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Author Topic: System Games  (Read 5346 times)

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Offline AndyZ

Re: System Games
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2012, 02:36:19 PM »
I was the one running it.  The guy who got transformed was an Exalt, though.

He knew darn well when he tried to lift the Emissary's mask that he wouldn't survive the attempt.  I think he was just trying to be funny or something.

Kckolbe, there's a new system out now called Marvel Heroic Roleplaying or something to that extent.  You may want to look into it for your X-men game.

Offline kckolbe

Re: System Games
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2012, 02:40:11 PM »
Andy, I know there are multiple systems, but so many people are averse to playing them, especially in the games where I feel they are most needed.  I'm hoping the char sheet version catches on with those who are intimidated by systems.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: System Games
« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2012, 02:49:00 PM »
I have always been a big advocate of all types of system games, and love creating simple systems for popular freeforms.  I have a working system for Hogwarts in its first playtest, and dice rolls will be required later on.  I am also working on a "character sheet system" for X-Men.

Character sheet systems are games where no rolls ever happen, but every player is forced to decide upon the strengths and weaknesses of the character early on.  I think it will be a good way of preventing Gary Stu/Mary Sue types without intimidating freeform players.  I've noticed that, on the whole, people that enjoy Harry Potter and X-Men games are far less likely to join them with a system attached, so I am hoping something like this is a decent compromise.
Kckolbe, you could try a diceless system if that's all you want. A number of these exist, here's a free one with good reputation :P!
http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/2589/Active-Exploits-Diceless-Roleplaying?manufacturers_id=32&it=1

And here's the game AndyZ was referencing earlier, which is almost as close as it gets to freeform. That means it's right after Wushu on the scale :P!
http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/99611/Marvel-Heroic-Roleplaying%3A-Basic-Game

I was the one running it.  The guy who got transformed was an Exalt, though.

He knew darn well when he tried to lift the Emissary's mask that he wouldn't survive the attempt.  I think he was just trying to be funny or something.
Well, I guess you have decided the Emissary is something important, which he wasn't in my game.
But silver statues are nice ;D!

Offline SatanKlaus

Dogs in the Vineyard
« Reply #28 on: August 24, 2012, 08:31:04 AM »
I was recently introduced to a game called 'Dogs in the Vineyard'. It's set in Mormon Utah but that is not important to what I want to say:

The system they use is really nice. It focuses on 'Conflicts' instead of single actions. For example, there could be a conflict where you tried to stop a fight between two drunkards. You roll dice, of course, but depending on whether they come up good or bad for you, you narrate the action, reaction and the surroundings.  There are many ways to stop such a thing of course and the system leaves the player about as much freedom of choice as the GM, which makes it very attractive for a forum game.
Usually, you start out talking. If the dice are kind to you, you can 'use' them to narrate a scene where you talked them out of it. But if the dice hate you, then you must narrate a scene where you try talking but it fails. If you use too many bad dice, there will be side effects (called 'fallout'). You may catch a stray fist or lose the respect of someone, for example. After your action, the NPCs will react and then you have to choose whether you want to abandon the conflict and live with the consequences or if you want to 'escalate' (for example by joining into the fight or pulling out a gun). Escalating gives you some more dice (this time based on your body attribute and fighting traits) for another attempt to break up the fight but the consequences are also more dangerous.

I think its an interesting system because it puts a huge emphasis on storytelling and could be good for forum-play. Does anyone here have experience with it or know of a similar system?

« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 09:46:38 AM by SatanKlaus »

Offline Healergirl

Re: System Games
« Reply #29 on: August 24, 2012, 08:40:54 AM »
Satanklaus,

This is the first I've heard of it, and it sounds fascinating!

Offline kckolbe

Re: System Games
« Reply #30 on: August 24, 2012, 08:43:22 AM »
I actually did a review of it in my System RPG Reviews for the EH&P earlier this year.  It is a really cool concept.  There are a lot of great systems out there, really. 

