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Offline SheepishRogueTopic starter

GM Noob
« on: May 14, 2013, 08:59:38 PM »
Hello everyone!

I guess I'll just get straight to it: would someone be interested in talking with me (by PM or messenger) to help me turn the world I have in my head into a concrete game? I guess in a nutshell I need a GM Mentor I can just message back and forth with.

Working on my first group game (I managed to bite the bullet and shrug off the shyness), but as I attempt to work out the details I am somewhat intimidated by the (awesome) wealth of information on E and am not sure how best to proceed with my idea.  :-\ I've never done any of these DnD/Pathfinder type of games, and I don't plan on using such a detailed system, but maybe I need one?

It's in the Borderlands universe (for those of you who are familiar with the video game). Maybe I bit off more than I realized I needed to chew, but I really want to see my idea come alive.

Thanks in advance,

~Sheepish

Offline Moraline

Re: GM Noob
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2013, 10:16:35 PM »
I created a "Group Game" list to consider when creating new group games.  It's a list of stuff that is commonly asked by players.

It might be a help to you to go over it and see if you've considered all of the points in it.  I hope it helps in some way.

List of Topics to Cover in Intro Post for any Group Game
http://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=164265.0

Offline SheepishRogueTopic starter

Re: GM Noob
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2013, 10:37:20 PM »
Hey Moraline!

The list was actually one of the first things I read once I came to this section. ;D It's definitely helped me define my game and actually motivated this thread (thank you, by the way). I've learned what kind of details I can use to define my game, but I'd like to speak with an experienced GM so the system/rules I choose don't wind up creating a clunky world for interested RPers.

Offline Moraline

Re: GM Noob
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2013, 10:42:42 PM »
Ah, so then your intent is to have rules and play a "system" game.  I understand.

I'm sure some of our system rules types will hop into the thread to help out. Good luck and have fun!

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: GM Noob
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2013, 05:28:48 AM »
Do you want to use/adapt an existing system, or try to create one of your own?

Offline SheepishRogueTopic starter

Re: GM Noob
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2013, 01:32:59 PM »
Do you want to use/adapt an existing system, or try to create one of your own?

I'd prefer to tweak an existing system since I highly doubt what I'll be doing is that different from anything that has been done before.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: GM Noob
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2013, 02:26:17 PM »
Hello everyone!

I guess I'll just get straight to it: would someone be interested in talking with me (by PM or messenger) to help me turn the world I have in my head into a concrete game? I guess in a nutshell I need a GM Mentor I can just message back and forth with.

(snipped)

Thanks in advance,

~Sheepish
Tell me more.

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: GM Noob
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2013, 07:02:21 PM »
I suspect most of us will recommend FATE as a good base system, depending what you have in mind.

Offline SheepishRogueTopic starter

Re: GM Noob
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2013, 09:09:01 PM »
Okay so here are some details about the Borderlands world. Not sure if I'll need to make any adjustments to make it less clunky on paper.

  • There are no individual character stats, just a skill tree (they get one SP per level after lvl5).
  • Skills can have a max of 5 points in them, but some gear can push it past this limit.
  • There will (can) be multiple trees for class customization
  • Mobs will have weapon/armor/$ drops ("family" dependent), but since there are no stats per se, they focus on regeneration of health, capacity of health/shields, weapon ammo/fire rate/accuracy/elemental damage

I guess those are the key features of the world.

Edit: Here is the interest check thread.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2013, 11:35:03 PM by SheepishRogue »

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: GM Noob
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2013, 11:21:25 AM »
Okay so here are some details about the Borderlands world. Not sure if I'll need to make any adjustments to make it less clunky on paper.

  • There are no individual character stats, just a skill tree (they get one SP per level after lvl5).
  • Skills can have a max of 5 points in them, but some gear can push it past this limit.
  • There will (can) be multiple trees for class customization
  • Mobs will have weapon/armor/$ drops ("family" dependent), but since there are no stats per se, they focus on regeneration of health, capacity of health/shields, weapon ammo/fire rate/accuracy/elemental damage

I guess those are the key features of the world.

Edit: Here is the interest check thread.
That can still be done with FATE Core, I suspect. But it depends on what tone you're going for.
Is it going to be "shoot and loot" action, like the games?

