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Phonelobster's Mousetrap 2015 Edition
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PhoneLobster
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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Rained Out
OK so rain storms, no power, lots of work, etc... resulted in the first genuine big chunk of down time from spotty working on this revision of mousetrap.

Getting started again is never entirely easy, but I've begun to work on the default social types, Friendly, Seductive, Scary, Deceptive, etc...

With Friendly being mostly done.

They are a pretty important foundational component of the game so its a big deal to get them up and running before the magical social options (like mind control and illusion) and before other less high priority materials like thrown weapons or funny flavored lightning bolts.

I also want to jump back to healing and get prosthetics completed. But we'll see how that goes...
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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Social Basics Completish
So now there are items, some rooms, and a pile of skills for Terrorism, Friendship, Seduction, Deception, Antisocial, and some broader more generic Social skills (many of which used to belong to a Socialite skill set).

I still need to do the socially developed stuff like Educated and Ignorant and so on. And also a "Loyalty Inspiring" reflavour set that can be combined with some stuff from Friendship to make a less "naive innocent" and more inspiring hero flavoured option. And and and, I need to add some flat out Leadership stuff that will probably end up there, unless I decide to split it off with pets or something sensible like that.

Those are important foundations that need doing, and maybe also good places to dump and convert large portions of the prior "profession" meta skill sets.

But I'm thinking I might take a break from the foundations stuff and jump back over to the "Stuff that barely matters" section and do oppression, weird taboos/traditions and family/status emblems.

And foundations wise magical stuff is starting to lag significantly behind, with Seductive skill set complete Skimpy Clothing needs to make an appearance in Ethnic Dress, and if ANY of the above stuff gets done then Weapons and Attack stuff is going to start looking decidedly bare in comparison if I don't start splitting out the specialist combat styles and converting over Barbarian and Gladiator and so on stuff from the old sets.

Still, most likely up next, racism, sexist, classism, slavery, maybe imprisonment and punishment. Stuff like that. Just for a light break, and if I have the will the family/status emblems thing just for a tiny bit of stuff relevant to the group trying to play this incomplete mess. I mean that's going to be mostly fluff with only a little bit of generic broadly applicable mechanical support. (Racist/Sexist attack bonus? Yay?).

About Those Social Basics
OK So those social basics covered a number of options, should be plenty of attack, damage, and defense options for characters in all four main default social types, some reasonable generic options from socialite that any might take and some reasonable "screw this social stuff and let me get bonuses for punishing characters that use it" options too.

Notably each social set has it's own option for ignoring Alert or Multi-Target penalty, with a simple energy costed default, but SOME sort of conditional alternative way of gaining the benefit.

As a theme those options, and other social options in those sets are somewhat themed by the nature of their alternative conditional requirement.

The friendly set lets you gain benefits by removing your own Alert state. The Terrorism set lets you gain benefits by being physically damaged or physically damaging your enemy. The Deceptive skill set lets you gain benefits by having already dealt social damage or defeats to your targets and the Seductive skill set alternatively gains it's benefits by attacking targets that it has 0 Inappropriate Seduction Target penalty against, or by wearing little or no clothing, (or some combination of both).

Some of the generic social options just flat out punish enemies for not being social with their actions, and the anti-social ones punish them if they are.

The sets have plenty of in built potential for interactions and synergy. So for instance while the Friendly skill set's ability to Ignore Alert if you remove your own Alert state starts out as only applying to your Friendly attacks, it just takes access to a generic social training facility (the same one that say, a Seducer might use) for it to apply to almost any social attack you make. Similar for the deceptive ability that ignores alert on targets already socially damaged by you.

So you could for instance have an "innocent seducer" build that gets their all important Ignore Alert (and maybe other abilities) from the friendly set and by removing their own Alert. Or a "Deceptive Seducer" that gets it from deceptive and it's ability to ignore alert (and get other bonuses). Instead of just going with the default of Seducers who only do well against appropriate seductive targets and by running around with less or no clothes on.

The interactions also hopefully help encourage builds that branch out a bit more as jack of all trades instead of pure single strategy specialists. Once you've taken a few Friendly abilities on your Seducer because you prefer their particulars or because you can somehow stack them together with your seducer "main" build, spending just a few points on some Friendly only options becomes significantly more attractive due to existing investments that would interact with and benefit that investment.

This sort of thing is rife throughout the system of course, the whole "open to elaborate not overly restricted synergy" thing is a general design choice that should be evident everywhere, or at least increasingly so as more of the skill sets get ported over. But this might be some of the first clear applications of it turning up. And it's tie ins with itself, and potential relevance to a lot of further material is one of the reasons it needed to be done now or sooner.

One stupid concern with the basic social options
OK, so of course you know, first write up of the revision, typos, changing of mind, issues if it hits play etc... things may as always change, but there is ONE thing I did that I'm already very much unsure of.

Each, or almost each, social skill set has some mid tier suit they can put on that is SO Friendly/Scary/Seductive it throws out constant involuntary social attacks at everyone who looks at it.

Sure a good option to have. MIGHT be appropriate to Mid Tier, possibly should even have been High.

The big problem? The Monsters Document has a supernatural appearance option for supernatural beauty/ugliness that works differently. BUT it is very similar... aaand it is a great deal cheaper kicking in it's main involuntary social attack on being seen at just 1 Skill point, that basically makes it a Low Tier cost instead of a Mid or High cost.

I'd rather these be more standardized and default to the same tiers of cost. Just throwing down the Seductive/Scary suits as monstrous items would handle the monster side of it fairly well... but then rewriting the suits to run as a supernatural social blaster and reintroducing the beauty and ugliness magical attack elements in the cultural options document might be good and I somewhat prefer the text/mechanic there in SOME respects.

For now I'm leaving both until I can decide what the hell to do with it.
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PhoneLobster
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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Well...
I did some oppression stuff, some status and rank marking stuff, some slavery stuff, a little section in weapons on leashing mechanics and options (for grapnel hooks, harpoon shenanigans, and related being shackled to stuff options from slavery).

But mostly I've been distracted putting together some culture specific lists from the completed materials for the setting for the ongoing game and some other basic game admin for that. And what further rules text that has gone into the cultures document has been an incredibly spotty mish mash of random partial skill set conversions mostly in the magic section to cover the immediately available in game skill options I had originally arbitrarily outlined for the setting.

And even then I STILL need to do exo-armour (which as a dramatic mechanical addition/option needs to be done relatively early for integration, damnit).

But yeah, if you are wondering why the back end of the document has some decidedly rushed partial magic set conversions... you will know why.

Next up? Probably an edit of those magic conversions, maybe some more completetion and converstion in that section, and then hopefully more weapon/attack/combat style stuff.

And HOPEFULLY at some point god damn exo-armours. I said they were in setting and they MIGHT eventually come up in game, so I REALLY need to get on that.
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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The Latest Update... Relgion!
Ok, so bits and pieces of piecemeal junk here and there...

... and RELIGION!

So the game is supposed to be able to handle SOME variation in basic setting mechanics, so it covers three basic religious setups that seem viable for the system and the sorts of games it will run, with a heavy emphasis on the last biggest one as preferred.

So the religious section covers...

Fake Gods
Gods and religions are indistinguishable from a bunch of misguided magic users who worship a deity that does not really exist. This is the easiest one to support as it needs next to no mechanical options, and doesn't interfere with table top RPGs any more than having organizations like bandits and wizards guilds.

Animistic Themed Magical Powers
The universe itself provides (judgement free) magical powers for characters that learn to channel "idealistic" energy based on whatever bullshit theme your want to piece together from cultural/monster options during setting creation, so you can have universes with themed magic channelling of the four elements, or you can have a universe where the themes of raw fundamental magical energy you can channel are "cats", "spiders", "gooey stuff" and "magic hammers" no one cares.

Themed ideals essentially posits a sort of animistic universal power scheme in place of real person type gods. It just does it in a way that lets you build whatever the fuck off stupid animistic energy themes you want to.

