27 July 2008

My modified Changeling combat system

Last week, I mentioned briefly that I had devised a system for combat that suited my idea of how combat should work. I suppose this week, it would be a good idea to share that with you. So I will.

Ok, so this is intended for use in Changeling. I'm sure it would work equally well in the other Storyteller System games, especially the 2nd edition original World of Darkness lines. But I have no doubt that it could also be adapted for other systems as well. As noted earlier, this is an amalgamation of the Storyteller System, GURPS, Exalted, and Blue Planet's Synergy System.

First step is to determine initiative. I sill like the old "Roll Wits + Alertness (difficulty 4)" idea, although you can just as easily use the Revised edition's "Add Dexterity + Wits + the result of 1d10" version. In the former situation, you'd subtract your result from 10, and in the latter, you'd subtract from 20. This gives you the number of the starting "tick." The GM will count from zero, and when he reaches your tick, your character takes his action. After you've completed your action, you add the "action speed" of the action you just took (like maybe a two for shooting a gum, or a 5 for swinging a battle-axe, or a 10 for climbing a tree, or so on... I haven't ever actually seen a list of the suggested action speeds from Exalted, so I'm just guessing here) to the tick you just acted on. This can be modified by your Wits, or Dexterity, or both, to indicate that some characters can move and react faster than others. Like maybe if you have a Wits + Dexterity of seven, you can subtract one from all Action speeds. Or something like that.

19 July 2008

The nature of the hobby?

You may have already read this, but there was an interesting article a few weeks ago describing the way that gamers can be a bunch of pretentious blowhards. The author accomplished this by examining this analogy: RPGs, like cookbooks, are a series of seemingly rigid rules that, in practise, "require a certain amount of adaptation for your own tastes." So if people treated cookbooks like they treat gaming books, it would sound pretty horrible, wouldn't it? You can read it to see for yourself.

If you don't remember, I posted some time ago about the different gamer types. The vast majority of gamers are either butt-kickers or power gamers. By far the minority are the storytellers and method actors. (Granted, for the purposes of this argument, I am ignoring the casual gamer.) Given that the butt-kickers and power-gamers prefer hard core rules systems, which empower their particular emotional desire to game in the first place, while storytellers and method actors dislike hard core rules on account of their desire to play less combat-centred storylines, it is not surprising that this should be the case. For the butt-kickers and power gamers, the rules are everything, because it's the exacting script by which they create havoc and chaos.

But you can see the point, can't you? Sometimes they tend to focus on the rules to the exclusion of their own ability to enjoy the game. They tend to forget that the rules, especially in RPGs, are meant to be modified to suit the needs of your particular group. But with the need for rules that most gamers feel, especially the fanatical devotion to the canon as laid out by the authors of the game in question, adaptation and modification are not seen as options.

06 July 2008

Damage Systems

Something that never occurred to me until I played Blue Planet: Humans don't have a sliding scale of damage. If you shoot a person in the hand, then the other hand, then the foot, then the other foot, you're not really bringing that person any closer to death. Perhaps the person is more likely to die from shock, but generally, if that's likely, then they would probably die from shock after being shot once in the hand. There are documented cases of that happening.

On the other hand, a single shot to the torso is quite likely to kill a person, especially if it hits lungs or the heart. A head shot is most likely of all to kill a person. But the weapon isn't doing more damage, it's just hitting in different places.

Sure, you could say that rolling more damage indicates that the bullet strikes a more vulnerable spot. For example, in D&D with its flat scale of a certain number of hit points, a sword strike that does one point of damage might be described as hitting the person in the finger, while a hit that did ten points could be said to have struck the ribcage. And maybe that works, but I still find I'm not overly fond of that idea.