Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dungeon Grind

 As gamers, we have all been faced with a playing session where one or more of the participants can not attend due to something unexpected.  It could happen for any number of reasons.  In some of these situations, there are other options that will allow the game to continue - DM can control the character, another player can control the character, the character could sit out for a session, or the remainder of the group could pull out a board game or something else.  Under any of these circumstances, game night can continue on.

There are also other times that an absence or two can have a tremendous impact on a game session so it would be best to just cancel.  Maybe the campaign is at an important crossroads?  Maybe several players have to cancel for the night?  Regardless of the reason, game night is officially cancelled and you are left with some new free time for recreation.  Sure, you could pull out a video game or a movie but that is not going to satisfy the itch.  You are really in the mood for some fantasy gaming, so what do you do in this situation?

My solution for this problem is a proposed game I call Dungeon Grind.  Admittedly, the experience will be different from playing a role playing game with a group of people and closer to something like a rogue-like game.  Although the experience will be limited in scope, it will still offer the basics of the role playing experience. 

The Concept Explained

The game rules will allow a single player to take a party of characters on an adventure through a dungeon, maze, etc.  Creating the party of adventurers is the first step in playing.  The player will have 4 slots in the party to fill with warriors, mages, priests, thieves, etc.  It is entirely up to the player how the party is made up.  Something similar to the characters produced in Searchers of the Unknown would be ideal; in fact, SoTU will serve as a great blueprint for many of the features of Dungeon Grind.  After the characters are created the party is ready for adventure. 

The player now sits down with dice, pencil, graph paper, party sheet, and rules to play the game.  The party always starts at room one on level one of the dungeon.  Using charts and tables in the rules as a guide, the player will generate the rooms and corridors of the dungeon.  The rules will also help determine monsters, treasures, and stairs down.  As the game progresses, the map gets drawn out on the graph paper.  You can keep playing and keep going further down in the dungeon for as long as you are alive or until you get bored.  If you got tired of drawing the dungeon as you go, you could swap a dungeon with another player and play through theirs.  A site that shares all of these dungeons could also be set up; people could download and play them. 


I do not know if I would ever get around to doing anything with this but I might someday.  The idea just came into my head and I needed to get it out.  There is the basic idea. 

[Old Gaming Notebook] Fantasy Board Game Project II

I posted my initial thoughts for this board game design here; the original name of the post was Dungeon Crawl  I have not added to that initial post in a while but after posting the video for Hero Quest, Dark Tower, etc. I got the itch to expand upon the idea.

This design will be temporary known as the Fantasy Board Game Project.  Yeah, I know that is real creative and all but I just need something to call this project for the time being.  That name pretty much sums up my intentions so that is what the name will be.  I originally wanted Dungeon Crawl but there is already a similar product with that name.  I also wanted Dungeon Delve but I believe that is taken as well.  I know there is another product by the name of Dungeon Quest so that is out too.  Maybe I will come up with something in the process of designing this thing...

Modes of Play
The ultimate goal is to provide a satisfying play experience in several modes of play:
  • solo: single player sets up the game board with monsters, treasures, etc. and goes through the adventure alone.
  • group:  multiple players - either cooperative or competitive - play through the adventure.
  • quasi -RPG: an almost full on role playing game with a GM and a group of players.
Task Resolution
I think a simple, easy to follow universal task resolution method would be the best fit for this game.  I think the Action Result Table detailed in this post could serve the purpose well.  The ART could be put on a corner area or some other convenient spot on the board.

Characters will be defined by a simple set of statistics such as Melee, Ranged, Move, and a few others.  The character class will also have a special ability such as a thief being able to find and remove traps or a wizard being able to read magic scrolls found in the dungeon.

Game Components
In addition to the rule book, there would be a game board or several game boards in the initial core set.  These game boards could be mocked up pretty easily by using some of the boards found in the chess or checkers sets at any of the dollar stores.  Everything else in the game would be represented with a counter.  Each character would have a counter to use on the board while there would also be a matching character card with an illustration and game statistics for the player to reference during play.  All monsters, traps, treasures, etc. will be represented by a counter placed on the board.

Expansion Materials
There is a potential for a lot of expansion past the basic game.  There could be solo sets based on avoiding a  minotaur in a twisting maze or something similar.  Any expansion would include the necessary boards, counters, and rule information included.

The above is just some initial ideas.  More later...

