View Full Version : Completely new system, looking for comments, contributions, or anything else.

2008-10-06, 12:39 AM
Over the years I've been coming up with various systems as a way to pass the time, and I figure I may as well try and get a bunch of them into a larger, more complex system, and maybe even have enough for a full on game. None of these are tested in any way, and most of it is still just a thought experiment, but this seems like exactly the place to be putting this type of thing, and if all goes well, I or anyone else interested could run a game with this ruleset, though that's not going to happen any time soon.

Anyways, onto the crunch:

First, basic combat. The main driving factor behind what I'm trying to do here is make a more realistic system, without making it overly complex. There are no hit points to keep track of, though blood "points" are a bit similar. (more on that later)

Every single creature, whether a human, an animal, or even a giant tentacle monster, is composed of 4 different basic parts: A torso, head(s), and limb(s). Whether you have 2 legs, 2 arms, a torso, and a head, or if you have 20 limbs, no torso and 5 heads, they all work basically the same. Each "part" of the body can be injured to varying degrees. Limbs, which can be used for various actions from moving, attacking, or holding objects, can be injured, broken, or mangled. (which also includes removal of that limb) Still, just because your limbs have been removed doesn't mean you die. It's impossible to kill someone by poking at their arm, though they could still bleed to death. However, if the limb is injured, any tasks you could do with that limb are cut in half, and if it's broken, you can't do any tasks at all. Mangled is similar to broken, but is impossible to recover from naturally, and harder to recover from with magic or technology.

For torsos, you have vital organs, which, if struck, will either kill you instantly or over some amount of time if not healed properly. Similar to limbs, they have 3 states of injury, the first of which can cause death after a long amount of time. (a 40% chance to die after 2 days, for example) In the second state, you have a large chance to die in less time, (80% chance to die in 3 hours, for example) and even if you don't die, the injury status changes to the first form, and you then have the same chance to die after a long period, as if you had just hit the first stage right then. In the third stage, a very vital organ, such as the heart, is struck, and you instantly go unconscious, and die within minutes, or even seconds. The only way to be saved is with magic, technology, or a very skilled doctor.

Heads also work similarly, with three forms of injury. In the first, you are dazed, and do all actions at half performance. In the second, you are unconscious, and can do nothing. In the third, you die instantly. The head is the most fragile part of the body if hit, but is usually also the smallest and best protected. So while a blow to the head could end a fight quickly, it's risky to go for.

As well as the 3 states of injury for each body part, you can also bleed. If you are hit in any part of your body, you can also bleed a certain amount. This is the most similar part of the system to the current damage system. Different weapons cause more bleeding than others, (and some are better at causing injuries, or other special effects) and you roll dice to see how bad you cut when you hit. As well, each creature has a certain amount of blood in them, which, if they run out, will kill them. However, if you cut someone for 6 points, this isn't subtracted from their "blood points". Instead, it is added to their overall bleeding factor, and each of their turns, they loose that amount of blood. So if, for example, our creature had 100 blood, and then started bleeding for 6, they would loose that 6 each turn, going to 94 blood, then 88, 82, 76, etc, until they finally hit 0 and died.

As can probably be seen, bleeding is a longer-term effect than injuries, but can be just as fatal, or more so. While a blow to the head could end a fight, you could just as easily make a small, bleeding wound in their torso (the easiest to hit) and then run and wait for your enemy to eventually bleed to death. Though, that would only work against a few enemies, as most would have some ability to heal their wounds and stop the bleeding. Staunching the flow (which you can do with any "grasper" type of limb) reduces bleeding as long as you do it, and you can put a bandage on to reduce it without sustaining it.

Phew. Okay, this is as much as I can get up right now, so any comments on how silly/ridiculously complicated/impossible to understand this all is are expected, especially with how bad at explaining I am and the scope of this ruleset is. When finished, I hope to have the rules work for any and all creatures ever created, first getting all the "realistic" stuff down, then making rules for less realistic and magic stuff, as well as some high tech stuff, though tech and magic are essentially the same as far as I'm concerned here. At any rate, wrist is starting to hurt from typing, so I'll leave it here and hope you guys can understand this at least some and like the system so far. Feel free to ask any questions you have, and I'll try to answer. And of course, recommendations and contributions of stuff to change and/or add are always welcome.

2008-10-06, 01:00 AM
Kinda like it, was on the lines of what I first imagined when you said no hitpoints. Might I suggest as well, factors of the state of being during different stages of bleeding? For instance, (and this is just an example) after said creature with 100 bp (blood points) loses about a quarter of their blood, they would become weaker or dazed in some way, with greater penalties further down the line.

