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Author Topic: Omnificent Role-playing System ruleset free to download  (Read 3046 times)
dreamborn
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« on: February 17, 2011, 12:41:56 PM »

Just a note.

The Omnificent Role-playing System ™(ORS™) rule set is now available for download.  Currently only the ORS Standard Rules™ is up on the site, but as my web designer gets around to it all the 4 core books was be available for free to download.

So join the ORS™ community and help create the next generation role-playing game.  ORS™ will only happen if the community at large make it happen.

Kent Krumvieda
www.dreamborn.com
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SteveCooper
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Posts: 19


« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2011, 08:37:40 AM »

I'd had something of a look, and wondered if you had a particular topic of discussion in mind.

What I'm seeing in my brief scan is a fairy old-school set of rules for playing fantasy RPGs, with the nice addition of the ability to run on PC and phone. The rulebook reminded me an awful lot of AD&D 1st ed, with its equipment lists and race descriptions.

I quite liked the idea of the event-based progression of time, although I think there may be flaws with it. Also, the predefined action templates appealed, but mainly because I'm a programmer and I find myself wanting this if I play computer games.

You seem pretty geeared up to earning from this -- that's cool. Have you thought much about your competition? (eg Battlegrounds) Do you have a USP that'll differentiate you from these direct competitor, and from related competition like classic tabletop FRPGs, and from computer RPGs?

Quote
the underlying philosophy of ORS™ is a role-playing system that is unlimited in creative power. To accomplish this ORS™ was designed with realism and playability as the two main guiding principles. ORS™ breaks the mold in most role-playing systems in eliminating predefined classes/professions, and artificial level definitions. It introduces a level-less system that is skill based with character advancement based on skill usage.

I'm pretty sure 'breaking the mold' is a bit boastful. This approach has been fairly well established for about 30 years.
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dreamborn
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2011, 09:02:46 AM »

Hello SteveCooper

My goal is to turn this into a community project. I can't do it all on my own.  If this ever gets done it must be a community project.  I personally don't care if I earn a dime.  I would love to play ORS in it's full glory.

If you are a computer programmer, consider all the rules (4 books) as a requirments specification.  Hopefully the rest will be up soon. 

In my opinion it is not old-school.  Read some more.  The standard rules were written to be familar looking.  The key strength are under the hood, but you will only see that after you read all the other books.

Kent Krumvieda
www.dreamborn.com
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dreamborn
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2011, 10:09:36 AM »

What I'm seeing in my brief scan is a fairy old-school set of rules for playing fantasy RPGs, with the nice addition of the ability to run on PC and phone. The rulebook reminded me an awful lot of AD&D 1st ed, with its equipment lists and race descriptions. 

Sorry I missed this comment in my post.  Yes it 'looks' old school and hopefully familiar.  One of the goals was to not bog the players and the GM in items and details that can destroy role-playing; let the computer do that.  Play/GM as if it was a real world taking your own knowledge and experiences as a base.  If it works in the real world it should work the same in the ORS world.  That is the base, everyone can relate to that.  Now add magic and mythical creatures you can extrapolate the impacts and incorporate that into your models.

The races in the rules, are the 'standard' races.  They are the ones I use in my ORS campaign  (Terra 1592).  The nice thing about ORS is the GM is unlimited in this aspect.  He can create any race he wants, see GM guide.  In other words if you want your players to run ABC race then you can the rules were designed to allow that.

Much of my design (under the hood) is to model life, learning, and behavior.  There was a considerable amount of R&D performed to mathematically model this.  The underlying engine was the basis of a DoD SBIR proposal at my place of work.

Hope that helps

Kent Krumvieda
www.dreamborn.com
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SteveCooper
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Posts: 19


« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2011, 04:56:48 PM »

In my opinion it is not old-school.  Read some more.

What I'm calling old-school is the type of play you're outlining. There's some interesting stuff in the actual method of play -- z-scores and computerisation -- that look worth further discussion, but these aren't dealt with in enough detail in the book.

As I said, it's the type of play that bothers me. The rule book contains examples of play like this;

Quote
The party consists of archetypal Thief, Woodsman, Priest, Mage and Cavalier. The GM acting in his role as a storyteller describes what the characters are experiencing. [...] the party is exploring an old dungeon below a haunted castle. The party most recently traveled down a long 10-foot wide corridor and is now standing in and around a door. The Thief hands his lantern to the Priest and then selects Standard Door Procedure from his personalized action list. The Woodsman moves 20 feet back down the corridor and selects has guard template. The rest of the party selects their guard template and adjust their character‘s facing using their game map, while the thief does his thing.

