Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hey Downloaders ! Yeah, buddy, you over there !

So, quite a few hundreds of downloads of my various files, and nary a comment ?  'sup ?  I'd really appreciate some feedback....otherwise, this is as good as its going to get.  Scary, huh ?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Adventurer Combat Update.....

Strange, I seem to have fallen off of the edge of the world.......
So, a new and excellent job strikes hard at gaming time...sigh.

That said, the remaining question for combat in adventurer is: is it simple enough ?  Or has my natural tendency to add details created a same-old same-old miniatures gameist system ?

I have an idea of using a very simple line em up and roll for range system, as used in many board wargames to give a tactical feel to a more strategic boardgame.

Roughly, something like:

Adventurer Abstract Combat System (AACS)

  • Line up the two sides: players and  the encounter facing each other.
  • Roll for range; 
    • Details about the roll go here. 
    • Ranges would be the same as the weapons matrix: 1=close, 2=sword, 3=pole , 4=medium, 5= long, 6=very long. 
    • Mark the range with a d6 
  • Roll a contest to see who gets initiative (gm or player leader). 
    • Details about the roll go here. 
    • Probably a simple opposed roll using tactics with some mods.(poltroonery)
    • Winner is the "moving side"; loser is "non moving side".
  • Movement
    • Each side always moved together, and is assumed to be at the same range as all team members (exception: evading)
    • In movement, Characters always remain fixed, only the encounter is moved (or not moved) in or out by one range by the leader of the moving side (who simply increments or decrements the d6).  
    • After the moving player alters the range (or not), either side may declare (or have to declare, see morale) a charge or poltroonery, non-moving side declaring first.  
    • each side declaring a charge reduces the range by one, each side declaring poltroonery increases it by one.
    • Characters on a charging side will attack before all non charging. 
    • Poltroon characters may not attack this round, and are attacked at +2.
  • Once the encounter is moved, characters may roll to attempt to flank or infiltrate, non-moving side making all such rolls first. 
    • Infiltrating: 
      • Details about the roll go here. Easier at longer ranges, etc etc. 
      • Characters successfully infiltrating  may make an attack against any (including protected) characters.
      • Range can be counted as increased or decreased by one for infiltrating attacks for any attacks by or upon the infiltrator.
      • An infiltrating character may be attacked normally by other characters.
      • A character making an unsuccessful attempt to infiltrate cannot attack in the current round.
    • Flanking:  
      • Details about the roll go here. Easier at shorter ranges (???), etc etc.  
      • Characters who have successfully flanked, and who have not been attacked this round gain a +2 against any one non-protected figure. 
      • If the flanker is attacked before he acts, a normal attack is allowed . 
      • A character making an unsuccessful attempt to flank may not attack in the current round.
  • Characters are declared as protected or guarding. 
    • a protected character can only be physically attacked if every other guarding character is attacked; 
    • protected character can only attack if all guarding characters are attacked.  
    • A protected character can attack using spells , and be attacked by spells. 
  • Attacks:
    • Sequence: Make attacks at the current range in the following order.
      • Infiltrating attacks are resolved before all other attacks 
      • Any missile attacks are resolved in order of individual DEX
      • All charging attacks are resolved  in order of individual DEX
      • Regular and flank attacks are resolved in individual DEX order, with initiative breaking ties. 
    • Any attack at range is a missile attack, all other attacks are classed as Hand to hand (HTH). 
    • In all steps,  initiative breaks DEX ties. 
    • Damage from an attack and all effects are applied immediately, before any other attacks are resolved.
  • Escape occurs immediately  when the range is Very Long and  the moving side increases the range 
    • When range is Very Long, the moving side may opt to escape  individually, and remaining characters may either stay at long range or reduce range as per a normal movement.
    • If the final range is Very Long after all changes are made to the range d6, (including regular movement, charges, dual poltroonery, etc)   the non moving side may declare poltroonery and escape.
  • Go home, tell friends, drink beer. After the moving side alters the range d6 (or not),

Combat itself is as standard rules: 8+ to hit plus minus all modifiers (such as range and weapon type).

Its short, and very abstract.  Thoughts ?  Hello ?  Hello ? Bueller ?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Potential combat system for Adventurer:

 A simple combat system for Adventurer.

This is the initial lightly edited version of the simpler combat system I'm thinking of including in addition to the Traveller SRD version in previous revs.  
Swords and Sorcery combat is often more literary than tactical ; much is abstracted in order to provide the story a visceral  punch, and to advance it.  The SRD rules provide a reasonable compromise between the two approaches, and is included in a modified version (to allow for spellcasting, for instance).  Optionally, the following cinematic/literary/abstract combat is presented for those wishing a quicker or at least less detailed resolution.

