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RobbyPants
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:21 pm    Post subject: Borderlands RPG Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I've been getting back into playing Borderlands 2, lately. The guy I usually play D&D with also plays. I've told him that I'd love to be able to run a campaign in that universe, and he agrees. The problem, is, I have no idea what would be a good system to run it in.

Stuff I'd want to avoid:

  • The actual Diablo-style loot drops. I wouldn't want guns that had level requirements, but did more damage. I'd rather the damage scale naturally with your own level (if that's a sort of thing the core system does).
  • I'd like to avoid a ton of fiddly bookkeeping. Any time I think about how I'd home-brew up a system for this, I immediately run into a ton of "pretend our PnP game is a computer game", which is ass. Maybe I use tokens of different colors to shift around. I don't know.
  • Smaller numbers. I'm not worried about the super number scaling you get as you gain levels in BL or Diablo. Ideally, I'd like to be working with single and double-digit numbers for health and damage.

Does anyone have any experience with systems that might do this sort of thing well? I've played very little other than 2E and 3E D&D. I've done a couple of one-shots in stuff like Paladium or d20 Modern. I know I don't want to just port d20 Modern.


That being said, I have been bouncing ideas around in my head for how I might approach this if I home brew it from scratch. I know some of these ideas have their own problems, but I'll just sort of brain storm here to see what looks salvageable to anyone with more experience in non-D&D games:

  • I was thinking about using a flat d20 as the core resolution for attack rolls. Add your bonus(es) to hit, overcome targets AC (or equivalent). Cover bonuses would be important in this system, and many targets would be unarmored.
  • I'm not sure if I want a damage roll or just a flat number. Either way, if using D&D/Borderlands-style HP, I was thinking about scaling raw weapon damage by level. Something like an extra +[W] damage every odd level. So, if your pistol does 1d6 damage, and your rifle does 1d10, at 3rd level, they do 2d6 and 2d10, respectively, and three dice at 5th level. I'm not sure how necessary this is.
  • I don't want to do much at tracking ability scores or skills, in the D&D sense of the word. I figure anyone who is a Vault Hunter is competent at murder hoboing on an extremely lethal planet. I'll assume relevant checks mostly scale with level. I absolutely don't want some type of "aim" ability score, seeing as how that's the core of the game. Everyone is expected to be a competent shooter.
  • The game will feature skill trees like in Borderlands, but with way fewer points and levels. I'm thinking two points per tier instead of five, and way less fiddly math. There won't be tons of +X% to Y. It will work in flat d20 bonuses, or bonus damage dice.
  • I'm not sure what I want to do about tracking bullets. I've read threads here on this very subject in the past. Maybe you roll a "reload die" based on the magazine size of the gun. Maybe a natural attack roll of Y or lower (based on mag size) triggers a reload. I don't know.
  • I'd like to handle firing from the hip vs down the sights, but I don't want to make the game too complex.
  • As far as handling what you can do in a round, I was thinking about doling out Action Points each round. You get, maybe 4 APs to do stuff. You can move or not move, independent of your actions, but moving gives you a penalty to attack rolls. I was thinking about using APs to track fire rate. So, a slow gun might take 2 APs to fire, but a fast gun might shoot multiple shots on a single AP. I don't know if it's worth tracking changing targets with APs when aiming down the sights, or not. It might get too fiddly. I was hoping to capture different feels between running from cover to cover gunning down anyone near by, or methodically taking down threats with a sniper rifle.
  • I don't have much experience with initiative systems other than D&D. Any good ideas on what to do?
  • I figured I'd use BL's fight-for-your-life mechanic instead of D&D negative HP. I'd probably give you something like three rounds to score a kill, and you can be brought back for a full-round's worth of AP is someone revives you. You lose a round on the FFYL duration each time you get dropped in a single combat.
  • Other than that, classes will largely be based off the game, with skill trees fairly close to what's already there (mostly modified to reduce bookkeeping).

