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House rules for Basic RPG: feedback needed.


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Hello,

is my first post.

I'm reading the BGB and I find character creation very good: detailed, full of options and well organized.

For task resolution and combat I have in mind some house rule: the main goal is to complete eliminate tables form the game and do not have anymore multiple variable threshold to check. (1/5 skill, 1/20 skill and so on)

I also increased  bit the probability of Fumble and Critical Success.

 

Resolution of actions:
if the result of the D100 is less than or equal to the score there is a success, otherwise there is a failure. To determine the degree of success, the tens and the units are inverted and the value thus obtained is called Intensity.

Successes:
If the Intensity value is less than 10 you have a Critical Success.
Otherwise, if it is less than 30 you have a Special Success.
Otherwise you have a standard Success.

Failures:
If the Intensity value is less than 10 you have a Fumble.
Otherwise you have a standard Failure.

Combat:
Both contenders make a test and determine the victory points according to the following:
Fumble: 0
Failure: 1
Success: 2
Special success: 3
Critical Success: 4

If the attacker's victory points are greater than those of the defender subtract the defender victory points from the attacker victory points, the attacker must then spend 1 victory point to inflict damage and can spend the rest to activate one or more of the following effects. Each effect costs one victory point.

Damage equipment: the weapon or the armor of the defender is damaged.
Double damage: the weapon's damage dice are rolled twice.
Maximized Die: One of the dice that should be rolled is replaced by its maximum value.
Ignore armor: the defender's armor is ignored.

If the defender's victory points more than the attacker's, subtract the attacker victory points from the defender victory points, then the defender can spend victory points to activate one or more of the following effects. Each effect costs two victory points.

Disarm: the defender disarms the attacker.
Risposte: the defender damages the attacker.

If victory points are the same, the attacker does half damage.

Skill Comparisons:
As for combat, but in the event of a tie, the player with the most skill wins.

Supernatural:
If during a test your character has achieved a success, he can invoke the help of the Great Old Ones. He rolls 1D100 and if he rolls 50 or less he transforms Success into Critical Success. If, on the other hand, the result is greater than 50, it turns Success into a Fumble.

 

I can respond to yours observation editing here. It's true that the system could be simplified but I prefer the Intensity because it is more general and can handle also threshold values not multiple of 10. For example it is possible to introduce the spell Curse (+2D10 to the Fumble threshold) or Luck (+2D10 to the Special and Critical threshold) or the combat maneuver Reckless attack  (+2D10 to all the threshold for 1 round). For the combat observation: I have written the wrong sentences .... I will correct the english so it will be more clear.

Second edit: sorry I forgotten an important information. The whole thing was clear in my mind but translating it in English was an epic fail.

Edited by Giovanni_Cambria
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I like the idea of Victory Points and spending them to achieve various effects. You could use the same method for non-combat skills, but the effects would be different. So, getting 2 Victory Points on a Climb might allow you to climb twice as far in one round, for example.

The rules for criticals, specials and fumbles are OK, but it would be worth putting values into a spreadsheet to see what they mean in practice. It seems easy enough to work out whether something is a critical, special or fumble, though.

 

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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I confirm that this sounds good, but it can be further simplified. Also, it is essentially an alternative version of the special effect system found in Legend, Mythras and Revolution. I explain the thing in detail:

1. Instead of forcing a digit flip and introducing the concept of Intensity, you can simply say that:

  • All successes ending in 0 are criticals
  • All successes ending in 1 or 2 are specials
  • All failures ending in 0 are fumbles

Talking about success levels rather than victory points would make the concept clearer.

2. I suggest you look at the free versions of Mythras (Imperative) or Revolution D100 (SRD), they contain many more special effects. Also be careful as Ignore Armour and Maximise damage should cost more than one point. In this way you obtain the effects of a special or critical with a simple success if unparried.

PM me (in Italian) for more info.

 

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I have some doubts about the Victory points rules. It's a strange mix of differential and non-differential outcomes that heavily skews in the favour of the attacker.

Assuming I understand things correctly, if the attacker scores better than the defender, he gains either 2, 3 or 4 points regardless of what the defender rolls. As presented, it doesn't matter if the defender fumbles or fails; the attacker gains the points dependent on how well the attack roll went. The attacker then has a few options for a 1 point cost, to inflict harm on the defender - but the defender has no way of mitigating the harm done. If you consider that the defender could score a success, there ought to be some form of consequence mitigation: but there doesn't appear to be. The attacker, if he scores a Special or Critical, gains the same number of points for extras regardless of whether the defender rolls a success, failure or fumble.

Conversely, if the defender betters the attacker, he or she needs to roll at least 2 points better than the attacker to obtain an extra effect. And the effects are double the cost of those for a prevailing attack (and fewer in number). Basically, a defender has to do more for less reward.

I think as presented the rules need a lot more thought and playtesting to see how they run in practice. On paper though, attackers are at a significant advantage over defenders, and that doesn't feel in the BRP/d100 spirit of things.

