Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I have a problem

I just can't stop starting new things. It wouldn't be so bad if I posted more often, but as it is I am all over the place. Ok well, I started a new project, or more accurately have decided to return to an older project. It is that dream thing I was talking about here, but back then I was trying to figure out how to integrate that idea into regular D&D game play. I had a major revelation recently when I realized that it would work much better making the dream quest thing a stand alone game- the concept is strong enough, at least I think so.

Ok well here are the bare bones-

Everything is based on two game mechanics, Will Power  and Invocations.

Will Power (WP) is a measure of a characters ability to influence and resist being influenced by things encountered in dreams. In game terms each WP equates to one d6. As Will Power is spent the d6 are discarded and the characters pool of Will is depleted. A twist is that Will Power also represents a characters hold on the dream and are comparative to health points and HP as used in other games. In most cases trying to affect the dream will result in a depletion of will points, but also will being attacked by dream monsters. I am getting ahead of myself but hopefully you can see what I am trying to say.

When attempting to use Will Power the DM (Dream Master) will tell the character a target number based on how difficult the task is to accomplish. That target number is the number of successes the character has to get with their Will (d6 roll), a success being a roll of a 5 or 6 on a d6 Will dice roll.

example: Tim the dreamer wants to leap a chasm, its pretty narrow and should be easy to leap so the DM tells Tim he will need 2 successes. Tim has 14 Will Points, he decides to play it safe so grabs 4 dice and reduces his Will to 10 Will Points. He rolls the dice. Tim needs at least 2 of the 4 dice to have a result of 5 or 6. Tim rolls two 6s, a 5 and a 1, getting 3 total successes, he only needed 2 so Tim has successfully leaped across the chasm. If Tim failed he would have fallen into the chasm and possibly lost more Will Points to represent damage from the fall.

The second main mechanic is Invocations.  Making a Invocation is a little more complicated to explain. As characters explore the dream lands they will gain access to various different Arcana- a catch all term for a multitude of archetypal characters, objects, events, and powers.

(From Wikipedia:'' Carl Jung was the first psychoanalyst to attach importance to tarot symbolism.[22] He may have regarded the tarot cards as representing archetypes: fundamental types of persons or situations embedded in the collective unconscious of all human beings.'')

A character can freely Invoke any Arcana they possess as way of overcoming obstacles during adventures in the dream realms. Invoking Arcana can be risky though and may come with a price or be difficult for the dreamer to control. Check out my posts with the Dream Realm label to see some examples of Arcana, and an example of an Arcana being invoked below.

Example: Tim the Dreamer is now in a sleepy peaceful village at the edge of a vast desert, he decides to Invoke The Cyclone. To simply unleash the Cyclone and let it destroy the village all Tim would have to do would be to say "I Invoke the Cyclone!" and watch the destruction. But if Tim wanted to Invoke the Cyclone to carry him quickly across the desert- and to leave the village and himself unharmed- he would have to succeed at a very difficult Will Power test, and if he fails The Cyclone would spin dangerously out of control.

The various Arcana will be a pretty big deal in the game, with a near endless number of possible Archetypes to be discovered and used, I will try to post a whole bunch every once in a while as inspiration, and to make a core "canon" list, but my expectation is that DMs and players will be eventually able to make them up pretty much on the fly, and be able to creatively interpret them. In play most Arcana will start as NPCs or obstacles or found treasure- which after they have been met and befriended, overcome or plundered will be available for players to Invoke.

One important note to make is that players cannot swap or share or take duplicates of Arcana that the other players have, so each dreamer will build up a "hand" of unique Arcana which only they can use.

More on this later...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Zombies in my town

So, just because I don't have enough half finished projects in the works I am going to start working on a new one.

This time its zombies.

