View Full Version : Original System Archons RPG: roleplay as a god (playtesters needed)

2014-04-11, 06:03 PM
I've developed a system to allow you to roleplay as a god telling the story of your people, giving orders to your followers, casting miracles, and using your champion as your hand in the world to shape it. It's a flexible system designed to allow you to create all sorts of things: cities, monsters, factions, heroes, ships, siege engines, and anything else you want. Fortress on the back of a massive tortoise? You can do that. Turning your enemies into a pile of cheese? There's a spell for that, and high quality cheese to boot.

The intent of the game is to have simple mechanics that are easily adaptable and can handle small details or large, sweeping clashes of civilizations quickly and simply.Players should be able to shape the world as they see fit, adding factions, shaping society through art and culture, building structures and ships, or just advancing a single character to greatness as he acquires loot and equipment.

The default adventure scenario is all the player gods and their champions are drawn to a location to build a city and grow it, while pursuing their own agendas. However, it supports a number of other playstyles. Let me know if you're interested in testing or offering critique.

2014-04-11, 10:34 PM
Sign me up, I always wanted to play a god game.

Just to Browse
2014-04-11, 10:35 PM
If the thing I have to read is less than 100 pages and you're not afraid of burning criticism, post a link in this thread.

2014-04-11, 10:42 PM
Link is here. (archons.wikia.com) Hit me with your best shot. It's way less than 100 pages.

2014-04-11, 11:11 PM
Reading it as we speak, just read the Setting as you have it and I'm very intrested.
How are we going to play this? Skype?

2014-04-11, 11:36 PM
Right. I might get a group together on Roll20 using Skype for voice. I have internet issues and I apparently need a better microphone but it can be done. I was hoping someone would run this with their own crew, but I'll look into doing it online.

Just to Browse
2014-04-12, 12:16 AM
Part 1: Because Organization is for Wimps
The first thing I notice about this webpage is that you like links. Many links. Links which lead to pages with 2 paragraphs of text and nothing more. All I can really say on that front is GEEEEEEAUUUUUUUAHAH because I hate it. You should definitely at least organize this stuff into 2-4 related sections so I don't have to jump from page to page on a website with terribad responsiveness (wikia just sucks, that's not your fault. The brainiacs that came up with project darwin should be sacked) to figure out which skills and powers synergize best.

Also consistent formatting. A little bold here and there provides the visual queues that prevent my eyes from bleeding when I read your basic rules section. Seriously, no one will even reach the section on Archon Powers and Followers where the formatting is nice if the basic rules formatting is crappy.

Part 2: Basics and Dissonance
There are two parts of the Basic Rules section--one is a list that demonstrates how awesome getting a number of hits is, and the other is a description of different types of actions. The first part is pretty good--I just have it on faith that the game will do what you say it does because I looked here first, but the only thing I have trouble with is the idea that a master of his craft does a 4-hit action and yet only an archon could possibly perform a 7-hit action, when a master of craft needs to be rolling 12 dice to get 4 hits with even 60% regularity, but in those cases will also have a 7% chance of rolling 7 hits. So either masters of craft don't actually roll 4 hits or people totally pull of archon stunts every day. Pick one.

The second part of the basic rules is the list of actions, which basically should be part of the combat section since half of them are combat actions anyways. The ones that aren't are weird and need to be moved because they're useless out of context (like Work Actions) or so obvious that you didn't need a section for them (Act and Overcome). I mean, why did you even name those things?

Now things are missing from the basic rules. Like what stats do archons have, who makes these checks (my champion? me? individual mundane followers?)? What should I bring to a session? What sort of actions does an archon undertake? How many players are involved in a game? Are we using 6-sided dice? It's pretty lackluster, but indie games are always unpolished so whatever. It's good you came to us before you tried to publish.

Part 3: Making an Archon and Getting Confused
Since the game is called Archons, I suppose the next best step is to learn what Archons are and how to make them. The 2-paragraph intro section (WITH A SEPARATE LINK) basically says Archons = Gods, but I guess that name isn't cool or something.

Now we make an Archon. Archons have a bunch of fluff--symbol, title, name, whatever. But they also have aspects. Aspects are your core numbers and they're important because reasons (the page says nothing about what they do, but the weird section in Basic Rules said attack actions use Combat and social attack actions use Charisma), but you get 18 points and can buy them up at a 1-to-1 ratio max of 6. The minmaxer in me feels like 6/6/6/0/0 is probably the best way to go, but so far I've received 0 context on what these aspects are good for.

