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Author Topic: Project Vex - RPG System - Combat Rules  (Read 3313 times)

Posts: 6

« on: January 31, 2012, 03:27:27 AM »

Project Vex is a working title for a role playing game system I have been developing since 2005.  It has undergone many changes since its inception, and has seen not only play testing, but full 4 full campaigns.

This is the current iteration, and will the first to go public.  Presented here are rules for combat and a spreadsheet used to take real weapons and convert them into game terms.

These rules are not complete, and many aspects are unfinished (I do not advise looking at any sheets beyond "melee" on the weapons spreadsheet at this time, they are scary).

The system is meant to be useable for any setting, any genre, and any time period.  The goal is to design it in such a way that it can smoothly handle cavemen hitting each other with sticks, Jedi deflecting blaster fire with lightsabers, adventurers fighting dragons, spies infiltrating top secret military bases, formula one race cars, bomber planes dropping nuclear weapons, Starships traveling through warped space-time, and entire armies at war.

The current documentation is only meant to handle single characters hitting each other with various melee weapons, however.  The rules will be designed fractally (folding and unfolding easily into different levels of detail).  The rules presented here are the most complex.

I prefer to use as few rules as possible to create as many effects as possible. 

The basic structure should be familiar:

Conflict Resolution:  All conflicts follow the intent, opposition, resolution, and effect format. A player declares their intent, any opposition is presented, success or failure is determined, which may be automatic, or by a roll of dice. The effect of the success or failure is then applied.

The dice mechanics are opposed rolls, and rolls against target numbers.

Combat should be dynamic and intuitive, with emergent tactics.  The intent is to keep all players interested and active in any scene.

Anyway, enough chatter for now, here are the links:

Project Vex Combat Rules

Project Vex Weapon Spreadsheet

In the document you will find simplified rules for character creation, as well as rules for handling basic melee combat.

I am interested in any thoughts, comments, questions, concerns, criticism, or play testing experiences using these rules. 

I highly encourage trying the rules out with a friend or two.  If the writing is so obtuse that you can't possibly see yourself understanding the rules, let alone explaining them to someone else, please let me know.

If your first thoughts are along the lines of... "this is too slow", "this is too complex", or "this is incomplete" please keep in mind that these rules (or variations on them) have been used for several campaigns already with an average of 4 players; that these rules are intended to be the most complex in a fractal design pattern; and that these rules are very much incomplete indeed.

I look forward to reading what you have to say!  =)

Project Vex by Velexia Ombra
A RPG System For Any Setting  [In Development]
Combat Rules

Posts: 6

« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2012, 10:38:55 AM »

I have recently updated the rules text for clarity and a few rules changes.  Please take a look and tell me what you think =)

Project Vex by Velexia Ombra
A RPG System For Any Setting  [In Development]
Combat Rules

Posts: 68

« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2012, 02:45:05 PM »

Hey Vel,

I skimmed over the combat rules and figured you’d appreciate a response over no response. First, an isolated “combat rules system” doesn’t interest me over-much as a player or designer so my feedback likely won’t be as specific as some others’ may be. However, I chose to respond because you seem to be inviting general feedback too.

This is (definitely!) not to say that your work is bad in any way! In fact, what I read made sense and was well-organized.

At first the decimals for the attributes concerned me (decimals terrify some potential players) but once I read into it more it actually makes a lot of sense to use them. Good job on that choice.

My main reason for responding is this: what does the rest of your game look like? These rules are exactly what you say they are “combat rules”, and that’s fine. But you say you’ve ran multiple playtest campaigns and I assume you’ve had to introduce rules for social interaction, preparing a session, the role of the “GM” during play… and so forth.

I like that your work is clear and organized and that’s what’s piqued my curiosity to look at your game beyond “how character A hits character B on the head with melee objects”.

So if you don’t mind sparing the time I’d like to know more about the roleplay of your game because as far as I can tell (from what I’ve thus far read) this game exclusively revolves around attacking, defending, moving, and weapons.

Also, as both a player and designer I’m more interested in games that have dedicated settings that aren’t just universal systems. It’s just too easy to pass over another way to watch two characters hit one another if the game (system) doesn't have a setting that inspires me. Perhaps this is something to consider if you were planning on popularizing your game.


