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you get 2 traits with the limitation that you can only pick one of the traits that messes with your stats (they are pretty clearly incompatible anyway). There's a few that are negative and those buy you 2 extra ones.
Originally I was using broad categories with +1 to a stat and some kind of power/rules exception/ability for each category (so like: insects, predator mammals, birds, herbivores) but it both felt not customizable enough given how many animals exist, and I also wanted to avoid some of the more... problematic... aspects that come with going "All deer are smart but weak". Plus like, if someone wants to play something weird like a hybrid animal, or a dragon or something it feels kinda lame to be like "Well I donno pick 'lizard' that's close enough to dragon"
I still really wanted to have cool individual animal powers like, "I'm a hawk so I have wings, or I'm a hippo so I'm super tough" and it makes sense that like, different species are going to have different physical stuff going, on but this way you can kinda do whatever. And also honestly, if you want to play a giant rabbit with big claws.... that's kind of cool too.
edited January 2
Thanks for the reply. Good stuff! It’s a tough call but I’m glad you went with that, mainly because in the rare case of players all playing the same animal (siblings etc) it’ll be nice to make it your own.
I’ll save time posting about Damage and just post a link. This’ll be an active document for it. Main changes are it uses a regular chess sized board now, both because I need more space with the pawns having a range out to 2 spaces usually and because I can just use a chess board and pieces to play it.
I might fork out for little portraits from an artist if I finish it, just a head in a circle sort of deal.
Onto my softy softy rules light fairytale story game which might be called ‘The Wyrm Worlds Cycle’, at least until after teatime.
It’s an especially narrative driven game, and I’ve laid bare at lot of what I want out of a roleplaying game. It doesn’t pretend to be anything but a bunch of people play-acting for their amusement, and other than rolling dice there’s little to no numbers, no +1-ing, you know?
I want it to play out like a sketchy movie, basically, with players onboard to do the most fun thing, not the tactically best idea.
As such it has plot tokens, which are used to pull the story around, like dodge death or getting a civil audience with a king, or revealing something devastating. It’s got a dice pool system for throwing as much dice at a problem as you want, within reason. And it’s got prompts like ‘ Gullible: You invite others to deceive you. When you believe their lies, act as the fiction demands, and mark experience.’ and for the Beast archetype ‘ Unstoppable: You may spend a plot token to:
- Breach the unbreakable to reach your goal; armour, castle walls, their lies.’
Here’s a snippet of the character creation, thoughts? (I’m aware without a full system to look at this is nonsense, so thank you in advance.)
Create a name, and choose a meaning:
- Your name is humble and unassuming.
- Your name is exotic and intriguing.
- Your name is grim and barbaric.
- Your name has a historic legacy. Who held it first?
- Your name has religious significance. Why is that?
- Your name is highborn, it carries weight. How did your family come to power?
- Your name is a cover for your birth name. Keep it a secret.
- Your name is yours alone. Why is that?
Describe where your character is from, along with any traits, real or rumour, that define your people in your eyes.
Once per session, you may mark your origin to add a permanent tag to your character before you commit to an action.
Describe a piece of your history, real or rumour, that defines you in the eyes of others. The Host will introduce at least two groups with differing opinions regarding your reputation.
When your reputation gets you into or out of trouble, mark experience.
No one is quite like you. Make a statement that defines only you, setting you apart from everyone else. Your contrast is an important part of the narrative, and the Host will utilise it accordingly.
At the end of a session, if your contrast drove part of the session forward, crew’s call, take a plot token.
Choose your initial Archetype.
...and here I’ll stop. But that’s it really.
My idea is you introduce your character, but by starting without tags (bonus die to a suitable roll) you can decide exactly who they are as you progress, rather than off the bat. Likewise, Archetypes aren’t fixed classes, but roles to act out, which are changed at story beats.
A level 1 character might be a pickpocket by reputation and Fool by archetype, but by level 3 they’re a Heir archetype hero in the rebellion that has awakened their High Elven heritage.
I am gonna include extensive rules for enemies (single foe, a foe made of parts, swarms treated as a single foe for ease and most importantly what I’m calling ‘superior forces—things you cannot just fight), but I’m focused on the story game bits for now.
Competition tier list from my lead tester:
A Tier: Things that move you forward, preferably those that also make you immune
B Tier: Things that can mess with the player in the lead
Trash Tier: Literally everything else
Some suggestions from the group:
Assassin & Astrologer are OP
Maybe need more ways to interact with players, like a counter skill or something like that
The game should reward you to choose the non-obvious option in some way (the players compared it to Bloodborne the Card Game)
Way way back you had a flooded world setting in the works. Did anything become of it? It sounded neat!
