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calam
2018-01-24, 10:47 PM
Exactly what the title says. This thread is to post mechanics from tabletop games that you wish were more widely used.

One of the mechanics that I wish was more widely used was how in gurps some skills were essentially more expensive than others due to the learning difficulty requiring more points to be spent in order to make the skill easier. I think that this would be good for other non class games because there's usually skills that are worth far more than others and this would be a way to balance minor skills with more powerful ones.

Ra_Va
2018-01-24, 11:48 PM
Choosing Pros and Cons.

I don't know the name of the actual system but you have points and you buy pros with them, but you also need cons that equal the cost of the pro.

Like you buy 'Charismatic' for 5 points, to equal out the cost of the you get 'Sickly' a 2 point con, and 'Wide Spread Negative Rumor' a 3 point con.

Vitruviansquid
2018-01-25, 02:39 AM
I like reroll tokens, like the bennies of Savage Worlds.

A reroll has been the high point of so many Savage Worlds games...

... and it has also been the low point of so many Savage Worlds games. The highs are high, the lows are low.

Glorthindel
2018-01-25, 04:18 AM
I always import the WFRP/Dark Heresy Fate Point system in to other games (every character gets 1-3 one-use points that can undo an event) - I find its really good for helping new players and low level characters survive a bad run of luck.

JellyPooga
2018-01-25, 05:32 AM
The One Rings...well, everything really, but particularly the combat system. It does away with specific positioning and replaces it with a more abstract concept of how aggressive you are that round, influencing both how easy it is to hit your foe and how easy it is for them to hit you. It's an elegant system (from a more civilised age?) that encompasses everything I want from combat with none of the hassle other systems get bogged down in.

calam
2018-01-25, 11:04 AM
Another one I thought of is how some games have minor failures for checks if you only get a bit below success. I find that it makes the skill systems seem more real since there's something between complete success and complete failure and it also gives more cinematic moments like barely making a jump so you have to pull yourself up or failing a knowledge check gives vague info.

Quertus
2018-01-25, 11:18 AM
Mechanics? That's a tough one. I love reroll mechanics in almost any system. And I generally prefer D&D non-death-spiral HP.

But, I guess, if I had to choose, I'd want custom character creation, like was in the 2e D&D DMG, to be a part of every system.

Max_Killjoy
2018-01-25, 11:25 AM
It's a simple one, but fixed curved dice rolls. HERO's 3d6 roll-under, with a fixed target (average is 11 or less) and modifiers as necessary.

Dice pools and other variable dice, and sliding target-number scales, always seem to end up with wonkiness somewhere along the way.

tensai_oni
2018-01-25, 11:26 AM
There's a lot in Legend of the Wulin that other systems could learn from. I'll limit myself to one thing though, the alignment system. Instead of showing what values the character considers most important (though they still can do it of course), the alignment system of LotW signals to the GM what you want from the game - the opportunities of acting according to which values do you want to appear in the game, and how powerful the effects will be when your character does so.



One of the mechanics that I wish was more widely used was how in gurps some skills were essentially more expensive than others due to the learning difficulty requiring more points to be spent in order to make the skill easier. I think that this would be good for other non class games because there's usually skills that are worth far more than others and this would be a way to balance minor skills with more powerful ones.

BESM does it too. Sadly it's one of the few things that BESM does well.


I like reroll tokens, like the bennies of Savage Worlds.

I always import the WFRP/Dark Heresy Fate Point system in to other games (every character gets 1-3 one-use points that can undo an event) - I find its really good for helping new players and low level characters survive a bad run of luck.

Similar points exist in Mutants & Masterminds and FATE as well. It's a very good mechanic so more systems should do it.


Choosing Pros and Cons.

I don't know the name of the actual system but you have points and you buy pros with them, but you also need cons that equal the cost of the pro.

Like you buy 'Charismatic' for 5 points, to equal out the cost of the you get 'Sickly' a 2 point con, and 'Wide Spread Negative Rumor' a 3 point con.

I found this in several other RPGs too but the twist is - when advantages and flaws are bought using a point system, it rarely works well. It encourages min maxing, with players buying advantages that are really good and "balancing" them out with flaws that are meaningless (has to wear glasses, cheap car), not an issue for their character (shaky hand when shooting for a melee character), or not flaws at all (an enemy or someone you have to take care for - that's not a flaw, it's a plot hook!).

I prefer the approach where you can pick one or more flaws and they have a chance to become problems during the game, instead of giving you extra character creation points they confer some other advantage when it happens. Such as a Hero Point when the complication arises in M&M.

kyoryu
2018-01-25, 11:30 AM
I found this in several other RPGs too but the twist is - when advantages and flaws are bought using a point system, it rarely works well. It encourages min maxing, with players buying advantages that are really good and "balancing" them out with flaws that are meaningless (has to wear glasses, cheap car), not an issue for their character (shaky hand when shooting for a melee character), or not flaws at all (an enemy or someone you have to take care for - that's not a flaw, it's a plot hook!).

I prefer the approach where you can pick one or more flaws and they have a chance to become problems during the game, instead of giving you extra character creation points they confer some other advantage when it happens. Such as a Hero Point when the complication arises in M&M.

Yes. Ever so much.

Aliquid
2018-01-25, 11:39 AM
Another one I thought of is how some games have minor failures for checks if you only get a bit below success. I find that it makes the skill systems seem more real since there's something between complete success and complete failure and it also gives more cinematic moments like barely making a jump so you have to pull yourself up or failing a knowledge check gives vague info.This

A binary success/fail system is boring. I like more options like:
- success, but at a cost
- failure, but you got something useful out of it (maybe resulting in a small bonus for a future roll)
Etc.

I remember a dice pool system where there were two different sets of symbols on the dice.

(A) success / (B) fail
And
(1) good thing happens / (2) bad thing happens / (3) nothing extra happens

(A)(1) was awesome. (B)(2) was horrible and the other combinations were a range of scenarios in between.

Max_Killjoy
2018-01-25, 11:44 AM
I found this in several other RPGs too but the twist is - when advantages and flaws are bought using a point system, it rarely works well. It encourages min maxing, with players buying advantages that are really good and "balancing" them out with flaws that are meaningless (has to wear glasses, cheap car), not an issue for their character (shaky hand when shooting for a melee character), or not flaws at all (an enemy or someone you have to take care for - that's not a flaw, it's a plot hook!).

I prefer the approach where you can pick one or more flaws and they have a chance to become problems during the game, instead of giving you extra character creation points they confer some other advantage when it happens. Such as a Hero Point when the complication arises in M&M.


Eh. I have no problem with a good point system setup (see, Disads in HERO).

Metacurrency is really REALLY far down my list of things I worry about in gameplay, it just doesn't do anything for my enjoyment. (In the old WEG Star Wars system, I created a species that couldn't have or use Force Points at all, not even for the dice bonus all characters could do, in part so I could just ignore all that nonsense.)

In fact, I've seen metacurrencies and similar end up encouraging /enabling min-maxing behavior just as much as any other system might, with players looking for opportunities to maximize their gain in "meta points" and then use them to best mechanical effect later, to the detriment of other considerations.

NichG
2018-01-25, 11:46 AM
One mechanic I've been using a lot in recent systems is the idea that rather than having some innate passive level of avoiding harm (in the form of AC, Saves, To-Hit rolls, etc), all active actions against another are assumed by default to succeed, but come with a price tag which the target can choose to 'buy off' with various resource pools. So rather than e.g. 'this spell kills you instantly, but that spell damages your hitpoints' its more like your hitpoints might explicitly be broken down into 'wound' and 'dodge' pools, and the insta-kill spell is just the flag 'cannot be bought off with wounds'.

The reasoning is, this allows things to be narratively extremely dangerous and lethal without making the game itself dangerous and lethal. A dagger to the eye kills, period, but the really tough characters have the pools to buy off a hundred attempted stabs to the eye. So stuff like absolute domination magic and other kinds of extreme effects (when seen from the point of view of Save-or-Lose type logic) stops being mechanically problematic but instead just becomes a set of options to customize what exactly your 'killing' blow does in the aftermath of the fight.

It also gets interesting when you have effects that are expensive to buy off but are not instantly disabling or lethal. It fixes an issue with enemies with custom/'interesting' effects in that, often in something like D&D, the enemy would need to have high enough DCs for the party to fail saves for those effects to matter rather than just being wasted actions, but at that point enemies could just throw Save-or-Lose effects instead. Whereas with this, even if the PCs all decide to no-sell the effect by buying it off, the thing that the effect would have done still matters in that it was part of the players' reasoning as to whether or not to buy it off.

Also in a similar vein, I like deterministic stealth systems where you have pools of stealth points and you 'buy' your way out of jams. I think it helps resolve the 'stealth forces us to split the party' problem that often crops up, since you can e.g. have the stealthy members pay out of their pools to cover the less stealthy ones, and so on.

Magic Myrmidon
2018-01-25, 12:26 PM
I wish Legend from Rule of Cool's Key Modifier system was in more games, and in every D&D-like. I also wish its weapon creation system was more widespread. Those two combined made it so that basically every character concept was viable.

Mark Hall
2018-01-25, 12:38 PM
Exactly what the title says. This thread is to post mechanics from tabletop games that you wish were more widely used.

One of the mechanics that I wish was more widely used was how in gurps some skills were essentially more expensive than others due to the learning difficulty requiring more points to be spent in order to make the skill easier. I think that this would be good for other non class games because there's usually skills that are worth far more than others and this would be a way to balance minor skills with more powerful ones.

Hackmaster does this; partially niche protection for thieves (anyone CAN learn to pick locks or disarm traps, but it costs a lot), but the other skills vary in the 1-10 point range; there's even a 20 points-per-mastery-die skill around (Trap Design)... and you only get 15 points at level-up.

What I find I miss when I leave Hackmaster for other games is the second-by-second action and initiative. Movement by the second, the ability to react to others' maneuvers as they happen, but with the possibility of resetting your own count for weapon use... it makes the "wait your turn" aspect" of other games tedious.

Jama7301
2018-01-25, 12:38 PM
I need to read more into it, but the first glance at Blades in the Dark's stress mechanic is awesome and I'd like it in more places.

Thinker
2018-01-25, 12:53 PM
Some things I like in my games (and have ported to other games):
Partial successes - You fail, you succeed (but with a cost), or everything is good. You can add another layer for critical successes if you want to increase progression.
Bell-curve dice - Rolling 3d6 (or 3d of any die) produces a bell-curve which will reward skilled characters more than unskilled characters at various tasks and it also makes super low or super high rolls pretty rare.
Character bonds between characters - Mechanically driven character bonds that represent some piece of their backgrounds together. This makes it unnecessary to do the whole "You meet in a tavern" trope or the whole "I see your party lacks a wizard" thing. It also gives opportunity to reward players for their characters' interactions (and especially drama).
XP for resolving character bonds, adventures, and interactions with the world.
Contacts - Nothing overly complex, but I want to know who your characters know and how easy it is to get help from them.
Factions/Debt - Who the characters owe money, loyalty, or favors to.


That's about all I can think of right now.


Eh. I have no problem with a good point system setup (see, Disads in HERO).

Metacurrency is really REALLY far down my list of things I worry about in gameplay, it just doesn't do anything for my enjoyment. (In the old WEG Star Wars system, I created a species that couldn't have or use Force Points at all, not even for the dice bonus all characters could do, in part so I could just ignore all that nonsense.)