Friday, February 24, 2012

20 Quick Questions

It seems that many of the blogs I follow are answering these questions, so I decided that I may as well play along...

1.  Ability scores generation method?
3D6 in order.

2.  How are death and dying handled?
At 0 or lower Hit Points, a character is considered to be at death's door.  A successful Save vs. Death restores HP to 1 and the character survives with scars, wounds, etc.  Of course, if the saving throw is failed then the character is dead.

3.  What about raising the dead?
It is possible if you can find someone that can do it and you can afford the price.

4.  How are replacement PCs handled?
I encourage the players to tie the new character into the story or the party by making them a relative, friend, or some other connection.  Any new characters joining the party will typically be one level lower than the current lowest level PC in the party.  

5.  Initiative: individual, group, or something else?
Individual: roll D10 + Dexterity each combat round and the highest total acts first.

6.  Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work?
Yes.  They both work on my judgment call.  A critical hit might do extra damage or inflict a serious wound.  A fumble could be a dropped weapon, a broken blade, or something similar.

7.  Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet? it a magical helmet?

8.  Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly?
Oh yes you can.  Silly is silly and has consequences even when it could harm your friends.

9.  Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything?
If you know what is good for you!.  That is part of the fun, right?

10.  Level-draining monsters: yes or no?
No.  I have never liked the idea myself.

11.  Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death?
Yes!  I want PC death to be a real possibility.  I do not "go after" the characters but if they die, they die.

12.  How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked?
I am not too concerned with resources.  I ask that all characters do spend the money on a few rations, a quiver (if it applies), and other essentials.  I do not keep strict track of them but there are times when some resources get depleted.   As long as a player is not trying to carry everything under the sun, I do not worry too much about encumbrance.

13.  What's required when my PC gains a level? Training? Do I get new spells automatically? 
Can it happen in the middle of an adventure, or do I have to wait for down time?
All experience is on hold until the characters go back into a town, settlement, etc.  Leveling up will be done at that time if it has been reached.  Training and new spells are done at this time also.

14.  What do I get experience for?
I use a reward system inspired by and closer to the one found in Palladium Fantasy.

15.  How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination?
Either - it just depends on how the players approach it.  If they described actions that would probably detect a trap, then it happens.  It they do not describe any actions, then their fate is left to the role of the dice.

16.  Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work?
Retainers are neither encouraged or discouraged.  Morale is checked after tight spots and any time a character treats a retainer "badly".

17.  How do I identify magic items?
Attempt to use it correctly OR bring the item to a sage, high priest, etc. to help with identification.

18.  Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions?
At certain times but there is no fantasy version of SEARS or ACE HARDWARE located in my campaign world.

19.  Can I create magic items? When and how?
Probably not.  I do not like magic items to be so common that people can just create a large supply of them.

20.  What about splitting the party?
That is entirely up to the players and what they *think* is the right course of action.

Deltora Quest clip


I have caught a few assorted minutes of Deltora Quest. D&D immediately came to mind when I saw it. I am just passing the word along in case someone would be interested in viewing it themselves. Hey, if anyone happens to regularly watch this show and can shed further light on the quality and content then feel free to speak up.

RESIDENT EVIL 5 Retribution Trailer

Oh Hell YES!  Consider me one happy Resident Evil fan.  I had heard that it was in development, but now it looks like the fifth Resident Evil movie, Retribution, will be released this year.  I have seen all of the others and, in fact, own all of them on DVD.  Usually, I would voice my opinion that the source material - in whatever format - is typically much better than any adaptations.  I find Resident Evil to hold a unique spot on my list of favorites because I have enjoyed every form of the franchise that I have been exposed to.  Of course, I began with the first game back on the PlayStation and thought it was amazing.  Over the years, the games would continue.  I went into the first movie wit great skepticism because I thought it would probably be just another wretched attempt at a money grab riding a wave of popularity for quick cash.  I liked it and have liked all of the movies so far.  Finally, I borrowed several of the novels from my cousin and read them.  I enjoyed them so much that I bought the missing books in his collection.  Yeah, I am a Resident Evil junkie and I can not wait to see this installment of the movie franchise.    

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

[TAG] The Answer Game

I have been tagged and now so have you...

This is just part of the 2012 Blogging from A to Z challenge.  It is a simple copy and paste event with a minimum of questions.  The concept is pretty simple.  I answer these questions in my blog.  Those that choose to play answer them in their blog.  Without further delay, my answers are posted below:

Are you signed up for the A to Z Challenge? 
Yes, I am.

