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Jakob

Pitch me Revolution d100

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So, I've been sneaking around this sub-forum for some time now, and since I'm always interested in new d100-based games, I wondered if anyone could give me a short pitch on what Rd100 does differently than Mythras, Open Legend or Renaissance. From skimming throughthe Rd100 SRD, on the other hand, I get the feel that the conflict rules are extremely complex ... however, they are also interesting in that they seem to provide a framework for all kinds of conflicts besides combat. (on the other hand, M-Space does this in a very simple and concise way). All in all, Rd100 seems to depart much further from the common d100 framework than most other BRP-based games out there.

Essentially, I want you to tell that the rules are not as complicated as they look in the SRD, preferrably with a few examples of how the game actually plays and what the core concepts are that can be used to derive everything else if you get stuck as a GM (with Rd100 being a BRP-based game, I suspect that, unlike some other rpgs, it has this kind core concepts baked into the riles).

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Well, playtest has shown that if you keep the conflict rules too simple... they become boring. It is like D&D combat when you have way too many HP. If you do not insert some options, you get bored very quickly of "roll/hit, roll/hit, roll/hit etc. etc.", and once the effect of novelty wears off, you get bored. The rules are designed to avoid this, that is to force all players to describe what their characters are doing rather than just making endless rolls. Above all, the support rules force everyone and not only the roller to join in the process in a meaningful way to ensure victory, while keeping the number of rolls to a minimum, or at least ensuring that there are more descriptions than rolls in a given round.

This is explained in a note titled "Keep it Simple but not too Simple" that is not present in the SRD, which recommends the reader to pick the parts of the conflict rules that suit the group the most, looking for the group's sweet spot between completeness and ease. Yet it strongly discourages using only the “barebones”, for the aforementioned reasons.

As you suspected, most of the complexity you spot in the rules is in fact an effect of systematisation, that is phrasing as explicit rules things like "how long do you keep your spell active by casting and recasting it" or "when can you rest and heal", etc. These are all things you do exactly in the same way in all D100s, with the difference that in other games they are implicit, just a byproduct of "untold GM practice". This is explained in another note that is not in the SRD, called "Is not all this just common sense", at the beginning of chapter 3.

As an example, take another point that may sound complex at a first read: power duration. Instead of telling the Narrator that a power “expires after x rounds/minutes”, the rules tell you on what time scale the power remains active. This is explained in a small summary table which may look complicate. Until you actually use it in play and realize that it is a simplified version of what you have always been doing!

In fact, I have never seen anyone count rounds for spell duration (okay, once, when a Spirit Combat lasted more than 25 rounds and the shaman had to recast Spirit Screen, which means once in 30+ years of BRP….). Even in classic D100s, every GM makes a call about the subject “have spells expired?” by eyeballing how much time has passed whenever a significant event happens. In Revolution, this becomes a RULE rather than a consolidated GM practice: the GM has the task of deciding when the Time Scale “goes up”, and everyone knows that this event marks the end of a specific class of spells/powers: Common Magic ends when combat/conflict time ends, Divine Magic ends when Adventure Time ends (that is, you rest), and long duration Arcane Magic ends when Narrative Time ends. And if you look back at how you use to run the game, most of you already handle it this way!

Please note that these elements are present also in other games: for instance in Mythras Folk Magic has a “scene” duration, not a fixed time duration, and there is a specific definition of “Narrative Time”, “Combat” etc. That is, we have invented very little that had not been already theorized other game authors. It is just that other games use a certain approach only in some specific cases, falling back to more classic approaches in others. Revolution takes it to its extreme: it always works this way.

You might, at this point, wonder: but why change EVERYTHING? Why not take a more prudent approach like other authors have done?

The reason is simple: it is extremely easy to fall back to classic approach if you wish. In the core book, everywhere you see the quill&pen icon there is a short description about “how to do it the classic way”. But the game offers a complete, finished example of how it works when using “the alternate way”. In this sense it is more useful to you, the users of the game, as it shows you up to what point you can go, letting you make an informed decision whether to actually go there. Had we offered a more “balanced” approach, as others have done, we would basically have decided in your place what to keep of the classic method and what to introduce as innovation. With the all-innovation approach, it is up to YOU, the gamer, to decide what parts of the game to use “as is” and which to retrofit to “the classic way”. Nevertheless, the game works perfectly “as it is” in the SRD, without hybridizations.

However, all this will be easier to understand as soon as users have had the opportunity of seeing the complete document and not just the SRD, as many things are clearer when you see the side notes. I will release a preview of the full book within 24 hours, now that I have completed the cards. Within the next week I expect to deliver the PDF to pledgers and pre-purchasers.

