Author Topic: RPPR Gamedesign Workshop - To grog or not to grog.  (Read 36793 times)

Thesauradon

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Re: RPPR Gamedesign Workshop - To grog or not to grog.
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2014, 01:48:35 PM »
With apologies to Tad, I've been editing this post for hours and don't want to get stuck in an infinite loop.

        Because I am a procrastinator, my journey into RPG design is intended to reform my habits. Thank you to the people in this community for making me a better person!
        I break my game design into the following three categories:

The Inspiration
        “That great poets imitate and improve, whereas small poets steal and spoil.” –W.H. Davenport Adams (To read how this quote has been stolen and spoiled: http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/03/06/artists-steal/)

        I re-listen to GDW every month, and enough of Caleb’s work ethic has subconsciously stuck in my brain to make me start planning. Since the first episode I have plotted 8 different adventure scenarios; my general game design principles; and the design mandates for rewriting the Cthulhutech RPG, which is my group’s Palladium.
 (Remember the F.A.T.A.L. review? Here’s the spiritual successor http://tradwiki.foxxtrot.net/index.php/FATAL_%26_Friends:_B-C#CthulhuTech_.28by_Ettin.29)

        However, for my first attempt I want to imitate and improve upon the best material available, so I’m going to rip it straight from Caleb’s brain.
 
The Concept
        In Episode 85: We Three Games, Caleb pitches “sling stone”, described as “The Boys without the sophomoric cussing and sex jokes and absurd Irishness”. I want to write this game (Caleb-willing). A game about people, from the special operative badass to the societally-oppressed single mother, who are tired of putting up with superhumans. Superhumans fly in the face of Justice and forget the consequences of their actions as often as they forget their own history and allegiances. You want them gone. Are you going to kill them or can you destroy their reputation? Do you hope to capture them first? How do you crush an invincible being? Let’s find out.
        Before I write it, I am following the New Arcadia playbook for superhero games and running a campaign to test the conceits.

The Campaign
        When there’s trouble, you know they called. The Young Vanguard have trashed Marathon City time and again in the name of fighting crime. Safeguarded by city government sponsorship and the lax prosecution levied against heroes in training, the only restitution they ever have to provide is a handshake and a smile. That apartment block they threw the hijacked bus through gets patched up, but only because the international courts ruled that someone, the government or the Paragons, pays when beyond-a-reasonable-doubt heroism can be proved.
        A legal gray area exists between the black-and-white of heroic charity and villainous punitive damages. When the chameleon rhino-trashes your restaurant for a vegan protest or the star-spawn opens a gate above your house during necronomicon book club, that’s recreational power use and clearly not of world-saving significance. The government suggests private legal action and insurance won’t cover you if you don’t have overwhelming evidence and the right premiums paid. The Vanguard’s legal team? They will give ground if you could just see reason and sign this gag order. The institutions know whose fault it is: yours, for being at the wrong place, wrong time.
        You’ve lost life and limb to a gang of emotionally-fueled, mentally-unsound teenage demigods. You’re done with the proper channels. You have a like-minded support group and you will make them pay.

Thesauradon Presents:
“The Kids Aren’t Alright”

My goals, system choice, and challenges will be in the next post.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2014, 02:08:45 AM by Thesauradon »

Thesauradon

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Re: RPPR Gamedesign Workshop - To grog or not to grog.
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2014, 01:51:24 PM »
Goals
        I want to run a campaign where the players are regular, damaged people. They were folks who lived human lives until one of the Young Vanguard’s off-hours activities made the choice that destroys both of them look like the best choice.
Following this, I don’t want the players to have any special abilities or training. No ninja-trained ex-FARC members or SEALs here. They are going to be on the back end of the power deviation curve.
        I want to employ a system that tracks the awareness and opinion of the three demographics influenced by the party and Vanguard’s actions: the public; the government; the superhuman community. Preferably a pool-style “we spend our social loot points to add to our punditry roll against the Vanguard’s public opinion pool.” “Well, the Vanguard get half that pool to roll the superhuman community’s awareness of your group.”
        I also want to include a Night’s Black Agents-style “intelligence” point bank. The party could spend small amounts to gather hard-to find information on one specific Vanguard member or on the whole team. Larger point spends get better quality information, but making the most of your points requires you to spend them while observing a superhuman in action.
        Lastly, I want a table for “Superhuman random encounters!” because the Vanguard are an active team, the players should have the luck (or lack of) to encounter them in the wild, either on duty or engaged in the kind of “fun” that already ruined their old life.

