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Author Topic: Shadowmen system ideas  (Read 332 times)

signoftheserpent

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Shadowmen system ideas
« on: August 01, 2007, 01:27:30 PM »
From the ideas my sig links to, some ideas for the system I will eventually use (crossposted to that site as well)

To act in the game, players make dice rolls using character stats to determine the outcome. There are three types of action: automatic, normal and tense. If the GM deems an action automatically succeeds then a dice roll isn’t required as the character is considered at the time more than capable of succeeding. A normal action is one in which a dice roll must be made, but without considerable stress riding on the outcome or affecting the action itself. Tense actions are those where a great deal hangs in the balance; combat for instance is always a tense action. Tense actions area bit more complicated than normal actions.
Normal Actions cannot be considered opposed; the act of an active opposing force (i.e. an opponent) automatically makes an action tense. When factoring in the skill of an opponent the resolution process is modified thus: replace one of the dD with the relevant stat of the opponent. In this way the complexity of the environment and circumstances still play a part. The active player rolls his stat as normal but instead of rolling for difficulty as well, the opponent (usually under GM control) makes the roll for the resisting factor. The result is then figures as normal. This is largely the procedure used in combat: the attacker and defender both use their Combat stats to measure the test of skill. For example: Officer X attempts to shoot the Red Republic Spy while surrounded by fire from the collapsing building; this alone makes the shot harder to make. Both have Combat stats of 3; the difficulty is d8. Officer X’ player rolls d10+Stat (4+3=7), while the GM rolls 3 making a total of 6 – Officer X hits, just (7-6=1).

In combat, the result of a successful attack is the number of States the attack inflicts. Those states themselves pertain to the type of attack (such as Bullet Wounds, for a gunshot). However the GM can, for simplicity’s sake, just apply damage to the Grit of the player. In the case of NPC’s, damage is taken from their Grit. NPC’s do not accumulate states – again for simplicity’s sake. When they lose all Grit they are considered Defeated.

There are technically four levels of difficulty in the game, but the highest level will rarely see play. These are measured in terms of dice types, two of which will be rolled against the acting player’s own dice roll as an attempt to hinder the attempt. This reflects the force he is acting against. The acting player will roll all dice himself. The difficulty levels are: easy (d4), everyday (d6), hard (d8), and impossible (d10). These are broad categories and it is permissible to mix die types for more detail, however the player will only use two dice against him.
To make a test he must roll 1d10, adding his stat score, - 2dD (D=Difficulty dice as appropriate). If the action is a tense action he doesn’t automatically add his stat; instead he adds the lower of the stat or his grit score – unless he spends a point of Grit. If he does he may (and indeed must) use his stat regardless. The action succeeds if the result is anything greater than zero with a success level equal to that result. Anything else is a failure (technically the result defaults to 0, negatives are counted as such). When making a tense test, the player loses a point of Grit if he fails.

The game uses a collection of stats with values ranging from 1-5 (possibly 6):
1.   Combat – fighting and self defence.
2.   Command – presence and charisma.
3.   Coordination – dexterity and reflexes.
4.   Drive – the ability to operate vehicles of any kind.
5.   Initiative – tactics and quick thinking.
6.   Medical – the ability to apply first aid and undertake surgery.
7.   Physique – physical conditioning, fitness and endurance.
8.   Science – knowledge of intellectual and scientific disciplines.
9.   Streetwise – cunning and urban savvy.
10.   Technology – skill with engineering, repair and the general application of technology.

These stats reflect everything a character can do and are complimented by Edges which represent special traits, skills and aptitudes peculiar to the character, particularly those that are innate talents and not the result of learning or training. Edges are thematically tied to stats and compliment their use. Characters also have one or two Flaws which represent weaknesses to their persona. These serve a purpose mechanically in that they can inspire the accumulation of Grit while allowing the expenditure of Grit to manipulate the Flaws of a foe.
States are conditions that characters accumulate (and lose) during play, often the result of injury of harm. Not only must a player ensure his character maintains a healthy level of positive Grit in order to remain in the action, states count against that total. That is, a character will not only KO if his Grit drops to 0, but if his Grit drops below his total number of States. Within that rule, characters can accrue and suffer the effects of any number of states without additional penalty; they may still act and move.

