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Author Topic: UFO's and Tumbleweeds  (Read 3053 times)
Gwen
Member

Posts: 95


« on: October 10, 2003, 10:47:03 PM »

UFO's and Tumbleweeds

Humanity over stretched it's bounds by hundreds of colonizable planets before they realized they had entered Pall Space.  By then, it was too late to just pack up and go home.  Trillions of dollars were invested in the expanse and thousands of manpower hours.

So, in a typical descision of a race to lazy for their own good, the Humans declared pre-emptive war on the Pall.  The Pall, a territorial (but otherwise under-developed) race fell swiftly before the Humans.

However, the No'Chir No'Hoch (who were disgruntled over the Humans space trash) aided the Pall, giving them the framework technology of time travel.

The Pall then sent three flagships back through time to cripple the Human Space Program in the last 20th century.  However, the technology was not perfected.  The three ships were split up in the time warp and lost throughout the time line.

One in particular- the one we're going to focus on- was crippled when it shattered it way out of time and crashed on Earth in the year 1899.

Witnessed only by several outlaws in flatlands north of Dodge City, the ship hissed and cooled, with only several hundred Pall still left alive.  The Pall knew they would be unable to repair their ship in primative Earth so, instead, they decided to wage war and wipe out the humans.

Finding themselves in an even more underdeveloped time than anticipated, they threw subtlety to the wind and opted for overt destruction.  In a matter of hours Garden City was obliterated.  In a matter of days, word had spread.

The Old West, a suspicios and precarious world, was full of those willing to investigate the event.

Scholars came to investigate the reports that there were monsters roaming the deserts around Garden City- now a ghost town.

Bounty Hunters flocked in hopes of catching the culprits for a large bounty.

Pinkertons and Texas Rangers were sent as government representatives to bring justice to the civillians who died.

And, as time passed and humans began to run into the aliens, word spread that this was no ordinary situation.

Characters

This is where you and your character enter the world of UFO's and Tumbleweeds.

Groups transverse the country side searching for these elusive crminals. Some call them outlaws, some say they are monsters, others insist they come from a metal building that crashed down from the stars.  Whatever the case, you have an interest in it... or perhaps just an interest in those with an interest in it.

Gun slingers, thugs, trackers, scholars, inventors, ranchers, tonic salesmen, demolitions experts, sherrifs and outlaws comprise dozens of unlikely troupes who scour the West following enigmatic clues which will eventually lead to the Ship.

Your character can, of course, be anyone fathomable from the Old West.  Make sure to pull your weight, however, because the Old West is not populated by the merciful or the generous.  Your other team members would sooner push you down a cliff if it meant they would survive.  The more important you are to their survivial, the more likely you'll stick around.

If everyone in your team remains valuable and stays alive, you'll make a good name for yourself in the Old West.

Character Creation

ATTRIBUTES

All dice used are D6.

Attributes range on a scale from 0-6.  Each point in an attribute either adds or subtracts bonus dice from the Skills (explained later.)

Attributes are:

Strength  (Used to determine damage for combat)
Speed  (Used to figure running, climbing, swimming, and flying speeds)
Dexterity  (Added to perception to figure combat order)
Fitness  (Used to determine number of wounds/ x4=#of wounds)

IQ  (Used for General Education not covered by Traits)
Willpower  (Used for sanity and scare tests)
Perception  (Added to dexterity for combat order/Perception tests)
Charm  (Represents reputation and social interaction)

Rating in attributes provide a bonus for Skills.

Rating 0 = -2
Rating 1 = -2
Rating 2 = -1
Rating 3 = 0 (average)
Rating 4 = 0 (average)
Rating 5 = +1
Rating 6 = +2
Rating 7 = +2 (super human)
Rating 8 = +3 (super human)


And so on.  Super human attributes are acceptable for characters- they are epic heroes capable of the seemingly impossible.  Gunslingers such as Butch Cassody and the Sundance Kid or explorers like Indiana Jones are example of Heroes with super human attributes.

Characters have 25 points to divide among their attributes.  No starting attribute can be above 6.

SKILLS

Characters have 20 points to spend on their skills.  Each skill must be lumped into a group which pertains to a specific profession.  One skill in a profession provides one dice to the profession.  Two skills provides two dice.  Etc.  These dice are used for all the skills contained in the profession.

Each skill in a profession costs one skill point.  No profession can start with more than 6 skills.

An example would be a gunslinger.  In order to be the best gunslinger (and to represent the years of practice) they must take as many gunslinging skills as they can to raise their gunslinging profession.

