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A New Generic Fantasy System?


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On 9/1/2022 at 5:20 PM, ThornPlutonius said:

I do not understand the opposition to "roll under" dice mechanics.  I especially don't understand the vehemence exhibited by some in their opposition to "roll under".

I personally think roll over is better than roll under for a simple reason : it handles skill opposition more simply and more elegantly. And skill opposition is an important part of any system for me. 

Roll-under shines when there's no modification to skill and no opposition : you just roll your die and compare it to skill level. It's quick, simple and effective. In comparison, standard roll-over systems require an addition before comparing with a threshold. It seems to me Savage Worlds doesn't require an addition, but it's an exception.

They're equally good when facing a non-standard situation, requiring a modifier to skill for roll-under.

But concerning skill opposition, nothing is as simple as doing it with roll-over : just compare the skill+dice roll, and the highest succeeds.

In roll-under, the equivalent is margins of success, but it's heavy on subtractions, and tiresome.

Roll-under blackjack works very well, but it's counter-intuitive, and many people don't get why they have to roll low but not too low.

Other methods -such as giving victory to the lowest roll, or only counting levels of success- have flaws which make them not worth considering for me.

Edited by Mugen
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Thank you for explaining why you don't like "roll under", Mugen.  I disagree with some of your characterizations (e.g., "tiresome" and "counter-intuitive") but I respect your point of view.  Perhaps it is a matter of how easily math comes to an individual player.  Whatever, there are are enough different systems that everyone should be able to find one that works well for them.

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I just ran about 2/3 of the Dragonbane quickstart adventure (I added some intro stuff to lengthen it). I was initially concerned about the "one action per round rule" (you can only either attack OR parry/dodge in a round) but it turned out to be really fun when tied with the initiative system that allows trading initiative position. It resulted in a lot more coordination between players/characters and some interesting decisions.

There were situations where it was be best for certain characters to attack and others to be ready to parry or dodge, which means trading initiative positions. There are abilities some of the professions have that tie into this as well, affecting those actions and initiative decisions. Those abilities encourage coordination as well.

There is some nice chrome in the game such as worthy advantages to having a shield, decision points around parry/block vs. dodge, armor type advantages vs. certain damage types, various weapon abilities, riposte, STR requirements for weapons, and weapons/shields getting damaged (some of these are optional rules).

Combat was fast and streamlined yet still interesting and tactical. The monster attacks are a lot of fun and evocative (they are straight out of Forbidden Lands). Dangerous and a constant threat of death, but not a meat grinder.

It really felt like BRP/Magic World but with some enhancements from other Free League games. Having moved away from BRP/RuneQuest to Free League games in recent years, I love Dragonbane as it melds the two. I'll have to see the full rules, but this is looking to be my Holy Grail game.

Edited by Narl
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9 hours ago, ThornPlutonius said:

Thank you for explaining why you don't like "roll under", Mugen.  I disagree with some of your characterizations (e.g., "tiresome" and "counter-intuitive") but I respect your point of view.  Perhaps it is a matter of how easily math comes to an individual player.  Whatever, there are are enough different systems that everyone should be able to find one that works well for them.

Actually, roll-under Blackjack works perfectly for me, and I would play a game based on it with no problem. But I've faced many players that had problems with it, even when they understood the maths behind it. It's heartbreaking to see a player say a triumphant "YES !" when he rolls a 1 and have to remind him it's actually a mediocre result...

As for Margins of success being "tiresome" : I'm quite good at maths myself, but to be honest having to make a subtraction after every single roll in combat can give me headaches after a few hours playing. And that's a burden you can't avoid with Margins of Success, obviously. And I really feel like it's an unnecessary one when BlackJack exists and have similar results.

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I'm in on Dragonbane (what a terrible title), but after reading the Quickstart I think I may drop it.

Just kind of discovered BRP over the past couple months and I've read through a ton of BRP games (Stormbringer4e/5e/Elric, BRP 4e, Pendragon, Jackals, Rev d100, MW, Legend, OQ 2e, CoC 7e, DG 2e, Mythras... some I'm forgetting) so I'm new to the ruleset, but still Dragonbane seem really uninspired watered down feeling. I also found some rules excerpts from Riot Games version which seemed noticeably cooler (but have only seen a bit)

Some minor cool ideas in db, but not up to the design standard I was expecting from Free League. Feels pretty phoned in. The combat mechanic is so basic from a read through, seems bland, especially compared to something like Pendragon, but then again Narl above actually tried it and seems to think in practice it works well. Who knows

And the only think I hate more than the ducks is their card initiative system. I wish they'd let that die

Edited by Metalzoic
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13 hours ago, Metalzoic said:

I'm in on Dragonbane (what a terrible title), but after reading the Quickstart I think I may drop it.

