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Author Topic: Dinosaur Cowboys skirmish game  (Read 3550 times)
bosky
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« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2011, 08:27:31 AM »

Actually to make the Fleeing really unpredictable and scary I would almost consider having Dinosaurs Flee in a random direction and stomp anything in their path. Two problems with that though:
1. I hate requiring directional dice (scatter dice from 40k)...maybe they could either go directly forward or directly backward instead?
2. Exactness would be a problem where an opponent might try to weasel their way out of getting hit by a Fleeing dinosaur by arguing what angle the directional dice is at.
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Daniel36
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« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2011, 11:56:20 PM »

You don't need directional dice. You can make a random direction thingy from pretty much everything. Just draw an arrow on whatever you use and throw it in the air.
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bosky
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« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2011, 11:12:35 AM »

So instead of some of the dinosaur based changes I mentioned before I went another route. I implemented a new dinosaur only stat for Discpline into the rulebook and am going to playtest that a few times before making it official. Here's how it works in the updated version:

So basically each Dinosaur has a set Discipline value (currently between 3 and 10) and if damage from a single attack exceeds that value they add a Panic token (multiple can be added). If they Activate while having a Panic token they use a random movement distance instead of their set value. For example the Runner uses D10" instead of 10". At the end of their Activation they remove 1 Panic token automatically, plus 1 additional Panic token if they are mounted (representing the rider soothing/calming down/controlling the dinosaur).
Dinosaurs can be Trained or Untrained. Trained get +1 Discipline, +1 MMC whereas Untrained get -1 Discipline, +2 HP. I'm not 100% sold on those numbers though and might just make both be a modifier to Discipline and Hitpoints (and maybe just +/- 1 HP instead of 2).

That's roughly how the system works, and here's the rulebook excerpt for it:

----
Discipline
Discipline represents a dinosaur's ability to perform in combat while suffering pain, surprise, fear, and other trying emotions of battle. A higher discipline means a dinosaur will be able to maintain a consistent pace and direction and obey any rider's commands. A lower discipline means the dinosaur is more likely to circle in panic and stumble around in fear.

How to use Discipline
If a dinosaur suffers damage greater than or equal to their Discipline value from a single ranged or melee attack they will panic.
Mark them with a "Panic" token. Multiple Panic tokens can be placed on each dinosaur.
For example a Horned Dinosaur has a Discipline of 8. They are hit by a Rotary Rifle for 11 damage and are therefore marked with a Panic token. During the next Activation they are hit by a Bundle of Dynamite for a further 8 damage, so another Panic token is added.

Effect of Panic
When marked with one or more Panic token dinosaurs will use their Panic Movement, as recorded on the Posse Roster.
For example a Runner Dinosaur has a Movement statistic of 10 and a Panic Movement of D10. If they were marked with a Panic token they would have to roll D10 to decide how far they can Standard Move, instead of using the static 10 value.

Recovering from Panic
At the end of the dinosaur's Activation remove 1 Panic token.
If the dinosaur is mounted remove an additional 1 Panic token.
For example a King Dinosaur (with two passengers) has 3 Panic tokens at the start of the turn. Eventually it Activates, rolls D6 for it's Panic Movement with a result of 2. The King performs a 2" Standard Move and then a rider fires. The King's Activation is done, so 2 Panic tokens are removed (1 default with a bonus 1 removed because the King is mounted).
----

I like this system better than the Bravery Test (which human character still use) as it distinguishes dinosaurs and also rewards pouring fire into them. Let me know what you think and whether the system looks faulty or can be improved!
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Kyles Games
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Posts: 24


« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2011, 03:43:46 PM »

Maybe the categories could be Trained and Feral, and there could be a standard one with no modifiers?

That said, I like it.
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bosky
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« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2011, 07:40:26 AM »

Ah, duh on my behalf *smacks forehead* I can basically make Allegiances for Dinosaurs, and then have 4 available. I got so caught up with Trained/Untrained that I didn't think about the option of doing more modifiers (and one with no modifiers). So human cowboys can still choose Duster, Neotechnoist, etc. and then Dinosaurs can choose Trained, Feral, and two more (Young [smaller size, less HP] and Plains [faster]?). Goooood call. Glad you like the rest of the mechanics around it, I think getting into the Panic state will be flavorful and fun.
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bosky
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« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2011, 08:32:31 AM »

So I ended up calling the differences Breeds instead of Allegiances, just for that bit more flavor. They are distinguished on the roster in the same manner though so that helps consistency. I went for the following:

Trained
Trained dinosaurs are born in captivity or raised in a human environment soon after birth and make ideal companions. They are disciplined mounts well versed in accepting a rider and carrying them safely through battle. However they are slightly gentler after having their primal instincts suppressed.

Effect: +1 DIS, -2 HP

Untrained
Untrained dinosaurs have some exposure to humans but not enough to be fully broken into a saddle and harness. This majority of dinosaurs are this type of breed, and such an upbringing has no positive or negative effect on their performance.

