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Author Topic: [Heroes of the Second Age] - Development  (Read 744 times)
aryus
Member

Posts: 9


« on: September 20, 2011, 08:52:56 AM »

I'm looking for some help on my current rpg project called Heroes of the Second Age. PDF files is located at http://www.aryus.com/hotsa/HotSA.pdf and character sheet at http://www.aryus.com/hotsa/HotSA_sheet.pdf

The default setting is still in the works, as is the party wheel system (which will serve to introduce plot devices based on the number of tests the party has made, and will be based on the Hero's Journey).

Specifically I am looking for comments on:
1) Are the main game mechanics clear and easy to understand?
2) Are 10 points spread between Stamina and Will enough? Too many?
3) Does the Magic system need to be less vague?
4) Is the Party Wheel idea even necessary? (I know this one may be hard to answer since it doesn't exist on paper)

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
aryus (a.k.a. Martin)
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Thriff
Member

Posts: 68


« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2011, 09:31:22 AM »

Hey Aryus,

I think youv'e achieved your goal of simplicity and added some innovative and effective mechanics.

As a designer I recognize that your setting is utilitarian. Evil/Good allows for Black/White magic and Curses/Blessings. Fine, that works.

But as a player I don't like "Good vs. Evil" settings. So yours strikes me as a quick re-write of Christian cosmology. Tropes such as "create a non-characterized female that's a toy to be bandied about by male godly beings", "sharp horned trolls are evil by default and should be reviled for no other reason than that they are trolls--with sharp horns", "daylight means good and night-time means evil".

I'd like to see the setting get spiced up. I can offer suggestions if you're interested.

More setting details would also help. Names of significant places, people, and events would help ground players in your setting.

Explicitly state that Helic is the Phoenix and Ragos the Dragon. This logical jump, though not difficult, had to be inferred.

I really like your phases idea. It encourages the setting you've crafted. But 12 phases seems like way too many. Perhaps 3 or 4? I like the idea of the Dragon and Phoenix influencing the character's successes, so this is certainly a mechanic worth keeping (even if it ends up changed).

Why must I roll low to succeed? This isn't a design flaw in any way, I just prefer to roll high (as a player) to succeed. Just seems more natural.

Why are the 3-dot black dice excluded from the Sara example? Am I missing something?

Some examples of social conflict would be nice. The game seems to support such conflicts, but is that what you intended?

I would suggest shifting the extra success/failures narration to a different player than the one that rolled. This will encourage group cohesion and produce results that no single character can anticipate. It will help drive the narrative. This also alleviates one person's need for bearing all the creative responsibilities for a time. Especially for failures. It doesn't seem like such a failure if I get to decide how I failed.

Gifted/Dark Magic seems too cheap if its comparable to +1 stamina.

Death doesn't have to be the ultimate punishment for a character. Consider removing them from the battle or disabling that player from being able to enhance the story for a time. Those may be better deterents (and more efficient because the player won't have to re-create a full character) to keep players from playing sloppily.

Why is failed black magic more varied than failed white magic? Doesn't make sense narratively or mechanically. Allow both to harm Stamina and Will and perhaps even have narrative ramifications.

Some more details on how to use magic would be nice. Different schools of magic? Benchlines for difficulty?

Character Creation. Rephrase "3.) Stamina and Will both begin with 1 point. Add 8 bonus points as desired." Just a clarity thing.

Summary

To answer your questions: 1-yes, 2-no, 3-yes!, 4-necessary, but needs to be revised.

I like how fluid your game is. Character Creation "CC" is quick and natural.

The setting is the greatest deterrent for me as a player.

The phases is cool in concept, too much accounting in practice.

Conflict is straight-forward. Excellent. Change who is responsible for narrating extra successes/failures.

Magic needs more details, it is much too vague.

Hope this helps.

T
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aryus
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2011, 11:27:49 AM »

Thanks for the comments Thriff. The game is pretty rusty right now and I appreciate the insight.

I'm hoping to portray the setting as more Creation vs. Destruction than Good vs. Evil. My intention is a bronze age Celtic setting based more in Zoroastrianism than Christianity. I'd love to hear your suggestions to spice things up. The origin story is also pretty rusty. I left out the part that describes Helic and Ragos as the Phoenix and Dragon for one thing.

I think the 12 phases are necessary because of the dice pool being six dice, unless I went with a larger change than a single die between each phase I guess. I did consider an 8 phase wheel with four dice in each pool, but it seemed a little light on the number of successes/failures generated. I will have to consider what you said. As for rolling hi vs. low, that's a remnant from an older version of the game that WAS based on Christianity and involved the number of the beast and all that. So rolling sixes is bad. My intention for HotSA is to use whatever dice you want, so long as each die generates a 50/50 result. So you could do evens/odds or hi/low or even the same range on the white dice and black die. Doesn't matter so long as it is consistent. I guess I should mention that option in there.

Yeah, it is light on examples. I've had a few people mention that to me.

I love the idea that someone else narrates the failures. Hope you don't mind, but I'm going to adopt that in some form. Thank you. Also, the idea that 0 Stamina or Will ends the character. After reading through the Game of Thrones RPG, I toyed with the idea like you mentioned. Just have not solidified my thoughts on it yet.

Thanks for the comments on the magic system. I agree that it probably needs more guidance, but I want to leave it pretty freeform like the rest of the system. I guess I just need to find the right balance.

Thanks again for the comments. It's great to have someone I don't know look at the game.

Regards,
Martin



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Thriff
Member

Posts: 68


« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2011, 11:56:20 PM »

Hey Aryus,

Take anything I suggest! Why else would I be telling you? :P

Magic System: My own game (ASH) has a magic system that is designed to be free-form yet adaptable. It was inspired by Ars Arcanum. Hopefully these will start you on an inspiring path. Check for Ars Arcanum online or ASH here http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forge/index.php?topic=32007.0

What are your design goals for this game? What prompted you to begin?

Could you provide us with a visual representation of your wheel?

Setting: Perhaps read up on creation myths from across the world to get some different perspectives on how to integrate cosmic forces. Wikipedia!

Aryus, I'd like to help more but I feel like I don't have enough information.

I don't know what HotSA is supposed to "do" (design goals). I don't well enough understand how your primary mechanic (as I see it), the Wheel, operates. I don't sense that your desire for a setting of "creation vs. destruction" is effectively communicated through your proposed mythology.

Design, System, Setting. I think these three are HotSA's foundation--but I'm not familiar enough with them to propose much more (as of now).

hope this helps,

T

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aryus
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2011, 07:02:26 AM »

Your comments definitely help. I am working on a new version to take them into account and further develop the game. Will post the new version once it's in a clearer state.

Thanks!
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