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Author Topic: Ruleset/System ideas #2  (Read 13238 times)
egalor
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« on: February 12, 2009, 02:51:51 PM »

Please answer a conceptual question: do we want to develop our own ruleset, or  are we inclined to use some other game system (for example GURPS, d20, Warhammer FRP, W40k etc.)?

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mvBarracuda
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2009, 03:08:00 PM »

See:
http://wiki.parpg.net/Key_design_elements#Ruleset

So whatever works for the setting that we'll agree on in the long run. GURPS doesn't seem free to use in computer games so there are legal issues. We could however modify it in case that sounds like a better approach than designing something from scratch. However I think we might need to further flesh out setting and some game mechanics that we would like to see featured in such a game before we can further clarify the ruleset.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2009, 03:35:40 PM by mvBarracuda » Logged
zenbitz
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2009, 06:35:25 PM »

GURPS has lots of nice features... but some bad ones too.  Also, there was never a post-apocalypse specific source book for it, so we would still have to (get to?) write the stuff ourselves.  Back in the day, I started writing a GURPS PA book... didn't get too far, and don't have my notes.

If you are interested in specific PA systems, check out Aftermath!   http://www.fantasygamesunlimited.net/shop/?cart=60753&cat=2 ($24 for softback book).   

My guess is that to avoid copyright issues (real and perceived) we should write our own system, but steal ideas/concepts/mechanics liberally from existing ones we like.   That's how all these games were made in the first place anyway... The only reason to use a "named" system is to attract players of that system... because they "know" the rules.  I think it's a better game sometimes when the player doesn't know the rules (only GM==computer does)
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egalor
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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2009, 10:39:49 PM »

I agree with Zenbitz again here. After thinking about this for quite a while, I came to a conclusion that developing our own game system (which is, game mechanics as well) would be a better choice, albeit we should work on the systems that already exist.

Let's consider some of them, more or less known.

SPECIAL - as already stated in the Wiki, we are not using it, because it's Fallout. Period.

GURPS - a generic system, but there should be some better choice (after all, we will have to invent something our own).

D20 (or, AD&D) - system is too simplistic, and in my view doesn't represent PC's qualities in full.

Warhammer Fantasy Role Play, or its sci-fi counterpart - Warhammer 40k RPG (aka Dark Heresy), which use the d100 system. I personally tend to start with this system in mind. Please see below my point of view, on what we could derive from there.

1. Stats.
Each PC/NPC has the following stats, indicated in percentiles (0-100):

Weapon Skill (chance to hit in melee)
Ballistic Skill (chance to hit with a ranged weapon)
Strength (affects melee damage, carrying capacity and any related rolls)
Toughness (decreases the physical damage endured and general resistance of the body)
Agility (nimbleness, reaction and dexterity combined)
Intelligence (that's intelligence and wisdom; it also affects perception rolls)
Will Power (affects any rolls concerning the mental state in very general sense: fear, emotion, temptation, etc.)
Fellowship (affects social interaction rolls: gossip, interacting with the NPCs, ability to behave oneself appropriately, in other words, Charisma).


Apart from that there are non-percentile characteristics:
Wounds (hitpoints)
Movement (movement speed)

The thing that we should add here is Action Points, similar to those in FO.


Here's how it works basically:

X wants to hit Y with a throwing knife.
- X rolls d100 under his BS stat for a "to hit" check (if it rolls less than his BS stat, he hits, otherwise he misses).
- Y tries to evade the knife, and rolls his Ag test, but fails and the knife hits the target.
- the damage is calculated like this: Strength + Weapon Bonus (if any) + d10 = Damage
- Y deducts from Damage Total his Toughness + Armour on that location, which gives us the Damage Sustained.
- that Damage Sustained value is further deducted from the Wounds, until they reach zero.
- if the Wounds fall below zero, a Critical Hit will be caused, its severity depending on the amount of Damage Sustained.
- repeat if necessary.

In my eyes that's quite logical and easy.

The thing that we should also add here is Action Points, similar to those in FO.

And, of course, there is large number of skills.

2. PC development.

Experience points should be usually awarded as in most RPGs: for completing quests and fighting. That's a cliche, of course, but it's natural for any RPG. These XPs could be spent on PC development.

However, in my view, we should avoid any level-based system, like the one in FO. Nor I think we should use the system where you simply get bonus to a proficiency you use often (The Elder Scrolls). Instead, I would suggest we use the "Carreer-based and plot-driven system".  Here's how I see it should work: the PC starts out with a (randomly generated?) Carreer, say, let's call it Snowfield Scavenger. This Carreer represents the PCs main occupation prior to his or her generation, and allows the PC to make the following advances:

up to +15 to his WS,
up to +5 to his BS,
up to +10 to his Ag,
up to +5 to his WP,

as well as allowing to pick up some new skills, like: Dodge Blow, Strike Mighty Blow, Specialist Weapon: Gun. And no more than that.

