View Full Version : A Bit of Terminology Help on a Homebrew?

F.H. Zebedee
2009-12-06, 02:13 AM
Okay, so anyways, I've been plugging away at a homebrew system that basically is a stripped down, borderline flavorless combat system that is all crunch, allowing the players/DM to set the fluff (or using some other expansion for that.)

The default setting is modern America (well, and other places, too, but the U.S./Canada/Mexico are the main focus). Reality itself seems to be glitching for some reason (This is not filled in for the DM, but they are given several possible causes to work from, and advice on encounters and such that would further each possibility.). Creatures from folklore and legend begin appearing all over the world, in small numbers at first, but rapidly growing.

What is mayhaps most disconcerting is the corresponding rise of an organization of men in black, seemingly trying to cover up these incidents and restore the peace. Though they're a powerful group, well armed and great in numbers, they seem to have formed overnight, and have no ties to any known organization.

That's the (Very) simple version of things.

Anywho, two (technically three) hitches I've hit on the design path.

There's supposed to be two special character states, which have the points for their builds significantly reduced. One has half the points of a normal starting character, and the other, three quarters.
They're used for noncombat types, typically, with the lower one being used for flat out unarmed civilians, weaker animals, and such, and the other being used for something a bit tougher, along the lines of say mid-sized dogs, people with moderate self defense training, etc.
The normal points characters are assumed to be legitimate badasses in their own right, or at least good enough at surviving to be able to face down something nasty and survive. Not neccessarily monster killing machines, but rough and tumble, adventurous types. (The term for them is typically PCs in ruletext, and settingwise, depending on where/when, either explorers, adventurers, or survivors.)

So, this all brings me around to my question: What would be good names for the two sub-PC categories? I've been having a hell of a time thinking of a name that implies a certain combat capability without implying a certain role in the story, and that doesn't flavor things too heavily. As you heard above, I'm trying to basically release the game in two modules, setting and mechanics, so keeping things unslanted is rather important.

The other big question: What's a good term for a GM? As I've heard many times, the term for the guy behind the screen is pretty important to conveying the tone of the RPG. Yet again, trying to be totally impartial is hard. I'm torn between:
-Making the term setting specific (you know, different terms referring to the GM depending on which setting book is used, with a big ol' clarifying note in the front.)
-Making the term something really generic, but different from the typical GM/DM.
-Making the term GM, just because it's nice and neutral and everybody knows what it means from the get-go.

So, yeah, that's my current predicament. Any advice?

2009-12-06, 02:26 AM
Zerg, Marine, Protoss! No, wait. Sorry.

Low-powered, average, and high powered? In reference to campaign power level?

Meh, I was more interested in answering the other part. Nothing will cheese off potential DMs than calling them multiple things depending on which book. 1 word, consistent is the best. No one really has a problem with GM. DM and ST is copyrighted, I believe. GM, el leader supreme, White clearance level, just make sure you are consistent.

*edit* If this is for personal use and you don't need to worry about copyrights, I would recommend using serenity's descriptions. Greenhorn, Veteran, and Big Damn Hero.

Mando Knight
2009-12-06, 02:29 AM
How about "wounded" and "imperiled" for the two states? Ack. Didn't read it right. Thought you were talking about states of injury. For the three "character types," you might try "noncombatant," "normal," and "tough."

Now, for GM name, that one's ridiculously hard. You could try Level 5 Grand Master Dragon, though. :smalltongue:

F.H. Zebedee
2009-12-06, 03:08 AM
Thanks for the advice, guys.

Yeah, now that I've heard the perspective on things, GM's pretty much the only way to go. If they want fancy, immersive names, they can houserule it themselves.

As for the categories, I like the sound of Tough, maybe used as a noun? Or adjective? It works for both. So I guess my scale would go __________, Tough, PC. Or maybe ______ , ________ , Tough. But I REALLY like the sound of that word. It fits the fast, light play I'm trying to shoot for. Maybe the other two should be monosyllabic as well?

(There'll be a chart somewhere dealing with the approximate power levels for things. But basically: Lowest=Person who is terrible at combat. Children, elderly, etc. Middle= Healthy adults, probably unarmed. And the PCs get... well, weird. It's encouraged for players to come from all walks of life, characterwise, so my playtesting group is a reporter, a biologist who studies martial arts in her spare time, a pastry chef, a street fighter, and an appliance repairman.)

2009-12-06, 03:24 AM
Exalted has three tiers of ordinary characters, which are refered to as Extras, mortals, and heroic mortals in all situations. Extras are characters liable to die at the drop of a hat, mortals are liable to die in a stiff breeze, and heroic mortals are liable to die if anything with supernatural powers walks in the door.