Offline SheepishRogueTopic starter

Re: GM Noob
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2013, 12:04:33 PM »
That can still be done with FATE Core, I suspect. But it depends on what tone you're going for.
Is it going to be "shoot and loot" action, like the games?

Basically. I've skimmed over the FATE system, seems like something I'd like to adapt since it's not too complex.

Offline Ebb

Re: GM Noob
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2013, 04:37:37 PM »
Hi Sheepish,

I think the question you want to ask yourself is how you expect to see the system used in play. There are a lot of systems, FATE included, which have as a fundamental feature that every attempt by player A to hit enemy B results in a die roll. There are an awful lot of variations on that concept, but you'll find the same thing to be true in a really overwhelming number of systems. This is fine for tabletop play, where a die roll takes a few seconds and is kind of a fun thing to do in its own right.

But imagine that you're running your Borderlands game on the forum. I played Borderlands I, though it was a while ago, and I'm pretty sure I remember it being almost constant gunfire. Which is great for a video game, of course. But do you really want your players to be rolling a die and adding some numbers for every attempted gunshot? When you're doing that over a play-by-post system, you're now looking at a single combat potentially stretching over a week or even multiple weeks, based on the posting speed of your players.

I know right now it looks like you're focusing on character creation, which is fine. But what I'm saying is that you should project forward to how you want the system to work during actual play. Nail that down, then work backwards to figure out what character stats you might want or need. You might find out, for example, that there's no point distinguishing between "Heavy Weapons 3" and "Heavy Weapons 5" or what have you, because you don't actually want to run the combats themselves with that level of detail.

Here's a gut-simple system that I'm just making up off the top of my head, just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about: [Ebb's Incredible Simple Combat System, patent pending]

- Every character has a skill called "Fighting". This ranges from 1 (a non-combatant) to 6 (Rambo). If you're wounded, you're at -2 to your skill, minimum of 1.

- When there's a combat encounter:
1) Work out in your head what the bad guys strategy is going to be for the fight. If you want to keep yourself honest, write it down.
2) Ask the players to give you their general strategy in the upcoming fight. (ie Joe's going in blasting, Sarah's going to snipe from that hill over there, Bob's going to try to circle around and flank them from behind, and Ed's going to hang back and run in with a medkit if somebody gets hurt)
3) Based on how well 1 and 2 match, come up with an 'advantage' number for the fight. This could be for either the players or the bad guys.
4) Add up the good guy's Fighting skills. Subtract the bad guy's fighting skills. Add or subtract the advantage number. Roll some FATE dice (this gives you a number from -4 to +4) and throw that on top
5) If the result is:
-10 or below, players all die. New game
-9 to -2, players lose, end up captured / wounded / stripped of equipment / some other bad end
-1 to 1, tie game, everybody backs off. Try a different approach
+2 to +9, players win, but end up with some injuries or equipment loss
+10 or above, players win decisively, bad guys all dead or captured (depending on what the players want).

- If the players win, let them write the long description of the battle and what happens. Give them enough information about the bad guys that they can do this.
- If the bad guys win, you write the description.

Now that's probably not workable as-is, but I hope it gives the general idea. The point would be to focus on one roll to cover the whole combat, and play to the strengths of forum-based play, namely the ability to write long detailed descriptions. Avoid the weaknesses, which are the long turn-around times between players contributions.

I hope that the general idea there is clear, at least. It's great that you're excited about the setting and that you're finding players who are too. So don't get bogged down in the system side of things to the point where that energy gets sapped.

Good luck!

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: GM Noob
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2013, 06:55:59 PM »
I don't know Borderlands, but if you want a more cinematic style game, Feng Shui could work. It's great for mowing through hordes of mooks in cinematically entertaining ways, and its really just the boss fights that get interesting.

Offline SheepishRogueTopic starter

Re: GM Noob
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2013, 10:08:01 PM »
Hi Sheepish,

I think the question you want to ask yourself is how you expect to see the system used in play. There are a lot of systems, FATE included, which have as a fundamental feature that every attempt by player A to hit enemy B results in a die roll. There are an awful lot of variations on that concept, but you'll find the same thing to be true in a really overwhelming number of systems. This is fine for tabletop play, where a die roll takes a few seconds and is kind of a fun thing to do in its own right.