What is your sign-up number? 
My sign-up number is 34.

Are you ready? If yes...explain yourself.
Yes, I am ready.  I have a topic - Gaming in the 1980's; more specifically it will be the experiences of my gaming group and myself in the 1980's.  I have a draft started for each letter.  I have begun pulling images and videos to use in the posts.  There are a few topics I am still trying to iron out the details on but I am ready to go.

If you’re not ready...what’s your excuse? 
See the answer above.

There are my answers.  If you choose to play, just copy the questions in your blog, answer them, and leave a reply here.  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Kobold Quarterly

I just wanted to take a moment and give a recommendation for Kobold Quarterly.  Yeah, I know it is not exactly OSR material but if you play Pathfinder then it is definitely good stuff.  I do not have  a subscription and  I have only browsed through the issues that my cousin has purchased but this magazine reminds me of the good old days of Dragon magazine.  Simply put, if you are looking for a print magazine devoted to role playing then check it out because you might find something worthwhile contained within.

On Writing and 2012 Goals

Well, well, well...this is post number one hundred on this blog.  I reached this point much quicker than I initially believed I would.  I know I speculated in my first post that I would probably post just once or maybe twice a week.  I guess I did not stick to that schedule but that is a good thing.  I enjoy writing and doing it about subjects that I am interested in makes it even better.  The fact that writing is something I enjoy was not always the case.  There was a time when writing was not enjoyable for me at all.  

It seems I have always been able to write once I got going.  When I say, "once I got going", I mean it used to be quite a struggle just to get started on a writing project.  I could come up with vague ideas that I would be highly interested in expanding but I just could not pull the trigger.  This all changed during my freshman year of high school.  The English class that year also included a creative writing notebook that we turned in to the teacher every so often.  I was not real excited about this but it was not part of the grade and all of the freshman English teachers had it in their class so I just figured it was something else to muscle through.

One of the things we were required to do with that notebook was write for 20 minutes after looking at a picture in the front of the class.  The picture could be anything chosen by the teacher and all of us had to write about the same picture.  I did not like being forced to write and I especially did not like to write about something of my choosing.  Then I saw the picture we were required to write about and that changed everything.

On the chalkboard at the front of the class was the inspirational picture; it seemed "normal" enough.  There was a car on the side of an empty road, a family outside of the car, and a police officer speaking to them.  The whole group was standing by the rear of the vehicle with the trunk closed.  My first thoughts were about my lack of enthusiasm over this mundane scene were were required to write about for 20 minutes.  As my dissatisfaction grew, I suddenly knew what I was to do.  If the teacher was going to make me write then I was going to make the teacher read something that she would not like.

I weaved a tale about a a rental car that the parents had picked up.  Actually, there had been a problem with their reserved car and the rental place let them  use this other car but they had to take it right at that moment.  They had gotten pulled over because the car matched the description of a car used by a serial killer that was on the loose.  The cop had asked them to open the trunk and there was a boat load of money and a body inside!  Put simply, my story was over the top and I knew it.  I turned it in at the end of class with the satisfaction that I had showed her (the teacher) what would happen every time she asked us to write.

This continued all year long.  She would put a picture on the chalkboard and I would come up with some outlandish story to go along with it.  I was - and still am - an 80s slasher movie fan so there was plenty of that type of stuff plus aliens, leprechauns, and all sorts other strangeness.  I expected her to say something but she never did.  At the end of the year it was revealed that the creative writing notebooks were a part of our grade but not in the traditional sense.  If any of us were in the position where we were close to the next higher grade for the class then the notebook would come into play.  Basically, if you participated then you would be considered for the higher grade but if you did not participate then you could forget about it.  That is how I finally "got it" when it comes to writing.


What was the purpose of all of that and how does it relate to role playing games?  The purpose was to do something different for post 100 and look back at how I started writing.  I have written a lot of stuff since that time.  I definitely know that writing is a skill that needs to be trained.  Some people have a natural gift for it and others have to train on it pretty intensely to get some results.  I seem to be at a comfortable spot on writing.  I can generally come up with an idea and just run it through my head for a bit and then start writing.  I make no claims of grandeur or expertise, just that I am comfortable with writing.