In fact, I've seen metacurrencies and similar end up encouraging /enabling min-maxing behavior just as much as any other system might, with players looking for opportunities to maximize their gain in "meta points" and then use them to best mechanical effect later, to the detriment of other considerations.

I like limited metacurrency that encourages specific gameplay. Some examples where it is done well (in my opinion):
Monster of the Week - Every character has 7 (I think) points of Luck. When a character runs out of luck, more bad things start happening. It promotes a sense of temptation and impending doom. No one is forced to use it, but if you do, you'll eventually run into consequences.
Mutants and Masterminds - When one of your disadvantages is used against you, you are rewarded. This encourages characters to have disadvantages and complications with their characters' lives and gives a sense of heroics. A normal person would have failed, but your character is exceptional.


It's rare that it's done well, but I like it when it adds to the game's theme in some way.

Altair_the_Vexed
2018-01-25, 01:15 PM
The One Rings...well, everything really, but particularly the combat system. It does away with specific positioning and replaces it with a more abstract concept of how aggressive you are that round, influencing both how easy it is to hit your foe and how easy it is for them to hit you. It's an elegant system (from a more civilised age?) that encompasses everything I want from combat with none of the hassle other systems get bogged down in.

I came here to post that!

In fact, I've kind of adopted it for my d20-based homebrew hack games - instead of having a load of feats to do with Combat Expertise, Power Attack that give you penalties for bonuses and all that, anyone can just declare that they are fighting aggressively (taking a penalty to defence, getting an equal bonus to attack) or whatever. The feats have all been upgraded to mean you take no penalty.

comk59
2018-01-25, 01:24 PM
I'll throw my hat into the metacurrency ring, although my personal favorite is the Prowler and Paragons Resolve/Misfortune system.

It being pooled by the party instead of allocated per character is a nice change of pace. And the fact that it lets you swap out one skill to substitute another (IE hacking an electronic door by shooting the keypad with your laser) is just fun.

Max_Killjoy
2018-01-25, 01:31 PM
Last comment on metacurrency, I don't want to sidetrack the thread -- my comment wasn't a criticism of metacurrency, just an expression of deep skepticism that setting up "flaws" around metacurrency instead of character build points is any less prone to be min-maxed.

Arbane
2018-01-25, 01:35 PM
Last comment on metacurrency, I don't want to sidetrack the thread -- my comment wasn't a criticism of metacurrency, just an expression of deep skepticism that setting up "flaws" around metacurrency instead of character build points is any less prone to be min-maxed.

Of course it's prone to being mix-maxed. ALL RPG mechanics get mix-maxed, even Risus's. It's just a matter of what you want to encourage the players to do. GURPS-style disadvantages get min-maxed to provide build points, then not screw up the PCs too much in play, Disadvantages-for-luck-points get min-maxed so they WILL show up in play. (One game I like, Legends of the Wulin, has the players PAYING build points to pick up new disadvantages for just this reason.)

Malimar
2018-01-25, 01:41 PM
The Inspiration system is by far the best thing about 5e and I keep wanting to import it into my 3.5e games somehow. Giving a tangible reward for good roleplaying or acting in accordance with your backstory or personality, but not having that reward be major or permanent (XP is a very bad way to reward this), it's just great.

Thinker
2018-01-25, 01:45 PM
The Inspiration system is by far the best thing about 5e and I keep wanting to import it into my 3.5e games somehow. Giving a tangible reward for good roleplaying or acting in accordance with your backstory or personality, but not having that reward be major or permanent (XP is a very bad way to reward this), it's just great.

Why is XP a very bad way to reward that?

Max_Killjoy
2018-01-25, 02:04 PM
Of course it's prone to being mix-maxed. ALL RPG mechanics get mix-maxed, even Risus's. It's just a matter of what you want to encourage the players to do. GURPS-style disadvantages get min-maxed to provide build points, then not screw up the PCs too much in play, Disadvantages-for-luck-points get min-maxed so they WILL show up in play. (One game I like, Legends of the Wulin, has the players PAYING build points to pick up new disadvantages for just this reason.)


Right -- it's about the players more than the system.

Grod_The_Giant
2018-01-25, 03:34 PM
Why is XP a very bad way to reward that?
It's rewarding a transitive descriptive moment with a permanent mechanical benefit. Sort of the same reason that D&D-style flaws are problematic-- it's typically not great to give an always-relevant bonus in exchange for accepting a sometimes-relevant penalty. That's why things like M&M's Complication mechanics (or Fate's Compels, or 5e's Inspiration, or any number of similar hero point things) are nice. Gives you a transitive benefit only when the transitive penalty comes into play.

Quertus
2018-01-25, 03:39 PM
There's a lot in Legend of the Wulin that other systems could learn from. I'll limit myself to one thing though, the alignment system. Instead of showing what values the character considers most important (though they still can do it of course), the alignment system of LotW signals to the GM what you want from the game - the opportunities of acting according to which values do you want to appear in the game, and how powerful the effects will be when your character does so.

Can you go into more detail as to how, exactly, LotW enables this conversation?


Some things I like in my games (and have ported to other games):
Character bonds between characters - Mechanically driven character bonds that represent some piece of their backgrounds together. This makes it unnecessary to do the whole "You meet in a tavern" trope or the whole "I see your party lacks a wizard" thing. It also gives opportunity to reward players for their characters' interactions (and especially drama).
XP for resolving character bonds, adventures, and interactions with the world.
Factions/Debt - Who the characters owe money, loyalty, or favors to.


I have a strong love of characters who are "not from around here", and for drop in games, where characters don't all know each other when they meet. Are any of these systems good for handling bonds as they develop, and as they change over time?

Also, can you give more detail on the type of debt system that you enjoy?

PhantasyPen
2018-01-25, 04:16 PM
I really like the Aspects mechanic of FATE systems, I find it just adds a little more depth to character creation and as the DM can make setting the scene much simpler.

Jama7301
2018-01-25, 04:27 PM
Can you go into more detail as to how, exactly, LotW enables this conversation?



I have a strong love of characters who are "not from around here", and for drop in games, where characters don't all know each other when they meet. Are any of these systems good for handling bonds as they develop, and as they change over time?


Dungeon World may fit the bill. Characters come with bonds at the start, but those could be chopped off. It has bonds worded like "I have adventured with ____ before, I trust their judgement". When that resolves, the person who held that bond gets XP, and they can make a new bond. It can be an evolution of that, or a drastic change, based on what happens. Something like "_____ went behind my back, betraying my trust. It will be a long time before I put my faith in them again."

calam
2018-01-25, 05:12 PM
This

A binary success/fail system is boring. I like more options like:
- success, but at a cost
- failure, but you got something useful out of it (maybe resulting in a small bonus for a future roll)
Etc.

I remember a dice pool system where there were two different sets of symbols on the dice.

(A) success / (B) fail
And
(1) good thing happens / (2) bad thing happens / (3) nothing extra happens

(A)(1) was awesome. (B)(2) was horrible and the other combinations were a range of scenarios in between.

The only game I know of that had this rule made partial success and partial failure too common and because of that it wasn't unlikely for a session to turn into slapstick with partial success during a chase meaning that they accidentally trip into their target and gun fights that consist entirely of accidentally shooting pieces of the scenery that end up disabling opponents.I still wish to see it done well though.

Jay R
2018-01-25, 05:31 PM
The ability to treat improve several similar skills at once, by making that a character trait.

In Hero System, you can take Scientist for three points, and you get one extra point for any science skill. Or Jack of All Trades for three points, and you get one extra point for every profession skill. Linguist or scholar for languages or knowledge skills.

-------------------

This phrasing from Conquistador, "You cannot <specific rules exploit> in contravention of common sense."

Thinker
2018-01-25, 08:42 PM
It's rewarding a transitive descriptive moment with a permanent mechanical benefit. Sort of the same reason that D&D-style flaws are problematic-- it's typically not great to give an always-relevant bonus in exchange for accepting a sometimes-relevant penalty. That's why things like M&M's Complication mechanics (or Fate's Compels, or 5e's Inspiration, or any number of similar hero point things) are nice. Gives you a transitive benefit only when the transitive penalty comes into play.
You could say similar about nearly all applications of XP. You reward for completed encounters? You're rewarding for transitive moments in exchange for permanent mechanical benefit. You reward for completing an adventure? You're rewarding for a transitive moment. That's not nearly the same thing as granting permanent power for nearly never noticed flaws.

I think that the way you award XP should be based on the goals of your game. If you want your game to be about exploration, you give XP when the players explore. If you want your game to be about interactions between characters and between their backstories, you give XP when the players invoke their backgrounds with one another.



I have a strong love of characters who are "not from around here", and for drop in games, where characters don't all know each other when they meet. Are any of these systems good for handling bonds as they develop, and as they change over time?

Also, can you give more detail on the type of debt system that you enjoy?

As alluded to by another poster, this is taken from the *World games, but I don't see why it couldn't be dropped into other games with few changes. We used it in a Star Wars game and it worked well there, too. You can certainly come up with bonds on the go and you are encouraged to do so. It's usually written as something that happened that now triggers an attitude, for example "Maximus's fireball burned down the tavern and made me spill my drink. I'm going to teach him some manners." or "Diana knows a lot of seedy characters. I'll have to keep my eye on her for mischief." And even if your character is from elsewhere, you can always have encountered one or two of them in the past. The point of the mechanics is to inject some drama and potentially even have some of the characters' goals differ. As long as the group is up for it, it can be fun.

Debt represents favors, loans, oaths of loyalty, familial bonds, or any other sort of connection between a character and a powerful organization. The faction must be prominent within the setting of the game. It works something like this:
Establish some powerful factions in your setting - scale them appropriately for the campaign. If it takes place in a city, these might be the Police Union, the Mayor's Office, the Berglitoni Family, the Triads, and the City Research Lab. If it's a country you might be looking at the Ministry of Investigations, Amazing Bullseye Mart, National University, and the Vice President.
Figure out how the factions regard one another and a basic agenda for each - list 3 wants and 2 needs for each one. Try to make some of their wants and needs overlap.
At character creation, make every character assign 3 points of debt spread out over up to 3 factions. If a character is a member of one of the factions, their debt is 3 with that faction.
A character can increase their debt with any faction by 1 in exchange for aid in an area that they can help with (use logic for their capabilities - National University probably can't exonerate your character for his crimes; then again, maybe they can).
The factions will come to the characters to call in debt from time-to-time. It might be in the midst of another scenario that is related to one of their wants or needs or it might be out of the blue. A character who refuses a call in will piss of the organization and increase their debt by 1.
Once a character has 5 or 6 debt, the faction will start interfering with the character's plans in attempts to persuade the character to make good on debt.
Once a character has 7 to 10 debt, the faction may become actively hostile to the character and will attempt murder or worse.


It's pretty basic, but it works with just about any system. You can of course add other tweaks to make it work better with a system, but this is the basic approach. Keep in mind, debt is per-character. A faction might not care about the other party members if they're hostile to the character (then again, they might try attacking them as a way to turn the screws).

Quertus
2018-01-25, 09:16 PM
Establish some powerful factions in your setting - scale them appropriately for the campaign. If it takes place in a city, these might be the Police Union, the Mayor's Office, the Berglitoni Family, the Triads, and the City Research Lab. If it's a country you might be looking at the Ministry of Investigations, Amazing Bullseye Mart, National University, and the Vice President.
At character creation, make every character assign 3 points of debt spread out over up to 3 factions. If a character is a member of one of the factions, their debt is 3 with that faction.