Gunslinger
 (+6d)
Quick Draw
Pistols
Intimidation
Fearless
Anatomy
Gunplay

The gunslinger profession would cost 6 total points and provide all skills with 6 dice.

However, each skill had bonus dice it can add or subtract from their related attribute.

Quick Draw - Dexterity
Pistols - Dexterity
Intimidation - Charm
Fearless - Willpower
Anatomy - IQ
Gunplay - Dexterity

Obviously, to be the best gunslinger, a high dexterity would be preferable, raising some of the most important skills by- potentially- 2 dice.

Another example:

Scholar  (+5)
Mathematics - IQ
Physics - IQ
Chemistry - IQ
First Aid - IQ
Meteorology - IQ

This profession cost 5 points, and provides all skills with 5 dice.  Whatever IQ bonus is available would be added to all skills.

Keep buying professions and skills until all 20 points are used up.

Belongings

There are 15 points to spend on belongings.  Everything is considered free unless it provides a character with a bonus dice or other special effect.

A gun that causes 1 dice of damage costs 1 point.  A gun that causes 6 points of damage costs 6 points.  No Belonging can start above 6.

Descriptions are listed below belongings to increase their dice, much like Professions and Skills.

Example:

Gun (1 damage) (costs 1 point)
Very Deadly (+2 damage) (+2 points)
Family Heirloom (+2 damage) (+2 points)
Last of its kind (+1 damage) (+1 point)
TOTAL - 6 Damage - costs 6 points.

Duster (-1 damage) (costs 1 point)
Very Lucky (-2 damage) (costs 2 points)
Camoflauge (1 Hiding) (costs 1 point)
TOTAL - -3 Damage - +1d Hiding - costs 4 points.

Even if you give a gun a description like "Kills Instantly" you still havr to provide an associated number of dice.  So "Kills Instantly +1d" just makes you look silly.

Works for Horses (Very Smart +2 Riding) or Books (Extremely Detailed +5 Surgery) or anything else.

Keep spending until all 15 points have been used.

SOCIAL CIRCLE

You have 10 points to spend on your social circle.  Much like Belongings, except these are people who will help you.

The number of dice for each person represents how many (or how big of) a favor they will provide you with.  A sherrif giving you a badge for "a secret reason" might cost 3 dice... while convincing an outlaw buddy to take him in for the reward with a promise of breaking him out might cost 8 dice.

No dice can start above 6.

This leads to famous lines such as "I'll trust you THIS time, Muldoon..." or "If you think I'm following you into Rattlesnake Gulch again, you're crazy!"

Joe the Sherriff of Elk Jaw
Saved his life (+2d)
Saved his daughters life (+4d)

Mayor Muller
Dark Secret: Cheats on Wife (+4d)

These two men cost 10 dice total.

GRACES AND CURSES

Graces and curses are special features that add or subtract dice from Skills or other bonus effects.  You have 5 points total to spend.

Legendary Slinger (+2d to Gunslinging)
Legendary Shooter (+2 to Shooting)
Hard to kill (+3 wounds)

Afraid of Snakes (-2 dice to Willpower when near snakes)

Task Resolution

Take your skill and add or subtract any Attribute bonus.  Add in any other bonus' from Belongings or Graces.

Scholar 5d
IQ (+2d)
Book (very detailed +3)
TOTAL = 10d

Roll your dice trying to get a 4, 5 or 6.  Each dice that's a 4, 5, or 6 is a success.

Your GM will assign a number of necessary successes to accomplish your task.

An average task requires 3 successes.  This number can be raised or lowered, depending on how hard or easy the task is.

An opposed task is slightly different.

Roll your dice trying to get a 4, 5, or 6.  Whoever gets more successes wins the opposed task.

Combat

When a shoot out occurs and bullets start flying, people get hit and blood gets spilled.

Melee or Unarmed Combat is resolved as opposed tasks.  Who ever gets the most successes wins the combat and strikes their opponent.

Use Strength number and add in any modifiers from weapons, if applicable.  This is the number of wounds.

Subtract any wounds from Armor.

Whatever wounds remain are subtracted from the targets wounds.  (Fitness x 4)

Roll a dice to see where the target is hit.
1 - Head (Double damage)
2- Torso
3- Left Arm
4- Right Arm
5- Left Leg
6- Right Leg

For combat with pistols or rifles, the GM assigns a number of required successes.  If you get enough, you hit.

Add up wounds, subtract armor, and apply damage.

Afterwards

I will be putting most of this into a PDF with more details and examples.  I will also expound more on the aliens and their technology, plus some inventing mechanics.

