Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Stab at IMech

For anyone who doesn't know what IMech is head over here.

Now that you're caught up, I figured I would start my thought process on a solution to this.

The game I'm making now WILL have plenty of social interaction. This could be court intrigue, inter-kingdom politics, demoralizing the opposing army and so on. Fortunately, I have already been considering a solution to this, it simply needs expansion.

Morale would be the hit points of social combat. This could be effected by the strength of the opposition, the force of will of the subject and more effects. However, unlike hitpoints, morale would require rolls against it to perform some actions, and perhaps could result in a fleeing before they reach zero.

Base morale would likely be a calculation of Leadership ability of leader (score written down on the character sheet. Likely a sum of the 'charisma' stat, perhaps a relevant skill and probably some form of level bonus) Reputation of leader (a higher reputation is something worth fighting for Training and short term modifiers.

Generally this should lead to npc soldiers fleeing in combat due to low morale then returning after their temporary modifiers return.

How does this apply to IMech? Well for one thing this is only a stab, not a coup de gras as it were. In this case it applies to mental and social skills effecting survivability. If your inspirational speech fails, will your troops route the second the other general pulls a dirty trick? If your intellect based strategy roll fails will it give the other troops a huge advantage?

But this is at a higher scale. How would morale apply to lower levels of interaction? I would say morale would have a huge effect in the common torture example. Your goal is to lower their morale. But where is the chance for failure? I would say getting information through torture is 'common' because the chance for 'failure' is uncommon. However I would also say that there is more than one check to make with torture, not only must you get the information, but you must either disguise your association with the torture, disguise the torture event itself, spin the torture as a clearly necessary act for the good of all, or take the full repressions to your more permanent reputation stat.

Alright, but how could your reputation be ruined in court? There are no tools of torture here. Easier I would argue, as your reputation is at stake with every button you push to reduce your targets 'morale'. Why in quotes? I would further define morale to be mental stability and control. This means if you are seducing, inciting or persuading, you are trying to destabilize or seize control of their mental state. Drop their morale and you will drop their control eventually they will have to roll against their morale or fall into your 'control'. Not necessarily being mind controlled, they will still have their self interest at heart. They wont jump off cliffs unless they think it's a safer option than staying on the edge. And failure? Making a fool of yourself in politics, being seen as an inept leader, these effect reputation and perhaps, reputation can effect persuasion.

Alright, so I covered interpersonal, and in mass encounters. But this brings up some thoughts on Reputation. Reputation would be a score on your character sheet, but I'm also thinking perhaps reputation traits would also be warranted. These would be positive or negative traits acquired from repeat occurrences of particular acts. Known for torture, known for being a womanizer, known as a drunk, known for granting mercy, known for his battle strategy and so on. This means in encounters where those matter (social encounters with women, encounters in the church, taking prisoners, morale of troops) you get a bonus or penalty as appropriate. This would mean, for all the spin you may put on your acts, eventually people will see the pattern.

There is of coarse more to work on with this, but for my system here is the sketch for the bones.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

[OT] Language Barrier

A situation that has come up recently. Perhaps a little venting, perhaps a little hypothetical. A new adventure is started, the characters are 'rolled' (in my case a Savage Worlds) and they set off. They've been told a basic plot, you've been banished to another plane for a few years and you are going to return to take vengeance on the one who banished you and some other people there. Now you have to summon your friends back and stop an evil dictator.

You get back, struggle through an abandoned ruin, find some native people who you don't know how to speak to figure out a plot to help them against some humans and head out to figure out from the humans what is going on. Time for vengeance...

Except not really, you discover you can't speak to the humans, you also discover you are being pushed to choose the humans or the natives RIGHT NOW. Oh and one of you figures out it's really hundreds of years later.

So what is the problem here? How can I feel like I am making an educated choice? How do I as a player feel like I have the ability to push the plot in my favored direction? How about the character's background? Suddenly my family, my home, my target of vengeance, my knowledge of the world, my possessions are all now gone. I have nothing to save but the people at the other plane, I have no enemies, I have no way to communicate with these new people and get an opinion. These humans are not my team, these lizard folk are not my team, I have no allies, I have no enemies.

We flipped a coin. We delayed and tried to communicate, we gesticulated we flailed and eventually someone threw the native companion a sword and we killed the humans.

How could the situation been handled? How could it be presented better? How could we have prevented every character from putting points into speaking skills when we can't communicate? How could we prevent players from creating elaborate plots involving secret organizations with exotic weapons (we specialize in.) How could we prevent them from taking abilities representing reputation or even land holdings?

