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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 24 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Stuck regarding my resolution mechanic  (Read 788 times)
MasterGeek
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« on: September 26, 2011, 11:43:35 AM »

Hey all, I'm working on designing an RPG called Time Heroes.  Here's a link to my design blog:

http://rpggeek.com/blog/900/mastergeek-talks-rpgs

A quick summary of the game world (for those who don't want to read it via the link):

Morgan Le Fey has come to the near future (2013), when magic is unknown in a bid to rule the world.  Merlin has followed her and taken the role of the Great Merlini in an attempt to prevent her plans of world domination.  However, neither can directly harm the other, so they must summon forth heroes/minions to do their dirty work for them.  This is where the PCs come in, they are people that the Great Merlini has drawn to himself to fight against Morgan le Fey.

If you can't tell from the description, Time Heroes is a light-hearted romp of an RPG, intended for zany antics.  PCs can be anything from a barbarian, to a plumber, to a space janitor.

The problem I'm running into is this. I had intended on using step die mechanics for my basic system (with bonuses from skills/items).  Originally I had planned to have it be a roll high to beat difficulty system.  However, after doing some digging on the net, I have come to see that going the opposite route provides less variance (in other words, having lower die types and rolling UNDER the difficulty gives more stable results).

Now I'm trying to debate if I should switch to the second step die method, or scrap the whole system and do something else.  My opening question for discussion would have to be:  In a quick-paced silly system where failing could be as entertaining as succeeding, which of these two methods might be preferable?
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lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2011, 12:45:50 PM »

If you really truly make failing as entertaining as succeeding, go with the first option, step dice where high is good. Especially if you can also add in some oversucceeding or supersucceeding that's ALSO as entertaining as failing and regular succeeding.

The rpg world needs fun, inventive failure rules right now. I'm rooting for you.

-Vincent
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Rubbermancer
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Posts: 51


« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2011, 12:52:14 PM »

I agree with Vincent on that one.  However, if you end up going with low scores, I would do away with the 48-points idea, and assume that every stat starts at, say, d20.  Players can then distribute, say, 12 dice upgrades amongst their stats, with the ceiling being d4.  12 dice upgrades spread evenly would bring every Stat to d10 from d20, which is sort of the inverse of making every Stat d8 from d4.  And the fact that d20 is such a leap from d12 would either prevent stat-dumping (gamist perspective) or provide a larger hilarity margin for failures (romper's perspective).
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MasterGeek
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2011, 12:58:27 PM »

Firstly, thank you both for replying.

I was thinking initially that my first idea for dice mechanics would be the way to go.  I just wasn't sure if that was the "I already did it this way, I don't feel like changing it" part of my brain or not.

Secondly, you just answered my next question.  I was thinking if I DID go the other route I would have to start at d20 and was about to inquire what people thought a decent way to go would be since the 48 points didn't make quite so much sense anymore.

I definitely have a lot to think about. The other option is to try it both ways and see which way ends up working in the most ridiculous fashion.
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Rubbermancer
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Posts: 51


« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2011, 01:29:55 PM »

Quote
I definitely have a lot to think about. The other option is to try it both ways and see which way ends up working in the most ridiculous fashion.

There are too many other variables in that experiment procedure.  You'd have to do a LOT of playtesting to get a straight answer.  But if you're really going for the hilarious failure thing, I think that rolling high for failure is psychologically cooler, as in "20, critical failure, YEAAAH!!"  And you could have a fumble scale chart as well.  For example, 7-9 is a Faux Pas, 10-12 is an Embarrassing Blunder, 13-15 is a Bloody Muck-up, 16-18 is a Quixotic Clusterfuck, and 19-20 is a "You Meant to Do That... There's No Other Explanation"

If you have circumstance penalties/difficult checks, even a d4 could fail now and again under those circumstances.  I don't know what kind of penalty numbers you're going to be toying with, but yeah.
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MasterGeek
Member

Posts: 3


« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2011, 01:47:40 PM »

Hmmm, also a good point. I didn't think about the metagame humor of rolling a natural 20 being the worst of the worst...

Well, I'm certainly glad I posted here.

There are certainly a lot of variables if I went both routes.  But I already had some general ideas in mind for the higher is better route.  Once the thoughts of lower is better came up, some ideas that could work for that system popped into my head.

I'm not talking about uber playtesting here. Just running some sample encounters using each system as it exists in my head, polling my players, and then just discarding the other option (or filing it away for later use, which would be more likely).
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Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2011, 01:30:12 AM »

Yeah, it's definitely possible to playtest this sort of thing. Playtesting is not about empirical science where you prove things to the satisfaction of sceptics, it's about seeing for yourself what works. Once you sit down to play you'll spot problems and strengths that were merely speculative or entirely unknown in the armchair. Obviously enough most of the overall success of play is not going to hinge on your dice mechanics, but that's why we have a trained observer at the table, so he can ignore whether people are having fun and focus on what the system is doing or not doing.
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Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
lumpley
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2011, 06:21:37 AM »

Most important: make sure that failing really truly is as entertaining as succeeding! Nail that, and the dice will more or less take care of themselves.
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