Club PA 2.0 has arrived! If you'd like to access some extra PA content and help support the forums, check it out at patreon.com/ClubPA
The image size limit has been raised to 1mb! Anything larger than that should be linked to. This is a HARD limit, please do not abuse it.
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

Look upon my [game design] ye Mighty, and despair!

1235»

Posts

  • FuselageFuselage Bantha Three ValhallaRegistered User regular
    Holy crap, is Game-Icons.net the best, or is it actually the best?! I'm very pleased with it so far.

    Iron WeaselAuralynxThe Sauce
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alysandria Registered User regular
    It's time to make a new convention / event adventure for Triptycho. The previous adventure has served well, and I've learned a lot from running it. I'll still keep an up-to-date version around when I'm running a game for people with no RPG experience.

    However, from RPG veterans I'm getting consistent feedback about "missing" the roleplay part. I need to have an adventure ready to run for those types of players that shows off how the game can adapt to player choice and provide real opportunity to roleplay for those who want it. That way, I can hopefully earn some more social media followers (which will help the all-important Kickstarter campaign actually work out whenever I get around to that), plus get some feedback about the game from such experienced players beyond asking about the roleplaying.

    Another advantage of going this route with an adventure is that I'll have quite a few scenarios prepared. Instead of running the same 3 scenarios over and over, I'll get to engage a wider set of the game's mechanics and enemy types, which is great for more comprehensive testing. This would have been a negative last year where I needed really focused testing on the core mechanics, but it's at a new stage now. With new features like Backgrounds, I don't have to worry about the characters being so carefully built for handling the specific scenarios, either (which is a good thing for the game in general).

    So, here's the working synopsis and outline for the new adventure, Chains of Seclusion:
    Background

    The secluded barony of Ulin has become extremely reclusive of late, shutting itself off from the outside world and even posting an armed checkpoint to turn away any travelers or traders that seek to enter. With the dukedom currently dealing with a succession crisis, there are no authorities available to investigate.

    The PCs were hired to retrieve a runaway, an adolescent boy by the name of Suren. He was an orphan, apprenticed by a blacksmith in a nearby port town, but has entered a rebellious streak and fled after a heated argument. Suren was last seen heading down the now-barren road to Ulin; the smith fears either things went poorly at the checkpoint, or he somehow got past it and is now stuck in the strange village.

    In truth, the barony has given itself over to worship of an Unseelie Fallen, an evil fae exiled for practicing forbidden magics. The adolescents of the village (“Ulin Grove”) have been given over to the castle (“Ulin Castle”), where the Unseelie transforms them into her devoted Nibelung* army. She is known simply as “The Baroness” for having “married” the baron, although he has been poisoned with a mind-altering brew that leaves him largely unaware of any happenings, immensely suggestible, and asleep for much of each day.

    Suren, being a prime candidate for assimilation into the Nibelung force, was granted entry. He is now in Ulin Castle, hypnotized by forbidden Unseelie arts and about to begin the irreversible transformation process...


    * Commonly referred to as "nyblings," the Nibelung are essentially Triptycho's version of goblins. They're created from disaffected youth by forbidden Unseelie magics. The default version has the transformation as irreversible (because otherwise fighting them becomes a serious moral problem), but a campaign that de-emphasizes combat could benefit from having the potential to save the Unseelie outcast's victims.

    This throws a bit dark, but the base Triptycho game leans more heavily on classic faerie myths than on more modern Tolkien / D&D takes (no orcs or "modern" elves thus far, for instance). Evil fae that disappear children are a common trope, so this is the way I went about implementing that in a heroic fantasy game (while also seeking to create something a little distinct from the usual goblin and kobold fodder).



    Outline
    1. PCs seek to enter the reclusive village of Ulin Grove, which has completely shut itself off from the outside world. The main road in is now a manned checkpoint turning away travelers and traders with threat of arms. Thick swamps run alongside the road, straight up to some fierce mountain peaks that are too difficult to scale. Players can choose their approach to enter the secluded area. They could try to talk their way through, attack the guards, sneak past at the edge of the swamp, or trudge through the more difficult portion of the swamp. Each option results in a different* scenario. A strong Interaction victory can result in the PCs learning of Suren's entry (if they weren't just trying to lie their way through).
    2. Past the checkpoint, the PCs eventually come to see both Ulin Castle to the west and Ulin Grove to the east and may choose to proceed to either. If they go to the village, they'll notice that there are adults and small children, but absolutely no one anywhere near Suren's age. Village folk tend to be both suspicious and fearful of the party, but the players may run an Interaction scenario to try to find someone willing to talk. If they succeed, they learn of Suren's location in the castle, as well as an old hidden path into the castle dungeon via a combination of natural caves and artificial tunnels. If the PCs head to the castle, they'll be stopped by guards. The PCs can try to talk their way inside, or they can attack the guards and enter by force.
    3. If the PCs learned of the secret path, they can run an scenario to get to the castle dungeon. If they came through the front entry, they'll see patrolling groups of Nibelung, which they can either try to sneak past or openly attack. Regardless of approach, they'll find Suren in the dungeon in a stupor and can rescue him, reviving him from his confusion and learning the horrifying truth of the barony. Getting out the way they came is no longer a challenge, and they may returned the rescued apprentice to the smith.
    4. Daring players may try to take on the Unseelie Fallen despite warnings about her power. If they do, they can make their way to her chambers, where she will meet them with a haughty attitude and take them on in a very challenging and entirely optional level 2 boss battle.

    * The plan is to have two options for trudging through the deep swamp: a combat with the swamp's denizens, and an exploration through treacherous terrain. I'll choose which one to run based on player role choices; if their exploration roles are set up to handle wilderness exploration reasonably well, I'll run that one, switching to combat otherwise.