The second part of the question was how does this relate to role playing games?  The most direct connection is that I happen to write about role playing games in this blog.  Some of the subjects - presented in no particular order - that I plan to write about in 2012 include:

  1. Complete my read through and do an actual play report over Perilous Journeys.
  2. Participate in the A to Z April Challenge.
  3. Continued development of the 2D6 role playing system.
  4. Complete my read through and do an actual play report over Adventures in Fantasy.
  5. Actual play report over Far Trek.
  6. Continued development of the games from The Old Gaming Notebook.
  7. Continued development of my campaign world.
  8. Assisting Eric at Back to the Dungeon! complete the Classic Fantasy Role Playing Game.
  9. A look at any new products I may purchase in the coming year.
  10. Miscellaneous jibber jabber.
There is my plan all laid out in a nice, easy to read list.  Of course, we all know how plans change so this is by no means set in stone.  I am sure I forgot to include something on the list and I am also sure that there will be things to grab my attention forcing me to write about them.  Without further delay, I am posting thing and going to catch up on some of the blogs I read.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dark World

In contrast to HeroQuest, I do not recall hearing of Dark World at all.  Maybe I did or maybe I did not.  I was pretty much stuck on A/D&D during my youth so who knows?  Again, does anybody have any experience with this game?  How about with Dark World and HeroQuest both?  How do they compare with each other?

HeroQuest - A Missed Opportunity

HeroQuest, like Dark Tower, represents a missed opportunity for me.  I remember seeing it as a youth but I never did buy it or even get a chance to play it.  Since then, I have seen a few tattered separate rule books and a few old boxes in various states of disrepair.  The prices for these items were not in my "let's take a look" range of purchases so I did not get them.  I wonder if I made a mistake?  Obviously people enjoy the game since the used copies I have seen got a lot of play due to their condition.  I also have a recurring desire to design a board game with many of the same elements.  Does anybody have any experience with this game?  I am always up for a good tale...         

Friday, February 17, 2012

Milton Bradley Dark Tower Game TV Commercial

I wanted this game REALLY BAD when I was a young boy in the early 80's.  I do not remember the actual price with any accuracy but my gut tells me that Milton Bradley wanted $39.95 at the time!  My gut could be wrong, but the point is that I never had the money to get it.  I remember this commercial and I still dig it.  Now, I share this nostalgia with the rest of you.

2 Great Resources (In Case You Missed Them...)

I am sure that everyone else has been all over these two free RPG collections that have been offered recently but I am playing catch up.  Both offerings are listed below:

I am a big fan of both of these systems; including the original version of each.  I have even started doing some M20 conversion work on my campaign world to enable a "quick-play" version.  At one time, I was working on a Scoundrels of the Unknown expansion that would detail assassins and thieves for SoTU but it got abandoned due to work and school commitments at the time.  Anyway, if you are looking for a lite game (Microlite 20) or a minimalistic game (Searchers of the Unknown) or just want some free RPG goodies, you can not go wrong with these two collections.

John Carter Trailer

I was pretty excited about a John Carter movie when I initially heard about the upcoming feature.  Then I was pretty disappointed to heard that it would be a Disney production.  Then I happened to see this trailer recently and I am ready to see this NOW!

Interruption Of Service Has Been Restored

Without further delay, the Semi-Retired Gamer is back to posting after a short absence.  The funeral is Saturday at 11 a.m. and several of us are planning on attending.  I just took a few days to collect my thoughts on the matter and be done with it.  I was not the closed of friends with Sean BUT we did interact - general conversation about The Walking Dead or video games mostly - at several times during the work day.  I guess the dominant feeling in this whole thing is just a general sense of confusion. None of us understand why he decided on his course of action.  There were literally no warning signs whatsoever.  The only thing I can take from this is to encourage everyone to try to be available to talk with their co-workers.  Maybe having that one conversation with somebody that shows your are there for them could make all the difference in their world?  With that being said, it is time to pick up the dice again and get back to the gaming...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Moment of Silence

No post due to Valentine's. In fact, taking a short break from posting. A friend & coworker permanently ended all of his problems. RIP Sean Applegate.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

2D6 or 2Dx?

I have come up with an idea about how to eliminate the Action Result Table (ART) from the game.  I am somewhat fond of the ART but I am also fond of this idea.  I can not take full credit for this idea because I came up with it after reading the latest post over at Back to the Dungeon! about a D6 - D6 resolution mechanic.  I liked the basic idea but put my own twist to it; details below.

