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[FEEDBACK] The Pen and Paper System - Characters

A place where Setch Dreskar and Angry Joe can work on their board games and pen and paper systems.

[FEEDBACK] The Pen and Paper System - Characters

Postby Setch_Dreskar on Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:31 am

Alright been tossing around a few ideas and making some notes but really trying to figure out a good system to use for the type of combat I want to portray. Standard DnD combat systems don't really take into account the acts of blocking, parrying, and counter-attacking an opponent and are left as an afterthought whereas I would like the system to embrace this idea, plus I don't actually like the idea of a system where Bow usage is solely dexterity based, as in the real world context bow usage required insane amounts of physical strength to draw and fire a bow accurately. So opening this up to see what others thoughts are on the subject.

Basic Character stat thoughts:

Strength - Finesse - Dexterity - Charisma - Mind - Body - Soul

As it looks I could change Mind to Intelligence, Body to Constitution, and Soul to Willpower like standard D20 systems and still have them fulfill the role intended but I would like to keep Finesse for use in the parry/riposte system as representative of the swordsmanship, or weapon mastery of the character.
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Re: [FEEDBACK] The Pen and Paper System - Characters

Postby legion3000 on Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:43 pm

I'll give you my 2 cents since you asked. I have written several RPGs over the years and am currently working on a miniatures wargame so I have a good bit of background in this area. One of the rpg systems was a samurai based fighting RPG that was very simulationist using blocks parries and different fighting styles and stances.

1. Drop the idea of using the D20 system, its terrible and restrictive. It also doesn't lend well to new intro players. When they look at a character sheet and see a 14 in parry do they instantly know if that is good or bad? Are they rolling under the stat or above it? Do they need to roll high for some things and low for others? These seem trivial but to a brand new player its the difference between having fun or frustration.
1.5 Also the D20 system is copywritten by WOTC and can only be used with the Open Gaming License (OGL) which means you can never sell it.

2. I like the Mind/Body/Soul thing. It is different from the will/intel/const from DnD. To me they never fit well anyway. take a second thought about using Charisma. If your game doesn't have a concrete use for the stat it is best to just let the Player RP his personality. Perhaps charisma actually refers to the PCs beauty, status or wealth. If so rename it. I have found that its best to cut an underused stat than to shoehorn it in as it just becomes a dump stat. And nobody likes to have a great plan to trick the guard and then blow a charisma roll and fail it.

3. It sounds like your weapons need to have a strength requirement. That is simple enough to write in. If the character is not strong enough to use a particular weapon they suffer some kind of penalty when using it similar to an untrained weapon. This applies to hand weapons as well. A huge 2 handed axe is awesome, unless you give it to a halfling that can't even lift it.
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Re: [FEEDBACK] The Pen and Paper System - Characters

Postby Setch_Dreskar on Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:48 am

Indeed I know the D20 system licensing, just thinking of using it as a guideline so to speak. Also do you have perhaps a snippet of your design idea for the Samurai game. As it stands I am toying with the idea of the player deciding which action they want to take when an enemy swings at them, assuming they haven't exposed themselves or become flatfooted, with block having them take the hit and seeing if the strength of the enemy, plus its weapon type can buckle the shield and break the person's arm or what have you. The other options for the player are Evade, attempting to step out of the way, or trying to parry and follow up for a critical hit.

Where the player is facing also determines which action can be performed, like if the player is facing the threat, they can try all 3. If the player is caught to the side then they can only attempt evade with a small penalty, and the same if they are attacked from behind with a larger penalty to evade.
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Re: [FEEDBACK] The Pen and Paper System - Characters

Postby brutalskars on Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:46 pm

Hm. What I can safely say is, nothing stops you using a system in which many things stem off a d20 roll. You can build a completely new system from the ground, but of course the only real issue with that is marketing. (And because fledgling designers do not tend to have access to large testing teams)

Charisma is by far not my favorite stat of any game. Since, it either is used as a dump stat by some people or used as a 'roll to avoid roleplaying' stat. Nothing stops a player from taking something like a trait for their speechcraft. However, it is tiresome to have those people shouting "I have a +16 to diplomacy/influence/etc! I can insult them and they like me!"
Which is... Horribly unrealistic. Roleplaying should handle many encounters, players should take into account their backgrounds, how they look to others, their class, etc; before speaking. A Paladin probably doesn't have the best time negotiating with a Necromancer or something. Or a community that hates cites/nations is around you and you try speaking to them with the colors of your lord on you - Chances are that won't be looked upon very well.