Effect: None

Feral
Feral dinosaurs are wild and free and roam through the jungles and deserts of the world. They tend to be tougher and less disciplined and think more with their stomachs than brains.

Effect: -1 DIS, +2 HP

Plains
Plains dinosaurs roam across the flat scrub land, desert, and dust bowls outside the volcanic jungle. As a result they are exceptionally fast and agile, but are less competent in a fight because of their tendency to outrun foes instead.

Effect: +1 MV, +1 MMC
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Thriff
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Posts: 68


« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2011, 08:53:27 AM »

Bosky,

I like your setting, and specifically how it meshes with the system. Dinosaur Riders? All right!

Your "Breeds" solution is very clever and effective. The narrative explanation for the stats significantly adds to the authenticity of the game. This may help players form a back story for their characters. Well done!

T
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bosky
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« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2011, 09:28:30 AM »

Thanks! I'm hoping to write some short story fiction for Nanowrimo in November to really had some more depth to the setting and background.

Glad you like the different Breeds, I'm really happy with how the system turned out and think it works well because it parallels Allegiances for humans, but with just enough of a flavor change to further make dinosaurs unique.
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bosky
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« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2011, 01:46:19 PM »

Changing gears here to another topic: Hitpoints.

Currently Dinosaur Cowboys uses low levels of Hitpoints (default value of 8, but it can easily be modified to 6 or 10 by Allegiance. Highest is 37 HP for a Longneck Dinosaur). I had toyed with the idea of using a Knocked Down / Stunned / Out of Action system like Mordheim, but ended up staying with my RPG roots and using Hitpoints. Normally it takes 2-4 hits to kill someone, although with powerful enough guns and a weak enough target it can be done in a single shot.

I was reading about alternative systems today, and came up with an idea that I think would be pretty neat:

Hitpoints are replaced with a stat called Grit, which is a die type (D4 [worst], D6, D8, D10, or D12 [best]). Whenever an entity takes damage they roll a "Grit Save" using their die type. If their roll is greater than or equal to the incoming damage it's negated.
Example: Take 5 damage from a Six-Shooter, roll my Grit Save of D6. If I roll a 5 or 6 the damage is ignored.
If the Grit Save is failed (if I had rolled a 2 in the above example) or impossible (like if I only had D4 Grit in the above example) then I must take an Injury. To track Injuries I would add a small checkmark underneath the MV, AR, RMC, and MMC fields on the Posse Roster for each character, and then when taking an Injury the player who took the damage would check off one of these stats. Doing so modifies it negatively by 1 to represent getting hit in the legs, torso, or either arm respectively. For example if I suffer an Injury on a fast character I might sacrifice some Movement by checking their MV score, which would reduce it by 1. Then to "kill" a target you'd need to cause 4 Injuries. Obviously fields that are already checked couldn't be re-checked a second time.
What do you guys think? I kind of dig this system as it's a bit more flavorful and requires marginally less bookkeeping. I think I might end up making it an Official Variant Rule though.

Hope to hear some feedback!
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sumonkhan44
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« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2011, 06:29:48 AM »

I have some background information of WHY there are cowboys and dinosaurs, but more or less the year is 2285, society collapsed and was rebuilt, and dinosaurs escaped an "underground vault" at Yellowstone. The science doesn't really have to fit, all I wanted was an excuse to have laser six-shooters.
Originally I designed it as a rules-light RPG with skirmish elements, and then after playtesting a few campaigns I realized the system was doing neither very well. So instead I dropped the majority of the RPG elements and went pretty much pure skirmish. This was back in November 2010, and since then I've been a busy bee crafting rules, stat sheets, etc. I'm now at the playtesting stage, and thankfully the game is feeling finished enough that most of my playtests are just "plays", where I realize I'm not changing much between each game and instead just enjoying playing it.

led lighting systems
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bosky
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« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2011, 11:13:11 AM »

Hey remember me? Well I'm happy to announce that I finalized the core rules of Dinosaur Cowboys in a v1.0 release, woot woot. My self imposed deadline of Halloween is here so the PDF is as well. Thanks to everyone for the various ideas around formatting and mechanics (especially when I started introducing larger sweeping changes). I hope lots of people will take some time and check out the rules and enjoy many hours of laser six-shooters and t-rexes.

Blog release note:
http://dinosaurcowboys.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/dinosaur-cowboys-v1-0-released/

v1.0 PDF:
http://dinosaurcowboys.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/dinosaur-cowboys-rulebook-v1final.pdf
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Thriff
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« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2011, 10:00:23 PM »

Hey Bosky,

Congrats on reaching your deadline.

You’ve done a good job on both setting and system for Dinosaur Cowboys, this game interests the player-me.

1.) Placing “Game Overview” before “History”.

I want a brief introduction to the game’s system, setting, and session-flow before investing my time and energy in reading about its setting/history. It’s easier for me (as a prospective player) to see how I fit into the game before learning about the game setting’s history.