Was this the best method? Could the GM had faith that the players could pretend they wouldn't know its 700 years later? Could the GM just have filtered our character abilities and plot with an ambiguous 'you can't take that'? Or perhaps they could trade every loss with a bonus, if you find or make the weapon you are looking for your style is so unique you get a bonus to fight. If you find your holdings through magic it can be proven you are the legitimate heir to everything. I don't know. It's a tough nut to crack, suggestions?

Friday, December 3, 2010


So the problem came to mind again about equipment. In a 100 level system how do you keep a consistent growth of equipment for the player? I mean, lets be honest, either they're going to upgrade every 15 levels or it's going to become a mess of +15 butterknives and +25 flaming pitchforks (great for destroying thatched huts maybe?)

Some thoughts...

Possible ways to improve weapons.

Quality Craftsmanship
Various scales of quality from Poor to Godly. Characters can find all kinds of quality on opponents, in tombs, crafted by NPCs or even crafted by themselves. This is more dependent on the skill of the person crafting the item and the time taken to craft the item. A rough item can be put out very quickly, whereas a Godly item could be an extremely long process with an amazing result.

Possible levels of Quality
Poor, Rough, Average, Fine, Masterwork, Godly

Quality Materials
Here I am after making a post saying I wouldn't get into materials in weaponry on another blog... However, this could be a good tool for setting the quality of weapons. Early along this list would be some normal natural materials followed by either standard or setting specific higher quality materials. These would represent increased resource cost and time cost, possibly increasing the skill requirement to craft the item.

Possible Materials
Iron, Steel, Mithril, Adamantine, Woods (of various natural types), Ironwood, Ent Wood, Exotic creature leather, Wool, Cotton, Silk, Iron Silk and so on...

These are a little more up in the air. I can either go heavy into enchantments with a wide variety of benefits, or be very basic in their qualities, or somewhere in-between. For simplicity with listing such things and tracking them (given the player will have armies to manage in addition to their awesome sword) I think perhaps keeping it basic will probably be more beneficial. Add it to the stats once, don't worry if it's bane against carnivorous butterflies or whatnot. However I think since they should be applied to weapons only as that little something extra.

When I say little something extra, I mean they should have a smaller effect than the material or the quality does. This seems a bit strange, but imagine magic weapons for a moment, they are that intangible bit that seems to help push you over the edge. They have side effects like being unbreakable and maybe shiny or glowy, but generally they are just a little something extra. Ideally, you would only want to enchant a good weapon from the start.

Enchantments would utilize exotic materials (only produced by large towns and above) and a great deal of expert labor and time. I'm also considering making enchantments only performable by a race that has an affinity with that material, making it a racial bonus to crafting that allows enchantment. Which also brings up the point that I want anyone potentially able to enchant. Warriors, kobolds, rogues and commoners. If they have the materials, know the rituals, and have the crafting skill, they can put the part of their spirit and soul into the weapon and imbue it with the breath of magical life. The skill being skill in crafting that type of item.

This means that in the ideal situation you would have a crafter craft an item in the ideal workshop, with the best tools, using mythically rare components, being the best person to do it, for two years, then breathing life into it using a massive amount of exotic materials in a giant city that can produce them or afford to trade for them. This would give you a Godly Ultimatine Butterknife +3. Congratulations, you now spread butter like no known hero king before you may you use your power wisely.

For the purpose of abstraction, how will this apply for heroes and soldiers? Will armies be equipped with magic weapons and armor? Is this scale possible?

I'm thinking Heroes can possibly have magic weapons, but not soldiers at a large scale, magic items should not be that numerous. Yes you can hand your two +1 swords to a regular soldier, but when the scale increases to Party or Army level, 2 out of 10 or 1000 soldiers having a +1 bonus doesn't help much. (maybe you can reason they would be the last of the soldiers to die, but +1 isn't really much)

However, giving it to a Hero helps in individual encounters and for the direct survival of the hero during targeted attacks and small scale combat. Sometimes sending an army isn't the best choice, but you can still take some faithful fearless companions with you, or on your behalf. (I'm considering house rule variants or even official rules allowing Heroes to also be possible players)

Materials and quality however could play more effectively. I'm thinking probably the lowest material type to probably the first mythical metal type will be used in materials (given the odds are low there is enough material findable for an army worth of Ultimatine) and up to Fine for crafting quality (Mass producing tends not to lend itself to particularly high quality items). This of coarse seems about appropriate however, as soldiers should never reach the combat prowess of a player.