Invention will play a large part of the game, as crazy SteamPunk type machines will be all that can turn the tables on the aliens.  (Plus some powder kegs and dynamite.)

The aliens are accustomed to fighting high tech fights.  They have anti-lazer shields and reverse nuclear fields... but they're not used to fighting off slug throwers and tons of dynamite.

If a human could live long enough to get near an alien, they could certainly blow them sky high.  But getting close is the trick.



Do these mechanics make sense?  They might seem overpowered and potentially deadly, but that is what it's designed to be.  An epic crazed battle in the Wild West.  I've seen many movies where aliens fight the humans, but never in the Old West... when everyone HAD to be touch or you didn't live to see tomorrow.

I also want to work on the Tonic Salesman... almost as some sort of Old West alchemist.  Not really powerful... but like a "what if" all those tonics actually worked.  This could provide some ressurection potential and another edge for fighting the aliens.

Let me know if the mechanics seem faulty somewhere.

Tell me what else might make the game more fun!

Special Play:  Paranoid

Before the game, the Gm selects one player to be an Alien spy.  They work for the aliens and report in on the teams progress.  This leads to paranoia, accusations, treats, searches and- ultimately- dissention and murder.

This element is suggested only if this kind of play is desired and can be handled maturely.  No hard feelings.  It's only a game.

Gwen
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failrate
Member

Posts: 34


« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2003, 10:27:23 PM »

Yep, very Gamist, not Sim at all, with a good potential for narrative.

As far as it being overpowered and deadly...  if a bullet hits you once in the right spot, you're dead.  So, guns themselves are overpowered and deadly.  I know that while playing the CRPG Fallout, I would often curse that combat wasn't deadly enough.  I speared a guy in the eye 35 times (critical hit to a vital part), and he just ran away...

So, if I could peg a guy once and have him drop like a bad habit.... fine.  Especially when considering that EVERYONE will be overpowered, this is no real problem.  If Grandma is a crack shot with a rifle, she'd be able to bring down the toughest  outlaw.  That's a fact.  It'll take cunning to find good cover and firing positions to keep the characters alive.  I'd suggest coming up with a good simple table for cover and movement modifiers to hit.  For instance, overturned saloon tables seem to be practically invulnerable shields in movies, and shooting from a horse should probably be very difficult (unless someone had that skill).  Likewise, shooting from cover is more difficult, and hitting a moving target is also more difficult.  But, anyway, try to keep the table short and simple to keep the gameplay (which sounds like it'd be pretty fast) moving.

Eventually, those scientists will probably get access to some technology after some aliens get popped.  You could set up a secret government tech facility to analyze the materials and make some developments.  The human-built alien technology will probably be dangerous, unpredictable, and a lot larger than the alien tech, but the potential for having rayguns at the OK Corral is just too tempting to pass up in a long campaign.

Sounds like you've got a good start on your hands...  now go out and watch the entire Adventures of Brisco County series to fill in the gaps ;D
Logged
Rich Forest
Member

Posts: 226


« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2003, 05:19:17 AM »

Hi Gwen,

There are some cool things in here.  I especially like the way skills are defined, equipment is handled, and the possibilities of “Paranoid Play.”  I’m not going to dwell on the strong parts, though—instead I’ll focus on stuff that confused me, which I think is more useful.

So here are some things I noticed.  Some of them are kind of in short/direct mode, so please don’t feel like there are any attacks in here—I have a lot of thoughts/ideas, and I want to get them all in without spending too many hours drafting this post :)  Take the mass of commentary as a sign that I’m interested in your game.

Intro/Backstory: I’m not sure the backstory (future war, etc.) is necessary right at the start of the game.  As a potential player of  this game, to get my attention, all I really need to know is: Aliens invade the old west!  Ok, sign me up.  How do I make a character?  

Why are they here? Where did the come from??  What do they want???  I don’t really need to know this at the front.  In fact, I might not want to know it.  I want to get right to the action.  I’d suggest either saving the backstory stuff for a kind of “behind the scenes” section later, or scrapping it entirely.  Now, this whole comment can probably be taken as a simple expression of my own personal preferences—I’m not so big on the whole “what’s really going on” section of RPGs, and I think they’re hard to get really right.  But maybe that’s just me.  

I think this would be a stronger place to start (a little revised so it makes sense although the stuff before it has been removed):

Quote
Witnessed only by several outlaws in flatlands north of Dodge City, the ship hissed and cooled, with only several hundred Pall still left alive. The Pall knew they would be unable to repair their ship in primative Earth so, instead, they decided to wage war and wipe out the humans.