Any thoughts?
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Trill
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Have you already looked at Frank's Game Design Flowchart?
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virgil
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

To be fair, a lot of the core gameplay of Borderlands is the gear, so keeping something akin to D&D's equipment treadmill is totally genre appropriate. Aesthetically, I feel like you can get a lot more material for design from Shadowrun, rather than D&D.
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deaddmwalking
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Since you want to have firing from the hip differ from using the sights, you've already defined a different action system than D&D. You probably want to give everyone something like '5 counts'. Firing (from the hip) is 1 count. Aiming is an additional count (2 counts total). 1 count of movement gives you a certain distance (say 20 feet). You can choose to use all of your 'counts' for movement and move 100 feet but do nothing else. Each time you decide on an action, you give it an action cost. If someone starts an action without enough 'counts' left, resolve it the next round.

D&D style initiative is cyclical. If you want to make it so 'fast people' take more turns than 'slow people', you should have some type of metric that handles it. One way to do it is a D&D style initiative with everyone above 20 taking an action is Round 1 A; everyone with a 10+ (including everyone that took an action in Round 1A; take an action in Round 1B; finally everyone takes an action in Round 1C. That would make initiative pretty freaking important, but if you really do want some people getting 'extra actions' relative to others, that could work. You could make it so mooks go only in round 1C. That'd give people up to two (or 3 if they're generally ahead on the initiative) to deal with them.

Regarding damage, you could make it so that if you beat the target AC by a fixed amount (5 or 10 to make it relatively easy) you get the extra die of damage. That'd tend to make mooks take extra damage - if AC scales with level you wouldn't tend to get the extra damage on level-appropriate foes.
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Chamomile
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Borderlands RPG Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

There's a serious problem with this plan, and that's that Borderlands gameplay is a combination of two genres that RPGs cannot emulate well. The first question to ask is, if this is a Borderlands game, what are you doing besides rolling the d20 until the bad guy falls down? There's plenty of things that you can do in the d20 paradigm to make a combat more interesting than "I attack. I attack. I attack. I attack," but they all involve positioning and turn-based tactics that will make it feel more like XCom than Borderlands.

If you want to make this work, then the tree you should be barking up is the one holding up FATE and Feng Shui (who, in this metaphor, are...monkeys? Squirrels?). Totally abandon all skill trees and specific abilities from the game (with the exception of the panic button ultimates, which are usually actually iconic of the character, as opposed to "+10% elemental damage"). Spending meta-currency to perform crazy trick shots that blast baddies into giblets is going to give you a game that feels like Borderlands in a way that counting squares to see if you can take an aimed shot at the boss and still make it to cover will not. You can create a reasonable simulacrum of Borderlands combat using d20 mechanics and you can get it to run at a playable pace, but "playable" is not the same as "frenetic," which is the pace Borderlands runs at.
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virgil
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I am 100% behind Chamomile's response, and wish I thought of it earlier.
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RobbyPants
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Trill wrote:
Have you already looked at Frank's Game Design Flowchart?

I have seen it before, but I didn't think about dusting it off for this. I could definitely give that a go, later.

In terms of stuff outside of shooting, I hadn't given much thought to what everyone does. In an FPS, if you aren't shooting things, you're typically running up to the highlighted widget and left clicking or hitting the space bar.

In an actual RPG (in terms of, "what makes it more complicated/interesting than a boardgame?"), I'd want to have abilities for everyone. Again, as far as BL goes everyone is equally good at advancing the plot. Most of the differences come from mechanics in combat. I should probably give more thought to "what do you do as a gunzerker/siren/psycho when you're not shooting stuff?"


virgil wrote:
To be fair, a lot of the core gameplay of Borderlands is the gear, so keeping something akin to D&D's equipment treadmill is totally genre appropriate. Aesthetically, I feel like you can get a lot more material for design from Shadowrun, rather than D&D.

About all I know about Shadowrun is

  • The setting.
  • It has no levels and your skills/gear matter.
  • Dicepools.

Borderlands is heavily level-based. I'm not saying a BL RPG has to be, but because both BL and my RPG experiences have levels, that was why I approached it that way.

How would you use Shadowrun as the chassis for this game?


deaddmwalking wrote:
Since you want to have firing from the hip differ from using the sights, you've already defined a different action system than D&D. You probably want to give everyone something like '5 counts'. Firing (from the hip) is 1 count. Aiming is an additional count (2 counts total). 1 count of movement gives you a certain distance (say 20 feet). You can choose to use all of your 'counts' for movement and move 100 feet but do nothing else. Each time you decide on an action, you give it an action cost. If someone starts an action without enough 'counts' left, resolve it the next round.