It's been a while, but I can't think of any salient differences between this and the example of play from the AD&D1e GM's handbook. I've highlighted some of the phrases that for me trigger that sense of being old-school gaming. The kind of game you are asking people to have is the very first kind of role-playing there was.

Where you have tried to break away from D&D in the sense of rules -- for example, by removing fixed character classes -- you've fallen straight back in by talking about characters as thief, mage, priest, ranger, and cavalier. The big change from D&D - replacing levels with skills that advance by use -- is basically RuneQuest circa 1978.

What's not clear to me is who the target audience of this game is, or your larger design goals, or the problem you are trying to solve. Are you trying to convert D&D players to a slightly better form of dungeonbash? Do you want to make your fortune on the iTunes App Store? Are you trying to give computer RPG players a taste of tabletop? A clearer sense of what you're aiming for and what kind of feedback you are looking for would help greatly.
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dreamborn
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2011, 08:39:54 PM »

Quote
It's been a while, but I can't think of any salient differences between this and the example of play from the AD&D1e GM's handbook. I've highlighted some of the phrases that for me trigger that sense of being old-school gaming. The kind of game you are asking people to have is the very first kind of role-playing there was..

Yes I understand what you are saying now.  One of the goals of ORS is not to eliminate the GM as the story teller but to assist him in his task.  This is just one example of play.  If you as a GM have a different style ORS can accommodate your personal style.

Quote
Where you have tried to break away from D&D in the sense of rules -- for example, by removing fixed character classes -- you've fallen straight back in by talking about characters as thief, mage, priest, ranger, and cavalier. The big change from D&D - replacing levels with skills that advance by use -- is basically RuneQuest circa 1978...

I don't have a problem about talking about characters 'generically' in the role they are playing.  This is not a class but a role, it is a name, nothing more.  The options, skills, weapons, directions in 'virtual life' is not restricted in any way.  A character is only limited by his abilities, traits and choices in life, just like in real life.  In my opinion it allowed me to quickly describe a character to illustrate an example.  Skills that advance with use IS a model of life.  Where Rolemaster and possible RuneQuest discretely increase a character's proficiency based on experience points.  ORS increases it by time, usage, abilities, and traits, as explained in the ORS rules.  Just as in real life the more you practice and work on something the better you become.

Quote
What's not clear to me is who the target audience of this game is, or your larger design goals, or the problem you are trying to solve. Are you trying to convert D&D players to a slightly better form of dungeonbash? Do you want to make your fortune on the iTunes App Store? Are you trying to give computer RPG players a taste of tabletop? A clearer sense of what you're aiming for and what kind of feedback you are looking for would help greatly.

I do not have a target audience as such.  I am trying to design a game that models life, learning and behavior, but hides all the mechanics and allows the GM and players to create a consistent story/adventure.  The type of adventure the ORS can handle is up to the GM.  ORS is a flexible as the GM needs.  As I mentioned before I don't care if I make a dime.  I am trying to create a system that allows players and GM to create ANY type of game that allows them virtually unlimited freedom to create and act within the GM's world.  This, in my opinion, is only possible if you have a complex rules engine BUT those rules have to be handled quickly and consistently by the computer.  How it handles the rules can be changed/modified by the GM, after all he is in control.
I am looking for people interested in helping finish this project.  THEY can do it for a potential piece of the pie or they can do it for the love of it.  In the end I don't care if I make a dime.  Four years ago the ORS team started with 5 engineers of various persuasions, 1 mathematician, 1 psychologist, and an artist or two.  Life has interfered, people have moved out of state and country, gotten married, had children, etc.  No one to date, including myself has taken any percentage, or any money.  I am looking for people who want to get involved.  The 4 core rulebooks are uploaded now.

Kent Krumvieda
www.dreamborn.com
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SteveCooper
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Posts: 19


« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2011, 03:39:39 AM »

Quote
I am trying to design a game that models life, learning and behavior, but hides all the mechanics and allows the GM and players to create a consistent story/adventure.  The type of adventure the ORS can handle is up to the GM.  ORS is a flexible as the GM needs.  As I mentioned before I don't care if I make a dime.  I am trying to create a system that allows players and GM to create ANY type of game that allows them virtually unlimited freedom to create and act within the GM's world.  This, in my opinion, is only possible if you have a complex rules engine BUT those rules have to be handled quickly and consistently by the computer.  How it handles the rules can be changed/modified by the GM, after all he is in control.

