of punishing the bad, because positive reinforcement is many times more effective. Do you want the players to make "realisitic" characters? Then maybe a lifepath system or something else would be better than a simple point system, for instance.

In any case, even something as simple as changing to a d6 would make the odds more based on character ability without changing the balance at all in terms of what the current system promotes.

Mike
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ghostwolf
Member

Posts: 37


« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2003, 10:58:05 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Quote from: ghostwolf

Secondly, why allow dysfunctional players to dictate your design? It's a commonly held opinion that you can't change a dysfunctional player with rules. As I said above, your fix won't work to do what you want, anyhow. Instead, a good principle to uphold instead of preventing dysfunction is to promote the style that you'd like to see. Reward the good instead of punishing the bad, because positive reinforcement is many times more effective. Do you want the players to make "realisitic" characters? Then maybe a lifepath system or something else would be better than a simple point system, for instance.

Mike


Mike,

You have lots of good questions and suggestions, thank you!   I'm working on revising many of the things you commented on above.  What I would like to know is, what is a Lifepath system?  The name itself intrigues me, I must know more!!

Paul
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2003, 11:37:26 AM »

The first lifepath system was probably Traveller. Basically, instead of just chosing abilities, the player makes decisions somewhat in-character about what the character did at certain points in his life, and that determines things about the character. So, in Traveller, you choose if the character went to college, then what profession he went into, how long he stayed in the profession, etc. The total sum of the experiences gained by the character during the course of describing his life to that point then calculates out to the character's effectiveness.

Since Traveller, there have been many refinements. Cyberpunk had a version, as did some of it's relatives. Most recently, the best designed of these has been the one in The Burning Wheel (which you can find out more about on the Indie Games page here).

I also like to mention that Sandy Peterson did a great job with the lifepath thing in his design of the old CRPG Darklands.

It's not a perfect solution to the whole "munchkin" phenomenon (it certainly can be powergamed), but its an example of a step in the right direction.

Mike
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Andrew Martin
Member

Posts: 785


« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2003, 11:51:05 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
It's not a perfect solution to the whole "munchkin" phenomenon (it certainly can be powergamed), but its an example of a step in the right direction.


As an example of personal experience with life paths, I found as a GM and player, that fellow players and myself (why yes, I am a munchkin! :) ) would reverse engineer the lifepath and go backwards then forwards through the lifepath to achieve the desired character attributes.
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Andrew Martin
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