When a character is KO’d most states (as applicable) will disappear. He returns with full Grit at the next dramatic interval. He isn’t necessarily dead or even in hospital; he is just out of action. He may not act or intervene within the game. During a scene, players can accumulate more Grit than their starting limit; however at the end of the scene these excess points are forfeit.
 

signoftheserpent

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Shadowmen system ideas
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2007, 06:52:40 AM »
Revision:

Actions in the game are performed by characters who roll dice and factor their stats aganst the difficulty of the situation or force of an opponent (or both). There are three types of action: normal, tense and opposed. A normal action is one where there is little or no pressure on the outcome. Opposed tests are those against an active force and are always tense.
In game terms each is resolved a little differently but based around the same basic principles. Players roll a single die, 1d10, and add the relevant stat value; this is the stat die or dice roll. They also roll, simultaneously, difficulty dice, the total of which is subtracted from their stat die roll. Negative values are discounted and always considered 0 in the game, and any such result is a failure. A result in the positive is counted as successful and the actual result counted as the success level, which is used to calculate certain outcomes.
The difficulty dice represent the complexity of the task. The complexity and difficulty of a task is measured in game terms by its dice type: d4-d8, representing a simple, everyday, and difficult task. Beyond that it is possible to add a d10 for very challenging tasks. Within these broad categories the GM should calculate the difficulty of every situation. When resolving an action, the player rolls 2 difficulty dice of the given type and combines their result before subtracting that from his stat roll. Note that since two dice are used it is perfectly possible to add more depth by combining different die types, such as d6 and d8 for a task of average complexity perhaps made circumstantially a little more challenging. This however while perfectly acceptable is not the norm. That system is the basic system and is used tro resolve normal actions almost exclusively; tense actions and opposed actions are a little more complex and a little different.

When resolving a tense action, the player replaces his stat with either the lower of his Grit or the stat itself – unless he spends a point of Grit beforehand. If he fails the action he loses a point of Grit as well. If the stat being used has an Edge attached he gains a point of Grit with a success value in excess of his current Grit level.

Since opposing tests do not rely solely on the force of the opponent for their complexity, they are a little more complex, building on the above mechanic used by tense actions (as they are always tense actions). Opponents in the game – NPC’s – have stats of their own which are used to gauge the difficulty facing the player. These are rated by die type and not numerically as per player characters. Thus the player will face off against an opponent and use the NPCs relevant stat die type for the difficulty dice. However the GM may decide that other circumstances are conspiring against the player – or even the NPC, depending on the situation; either the PC or the NPOC will have a situational advantage, which is the sum of all intervening factors. If the PC has the advantage then the difficulty dice should be temporarily lowered in level to compensate. If the NPC has the advantage then the PC will not roll the normal d10 (+stat), instead he should roll a die of lower level. Essentially either not both of these conditions should apply; only one character will have the advantage, though it may shift during the course of a scene. A player who gains the advantage will gain 1 Grit as well. Successful attacks always maintain the advantage and as such will usually mean the player has initiative for the purposes of resolving the order of combat.
 

signoftheserpent

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Shadowmen system ideas
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2007, 06:32:52 AM »
Is this just unreadable? Am I arrogant to have expect some feedback? Even to say it's all shit?
 

One Horse Town

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Shadowmen system ideas
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2007, 07:01:52 AM »
I like the way that the stats determine what you can do skill wise, which is the route i've also been taking in design.

I would offer more feedback, but to be honest i'd like some clearer examples of the mechanics. Perhaps if you gave concrete examples and gave a point by point explanation, things would become clearer (at least for me).

Example:

PLayer X is trying to do (swimming?) he needs to roll blah, blah, blah.

