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This was the only section I could think of for a general design question. If there's a better place for it to be, I don't mind it being moved.

Anyway, one of my favorite RPGs for decades is the anime-style game Big Eyes, Small Mouth published by Guardians of Order back in the day. Guardians are long gone, but before the company folded they released the SRD for the d20-based version of the system. This kept the core of the game, in terms of Attributes and Defects, in particular, adapting them to the then-ubiquitous version of D20. Especially with superheroes as a challenge in d100, it's occurred to me several times that merging that subsystem with BRP/D100 might be a solution to the issue of how to build a supers game in D100 in a somewhat more intuitive way. And since d100 also has several open-content flavors, there's a base from which to start.

Of course, it's going to be a lot of work, and I have design decisions to make still. The one I made first was to completely get rid of die rolls in character creation. Characteristics are purchased from the same pool of Character Points as everything else, at the rate of two Characteristic Points for one Character Point. Character Points are a single pool used for those, Attributes (powers, essentially), skill purchase and leveling, and so on. How many characters start out with depends on the level of the campaign, which can range from starting characters with modest powers to full-fledged superheroes.

I'm curious what other challenges I am likely to face in the design, which will include some substantial work of my own in addition to borrowing open content. (Relying solely on open content strikes me as a lazy way to do it, of course, I can make decisions of my own if they're good ones,). I'd rather get a lot of it written before I even begin to contemp[late how it will be published.

 

Edited by Michael Hopcroft
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I'm not sure what you gain by this approach. I don't see all that much difference between d20 BESM's powers and the powers section from Superwork/BGB. What advatages do you see to the approach that I'm missing?:huh:

I'm not saying it's a bad idea, I just don't see your point, yet.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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15 hours ago, Michael Hopcroft said:

I'm curious what other challenges I am likely to face in the design...

 

I would be very careful of the "fit" between the two mechanical systems...

  • unexpected interactions. either munchkinous "must-have" overpower, or oddly-weak underpower
  • differing overlap, where one system says "X" and the other system says "chartreuse" and it leaves the players saying "WTF?"
  • Differing scales:  eliminating the Superworld/BGB supers-level rules also eliminates d100-native scaling solutions; importing BESM power-scales implies something outsize for non-supers d100 play.
  • Unexpected gaps, where you have selected one mechanic from the first system, eliminated the corresponding/conflicting mechanic from the second, and ended up with an extended-case or ancillary use, covered by the second system and not the first, and hence un-addressed by the FrankenSystem (if I may be so bold as to call it that...  ;-)
  • other issues, I am certain my off-the-top-of-my-head list hasn't found all the horrors lurking in the shadows...

Like @Atgxtg, I wonder why Superworld and similar/later material didn't make your cut.  I also wonder if the d20 rules for BESM really capture what you want... Honestly it strikes me that you want "BESM," full-stop; rpg-rules a secondary consideration.  For that, I'd go to the material you feel is core (it sounds to me like that's "Attributes and Defects") and then look carefully at what system(s) best suit the build-out from that core; d100 might NOT be that system, maybe it's Fate, or Savage Worlds, or something else (there are a lot of highly-supported multi-genre systems to choose from)...  Maybe d100 turns out to be just perfect!

 

Edited by g33k
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6 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I'm not sure what you gain by this approach. I don't see all that much difference between d20 BESM's powers and the powers section from Superwork/BGB. What advatages do you see to the approach that I'm missing?:huh:

I'm not saying it's a bad idea, I just don't see your point, yet.

One thing is that it hasn't been done yet as far as I know, And I liked the Attribute/Power system in BESM a lot. I'm looking to write something with a combination of crunch and flexibility. The Superworld/Superpowers rules that come bundled into BRP are ones I've never quite grokked, though I've tried.

g33k, you are correct that the Attributes and Defects are the core of the project. The classes and races I will not be using at all. They solve some of the issues with superpowers in BRP (and probably create their own problems, but that's what a game designer does) and offers great flexibility in character creation. At the same time, it breaks the creation of things like starships and mecha into their functional characteristics as opposed to their technical details (I loved BRP Mecha but it's not for everyone).

I think these could indeed be two great tastes that go great together, And this is intended to be a minorly commercial/professional project, mainly to get my feet wet and get myself started again. I don't know that anyone would actually buy it unless I can build other things with it. I expect a lot of skepticism -- one of the people in the industry for whom I have great respect told me it was a terrible idea.

