Monday, 21 January 2013

Mods and Rockers

So here's where I'll detail the changes to my RPG rules.

I'll start with Fate 2.0, which is my heavier system.

First up is the Fate Ladder, I don't like Average and Epic. So take them out and add in Very Good (before Great if you're wondering). Mediocre and below is pushed up one to 0 (if you use the numbers), it meaning Average after all.

Next up the damage mechanics and here despite my misgivings over the complexity of Fate 3 I am going to steal Consequences.

I guess you could say these are the same as FU's Conditions, but I'll stick with the Fate nomenclature.

My new damage track looks like:

1 Minor Consequence

2-3 Major Consequence

4-5 Severe Consequence

6 Extreme Consequence

7 Taken out

I'll stick with 3 Consequences to also take someone out too.

Finally, I want to add in Damage Dice, this system uses the Simple weapons and armour rules. Start with your weapon rating then deduct the armour rating for a positive or negative amount, or 0.

If positive roll the positive number of dice counting and adding blanks and + results to the damage/margin of success.

If negative the opposite, roll the neagtive number of dice and deduct 1 margin of success for each blank or - result.

Here's an example:

Mario faces Luigi, both armed with swords (WR 2) and Mario in heavy armour (AR 3), Luigi in no armour (AR 0).

Mario hits with a margin of success of 1 he now rolls 2 (WR - AR) Fudge dice for + - adding 1 additional margin of success. On my chart this is a Major Consequence.

Luigi now hits with margin of success of 3 he has to roll (2-3) 1 'armour' dice getting Blank and thereby reducing damage by 1 to 2 and another Major Consequence.

I like this because it adds a random element to damage that is missing from Fate 2.0 as written but still favours skilled opponents.

Next up Danger Patrol beta for the kids

First I want to keep the very simple 8 'Classes' modified for the genre (Agent, Commando etc.), and the die split.

I will then let them choose a Description, but it can be pretty much anything. So a Robotic Detective and a Princess Agent are equally valid. The Description will act like an Aspect in Fate, so granting a re-roll (or probably complete success, this is for my girls after all), or possibly an additional die, a little bit hazy here for the moment.

Gear/Equipment will operate the same as Danger Patrol Pocket, another die to roll when it is applicable, taking the highest result.

As I am changing it to a more traditional RPG format I am only looking for one success per roll, on a 4+ as usual. I'm not looking for taking Danger Dice and trying to hit as many times as possible in one roll.

I am currently undecided but could add the FU failure scale for 1 to 3 die results it would be an interesting addition, it also may help to alleviate the Yes/No 'cliff face' while helping the narrative, as it does in FU.

I want, and need with the girls, to use minis too so I will borrow from Fate 3 and operate in Zones. Allowing a character to move one Zone per turn and two if they don't act. This can be a bit arbitrary and is fine with me, but roughly:

Quarterdeck, foc'sle, small room, alleyway say, one zone.

Main deck, market square, large room two zones, maybe more.

Of course by throwing out the Danger mechanic I am also doing away with the Danger Meter. This means I could stat up opponents so they operate as 'normal' NPCs, but could also 'do an FU' and turn it into rolling defensively (i.e. do I defend?) I'll wait and see, but this is no big deal.

It also means I need a new damage system, so why not use 3 Conditions/Consequences here too? Well, there's no good reason! So that's in.

FU, simple, elegant system it is requires no fiddling, except as with Fate a 'skill list'. I have got so used to Danger Patrol that I now use those 8 Archetypes/Classes/Skills (as modified for genre) for pretty much everything, including the skill levels in Fate (1 Very good, 1 Good, 2 Fair, 3 Mediocre, 1 Poor). For FU it is descriptor, Skill, Skill, Flawed skill with rounding out with Subplots, Goals and Quotes.

Is that it? As far as I recall now. I'll let you know how they play out as and when I get to them.

Until next time Steve

Friday, 18 January 2013

Game for a laugh

To start I am pondering activation rolls for my minis rules. Good idea or not? I can't decide so I thought I'd throw it open to my readers.

On the one hand it adds an element of randomness, a realism of people being frozen/green.

On the other, one character running round while everyone stands still is a bit silly?

So the mini rules are going to be the biggest challenge, everything else is going to be pretty much as written (yeah right!), but what are my choices?

Light RPG

I have a wealth of light games, as I get older the heavier styles just don't do it for me anymore, so this is a very tough category. Of course my definition of light is probably very different to other peoples, but well, this is my blog right?

Winner: FU, or the Free, Universal RPG. This is probably no surprise at all, it is elegant, narrative, and light enough to have the rules written on the back of your hand.

Hanging on: Risus, this is probably just because of the Compendium, one of the best products I have ever bought. If I need something funny this will be coming out.

Also rans: Car Wars (would use something similar for gamebooks though), Cosmic Patrol, Danger Patrol (all versions), Mythic (as the RPG), Barbarians of Lemuria and Honor + Intrigue.