Offline AndyZ

Re: System Games
« Reply #31 on: August 24, 2012, 02:03:56 PM »
I only skimmed but the basic idea reminds me of Don't Rest Your Head.  It's very big on rolling the dice and giving open narrative to the winner as well.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: System Games
« Reply #32 on: August 24, 2012, 07:58:15 PM »
Never played the Dogs in the Vineyard, since Mormon gunslingers doesn't really interest me, but the entire concept is more than sound. Vincent Baker, the designer of said game, is well-known for a reason!
Other games like this exist
At least part of the reason is he thinks hard how to combine these elements in order to achieve the best game for the premise he has chosen >:)!
Yes, he is my favourite "indie" game designer, although I prefer his games "In a Wicked Age" and "Apocalypse world" ;D!
Actually, more than a few games employ similar approaches. Indeed, most so-called "indie" games have similar elements, and even more stuff that facilitates storytelling like GMless systems, diceless systems, resources to introduce new plot twists as you wish, rewarding narration with bonuses, and the like. However, due not being produced by big companies (and sometimes because they go against the tastes of existing gamers), they often remain virtually unnoticed, despite probably being more attractive to anyone with experience with freeform 8-).
I mean, how many people know there's a diceless Shoujo (manga for girls) system? What is more a freeform player more likely to enjoy, Pathfinder, or a diceless game about the lives and relationships of Japanese high-school girls, whether "magical girls" or not? How about Pathfinder and a Japanese game made to emulate the Maid (harem) animes, or a game about the lives of the rich people in Miami Beach?
I think we all know the answer, especially if we count how many such games have attracted a group in the last 3 months. Actually, even I would rather play the love interest of a girl in a Shoujo story, rather than a Pathfinder Rogue :P!
Personally, I prefer some other games of the same family, but that's really a matter of taste.

Offline SatanKlaus

Re: System Games
« Reply #33 on: August 26, 2012, 04:43:39 AM »
I had a look at apocalypse world on your suggestion. It looks nice, and I must agree that Vincent Baker manages to fit the system perfectly to the setting. However, it makes it harder to apply it to a different setting.

What I am looking for is a very simple, generic system that can be summed up in a single page of text. It should not have character classes and it should not have an 'action-reaction' mechanic for simple actions (as in: attack roll, followed by defense roll). I think that slows down forum play too much.

SatanKlaus

Offline Healergirl

Re: System Games
« Reply #34 on: August 26, 2012, 07:18:06 AM »
The great plus for D&D/Pathfinder in forum play is the simplicity of the combat system.  But combat can take a very large number of rounds.  Hmmmm.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: System Games
« Reply #35 on: August 26, 2012, 08:34:56 AM »
The great plus for D&D/Pathfinder in forum play is the simplicity of the combat system.  But combat can take a very large number of rounds.  Hmmmm.
I'd call D&D/Pathfinder's combat system many things. "Simple" ain't one of those things, though, I actually use it as an example of complicated 8-).
YMMV, but at least we agree it can take too many rounds for forum play. IME, this presents problem with the pacing, especially if someone else isn't fighting and is having a slow conversation. If the ones that fight run to get his or her help, they could literally arrive in a past moment :P!
Yes, that has happened already.

I had a look at apocalypse world on your suggestion. It looks nice, and I must agree that Vincent Baker manages to fit the system perfectly to the setting. However, it makes it harder to apply it to a different setting.

What I am looking for is a very simple, generic system that can be summed up in a single page of text. It should not have character classes and it should not have an 'action-reaction' mechanic for simple actions (as in: attack roll, followed by defense roll). I think that slows down forum play too much.

SatanKlaus
Apologies, SK, but you're wrong about using Apocalypse World for other settings. How do I know? I've got proof ;D!
More seriously, I've also got Monsterhearts, the adaptation of the same system for urban fantasy, high-school-falling-in-love-with-a-supernatural drama :P! And then there is Dungeon World, adapting the system to support the classic dungeoncrawling fantasy tropes. Don't have this one, yet, but here is an article and you should pay attention to the example of play >:)!
So, urban fantasy drama and classical fantasy that feels like classical fantasy. And I had adapted it for an Arabian nights game in a FLGS, just because I was bored. It's definitely easy to hack.

