Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Awesomeness Score Revisted

A bit of a re post, but also an update as there have been some changes.

This section is one of the most fun parts of a game session, right at the end. At the end of every game the players (with the exception of the GM save in a tie) vote for the MVP. You cannot vote for yourself. The MVP wins one free fate point (re-roll mostly) and gains +5 to awesomeness for the night.

What is awesomeness? Awesomeness is how you win more re-rolls. The players will add up their score from various factors to have their total score for the night.

Then they roll on a d20, if they roll under their awesomeness they get a fate point, and lower their awesomeness by the number rolled. If they received a fate point they may roll again and try and roll under their new numbers. Rolling a 20 also always gives an awesomeness point and does not lower ones awesomeness score at all, because 20's are awesome.

Thus someone with 15 awesomeness could roll a 12 and gain a fate point. Having 3 awesomeness left the player rolls again and gets a 20 for a second fate point. Rolling a third time with 3 awesomeness they roll again and get a 3 , for a third fate point. Rolling one more time and hoping for a 20 the player rolls 16 and gets nothing. Then the next player begins rolling their awesomesness.

How does one gain awesomess? A combination of static bonuses, powers and actions.

Static bonuses include things like wearing a fancy hat, having a cape, wearing an eye patch, having a manly beard and/or 80's hair. Each of which gives a +1 bonus (with the exception of if you actually need an eye patch, in which case its +5).

Why these types of bonuses? This encourages players to adhere to awesome stereotypes. The white knight with the billowing cape, the soldier with a feathered and flamboyant hat rather than a very useful helm.

Powers are some of the more interesting ones:
- Warriors gain a "trademark item" that grows in power as they defeat more opponents. This grants them a bonus to awesomeness the more epic fights they get in. This encourages warriors to pick out bad asses to fight and also builds a sense of a warrior's history.

- Bards give a bonus to awesomeness to everyone in the party, based upon how many milestones they have passed. This makes bards much beloved in the party (if they take that power).

- Any character who takes the "Elite Training" trait (and gains more pie pieces when building their class) always has 0 awesomeness, meaning they can only get fates as the MVP or rolling a 20. They are the likely hero everyone saw coming. If you wanna play Grimdark Wizard Ninja #234 you can, but it will make your character less awesome (even if a power gamers dream).

And finally the actions of the character. This happens from two major types of actions: Taking extra risk for style (like say sliding down a banister and leaping off to attack when going down the stairs would have the same mechanical effect, minus not needing to worry about falling on your ass) and adhering to trope. If your thief steals a gem from a demonic idols eye in a room full of gargoyles, you know as a player this is a trap and the gargoyles are going to come to life. But obviously, the thief in these types of events and stories ALWAYS has greed win out and has to run for their life. And if you live, you totally rack up the awesomeness.

There are some other minor events that can impact awesomeness, some combat tricks (like humiliation strike giving a bonus or Rojambo giving a penalty).

But by and large it is one of the most fun parts of an evening.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Piecemeal Beta 2.5 - New Release

Newest set of tweaks is out,

some minor changes to combat tricks, combat awareness, social combat, and blunt weapons. A few typos and holdovers have also been fixed up.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Additional Tweaks

I have made some additional tweaks over the past few days to various minor elements. For example, the warrior power combat awareness grants an additional awareness die of luck points.

For those who may play D&D, consider that if the average character got 4 class powers to built their class (From weapon specialization, to shield use, to spell casting and turning undead) this would be one of them. The equivalent of giving a bonus hit die.

This is very useful at level 1, but fades quickly at higher levels. Kind of a waste of a power for a longer term player. This has been upgraded to give 1 extra die per milestone. In D&D terms think of it as being 1 extra HD per 5 levels or part there of. This doesn't make it a "must have" but definitely helps.

I expect the next Piecemeal release to be coming soon and I am nearing an end to the number of rough bits I am looking to iron out.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Changes to Blunt Weapons

Much like the 'Vicious Tag', the Blunt tag has given me no end of grief. I want blunt weapons to be viable, but I don't want 10 kind of slow down when they are used. Different options of knockdown effects and turning damage absorbed by armour into stun damage all took too much when in a mass battle.

Slashing weapons have their die sized up one, piercing weapons roll repeating damage. I needed something simple, and I am currently testing the following: A natural 20 on an attack gains all of the benefits of a power attack. Natural 20, power attack. Seems simple, but the real question is how will this impact game play.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Streamlining the 'Vicious' weapon tag

No tag has caused me more grief than the 'Vicious' tag: used for spikes, barbs, serrated edges, forks and other weapon 'enhancements'. Increases to critical damage at the cost of weapon 'hardness', re-rolling of 1's at the cost of die size, etc, etc. Each has become too complicated in mass battles and oft ignored. And if its ignored, why bother having it?

So it's been simplified to -1 to hit, +1 to damage. Now this may seem not much different than 'Devastating' (-2 to hit, +1 die size) except better. After all, going from a d6 to d8 is the same as +1 damage for an average, with only half the penalty. This is where the modifier limit rule in piecemeal makes the difference.