What if a character is a member of two factions? What if they're a member of National University, and they're (a member of?) the Vice President?

Fri
2018-01-25, 09:19 PM
Can you go into more detail as to how, exactly, LotW enables this conversation?


Basically, instead of "allignments" like good or evil, LotW has "virtues' which are things like loyalty, compassion, ruthlessness, obsession, etc. You give them 1-5 scores. How it works is, when your character do something that someone agree showcase a virtue, they give you token, which you can use for extra advancement point or resources. And how much token you get depends on how much score you have.

So for example you have character with 5 compassion and 2 obsession. It showcase what kind of personality you have in your mind for your character. You get a chance to either let your sworn enemy free, or execute them. If you let them free, you get 5 token from compassion, but if you execute them, you get 2 token from obsession.

Basically, my take is, by having 5 compassion score, you signal the DM that you want a scene for you to act your character's compassionate side, or for you to act against it for character conflict (say you have 5 compassion and also 5 loyalty, the GM can give you scene where you either have to showcase compassion or loyalty, things like that)

Thinker
2018-01-26, 08:56 AM
What if a character is a member of two factions? What if they're a member of National University, and they're (a member of?) the Vice President?

Then the character would have 2 debt with National University and 1 debt with the Vice President (or vice versa). One or both organizations might have incentive to call in their debt at some point in the game.

Quertus
2018-01-26, 09:36 AM
Basically, instead of "allignments" like good or evil, LotW has "virtues' which are things like loyalty, compassion, ruthlessness, obsession, etc. You give them 1-5 scores. How it works is, when your character do something that someone agree showcase a virtue, they give you token, which you can use for extra advancement point or resources. And how much token you get depends on how much score you have.

So for example you have character with 5 compassion and 2 obsession. It showcase what kind of personality you have in your mind for your character. You get a chance to either let your sworn enemy free, or execute them. If you let them free, you get 5 token from compassion, but if you execute them, you get 2 token from obsession.

Basically, my take is, by having 5 compassion score, you signal the DM that you want a scene for you to act your character's compassionate side, or for you to act against it for character conflict (say you have 5 compassion and also 5 loyalty, the GM can give you scene where you either have to showcase compassion or loyalty, things like that)

Huh. I'll have to look up a list of their virtues, and compare that to some of my favorite role-playing moments / conflicts, to see if I can see the former encouraging the latter.

Fri
2018-01-26, 09:53 AM
Oh yeah, something I remember, eventhough I use that example, it's also supposed to be used organically. Basically I mean, at any point someone note, "yeah, the thing you did with the cabbage merchant? That's pretty compassionate, dude" you can get a token from that. And you don't have to act out all of your high score virtues all the time, obviously. Like, you have 5 compassion and 2 ruthlessness. You get a chance to let your sworn enemy go or execute them. You can execute them if you want, in what basically an out of character moment in universe. You just hate your sworn enemy that much that eventhough you'd let most other enemy go, you won't let them away, and in universe, people who know you as a compassionate character would be surprised by your action.

And the virtues might not work for all genre, since it's specifically a Wuxia game.

Anonymouswizard
2018-01-26, 10:36 AM
Throwing my hat in the metacurrency ring. I love them, and I've gone through several different methods of giving them out, including 'makes the entire group react', but I've settled on the 'when hindrances/disads/complications come into play', because most players like having a stock of tokens on them and so will bring up their disads when they're low while spending them in cases where they really want to succeed, leading to more organic highs and lows.

Another one is the Triggers from Unknown Armies (2e, I don't own 3e so I don't know if they're in there). Significantly better than Inspiration from D&D5e because of two things. The first is that they're player activated roleplaying tools, while the GM can still veto in occasions it doesn't make sense players can use each of their three triggers (Anger, Fear, and Noble) once per session if the situation matches what's written. The second is the benefit for doing so, instead of a one time boost you get the ability to reroll or flip-flop all your rolls until the scene or situation ends, which is a massive boost.

A final one is goal oriented XP. The idea that you write on your sheet a small number of short term and long term goals, and then get XP from completing a short term goal or moving towards a long term goal (once per session per goal). I do port it into most games I run these days, because it makes the players want to move towards what the characters want to move towards, although there does tend to be a bit of goal optimisation (but is there any system that isn't gamed? I refer you towards how after the 'three pillars XP' UA for 5e was released people worked out you could likely reach level 20 by doing pest control for a small town for a few weeks).

Fri
2018-01-26, 11:10 AM
There's a couple of things that I like and I wish to see it in games I play from my quick read of Low Fantasy Gaming. I might misremember the detail since it's been a while, but it's the thought that count and if you want to use it in other games you obviously need to tinker with them anyway.

One is that anyone can give minor effect to your attacks at any time (with the gm's permission). Something like, you attack an enemy, then you can roll say, dexterity against the enemy's reflex save, to give them minor accuracy penalty for one attack or whatever. It's a small thing, but really does a lot for me. Seriously, this is something that add so much. Even the most mundane class in any game could do *something* different and interesting at any point in combat.

Slipperychicken
2018-01-26, 11:52 AM
Contacts. I like the way shadowrun handles them. Representing NPC relations with numbers on PC character sheets, and having some clear defined benefits for them, helps players recognize their importance. It also means that treating someone like crap might reduce a PC's numbers, which can even encourage munchkins to try to care.

Training/improvement time. Ugprades feel a lot more meaningful when characters actually put in work for them (and possibly money or favors too), as opposed to appearing in some immersion-destroying instantaneous level-up event.

Wound penalties. It might be construed as a 'death spiral', but it clarifies that physical harm matters without imposing permanent injury.

Knockdown, knockback, and disorientation. When they're systematized and applied to attacks which meet conditions (i.e. doing enough harm relative to victim's stats, being an appropriate type of harm), as opposed to being applied on an ad-hoc basis, they're great ways to convey the literal impact of blows in-game.

Hit location and modifiers. It helps describe what characters are feeling during battle, and creates more choices for combatants.

Specialized monster weaknesses, defenses against monsters and magic. They give us players ways to prepare, and helps differentiate enemy types. It doesn't need to make monster-fights trivial; as long as there's something a player can do to improve his chances when he knows what he's up against.

Jama7301
2018-01-26, 05:05 PM
Speaking of Shadowrun, I really like the Drain concept they have for magic, especially how you can overcast at risk to your own safety.

Rhedyn
2018-01-27, 03:23 PM
Savage Worlds GM bennies.

The GM gets one reroll basically per session per player.

I'm the kind of GM that just let's the dice fall, but having an actual rule that lets me reroll an attack from the beginning when the first result would splatter a character into fine paste is great.

I find most Savage Worlds GMs have never talked about or suggest using their rerolls to get a worst result. I love it though. I get to adjust difficulty while following the rules. Win/win

Malimar
2018-01-27, 04:27 PM
You could say similar about nearly all applications of XP. You reward for completed encounters? You're rewarding for transitive moments in exchange for permanent mechanical benefit. You reward for completing an adventure? You're rewarding for a transitive moment. That's not nearly the same thing as granting permanent power for nearly never noticed flaws.

I think that the way you award XP should be based on the goals of your game. If you want your game to be about exploration, you give XP when the players explore. If you want your game to be about interactions between characters and between their backstories, you give XP when the players invoke their backgrounds with one another.
Another problem with giving XP for good RP is that you'll usually wind up giving more XP to some players than others. Players who are better at RP and/or acting will wind up ahead of others.

(Part of my disapproval for the concept of XP for transient things is a bad experience with a WoD storyteller I had once who would make references to stuff she's a fan of and then give XP for recognizing her references. This was bad because one XP is a substantial chunk of progress in WoD and because I didn't watch any of the animes or play any of the games she liked.)

Quertus
2018-01-27, 06:42 PM
I refer you towards how after the 'three pillars XP' UA for 5e was released people worked out you could likely reach level 20 by doing pest control for a small town for a few weeks).

At last, a way to break out of the "e6" doldrums that is 5e. :smalltongue: Does it have good rules for epic level play?


Another problem with giving XP for good RP is that you'll usually wind up giving more XP to some players than others. Players who are better at RP and/or acting will wind up ahead of others.

(Part of my disapproval for the concept of XP for transient things is a bad experience with a WoD storyteller I had once who would make references to stuff she's a fan of and then give XP for recognizing her references. This was bad because one XP is a substantial chunk of progress in WoD and because I didn't watch any of the animes or play any of the games she liked.)

Ouch.

Allow me to take this opportunity to, once again, promote my idea of giving group XP for good role-playing - or anything else that adds to the enjoyment of the game. So, when the GM makes a movie/anime reference, and one player has his character respond with the appropriate line, everyone gets XP.

Do you think that would have made the experience (pun not intended) better?

Malimar
2018-01-27, 07:02 PM
Ouch.

Allow me to take this opportunity to, once again, promote my idea of giving group XP for good role-playing - or anything else that adds to the enjoyment of the game. So, when the GM makes a movie/anime reference, and one player has his character respond with the appropriate line, everyone gets XP.

Do you think that would have made the experience (pun not intended) better?
Yes, this is a much better solution.

Aliquid
2018-01-27, 09:00 PM
I prefer systems that don't even have XP at all.

2D8HP
2018-01-27, 10:24 PM
Rules for Dragons, from well any system that has them to most any system that doesn't.

Rules for summoning Demons from Stormbringer to... well most games with Magic.

Rules for Jousting and mass combat from Chainmail to... well most FRPG's.

Rules for strongholds and castle building from early D&D to... well most post antiquity setting games.

Rules for religion from RuneQuest to any system with active deities.

Rules from Pendragon for....

Nevermind, let's just play Pendragon instead

Arbane
2018-01-27, 10:58 PM
Unknown Armies's sanity system for other horror/modern-day games.

Doorhandle
2018-01-28, 06:04 AM
The One Rings...well, everything really, but particularly the combat system. It does away with specific positioning and replaces it with a more abstract concept of how aggressive you are that round, influencing both how easy it is to hit your foe and how easy it is for them to hit you. It's an elegant system (from a more civilised age?) that encompasses everything I want from combat with none of the hassle other systems get bogged down in.

Agreed. There's a similar system in the roguelike Ancient Domains Of Mystery, and you can get a surprising amount of tactical flexibility out of it... Even though you're probably only ever going to use "normal," "Berserk" and "Coward" in-game. :smallbiggrin:

Brikwars has a few mechanics I like: in particular the overkill rules, the counterattack rules, the rules for large weapons, and particularly the magic system (which is simple yet flexible) and the skill mechanic. Any result above 6+ is a crit with exploding dice, in a system where you could potentially roll a d12 for skill.

It's absurd and that's why I like it.

A mechanic I want to see, but that may not be plausible is a dice system that results int rolling incredibly high and increaldy low more often than an average result.

Faily
2018-01-28, 04:05 PM
What I would like to see in more systems would be the "take 10" from D&D/Pathfinder on skill checks and such. Basically, if it's something you're good at, and you're not in a stressful situation, I like being able to say that my character does a standard routine for what they're doing.

I wouldn't mind seeing Destiny points from FFG's Star Wars in other games either.