Finding themselves in an even more underdeveloped time than anticipated, they threw subtlety to the wind and opted for overt destruction. In a matter of hours Garden City was obliterated. In a matter of days, word had spread.

The Old West, a suspicios and precarious world, was full of those willing to investigate the event.

Scholars came to investigate the reports that there were monsters roaming the deserts around Garden City- now a ghost town.

Bounty Hunters flocked in hopes of catching the culprits for a large bounty.

Pinkertons and Texas Rangers were sent as government representatives to bring justice to the civillians who died.

And, as time passed and humans began to run into the aliens, word spread that this was no ordinary situation.


Really, this is where the PCs come in.  And this is where things get interesting.

Attributes: Why not just rate the attributes directly as dice?  Using a rating in dice, directly, doesn’t really make the attributes any more granular than they already are, so you're not losing much by using the ratings as the dice modifiers.  Then you get zero average attributes, and simply reduce the number of points available to increase the scores during character creation.  One of the strengths of how you do equipment is rating it like everything else… it would be possible to carry this over and rate everything the same, including attributes.  Wounds is the only thing in the game I see that is dependent on this attribute to die bonus table, and I think there are plenty of other ways to arrive at Wounds (the Over the Edge way, using highest skill relevant to combat, springs to mind).  

Also, what is the reasoning behind this particular set of Attributes and the Attribute/Skill split?  You're making a focused game, one about cowboys and aliens, and this frees you up from any need to make a set of "generic" attributes.  You can focus them right in on this game.  

Also, the traditional Attribute/Skill split has been problematized by a number of interesting discussions around here.  Mike’s Standard Rant #4 and Ralph’s Traits + Skills take both spring to mind, and there are other discussions both newer and older that address it as well.  They say it much better than I could, and I recommend all of them.

In general, it seems like overall there are a lot of different traits/systems that are layered on top of or beside each other, and I’m really not always clear about how they interact.  Attributes, Skills, Belongings, Social Circle, and Graces/Curses are all there, but how do they stack?  Can I potentially apply them all to a single die roll (getting a good handful of dice in the process) if they all are relevant to the action?  In the combat section, there is a reference to adding the rating of a Belonging to the bonus dice from Strength to determine damage.  Is the skill relevant here, or is that just part of the attack roll?  What character traits are relevant to what actions?  I’m a bit confused.

Skills: I like how each die is tied to a short descriptor that the skill can be applied to.  The higher the skill, the broader and more effective the character is in that ability.  It’ll be important to give plenty of examples to show how narrow the Skills should be in comparison to the Professions, but I like the basic set up.
 
Social Circle: Again, I could use some clarification as to how this works.  I think it has potential, but I’m really not clear on how the rating reflects “How big” or “How many” favors can be called upon.  Do these ratings drop each time you use them?  Are there ways of raising them?  How are they rolled—as bonuses to Attribute/Skill rolls? Alone (in which case you’re going to have a much smaller dice pool with them than with other things)?

Graces and Curses: These seem a bit redundant to me.  What is there here that Attributes and Skills don’t already cover, in game terms?  Personally, I like the feel of them, but I’m not sure I understand their usefulness or necessity.  On the other hand, I could see some merit to keeping “Graces and Curses,” and using them instead of Attributes… they have a lot more flavor and do the same thing.  They would need a lot more description, however, to ensure that it’s clear just how broad or narrow they should be.  What are the limits on them?  I get “5 total points,” but does that mean I can buy, say, 10 points worth of Graces and 5 points worth of Curses, and still be fine?  What about 15 and 10?  What are the limits on degree?  Attributes seem to be unable to add more than 2 dice to a roll, Skills no more than 6… how about Graces and Curses?  

Task Resolution and Combat: Why so much emphasis on combat?  I like combat, but is that the main thing you see the characters doing?  I got the impression that investigation and spying might be interesting/useful, especially considering the “Paranoid Play” rules… but there’s nothing in the rules to support that stuff in play.  Also, why the distinction between opposed/unopposed rolls?  Check out Mike's Standard Rant #3 for some thoughts on combat and Mike’s Standard Rant #5 for some thoughts on Task Resolution.  I know I’m pointing out stuff from a number of other threads, but trust me—they’re good stuff.  Hm, I'm starting to feel like I should be paying Mike for each mention of one of his rants.  Hopefully the fame will be enough :)