I've thought that way myself, too. I found myself wanting to design systems as an engineering problem: where the idea is to start with a set of scenarios and then use those scenarios as 'acceptance tests.' for instance;

  * Scenario 1: Open field. Two men with assault rifles. 500 yards away, two guys with spears. Desired outcome: assault rifles win 98% of the time. 
  
  * Scenario 2: Open field. Achilles, armed, vs an unarmed leperous child. Achilles wins 100%
  
  * Scenario 3: Open field. Twins. Twin 1 wins 50% of the time.

Enough scenarios and we have a 'fitness function' which gives us the right kinds of expectations. 
Then (and this is the tricky bit) get the computer to generate the system itself - say, by using a genetic algorithm. The end result is a computer program which is your system. 

All a bit too tricky for me in my spare time, but an indulgence for my inner Simulationist :)
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dreamborn
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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2011, 04:31:47 AM »

Quote
I've thought that way myself, too. I found myself wanting to design systems as an engineering problem: where the idea is to start with a set of scenarios and then use those scenarios as 'acceptance tests.' for instance;

  * Scenario 1: Open field. Two men with assault rifles. 500 yards away, two guys with spears. Desired outcome: assault rifles win 98% of the time.
 
  * Scenario 2: Open field. Achilles, armed, vs an unarmed leperous child. Achilles wins 100%
 
  * Scenario 3: Open field. Twins. Twin 1 wins 50% of the time.

Enough scenarios and we have a 'fitness function' which gives us the right kinds of expectations.
Then (and this is the tricky bit) get the computer to generate the system itself - say, by using a genetic algorithm. The end result is a computer program which is your system.

You basically, have it.  The trick is to incorporate all the other factors in life which can alter the outcome, and do it in such a way as to not interfere with the game play.  Those factors  include weather, temperature, character‘s encumbrance, entities performing actions nearby, is the character in a melee or non-melee situation, character‘s movement rate, current health and difficulty of the desired action just to name a few.


Kent Krumvieda
www.dreamborn.com
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dreamborn
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2011, 07:53:38 AM »

Thanks for the feedback.  Where possible I have incorporated your comments into the four rulesets.  The updated rules will be uploaded on or a bit after April 1st.

Kent Krumvieda
www.dreamborn.com
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ssem
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« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2011, 08:26:36 AM »

2 problems I've experienced in games where use and are the main ways of gaining skills and improving stats...
(1) we were playing a game with no levels or classes where no player knew any rules or his characters stats. all he had was a description and knew when he wanted to do something he'd roll 3D6. the gm would secretly increase our abilities as time went on based on what we did. and then one day we finally had some rest without absolutely nothing to do. the GM goes. what do you want to do with your time? some players ask what are our options. Anything you want! this is the 'between adventures' time where you can train to improve whatever area you wish. one power gaming player immediately set to teaching himself powerful martial arts techniques in his striving to beat up everything in combat. I was umming and ahhing about what to do. I didn't know who my character was, his strengths and weaknesses, the nature of the world was still a puzzle to everyone. all I had was my personality for the character, and he didn't come across as seasoned warrior. so i decided to do what I thought was good for an average human with no labels on him. I went out jogging. stating that I will start off slow and slowly build up my jogging pace and keep going until I can't continue. this had an entirely unexpected result. i became the super runner. I eventually exceeded all physical running ability. my speed at running hadn't increased much but my endurance was greater than any gods and the story moved on to a point where I had to keep jogging non stop to hold reality together. it was like I became the embodiment of jogging and infinite stamina.
(2) The other I think was Runequest. my memory is a permanent haze. while the Gm tried hard to run a scenario and get the players to follow the adventure. the players usually only had their characters do something in a skill they wanted to get better at. and so instead of playing a RPG we were 100% focussed on trying to do only those things that increased the skills we wanted. to me that aspect of the game crippled the whole point of gaming.

hopefully these situations wont come up for other gaming groups, and while I really like and agree with the idea of practising to gain skills and stats, I could never implemented it in any of my games. I think Rolemaster and its 500 companions had rules for neglecting stats and skills. or perhaps some other game I saw. where if during the entire adventure you didn't utilise a particular stat or skill it would lose a point or you had to do a roll such as a self discipline based resistance roll to avoid losing the point.

reminiscent Jan
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dreamborn
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2011, 01:20:45 PM »

Quote
Jan writes 2 problems I've experienced in games where use and are the main ways of gaining skills and improving stats...
(1) we were playing a game with no levels or classes where no player knew any rules or his characters stats. all he had was a description and knew when he wanted to do something he'd roll 3D6.