Something that is a little more difficult to translate into all systems is the Advantages/Disadvantages of Legend of the Five Rings, and Virtues/Flaws of Ars Magica. I mean mostly the flavourful ones, especially the ones that create more story and character-development (like the Story Flaws of Ars Magica). Flaws in D&D is something I intensely dislike as I feel they don't add much actual flaw.

Vrock_Summoner
2018-01-28, 06:27 PM
There are four main ones, all of which feature to varying levels of effectiveness in Ars Magica:

1) Player-guided ability design. A toolkit for building the kinds of abilities you want a character (PC or NPC) to have is way better than a prebuilt list.

2) Minimal divide between what kinds of effects PCs and NPCs can have on the world and how they’re performed. If the big bad cult leader can make a ritual to force the intelligent macguffin sword to bond to him with a blood sacrifice of a hundred people or whatever, there should be rules in place for how a PC could develop a similar ritual. For that matter, if the intelligent macguffin sword was made by somebody in the past, a PC of similarly high capability should be able to make something equally impressive and world-changing on their own terms.

3) Multiple valid paths to character advancement with varying efficiencies. Reward players for going through effort to find better in-universe ways to develop their abilities. To use the Ars Magica example (which I love), you get different amounts of XP to add to your individual abilities based on how you went about improving them - from the lowest-yield “spent the season using the ability to make a living” exposure XP, to somewhat higher dedicated practice XP, to potentially much higher XP from being trained or taught in an area by a person or reading a book about it, effectiveness dependent on the teacher’s own skill.
3.5) As a necessary prerequisite of point 3 as well as point 1, stop using class and level advancement systems and tying the unlocking of abilities to arbitrary overall power benchmarks. Learning 4th-level spells when you get your 7th level in the wizard class from clearing lots of dungeons is dumb. Training long and hard at fire magic specifically and then finding a master to teach you the fire spell you’ve been striving for is a lot more awesome.

4) Metacurrency, ho. Really, I like how it works in something like Fate better than how it works in Ars Magica, but I enjoy the sort of comic or anime convention of having characters with appropriate emotional buildup being able to dramatically transcend their limits without replacing those limits in the process (as opposed to the gradual, permanent power up represented by XP). Transformations are even cooler, but the number of games that handle them well is vanishingly small (points to Shonen Final Burst for being the only example I can think of).

Fri
2018-01-28, 09:25 PM
What I would like to see in more systems would be the "take 10" from D&D/Pathfinder on skill checks and such. Basically, if it's something you're good at, and you're not in a stressful situation, I like being able to say that my character does a standard routine for what they're doing.

Pretty sure that's the supposed to be the standard in all games, or at least newer games, really. All, if not almost all system I read, have a note that basically says "only roll at things that matter" or "only roll when failure or success has interesting outcomes" things like that. And that's what take 10 is basically about.

Guizonde
2018-01-28, 11:02 PM
Speaking of Shadowrun, I really like the Drain concept they have for magic, especially how you can overcast at risk to your own safety.

look at dark heresy or whfrp2e. psykers/casters are br00tal (yup, said in metal grunts). that said, they're a time-bomb of a character. you can try to one-hit kill a baneblade, and if lady luck and admiral awesome are with you that night, it'll seem trivial. then you cast against a thug, and your character is so destroyed that the warp rift caused by your brain exploding destroys your character sheet (not making this up, either. there's really a 4th-wall breaking mechanic regarding some psyker deaths). psykers are overpowered at a cost, and it's just the way i like my magic system. magic with no penalties seems too foreign a concept to me, and the main beef i have with dnd and pf. there's no advantage to being a mundane, and no disadvantage to be a caster. in dh, you will crave the relative safety of being a blunt. of course, blunts can't melt tanks with their mind, but that's why we invented meltaguns.

not everyone's favorite system or mechanic, but my second favorite ever. the first would have to be dark heresy's crit tables. it's as silly as it's awesome. i mean, i just shot a dude, he caught on fire, and his grenades explode? then the dude's friend's grenades cook off because of that explosion? then i get killed by the second dude's femur becoming lethal shrapnel?? worth. it. no questions asked. 40k/10, would die again like this.

JellyPooga
2018-01-29, 04:25 AM
look at dark heresy or whfrp2e. psykers/casters are br00tal (yup, said in metal grunts). that said, they're a time-bomb of a character. you can try to one-hit kill a baneblade, and if lady luck and admiral awesome are with you that night, it'll seem trivial. then you cast against a thug, and your character is so destroyed that the warp rift caused by your brain exploding destroys your character sheet (not making this up, either. there's really a 4th-wall breaking mechanic regarding some psyker deaths). psykers are overpowered at a cost, and it's just the way i like my magic system. magic with no penalties seems too foreign a concept to me, and the main beef i have with dnd and pf. there's no advantage to being a mundane, and no disadvantage to be a caster. in dh, you will crave the relative safety of being a blunt. of course, blunts can't melt tanks with their mind, but that's why we invented meltaguns.

not everyone's favorite system or mechanic, but my second favorite ever. the first would have to be dark heresy's crit tables. it's as silly as it's awesome. i mean, i just shot a dude, he caught on fire, and his grenades explode? then the dude's friend's grenades cook off because of that explosion? then i get killed by the second dude's femur becoming lethal shrapnel?? worth. it. no questions asked. 40k/10, would die again like this.

I concur wholeheartedly with this post.

I do love the grim humour of DHs critical tables; there's nothing quite like going all out to murderize someone in melee, only to turn it into a comedy skit of combatants desperately trying to keep their footing as they slide around in gore, while wiping the blood of their enemies (or allies) from their eyes to try and actually land their next blow. Wading through the blood of the fallen is literally written into the rules and is a genuine concern for melee specialists.

I also like "magic with a price" and my ideal system would definitely include it.

Anonymouswizard
2018-01-29, 07:30 AM
look at dark heresy or whfrp2e. psykers/casters are br00tal (yup, said in metal grunts). that said, they're a time-bomb of a character. you can try to one-hit kill a baneblade, and if lady luck and admiral awesome are with you that night, it'll seem trivial. then you cast against a thug, and your character is so destroyed that the warp rift caused by your brain exploding destroys your character sheet (not making this up, either. there's really a 4th-wall breaking mechanic regarding some psyker deaths). psykers are overpowered at a cost, and it's just the way i like my magic system. magic with no penalties seems too foreign a concept to me, and the main beef i have with dnd and pf. there's no advantage to being a mundane, and no disadvantage to be a caster. in dh, you will crave the relative safety of being a blunt. of course, blunts can't melt tanks with their mind, but that's why we invented meltaguns.

not everyone's favorite system or mechanic, but my second favorite ever. the first would have to be dark heresy's crit tables. it's as silly as it's awesome. i mean, i just shot a dude, he caught on fire, and his grenades explode? then the dude's friend's grenades cook off because of that explosion? then i get killed by the second dude's femur becoming lethal shrapnel?? worth. it. no questions asked. 40k/10, would die again like this.

SR's system is different, but it's also lower power. Essentially, a mage gets to ignore such pesky things as ammunition and (most) tools, but in exchange slinging spells runs the risk of causing damage (and too much damage gives penalties or kills you). If a spell isn't too powerful you'll take Stun damage, otherwise it's Lethal damage.

But yeah, the WH40kRP crit tables are amazing, I remember they got better in RT (don't have any 40k books anymore, I had to slim down my collection when I finished uni and I just don't like the system as much as the others I owned). I honestly preferred the original way I ran it, which was when you hit 0HP any damage would make you roll on the suitable table, giving the chance to survive with just an assortment of serious wounds.

As a side note, I've often wanted to move individual systems to individual systems to cover holes (such as Savage Worlds really needing a better spaceship design system for Science Fiction games, I just use the GURPS system and convert the values). There's very little I think should be part of every game, besides metacurrency (on both sides of the screen) and a limited way to mitigate character death.

Guizonde
2018-01-29, 09:45 AM
But yeah, the WH40kRP crit tables are amazing, I remember they got better in RT (don't have any 40k books anymore, I had to slim down my collection when I finished uni and I just don't like the system as much as the others I owned). I honestly preferred the original way I ran it, which was when you hit 0HP any damage would make you roll on the suitable table, giving the chance to survive with just an assortment of serious wounds.


that's my rogue trader dm's way of playing too. it also explained how our priest lost his right arm twice in one battle. bionic hand gets broken off at the elbow, next roll, it's his bionic at the shoulder. then he took a burst of autogun to his legs and face, lost an eye and became unconscious, so we had to extract him to safety mid-firefight. makes for some really intensely stressful combat.

our seneschal didn't know the game, and the first time he got crit in the torso, he heard me pray "hope it's a kick in the groin!" he looked at me like i was wishing harm on him. the dm showed him the crit table, and he said the exact same thing, understanding exactly why i said that. to the uninitiated, it's the weakest crit roll to torsos, making you fall to your knees and halving your actions. as opposed to, say, catching on fire, losing an organ or three, or death by tarantino.

Max_Killjoy
2018-01-29, 09:51 AM
Sounds like a system that would encourage me to not put much effort into character creation beyond the needed raw mechanical stuff, and to not give a damn about the character at all... but rather to treat characters as third-person disposable playing pieces.

Florian
2018-01-29, 09:59 AM
Huh? Oh, lots and lots. That's also the point when you notice that you're too long in this hobby and have tried out too many systems - time to write your own heartbreaker, I guess?

I like the "risk/save" mechanic of Splittermond. Normally, you roll 2d10+mod and have a "botch" at double ones or twos, but you can voluntarily roll 4d10 or 1d10 instead, trading higher/lower result for higher/lower risk of a botch.

I really prefer bell curve mechanics over raw luck. The "Roll and Keep" system (L5R, 7th Sea) is quite good at modeling both, skill and luck, by using a combination of "exploding dice" (Reroll and add on a 10), "Skill Emphasis" (You don´t botch on one "one" with skills you're actually good at).

I´m actually impressed by the underlying thoughts behind the Gumshoe system, with the whole WH40K line as a runner-up: There's a "(Story) Spine" and you're competent at what you do, so there is no need to check for anything or consult the rules when wanting to proceed from one stage of the "story" to the next. You're a professional at what you do, so solving the basic murder mystery or storming the Dungeon to kill the Dragon is the expected outcome, the question is more what you can do and achieve beyond that, like uncovering the Mafia connection or find the hidden Godlsayer blade.

I like "power at a cost" and risk vs. reward mechanics. Having the option to engage in an insane risk for a crassly brutal reward is fine in my opinion. As Guizonde put it, being able to nuke the premier battle tank, or kill the dragon/demon prince/BBEG in one brilliant stroke while risking sanity or blowing up your brains for it is fine, as long as Meltaguns (the save but slow way) are an feasible option.

Pendragon traits are perhaps one of the most elegant mechanics that cover the meta-game topic I've ever seen and enjoyed playing.

Beyond that? Puh, possible anything that has to do with Luck/Void/Edge. Let's face it, we're mostly not playing AD&D with Gygax anymore, so we're most likely not playing a bunch of throwaway characters that are named Bigby, Cigby, Digby, Egsy and so on, until one of them survives to a certain level.