It gets limited mechanical support with sort of one and a half power source skills, and a way to ask your GM to let you/make you turn into a thematic monster, though I really should do one or two more options.

Players interact with this "religion" power source pretty much like they do any other power source, only it has stupider more restricted but hopefully flavorful themes and you might just find a bunch of Magic Hammer Thematic Magic Atheistic Wizards just as much as you might find a cult of Magic Fire Thematic Magic Religious Priests, and functionally they aren't all that different.

Your Neighbors, The Gods
The "main" option is that faith is a resource produced by populations, priests are magic users who can channel that resource, temples are a way of harvesting and refining it, and religions are the organizations that make that happen, and gods are the guys in charge of the big ones who have accrued sufficient faith power to feel confident in declaring themselves as deities.

This has a bunch of mechanical support, it probably needs further expansion but we already have a reasonable selection of faith harvesting buildings, faith spending buildings and some faith usage skills for high priests/gods to use. And the basic requirements for minor priests.

Players interact with this form of religious mechanic by a number of means.
1) Burning Temples - Hey that religion/god offended you, destroy his power sources. Also you may need to beat up all the priests, their guards, possibly their servants or civilians and maybe their gods.
2) Building Temples - Hey, you want magical power? Become a priest, found a religion, become a god, it's all an option.
3) Joining A Religion - Hey you want magical power, but don't want to have to burn someone else's temples and then pay for your own to get it (Yet)? You can join a religion and they will give you access to a magical power source, and maybe other things, like training rooms and bonus working eyeballs.
4) Offending The Gods - The gods are real, the priests are real, the religions are organizations, they have a resource supply chain, they have beliefs and agendas, you can make friends with them, you can offend them and need to fight them off, and the system can represent them as real finite threats or allies at a variety of power levels.

A little of Column B, A little of Column C
The game could potentially accommodate both the divine ideals thing and the faith magic harvesting thing. so there is some mention of that. Not much, there aren't especially many glaring contradictions to deal with if you wanted to have both.

Religious Fanatics
Get a shout out as being able to use other cultural options, like oppression vs other religions. But also get a special option or two that helps them fight the heretics since there are a bunch of mechanics for faith and themed magic sets that they can now use as hooks for heretic murdering skills.

Atheists
Need some explaining in the context of the religious options, and get a potential option for defying religious powered characters with.


And that's religion finally in, an important foundational building block for the game and it's potential settings. Maybe the exo armours next next time. MAYBE...
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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Melee < Shooters < Magic Blasters < Shooter Magic Blasters = Magic Blaster Melee
So anyway. I was correcting a lack of room costs on the religious buildings and starting the stuff on exo armours (and other motorized junk) and it occurred to me there was one small bit of stuff that had come up in the piecemeal work before religion worth mentioning.

There are some issues with melee vs, well, various ranged and hybrid builds.

This comes in two parts.

1) Melee Lacks Delivery Mechanisms
The default charge range of 1 zone is pretty poor. Anyone who can shoot a gun or a magical blaster ray is suffering range penalties sure, but the penalties aren't nearly as bad as "can't attack over there at all".

But I have been lacing the system with improved mobility! Yeah... but then when I went back and checked... it still isn't enough mobility. There needs to be more, I added a bit of extra range to some jumps and stuff, and I made a new charging range ability that can cheaply let you charge a significantly larger range. It very possibly still isn't enough, but it is an improvement, there will be more opportunities for movement enhancements with armours/clothing sets being expanded, miscellaneous fighting styles, and magical options.

Which brings us to problem two...

2) Plain Melee is less powerful than Hybrid Anything
So there are arguably the following general types of character build you could go for for your offensive options.

Mellee (Weapons), Mellee (Unarmed), Thrown Weapons, Shooting, Magical Blasters, Social Attacks

Now the melee options, aside from their range issues probably get to be pretty reasonable compared to other options when it comes to special effects, damage, and attack bonuses. Thrown weapons... have issues on ammo limits, but some minimal advantages and are more of a tack on option for melee weapon users anyway.

Shooters and Magic Blasters get some limitations in ammo requirements and magic power source requirements, but those in turn offer advantages of additional resources which I hope but sadly doubt are entirely perfectly matched with the use and expenditure of melee weapons as a resource. But we will call that close enough.

Social options are... hard to compare, they now have what I hope is at least reasonable comparable ability to throw on extra damage and effects, their draw backs with alert and multi-target penalty hopefully balanced with their advantages of a sometimes lower second defence being targetted, easy multi-targeting and potential conversion rather than defeat.

But the big deal comes with the system's existing, and planned implementation of synergy. Because a great deal of the skills interactions are hooked of common keywords and have minimal limits on how they can be combined.

So Hybrid offense options are a thing. You CAN be a Sword Guy, or a Magic Fire Guy, but you can also be a Magic Fire Sword Guy, or a Magic Sword Fire Guy, etc... by tying in a few hybridization options suddenly you can have a lot of the stuff from one build, interact with and somewhat stack along side a lot of the stuff from another build.

To a large extent this is entirely planned. Expected "standard" attack bonuses are planned to account for "Skilled With Sword", "Sword Bonus", "Sword Made Of Fire Bonus", with hopefully some eventual material options for swords that let you take an equivalent to sword made of fire bonus just by having "special metal" or some junk like that if you don't want the fire sword theme (note to self, need similar alternative bonus source for social options?).

And hybrid options and extensive synergy SHOULD be a thing. The magical terror beast who scares people so much they turn to stone is a good thing, the lightning powered spear man is a good thing, and so on.

The problem is that at least eventually there is a very good chance that if you AREN'T some sort of hybrid build then hybrid builds are probably better than you.

There is a very good chance that an Electromancer Seductress just has better over all potential power caps than a plain old Seductress, and a strong danger that someone who combines Fire and Swords, especially if they lean to the shooting fire shaped like swords instead of the swinging swords made of fire side of things, is also a potentially higher power cap than the guy who just swings swords.

The hardest thing to judge though is how much of a bad thing this is. Because actually... this IS a points based system, the options are, almost certainly, far from equal but there are a potentially pretty large number of good beneficial "in theme" options for non-hybrid characters, especially when they can also freely invest in diverse mobility, utility, healing and defense options. The extent that an actual hybrid character is better than them is almost entirely a reflection of a wider range of options which the non-hybrid isn't actually mechanically limited from selecting, and ultimately just a reflection of having more skill points/character build resources.

Aaaand... that probably isn't a problem at all. Nothing stops your non-hybrid character from branching out for more options in a fairly open points based system, and characters with more points than you, hybrid or not, ... should be better.

The issue mostly kicks in on some raw bonus issues, such as the whole planned Skill Bonus+Sword Bonus+Fire Bonus thing, and as long as there is a non-hybrid way of attaining that Fire Bonus for the straight sword guy... then we are probably in a fairly good place.

So...
Hopefully that means a bit more attention given to eventually delivering the non-hybrid bonus sources for various character types, and keeping an eye out for more opportunities to give out more and more mobility for melee fighters to pick up.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

God Damned Exo-Armours
So I've got some more stuff done.

Exo-Armours has a mostly complete section, it's largely just a way of sticking a suit of armour onto an exterior shell a size larger than your character with it's own HP, and potentially a modified physical form.

BUT... exo-armour ties in with... mechanised items because they are "powered" suits that provide various benefits, and they need a power source, like super clock work engines, or magical fire combustion engines, or stuff like that.

SO... that means mechanised items needed at least a start, and the power source section especially needed a bunch of material. So there was that.

BUT... exo-armour options notably included some minor intelligent item stuff, and there have been some minor appearances of stuff like that already with automated potions and some other things, so intelligent items section needed at least it's stub and basic guidelines written in. So there was that.

