Thursday, June 28, 2012

Beta Kick-off this week

Busy week cranking on the Quick-Start and Character Templates for the pre-gens to give the first and second batch of play-testers something to pick from.  The groups will have 4 to 6 players and I'll have 8 pre-gen heroes to choose from.  I'll be asking them feed on why the picked who they did, and what the heroes that didn't get selected are missing.

The area that I believe I'm lacking in from the alpha is the "Recovery-Model", so I'm sure the beta groups will have some feed back on this after the first few sessions.  The games will all be recorded as well, probably not publicly available, as one group is co-workers and the other is my first D&D group from High School (and before)...I got the old crew back together for this epic occasion.

Another major even this week, is I'm feeling really positive about the art work for the first time is a long time.  After about a month of pinging people on Deviant and getting no response, to may as well have been no response, to the I'll sign my name for $50, if you actually want a drawing well that starts at $100.

So, I posted an ad on CraigsList, and the response has been incredible.  I have a lot of good input from guys that knew they were out of my range, but at least a 1/3 were not only great artists, but within the range I was looking for.  The art definitely won't be cheap, but I had no thoughts that it was going to be.

I'm not sure I'll even need any of the artists that I'll see at GenCon.  Though it never hurts to have the discussions, it's been educational thus far.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

"Final" Attributes

The image is the Attribute Wheel, every attribute has a unique first character and color associated to it, these are used through the source material as a key to help people associate back to the base attribute.  An attribute also has a very strong tie to a classical character archetype.  

Starting at the top of the wheel the below table lists the 10 Attributes, with their abbreviation, name, color, and archetype:
F, Faith, White, Cleric
I, Intellect, Cyan, Psionicist
A, Awareness, Blue, Wizard
R, Reflex, Purple, Assassin
D, Dexterity, Black, Thief
C, Coordination, Brown, Ranger
M, Might, Red, Fighter
E, Endurance, Yellow, Barbarian
L, Leadership, Dark Green, Knight
S, Self, Light Green, Monk

I kicked around a lot of different versions of this, not only in number, but also messing with the number of them...From 5 (L, F, A, D, M) to 6 which mapped more to those of D&D, to only having 3.  However the more I messed around 10 seemed to be the correct number.

Nearly all common rolls in the game are based off of two of these attributes combined together Accuracy = Dexterity + Reflex, Melee = Coordination + Might, Dodge = Reflex + Coordination, etc.  Plus, combining each attribute with the next two on the wheel provide 20 combinations that form the basis of nearly every on the basic record-sheet.

I also created three pools.  These are character stats that fluctuate during play, the pools are named Body, Luck and Energy.  All the pools are based on three different attributes.  Body is based on E+L+S, Luck is based on  R+D+C, and Energy is based on F+I+A.  I say based, since it is the three attributes added together times a multiplier, which is set at creation time.  Multipliers range from 1 to 5, but most often 2 or 3.

Body combined with other things, such as armor or other equipment determine your characters Health, as they take damage this pool decreases, and when it reaches zero, they are dying.  Luck is a mechanism in game terms that give the player a chance to "spend" points from this pool to alter bad rolls or aid in critical tasks.  Energy is just that, how much internal stamina, mana or chi that a character has.  Energy is spent to do exceptional tasks from performing an extra attack, to casting a spell or to activate a rune or reagent.  Game effects can also reduce any of the pools, commonly a trap may reduce Health, but a failed mission may come with a drain on Luck or Energy to simulate "feel low".  Additionally, there may be effects or attacks that reduce the maximum value of these, such attack from a Spectre reduces the Maximum value of a character Body pool, signifying the permanent loss in health.  A curse or other game affect could reduce the other pools in a similar fashion.  Superior effects such as the mentioned can be removed, but require significant time, a quest, or rare/costly rituals to be performed.

back at it

Another delay, but much progress has been made in the two months of "down time".  I've nearly completed a Quick-Start reference.  I got the idea as I was prepping for all the systems that I 'm going to be trying out at GenCon, so gathering up all the Quick-Start guides for these and reading through them to get a handle on what it is that I've signed up for.

At the same time the D&D Next playtest came out, and they did the same thing (I have another post started on my experiences with D&D Next that I'm working on finishing).  So, during this I thought...that's all I really need now, and started weeding back all the extraneous rules...of which there are a lot, eye opening.

In doing this I'm essentially creating the basic game, then using a "side-bar" system for optional rules that can be adopted by individual groups.  Similar to how 2nd edition AD&D did things.  Additionally with many people focusing on the hype around D&D Next I can't seem to keep myself out of some of those discussions.

I have another post on the Archetypes that I'm locking into for the Quick-Start.  "Wait, What! Archetypes, I thought the initial design was complete freedom when creating your Hero!"  Yes, that is true and it'll still exist but I've decided some people really do NEED minimal choices.  This came out in the play tests a number of times, when I attempted to walk players through creating their ideal Hero, most suffered Analysis-Paralysis with the number of choices, the interdependence of skills and attributes, all had them frozen.

I admit that when I show up to try something for the first time, I don't want to spend a lot of time going through character creation, afraid that if I pick the wrong thing I'll have nerfed my character. So, just going with the "Show up and Play" mentality, I figured some Templated builds would be good, not only for new player, but these could be used by GM's for ready-made NPC's and advanced players could start with one and modify it, rather than creating completely from scratch.

So my archetypes, which I call templates will include the staple ones (Thief, Fighter, Knight, Cleric, Wizard) that all depend on one of the five main attributes, but five additional ones that are in-between (Assassin, Ranger, Barbarian, Monk, Psion) each of which depend on one of the five sub-attributes.  With these examples, I attempt to layout the "logic" behind the design.