Guizonde
2018-01-29, 11:05 AM
Sounds like a system that would encourage me to not put much effort into character creation beyond the needed raw mechanical stuff, and to not give a damn about the character at all... but rather to treat characters as third-person disposable playing pieces.

funny, i've found the opposite to happen. in dnd, death is cheap, and injuries are basically worthless. in high-lethality games, you get drawn more and more into the survival of your character and teams. i never put much backstory into my characters in the first place, because it's more the personality and relationships my char develops that interests me. so, i've got a character, early 40's, who signed his retirement papers from the war. then, your imperial guard veteran gets shanghai'd into a rogue trader's entourage, he develops a trade contract as a bodyguard for the seneschal, and he and the techpriest become fast friends. all of a sudden, seeing the seneschal take a blunt object to the torso is tragic. extraction, safety become paramount. injuries matter (see the priest example above. he's looking at getting two bionic replacements as soon as we're out of the hot zone). it adds a level of emotional attachment i don't find in dnd, because once your character is corrupted beyond a certain point, insane, or mauled beyond all hope, your character is dead. the trick is to not let it happen due to wits, luck, forward planning, risk assessment, and of course fate points, which act like very hard to replace extra lives.

you ever played those systems? it sounds awfully sadistic, and i'm doing a poor job of converting anyone to this system the way i'm describing it, but if you want a balance of character-driven roleplay and highly tactical combat, it does its job really well.

Max_Killjoy
2018-01-29, 11:19 AM
I'm not saying I prefer D&D, I haven't had anything to do with D&D-like / d20 systems in 20-some years.

What I'm saying is that the systems you describe just comes across as random wholesale death and maiming that would leave me unable to invest any connection or emotion in a character. "Oh hey, another character died, quelle surprise." See also, Paranoia.

Both do reflect the crapsack worlds of their settings, but those are also settings that don't really interest me.

Anonymouswizard
2018-01-29, 12:04 PM
Encounters in the 40kRPGs are actually relatively survivable. You can almost always take a hit from a normal rifle, two or three if wearing decent armour (even guard flak counts), and if you really feel squishy most careers let you buy 10+ instances of Sound Constitution (although I've never met anybody who feels like it's worthwhile). Plus if you use firearms get into cover, and remember that you can Dodge once per turn (alternatively you can Block in melee). Once you learn the basic tricks characters should be able to survive an entire game, with the crit tables actually coming up fairly rarely.

What's not survivable is psykers. If a player rolls a psyker either keep a good distance or just shoot them now to be on the safe side.

JellyPooga
2018-01-29, 12:22 PM
I'm not saying I prefer D&D, I haven't had anything to do with D&D-like / d20 systems in 20-some years.

What I'm saying is that the systems you describe just comes across as random wholesale death and maiming that would leave me unable to invest any connection or emotion in a character. "Oh hey, another character died, quelle surprise." See also, Paranoia.

Both do reflect the crapsack worlds of their settings, but those are also settings that don't really interest me.

The death and destruction are part of the setting, yes, but don't think that means character turnover is high. 40k and Paranoia are almost polar opposites in that regard (at least in my experience). In Dark Heresy, injury is common and survivable, even extreme injury, but death is not because of Fate points. The only time death becomes common is if you treat combat like something that isn't a life or death situation and go charging headlong into a firing line and similarly suicidal tactics.

As a result of the high injury rate, characters actually become more...well, characterful. Where in something like D&D you might be killed and ressurected and be none the worse for wear, you might even forget how many times you've died and the circumstances surrounding those scenes; in DH you might lose a limb and have to replace it with a bionic limb, which reminds you of the scene in which you lost it. Constantly, because it carries a penalty for using it (or a bonus if you get a good one).

Quertus
2018-01-29, 01:51 PM
1) Player-guided ability design. A toolkit for building the kinds of abilities you want a character (PC or NPC) to have is way better than a prebuilt list.

This is a better way of expressing my desire for "2e D&D custom characters". Personally, I prefer plenty of pre-built options that new players, or those too lazy or low on time or just straight up uninterested, can just pick things from a list and have a perfectly playable character, but giving advanced players who enjoy that minigame the option to customize things to the 9's.


Sounds like a system that would encourage me to not put much effort into character creation beyond the needed raw mechanical stuff, and to not give a damn about the character at all... but rather to treat characters as third-person disposable playing pieces.


funny, i've found the opposite to happen. in dnd, death is cheap, and injuries are basically worthless. in high-lethality games, you get drawn more and more into the survival of your character and teams. i never put much backstory into my characters


The death and destruction are part of the setting, yes, but don't think that means character turnover is high.

I'm with Max on this one.

Despite running hundreds of characters, I've never had a D&D character resurrected. Death is huge in D&D IME. Especially given The amount of time I prefer to put into backstory, the sharp power curve, and the "restart from 1st level" mentality that is not uncommon in D&D.

Whereas, the people I play Warhammer with generally hate the "burn a Fate Point to not die" mechanic, and turnover is fairly high.

So, personally, I'd rather have a character that I can (hopefully) enjoy playing for years, than a series of playing pieces that I replace as they get broken.


Encounters in the 40kRPGs are actually relatively survivable. You can almost always take a hit from a normal rifle, two or three if wearing decent armour (even guard flak counts), and if you really feel squishy most careers let you buy 10+ instances of Sound Constitution (although I've never met anybody who feels like it's worthwhile). Plus if you use firearms get into cover, and remember that you can Dodge once per turn (alternatively you can Block in melee). Once you learn the basic tricks characters should be able to survive an entire game, with the crit tables actually coming up fairly rarely.

What's not survivable is psykers. If a player rolls a psyker either keep a good distance or just shoot them now to be on the safe side.

Encounters in D&D are actually relatively survivable. You can almost always take a hit from a sword, two or three if you invested in DR (even Roll With It counts). And if you really feel squishy, buy multiple instances of Toughness (although I've only met one person who felt like it's worthwhile). Plus purchase plenty of single-charge wands of Lesser Vigor, Shield, etc. Once you learn the basic tricks, characters should be able to survive an entire game, with resurrection actually coming up fairly rarely.

At my skill level, I'd likely get the Good Emperor himself killed to a pack of cultists and their rat-based food source. :smallannoyed:

Guizonde
2018-01-29, 02:23 PM
The death and destruction are part of the setting, yes, but don't think that means character turnover is high. 40k and Paranoia are almost polar opposites in that regard (at least in my experience). In Dark Heresy, injury is common and survivable, even extreme injury, but death is not because of Fate points. The only time death becomes common is if you treat combat like something that isn't a life or death situation and go charging headlong into a firing line and similarly suicidal tactics.

As a result of the high injury rate, characters actually become more...well, characterful. Where in something like D&D you might be killed and ressurected and be none the worse for wear, you might even forget how many times you've died and the circumstances surrounding those scenes; in DH you might lose a limb and have to replace it with a bionic limb, which reminds you of the scene in which you lost it. Constantly, because it carries a penalty for using it (or a bonus if you get a good one).

this is why i like that system, but said much more eloquently than i did. anonymouswizard is right on point, too. you can theoretically power through any conflict in that game, but the cost is horrendous in terms of death and dismemberment, which is why cunning and risk assessment become very valuable skills to players wanting to keep their characters alive.

... also, grenades can easily be wired to booby-trap escape routes. nothing says "don't follow me" like getting your kneecaps vaporized by plasma. yes, fleeing is recommended in those systems, if only to double back and spring ambushes. i can only recommend reading the all guardsmen party and the guy who cried grendel for your awesomer than average dark heresy game.

Max_Killjoy
2018-01-29, 02:28 PM
this is why i like that system, but said much more eloquently than i did. anonymouswizard is right on point, too. you can theoretically power through any conflict in that game, but the cost is horrendous in terms of death and dismemberment, which is why cunning and risk assessment become very valuable skills to players wanting to keep their characters alive.

... also, grenades can easily be wired to booby-trap escape routes. nothing says "don't follow me" like getting your kneecaps vaporized by plasma. yes, fleeing is recommended in those systems, if only to double back and spring ambushes. i can only recommend reading the all guardsmen party and the guy who cried grendel for your awesomer than average dark heresy game.


The repeated focus -- across multiple threads -- on the random critical suck tables, and all the various injuries and complications, and some types of characters just randomly blowing up or even being a walking potential TPF (total party fratricide) for daring even the most basic use of their power, and in general just a setting and system that makes PC lives cheap and pointless... paints a very different picture than the responses since my first comment have painted.

Guizonde
2018-01-29, 02:35 PM
I'm with Max on this one.

Despite running hundreds of characters, I've never had a D&D character resurrected. Death is huge in D&D IME. Especially given The amount of time I prefer to put into backstory, the sharp power curve, and the "restart from 1st level" mentality that is not uncommon in D&D.

Whereas, the people I play Warhammer with generally hate the "burn a Fate Point to not die" mechanic, and turnover is fairly high.

So, personally, I'd rather have a character that I can (hopefully) enjoy playing for years, than a series of playing pieces that I replace as they get broken.


Encounters in D&D are actually relatively survivable. You can almost always take a hit from a sword, two or three if you invested in DR (even Roll With It counts). And if you really feel squishy, buy multiple instances of Toughness (although I've only met one person who felt like it's worthwhile). Plus purchase plenty of single-charge wands of Lesser Vigor, Shield, etc. Once you learn the basic tricks, characters should be able to survive an entire game, with resurrection actually coming up fairly rarely.

At my skill level, I'd likely get the Good Emperor himself killed to a pack of cultists and their rat-based food source. :smallannoyed:



@quertus: it all boils down to what you like in games. i don't usually put down elaborate backstories because few dm's i've been with actually bother with using it, i'd rather leave the mystery of why my character behaved like he did until an idea springs mid-session and i go, "of course! he grew up in the docks, that's why he's the fastest to climb riggings!" usually, by session 3 i've got a good few paragraphs of backstory. it's a lot less than most pbp players, i'd wager, but it's also a lot more than i've seen some beer and pretzel players do.

and both dark heresy and rogue trader are built around discouraging open conflict. with some weapons, combat becomes rocket tag, further forcing the reevaluation of risk-vs-reward. you could try to high-noon-duel the dude with a plasma gun, or you could distract him with a pretty girl before stabbing him in the neck. or, you know, bribing him, or avoiding him entirely. i'm not sure 20 space-bucks are worth getting killed over.

if your character charges towards a combat servitor equipped with a chainaxe and loses his arm (twice), it's both his and your fault, really. this is a dig at the priest in my team, not to you. (still, that dolt should have known it'd happen. he's been playing whfrp for years).

what you should not do is expect dark heresy to play like your average game of dnd, and vice versa. my pf game has already had 3 deaths, and none were the worse for wear. my rt game has now 2 dismemberments, and we're pretty impacted by it, going out of our way to save the poor sod. we still love the padré, as we call him. his fiery temper is endearing, even if it causes no end of short-sightedness induced injury to him.