BUT... exo-armour needed some potential disadvantages some cultures might willfully or through technical limitations involuntarily build into it, and while that didn't really REQUIRE a cursed item section... it touched close enough on it that I felt the stub and premise needed to be added at the very least.

Still, sufficient exo-armour stuff is now complete that I could readily actually introduce the rather specific magical parasite exo-armour into the ongoing game that long since mentioned it as a setting element should it need to be done for interacting with the player character's ongoing adventures, and it probably will shortly.

This gives me several more stubs that need filling out, like more mechanized items, the cursed items options, etc...

Also it's been a while and a few other sections I need to do with some priority have come to mind. Notably expanded magical power source and magic battery options (a few already added a while ago, but not nearly half enough yet), and "magic weapons/accessories" sections for wands, energy blaster guns and random magic amulet doodads.

What with the players having gone and opened a "magic item store" with the basic market/item supply rules as a profit making venture they can get free gear from. And as yet they can pretty much barely set a sword on fire or make a magic suit out of angry air and not much else "magical" for item options.

I also really need to decide sometime soon if I'm going to continue with minor conversions of the old unique "Elemental Shield" powers, or if I'm going to reform it and add "barrier" or "shield" information to the element options and create more generic wall/shield/other barrier options similar to the magic blaster setup.

As always, plenty remains to be done, and moar magic and moar stabbing remain areas wanting for more conversions and additions.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Magic Powers and Curses
Well, today it was filling out the curses section and the magic power sources section with more content.

Curses
Curses are... problematic as a concept, but something I felt needed to be in the system to some extent especially as items with drawbacks are already a thing and they help provide or at least interact with a frame work and precedent that a stronger curse section could provide.

So anyway, curse options include limitations on who can use items, ways to trigger or control the triggering of curses, ways cursed items can prevent themselves being casually discarded, and then a bunch of fairly nasty potent curse effects for the items to actually deliver.

I tried to roll most of them into attacks, even if the attacks are powerful and likely to succeed, rather than as simple auto-successes in an attempt to make curses a bit less "fuck you" and a bit more interactive and slightly fairer.

Magical Power Sources
Is now feeling comfortably large, what with it ranging from rune magic and magic yelling through to magical vampirism and being extra good friends with a unicorn.

Some extra development on magic batteries fleshed them out slightly with some interactive skill options, but maybe I need to go back in and add some (Ability) tagged upgrades for magical batteries of various tiers? I'm not sure. Hell, I almost certainly at least need to make some mid and high tier magic battery options. But anyway, magic batteries, slightly less interesting now that a good selection of "screw the batteries I MYSELF am a source of my magic power!" options now exist.

I should totally get on top of those extra battery item options as part of the next plan... god damned magical trinkets...
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

One MILLION magical Elements!
OK, so I'm moving in on some heavier content on magic options. I've just filled out the more generic magic powers section that covers magic blasters and magical strikes, and now also covers walls and shielding blocks, and summoned elemental items.

As part of that I've laid the new foundation for the layout of future (and now revised) "Element" options to slot into those so they will also have relevant information for blocks and barrier effects, so hopefully everything eventually slots into the Blaster/Wall/Shield system sensibly.

What I haven't done is revise the elements to match, and up next... either magic trinkets or magic element/theme option sets.

And when I do some heftier work on the (many) magic element/theme sets waiting for revision or addition, that raises the question...

Earth, Wind... ah what the hell, Mud, Lava, FLOWERS, ... How many Elements SHOULD there be?
And before anyone even answers I already have mine, and the answer is "stupid big piles of them".

Why? Because damnit I want mud elementals and flower-mancers and glass cannon wizards who's actual thing is they are a cannon that shoots actual god damn glass at people.

People sort of like "limited" lists of elemental options, I blame fucking ancient Greece, but yeah, "Fire, Wind, Water, Earth, Heart, Captain Planet final destination and nothing else damnit" is an appealing model at first glance.

But it doesn't give me god damn Steam Elementals and god damn Ash Mancers.

To some degree a "hybrid" solution with limited elements can work, you make your million variants like "mud" and then either mechanically link all of them to A single "real" element on the short list, OR maybe to more than one.

And to some degree I actually am doing that. But even then, the short list is too limiting. So the actual "short list" in use is really "a pretty long list".

And even then each element, or at least many of them need their own basically unique keyword tag, or even a keyword tag they share with other element options, but which isn't part of your "real" elements short list.

Because the game is NOT enforcing a strict and specific selection of which elements make it to the table by setting or game play instance.

There are elements with advantages and disadvantages against each other... but not a strict rock paper scissors scheme of any kind acting with some false pretense of having a balancing function.

The only reason there are shared elemental keywords is to allow for selective synergy tie ins between various elements and element upgrading options and to use common mechanics (like setting things on fire) which multiple elements might need.

And yes, that is also why the "rare" relatively unique keywords that may appear on elements as obscure as "dust" or "web" so that they can have some upgrade options or other interactions or mechanics that are gated off and unique to them.

"Element" style options in the last "edition" of this rules set included, off the top of my head...

Fire
Water
Ice
Stone (launching them around)
Petrification (turning you to stone)
Thorn vines
Scented Flower Petals
Spider webs
Lightning
Raw telekinetic physical force
Horrible mutation energy
Mind Control (well its sorta a social option)
Death energy
Windy blades of air
Acid
Glue
Grease
Poison
Loud noises
Light
Darkness
Sleep
Insanity
And hell, I'm not going to bother check right now but there were probably more.

And the thing is... there isn't really any good reason to not have any of those or to cut the list short, indeed there is a LOT of reason to increase the size of the list, and I damn well intend to with mud, steam, lava, sand, dust, fog, smoke, ash, and whatever else passes through my fleeting fancy.

So yeah. One god damn million magical energy/matter attacks and a damn good plan that is.

Wait wait... what about god damned rock paper scissors, EVERYONE knows that is inherently balanced and every fucking "element" system MUST be a fucking self defeating circle of fucking rock paper scissors right?
Well, just... no. In fact. HELL no.

Rock paper scissors is balanced... in rock paper scissors. It might bring... some... balance in other games too, but only to the degree that choices are kept limited, but also equal, in availability.

Mousetrap uses a lot of "This thing gets bonus vs... that other thing", and its a nice mechanic and a great place to get your bonuses. But it isn't a balancing and no amount of ensuring it all formed a giant elaborate mathematically equal rock-paper-scissors-ufo circle would EVER make it into a balancing influence.

Because the game is a fucking table top RPG.

If my elements (and my weapon/armour bonuses and so on) were a rock paper scissors circle, or more elaborate arrangement in that theme I would still have NO WAY of guaranteeing that any given game session, campaign, or setting would ACTUALLY contain a balanced rock-paper scissors selection.

Sure, Rock can beat Scissors and lose to Paper. But I can't actually guarantee that my Rock Fighter might not spend his entire RPG career fighting Scissormancers and I also can't guarantee he won't spend his entire career fighting Paper Dragons.

And I cannot, and will not, introduce any attempt at mechanically enforcing an equal in game distribution of Rock Fighters, Scissormancers and Paper Dragons. It cannot be done and if it could be done then it damn well should not be done.

I try and make sure that pretty much everything in the system has SOMETHING out there in the system that it is strong against and something maybe even that it is weak against, because you MIGHT want to build your setting or individual encounter or whatever with material like that. But by no means do I ever intend those interactions to be COMPULSORY in any setting or encounter, nothing in hell should require the presence of water mages in settings or encounters JUST because the game wants to fuck over fire mages and pretend that is in some way "balancing" the elemental "circle" or whatever the fuck you want to call that. You should be able to have a setting, or a campaign or whatever, where the only elements that ever make actual in practice appearances are something stupid like "Fire, Lava, Ash, Smoke" and they only ever have synergistic interactions, or settings with only "Fire, Death, Flowers, Acid" and they just randomly interact or not however and no-one gives a fuck.