When the party of adventurers comes into contact with enemies, the order of events is as follows:
1.     Declare spells
2.     Poltroonery
3.     Determine Initiative. (Party with Initiative acts first in each step)
4.     Shooting
5.     Movement
6.     Second movement
7.     Combat
8.     Second Shooting
9.     Magic
  1. Final actions and morale.

The round is complete; keep initiative order for the next round if the battle has not been resolved.  Exception: see tactical skill use in final actions.

General rules:
A character is engaged in melee whenever within range of a non-missile armed opponent who is not engaged in Melee with another character. 
A character engaged in Melee only act in the combat phase to make a non-missile attack or attempt to disengage in the combat phase.

Declare spells.
Spellcasters declare what spells they are casting this round.

Any character may declare poltroonery and immediately take a full standard move away from any opponents and may discard one ready weapon and one ready shield and apply a -1 to all attacks against him. Each opponent gets a free attack before hand, and count the poltroon as an unengaged attack, and any discarded weapons as additional modifiers.  

Determine Initiative.
At the beginning of a combat round, each side rolls Initiative on a d6—high roll wins. The winning side acts first, moving, attacking, and casting spells. The other side takes damage and casualties, and then gets its turn. Exception: see Charge attacks and the defend option.

+1 Member of same side declares a charge.
+1  Leader of same side has highest Tactical skill
+1  Fastest character on same side
+1 Slowest character on opponents side.

First Shooting
Characters with ready missile weapons may shoot at available targets. Optionally, a character may hold the shot into the movement phases.
A character shooting in this phase may not move.

First Movement
Characters in melee or holding a shot may not move.
A character not in melee may declare a charge attack and must move at least half movement.
A character not in melee may declare a defend option, and move no more than half standard.
A character not in melee may declare a Run option, and move up to their run speed. 
A character engaged in Melee character may declare a disengage option and not attack.
A character may declare a blocking action, and move no more than half standard.
{a blocking option allows one to engage any number of targets which come in range until the end of the next round next round.  The character may not shoot, or cast spells.  Other options will be described in the next version}

  • Characters may move up to their standard movement and still attack in the combat phase.
  • Characters may move greater than their standard movement up to their run speed but may not  attack or shoot further in this round.
  • A character must stop all further movement when engaged in Melee. 

Characters who have held a shot lose the shot at the end of this phase.

Characters engaged in Melee or who are otherwise able to make an attack (for instance, drygulching an opponent otherwise unable to fight back, or fighting another opponent).  

  • Charge attacks against non-charging characters are resolved before all other hand to hand attacks, regardless of initiative.
  • Attacks by a character taking the Defend option are resolved after all other attacks regardless of initiative.
  • Multiple attacks by the same character occur immediately after the effects of the previous attack are resolved.

Charging                        +1 to hit for both attacker and defended.
Defending                         -1 to hit for attackers and defenders.
Unengaged attack            +1 for attacker

Second Shooting
A character who has moved no more than half standard may now shoot. 

Second movement.
Characters who declared poltoonery may now make an additional half move.
Characters who declared a disengage may now move up to a half standard move away from his opponent(s), keeping current facing.
Characters who won initiative, may now move up to half their standard move if:
They are not engaged in melee, declared poltroonery or a disengage option,
and have moved no more than half  in the first movement movement phase.

A character must stop movement when engaged in Melee.

Spells declared in the magic phase take effect and are resolved.

Final actions and Morale
 {yet to come}

 Thoughts ?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Straining at motes, part 3

Kobold said...
Dr Allthumbs, with a negative DM for his DEX, has an effective Skill of, what?, Medic 1?
Actually, on the table I'm testing, he'd only have a -1.  But I get your point.
But, and this is an important but, only in situations where he has to use his DEX.

As a consulting physician, he can identify Interstellar Blot by just looking the patient in the eye and sampling his urine. As a surgeon, he is a skilled butcher, and probably doesn't do much cosmetic work.

Dr Giftedpratt, on the otherhand, both knows his stuff, and can perform delicate keyhole surgery on eyeballs, and other bits you don't want a cleaver-monkey fiddling with.
March 5, 2011 1:09 AM
Good points.  So, it seems that hard cutoffs where the stat allows you to do something help the issue- if I recall, CT had a DEX requirement along with Medic 3 to be a surgeon, and having stat minimums for use of weapons without a minus dm.

Second, the effect of stats are more situational than skills.  Which makes sense, especially with fairly broad skill categories.  It's not hard to imagine that most of the very high level skills could have different situations where different stats are important.  In which case, does capping the plus or minus mods at +/-1 for most situations seem enough ? With -2 being a big penalty ?

