View Full Version : Make-a-system: The Anteheroes, ??? Edition

2009-10-26, 05:30 PM
Hey. So, I'm relaunching my Anteheroes site as a webcomic, and with that, I've been getting a... surprising number of requests for the promised redesign of the system. So let's start laying down the blueprints. For your browsing pleasure, the previous version of the system can be found at this thread:

The Anteheroes is set in a universe parallel to our own modern day. Magic has always existed in this world, but in the shadows; it's something that has become purely the purview of government ops and illegal corporate research, as well as a few secret cloisters of traditional magicians.

There are two types of magic: learned and inherent. Learned has a wide variety of effects, but tends to be subtle. Inherent magic is very powerful, but very focused. There are also a rare few people who are born with a natural tie to a leyline but weren't born with a way to channel that magic; with sufficient training, they function as a mid-point between the two extremes.

System Aims

Defeat should be a constant possibility.
Death should be uncommon.
Battles must be kinetic, rather than turn-based Final Fantasy.
Combat should try and recreate the chaos of real combat.
In short, action and adventuring should be cinematic, like a movie.
The mundane equation of the battle system should be somewhat realistic. Guns are preferable for most situations, but with powers or in close quarters, melee might be preferable.
All conflict between two or more people should be covered.
Social mechanics should be integrated into the system.
One-liners and bravado should have a mechanical reason to exist as well as a reason to not exist, depending on the player.
Barring exceptional situations, people should always have more than one viable option for how to address a situation, be that the choice between talking and fighting, or special combat maneuvers.
The rules must be simple enough to introduce to someone casually, however, and make rerolling an easier prospect.
People of similar threat levels, regardless of the source of origin, should always be able to make meaningful decisions in tense, threat-appropriate situations. (Can be fights, or other things.)

How to Achieve Them:

Every attack will always have an effect on a target who is not being actively protected (such as by a wall.) Attacks do have a chance of actually hitting a vital spot, called a hit.
HP will be split up into Life and Stamina. Misses strike Stamina. When enough damage from Stamina is taken, you take a point of Life damage instead. Hits strike Life directly.
As Life gets low, players suffer penalties to actions and rolls, creating a 'death spiral.'
You do not die at 0 life. An attack has to be made against you after you drop to 0 or below for you to die.
Stamina also fuels attacks and special abilities.
Values for anything should not ever get higher than late teens, and ideally most will be single digit.
Social combat can affect Stamina, deny or control actions that other players are able to take, making taunting an active element of combat.
Social combat determines your ability to persuade a character short-term. Long-term is a character growth choice, and thus should not be mechanically represented.
Random numbers have to be generated by d6 or d2 only. Everyone has coins and monopoly, not even all roleplayers have d20s.
Dice rolling should be kept to a minimum.
The system will not attempt to describe things outside of its purview, such as someone's education or their skill at playing music.
Turns are written in advance. Everyone submits their planned round of actions to the GM, who then resolves actions simultaneously.
In the event that actions are no longer possible (handing an item to someone who just died), that character loses that round, but can revise their next round and gain priority over everyone else for that round.
You can take training in order to gain 'else if' statements for conflicts like above, to avoid losing rounds. This is going to be complicated to work on; I'll need to make a handful of else statements that are broadly applicable
Prescient characters thus can actually be prescient, by getting the DM to read them the next round of actions.

I need to work on type and number of actions.

Character advancement will likely be similar to the previous edition, where characters are actually grouped by government 'security threat level', measured in-game as 'advancement points.' Considering including experience level as a variant system, but will probably be too much work.

Hm-hmm. Posting this as much to help sort my own thoughts as I am looking for help.

Contribution disclaimer, somewhat plagiarized from the Erfworld wiki:
All work on this project is considered a contribution, given freely in the spirit of a supportive, collaborative effort. Anything you post to this thread may be used by yourself or others within the terms of a Creative Commons noncommercial license. You also grant unlimited use of any work posted here to Team Anteheroes, without claim to compensation or attribution. Note that "use" means "we can use it" not "we own it." It's just that you also grant license to the community to use it noncommercially, and to the creators to use it in any way.