This is just a reality any RPG rule set needs to confront and work with to some extent. Even if I only wrote "Fire, Wind, Water, Earth" even then there is never any guarantee that I won't see only a limited sub set or a distinctly lop sided distribution of those elements in actual practical play.

So yeah. About the only problem with the "one million elements" plan is option bloat and badly written entries. Don't go trying on any "buuut you need a rock paper scissors thing, because everyone knows thats how elements in RPGs should work!" on me.

Its a stupid idea. Fuck rock-paper-scissors, it can go die in a hole.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
So yeah. One god damn million magical energy/matter attacks and a damn good plan that is.

How much is anyone going to care that it's a "dust" attack instead of "ash" or "salt" or "earth" or "sand" or whatever else the fuck it might be? Especially if some class of monsters isn't out there to care for them. A million elements are really just where each power/spell/whatever has it's own element, which really means they don't have any elements at all.


Which is sort of what 4th edition D&D went with, only to find that their mind-fucking tentacle themed stuff didn't really work any different to just hitting people with a sword.

OK. In theory you're free to make things extremely dust-appropriate or whatever, but when there is no underlying structure that things have to fit, but the lack of limits usually just means everything ends up the same (3d6 and shift 2 squares) but with a "dust" sticker on it.


Quote:
About the only problem with the "one million elements" plan is option bloat and badly written entries.

That's another way to put it. I think you'll find the bloat and the bad writing is a natural consequence of the lack of limiting structure. It's not something you can even avoid when your limit is "every conceivable thing".
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

tussock wrote:
That's another way to put it.

And another way to put your post is "Don't write bad options" and "writing lots of options might be too many". Oh and "don't write 4E options" because duh.

You don't actually deliver any kind of defense of Rock Paper Scissors bullshit. Which is nice since there's no real way of doing that without being a dumb ass. But you imply that "a structure" or basically, some kind of plan is better, but I do actually have structure and planning, just not rock paper scissors bullshit, and without committing to actually saying the structure you want is rock paper scissors and making SOME argument in defense of it (and it's basically indefensible)... you aren't actually disagreeing with my structured plans.

Anyway. More specifically the existing plans to differentiate the specific entries of Dust, Sand, Ash etc... (so far) go a bit like...

All of them are going to use the Dust keyword which will be the tag for options that are to do with "lots of tiny pieces of gritty stuff" and also the tag that lets a lot of them share various options and upgrades that ARE common to all three.

Dust itself as an element... I'm undecided on. I could go with either a mix of earth magic and dust clouds, which I sort of need because I want some sort of option out there where an earth/stone wizard or whatever gets to kick up better/magic dust clouds when they drop down their magic summoned stone block attacks because damnit that sounds like a good idea. Or alternatively chuck the dust kicking up as a minor one off option on earth/stone magic in general and have the actual Dust element be more "dust under your couch" sort of dust and have everything be about dust bunnies and lint trap disasters. Dust is really up in the air right now (eheheheheh).

Sand however is almost definitely a stone/dust hybrid of some kind, and should carry some keywords that let it benefit from SOME abilities relevant to other stone magic. It might be a better candidate for where to stick the "stone block drop spawns a magical elemental cloud effect themed in stone/dust" rather than the actual Dust element. Not yet sure on it's attack bonus and unique upgrade interactions, but probably bonuses vs mechanical stuff, and maybe some sand blasting away of surfaces somehow for either an excuse for bonuses or as a way of damaging certain item types or flat out bypassing some kinds of defenses.

Ash I have some more firm ideas about, not sure where to place it's attack bonuses yet either, but I'm most certain that it should have direct interactions with Fire and Smoke element options, and specifically should have some interaction where your Fire/smoke attacks leave behind smoke/ash ongoings and that ash can spring back up into fire/smoke or something like that. So you take your fire/ash/smoke combos not just because of potential overlapping upgrades that could apply to ALL your variant "hot" elements, but also because the attacks can potentially directly spawn extra attacks or special visibility/cover/rough terrain effects of those other elements.

When it comes to fears about generic magic feels, I'm trying more to be careful with the actual generic magic abilities.

Magic blaster and the Element slot in system, and the equivalents with several other common magic effects (magic strike, magic wall, magic shield etc...) are the greater risk of this. By far. I mean Magic Blaster literally IS the same "I shoot it with X" ability.

But in the end most magic energy types really want at least one solid "and now I just shoot them with it" option, and having the basics covered by a generic really does cut down on text repetition and create some benefits in standardization.

Differentiation comes in with the unique upgrade options from the (Element) slot in, and the unique and semi-unique sub sets of other skill options only relevant to that (Element) or a small sub-set of elements including it. And of course also with skills thematically related to that element and likely to be trained by the same cultures/organizations/individuals but which don't actually have direct mechanical relevance to the actual (Element) skills or Magic Blaster skills.

I think even at the "I shoot it with X" level the element slot in setup is working out well on differentiation with the initially drafts (prior to the upcoming inclusion of block and barrier information). Slotting in Fire isn't all that different from lightning, but it still is different on its native multi-targetting options, special effects and potential upgrade skills, and slotting in a social blaster like scented flower petals or mind control is sure as hell different, despite building off the common mechanical base.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

And also, Big Elements and Little Elements
Actually while I'm at it, here is another thing about the plans for the elements materials.

Back in the prior edition, that list I trundled off was almost all "big elements".

Every option on it had it's own somewhat unique skill set large enough to be a major part of a character's career, as much so as any other option like Fire or Lightning was anyway.

A FEW of them shared a skill set. Petrification and Stone launching were both in the Petramancy skill set Scented Petals and Thorny Vines were both in Hortimancy and Acid, Glue and Grease were all in Solumancy.

Shared skillset options worked in a few ways, and some were essentially an "extra" option with less direct support within the skill set, but somewhat related theme, and some were more of an "alt" main element choice for the theme with basically equal mechanical support from the rest of the theme.

This time around with a system built for more cherry picking and custom skill set construction for cultures etc... there is more freedom to do things differently.

A lot of elements still want to be full on "big" themes, with plenty of upgrade options with direct mechanical relevance and plenty of less mechanically relevant, but still thematically relevant side options (like magnetic levitation for your lightning mages).

But there is more room to have some elements simply be "Alts" for various themes with only minor, or, conceptually little to no, additional supporting options, and even room for various "Dead End" or "lesser" element options that just flat out get basically no support (current contenders for this title, probably things like "Supernatural Beauty/Ugliness" which very possibly only really need to exist for that one monster thing that Nymphs and er... Ugly Nymphs? do)

Now what falls into being a big, medium, or small sized element is up in the air, certainly almost much everything off the old list has enough support ready to convert to at least major element themes or reasonably differentiated alts for elemental themes, and I think I have enough room and ideas to expand a fair number of new ideas too.

But leaving the field open to a few "minors" expands the potential a bit further, and thanks to both the system's hefty potential for synergy across the board (even without custom specific intended tie ins) and a range of "generic" fall back upgrades for magic blasters and the like a "minor league" themed character like a "Supernatural Ugliness" wizard isn't going to be entirely without options even if they attempt to "main" that role for a fair while.

Also, Elemental Theme Breaking Themes
And while we are here, another thing worth noting.

Under the old system skills and options were generally given out pretty much wholesale to cultures as stand alone full thematic skill sets like "Pyromancy", throw on a "meta" magical skill set like "Wizard" or "Priest" and maybe another magical theme like "Electromancy" or "Healing", and you had a pretty meaty culture/organization/individual career.

The thing that didn't especially represent well was... less thematically consistent wizard types like your D&D "fuck it I use 12 different elements before breakfast" wizards.

With cultural selections being pushed more to a cherry picking customizable model, now a culture or organization can just pick a pile of only marginally thematically related options like throwing fire powered flight in next to electric miscellaneous magnetic shenanigans, next to telekinetic force shields next to fire blasts and acid swords. And while doing so might cause some issues on efficient choice of upgrade options, at least you can easily enough start yourself or your setting's wizard guilds down the road of "random selection of magical junk with no thematic unity" if you wanted to.