Sounds pretty good, but slightly hard to keep track of without a numerical value attached.
Also for creatures that have numerous appendages (kraken, octopus), keeping track of the different body parts might become daunting. As well, with creatures with a singular body shape (watchers/gazers), you would think that rules of body types would affect them differently.
Also, amoebic creatures, such as slimes, wouldn’t seem to have a body type, or a blood count. How would all of this factor into the system?

2008-10-06, 02:35 AM
Something like that could definitely work. For example, from 75% to 100%, you're "Healthy", and have no penalties, and also no physical signs. Down to 50%, you're pale and feel lightheaded, but still have no mechanical effect, though it may make you have less stamina or something to that effect, not sure how that stuff will work just quite yet. Down to 25%, you're very woozy and pale, which reduces effectiveness for everything you do by 50%, similar to having your head injured. Down to 1 point of blood, you're unconscious, and of course hitting 0 means you're dead.

Balancing this will be tricky, though one thing that should help will be, along with the amount of bleeding a wound causes, it will also be a certain depth. If it's a shallow cut, it doesn't last very long, and so the total bleeding is less. But with a deeper cut, the wound can't close on it's own as well, so you bleed for longer. Thus, someone trying to kill an opponent in combat will want to cause larger, less shallow wounds to cause more bleeding now and cripple his opponent. However, an assassin trying to off someone by striking from the shadows will want to make a deep wound, even if smaller, so that his enemy bleeds out after you've run. Poisons could be used to cause deeper wounds, or to make them harder to heal, or cause more bleeding. In reality they are actually just effects of the poison, instead of actual bleeding, (for the most part) but the mechanical effect is the same.

This allows a whole slew of interesting and fun options for magic, as well. Instead of just "I deal you 50 damage", you make them bleed, rob them of blood straight from their body, or cause limbs to shrivel and become useless, to start. More complicated could be spells that make all their wounds deeper, or increase their rate of bleeding. The possibilities are endless. Similar is for healing magic. Healing for straight HP would be replaced by restoring lost blood, stopping bleeding, healing injured, broken, or even, eventually, mangled or lost limbs. Not to mention that, with the flexible limb/torso/head system, you could give your allies or foes extra arms and legs, or tentacles, or wings, or a head growing out of their ass, and the system would adapt and tell you exactly what you can do with your shiny new body parts.

If anyone wants to help me with this, I wouldn't mind spreading the workload out a bit. My hope is to make a system that is flexible, but can cover as many situations as possible. Rules should be, as much as possible, general ones that can be used in many situations. A two-headed giant with a greatclub and tentacled coming out of it's chest from a wizard's spell should use the same rules for combat as the winged centaur with the head of an eagle using a bow in two of it's hands and dual axes in each of it's other two hands, though the rules would apply very differently in each case.

Edit: The special cases you pointed out are specifically what I hope to make possible with this. Not all creatures would have blood, but I think that would mostly be limited to constructs such as golems. Oozes have their "goo", which is functionally similar. They have a tougher membrane of the goo that acts as a bag for that on this inside. In mechanical terms they would just be a torso, though some might be able to sprout limbs at-will in the form of extending tentacles out. An easy ability to make, just add a limb onto them and subtract a few blood points. Calling it blood points doesn't mean it has to be blood, remember.

For creatures with many, many appendages, most likely it would be simplified by making it so that each appendage is "fragile". Basically, they only have one state of injury: mangled. Thus, you only have to keep track of how many it has left. As well, I would likely instate a rule that a head can only keep track of so many limbs at once. Maybe, 4-5 at peak efficiency, and double that at half efficiency. Higher intelligence (I might just use the stat system from DnD, unless I can think of a better) would let you control more, among other things.

Always remember that not all creatures need to have a torso, or limbs, or even a head. In a no-head case, the torso would also be the head (You have to have at least one) and gain the properties of a head in addition to it's normal properties, specifically daze effects on injury and such.

2008-10-06, 06:48 AM
As one system-maker to another, good luck. It's a lot of work.

One thing you said worried me, though... you'd like to model all creatures ever made. That might cause you some problems there. Most of the good games, in my experience, are good because they focused on replicating a specific kind of feel rather than going generic. Trying to do everything well makes for an avalanche of rules that can be difficult to keep track of.