Without specifics, that was about what I was thinking. I've played boardgames that do this sort of thing (although movement is always handled with cost). I was thinking about keeping movement separate, because you can move and shoot in BL. I figured you'd just take a penalty if you move. That being said, I suppose I could dole out an AC boost for moving (harder to hit a moving target).


deaddmwalking wrote:

D&D style initiative is cyclical. If you want to make it so 'fast people' take more turns than 'slow people', you should have some type of metric that handles it. One way to do it is a D&D style initiative with everyone above 20 taking an action is Round 1 A; everyone with a 10+ (including everyone that took an action in Round 1A; take an action in Round 1B; finally everyone takes an action in Round 1C. That would make initiative pretty freaking important, but if you really do want some people getting 'extra actions' relative to others, that could work. You could make it so mooks go only in round 1C. That'd give people up to two (or 3 if they're generally ahead on the initiative) to deal with them.

I'd like to avoid people getting extra actions. I'm afraid that's the quickest vector for imbalance, and the killer app would always be "get moar actions".


deaddmwalking wrote:

Regarding damage, you could make it so that if you beat the target AC by a fixed amount (5 or 10 to make it relatively easy) you get the extra die of damage. That'd tend to make mooks take extra damage - if AC scales with level you wouldn't tend to get the extra damage on level-appropriate foes.

You're suggesting everyone have fairly static HP and base damage, but extra damage is triggered via degrees of success? That could certainly be workable. It handles "crits", as well.



Chamomile wrote:
There's a serious problem with this plan, and that's that Borderlands gameplay is a combination of two genres that RPGs cannot emulate well. The first question to ask is, if this is a Borderlands game, what are you doing besides rolling the d20 until the bad guy falls down? There's plenty of things that you can do in the d20 paradigm to make a combat more interesting than "I attack. I attack. I attack. I attack," but they all involve positioning and turn-based tactics that will make it feel more like XCom than Borderlands.

I'm not sure what XCom is. From my experience with BL, I'd say spending time to gain positional advantage is pretty important. Those times I eschew cover tend to involve me getting killed pretty quickly. If I'm reloading, I'm either behind cover or running to it. If I get flanked and someone gets on the wrong side of my cover, I tend to get murdered. The only times I don't care about cover is when I'm running and gunning mooks/melee brutes.


Chamomile wrote:
If you want to make this work, then the tree you should be barking up is the one holding up FATE and Feng Shui (who, in this metaphor, are...monkeys? Squirrels?). Totally abandon all skill trees and specific abilities from the game (with the exception of the panic button ultimates, which are usually actually iconic of the character, as opposed to "+10% elemental damage"). Spending meta-currency to perform crazy trick shots that blast baddies into giblets is going to give you a game that feels like Borderlands in a way that counting squares to see if you can take an aimed shot at the boss and still make it to cover will not. You can create a reasonable simulacrum of Borderlands combat using d20 mechanics and you can get it to run at a playable pace, but "playable" is not the same as "frenetic," which is the pace Borderlands runs at.

I don't know a lot about FATE or Feng Shui other than brief mentions. I do plan on giving each class their signature skill at level 1, and all the other fiddly skills are what handles advancement and specialization to make Gunzerker 1 feel different than Gunzerker 2.

So, for FATE or Feng Shui, are you saying I'd want a lot of abstractions/simplifications? It looks like you're favoring speed of resolution, unless I'm misreading that. I certainly want speed of resolution to be a fairly high priority. I'd want to avoid things like rolling ten attack rolls a round because a guy held the trigger down on his SMG for the whole round. I've had one idea how to resolve that using d20 that might work.


Anyway, thanks for the consideration and advice, so far.
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Chamomile
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RobbyPants wrote:

I'm not sure what XCom is.


This is XCom. It is tense, methodical, and rewards a cautious approach, good planning, and patience. It is not like Borderlands at all. If you set out to create a game that plays like XCom - and right now that is exactly what you are doing - you are not going to get a game that plays like Borderlands no matter how well you balance it.

Quote:
From my experience with BL, I'd say spending time to gain positional advantage is pretty important.


You're missing the point. Spending five minutes counting squares and estimating hit probabilities in and out of cover is not Borderlands gameplay just because both of them involve shooting bullets and hiding behind rocks.