    This part is the trickiest, because I have to consider each and every one of these scenarios as potential "first-time" scenarios for brand-new Triptycho players. So, each of them needs to be simplified as much as possible while still being interesting & gripping. That's going to require a lot of care!

    The other major trick with an adventure like this is handling failure routes for the various scenarios. Generally speaking, there are four typical failure-related outcomes: some kind of penalty (injury, disease, loss of wealth or karma); having to run another scenario (failing stealth leading to combat, for example); negative story consequences; and death (rare as fail-forward is the default). Death is no good here except at the end, because I don't want to cut a playtest short. Penalty scenarios are also out, because they'll make the game take too long. That means I need to mix injuries with negative story consequences in a way that still feels believable.

    I suspect I may have to resort at least once to saying something like "normally you'd have to play out combat now, but in the interest of time for this event/con, we'll fast-forward and have you survive the battle but come away with some injuries." If players really rebel against that, I can just run another scenario for them anyway and perhaps skip something later (castle is mysteriously without guards, a villager talks without running interaction, etc).
    Thoughts welcome! Thanks for reading another Sauce essay.

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    FuselagedoomybearAuralynxJPantsIron Weasel
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alysandria Registered User regular
    So uh

    I may have been just a liiiiiittle ambitious with that there outline

    The first draft of this adventure is clocking in at nearly thirty-five pages

    That's to run, on average, a session with a whopping 3 scenarios


    At first it gave me a bit of whiplash-induced doubt. Am I going down the wrong path? If it takes that much work to put together what is essentially a single gaming session, then how could this game ever be feasible? The whole intention is to gracefully handle players doing all kinds of random things, but a DM can't be expected to have the skills needed to ad-lib 35 pages' worth of design every single session.

    But of course, the reality is just that I way overshot on number of options. Three ways to get past the checkpoint is pretty reasonable; I didn't need to add another two for a total of five completely different scenarios players can run to get past one little piece of the story. Swapping the swamp for something literally impassible (or making it so dangerous that players wouldn't attempt it) would cut out two of them immediately, and even if I wanted to keep that option, I could have just gone with the exploration scenario and skipped the bog beasts. In truth, I included that because I have a bunch of neat monsters at level 1 that fit in swamps, and I wanted a combat possibility to use them.

    Likewise, there was no need to have the adventure split at the castle and the village with separate scenarios in each. Most adventures will gently nudge the players down the main critical path.

    Document length could be further cut down by replacing some of these scenarios with sidebars. For instance, maybe the adventure's story nudges the PCs to talk to the guards at a particular place, and rather than having a full combat write-up with a map and such, it just lists the names of the enemies to use and has a one or two sentence description of the terrain in the case where the players choose to violate expectations (and maybe put themselves into a bad situation).


    The biggest question mark at this point is how easy or hard it is to ad-lib exploration scenarios, as the other two systems tolerate plain / boring maps fairly well. You won't typically need to do so for things like dungeon delving or overland travel; however, if the PCs instigate a chase or stealth sequence when the module or DM's notes lacked a write-up for such an event, the DM will need to make one on-the-fly. And that's pretty difficult, because the layout is absolutely crucial to both the balance and fun factor of such scenes.

    This is why I resisted for so long putting a map to exploration. When it was just a deck of Trait cards, it was super easy to ad-lib a scenario. Just grab a set of relevant enemies and Trait cards for what the players are doing, and you're off. In the end, that just wasn't fun enough (and didn't feel enough like exploring).

    It's too early to reach any conclusions; rules for Stealth and Chase are relatively new (due to the map itself being relatively new), so even I lack the experience with the system to try to put a scenario together out of nothing. I'm still trying to figure out how to properly design them when I invest lots of time into the task! Which, as an aside, is a super interesting part of this whole game design exercise -- I make the rules and systems with a relatively general idea at first of how it'll all play out at the table, but then sitting down and implementing all of that into concrete story situations with fun and balanced scenario design remains wholly difficult. It's very much like trying to do such a thing for any other system you're new at, only I don't have any professional examples or official modules to turn to for advice or models! I'm literally supposed to be making those things!

    It's pretty interesting to walk the path of needing to learn to become an expert at a game you made. Like, it's not that much easier just because you happened to craft the systems yourself.

    At any rate, worst-case with chase/stealth scenes, I can always publish a whole bunch of relatively generic ones at each level online that DMs can quickly grab and adapt to in-game situations. Probably. I think that's feasible.

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    FuselageIron WeaselCheeseliker
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alysandria Registered User regular
    Another problem (tentatively) solved!


    Stealth Scenarios

    The way Stealth works in Triptycho is that each player contributes one or more Stealth Tokens to the party pool. Then, an Exploration scenario plays out as normal, except that a special type of enemy called Seekers generally functions by removing player Stealth Tokens instead of doing damage (there are exceptions, such as the max level Dread Eye inspired the Lord of the Rings that has an Eye of Flame ability, but I digress). If the players run out of Stealth Tokens, they're found and the scenario ends in failure.

    This works well enough as a baseline, but I ran into a problem: what if the players want to ambush / stealth-kill one or more of the Seekers? Previously, my assumption was that doing so meant that you were no longer engaging in Stealth but rather switching to Combat; so, end the scenario in failure as if the PCs were discovered, but maybe give them a bonus to Initiative or something. Otherwise, the rules were silent on the issue. You can play Actions against Seekers, but they had no Endurance Point (EP) total and didn't play Reactions; essentially, you couldn't defeat them, but you could impose conditions on them and the like.