When the PC gains some XP he will be able to spend them to get these advances and skills. However, in order to get some particular skill the PC will also need to find a tutor or practice long enough in order to get the skill.

Eventually, the current Snowfield Scavenger Carreer advances and skills will be taken fully, and the PC will be inevitably looking forward to a change the Carreer, to get more advances and new skills. Again, to change the Carreer, the PC will have to find and convince a tutor, spend XP and time (and maybe money). After that, a new Carreer (say, Snowfield Mongoose) will become available to PCs, with its new skills and advances. And so on.

In my view, in this case, the gameplay style will strongly affect the PC. For example, he could either stick with bad guys and become an Assassin, or vice versa - stick with some Snowfield Paladins and become one of them, each of these Carreers being unique.

What do you think of that?
« Last Edit: February 13, 2009, 10:16:53 AM by egalor » Logged
zenbitz
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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2009, 11:28:07 PM »

I prefer a more free-form style.
No classes or careers.  Just pick your skills/traits/stats.  No random rolls for character generation either.
I like:  Sensical "defaults" for skills i.e, if you don't have (didn't pay for) the barter skill, you have a default value based on int/charisma/communication talents.  But for nuclear medicine... not so much in the way of defaults.

I also like skill trees.  If I am good with a sword, I should be OK with an axe or knife.  But not so good as to have 1 skill like fallout "Melee combat". 
Note that it would be silly to make a bunch of cool melee weapon rules if 90% of combat happens at range (crossbow/gun)

It makes almost no sense to use a combat system from existing RPG - the goals and needs are just totally different from a cRPG.  But if we are chatting about combat - I prefer:
Hand weapons - difference between hacks/thrusts/crushes (aka bashes) - damage is strength based, not weapon based (although weapons might matter a bit)
Guns/missile weapons - takes some time to aim properly - hip shooting not very effective  (not +1 AP like Fallout)

Oh, and I really don't like experience points for killing random hapless things - or even bandits and the like.    In general, I prefer use-based improvment, not levels - although I agree this is usually implemented idiotically.

Everyone who is serious about designing a system should read:
http://legendaryquest.netfirms.com/books/Patterns.zip  Design Patterns of Successful RPGs   

It is purely a discussion of PnP games - but provides fundamental vocabulary for describing game mechanics.  Some are totally irrelevant for computer games, but most of it applies.
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egalor
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2009, 11:30:41 PM »

Thanks a bunch Smiley I will look at this closer...
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egalor
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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2009, 12:07:37 PM »

As expected, so far, nothing new for me. I doubt they could really impress me much with PnP game design, as I've been in this business since 1994.... Anyways, it's always good to have a book like this.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2009, 12:09:34 PM by egalor » Logged
Lamoot
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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2009, 03:09:42 PM »

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we should write our own system, but steal ideas/concepts/mechanics liberally from existing ones we like.

Double yes!

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Note that it would be silly to make a bunch of cool melee weapon rules if 90% of combat happens at range (crossbow/gun)

I like your thinking mister.

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2) Don't have ever-increasing HPs (even if hidden) as players get better.

Yp. instead of the player getting better in combat because of his higher HP, he/she should get better because of better fighting skills, dodging, tactics etc. This is how Age of Decadence does things.

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No classes or careers.  Just pick your skills/traits/stats.  No random rolls for character generation either.

Agreed.

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Oh, and I really don't like experience points for killing random hapless things - or even bandits and the like.    In general, I prefer use-based improvment, not levels - although I agree this is usually implemented idiotically.

use-based improvement system could be really interesting if done correctly. And of course we should avoid the pitfalls as seen in morrowind and oblivion (an omni-skilled character)

One more thing I'd like to see is meaningful statistics and skills. In fallout you had "first aid" and "surgery" which were very similar and there wasn't a clear idea why one is better than the other. Stuff like this should be avoided.




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egalor
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2009, 04:36:11 PM »

Considering the use-based system - I support this, but I think it would still be better to link the PC development to the plot. I mean, the game plot and all side quests should be solvable by at least three types of a PC: Fighter/Sneaker/Talker.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2009, 08:12:04 PM »

I had an idea to split up skills like the following (note the "skills" listed aren't necessarily individual skills, but a batch of as-yet-undefined skills)

Incredibly Useful (used in basic, day-to-day game play - but most PCs are not good at ALL of these.
fighting, survival (including area knowledge), "trauma" medical (i.e, from bandaids to bullet removal), stealth

Moderately Useful: (you might have a few, NPCs might help you out (recruitable or no)
communication, barter, tech repair, vehicle, "internal" medicine (disease, pharmacy), crafting, tactics, leadership, farming and agriculture, brewing and distilling, food preservation, animal husbandry

Once in a life time:  (0-1 sidequests... NPCs MUST be available for help)
Hard sciences (biochemistry, nuclear engineering), air craft mechanic, seamanship, computer programming

Utterly useless (but might get into the game as pure flavor)
Game design, mathematics* (possibly could be used as prereq for engineering/sciences), fashion sense, music, history, philosophy, Television trivia, Wiki mastery, sports.