Now, Yeah I can agree Mind and Soul just sound good, and constitution/body/stamina is just yeah, naming.
Try looking a bit into Dark Heresy(It isn't based with a d20), it has some interesting rules on parrying/blocking and how that ties into an actual combat. It has some very brutal and quick combat.
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Re: [FEEDBACK] The Pen and Paper System - Characters

Postby Torchlite on Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:39 pm

I was wondering if you could expound on the magic system. I could never get into the magic system in D&D, mainly because, in my opinion it had too much chance to just blow up in your face and after using it once it just became useless. And that is if the spell was useful at all. I’m afraid I never really got into Warhammer, so I have no idea what that system is like. But I should probably get to the point here.
What does magic have to bring to the table in this game? What are the strengths, what are the chances of it failing, is it a use once a day system? Does it have a turn by turn cool down or do you have to wait until the next day to use it again?
Thank you and if you would like any help on this I would be glad to lend a hand. My background is mostly in electronic damage and chance algorithms, but I do have a bit of experience in pencil and paper. Really it’s pretty much the same thing.
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Re: [FEEDBACK] The Pen and Paper System - Characters

Postby Setch_Dreskar on Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:39 pm

All right this is going to get long and really complicated, so lets break down the different 'levels' of magic users first, then talk about the stats required, how mixing classes will work, why and how each race uses different methods to work magic, and the risks/rewards of magic. I feel its a bit hit or miss as I am still refining the system and hoping I wrote it out here properly as I am exhausted and need to get some sleep.

(Note this is similair in principle to Warhammer Fantasy RP though taken to an extreme, giving each characters will, exertion and power to determine spell failure and consequence rather then just raw power.)


Identifying Magic Wielders

While the terms for each tier vary between each race, these are general terms used by residents in the city-state of White Tower. The De facto wizarding capital of the world, with the entire city-state being run by powerful Sorcerers, Warlocks, Necromancers, Magus, and Wizards.

Untouched

The Untouched are your average people of all races, having no ability to tap into the energies that form the basis for magic within Sekkara. Another nickname commonly used is Guide-less, usually spoken from a magic user in reference to Untouched and essentially coming from the understanding that the Untouched cannot guide the energies of magic. A few less polite terms used in some magic circles are the Blind, for their inability to harness the waves of energy and Kator a Kin phrase meaning 'of weak will'.

The Touched

The touched are considered a step up within the realms of magic, though have little ability in the use of magic itself. A man afraid of the dark whose hands glow to give him light would be considered one of these. While magic is obviously assisting, or sometimes hindering the recipient, the person has little control over it, requiring intense focus to overcome the natural tendency for their subconscious to direct the magics around them.

Touched are often referred to as Children, a derogatory term as those who are touched can see and or feel the magic around them, but are too weak willed, stupid, or incompetent to use it. To be a touched is considered to be more shameful then Untouched who can never experience magic.

The Gifted

These are magic users, who can cast a spell or two, and have the ability to learn and improve their abilities within the magical arts should they choose to. To many cultures and races, they have been gifted with the ability to wield the powers of magic, and need only a helping hand to guide them on their way. They tend to be given the nicknames Pupils, disciples, acolytes and the like regardless if they are studying under the tutelage of a more experienced magic user or not.

Mage

This is actually the generic term used for spellcasters and wielders of magic. It is from this point that the hopeful spellcaster can be considered a true practitioner of magic, and who can later learn to specialize into one of the magical fields depending on their interest and ability.

Chosen

The generic term for a Mage who has chosen which type of spellcaster they wish to be. With the choices of: Sorcerers for those who wish to wield the more destructive powers of magic, and who need to learn discipline to safely use them. Warlocks who wish to conjure beings made of the energies of magic throughout Sekkara who need to learn control of their creations. Necromancers who wish to practices the arts of death and decay, either returning the dead to life or expediting their passage to death these mages require intense focus and will or the grasp of death will consume them. Magus who help mend, cure, and sometimes dominate others and who require thorough discipline and self control. And finally Wizards, who act as knoweldgable in each area of expertise but are substantially weaker in the process giving up their ability to master one form in the pursuit of studying them all.

The Ascended

Those who dedicate themselves to the path of the wizard, the one who studies all other paths and learns to master each of them at once is known as an Ascended. These master wizards are exceptionally rare as the sheer discipline and willpower needed to reach this level of connection with the energies of magic can prove fateful. Many who attempt to learn all the paths to an acceptable level are rendered insane, overloaded by the sheer knowledge at their fingertips and the overwhelming fear of that destructive force and its consequences. As a note, all elder dragons are Ascended, making many scholars wonder if the dragons have some deeper relationship to magic then any other race.