I think players need to know their characters and a general understanding of the rules.  That is why I wrote the 4 rulesets.  In regards to stats, in ORS the character will know his z-score for each of his abilities.  This tells him more than in most gaming systems.  For example (page 6 of ORS Standard Rules) an Agility z-score of 1 would mean that the character is 84% better than the rest of the population.  Population here is the statistical sense, in other words his Agility is 84% better than all the entities on the planet!  A z-score of 2 would mean he/she was 98% better than ALL the entities on the planet.  Skills (craft, trade, activity in which the character his competence and experience) are also z-score based.

So you can see that the player knows quite a bit about how he stacks up to other entities in the world.  Now if the world has 3 billion people then even a z-score of 2 means there are 60 million people who have a better agility than he does.  To relate something tangible in our world, Olympic athletes have a z-score in a particular skill greater than 3, which corresponds to greater than 99.8% better than the rest of the population.

Quote
Jan also writes, “The nature of the world was a puzzle… Jan’s character took up jogging and became the embodiment of jogging and endurance.”

In ORS, as in real-life, your ultimate skill would be limited by your abilities and traits.  Yes, skills do feed back into abilities but there are limits based upon your initial starting values (Assuming no magical manipulation).

Quote
Jan also writes, “The other I think was Runequest. my memory is a permanent haze. while the Gm tried hard to run a scenario and get the players to follow the adventure. the players usually only had their characters do something in a skill they wanted to get better at. and so instead of playing a RPG we were 100% focussed on trying to do only those things that increased the skills we wanted. to me that aspect of the game crippled the whole point of gaming.”

In ORS, skills increase with usage and decease (at a slower rate) with non usage.  In ORS, the number of skills are vast and, just in real life you are using multiple skills everyday without even thinking about it.  If the GM ONLY designs a stereotypical dungeon crawls then your fears may become a reality.  But this is NOT a problem with ORS it is a problem with the GM.  Furthermore, if the GM and players like this then ORS can accommodate this type of play.  Personally, as a GM, I would never design such an adventure, I would be bored to tears.  You might as well play a computer game, BUT that is a personal choice and ORS does not force my tastes in game play on others.

Kent Krumvieda
www.dreamborn.com
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SteveCooper
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« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2011, 01:47:52 AM »

the players usually only had their characters do something in a skill they wanted to get better at. and so instead of playing a RPG we were 100% focussed on trying to do only those things that increased the skills we wanted.

I'd forgotten that aspect of that mechanic. I have another two examples;

Call of Cthulhu gave you a tick in a box when you passed a skill check, and you rolled up at the end of the adventure. Consequently, you got maximum benefit by maximising the number of different skills you use in an adventure. There was always a temptation to try to fast-talk strangers or randomly read an ancient Hebrew scroll as the game continued...

Some computer RPGs work the same. I remember playing Oblivion, in which you gained athletics skill for jumping; so the natural way to move around the landscape is to pogo back and forth for miles. If you weren't leaping, you were losing.
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dreamborn
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« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2011, 07:53:10 AM »

Quote
Steve Cooper writes, Call of Cthulhu gave you a tick in a box when you passed a skill check, and you rolled up at the end of the adventure. Consequently, you got maximum benefit by maximising the number of different skills you use in an adventure. There was always a temptation to try to fast-talk strangers or randomly read an ancient Hebrew scroll as the game continued...

Some computer RPGs work the same. I remember playing Oblivion, in which you gained athletics skill for jumping; so the natural way to move around the landscape is to pogo back and forth for miles. If you weren't leaping, you were losing.

Well the ORS engine doesn't prevent this.  If the GM wants, the event driven interrupt, that allows the players to do things, could be set to streamline gameplay and effectively limit this.  Now in the real world I could see that if a bunch of characters were traveling by wagon or coach, then they might try to read a book/study on the way there.  And every break/evening they could practice their weapons techniques.  Fantasy fiction is ripe with this type of non-encounter action, I personally think that is ok.  Yes it could be abused BUT I ask you, do you want the Roleplaying System try to control this or is this a GM responsibility?   Remember ORS doesn't eliminate the GM, it just makes his job easier.