I also recommend that you read the section labelled “conflict best practices”. It has plenty of examples. However, reaching the objectives described in the examples (conflicts that just incorporate the normal flow of play, as opposed to the extremely wrong idea that “when you start rolling the dice or applying the rules you have stopped role-playing”) requires a minimum of practice, and often also using at least some of the advanced rules to aid the Narrator in adjudicating some special cases.

For other subjects, like combat, please feel free to inquire further.

PS I hope it is clear that this is not a criticism of other authors. In fact, all authors of other indie D100 rulesets, whether or not we agree 100% on their approach to these subjects, have been credited as having provided important materials without which we could not have created the ruleset.

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Many thanks!

From reading through the first few chapters of the SRD, I'm really ambivalent about the system ... the gm/player advice/what is rpg sections really appeal to me (which is actually important to me, since these kinds of texts can tell you a lot about the design philosophy behind a game); I love the broad skills/trait system, the absence of fumbles and how advanced successes work (much better chances of getting a special succes at high skill rates = more diverse and interesting outcomes more often).

However, I must confess that both combat chapters still give me headaches; I don't really get how lifepoints work (so basically they seem to be HP in the D&D way?); and more importantly, who resolution points work in combat (are points spent for actions spent for the whole duration of combat ...?) All in all, handling two pools instead of one, with both influencing each other, seems kind of unwieldy to me.

Most of this has probably to do with the systematisation you mentioned and can be solved by re-reading the combat chapters more closely - I certainly don't expect you to explain the rules to me here (that's what the rulebook is for, after all). Still, musing a bit about what I get about the system and what not might help me getting it better.

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In Basic Combat, you do not "spend" points for actions. You have one or two actions, if you use two you get -5 Strike Rank (and I was tempted to eliminate even this, but then puristst would have complained that when you draw a sword and strike you are slower) and that's all. Resolution Points are something you lose as "hits" when you lose an exchange, like in conflicts. Basically, it is "Combat playing out as a Conflict", with Strike Rank thrown in. The original version had Resolution Points as Strike Rank (see Parpuzio v0.1), but I had some complaints.

Advanced Combat is a completely different beast. Only for those who want crunch. And forget understanding it by reading it. You have to try it. Once you have tried one or two battles, you will see how fast it goes. The trick is to not keep track of Life Points for NPCs until they are wounded, and use D20s to track Strike Rank (a paper clip for PCs only, as they often have more than 20). The rest is just Fast and Furious Melee.

As for Life Points, they are FATIGUE (and Mana) not HP. HP is Toughness. However, when you are wounded Life Points immediately go in the negative (rule taken directly from RQ3), and going in the negative has very bad effects. You can last 2-3 rounds while negative, after which either you disengage and rest (a Healing Potion will do, too) or you are kaputt. This is not written in the rules, it is a consequence. You need to see it in action to realize how much LP matter in combat. Nothing to do with D&D HP or RQ3 fatigue, although they may look similar.

PS if anyone wants to try out combat, I can demo through Fantasy Grounds.

Edited by RosenMcStern

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Sounds interesting ... after Looking at Crypts&Things, I actually toyed with the idea of using HP in OSR games as a kind of "universal ressource" (for both mental and physical stress), with real damage applied to the characteristic. Sounds like Life Points might work in a similar way.

I guess I'll have to get the actual rulebook after all, if only to take a closer look at some of the concepts.

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My feeling about the rules, is that the approach is sometime so different to what we are used to, especialy with the D100 systems, that we have to change our way of thinking. The difficulty resides in this, more than in the rules themselves. For example, I had to struggle with the spell durations until I understood that the rules simply write down the way powers are practically played, without requiring to count rounds. I wanted  seconds or minutes, but It is actually more or less like "once the spell is not relevant for the action anymore, it dispells". Same for Time Scales, which don't have a very fixed duration, except for Advanced Combat. I understand the time scale as beeing related to the adrenaline level.

I think that conflict require some practice, but the rules introduce them step by step. I'm using them for a campaign (the example in the SRD is from this game), and it is a powerful engine to avoid arbitrary GM decisions, involve all the palyers and make from an episode a memorable scene. Actually, once you know how it works, the difficulty may be to refrain using it too much !

I think that the application of the rules is simpler that their reading, but I haven't tested everything yet.

15 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

PS if anyone wants to try out combat, I can demo through Fantasy Grounds.

I would like to.

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3 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

Here is the promised preview.

Looks good! Very nice layout and art. Boxes full of options and advice.

 

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