Either way. Your work is easy to read. The listed attributes and decimal values make sense. Glad to know you’ve had successful campaigns and I wish you more. I’d like to know more about the roleplaying aspect of your RPG if you’d not mind posting something.

Hope this helps,


Posts: 6

« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2012, 01:57:38 AM »

I definitely appreciate the response. I love talking about this game, and not just these combat rules, but all of the rules, and also most especially, the setting which will go along with them.

The reason I posted only the combat rules is because I am working on that part of the system currently, and I want to make sure it makes sense and works (simulates what I want it to) on it's own, before I move on to the next step.

The game system as a whole is meant to simulate an entire world, and not just a specific game world, but any world. My motivation for building the system is that I am never satisfied perfectly with any given game system I have played, and I wanted to create one that would satisfy what I want out of games for every single setting, ever. That's a lofty goal, I know =)

Often I come across games like Firefly the RPG, and it's very exciting in prospect, but ultimately the system mechanics of the game just fail to give the appropriate experience.

I was introduced to role-playing games through D&D 17 years ago, and slowly branched out to anything I could get my hands on. I learned that there are better ways to do things, and that every game has it's flaws. My current group of friends have had a very limited gaming experience, and are stuck in the D&D rut of thinking. I've slowly been introducing them to my system (and setting), to break them out of their rut, and show them that role playing games can be done differently. I've had a lot of success so far. I started by modifying the basic rules of the D20 system (I used my 9 attribute system, endurance, skills, deadlier weapons, and combat flow (all actions declared and then resolve)), and applying my setting.

My next step was to create rules which were completely separate from the D20 System, but because of my players' focus, most of the rules were focused around how combat was handled.

Last year, my hard drive had a catastrophic failure, and a years worth (or more) of work was lost, except where it existed in my head. It included information on economics, herbalism (all manner of information), development of civilizations, magic (and how it worked in the setting specifically), anatomy charts, bullet wound ballistics and much more. Thankfully, I at least recall the areas I was focusing on.

Anyway, after spending a long while attempting to recover the information and research on the hard drive, I gave up and started working off of my physical notes (very old in comparison). Now that physical combat is finished, my next two areas of focus will be mental abilities, spiritual abilities, and social interaction. After that I will begin working with each skill individually, fleshing it out in as much detail as possible, before distilling it down to workable game rules. Ultimately, everything works in a similar manner... as above, so below etc. The system itself is called Fractal. My goal is to create an intuitive system which simulates anything you require it to, with a range of levels of detail. From entire civilizations, to massive armies, to small groups, to single characters. I even plan to link these different layers in such a way that a gaming group can move from one fractal layer to the next seamlessly as the game session requires (handling a massive battle on a small fractal scale, with low levels of detail... then zooming in on a single character in the battle, and back out again). I am going on about combat again... let me provide a better example... A player can control their character, and then zoom out to the entire society, and shape the society's actions and beliefs as a whole, should the setting, and game allow for it.

I specifically have made combat serious, and deadly, to dissuade from the idea that attacking is the best way to handle any situation. Even the most powerful character can be outnumbered and taken down. I want to stimulate the combat fetishists to role play in a subversive way. However, I also want combat to be as exciting and interesting as every other part of the game. From my playtesting of the combat system thus far, I think I have successfully achieved that goal.

Now then, enough about the system, let's talk about the setting. But first a disclaimer: The system is meant to be completely devoid of, and therefore adaptable to, any setting (from D&D where it's all about fighting monsters, destabilizing the local economy, and moving on in search of adventure, to Call of Cthulhu where you spend the majority of the session investigating the history which has led to some bizarre event in an effort to understand what is going on... and hopefully not go insane in the process).

The setting is called Ombra, and it will be a separate work, adapting and contorting the Fractal system for it's own purposes.

Ombra is a planet that exists in an unspecified galaxy and star system, separate from Earth, and yet with a deep connection.