I’m also confused about some of the details related to combat.  What is the order of play in combat?  Is there any kind of initiative, or does everyone just go at once/freely?  Are there separate attack and damage rolls, or a single roll that covers both?  I’m really confused about damage—you say that the damage rules are pretty deadly, but I’m not seeing it (someone tell me if I’m missing something).  If you have wounds equal to your Fitness x 4, and you take damage equal to the number of successes rolled, a “low average” Fitness character (Fitness 3) can take 12 wounds without dying.  Since each die has 50% likely to be a success, you would need to be rolling 24 dice to be able to take out a low average fitness character with a single shot.  Even a shot to the head could only be expected to kill if you are rolling at least 12 dice.  And this is without taking difficulty/opposed rolls, etc. into consideration.  Once these are added, the chances of getting a "one shot kill" are reduced even further.

Also, how deadly do you want the game to be?  I see the word “Deadly” used in conjunction with “Epic,” which you’ve said a couple times, but I’m not sure how these two ideas are strongly connected.  What does “Epic” mean to you?

And I have one final question regarding combat: what do you see the hit location table as bringing to the game?  Is it mostly for color?  Is it there to give that 1 in 6 chance of double damage from a head shot?  I’m not saying hit location tables are a bad thing, I’m just trying to understand exactly what the inclusion of one brings to this game.

 Paranoid Play:I think you hint at some interesting this with “Special Play: Paranoid” and reference to antagonism among the characters (the stuff about “pulling your weight,” etc.).  What I don’t see, however, are any rules to really support this kind of play.  Is “Paranoid” play meant to be a sort of optional approach?  I think it has potential to be really, really interesting, but only if it is supported by the game system.  Ok, so one of the PCs is reporting to the aliens.  How does he do this without the other PCs finding out?  What are the repercussions of these reports in game terms?  I think this is a potentially interesting part of play but really, really needs to be developed for it to be useful.  Also, “No hard feelings. It’s only a game.” Doesn’t really address the specific challenges and rewards of this kind of play.  What do you see as the benefits and problems in this type of play, specifically?

Format: I’d also recommend giving the game a good once over for proofreading.  A lot of spelling/grammar issues that are in there could be flagged by a spellcheck program, but the document could also use some consistency in how sections are indicated (for example, “Belongings” seems like it’s meant to be a sub-section within Character Creation, but it is formatted like a major section heading).  Little things like this help make the whole document clearer and easier to follow—important for a game text, which is a “how to” manual.  

I guess in summary my main comment is, “Cool—Tell me more.”  I’d recommend really going through the stuff you already have and clarifying some things before moving on to Inventions, Tonic Salesmen, and other cool ideas.  I think it’s valuable to make sure that the core of the system is really clear before working out all the cool applications of it.

Hopefully some of this will be useful to you,

Rich
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Gwen
Member

Posts: 95


« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2003, 06:39:47 AM »

Since failrate mentioned damage as well as Rich, I'll adress that first.

Quote
I’m really confused about damage—you say that the damage rules are pretty deadly, but I’m not seeing it (someone tell me if I’m missing something). If you have wounds equal to your Fitness x 4, and you take damage equal to the number of successes rolled, a “low average” Fitness character (Fitness 3) can take 12 wounds without dying


I probably explained this wrong.  You're correct, this doesn't seem to deadly, however it's not quiet how damage works.

Whenever two people are fighting, whoever gets the most successes wins.

From there your figure damage, which is purchased directly with the rest of your belongings.  In the belongings example, each point spent for weapons or armor does not represent a dice, simple additional or subtracted wounds.

If you win a combat round, you automaticly hit with the damage related to your weapon.  This is no more than 6wounds at the start of the game, but can be increased later.

Therefore a headshot with a 6 point weapon would be 12 wounds.  To an unarmored head, that's usually a killing blow.  If not, it's enough to scare them off.

Quote
I’m not sure the backstory (future war, etc.) is necessary right at the start of the game.


You're probably right!  This will end up stuck in a GM section with all the other alien and technology specifics.  There should be a good deal of mystery for the players to discover, even in addition to the backstory.

Quote
Why not just rate the attributes directly as dice?


I wasn't following what you were suggesting with the attributes, but I understood your questioning on their significance.

1:  Without attributes to use a various guages, the characters start to appear stale to me.  Everyone runs the same speed, unless someone is "very fast" or "very slow."  I wouldn't consider myself very fast or very slow- and neither would my friends- but we don't all run at the same speed.

Unless someone is "very strong" or "not very smart" or "extremely charming" they are exactly the same as everyone else.  I'm not asking you to agree with me, but do you see where I'm coming from where this becomes slightly boring?

