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[Nevercast] - A hyper-simulationist role-playing game, overview

Started by Ar Kayon, January 18, 2010, 09:49:37 AM

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David Berg

This seems very thorough, so I'll throw in the few things I didn't see covered:

In addition to shadow-casting, there are issues of general visibility, backlighting, and luminescence.  If it's very dark out, I may be able to see you moving slowly at a great distance atop a bare hill, but not be able to see you 70 feet away from me at the hill's base (with hill instead of sky behind you).  Also, if you are brighter than your environment, I can see you based on the difference -- a torch at midnight stands out more than a candle at dusk.

In addition to ambient noise and type of movement, there's also type of terrain.  So, the noise you create is a product of both your speed and whether you're moving over twigs, pine needles, concrete, mud, etc.

Regarding surprise, how do you intend to handle the following situation?

I am walking along the road.  I am partly on the lookout for trouble, but partly distracted by reading a map.  You are hiding in the bushes, hoping to jump out and put your knife to my throat (after which you may kill me instantly if you wish).  The bushes are two long strides from my path along the road.

How hard is it for you to achieve your goal?  Imagine you are the PC and I'm an NPC.  Then, imagine you are the NPC and I'm the PC.
here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development

Ar Kayon

Sounds like a fun thought experiment.

Ok, first we'll assume that the traveler has 7 awareness and the highwayman has 5 agility.  With 7 awareness, the traveler is able to concentrate on two things simultaneously.  So we'll only penalize his concentration roll by 1.  His roll comes out to 7 awareness +3 - 1= 9 awareness for the contest.

Now, if he's traveling alone and following a map, I'm assuming it's the middle of the day, so light is not added to the attacker's cover score for the sight check, but the distance will give him +2 (1 for each stride).  I'll also give him +2 for being still and +5 for 50% sight cover from the bush.  So the total is 9.  The highwayman is not spotted.  As the traveler gets closer to one stride away, he thinks he spots something (+1 gradient of success = minor effect), so he *could* try a second look, except that the highwayman is leaping out of the bushes.

Since the attacker's intent is to leap out of the bushes and strike, combat time starts at that moment and the stealth contest is over.  For the first scenario, we'll assume the traveler is a merchant and the highwayman is the PC.  Since the traveler has 5 reflex, he:
1. May only take response actions during the first round.
2. Loses an action for the first round.
However, since he's not accustomed to violent acts, he's scared shitless from the attacker (composure: major fail = "frozen" effect); he can't act at all.
The highwayman successfully brings his knife up to the merchant's neck and demands payment in exchange for his life.

For the second scenario, the traveler is a PC swordsman and has >5 reflex. 
1. He may make turn actions during the first round.
2. He does not lose any actions.
The highwayman sees the sword and doesn't take any chances.  He's going for the kill.  Since he's using his first action to attack from the side with a concentration point added to the attack, his attribute for the attack is 6 speed + (1d4=3) + 2 (flank bonus) = 11.  When the PC sees the attack, he has no time to draw his sword to defend himself, so he leaps back from the assault: 7 reflex + 2 (evasion response) = 9.  The attack passes by a gradient of 2 ("profuse bleeding" effect), and makes a nasty gash in the swordsman's side.  He's in deep trouble now...

Ar Kayon

What are Internal Arts?
Internal Arts are part of the Philosophy skill discipline.  They are concerned predominantly with meditational and breathing practices.

How is this useful?
Aside from developing your Insight, Awareness, and Focus attributes, the Internal Arts can be an effective practice for maintaining a clear mind during tough in-game situations.  Any situation that affects your Composure or Concentration effort pool may be positively enhanced via Internal Arts.  Thus, an excellent student can use their Concentration more often and more intensely, and are less likely to be perturbed under psychological stress - obvious benefits for any combat character.  At higher levels, many benefits become ingrained; you may be psychologically unaffected by extreme intimidation or physical pain.

How does it work?
Aside from the passive abilities you develop, there are few techniques.  As of right now, there are only 2: meditation and breathing exercise.  Meditation takes time, but it may give you bonuses for a few hours after practice.  Breathing exercise can be used during combat time, and it helps you to recover your Stamina and Concentration effort pools more quickly.