The Vile

There is of course one other group identified as magic users. These are the heretics, the traitors, the corruptors and murderers who are hunted down by fellow magic users, the Emberflame Inquisitors, and the Obsidian Order. While they all vary wildly depending on their own personal abilities, they have all chosen to dabble or fully embrace the forbidden arts of the North. These arts are easily identified by the trained observer, having destroyed the souls of their victims, corrupting the wielder of such spells while giving them brutal efficiency.

Where as a mage can study for years before learning to cast a fireball, a Vile can do so by merely slicing open their hand and draining their own life to propel a deadly form of fire. A necromancer may be able to revive the recently departed, but a Vile can consume their very soul, extending their own life and power, or using their soul to unleash destructive magics against their foes. Truly the Vile are well named.

The Spellcaster's Stats

Being that magic is primarily about exerting control over the energies of magic Will is the primary focus of all magic users. However due to the power, exertion, and risk, Discipline is a vital stat, while a users will can be strong it can be easily chipped away at unless properly reinforced with mental and physical discipline. Another good stat to use for spellcasters is Soul which can measure how much punishment they can weather if and usually when one of their attempts to reach into the energies of magic backfires.

Multi-Classing

This works a bit differently then in other Pen and paper systems (At least that I have seen) in that should someone choose to make say a spell wielding assassin, then they can never further advance in their studies of magic beyond a set point. Due to the extreme demand on the magic user, it is nigh-impossible to master any other forms of combat, medicine, or skills without dramatically crippling their studies into the magical arts.

If you make a character who becomes a Chosen and then decide they will learn the skills of another profession, they will be automatically downgraded to Gifted status, keeping only easily memorized spells, incantations, runes, etc. The further up the profession you choose the weaker and weaker your magic usage becomes until finally it reverts into its basest state of being controlled only by your subconscious, meaning you are essentially a Touched in every regard.

Racial Casting

Each race has its own tricks, and methods for casting spells. While each race can learn to cast in the same way as any other race (IE. A Kin can learn to rune carve, or use words of power, or use shamanistic chanting, etc.) each race has developed its own personal traditions to help guide and control magic. These all include massive amounts of repetition, constant study and ensuring the user is completely focused on what exactly they wish to do.

The dwarves for example practice rune carving, helping hone the mind and body to allow the users discipline in carving the intricate designs of the runes to remain focused as their will asserts control and acts out the rune they have made. While the runes themselves have little meaning, it is the act of carving them in their specific ways with the users will and discipline to create each rune that gives them power. Carving anything can technically allow for any spell, but its through training and repetition that the mind and body work together to perform a very specific spell. Anyone can carve a winding snake into the ground, but only a trained Runesmith's will can cause said rune to send roots to erupt around their target to ensnare them.

Humans speak out intricate spells, using words that they have imbued with power. Again while any word can work to cast each spell, the specific string of words helps the user keep their mind focused on the exact spell they want, with the act of reciting the words of power keeping their will from faltering and allowing the spell to be cast. For example anyone can say the phrase Velocitas Eradico, but only a trained caster's mind will cause the phrase to fire a bolt of energy at high speed from their palm.

Elves imbue specific items with meaning, linking them together to cast spells effectively. For example elves are taught that tying a rabbit's foot to an arrow and pointing it at their target will unleash a quick bolt of electricity from the tip. While any magic user can simply mimic the setup, its through years of repetition and training that the user's mind truly associates the two objects with the ability to fire a bolt of electricity from the tip.

Orcs are incredibly shamanistic casters, using special movements and items, sometimes even special structures to cast their spells. These intricate patterns of movement keep them completely focused on their task, allowing them to call forth their magic. Any idiot can jab a walking stick into the ground, stamp their feet and clap their hands together, but only a practiced spellcaster will have that cause a wave of energy to fire out in a cone infront of the stick, causing the ground before it to turn to soft mud.

The kin are perhaps the most mysterious, requiring special rituals to cast some spells, vocal chants to cast others, and body movement to cast others still. What has been pieced together is that Kin focusing on combat will use body movement and form to lash out with different forms of energy, learning to use their body movement as an extension of their ability. Others will come to their knees, resting back as they whisper low words before unleashing powerful spells, and finally some will draw specific arrangements of runes, or symbols to cast theirs. Anyone can throw a roundhouse kick, but a Kin magic user will leave a streak of fire in its wake that burns on contact.