The bonus to any small die (ie, not a d20 or 3d6) cannot exceed the roll of the die. You can have a +4 bonus, but if you roll a 1 you only get +1. This means a serrated knife will be more effective than a hatchet if you have no strength bonus, but once you start taking more and more bonus modifiers the hatchet becomes the better weapon.

This strikes me as a nice compromise between 'fiddly bits' and 'streamlined' game elements. What are your thoughts?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Streamlining Helmets

In Piecemeal helmets are extremely useful, but they do not provide anything akin to an "armour class" bonus. Rather a helmet helps prevent critical hits.

Regardless of ones armouring or lack thereof, a critical hit is scored when the attack roll is either a 20, or beats the defender by 5 or more. This a skilled warrior is more likely to score a critical hit when facing a lackey. Helmets increase the range required (up to needing to beat the defender by 10 or more) at a penalty against awareness checks and detection rolls.

This is not new and works pretty well. What I have decided to do is streamline the helmet types available. Before I had fallen into the old trap of too much specific information, and tying it into historical helm types. There was the leather cap, the mail coif, the kettle helm, the open helm, the great helm, the beaked helm etc etc etc. This level of detail is not really needed, and it still discounts fantasy variants that never existed in real life (nor would they in any environment where a medieval warrior DIDN'T have to worry about air attacks and flamethrowers).

Thus it's been toned down to "Cap, Helmet/Coif, and Great Helm". Which seem to be the only variants people used anyways. This makes it a little easier to quickly generate creatures on the fly too ("does a dragon's thick skull count as a kettle helm or a mail coif?").

Friday, January 14, 2011

Exorcism and Social Combat:

I am overall a fan of the way social combat is used to represent possession attempts, it gives bard's a chance to shine in the demon infested ruins. However I am now limiting it so that social combat will only physically harm a creature if it is trying to possess you. If you walk up to a ghost and start yelling at it, it will just throw a chair at you unfazed (ba dum ting!). If it tries to dig into your mind however, your mind will fight back and damage the ghost: like any other infection.

The exception to this will be the priest with the exorcism power. This will allow a priest to harm such creatures even if they instigate the social combat. If the priest walks up and starts screaming at a ghost, the ghost (or demon or what have you) will recoil in pain as the priest invokes the name of his deity, "The power of Zeus compels you!". This increases the use of the power and means that a 1 part priest need not be expected to always take "miracles", as both "true belief" and "exorcism" become quite useful, while still ensuring bard's maintain their defense.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Simplifying weapon training

So one set of rules that are in place with the "weapon tags" to generate weapons simply and easily (rather than having a giant list of historical and fantasy weapons).

But one thing I wanted was to have a way to force training in weapons. What good comes of that? Why not simply allow anyone to use any weapons? I wanted some weapons to be trickier and harder to master than others. Some weapons have their strength in the fact that they are simple to use. A club is a lot easier to use than a pair of sword-chucks.

My current plan to test is to give a -1 penalty to attack for each tag a weapon has, unless a skill is used on that tag. So a two-handed, slashing, double edged, defensive weapon (a two handed sword) is harder to use than a two-handed club. Hitting with a stick is thus simpler than the art of fencing and swordplay.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Leaving a grapple - Further simplification of grapple

One thing I have been very happy with is the shrinking of the various grappling rules to be a simple rule that contains all wrestling, overbearing, tackling, swarming, riding, climbing onto and otherwise grappling.

You make an attack roll (with a simple penalty), and if you succeed the opponent has been latched onto, putting a limit on the potential range that can be used for weapons, A swordsman may be unable to do much more than punch a giant squid latched onto him while a dragon could only roll around and try to dislodge a halfling thief stabbing him in the back repeatedly.

The way to leave a grapple was either through mutual agreement or by winning both a comparative strength and agility check. This could get a bit bulky through in play. It also didn't allow others to rescue you from a grapple (Say pry the wolf from your throat).

Thus I replaced it by needing to score a basic "Knock Down" against one of the individuals. This allows for a third party to aid in freeing someone from a grapple and streamlines it marginally.

Plus it adds an extra reason to use "Knock Down" (which is tommorows point)...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A return to body points: Streamlining

The difference between body points and luck points has been an overwhelming success, I could never go back to just hit points.

But when the luck points run out and its down to body points, it can be a bit of a pain to work out the ratios (ie, how much damage until a -2 penalty versus a -1), and so I simplified from the old system:

Body points remaining/ Penalty

to the New system

Damage Taken/ Penalty
1pt / -1
50+%/ -5
all but 1pt/ -10

Why is this good?

Well it keeps the same intent (ongoing penalties when real injuries creep in) and the same general scale, while reducing paperwork and calculations.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Release!

The main changes for this batch are:

- the previously mentioned streamlining of the stealth system (and improving the rough edges)
- streamlining the body point penalties, rather than % its a very simple system.
- Giving an extra kick to knockdown attacks
- Simplifying the method of leaving a grapple/overbear.

The next few posts I make (this week) will be detailing why I went with each change.