I'm still working out the details, but I think I'll probably continue on my lvl 20 landmark points for these things.

More to come...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Acquiring Followers

So I've talked a lot about Players, Heroes, Soldiers and Commoners, but where do you get these things? Statistically, probably a chart or a little bit of math for the maximums. That's all well and good for determining the numbers but what we really care about is how they actually get the crew itself. Thus my following thoughts...

At level 1 the players start out as just themselves, party of X. No companions, as they progress somewhere in the 10-20 range they acquire their first followers. I'm a little unsure of the first followers' type. Should they start by acquiring a Hero? Obviously the player would get to know their single follower's name and abilities, logically they should have more than a half sheet to sum them up. But that's also a lot of information out of the gate, and possibly skill for the Hero. Perhaps a soldier would be fine, using the assumptions to play out the other information like skills and such. I'm leaning towards Hero.

Anyhow, the Hero would be met on their journeys as introduced by the GM, or hijacked from a nearby town should the player seek them out. Heroes should be obvious, and possibly notorious/famous and easy to display as an option for the players, however, just because the player has the capacity for a Hero, doesn't mean they need to have one, let them acquire one naturally. In the life of a player, heroes should be MUCH fewer than soldiers, they represent your stalwart companions, your right and left hand men/women/things. They are the backbone of your followers, and you are the head. Numberwise I'm thinking no more than 6. But these are 6 units that have levels and skills just like you, but lower level. So perhaps having a Hero early builds the attachment and excitement about getting another.

Your next followers would be soldiers, in total around levels 15-25 you should have about 8 soldiers, 1 hero and your player character. These can be hired on, people who saw your work and wanted to follow, people you saved who now travel with you... Just as the hero acquired naturally, but more generic. At this point they should probably be summed up as Melee or Ranged, Heavy or Light and perhaps some basic skill that defines their style. Roguish types being Melee/Light with Stealth. At this point you have gone from the solo scale to the party scale level. Each player should have 10 total units including themselves and can scale the combat between individuals and party markers depending on how many people are involved. For instance if it is one party vs three, you would probably use individuals, however if it were four parties vs six you would use party markers.

Progress would continue on, as you settle down (or not) and word of you travels you can continue to gain followers. However, there is more than one way to get Heroes and Soldiers, that and I haven't covered Civilians.

Another method for acquiring Heroes is when a unit of troops fights a battle, the player has an open hero slot, and the battle was a real fight (crushing civilians doesn't count) there's a chance a Heroic act could be performed. Yep, you can get a hero from a heroic act being performed by your soldier unit. Makes sense right? This brings up the concept of loyalty. Soldiers, Heroes and Civilians will have derived stats called loyalty. In cases which seem logical, low loyalty can cause a given Hero, Soldier or Civilian to abandon you. Obviously it would hurt most if a Hero left you, but less for a Civilian. Those heroes you are lucky enough to have perform a heroic act will probably have a higher loyalty than someone you hired on.

But wait, my stats say I should only have 200 followers how could I be managing a town? Well you can have people under your command who aren't followers. These NPCs will have a much lower loyalty, and may even require payment to stay in service, but don't count towards your limit. They will however cost more, and be more fickle. This means likely you have 200 stalwart allies, but you could have 600 civilians protected in your city and 200 guardsmen on payroll who stay as long as the staying is good, if they had somewhere better to be they'd leave.

The best part about these stats is that they'll only needed to be calculated a few times in the life of a soldier or hero, and if the player is diplomatic, tested just as few.

Now for more on civilians. So what if you want a civilian for a follower? Simple enough, they can take a soldier slot. While this may seem undesirable, wouldn't it be nice to have a faithful team of metalsmiths who will follow you to where they are needed? Or perhaps merchants who will run trade routes on your direct command? You don't even need to have all the merchants in the caravan be followers, just enough to keep the caravan moving and ensure they return.

Lots of rough thoughts, as always nothing is final and thoughts and designs are always in flux as things progress. More to come...

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Skills are something very common in various role playing games, 3rd edition DnD, GURPS, White Wolf and so on. Needless to say I am going to touch on the topic.

All the characters are leaders by nature of the game. And eventually most of their common tasks should and will be done by underlings. This makes for some interesting thoughts on how skills should work. I intend to discuss my interpretation of how skills should work in the given system and what kinds I think are useful.

These are about movement, getting places. Climbing, Jumping, Swimming, Riding and Long Distance Travel are considerations for skills under this category. At early adventuring levels, these could be important. They open tactical opportunities more land bound or slower units lack. This is probably the least sensible at higher levels, but would make sense later after I clarify some other information on subordinates.