Quote:
So, for FATE or Feng Shui, are you saying I'd want a lot of abstractions/simplifications?


To an extent that will seem extreme if you've never touched anything less crunchy than D&D 3e, yes. Using FATE as an example since I've actually played that one a few times rather than just read it, in FATE you have character aspects that can be invoked using the meta-currency of Fate points for various bonuses, and all you have to do to invoke them is to have the Fate points to spend on it and to be able to draw some kind of connection between what aspect you wrote for your character and the current situation. Aspects are not selected in advance from a list, and can be basically anything. Roland's would be something like "Crimson Lance Defector," Lilith's would probably involve being a siren somehow and if no one else is playing one might just be "Is A Siren," Brick's would probably be something like "Big Strong Guy." There's more to aspects than what I'm covering here, but the important takeaway is that they're abstract enough that someone playing Brick can say "I beat the shit out of the psychos because I am a Big Strong Guy" or "I crack my knuckles and grunt in a threatening manner because I am a Big Strong Guy" and those can give bonuses to Brick for beating people up or intimidating them, not because he is picking them off of a list of things that the Big Strong Guy aspect can do, but because he was able to make up a means by which being a Big Strong Guy was relevant to a skill he wanted to roll.

To answer two obvious criticisms of this general mechanic: "Any reasonably clever player could get almost any aspect to apply to almost any situation!" Yes, mechanically speaking aspect invocation is limited primarily by how much meta-currency you have to spend, and any given aspect can cover like 70% of all situations that come up in an adventure. The purpose of an aspect is to get players to solve problems in the manner their characters would be good at solving them, not to specialize characters into solving different kinds of problems (that's handled by FATE's skill system, which is just a regular skill system).

And second: "That incentivizes players to take Batman aspects that can be applied to literally all situations!" If the MC is asleep at the wheel, sure. In certain settings, even reasonably attentive MCs can fall prey to that problem, because other games or media have standardized generically superpowerful characters like wizards or Jedi whose defining skill can be applied to basically anything. Borderlands is not one of those settings, though, so it doesn't matter. The closest thing to magic in the setting is sirens, and while a siren's power can be basically anything, a specific siren only has one power.

This is a specific mechanic and it's not the only way to get this kind of thing working, but you could just run Borderlands in FATE and it would be fine. Getting players thinking "how can I use my giant bulging muscles to crush the current problem" will get players into the headspace of playing Brick in a way that having an average of 8.5 extra damage in melee never will, and having a system in which "fuck talking to this guy, I'm just gonna drop my Lance turret and open fire" gives you bonuses will pace the game like Borderlands in a way that carefully fine-tuning an ability tree full of +1s and +2s for being within six squares of a turret can't hope to.
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RobbyPants
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Chamomile wrote:

To an extent that will seem extreme if you've never touched anything less crunchy than D&D 3e, yes.

Well, technically 2E, prior to Combat & Tactics. It's a much more stripped down game with no grid in combat, but a lot of the fundamentals are the same. It's probably beside the point, though.


Chamomile wrote:

You're missing the point. Spending five minutes counting squares and estimating hit probabilities in and out of cover is not Borderlands gameplay just because both of them involve shooting bullets and hiding behind rocks.

...

This is a specific mechanic and it's not the only way to get this kind of thing working, but you could just run Borderlands in FATE and it would be fine. Getting players thinking "how can I use my giant bulging muscles to crush the current problem" will get players into the headspace of playing Brick in a way that having an average of 8.5 extra damage in melee never will, and having a system in which "fuck talking to this guy, I'm just gonna drop my Lance turret and open fire" gives you bonuses will pace the game like Borderlands in a way that carefully fine-tuning an ability tree full of +1s and +2s for being within six squares of a turret can't hope to.



So, if I'm reading this right, your main objection is about play style and feel, right?

From my standpoint, I see Borderlands as being a FPS that's played on a computer. This lends it to both being fast (real time) and handling a bajillion fiddly computations a second. Obviously, I don't want to turn a PnP RPG into some computer simulator, so I want something stripped down. As for the speed standpoint... that wasn't so much my concern. I want it simple enough that I'm not rolling five separate rolls to resolve an attack, nor am I rolling for ten individual attacks a round, but I don't so much mind if the player spends some time looking at where they want to go before shooting.