Just kind of discovered BRP over the past couple months and I've read through a ton of BRP games (Stormbringer4e/5e/Elric, BRP 4e, Pendragon, Jackals, Rev d100, MW, Legend, OQ 2e, CoC 7e, DG 2e, Mythras... some I'm forgetting) so I'm new to the ruleset, but still Dragonbane seem really uninspired watered down feeling. I also found some rules excerpts from Riot Games version which seemed noticeably cooler (but have only seen a bit)

Some minor cool ideas in db, but not up to the design standard I was expecting from Free League. Feels pretty phoned in. The combat mechanic is so basic from a read through, seems bland, especially compared to something like Pendragon, but then again Narl above actually tried it and seems to think in practice it works well. Who knows

And the only think I hate more than the ducks is their card initiative system. I wish they'd let that die

Likewise.  I was pulled in by their marketing, but, after reading the quickstart, I, too am considering removing my support.   My main twitch is over their continuing to base melee skills upon Strength instead of Agility.  My observation of melee combat makes it clear that the ability to move one's body in melee is more important than is Strength.  Their system does include penalties for not being strong enough for certain weapons and damage bonuses based upon Strength.  So, Strength does already affect melee combat.  If I stick with it and actually run the game, shifting Agility into the melee slot will be the first house rule.  I think I don't need another game in which I need to house rule such a thing.

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16 hours ago, ThornPlutonius said:

Likewise.  I was pulled in by their marketing, but, after reading the quickstart, I, too am considering removing my support.   My main twitch is over their continuing to base melee skills upon Strength instead of Agility.  My observation of melee combat makes it clear that the ability to move one's body in melee is more important than is Strength.  Their system does include penalties for not being strong enough for certain weapons and damage bonuses based upon Strength.  So, Strength does already affect melee combat.  If I stick with it and actually run the game, shifting Agility into the melee slot will be the first house rule.  I think I don't need another game in which I need to house rule such a thing.

It's a debate as old as RPG systems. In original D&D Strength was defined as the prime requisite for being a Fighting Man, whereas Dexterity only (slightly) affected one's ability to fight with bows.

It really depends on what you put under the term "Strength". If it's only lifting power, of course it sounds silly to base weapon skills on it. But if you consider it's also a measure of how you can use your muscles, then it can also mean speed.

In real life, it would be difficult to separate strength from agility, and tell one activity is solely based on strength and what other one is solely based on agility. 

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7 hours ago, Mugen said:

It's a debate as old as RPG systems. In original D&D Strength was defined as the prime requisite for being a Fighting Man, whereas Dexterity only (slightly) affected one's ability to fight with bows.

It really depends on what you put under the term "Strength". If it's only lifting power, of course it sounds silly to base weapon skills on it. But if you consider it's also a measure of how you can use your muscles, then it can also mean speed.

In real life, it would be difficult to separate strength from agility, and tell one activity is solely based on strength and what other one is solely based on agility. 

You are correct that how the attributes are defined makes a difference.  Since they define Agility as "Body control, speed, and fine motor skills" (QuickStart, p4) and Strength as "raw muscle power" (QuickSart, p. 4), I see little excuse for making Melee actions based upon Strength.  As noted, under their definition of the attributes, Strength is already correctly employed in damage modifiers and minimum Strength values to use certain weapons.   Should I maintain my pledge and actually play the game,  I will correct their error with the house ruling that I previously mentioned.

And, I fear this sub thread may have wandered away from the Original Topic (unless one might generously consider this attribute discussion as germane to possible new generic rpg rules).

Edited by ThornPlutonius
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With regards to the simplicity of Dragonbane, we haven’t seen the whole thing yet. One rules component that from what I have gleaned from interviews is something called “heroic abilities”. We don’t know yet but they may add things like using Agility for weapons besides knives. It will certainly add more options and chrome. We also don’t know what stats factor into starting skills. Agility may matter for that. 
 

Having played a good amount of the current RQ and Mythras before that in recent years, I am looking forward to a simpler BRP system, and Dragonbane is that. So understand some of my enthusiasm is coming from where I am at with my gaming. At this point, I’m not real concerned with what stats affect combat skills as long as it vaguely makes sense. I never want to have to calculate another skill category bonus!

