View Full Version : Original System Gauging Interest in an early concept for a Warhammer Quest / HeroQuest successor

2014-11-01, 11:34 PM
Greetings! This is an interest check for a design I've been pursuing for a little while now, namely an attempt to marry some of what I feel are the best components of Advanced HeroQuest and Warhammer Quest with the best components of the Gygaxian school of RPG development. This game does not yet have a name, though I feel hopeful that a name will present itself eventually.

HeroQuest is an interesting beast, as it represents one of the primary successors of the tabletop roleplaying game from the bedrock that is the board game. What makes it even more interesting is that the various companies that have a stake in HeroQuest are so bent out of shape regarding doing a Mexican standoff over IP that the concepts represented by this branch of the hobby are pretty much stagnant. The end result is one of the most fantastic RPG system modding communities in existence with no game to call home.

With some exertion, I'd like to make that home!

System Goals and Hurdles

1: Nigh-invulnerability to power creep

Let's look at Dungeons and Dragons and its children for what happens when power creep is embraced. The methodology is to add more and more POWAH to each book for... 5 to 7 years, then change editions and reprint everything for a new engine. I feel this is a huge slap in the face of the consumer, particularly given how much the books in the hobby cost. If you throw your scratch down, you deserve to have a book that works for a damn decade or better.

My approach would be to use simpler, canned classes like those seen in Warhammer Quest. There are no lists of new feats and spells with every book, only classes with a clearly-listed difficulty and power rating (1-5). This both enables high-power and low-power games by allowing a "maximum power rating" (nothing over 9000) to be imposed at the beginning of the campaign. Rigid codification of power makes "power creep" a nonsensical concept, as the game master has all the metrics needed to impose the order required to have the game he wants. Moreover, by making each class a flavorful, yet canned set of tropes, unintended design gaffes will occur less often.

2: Powerful character customization despite "canned" classes

This will be done in two ways. One, the game will have a wide battery of skills, ranging from multiple skills used to measure familiarity with weapon types (attacking is a skill!) to social skills and aptitude with, say, wizard hats. This means a pretentious duello-fanatic nobleman can invest significant skill ranks and resources into, say, wizard equipment and suddenly be a pretentious gunslinging nobleman who can also throw fireballs about. The same class can be a stealthy melee specialist who enjoys challenging people to duels, then cheating horribly and laughing about it with his mates at the bar. This makes "gear" the huge integrated challenge of the game, as an OP item can unhinge classes fairly quickly.

3: Introduction of a game master.

Warhammer Quest and Advanced HeroQuest were board games first and role-playing games second. By reversing this, players can have something akin to the Warhammer Quest dungeon delving experience in any Gygaxian campaign setting they want. Who wouldn't want to be able to adapt several decades of awesome content to another classic frontend? It also helps to make GW's flailing less likely to stick should they attempt it.

Of course, this means the "go to town pile of random tables" gets axed in preference of something more structured and able to hold down a story. Stock rolls and optional random town generation are staying so far.

4: d10 dice system with simple mathematics

Adding up tons of bonuses suck, so only one non-class, non-race bonus matters: the biggest one. Everything else goes into a "soak" pool. What is soak?

Let's say there's a +2, a +1, and a +1 on the field for bonuses to slashing. You get a +2 bonus to your slashing skill and 2 soak. The soak lets you ignore the first 2 in penalties to slashing, meaning debilitation is difficult if you invest in key skills. +1 bonuses are a huge deal in this game (and +2 is the highest item bonus, excepting some non-combat items), meaning you will find it nearly impossible to cover everything if you want the ridiculously awesome and flavorful items that give you expanded character options in the game.

The ability scores:

S - Strength
T - Toughness
R - Reasoning
O - Opportunity
N - Nimbleness
G - Gumption

Where's Charisma? Why, my good sir, being attractive is a skill.

Where's Attacks? You can take a penalty to an attack skill to get another roll, and can continue taking penalties so long as your bonus remains positive.

1 attack at +7
2 attacks at +4
3 attacks at +1

5: Generous OGL, alliances with 3rd-party publishers, and universality

In this day and age, a game needs to be open. Look at FATE. That system needs that free core book, and the extra settings don't hurt. It's something to emulate.

So, I look to you, the old guard, with a question. Assuming I capture that old school humor and sense of the absurd, am I retaining enough of that old mechanical goodness for you to consider this a proper spiritual, if not direct, successor to that crazy game of old? Quite importantly, would you demand that things be measured in tiles rather than feet? Your input is important!

Bradley Crouch
Resident Mad Scientist
Interjection Games