But imagine that you're running your Borderlands game on the forum. I played Borderlands I, though it was a while ago, and I'm pretty sure I remember it being almost constant gunfire. Which is great for a video game, of course. But do you really want your players to be rolling a die and adding some numbers for every attempted gunshot? When you're doing that over a play-by-post system, you're now looking at a single combat potentially stretching over a week or even multiple weeks, based on the posting speed of your players.

snippity

Now that's probably not workable as-is, but I hope it gives the general idea. The point would be to focus on one roll to cover the whole combat, and play to the strengths of forum-based play, namely the ability to write long detailed descriptions. Avoid the weaknesses, which are the long turn-around times between players contributions.

I hope that the general idea there is clear, at least. It's great that you're excited about the setting and that you're finding players who are too. So don't get bogged down in the system side of things to the point where that energy gets sapped.

This is essentially an answer/example of what I was looking for, sadly my question wasn't too clear :/. Part of why I mentioned the game it's for is because it's so unlike a turn-based game, but having not done any group RP I had no idea how to specify what I was looking for. But yes, this is exactly the kind of setup I was trying to develop. Thanks!

I mainly mentioned FATE being a step in the right direction because of it's simpler(?) character creation, not for the combat (which I hadn't read about actually XD).

I don't know Borderlands, but if you want a more cinematic style game, Feng Shui could work. It's great for mowing through hordes of mooks in cinematically entertaining ways, and its really just the boss fights that get interesting.

Thanks, I've never heard of it, but I'll definitely check it out for ideas.

Offline Ebb

Re: GM Noob
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2013, 10:12:49 PM »
This is essentially an answer/example of what I was looking for, sadly my question wasn't too clear :/. Part of why I mentioned the game it's for is because it's so unlike a turn-based game, but having not done any group RP I had no idea how to specify what I was looking for. But yes, this is exactly the kind of setup I was trying to develop. Thanks!

I mainly mentioned FATE being a step in the right direction because of it's simpler(?) character creation, not for the combat (which I hadn't read about actually XD).


Well, I'm very happy if it's of some help. I don't know of any published play-tested systems that really focus on play-by-post like this, where conflicts are wrapped up into a single roll. If anyone else reading this does, please let me know where to look. I do know that there are a number of games which use what's known as "conflict resolution" instead of "task resolution", but this isn't exactly the same thing.

Offline meikle

Re: GM Noob
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2013, 12:39:26 AM »
my brief time spent with the Apocalypse World system reminds me a lot of borderlands -- AW is a little more profane and a little less light-hearted by default, but that's got a lot of wiggle room.  It's also a less... concrete system, which I think makes it ideal for use in a play-by-post setting.  It's really easy for someone who doesn't have a lot of experience with systems to get into, too -- probably easier, in fact, than getting into the game if you've already got preconceived notions of what a tabletop system should look like.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: GM Noob
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2013, 05:37:43 AM »
This is essentially an answer/example of what I was looking for, sadly my question wasn't too clear :/. Part of why I mentioned the game it's for is because it's so unlike a turn-based game, but having not done any group RP I had no idea how to specify what I was looking for. But yes, this is exactly the kind of setup I was trying to develop. Thanks!


I mainly mentioned FATE being a step in the right direction because of it's simpler(?) character creation, not for the combat (which I hadn't read about actually XD).
Well, FATE is a step in the right direction for this as well. It doesn't track single bullets or every single swing, but only the things that have a potential to change the narrative. A burst of 30 bullets is mechanically one roll - but may deal more damage, of course, or pin a number of enemies to the ground.
Same thing with hand weapons, you don't track swings, but your one roll represents a number of preparations, followed by potentially a number of strikes.
In either case, FATE cares about the effect it has on the narrative, and whether this inflicts a consequence like "pinned to the ground", "gut wound", or "dead", which you want to put on enemies and not PCs, but it depends on whether the players screw up ;D!

Quote
Thanks, I've never heard of it, but I'll definitely check it out for ideas.
AW is a great game for cinematic fights as well. It's also very E.-appropriate, since it even has mechanical (relationship) effects for sex, which in turn might make the characters, say, more driven to deal with a threat :P!
If the setting as you envision has a post-apocalyptic vibe, the Battle Angel, Gunlugger and similar character options would likely feel at home >:)!

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Re: GM Noob
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2013, 02:29:41 AM »
I suspect most of us will recommend FATE as a good base system, depending what you have in mind.

Everyone here says "have you tried FATE", everyone on RPOL says "Have you tried GURPS". Personally I love both systems.