2008-10-06, 09:52 AM
^^Fully agree. Having a specific gaming feel in mind when designing is very important.

Second thing, this won't work with large battles however you cut it. Without 4e style minion rules or something similar, more than 5 creatures at once will drown DM in paperwork.

Thirdly, "health" and "damage" crunch are fused. You can't work on one till you're satisfied, then go deal with the other. You have to make them together, making sure they fit without gaps or twists. These bp rules are unusable without accompanying wounding rules. At this point, I can't really evaluate this (not that I'm an expert on that).

Fourth, abstraction is your friend. Realism is all well and good, but there's a reason the hit point is a universal mechanic. I've been there before, made a solid hpless system that got shining marks from playtesters. But after some real table playing, it became apparent that some sort of numerical representation is a necessary evil in games. Hence, the hp. (Remember, Tropes Are Not Bad)

2008-10-06, 02:26 PM
Ah, yes, a few things to address. First, I know this system isn't exactly going to replace the normal HP system. I still like that for most games. The main thing I intend to build this for is a computer game I'm currently just starting to make, which, as a computer, has absolutely no problem handling thousands of limbs, all in various states of disrepair and bleeding, with no trouble, if I really wanted to do something like that. I guess I failed to point that out before, but yes, this is not meant to be the new greatest tabletop system used everywhere. Instead, I hope to get the groundwork down for the eventual computer game, as well as making a nice, fun (if needlessly complicated) pen and paper system as well.

Second, I am not making the whole wound/bleeding/body part system just so I can represent damage more realistically. HP works fine for that, though just a bit abstract for my tastes. Instead, I hope that this more complex system will add more variety to combat, and more interesting choices to make. Instead of choosing your highest-damage inflicting attacks to kill something, you have choices on how you want to kill them. Do you go for their sword arm, to try and cripple their attacks? Or for the head, to finish it quickly at the high risk of missing and accomplishing nothing? Or do you just try and inflict some bleeding so they are forced to retreat and seek healing? The torso is the easiest to hit, but also has the lowest rewards, though if you do enough damage there you can still make them bleed to death or hit vital organs eventually.

As for the damage system, I have given that some thought as well. First, there are four main ways of dealing damage to someone. First, you can inflict a wound on some body part, which has varying effects depending on where you hit. Second, you can cause deep wounds, which last a long time, but tend to bleed less each round. Third, you can cause shallow cuts, which bleed a lot for a bit, but quickly peter out. Third, you can directly destroy blood, which is mostly done by some spells, whether stealing it out, or just destroying it. This will likely be mainly the domain of darker magics, like necromancy and blood magic. As well, the first three types will all be caused by weapons. Blunt will cause little to no bleeding, but is great at injuring body parts. Slashing weapons are great at making large, shallow cuts, though they can also cause injury with a forceful blow, and even deep wounds with a thrust. Piercing damage is great for causing deep wounds, but has a low chance of injuring body parts compared to the others.

Each weapon will have 3 damage associations to them, which govern their chances to injure, how much bleeding they can cause, and how deep of wounds they cause. A mace might be 7 injury / 2 bleeding / 1 deep, while a longsword is 2 injury / 5 bleeding / 3 deep, and a dagger is 1 injury / 3 bleeding / 6 deep. The main thing I really have to decide now is what random chance to use for each of these systems. Most likely I will, at least for now, just use a d6 approach, with each weapon giving bonuses to the roll on each. So, you roll a d6 to injure with a longsword, and get a 3. Add 2 and you get 5. Then, you compare this to how much "force" you need to injure that person's arm, which leads to defenses. For the bleeding and depth of bleeding, you add those values to the same roll. So, 8 to bleed and 6 deep. This might change so you have to roll separately for each value, but then again maybe not. (The roll would probably just be the "force" you get behind your roll, so it's the same for each)

Defences will, most likely, just be numerical values you have to beat to do the various damages to a person. For example, let's do it for a human. Maybe, 7 to injure / 3 to bleed / 4 thick. (The names of the defences and attacks need work, for sure) These numbers represent how hard it is to injure that part, how much they resist bleeding (how thick their skin is, basically), and how much they resist deep wounds. (how tough the insides are) So our above example would not injure, (since it's below 7) would cause 5 bleeding each round, and would be 2 deep. (Probably more than just 2 rounds, not sure about this. Most likely it will be an increasing value, like 1 lasts a minute, 2 lasts 10 minutes, 3 lasts an hour, 4 lasts 5 hours, 5 lasts 12 hours, 6 for a day, and so on.)