Like everyone else I am a fan of zombies, I have a couple zombie games for Xbox, I have the excellent Last Night on Earth board game by Flying Frog as well as Zombies!!!4 The End

I recently picked up a copy of Dead Reign Dark Places it is an expansion sourcebook for the Dead Reign rpg. It is pretty cool.  It gave me alot of ideas, and maybe I caught a bit of the zombie plague because I haven't been able to get it off my mind.

So I am going to write up my own simple zombie rpg game. It will be a d6 system and hopefully pretty simple and rules light. One idea I had that is really been making me want to work on this is that I plan to set the game in my local real world area. Specifically the GTA (Greater Toronto Area).  I want to take real local maps and scribble notes and stuff all over them.  

Ok,well more on this later.

(-Edit: I have changed the name of this project to "Quarantine Zone"  and have gone through my posts on the subject and edited them to reflect this new name. Quarantine Zone is intended to be set in a real world location- preferably a place all the players are familiar with).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Trusty Dagger

Ok, so in my last post I mentioned character 'perks' or powers, and that I wanted them to be unlocked by characters accomplishing tasks in game. Another objective of mine is to give a facelift to magic items and character equipment in general (including weapons and armor).

With these goals in mind I came up with the idea for "trusty" weapons.

If a character uses the same weapon pretty much exclusively* for an entire character level that weapon becomes "Trusty" and gets a +1 to hit bonus. This bonus represents the character attuning themselves to the weapon, learning the exact details of the weapon, and possibly infusing the weapon with martial magical energy.

The weapon becomes magical for all intents and purposes. The +1 bonus can also increase if the character uses the same Trusty weapon for another whole level, increasing by +1 for each level used. It has to be the same specific weapon- NOT the same type of weapon and each character may only have one Trusty weapon at any time. If a character starts using a different weapon the Trusty weapon becomes normal again and loses all bonuses (all bonuses for being Trusty).

A Trusty weapon can be magically enhanced further using the normal methods.

This rule is intended to give a character a reason to be attached to that weapon they start at level 1 (or 0) with as well present a meaningful choice to the player- stick with the +5 Trusty sword they have used for 5 levels or take the sword of Giant Slaying they just found.

*A character can use a bow to make a ranged shot across a chasm, or use a knife to cut their way out of a giant fish, and still keep a Trusty longsword, but the Trusty weapon should always be the preferred weapon.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Want to lvl up? pt 1

So work progresses on my very own fantasy heartbreaker - my B?X project. I am seeing more and more that B?X will have very little in common with B/X, but I'm ok with that.

One recent idea I had regards experience progression and leveling. I was thinking why not get rid of XP all together? I mean, I get it, XP works really well to let you calculate exactly how many goblins you need to kill to level up. In my experience though experience points sometimes just get in the way or are redundant. You don't need to be totaling experience to realize the 10xp a level 5 Fighter gets from a lone goblin is pretty insignificant. Another problem I have seen is some players doing stuff specifically to try to get XP, like killing hobbit children (sure we were like 13, but still). The challenge and difficulty of rising through the levels definitely needs to increase, but nowadays I'm not so sure that crunching numbers is the best way to do it.

I would rather ask my party to come up with a goal, a quest worthy goal, which is informed by their exploration of the game world. We would discuss the goal, the players and I, and try to come to an agreement about what type of goal would be suitable for the party level and their current situation.

If the party is able to achieve their goal, or make some other significant accomplishment then the entire party can level up.

In this model leveling up entails:

a hit point increase,
a increase in renown and prestige in the game world,
and possibly some incidental benefits,

NO new abilities or powers would be gained.
To gain new class abilities, powers, feats, or skills, the player and I would have to set a character goal relating to the desired ability.

Example: Snagg the Barbarian wants to learn how to perform a mighty cleave attack with his great axe. We decide that to learn this Snagg must strike with his great axe and roll the maximum result on the damage dice 10 times, only worthy and dangerous opponents will count (no hobbit children!).

So that's one quick example but hopefully it gets my point across.

More on this later...