 

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The Design Mechanism: Publishers of Mythras

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Lawrence I suspect you misunderstood his message about level of success value and he was just trying to get away from a result table where one should cross reference column and row to a simpler description, but really it's the same that everyone does. At least I suspect it to be so.

As to the threshold or whether we have crit, special, etc.. there lots of variation... 

Good suggestion Rosen, much simpler, for Math group averse.. which is an issue I have... 🙂 
Side note, to split hairs, I heard them before and some people criticized them for penalizing skill over 100%. True enough, but I think using skill over 100% to lower all opponent skill% by value over 100% is good enough for me.

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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Quote

Lawrence I suspect you misunderstood his message about level of success value and he was just trying to get away from a result table where one should cross reference column and row to a simpler description, but really it's the same that everyone does. At least I suspect it to be so.

I get all that - but I'm responding to how the mechanics were presented in the original post - and I'm afraid that they're very unbalanced, despite the intention of getting away from cross-referencing tables.

I note that Giovanni has subsequently edited the original post to take into account suggestions made since the original; @Giovanni, it's actually better if you respond to posts with your changes rather than editing the original, as it makes the context of the replies impossible to follow.

Edited by lawrence.whitaker
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The Design Mechanism: Publishers of Mythras

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I agree with what @lawrence.whitaker said above.

Basically, I you look at what results will give you a crit or special with the proposed method, it's basically :

-Crits: results where the units die is 0, plus "01".

-Special: results where the units die is either 1 or 2, plus "03".

For instance, if your skill is 32, you'll get a crit if your original d100 roll is either 01, 20 or 30. No other possible result will be both under your skill, and be under 10 if reverted. You'll also get a Special on 02, 03, 10, 11, 12, 20, 21 or 22.

I'm personally not a very big fan of the idea to use the units die of the d10 (or reverting dice, which is almost the same), because it's distribution is not really the flat 1-10 distribution one may think it is. If your tens of your roll are equal to the tens of your skill, your unit die will be between 0 and the units of your skill. For instance, if your skill is, again, 32, you'll have 4 possible success cases which ends with either a 1 or a 2 (01, 11, 21, 31 and 02, 12, 22 and 32 respectively), while you'll only have 3 for other possible results ( 03, 13 and 23, 04, 14 and 24, and so on...).

As a result, the chance to get a crit or a special will depend a lot on the units of your skill, and will be lowest if your skill is a multiple of 10.

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Ah! Finally I can respond.

@Mugen It's true but remember: closely mimic the flat distribution was not my goal. Moreover the higher the skill value the more close is the approximation. It is fair to assume that player will attempt a test only if their PC has a skill greater than 50 so the unit problem could not be very important.

If you want to exactly match the original distribution the only way (I see) is to roll, together with the D100 one D10 called Intensity dice.

In summary:

Flipping => use it only if you want to handle variable threshold.

Units-only => use it if you want the simplest and fastest way. (proposed by @RosenMcStern)

Intensity dice =>use it if you want an exact probability match.

 

@lawrence.whitaker I own and like Mythras! (also one physical copy)

sorry but I have written the first post wrong then I edited 2 times since I cannot post more than once in a day.

 

Another possible use of Victory points is magic: activate one spell should cost 2 VP. The reaming ones could be used to buy power up from a list:

Double range, Double area of effect, Double number of targets, Double duration, Double dices, Maximized dices, Unnoticeable casting, No ingredients .... and so on 

 

As suggested by @soltakss they could be used also in task resolution to buy power up like: Quick victory, Stealth victory, Impress the crowd ... and so on. 

 

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This sentence...

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If victory points are the same, the attacker does half damage.

Needs clarification. As presented, the attacker inflicts damage even on a failure or fumble. 🙂

And while subtracting the lower VP from the higher to provide the actual VP available for effects is a good balancing move, the effects are still weighted in the attacker's favour because they cost less and there are more to choose from.

I think that the major problem is that the mechanics introduce a lot of complexity that can be easily avoided. To work out if I crit, special or fumble, I have to flip the dice result and compare that flipped result to another target number. That's certainly more effort (to me, at least, your mental gymnastic ability may vary) than calculating 1/10, 1/5 or 1/20 of the dice result. It's certainly less intuitive than knowing that a fumble is always 99 or 00. But then, I've been playing these games for a long time, and so the Old Ways are ingrained in my DNA.

For the combat rules, I do like the idea of Victory Points (Mythras uses them for Tasks), but as presented it's a complicated and clunky way to do what Mythras does with a straight forward set of Differential rolls.

But, it's always fun to play around and test variations like these, because you can come up with some really good rules that help play and introduce something fresh to the game. If it feels right at the table, works for the players and your game, and is easy to understand and implement, then go for it. And certainly don't stop experimenting!

The Design Mechanism: Publishers of Mythras

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I can respond right now! Good.

In any case to design those rules I followed an old advice:

Comparison > Success count > Addition > Subtraction > Multiplication > Division

where > means 'is faster'.