These are memory skills, awareness and so on. Very good for beginning and end game, very apparent use for players, less so for subordinate grunts, however as with physical it would have some benefits still. Some thoughts... Area Knowledge, Tactics, Awareness, Exploration, Important Persons Knowledge.

These are interpersonal skills. Diplomacy, Investigation, Sense Intent, Deception and more. Very useful to leaders, and perhaps some specialized grunts. Some could even be useful in combat. For instance sense intent and Deception could be used for feints and detecting maneuvers immediate results (tactics being for more long term strategies in addition to short term)

These would be mainly roguish skills. Sabotage, Stealth, Pickpocketing and so on. These abilities are pretty straightforwards. They could be useful for a character as well as an army at a great scale. Sabotaging catapults and walls as well as traps and wagon wheels, ambushes and sneaking into an enemy camp.

Craft Architecture, Craft Weaponry, Craft Armor, Craft Elixirs, Drafting and so on. Pretty straightforwards for the most part. At the low levels these skills could be used to do a job, and having an army of folks with Craft Architecture can allow you to build small fortifications pretty quickly.

Some thoughts on the actual functionality for the different types of characters.

Functionality for characters.
Every Level the character gets an allotment of points for skills (likely static) with a maximum amount that can be put in each time you level. There will likely be a general path of bonuses that will allow you to specialize in a skill sacrificing some combat ability to become an ultimate master of knitting or something. This might even extend to giving supervised NPCs a bonus to their attempts to perform these skills. There would definitely be a bonus for tools and perhaps circumstance (supervision would be one of these)

Functionality for Heroes/Villains
Likely they will be built much as characters, keeping in mind the greatest number of points that could have been put into an ability and with the same ability to perform the skills as a PC. I'm not sure if granting bonuses to underlings will occur, perhaps I will use a diminishing returns the higher in the command chain the bonuses are granted. (Using math we could see this as a curve steadily approaching a certain number, that being the highest possible bonus. Yay Algebra.) They would also definitely benefit from tools.

Functionality for Soldiers
Soldiers have to be trained. And in this system I see soldiers as being simplified to having certain amounts of training. One thing I'm thinking is that soldiers will have skill slots, for skills they are particularly good at, and the reason you would want to keep similar troops in groups. If you mixed all your troops the bonus is negated. If they all have the same skill choice they retain it. Otherwise in larger than party groups, it can be assumed that together they manage to have a certain skill rating based on their 'training' or 'drill' stat and type relevance (archers, melee, casters) Perhaps I'll even establish a tradition for certain factions and natives will be assumed to have certain skills at higher levels. This would be GM set and not player set of coarse. The stats for Heroes and Soldiers would be GM set. And given that the GM introduces the heroes through methods I should go over later. These guys still benefit from supervision and tools, but don't grant any bonuses to underlings.

Functionality for Civilians.
Fairly straightforwards. They should have a skill level as appropriate to their job/station, receive all bonuses and cannot grant bonuses except to other civilians. They are assumed to exist as necessary to fill out cities and match the economy and situation. You need a random mason's exact skill level? I'd look at the economy, figure out how many mineral based production workers there are, roll against the % of refinement level produced, then set a skill level based on which part of the production line they are in. If I roll they're one of the two people producing exotic goods in a 200,000 strong city then they are going to be very high on the spectrum of masonry (the kind that makes the stone part for portal gates and such) If I roll one of the 4000 supporting members in the raw production side... well he can cut a rock out of a mountainside if you need and can do it really well if you have some well built and supplied mines too.

As you can see, less and less detail per type of unit as we go down the line. Scale. A civilian is one line until you pick them out of the crowd and are concerned. The soldier half a page, probably no more than 3 skill slots and the rest is 'assumed'. A Hero/Villain is one page they have a full skill set, but the math doesn't really need to be detailed. Then the players who manage their own information could have 2 sheets or more. I've actually got some good ideas for topics after this, more to come...

Friday, November 19, 2010


Abilities, I think for the time being, I will define the basic statistics as traits, passive boosts from 'level points' bonus' and special actions one must buy abilities.

So in our case an ability could be cleave, a fireball, a heal spell, a berzerker rage, a protective aura and so on. But some things become a bit unclear. What moves should be abilities? What is special and unique? Would Aiming be a special ability? How about diving for cover? Weapon proficiency?

The answer that comes to mind is, can the weakest nobody do it? Can a wizard spend time to aim a bow and noticeably increase their accuracy? Can they effectively feint in combat? Can the rogue take a moment to catch their breath?