You will be credited for any contributions; this is just me getting stuff out of the way for if this is ever commercially released.

2009-10-26, 10:03 PM
One of the strengths of the system before was that power origin didn't matter very much, so much as power effect. Now I am trying to make power origin a major part of the mechanics without overcomplicating things.

I am thinking of a separation of Tool versus Innate, but my hang-up is in trying to figure out how to not make tool origin abilities - with their independent power sources - not more desirable than innate origin abilities, which would pull from your stamina block. And do this simply.

2009-11-07, 02:04 PM
Origins: All. Celerity is a non-restricted advancement tree, as nature, training, magic, technology and tools can all conceivably be used to emulate various features.

Rank I:

Sprinter: Your sprint increases by 1.

Think Fast: When subject to a surprise attack, you automatically spend a point of stamina to increase your evasion or resilience by 1 against that attack. If the attack still hits, you still spend stamina dodging the attack.

Rank II:

Artful Dodger: As a secondary action, you can increase your evasion for a round by 1.

Charging Thunder: You do not take a penalty to accuracy when making a melee attack in the same round as you sprint.

Quick-Witted: You can act in a hostile surprise round. Your action occurs after all other actors that round.

Rank III:

Fleet of Foot: Your sprint increases by 3. Requires Sprinter.

No, Think Faster: Think Fast does not require a point of stamina to use. Requires Think Fast.

Rank IV:

Double Time: As a primary action, you can sprint 5 spaces.

Evasive: Your evasion increases by 1.

Prescience: Before each combat round begins, you may demand the script for this round from a single individual actor that you are aware of, or ask the Game Director if there are any actors in the scene that you are unaware of; if yes, you are immediately made aware of them, and they do not gain a bonus to accuracy for surprise attacking you. You may change your actions for the round accordingly, even if you have already submitted them. Requires Quick-Witted.

Running Bull: When you sprint and make a melee attack within the same round, you gain a +1 bonus to accuracy. Additionally, you may sprint both before and after your attack, provided that your total distance moved does not exceed your normal sprint. Requires Charging Thunder.

Rank V:

Speed Demon: Your sprint increases by 7. Requires Fleet of Foot.

Speed of Thought: As a primary action, you can increase your evasion by 3 for a full round. Speed of Thought requires 3 stamina to use.

Rank VI:

Omen of Alacrity: When you use Prescience against a specific actor, you gain a +1 bonus to your accuracy and evasion against that actor for that round. Attempting to find hidden actors with Prescience also reveals to you 'friendly' actors which are about to make a hostile action. Requires Prescience.

Wildfire: When you sprint and make a melee attack in the same round, as a secondary action, you may use a point of stamina to gain a +3 bonus to the attack's accuracy.

2009-11-09, 05:21 PM
Game Director Round Resolution Priority Chart:

Simple non-combat actions (operating a television).
Psychological combat.
Reach attacks.
Standard melee attacks.
Close-quarters combat.
Ranged combat.
Miscellaneous combat-related options (activating a doomsday device or a protective barrier).

If you sprint as part of an attack (sprinting towards someone as you attack them), your movement takes on your attack's priority. With this comes the change that you cannot leave close-quarters combat the same round that someone successfully uses a light melee weapon against you.

Origins: All. Acrobatics is a non-restricted advancement tree, as nature, training, magic, technology and tools can all conceivably be used to emulate various features.

Rank I:

Buttered Toast: You take half damage from all falls whenever you are conscious. You take your full normal damage if you hit the ground while unconscious.

Dodge and Weave: You can make one turn during a sprint.

Rank II:

Balance Beamer: You can cross narrow or slippery surfaces at half-speed, and at no penalty to your evasion or accuracy. If hit while on one, you still fall.

Jumpman: You may vertically jump your full sprint distance.

Roll With It: When brought into close-quarters combat by an opponent, the Game Director will ask you if you wish to roll with the attack; if you choose to, then your opponent does not gain the usual bonus to accuracy with a light weapon (if she has one). However, you must use your sprint action next round to immediately escape the grapple.