Your history is cool and the writing is clear (those aren’t my concerns), it’s just an order-of-presentation issue.

2.) Placing “Character Creation” before “Resolution”

Even well-written resolution rules (which yours are) can be difficult to understand until I have a handle on “what” I’ll be playing the game through (i.e. my character). It’s easier to contextualize rules for movement, combat, and items (random examples) when I know how those rules will affect the character I’ve made.

3.) Map

The map is cool (how did you make it?) but the white text is tough to read.

4.) Combat Examples

I like the examples for RMC, they really help to understand the combat. Seriously, I actually began reading the text word-for-word (rather than skimming, as I normally do) because the rules for combat were 1.) simple and 2.) interesting. So good job there!

5.) Setting

Your setting is cool, dinosaurs and tech…? Awesome!

But here’s my confession: I’m not from the US, and placing the story on future-US soil makes it difficult for me to immerse myself in the game. Is this a deal-breaker? No. But hopefully my perspective here will give you a heads-up as to how others may feel.

The root of my problem (I believe) is that I feel like you have too many states for me to be able to readily personify each. Perhaps you, being American (I’ll assume) are familiar with what stereotypes and trends should be associated with each state which then allows you to better anticipate how each state would respond to the events leading up to year 2285. But I don’t have that knowledge, so your 20-30 states are all meaninglessly interchangeable.

This makes it difficult for me to care about the political borders you’ve drawn on your map. (To be fair, I could muster up some idea of what a Californian or Texan acts like … but beyond that the other 20-ish are very foreign to me). What do the members of each state dress like, act like in public/private, do in their spare time? What are the primary import/exports, common vegetation and geography, political structure, history, social hierarchies… of each?

Do you have to change your setting? Of course not. Is this a problem that’s unique to me? Possibly.

But, if you’re interested, I’d suggest this change: consolidate the states into future mini-nations or feuding/allied empires. Instead of 20-30 states have 2-7 mini-nations that arose from the ashes of now-USA (perhaps even immigrants from Canada or Mexico…?). Give each mini-nation defining features and traits that allow the reader (be they American or not) to quickly identify each nation. I think this change will make your setting more interesting and more immersive for players from across the world.

Hope this helps,

T

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bosky
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« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2011, 08:47:49 AM »

Terrific feedback Thriff, it's much appreciated. Let me respond point by point.

1) Genius, I hadn't thought of that. I kind of get into a routine (rut maybe?) of how I format my game rules, and for the longest time I put the background info for the game before anything else. I'm going to eventually do a v1.1 release and I'll reformat the order for that. Thanks for the idea!

2) Glad to hear you liked the resolution rules, I'm really happy with how they turned out especially since mechanics are a bit part of the gameplay experience to me. I'm a bit less sure on reversing this item though, because I'm of the opposite school of thought: I don't know what's good for a character until I know how that character will be used. Would you tend to have Game Overview -> History -> Character Creation -> The Turn -> Combat? Or put Character Creation in between The Turn and Combat?

3) That was actually made by a fan, so I don't know the details. He was kind of an enigmatic character named Felix. He sent me a bunch of awesome images (the map, some weapons, alternative logos) and then I didn't hear much else from him, or ever get a website to credit him with. Before the radness of full color I had a simpler map I had designed. As you can tell I am rather limited in my graphics abilities but I'll see about changing the text.

4) Glad the examples helped, I really tried to clarify the combat as much as possible since it's hard to know how understandable it is to a fresh set of eyes when I've been so close to the mechanics for so long. I'm definitely proud of how the combat system turned out and that I could still use the less common D12s.

5) Haha I can totally relate. You see it all the time in movies too where the aliens ALWAYS invade/land in the US. I'm actually from Canada though.
Part of the reason for keeping the original states is I want campaign maps to be playable on real world road maps and atlases. Heck that might even be the main reason. I sort of just wiped the coasts off the map, threw a volcano in at Yellowstone National Park, and left it as that.
I guess I might not have been clear enough about the states and borders though in the background, as they don't matter nearly as much as a person would think. It's really more about the Allegiances and the Neotechnoist vs Duster relationship. The states are just a backdrop and are more defined by their climate and how much jungle, desert, or sunken cities they have.
I'm torn on merging states and creating new backgrounds in regards to that as I think it would water down the Allegiances or force me to redo them entirely. Hmm but I do kind of like the splintered nations idea since it's pretty popular in post apocalyptic games. Each coast, the south, the volcano, and a few smaller nations would probably cover most of the areas of interest.
In a standalone game the map doesn't matter at all, and in a campaign game I guess I would hope people would use whatever maps they want (be it Europe, Russia, Australia, etc.)...maybe I just need to put a note in the game mentioning other countries? I do briefly mention Canada and Mexico since they are on the same continent but just blanket cover the outside world as "not able to re-establish contact, not able to cross the seas".
I do agree that the original states kind of seem out of place since so much else has changed. Gonna have to think on this one.
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