View Full Version : Original System Assigning Costs to Gear?

Freelance GM
2015-12-12, 05:28 PM
So, I'm working on an original SF system. Core mechanics are more or less done. Character creation is more or less done. But now, I need to price equipment.

So, it seems like RPGs go one of two ways:

In games where accumulating wealth is part of the fun, or characters are living paycheck to paycheck, currency is actually measured. Examples: D&D, Edge of the Empire, Shadowrun, and more.

In games where characters have an allowance, or there is no established currency, gear is gained by an "acquisition roll," which receives bonuses or penalties based on the availability of the item in question.
Examples: Dark Heresy 2E, Only War, I'm sure there are others not made by FFG, but I can't remember any right now...

Which do you prefer?
Which would you recommend for an SF game where most purchases are made with a card?
In a game with currency, how do you determine the cost of a piece of equipment? Base it on real life? Wing it? Use complex game design equations (because there is a way to do that, but it usually works better for board games than RPGs, since RPGs need verisimilitude.)
In a game with an acquisition roll, how do you limit the number of rolls a player can make? Accumulating penalties for each purchase, until success becomes impossible? When are the penalties lifted? At the end of the session? At the end of the in-game week? Month?

2015-12-12, 05:30 PM
I'd go with solid values. That being said, can we see the main system?

Freelance GM
2015-12-12, 06:14 PM
I'd go with solid values. That being said, can we see the main system?

Whoa, fast reply.

There's still a lot of proofreading I've got to do. I can answer any questions you have about the system, but I'm not comfortable uploading the whole thing yet.

Here's the basics, though.

The core mechanic is percentile dice with a third D10, the "Luck die."
If the Luck Die matches at least one of the other two d10's, you get a Lucky Break; an extra degree of success on your check that can allow you to succeed even when success is not normally possible.
However, if the Luck die is a 0 (or 10, depending on your die), it is a Setback, applying a -5 penalty on your roll, and/or causing a minor complication.
If the Luck die and at least 1 other die is a 0, you get a Critical Failure.

Other than that gimmick, it's a pretty standard "roll below" system. The way the math works out, you've got a 9% chance of a Lucky Break, a 10% chance of a setback, and a 1% chance of a Critical Failure, and it's completely independent of your normal odds of success or failure. I feel like D% systems can be a little too boring, and this adds the bit of uniqueness the game needed.

Characters have five ability scores: Toughness, Agility, Intellect, Cunning, and Influence. I haven't settled on a final range for them yet, but right now, they'll be between 20 and 40 during character creation.

There are 32 skills in the game, and every character only gets 10. Skills are grouped into 4 categories, with 8 skills in each: Combat, Expert, Knowledge, and Social. Players arrange these four categories in order of priority, choose 4 from their top pick, 3 from their next pick, 2 from the next one, and 1 from the last one. As a result, every character is a bit of a jack of all trades, but must depend on other party members for the skills they do not possess.

Skills come at 6 levels:
Untrained: The skill is not on the character's skill list. The character must roll below 1/2 of their relevant ability score.
Trained: The character can attempt skill checks using their full ability score.
Ranks 1 through 4: Each rank in a skill provides a +5 bonus to skill checks using that skill.
Ranks are bought by spending XP equal to the desired rank.

Characters begin with XP equal to 3 + 1/5 their Intellect score, so between 8 and 11 during character creation. Characters can take on flaws to gain up to 6 additional XP, and spend up to 8 XP purchasing talents. Also, only at character creation, a character may spend XP to take on a mutation. Mutations are relatively minor. The most powerful ones boost ability scores by 5, and can exceed the limit of 40. Others include quirks such as night vision, adaptation to extreme heat or cold, or requiring half as much sleep. Some powerful mutations have slight drawbacks, as well. For example, one that provides resistance to poison also reduces the effects of medicine.