Now every God Archon gets a champion. They are super awesome and do super awesome things, and players are encouraged to make up some flavor about their champion. Champion stats are all skills (which are described somewhere else), and these are capped at 5 for everyone but humans who get it at 6. Minmaxing alarm bells ring on that statement, but we'll see. Also champions get something called a Level, which is their skills divided by 10. Since champions get 40 skill points at creation, they're level 4. Why do I care?

Champions also get benefits based on your Aspects. This is the first time we've been given any context on Aspects, so I would be happy except the benefits all reference stuff in other places.

So far I know the following about stats (far less than I should):
Combat: Makes your champion beefy by granting "extra health". Champions lose health by taking damage (ORLY?) and gain health by healing (NOWAI!).
Stealth: Makes you stealthy (I assume) by granting "point[s] of shadow". Champions spend these points to remain hidden when they would do things that stop them from begin hidden.
Charisma: Something called "social pressure" exists here. It looks like damage to your state of mind, or your opinions or something. Champions gain "attitude buffer" when their Archon has Charisma points, and they spend those to ignore social pressure. So it's like HP, but weird.
Labor: Each point in Labor gives you Champion an additional tool. No word on what those are or why I care.
Lore: This gives points of "vim", which are used to cast spells or suppressed to power items. Also no words on what those things do, but I'll hazard a guess that putting 6 into Lore is always a good idea.

From my initial observation of the Aspects, it looks like Champions will be doing all the heavy lifting for characters. There are 2 damage tracks--social and combat, so defensive characters will want to shore up on those two things while aggressive characters are totally encouraged to max out one or the other.

At this point, I think skills and Aspects should have been explained at least in light detail. In the last 20 minutes, I have had to process ~20 new terms, and as a player I would at the very least like to know what the hell they're useful for.

Part 4: More Important Rules Somewhere?
I tried reading followers, but I got very confused. I tried reading powers, but there was stuff about standard actions and archon level and I got more confused. So I guess we do skills now?

Skills are broken down by the Aspects they fall under. There is a fluffy description page, and then 5 separate (ugh) pages for each Aspect and its associated skills. Combat is described in the skill section--no word on what you're fighting, or who is fighting (I guess it's the champions, but maybe other followers), or why you're fighting, but I'm happy to find some actual rules. Everyone goes in order of initiative (which is fixed), and you get a standard, move, and swift free action. It's kind of like D&D, but movement is now in increments of 1 zone so there's basically no such thing as successfully running away from somebody.

Attacks deal damage. You roll melee v. defense, and if you win by at least 1 you deal damage. Every 3 hits you get over the enemy's defense allow you to deal 1 more damage (lol wat). So basically fights are just attrition wars where people roll effectively 30% chances to deal 1 damage. Most things only have 2 HP, so putting points in combat makes your champion both tanky and aggressive. Yay?

One of the really bad components that starts to show up here is the skill asymmetry. Toughness is used to "act like a man", while Melee is used to interact with the combat system and get things done. Both cost the same number of points. Obviously some deeper thought is required.

Other skill systems are very similar. There are little subsystems buried in each (and sub-subsystems with their own minigames and mechanics). Problems arise in all of them: Stealth makes no mention of what concealment does, Social does nothing except when the DM arbitrarily makes up some interactions with NPCs, Labor does weird things that seem to totally break the RNG (craft items of crafting, use those to craft better items of crafting...) and are also DM-arbitrated so you do something and the DM just sort of makes up what happens, And Lore allows you to use magic which is of course supremely overpowered.

Part 5: Skipping to the Conclusion
I would keep going, but I really just can't keep up with this game. It seems very stream-of-consciousness. A lot of vital information is missing, and basically everything after character creation is just "The DM makes stuff up". This game is missing core components of what makes games interesting, and after 2 hours of slogging through it I'm still left with big questions like: Why would Archons band together? What problems do Archons encounter? Why are champions even useful?

This game isn't at the stage where you should be asking for playtesters. You need to write actual rules for interacting with the world, give players legitimate incentives to act like gods, and seriously hash out how gameplay is supposed to work.

2014-04-12, 01:00 AM
You weren't kidding about burning. Unfortunately, I think you're right about pretty much everything you said. Also, I got conned into using wikispaces for this site and have since learned my lesson.

2014-04-12, 02:01 PM
Actually, I have a question. Is it a cooperative game; where the players are the Pantheon and have to fight outsiders? Or is it a competitive game where players role play the religious struggles of a people?

2014-04-12, 02:58 PM
Mostly intended to be cooperative although competitive play is possible.