Ar Kayon

So I'm working on developing the grappling combat right now.  It's quite chaotic right now, and I plan on refining and streamlining the ideas significantly.  The following are some features that will be available, and will seamlessly integrate with hand-to-hand combat:

Grip (dexterity) - Head (choke/eye gouge), grab arm/leg sets up for other grappling maneuvers, hands (fingers) for bone breaking

Locks and holds (dexterity or agility)- Full lock, half lock depending upon intent and/or success (full locks limit your own movements as well): arm lock/leg lock sets up dislocations and causes "pain" effect, leg hold sets up lift, wristlock(hands) for disarming and causing "pain" effect, head: headlock sets up chokehold, clinch increases striking power, prevents many defenses against striking (evasion, dodge, slip, cover-up) and sets up takedown, body hold (bear hug)

Takedowns (agility)- Shoot (long range), standard takedown (requires a successful grip, lock, lift or hold), trip, tackle (requires momentum)

Throws (agility)- grip throw (difficult), hold throw (easier), slam (from full lift; very easy or from choke), toss (from lift; requires immense power)

Lift (power vs. resist (strength) ) - from body hold (difficult), from leg hold (easier)

Positioning - effective ways to pin or submit a target is to control from the side or rear.  While standing, you can use the combat step movement (attack penalty) to bring a hold or lock to the side, or a dash movement (larger attack penalty) to bring a hold or lock behind the opponent.  The ground or a wall are also good places to pin.  Side control and rear control on the ground will also be available, but I haven't any mechanical concepts yet. 

Available defenses against grappling:
Ward off
Evade (while standing, reposition yourself and regain balance with a combat step)
Leg Guard

Ward off-and-throw
Ward off-and-grip
Ward off-and-takedown
Evade-and-takedown (rear control)

David Berg

Cool.  All sounds like stuff I'd like to potentially see in play.

I have a question: where do you intend to draw the line between reference vs ad-lib?  Like, if my character tries to put a minotaur in a choke hold, are you going to direct me to some charts and tables to calculate how that works, or are you going to say, "Talk it out with the GM and figure out what makes sense"?  Now what if I try to choke a were-fish?  When does the answer ("look it up" vs "figure it out") change?

Sorry for the crappy examples.  Also, I don't claim that you must think about this.  It's just something I'd be trying to define if I were in your shoes.
here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development

Ar Kayon

I'm trying my best to have a systemic answer - or at least an algorithm for GM determination - for any situation, while at the same time maintain a streamlined quality without special rules (i.e. consistency).  The core rules that exist now are the result of this design philosophy.  This helps the GM because he may not have the creativity or perspective to freeform his own rules effectively.  For the purposes of this game, I believe that because a great deal of responsibility is placed upon GM, the machinery ought to be autonomous and efficient so that he may focus on the story-telling aspects.

I should probably make a point that if rules for a specific situation aren't clear, then the GM has free reign to determine for himself as long as they don't contradict the core mechanics.  Every peripheral rule set in my system is based upon the logic of the core mechanics, so I'm certain the GM can figure something out without appearing arbitrary.

David Berg

Gotcha.  Sounds similar to the goals of GURPS and some other "universal" systems, though yours may inject a bit more color (based on the examples in your first post).
here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development

Ar Kayon

When I design rules, GURPS is my cautionary tale.  It seems bloated and intimidating.  Just yesterday I was fiddling around with uber-realistic effects mechanics, where a body diagram tells you how you broke bones, cut muscle and tendons, blew off limbs, and damaged organs, and estimated about 200 or so ways to harm your opponent, all without the need to roll any dice!  The graphic potential makes me drool, but organizing the rules into a refined, easy-to-digest format is going to be a nightmare.

David Berg

Yeah, search time (how long it takes during play to figure out how to proceed) is my main fear with such thorough systems.  Memorable visuals would go a long way (for me, anyway).  I think the body diagram idea is great!
here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development

Ar Kayon

On Critical Hits
So, I figured out a nice and simple method for scoring precision attacks on general body areas.  Your general body areas all have the same chance to hit in close quarters combat, but are somewhat different in ranged combat.  I'll get to that later, however.

