Modern Fantasy-Supernaturals Game

Started by Gwynplaine, April 23, 2012, 06:59:16 PM

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I've, vaguely, finished a game system & setting (created originally for the group I play with) and was curious as to other people's feedback/ ideas so as to get some differing perspective on it (and if it's worth sinking further time and effort into).

It's a sort of modern fantasy-setting game (Modern Fantasy-heartbreaker?  Is that a thing yet?) Characters are slightly odder than normal supernatural beings (grouped up under the term Monsters). 

I had some constraints in fitting it to my group, so it doesn't really get too far into the 'existing as weird monster' feel, being more slanted towards anime-esque antics (not to say I couldn't change the flavour – as an early draft had 'Chakra' attributes listed as something akin to personality flaws and tied into mechanics of maintaining connections with humans to keep ones own humanity intact).

The system uses different types of dice from d4 up to d12 that are rolled and a select few summed up to arrive at success totals.  Closest thing I can think of to it at the moment is Cortex, but I mostly borrowed ideas from FATE (I like Aspects and Drama points).

The only element that I didn't find replicated anywhere else (though I didn't exactly look too hard, so if anyone knows a system that does similar I'd be interested) is the Crucible system – whereby characters can put 'unused' dice from their pools into a shared group pool that any ally can access to gain extra dice on their rolls.  (Abilities and mechanics mess further with the ability to gain and increase dice travelling from shared pool to character's dice rolls, etc.)

There isn't much in the way of traditional 'powers' as it's mostly just free-form description as to how a character does something, which is then backed up by the dice.  The tactical element that exists is more in the meta-game of manipulating dice-pools.

Anyway anything there that catches your eye, or inspires you?  Any feedback would be good, thanks.

Modern Fantasy RPG


I'm smelling some mage, some planescape and even a hint of sandman, which is a pretty homely combination to me. There are some nice metaphysical compromises here too, like on the Gods or Gaia, where you hedge your bets in an interesting way between "this is all down to humans" and "cosmic forces dominate human history", two stances which old WOD tended to reverberate between.

Of course this has the effect of setting those thematic interests in neutral, which can be a shame if you want that kind of thing to influence play, but I get the impression that these things are there mainly to open up the world rather than motivate the characters.

That's a big question I'd like answered actually, the pdf gives resolution mechanics and suggestions of legends and destinies, but very little about how you run it. That's pretty understandable as that's the bit that comes easiest to you, but that's the bit that would lift this up a bit; what is the structure of a given session, what do different players prepare, in what directions do people improvise? What kind of play are you aiming for and how do you use these rules to get there?

Looking at the dice mechanics I get the feeling that this is something that has built up organically over time, and there are probably some simplifications you could make to the mechanics, but to work out what those are I'd need to understand how it works in play.

The two most striking elements are definately the cruicible and momentum systems, the crucible, as a group power pool, seems like it could be a nice way of fostering team feeling and indirect cooperation. I was wondering about how players treat this central resource given with the different levels of effect players can have on it, what group dynamics come from that etc?

I've definately seen something like it before, probably in someone else's forge thread, given the sheer number of systems I've read through here! Can't give any comparitive feedback though. I can however give lots of nitpicky feedback about the specifics of your system which may help in jolting you in different directions for developing it further:

The crucible dice pool decay system seems like it's covering some of the same ground as momentum, and It seems like something you'd have to handwave when time is being dealt with more flexibly. What role is it currently performing in the game?

On to momentum, the way it adds a dice to success chance seems straightforward, and I imagine keeping a particular momentum dice of a certain size is a good way to keep track of things. Why did you set the thresholds for momentum as you did? How do they compare to normal difficulties? It seems like with a few tweaks to the system you could make all the different effects stack, and that the basic starting situation has no modifiers, so that people only need to look at the momentum subsystem when they choose to change their momentum dice.

The way that resolution is done has a lot of quirks I don't understand the rational for, like choosing three dice and then summing them, or the various dice pool modifications for range, targets, extra damage etc. There's a lot of different ways of modifying a roll going on with quite complex interactions and I'm not seeing the payoff. The idea of picking extra dice out for side objectives is quite nice, it'd be interesting to see how you use that to add detail to things.

The damage system also seems a little chaotic, jumping between numerical values, boxes and dice in a way that suggests that it's been reworked a few times and could do with a few maths fixes to sort it out.
For example you say that people have a base damage of a certain amount according to rank, but also that they increase their damage according to the difference in rank between them and their opponent. This offers an opportunity for a different approach: Instead of having each teir of power have greater health stats, use something like the existing system to say "you're fighting something 2 ranks ahead of you, therefore you roll this many dice for damage".

Or conversely, remove the relative sliding scale and instead just have someone's mana rank define their health and damage. Then momentum would modify this damage roll. This may be an asset if you do a lot of prestatting.

Consequences are another example, as first the damage dice are calculated, rolled, summed and compared to value, and then potentially turned back into something measured in dice. It seems like they could either be measured in "damage absorbed" directly, as their dice values don't seem to be used for anything, or you could presumably adjust the damage calculation step and just have people taking consequences directly measured in dice, lined up on the sheet to record damage. But that would dependent on what you choices you make as far as rank goes above.

It feels like there's been a bit of love put into this game, a lot of imagination and detail, but the rules could do with a few run throughs for consistency, and more of bringing out the quirks of how you actually play.