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Author Topic: Tactical Ops RPG  (Read 9048 times)

Posts: 38

Cogito Ergo Es

« on: February 08, 2012, 07:43:47 AM »

Hi :-)
I'm developing a game called Tactical Ops RPG.
The game is complete and playable, but I still consider it in the Alpha stage of playtesting.
The game will soon have a proper default setting of its own, an original creation of mine.
Untill then its actual form works best for any generic modern/cyberpunk setting ... but for testing purposes it has been succesfully color-hacked with both a Fable3-inspired fantasy setting and the SLA Industries dark-scifi setting (SLA is a '90s traditional game from the british Nightfall Games).

Tactical Ops (or TOps) is a game about action and adventure, where a Team of characters work together to accomplish Missions and overcome Obstacles, while striving for group Leadership.
(and personally, I wanted a game that could allow me to finally play some traditional setting I loved in a way I could actually enjoy them, such as SLA Industries, Shadowrun, Dark Sun, Aeon Trinity, and many others)

I'm gonna lay down 8 salient points of my design to better describe it (and I'll do it in a quite enthusiastic tone, so be warned about that ^_^) and then I would like to have some help and feedback on a few critical areas...
This is the Google Doc with the current rulebook I'm working on.
There are also 3 Actual Plays to be found on the GenteCheGioca forum, but they are only written in Italian :P


1) The Hamsterless Engine (it's kind of an in-joke from a discussion on the GenteCheGioca forum ^_^)
Do you know those "narrative" games where we just somewhat like chat with each other?
Forget them!
Imagine instead a game with a proper GM that cooks up an engaging story, a complex plot, contents tailored for your PC ... but without a GM, and without prep times, and without you being forced to be the director of the story.
Every participant just plays HIS character, with just little extra contributions here and there if/when you feel comfortable.

2) Fiction Mastery
The system is simple, so you don't have to study 300+ pages of rules and numbers BUT it is also articulated, so you can min-max your PC, watch it grow and develop, you can thinker with its "optimal build".
All this is aggressively rooted into the game fiction, rewarding smart ideas and out of the box thinking.

3) Low Requirements
The game works with just 2 players and as much as 5 or 6.
There's no prep time, except for Character Generation ... which is quite brief.
You only need normal 6 sided dice; 3 colors is best, but just 2 will work fine.

4) Character-in-a-Box
Stop filling in tax modules to record your PC's stats!
Now your Character is sheet is a deck of cards representing his abilities, equipments, ties and all other important elements.

5) Setting-in-a-Box
Thanks to how the game works it is possible to translate a whole setting into a little-tiny-compendium supported by a set of cards, condensing what used to be a 300+ almanac into ultra-lite materials 100% playable.
Every _Box_ is composed by:
- a veeery brief introduction to the setting
- a veeery brief description ( no numbers! ) of characteristic "active" elements (places, people, creatures, organizations, things, etc)
- some short lists ( almost no numbers! ) of mechanical elements pre-packaged to fit the setting's flavour (races, weapons, powers)
- each element (not in the lists) should have a card containing the element's Name, page number on the compendium, and a big nice picture (potentially substituting some descriptive text, making the compendium even lighter)

6) OUR Setting
With or without the use of a Setting-in-a-Box the game works in a way that _spontaneously produces_ setting.
Through the act of playing you'll define a series of Places, Persons and other Details unique to the fictional world produced at YOUR table.

- - - Yet to come, but coming none the less - - -

7) Achievements!
Just like in a videogame, you can friendly compete with your friends to earn "_Badges_" representing various game-related things.
Each badge will have special one-shot powers.
The game will offer a standard selection, but in time each group is expected to develop its own unique Achievements.

8) One Hour Play!
The game will have a special play-mode designed to make it playable from start to finish in 60 minutes through the use of pre-gen Characters, pre-gen Missions, special Achievements and other minor adjustments.

Alessandro Piroddi
Tactical Ops RPG : Blogger / G+ / Facebook

Posts: 38

Cogito Ergo Es

« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2012, 07:45:19 AM »

As for my questions...

1) the structure is designed with group-play in mind, but from playtests it has emerged that the game MAY also handle waveplay.
Should I encourage (maybe as an extra option) this kind of game?
Where every PC maybe takes on a personal Mission?
Or would this change the nature of the game in a somehow bad way?

2) the game really focuses on the Mission solving part, with just fringe glimpses of the PC's personal lifes.
Sometimes I feel the desire to add something more human and personal to the game (I love gwep games like MLwM or Montsegur or even Apocalypse World to an extent) ... but here too I fear I may just be striving for the old futile "perfect game that does everything".
Sholud I stik to my core concept or try to expand?
(and if so, any suggestions on how to do it?)