Hmm.... "Utterly useless" perhaps... but what if they represent your characters' INTERESTS.   And NPCs would have them too - the game function is simply that they are more likely to be your friend (better reaction roll, "escape valve") if you share interests.  It would cool if this was like secret easter egg feature, hidden from Player.

In character design process - the more useful the skill the more expensive it would be to start with.
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egalor
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« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2009, 04:36:24 PM »

In character design process - the more useful the skill the more expensive it would be to start with.

Interesting proposal. I can't remember any game that would link the price of a skill to it's practicability. However, it seems i might be difficult to justify why one skill is worse than the other one. It will be even more difficult to do this, if we allow the PC to follow different paths (fighter/sneaker/talker), because some skills will value differently in each case.

Instead of this I would propose to break down all skills into two large categories: Basic and Advanced.

Basic skills would mean those skills, rudiments of which might have almost every regular individual (for instance, Haggling, Outdoor Survival, First Aid, Repair etc.). PC will get a penalty when trying against these skills, if he doesn't have them checked.

While Advanced skills are those which require specific education and/or training, and could not be "tried out" if the PC doesn't have them. These might be: Picklock, Surgery, Computer Hacking, Nuclear Engineering, History, etc.

Any comments?
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zenbitz
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« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2009, 05:43:35 PM »


Interesting proposal. I can't remember any game that would link the price of a skill to it's practicability.
That's a good thing, right?
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However, it seems i might be difficult to justify why one skill is worse than the other one. It will be even more difficult to do this, if we allow the PC to follow different paths (fighter/sneaker/talker), because some skills will value differently in each case.

The justification is game balance.  The reason they cost more is to give player incentive to take non-traditional, interesting skills.  The other win is that, as we create the quests and encounters, we can use the "usefulness" as a guide line.  As for fighter/sneaker/talker - all we have to do is make sure the key skills for each area are in the "incredibly useful" category.   Depending on the relative cost (and whether it's the same in pre-game as in-game), this might have the effect of "railroading" PCs into being specialists (of the above categories); i.e, it becomes kind of a defacto "loose" class system.   There are advantages and disadvatages to this.

Furthermore, we could keep this classification "secret" from the player, if we thought it was confusing or disturbing.

Quote

Basic skills would mean those skills, rudiments of which might have almost every regular individual (for instance, Haggling, Outdoor Survival, First Aid, Repair etc.). PC will get a penalty when trying against these skills, if he doesn't have them checked.

While Advanced skills are those which require specific education and/or training, and could not be "tried out" if the PC doesn't have them. These might be: Picklock, Surgery, Computer Hacking, Nuclear Engineering, History, etc.

Ah, it seems like you are dividing the world into "things with defaults" and "things without defaults"   GURPS has really nice default definitions for skills, if you've seen it.  GURPS obviously has WAY more skills than we need. 
This is a perfectly reasonable division - but there is absoultely no reason why need a single clean division. 
You would also need to specify what you mean by "checked"... I guess you are referencing SPECIAL here?
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egalor
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« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2009, 01:21:15 PM »

You would also need to specify what you mean by "checked"... I guess you are referencing SPECIAL here?

Yes, it might bear some resemblance to SPECIAL, where it is called "tagging". However, the difference between "tagging" and "checking" in my view is that in the latter case the PC either has the skill or not:

- if he has the skill, it will be easier for him to accomplish a relevant task;
- if he doesn't and a task is related to the Basic skill (like haggling) -- it will be more difficult (half the chance of success);
- same as above, if the task related to any Advanced skill, it is impossible to accomplish.

In both cases the proficiency in the skill is derived from the PC's stats and any bonuses applicable ad hoc.

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zenbitz
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« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2009, 12:47:44 AM »

Yeah, all the above can be considered "design goals" - roughly (concepts of having "checked" the skill, how much decay you get for similar skill, yadda, yadda).
Have you ever read the GURPS skill rules?

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mvBarracuda
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« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2009, 09:01:02 AM »

Concerning classes vs. class-less: I liked how you could develope your character in a free-form way in Fallout. I really disliked the classes found in D&D games though some were worse than others. From a realism point of view a class-less ruleset seems more appropriate as well.

We could use backgrounds as found in Arcanum to let the player chose a specific direction for his character in the beginning without totally binding him to it.
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