2.  Each attribute serves a specific purpose.  Strength is used for damage and brawls might be a common occurance.  Speed is involved for running away.  I can't put into words how much speed was used in some playtesting.  Running from monsters.  Running from a collapsing cliff shelf.  Running from rabid bears.  No one runs away in a stright line, someone is the slowest and the deadest.  (Hopefully an NPC)

Dex and Perception are used to determine combat order.  Etc...

3.  This is also a generic system so that I can use it later for the other two remaining ships and potential games for UFO's and Castles or UFO's and Dinosaurs.

Quote
Attributes, Skills, Belongings, Social Circle, and Graces/Curses are all there, but how do they stack? Can I potentially apply them all to a single die roll (getting a good handful of dice in the process) if they all are relevant to the action?


Yes or course, as long as it's within reason.  A shoe can't add (+1 Gunslinging.)  If it appropriately fits a skill, they can all stack.  Yes, this might lead to heros with 12+ dice to roll, which I find acceptable for an Old West campaign.

It will take a few badasses working together to take down some aliens.

Quote
In the combat section, there is a reference to adding the rating of a Belonging to the bonus dice from Strength to determine damage. Is the skill relevant here, or is that just part of the attack roll?


Skill + skill mods(including str) = To hit
Weapon + weapon mods(including str... if melee) - armor = damage

Quote
I think it has potential, but I’m really not clear on how the rating [of contacts] reflects “How big” or “How many” favors can be called upon.


There isn't truly a set scheme here, because it will be left to the GMs interpretation.  Many times there will be outside factors unknown to the players.  (Wild Eye Jack might only have a +1... but he's more than willing to follow the gang into Blood Stone Canyon.  Why?  Perhaps there's burried treasure.  Perhaps he's working for the aliens.)

It's not designed to make entire sense.  Just enough to keep players on their toes and learn who they can and can't trust.

Quote
Do these ratings drop each time you use them? Are there ways of raising them?


They can only be raised or lowered by roleplaying or if the GM determines.  A favor can be used up if it was too much trouble, while little favors can keep going.  (Free ammo, reshoe a horse, etc...)

Favors, ultimately, are micromanaged by the GM.  The dice associated with the contacts are a guage for how much potential is in the relationship.

Quote
...does that mean I can buy, say, 10 points worth of Graces and 5 points worth of Curses, and still be fine?


Exactly.

I thought of it later, but to avoid insane amounts of abuse, characters will be limited to 10 Graces and 5 curses.

Graces and curses, however, represent all the things that CAN'T be covered by skills and attributes.

Photographic memory.  Ambidexterity (for gunslingers.)  Double jointed.  Direction sense.  Stuff like that.

Quote
Attributes seem to be unable to add more than 2 dice to a roll, Skills no more than 6… how about Graces and Curses?


Honestly, I haven't thought about that!  Thanks for bringing it up!

There will be a list of Graces and Curses and how many points each one costs in my PDF.  Typically it will be one point per dice, with a maximum of 6.

Quote
Why so much emphasis on combat? I like combat, but is that the main thing you see the characters doing?


Nope!

However, this is the only element I felt I could use advice if it seemed broken.

You are correct when you suggest that espionage and investigation are major elements, however the mechanics are so complex.  So I threw in combat and damage so it could get looked over.

Quote
Also, why the distinction between opposed/unopposed rolls?


Although I haven't read Mike's Rants yet, I made the destinction because there's a destinction in real life.

Fighting a person is different between trying to throw a rock a certain distance.

To be honest, I don't think I could design a game without opposed/unopposed actions.  It just seems like the right way to do things.

Quote
What is the order of play in combat?


Dex + Perception = Combat order.

Whoever has the highest order goes first.  Continue going down the line until everyone has gone, then restart.

Quote
what do you see the hit location table as bringing to the game? Is it mostly for color?


Yup!

I hate games where you take 3 points of damage.  And that's it.

Where is irrelevant.  You don't run slower, you don't climb slower.  You have become an entity:  You character with 3 points of damage.

Hit location, which I kept very simple, I feel isn't just color, but also logical and adds a sense of realism.

If you get shot in the Old West... it matters where.  What's going to be potentially amputated?  An arm?  A leg?  Your torso?  Er... no. Wait.  ;)

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What do you see as the benefits and problems in this type of [paranoid] play, specifically?


The challenges and rewards will be explained in further detail later.  This is an element I am currently working on.

To the players, they will always seem to have a hard time.  Their targets will always be evading them.  Their enemies will always be a step ahead.