His stat is X and so he rolls blah.

Modifications are X because of Y.

He rolls the dice and the results are interpreted as X because of x, y and z.

If he had X, then he would roll P instead.

If it is contested, then x happens because of y.



Etc, etc. The block of text and lack of a real example make it difficult to come to any conclusion or give feedback (for me anyhow!). Hopefully that's helpful and a couple of point by point examples will clear things up for some decent feedback! :)

signoftheserpent

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Shadowmen system ideas
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2007, 09:58:48 AM »
Fair enough; if people think I;ve explained it badly then please say! :D  That's the whole point.

Ok, to give a simple example of how to use a stat:

Officer X, a Shadowmen agent, attempts to shoot the Red Repblic Spy he's after.

Assuming no other intervening factors (such as terrain or cover), the player rolls d10+his Combat stat. The Spy, as an NPC, has a Combat stat of his own, this then becomes the difficulty dice the player will use. Essentially the player will roll everything and not against the GM. So let's assume also that X has Combat 3, and Spy, with a similar proficiency, has a d6 (average difficulty); to hit the player then must get a result above 0 by rolling as follows:

(stat+d10) - 2dD (Difficulty dice, 2d6 in this case). X gets a 5 giving him a stat total of 8, while the Spy generates a 4 and a 2, giving a 6, from the Difficulty dice roll. Thus 8-6 = 2; a hit with a success level of 2 (for the purposes of damage, which is another subject).

Now, let's assume that the Spy has the advantage, he ducks into cover. the same procedure applies, but this time the GM declares that his stat level, d6, is effectively raised by one level (to d8) to compensate for the increased difficulty. Now X has to roll against 2d8.

If the player is hindered but the target remains in the same situation - for example X has a wounded shootting arm - then the GM can reduce the die rolled (d10) by the player to compensate likewise. Here the Spy still uses d6, but X rolls stat+d8 instead. For simplicty's sake the GM should choose to alter the chances by either modifying the difficulty or the player's die type, not both. This decsions shoudl be based on who or which side has the greater advantage.

Now this is perhaps the most complex example of the way resolution works. Normally the difficulty factor would be set by the GM and not by an NPC as NPCs re of course not always the factor working against the character. Thus the GM will select a difficulty die type to use and the player again rolls the total of 2 of them.

Finally there is the issue of whether or not it's a tense action. If it isn't then there are really no added complexities; you roll and resolve the outcome - pass or fail with no extra penalty.

In the case of a tense action, which the above examples of combat are, the player firstly doesn't necessarily use his (Combat) stat. Players have a pool of opints reflecting their current stat of activity and overall energy called Grit. For the purposes of tense actions and this discussion all you need to know is that the stat is replced by the lower of the player's Stat or current Grit - unless he spends a point of Grit (in which case the stat value is used). Also if the player fails his roll, he loses a point of Grit. When a player has 0 Grit he's out of action for a while; KO'd.

So, in the above example, if X has Combat 3 and Grit 4, he would still use his stat since that is the lowest. If his Grit was 2 he would use that instead, unless he spends a point of Grit. In either case he loses a further point if the attempt to hit the Spy fails, which, in the case of the latter example, could mean X wiping himself out.

I hope that helps somewhat. It shouldn't be complicated and if it is then i've explained it wrong. The dice process isn't complex since the player's die type and that of the Difficulty dice are usually different (and all dice needn't be rolled simultaneously anyways).
I have chosen to use stats as stats AND skills, if you like, because it makes sense in the genre and because I find that many skill-based systemes employ a great deal of redundancy in their lists which make characters seem somewhat inadequate. These stats define everything about the character  as well as include levels of proficiency in everything the game could ever want of him. That just makes sense to me and it isn't as if characters will or should have max levels in everything, but if it's at least 1 they will have something and can thus contribute. I have also found rulesets that use attributes as defaults in lieu of a skill to be inherently flawed and a bit silly. Most of the time the division between the two is pointless.