The biggest thing I want to emulate is that setting in a system that handles gun-based combat without getting bogged down in all the percent-based math that computers excel at.


Still, FATE could definitely be worth a look. Are there any online resources that go over the base mechanics (at least at a high-level view) so I don't have to buy a system just to learn about it? How well would the system handle things like "taking cover" or "taking a defensive strategy as opposed to an offensive one" or "run-and-gun vs sniping"? Does it even care about those sorts of things, or are those more of how you describe your stunts ("I'm an assassin, so I snipe", "I'm a psycho, so I run right up there!", "I'm a gunzerker, so I run-and-gun")?


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Emerald
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RobbyPants wrote:
Still, FATE could definitely be worth a look. Are there any online resources that go over the base mechanics (at least at a high-level view) so I don't have to buy a system just to learn about it?


Here's the whole Fate Core system (the latest version), summarized in two pages. The actual Fate Core book is much longer, but most of it is GM advice, examples, and customization rather than rules minutiae.

Quote:
How well would the system handle things like "taking cover" or "taking a defensive strategy as opposed to an offensive one" or "run-and-gun vs sniping"? Does it even care about those sorts of things, or are those more of how you describe your stunts ("I'm an assassin, so I snipe", "I'm a psycho, so I run right up there!", "I'm a gunzerker, so I run-and-gun")?


Taking cover and sniping could both be handled with the Create an Advantage action, which lets you create Aspects on things (an Aspect can be Invoked for a +2 bonus to an action by spending a Fate point, a sizeable bonus given how sharp the bell curve is for Fate dice), and rolling high enough gives you a free invocation so it can be done even without Fate points.

So to take cover you might duck behind a wall to create the "Behind a Convenient Chest-High Wall" Aspect on yourself and then invoke it when you're attacked to increase your defense, and to snipe you might create the "In My Crosshairs" Aspect on your target and then invoke it to increase your attack.

Cover and other obstacles can also provide passive opposition, meaning it might grant +1 to Defend, count as Armor (reduces damage from a successful attack), set a minimum threshold for attackers to exceed without your ever needing to invoke anything, or the like. It's up to the GM how to best handle that as the situation demands. Finally, "taking cover" can just be how someone describes using Athletics to defend against an attack.

As far as run-and-gun goes, by default you get one action per turn, but can take a second action at the cost of a minor penalty. So standing in place and shooting from the hip (Attack), versus quickly shooting down the scope (Create an Advantage + Attack in one turn at a penalty), versus sniping (Create and Advantage in one turn, Attack in the next), versus run and gun (Athletics to move around a bunch, and possibly Defend/Create an Advantage for moving so much) have noticeable mechanical differences.
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RobbyPants
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Thanks. I'm still trying to grasp a bit of how it all ties together. Is there a way to represent NPCs that are weaker than the PCs? I like the idea of a group encountering a group of bandits three times their size, but who are still expected to lose if the PCs are smart about cover and using their specials.

Beyond that, I'm thinking about what I want these PCs doing outside of combat (you know, the part that sets the RPG apart from the PC game). I ran into this thinking about the game design flowchart, trying to come up with challenges other than "shoot shit". Some of the characters seem pretty obvious, but a couple of the characters seem pretty much defined solely by what they do in combat. While Salvador the gunzerker is pretty much based on high damage in combat, he is a native to Pandora and might have lots of useful knowledge about the area and people. Of course, those traits belong to Salvadore specifically and not all gunzerkers.

I may end up making some sort of traits that are fairly broad, that anyone can pick. There's no reason a commando couldn't be a good party face, there there's also no reason to believe that every commando is.
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Emerald
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RobbyPants wrote:
Is there a way to represent NPCs that are weaker than the PCs? I like the idea of a group encountering a group of bandits three times their size, but who are still expected to lose if the PCs are smart about cover and using their specials.


Yep. There's a section on Nameless NPCs (stripped-down characters that are fast and easy to generate, basically) of varying strength and how to turn groups of them into Mobs that can use Teamwork rules to present more of a threat.

Quote:
I may end up making some sort of traits that are fairly broad, that anyone can pick. There's no reason a commando couldn't be a good party face, there there's also no reason to believe that every commando is.


