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General Forge Forums => Game Development => Topic started by: johnthedm7000 on December 10, 2010, 03:53:58 PM

Title: The revised task resolution system for the RPG I'm working on
Post by: johnthedm7000 on December 10, 2010, 03:53:58 PM
Task Resolution:

All important tasks (ie. those that have a chance of failure, and which have significant consequences for failure) are resolved using the following method.


2d10+Ability+/- Circumstances


Against a difficulty that's either determined by the GM based on the task (for unopposed checks), or based on the opposing character's abilities (for opposed checks). Once the result is determined, it is compared to the difficulty. If it is above the difficulty, the check is a success if it is below the difficulty then it is a failure. A failure results in the character not accomplishing a task (such as missing a foe with a punch, or not moving any farther up a cliff), but doesn't result in any adverse side effects. A failure by 5 or more results in a complete failure, a minor snag which in addition to the character not succeeding means that he suffers an inconvenience that while not deadly or serious is annoying and hampering such as becoming off balance for a failed roll to punch someone, or sliding 10 ft down a cliff. If a character fails by 5+his relevant skill rating then he suffers a catastrophic failure, which inflicts a horrible fate upon the character who screwed up so horribly (such as falling to the ground on a failed Hand to Hand roll, or falling to the ground hard with a failed Athletics roll to climb.


For each point over the difficulty, the character achieves a success.These successes are then spent on various Effects, which are used to determine the outcome of a check. A character has a number of Effect "slots" to put successes into equal to 1+his rating in the skill. A character can attempt to use  Effects  that he doesn't have access to at a penalty of -1 to the Ability roll per effect added.


A character possesses a number of skills such as Weaponry, Deceit, or Defense. These skills are rated from 1 to 5, and do not add to die rolls. Rather, these skills allow characters to accomplish a wider variety of tasks, and ensure that a character is less likely to suffer a complete failure.


There are 4 types of checks:


Simple Unopposed: These are checks that take only one action to complete, regardless of the action type required to complete it and that are not actively opposed by another creature. Choose a relevant Ability and skill pairing (for example Charisma+Persuasion to convince someone to move out of your way) and roll 2d10+Ability+/- Circumstances against the difficulty. If you succeed, distribute successes to relevant Effects. If you fail, you either suffer a failure, a complete failure, or a catastrophic failure, based on your roll result as compared to the difficulty.


Simple Opposed: These are checks that only take one action to complete, regardless of the action type required to complete it that are actively opposed by another creature. It is rolled just like a Simple Unopposed check, except the difficulty is either the result of the other creature's 2d10+Ability-/+ Circumstance roll or 10+the character's ability+/-Circumstances. The "defending" creature (ie. the one not taking the action) can always choose which of those two numbers to use. The two numbers are compared, with the higher result being the one who achieves successes, and the one with the lower result suffering either a failure, complete failure, or catastrophic failure based on his roll result.


Complex Unopposed: These are tasks that take multiple actions to complete over a period of time. Any ability/skill pairing that the GM deems relevant to the task can be used, and each is rolled against a difficulty based on the difficulty of the task as determined by the GM. In a Complex unopposed task, the character needs to get a certain number of successes in a number of rolls equal to the character's Ability+Skill without suffering a catastrophic failure.


Complex Opposed: These are tasks that take multiple actions to complete over a period of time that are actively opposed by one or more other characters (checks that represent prolonged contests between multiple characters where one is not directly opposing the other are best handled as separate Complex opposed checks). They use many of the rules for Complex Unopposed tasks except that the difficulty for each check is determined in the same way as for Simple Opposed checks, and there is an additional "win condition". With Complex Opposed checks, you not only need to get a certain number of successes in fewer rolls than your relevant Ability+Skill without suffering a catastrophic failure, but you need to get that number of successes before the other people do.


During each increment of time (whether that be a round, a minute, an hour or a year), the character whose turn it is declares what Ability/Skill pair he is using and all other characters declare what Ability/Skill pair they are using to oppose it (these Ability/Skill pairs should be relevant to the task at hand). The character who achieves the highest result sets the difficulty for all others, determining their degree of failure. The character with the highest result determines his or her successes by the difference between his result and the next highest result.


That's essentially the basics of my Task resolution system. Please give me your comments, questions, concerns etc. Thank you for all of your assistance!

Title: Re: The revised task resolution system for the RPG I'm working on
Post by: Abkajud on December 10, 2010, 06:51:21 PM
Hey, John!
How about this - can you ask what you want help with in particular?
I made this mistake recently, myself - it's important to have a reason to seek help. I totally get the angle of "so... I have this game idea" and wanting to share it with people, but this here's a workin' forum.

So - - what can we do? And what's your game about? Talking about the RPG as a whole, even in summary, would make it easier for us to help you.