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59 minutes ago, Michael Hopcroft said:

One thing is that it hasn't been done yet as far as I know, And I liked the Attribute/Power system in BESM a lot. I'm looking to write something with a combination of crunch and flexibility.

Okay. In that case some of the challenges you are going to have to deal with:

  1.  Hit Point Scale: An attack that does an extra 10 points of damage in BRP is much, much nastier than an attack that does an extra 10 points of damage in d20.  Since HP are fixed in BRP a few points of extra damage means a lot. But in d20 hit dice increase with level.
  2. Weapon Escalation: BRP weapons increase in damage faster than d20 weapons, despite the fact that hit points increase much much faster in d20. For example a tank gun that does 6d6+12 in d20 would do around 15D6 in BRP! That could be a big problem if someone is playing a big mech for a character.
  3. Attribute Scale: BRP animals and monsters tend to have much higher stat scores as well. Something like a dragon might be STR 36 in d20, but STR 72 in BRP. 
  4. Forgivingness? (Is that a word?): d20 BESM is a lot more forgiving than BRP is. Yes, I mentioned the damage and weapon escalation above, but it's worth pointing out that even the same amount of damage isn't handled the same in both systems. In d20 a 6 point hit can range from a serious wound to a minor annoyance, depending on how many hit points the character has. In BRP the same 6 point hit probably disables a limb, renders a character unconscious or is a major wound.  This is going to make a big difference in how some attributes play out. A "pet Monster" in BRP will probably be far more effective than it's d20 counterpart. 

I really think that to get things to work you are going to have to do a lot of work. IMO too much work to be worth it. You're going to have to go through every facet of what you are porting over and find some sort of equivalent value to match it up with. 

59 minutes ago, Michael Hopcroft said:

 

The Superworld/Superpowers rules that come bundled into BRP are ones I've never quite grokked, though I've tried.

Odd, since it is very similar to what you are trying to use. And it is one thing that can be a big aid to you in what you are trying to do. It does help to give a relative value of abilities in BRP terms.

59 minutes ago, Michael Hopcroft said:

 I expect a lot of skepticism -- one of the people in the industry for whom I have great respect told me it was a terrible idea.

I think he was right. I think you should also look at non-d20 BESM  to help you "remove" the d20 elements from the game. I just looked at Tri-stat BESM and it seems a lot easier to match up and port over, since it doesn't have any of the class and character level stuff, increasing hit points, etc. Even the weapon damage ratings match up better.  

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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I'm not using leveling, or pretty much any d20-specific stuff at all from the BESM SRD. The Attribute/Defect system, which works very similarly in both versions of BESM, is what I will be borrowing. The d20 version just happens to be Open Content, while Tri-Stat is not.

What I am doing is eliminating die rolling from character creation. Characteristics, Skills, and Attributes are all purchased from the same pool of character points. This is different from even 2e Tri-Stat BESM. which used separate point pools for Skills and everything else. Since Characteristic scores count against Character Points anyway, there's no need for a die roll.

My ability to explain things seems to be limited this morning.

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23 hours ago, Michael Hopcroft said:

I'm not using leveling, or pretty much any d20-specific stuff at all from the BESM SRD. The Attribute/Defect system, which works very similarly in both versions of BESM, is what I will be borrowing.

Except they don't work very similarly. The d20 version is tied to d20 and does things in accordance with levels and all that. The Tri-Star version is free of all that, making it much easier to see how to match it up with BRP. For instance, Damn Healthy! instreases Health/Hit Points in TriStat is one the same scale as character stats, just like in BRP, whereas the d20 one adds an extra d8 hit points.

23 hours ago, Michael Hopcroft said:

The d20 version just happens to be Open Content, while Tri-Stat is not.

Not that I makes much difference in this case. You don't need to swipe over the mechanics, just the framework. So you are free to look at both, since ultimately it's all going to be put into BRP terms. 

23 hours ago, Michael Hopcroft said:

What I am doing is eliminating die rolling from character creation. Characteristics, Skills, and Attributes are all purchased from the same pool of character points. This is different from even 2e Tri-Stat BESM. which used separate point pools for Skills and everything else. Since Characteristic scores count against Character Points anyway, there's no need for a die roll.