The nice thing about Fate is that Aspects and Stunts are all open-ended. You don't have to come up with a list of face, explorer, scout, etc. traits that people can pick from, whoever wants to be a face can just come up with Aspects and Stunts that fit. It's always good to have examples to guide indecisive players, of course, but they're not limited to those options.
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TheFlatline
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Borderlands RPG Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RobbyPants wrote:

Stuff I'd want to avoid:

  • The actual Diablo-style loot drops. I wouldn't want guns that had level requirements, but did more damage. I'd rather the damage scale naturally with your own level (if that's a sort of thing the core system does).


Honestly, this is the only thing that makes Borderlands interesting. Otherwise it's basically Fallout/Mad Max/Post Apocalypse setting that is 90% wacky silly and 10% GrimDark (Seriously, did you find the audio log of Tiny Tina's parents being tortured to death in BL2?)

And I don't mean the damage treadmill I mean the ten bajillion combinations of weapon specs that make each loot drop somewhat interesting.
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RobbyPants
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Borderlands RPG Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

TheFlatline wrote:

Honestly, this is the only thing that makes Borderlands interesting. Otherwise it's basically Fallout/Mad Max/Post Apocalypse setting that is 90% wacky silly and 10% GrimDark (Seriously, did you find the audio log of Tiny Tina's parents being tortured to death in BL2?)


Well, what I'm looking for more is the setting and the combat style. I don't want to rationalize a table-top game where you find a gun on the ground you can't use for two more levels, despite looking like the one you have, but dealing more damage. Also, maybe I'm in the minority, but I tend to find building out the skill trees way more interesting than the damage treadmill of the game. Legendaries are fun, too, mostly because of their unique abilities.

I'm not sure I've found that audio log. I'm aware of her back story, but I don't remember hearing that.


TheFlatline wrote:

And I don't mean the damage treadmill I mean the ten bajillion combinations of weapon specs that make each loot drop somewhat interesting.


Deaddmwalking posted an idea I'd consider using where HP and base damage are largely kept static, and you use your attack roll to figure out if you deal extra damage. It covers crits nicely enough and allows higher level people to make lower level ones explode without having to resort to rolling ten damage dice (or whatever) on every shot.


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ArmorClassZero
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I've been thinking about how to make shooting gameplay interesting using cards and dice for a homebrew of my own, and your dilemma seems like a good excuse for me to get some feedback and maybe give you some ideas, so here is my 2:

Determining Hits:

Go with the big dice pools. Like 5-10 dice. The dice aren't individual shots taken, or trigger pulls, but representative of your precision aim (when sniping), unloading an entire clip into them (like with sub-machine guns and assault rifles), or the spread of and closeness of the shot (as with shotguns and point-blank pistols), the AoE of explosions (grenades and rocket-launcher style weapons, etc.)

About AC:

Armor, IRL, is not designed to reduce damage per se, but rather to prevent critical strikes. This is true of all armor from antiquity to modernity. (It just happens that damage reduction is a byproduct of preventing those critical strikes.) With gun-combat you get 1) Critical Hits (headshots, center-mass double-tap, loss of limbs, grievous wounds, etc.); 2) Grazes (for lack of a better word - "tis but a flesh wound!"); 3) Misses. So with the dice pools, we aren't looking to subtract our DMG from the opponent's HP, but rather, determine if we got any critical hits. Critical Hits are either InstaKills, Incapacitating, or inflict 'Immanent Death' (i.e. they're bleeding out, need immediate medical attention, etc.) Often Immanent Death and Incapacitating go hand-in-hand.

Certain things drastically improve your AC, like your distance from the shooter, your movement speed, environmental cover, any actual armor or hi-tech shielding you're using, etc. Yet these same factors will often determine how many dice you roll (i.e. they're modifiers to your weapon's base damage value.) I was thinking that the enemy's AC would be the target number you need to meet or exceed in order to Crit. So an enemy with an AC of 5 (presuming we're using d6s would) would mean that 5s and 6s are Crits.

With this kind of combat system, I imagine it would be frenetic, as your 3-5 man party would go up against a dozen or more goons who would probably have 2d6 Attack apiece (which you could roll collectively, or in groupings), necessitating clever tactics as well as bold manuevers (you can't miss at point-blank... but neither can the enemy!)