Most of the ideas I have brainstormed for a 2D6 chart based game system will still work with these changes; it should only require minimal tweaking.  How about a 2D6 task resolution system with one positive die and one negative die?  You roll the two dice together, subtract the negative from the positive, add in any modifiers from attributes/skills/etc., and get a total.  If the final result is 1 or above, the attempted action is a success.  If it is 0 or below, the attempted action fails.  That would be for any standard difficulty tasks under the ART.  Do you want to simulate a Hard difficulty task?  The negative die is now a D8 and you roll with a positive D6.  Do you want to simulate a Very Hard difficulty task?  The negative die is now a D10 and you roll with a positive D6.  The necessity of the ART is now eliminated.

It seems pretty easy and elegant to use to me.  Of course, that is just a first impression with no play testing whatsoever.  Any suggestions?  What would you do - keep the ART or switch to 2Dx?  

2D6: Talents

Talents in the 2D6 system are the equivalent of skills in other games.  Each talent will be associated with a corresponding attribute.  A proposed grouping is listed below.





(There will also be other talents that are related to the role of the character.)

Berserker Rage
Two Weapon Fighting

Double Shot
Quick Shot

Fast Casting

Again, this is just a placeholder for a list of ideas.  There will be more added during the design process.  More later...

2D6: Boons & Banes (partial list)

Just as a point of reference, here is some ideas for some of the individual boons and banes.

Photographic Memory
Very Strong

Very Weak

Just a short list to get the creative process moving.  I will add to this list and keep refining it through the design process. More later...

2D6: Boons & Banes

Okay, I am still working on a makeshift list of talents.  It is coming along but not quickly.  In the meantime, I will present a little bit of information about another area of the rules: boons and banes.  Many other games have rules corresponding to boons and banes but they just call them something different; advantages, disadvantages, edges, and flaws are just a few examples.  

Boons (aka advantages and edges)
Put simply, a boon affects a character or the situation in a positive manner.  They differ from talents by the fact that they represent something other than just training or skills.  Some examples might include security clearancelucky, and fearless.  One of the mechanics involved will be rolling a 3D6 for any task related to the boon and the player picks which two dice to use for the task.  A second idea for a mechanic involves rolling the normal 2D6 but only picking one die for the total while assuming a 6 was rolled on the other die; this would be for a minor boon.  A major boon would use the assumption of a 6 on on die while rolling 3D6 and the player chooses which of the dice to use for the total.  All fo these methods give a chance for a higher roll and that is what a boon is good for.

Banes (aka disadvantages, flaws, and hindrances)
In a nutshell, banes are the opposite of boons and affect the character or situation in a negative or adverse manner.  Some examples might include phobia or unlucky.  Of course, they would work in the opposite manner of a boon and some would come in two levels - minor and major.  A minor bane would work with the assumption of an already rolled 1 and the player rolls 2D6 and keeps the lowest roll.  A major bane would work the same except involve rolling 3D6  while keeping the lowest result.

There are the basic ideas for how boons and banes might work.  Of course, it is all subject to change because it is just the rough draft.  More later...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

2D6: Class, Role, etc.

After a player selects the race of their character and generates the attribute ratings, the next step in the character creation process is the selection of character class or role.  In my 2D6 system, this class or role will basically be a bundled together group of talents and a few other options that help to mold the character into a more focused direction.

I am attempting to detail the classes or roles in a manner that does not straight jacket the character into being useful in only limited situations.  Yes, I want the characters to be "better" or "best" in certain situations BUT I also want there to be situations where other classes would better handle the situation so the team aspect is encouraged.  

My initial impression on how the class or role information will be formatted is detailed below.
Name: The name of the class or role followed by a few sentences explaining the functions of that class.
Talents: The bundle of talents that will be the core building blocks of that class or role.
Other: A short list of special abilities, bonuses, and penalties related to characters playing this class or role.  This will include stuff like clerical healing, the ability to detect evil, or other similar abilities.  (This should be where the difficulty columns of the Action Result Table get the most use.  For instance, on a successful roll in the Hard column against knowledge, a mage can decipher a magic scroll.)