And again, with wide synergy potential and generic fall back options for upgrades, while certainly sabotaging SOME potential for synergy and upgrades, you still have some stuff out there that those guys CAN take if they need to exist.

Also this reminds me I need to throw in an option that makes multi-colour wizard builds like that slightly cheaper on the element cost front by permanently tying an element to an element using skill (and no other element using skill) in return for a discount on the element itself.

I should really get back to actually doing the write ups themselves...
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Pyromancy
Is up as my template/test for the new Moar Elements format.

Also I've backtracked to monsters to add in some cheap "oh and if your body material is fluid, fine, flow through things" sort of options, so that elementalists can go and take a bunch of existing Alternative Form options if they really want to turn INTO fire or water or whatever.

And I've added some more stuff to the generic magic blaster options and such to better fill out multi-colour wizards and to provide some good old save or die type petrification options that can slot in whatever elements and let people turn their enemies into stone or ash or I dunno, maybe one day even jelly?

But anyway. Back to pyromancy.

So. It's seen an update of it's old material. Some of which is gone in favor of the now existing generics. Fire as an element has the new write up with the Block and Barrier stuff. And retains some of its "signature" element options, such as the cheap multi-target option that drops damage in favor of just setting more things on fire.

I've also written in more "hot" keyword elements, (yeah, well, it was that or Pyro... I'm not sure I made the right choice), anyway, not entirely sure I'm happy with the basic attack bonus/block selections I've made, but they will do for now until I start seeing better options/conflicts/implications with other elements.

The new elements in pyromancy are now Smoke, Ash and Lava. I nearly wrote up molten glass, yeah I know, really not a great option for differentiation from lava, but I kinda want a wizardy option of "I summon glass things and turn things to glass and launch glass at you", and having a molten tie in from that to pyromancy may not hurt... but if so that can now wait until (or if) I get around to the glass element proper.

Smoke's thing is still cheap multi-target options, but smoke deals Blind instead of setting things on fire, and leaves behind obscuring cloud effects.

Ash's thing is STILL cheap multi-target options, but instead of setting you on fire it deals a once off pin and leaves ash all over the place that kicks up smoke attacks on character movement.

Lava's thing loses out on the cheaper multi-target option (still a solid multi-target upgrade available in the base element profile though), it does set you on fire, it makes probably the best wall/barrier out of the lot (the rest are somewhat poor as physical barriers) it deals a pin and leaves a pool of lava that deals ongoing attacks and pins, but only on an upgrade to the attack.

As for the other skill options...

There are mobility and awareness skills for seeing through and moving along or in lava, smoke, and ash
There is an explosive common "hot" attack teleport
There is a specific smoke different/cheaper teleport
There is an "I'm On fire" flying ability with some of that extra fast boosting of movement I've been meaning to add.
There is the ability to gain energy from being on fire, and to eat up some fire damage in the process.
There is making yourself pretty and visually obscured from being on fire.
There are boosts for making all the things you set on fire burn down and set more things on fire
There is trail of generic hot type attacks/clouds/walls left by movement
There are ways to move ash lava and smoke around, with notable differences, like Smoke having the ability to multiple rapidly, and lava having the ability to spit out short range bursts of basically any other hot attack available to you.
There are ways to "activate" your ash or smoke to spawn new hot attacks.
There are mays to make your smoke more of a visual obstacle, but for others only.
There is a destructive ash attack to burn (certain materials of) items into ash piles with hot attacks and crumble characters on any hot defeat.
There is a cooling lava option to set your lava into stone so it hardens it's pin defense substantially (possibly well of a lot off the RNG for the right victims).
There is a melting lava option for turning walls and furniture and peoples armour or weapons into molten pin effects and pools
And a way of making your non-fire/lava hot attacks set people on fire anyway.
And more implications/additional effects of those same abilities not worth mentioning in sloppy summary.

Some effects are single element specific, some require specific keywords, some run off the common "hot" keyword that pyromancy is using. (really thinking I should have gone with Pyro there...).

There are plenty of options to allow customizing various different fire using organizations or individuals, and with sufficient interaction a single character could insist on "all fire related stuff all the time" and travel the world "collecting them all" from all those distinct fire cults if they wanted to.

The new scheme is seemingly working out fairly well on round one... But I've got WAY more to go before it's a done deal.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Lasers burn things with heat, open flames burn things with heat, and being struck by lightning burns things with heat. In your system can I have something described as "Heat resistance" as a power, or do I have to specify "resists ___ elements"?

I figure another approach to the elements is to look at not what makes the elements different but how they 'deal damage'. So crushing someone with a boulder and crushing someone with a hammer and crushing someone with your telekinesis is mechanically similar.

So your 'ash element' gives you access to a choking attack like how water gives you a choking attack by drowning them, things like that.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OgreBattle wrote:
"Heat resistance" as a power, or do I have to specify "resists ___ elements"?

As many match ups as possible run off the keyword system (very few run off states such as "over there" or "did not socially attack this turn").

So heat resistance is most likely any ability that lets you block, reduce damage or be immune to "Hot" keyword attacks, and there could be marginally worse versions for "Fire" or even "Ash" specifically. There is a broad elemental resistance option in the monster options, that lets you just pick a keyword from the elemental options, and you better pick wisely because both by the larger document, and the individual setting, some will be more common than others. But hey, screw it, just next to free retraining costs so... change it if it sucks.

As for "how they deal damage"... that's keyword based too. You deal damage sufficiently like a hammer and you flat out get the Hammer keyword and can take upgrades for and are susceptible to special defense options that target hammer attacks.

Oddly Ash (and smoke) actually already DOES have an optional upgrade to add the already standardised Suffocate keyword and effect, which is less a change of damage type as a way of triggering an extra attack for extra damage using the suffocation/drowning/breath holding mechanics.

Laser beams and light attacks are going to need some work but WILL most likely have partial overlapping keywords and mechanics with Pyromancy options, like they did in the past, and if/when you stick "Fire" keyword on your laser beam it's going to use the same standardised mechanic to set things alight just like fireballs do, open up a sub set of the upgrade skills from pyromancy as potentially relevant to your character build, and the attack will become susceptible to the same fire based defenses.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Progress On Fire Thunder
OK, so two more elemental themes in, Cryomancy for raw cold energy, Ice and Snow, and Electromancy for Lightning, magnetics, and some marginally out of place Thunder.

Also put together at least a generic skeleton of options for magical trinkets so that wands, amulets, rings, and little tiny statues have some minor presence.

Quick overview of elements things? A screw it. It's not worth doing that for all of them now I'm getting into the bulk of them as there are going to be too many to bother writing additional external summaries for. If I ever get around to writing a "summary sales pitch" document for skill sets (as I have in the past) as a game resource aid I might post it, for now the actual direct skills are there in the document for the overly curious and I might just mention the highlights or low points or something.

Like...

I am concerned that the Electro based Stun options are too good compared to the Freeze options for cold. Buuut... its a hard call.

Ice got some pretty crazy wall spawning ability and the ability to drop gigantic ice blocks on people to either freeze them inside or crush them outright.

Thunder gets to be a fairly lame undamaging without upgrade option, but with strong multi-targeting and you get to throw it on free after lightning attacks if you learn the right skill.

With enough skill upgrades lightning might be the eventual king of status effects potentially handing out Parry, Stun, Blind, and Deaf.

Magnetism only gets to be damaging against limited materials of targets, and mostly is used to disarm swords and metal armours or throw knights around.

Lightning has the minor quirk of having cheap fixed number of targets in unfixed numbers of zones for it's built in early multi-attack option.

So far I have only been writing up skills for the most part in these option sets.