Beyond Combat

No reason to deviate from the standard wasteland post-apocalypse settings of Fallout/Mad Max/Dark Sun. Non-combat activities are scavenging and salvaging (investigate, perception?), trading / bartering with the locals (intimidate, charm, bluff, diplomacy), scouting and exploration (survivalism, stealth skill?), repairing and maintaining weapons and vehicles (crafting?) ... anything else?
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shlominus
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

feng shui has been mentioned and i would put in another vote for it, as it seems to be a perfect fit. converting borderlands classes into feng shui should be extremely easy and the leveling system can be perfectly simulated by schticks. feng shui combat is fast paced and actionpacked. the game focuses on combat, with most roleplaying being done during fights. stuff that doesn't involve fighting is explicitly just exposition and filler. the only exception: car chases (tbh, i don't know if those chase rules are any good, i've never seen them in practice)

the only thing you'd have to add is variety of guns, but that shouldn't be a problem.

there are quickstart rules for feng shui available, you might want to check them out: https://rpg.rem.uz/Feng%20Shui/Feng%20Shui%20%282ed%29/Hong%20Kong%20Task%20Force%2088.pdf
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RobbyPants
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Thanks. I've heard Feng Shui mentioned before, but I didn't know much about it.
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Feng Shui is the base system I would choose to hack for this project. However I have limited knowledge of Borderlands and extremely minimal knowledge of FATE.

You can find my lengthy ranting about Feng Shui 2 elsewhere on this forum.
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Antariuk
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Numenera, or rather the Cypher System engine without the setting stuff, might be another contender. You could flavor a huge part of the Borderlands gear as cyphers, maybe raise the amount PCs are able to carry, and go nuts. Character options are sufficient to model any and all main characters from the game series. The only problem is that you need to like the Cypher System, which lots of people don't (IIRC because of the resolution mechanic and the very open-ended way abilities are written).
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Dogbert
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Antariuk wrote:
Numenera...


No, no, and no.

Borderlands is a game about space murderhobos, and has the full spirit of d&d (stab people in the face, loot their corpse, take everything that isn't bolted down, and don't take it seriously).

Numenera, on the other hand, is the result of Monte's middle age crisis mixed with his angry falling out with Mike Mearls:

1) It's not about stabbing people in the face, since taking on multiple attackers is suicide unless your level is stupidly high and the enemies' stupidly low. (let alone if you're a muggle, case in which your power points are also you HIT POINTS).
2) It's not about becoming Scrooge McDuck (the quintessential murderhobo btw), since the system is made so you can never have more than three magic items (not even in a bag).
3) It's SuPeR cErEaL.

Numenera (or Cypher, for that matter) is the "anti d&d" because that's exactly how Monte wanted it to be*, thus, I can't think of a worse mismatch for trying to run Borderlands.

* (or at least, that's what he'd have liked. Alas, not knowing anything beyond d&d and some Gumshoe, the best Monte got was a Totally Not D&D)
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I've played a bit of borderlands and read a teeny bit about feng shui but it seems to be a good fit

I remember the sense of humor standing out in Borderlands.

I'm personally not interested in deep tactical tabletop combat anymore as it's super time consuming and well a lot of video games do that well, abstract combat with flavorful results is more interesting.
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Dogbert
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I can get behind Feng Shui for Borderlands, yeah (it has just the right tongue-in-cheek spirit). Just make char sheets for each archetype.
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Here's an "I've got ten-minutes to write this" pitch for Feng Shui:

It's a mid-90s game designed with the goal of emulating Hong Kong (and Hollywood) Action movies. It is heavy on attitude and is part of the 90s simplification wave of game design. If you have something on your character sheet - it's a big enough deal to matter. Stats are streamlined, there is next to no equipment tracking, skills are broad and explicitly include contact hooks.

It has classes (but calls them Archetypes) most of which are designed to reference specific characters in action movies so you have classes for Chow-Yun Fat from The Killer, Egg Shen or Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China, etc., etc.

There are a couple types of combat numbers -- but whether you are fighting with Sorcery or Guns or Kung Fu or your Creature Powers is numerically identical.