Characters have two relevant stats in combat: their Trauma threshold and their Injury threshold. Weapons have a threat value, and armor provides a defense value. When a character is hit by an attack, they automatically gain Trauma equal to the first digit in the weapon's Threat value. Then, they must make an Injury check, adding their Defense as a bonus, and subtracting the opponent's weapon's threat as a penalty. On a success, trauma is the only negative effect; the character avoids serious injury. On a failure, the character sustains an injury, with a severity based on how badly they failed the check. Injury severities range from 1 to 5, with 1 being a minor effect and 5 being permanent limb damage. If an injury's severity would be 6 or more, the character suffers instant death instead.
When a character's Trauma exceeds their Trauma threshold, they fall unconscious. When the total severity of the character's injuries exceeds their Injury threshold, the character is dying. On paper, the game looks pretty lethal. On one hand, it's hand-in-hand with the theme of the game, and encourages a smart, tactical approach to combat, or avoiding it entirely. On the other hand, it's rocket tag, and no one likes getting insta-gibbed.

As far as the action economy goes, there are four types: Preparation, Action, Maneuver, and Reaction. These can be taken in any order, but as a general rule, Preparations set the tone for the turn. Maneuvers adjust the character's position, and the Action is the defining moment of the turn. The character's Reaction can be used to retaliate against enemies or evade attacks. The goal is to let combat emulate a fast-paced, cover-based shooter, and draws some inspiration from X-COMM: Enemy Unknown.

Preparations range from bracing a heavy weapon to making a "quick attack" at a penalty to hit. Actions and Maneuvers are pretty standard. Reactions include dodge attempts, or attacks of opportunity. One unusual reaction open to characters in this game is the "Dive" reaction. Characters can move 10ft and land prone as a Reaction, allowing them to escape AOE attacks such as grenades or fully-automatic fire, or break line of sight to an attacker. It's the single most effective way to evade an attack, but it means you're not likely to be moving during your next turn, since you must use your Maneuver to stand back up.

Anyways, that's the basics of the system. Opinions? Sound fun?

Remember, this thread is supposed to be more about figuring out how to price equipment in original systems in general than it is about PEACHing my game.

Kuma Kode
2016-01-14, 01:57 PM
It really depends on a lot of factors. In particular, how important is money in your system? Is your system gear based like D&D or roleplay based like White Wolf stuff?

That being said, for most things I go with a sort of Wealth roll like in d20 Modern. It's an awkward system and just about anyone could make a better one, but an abstraction of "purchasing power" is much better than, say, gold coins. Generally, people in the real world don't save up currency and then make large purchases like houses. Just because I have $1,000 in the bank doesn't necessarily mean that's all I have to spend thanks to a complicated system of credit, loans, rentals, monthly payment plans, etc. Even the GP of D&D is heavily over-simplifying medieval economics.

Unless your game is an apocalyptic setting where all the money you have is what's in your pocket, you're probably better off coming up with a more abstract system of purchasing power.

A simple way of limiting the number of rolls is to make each one take time. Characters shouldn't be having unlimited time, so they would have to balance getting the item with getting other things done. Even online nowadays, shopping can take hours to compare prices and different models across sites, and checking out similar products from different brands, reading reviews, etc. It can take days or weeks to make a purchase, especially when it's a major appliance or vehicle where differences are measured in hundreds or thousands of dollars.

2016-01-14, 03:58 PM
I'm about to run into something similar in a system I am designing. I think in a system with a mechanic like yours there's a lot of interesting potential for having a "wealth check" instead of currency tracking. Lucky Break? You found the item for a discount, or you found a higher quality item accidentally identified as a lower one. Setback? You need to take out a loan or owe someone a favor in order to pay for the item (assuming it is rare). Critical Failure? The item you bought was hot and now the law or its original owner want it back, your shins being an unfortunate consequence if that's what it takes to get their hands on it.

You can include the same developments with a currency tracking gear method too, but they're less tied to the attempt to get the item and more to the DM's whims in that case.