Most generic systems can be summed up in a page of text (although if you've got powers, forget about it). Actually, most good systems can be hacked for other settings.
However, I think you're looking for a system where only the players roll. (It doesn't work with only the GM rolling, because he sets the difficulties already, so it's like completely taking the resolution out of the players hands). This has the obvious benefits of allowing them to roll standard actions, describe the results, and post them. Compare and contrast with player describing, rolling and posting-then waiting for the GM to describe results and possibly roll again before posting what happens next. "Only players roll" works faster at the table, and faster in forum playing.
However, you've got a choice here. Cinematic Unisystem, Icons, everything based on Apocalypse world, all should work quite decently! You'd have to sum them up yourself, but usually the basic mechanic is enough.
And of course, most opposed roll systems can be adapted to do this. I think Lady Blackbird pretty much does that out of the box.

Alternatively, you could use a diceless system that only relies on spending a resource to succeed. I'm pretty sure that this is how Active Exploits Diceless Roleplaying works, though I might be wrong on this one.

Offline Healergirl

Re: System Games
« Reply #36 on: August 26, 2012, 10:34:06 AM »
Thuufir Hawat,

You have a point with Pathfinder.  Let me amend my statement.  The resolution of combat is simple.  One roll to hit, one foll for damage.  But then you can get ecclesiastical debates as to how wheich active spells have what effects and oh God, figuring out how various feats interact when the target of the attacks pipes up with "But Ive got (fill in the blank). 

I concede the point.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: System Games
« Reply #37 on: August 26, 2012, 10:38:51 AM »
Thuufir Hawat,

You have a point with Pathfinder.  Let me amend my statement.  The resolution of combat is simple.  One roll to hit, one foll for damage.  But then you can get ecclesiastical debates as to how wheich active spells have what effects and oh God, figuring out how various feats interact when the target of the attacks pipes up with "But Ive got (fill in the blank). 

I concede the point.
You forgot the magical items with abilities :P.
But yes, that's why I don't see it as simple. Of course, the core of any system is simple, so you have a point as well, it just doesn't work out as simple in actual play ;D!

Offline Healergirl

Re: System Games
« Reply #38 on: August 26, 2012, 11:34:10 AM »
Some are better than others.  Traveller, in various incarnations, is relatviely simple.  Roll to hit, roll damage , modifiers for range, movemnt of target, cover/concealment.  But if you allow psionics, it can get hairy.  and any system that throws magic into the mix, with spells, artifacts, weird creature abilities?  What takes minutes around a table can take hours or days  in forum play.

Traveller came to mind because I and another writer are in a Traveller setting game right now. We are both Traveller junkies, very familiar with the setting and rules.  And we are pointedly not worrying about the mechanics, concentrating on roleplay and moving the story along.  The style is very much a braided story, each of us takes a turn moving the action along - but he is dominant - no jokes, please, but I know this is E - he is the driving force behind the current plotline we are following.  Once we bring the current mission to a conclusion, I may take a turn at that.  But he is a very good writer, I love the spin he is putting on the printed adventure we are using as a guideline, and he says he is bursting with ideas.

But when things get fast and furious, and they are about to, I will probably partly  resolve the impending firefight with open rulebooks and physical dice rolls, and write it up in my post.  I think it will give me a better feel for the action than composing it whole cloth out of thin air would, but that's just me.

But I must stress that when I do write it up, I will use a great deal of artistic license.  Our characters  are not in contention with each other, they are partners, pretending to themselves be friends with benefits, but more than that in actuality.  So if my character is basically shot in the head on round one, I'll just say "Bleep that, doesn't fit the narrative."

Not that anything unpleasant won't occur.  If it fits the story, her getting wounded or captured, jailed, or other assorted bad things can and will happen.

I do have some rather dark kinks after all.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: System Games
« Reply #39 on: August 26, 2012, 01:40:27 PM »
Some are better than others.  Traveller, in various incarnations, is relatviely simple.  Roll to hit, roll damage , modifiers for range, movemnt of target, cover/concealment.  But if you allow psionics, it can get hairy.  and any system that throws magic into the mix, with spells, artifacts, weird creature abilities?  What takes minutes around a table can take hours or days  in forum play.
Definitely some are better than others for forum play. I mean, compare a system that abstracts modifiers, and only has the player rolling, and a system like Exalted with its 10-step attack resolution ;D!

