[TSA P&P RPG] Design discussions aka brainstorming the rules-set

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Wilshire

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« Reply #75 on: September 12, 2016, 04:20:54 pm »
Fate Points seem like a good idea.

lol "red shirt points". Also a great idea, but the name makes me laugh :D .
One of the other conditions of possibility.

Fenris777

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« Reply #76 on: May 02, 2017, 06:24:01 pm »
If any of you guys are still tinkering with this, or want an alternative idea about mechanics, see if you can dig up a copy of Seven Seas (a pirates with magic role playing game). The mechanics are what I'd call cinematic, rather than brutally realistic but there's some great stuff to support group storytelling (incl fate/luck). Also, Ars Magica is a caster focused game with a very cool magic system, also worth checking out.

A game with wildly divergent power levels can work btw, just look at Rifts or Cyberpunk. That wouldn't be my choice for a kind of rules set, but I've played so many friggin' RPGs I'm kind of jaded about a lot of mechanic heavy rules sets. I tend toward storytelling focused rules sets with stripped down mechanics.

Wilshire

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« Reply #77 on: May 02, 2017, 06:29:26 pm »
Hmm, haven't heard from Kellais for a long time. Maybe he's got this post followed and you'll summon him ;) .

I've not played many tabletop RPGs so I'm just not a good judge. I think I've heard of Seven Seas but I don't think I've played it.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

Wilshire

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« Reply #78 on: May 03, 2017, 12:02:24 am »
One of the other conditions of possibility.

Fenris777

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« Reply #79 on: May 03, 2017, 12:35:16 am »
Hmm, haven't heard from Kellais for a long time. Maybe he's got this post followed and you'll summon him ;) .

I've not played many tabletop RPGs so I'm just not a good judge. I think I've heard of Seven Seas but I don't think I've played it.
Don't feel bad about that, hardly anyone has played it. It was a short fad.  There's a second edition coming via kickstarter apparently. Ars Magica is a little easier to find.

Kellais

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« Reply #80 on: May 13, 2017, 10:56:00 am »
I wouldn't call 7th Sea a short fad. We played it for years. It had good support. It even got taken up by the d20 era and wizards published double-stat books for it. So yeah.

And the second Ed. is already out.

Never played Ars Magica.

I still think Runequest 6 (now called Myhtras) would be perfect for Earwa. I can see me playing a PoN rpg with Blades in the Dark as well, but it'd be a very different atmosphere than with RQ6.
FATE Core is also very much possible if you want a more narrative way to portray Scott's world. It would work well, imo.
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Fenris777

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« Reply #81 on: May 13, 2017, 03:27:35 pm »
7th Sea didn't splash like, say, Vampire did when it come out. Splashy enough to get people outside of the RPG community playing. 7th Sea was a great game, but I don't think it made a lot of waves, inside or outside the hobby. Anyway...

Ars Magica is a flawed game in many ways, and it's not one I actually played a lot. However, it has two things going for it relative to this discussion. One, it's a game designed specifically to have magic users at the top of the pile, power and influence wise. Second, an interesting and nuanced magic system based on die pools.

I think there's two options to represent a brutal setting like RSB's. You can go with more detailed and mechanical set of rules that replicate the power differential and cheapness of life, or you go with a rules that are more narrative focused and let some of that power differential play out through the story rather than through mechanics.

Personally, I'm against RPG systems that regularly leave the fate of player characters in hands of a simple die roll too often.

You critically failed your shaving skill roll, you cut your own throat and die... You laugh, but this happened in a session I played in. I wish I could remember the system, it was a fantasy system based on % rolling. Huh. It'll come to me.

That's not to say that players shouldn't be able to die via game mechanics, of course they should - without risk there is no suspense or tension, but rather that up to a certain point, the narrative of character death should be something the player participates in. There are few thing less satisfactory in a RPG sessions that having characters die in unimportant encounters because of crap rolling. I'm not suggesting anything about the Runequest 6 either, I'm not really familiar with it, just talking shop in general.