I would like a healthy amount of variation among the classes or roles so the players will have plenty of options to choose from.  A few ideas for the list of classes or roles are listed below:

Barbarian: a warrior of the wild that is prone to fly into an uncontrollable rage during combat.
Bard: a traveling minstrel type character desiring fame and fortune.
Cleric: a warrior-priest.
Druid: a nature priest.
Elementalist: a mage that uses the forces of the elements to aid him.
Knight: a noble warrior.
Mage: a worker of arcane magic.
Monk: a spiritual warrior that commonly groups together in a monastery.
Paladin: a holy warrior.
Ranger: a warrior of the woods; typically prefers bows.
Thief: an adventurer typically from the "wrong side of the tracks".
Warrior: a typical sword for hire.
Witch: a misunderstood magic user that is often thought to be evil.

That is just a basic list showing the general idea; not much detail yet and I am sure that much of it will eventually change.  I just needed to get it out there.  Besides, I still have a list of talents to complete.  More later...

Friday, February 10, 2012


Just testing out my new HTC Inspire phone.


edit - post is successful BUT I have to manually edit in the title and labels.

2D6: Decisions and (some) Details

The last few days of work have been pretty demanding of my spare time but I am back at work on my 2D6 based game system.  First of all, I do appreciate the comments and suggestions made by all that did so; even if they went in directions that different from mine.  The responses ensured that I looked at differing views and design intentions instead of just simply deciding on something out of thin air.  If I do not wind up using your idea in my design do not take that as a slight on your part; it boiled down to a difference of opinion or point of view and not a judgment on quality or usefulness.  Feel free to continue with suggestions in the future - suggestions are always helpful to me - or, even better, take your ideas and start making your own game; I would love to give some input!  The information below contains the basic ideas I have decided to use for this design.

Narrow Focus
I believe there was some initial talk on my part of just trying to start with a system and then fine tune it to each genre.  That plan has changed.  The focus of the game will now be on the fantasy genre.  I feel that by limiting the focus to just one genre that it would be easier to complete.  I may move on to other genres in the future.

Task Resolution
The 2D6 fantasy game will use a single, unified Action Result Table to determine the outcome of all actions in the game; regardless if the attempted action is striking with a sword, searching for a trap, deciphering a code, etc.  I know many games have different mechanics for different actions in their rules - some of my favorites are guilty of this - but I am getting to the age that I would rather play than worry about cross referencing this rule on page 48 with that rule on page 210 while keeping in mind that I need to remember the optional method detailed on page 58.  You get the idea.  I hope to have clear, concise rules that do not need to referenced every time a player has his character perform an action in the game.  One of the ways I will accomplish this is by putting the ART on the character sheet.

Each character will be defined in the most basic physical and mental sense by the use of a short list of attributes.  I have went back and forth on the number of attributes to include in the game.  I am still not 100% sure but after reading some of the previous comments I have figured out that it would probably serve me best to come up with a make shift list of attributes and see how the talent list interacts with them.  Once that is determined, I can adjust the number or definitions of the attributes to suit the game.  At this moment, I am trying out 4 attributes:

Might [M]: a measure of the character's physical strength, constitution, and overall health.
Prowess [P]: a measure of the character's balance, coordination, and reflexes.
Knowledge [K]: a measure of a character's ability to store, understand, and use information.  
Will [W]: a measure of a character's mental toughness and ability to fight off stress.

The attributes will be rated on a simple scale that is easy to follow.  Negative numbers (-1,-2, etc.) are considered below average, zero (0) is considered average, and positive numbers (+1, +2, etc.) are considered above average.

I have tried several different methods for attribute generation ranging from point distribution, archetype selection, to random rolls.  I wanted race to play a role in the determination of attribute ratings but I did not want to do the typical modifier to a roll.  Instead, I came up with a chart of weighted rolls that will tend to create characters matching the typical adventurers of that race; at least, I hope that is what the following chart does.

If your roll is a...

This table is just an example and not the finished results but you get the idea.  Of course, I just realized that the chart is not set up to have the middle range of rolls be the most common results.  I *think* that would make a difference BUT I am no mathematician so I really do not know if it matters or not.

Talents will be the skills of this game system.  They will get a rating similar to attributes and work in much the same fashion. I am working on the talents now.