    Well, this was rather unsatisfying, and it didn't cover at all for situations where the PCs have a single Seeker isolated on the side and want to take it out. Trying to design scenarios around that also felt way too limiting, artificially so.

    I needed to come up with a real solution. I talked with my playtest group, and ideas bounced around led to this one.


    Stealth Kills and Alerted

    Allowing for stealth kills means that Seekers needed to have EP pools. However, in the majority of cases, they need to go down in one hit. After all, if you whack a Seeker and don't take them out, now you're in Combat -- but doing this constantly for individual Seekers would be both annoying and unsatisfying.

    The solution is to give Seekers a single EP (much like how I handle ghosts in Combat). That way, if you hit them, you'll assuredly defeat them. But if you whiff, I can apply all kinds of effects through their Reaction, such as having the players lose a Stealth Token from the botched attempt. To make this even more of a risky move, Seekers have higher Endure dice than normal for their level & rank, so you'll want to have a pretty good Action to play if you want to take that route.

    Of course, the Seeker should get some kind of awareness that something is going on if a PC whiffs on it. In fact, they need this in general any time they cause the PCs to lose a Stealth Token, since that means they saw or heard something out of the ordinary. To resolve this, I've added the Alerted beneficial condition, which applies only to Seekers. Any time a Seeker causes the PCs to lose a Stealth Token, it becomes Alerted, gaining +1 to its Inflict dice level (making it easier to take away more Tokens with future Actions). It also interrupts any predetermined patrol route to start actively looking for the PCs in whatever way the DM determines is appropriate. That element in particular pushes these scenarios more toward traditional RPGs and a little less gamey, which is probably a good thing as I went a little too gamey in a few areas to start with.

    So, what to do with defeated Seekers? The PCs either killed, knocked unconscious, mesmerized, or bound the Seeker to defeat it, which means the results of this could be found by other Seekers. Therefore, if a Seeker ever shares an occupied region with a defeated Seeker during its turn, it becomes Alerted if it was not already. A PC can spend an Action to hide a defeated Seeker's body (if the DM permits it -- there needs to be some place and way to hide it). Since a PC has to spend an Action to defeat a Seeker in the first place, this encourages teamwork even from players whose Craft (Role in Exploration) is typically poor at Stealth. A single PC would need to spend two turns to defeat a Seeker and then hide the body, which gives time for nearby patrols to walk in, become Alerted, and start searching for the PCs with higher chances of success.

    The Alerted condition also gives me another lever to play with. I can put other effects on Seekers that trigger off the Alerted status, and lower-level mook Seekers can become Alerted on their Reactions instead of immediately causing the PCs to lose Stealth Tokens, lowering the difficulty in the early stages of the game.

    This also has let me buff a bunch of Crafts (and Expertise Gear) that were previously terrible at Stealth by granting them Action options to play against and defeat Seekers. The poor Pilgrim, who focuses on EP restoration and condition healing, can now contribute by taking out Seekers with high-Inflict, low-Damage Actions that are common to the Craft and its set of Mysticism Expertise.

    Further, these mechanics give me a lot of room for fun differentiation of enemy Seekers (which otherwise were mostly distinguished by the size of their dice). Higher-level enemies like Sentry Imps and Mercenary Companies, representing packs of foes, have higher EP totals than just 1, representing PCs taking them out in groups. And as their EP totals fall, they become Alerted, but lose overall dice rolls due to fewer eyes to keep a lookout. The Sentinel Magus, which uses scrying from a safe location surrounded by magical wards, has Defense dice on its Reaction, making it even tougher to land a stealth kill if you don't utilize Piercing damage on your Actions.

    Finally, since PCs now have a rather reliable countermeasure to use against Seekers, I can now put more of them in a scenario without that increasing the difficulty so much.

    These new rules will be put to the test in the new prototype adventure, which features two potential Stealth scenarios players can choose to attempt. I can't wait to see how it works in practice!

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    MarshmallowIron Weasel
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alysandria Registered User regular
    ppb0f4jwjx6u.jpg
    The latest convention prototype set arrived! The standees are soooo cool and should work much better than the flat shards for tracking characters on the maps. They're laser cut wood, though, so we had to wipe soot off the edges while punching them out. Never had to do that with a game before!

    The latest cool fix didn't make it to print this time, sadly. I'll print a patch for the next con. In short, combat spellcasters weren't the most fun to play because incantations take a round to chant, firing at the start of your next turn if you don't lose it to taking damage.

    Talking with a new playtester, the solution suddenly became apparent - turn incanting into combos! So now, most implements have an entry that lets you start incanting as part of doing another thing, like making a weaker attack.

    Not only is this more fun, but it finally brought the Sorcerer up to the level of the Shaman and Brute in damage output.

    Anyway, got a con this upcoming weekend, so I'll be busy getting everything ready to go for it. Even ran my first "ad" ever (boosted Facebook post).

    Exciting times!

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    webguy20doomybearDirtmuncherAuralynxZombie HeroJPantsIron WeaselJustTeeFuselageMahnmut
  • FuselageFuselage Bantha Three ValhallaRegistered User regular
    That looks really cool. Dang.

    The SauceJPantsZombie HeroJustTee
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alysandria Registered User regular
    Fuselage wrote: »
    Holy crap, is Game-Icons.net the best, or is it actually the best?! I'm very pleased with it so far.
    Ended up using these to print a set of shards (thin, round, flat cardboard punch-outs) to track things like conditions and lighting. It's the best. Really cool site, thanks for the link!