Soon their frustration will turn to eachother as they try to find the source of their undoing.

Will the alien informed accuse someone else of being the informer?

I see this as becoming a very high point of the game, as the aliens attempt to break their opponents apart at the seams.

Benefits!

Oh the benefits are the best part!  This is how the humans eventually discover and come to own alien technology.  The alien spies will have a communicator... perhaps a weapon and other bits of technology as the GM sees fit to pass them out.  (That's if they find out who the mole is.)

From there comes reverse engineering and a road to victory!

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I’d also recommend giving the game a good once over for proofreading.


Yeah, I noticed that myself.  Sorry about that!

Thanks rich for your questions, comments, and suggestions.

Let me know if I cleared things up and if there are still areas which need work!  (It all needs work, but what needs the MOST work?)

Gwen
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Rich Forest
Member

Posts: 226


« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2003, 03:51:32 AM »

Hi Gwen,

After reading your response, I definitely have a clearer idea of where you’re coming from on a lot of the stuff I had questions about.  I still get the sense, in some cases, however, that you’re doing things the way you are because that’s the way they’re always done.  In the end, I’m not proposing that every game needs to discard classics like attributes and so on, but I do think it’s really, really important to make your decisions with as much knowledge as possible, which is why I’ll repeat my advice to read those posts I linked to—I really think they have relevant and useful stuff in them.  

Also, I wanted to mention that I like your other two “UFOs and…” ideas quite a bit, too.  It looks like I’m a sucker for UFOs and anything :) I see a lot of potential for each of these games, whether as individual games or as a single game with three “worlds.”

And I wanted to make sure I replied to your main question, which was “what needs the MOST work.”  Personally, I think paranoid play is the most interesting idea in the game.  Yup, even moreso than the “UFOs but…” concept, which I obviously like.  So it won’t be too surprising that I think it’s the part of the game that could use the most work.  Right now, it’s too “GM-fiat” oriented, I think.  Something like this needs clear a system of rules behind it, otherwise, even if everyone agrees that “it’s only a game,” there’s too much potential for bad blood to arise.  “The GM decides” can be a really problematic bit in actual play, although it sounds neat (and ultimately easy) in the game text.  So I’d say, work on paranoid play.  Put a system behind it.  That’s where I see the most interesting work to do.

Rich
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Gwen
Member

Posts: 95


« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2003, 10:34:19 AM »

I'm more than willing to try to work around the Traits aspect of the game.  Since you've mentioned it I have been thinking about it and I think now that I agree with you.

I think that they are important in figuring many aspects of a charcter (strength and damage, speed and movement, Perception and Dexterity to figure combat order.)

I suppose I just need more help thinking out of the box.

If anyone can look at my rules system and offer some alternative to the Traits aspect- keeping what they accomplish somewhere in the game- than I would greatly appreciate the advice!

I started working on the full PDF, but I will put off the Traits part until I have a more relaxed mechanic.

Again, if someone could help he with this it would be really great!

Gwen
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Gwen
Member

Posts: 95


« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2003, 09:53:00 PM »

I think I have fixed the otherwise "cliched" Traits.

They are still the same:

strength
dexterity
speed
fitness

IQ
Willpower
Perception
Charm

Each Trait starts at 0 (average) at no cost.  They can be increased or decreased in dice, as long as another Trait is increased or decreased to keep a zero sum.

Therefore, to have a Strength of +2, you must have an IQ of -2... or a charm of -1 and a dex of -1.

The increase or decrease must also have a word or phrase associated with it, as a reason for the modifier.

For example:

Smart = +1 IQ
Very Smart = +2 IQ
Nobel Genius = +4 IQ
Weak = -1 STR
One Leg = -4 Speed
Repulsive = -3 Charm

These words and phrases must be sensible, approved by the Gm if there is dispute.  Someone with "one leg" can not have "-1 Speed."

The character abilities figured from these Traits are as follows:

Strength = Add or subtract bonus dice from Melle/Unarmed damage

Dexterity = Add or subtract bonus dice with Perception to figure combat rating.

Speed = Speed of 0 is average running speed.  Simply compare other speeds to determine who is moving fastest and slowest.

Fitness = 20 wounds.  Roll positive or negative dice and add or subtract this total from the number of wounds.

IQ = Use these dice for defaults on knowledge skills.

Willpower = Use these bonus dice for sanity checks and resistance checks.

Perception = Use for perception rolls, plus add or subtract the positive or negative number from combat rating.

Charm = Use to figure a positive or negative reputation.

So my question is:

Does this help the system feel less cliched, formulaeic?  Is there a better approach to the Traits aspect of the system?