Title: Re: The revised task resolution system for the RPG I'm working on
Post by: johnthedm7000 on December 11, 2010, 06:35:04 PM
The essential premise of the game that I'm working on is that the world as we know it has ended due to an apocalypse brought on by eldritch abominations from another dimension that were lured to this reality by the overuse of a newly discovered miracle energy source found by scientists working off the east coast of the united states. This miracle particle, dubbed "Aether" by scientists is a high-energy particle that can break the laws of physics as we know it, producing energy or matter from nothing and responds to a wide variety of stimuli, including the electromagnetic spectrum and human thought. The world was changed in a matter of years, with all developed nations eventually relying on it to the exclusion of all other energy sources and using it to solve humanities other problems (starvation and need not the least of them). But the geniuses who pioneered this energy breakthrough didn't account for one thing: this energy the Aether produced came from another dimension, and that dimension had inhabitants who require sacrifice for the gifts that they bestow. Que Occultolaypse, with disorganized bands of survivors scrambling to survive in a world where mad magic surges over the world, and hideous Lovecraftian horrors terrorize humanity, where keeping one's humanity and sanity are just as important as finding food and water.

The theme of the game is the question "In a world gone through hell to someplace stranger, what will you do to survive? And what are your priorities?" I put forward this question in the form of three three conflicted statistics known as "Mental Priorities" (this is a beta name, I'm having a hard time figuring out what's a good name for them), that are a measure of your character's priorities in a post-apocalyptic world. They are measured from -3 to +3 and are Sanity, Connectedness, and Survival Instinct.

Connectedness measures how invested you are in those that you care about, and how connected you are to your own morals and values. A positive connectedness applies as a bonus to tasks where you're acting in accord with your values or to protect those things you cherish and as a penalty when you are violating your morals or sacrificing the things you love.

A negative connectedness applies as a bonus when you take the "pragmatic" approach to a problem, or sacrifice something or someone you care about to achieve something else and as a penalty when attempting to act in service to a greater cause, or taking self-sacrificing actions.

Sanity measures your character's mental health. A positive sanity applies as a bonus when your character performs a task rationally, and as a penalty with magic use or when "insane" action is required (things like "well I have a sharpened stick and they have energy guns, but if I buy my friends just a little bit of time..." ) . A negative sanity applies as a bonus and penalty in exactly the opposite circumstances. It's a boon with magic use and when "balls to the walls" action is called for, and a penalty when being sane and rational is called for.

Survival Instinct measures your character's preoccupation with the basic needs of the human animal (food, water, shelter, and the perpetuation of your genes). A positive survival instinct applies as a bonus when you're attempting to accomplish something pertinent to your survival, and as a penalty to tasks that are not immediately pertinent to your brain stem or when you must give up what you need to survive for the benefit of others.

Your survival instinct doesn't care if you make that treaty with the other tribe of survivors, even if it will lead to more food for you down the line. It cares about NOW NOW NOW. A negative survival instinct applies as a bonus to tasks not immediately pertinent to survival, or when you're ignoring what you need to survive to accomplish some other goal but applies as a penalty to checks made to acquire and secure the basic needs of human existence.

Now what I'm wondering is that given my game's premise and theme, I'm wondering if the task resolution system and attribute and skill mechanics fit it, or if you guys think I'm trying to put a round peg in a square hole (or vice versa).

Title: Re: The revised task resolution system for the RPG I'm working on
Post by: johnthedm7000 on December 12, 2010, 08:37:47 PM
So given everything that I've said thus far, what are your general impressions of my games basic system and mechanics? I'm aiming for fairly granular task resolution with a moderate degree of simulation and grit (to fit in with the post-apocalyptic setting) and also looking for a system that will allow players to learn and apply it fairly quickly. A slight learning curve is expected with this system, but I would like to avoid what I call "Rolemaster Syndrome" (extremely obtuse and complex rules buried under reams and reams of charts and tables).

Title: Re: The revised task resolution system for the RPG I'm working on
Post by: Abkajud on December 13, 2010, 09:49:51 AM
I really like the chosen stats you've outlined - the applications of positive and negative values are spot on!
The stats are well-chosen, and fascinating.
I would ask that you give a few examples of applying a negative Survival Instinct mod in a way that is beneficial - maybe "when you do something for fun or for beauty, apply your negative SI as a positive" could work?
What's the word you're going to use for "apply a negative as a positive" and vice versa? Or are you just going to apply it roughly as I've done so here?
Can you give some sample tasks and target numbers? That would tell me how much of a difference stat values and circumstances make.
A question - will circumstantial modifiers overshadow, match, or be outperformed by (potential) stat mods? For example, will they range higher than +/-3, range around there, or range lower than that?

Those are my general impressions - hopefully they're what you're looking for :)

Title: Re: The revised task resolution system for the RPG I'm working on
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 13, 2010, 01:36:11 PM
Hi John,

For this thread to continue, please set up and link to some external document that we can reference. It doesn't have to be your complete work, or even really anything more than what you have here. But it does need to be off-Forge. See the forum sticky thread for more about this policy.

Also, "general impressions" aren't really what Forge threads are for. I recommend giving a little more focus for continued discussion.

Best, Ron

Title: Re: The revised task resolution system for the RPG I'm working on
Post by: johnthedm7000 on December 13, 2010, 01:51:13 PM
A few examples of when a negative survival instinct is positive:

As you said, when you're doing something for fun, or creating something nonessential (such as art, music, a book etc.). While this will have limited applicability in most games, it is something to consider.

