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Author Topic: [Föld] DX System - v1.0  (Read 590 times)
Cedric
Member

Posts: 28


« on: October 05, 2011, 07:14:44 AM »

Dear Forgies,

So, after a thread full of comments about how to create a nice game system, here comes my very first attempt. It was made with the background universe of 'Föld' in mind, but you don't need much a priori knowledge to diving into the doc.

The goal of the system is to have few, simple rules, high mortality rate of PC - and as such quick character creation.
The result is available here, it's about 20 pages: http://db.tt/I2gP1T75

Some background: player characters are nobodies basically enrolled by force into the adventure. In-game they are (unbeknownst to them) tied to a demon entity, out of the game the demon is likely to be close to what the Player is - since they both have the same role in influencing the character. Do not assume players as demons as it's not exactly the case, still it can give some directions about the game choices.
Also somewhat important background fact: all character is potentially a magic user, whose potential is directly proportional to its mental instability.
Last, the rules mention 'nations', these correspond to the different races of characters available - but since these have no influence on the rules, you can safely ignore this part.

The document is really new and shall be playtested very soon. Meanwhile I'm wondering whether you do spot blatant concerns? I namely am wondering about the following:

- Is the document readable? English is not my native language, I guess you already noticed that...

- What about the DX system? I wonder how this will work. Since Players will very often have a score of 4 (or 6), upon a difficulty of 4 the only reason to use a big die will be to aim at a Delta effect. And at a difficulty greater than 4, every roll is likely to be a miss (which is what is expected, but success here will be based on luck...)
Does this seem acceptable? The goal is 'do not try things which have a difficulty level higher than 4 (or 6)'; did you find this goal to have been conveyed properly in the rules?

- About DX die again, has anyone experience with FUDGE? There is some FUDGE flavour in the DX system, but I did not find there (nor anywhere) how to achieve the die distribution as done with the DX. Would you know of any similar mechanism?
I also thought about replacing these 'unusual' dice with something (somewhat but not entirely) equivalent, which would be to respectively use D4 -3, D6 -4, D8 -5 and D10 -6 as DXs. What would you prefer as a player, what flows better?

- Are the Morality characteristics self-explanatory? In this thread (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forge/index.php?topic=31967.0) I was not able to convey this idea properly but I tried to get it right now. Comments?

- Another concern is about gameplay/story segregation with respect to Magic. In-universe, there exists 4 families of magic, but this should be up to the Players to discover them. The idea being that when you begin to master one power, then the full family gets simpler to work with, and the other 3 families get more difficult to master. This does not appear in the current rules; I wonder if it's worth it to force it into the rules system or if I can safely keep that for the background side?

- Last, in the same vein about magic, I'm torn between two approaches: 1- let the Players discover that their characters will eventually learn magic (and maybe get a power the Player does not fancy) or 2- tell the Players upfront about latent magic powers of their characters and let them choose what they would like to play (and get them frustrated because they won't use that power from the start, and spoil some of the world's secrets). From a Player perspective, what would you prefer? And: would you have another alternative to those two?

Once the biggest flaws of this document will be fixed, I plan to translate a scenario I wrote some time ago. If you're interested to playtest, be my guest. The more, the merrier !
Thanks for your thoughts and criticism,

  Cédric

PS: there were good ideas in the previous thread (Chores and Consequences, etc.) I had to leave out; maybe for the advanced version?
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Thriff
Member

Posts: 68


« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2011, 11:30:42 PM »

Hey Cédric,

Glad to see you active again!

Your Questions

1.) The text is readable, but it does take a fair amount of effort to understand some of the way you’ve phrased things. Your English is understandable, but sometimes it is requires some effort to understand what you are trying to get at. Time permitting, I’m willing to help.

2.) Custom dice would be the obvious answer to the DX issue. But I doubt you want to be investing money into that at this stage.

I’d prefer having normal dice and having to memorize what the values correspond to. I’d feel cheated if I had to subtract a value from my die roll every time (purely psychological, I know). Then again, I think we need someone better suited to number-crunching to decide if your D4 -3, D6 -4… solution would be comparable.

3.) I understood the morality mechanics, but I’m certainly biased in that regard. :P

4.) About magic and telling the players: why not just tell the players that they’ll get magic, and let them choose when the time is right? Why would they get pinned with a power they don’t want?

