View Full Version : Bleach Fans Needed: Developing Kido System

2014-01-02, 08:02 AM
Hey, ladies and gents! I'm here today with something that I'm starting, but need quite a bit of help with. See, for those of you not in the know, there's this really cool d20 game available online called Bleach D20 Classless, which is, as the name would imply, a decently-crafted system that lets you build a character in the style of the Bleach anime/manga, but forgoes usage of classes entirely in favor of basing the whole thing on a mixture of your race and, much more importantly, feats. This game gives you a TON of feat options for maximum customization, but that's a topic for another time. See, while the system seems nearly complete and even has a full set of feats and rules based on the intended magic system... The game itself has no spells yet, nor rules on the costs of using spells (though the rules for how much energy you have to draw on ARE in place). I don't know if I'm allowed to link to the site (it's non-profit, but the rules say pretty specifically that there should only be art-related links... Ugh, vague rule is vague and contradictory) so I won't, but google-fu should serve you all well.

So, for a brief recap (though I highly doubt much critique can be given unless you know this and much more about the system in question beforehand), Bleach d20 Classless uses a system of Reiatsu in which the maximum amount of reiatsu is determined by the formula [spellscore (can be any mental score modifier with a certain feat, but is equal to Charisma modifier by default) + 40]*[Level + 1 per feat with Reiatsu descriptor]. As you can see, even 1st-level characters are almost guaranteed to have over a hundred Reiatsu, especially since the feat that would allow a first-level character to use Kido at all counts as three feats with the Reiatsu descriptor (why that rule was put in place, I have no idea). This means that the costs for any level Kido are probably going to be pretty large, even at low levels. Of course, they also can't be *too* large, since there are some major penalties to your reiatsu going below certain percentages.

So, there's the first part I need to consider: Costs of use. One person has attempted simply using double the Kido's number as the Reiatsu cost, but of course, this means that low-level kido have barely noticeable costs to low-level characters, and by the time high-level Kido become available, they too will likely have costs that would be considered a drop in the bucket. So I need to make it a bit more... Oh... Streamlined. Something similar to the cost system used with Spell Points in Dungeons and Dragons, but of course over a much wider breadth, since each Kido spell is sorted from 1 to 99, not cantrip to level 9... Lots more space, but much less done with each amount of space. However, it IS broken down a bit, into Kido Grade Brackets; 0-19 are grade 1, 20-29 are grade 2, 30-39 is 3, so on until 90-99 as Bracket 9 (everything past that is Forbidden Arts). And yes, Bracket 1 is intentionally larger.

My first idea for costs was actually to make it based on the character using it; as an example, since the Kido is likely going to be more powerful based on the character's spellscore modifier, it makes sense that it's using more Reiatsu to achieve this greater power. Therefore, I was thinking it could be something like [({Kido # + Spellscore modifier} * 2) - (Character Level * Spellscore modifier) * Kido Grade Bracket, minimum cost = KGB], perhaps? It might be a bit overcomplicated at first glance, but it's REALLY basic math, so if a player wants to go through with being reliant on Kido, they just need to do a bit of homework between sessions to avoid slowing the game down.

I'll run some calculations to see if it makes sense. Most of the characters in the show are much higher than first level, even right off the bat; therefor, I imagine a level 1 Shinigami would be equivalent to a soldier who had just graduated from the academy... Which, well, technically means they should be able to use Kido through 33 since that's part of the curriculum, but hey, let's ignore the technicalities for now, I'm not the one who made the game system. Anyway, a 1st-level character ought to at least have the first bracket down if they're planning on using Kido at this stage.

First, the lowest of spells they'd have available at this point, which they should practically be able to spam, even at this level: the 1st level spells, in this example, Bakudo #1, Sai. Using the method I described above with a 1st-level character who has a Spellscore modifier of +4 (sensible for a character intending to focus on Kido), the equation looks like [({1 * 4} * 2) - (1 * 4) * 1], for an answer of 4 Reiatsu total being used. Not a whole lot different from the first idea, right? Things get quite a bit more different when we up the numbers, however, which is why doing the math ahead of time will save a lot of headache. Let's try a different bracket with a different level character, shall we...