Rank III:

Daredevil: You no longer take falling damage while conscious, except from extraordinary heights in excess of a mile or greater. Even in such a case, you only take a minimal amount of injury; roll a single die and take the result as your damage. Requires Buttered Toast.

Double Jump: When you jump, you can declare your intent to jump again the following round; that round, you do not fall, instead remaining in the air adjacent to where you ended the jump. The next round, you can start a new jump from the same position. Each Double Jump requires a point of stamina to use. Requires Jumpman.

Tightrope Act: You can cross narrow or slippery surfaces at full speed, and at no penalty to your evasion or accuracy. You do not fall if hit on such a surface as long as you have stamina remaining. Requires Balance Beamer.

Rank IV:

Defensive Roll: You can use your secondary action to prepare a Defensive Roll each round. The first melee attack that you receive that round always strikes your Stamina instead of Life (if you have Stamina remaining), but you can take no further actions. Requires Roll With It.

Evasive Maneuvers: When sprinting, you can pass through a hostile creature's square. You still cannot end a round in a hostile space.

Kickin' It Like Kwan: You can make as many turns during a sprint as you desire. Requires Dodge and Weave.

Rank V:

Fulcrum Point: When an actor or effect attempts to shove you in a direction that you do not wish to go, you can instead move in any other direction that is not counter to the original motion. (For example, if you were being pushed West, you can move any direction except East.)

Poing: Whenever you are on a collision course with another actor and you decide to not end your movement early, you can shove the other actor one or two squares in any direction and gain an equal amount of movement in the opposite direction.

Rank VI:

Flight: You no longer fall while conscious, unless you choose to. You can jump in place. Requires Double Jump and Jumpman.

2009-11-10, 03:48 AM
Working on Interpersonal next - this is one of the major overhauls of this edition. I'll be focusing on Interpersonal allowing effects similar to those in my Avatar: Saga Edition (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=119433) 'Rhetorical Combat' engine. Right now my major hurdle is altering the basic communication resolution - the Composure bar is gone entirely, so the 'wagering composure' system doesn't work.

2009-11-11, 06:26 PM
Psychological Techniques:
Psychological Techniques, all-told, only take up a single slot in your arsenal combined - thus, you can use any psychological technique that you have earned whenever you reserve a single arsenal slot. This represents the fact that you must be mentally prepared and focused to be able to use them well, without crippling a character and forcing them to disarm themselves to simply be able to talk. Psychological techniques can be disarmed like any other type of attack; disarming abilities focus on delivering a temporary throat wound, causing a disruption in a magical ley vertice in the body, or something similar.

Psychological techniques typically have a range or an area equal to 6 squares. Single target techniques can have their range extended by a megaphone or similar temporary devices - they also can be combined with the Telepathy attack in the Mind and Soul tree (under construction). Virtually all range effects require effective use of multiple attributes - voice, body language, telepathic enhancement - and are hard to extend the same way.

Most psychological techniques can only be attempted against a target once per scene; exceptions are noted.

Stamina loss versus stamina damage - merely 'losing' stamina is not the same as taking stamina damage - the latter becomes life damage when the damage is in excess of remaining stamina, while the former does not.

Penetration: +0
Damage: None
Effects: You may decide the target's actions on the next turn in their stead. The target still controls its own reactions, however, and will not intentionally commit or permit obvious harm to itself or allies. If you exceed their resolve by 3 or more, you completely control the target's reactions and actions for the next round, no exception.
Target: One person within 6 squares.

False Bravado
Penetration: +2
Damage: None
Effects: An affected target regains 1 stamina; however, the first time they take life damage, they lose 3 stamina. If they have fewer than 3 stamina remaining, the target also takes an additional 1 point of life damage.
Target: All chosen persons within 6 squares.
Special: If the target has Lie Detector and has a higher rank in Psychological Combat than you, this attack fails.