The choice of what an ability is can really decide the feel for a game. If running is a skill you have to take to receive any benefit, odds are you're playing a roll playing game. If it's assumed natural actions such as running, climbing and catching your breath are something you can do with their natural effects, then you are playing a role playing game.

So breaking it down for just an ability; It has to be something that not just anybody can do, and for classes it has to be something a person of a particular branch of training can use. As mentioned before, there will also be racial abilities, however, these will likely just be representative of greater ability with particular actions, this wont mean that the entire race is able to perform those abilities, just that they are capable of such actions.

Abilities will be bought and upgraded with points accrued at each level. I'm not quite sure how many points I'll grant each level, but I'm considering 5ish. These would be applied to abilities and bonus'. Bonus' are rather simple, I think I shall throw them into this post after covering abilities.

A breakdown of each abilities information. In example form.

Mage Abilites

Cost: 10 Energy
Base Range: 10 units.
Base Effect: Shoots a fireball at an enemy hitting the target for Stat +3d roll Fire Damage.
Levels: 5
Requirements: lvl 0, lvl 20, lvl 40, lvl 60, lvl 80
Effect: Increase Area Scale and cost increases by Level x 100%

Cost Decrease
Req: lvl 5, lvl 10, lvl 20
Ranks: 3
Effect: Decrease the cost by 1 energy per point per level.

Damage Increase
Req: lvl 10, lvl 20, lvl 30
Ranks: 3
Effect: Increase the damage effected by 1 unit per point and the cost by 2 energy per point

Range Increase
Req: lvl 1, lvl 5, lvl 10
Ranks: 3
Effect: Increase the range by 2 units per point.

So lets talk about what you are seeing there.

At first, this is a subsection of Mage Abilities. The title is Fireball. The cost in energy (the ability currency) is 10, this is an arbitrary number currently. As opposed to a preparation system, I think with my more organic ability system it would be better to use energy.

Base effect, the stat +3d currently implies that whatever the spellcasting/damage statistic will be will effect the final damage. I am unsure of exactly how many stats there will be, but as the concepts of the mechanics solidify into a usable form I think that information will finalize.

Levels: 5. This means there are five levels to the ability including the initial one. The level for the ability is one when first acquired, this is described in the effect section before it. It can be bought at level 1 for 1 point. Each level costs a point and requires that you meet the requirements. They are below that, character levels 0, 20, 40, 60, 80 are the requirements for each of the levels. The idea is, that as the character grows, so can the spell, in the case of this spell 4 times it can grow and at each of the landmark levels in scale (in my head anyways.) The effect of the leveling up of the ability is below that in very opaque non-descript terms that I will now explain.

Increase Area Scale is one of the important ideas in the system I'm building. Notice the keyword there, scale. In this case area scale is pretty simple. In it's earliest incarnation it targets a single opponent. This would be at an interpersonal scale where all combat units are signified as a single character. A level 2 version would target an entire party at the party scale (the second scale level intended for lvl 20 - 39 characters) or would have an area effect at the interpersonal scale, probably an area of 2 units (target plus two rings around them on a hex grid if hex is used.) If a level 1 version is used at the party scale, it would likely do a fraction of the damage, If d10s, I would say only 1 point of damage per d10 and 1 extra damage for every 10 bonus damage. However, I'm considering an assassination bonus or ability type that simply targets one opponent (at most 1/10th a unit's health), but can eliminate leaders due to the enhanced damage for the ability being at such high a level. (still targets only one opponent but can do 10x the damage, more than enough for a non-heroic unit)

Alright, so now that we understand how scale applies, let us continue on... Now we see modifications. Another nifty little trick I'm considering. Instead of buying a new ability, or leveling one up, you can put a point into a modification. These modifications allow your ability to perform better at their current level, while not as powerful an upgrade as a level, the bonus will persist through into higher levels and may have a lower requirement than buying the next level, allowing you to be the ultimate fireball throwing machine with all the modifications. This would allow someone to really be superior in their casting of fireballs as compared to someone who didn't modify and just leveled up. Sort of like having a fiery +1 longsword instead of just a +1 longsword. As with levels it has a requirement for each rank, a maximum number of ranks, and an effect. However, some of the modifications have additional costs on the spell, all modifications are optional during casting, but this helps balance out the power a bit for stronger effects.

Not all abilities will be so clear and concise. For instance, considering a resurrection spell...