When you attempt something that ignores your basic survival in favor of other factors. So, if you're fighting off a rival group of survivors and choose to stay behind and "fight them off" so your friends can escape, negative survival instinct would apply as a bonus. While this does overlap with connection, it applies to the situation for a different reason. A high connectedness would apply to rolls to fight them off because you are fighting to defend people you care about (your friends), while a negative survival instinct would apply because you care less than most for self-preservation.

It might even apply to rolls to resist penalties from lack of food and water. A dedicated mechanic who needs to keep a water purification system active to save his friends might go without food and water himself in order to work all night and all day. He has a connection of +2, a sanity of 0, a survival instinct of -2, and an Intelligence of 3. He rolls 2d10+7 for his Repair roll, to see how much progress he makes.

A low survival instinct can also easily apply as a bonus in the case of cooperation or negotiation. Survival instinct really measures how much your basic needs and "animal brain" influence your actions. A person with a low survival instinct might be described as "civilized", "cultured", "soft", "brave" or other similar terms, but the key thing to remember is that a character with a negative survival instinct is someone who doesn't place as high a priority as most people do on aquiring the basic necessities of life.

As far as terminology goes, what I was thinking is "Flip" to describe how to apply a score as it's opposite. For example, a piece or rules text might say "if you are making a roll to cast a spell, Flip your Sanity score to determine if it applies a bonus or penalty"

Just to clarify, Mental priorities will only be a part of the stats which define a character. A character will be built out of the following traits:

Abilities (Brawn, Quickness, Brains, Toughness, Intelligence, Sense, Charisma, Luck. These determine a characters "base" traits, like speed, health, and defenses, range from 1-5 and add to relevant die rolls)

Mental Priorities (Connection, Survival Instinct, Sanity. These might apply as either a bonus or a penalty to die rolls in certain circumstances, and they stack with one another).

Gifts: (Little perks that grant additional talents, such as new uses for skills. These do not add or subtract from dice pools)

Flaws: (Negative traits that give characters complications when certain events occur. These do not add or subtract from dice pools.)

Skills: These allow you more breadth of ability in tasks, and help you avoid catastrophic failures.They range from 1-5, and are NOT applied to die rolls. They are always paired with a given attribute (such as Quickness being paired with Athletics to do a backflip and then sprint away. The ability a skill is paired with depends on the overall situation, and how the skill is being used. )

Circumstantial modifiers will be put into two parts:

Personal: Things that are under one's control, such as equipment, wearing your lady's favorite animal musk before attempting to woo her etc. These range from -3 to +3. They do not stack with each other, but stack with external mods.

External: These are things that are out of your control, such as how dark it is outside, the amount of Aether in the environment that's available for you to draw on etc. These range from -3 to +3. These don't stack with one another either, but do stack with personal mods.

So generally speaking, players have just 1-4 mods to look out for. They declare a skill+ability pair they're going to use, roll the Ability, apply any Mental Priority mods (if the table agrees that they're relevant), and any personal mods and roll. The GM applies external mods, and then the player either allocates successes or suffers the consequences of failure.

Thus the total modifiers to a roll might go as low as -14 (-3 personal, -3 external, -9 mental priority, +1 ability) to as high as +20 (+3 personal, +3 external, +9 mental priority, +5 ability). Now modifiers this extreme are probably going to be pretty rare, as these situations represent either everything working against a character (situation, equipment, psychological makeup, and talent) or everything clicking into place all at once and aiding the character. These sorts of situations enable truly remarkable results, given the large effect of any +1 or -1 penalty on a roll of 2d10 and that's as it should be. The game world I envision is a world gone mad and torn asunder by apocalypse and as such it should be possible for characters to either fail horrendously or achieve incredible things based on circumstance. A common TN for "Average" tasks would likely be 10-12, as most people will have most Abilities at 2, and few extreme scores in Mental Priorities, with TNs going as low as 0 (for truly easy tasks) to 40 (for tasks that literally have 1 in a million odds).

Title: Re: The revised task resolution system for the RPG I'm working on
Post by: johnthedm7000 on December 13, 2010, 06:39:55 PM
So to satisfy the Gods of the Mod, here is a link to my initial attempt at the task resolution system for my game, as posted by me on Facebook. Feel free to comment on it there as well as here!/home.php?sk=mynotes (!/home.php?sk=mynotes) .

As for adding more focus to this discussion, I essentially want to know if you guys feel if the system that I've designed fulfills the following design goals:

*A compromise between granular task resolution and easy of play.

*A system which lives up to my designation of this game as a Narrativist/Simulationist Hybrid in that it allows a fair amount of simulation of post-apocalyptic life while encouraging people to tell interesting stories about unique characters.

*A system that makes your character's priorities in life important on both a thematic and mechanical level.

*A system which is consistent throughout all areas of it's execution (few "fiddly bits" or exceptions)

*A system which enables gritty and intense combat that captures the desperation of a post-apocalyptic existence.