Element/theme specific items, and certainly theme specific buildings MIGHT be things I really should be adding at some point. The generic "X Training" and "Maintenance" building options go a long way, and eventual plans for the generic "Prison" and "Luxury Elemental Garden" and "elemental blaster siege engine" etc... options from other sources will one day cover more, but I really feel there has to be something I am probably missing by not writing in some entirely specific buildings. Also probably items that directly interact with the specific skills might be nice too.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Moar Moar Elements, and some religion
Air magic and water magic turned out to be fairly short, racking in with just 1 Element each and some extra stuff. Though I do still want to do a Bubbles element and theme of options... but I'm not sure its going to count as "water" (might get "fluid" keyword though?).

I went back to Monster Options to cover some early element options to the new format (so supernatural beauty and ugliness now have blocks and barrier effects).

I also went back to religion to cover some obvious oversights, religion now includes options/background for interactions with Longevity and Immortality, afterlives, and souls. Also threw in a short Soul Theft element option for, well, soul thievery. Now, the boundary between soul thiever, and spirit eating, and other similar options is kinda fuzzy at this stage with some shared necro keyword use... I may yet need to asses and reform them to a standard of some form, but that may at the very least, need to wait until I get to the necromancy section proper.

Anyway, for now there are some options in there for settings to tell you if you are going to take longer to die, where your soul goes, what happens if you come back without it, and how someone can steal it earlier for fun and profit.

Might need some options on binding souls to items. Might stick it in as a sub category on intelligent items instead.

Need some options for immortality treatments, probably need to tack them into healing, necromancy, drugs and alchemy.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Actually no wait...
Actually I just started petramancy and was all "wait... mud has to go somewhere. Also. Dehydrating element can go in as a bonus mini element with useful interactions in the hydromancy set.".

So yeah, a bit of a hybrid half element from mud, and an element with limited to no direct specific support options, but a fun defeat state and strong interaction with existing fluid pools/clouds options. Though maybe I should make it interact with Dust instead... hmmm... whatever for now.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Elements, Poisons and Indexes
OK, so moar elements continues to rumble along with several more of the "easy" ones filled in. Though to be fair, I really feel like the sonomancy social options could use work and maybe an actual magical song "alt" element needs insertion there...

But anyway, thing is, I'm coming up to options that will need to share at least some mechanics with, or otherwise be somehow compatible or comparable with other sections. Soon I'll need stuff on leadership and pets and minions and stuff, but right now I need Poison, which means filling out more stuff in alchemy. Which I have started to do.

However, on the other hand there is the table of contents issue.

So hey. I've been using headings about three deep like EVERYWHERE. The idea being my table of contents will function as a reasonable substitute for a fairly exhaustive index.

But, it's probably too big. Google Docs has minor issues generating it, and frankly it's not the best or most helpful navigation tool, especially considering I CAN just use a search tool on the document.

What I should probably do is thin out the sub headings for a lot of things into mere bolded or sized text instead of proper headings so less chaff appears in the ToC. Not sure if I'm ready for that side project...
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2015 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Poisons And Drugs
Well. Poisons and drugs (and some more potions) are done.

The extra potions are Transformation potions, by giving potions access to forced retrain transformations and monstrous item application it creates a base template for potion items that range dramatically in power and application, allowing pretty much any effect covered by the rest of the system ranging from monstrous transformations to temporary access to cultural skills including magical powers.

Poisons are bad potion effects which deal damage of various types, or some of the negative weird effects applicable with or related to transformations and stuff. They run off similar mechanics to Curses, with only limited capacity for auto damage effects, mostly applying effects through the medium of attack rolls to permit better defense interactions.

Drugs are potions or poisons that are addictive, have negative side effects, or purely recreational (possibly largely negative) effects. The addiction mechanic lets you give drugs an addiction score that increases cumulative chance of becoming addicted and triggers an addiction attack to become addicted with each use/application.

Overdosing works like addiction and some drugs get an overdose value and if overdose attack hits some bad side effect or poison will apply.

Addiction (and withdrawal, and hangovers, and overdose, and side effects) can be used for a number of roles, its a way of making "inferior" potions for culturally/tech limited sources, its a way of making more insidious and complex potions and poisons for characters that dabble in it as specialists, and it is pretty fluffy in it's potential.

Addiction however is relatively easy to recover from. If you have access to poison cures at all (and potion heavy settings/locations likely do just from potions alone) you can just cure it as a poison injury.

Which is nice because the game isn't supposed to be a nasty spiral into destructive addiction, so having a pretty damn cheap opt out is a good idea. I mean if a player WANTS to remain addicted to something, if a GM wants to be a dick and throw around addictive options in a setting without ready access to poison cures they could, but the general assumption is that poison cures ARE out there, somewhere, probably nearby, at low prices affordable from all bar the earliest lowest wealth portions of play, and odds are good any time beyond "level zero" there may well be one already on your person for general healing emergencies anyway.

Now, while I am here I should probably do the rest of alchemy including general alchemy options (for actual alchemist characters who make all these damn potions), glues and solvents (to help interact with the upcoming stuff from the solumancy conversion that has glues and stuff in), and probably explosives too (since alchemy section would then be basically complete).

Then it's back to elements for poison, acid and glue related stuff... then maybe off to miniony enhancing things like combat leadership and pets and so forth before getting into things like necromancy, golem animating and so on (along with the other "more interesting" magic option sets).
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Summoning Junk
OK so I threw in some random "I lead little men right in combat for some bonuses" and "I have a pet of some sort" options.

And then I went over to the generic magic powers bit and created a generic "I summon elemental minions" power. Because we needed that.

I based it's resourcing/cost structure off the questionable monstrous spawn materials back in monsters. So, at the cost of approximately 2 skill points, maybe some training, maybe a Luxury point you can summon minions at about a Squad per Action/Energy Point. And if you want them to be higher quality that means you need to allocate "empty" slots from your upgraded barracks and postings from a base as "awaiting summons" slots instead of "guards waiting here" or "squad you can assign to active missions" type slots.

And the random grab bag of leadery abilities includes some "screw base facilities, I got some extra active minion slots that don't even need barracks!" options, so you CAN be (a little bit, and probably inefficiently) independent of an actual base and still have SOME followers/minons or empty slots to summon them (and keep them rather than lose them). But very very little lets you actually upgrade those summoned minions short of having an upgraded barracks at your disposal somewhere (even your "independent minion squad" skills don't give quality upgrades without base facility ownership).

Minion summoning... might be too costly. But it's probably about right, especially however the Elemental Minions option is a generic magic summoning ability so that gaps can be filled and various eccentric fire wizard cults CAN have fire elementals, but presumably when I hit certain very specific skill sets that "specialize" in minion summoning they may get something in some way either better or cheaper. And the base monstrous spawn options... are not entirely intended to be encouraged as viable and efficient options, so some minor cost blow out on the existing minion summoning options isn't precisely a bad thing... so far.

And of course more options are being added, generic magic now has options for "create a pillar of X rising out of the ground, stand on it, throw enemies off it, keep them on it, slam it through ceilings", there are wall/minion summoning interactions like "turn your walls, blocks, areas and clouds into matching elemental minions", and there are "screw it, make all your walls and minions and stuff just explode" options.

New elements now include such fun totally not too specific options like Fungus, Spores, Rot, Rust, Cloth, Paper, and Bubbles.

I'm still balking at writing an actual "dust under the lounge/lint" option, though having a cloth/dust hybrid could now be more viable with existing dust AND cloth specific sets that it could now tie into both of.

Really need to get Alchemancy cleared away now alchemy is ready for it and generally keep churning through the magic.

Google Docs, not as brilliant as hoped for paperless play
Goggle docs is having some minor loading time issues on my android tablet and the god damn linked contents/index doesn't seem to work right on the god damn android app, because hey why WOULD I want to click on the god damn heading on the first page and have the document take me god damn 50 pages in to the specific entry, that's CLEARLY crazy and should only be limited to the PC right?...