Get the Superworld boxed set. It does most of that for you, and could easily be adapted (in under 5 minutes)  to do the rest. All you'd have to do is use the SuperSTR, DEX, etc powers to buy up attributes from zero. 

 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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The beauty of the OGL is that it allows you to take bits from various different SRDs and merge them together, as long as all the content is from an OGL supplement and you list the Intellectual properties used. So, for games designers and publishers, it is very useful.

For home brew stuff, it doesn't matter whether something is OGL or not. For my campaign, I can happily pinch bits from HeroQuest, Mythras, RuneQuest or BRP and combine them into a homebrew system with no worries that none of those systems are OGL. If I wanted to publish the rules, I would have to be a bit more careful.

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

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On 6/8/2017 at 1:31 AM, Michael Hopcroft said:

Anyway, one of my favorite RPGs for decades is the anime-style game Big Eyes, Small Mouth published by Guardians of Order back in the day. Guardians are long gone, but before the company folded they released the SRD for the d20-based version of the system. This kept the core of the game, in terms of Attributes and Defects, in particular, adapting them to the then-ubiquitous version of D20. Especially with superheroes as a challenge in d100, it's occurred to me several times that merging that subsystem with BRP/D100 might be a solution to the issue of how to build a supers game in D100 in a somewhat more intuitive way. And since d100 also has several open-content flavors, there's a base from which to start.

 

A surprising amount of D20 stuff can be ported over to D100 fairly easily. Although D20 is a Class/Level system and D100 is a skill based system, a lot of D20 variants add skill-based things to D20. O haven't seen Big Eyes Small Mouth, but have heard a lot about it. If there are D20 rules then you should be able to port across fairly easily.

 

On 6/8/2017 at 1:31 AM, Michael Hopcroft said:

Of course, it's going to be a lot of work, and I have design decisions to make still. The one I made first was to completely get rid of die rolls in character creation. Characteristics are purchased from the same pool of Character Points as everything else, at the rate of two Characteristic Points for one Character Point. Character Points are a single pool used for those, Attributes (powers, essentially), skill purchase and leveling, and so on. How many characters start out with depends on the level of the campaign, which can range from starting characters with modest powers to full-fledged superheroes.

Character points used to purchase Characteristics, skills and powers works, after all HeroQuest uses a character pool to build characters. 

That kind of system is self-balancing, to an extent, because emphasis on one area reduces the spend in other areas. That isn't necessarily something I like, but I understand it.

 

On 6/8/2017 at 1:31 AM, Michael Hopcroft said:

I'm curious what other challenges I am likely to face in the design, which will include some substantial work of my own in addition to borrowing open content. (Relying solely on open content strikes me as a lazy way to do it, of course, I can make decisions of my own if they're good ones,). I'd rather get a lot of it written before I even begin to contemp[late how it will be published.

Ah, if you are planning to publish it, that makes more sense using OGL material. You can use any OGL material with any other OGL material, as long as you reference it. 

In any case, I would use HeroQuest for Supers, not a D100 variant. I love D100 games but would not use them for SuperHeroes, having played Superworld for a bit it just didn;t work for me. Super Heroes with HeroQuest just works for me. It isn't crunchy but allows a lot of control over what your powers are and avoids problems with point-buy/point-spend systems.

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

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16 hours ago, soltakss said:

A surprising amount of D20 stuff can be ported over to D100 fairly easily. Although D20 is a Class/Level system and D100 is a skill based system, a lot of D20 variants add skill-based things to D20. O haven't seen Big Eyes Small Mouth, but have heard a lot about it. If there are D20 rules then you should be able to port across fairly easily.

I must admit that when I was working on the Spells of Legend project over on the Mongoose boards, I thought seriously about converting some of my favourite 3PP D20 spells. Converting Common Magic and Divine Magic spells is easy, but converting d20 spells to the Legend / Mythras Sorcery system is harder because the underlying rules are so different. But it can be done, provided that appropriate care is taken.  

Has anybody thought of porting the superpower rules from Mutants & Masterminds as those are mostly OGC? 

These days, I am quietly working on my own D100 variant that combines material from Legend and OpenQuest - my aim is to develop something that hits the sweet spot somewhere in between the simplicity of OpenQuest / Renaissance and the detailed rules of Legend / RQ 6 / Mythras. My personal taste is for something a little more complex that OQ (which is based upon the MRQI SRD) but not quite as complex as Legend. It sounds like the upcoming Runequest reboot may be aiming for a similar target, but will be tied closely to the Gloranthan setting. I'm aiming for something in between classic Swords and Sorcery and Dark Fantasy - with some hints of modern Grimdark for extra spice. :) 

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The new RuneQuest is looking as though it is very similar to RQ2.