All classes get Schticks -- special abilities what let a character do nifty things/ There are some class-specific schticks, but the majority of Schticks are divided by which type of combat you specialize in (Guns, Fu, Sorcery, Creature Powers, Cyborgtech ) and anyone with the right combat AV can gain those Schticks with advancement. The different types of schticks have somewhat different mechanics - Guns schticks are broad always-on affairs you take singly; Fu schticks have to be learned in path (feat tree) order and often cost Chi points to activate, Sorcery Schticks are broad an have varying sub-schticks that require different amounts of Magic points to activate. Using cyborg or mutant schticks may subject you to mutation rolls at the end of the session, etc.

The big mechanical revolution of Feng Shui was having specific rules for unnamed opponents -- these guys show up in large numbers but they don't even have hit points to track -- any sufficiently high attack roll dispatches one in a manner of the attacker's choosing. And "sufficiently high" is "about average for most starting PCs". This does a great job of simulating action movie combat and badassery where a platoon of extras with guns are only a minor inconvenience to the hero who then has tough time in one on one fist fight with their nemesis. It also does a good job of making the PCs feel like badasses and keeping combat moving quickly at the game table.

Combat with named opponents uses HP tracking, but there is not a hard and fast "die at zero HP" line. Instead, enough wounds cause characters to take penalties to everything, and a few more wounds after that causes them to need to make checks to stay up/alive -- and these checks get harder the more wounded a character gets. This does an adequate job of creating a game where the losing side wants to run away instead of fighting to the death.

The initiative system is a little wonky, but it is described in movie terms "scene and shot" where everybody rolls a total and then the highest take actions - but actions have varying costs. So if you act on 13, and then you shoot someone you will act again on 10. There are also various reactions you can do out of order at the cost of future initiative. So if you act on 13 and then you shoot someone, but on 12 nemesis blasts at you with an automatic shotgun you can take an active dodge to up your defense at the cost of not getting to act again until 9.


Tl;Dr: Feng Shui would take a bit of massaging, but is a good fit for the frenetic combat involving guns, melee and odd powers of Borderlands. It is a horrible fit for modeling the equipment subsystems of Borderlands.
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RobbyPants
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Josh_Kablack wrote:

Tl;Dr: Feng Shui would take a bit of massaging, but is a good fit for the frenetic combat involving guns, melee and odd powers of Borderlands. It is a horrible fit for modeling the equipment subsystems of Borderlands.

The more I'm hearing about it, the more interesting it sounds. I don't want to track a treadmill style progression where you have to keep getting better and better guns. That being said, would Feng Shui care about the differences between a rifle, a shotgun, or an SMG, or is that all window dressing?

It sounds like the different trees might be tweaked to what I want. Each character in the game has a signature power, and you can gain skills after that to improve your numbers in various things. The signature powers of the six playable characters in BL2 are:

  • Toss out a gun turret that shoots people from its location on its own.
  • Draw out a second gun and shoot with two at once. Heal 1/2 your HP when you initiate this. You can one-arm a two-handed gun.
  • Turn invisible, leaving a holographic duplicate. Strike for extra damage (ending effect).
  • Lift opponent into the air with "magic" for a few seconds. They cannot attack.
  • Summon a robot to fight for you.
  • Go into a berserk rage where you beat on people in melee and heal to full health on each kill.

I don't expect the game to necessarily handle these exactly as-is, but are those the types of things that might seem in-line with the game?

Would Feng Shui care about the differences between sniping from cover or running and gunning? I get the impression "style" is supposed to matter in this game, but I'm not sure how that actually translates to game play.
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Antariuk
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Dogbert wrote:
Antariuk wrote:
Numenera...

It's not about becoming Scrooge McDuck (the quintessential murderhobo btw), since the system is made so you can never have more than three magic items (not even in a bag).


That is only true for the one-off random cyphers, 'real' artifacts (which would be something like BL2 guns and shield emitters) have no such limitations.

Dogbert wrote:
Antariuk wrote:
Numenera...

Numenera (or Cypher, for that matter) is the "anti d&d" because that's exactly how Monte wanted it to be*, thus, I can't think of a worse mismatch for trying to run Borderlands.


Numenera is as D&D as a game can get while trying, at least on the surface, to be different from actual D&D. It took a while before I realized it, but it really delivers much of the D&D core experience of wandering around, finding places, killing monsters and finding stuff, and is therefore absolutely valid for a Borderlands hack.
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