Monday, November 21, 2011

Hacking a System, the Consensus Method

One thing that I've been trying to do lately is talk with the players before each session about how they feel about the system and the various mechanics that I've been coming up with. It's a good time for it because we're generally just eating some dinner-type food, the kids are getting ready for bed and we're all getting warmed up for hucking slave-slaads down slime-pits and then lowering the halfling down said pits on a rope.

Anyway, the player who's playing the arcane spellcaster was talking about how because of the aggravated wound system connected to casting spells, that although it made magic mysterious and dangerous, it also resulted in the party just taking whole weeks off to rest up so that they can get rid of those piled-up wound points because, in a system where death is just one or two swings of an axe away, having those points missing is pretty huge. Although I was initially resistant, I could see his point, we had to take the efficiency of the meta-game into account just as much as verisimilitude, and that doesn't necessarily mean sacrificing the latter for the former.

So we added a new damage track.

While Stun points are Vitality + Agility and Wound Points are Vitality + Willpower, Sanity Points are Willpower + Intelligence, which the casters appreciated because those are already important stats for them, so it gives them more leverage from concentrating on them and the halfling was a little perturbed by because he has all of 12 Sanity Points (compared to 22 for the mage) and considering that he's already a psychopath, it works nicely in terms of flavor.

When you run out of Sanity Points, the result is determined by the DM depending on the context -- for arcane mages, they may lose their (tenuous) hold on reality or become possessed by demonic forces, divine casters give up their control to an aspect of their god and non-spellcasters become unduly influenced by whatever caused them to lose Sanity. I also need to come up with a Madness Table should this occur (for whatever reason, the players were delighted by this prospect).

We also got into how grappling works in this system, which, I've decided, will involve no defensive rolls and instead once two more characters have Entered Into A Grapple by one of them making a successful Unarmed attack roll against another (Wrestling is the appropriate specialized skill for this) and then they will make opposing Grapple rolls (Strength + Unarmed) until one of them exits the grapple.

Grapple Combat:

1-3 more than opponent: Option to do stun damage at D4 OR put opponent in Hold -- opponent loses one die step for next round, is non-cumulative OR prevent opponent from using item, including weapons

4-7+ : Option to: do stun damage at D6 OR put opponent in Hold -- opponent loses two die steps for next round, is non-cumulative OR exit opponent from grapple to any adjacent area OR disarm opponent

8-11+ : Option to: do D6 Wound Points (bypassing DR) OR put opponent into Choke -- opponent must roll Vitality + Willpower to avoid losing consciousness OR exit opponent from grapple to any square within 10'

12+ : Option to: do D8 Wound points (bypassing DR) OR Break opponent's limb (doing D4 Wounds) OR exit opponent from grapple at high speed and up to distance of 20' horizontally and 10' vertically (can be diagonal for 10' each or equivalent)

The above is pretty rough and I feel like most systems, it benefits from a DM/players who can recognize how context changes (what if a halfling is wrestling an ogre? what if you're wrestling in an oil pit? etc. etc.) a combat situation and allow each other the ability to roll with the situation and figure out what rules seem reasonable for it.

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