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    Fuselage
  • FuselageFuselage Bantha Three ValhallaRegistered User regular
    The Sauce wrote: »
    Fuselage wrote: »
    Holy crap, is Game-Icons.net the best, or is it actually the best?! I'm very pleased with it so far.
    Ended up using these to print a set of shards (thin, round, flat cardboard punch-outs) to track things like conditions and lighting. It's the best. Really cool site, thanks for the link!

    That's really cool, I'm glad it helped!

  • The SauceThe Sauce Alysandria Registered User regular
    CoastCon was super successful! We got to run the new adventure for some RPG veterans, and it worked really great. It supported classic roleplay exactly as I'd hoped it would, and everyone had a lot of fun. We had probably our youngest pair of players give the game a shot, too. We ran the original adventure for that game, and they really enjoyed it. I saw the same pattern emerge for them as with a lot of other relative newcomers to gaming -- by the third scenario the mechanics have clicked, and they're playing smart and enjoying themselves.

    I'd hand-written the updates to combat spellcasters, and that functioned quite well from a mechanical perspective. Casters might be a bit over-tuned in that they can dump out quite a bit of damage now. But, that might be okay given their overall vulnerability (to compensate I may be able to reduce the effectiveness of a few of their defensive cards, which have borderline absurd dice for level 1).

    Our first group tried out the optional level 2 boss battle, and wow what a tense fight! It came down to the wire; one player went down and came back up with a mere 3HP, while another was reduced to 6. The PC at 3 was the Warrior, who functions as the party's defender, trying to protect an Archer and a Shaman (ranged heal/support/debuff). The killing blow was landed via the Warrior playing Counter-attack as a Reaction to the boss's attack, bolstered by Assist plays from allies. He just managed to avoid taking the hit, then successfully landed the counter for the kill. Pretty much any other outcome in that round would have led to a party wipe. So, level 1 players can defeat a level 2 boss -- but you really need things to go your way at just the right moments!

    I have to say, I'm pretty proud of how that worked out in particular. It's exactly the kind of experience most players tend to look for when you think of climactic boss fights in games. I hope it can be replicated rather than being just a bit of timely good luck.

    Now it's back to the playtest grind. Going to try to get a second group going with one of my main playtesters running his own game as DM. That'll be super helpful; I need to spend more time on the other side of the screen. And that'll be back at level 1, which is good for fine-tuning some of these recent tweaks while the main group finishes running through level 2.

    Level 3 is on the horizon, and that's the first major character deck upgrade level. It'll be the first real test of how the game scales.

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    Zombie HeroIron WeaselAuralynxMarshmallowFuselageAlbino BunnyJustTeeCheeseliker
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alysandria Registered User regular
    That moment when multiple iterative cycles of development lead to a hilariously overpowered result that should have been blatantly obvious but got obscured by all the newness...
    • Combat spellcasting requires Incantations, which take a full round and fire at the start of your next turn, but can be interrupted by enemy damage.
    • In order to make sure the Sorcerer wasn't too gimped by scenarios that featured lots of ranged attackers and such, its role ability Arcane Vengeance allowed it to counter-attack an enemy that interrupted its Incantation with damage.
    • The counter-attack would be performed from an equipped focus, which is basically the magical version of a weapon (has some at-will spell options, some of which require Incanting and some don't).
    • The counter-attack ignores Incantation costs so that you can equip any type of focus with an attack and benefit from the class ability.
    • Incantations as the primary source of offense, while functional, wasn't super fun for players who had to wait the first round before being able to really do stuff. So, I changed the paradigm into a "combo" system of sorts and upgraded most focuses to have an entry that allows the player to start an Incantation while performing some other action, like dealing a minor amount of damage or some kind of tactical effect.
    • Some of these focuses (specifically the set of Orbs) included Actions that did small amounts of auto-hit elemental damage at medium-short range and also let you start an Incantation as part of the process (so the Sorcerer doesn't have to choose between minor damage and starting an Incantation anymore).
    Result: A Sorcerer with an Orb can play a single Action to attack an enemy and start an Incantation. Then, it can counter-attack every single enemy that attacks it with more free auto-damage while also restarting its Incantation, guaranteeing the completion and firing of an even stronger spell at the start of its next turn. And that's on top of playing its normal Reactions -- and Orbs include minor auto-damage as a Reaction.


    So uh yeah, had to fix that one. The hideous outcome revealed itself on a single playtest at least, so while I'm guilty of temporarily allowing such a seemingly obvious and hilariously broken thing to happen, that doesn't mean I forgive any professionals who do the same! Test your shit!


    (the current fix requires that Arcane Vengeance be used to play an Action with Incantation: 1, and none of those also let you start incanting as part of the Action; I could also change it to say that you simply can't start an Incantation as a result of the Action that you play if that winds up working better / making more sense)

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    Iron WeaselElvenshae
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alysandria Registered User regular
    Been awhile since my last post, mostly because things have just been moving smoothly along. We're midway through testing level 3, and there have been no major issues to correct.

    Some minor polish remains - there's too much Piercing and Defense in combat, making them work like an arms race instead of interesting choices. Exploration is either too easy or frustrating, which means I need to up the damage while keeping the number of challenges low.

    We just finished up a local con, though, and it was spectacularly successful! Last year we got tons of useful feedback that led to major improvements and continued iterations.

    This year? People hang out at the table all day, replaying the new adventure with different decisions. Almost everyone asks if they can buy it now. One guy even asked if we had a Patreon, because he wanted to give us a ton of cash to help make the game a published reality. Which just... wow!

    It feels absolutely incredible. I'm so glad I took the step of getting this game in front of people last year. I really believe that the dream of producing and publishing this game is actually going to happen. I have no idea what will happen then, but I know at least some fans (god, the game has fans) are going to get to own and play it.