The repeated focus -- across multiple threads -- on the random critical suck tables, and all the various injuries and complications, and some types of characters just randomly blowing up or even being a walking potential TPF (total party fratricide) for daring even the most basic use of their power, and in general just a setting and system that makes PC lives cheap and pointless... paints a very different picture than the responses since my first comment have painted.

character injury is a fact of life in most rpg's. in dh, aside from its brain-dead easy rules, its only selling point is the crit table. it would not shine in the sea of endless rpg's without that. it's what makes it unique. that's probably why everybody either rags on it or loves it. yes, on the grand scale of things, your character is worthless in that universe. but their life matters to you and the team.

don't quote my math, i'm bad at it, but even the whole "psykers will tpk you" has become a private joke. it's the worst possible result on a miscast. psykers have a statistical 1/1000 chance of fragging the party, and a 10% chance of hurting themselves when they cast a spell. it's just that it's too funny to ignore or brush off. that said, yes, psykers are extraordinarily dangerous to their team and themselves by most other rpg standard. it's the logical conclusion of "with great power comes great responsibility". but imagine you're playing a psyker, you've got to cast the spell to kill the monster. you overcharge, and miscast. here's how unlikely it is for you to die:

you need to have spent all your fate points to not be able to reroll.
you need to have miscast by a considerable amount (at least rolling 85+, or 4 degrees of failure)
you need to roll 9 or 0 on the miscast table, and then your dm needs to roll above 90 on the major psychic phenomena chart in order to destroy you.
now, you're dead, unless you burn a fate point. most characters have 3, so it needs to be the third time you burn them to die.

that kinda puts things into perspective, doesn't it? as i said, it's really not to everyone's taste, but it's far from the "roll 37 characters, and lose 28 per session" that internet jokes make it out to be.

Florian
2018-01-29, 02:51 PM
The repeated focus -- across multiple threads -- on the random critical suck tables, and all the various injuries and complications, and some types of characters just randomly blowing up or even being a walking potential TPF (total party fratricide) for daring even the most basic use of their power, and in general just a setting and system that makes PC lives cheap and pointless... paints a very different picture than the responses since my first comment have painted.

Interestingly enough, all of that serve to give the game(s) a very heroic feeling. You know that it is basically Combat as War and you have to prepare and act accordingly, but when you engage your enemy, you do so knowing fully well the consequences - and yet you still do it. That makes a Knight, Imperial Guardsman, Adeptus Arbites or Adeptus Sororitas really stand out in contrast to Scum or Assassins, and puts emphasis on the might a Wizard or Psyker really has.

Edit: I'm happy with a Chainsword, Ripper Pistol, Flak Greatcoat and a Vox to call in a Lance Strike or Exterminatus if need be ;)

comk59
2018-01-29, 03:07 PM
The repeated focus -- across multiple threads -- on the random critical suck tables, and all the various injuries and complications, and some types of characters just randomly blowing up or even being a walking potential TPF (total party fratricide) for daring even the most basic use of their power, and in general just a setting and system that makes PC lives cheap and pointless... paints a very different picture than the responses since my first comment have painted.

I think you may be buying into the memes surrounding the game a little. It's like D&D and immortal wizard gods. Yes, perfectly plausible under the rules of the game, but it doesn't happen as often in play as you might be led to believe.

In my experience playing W40K, I have lost a total of three characters, and one of those was in a heroic sacrifice involving several hundred litres of promethium and a Melta Bomb, so that doesn't really count.
Actually DYING in those games is difficult. And the majority of the fabled Crit Chart is "Fancy Description + Fatigue damage", which is extremely easy to deal with.

I will give you psykers though, their casting rules need a few tweaks, mostly by way of Rogue Trader.

kyoryu
2018-01-29, 03:09 PM
The mechanic/idiom that in Fate, (via Consequences and Conditions, etc.) most "bad things" that happen to you in terms of crits/darkside/whatever are not the direct result of the dice, but rather of a choice that you willingly make.

Max_Killjoy
2018-01-29, 03:12 PM
I think you may be buying into the memes surrounding the game a little. It's like D&D and immortal wizard gods. Yes, perfectly plausible under the rules of the game, but it doesn't happen as often in play as you might be led to believe.

In my experience playing W40K, I have lost a total of three characters, and one of those was in a heroic sacrifice involving several hundred litres of promethium and a Melta Bomb, so that doesn't really count.
Actually DYING in those games is difficult. And the majority of the fabled Crit Chart is "Fancy Description + Fatigue damage", which is extremely easy to deal with.

I will give you psykers though, their casting rules need a few tweaks, mostly by way of Rogue Trader.


As an aside, this is part of the problem is memes and in-jokes. When the people who are "deep into" a game or other activity largely use these self-referential comments that they understand the context of, anyone who doesn't get the context only has the memes and in-jokes to go on, and it paints what can be a very distorted picture of the thing.

Because I don't have the context, if I hadn't said something in this thread, I'd have no idea that people were making deeply contextual insider references, rather than giving an accurate and balanced portrayal of the game.

Florian
2018-01-29, 04:11 PM
As an aside, this is part of the problem is memes and in-jokes. When the people who are "deep into" a game or other activity largely use these self-referential comments that they understand the context of, anyone who doesn't get the context only has the memes and in-jokes to go on, and it paints what can be a very distorted picture of the thing.

Because I don't have the context, if I hadn't said something in this thread, I'd have no idea that people were making deeply contextual insider references, rather than giving an accurate and balanced portrayal of the game.

Context is the difference to HP as D&D handles it. A Wh40K character has Endurance and Wounds, Armor, Force Fields or Spells/Psychic powers will help to negate/neutralize/minimize incoming damage, but once things start to hurt, they really hurt because the critical hit tables deal with real and concrete effects.

I played an Arbites (Think Judge Dredd) in full carapace armor and with a riot shield that could withstand an incredible amount of incoming damage, but when the threshold was reached, it got ugly.
Context, again, is that threshold - My character outlasted an armed riot but failed to stand fast against a tank.

Max_Killjoy
2018-01-29, 04:16 PM
Context is the difference to HP as D&D handles it. A Wh40K character has Endurance and Wounds, Armor, Force Fields or Spells/Psychic powers will help to negate/neutralize/minimize incoming damage, but once things start to hurt, they really hurt because the critical hit tables deal with real and concrete effects.


And how would those who've never had a chance to play the game know any of that context?

They wouldn't. Which was my point about the memes and in-jokes giving a very different impression of the game.

(Never mind that my comparison point isn't D&D HP...)

E: either way, my intent wasn't to derail the thread with this, just point out how easy it is for those little inside comments to give the wrong impression of a system or setting.

Doomboy911
2018-01-29, 04:23 PM
I enjoy Savage worlds a lot and kind of wish the system was played more so I'll say that system but mechanics wise I enjoy Pathfinder's grappling rules over 3.5

Anonymouswizard
2018-01-29, 04:31 PM
don't quote my math, i'm bad at it, but even the whole "psykers will tpk you" has become a private joke. it's the worst possible result on a miscast. psykers have a statistical 1/1000 chance of fragging the party, and a 10% chance of hurting themselves when they cast a spell. it's just that it's too funny to ignore or brush off. that said, yes, psykers are extraordinarily dangerous to their team and themselves by most other rpg standard. it's the logical conclusion of "with great power comes great responsibility". but imagine you're playing a psyker, you've got to cast the spell to kill the monster. you overcharge, and miscast. here's how unlikely it is for you to die:

you need to have spent all your fate points to not be able to reroll.
you need to have miscast by a considerable amount (at least rolling 85+, or 4 degrees of failure)
you need to roll 9 or 0 on the miscast table, and then your dm needs to roll above 90 on the major psychic phenomena chart in order to destroy you.
now, you're dead, unless you burn a fate point. most characters have 3, so it needs to be the third time you burn them to die.

Sure, although let's be honest any say that psychic phenomena can also cause problems for PCs without causing death (although IIRC it's something like a one in four chance that the effect is not from the 'essentially harmless' table). Some of the effects can be outright annoying, such as the one that makes you swap bodies. Psykers walk the fine line where the potential for what goes wrong is bad enough that you don't want to be using powers recklessly, but the rewards are great enough that you want to be using them relatively often. It doesn't quite balance out, but it's close enough.

Florian
2018-01-29, 04:40 PM
E: either way, my intent wasn't to derail the thread with this, just point out how easy it is for those little inside comments to give the wrong impression of a system or setting.

Sadly true, but it´s actually still on topic. Systems that use "HP" and such mainly use "Resource Attrition" as a measurement stick for success, while others use the "Resiliency" model, that the defenses of a character or monster have to be overcome in the first place and the death spiral follows soon after that.

Thinker
2018-01-29, 05:42 PM
I'm with Max on this one.

Despite running hundreds of characters, I've never had a D&D character resurrected. Death is huge in D&D IME. Especially given The amount of time I prefer to put into backstory, the sharp power curve, and the "restart from 1st level" mentality that is not uncommon in D&D.

Whereas, the people I play Warhammer with generally hate the "burn a Fate Point to not die" mechanic, and turnover is fairly high.

So, personally, I'd rather have a character that I can (hopefully) enjoy playing for years, than a series of playing pieces that I replace as they get broken.


Out of curiosity, what do you think about mechanics where you run multiple characters, but only one at a time? Characters might leave the focus due to recovering from injury, mental issues, or doing off-screen missions/tasks. I'm not sure of any games that do this, but it strikes me as a pretty workable mechanic.

Grod_The_Giant
2018-01-29, 07:18 PM
Out of curiosity, what do you think about mechanics where you run multiple characters, but only one at a time? Characters might leave the focus due to recovering from injury, mental issues, or doing off-screen missions/tasks. I'm not sure of any games that do this, but it strikes me as a pretty workable mechanic.
Ars Magicka, sort of?

Guizonde
2018-01-29, 07:30 PM
Out of curiosity, what do you think about mechanics where you run multiple characters, but only one at a time? Characters might leave the focus due to recovering from injury, mental issues, or doing off-screen missions/tasks. I'm not sure of any games that do this, but it strikes me as a pretty workable mechanic.

the all guardsmen party did this playing dark heresy, and i wager it could be doable in pathfinder if one sticks to the strict pathfinder's guild layout, but unless you like building characters, the bookkeeping would be horrendous.

pendragon does it, sort of, with its lineage mechanics.

Thinker
2018-01-29, 08:42 PM
the all guardsmen party did this playing dark heresy, and i wager it could be doable in pathfinder if one sticks to the strict pathfinder's guild layout, but unless you like building characters, the bookkeeping would be horrendous.

pendragon does it, sort of, with its lineage mechanics.

It's not a mechanic that's hard to add to any game, though I'm glad that there are some similar examples out there. It means someone spent more than the 5 minutes I did thinking about it.

PhoenixPhyre
2018-01-29, 08:48 PM
It's not a mechanic that's hard to add to any game, though I'm glad that there are some similar examples out there. It means someone spent more than the 5 minutes I did thinking about it.

I ran in one of those in 5e D&D; it was more "adventurer's guild/west march" style with multiple DMs in a shared (ok, it belonged to one guy but we ran games in it) world. Worked ok. Didn't particularly like the world or some of the house-rules.

Grim Portent
2018-01-30, 12:14 AM
I'll throw in FFGs 40k crit tables as well, to the point that I'm adapting them for a cludged together system I'm toying with for a homebrew setting, along with the psyker phenomena/perils tables.

My brother and I have built up a few fun anecdotes from those mechanics, like his character donning a suit of power armour without getting it checked over first and then finding out it had a hostile AI (I think the original plan was they'd either break it or go past and it would start attacking them from behind with it's fists) in it which took over and started using his gear to fight his team, and with power armour being so tough the only way they could take it down was with an anti-tank grenade that pulped the lower part resulting in my brother's character having to be bionically rebuilt below the waist. Kicker is that the only reason he put on the armour without getting it checked out by the tech specialist was that he knew that the guy would almost certainly destroy it because it belonged to tech heretics and my brother got greedy.