Priest Abilities

Cost: 50 (some prohibitive number, likely all the mana a character has when first gotten)
Range: Touch
Cast Time: 1 day
Base Effect: Resurrects a single person. The target of the resurrection suffers from Exhaustion for 1 week.
Levels: 3
Requirements: level 40, 70, 100
Effect: (1) Single person target and Cost 50, (2) party target and cost 100, (3) scale 3 target and cost 200.


Reduced Cast Time
Req: 50, 80
Ranks: 2
Effect: Cast time is reduced to 1 hour cost is increased 100%, Cast time is reduced to 1 turn cost is increased 200%

Reduced Exhaustion Penalty
Req: 60, 90
Ranks: 2
Effect: Exhaustion penalty reduced to 1 day and cost is increased 100%, Exhaustion penalty is reduced to 1 turn and cost is increased 200%

This requires more description as to the effect and has more complicated math when doing costs. I'm thinking multiplicative costs, so if you wanted to cast the most powerful version...

Level 3 Resurrection 200pts
1 turn cast time = 600pts
1 turn exhaustion = 1800 energy.

This will resurrect approximately 100 men in one turn who will be weakened only for the next turn.

A more likely example would be a character resurrecting another one during a heated battle...
Level 1 resurrection 50pts
1 turn cast time = 150
1 turn exhaustion = 450

At a really high level this is probably more possible, but would wipe a priests mana in my mind. The other ability is parallel to a god, but could salvage troops after the victor completes a battle.

The exhaustion in my mind would basically halve the unit's effectiveness, including health and energy, meaning you don't want to be made vulnerable in a fight, as if you are in an at-level encounter, you would probably die again very quickly. Perhaps I should make a rule about stacking exhaustion...


Imagine a generic passive modification that applies to a generic action. Done. Each point put into a bonus after you've met the requirement grants you that bonus.

Aaaaand now you've got an idea of what I'm thinking for abilities. Give each subclass at least 20 abilities and 15 bonus' and were looking at 180 abilities with 135 bonuses for classes alone. Not intimidating at all... no never... But I've started on the path and so I shall continue.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Composition, Opposition and Affinity

These are three topics that I've considered already for the project. Composition was I term cause it sounds good, it's the composition of friendly forces, Opposition is the opponents of coarse, and affinity is a bit more complex involving my resource/trade system. These are all pretty much related and keyed into my concept of resources.

The Composition of the allies. Early on I'm going to limit it to three races. Maybe someday it will instead change to three factions or regions, but as is I'm making a simplified and cliched system of each race being its own faction and region. The summary of the three being...

Humans, native to the foothills and fields of the lowlands, and being industrious folk, they have greatly developed their affinity to the plains and to a lesser extent their quarries and mines. This gives them a greater affinity to plains resources than any others for mainly caster roles and a special plains based ranged class, and a lesser affinity to the more warrior based mountainous resources.

Elves, the people of the forests. Their affinity to the woodlands gives them unparalleled grasp of the woodland resources, mainly mastering the ranged and stealthy classes and receiving a bonus leather based warrior class. Their lesser mastery over growing plants in the clearings and lands near their forests gives them a lesser grasp over the lighter armored caster classes.

Dwarves, the people of the mountains, their homes being one with the forested mountains more often than not allowed them to master the mineral wealth of the mountains. This gives them the greatest understanding of the heavily armored warrior classes, recieving a special heavily armored caster class. They also have a lesser mastery of the forest resources, granting them some of the moderately armored ranged classes.

As it stands currently in a less flowery speech...

Humans, Primary Plains, Secondary Mineral
Elves, Primary Forested, Secondary Plains
Dwarves, Primary Mineral, Secondary Forested

Where Primary denotes a special class exclusive to the race, and secondary denotes an affinity to classes related to the resource as below.

Plains, Casters in light armor (denoted by cloth robes and plant/small critter based components)
Forests, Roguish and Ranged Types (Denoted by leather armor and ability to sneak through cover)
Mountains, Heavily armored Warrior types (Denoted by mineral based armors and weapons and toughness to live in the rough and hostile environs)

The opposition (the organized opposition anyways) is as followed.

Goblins, the bane of the Humans, they live in the same lands, however are quicker to pillage and steal the Human's resources and grow and dig up their own in their remote encampments or burrows. They also have mastered the art of casting and the occasional armored units.

Orcs, naturally camouflaged into the forests these stealthy but organized people are bloodthirsty and cunning. They have mastered the ranged and casting arts on level with the elves. However they quickly cut down forests and create their own clearings, stealing from and preying on travelers whenever possible.