Boons are advantageous abilities that will also serve to help further individualize and customize your character.  Normally, a character with a Might +1 is basically equally as strong and tough.  A boon of Strong makes him physically stronger.  I have two ways I am evaluating to simulate this.  First, the boon could be slightly strong (+1) or very strong (+2).  You would simply apply this bonus on top of Might when you are doing a task that is related to strength.  Second, the other option I am looking at just gives you a bonus D6 to roll.  I am not sure if you get to pick the 2 rolls you want to keep OR assume a 6 is there and you get to roll 2D6 and use the highest.  

Final Thoughts
That is it for now.  It seems to be coming together a little bit now.  I will continue working on the talents list to see where I stand on the attributes.  If anyone has any input, feel free to share. 


Sunday, February 5, 2012

2D6: Attributes

One of my design goals with the 2D6 system is to keep the details to a minimum.  Part of that involves streamlining the list of attributes.  I have come up with a list of 3 broad attributes:

Might [M]: a measure of the character's physical strength and fatigue potential.

Prowess [P]: a measure of the character's balance, coordination, and reflexes.

Intellect [I]: a measure of the character's learning potential and reasoning ability.

I like the fact that the list is short and to the point.  I am not 100% sure that only 3 attributes will serve the purposes of this system.  I am unsure if I need to add another attribute that measures some form of mental toughness and stress resistance.  I think that social attribute stuff can be handled with talents or advantage type stuff.  I am designing outside of my comfort zone so I am sure it will take several attempts to get it right.

I am thinking that the race of the character will help determine the attribute ratings. I probably will not go with mechanical modifications to the initial scores that are rolled but something different.  Maybe a roll of 2D6 for each attribute on a chart in the race description.  This specific chart will be weighted to generate a rating in line with typical members of that race.  For example, an elf might have a might generation chart that looks something like this:

Roll            Score
2                 -2
3 to 8          -1
9 to 11         0
12               +1

It is easy to see that the majority of elf characters will have either a -1 rating or average rating.  Of course, selection of class/role/etc. could also change this rating in some manner also.  

More later...

2D6: Some More Ideas...

As I grow older and find myself with all of these real world commitments, I desire smaller sets of rules to learn and use during my play time.  I just do not want hundreds of pages of rules to reference and argue about.  The 2D6 design I am working on is a possible remedy to that situation.  I am pretty happy with the ART presented in previous posts; it may need some modification later but I think it is a good start.  It can be put on the bottom of the character record sheet for easy reference also.  In keeping with my goal of simpler game design, further possibilities are presented below:

Character Classes & Races
My original concept was to follow tradition by having the players select a race and class out of the ones provided in the rules.  Of course, the race and class selection might alter the attributes, skills, etc. of the character.  Instead, the players will now just simply state the class and race of their character.  For instance, Thomas Lightbringer is a Human Cleric of Karnak.  There you have the name, race, and occupation of the character.

This is another area that I am trying to break with tradition.  Most games have a list of 6 to 10 attributes with labels such as Strength, Endurance, Dexterity, Agility, Intelligence, Will, Wisdom, Charisma, Luck, Perception, etc.  These attributes fill a specific purpose in their game system.  I would like to go with a condensed list of only 3 or 4 broad attributes such as Might, Reflexes, Intellect, and Will or maybe Physique, Mind, Spirit, and Influence.  I am not sure if either of those will be the list but that is the basic concept of what I want to express with the attributes.

If I have not made it clear yet, the attributes will not have a numerical listing but will have a rating expressed as -2, -1 (for below average), 0 (average), and +1, +2 (for above average).  

Talents will be skills, knowledge, etc. that give a character a specific focused advantage in certain circumstances.  Maybe a minor talent will be +1 to +2  and a major talent will be +3 or +4 BUT it will be specialized and applied ONLY in situations involving the use of that talent.  Some possible talents include  chivalry, computer programming, etc.

More thoughts later...    

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Check Out Project BTR

One of my favorite blogs to read is Project BTR by Doug Wall.  The "BTR" in the title stands for Better Than RIFTS.  In his blog, Doug examines the RIFTS rules and setting with the intent of designing a new system and setting that is inspired by RIFTS but "better".  Sure, "better" is a subjective term related to opinion and all that but this guy is doing some serious examination of the rules, setting, and assumptions of RIFTS.  I have not been a long time follower but I look forward to new posts there because Doug is not just another RIFTS-hater but a fan of the game that wants things (rules, setting, etc.) improved.  If you have ever been frustrated with the rules or setting of RIFTS, I highly recommend that you head over to Project BTR and give it a look.  Doug has my attention and I hope to hold his printed game in my hands some day.    