Penetration: +2
Damage: None
Effects: The target must spend at least one sprint action next round moving in the most direct path away from you that does not lead to another, obvious threat. You may use a secondary action the following round to attempt a recast; if you successfully strike them with any other attack that round, you immediately are granted a free cast of the Fear attack; this can be kept up indefinitely.
Target: One person within 6 squares.
Special: This ability can be reused on the same target per scene indefinitely.

Imperious Presence
Penetration: +1
Damage: None
Effects: You gain a +1 bonus to your penetration with all attacks and to your evasion and resilience scores against any afflicted targets. This benefit lasts for the remainder of the scene. You may only use this ability once per scene.
Area: All chosen persons within 6 squares.

Moment of Weakness
Penetration: +2
Damage: None
Effects: You grab the attention of a single foe, taunting them to intimidate them, or perhaps coaxing them to join you. They take a -2 penalty to evasion and resilience against the next attack to strike them this round.
Target: One person within 6 squares.
Special: This ability can be reused on the same target per scene indefinitely.

Puppet Master
Penetration: +2
Damage: None
Effects: You select a single foe, goading them or lying to them in an attempt to affect their actions. You alter any one action on its script at any point in the scene, as long as it is logically related to your lie or goad. (For example, if you deceive the target into believing that you have no chance to defeat him, you might convince him to tell you about his master plan.) Multiple Puppet Master usages stack and can be 'saved', to a maximum of five.
Target: One person within 6 squares.
Special: This ability can be reused on the same target per scene indefinitely.

Spirit Crusher
Penetration: +3
Effects: You've successfully misled and warped the foe's mind to present a different outcome than the reality they've understood, undermining their resolve. The target loses up to 3 stamina, and you gain an amount of stamina equal to that they lose. If Spirit Crusher is used on a target affected by False Bravado, the target also takes one point of life damage, triggering the False Bravado effect.
Special: If the target has Lie Detector and has a higher rank in Psychological Combat than you, this attack fails.

Psychological Combat:
Origins: All. Psychological Combat is a non-restricted advancement tree, as nature, training, magic, technology and tools can all conceivably be used to emulate various features.

Rank I:

Inspire Courage: Once per scene, you can restore a point of stamina to one ally. Inspire Courage requires a primary action to use.

Moment of Weakness: You gain access to the Moment of Weakness psychological attack.

Rank II:

False Bravado: You gain access to the False Bravado psychological attack.

Fear: You gain access to the Fear psychological attack.

Name and Number: You can prepare a secondary action to counter an expected psychological attack this round. If any psychological attacks are used against you the round that you prepare Name and Number, you take one point of stamina damage to gain a +1 bonus to your resilience against attacks that round.

Rank III:

Brainwash: Pick one psychological attack you already possess. You gain a +1 to your penetration with that attack. You may take Brainwash multiple times - each time, you must select a different psychological attack.

Lie Detector: You can automatically tell when someone is lying, as long as the target's highest rank in Psychological Combat is lower than your highest rank in Psychological Combat.

Puppet Master: You gain access to the Puppet Master psychological technique.

Rank IV:

Imperious Presence: You gain access to the Imperious Presence psychological attack.

Spirit Crusher: You gain access to the Spirit Crusher psychological technique.

Rank V:

Command: You gain access to the Command psychological attack.

Master Mesmer: Pick one psychological attack you already possess. You gain a +1 bonus to penetration with that attack. Requires Brainwash.

Rank VI:

Master of Lies: You tell a lie so convincingly (either stated flatly, or using reverse psychology to imply it) that everyone who hears you believes it - for a few seconds. You can use your Puppet Master attack simultaneously against all creatures within 6 squares once per scene - moreover, this use of the ability automatically works. The lie you tell must still be within the realm of believability - telling a group of paranoid schizophrenics that everyone but you is out to get them would work, but not likely to work against a close-knit group of friends - and the actions you rewrite must still be related to your lie. Unlike your normal use of the attack, you -must- alter the taken actions on the subsequent round - charges cannot be 'saved' with Master of Lies. Requires Puppet Master.

Considering the concept of demerits. Demerits do not need to be taken sequentially, and grant a single rank from another tree of equal or lesser value. You must otherwise qualify for the rank as appropriate.