The star is a class A star of approximately 5 solar masses. The planet has two unique characteristics. First, it is tidally locked to the star, always showing the same face to the star. Second, it's axis is almost completely sideways (similar to Uranus, except that Uranus is not tidally locked). This means that north always faces the star. The entire northern hemisphere is barren and in some places molten, though much of the atmosphere has been thinned far too much to hold much heat. On the southern hemisphere the land is frozen, while the atmosphere here is proportionally thicker, preventing it from becoming absolutely frozen. Finally there is the equator of the planet, a ring of perpetual dawn/dusk where the sky is constantly lit with fiery colors and the climate is rather temperate, allowing life to flourish. There is a small degree of wobble to the axis, but ultimately there are no seasons, except as defined by moving farther north or south.

There is a single moon, Nyx, which orbits around Ombra in a counter clockwise fashion (the same direction that Ombra rotates), not tidally locked, but with a similar tilt to its axis. The rotation of Nyx is opposite of Ombra's, and it revolves around Ombra slower than Ombra rotates, thus causing it to appear as though it travels around Ombra in the opposite direction. The natives use this moon to track time, ascribing a single day to one rise and fall of Nyx.

Ombra's life is a mixture of primitive life that developed on the planet early in its life, and more advanced life that arrived later. Both the early life and the later life arrived at Ombra by space travel. One as micro organisms and DNA on a colliding comet, frozen in ice, and the other seeded by two different (but very similar) alien species, combined through genetic manipulation. The resulting species is known as Vaeli. The Vaeli are the caretakers of Ombra, and they worship the two beings responsible for their existence as Gods. One of the beings has transcended physical existence, and has control over it; the other is a member of an alien species which has mastered death through genetics. These two beings strikingly resemble humans, as ultimately that is a majority of their DNA. As a result, the Vaeli also strikingly resemble humans, though they have a few key differences. They have tetrachromatic eyes, extending into the ultraviolet spectrum, and have ultraviolet markings which are used in the attraction of mates. They have adapted to the environment of Ombra, which has slightly less mass than Earth, making them physically weaker (by a slight degree) while more agile. They also have less need to create their own body heat, and thus use less energy per day (eating less). I'll leave the other differences a mystery, for now. Culturally they are similar to Native Americans of earth, revering the planet Ombra as a living and spiritual entity, and seeing spirituality in all things. They attempt to live in harmony with the planet and their environment, forming small tribal structures which behave very similar to wolf packs, with grand gatherings occurring regularly throughout the year. They have a group of leaders which are seen as their direct line of communication to their Gods (the two that are responsible for their existence), and they follow the teachings of their respective leaders with little question. There is no single leader which controls everything in their culture, and each tribal group varies according to its spiritual leader.

Then, there are the Fae, which are comprised of many differing varieties of creatures which all have roots in common earth folklore. Goblins, Trolls, Faeries, Merrow, Nymphs, and the like. These creatures existed before the Vaeli arrived. There are also dinosaur like creatures, which also include analogs to mythical drakes. The Vaeli language, inherited from their "Gods" has roots in earth languages, and thus the Vaeli actually call the creatures Fae and Drakes. The Drakes are also native to the planet. Finally there is a variety of flora that is almost completely alien to earthly analogs, due to the nature of the environment. Most plants take their nutrients from a combination of soil and atmosphere, while others resort on being carnivorous.

Now enter actual humans, via a wayward colonization ship, adrift amongst the stars, crash landing on Ombra as a last ditch effort to save themselves... and you have the basis for the setting of Ombra. The humans bring with them all manner of earth plants and animals, which contaminate Ombra. Only the plants and animals able to adapt quickly enough surviving.

The game examines the interaction of the varying species with the planet and its keepers (the "Gods"), and how they evolve. There are no monsters, there are no bad guys, there is no definite concept of good and evil. There is simply a growing selection of intelligent species evolving in parallel. You can play a Fae, Drake, Vaeli, Human, Animal, or other species which I have yet to describe (some only become available in later stages of the planet's evolution). It is of course not viable to have one character a wolf, one a goblin, one a human, and one a drake, so the GM and players should determine what kind of game and story they wish to explore, and then determine what type of characters to make.

I could go on all night, but I will stop there for now =)

Thank you for responding by the way. I love any excuse to talk about Ombra.

Project Vex by Velexia Ombra
A RPG System For Any Setting  [In Development]
Combat Rules
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