As for what is better for any given goal, it depends on what your goal is, and this might differ for every given game 8-).

Offline Healergirl

Re: System Games
« Reply #40 on: August 26, 2012, 04:17:11 PM »
Thufir Hawat,

As you say, it depends on what one is looking for.

Exalted, yes, I had that in mind as the poster child for forum game unsuitability.

Offline kckolbe

Re: System Games
« Reply #41 on: August 27, 2012, 12:47:33 AM »
Just about every White Wolf game has significant consistency and balance issues, but they are not targeting number crunchers with their games.  I constantly complain about White Wolf, but often find myself playing their games, because they have some very unique settings.

Offline AndyZ

Re: System Games
« Reply #42 on: August 27, 2012, 12:52:09 AM »
I sort of have an ongoing rule that any White Wolf game I run will be significantly broken over my knee.  Many of them barely resemble the original story by the time I'm done.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: System Games
« Reply #43 on: August 27, 2012, 03:36:13 AM »
I sort of have a standing rule that any White Wolf game I run shall be using their character creation rules, and a more sensible system with the same range for attributes and skills 8-). Of course, that means we're replacing all sub-systems with the ones in the new system, although I might graft a couple sub-systems like the Virtue/Vice-Willpower economy, stunt rules, or the like :P.
And with ORE, V6, and Unisystem all fitting the description, it's not like I'm lacking alternatives >:)!

Offline SatanKlaus

Re: System Games
« Reply #44 on: August 27, 2012, 04:37:11 AM »
Quote
However, I think you're looking for a system where only the players roll. (It doesn't work with only the GM rolling, because he sets the difficulties already, so it's like completely taking the resolution out of the players hands). This has the obvious benefits of allowing them to roll standard actions, describe the results, and post them. Compare and contrast with player describing, rolling and posting-then waiting for the GM to describe results and possibly roll again before posting what happens next. "Only players roll" works faster at the table, and faster in forum playing.

It's okay if the GM has to roll for NPCs. What I want to avoid is having to react to an action (for example, if the defender is given a choice if he wants to try to dodge or roll with the blow). In forum play, this really slows down play. I also don't want too many back-and-forth posts for combat (the D&D problem). Combat should take up about as much time and posts as other challenges.

I really like the (skill+appropriate attribute) mechanic of storyteller system. It is straightforward and easy to understand. In a way, Dogs in the Vineyard also has it, albeit more complicated. The problem with storyteller is that it is not well-balanced. It is not 'mechanically solid' the way D&D 3rd edition is. At the same time, the rules are more complicated than I would allow for a not mechanically solid game.


I was thinking of making a game mechanic that combined dice with some 'automatic' feats.

For example, Dex+Athletics usually has to be rolled for acrobatics. However, at certain scores you get things you can accomplish automatically, thus eliminating the need for a roll and a post about your roll.

1: Walk
2: Run at (Dex+Athletics) m/turn
3: Jump a regular fence
4: Freeclimb a rough brick wall
5: Outrun a dog
etc

A high Dex+Sword skill could even give you things like: 'Kill an unnamed NPC', thus speeding up play significantly.

I will have to take another look at Apocalypse World's rules. The thing that turned me off it was the character classes and psionic/spiritual powers and the like that would add bulk to the rules but are not useful for my game. What I liked about Dogs in the Vineyard was that you describe all your abilities (except the attributes) and therefore they always fit the game that you are playing. Of course that means it is not power-gamer-proof, but I think powergaming in a story-driven forum play kills the mood anyway, so I don't have to take the systems 'solidity' into consideration. A system with few rules encourages good players to play 'fair', whereas a system with many rules that is not 'solid' (like storyteller) sometimes makes a player to powergame because he picked an ability that turns out to be overpowered and now he has to stick to the rules.