...anyway, that means I may need to start breaking the cultural document up into smaller theme specific reference document copies soonish for better ability to reference specific items at the table on the tablet, or I need to work on figuring out the android google docs app a bit better (I think it has a local download and store options that may help with load times at least, and for fucks sake there must be SOME way to make the fucking contents links work).
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

My Skin Is On Fire
Well, not mine. Someones, with a skill for that (or any other element option), that has always been in Monster Options, but which due to a hasty lack or referencing a while ago was duplicated.

That redundancy has been partially fixed (bunch of references still need modification).

All The Moar The Elements
Alchemancy is done. It's rather different to other options (for alchemy compatibility) and revolves largely around extra ways to make potions/drugs/poisons and extra ways to apply them, its main big thing is the basic Venom element lets you use up and apply your poison doses to a magic blaster attack (or anything you can slot an Element option into). If you don't have a poison handy... you get a default poison option and can invest some skills in more.

Lint magic... still balking at actually implementing it. Not sure what is left after Cloth magic for it... still maybe as a tacked on option...

Acid, Glue, Grease and Jelly are now elements, and all get to be "Goo" elements and play nice with each other by getting free element combos with each other so you can make sticky acidic jelly walls all in one action really easily.

Light and Dark magic are back. With their integrated zone lighting shenanigans and various ways to turn zone lighting (bright or shadow) into bonuses on various attacks and defenses, much as they had before. BUT NOW, in the general theme of "Moar" instead of JUST "bright" and "shadow" options, there are ALSO "moonlight" and "sunlight" options, sunlight ties in more cheaply with fire, moonlight has a keyword/defeat state tie in for mutating transformation attacks, both have themed bonuses/options for gaining energy or making huge multi-target attacks in zones which are lit by the moon or sun.

I considered a starlight option but decided to pass on it.

Sonic magic was slightly altered and got it's modified musical social element to try and reform it a bit more into the standard element system.

Metal magic got a look in, and controlling metal, hurling metal at people, and trapping them in their own armour is now a thing. Some minor sword sainting tied in with the ability to pick up and throw metal weapons around as part of metal elemental blaster attacks for fun and profit.

Glass got it's moment in the sun, with a modifying skill to make it molten glass and tie into lava stuff from pyromancy. It made it's appearance along side a Crystal element and shares some options including sharp caltrop things and refracting of energy attacks, while crystals alone get glowing, the ability to shoot out various other magic energies and some other stuff.

Destruction magic gets to be a small category all it's own for the rather potent 'Disintegration" element that lets you completely destroy things you defeat, which makes healing lost limbs, raising dead characters or repairing damaged items harder, what with them being entirely gone.

Destruction also gets the "mini" option of the "Laser" element... which got in there originally because "laser wizards" sounded fun, and is now thanks to someone actually taking it a legacy thing I can't actually just drop now I have Sunlight doing pretty much the same thing mechanically. And that's what Laser mostly does. The same thing mechanically.

More additions to the basic "generic magic" options, including offensive shields that damage things they come in contact with, and the completion of "make your magic blasts shaped like weapons for keyword tie ins with weapon fighting skills, an attack bonus, and an upgrade option!" skills.

Next, Everything Else
Moar Elements... isn't over, but the remainder of magic options increasingly moves towards things that either aren't quite as simple "hurl X at Y until Y dies from X" or at the very least revolve around unique mechanics or require extra rules support.

So next up is stuff like... shrinking and enlarging stuff, teleportation, animating generic matter, necromancy, swarm control, transformation magic and the "social only" options of Mind Control, Illusion, Insanity, Sleep.

And then salvaging the old "magic profession" skill sets for all the random junk that used to be tied to things like "Wizard", "Psion" and "Sorcerer" and finding a place for them, if they still have one.

THEN, magic will be pretty much done, and I can move back to melee, shooting, moar armours, moar ethnic dress, surgery, prosthetics, more mechanical stuff, energy blaster guns (hm... should be doing those now actually), vehicles, non-magic profession set conversions, and you know everything else. But I am hoping by finishing up the magic section ahead of a lot of the others I might have some hope of doing a revision pass on the others that brings them at least somewhat in line with power levels/costs for magic options.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OK, so I tacked together the old Mind-Control, Insanity, Sleep and Psionics stuff to form a complete Mental Magic type set of options with various common components.

There are things I could say about that...

Magical Mind Control vs Electric Seduction
As part of the "integrate social mechanics" drive and the "provide more diverse options for social mechanics" project... I long ago decided to make element option tie ins with social options. In the old set that was a custom "modify your social attack with this element option!" skill for each set.

Now, you get to take your (Element) option and tack it onto a social attack with the Social Magic generic option in the same way you can make a physical attack with any (Element) option using Magic Blaster or Magic Strike and so on.

Buuuut... SOME (Element) options are already social, and can just turn your Magic Blaster into a social attack!

So why the differentiation?

Well, social magic is supposed to be the tie in that lets you electrify your seducing or set your lies on fire so that you can target social defenses, use your sweet social bonuses, and STILL somehow electro stun someone or set someone on fire. Because in magical fantasy land lies that set you on fire aren't ridiculous, they are awesome.

But the "social" elements, like Mind-Control, exist as more direct intended social options, they include better built in support to ignore multi-targetting, they have better socially focused additional skills to upgrade them, and in the end you basically shouldn't need to have to buy the generic social magic option to make your mind control work as an actual social attack, and you shouldn't need to invest in the same ability that lets your lies set people on fire in order to make a mind control attack that actually controls minds.

The new social types
They aren't that new, these guys have been planned from the beginning for this edition.

But, the "default" social attack (and defeat) types everyone "just gets" are limited to the original "Lies/Seduction/Fear/Friendship" themes with their various quirks, bonuses and limitations (and supporting skill sets to upgrade them).

The mental magic sets bring in three new social attack/defeat types with...

Mind-Control - You just flat out control the targets mind, tell them to do whatever. No limits. Except for communication. Targets can interpret your commands poorly on purpose... but as long as you have awareness of their actions and some open means of communicating with them, you can totally observe the attempt and prevent it at no action cost. It's only unattended mind slaves with ongoing instructions who are a risk for sneaky subversion of orders through interpretation.

Mind control as a defeat state is pretty damn powerful, with basically no limits, and no line beyond which you end up breaking or cashing it in by means of somehow betraying the victim. But it DOES come with additional options that let you cash the state in for other benefits, it heals on its own if unattended, and it's something fairly obvious, offensive and high priority for 3rd parties to heal.

Sleep - Is the sucky magical social option. It just knocks people out. But it's a nice theme, and it gets some consolation prizes where you can drain your sleeping victims as resources.

Insanity - Is the questionable magical social option. It's not as good as mind-control for clear and direct control of every little action... but it comes with the potential for FREE BONUSES from Crazy bad trait options, so you can drive your victims into homicidal madness turned on their allies, and they get a little homicidal maniac buff out of it (or you can skip the buff if you prefer).

Insanity hits more easily against characters with the Crazy bad trait, but then just triggers their regular insanity and doesn't let the attacker pick one.

Recovery Time and Mental Social Defeats
For the most part recovery time on mental social defeats is pretty brief. Mind-Control is possibly the longest of them, insanity just requires a strategic recovery action, and sleep can be cured hit point by hit point with a light slapping around in combat time turns.

You can pick up a cheap trivial option to remove the "anyone can heal themselves with rest" bit, but at the cost of making yourself a target because your defeat/death removes that limitation.

You can further pick up another cheap trivial option so your death DOESN'T remove the limitation on "natural" self healing for mind control and insanity... but nothing you are doing with these cheap trivials removes the potential for a character with the right healing powers from walking in and just healing the effect.

Sleep gets it's own actual skill point costed duration extender since swapping from "anyone can wake them up with a combat action or two" to "sleep for an ST, or forever" is a bigger deal, removes sleeps biggest weakness and has some actual direct combat utility relevance.