The proposed mechanics involve only flipping and compare with fixed values that can be done in no time .... division is slower.

In any case, I admit, the 'flipping' part could irritate my players and is furthermore not necessary so for my experiments I think I'll go with the Rosen variation.

Quote

As presented, the attacker inflicts damage even on a failure or fumble.

Is the intended effect: I prefer the asymmetry (attack favored respect to defense) to avoid grinding (performing repetitive actions and tasks to progress in the game) but is a matter of taste.

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Is the intended effect: I prefer the asymmetry (attack favored respect to defense) to avoid grinding (performing repetitive actions and tasks to progress in the game) but is a matter of taste.

Okay... 

Personally, I don't like skewing combat outcomes in favour of who is the more aggressive because it ignores (and in this case penalises) the defendant. There is basically no relief for the defender. If both sides fail the roll, the defender still loses. What if the defender is a more skilled combatant who was simply unlucky, or only narrowly failed the roll while the lesser-skilled attacker failed by a much higher margin? It breaks the realism that BRP combat strives for, which is why I said that the mechanics don't feel in the BRP/d100 spirit.

But, as I said, if it works for you at your table, go for it.

Edited by lawrence.whitaker
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Consider that usually, in classic fantasy adventures, the less skilled is the monster.

Think about the cliché of 4 heroes against a bunch o goblins or kobolds.

In classic D&D those monster quickly become not relevants when you reach higher level.

A slight shift in favor of the attacker could help them to stay relevant even against very strong PC.

 

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I think Loz has a point here. Failed attacks are rewarded too liberally in this system. Also, Pippin the Swift who dodges Brutus the Ogre while wearing no armour becomes mincemeat even with half damage. The big problem in BRP has always been how to reward the brave swashbuckler who dares combat while wearing just a t-shirt. Here his reward is a quick death at best 🙂

In any case, it is only after you have written down a complete and detailed list of effects that you can know whether the system as a whole is balanced.

Edited by RosenMcStern
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Posted (edited)

A more conservative approach is: in case of a tie nothing happens. (so defender wins)

Yes: maybe is the way to go.

Another possibility in order to increase the chances of Pippin the Swift is this: modify the effect table with this guideline ....  never increase the damage with one effect

So it could become: Damage Equipment, Ignore Armor, Inflict bleeding, Inflict stun (for offense)

Disarm and Risposte (for defense)

 

EDIT: I modified the system taking into account all the suggestions. Now is more symmetric and it is far easier to survive.

 

Resolution of actions:
if the result of the D100 is less than or equal to the score there is a success, otherwise there is a failure. To determine the degree of success we consider the number of units which is called Intensity.

Successes:
If the Intensity value is 0, you have a Critical Success.
Otherwise if it is 1 or 2 you have a Special Success.
Otherwise you have a success.

Failures:
If the Intensity value is 0 you have a Fumble.
Otherwise there is a Failure.

Combat:
Both contenders determine the victory points according to the following:
Fumble: 0
Failure: 1
Success: 2
Special success: 3
Critical Success: 4

If the attacker's victory points are greater than those of the defender, the attacker inflicts damage. Also subtract the defender's victory points from those of the attacker: the latter can spend the rest to activate one or more of the following effects. Each effect costs two victory points.

Inflict Bloody Wound: the defender bleeds for 1 HP per round.
Inflict Stun: the defender is stunned for one round.
Ignore armor: the defender's armor is ignored.
Damage the equipment: the defender's weapon or shield or armor are damaged.

If the defender's victory points are greater than or equal to those of the attacker, subtract the attacker's victory points from those of the defender: the latter can spend victory points to activate one or more of the following effects. Each effect costs two victory points.

Disarm: the attacker is disarmed.
Response: the attacker takes damage from the defender.

Skill Comparisons:
As for combat but ties are randomly broken.

Supernatural:
If during a test your character has achieved a success, he can invoke the help of the dark gods. He rolls 1D100 and if he rolls a result of 50 or less, he transforms the success into a critical success. If, on the other hand, the result is greater than 50, it turns success into a Fumble.

Edited by Giovanni_Cambria
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17 hours ago, Giovanni_Cambria said:

Skill Comparisons:
As for combat, but in the event of a tie, the player with the most skill wins.

That gives an enormous advantage to the character with the highest skill. I don't have time to do proper maths, but I think that even with a 1% difference, the highest skill has more that 75% chances of success. 

I'd rather use the 10s of the die to break ties. As the 10s will be between 0 and the character's skill tens, the character with the best skill still has an edge, but not to such an extant. 

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Posted (edited)

I do not see clearly the math but I prefer this swingy way so: ok.

EDIT: now i see it. 50 vs 51 we have tie failure (roughly 25%), tie success (roughly 25%), failure vs success(roughly 25%) and success vs failure(roughly 25%).

50 win only in 1 scenarios.

Edited by Giovanni_Cambria
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