One of things I hated about RQ6/Legend/Mythras was the very small skill set, as compared to RQ2's many detailed skills. 

Now, having seen how revolution D100 uses an even more reduced skill set, with Traits, one of the things I hate about RQ2 compared to Revolution is the bloated skills. 

I would definitely use the Traits mechanic in future games that I run and in any SRD that I produced.

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

www.soltakss.com/index.html

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RD100 certainly does this very well, having a skill list about the same size as the skill list from the MRQ D100 SRD line (perhaps even less skills); yet allowing for numerous specialties/traits, so there's no shortage for skill choice. Totally works for me, and it's a shame the new RQ isn't doing something like this as you can cover all the bases without making the character sheet look clunky with huge skill lists.

RD100 may well replace the BGB for me, it has done things really well

Edited by Mankcam

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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I've admit that the traits system in RD100 has influenced my thinking in this area too, but in a slightly different way. I want more traditional skill specialisations to allow GMs to select the level of granularity they want in their skill system. 

If you look at MRQII / Legend, many of the "Advanced" skills are specialisations of the "Common" skills. For example, Acrobatics can be seen as a specialisation of Athletics and Seduction as a specialisation of Influence. There are a few oddities where one "Advanced" skill can be seen as a specialisation of another "Advanced" skill. And there are a few cases where a "Common" skill is a specialisation of an "Advanced" one. For example, I regard Track as a specialisation of Survival and Evaluate as a specialisation of Commerce.

For my homebrew game, I follow the lead of RQ 6 / Mythras and drop the distinction between Common and Advanced skills. However, not all skills are usable by without training. Also, I draw a distinction between skills with mandatory specialisation (such as Language or Culture) and skills with optional specialisation (such as Athletics and Influence). Mandatory specialisations are completely different skills - just as Language (English) is separate to Language (Japanese). But optional specialisations are individual applications of the parent skill. Thus, Influence skill now contains multiple specialisations such as Deception, Haggling, Intimidation, Negotiation, Oratory, and Seduction. Likewise, Athletics contains specialisations such as Acrobatics, Brawn, Climbing, Jumping, Running, and Swimming,  As a rule of thumb, characters can only choose one optional specialisation per skill until they raise the parent skill above 100% (at which point they may develop a second one). 

To keep things simple, my approach is that whenever an adventurer applies an optional specialisation to a skill, it automatically reduces the difficulty grade of the skill roll by two levels. Thus, a brawny barbarian with the Intimidation specialisation can reduce Influence rolls by two Difficulty grades but only when trying to bully or terrorize people. This isn't as flexible as the Trait system in RD100, but it is a bit simpler in play.  

Edited by Prime Evil
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Thanks. I'm trying to develop an approach that provides decent flexibility without increasing complexity.

One interesting thing about this approach is that it has implications for opposed skill tests - if one side has a specialisation in a skill and the other is resisting with a raw skill, the character with the specialisation has a significant advantage.  This is not a bad thing!

It also means that I've been developing specialisations for skills that don't currently have any. My view is that if a skill is too narrow to support a couple of specialised applications, it probably doesn't deserve to be in the game.

Thus, in my variant, skills such as Sleight (renamed as Legerdemain) supports specialisation such as Cutpurse, Pickpocket, Filch, Prestidigitation, Juggling, and Concealment. Stealth has a couple of potential specialisations such as Shadowing and Ambush (and Perception gains an Alertness specialisation used to resist ambush and assassination attempts).

I've also been toying with the idea of allowing characters to spend improvement points to purchase Stunts for individual skills. These are cool "cinematic" applications of the skill that require the expenditure of a Hero Point to activate during play. For example, the Perception skill might have a Deduction stunt allowing a character to perform the kind of incredible feats of observation and deductive reasoning associated with Sherlock Holmes. Of course, it would cost a Hero Point to activate the stunt whilst investigating a crime scene. However, I'm worried that introducing a Stunt mechanism like this makes everything too complicated again. 