System
   The only superhero system I have experience with is Wild Talents. It seems appropriate to nail down the team composition and powers of the Superhumans, but I feel like accomplishing my goals will require adding a lot of additional parts to ORE. I’m also not great at estimating point caps for ordinary people.
        All advice is appreciated. My current thought process is that FATE (and Base Raiders) are inappropriate because Aspects are the great equalizer and can be abused to put players on an even footing with the Young Vanguard. FATE is also narrative-heavy and I would prefer more crunch to make powers and gunplay weightier.

Conclusion
        Thank you to Caleb and the community. Let us make this the best campaign possible!
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 07:29:09 PM by Thesauradon »

Tadanori Oyama

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Re: RPPR Gamedesign Workshop - To grog or not to grog.
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2014, 02:22:23 PM »
Cool idea Thesauradon. I really like the legal angle that you've got because it's something from the real world that people can easily borrow from. I know plenty of people who've gotten stuck in stupid legal loopholes and horrible situations without superheroes being involved.

What is the ultimate goal of a campaign? It is to break up Vanguard legally? To get the financial due the players are owed? Or to inflict a more personally crafted revenge?

Quote
and the design mandates for rewriting the Cthulhutech RPG, which is my group’s Palladium.

Also, good luck with this. I've been trying to put together a WoD mod to use because I love CthulhuTech so much but the rules just... ugh. Yeah. Anyway, good luck.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 05:13:14 PM by Tadanori Oyama »

Thesauradon

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Re: RPPR Gamedesign Workshop - To grog or not to grog.
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2014, 07:40:26 PM »
Attack success is automatic unless prevented. Defender rolls to evade. On success the Defender avoids damage. On a failure the Defender can opt to change what is struck within narrative reason ("I hold my arm up to protect my head"). On 1 the attacker gets a clear shot.

Non-vital areas (arm, leg) are skin(1), muscle(2), bone(4), muscle(2), skin(1).

Vital areas (torso, head) are skin(1), muscle(2), bone(4), vitals (1), bone(4), muscle(2), skin(1).

While I find that the mechanics balance well, only having a 1/10 clear shot seems to mitigate the usefulness of having a call-shot style system. If the defender can dodge on 7-10 and change the area struck on 2-6 it seems like combat would devolve into "which of my limbs is the least damaged? I block with that one!"

Now, if perhaps a system was in place for amputation on a 10 instead of just a clear hit, blocking with a limb would have some real risk. Double bleed damage on an amputation? It would create the best Monty Python's black knight duels possible and... I think I just pitched "Chivalry: Tabletop Edition".
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 07:58:18 PM by Thesauradon »

Thesauradon

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Re: RPPR Gamedesign Workshop - To grog or not to grog.
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2014, 07:57:43 PM »
What is the ultimate goal of a campaign? It is to break up Vanguard legally? To get the financial due the players are owed? Or to inflict a more personally crafted revenge?

In the words of General Payton "No plan survives contact with the players", so I see defining the approach as a mistake. Speaking about "The Kids Aren't Alright", any one of those goals has a risk/reward factor and the likelihood is that any of my gaming groups will combine several of them with the intent of maximizing the collateral damage inflicted on the Young Vanguard before they finish the job.

In the broader "Sling Stone" context there could be limiting factors- you can convince Superman to leave the Earth, but you have to put Batman down because just breaking his back/burying him alive/sending him back in time is not enough to stop him. If the campaign focuses on a Boys/Thunderbolts/Suicide squad style group the end goal could be recruiting the Superhuman in question. I'm imagining a "Team Aaron" campaign where the goal is to convince Supervillains to turn good... By any means necessary.

I forgot to add to the goals section that I'd like the individual members of the Vanguard to serve like tiers of play- they can take them out individually and ramp up against the target's power level. It's a lot easier to snipe the member whose head won't grow back.

Tadanori Oyama

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Re: RPPR Gamedesign Workshop - To grog or not to grog.
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2014, 08:01:57 PM »
Quote
If the defender can dodge on 7-10 and change the area struck on 2-6 it seems like combat would devolve into "which of my limbs is the least damaged? I block with that one!"

I see your point. Perhaps raising the success threshold to an 8 and allowing redistribution of damage on a 5-7? Or 6-7? That's more or less a 30% static evasion with 20-30% chance of redirecting the damage.

In an action game were armor might be in use in different places (ie torso or an arm) than interposing one part for another is very useful. In a horror situation with no armor or protection the main concern is protecting one's vitals.

Amputation is the result when all levels are passed through. So a damage result of 10 cuts off a non-vital (ie an arm or leg) at the location called if the weapon is fitting. Being hit in the same wound site multiple times would probably also make an amuptation more likely ("Hack the bone").

Thesauradon

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Re: RPPR Gamedesign Workshop - To grog or not to grog.
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2014, 08:29:28 PM »
I see your point. Perhaps raising the success threshold to an 8 and allowing redistribution of damage on a 5-7? Or 6-7? That's more or less a 30% static evasion with 20-30% chance of redirecting the damage.

I think that's a model good enough for playtesting to start! A dodge chance of 40% fail 30% redirect 30% succeed seems weighted well enough for everyone except Tom. Either that or change redirect to 6-7 and make it 50% failure, because nobody complains about simpler math.

By the way, I can't wait for the mental combat supplement. "Vital areas: Id (3) Ego(2) Superego (1) Ego (2) Id (3). Total penetration eviscerates their self-identity."
« Last Edit: January 23, 2014, 02:12:58 AM by Thesauradon »

Tadanori Oyama

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Re: RPPR Gamedesign Workshop - To grog or not to grog.
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2014, 12:58:37 AM »
Ha! I hadn't thought about social and mental combat rules but I suppose the same rules more or less follow using declared passions and emotions. Delightfully silly.

Thesauradon

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Re: RPPR Gamedesign Workshop - To grog or not to grog.
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2014, 02:40:13 AM »
I don't know if I want to look into using FATE Core like TO or wade into the eldritch bog of custom game mechanics, but I do know more or less what kind of gameplay I want from my system: the players will be working together to defeat singular, much more powerful enemies than them.
We're independently approaching the same mechanical concept. High five for Team overwhelming odds!

Quote
In addition, the players will die. Probably a lot. When they do they roll up new semi-random characters and continue with minimal penalty (You lose a certain amount of experience but not so much that you're useless to a veteran party depending on what 'tier' you're in) but they have to be careful not to experience an abundance of deaths or they will fail their assigned task/mission/operation as their master or whoever decides to avoid the sunken cost fallacy and just fires the survivors.
I would encourage group experience penalties. Turn it into a pool, so they don't have to immediately spend it. Say they've collectively gained 95 experience. As a group, they can collectively decide to spend 70 points to promote their planner, let's call him "Naleb", to the Monarch's right hand man. They split the remaining 25 points five ways and each buy 5 points of upgraded gear. Or maybe they take that 95 points and spend 15 on perfecting the Kobold-a-pault and use the other 80 to evolve their boss to his final form. Those adventurers are going to be surprised when they have to deal with the combined force of flying Kobolds and Mega-Cheney.

And if you use a pool, death penalties distribute along the entire group instead of the player who had a bad night. It represents the cost of having to integrate a new team member after cleaning the last one out of the shark tank.

How simple did you want the rules to be? Because I have a conflict resolution system sitting in my head that could handle the parts of the game players don't spend experience on. I will post that tomorrow and we can bash this new bashing system out!
« Last Edit: January 23, 2014, 02:42:15 AM by Thesauradon »

geekyogrt

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Re: RPPR Gamedesign Workshop - To grog or not to grog.
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2014, 03:29:38 AM »
Big flaws? Thoughts? Condemnations for stealing other people's ideas?

What you described instantly made me think of Riddle of Steel.  Very similar in structure and damage from what I recall (it has been a few years).

