June 7th, 2007

Voodoo Dolly

Saga Star Wars Mechanics

Took a very brief peek at the Saga System, mostly because the guy running the store mentioned it is a lead-in to 4E D&D (which is due next year, so I'm told).

1)  They have removed AC.  Attacks are made against the target's Reflex Save.
2)  Hit Points for 1st Level is (significant number) plus Con Bonus.  (If I remember, one Class had 14, the other had 20-something + Con Bonus).
3)  Classes don't have Save Charts, they do have Base Attack Bonus plus the advantages for each Level.  I didn't see any 'Dead Levels'.
4)  Feats that give Attack or Defence options are listed with your Attack/Saving Throws (which were called Defences, I think...) as a reminder of what you can do.
5)  Hit Points have a 'Threshold', (124 HP, Threshold 33 for Yoda, I think).  I have no idea what a Threshold is.
6)  Every four levels you increase two Attributes, not one.

I remind, this was just a preliminary check.

My thoughts:
I like the fact they removed AC.  I've been considering doing an RPG setting using a seriously modified d20, and one of the first ideas I had was to make Saving Throws a static number, and have the opponent make a DC check against the Saving Throw.  Making AC into a Reflex Save actually makes a lot of sense, and then armour can modify damage.

I'm of mixed feelings about Dead Levels.  Put too much into a character class, and you get bogged down.  Put in not enough, people will take something else.

I like the 'lump HP' at first level.  Gives a nice buffer.

Overall, my take on this is 'interesting', but there was also, I feel, entirely too much on miniature rules in the rulebook.
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The first party adventure; Nostalgia from the 80s.

Earlier, a community member inquired as to the various techniques used to assemble a party and launch them into their first adventure. My own story was rather involved and too long for a comment so I posted it as an original entry.

The most successful launch of an adventuring party my gaming group ever accomplished was in a 2nd Edition D&D campaign of mine, wherein I borrowed a page from Raymond Feist for the beginning of his Midkemia series and used White Wolf's Prelude technique to assemble the party.

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Rawkin Chewbawkin
  • krrayn

Hit Points

This open query is primarily directed toward those with experience with the D20 hit point system (positive or negative), though any other game system that uses damage point tracking can be applicable.

1. What do you not like about hit point systems?1

2.a. What published alternate rules for combat/damage do you like, and why? Corrollary: How difficult do you find it to adopt said alternate rules to existing material?

2.b. What home-brew alternate rules?

3. Of either of the above, what have you actually used in play that has worked well, in terms of player and GM satisfaction, playability vs. realism, etc?

4. In what genres/settings do you find certain combat/damage systems more or less applicable?

1I invite readers to comment on why they like hit point systems if they wish; if there's some value to them beyond abstraction and playability, I'm interested to hear it.
up to something

For the HERO System people out there ...

Does anybody know how to speed up and streamline combat in the HERO system?

I've already declared that everyone must be the same SPD and my players are pretty good at looking up rules prior to using them but combat still drags when there are more than 2-3 combatants.

Does anybody have a good set of house rules or guidelines or process steps to speed up HERO combat before I pull all my hair out?

I know that practice speeds things up a bit but not as much as I'd thought. I also don't want to change systems because I like how HERO works for all the other aspects of my game.
  • b00jum

Story Patterns

I'm interested in hearing about the basic building blocks for good stories in rpg campaigns. These building blocks are the "Story Patterns" that are used/re-used throughout game play. I'd like to keep the definition of "Story Pattern" loose and see what arises. I wouldn't mind discovering or being educated to a semi-formal system for analyzing Story Pattern.

I'd guess that the most common Pattern we draw from is the "Hero's story" (J.Campbell and so on). One of the big differences is that as roleplayers, we tend to play the pattern 'band of heroes'.

Of course, there are a number of relevant categories to SPs: Patterns of Place (The mysterious tower, the kingdom falling apart), Patterns of People (Archetypes?) and overall Plot Patterns.

What story patterns do you use/recognize from your own games?

Are there resources for Story Patterns in gaming that you are aware of/draw from?

Does anyone know of a good RP wiki where we could begin to catalog, associate and analyze these patterns for Role Playing?
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Letting the Cards Fall

This is connected to my thing against having the GM fudge or cheat during a game for the sake of 'story'.  I've got two stories here to tell, and I'm curious as to what the community thinks.

Story 1:  Cyberpunk
We stumbled upon a computer chip containing a program which upgrades the AIs of small programs (which are usually Int 6) to something smarter. Two companies wanted it. We were 'in the way' and they were making us offers while sending assassins after us so they could steal it.

Huge headache.

Now, the GM wanted us to negotiate with one or the other. We'd get in 'nice' with one, while making an enemy of the other. Something probably connected to a later arc in the campaign.

Seriously? I knew we would be hozed either way. The company would be nice only so long as we proved useful, then geek us when we weren't. That's how the game is played, everyone knows this.

So, I had a copy on my cyberdeck, dropped the chip off in a briefcase on top of a building, and told both parties that the chip was there, though not informing them I told the other company.

The two went nuts on each other trying to get the chip, and it ended with the building getting blown to smithereens. Both companies lost out, both thought the chip and program were destroyed (since it was....)

And we laid very, very, very low... but still had the program.

The campaign was a complete wash... but hey, the players were entertained. Sure, the campaign was over, but it was a damn good adventure for us.

Story 2:  Palladium Fantasy
Game Master had a paladin with the PC party, planning an epic campaign where the PCs start as farmers and peons, under the watchful eye of the Paladin Hero, who will guide them, train them, and once they feel comfortable, they make a name for themselves.

The PCs head through some woods with a bunch of peon NPCs and the Paladin. The GM decides to have a 'small goblin raid' on the PCs, to give them their first fight.

Goblin ambushes from tree. Passes Stealth Roll. Gets surprise on the Paladin. Gets a critical hit on the Paladin. Paladin dies.

The PCs freak out. The entire campaign is, of course, a wash. So, the GM hikes up his suspenders, has the NPCs spaz as well, and the goblins attack. The PCs run for the hills, hide out, get together, and try to decide what to do from there...

And the GM lets the campaign run on. Completely different game than what was intended, but hey, you play with the hand you're dealt, right?
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