So in this example, I'll use a 3rd-level character using the #26 Bakudo, Kyokko. Under the more basic doubling system, regardless of the character's level and ability, this Kido would cost 52 Reiatsu. With the formula I have here, however, the cost comes out to 92; almost double the price, and a much more significant burden on the Reiatsu supply of the Shinigami using it, out of the probably 350-ish the character has to spend by this point. Therefore, while probably not tested enough, I believe the equation I have above, while possibly needlessly mathy, is a good way to keep things fair, fun, and sensible across all levels. I mean, a 19th-level character, who likely by now has a +8 spellscore modifier at least, casting a Level 99 Hado should have huge repercussions on the user, not a measly 198 cost that is probably nothing to them by then; instead, such a dangerous and understandably draining technique comes out to a whopping 558 Reiatsu, over three times as much as with the other method, as well as almost the entirety of the Reiatsu that your average Captain is even expected to have. By this level, a Reiatsu-focused character likely has between 1500 and 2000 Reiatsu tops; a large pool indeed, but small enough that "going nova" with high-powered Kido probably won't be feasible if you're going to have to stretch your resources out throughout the day's fights. (Not the mention all the other things characters will probably be doing with their Reiatsu by this point in the game)

So yeah, there's my system for the costs of spells. Please give me some honest critiques on it, and I'll try to adjust to the advice I get!

However, there's another issue I need to address now that the cost of casting spells has been dealt with for the moment; the spells themselves. And... This is where I'm completely stuck, since I totally don't know how to balance a magic system.

On one hand, it's all fairly basic stuff, which makes my job easier; all the spells in Bleach have one of two basic functions: Bakudo restrict and bind opponents, as well as disrupting their combat in other ways, while Hado do very little other than straight damage (though they have other uses too, with a little creative thinking, as you would expect of any magic designed for offense).

However, with the fairly widely variable costs in spellcasting, I haven't the slightest clue how to balance the numerical values of effects. I've never actually done this Homebrewing stuff before, so I have literally no clue whatsoever as to how I would go about balancing these effects. I mean, obviously, higher numbered Kido would have stronger effects, and I figure it should grow exponentially since the cost of casting is also growing exponentially... I also can't base it TOO much on the Spellscore stat, since that would leave the risk of lower-level spells being almost as effective as high-level ones, which would entirely ruin the point of the cost system I have in place.

But, yeah. I have never once designed a spell group in my life, even for a well-established and studied game like DnD 3.5... And this is something neither I nor very many people have a whole lot of experience with. It's really quite a frustrating task.

Since the game already actually does have rules for the Save DCs of Kido with Saves, the first order of business would be to differentiate between Kido of the same bracket by giving them different effects to some degree, even if their anime counterparts are virtually identical in end results. For example, I would think that Sokatsui and Shakkaho probably have the same damage tied to them, but Sokatsui is likely a particularly long cone, and Shakkaho is a ranged burst; or, Sai might be a touch attack that fully immobilizes the enemy, while Hainawa is usable at range but has a lesser restrictive effect.

So yeah, that's basically it. The game already has Kido Healing rules implemented, so all that's left is the Hado and Bakudo sections of magic. I look forward to all of your constructive criticisms for what I've come up with so far, and I much appreciate any help with writing up the spells themselves and tips you guys have on balancing out the numbers. I'd give it a try myself before posting this, but unfortunately, it's 5 AM where I am, so I'm not really up to it at the moment. I'll bring you guys more tomorrow, and in the meantime, thanks in advance for any help y'all can offer me! I really have no clue how people manage to balance numbers when it comes to all these complicated spells in tabletop RPGs... :smallredface: