This week, I’d like to take a moment and spotlight a specific mechanic found in a roleplaying system that I’ve been running for a good few sessions now.
The system is Infinity and the mechanic I’d like to spotlight is Heat & Momentum. These two combine to turn Infinity from a fairly standard game into a tense game of give and take when it works and a bit of a stomp when it doesn’t work.
So if you’re interesting in learning about generating some heat, and perhaps learning about an interesting system that maybe wasn’t entirely well thought out, read on.
No post on my homebrew system this week. That has been shelved for a few weeks until I can get a proper writeup of the system as it stands done.
Instead, this week, I’m going to try and answer a question that has plagued roleplaying games since the dawn of time: When to roll dice?
You might think this an easy question to answer.. After all, most systems spell out explicitly what to roll dice for and when. That is, until you start reading a little more into them and you find out that everything’s not quite so cut and dry.
Last week I talked about my ideas for an stat system for the RPG I’m designing. Since then, I’ve talked to a few people about my ideas and I’ve had a proper think on the subject. I ended up doing some mock rolls and firing up the old spreadsheet to get an idea of the probabilities and as it turns out, it’s not really workable. If you’re interested in the process, you can see some of my notes here.
What I ended up realizing is that for a roll-under system like what I had in mind, good old D12 just doesn’t have the range necessary to be a good fit for a roll-under system. The delta between a 50-50 chance and nearly impossible to fail is only 6 points and given that I want characters to at least feel competent, that puts the range of stats characters can have in a very narrow band.
So, keep what I learned, throw everything else under the bus and start over. I suspect that will become a theme as I write this system. Come up with an idea, give it a test and then chuck it out for sucking. So on to idea v0.2
Much like we talked about a few weeks ago and the week before this week, we’ll be talking about homebrew game systems. Specifically, about a system I’m designing myself. Last time, I figured out more or less what I want a basic combat cycle to look like.
However, I have no way to test if it’s any good without some dice to roll and stats to roll then against. So that’s what I’ll be trying to figure out today. In my system, what makes a wizard smart, what makes a fighter strong, what makes my fighter stronger than your fighter.
That’s right, we’re talking stats today, gentlefolk. Strap in, it’s going to be a wild ride.
This week, i’m trying something different. I’ll be doing a writeup of a class variant for my own D&D 5e game. One of the characters is (was) a member of an exclusive sect so it seems only fitting that they’d get a unique class variant.
And as an added bonus, I get to use these sweet powers for my adversaries, her former sisters in arms, when they inevitably come for her.
A bit of backstory on these ladies (and rarely men). The Hands of Tenzin are a group of spellcasters who serve the king of Aracea. They are responsible for keeping the magical energies of the world in check and as representatives of the god Tenzin, are expected to guide the seasons where neccesary.
For this week, I thought I’d do something entirely different. For the last 25 or so post, I’ve talked about how to run existing games, how to deal with players and topics in specific ways and what sorts of tools you might have in your belt.
This week, I’m doing something entirely new. I’ll be talking about home-brewing and house rules. Not in abstract way or from a meta perspective. No, I’m going to try and present you with some thoughts I’ve had on a combat system. It’s not complete or even compatible with most games but I figured it would be a fun write-up and possibly a fun read.
The following is a brief insight on how to gauge and balance your games for your current group. The example given is based on the Pathfinder system.
You’ve started a new campaign. Your players have brought their new PC sheets with them. And despite knowing your players sheet by heart (or not, some of us work long hours). There really is no guarantee to know if your players will be engaged and challenged enough during your first encounter. Keep in mind however, that not every player may use their PC to it’s full potential. Despite them possibly being a horrible min maxer. It doesn’t matter if the PC is a potential boss killer if the PC isn’t played right or even dies cause of bad decisions & tactics. On the flip side, another player in the group may be a horrible min maxer and play that PC to terrifying effect. Leaving the other party members in their shadow.
You will need to rely on knowing your group and appealing to them during creation to keep things balanced as it is. Like most things in life, good communication is required.
Now that you have a ‘somewhat balanced’ group, you are still confronted with that first encounter. It’s easy to go overboard and have them fight a murder machine, thinking everything will be ok. At the same time, most GM’s will fear wiping their party during the first game and will end up with weak mobs that can’t hit to save their lives.
“You can play however you want and be whoever you want”
That’s how roleplaying games were once described to me. And to an extend that’s true. With the right GM you can play any sort of setting, from Game of Thrones with the serial numbers filed off to a setting where you can fly through space on the back of dragons shooting lasers at storm troopers.
And as a part of that, the players will work together to make create a world, intricate lore and compelling characters. However, what most people will do is use a standard set of rules and everything that comes with it. And that often results in a game that has an amazing backstory and awesome lore but whose mechanics have no way of representing that awesome lore.