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12 hours ago, Narl said:

With regards to the simplicity of Dragonbane, we haven’t seen the whole thing yet. One rules component that from what I have gleaned from interviews is something called “heroic abilities”. We don’t know yet but they may add things like using Agility for weapons besides knives. It will certainly add more options and chrome. We also don’t know what stats factor into starting skills. Agility may matter for that.

You're absolutely right. But we can also get a glimpse of the whole system from the QuickStart pre-generated characters.

For instance, it seems we can see two of those "Heroic abilities" on each character. One comes from the species (Ill Tempered for ducks, Adaptative for humans, etc.), and one seems to be freely chosen. With thelittle info we can see here, it's possible a watered down version of "Adaptative" can let you use AGL base instead of STR base for 1 WP.

The connexion between abilities and base skill values seems also pretty strong, and pretty familiar to RQ2/RQG players...

7 to 8 => base 4
9 to 12 =>base 5
13 to 16 =>base 6
17 to 19 => base 7

I think the fact the halfling has 4 in all her STR weapon skills despite having AGL 19 is a good indicator that AGL has, by default, no impact on these skills.

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2 hours ago, Jeff said:

If this is going to become a discussion of Dragonbane's non-BRP rules system, it should go somewhere else.

I started a new thread in the Inn, which is a more appropriate place I believe:

 

Edited by Narl
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5 hours ago, Jeff said:

If this is going to become a discussion of Dragonbane's non-BRP rules system, it should go somewhere else.

It's a fine needle to thread, "BRP" as a Chaosium product, with (tm) and (c) and brand-identity to protect, vs. "BRP" as a colloquial fan-use term for the sorts of things BRP is known for.

I'd hate to think Chaosium saw a business need to quash the fan use.

Pendragon has been called "a BRP game" right here on the BRPC forums... skill-centric, roll-under &c.  Early-iteration d100 BRP from Chaosium was mostly in 5% increments (and thus mostly was functionally-equivalent to a d20 roll).

Drakar och Demoner moving from d100 to d20 -- and now the new release of "Dragonbane" -- seems to be (in the fan-use sense) still within the "BRP" framework.
 

Edited by g33k
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5 hours ago, g33k said:

It's a fine needle to thread, "BRP" as a Chaosium product, with (tm) and (c) and brand-identity to protect, vs. "BRP" as a colloquial fan-use term for the sorts of things BRP is known for.

I'd hate to think Chaosium saw a business need to quash the fan use.

Pendragon has been called "a BRP game" right here on the BRPC forums... skill-centric, roll-under &c.  Early-iteration d100 BRP from Chaosium was mostly in 5% increments (and thus mostly was functionally-equivalent to a d20 roll).

Drakar och Demoner moving from d100 to d20 -- and now the new release of "Dragonbane" -- seems to be (in the fan-use sense) still within the "BRP" framework.
 

Perhaps it belongs in the "Family" section, along with Delta Green and Renaissance.

SDLeary

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In regards to comments to 'the roll under vs roll over' discussion, I much prefer the BRP family mechanic of rolling under. I personally don't have issues with the opposed rolls resolution. You roll under to 'succeed', if both succeed, then how well you succeed is compared, if a tie, the highest roll, or highest skill wins, depending on your game system and or preference, very straightforward IMO. What the players in my group had issue with when we first started playing D100 games was that if you didn't roll a Critical (10% or under of your skill in MRQ2/Legend/Mythras) then you wanted to roll as high as possible within your skill; they found this rather counter intuitive.

Edited by DamonJynx
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4 hours ago, DamonJynx said:

In regards to comments to 'the roll under vs roll over' discussion, I much prefer the BRP family mechanic of rolling under. I personally don't have issues with the opposed rolls resolution. You roll under to 'succeed', if both succeed, then how well you succeed is compared, if a tie, the highest roll, or highest skill wins, depending on your game system and or preference, very straightforward IMO. What the players in my group had issue with when we first started playing D100 games was that if you didn't roll a Critical (10% or under of your skill in MRQ2/Legend/Mythras) then you wanted to roll as high as possible within your skill; they found this rather counter intuitive.

IMHO, using "Highest skill wins" is a really bad idea, as it gives a ridiculous advantage to the highest skill, even if it's only 1 point over the other.

Say for instance you have 2 opposing characters with skills 49 and 50, in a very simple game with no criticals, only success and failure. 

The one with the 50% skill has 50% chance to win, as he just have to roll under his skill. The one with 49% skill has 24.5% chance to win, as he has to roll under his skill and hope the other doesn't.