I’m going to sea Monday with work so my stuff is on hold for now, but I like where they’re going. My problem has always been losing steam when it gets to the rules clarification and ‘boring’ bits like making it readable in some kind of order; so keeping things as light as possible is the way forward I think.
I did spend an hour making a convoluted set of mini-backstories and connections between the characters in DAMAGE though, straight out of a 90’s ‘too cool for school to the maxxx’ comic. Did you know Dominar is Matan’s older brother who turned evil? And that the killbot FM-0 was made by Dominar, but convinced to be betray him by Sentinox?
My priorities in game design are not good.
Bad Opinion Haver
The setting more or less exists in some form in my head and is mostly a less AR centric version of it as existed in
As for systems for it my latest maybe attempt is a D6 pool one heavily inspired by Forbidden Lands/Free League's very good shite.
Mostly it's just bad procastination and the fact that I really want to nail CP2020 style gunfight tension without needing maps or a shit load of rules. Heck I literally just penned some dumb design waffle in a twitter thread:
Nice one! I’ll give it a read.
I’ve been using a skeleton version of what I want to end up with for a few months now and I can tell you, dice pools are fun!
I've made absolutely no progress on anything since Christmas. Was really hoping to do some work while I was home for the hollidays but I ended up with the flue for like two weeks instead. I really want to get a first draft PDF together, even if the copy is kind of jank, just so I have a neat little package with art and rules to send players before I start trying to organize a game. But I'm *really* looking forward to testing things out across multiple sessions.
Good luck with it all! What I’ve seen looks like fun so far.
I’m still plugging away at my (let’s be honest, unnecessary) high fantasy fairytale game, and at the moment I’m taking a break from tweaking the player stuff to make a bestiary.
My main goal is to be true to a monster as they appeared in legend and tale, and absolutely avoid the D&D version they’ve become. I think this’ll keep them fresh for long-standing role players and give game hosts something new to run.
But I couldn’t just make little stat blocks, I had to do it the hard way. Every monster in the game has a standard and boss variant, and comes with two story hook locations. This is the goblin so far:
Group, Devious, Organised, Eldritch
Instinct: To make a mockery.
Aspiration: Ruin an innocent life.
- Strike a shady deal.
- Offer a gift with a hidden cost.
- Stab them in the back.
Rattle: Vanish in a puff of smoke, along with everything they brought.
[blurb describing goblins]
Ruler, Devious, Stealthy, Eldritch
Instinct: To reveal flaw.
Aspiration: Bind the good in contract.
- Tell a misleading or devastating truth.
- Fulfil a desire with terrible consequences.
- Reveal a plan on motion.
Rattle: Become a lesser, mewling thing.
[blurb describing G.K]
Impulse: To entice.
- Goblins behind stalls; clamouring for customers or simply sat grinning.
- Squabbling fae creatures of all descriptions.
- Thorny weeds and pale flowers encroaching—another world is close.
Otherwise called the Midnight, Shifting, or Fae Market, this enchanted venue is run by the goblins, and here they peddle their infamous goblin fruit—the effects upon consuming being most strange indeed. Besides that they offer trinkets the likes you’ll find nowhere else; a bottled dream, thread of woven moonlight, a letter from your future lover… that is if you believe a word they say. The price of these wares are unusual too. Perhaps the goblins will ask for a promise, a lock of hair, or a little of your luck.
The market appears on the queer schedule of the goblins in the place of their choosing, and few customers are more than hapless folk drawn in while out journeying to elsewhere. It’s rare that those seeking the market find it twice, especially if they’re unhappy with a deal struck with these maniacal merchants.
Just as the Goblin Market appears, it’s gone by dawn, as if it never was, along with the goblins, with naught but a cruel cackle on the wind to say they had ever been.
Impulse: To lead astray.
- A door peeling into existence from crumbling masonry.
- Eyes in the dark—there and gone.
- Opulence in decay, the archaic twisted and given strange purpose.
There is a castle that doesn’t exist and within its walls the goblin king resides over their goblin kin. The halls are illusionary, a mirage that can be touched (always cold, like damp stone), a ruse that masks a no doubt sinister visage. It’s true shape and dimensions cannot be foreseen.
There might be a courtyard that leads out to a hedge maze or orchard of precious goblin fruit—it’s never quite the same, even within the same night—and it’s always night here.
Up the spiralling stone staircases and across the decadent halls the goblins scheme and riddle, carouse and… find more malicious ways to pass the time… Woe to those that find themselves invited, and greater sorrows for those that dare to trespass!