It was a nightmare to run the first couple of times we played, as the rules for tracking damage varied based on blunt vs. blades etc.  Once we picked it up, it was the most fun I've ever had gaming.  Player behavior completely changed with the complexity and the fact that you could die in one round of combat.  Or lose your arm and healing magic was not common. 

Combat happened as the last resort or when the players could leverage their character motivations for additional dice.

It would be worth taking a look at to see how they approached some actions.  I think the lite / free trial version that they put out is still floating around.  It is scaled back, however the core concepts are present.

Also, the comment about passing damage through layers totes brought memories of battletech and the hit bubbles.  Probably dating myself on that one.

clockworkjoe

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Re: RPPR Gamedesign Workshop - To grog or not to grog.
« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2014, 05:45:27 AM »
I've been looking for the Riddle of Steel for years now. The few copies I've seen online are way overpriced but if I ever find a decent priced copy, I'll run it for RPPR.

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Re: RPPR Gamedesign Workshop - To grog or not to grog.
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2014, 11:02:10 AM »
Ross, Riddle of Steel has been re-done as Blade of the Iron Throne out on DriveThru (Cheap too, $5.95). Haven't grabbed it yet, but my understanding is that it is a full evolution of the original Riddle rules.

Riddle of steel is some of the most fun I've had playing, but it is definitely a bit of a challenge to learn. I agree with the previous post though, once players grasp how the combat and motivation systems work it becomes surprisingly intuitive and fluid. Combat is brutal, but from listening to the Wild Talents and Eclipse phase campaigns the RPPR group should have no problems with that.

Tadanori Oyama

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Re: RPPR Gamedesign Workshop - To grog or not to grog.
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2014, 06:25:40 PM »
I tried a quick bare-bones "white room" playtest for my mechanic. Holy shit, I've created a horrifying monster.

So people are clear the scale is 10-7, success. 6-4, minor success. 3-1 failure.

Quote
Randy and Steve are two shirtless men in jeans. They are fighting with knives. Knives possess no special weapon characteristics and are a +0 weapon.

Randy arbitrarily goes first. He attacks Steve’s stomach (a vital area).

Steve rolls an 8 and defends by thrusting his stomach back and retreating. Steve attacks Randy’s extended right hand (a non-vital area).

Randy rolls a 2 and fails to defend so Steve’s attack lands true. Steve rolls 8 for damage. Randy’s skin, muscle, and bone are pierced by the attack, breaking the bones in his right hand. Randy drops his knife due to the damage to his hand. Randy will bleed for 9 after his next action (layers pierced squared).

Randy bleeds for 9 (91 left) and grabs his dropped knife in his left hand.

Steve presses his attack and attacks Randy’s left elbow. Randy rolls a 2 and fails to defend. Steve rolls a 4 for damage, piercing Randy’s skin and muscle but not the bone. This wound will bleed for 4. Randy may continue to use his left arm.

Randy bleeds for 13 (9+4) (78 left) Randy tries to end the fight quickly and strikes for Steve’s heart. Steve rolls an 8 to defend and evades by ducking under the attack.

Steve, while ducked, slashes at Randy’s right thigh. Randy rolls a 9 and evades by quickly circling to his left (putting him on Randy’s right side).

Randy bleeds for 13 (65 left) Randy swings his left handed stab to try and hit Steve’s lung from behind. Steve rolls a 6 to defend and his able to deflect but not evade. He opts to turn and take the attack to his right upper arm. Randy rolls an 8 for damage piercing Steve’s skin, muscle and bone. Steve drops his knife. Steve’s wound will bleed for 9.

Steve bleeds for 9 (91 left). Steve turns and grabs his knife with his left hand, rising to a standing position.

Randy bleeds for 13 (52 left). Randy attacks the same wound on Steve’s right arm. Steve rolls a 1 to defend and isn’t quick enough to move. Randy rolls an 8 for damage by passing the skin and muscle to pierce bone, muscle and skin, penetrating Steve’s entire right arm. Steve’s wound is ‘upgraded’; he will bleed for 25.