Only time I can think of that psychic powers or crit tables caused us anything even close to a team wipe was in a game we ran specifically to be unbalanced and broken. We were all playing mutants and had lots of random rolls in our character creation for mutations. We used one of the less balanced mutation tables rather than a more balanced one from a later game in the series, and were also using the less balanced psychic mechanics. As a result our party included a flying demon psyker and my character who had an agility and fellowship score so low he was slower than any printed NPC except an alien slug and that I decided he was mute to avoid dealing with his fellowship of 01, as well as two others who were more normal. My guy was pretty tanky though, close to a space marine in naked durability against small arms and very strong.

Now this was clearly not going to be a balanced campaign, and unfortunately it ended early because of three of us moving towns for education purposes, but for the most part it worked fine. Due to Scab's (my mutant) stats I had made him a heavy weapons specialist, and picked up an RPG launcher when I got the chance, along with a sack of rockets for it. Something like 20 frag and 10 krak, maybe more. Enough to blow up a tank squadron or a decent sized building with some left over anyway. Partway through a fight through an armoured bunker we get shot at with incendiary rounds from a heavy machine gun. Most of us dodge, daemon mutant and I tank the hits because we're tough enough to take machine gun fire and I can't dodge anyway. Unfortunately because they were incendiary rounds this meant Scab caught fire after failing an agility test.

Putting yourself out when on fire is an agility test, like dodging and avoiding catching fire in the first place is. Scab's agility was 06 in a roll under percentile system. This wouldn't necessarily have been a problem by itself because someone else would've been able to help put me out if the demon psyker didn't roll badly while trying to throw a psychic attack at the heavy gunner to stop him shooting more fire bullets at us.

He got two phenomena, summoning a minor demon, which was killed in short order, and reversing gravity in a small area, both effects which are extremely unlikely and just happened to be a really bad combo at the time. Because of the rules for demons and the party's generally poor willpower stat two of us fell unconscious from fear, including Scab, who was still on fire with a backpack full of explosives, and was now also bobbing gently along the ceiling. After a bit of trying and failing to extinguish him as the GM tried to find excuses for why he hadn't exploded yet (he was rolling it with a 1/10 chance each round) and the gunner still shooting at us we had to end the session due to time. We spent a while discussing what should happen and came to the decision that we'd all burn fate, deal with any crippling injuries we sustained and assume the bunker had been blown up in the explosion of Scab's arsenal. The GM then gave us all a new fate point as an apology for forgetting Scab was basically a bullet magnet made of firelighters, which he hadn't thought about when he gave the gunner incendiary ammo.

Really I think the others should have just pushed Scab out a door and took cover. Much as I liked the mutated bugger I could have done without a maximum movement of 4 metres, even if it meant cyber-ressing or rerolling.

Stuff like that is rare though if only because PCs are usually a lot tougher than the usual NPCs they fight, NPCs can't roll crit damage so lucky hits are less common, good armour is usually cheaper than good guns and cover is plentiful in most 40k encounters. Usual tactic was for someone to be sniping things to death every turn, laying waste to everything with an anti-tank gun or for the more armoured beatsticky characters (later game psykers and tech priests mostly) to walk unharmed through gunfire and pull people's arms off. In the later editions psychic powers got so safe you could use them as a subsitute for guns or walk around with several buffing powers active at literally 0 risk.



I also like the idea from older D&D and some other games that have revisted the idea of having a cadre of NPCs/hirelings and so on as a default part of the game. It makes it so much easier to explain where PCs go if someone gets bored and wants to swap to a new character, or where to get a replacement if one dies or is wounded too much to continue and needs to go rest while the others adventure on without them.

My plan for the aforementioned homebrew setting is that the PCs will have several generically statted retainers and one fully statted underling each. The underling will be a weaker PC and is intended to be the optional replacement for the actual one if it dies (then becoming a full power PC) or is unable/refuses to take part in any given activity with the rest of the party. Death still won't be easy mind, but I like the idea of players being able to double down on their strengths or shore up weaknesses with a minion and grow attached to them through play.

Florian
2018-01-30, 06:11 AM
I'm with Max on this one.

Despite running hundreds of characters, I've never had a D&D character resurrected. Death is huge in D&D IME. Especially given The amount of time I prefer to put into backstory, the sharp power curve, and the "restart from 1st level" mentality that is not uncommon in D&D.

Whereas, the people I play Warhammer with generally hate the "burn a Fate Point to not die" mechanic, and turnover is fairly high.

So, personally, I'd rather have a character that I can (hopefully) enjoy playing for years, than a series of playing pieces that I replace as they get broken.

Game systems like Legend of the Five Rings, Shadow of the Demon Lord or Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader have a very different scope and underlying tone to them.

It takes a while to get used to playing it differently than, say, D&D, because you're not really expected to "straight play up" one character at a time in an isolated "adventuring party".

L5R is pretty deadly and you wouldn't bring a Courtier into a combat encounter/adventure, you´re not even expected to do it in the first place, maybe only training enough combat skills to evade a knife in the back and make a run for it. You'd switch to a Bushi who's actually build for combat and play that adventure with him (most non-combat classes have a Yojimbo, a bodyguard attached to them, or know a skilled duelist).

That also alters how you play it, how you view a "story". That makes "plot" a bit less personal, by more embedded in the actual game world. So, example, when you play a game about a "hidden maho cult", then you switch between the team of investigators that uncover the existence of the cult, the courtiers working the political angle in the background, a team on ninja that scout the cult hideout and the combat bushi that will storm the hideout.

If you want to play it "D&D style", with each player only having the one personal character, the yes, that character will "break" fast due to wounds, taint and corruption, leading to that "throwaway feeling".


Out of curiosity, what do you think about mechanics where you run multiple characters, but only one at a time? Characters might leave the focus due to recovering from injury, mental issues, or doing off-screen missions/tasks. I'm not sure of any games that do this, but it strikes me as a pretty workable mechanic.

Ars Magicka calls that "troupe play". You basically have some personal characters that belong to the players and then a shared "pool" of characters that anyone can use. You play the characters that you think are most fitting to the ongoing story/scenario. So if one Magus wants to visit the big city for some shopping, the other players jump in and play the bodyguards and such.
The only "mechanics" you need are based on the things that will happen in the background, like long-term healing and recovery, gaining XP due to research and such.

BWR
2018-01-30, 06:36 AM
Game systems like Legend of the Five Rings, Shadow of the Demon Lord or Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader have a very different scope and underlying tone to them.

It takes a while to get used to playing it differently than, say, D&D, because you're not really expected to "straight play up" one character at a time in an isolated "adventuring party".

L5R is pretty deadly and you wouldn't bring a Courtier into a combat encounter/adventure, you´re not even expected to do it in the first place, maybe only training enough combat skills to evade a knife in the back and make a run for it. You'd switch to a Bushi who's actually build for combat and play that adventure with him (most non-combat classes have a Yojimbo, a bodyguard attached to them, or know a skilled duelist).

That also alters how you play it, how you view a "story". That makes "plot" a bit less personal, by more embedded in the actual game world. So, example, when you play a game about a "hidden maho cult", then you switch between the team of investigators that uncover the existence of the cult, the courtiers working the political angle in the background, a team on ninja that scout the cult hideout and the combat bushi that will storm the hideout.

If you want to play it "D&D style", with each player only having the one personal character, the yes, that character will "break" fast due to wounds, taint and corruption, leading to that "throwaway feeling".


You play L5R differently than we do and pretty much everyone I've heard about does. Having one character at a time is very much the order of the day there, and having several you switch between is nothing I've come across in L5R games with one single exception. That sounds like Ars Magica. You can also play games with plenty of danger and combat, as long as you are prepared to accept death as a real possibility. You can also be lucky and see your character survive the game.

When designing characters for an L5R game you should definitely have an idea what sort of game you're getting into so you don't have a bunch of useless characters, but it is perfectly possible to drag courtiers into combat situations and warriors into court. The nature of the system does make it possible to make characters who at least aren't a burden in situations their Schools don't apply to.

Max_Killjoy
2018-01-30, 07:38 AM
Game systems like Legend of the Five Rings, Shadow of the Demon Lord or Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader have a very different scope and underlying tone to them.

It takes a while to get used to playing it differently than, say, D&D, because you're not really expected to "straight play up" one character at a time in an isolated "adventuring party".

L5R is pretty deadly and you wouldn't bring a Courtier into a combat encounter/adventure, you´re not even expected to do it in the first place, maybe only training enough combat skills to evade a knife in the back and make a run for it. You'd switch to a Bushi who's actually build for combat and play that adventure with him (most non-combat classes have a Yojimbo, a bodyguard attached to them, or know a skilled duelist).

That also alters how you play it, how you view a "story". That makes "plot" a bit less personal, by more embedded in the actual game world. So, example, when you play a game about a "hidden maho cult", then you switch between the team of investigators that uncover the existence of the cult, the courtiers working the political angle in the background, a team on ninja that scout the cult hideout and the combat bushi that will storm the hideout.

If you want to play it "D&D style", with each player only having the one personal character, the yes, that character will "break" fast due to wounds, taint and corruption, leading to that "throwaway feeling".


I was gifted a chunk of L5R 4th ed, there are 7 or 8 of the books in one of the bookcases behind me here. Nowhere that I noticed in any of the books does it recommend, or lay out a process for, having multiple characters, switching between characters, or anything of the sort, and nowhere that I noticed does there appear to be any assumption that you're doing so. It might be buried in one of the optional ideas sections that I'm not thinking of, but nothing in the overall text of the rules gives any hint of "troupe play" or other "more than one PC per player at once" setups being the default.

Florian
2018-01-30, 09:48 AM
I was gifted a chunk of L5R 4th ed, there are 7 or 8 of the books in one of the bookcases behind me here. Nowhere that I noticed in any of the books does it recommend, or lay out a process for, having multiple characters, switching between characters, or anything of the sort, and nowhere that I noticed does there appear to be any assumption that you're doing so. It might be buried in one of the optional ideas sections that I'm not thinking of, but nothing in the overall text of the rules gives any hint of "troupe play" or other "more than one PC per player at once" setups being the default.

RPG books often suffer from a weird "bug": Character creation and core rules in front, with no explanation on how to actually play the game. 4th has a rather expansive gm section (void) that gives a good and broad overview of different game styles, playing styles and campaign types, as well as going into how that will change things in the play section (fire). That's basically why such a huge chunk of optional rules and sub-systems is "locked in the back" and away from the player section.
There's also the much-needed information of why certain advantages and disadvantages apparently don´t have any effect, because their function is different for different games styles and types.

The five "elemental" books also expand on that, but they use an odd terminology. It´s not really self-explaining what a "World of Earth" and a "Game of Earth" should mean, when its actually "Simulation" and "Sandbox Exploration".

So it´s a rare example that at least tries to point out different styles, different genres and different types of game, amongst that "troupe play", "Daimyo Game" and some others.

Contrast that to a D&D 4E Players Handbook. Grab it, read it front to back and tell me what it is and how you play it. That's even more amusing with A Time Of War, the BattleTech RPG.

Max_Killjoy
2018-01-30, 09:55 AM
RPG books often suffer from a weird "bug": Character creation and core rules in front, with no explanation on how to actually play the game. 4th has a rather expansive gm section (void) that gives a good and broad overview of different game styles, playing styles and campaign types, as well as going into how that will change things in the play section (fire). That's basically why such a huge chunk of optional rules and sub-systems is "locked in the back" and away from the player section.
There's also the much-needed information of why certain advantages and disadvantages apparently don´t have any effect, because their function is different for different games styles and types.