In regards to leaping and jumping around, ORS does handle this in automatically computing a character's exhaustion.  So if the player wants to do this GREAT, good for them.   They will eventual tire and game flow will progress.  Furthermore, should an encounter happen while they are exhausted or tired then they will learn quickly.  Should they survive.  Nature has a way of culling stupidity out of the herd.  :^)

Kent Krumvieda
www.dreamborn.com
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SteveCooper
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« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2011, 05:41:48 PM »

--- Part the First

Yes it could be abused BUT I ask you, do you want the Roleplaying System try to control this or is this a GM responsibility?   Remember ORS doesn't eliminate the GM, it just makes his job easier.

How would this make my life easier? My life is pretty easy already. I'm pretty sure I don't need a formal system at all to handle this sort of thing.

For instance, in the game rolling around my head at the minute, skill progression is just the GM and the player discussing downtime, and noting a few words on a character sheet. For instance, if a land-lubber character were to spend a few weeks on a sailing ship, the player and I might have a conversation, like so;

  [player] I'll try to pick up whatever I can from the experienced sailors on the journey.

  [gm] that sounds reasonable. You make friends with the first mate, Stubb. He explains how the rigging works and lets you know how to avoid being hurt.You get used to the constantly-rolling decks and overcome your initial seasickness.

  [player] Do I get anything on my character sheet?

  [gm] write down 'apprentice sailor'


The conversation will take about twenty seconds and is a very simple way to handle progression.

Now, a complex mathematical model -- no matter how automated -- isn't going to be faster or more reasonable than that.

--- Part the Second

I'm starting to realise what it is that's been bugging me about the system. What you seem to be doing is building a very fine-grained mathematical model ; the z-scores, action templates, and event modelling are a way to build a simulation. However, a simulation is not a game. What you need is a system for inviting a group of people to imagine things together. The simulation is the servant of the imaginitive act. What's great in RPGs is when a GM throws a difficult world at the players, and the players react in wonderfully creative ways. If a system encourages that, it's a winner. If it discourages it, it's a bad system for an RPG, even if it's an accurate model.

Now, the way I understand ORS, it's not going to be easy for a GM to use it to run a game of his own design. If I decide to write a magic system, I think I'm going to have to also write it as a computer program. And that limits the imagination of my players to algorithmic, systematic, formal thinking, which isn't something I want to see in my magic system.

What bugs me is that I can't see how I would run a game which encourages the players to imagine and try things that are beautiful, dramatic, or awesome. I can only see an invitation to model unreal things 'accurately'. The focus of attention seems to be on physical movement, carrying objects, and skill checks. You can't take those pieces and get something story-like, in the same way that you can't use the Newton's laws to model emotion.
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Ari Black
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« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2011, 04:28:54 AM »

Quote
Personally, as a GM, I would never design such an adventure, I would be bored to tears.  You might as well play a computer game, BUT that is a personal choice and ORS does not force my tastes in game play on others.

Dreamborn,
  I'm working on an RPG system with a similar goal to yours; essentially, one system to rule them all. I'm also using a skill based system with improvement through use. My approach was different from yours, as I wanted to make the system as basic as possible, with as few rules as possible, so that it was more flexible for different types of games. After completing most of the ground work, I started thinking about how I would play the current game I'm running with the new system that I'd created.

I saw that I would have to rework the mechanic of magic to use the system I had created. This was fine with me, because I expected that GMs would have to add personalizations here and there to make their specific game work. But I realized that, as long as I was creating a set of formal rules, no matter how abstract, I was forcing my tastes in game play and mechanics on the people who would be using the system.

This is not a bad thing, every RPG system does it. Even if a group was doing pure free-form RPG, they would likely develop a set of house rules to adjudicate even if it was just a basic social contract among the players. A game design friend of mine put it a different way, a way I didn't like at first but now think is probably true for the most part, "People need rules so they know what to break. So they have something to rebel against." Creativity comes from the players and the DM. The system is just there to act as a springboard.

You can't make a system that will work for all of the people all of the time. To do so, it would have to be all of the systems and none of them all at once. The best you can hope for is to make a system that's approachable; complex enough to allow for variability and challenge but simple enough for the learning curve and in-game use to not be restrictive. But, at best, it will only appeal to some of the people some of the time.
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