Heavier game

Again somewhat abitrary, but hey.

Winner: Fate 2.0

I have never been happy with Fate 3, just too many rules, what with stunts, refresh, scene aspects etc. It all just seems too much. So the stripped down 2.0 version it is. I will modify the damage mechanic to make it simpler though. On another level it means I will still be able to use my Fudge dice!

Also rans: Fudge (Fate is cleaner), Cartoon Action Hour: Season 2, Savage Worlds, Icons, D6/Mini6, GURPS, Pendragon and everything else!

Kids RPG

Something simple, with funky dice, well:

Winner: Danger Patrol (Beta)

It just had to be. I will pare it down though, replace the damage mechanics again and probably some others things too.

Also rans: FU (too light for kids), Risus (although see above re funny games), DP Pocket Edition (needed those funky dice!) and all the above!

So now the games in my arsenal are:

Free, Universal RPG

Fate 2.0 modified

Danger Patrol beta heavily modified

Risus for humourous games

Advanced Heroquest for minis games and dungeon crawls, heavily modified

FU/Mythic combination for solo-ing

I think that's a neat list of distilled gaming.

Until next time Steve

Monday, 14 January 2013

Mini choices

So I have unsurprisingly decided that I will use the Advanced Heroquest rules as the basis for my miniatures games. It uses d12s and has an elegant vs style of play, where effectively Defender skill-Attacker skill+7 gives your 'to hit' chance on a d12.

This is much simpler than it sounds! Basically evenly matched opponents have a 50/50 chance and 'to hit' goes up or down by one for each point of difference.

Damage wise I am going to dump the standard AHQ rules and import something similar to 5150 with Savage Worlds thrown in for good measure.

I'm going to use a damage chart. Along the top the difference in Strength and Toughness, down the side the numbers 1 to 12. Roll a d12, read across to the relevant column et voila, Unhurt, Knocked down or Taken out (or per SW Up, Down or Off the table).

I'm thinking of allowing Wounds to be taken in exchange for Taken out, for those miniatures that have them. However I have been reading some interesting posts on Danjou's Hand blog about random HP and thought I could simply replace it with a 'Saving throw' style mechanic. Hmm, food for thought.

So unfortunately this is still work in progress, but a step forward!

OK, what else? Well I'm going to use PEF-style rules, they are too good to pass up, with a little twist so that they can apply to any game setting (hopefully!).

I'm going to try and use the three statuses of The Department, these seem simple and make sense (well I will try and make them simple anyway).

I'm also going to go for card based exploration. I can make appropriate cards for the Advanced Heroquest interlocking pieces with the excellent Heroscribe program, which I want to share with the small AHQ community somewhere. I can also draw up some cards for my other mapping products and games like Urban 5150 style games, my village maps from Cities of Mystery, and well just about anything else.

Before I jump down that route completely however I will use a standard playing card pack(s) and key the results, this should give me an idea of how well it works before I make up my own cards.

Finally I need to consider activation. This plays a large part in THW's games, but does complicate it a bit, do I want that hassle?

So there you have it a bit to mull over, but definitely not to procrastinate about.

Until next time Steve

Friday, 11 January 2013

Mini maximiser

Joe kindly posted a link in the comments to my last post that makes Mythic d6 only.

For my part it is very intriguing and I thank Joe warmly but I think I'll stick with the Mythic charts for now, although if d6 only interests you definitely go and see for yourself.

The next topic I intend to tackle is miniatures. I love miniatures, it stems from my GW days I think, growing up with Heroquest, Advanced Heroquest and a GW store in every town, I only got into RPGs later.

So what game choices do I have in respect of miniatures rules?

5150/THW - there is a lot I like about these rules, the PEFs, the Reaction system, the damage mechanics etc. However it seems there is a lot to account for, whether someone is ducked back, retreating etc. It just seems a little too fiddly in all.

The Department - again there is a lot I like about these. There are only 3 statuses Hostile, Normal and Fleeing, and it replicates its genre well. I'm not mad about the system though, there's nothing inherently wrong with it (it's sort of like Risus really) I just think there's something better/simpler.

Advanced Heroquest - this is under appreciated I feel and certainly capable of being an excellent miniatures ruleset (it is already really). The only downside is the clunky damage system, for example 5d12 each compared to a Toughness based target number, however replace that and you have something very intruiging.

Savage Worlds - I've never actually played Savage Worlds. I have the PDF of the ruleset and some of the excellent settings, but never really got into the system itself. This seems a little odd because what I see is very reminiscent of Danger Patrol's mechanics. But thanks to Andy Slack's excellent blog I do have some inkling of how they work, including the Up/Down/Off the table damage system which greatly appeals.

Warhammer Quest - this is inferior to AHQ in terms of game mechanics but added new ideas and there are some good card drawing concepts in relation to revealing the dungeon and encounters that work well solo.