To clarify: Rattle, as in death rattle, are what happen when you slay a monster. A final move of sorts; the dragon bleeds it’s raw element and spoils the land, for example.
It’ll be tough, but in my opinion way more useful for running the game than just the stat blocks. You’re no beholden to use it all, but in a pinch you can pick a page and you’ve got your enemies, the boss fight, and couple places for the session to happen in.
Last thing, places have impulses the way monsters have instincts. They’re roleplaying prompts for the host—not sure what to do? Well, they’re in a desert and it’s impulse is cause scarcity, so tell them the water is low, or maybe those people on the horizon will kill for food, or just show the poverty of the place.
Because of how the story went, there is a temporary second party in the game I run. I had a lot of fun designing a simpler "D&D Essentials" set of characters, one of whom is an alchemist with a mix list inspired by my replay of FFX/X-2. I thought it would take me way longer to come up with them, but since I decided to make the majority of skills have simple and obvious effects with no conditional effects, I powered through it in one evening.
The only thing the player is getting is the list of names, and they have to choose 3 items to be able to mix.
Potion: Ranged heal
Bomb: Ranged area damage
Battery: Ranged damage + damage debuff
Shard: Strong melee attack
Slime: Cleanse + buff
Fuel: Ranged damage + burn
Repulsor: Ranged push
Drone: Create a drone that can attack at range or in melee
Potion: Mega-Potion: Big heal, low range
Bomb: Mist Bomb: Area heal + regen
Battery: Jolt Potion: Target may basic attack or move
Shard: Steelskin Potion: Strong defense against one attack
Slime: Cleansing Potion: Cleanse + heal
Fuel: Enflame Potion: Damage buff + inflict burn with attacks
Repulsor: Wall Potion: Creates a damage-blocking field around the target for one round
Drone: Recovery Drone: A drone that can heal
Bomb: Demolition Charge: Unblockable damage, bonus structure damage
Battery: Arc Web: Damage an area, increasing with targets in the area
Shard: Splinter Bomb: Area damage + slow
Slime: Sticky Bomb: Low range, delayed unblockable damage
Fuel: Flare Bomb: Area damage + blind
Repulsor: Force Bomb: Area damage + push
Drone: Suicide Drone: Unblockable damage, destroys itself
Battery: Lightning Stream: Line attack
Shard: Shock Blade: Melee damage + damage debuff
Slime: Arc Trap: Trap that deals low damage + damage debuff + root
Fuel: Pyroblast: Burst damage + burn
Repulsor: Voltaic Shield: The target is surrounded by a one-time shield that blocks a skill, if a character hits it it is damaged and rooted
Drone: Spark Drone: Drone with a strong ranged attack
Shard: Wide Slash: Close-range area damage
Slime: Portable Cover: Create a permanent wall
Fuel: Flame Blade: Melee damage + double-strength burn
Repulsor: Force Slash: Melee damage + push
Drone: Blade Drone: Drone with a strong melee attack
Slime: Gel Coating: Target takes less damage
Fuel: Oil Slick: Trap that is difficult terrain, if hit with a fire attack explodes for damage
Repulsor: Rubberized Coating: Protects the target from non-damaging effects and bounces off enemies that attack it in melee
Drone: Cleansing Drone: Drone that can cleanse
Fuel: Flamethrower: Area damage + burn
Repulsor: Fire Shot: Infinite range damage + burn
Drone: Blaze Drone: Drone with area damage + burn
Repulsor: Insta-Barrier: Create a temporary impassable barrier
Drone: Guard Drone: Drone that can react to block damage on allies
Drone: Microbot Swarm: Drone that is immune to single-target damage and can attack in melee
edited January 19
DAMAGE is 80% done, rules wise, to the point I’m even batting around variant modes, like 3 or 4 player matches, tournament rules, and a bundle of challenges (both players pick 3 Zeets, every turn their move is increased by 1, on a pre-set board of certain tiles etc.)
The guniators (your pieces) are somewhere between 60% and 90% done. They’re very easy to come up with, so it’s more a matter of cutting the chaff at this point, maybe coming up with some more unique ones.
I’m thinking of doing the art myself, since I think ‘awful gooey chunky 90’s monster men’ is something I can just about pull off. In an ideal world they’d have painted miniatures but I’m sure little checker pieces with faces drawn on them will do.
I played a test game today. I picked Goreskull, Unbroken and Strafen, and my pal picked Nightpale, Sentinox and Tyranno!
I’m unreasonably attached to these characters even though I’ve tried to make them as obnoxiously Quake/Mortal Kombat as possible.
Edit: I imagine them looking like this. Just nonsense gore and machine bits for most of them.
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