5.) CCC or C. Your choice, no ill-will against you!

Design

I think you’ve definitely  hit 2 of your 4 design goals of “no sheer luck” and “inhibited characters”.

The “Ruthless World” comes through with the GM being able to kill off PCs on a whim… not sure how much I like that, but it fits your design goal.

“Simple and Fast”: I’m not sure where I stand on this one. The numbers and steps are all manageable, but there seem to be too many fragmentary sub-systems. Deltas and Drugs come to mind.

Clarity Suggestions

1.) Pg 3 quote: “Skills. But where Skills are part of the character, Heritages are within her.” [original]

I think you meant “Heritages are external to her”.

2.) pg 4 quote: “This includes avoidance of physical conflicts but as well reluctance to resist torture.” [original]

I think you meant “This includes an avoidance of physical conflicts as well as a reluctance to being tortured”

General Responses


I’m confused about Power as a Skill. It seems like Power, which represents magic powers as you say, would be way more… well, powerful than things such as knowledge or styles.

What program did you use for the coloured boxes? I like how they break up the text and would like to make use of the program for ASH.

I like the +3 for several traits in Mundane. We hadn’t discussed this before but I think it’s a useful change.

Deltas: Why would someone choose to hurt their opponent over helping themselves? I just don’t understand what strategy is at work here…

Pg 7. I don’t agree that this char would gain a Condition of kleptomania. It sounds incredibly extreme that someone reluctant to steal would become a kleptomaniac after stealing once (out of necessity even!). I’d suggest a Condition of “fear of law enforcers” or “guilty conscience”.

Pg 8. You say “Inhibition characteristics are also used for resisting against particular types of threats.” [original]. Could you give an example of such an event?

Pg 8. I don’t understand why all characters begin with 2 Conditions and a “corresponding value of 7”. Where does the number 7 come from? Also, this doesn’t seem like the right place to be discussing Conditions---this is the Magic Resolution section.

I suspect you intend to, but you’ll have to expand your glossary.

Please italicize your examples; sometimes  your examples are inserted in the middle of a paragraph and it makes the rules text difficult to read. Refer to the last paragraph of pg 8.
 
Pg 9. “can have a maximum of 8 Condition levels. A Candition can be of level 1, 2 or 3. A level 3 Condition cannot be upgraded any further” [original]. This confused me, could you elaborate please?

“Other Mechanisms” isn’t a very helpful chapter title. Perhaps organize some of the sub-chapters within it into their own Chapters.

Pg 11: You let Ego handle seduction battles and Body handle physical battles. Perhaps I’m confused about your setting, but I strongly doubt there will be as much need for seduction battles as there will be for physical battles. It seems like Body would be far more useful than Ego. [lumping Ego and Social together would work… say into one stat called… maybe… Mind? :P]

Pg 11: Initiative: “Attacking first guarantees that the target will not attack someone else this turn - nothing more” [original]. What does this mean?

Pg 13: I don’t like the idea of healing being a passive thing that occurs over time. That strikes me as boring and emphasizes sitting around over interacting with the fiction some way. I’d encourage you to find some way of getting players to heal by performing some action that you consider important to your game—not just waiting around.

Pg 13: Haven’t thought about the procedure for new Character Creation too much, but I’m wary of the procedure of having a GM give players their character.

Pg 16: I was impressed by the Conditions table. It helps give some ideas (players are encouraged to create their own conditions, right?)

Pg 18: The whole drugs sub-mechanic seems unnecessary to me. But it’s your game and there’s very likely something very important about them that I just don’t recognize.

Summary

Glad to see Föld in a formalized document—great job doing so much work in so little time!

The English will need clarification in some places, but don’t let that deter you.

I look forward to your response to my response.

Some organizational issues, but those can be solved with future versions.

Hope this helps,

T

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Cedric
Member

Posts: 28


« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2011, 03:56:28 AM »

Hey Thriff,

Thanks (again) for your post; I'm feeling in debt as you're spending so much time reviewing my topics where I don't really contribute back to yours; I'll try to send the ball back.
But for now, onwards with this post (with the soundtrack of RubberMancer in the background, for good measure).