Kellais

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« Reply #82 on: May 13, 2017, 10:23:16 pm »
I like your measuring-stick, so to speak, almost nothing made a splash like Vampire when it came out. So yeah... lol. 7th Sea was big enough in its day. As i said, when you got your game picked up by WotC, THE rpg publisher, then yeah, you did it. But as you said, anyway... (as an aside, i am not sure i'd want to use 7th Sea mechanics for Earwa...if i'd take roll&keep system, which i really like, btw, i'd take the L5R implementation...it's grittier).

I agree with the two approaches you cite. It's more or less what i tried to say in my post before yours.

Save or die is indeed quite frustrating. Especially if it is just one roll for a very important situation. Although in the case of PoN and AE...it might be appropriate ^^
lol...really, died from shaving?! Well, that sucks, i agree :D

Very much agreed on the suspense thing. There needs to be risk and characters should die...especially if they do stupid and/or careless things. Dying in an unimportant encounter is frustrating but i think it very much depends on how that encounter happened. If it's the players fault they got into such an encounter, death is fair game for me. As i said, if players rush into things foolishly, they have to be prepared for anything. Especially in a world like Bakker's.

And talking shop is what we are here for, right?! .... Right?! ;)
I'm trapped in Darkness
Still I reach out for the Stars

"GoT is TSA's less talented but far more successful step-brother" - Wilshire

Fenris777

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« Reply #83 on: May 14, 2017, 02:51:17 am »
I'll admit, it was a big stick. :D Also, 7th Sea might have been bigger in your area than mine, either way I liked it a lot. I wouldn't use the whole rule set either though. The part I liked, and which I've used in modified forms elsewhere, is the henchman/boss approach to the bad guys. It's very cinematic and I find it does a great job keeping the action rolling along. In general, an approach like that could help keep the crusty grimdark life-or-death stuff for the right narrative spots. I'm not very familiar with the L5R RPG either, I should check that out.

The thing that struck me about Ars Magica in relation to Earwa was more the bare bones of the idea. They have very powerful mage characters, and non-mages are essentially henchmen. You can play a mix of both, but the game is upfront about the power difference. Call it Gandalf and the dwarves I guess. :) They present an interesting option where players have a mage and a non-mage character, and sometimes play entirely non-mage sequences and adventures, sometimes mixed, and sometimes entirely mages with the other characters as NPCs. It's neat idea.

I completely agree about player stupidity. There's a point where the GM needs to let them reap the rewards of their behavior. Chances are that kind of stupid was hurting the game anyway. If the players are all fully engaged in the story though, and playing their characters to the hilt, I'll go out of my way to avoid actually killing any of them in a pointless way. As much as possible without straying into egregious deus ex machina territory anyway. Of course you and I both know there's potentially a lot of very painful stops for a character that stop short of actual death. Muhuhahaha!!! *cough* sorry, my villainous laugh is a little rusty.

The game I was trying to remember the name of might be RoleMaster.

Cynical Cat

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« Reply #84 on: July 31, 2017, 01:36:39 pm »
Fair enough, I get the principle you're conveying.

I'd probably also suggest some kind of mechanic, call it a 'red shirt' points, to pass off attacks on the PC as having happened to some NPC hireling/follower instead. So the brutality of the attack is underlined with someone getting killed - instead of the javalin merely grazing the side of the PC's head and KOing them, spend a redshirt point and it goes through the neck of an NPC follower, leaving them thrashing on the ground grasping at the dread intrusion. Possibly redshirt points recover over time or from some game play event, while fate points don't (ala warhammer fantasy)

This is also a good choice.  Only War, the 40K RPG where you play Imperial Guard, implements both Fate Points and red shirt points with its Comrade System which bulks up the party with useful NPCs that are quick and easy to run (the mostly give bonuses to players and eat bullets) which allows an IG game to have IG grade casualties with out excessive numbers of PC deaths.  Yes, because someone will want to know, the commissar can buff the party by executing a Comrade to encourage the survivors. ;)