This also reminded me I wanted some sort of "duration extender" options for the default social defeat states. So Friendly got the best one (very pricy) that lets your defeats (friendly or otherwise) continue even if you appear to be attacking the victim. Scary got an option to remove its "if you see me defeated" end state. Deceptive got an option to remove its "if you see evidence contradicting the lies" end state. And seduction got the very cheapest extenders (just training rooms and trivial points) to remove monogomy/jealous defeat breakers and failure to meet arbitrary romantic expectation defeat breakers. Seduction got those so cheap because there are two of them, and both of them are somewhat more arbitrary bullshit that can screw a player over for no reason compared to the other ones.

All the default social duration extender options can have SOME limited application across the four default social defeat states, but the friendly one by far is the go to one that will benefit at least three out of the four defeat states if you picked it up.

Astral Travel Bullshit
Amongst various accessories and utlities ranging from the trivial to the notable were little mental power bits like mind reading... and remote viewing and astral travel.

Astral Travel and Dream Walking are... bullshit, the ability to drop in on someone in their home as an evil magic ghost and kick their ass remotely, or to sneak into their dreams to do so in a way that is marginally less controlled but also can more clearly arbitrarily isolate them from allies... both are potent abilities. Significant costs, extra costs to increase range, and in built risk equality (especially for astral travel) with the way damage to astral bodies works... help. But it's probably still a pretty cludgey and potentially abusable option.

But also a cool one, so it needed some representation.

Next Up... I don't know, size and space alteration?
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Minor Illusions
Some very minor piecemeal additions to things here and there, like Surgery and Cybernetics getting some token trivial/room options for "you can totally do this now" options, and no real combat relevant support, yet. I think most cybernetics options we care about are actually just going to be monstrous item applications of mechanical items that still need writing, most surgical effects are monstrous powers that already exist, and most surgical attacks really just belong as more widely available fighting techniques.

Illusion has gotten a write up. It think I may have made the overall wording a bit worse during an attempt to update the function a little, and it now interacts with/matches various standards for instant item crafting and decoys and stuff. It's ongoing resource management limitations have shifted over more towards buildings and MT wealth rather than temporarily reducing your Max Energy like it used to.

However I'm thinking I don't want to convert illusions over to fully match or reproduce a direct standard implementation og energy blaster, wall, or minion summoning effects. Instead you get a generic illusion summoning skill that does... most of those things... but not in remotely the same way, just creating "fake' stuff that either gets an attack profile to convince things it is real, or gets an attack profile to just act as a puppet for indirect/additional social attacks.

And it's got invisibility, disguise, and decoy blocks so things are pretty good.

I think.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Forbidden Magic
Well.

The "weirdo" magic sets were always going to be the... troublesome ones, and ones more interesting to talk about.

So here are the new ones...

Existentialism
Ostensibly has several main themes. 1) Making things not exist 2) Making things exist like they would in an arbitrary alternative timeline instead 3) Time Travel and a minor 1a) Making things that exist not really exist, but still hang around as annoying imaginary things in some observers minds and 3b) attacks through aging/reverse aging.

Time travel and existential attacks got lumped together because they both can interact with "changed the way the universe always has been" mechanics.

Those mechanics are a little rider effect on some of the existential defeats and effects that make it impossible for characters to KNOW that the defeat has occured, and causes the universe and history itself to change to match the "new reality" of the existential removal or alteration that has occured.

And you can spend a single Trivial point in "Existential Angst" (I am overly proud of the name), to say "screw that" and actually be able to KNOW when one of your allies has just been banished beyond the realms of ever having existed.

This causes of course the important upshot of potentially bad impacts on PERMADEATH. Which, is not a thing this system especially wants. That means that IF existential "unknowable" defeats of PCs can occur, the Existential Angst option not only has to be available, and widely available, but actually at least one survivor pretty much HAS to have it.

OR you can implement one or two optional rules to water down the "unknowable" thing a bit so that people (and parts of the universe/history) far away don't get changed, or small flaws in the changes emerge, or whatever, so that somehow somewhere there can be the information needed to observe the fact that some sort of healing/repair/restoration may need to be done.

Actual mechanics wise as improbable as it might seem, the issues with massively altering existence itself were relatively minor. (Sort of), character, culture, and setting building tools are what the whole rules system is, forced retrains are a thing, mutation attacks that alter targets and turn them into allies (or whatever you like) on defeat are a thing, terrible defeats are a thing.

So existential defeats are just yet another magic attack that kills you (with differing special effects) or turns you into an ally or something of the attacker (with differing special effects) using relatively standard mechanics.

Weirder utility effects, minor side abilities and a couple of stupidly expensive game winner buildings to let you broadly alter reality in large chunks were also added.

Time travel gets the fairly obvious options, and can and does interact nicely with the whole existential angst thing.

As pretty much the bullshit REALLY stupid idea outlier though... the short term self cloning Time Clone ability... is probably a giganticly bad idea with HUGE abuse potential for instant gigantic, probably infinite resource multiplication. "I never spend Energy, my Time Clones spend about 10 times the energy every turn instead" sort of thing. I should never have written it and even now just deleting it instead of typing this would be a wiser use of my own time. But I'm not going to... Maybe one day I'll just include some additional sensible limitations. Or delete it. Maybe...

Space Alteration
Its the lets play with space itself power set. Shrink people, grow people, mess with their item sizes, shrink their head, put them in your pocket, etc...

But those bits were pretty easy, especially once I threw in "ah, oh I know, custom weaker break item effect that just lets you heap on "size change" caused makeshift item penalties.", it's good to have foundations like that to use elsewhere.

It was the other bit that is, well, pretty dodgy hack stuff.

That's the banishment and placement powers that let you send characters, and entire zones of space "away" and or put them back, or in the case of zones, add new ones.

That mostly consists of "screw it, have a no-damage banishment stun juggle with relatively minimal attack rolls" and "I guess we use the wall zone splitting attack as a basis for knocking people out of banished zones or into new ones..." and then a bunch of hack stuck on top of that.

Biggest stupid ideas in that one are probably the banishment duration extenders, sure it sort of makes sense that there be SOME way to banish someone/their whole zone with them and KEEP the banished like, forever, and having that tied to banisher defeats or room destruction to end it, or things like that is all very well as a good "out".

But it's still tied to a single hit attack and amounts to a potential Save Or Die in a system where, yeah those SORT of exist otherwise, but have different and more notable limitations interacting with the Block system as a common resource to stop them, and the Energy and other resources as costs for them. IF you invest in the permanency stuff and have the right (expensive) rooms and items... banish is just an on hit effect that is basically free in short term resource costs. You parry it or you are banished for all eternity (or until someone kills that guy and his house).

I suppose it makes it fill a marginally unique niche, but still...

The other stupid thing in space alteration was indefinite space storage devices getting the option of indefinite (willing or helpless) character storage... that's not so great, zones could contain LOTS of characters, your allies and staff are willing characters, sure we actually DO want a way for characters to use their space alteration to keep allies in their pockets... but a not quiet limitless number of them... hrm...

Similarly the size changing stuff has a "store any number of shrunken things and people in your pocket" and a "unshrink things just like that" option. For the same "infinite allies in my pocket" issue, but also the rather troublesome potential of interacting with more advanced multi-option torn shirt blocks to keep, and use, and infinite number of ablative armour blocking layers in a single pocket.

These sections are seriously getting plastered with, "watch out", "must edit", "should not have written THAT" notes. But then again, these sections, especially the "all new" bits of them (both these ones are "all new") were always going to be like that.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Phonelobster,

The basic algorithims you've set up for how a military logistical networks need to operate alone could improve most strategy games.

However, can the PCs enter a barracks itself? or are they more like RTS style structures you hit with a sword until it goes on fire, and then collapses?

I'm not sure if I can use any of these ideas in my Sci-Fant Kitchensink Earth remix of After Sundown, but they all seem really interesting.
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