Kobolds, the tricky stone in the heel of the Dwarves. While about as adept at magic as the dwarves, their skills reveal themselves in their traps and almost unbelievable organization whether under cover of trees or sneaking through tunnels. They sabotage and steal from the dwarves, appropriating and utilizing their resources and melting and reusing what doesn't fit their thinner frames.

Ta da, if you can't figure it out by now, its basically the same affinities for each race and their opponent. As of now, likely you can expect the same classes. Ideally however, the exclusive classes would be different for the 'monsters'

As usual, more to come...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I guess this would be a topic of concern given I have already mentioned firestorms over cities. Ideally that would be a level 100 character and not some level 20 bandit out in the woods. But beyond just balance, the question arises for me, how much magic? Where is magic in the world? How does it apply to the players? And equipment? And NPCs?

Basically only specific folks will get magic. Those being leaders, heroes, players, villains and dedicated NPCs.

Leaders are kings, generals and other distinguished leaders. A patrol captain probably wont have magic by default, but all distinguished leaders will have a form of magic, how else could a barbarian player really hope to compete with a mage in army on army combat?

Heroes, folks with the stuff of leaders, just they don't have the army. Same theory, possibly they don't like leading, suck at it or whatnot.

Players, assuming players find a way to not be one of the above two, their abilities would still classify to some degree as magical.

Villains, basically the opposite of heroes.

Dedicated NPCs. These would probably be the only casters without names, and shouldn't exactly be common in any but large armies and wealthy groups. That or just cloisters of mages and whatnot. They could take the form of a healer stationed with every platoon or a bunch of mages put together to salvo from a hill like artillery or something like that.


So I'm still considering how this plays out. As it stands now, I'm simply putting a margin in my max values for effects by gear on players. From a video game standpoint, it's basically, if a player only got the best gear of every kind to improve their intellect, this is what that bonus would be. If it goes down, I don't care, but I don't want it to go above that point, that amount is the maximum I think a player should get a bonus from items. I'm using a similar system for stats improvements and skills improvements. However, I'm not 100% at this point what those core maximums will be. I think they're going to end up in the 100s for sure.

Flying ships and automatons marauding around? Zombies in every graveyard and demons in every pentagram? Elixers of life and gods walking the realms? I don't think so. I mean demons and zombies, maybe, but I think the flying ships and automatons are out. I had a concept originally that each class would attract or create particular kinds of followers, but decided that was stupid. A charismatic person can attract any kinds of people, like minded or not they can still work well together. Of coarse my concept of mages summoning constructs to run their kingdom does go out the window with that one... For now. Early on at least, I intend for the main competition to be the other races and the occasional apocalypse beast.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Real Plan

So the ultimate goal is to create a system that accounts for the growth of the player as a natural leader of those around them. Eventually running a camp, small town, city, then kingdom or anything in between. Ideally it would allow and even guide players towards situations where the players go solo away from their people, or let them simply send their underlings. The key in the system however, is scalability.

With a system bearing 100 levels (in my head ideally) so as to allow slow development overall but still have many landmark points. The stats could become very biased as specialists get huge bonus' and huge weaknesses and generalists become good at nothing causing difficulties for encounters (with skill checks, combat or whatnot) being hard to gauge. Part of the challenge is to help ensure there are limits (prerequisites) that establish peaks in power till the next level or whatnot, but the ability to let the players still feel like a specialist and build a character they desire.

Also is the difficulty in finding an appropriate dice system. There are plenty to choose from, Savage world DX system, D20, Success based D6, GURPS D6, Success D10, flip a coin, roe sham bo, put a bunch of dice in a bag and pull one out whenever you need to come up with a die for the player to roll... Right now I'm looking at a D10 system. As in if I had to choose a die to use alot it would be that one, either solo or in it's D% role. Since most people think in a base 10 system, and it's a lot easier to calculate the odds of rolling multiples, it should work best and probably would be very scalable.

Scalable is important. As it stands in my head I have multiple areas of the game with multiple levels of scale. Single fighters to armies, local prices to world economy, level 1 targeted abilities to level 100 enhanced citywide firestorms. The trick and challenge is keeping it easy, simple, powerful, balanced and scalable. The rules for a party of characters should not differ too much from the rules for army combat, but should be different enough to allow the players to experience the scale. Ideally introducing no more than a few new rules at each scale level and not jumping scale levels too often.

More to come...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Insert Overused Pun On Class Here

Classes, as enticing as trying to piece together a game without classes seems. I must admit I don't think I'd trust my ability to create a desirable balanced system alone without a backbone like classes.