3) The original form of this game used a normal Character Sheet... composed of MANY sheets because there was a lot of cumbersome stuff to record.
Then I perfected the system and ended up with a veeery cramped sheet full of stats, and a bunch of CARDS recording equipment and other things.
The current version ONLY uses cards to keep track of the all the Character's things.
I like this last incarnation.
It allows for people to bring their PC along as a deck of cards...
It goes well with the Setting-in-a-Box concept...
It looks far more toy-like than normal char-sheets (which is something I like, possibly the only good thing about the Untold game)...

But some comments (very few but also very vocal) claim that using cards in place of a more traditional char-sheet is uncomfortable and cumbersome.
I don't know... what do you think?

4) the rulebook is obviously just in a WIP state that will be thorougly rewritten for clarity with lots of examples and editing... but is it already more or less understandable?
Is my english so terrible?

5) I'm of course eager to get playtests and Actual Plays of such tests ... so feel free to ask me for support in any possible way ^_^

Alessandro Piroddi
Tactical Ops RPG : Blogger / G+ / Facebook

Posts: 657

« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2012, 02:00:30 PM »

This looks interesting.

How does a player handing their own PC an obstacle work in practice?  I have my reservations about that.

How do people react to other players handing them an obstacle?  Do they get frustrated? 



Posts: 38

Cogito Ergo Es

« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2012, 04:40:08 PM »

Thanks for the interest :)

Tactical Ops is first and foremost inspired by the Hell For Leather game by Sebastian Hickey, so anyone familiar with it should be able to guess what I'm about to explain ;)

Basically the team needs to accrue Victory Points to actually get to the end of the mission.
The only way to get VP is to beat Obstacles.
So, no Obstacles, no party (but a Martini or five should help anyway).
Also, rolling dice and adding Obstacles and various other difficulties into the fiction are the only ways to accrue the equivalent of Experience Points ... so putting Obstacles into play means you are ENABLING all Players to win the mission and develop their characters.

Also, Obstacles are not handled "on" other Players... Obstacles are "objects" ... when something in the Fiction gets "tagged" as an Obstacle any Player (whose PC is able to somehow interact with it) can participate in the Obstacle-solving by ANY sensible means.
Or the Obstacle can be completely circumvented and interaction with it avoided.
(it all depends on the fiction)

Finally, the Obstacle mechanic avoids the Czege Principle (^_^) because the "opposition" is kind of automatically handled by the game itself.
You may think:
- my PC is skilled with guns
- so I inject a group of violent thugs in the fiction (for which I'm rewarded)
- then I tag them as a mechanically relevant Obstacle (for which I'm rewarded)
- then I solve the problem with my astounding guns skill

The game works like that... but...

- there are multiple filters assuring that if indeed thugs appear in the scene and actually do provide an Obstacle... it means everybody at the table is 100% fine with it (otherwise it can't happen)

- once the thugs become an Obstacle they acquire Details that are not under my sole control ... thus thugs may not be exactly like I imagined them

- all mechanical elements of an Obstacle are also set by the game itself ... a Player can't produce an "easy" or "difficult" Obstacle, the game sets these parameters automatically ... what a Player can do is try to set up an Obstacle that he hopes should allow him to use his PC's best attributes

- so, the Guns skill may be a strong point of my PC, but it may turn out to be a less than ideal solution to this specific situation

- other Players may use their PCs to act in a way that changes the circumstances, turning my Guns skill into something useless (or at least not smart to use now (what do I do with GUNS if my teammates start TALKING with the thugs?)

- any rolling of dice may produce Opposition Points which may trigger the Automatic Opposition cards, which will radically change (read: Fuck Up) the situation in many ways ... and the more dice I roll (because I'm goood with this skill!) the more Opposition Points I may produce


So, a Player CAN manouver the fiction and the rules to set a somewhat ideal stage to his advantage ... but the result is FAAAR away from "I set up a problem and OH BOY I've got the solution, let's move on to the next game thanks" ;)

Basically you can set up an Obstacle that highlights your PC's strengths, which should mean you end up doing the stuff you like to do the most with your PC ... with no side effects (like boredom or lack of surprises or feeling like a GM playing solo against himself).

Alessandro Piroddi
Tactical Ops RPG : Blogger / G+ / Facebook

Posts: 38

Cogito Ergo Es

« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2012, 02:02:34 PM »

I've put up a blog (in english) with all the recent updates and news ... like the latest CONTEST.
I'm going to post game materials, Actual Plays (in english), developer diaries, etc.

Anyone interested can just check the link in my signature ^_^

Alessandro Piroddi
Tactical Ops RPG : Blogger / G+ / Facebook

Posts: 38

Cogito Ergo Es

« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2012, 04:28:49 AM »

Blog Update! :D

- there is a status update on the SECOND game-contest
- there is a downloadable Blank Character Deck
- there is a downloadable Game Cheat-Sheet

LINK is in my signature ^_^

Alessandro Piroddi
Tactical Ops RPG : Blogger / G+ / Facebook
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