Earwa is going to be a fairly lethal system, in order to accurate simulate the source material.  Depending on mechanics it will be based on, it may or may not be save or die.  Plenty of RPGs manage this.  Shadowrun (which uses karma as fate points) manages this, Warhammer has already been mentioned, and so on and so forth.  Lots of things can kill easily, even if you're a stone badass.  It's not just Chorae and Sorcerers or Sorcerers cooking people, its Cnauir ur Skeotha cutting people down or the Captain eating an arrow or some poor bastard getting in Saubon's way or dodging left when he should have gone right when the Bashrag brought the hammer down.  Whatever the system, it needs to be able to handle high lethality without excessive player death.  So yes, fate points and red shirt points are both good ideas.

TaoHorror

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« Reply #85 on: July 31, 2017, 11:37:30 pm »
I think a mistake game designers/creators can make is trying to mimic the source story too much and not simply use the source material ( names, magic, countries, people ) to build a fun game. First and foremost, the game has to be fun to play and yield numerous ( unlimited? ) plays. For example, my idea would be each player is a Dunyain and the idea is to defeat the other opposing players in taking control of Earwa - maybe not a good idea, but the point is the story did not go along those lines ( although I haven't finished TUC yet, so maybe other Dunyains are still in play - nobody clarify that, LOL! ). Think it would be kinda a cool take on Civilization building ( which appears to be liked/popular ) whereby you're building from what's already been built. The idea of sacrificing your "pawns" for advantage would be cool ( could be once you've killed off everyone on your side then you've reached the absolute and win ). We all know the story and can contribute in kind, but the success of this would be in the strategy, learning curve, game theory, uniqueness ( not another miniature fighting game ) - needs the richness of politics/plotting with horror. It needs art. It needs everything - could be a wicked Kickstarter, but need someone whose top notch with game theory, another with great artistic sense to design scenes/miniatures and another with a creative sense of fun to pull it off. I'm up for diving into this, but admittedly not an ace in any of these qualities.
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Cynical Cat

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« Reply #86 on: August 01, 2017, 12:33:09 am »
That's great for a board game, not an rpg.

TaoHorror

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« Reply #87 on: August 01, 2017, 01:05:52 am »
oh, right, sorry - you'all talking about rpg - i've had my full of KS, starting to compromise my brain. For RPG, you can simply create a D&D or Gurps Fantasy campaign with Earwa as the world. Think Bakker said PON books came from his original idea for an RPG campaign ( think it was D&D ).
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Cynical Cat

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« Reply #88 on: August 01, 2017, 02:11:59 am »
oh, right, sorry - you'all talking about rpg - i've had my full of KS, starting to compromise my brain. For RPG, you can simply create a D&D or Gurps Fantasy campaign with Earwa as the world. Think Bakker said PON books came from his original idea for an RPG campaign ( think it was D&D ).

Sure you can, but (I don't really know Gurps) but D&D isn't very good mechanically for doing Earwa.  You can do a low effort reskin, but that's all it will be. 

Quietside

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« Reply #89 on: August 02, 2017, 02:14:43 am »
Hi all, thought I would throw in my 2 cents re: systems. For lighter, faster play Savage Worlds would fit the bill pretty well. Magic is flexible, modifiable and can be powerful without being ridiculous. A system that screams to be used for Earwa but requires a bunch of 12-sided dice and willingness to learn some mechanics is Blade of the Iron Throne. Combat is gritty, brutal and detailed, magic is powerful and terrifying and would not take much modding to make it appropriate to the setting. Both systems also have the advantage of being cheap.

A couple of things about BoTIT: Characters have passions/drives that influence the amount of dice they get to roll when performing actions which I think does a nice job of reflecting Earwa's 'conviction as reality' feeling and though it can be easy to get your ass killed the player accumulates points through play as well as their character, allowing characters to be brought in as replacements for those who die or retire.

If the idea is just to run games that capture the feel of the setting, as opposed to write something for publication these would be systems I would recommend. RQ6 would work well too though.