Heroquest - what really started me off on this hobby, a fantastic introduction to gaming but probably too simple to translate into something more meaningful. I will be playing this straight with the kids though.

So those are my existing minis based games, what choices have I made. Well, you'll have to wait for the next installment for that!

Until next time Steve

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Don't Fear the Reaper

So, with the little money I got for Christmas I thought I'd treat myself, but what to buy?

With my rationalising in full force there seemed little I wanted, so I decided on some terrain/furniture and some minis.

First off the terrain, I love the stuff made by Scotia Grendel so I decided to raid their site and get myself a few pieces, mostly basic stuff that will round out my meagre collection, chairs, tables, doors etc..

Once that was sorted I decided to let my girls get a miniature of their choice. I have a relative lack of female adventurer types, and judging by the collections I went through that might be because there IS a lack of that sort of mini.

Now bear in mind I was getting these for my young kids and that wiped out a mass of scantily clad bimbo figures. I thought we'd all gotten over the TSR obsession with chainmail bikinis etc. but apparently not.

Of course a lot are historical lines which means getting your hands on a female is as likely as it was in my spotty youth, i.e. completely zero.

Then factor in all those lines available only from the US and other suppliers, duties, VAT etc. all make small scale purchases unviable. Eventually I was able to find a UK supplier of Reaper minis and now await two sensibly, if somewhat elaborately, dressed females (they are young).

Now I just need to knock something up they actually want to play...

Until next time Steve

Friday, 4 January 2013

Solo and thanks for the fish!

OK, so last time I revealed my intention to rationalise my collection, as ostensibly a solo playing blog I think I should start with my choice of solo role-playing mechanics.

First off Mythic is too fussy for me, what with the multiple d100 rolls, which with two dice I find neither quick nor easy to interpret. The legendary 100 sided die I have heard bad things about, so that's out. It won't come as a surprise then that I will stick to the FU die results for Yes/No questions, to remind you of what they are:

6 - Yes, and...
5 - Yes
4 - Yes, but...
3 - No, but
2 - No
1 - No, and...

This is spiced up with Bonus and Penalty dice, these being additional dice (upto to two more, or at the extremes three) that are rolled taking the highest or lowest result respectively. I think this is so much quicker I'd recommend it to everybody to try, even in those games where it may not be obvious to use it, like Two Hour Wargames products.

Fine so that's sorted, but then this lacks random events. Here I am going to vary things slightly, roll a die and random events always crop up on a 1, but depending on the genre I will pick a different sized polyhedral, I'd say the standard is a d8 and work up or down from that.

I guess I could select a different die depending on the game's story arc effectivley substituting this completely for the Chaos Factor, but I want to keep things simple so won't (I chucked this in in case you see merit in it, and if you do let me know!).

Random events

Despite the time I spent looking into a card draw mechanic, with my new spirit of just doing it I'm going to drop it. I'm not sure the results were defined enough, or would fit in with the story at that point. So what instead?

OK, so it has to be quick and easy, the lack of this being the charge laid by me at Mythic's door. However those random words are pretty cool, if only I could simplify it, so let's break the whole process down and build it back up again.

Step 1 - The Yes/No questions and Random event occurence
Replaced with FU and a funky die of my choosing as laid out above.

Step 2 - Event focus
Currently a d100 roll to select who or what the event affects. This could be simplified, or possibly removed altogether.

Step 3 - The event meaning: Action
Another d100 to select one of the words.

Step 4 - The event meaning: Subject
And another d100 to select a different word.

The simplied Step 1 definitely helps, but then I'm still left with 3 d100 rolls. As I said, I don't find these easy to read, so what's the alternative?

Well, there's really nothing I can do about Steps 3 and 4, there are 100 words in each and unless I want to trawl through and bring that number down I'm stuck. No, I think I'll stick with those, so that leaves the Event focus, here I'm thinking of replacing the d100 roll with a d20, this gives an easily read result with as broad a range of results as possible, OK so I'm upping and reducing some results by 2 or 3%, but so what, I think I'll live with it.

So to recap:

1) I will use the FU mechanic to answer Yes/No questions, together with a polyhedral, looking for 1s to generate a random event.

2) I will roll 1d20 and 2d100 (4d10). This can be accomplished in one handful, without getting messy.

3) Read the d20 for Event Focus

4) Read the 1st d100 (2d10) for Action

5) Read the 2nd d100 (2d10) for Subject

This might not seem to have changed much, but the FU dice, polyhedral and d20 do feel streamlined to me.

Have any of you tried to streamline Mythic too? Have you tried the above?

If you have tried this method I'd love to hear from you, to know if you thought it helped, have any suggestions or anything else.

By the way this doesn't mean I have stopped looking at solo mechanics, it just means I have found the solution for me at this moment in time, and so my other thoughts can now be left behind.

Until next time Steve