Gwen
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Gwen
Member

Posts: 95


« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2003, 08:21:11 PM »

I notice that days pass and no one offers suggestions or comments to the questions I proposed.

I hate to feel as thought I'm complaining, because I have always considered the Forge to be a great resource for advice from peers and professionals alike.

Perhaps my idea is dull, cliched, overdone or simply uninteresting?  Again, I'm not complaining, but more curious is this is a luke-warm idea that needs reworking?
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Rich Forest
Member

Posts: 226


« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2003, 11:51:29 PM »

Hi Gwen,

The thing is, I’ve said my piece.  There isn’t much for me to add that isn’t more of the same—in fact, my initial post contains the bulk of what I had to offer on your game.  

But listen, you can’t do this.  The honest truth is that none of us can expect or demand feedback on any of our projects.  Everyone here is doing this in their free time.  Lack of response may mean a lot of things.  It may mean that the concept didn’t grab people as much as other things grabbed them at the time, sure.  What didn’t grab them?  Who knows?  Could be color, could be system, could be all manner of things.  Or it may mean that people saw what you were working on, thought it was working out, and didn’t post because they would just be adding (essentially useless) “good job” back-patting.  Or it could mean any variety of other things.  You just don’t know.  The thing is, personalizing it and demanding attention isn’t the way to deal with it.  Just work on the game.  It is your game, ultimately, and your desire to finish it need not be dependent on the amount of feedback it garners at the Forge.  I do understand that it’s easy to personalize this kind of thing.  But resist the urge.  You can go forward with the game design without a long discourse about the game on the forum.

And honestly, you can only expect to get back what you put in.  Now you have done a good job of responding to posts promptly, but if you’re looking for personal insights, I’ll give you this one.  My own investment in helping with the game development dropped significantly when you said this:
Quote
Although I haven't read Mike's Rants yet, I made the destinction because there's a destinction in real life.

To me, this said, “I just don’t have the time to read those links.”  Ok, fair enough.  But I posted them because I really did think they were relevant, and if you don’t have time to read them, I really don’t have time to keep putting the effort into responding.  Also, you asked what needed work.  I pointed out my personal interest in where you take “paranoid play.”  But your later posts are just plugging away at attributes.  As I have little more to add on the attributes issue, there’s no reason for me to post more at the moment.  This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work on attributes.  It doesn’t mean that I expect you to respond to my likes and dislikes in the game, rather than your own.  It does mean that your conversation with me is going to be more fruitful if you do talk about those things, sure.  But I have no personal problem with you working on other stuff, just like you need to be aware not to have a personal problem with people not necessarily responding to the stuff you’re working on.

Do you see what I mean?  I hope none of this is coming across as harsh.  And I realize that your cry for help isn’t necessarily directed at me, as I’ve already put quite a bit of real world time into responding to your game.  But I have a bit of a pet peeve about posts that seem to be just pleas for recognition.  C’mon, be bigger than that.  Focus on the game, do some real work on it, expand it significantly, and then post about it again.  Show that you’re committed to it, really committed to doing the work.  Will it garner more responses then?  Who knows… it just might.  But even if it doesn’t, and here’s the key, don’t let it stop you from working on it.

Rich
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Gwen
Member

Posts: 95


« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2003, 06:09:23 AM »

I don't think I was asking for recognition, so much as I was wondering if the game was uninteresting.

I do intend to work on the game regardless of input here, but I do respect the opinions of people on the Forge, and I just wanted to know if there's something wrong here that I'm missing.
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Spooky Fanboy
Member

Posts: 585


« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2003, 08:58:26 AM »

Quote from: Gwen
I do intend to work on the game regardless of input here, but I do respect the opinions of people on the Forge, and I just wanted to know if there's something wrong here that I'm missing.


Gwen, you simply may have taken the game, as it is now, as far as it can go on The Forge.

I made a horrible mistake on this forum by introducing a game that was half-baked, scribbled some things about it as I thought of them, and asked for feedback. I was disheartened at the lack of interest and response, but really, I got out of it what I put into it. You've done better than that, certainly, but there's only so much feedback you can expect at this stage of the game.

If you offer it for playtesting as a .pdf, you'll probably get more constructive feedback, and if you publish it, you'll get even more. If you don't get any feedback, go ahead anyway and assume the best. If someone doesn't like something, they'll tell you, quicker in fact than if they like it. That's human nature.

Just keep working on it, and let us know when you have more, or at least more questions that you yourself don't feel confident to answer on your own.
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