About Questions:
1- Thanks for the offer ! The original text is on Google Docs, I can simply give you access to it, as long as you have a Google account. If yes, send me a private message with your username and I'll do the rest.
2- Die-with-minus is indeed psychological, I was just pondering since needing special dice might be a deterrent factor. Well, when Föld will be the big hype ;) we'll have special dice with great design that everybody will want ;)
3- Most probably ;)
4- I agree that the best approach is to ask the Players which kind of power they'd like to have. But waking up to magic is supposed to happen in the mid-to-long term; actually I am tempted to change a bit the rules so that a character cannot wake-up to magic in its 'first life'. So: the Player will choose her power, and then won't be able to use it until waaaay later in the game. From the background perspective, magic users are not existing (or well hidden) besides Chosen Ones; letting all Players have powers from the start will give the wrong message: "you are special", where it should rather be: "everybody can learn magic". So, how would you feel with chosing a power that will maybe never materialize or only after months of playing?
5- ok, then let's stick to C for the time being at least

About Design:
I'm not really *wishing* to kill PCs, rather to convey the feeling that *anyone* can die and that being a 'hero' does not provide any kind of contractual immunity against death. My experience tells that GMs are trying to save the PCs whenever possible; here, I want death to be a staple in the system; possibly a requirement for reaching true enlightenment (in the sense of 'understanding the world', there is no symbolism intended here). That's why I'm thinking now about 'unlocks' taking place upon death (e.g. make the Condition list longer upon new Character Creation?)

About Deltas: without them there is no notion of 'winning margin', and there is no punishment for really negative rolls. Example: I am opposing an evil beast. I know it's much stronger than me. Technically I have 4 and the beast has 6 as base score (HP + Traits). Attack round: if I want to score, I need a +2. So I can choose the +-D6, +-D8 or +-D10. If we don't consider Deltas, I'm better off with the +-D10 (30% chances to roll 2+ versus 17% for the +-D6). Now if we consider Deltas, with a +-D6 I have 17% chance to roll -2 and 0% chance to roll -3 or -4, where with the +-D10 the chances are of 30%, 20% and 10% respectively; so with Deltas, the stronger opponent will have in its best interest to choose a low die unless feeling lucky, and the weaker opponent will have the choice between 'limiting the damage' with a low die and 'double-or-nothing' with a big die. Where without Deltas, the stronger will still have interest in keeping the low die, but the weaker's best choice will *always* be the big die, where is the fun in that?

About Drugs: The PCs will succeed if they prepare properly. This means being ready to make sacrifices. You want to wander out of town by yourself? Better be under drugs, that's your best chance of success. The initial idea behind this was that I did not want to give anything for free, everything should be bound to a cost. Magic is powerful but draining and hard to control and indirectly brain damaging. Stats boosters (drugs) are available but have as many bad sides as good sides. Maybe there are simpler ways to pull these off, but without drugs the PCs will be really helpless against external menaces. Do you still see these as superfluous? Any suggestion how to simplify these? I can also go back to standard 'potions' without drawbacks, but then just load plenty of those and it's a guaranteed success to anything you try...

About Clarity suggestions: Thanks, will edit accordingly

About General Responses:

On Power as Skills: here comes back my problem of Chosen One magic versus 'Demoniac' magic, and to the problem of the 4 magic schools. Requirements are the following:
- Chosen Ones should be able to pull-off their 'official' power with some decent chances of success, even freshly created characters
- Once you start controlling a magic power, you should get more proficient with it, at the expense of the other schools
I thought that a Power skill was providing both. But truth be told, if it weren't for the Chosen Ones I would not even have a stat for magic, characters just would have to draw it instinctively and that's it (e.g. no Trait bonus).
An alternative could be to remove the Power skill, and allow Chosen Ones to choose their default power as Knowledge? Any other idea?

Coloured boxes: that's Google Docs. I create one-cell tables and then change the border thickness and font colour, that's all. I guess that you can achieve the same with Microsoft Word or with OpenOffice by using the same trick.

Delta: hurting versus bonus: let's say that you're swinging your sword at a beast, with a Delta bonus. You can then hurt it for 2 HP instead of 1, this will leave the beast closer to death, and also weaker since its own attack rolls and passive defense are based on its remaining HP?