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    MarshmallowDirtmuncherWACriminalFuselageJPantsElvenshaeNipsMahnmut
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alysandria Registered User regular
    TFW you realize you never actually specified that Obstacles, Traps, and Environs are unaffected by visibility rules...

    Resulting in locked doors, pit traps, and blizzards getting dice penalties against PCs if it's too dark to see them.

    It's the real dumb things that squeak by the easiest. In 3 years, no playtester even thought to rules lawyer that technically the Crumbling Infrastructure gets a penalty to collapse on their heads because the debris doused their torch.

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    discriderElvenshaeFuselage
  • FuselageFuselage Bantha Three ValhallaRegistered User regular
    Damn I'm tempted to make a hack for Index Card RPG where there's a class for each stat and an organization/business type with options for each stat - so you're all heads of trade partnerships, taverns, guilds, or militias.

    I just know it would take so much time and effort.

    The Sauce
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    I never have enough down time to get a full game out, but hopefully in November I’ll be back in England because I still fancy making a Yu-Gi-Oh/CCG knock-off based around building a better cute town than your opponent.

    Fool! You cannot perceive the power of my park’s Water Feature! Now my Eldery Ladies are at max Contentment!

    That’s where you’re wrong, I counter it instantly with my Old Oak Tree, and untap my Summer Breeze!

    ElvenshaeFuselageThe SauceWACriminal
  • FuselageFuselage Bantha Three ValhallaRegistered User regular
    So at the beginning of the month I started with this stray thought.
    Fuselage wrote: »
    Unpopular opinion(?):

    If you refluffed D&D 4e mechanics as a space combat rpg with each class/role/character as a different type of capital ship and stole some roleplaying mechanics from PbtA/FitD to simulate ship or fleet dynamics, it would probably be successful and heralded as refreshing.

    This is what I have so far for a Fleet RPG.

    Setting
    This is the most sparse and will continue to be for a little bit. Basically, far into the future where interstellar human travel has become common enough, something bad has happened. Our home solar system was obliterated due to some calamity and the supply chains to the outer colonies or trade outposts couldn't be sustained. This is what is certain - there are more starships than safe or successful colonies and space stations now, so people have taken to living on their own ships or banding together in flotillas. A large faction of the former human military has taken to press ganging future crewmembers to man their ships and enforce their will on the rest of the starfarers. Perhaps related to our solar system's doom, a force of unbound AI starships have also forged an armada together and speak of peace with humanity despite their past differences. Unlucky travelers, however, have been kidnapped in much the same way as the former military does and are transformed into unthinking servitors to repair and maintain the sentient starships. In between are several archipelagos of civilization left in the galaxy without the manpower, technology, or resources to do much better than basic survival. Smaller fleets and governments pop up all over and squabble over territory, salvage, or potential homes.

    Class/Ship Stuff
    Your character is comprised of your Ship Class, Ship Hull, Captain/Commander, and your Crew. You have options for each of these that can be used to support or react to your other abilities or fleet members. Hulls are sort of like backgrounds and describe the character and original designation for your ship.

    Ship Classes
    Battleship (Defender)
    Barge (Support) - Tentative
    Carrier (Controller)
    Destroyer (Striker)
    Cruiser (Striker)
    Corvette (Striker)

    Ship Hulls
    Colony Ship (Support)
    Industrial (Support)
    Mercantile (Controller)
    Military (Defender)
    Pirate/Criminal (Striker)
    Science (Controller)
    Yacht (Support) - Tentative

    Commanders
    AI Core (Controller)
    Diplomat (Support)
    Colonist (Controller)
    Military (Striker)
    Merchant (Support)
    Pirate/Criminal (Striker)
    Scientist (Controller)

    Crews
    Colonists/Refugees (Support)
    Indentured (Support)
    Mechanics (Support)
    Military (Defender)
    Pirates/Criminals (Striker)
    Servitors (Support)
    Scientists (Controller)

    Combat Mechanics
    You have four basic stats, whose scores determine the dice you roll. Class, Hull, Commander, and Crew. You could roll from a 1d2 to a 1d12. 1d2 if your score is 1-2, 1d12 if your score is 11-12. Different situations, engagements, traps, or attacks will increase or reduce these scores. They're just an abstract - your Crew die could signify the size of your crew, or their effectiveness and training.

    Additionally, there are four additional modifiers or scores.
    Armor (on a scale of 1-10, it reduces the damage your Hull takes by 1 per point, but can also be reduced),
    Resources (on a scale of 1-10 is used to purchase items, make repairs, be used by Merchant abilities, or even be used to buy a new ship/hull/commander/crew)
    Systems (on a scale of -5 to +5, can be used in different abilities, especially by Controllers)
    Morale (on a scale of -5 to +5, this can be pretty helpful or harmful and used in a variety of Commander or Crew abilities)
    Experience (on a scale of 1-10, you buy upgrades using this...as you can imagine)

    Combat takes place on a horizontal hexagonal grid. Ship speed is determined by class and 1 speed allows for moving one hex space or rotating to a different side of the hex space they're currently in. If, during your movement/hull action you decide to move, you must first move forward 1 unless an ability says otherwise - then continue your movement however you want. Most ships only take up one hex, but Battleships, Carriers, and Barges* take up two hexes.