Down to it I'm only thinking of implementing 3 classes. It doesn't sound like much, but if needed it can of coarse be expanded. Of coarse after this explanation, I wonder if any more would even be needed.

Basically I'm thinking that each class will simply be given a large number of abilities and bonuses with themes. (currently only 3 per class planned) Each of the abilities and bonuses may have prerequisites, however none of them will require another ability. Each level a character will be given points to spend between these abilities and bonus. One point in an ability gives you the ability, then after that additional levels of the abilities will require additional prerequisites such as level and increase the ability generally. Each ability will also have modifiers, probably about 2 each (not finalized) that will boost particular parts. Bonuses will follow the same theory, except for the modifiers, and they may not have requirements to increase.

This way, anyone in the realm of warrior can put points into Berserker abilities, Defender abilities or Inspirant abilities at every level. However, due to the innate bonus' and traits of each ability it's likely more useful to stick to one or the other.

Trouble right now is, how to come up with enough abilities that are unique and interesting. Easy for casters, working on the warriors and theif types.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Heroes And Everyone Else

Not pretending anything I do in my system is unique or new, I plan on making the clear and definite distinction between the heroes and everyone else. Heroes will have more detail and statistics, and generally will be more powerful than any one person in an at level encounter. Exceptions being the villains and 'boss' opponents heroes are supposed to combat. Ideally my goal is that the players will use two sides of a piece of paper at most, important persons one side and no names at most half a side of a piece of paper. Considering that no-names will be replicated as needed one stat block could of coarse apply to 10,000 warriors. More on that number later I'm sure. This means my combat system needs to be able to be broken down into a few lines with few having to look at base stats. One of my worries with this is that it will become too plain. More to come...

Friday, September 3, 2010

On Races

One of my biggest complaints with role playing games is the integration of race. In a world with elves, dwarves and catpeople, I feel like the race is essentially an aesthetic choice at the beginning, eventually overwhelmed by class abilities and only invoked by the DM every time they want to inflict some level of racism. Similar to Familiars, they don't exist till the DM want's to inflict 1d4+1 con damage as they die.

In a world of +6 to Con belts, temporary hit points and +whatever spells, a +2 to health is a bit of a joke.

One of the main goals in the system I'm developing is to have races granting the possibility of new abilities and bonus that can be unlocked as the character progresses. Almost as if it were a mini-class. I guess I'll have to explain my current theory on classes to make that more clear. And that's where it's less settled.

This would make implementing new character races a lot of trouble. However, I have some tricks in mind to keep enemies less complex. More to come... I think I've got about 2-3 more posts just from this one.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

On Economy

Inspired by my ever present desire to create my own system for a role playing game, I've taken some baby steps forwards towards developing an economic system.

This is being done in parallel with a more creative than mathematical system of developing the core character and ability system which is kicking my ass.

A bit of history first I guess for the sake of first postiness.

I'm a young guy, in my early teens I was introduced to the wonderful world of pen and paper role playing games. Immediately afterwards I set out to develop my own and play it with my friends. Obviously having only seen six and twenty sided dice at this point, I was ill equipped to say the least. A few years later I discovered DnD 3.5. This was my first system, and inevitably the version of the DnD series I cling to. Still however, I spent much time adapting and rewriting the rules to other simple systems.

A few years later I took it further and started to expand my collection of systems, learning and trying to develop my repertoire of rules, systems and ideas. I've collected realism and rules heavy systems like GURPS, and even very simplified versions like Savage Worlds, and have even saved systems friends of mine have created/adapted for inspiration. And now I'm taking my steps forwards to create something from scratch with a very specific goal. More on that later, right now I'm talking about Economy.

Not going so far as to build an advanced economy as some I've read about, I'm searching for a generic system that can serve as a strong backbone for a simplified system. Currently it breaks down all goods into 9 core types. Once the demand and supply for each type is established, each object would be assigned a value according to those types in resource units with non-resource currency being relative by resource unit.

As of this moment, I've established some basic formulas establishing; population-> consumption and production rates, terrain, average skill, and faculities -> production modifiers, production modifiers + consumption -> supply/demand, supply/demand to cost modifiers and city production -> region demand. I'm thinking that regional demand rates will have a reverse effect on city value rates. This would represent the scarcity of a good in a region causing all prices in the region to go up as well as scarcity in a city causing prices to go up. Whether or not this will go to a global scale I am unsure.

The importance of this economy system is hopefully going to be great once all is said and done. This is because I expect players to have a strong effect from mid to high levels on the economy. Possibly further posts in the future to elaborate. As of now it's not all pinned down.