Kleptomania: well depends, maybe to act of stealing once makes you feel such an intense sensation that you'll seek to feel this again? (any kleptomaniac in there wishing to comment? :)) but it's just meant as an example. And I didn't have guilty conscience as a Condition in my table, so... ;)

Inhibition as saving throws: an example would be: a big guy is guarding a door. You want to enter. He says no. You insist. The guy comes close to your face and says: If you are still here in 5 seconds, I pound your face. Roll Body. If failed, you can't resist the urge to flee. If success, you are not impressed and can choose whatever.

Condition Levels: these numbers are in the Character Sheet, I should add a clarifying paragraph. If you have 1 Condition, your Condition Level is 8. If you have 2 Conditions, your Condition Level is 7, etc. (Condition Level = 9 - #Conditions)
Also, about 8 Condition Levels and Condition of Level 1 2 or 3, I mean that you can have this on your Character Sheet:

8- Amnesia
7- Phobia (spiders) Lv 1
6- Phobia (spiders) Lv 2
5- Kleptomania Lv 1
4- Phobia (spiders) Lv 3
3- Kleptomania Lv 2
2- (empty)
1- (empty)

In this example, you have 6 Conditions out of 8 available slots (and you succeed a Control roll when beating '3'). You have 1 Condition at level 3 (Phobia), one at level 2 (Kleptomania) and one at level 1 (Amnesia - but this one won't level up because it does not add much). And for your 7th Condition Level, you can either choose Kleptomania Lv 3 or a new Condition (let's say: Split Anxiety Lv 1) but you can't choose Phobia (spiders) Lv 4 because the max level of 3 was already reached.
Makes sense?

Glossary should be extended but I'm open to suggestions about what to add. I forgot 'injuries' namely but besides this I'm not sure.

Italicize: will do

'Other mechanisms' chapter name is lame, but I don't have better ideas. Would 'armor, health, drugs and character death' be a better one?

Body more useful than Ego: maybe yes, but I want to give it a try. I would like to explore a setting where internal conflicts and moral conflicts are at the heart of the stories, since physical assaults will be so deadly in the first place. I would really love to aim at 'enemy within' types of stories, where introspection would play a role (possibly introspection of the somewhat-puppet-master demon in the longer run). One arch-idea being the Player asking herself how much she is the demon and, once she accepts being used by it, consider how the world could be changed. And this will only happen through seduction and persuasion, as the only resource which can be leveraged is humans themselves... Man, I really have to write this playtest scenario.

Initiative: If you attack first, you force your target to attack YOU back (at the same time). And since it will earn a token, it won't be able to attack say the NPC you're trying to protect this turn (your target lost its turn in defending against you).

Passive healing: now that's a crucial point. I want Players to understand that you can't just enter into combat without severe consequences. This being said, injuries are counted only if you fall at 0 HP, so as long as you flee or avoid conflict, you should be fine. Magic healing exists but is advanced magic (a super-school of magic which requires mastery of 2 of the basic 4 magic schools to boot), and if I allow 'normal' healing, then either injuries will be cheap or magic healing will be mostly useless. The other solution is simply to ditch this injury rule and automatically heal everyone back to full health after battle (magic healing will still be useful for healing illnesses for example or for purging poison), I don't know.

Wary of the GM give players their character: I understand, but it's also a chance for the Player to now incarnate a known NPC (which maybe was a former opponent) and deal with the consequences rather than play a new guy coming from out of the blue. Actually the Player can change everything, so ultimately both approaches are possible. Maybe I should write this more clearly.

Condition Table: that's the part which took the most time to write ! And as you know, I hate tables. I really had to whip myself hard for creating it. And yes of course, these are just suggestions.

Summary:
- Give me your GMail username over private message and I add you as an editor
- I have some stuff to change, thanks for having taken the time to run through the doc
- Comments welcomed on the misc. items I did not get right (Magic wake-up, Power skill, healing, drugs)

  Cédric
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Cedric
Member

Posts: 28


« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2011, 06:45:42 AM »

Hi,

Minor updates (cosmetics, italics, clarifications) done.
The new version can be seen here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WpA_ctS5cFJrxQRbSMY4P4sACZkNtXSHVq7DDfmE8_E/edit?hl=en_US

As this is a google doc, the link will always display the latest status of the document.
Still interested to get feedback about Drugs, Deltas, healing and Awakening to Magic !

Cheers,

  Cédric
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