    Combat flows like this: Each ship has three actions to take in order and one reaction available to be triggered/taken each round of combat.
    First, your Command (driven by your Commander selection and Command Die)
    Then your Movement or Hull action - you get to take one. Again, max moves per turn is determined via Ship Class, but any abilities you want to use instead rely on your Hull Die.
    Then, your Class Ability - which could be launching a fighter wing, activating a gravity well, launching torpedoes, or firing a broadside at an enemy. This is where the bulk of the combat abilities come from.
    Your reaction to be taken once a round is a Crew ability and uses that die. This could be something like "When you ram an enemy ship, do X" or "When your crew score is reduced, do Y" or something along those lines.

    Example of combat
    Two ships enter combat and roll their Command dice to determine initiative.
    The ship with initiative fires first, rolling their Class Die (plus modifiers like Systems, or even adding other die like Hull if the ability calls for it) against their target's Hull die. If the attack is higher than the defense, the Armor or Hull score of the defending ship is reduced by the difference. You can see this gets pretty deadly pretty quickly.

    Stuff on the back burner/haven't gotten into yet
    - PbtA-style moves for commanders for narrative roleplay between members of the fleet, enemies, or space stations. Example: A Commander rolling Crew+Morale to do something, or having to roll their Command die in negotiations.
    - Potentially making a Fleet Sheet for players or GMs to use when generating encounters, or determining faction scores or morale. More of a tool or a game aid.
    - Figuring out how much crew/fleet dynamics should interplay or matter during combat. At its core, this is tactical space combat - but I want to be able to roleplay more than just fighting.

    If you want to collab on this and see, in greater detail, what I've been working on please feel free to check out the Discord server - even if temporarily. It's been much easier to work through with the help of others! Fleet RPG Discord

    WACriminalThe Sauce
  • WACriminalWACriminal Dying Is Easy, Young Man Living Is HarderRegistered User regular
    Suppose you were making a tactical combat game and you didn't want to use a grid, but instead use FATE-style zones, like "alleyway", "front lobby", etc.

    Assuming players are able to take cover behind environmental objects (like a dumpster in the alley), how would you handle the concept of flanking shots mechanically? If everything is in the abstract, there's no particular directional cover, so the same dumpster (or refrigerator, or wall, or statue) could theoretically provide cover from any direction at any time. Hell, "direction" itself becomes abstract at that point.

    Are there any games y'all are aware of that address this mechanically?

  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    WACriminal wrote: »
    Suppose you were making a tactical combat game and you didn't want to use a grid, but instead use FATE-style zones, like "alleyway", "front lobby", etc.

    Assuming players are able to take cover behind environmental objects (like a dumpster in the alley), how would you handle the concept of flanking shots mechanically? If everything is in the abstract, there's no particular directional cover, so the same dumpster (or refrigerator, or wall, or statue) could theoretically provide cover from any direction at any time. Hell, "direction" itself becomes abstract at that point.

    Are there any games y'all are aware of that address this mechanically?

    I mean, in Fate, you'd do it by using a movement-type skill to create the In a Flanking Position aspect on a particular enemy.

    omgbfz5lzi1s.png
    Steam: Elvenshae // PSN: Elvenshae // WotC: Elvenshae
    The Disappearance of Inigo Sharpe: Tomas à Dunsanin
  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    WACriminal wrote: »
    Suppose you were making a tactical combat game and you didn't want to use a grid, but instead use FATE-style zones, like "alleyway", "front lobby", etc.

    Assuming players are able to take cover behind environmental objects (like a dumpster in the alley), how would you handle the concept of flanking shots mechanically? If everything is in the abstract, there's no particular directional cover, so the same dumpster (or refrigerator, or wall, or statue) could theoretically provide cover from any direction at any time. Hell, "direction" itself becomes abstract at that point.

    Are there any games y'all are aware of that address this mechanically?

    Some kind of mechanic whereby being attacked from multiple different zones makes you easier to be hit than by being attacked from one?

    TingleSigBar.gif
    Marshmallow
  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    Gears of War the board game has zone movement with directional cover that has limited spots.

    DSCF1741-e1422416525271.jpg?fit=1600%2C1200

    So you could do that, just a line in the zone that dictates that. You enter it automatically if you enter a zone and there's a cover spot free you want.

    ElvenshaeWACriminal
  • WACriminalWACriminal Dying Is Easy, Young Man Living Is HarderRegistered User regular
    WACriminal wrote: »
    Suppose you were making a tactical combat game and you didn't want to use a grid, but instead use FATE-style zones, like "alleyway", "front lobby", etc.

    Assuming players are able to take cover behind environmental objects (like a dumpster in the alley), how would you handle the concept of flanking shots mechanically? If everything is in the abstract, there's no particular directional cover, so the same dumpster (or refrigerator, or wall, or statue) could theoretically provide cover from any direction at any time. Hell, "direction" itself becomes abstract at that point.

    Are there any games y'all are aware of that address this mechanically?

    Some kind of mechanic whereby being attacked from multiple different zones makes you easier to be hit than by being attacked from one?

    This gave me an idea that I think I'm going to work with for now:
    1. When you move to a zone, you can take your pick of the cover "nodes" available. They will have different amounts of hit points -- a dumpster is better cover than a thin bookcase, for example. There may also be special characteristics for some cover, such as damage reduction and elevation. Cover is not directional, however.

    2. You can use a move action to change to a different cover node in the same zone instead of moving to a new zone.

    3. At any point in your turn or at its end, you may (as a free action) take cover. You take a number of "cover dice" equal to your cover's current HP, and keep them on your character sheet until the next time you move or the start of your next turn.

    4. Anytime you are fired upon, you decide how many cover dice you'd like to roll from your current allotment. Dice will come up blue, white, or red. Blue gives you a small defense boost (meaning, you are less likely to be hit) and the die is returned to your hand so you can roll it against other shots. White gives you a medium defense boost, but then cannot be re-rolled -- they stay, and apply only to shots fired at you from the same zone. Red gives you a large defense boost, but then is returned to the box AND the cover's HP is reduced by 1 or 2.