Risk/Rewards of Magic

Naturally the rewards for being able to throw a fireball, is the ability to toss a flamming ball at someone, or something you don't particularly like. This however will drain your will, as you have to put so much focus and thought into each casting that while you can easily repeat the steps to create said fireball, the exertion from the first casting is still weighing on you causing the next casting to be more difficult, increasing exponentially depending on the difficulty of the casting.

So what happens if you don't pace yourself, and give yourself ample time to recover from casting spells? That is really dependent upon each spell, using the fireball example above, say you critically fail to cast due to fatigue (note you cannot get a critical failure if you are not overly exerted from casting, treating what would normally be a critical as a major failure, and a major failure as a minor failure.) rather then creating a fireball outside the spell creates one within your body causing you to spontaneously combust from the inside out which as you can imagine is completely fatal. A major failure to cast a fireball will cause a limb of your body (starting with one of the legs for first major failure) to get seared causing severe damage but otherwise easily survivable. The last being a minor failure will cause the fireball to simply explode in a cloud of smoke before you.

Again the repercussions of failing a cast get more severe as you try to cast more powerful forms of magic, and since magic is incredibly useful and strong you need to keep your usage of it in check. Critically failing to cast a lightning strike may just have dire consequences for everybody...
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Re: [FEEDBACK] The Pen and Paper System - Characters

Postby mulebob on Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:07 pm

Well to get around the D20 system you could look at a D10 system there are a few games ive played (not that many times mind you) that the system worked quite well. One was the warhammer 40k game, if i remember right there was a system for dodging that could possibly be used for your attack and parry idea. I would have to go back and look, although I'm not sure if i have the PDF of the books anymore. But you could look into that to spur an idea for your system.
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Re: [FEEDBACK] The Pen and Paper System - Characters

Postby Setch_Dreskar on Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:29 pm

This is the final draft of the character stats system. With the idea that characters will need at least 2 of the stats to be efficient at their 'class'.

Strength: Measures the amount of weight a character can carry, the draw strength of bows that can be used, armor types available and weapons available.

Dexterity: Effects movement speed, reflexes for abilities such as dodging, accuracy of aim and thrown weapons, and climbing ability.

Finesse: Allows for skilled manipulation of weaponry, and ability with hands. This trait is used for parry/riposte, and thievery abilities such as pick pocket, and lock picking.

Body: Measures the amount of health, and ability to sustain armor wear and blows. Body directly counter-acts fatigue and allows for heavier armor to be worn.

Mind: Determines the ability to learn and cast spells, as well as allowing for more skills, training, and specialization options.

Will: Measures the resistance to spells and the willpower of each character. This stat will be used to determine how well a character handles miscasts on spells, or shrugging off negative effects.

Faith: Measures the spiritual connection to higher powers, allowing for miracles to be cast.
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Re: [FEEDBACK] The Pen and Paper System - Characters

Postby mulebob on Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:34 am

How many points are we able to distribute? And is there a maximum for the stat? What would be considered the "average stat" for the average joe NPC. Also with this many different stats i imagine you will have a lot of points too work with, so will it take more than one point to raise a stat one level when you get to higher numbers on the stats.
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Re: [FEEDBACK] The Pen and Paper System - Characters

Postby Setch_Dreskar on Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:35 pm

The stat breakdown for each race, along with their strengths and weaknesses is coming later, however you won't be getting a lot of points to put into things, for example humans are being used as the baseline from which all races are measured.

Average on the scale is set to 10, which offers no bonuses in any category. Players who choose to go human will start with 9 [-1 penalty](All characters start at -1 average on all stats for their race) in each stat and be allowed 5 points to place where they choose with no increase required in points to level a stat.

This is done for balance and to make sure that while characters do become much more powerful once they reach the level cap of 20, they won't become demi-gods with absurd powers and won't need to fight illogical battles in order to even the odds. Its one of my main complaints with DnD, that once you get to certain levels you get into Dragonball Z style absurdity.

The other reason points are so limited is you will need at least 2 stats to properly do any 'class'. For instance to be an Archer you will require Strength to get more damaging bows that require a higher pull to use, and dexterity in order to properly aim the bow. For a knight you will need strength to lift the weapons and armor you wear, and body to allow you to move in that heavier armor without becoming encumbered or too stiff.
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