None of that is final, if course, but it's what I have so far for the damage system. Different creatures would have different values, as would different parts of creatures.

Lastly, on what I said about this working for pretty much anything. I didn't mean that I planned to make a final system that would include any and all different types of games anyone could ever think of. Instead, I meant I wanted the basic mechanics of the system, body parts and damage types and such, to work for whatever people want to adapt them for, similar to how the d20 system has been adapted to so many different settings. Most likely I will be focusing on making the system for a dungeons and dragons type of setting as my first goal, but I want to get all of the more general rules out of the way first. While a laser or a sword would have different rules, both would have some value for bleeding, depth of bleeding, and how well they can injure someone.

Anyways, sorry for the long post, (again!) and I hope I didn't miss anything. As I said, this is a system I've just started working on, so a lot of it I'm still thinking about. If any of you guys have suggestions who have done this type of thing before, I would really appreciate the help. Otherwise, thanks for even reading this. :smallbiggrin:

Edit: One thing I forgot to mention, one of the first things I plan to do would be a little "computer helper" program, which you can input the creatures that are fighting, and then as the battle progresses, you can input the various actions the players do, and it will tell you how each creature is faring. Then, it would calculate bleeding each round when you end the round, and tell you what state each creature is in. Who's bleeding for what amount, what parts they have injured, and how injured, and how much blood they have left. If you need more details on a certain creature, you would just ask for more details on it. Large battles would still be harder to manage, but at least for a table-top system, a "minion" type system would still be worth implementing. It would probably work down to the creature having one body part, (as far as mechanics go) and the normal resistances to injury, bleeding, and depth of bleeding. If you cause any injuries or bleeding at all, you kill it.

2008-10-06, 02:29 PM
Okay, it being intended for a computer game moves this discussion into a whole different kind of realm.

2008-10-06, 02:38 PM
Yes, though I first want to make it into a at least feasible pen and paper type of game. A computer makes it all run smoother, but I want it to be simple enough that players know what's going on, and not get overloaded with information. Too complex to run a normal game with, but not so complex that you can't do anything without a computer. I'll also mention again that I am not making this more complex for the sake of reality. I'm only adding complexity when it adds new, fun, and interesting options for players each time they attack. Basically, to avoid the fighter that just attacks the same way round after round after round.

2008-10-06, 02:43 PM
I don't know if you can do what you're looking for. I'm of the opinion, for example, that Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2 are kind of boring if you can only control one player (and it still makes lots of changes from D&D 3), while World of Warcraft at the Raid and Arena level is only moderately complex and would be a nightmare to P&P. Some design principles remain constant, but they are essentially very different beasts.

Also, players can understand the game's design principles without it being playable at the P&P level. To use the previous example, I was for a while very 'up' on all the math behind offensive casting and roguery, and I was not a master-level player of either (nor am I a stunning optimizer, precisely because I have a limit to my head for numbers.)

2008-10-06, 03:51 PM
Computers, eh? Well, that changes everything.

Still, hp will be your friend even then. Computers live by numbers, so any status of any body part will invariably be some numeric variable. Why not call them hp (or whatever)? OK, hurting, wounded, broken, mangled, gibbed statuses would be 5 hp (or 500 hp) for every limb. Add a variable bleeding condition that deals damage by the round and and voila.

I recommend you take a look at IVAN, the most ridiculous roguelike ever. It gives all body parts different HP, cause crippling with damage, allows amputations and kills by head torso and groin. Or you can always dive into codes of open source roguelikes like Nethack or Angband. If you're aiming for a CRPG, why not get "inspiration" from other computer games?

2008-10-06, 07:28 PM
Well, I agree that it's just hitpoints in a different style, each limb has 3 HP, as do torsos and heads. Still, each point in there is very different, and bleeding takes from a single total for the creature. It's also a bit more complicated than just "I heal your arm for 3 points of damage". Lower level spells could heal you from 1 to 0 damage easily, but if you'd taken 2 points of damage, they wouldn't work. Tougher spells/longer casting spells can take the 2 points of damage away, reducing the damage by 1 or even fully healing. And of course only high level spells could heal you if you'd taken 3 damage, since your arm or leg is either a bloody pulp or gone altogether. Same thing for heads and torsos, though if you've taken 3 points of damage to the head, you're dead, and if you take 3 points in the torso, you're dead next round.

Anyways, right now I'm thinking of the different weapon types, and types of attacks you can do with each. (Like slashing or thrust, for example)