    5. If at any point you are fired upon and you have no cover dice available, it is considered a flanking shot (which may trigger special abilities or extra consequences). In addition, units may take cover at the same node as you and have their shots automatically treated as flanking shots, regardless of how many cover dice you have.

    So with that system, you can wear your target's cover down through a combination of volume-of-fire and varied positioning.

  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    edited October 13
    That’s a really cool system. I’m intrigued if the red-white-blue dice are used for everything.

    Do you do things like “exchange fire openly”, with blue being damage dealt, white as both getting hit and red as damage taken? Or something like that?
    The more dice you roll the greater chance of taking them out at the risk of more harm. Running out of dice is when you’re out of ammo.

    You could even add a new “node” of good positioning for attack using your cover system as a base.

    Endless_Serpents on
  • SurfpossumSurfpossum A nonentity trying to preserve the anonymity he so richly deserves.Registered User regular
    edited October 14
    Hello board game design thread, I realized I should maybe post this here as well:

    I'm working on (yet another) game that I'll never finish. But this one has a base that might actually be fully playable already, maybe? You just need a standard deck of cards.

    The idea is a sort of area control game where your resources are strictly limited.
    The "board" can be created by laying out some cards face down, but it's not really necessary to make one since it's p simple. It's also just one possible variation.

    ivjpnkvnwxeh.jpg

    • each player takes the 13 cards from a suit, shuffles them together, and draws 7 of them
    • - cards are valued from 2 to 14 (aces) [or 1 to 13, w/e]
    • each player chooses one card from their hand and places it face down on their starting space
    • players flip over the cards on their starting spaces
    • - the player whose card has the lowest value goes first
    • - players take turns playing one card on a valid space
    • - a space is valid if it is both:
    • - - adjacent to a controlled space and
    • - - either empty or has a higher value top card than the card being played
    • - a space is controlled by whoever played the top card on it
    • - a space is adjacent to each space that touches it
    • if a player passes, they are done for the round
    • - if a player has no cards left in their hand, they pass at the end of their turn
    • once both players have passed, the round ends
    • at the end of each round (best of 3), the player with the highest total value of cards on the board wins the round
    • - all cards on the board are discarded
    • - players keep any cards in their hand for the next round
    • at the start of the second round, each player draws 5 of the remaining cards from their suit
    • at the start of the third round, each player places the remaining card from their suit into their starting space, then shuffles the other 12 cards from their suit together and draws 7 of them

    I've just run a few test rounds playing with myself, and... I think it might work? I'm trying to capture the feel of Gwent and Coin Age being stuffed in a blender. My main thing at the moment is that it feels like there's not enough incentive to "fold" until you're down to the last turn, but I've got no ideas at the moment so I'll have to think more about that.

    When I inevitably make it too complex for its own good, one direction I'm thinking of taking it is to have decks be 26 cards with a limit of 4 of any value (or somesuch restriction). Possibly adding a card draw, or just increasing hand sizes. Also want to eventually give the suits special abilities when you play them (returning cards, moving cards around, stuff like that) or maybe even create specific cards. But for now this is where it's at.

    The ever present and constantly revised Google doc.

    Surfpossum on
    is this how nations are born
    WACriminalEndless_Serpents
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    edited October 14
    While we’re on hypothetical card games, I’ve been thinking about this game on and off for a while, but have yet to start it.

    It’s about thieves, and set in a Star Wars-like galaxy for no real reason other than I’d like it to be. I’d call it either Eye of the Galaxy or Star Jackals.

    It’d runs like this:

    Between 3-5 players. Each creates a deck of funky cards that do things, as per Collectable Card Game tradition. 30 cards, hand of 3 let’s say.

    1. First, a heist is flipped. Each heist introduces a minor change to the rules that exists until it is discarded.
    2. Players decide which of their cards to play face down, then draw a card from their deck.
    3. Starting from the point (a player chosen arbitrarily), moving to the right, cards are revealed, then resolved.
    4. The point is changed to the next player to the right. The next round begins.
    5. Players aim to steal the most cash from the current heist while hindering the other players.
    6. Heists have a countdown clock of turns. If all the cash is stolen before it ends the players avoid a comeback effect.
    7. When the countdown ends or all cash is stolen this heist is discarded and another heist is flipped.
    8. Instead of participating in a round a player can bank their cash, keeping it safe from harm.
    9. If a player’s heat (they collect this through card and heist effects) reaches 4 they lose all unbanked cash in their possession. Avoiding heat and tempting fate will be a big thing.
    10. The player with the most cash at the end wins.

    Some cards might look like:

    Lagoon Moon Resort
    3 turn countdown
    12 cash
    At the start of each turn the point loses 1 cash.
    When time runs out each player must trade a card with the player to their right.

    Shoot First — steal 2 cash
    You act before the point this turn.

    Dirty Trick — X
    Take 1 cash from every player that has more cash than you.

    Long Con — steal 5 cash
    You act last this turn.

    Lay Low — X
    Lose 2 heat.

    Rat Out — lose 2 cash
    Pick a player, they gain 1 heat.

    Oh and Eye of the Galaxy would be a big gem, a good last heist.

    I’m thinking strategy would be thinking about when your card is going to be played in the turn order, and having cards that change that. You might have a card that takes lots of cash, but if you’re going last this time and there is only 4 cash left maybe it’d be better to use one that only takes 1? And so on.

    Endless_Serpents on
  • WACriminalWACriminal Dying Is Easy, Young Man Living Is HarderRegistered User regular
    That’s a really cool system. I’m intrigued if the red-white-blue dice are used for everything.