The five "elemental" books also expand on that, but they use an odd terminology. It´s not really self-explaining what a "World of Earth" and a "Game of Earth" should mean, when its actually "Simulation" and "Sandbox Exploration".

So it´s a rare example that at least tries to point out different styles, different genres and different types of game, amongst that "troupe play", "Daimyo Game" and some others.

Contrast that to a D&D 4E Players Handbook. Grab it, read it front to back and tell me what it is and how you play it. That's even more amusing with A Time Of War, the BattleTech RPG.

I've read all the L5R books I was given front to back, especially the core book.

I still don't know where you're getting this idea you appear to be asserting that "troupe" or "multiple PCs per player" is the default style of play in L5R or even a major suggestion. Maybe it's buried in there somewhere, but I really don't remember it.

But you are absolutely right that L5R 4th suffers deeply from "the rules and 'fiction' for X are on these 11 different pages scattered across the entire core book, and really don't make sense until you buy another book or two". One of the reasons I've read through the core book and parts of the core book so many times is that I kept losing track of where I'd read part of the book that covers some aspect of some rule or Clan or whatever that's critical to understanding it but never mentioned elsewhere in the book. There's a passage about the... Dragon of Thunder, I think it was, that I know I read in one of the books and I still cannot for the life of me find (I spent over a week looking for it off and on, something about the origin of some ruling family or Clan supposedly going back to an "encounter" between their ancestor and that Dragon).

Lord Torath
2018-01-30, 11:21 AM
Out of curiosity, what do you think about mechanics where you run multiple characters, but only one at a time? Characters might leave the focus due to recovering from injury, mental issues, or doing off-screen missions/tasks. I'm not sure of any games that do this, but it strikes me as a pretty workable mechanic.2E AD&D Dark Sun had this rule in the form of a Character Tree. Create four characters at the same level and the same "good-evil" alignment (this incidentally means that any half-giant characters must have their good-evil axis locked, only allowing the law-chaos axis of their alignment to shift) and play one at a time. Any time your active character gains a level, so does one of your inactive characters (although they get no new gear or money to go with it). If a character dies, you create a new one at level 3 and add it to your tree.

Mark Hall
2018-01-30, 01:55 PM
Out of curiosity, what do you think about mechanics where you run multiple characters, but only one at a time? Characters might leave the focus due to recovering from injury, mental issues, or doing off-screen missions/tasks. I'm not sure of any games that do this, but it strikes me as a pretty workable mechanic.

I can think of two such mechanics... Ars Magica's Troupe Style Play, and Dark Sun's Character Trees.

In troupe style play, you have two main characters (one mage, one non-mage protagonist), and a few minor characters. Your mage usually complements someone else's non-mage protagonist, and the ideal is that you rotate through GMs, with everyone's mage and NMP getting time, in turn, and everyone not playing one of those picking up the minor characters.

In Dark Sun's character trees, you have 3 characters, and play one at a time. If one is dead or out of commission for a while (enslaved, training, transported to an interdimensional prison), or if you just want to, you switch to another character in the tree. If the active character gains a level, so does one of the other characters in the tree.

Quertus
2018-01-31, 03:00 PM
@quertus: it all boils down to what you like in games. i don't usually put down elaborate backstories because few dm's i've been with actually bother with using it, i'd rather leave the mystery of why my character behaved like he did until an idea springs mid-session and i go, "of course! he grew up in the docks, that's why he's the fastest to climb riggings!"

I don't work that way. I wrote up detailed back stories to inform my character's personalities. But I explicitly don't want the GM using or even knowing my backstory.


Out of curiosity, what do you think about mechanics where you run multiple characters, but only one at a time? Characters might leave the focus due to recovering from injury, mental issues, or doing off-screen missions/tasks. I'm not sure of any games that do this, but it strikes me as a pretty workable mechanic.


Ars Magicka, sort of?


It's not a mechanic that's hard to add to any game, though I'm glad that there are some similar examples out there. It means someone spent more than the 5 minutes I did thinking about it.


2E AD&D Dark Sun had this rule in the form of a Character Tree.


I can think of two such mechanics... Ars Magica's Troupe Style Play, and Dark Sun's Character Trees.

2e Dark Sun was the first place I'd seen such a mechanic. I always found it... odd. I didn't have the word "gamist" at the time to explain why it felt odd to me (although I might have said that it was an odd way to simulate things going on in the background).

Personally, I prefer to just run numerous characters simultaneously, and, if one is recovering from injury, then that's just one less character that I'm currently running.

Florian
2018-01-31, 03:24 PM
I don't work that way. I wrote up detailed back stories to inform my character's personalities. But I explicitly don't want the GM using or even knowing my backstory.

That doesn't work in certain kind of games. When you have mechanics like SOC score or social rank, happy/unhappy marriage, kids, being blackmailed or having a dark secret, or blackmailing someone, your vampire lineage, known or unknown sire, your GM must know. But that are all mechanics where a character is closely tied to the setting and your "pick up game" style is more or less as helpful as Tom Bombadil to LotR.

1337 b4k4
2018-01-31, 08:32 PM
Hmmm, in no particular order:


Traveller style lifepath character generation
Dungeon World style abstract ammunition
Basic D&D style group initiative
Basic D&D style dominion / strongholds
Classic Traveller / Early D&D style different systems for different things. We don't have to go overboard with this, but I'll be honest these days I'm less and less enamored with "one mechanic to rule them all" systems. I'm 100% behind the benefits that it provides, and I'm keen to have a "primary" mechanic for any system, but too often things try to get shoehorned into them that should just have their own system.

PhoenixPhyre
2018-01-31, 08:43 PM
Hmmm, in no particular order:


Classic Traveller / Early D&D style different systems for different things. We don't have to go overboard with this, but I'll be honest these days I'm less and less enamored with "one mechanic to rule them all" systems. I'm 100% behind the benefits that it provides, and I'm keen to have a "primary" mechanic for any system, but too often things try to get shoehorned into them that should just have their own system.


I actually agree here very strongly. Similar systems for similar things, but squishing everything into the same mechanic can cause playability issues--mainly in increased edge-case interactions. For me, it's best if they're related mechanics (because too many radically different systems make my brain hurt), but I'm fine with some rolls being vs a fixed TN, others as opposed checks, and others on a sliding scale.

LordCdrMilitant
2018-01-31, 11:36 PM
I really like the over-the-top critical hit tables in Dark Heresy, and more relevantly, I'd like to have that combat system in more games.

I like the comparatively low amount of wounds and the fact that hits to different parts of the body were more debilitating. There are a few changes I'd make though, and I still feel that sometimes wounds are still a little too high. A Lasgun/Autogun should easily kill an unarmored target of average human resilience in 1-2 shots, and Space Marines shouldn't have a good chance of surviving the blast of a Leman Russ Battle Cannon.

In my ideal system, I'd do away with hitpoints entirely and just make death and injury based on a series of location-specific critical hit charts.

Fri
2018-02-01, 12:05 AM
Oh yeah, our own Grod's STARS system. Sadly I didn't had the chance to play it yet, but I really like the advantage system (or what the system call it, I forgot, but I'll just call it advantage for this purpose). It makes sense, and make both strategic and narrative sense. I might forgot the details, but the gist that I remember is, here are "tiers" of things, one tier advantage give you bonus, and two tier advantage basically make you automatically succeed. So for example, there might be strength tier of "superhero," "olympian," and "trained" and someone with strength in superhero tier would automatically win against someone in "trained" tier. Another example would be weapon tier, where armored vehicle might be considered two tiers above personal handgun, so you can shoot at a tank all day long with your pistol and it won't give them a scratch.

But you can stack advantage for yourself or give disadvantages to your opponent!

This really gives me cool scenes in my head already. You're fighting giant mech on foot. Your sniper is good, but his gun won't be able to scratch the mech's armor at all. So you set up a plan to lure the giant mech to an alley where you have strategically prepared holes that will trap the mech (give it disadvantage), and put your sniper on top of a high building and hide him for ambush (advantage). That should give your sniper a chance to damage the mech! and maybe... you can try to put more disadvantage at the mech, so your sniper have a chance to shoot the pilot... and now it all depends on whether you can lure the mech to the specific place, and whether your sniper can actually make the shot...

flond
2018-02-01, 04:33 AM
I really like the Burning Wheel/Mouse Guard/Torchbearer take on metacurrency, wherein you can hoard it if you want, but only Spent metacurrency turns into XP, giving a strong incentive to spend it to get sweet bonuses.

Illogictree
2018-02-02, 03:10 AM
Not really a mechanics thing per se, but I wish more games would do what Rule of Cool Games' Legend system did in the rulebook: highlight or otherwise differentiate rules-relevant keywords in the body of the text. Legend did this by simply enclosing the [keywords] in square brackets. It makes it much more clear when you're using a term in a crunch or fluff context.

Also there was this RPG called Tailwinds that last I saw (many years ago) was still in-development, but it had an interesting mechanism for fights in at least one version. (forgive me if my memory on this is a little fuzzy.) Rather than "the other side is killed" as the default win condition and consequences of a battle, instead the two sides named the "stakes" of the fight, in the forms of the desired outcomes of the two sides - e.g. "The enemy soldiers escape with the artifact" vs. "We steal the artifact back". The game then had a pool of "health points" associated with each goal, and attacks/moves were made against the goals instead of directly against the opponents, and whoever depleted their goal's "heath points" first accomplished their goal. No idea how well it worked in practice, as I have never played the system, but it does seem like a way to allow the PCs to actually risk losing fights without actually risking dying.

weckar
2018-02-02, 04:02 AM
Tri-Stat's really elegant Power Level system (much like Mutants & Masterminds, but the cap works better IMO).

JellyPooga
2018-02-02, 04:02 AM
Also there was this RPG called Tailwinds that last I saw (many years ago) was still in-development, but it had an interesting mechanism for fights in at least one version. (forgive me if my memory on this is a little fuzzy.) Rather than "the other side is killed" as the default win condition and consequences of a battle, instead the two sides named the "stakes" of the fight, in the forms of the desired outcomes of the two sides - e.g. "The enemy soldiers escape with the artifact" vs. "We steal the artifact back". The game then had a pool of "health points" associated with each goal, and attacks/moves were made against the goals instead of directly against the opponents, and whoever depleted their goal's "heath points" first accomplished their goal. No idea how well it worked in practice, as I have never played the system, but it does seem like a way to allow the PCs to actually risk losing fights without actually risking dying.

Wushu also adopts a similar system, where players are "fighting" not just foes, but an encounter and it doesn't really differentiate between a physical melee or any other conflict, whether it be a heated debate or a pie-gorging contest. It lends itself well to the narrative style of the game.

Jama7301
2018-02-02, 02:14 PM
Thinking back, I kind of like Skill Groups from Shadowrun as well. Just a block of skills at the same level.

Anonymouswizard
2018-02-02, 02:25 PM
Tri-Stat's really elegant Power Level system (much like Mutants & Masterminds, but the cap works better IMO).

That always confused me as to how it was meant to represent power level. Isn't Tri-Stat a roll under system, and the higher the power level the larger dice you roll? I ended up with the impression that as PL increased a particular rating became less likely to succeed, because now the range of values on the dice is higher and weighted towards the average.