12 February, 2015

Design a Module

The Australian Tabletop Gaming Network has launched a contest to design a fantasy module.

Here's the link (only Aussies can enter).

I'l done reasonably well in contests in the past so I'm thinking that I'll send an entry their way.

For this entry, I'm going to pick up some of the old pieces from one of my dusty works-in-progress...the fantasy take on FUBAR, "Faeries and FUBAR". Therefore, it's going to be a heist game, where the story starts with the characters at the mouth of a dungeon, and throughout the unfolding story we see flashbacks of preparations and encounters faced on the way to the dungeon mouth. I'd like to think the concept is fairly sound, and could be applied as a cap onto any standard RPG.

But to keep things simple, I'm thinking of throwing together a stripped back, bare-bones, microlite RPG that might be suited to telling these tales (or at least gets out of the way once the story takes over).

Let's for the moment call it "System 4". Rolling a 4 counts as a success, easy tasks require 1 success, harder tasks require more. Everyone starts with a d6, and then all characters gain an extra d4 in a racial aptitude.When a character buys an occupation level, they gain an extra d6 in an area where that character types tends to excel (for example, fighters get the bonus for "Fighting", Rogues get it for "Being Sneaky"), they also get an extra d4 in an area that isn't quite as focused for this occupation type (for example, clerics might get the d6 in healing, but only a d4 in spellcasting...they can do it, just not as well as a mage who gets the full d6). Then we throw in a couple of prestige classes which are very specialised in what they do; instead of a d6 and a d4, they get a single d8 (rolling a 4 counts as a success, but rolling an 8 counts as a double success). A poor piece of equipment might add another d4, good equipment a d6, and masterwork or enchanted items might add a d8 (or higher). If the situation has been set up, you might get a bonus d4 situational bonus.

When players attempt tasks, or engage combat, they roll a handful of d4s, d6s and possibly d8s. Every die rolling a 4 or better counts as a success (and 8s count as double successes). 1s count as failures and allow an opponent to gain a temporary d4 situational bonus. When in combat, a success renders an opponent injured (or blocks an incoming injury) and a success directed at an injured victim kills them.

Note that this isn't the system I've been talking about over the last couple of days. Consider it something I'm exorcising from my mind, so that I can focus on the other game more specifically. Ideas I'm generating here might end up filtering across to 'Other Strangeness', but for the moment I'm thinking of the two as separate entities. 

For this system to work, we generally need half a dozen (no more than that) key task areas that chracters can engage. For the moment I'm thinking  'Fighting', 'Magic', 'Thievery', 'Prayer', and 'Diplomacy'. I think that covers most of the fantasy stereotypes for actions.

Fighters - d6 fighting, d4 diplomacy (I'm thinking of a knight, or town guard)
Thieves - d6 thieving, d4 magic (I'm thinking of ninjas at one with the shadows)
Mages - d6 magic, d4 diplomacy (I'm thinking of traditional school trained wizards)
Clerics - d6 prayer, d4 magic (I'm thinking of mystics who channel the power of the gods)
Barbarians - d6 fighting, d4 thievery (I'm thinking of Conan, who was quite adept as a sneak/thief too)
Rangers - d6 fighting, d4 magic (I'm thinking that the magic here is obviously nature/herbal based)
Bards - d6 diplomacy, d4 magic (I'm thinking of typical D&D stereotypes here)
Priest - d6 diplomacy, d4 prayer (I'm thinking these characters are more concerned with mundane church affairs than spiritual)
Relic Hunter - d6 thieving, d4 prayer (I'm thinking of holy scouts who reclaim relics for the church)

So many possible options among the basic character types...Without even touching on racial prerequisites, or d8s.

Beyond this basic system, Characters might be able to buy a bunch of moves, perhaps requiring a minimum number of dice of different types (eg... Sneak Attack, requires 2 fighting dice and 2 thieving dice. Converts any 'Hidden' d4 situational bonus into a d8... Taunt, requires 1 fighting die and 2 diplomacy dice. Character may use Diplomacy dice in combat, where successes demoralise opponents or cause them to flee).

But the aim is to keep it simple. I'll leave it there for now.

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