2D6: Expanded ART (proposed)

Based on a suggestion by Darius, I am fiddling with the idea of an expanded ART that will include difficulty categories into the table; the table still functions the same but opens up a little more variety.  The proposed changes are presented below.

Using the Action Result Table
1. The GM sets the difficulty of the attempted action; this determines the column to use in the ART.
2. Compare the character's Skill or Attribute Rating against the opposing Skill, Attribute, or Challenge.
2. Take the difference (positive, negative, or even zero) and apply it to a 2D6 roll.
 3. Refer to the appropriate column in the chart below to see the outcome of the attempted action.

Special rolls: There are two special rolls that are handled somewhat differently from the procedure outlined above. If a player rolls double 1s then the attempted action is an automatic failure with no further rolls needed. If a player rolls double 6s the roll is not modified by as in step 2 above. Instead, the dice are rolled again, added to the previously rolled 12, and then the modifier is added to the roll. Even if a task seems impossible a lucky roll just may be what it takes to save the day.

      Action  Result Table
Very Hard

2 or less
4 or less
6 or less
3 to 5
5 to 7
7 to 9
6 to 11
8 to 13
10 to 15
12 or more
14 or more
16 or more

The following guidelines may be used when interpreting the results from the Action Result Table.
Mishap: The attempted action not only fails but has unexpected consequences such as the character drops or breaks his weapon, accidentally injures himself, the spell backfire, or some other similar outcome. The decision is in the hands of the GM to determine the details of the mishap in correlation to the attempted action.
Failure: The attempted action fails to achieve the intended results.
Success: The attempted action succeeds and achieves the intended results; this could be anything from a moderate to success to a complete success depending on the circumstances. The higher the roll, the better the outcome.
Critical: The attempted action not only succeeds but also has unexpected benefits such as a major wound inflicted on the target, a bulls eye shot, or some other similar outcome. Again, it is the duty of the GM to determine the details of the critical in correlation to the attempted action.

It might still need a little tweaking but that's the general idea...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fantasy Web Series

The Fantasy Web Series Network provides a list of over 20 links to fantasy web series for your viewing pleasure.  I have yet to view these so I make no guarantees on quality whatsoever.  If you have a rainy day or desire to kill some time then it might be worth checking out...


I am a big WATCHMEN fan - not just the comic books but the movie also - and I just heard of a prequel coming from DC; some details are here.  I admit I am interested but I also understand that the original creator is not involved at all.  I will approach this with great caution but I am just not sure how cool this will be...

2D6: A New ART & New Direction

I have been brainstorming on the Single D6 design lately and I am temporarily suspending further design of it until I explore the possibilities with a 2D6 based game system.  I was fiddling around with the Action Result Table and came to the conclusion that  2D6 based ART would give much more variety and options for growth. The updated ART and information is presented below.

Using the Action Result Table
1. Compare the character's Skill or Attribute Rating against the Difficulty of the Action.
2. Take the difference (positive, negative, or even zero) and apply it to a 2D6 roll.
3. Refer to the chart below to see the outcome of the attempted action.

Special rolls:  There are two special rolls that are handled somewhat differently from the procedure outlined above.  If a player rolls double 1s then the attempted action is an automatic failure with no further rolls needed.  If a player rolls double 6s the roll is not modified by as in step 2 above.  Instead, the dice are rolled again, added to the previously rolled 12, and then the modifier is added to the roll.  Even if a task seems impossible a lucky roll just may be what it takes to save the day.

Action Result Table
If you roll a
The result is
2 or less
3 to 5
6 to 11
12 or more

The following guidelines may be used when interpreting the results from the Action Result Table.
Mishap:   The attempted action not only fails but has unexpected consequences such as the character drops or breaks his weapon, accidentally injures himself, the spell backfire, or some other similar outcome. The decision is in the hands of the GM to determine the details of the mishap in correlation to the attempted action.
Failure:   The attempted action fails to achieve the intended results.
Success:  The attempted action succeeds and achieves the intended results; this could be anything from a moderate to success to a complete success depending on the circumstances. The higher the roll, the better the outcome.
Critical:   The attempted action not only succeeds but also has unexpected benefits such as a major wound inflicted on the target, a bulls eye shot, or some other similar outcome. Again, it is the duty of the GM to determine the details of the critical in correlation to the attempted action.