    Do you do things like “exchange fire openly”, with blue being damage dealt, white as both getting hit and red as damage taken? Or something like that?
    The more dice you roll the greater chance of taking them out at the risk of more harm. Running out of dice is when you’re out of ammo.

    You could even add a new “node” of good positioning for attack using your cover system as a base.

    I wasn't planning on this, but I do think it gives rise to a good modification of my original plan. Somewhat obviously for anyone familiar with the series, I'm theorycrafting an XCOM tabletop game because that's been my white whale since the 90's. I've been thinking of it as a primarily d100 game, with the blue-white-red dice subtracting 5, 10, 20 (or similar) from the opponent's aim roll. But your question made me realize it would be more elegant and intuitive to change from a d100 system to a dice pool system where both the attacking and defending players are rolling pools of the color-coded dice and comparing the results. Leveling up your soldier's aim means they get extra dice to roll, critical hits are handled by the difference between your roll and your opponent's roll, stronger cover means more dice, reaction shots take an aim penalty of 2 dice, etc.

    Seems way easier for the player than, "OK, so my aim is 81, I rolled a 54 on my shot, so that's 135 minus a penalty of 30 because I'm using a sniper rifle in close quarters, final result of 105. Oh, and I'm disoriented, so minus 20 to 85. Now, my opponent has a defense of..."

    Instead, it's just adding up a dice pool and then rolling d6's. Exceeding your opponent's roll means you get to reroll some dice to confirm a crit, and crit effects can vary by weapon (detailed on the weapon's card) so that shotguns get more impact out of crits than pistols, and feats/equipment can grant you options for crit dice. Something like, "On a crit confirmation roll, spend 1 red die to disorient the target for 1 turn." Something like Talon Rounds can change from "+10 to crit chance" to, "on a crit confirmation roll, roll 1 extra die", which is much simpler at the table.

    All of that to say, I think your ideas are better than mine.

  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    edited October 18
    Your ideas are fine! Sometimes another perspective can really open things up for you. Keep at it!


    Endless_Serpents on
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alysandria Registered User regular
    So it's been awhile since my last post, but I've been really busy continuing to move things along. We're up to level 5 in playtesting, which is super exciting as we're really seeing the mid-game in action. I like it!

    One thing we're looking into is starting a podcast with a fresh level 1 story-driven campaign that we run concurrent with playtests. That would let us set up a Patreon for funding development, publishing, and taking the prototype to cons that require hotel stays. Still in the planning stages, but I'd love to have that going next year, hopefully early!

    Meanwhile I've done some major design in two key areas.

    Roles

    It felt like jumping the gun a little, but I really love making player roles! So, I set about making a trio that would suit an early nautical expansion.

    First up is the Swashbuckler, a tank / damage hybrid with low HP and light equipment. In the card-based system of Triptycho, it functions with a bunch of Returning cards that can be used repeatedly to make up for the meagre gear. Its tank ability is that it can block additional section borders, making it hard for enemies to get around or through, and a bunch of its cards grant even more power when a section has just the Swashbuckler and a single enemy.

    Next up is the Mariner for exploration, a Craft that gets bonuses when swimming and lets allies break all kinds of rules, such as ignoring the limit of only one Interrupt per turn or letting allies hand Reactions to each other for better defenses. Theoretically it gets bonuses to seafaring vehicles too, but I'm still trying to figure out how to make that work.

    For interaction I couldn't come up with anything better than the Merchant I already had. So, I demoted the kind of odd Merchant to expansion and added a Priest to the core group, a role that finally handles interaction tanking properly. What better way to keep up tradition of the cleric as party face?

    Priest needed a new type of interaction expertise, so I added Thaumaturgy options to the game. Now there's a second type of magical interaction skills (formerly just Illusion).

    Assets

    I mentioned vehicles before. One problem was how to pay for them. I didn't want to use the same currency as Gear (Wealth), because vehicles just add new ways to play scenarios rather than actually upping character power directly. So, I added Assets as a parallel currency you gain in much smaller amounts.

    The idea is that you spend Assets on stuff that improves your options in the game rather than on direct power (for the most part). But, vehicles are likely expansion material themselves - what could the core game do with it?

    I thought about home base building, armies and army battles, etc... but that would mean a lot of rules and thus probably also an expansion. Can't make the core tons more complex than it already is.

    What about individual buildings? Players like to own things like Taverns. But what benefit could that give in a game like Triptycho? I knew I didn't want to make them simple money generators - that defeats the point of split currency, and making that fun would require basically a whole new business sim game. I love those, but it's a poor fit here. What else?

    Then it hit me.

    Multi-classing

    Something the game has lacked until now is true multiclassing options. I haven't cared because deckbuilding is flexible and you already get 3 separate roles. But it's still something I wanted to introduce.

    With Assets, now I can. Players can spend Assets on Holdings, special buildings that grant Hybrid values for another role. You can include cards from that role in your deck, up to the listed Hybrid value in level (and <= your level of course).

    Buy a Holding for your own role? You get specific new training instead to diversify that way. Some even boost exploration roles to make setting-specific role bonuses work anywhere.

    And the game gets filled with tons of new story hooks as PCs buy inns, museums, holy sites, covens, and hideouts.

    So far we've stuck to the more direct bonuses in playtesting, but soon I want to mess around with actual Hybrids and see what shenanigans I can get up to!


    Also, I'm working on a thing that might let some people play a cardless, low-level form of Triptycho at home. Can't wait to share more!

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    WACriminalwebguy20Elvenshae
1235»
Sign In or Register to comment.