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42 minutes ago, Prime Evil said:

I've also been toying with the idea of allowing characters to spend improvement points to purchase Stunts for individual skills. These are cool "cinematic" applications of the skill that require the expenditure of a Hero Point to activate during play. For example, the Perception skill might have a Deduction stunt allowing a character to perform the kind of incredible feats of observation and deductive reasoning associated with Sherlock Holmes. Of course, it would cost a Hero Point to activate the stunt whilst investigating a crime scene. However, I'm worried that introducing a Stunt mechanism like this makes everything too complicated again. 

I too thought of doing this with my OQ based variant, but in the end, decided not too as I felt it did indeed make things a bit more granular and "complicated again." If my players want to do something cinematic, say, leap an extra-wide gap roof-to-roof carrying an unconscious companion, I ask 'em to burn a Hero Point and then I do my narrative hoodoo :-).

If they are applying a skill and have a descent rationale for why it should have a boost, say for training or prior experience, I quickly eyeball the situation and offer them a one-shot bonus % to their skill roll. Done well, this could end up as part of my Improvement Point rewards at session's end, e.g."Bob, you approached that lock intelligently, especially when you asked if it was similar to the one on the temple doors--have an additional IP for good thinking."

For my GM approach, simplicity works best.

Cheers!

Edited by Sunwolfe
punctuation

Present home-port: home-brew BRP/OQ SRD variant; past ports-of-call: SB '81, RQIII '84, BGB '08, RQIV(Mythras) '12,  MW '15, and OQ '17

BGB BRP: 0 edition: 20/420; .pdf edition: 06/11/08; 1st edition: 06/13/08

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5 hours ago, Prime Evil said:

I've also been toying with the idea of allowing characters to spend improvement points to purchase Stunts for individual skills. These are cool "cinematic" applications of the skill that require the expenditure of a Hero Point to activate during play. For example, the Perception skill might have a Deduction stunt allowing a character to perform the kind of incredible feats of observation and deductive reasoning associated with Sherlock Holmes. Of course, it would cost a Hero Point to activate the stunt whilst investigating a crime scene. However, I'm worried that introducing a Stunt mechanism like this makes everything too complicated again. 

Well if you're going for a cinematic game, then you should just rule that you could do these cool effects with a normal skill if you roll a Special % or Critical %. This makes higher success levels with non-combat skills quite balanced with the combat special effects.

Then you could always additionally say that spending a Fate/Hero Point increases success levels for particular skills, so if you have the Deductive stunt you would be able to increase a standard success in Perception to a Special or Critical Success, thus gaining the cool effects as if it has been randomly rolled.

I have always agreed that in BRP you don't need Feats; you just pull off that 'stunty' stuff with naturally rolled higher success levels. Yet having a Stunt would allow the PC to exercise some control regarding this, so it all flows organically within the current mechanics.

That's how I approach it.

 

Edited by Mankcam

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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 I agree with Mankcam. If you just allow Hero Points to bump up the success level you should be golden. The old Jame Bond RPG did just that, and it allowed for the cool stunts that Bond regularly pulled off. One of the things that game had was a table tied to the quality rating (=success level) that show how much information you got. It would work just find for something like Holmes. Doubly so, since you could set the difficulty to that it would normally be a hard thing to spot, but somebody with Hero Points can pull it off easy.

 

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11 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

 I agree with Mankcam. If you just allow Hero Points to bump up the success level you should be golden. The old Jame Bond RPG did just that, and it allowed for the cool stunts that Bond regularly pulled off. One of the things that game had was a table tied to the quality rating (=success level) that show how much information you got. It would work just find for something like Holmes. Doubly so, since you could set the difficulty to that it would normally be a hard thing to spot, but somebody with Hero Points can pull it off easy.

 

Yes. I didn't go down this path for exactly that reason. One issue is that is that the standard success level progression in most d100 variants isn't very granular. It normally goes Critical Success > Normal Success > Normal Failure > Fumble. By contrast, the old James Bond RPG assigned each successful roll a Quality Rating from 1 to 4 - so there were four different success levels. If you want this degree of granularity in d100, you might need a progression that goes: 

Critical Success

Total Success

Marginal Success

Partial Success

Failure

Critical Failure / Fumble

 

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Yeah, but the cool thing is that the QR table from Bond can be easily ported over to BRP. In fact I guess CoC7 does something similar. The breakdowns for QRs was QR 1 =1/10, QR 2= 1/5, QR 3= 1/2, QR4= Success Chance.

 

 

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