Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Theoretical Homebrew system

I have to say I've not been on time recently. I blame the stars and other celestial entities for throwing off my natural circadian rhythms making me late with blog posts. I have a confession to make. I'm considering creating my own game system. I know you're all very disappointed in this revelation and I certainly deserve it. I accept your scorn and mocking so I can get on with this post.
It started when I was arguing with someone about balancing of RPGs ( I know you're all amazed that I argue on the internet) when I considered that if one wanted to have a perfectly balanced game you should use rock-paper-scissors. That got me thinking about using a system more like rock-paper-scissors instead of things like dice mechanics. The first caveat I'd like to include is I'm not making up alternate rules for rock-paper-scissors in the sense of expanding the grid. There won't be any tanks, dragons, or aliens in the sense that I make a new item and lay out a grid of "tanks beat dragons, but aliens beat tanks and so do bazookas, while silly putty beats aliens." No, I'm going to keep to the simple triangle
Say we have related abilities X, Y, and Z. X beats Y, Y beats Z, Z beats X. Instead of making a hand symbol, though hand symbols are sexy ;), each time an attack happens the attacker and defender both take a properly labelled token (improperly labelled ones will be punishable by death), hold it in their hand, and reveal it at the same time. Simple and balanced enough.
To create a variety of options without increasing complexity unduley I'll allow different numbers? levels? ranks? increments? skill? Yes, skill is the word I'll use for this. I'll notate it such X:2 to indicate ability X at skill 2. Extrapolate this to your hearts content. A different amount of skill in an ability will affect how the ability interacts with the loss resolution system.
Instead of counting wins I assert most vigorously that it will be best to track losses for the resolution system. Each character or npc will be able to take a certain number of losses before they are defeated. The end result of the defeat will be up to the victor, but dependant on the type of conflict. Not making this a hit point mechanic has advantages. First it doesn't require that defeat = death. That allows for the mechanic to be used in non-physical and non-violent conflicts. Last it allows for a hero to be defeated without taking them out of the game for an unnessary chunk of time.
I'll have players buy up abilities starting from zero. For example, you start with 4 points( how many points you have will be how many losses you can take before being defeated, convenient no?). You can use them to buy abilities up a skill on a 1 for 1 basis so you could spend 1 point to buy X up to skill 1 from skill 0. Spend 1 point in each and now you have X:1, Y:1, Z:1 with one point left over to put into one of them. I'll up X by one for fun to give us X:2, Y:1, Z:1. Other variations give us X:2, Y:0, Z:2 or X:0, Y:3, Z:1. I'm not going to list every single possibility here.
Now the important part. The effect of different skill on losses. The formula for this will be simple. The loser of the attacker/defender pair in each contest takes one loss. Now if the winner has more skill in their attack ability than the defender has in their defense ability the loser takes extra losses equal to the difference in skill. Example: If a X:2, Y:0, Z:2 player attacks a X:1, Y:1, Z:1 mook with X and the mook defends with Y then the mook takes 2 losses of the 3 total he can take (obviously its illogical for the mook to choose anything but Z to defend we'll assume the Game master pulled the token blindly from a bag since it's a mook). To explain the tie rules we'll assume the mook attacked with Z and the player defended with Z. If they had the same skill level, there would be no loss on either side. Since the player has Z at skill 2 the player would cause 1 loss to the mook. Causing losses regardless of whom attacks speeds the game up, it also
plays into some ideas I have for later.

That is all for today. I'll be funnier and more coherent later

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