SatanKlaus

Offline AndyZ

Re: System Games
« Reply #45 on: August 27, 2012, 05:01:36 AM »
The only system that I know that you mentioned is 3e, so I'm going to offer these insights:

Initiative: don't hold the players to a particular order.  The ones who beat the monster in init can all take a turn (in no particular order but just whenever they all manage to post), then the monster goes, then all players go in whatever order they can manage to post, then the monsters go, and so on.

Saving throws: recalculate the numbers so that players roll attacks instead of monsters rolling saving throws.  Here's how:

Subtract 10 from the spell DC and roll a d20.  If the spell DC would normally be 15, roll d20+5.

It's up to you whether you want to do likewise with the monsters or allow them to roll their own saving throws.

List the AC and saves: Flat out tell the players the AC of the monster, and instead of normal saving throws, add 10 to whatever the d20 roll would be and list that number.  If the monster would normally have Fortitude +7, it has Fortitude 17.

Defending with AC: If you want the players to be able to make their own rolls to defend so that you make no rolls at all, then subtract 10 from their AC and let them roll a d20, and add 10 to the monsters' attacks, just like with saving throws but in reverse.

This will allow the players to make all the rolls.

The fastest way to have things in a forum, though, would probably be having both the players and monsters rolling attacks and not having anyone roll saves or defenses.

I hope maybe that helps you some.

Offline SatanKlaus

Re: System Games
« Reply #46 on: August 27, 2012, 05:39:53 AM »
Doing away with saves and packing them into the 'attacking' side sounds reasonable. However, I feel that D&D combat on the whole is too slow for a forum game. I really don't want to bog down players for (RL) weeks in combat. I don't think that's why most of us are here. I'm looking for a much leaner, 'minimum mechanics' game that still gives me some structure and randomness of results while feeling 'fair' for the players.

SatanKlaus


PS: White wolf = storyteller system
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 05:41:04 AM by SatanKlaus »

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: System Games
« Reply #47 on: August 27, 2012, 06:55:06 AM »
It's okay if the GM has to roll for NPCs. What I want to avoid is having to react to an action (for example, if the defender is given a choice if he wants to try to dodge or roll with the blow). In forum play, this really slows down play. I also don't want too many back-and-forth posts for combat (the D&D problem).
Yeah, that's what I mean. GM announces difficulty, player rolls and describes his results, which gives you minimum back-and-forth. Latter, rinse, repeat, and fights seldom last more than a couple rounds.

Quote
Combat should take up about as much time and posts as other challenges.
Totally agreed! Also, ideally it shouldn't get more mechanics devoted to it. I mean if your characters are fighting that often, they probably could use more social interaction and exploration.

Quote
I really like the (skill+appropriate attribute) mechanic of storyteller system. It is straightforward and easy to understand.
Yes, that's its greatest virtue.

Quote
The problem with storyteller is that it is not well-balanced. It is not 'mechanically solid' the way D&D 3rd edition is. At the same time, the rules are more complicated than I would allow for a not mechanically solid game.
Actually, I can think of quite a few games that are more "solid" in less pages, although I think the word you're looking for is more like "detailed and well-defined", or something. Either way, I agree with this point.

Quote
I was thinking of making a game mechanic that combined dice with some 'automatic' feats.

For example, Dex+Athletics usually has to be rolled for acrobatics. However, at certain scores you get things you can accomplish automatically, thus eliminating the need for a roll and a post about your roll.

1: Walk
2: Run at (Dex+Athletics) m/turn
3: Jump a regular fence
4: Freeclimb a rough brick wall
5: Outrun a dog
etc

I think you should take a look at EABA and CORPS, especially the latter. I mean, that's a basic concept in CORPS, meaning you only roll for stuff that's close to your ability, so the outcome is uncertain :P! CORPS Nutshell can be found at the link.