Steve bleeds for 25 (66 left). Steve attacks Randy’s head. Randy rolls a 4 to defend, deflecting the attack slightly, choosing to take the attack on his right shoulder. Steve rolls a 4 on damage, piercing skin and muscle. Randy will bleed for 4.

Randy bleeds for 17 (9+4+4)(35 left). He is under 50% blood and now takes a -1 to all rolls. Randy doesn’t attack and compresses his right hand with his knee to try and slow the bleeding. He rolls a 5 -1 for a 4, minor success. He reduces the degree by 1 (lowering bleed from 9 to 4).

Steve bleeds for 25 (41 left). Steve cannot stop his wound as he lacks anything to stop the bleeding and can’t compress the site without dropping his knife. He goes for Randy’s right shoulder. Randy gets a 7-1 for a 6, a high deflection. He uses his left hand to push the stab down into his right upper arm. Steve rolls 5-1 for 4 damage, piercing skin and muscle.

Randy bleeds for 16 (19 left). He is now under 25 and takes another -1 (-2 total). Hoping to outlast the hemorrhaging Steve he drops his knife and grabs his newest wound. He rolls a 7-2 for a 5. Another minor success; the wound is decreased a degree.

Steve bleeds for 25 (16 left). Lightheaded, Steve relents and drops his knife, attempting to put pressure on his arm. He rolls an 8-2 for a 6, minor success. The wound is reduced by 1 degree.

Randy bleeds for 13 (6 left). Randy tries to stop his shoulder. He rolls a 1 with a penalty and critically fails, reopening his upper arm wound as a struggles.

Steve bleeds for 16 (0 left). Steve collapses to the ground.

Randy bleeds for 16 (0 left). Randy also collapses to the ground.

Somebody in the crowd bet that Randy would win but also be dead. That person is now very happy.

So, yeah, that more or less does the basic things that I want. Let's not the cut that kills you, it's the bleeding.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2014, 07:07:55 PM by Tadanori Oyama »

Cthuluzord

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Re: RPPR Gamedesign Workshop - To grog or not to grog.
« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2014, 07:58:59 PM »
Not to distract from this great games conversation, but there's a new episode of RPPR GDW up.

http://slangdesign.com/rppr/2014/01/game-designer-workshop/game-designer-workshop-episode-3-game-mechanics/

The bleeding out mechanics seem interesting. It's rare for a game to get stuff like that right and still be fun. It seems you're on the same track.

As far as the Slingstone idea goes, you have my blessing. I will say that, if it were me, I'd look into using the GUMSHOE OGL. Night's Black Agent does mismatched combat really well (Vampires are basically superheroes), and already has good mechanics for investigation and social engineering. I'd reskin those for a supers game and focus my energies on the setting.

Tadanori Oyama

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Re: RPPR Gamedesign Workshop - To grog or not to grog.
« Reply #29 on: January 24, 2014, 12:19:09 PM »
Quote
The bleeding out mechanics seem interesting. It's rare for a game to get stuff like that right and still be fun. It seems you're on the same track.

I think it's fun; I'm not the one bleeding to death. Hmm, back to the drawing board then. "Realistic" damage systems seem to have the problem of aggravating players when they restrict them or punish them for poor choices or for simple bad luck. I'm going for drama and danger but I understand that it needs to have entertainment value.

Actually, if you took the SAN system in Call of Cthulhu and converted it into a "blood meter" based on CON then you could do blood lost during fights or injuries sustained while fleeing monsters with temporary insanities being replaced by hallucinations and such. That might be fun. Totally unrelated to everything else, just something that passed through my head.


Enjoyed this episode of the podcast; exciting to see the sphere of imagaination and research dust collecting into a tighter form until the gravitational force of writing will ignites the condensed nebula into a blazing new RPG star.

I'm interested in the role of the player characters as "temporary PCs" in that they want to go off and become something else. Players like to have labels for things and 'Takers' is a pretty good one. You should consider having other names for different 'social classes' of Takers. While the PCs are aiming to be entirely temporary, there are probably NPC Takers who have come to see the job as their new way of life, especially NPCs who may have committed atrocities. Having something to call these individuals (i.e. Lifers, Career Men, Management, etc...) to distingish them from 'normal' Takers would be a useful language tool for GMs and players.