I am coming to think that part of the problem is that the perceived value of a modifier is based on its observed effect on a d20  system roll.  Thus, in a d20 system a +/- 1 represents a 5% difference and seems particularly trivial. However, in a 2d6 system, a -1 on an otherwise straight roll for success (8+) reduces the likelihood of success by 14%,  from ~42% (8+) to ~28% (9+);  almost three times the effect of a d20 +1.

So we see that not only shouldn't Dr Allthumbs be considered a surgeon (using a hard requirement for DEX), he would have a non trivial penalty to his likelihood of success vs Dr Giftedpratt.  Assume Medic 3 for both, with one having a +2 (12 DEX) and the other having a -2 (2 DEX), the chances of success are  ~58% (thumbs) and ~97% (gifted).
With a +/-1 for DEX  we have 72% vs 92% success, still a 20% difference. And remember we are talking about surgery that 20% represents life and death in many cases.

Given those numbers it seems to me that input from stats of 1 or 2 is quite enough -especially if there are some tasks with a hard requirement.

One thing: thanks to input, I've decided to give myself permission to make the stat effects non-symmetric .  Stat =3 is now only a -1 mod, whereas stat=11 is still a +2 mod. Plus, I've added a 9 stat to the +1 column.  With this arrangement, one gets a bonus vs penalty proportion of 13/7 or making a "good result" almost twice as likely as a bad one.  This is entirely because I do think that players need at least some edge... ;)   and possibly by having the +2 outnumber the -2 by 3:1 , they may just complain a bit less.
Stat     Mod
0-2       -2
3-4       -1
5-8        0
9-10  +1
11+     +2
 Comments ?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Straining at motes, continued.

So, thanks for the input !

From here and some forums, it looks like the main issue is a feeling that two practitioners of the same level should differentiate by characteristics.  This is obviously one of those things that has been struggle over since the first skill based RPG showed up (RQ ? Traveller ?); and while it does make intuitive sense, the simple solutions (mods based on characteristics) rapidly become too much -and this is especially true in a 2d6 system.  Would a reframing of the issue help ?

My "ah-ha" moment was this:  why do two characters with the same skill level need to be differentiated in their results ? The short version is this:  consider the two doctors at medic-3, one with DEX 14 and one with Dex 5. One can assume that they should have different outcomes based on their Dex, but why ?  I'd suggest that the most important differentiation would be in how long and with what effort it took them to get to level -3.  The naturally gifted surgeon probably took less time to get his level 3 than Dr Allthumbs -but they both got there.  Now, if Allthumbs had only taken the time and effort that Dr Giftedpratt took, he would only be at level 2.

The more I look at this, the more it seems at least as reasonable as assuming two equally trained Doctors would differ significantly in their results -especially as their effectiveness would be part of their rating.

Logic check ?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Adventurer update, new rules for characteristics and modifiers

Yes, the initial impetus for this blog, Adventurer, the traveller pastiche of D&D is still progressing. Its been undergoing playtesting and a serious reedit and reorganization  which I'm now adding to the main ms -which will eventually be available for download.

For now,I'd appreciate  comments on once particular change I've decided on:  modifiers for characteristics.  They are very genre appropriate, but often come to dominate chargen and task resolution.  Specifically, Traveller, (and I) seem to be predicated on the concept that while your basic makeup is important, what one learns is more important.  The classic example is this: would you rather have  heart surgery by another character with average stats and Medical -1, or an unskilled character with a +4 dex modifier (assuming Dex is what should be used, substitute whatever works for you) ?   How about an average character with Medic  4 vs the high dexterity  medic 0  ? Both have the exact same chance of success, but should they ?  In other words, a high Stat modifier allows a character access to lots more skills by balancing out the unskilled penalty.

Yet, genre conventions of Swords and Sorcery are full of the characters superior makeup (mighty thews, catlike grace, pantherish speed and all that ) being of notable importance.  So, here's how I'm hoping to address it in adventurer.

Traveller (and by extension Adventurer) is based on the premise that what a character knows and learns is more important than what abilities they were born with. While it is important not to let the characteristics become more important than the skills, the genre is full of examples where a protagonists raw makeup, be it strength, endurance or intelligence, makes the difference, particularly in a contest of equals.   Accordingly, extreme scores provide a modifier to unskilled task attempt (discussed in the section on skills).
Stat     Mod
0-2       -2
3-4       -1
5-9        0
10-11  +1
12+     +2

For opposed skilled task rolls, the characteristic effects the contest by providing a +1 to the character with the highest relevant characteristic.

For simple unopposed tasks rolls, no characteristic modifier should be used. It is assumed that the characters native trait is included in the skill level.

Hows that sound ?