Quote
I will have to take another look at Apocalypse World's rules. The thing that turned me off it was the character classes and psionic/spiritual powers and the like that would add bulk to the rules but are not useful for my game.
Well, maybe it's not the best for your game. I was pointing out it can be hacked, not that it's what you're looking for. That said, I'm not sure what is it you're looking for.
So far, I'd actually recommend you EABA, CORPS, or maybe Ouroboros or maybe Cortex+ or FATE.
That said, it might be better if you opened a "recommend me a system" thread in this sub-forum. Tell us what system you're looking for, what elements you like, whether you're looking for highly random or more controlled outcomes, and then you can expect us to recommend our favourite systems something that fits >:)!

Quote
What I liked about Dogs in the Vineyard was that you describe all your abilities (except the attributes) and therefore they always fit the game that you are playing.
So, "freeform stats" should be in your list if you open that thread ;D!

Quote
Of course that means it is not power-gamer-proof, but I think powergaming in a story-driven forum play kills the mood anyway, so I don't have to take the systems 'solidity' into consideration. A system with few rules encourages good players to play 'fair', whereas a system with many rules that is not 'solid' (like storyteller) sometimes makes a player to powergame because he picked an ability that turns out to be overpowered and now he has to stick to the rules.

SatanKlaus
Actually, Storyteller often makes you min-max your characters simply because the options that are equally valid at character creation aren't equal in play. And on top of it, the more powerful combinations are easy to discover, thus rewarding people who go by the rules instead of by their character concept.
Textbook example
Compare a Dex 5, Str 4, Sta 2 character in Exalted to one with Strength and Stamina of 4 and Dex of 3, all other things being equal. One of them is going to lose most fights unless he gets real lucky, real fast. And on top of it, if they both go for Str 4, St 4, Dex 5, the weaker one also needs more XP to get there!
Mind you, I see nothing wrong with going from the rules! It's when some archetypes are clearly inferior that I start seeing it as a problem.
But I think that's enough on this topic. Although I'd be glad to discuss it if and when you open a new thread.

Offline Healergirl

Re: System Games
« Reply #48 on: August 27, 2012, 07:15:37 AM »
I am following this discussion with great interest!

Hero System, at least back when I payed it, combined all modifiers into respective Offensive Combat Value and Defensive Combat Value.  One roll modified by those numbers told you if you hit.  Something similar is the way to go for Forum play.

  There was a convoluted overworked, underplaytested game back in my early teenage years called Powers & Perils, a mess, it really was a mess but the heart of the combat system was a chart which listed attack results based on the OCV as modified by the DCV.  Regular hit, serious hit, critical hit, miss.  The one jewel of the game was that combat moved like lightning.

One thing that struck me about Exalted:  Any attack that would scratch a warrior tended to one-shot into blood vapor any non-warrior.  But that may have just been the way the group I observed played the game.

And Thufir Hawat, i like your description of how you GM more and more.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 08:50:45 AM by Healergirl »

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: System Games
« Reply #49 on: August 27, 2012, 07:33:44 AM »
There was a convoluted overworked, underplaytested game back in my early teenage years called Powers & Perils, a mess, it really was a mess but the heart of the combat system was a chart which listed attack results based on the OCV as modified by the DCV.  Regular hit, serious hit, critical hit, miss.  The one jewel of the game was that combat moved like lightning.
Doesn't Talislanta kinda do the same? Combat skill modified by defence, roll a d20 and add, and compare the end result to a TN table that doesn't change. Results range from catastrophic failure, through normal miss, to partial success, full success, and critical success.
The advantage is that you can easily keep the table in your mind, as it has only 5 ranges.

Quote
One thing that struck me about Exalted:  Any attack that would scratch a warrior tended to one-shot into blood vapor any non-warrior.  But that may have just been the way the group I observed played the game.
That's actually quite common in Exalted-as-written, yes. Of course, when big artefact killsticks come into play, any hit would explode anyone unarmoured, period. Warriors simply don't get hit, or have the armour to only have it be a scratch, or have Resistance charms.

Quote
And Thufir Hawat, i like your description of how you GM more and more.
Thank you, and I'd admit I'm flattered 8-).
Of course, I'm not describing all of it, because the thread isn't about my style of GMing :P. But if you're interested, I can send you some links to descriptions of GMing that are either describing the same style, or are a lot like it.