Let's say you wanted to take your opponent out of the fight with a sharp kick to his kneecap.  You score your hit to the leg normally, but if you roll well on a 1d4 (25-50-75% depending on skill), you will compare the gradient of success to the vital area instead.  So, whereas a 3 effect might cause the "damaged" effect to the leg area, it will outright cripple the kneecap and cause immense, lasting pain.  Striking vital areas will most likely require concentration use in order to balance out the mechanics because precision attacks are quite difficult to pull off in the chaos of combat, and so that players don't get cheap and just start going to town on everyone's balls as an ultimate offensive strategy.


To be fair, going to town on everyone's eyeballs is a pretty good offensive strategy.

Ar Kayon

Upon contemplating recent forum conversations, I have decided to make some alterations.

Basic Rationale: I haven't been doing any streamlining lately; a required protocol of my design philosophy.

1. The charisma attribute will be removed.
Rationale: Charisma is an umbrella term.  Confidence, insight, and actual social skills are aspects of charisma, which are already modeled in the system: confidence = composure (a value based on individual skill disciplines); insight is already an attribute; there is already a skill discipline based on social interaction.

2. The power attribute will be removed.
Rationale: Power is awkward because it's a secondary attribute, but acts as a primary one.  However, with my updated method of determining effect for task resolution, power is naturally modeled by the interaction between speed and strength.

3. The endurance attribute may be removed.
Rationale: From my athletic experiences, I'm not convinced that endurance is an ability someone naturally has.  Sure, untrained skinny people can typically run and fight longer than untrained fat people, but that's because they're more fit.  Therefore, the stamina effort pool would be based upon physical fitness: strength, speed, and development in the physical skill disciplines.   

1. Strength
2. Power
3. Speed
4. Endurance
5. Agility
6. Reflex
7. Dexterity
8. Insight
9. Logic
10. Awareness
11. Focus
12. Charisma

With alterations:
1. Strength
2. Speed
3. Agility
4. Reflex
5. Dexterity
6. Awareness
7. Focus
8. Insight
9. Logic

4. Updated task resolution for effects. 
Rationale: In the previous model, once you determined the gradient of success, you then subtracted the attack's power (based on your power and/or the weapon itself) from the applicable Effect Reduction type.  You then subtracted the sum from the base effect.  Upon reviewing the method and simulating damage scenarios in my head, I found two problems with this: 1) It's difficult to calculate in your head quickly because it's not a linear progression.  2) It doesn't take into account that a glancing blow from a 20 year old Mike Tyson is a glancing blow from a 20 year old Mike Tyson.  Or put more obviously: being struck by a speeding train will probably kill you no matter how it hits you.
The new progression will be linear.  The gradient of success automatically determines effect for resolutions not compared against resistances, as always.  However, for attacks, the effect = gradient + strength (of combatant and/or weapon) - applicable resistance.  This also has the added bonus of letting me consolidate effects lists for attacks while actually improving realism.

Ar Kayon

Another change I'm considering:

Firearms may utilize 2 task resolution methods.
Rationale: In consideration for the unique dynamics of the action/reaction system, there are two distinct tasks which need to be resolved: the speed in which you aim the firearm and the accuracy in which you fire.  In the current design, your opponent may always respond to a firearm attack as long as he's aware of his opponent.
Change: The initial task resolution would be speed vs. the target's reflex (penalty imposed).  If reflex passes, then the target may use a response action, otherwise the shooter compares focus vs. passive defense.


Ar Kayon

That was a deeply profound insight.  I shall return to my lotus and meditate upon this.

Ron Edwards

Don't respond to idiotic posts, please. It makes my job harder.

For those who missed it, Ar Kayon was responding to a troll. You can see his/its post in the Inactive File if you want, when it becomes visible again like it's supposed to be.

Please return to the regularly-scheduled thread topic.

Best, Ron