And with a 80 vs 79 skill, we have 80% versus 15.8%

Of course, adding Criticals and Specials will change the outcome of the roll and reduce the difference between the two, and I voluntarily made it so to amplify the problem. But even with it, a huge gap remains.

Edited by Mugen
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10 hours ago, Chaot said:

They're good books, but they aren't a substitute. All those hit locations and strike ranks getting in the way of my fun.

Strike Rank calculation! Sheesh you're telling me! Truly the bane of many a Mythras combat encounter. All those Strikes, not to mention Ranks getting in the way. Why oh why they didn't dump that stuff for a simple initiative system is a real puzzler.

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16 hours ago, Chaot said:

They're good books, but they aren't a substitute. All those hit locations and strike ranks getting in the way of my fun.

Mythras never used strike ranks and even when its direct predecessors (MRQ1/2, RQ6) used "strike rank" as a term in a nod to RQ1/2/3, it has only always been an initiative system not unlike DEX ranks in BRP (except that it is based on the average of DEX and INT). Mythras doesn't use weapon SR but weapon length, like Magic World does.

As for hit locations, one could use general hit points as it is done in M-Space. I have not tried it so I don't know how well it works.

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18 minutes ago, DreadDomain said:

As for hit locations, one could use general hit points as it is done in M-Space. I have not tried it so I don't know how well it works.

Given my (and everybody's) experience with non-localized Hit Points BRP, I see no reason why this couldn't work. But it would result in a rather different game. The most obvious difference will be with combat special effects such as Strike Location, of course. The absence of Generic Hit Points in Mythras means being hit twice in the same location has more impact than being hit on two different locations. In first case, you're very likely to be dead or with a useless limb.

 

Edited by Mugen
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40 minutes ago, Mugen said:

Given my (and everybody's) experience with non-localized Hit Points BRP, I see no reason why this couldn't work. But it would result in a rather different game. The most obvious difference will be with combat special effects such as Strike Location, of course. The absence of Generic Hit Points in Mythras means being hit twice in the same location has more impact than being hit on two different locations. In first case, you're very likely to be dead or with a useless limb.

 

Yes, this is exactly what I mean. Given the special effects are balanced for localized hit points and no general hit points, I don't know how well it works with general hit points and no localized hit points. I guess I need to go have a look at M-Space to see how it is done.

EDIT: Ok, M-Space simplified combat uses the average of CON and SIZ, as you would expect from a BRP game, and have various effects depending on the severity of the wound inflicted (minor, serious, major, etc). It makes the combat less lethal (and they clearly spell it out as such). Again, very similar to what BRP does.

Edited by DreadDomain
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45 minutes ago, DreadDomain said:

EDIT: Ok, M-Space simplified combat uses the average of CON and SIZ, as you would expect from a BRP game, and have various effects depending on the severity of the wound inflicted (minor, serious, major, etc). It makes the combat less lethal (and they clearly spell it out as such). Again, very similar to what BRP does.

That was also an option for NPCs in MRQ2. 

Mythras weapons also tend to deal less damage, and damage bonus also tend to be smaller.

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On 9/19/2022 at 4:53 AM, DreadDomain said:

Mythras never used strike ranks and even when its direct predecessors (MRQ1/2, RQ6) used "strike rank" as a term in a nod to RQ1/2/3, it has only always been an initiative system not unlike DEX ranks in BRP (except that it is based on the average of DEX and INT). Mythras doesn't use weapon SR but weapon length, like Magic World does.

As for hit locations, one could use general hit points as it is done in M-Space. I have not tried it so I don't know how well it works.

A quick and easy hybrid system of location HP and one HP total is to use Locations (rolled by D20 as per BRP/Runequest 2) with a "Damage Multiplier" and a total HP model.  So typical Damage Multipliers would be...

Head = X 2

Chest = X 1

Abdomen = X 1.5

Arms = X 0.5

Legs = X 0.5  

   These multipliers would then be applied to any damage and the total subtracted from the HP total. 

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19 hours ago, olskool said:

A quick and easy hybrid system of location HP and one HP total is to use Locations (rolled by D20 as per BRP/Runequest 2) with a "Damage Multiplier" and a total HP model.  So typical Damage Multipliers would be...

Head = X 2

Chest = X 1

Abdomen = X 1.5

Arms = X 0.5

Legs = X 0.5  

   These multipliers would then be applied to any damage and the total subtracted from the HP total. 

This is roughly what does Hero system when you use hit locations.

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