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Doccit
2015-07-12, 08:05 PM
Hi everyone. I am working on a system that uses cards instead of dice and I'm in the very early stages of development. My motivation was to replace the skill check. Considering that skill checks simulate almost every task players might engage in in most games, a dice roll has always felt a little mechanically light to me. I wanted to create something more gamey. Right now the fun in the roll comes from the suspense primarily, and I wanted to add things like press your luck to supplement that suspense. This lead me to cards. Here is how I think it might work.

The basic mechanic:Every player has their own deck of cards, with ten in their hand at a given time. Lets say one wanted to jump over a gap. The GM might rule that it takes 20 hearts to do so. The player puts down cards from their hand until they've put down a combined value of 20 hearts cards, at which point they succeed. If they don't have enough in their hand to do the task, they can either quit (in which case they never made an attempt in the first place) or discard cards in their hand to draw new ones.

They can discard more than one card at once, but of course the number of cards in a deck are limited and getting your full deck back requires a long rest, and when you have no cards in your deck you are essentially exhausted and useless. Each time you discard (you can discard multiple cards at once) you accumulate a failure point, which you can spend after you've succeeded. In this case it might be things like you clear the gap but you land funny and hurt your ankle, or you clear it but a health potion falls from your belts as you jump and you lose it, or both. The player chooses which penalties they get, and if you accumulate enough failure points you simply fail the task. The number of failure points you can accumulate varies from task to task. Face cards can't be used in skill checks normally, but are used to power spell and spell like abilities.

There would be a book of common tasks with pre-prepared things to buy with failure points and costs, and things which might be considered contests in other games (for example, beat a noble NPC at chess) would just be tasks that work like what I described above. Each suit represents a different attribute: Fitness (hearts; a mix of strength and constitution), Poise (diamonds; charisma), Coordination (clubs; dexterity), and Aptitude (spades; for using tools).

Additional Measures:With the additional complexity of normal skill checks I have taken measures to reduce the amount of skill checks you would make. A common property of a tool or ability from a class would allow you to automatically succeed at certain tasks. Knowledge skills and traditional attributes like intelligence and wisdom have been absorbed into a new knowledge system. Players get areas of knowledge, at different levels. Each level allows them to ask certain questions about objects related to their area of knowledge and have the GM answer truthfully. For example, someone knowledgable about architecture could ask "how old is this building?" or "which of these columns are supporting columns?" This is more flavour than anything but after the GM gives the answer, they should ask the player how their character knows that and they can answer things like "those columns have their paint chipped at the bottom, indicating stress" or "the architectural style matches 100 years ago for this area, and the vines gripping the building have to be at least 80 years old"

The Combat MechanicsEach round everyone puts down two piles of one or more cards face down; an attack pile and a defence pile. When putting down multiple cards in either pile, they must all be of the same suit. The round then proceeds in initiative order, with everyone having the opportunity to declare an attack and change their battlefield position during their turn. When an attack is declared, the attacker flips up their attack pile, and the defender their defence pile. The attacker and defender add up the total value of their cards and the higher one wins, with the defender winning a tie. The loser discards their cards, and the winner returns them to their hand. If the attacker wins they also deal damage. If the defender wins they can put down a new set of defence cards. Instead of putting down number cards, you can put down a face card, which wins automatically against the same suit but loses against other suits. An ace can be played with number cards and adds +1, but adds the automatic-win property of a face card. If the attacker and defender both put down a face card of the same suit, the defender wins.

I like this because it adds a lot of avenues for abilities and items to influence while still being on its face a fairly entertaining card game. Each weapon will have a description for the kind of attack it is making when a different suit is used, which is designed to correspond to the attribute of the suit. So for example, a short sword attacking with diamonds (poise) would feint before attacking, when attacking with clubs (coordination) would do a series of light thrusts, attacking with hearts (fitness) would be a powerful slash, and attacking with spades (aptitude) would involve following up a light slash with an attack using the hilt. I might make it so that armours have descriptions for how you defend when using various suits.

Weapons and armours also provide bonuses specifically to attacking or defending with one or more suits, along the lines of "when attacking with hearts, add +3 to your total attack strength". For example, a warhammer, would probably have a big bonus to a fitness (heart) based attack, but a sizeable penalty to a poise (diamond) based attack. I've never used a warhammer but I imagine faking an attack with one wouldn't be easy.

Also notice that specialization might make characters very dependent upon one suit at the expense of others. This makes having more general talents advantageous first of all, which I like, but also there will be plenty of opportunities to take abilities that say things like "when making a check that primarily uses hearts, you may treat one card that isn't a heart as a heart" or "discard three cards; choose a card from your discard pile that is a heart and return it to your hand"

EDIT: I've so far been trying to keep the thread limited to ways in which cards have an effect on gameplay, but I figure that while I'm asking for advice I should run a few of the other mechanics I'm hoping to implement into the game by you guys.

Character CreationRight now I am thinking that fundamentally player abilities will come exclusively through feats. I like the freedom that this offers, but traditionally the problem with such systems is overwhelming the player with choices. I've got a few ways to deal with that. First, at the first level everyone will choose a "path", which determines their starting gear and gives them a few feats. There will be around 6-10 choices and a make your own path option. Presenting creating your own path as an option allows freedom for those that would want it while making setup easier. I am thinking that path will determine almost everything about your character at the first level.

Next, rather than at the second level opening everything up, here is how I will restrict choice: each item/item group (an example of an item group would be claymore, longsword, and flamberge. Relatively similar items.) will have a number of feats associated with it, and you may only select a feat if at the time when you level up, you have one of its associated items on your person. Now, the players don't have to look through books and books to make sure they are making the optimal choice. But it doesn't significantly restrict choice, because you chose to bring the items you did into the dungeon with you. They'll be a somewhat restrictive encumbrance system to support this.

PositionI mentioned earlier that you can alter your position on the battlefield on your turn and I didn't really go into what that meant. I'll start by saying that I prefer gridless combat (it can be a lot simpler to track and in many ways more immersive). I've tried to implement it many times before in different games but I always run into corner-cases that massively inflate the rules. The problem was that I was trying to perfectly emulate combat on a grid without a grid. In this attempt I've been more relaxed about positions being more fluid and less precisely defined. Anyway enough of all that.

The battle has a front line where the melee is happening, and each faction (usually a battle has two factions; the players and the monsters) has a back line. You can't move to a faction's back line while that faction has at least member in the front line (unless you are with that faction of course). You can only attack people on the line that you are in unless you've got some kind of ranged attack, in which case you can attack any line. On your turn you move from the front line to the back line, vice versa, or from the back line to far away from the fighting (you are nolonger in combat)

That is the basics. The rest is handled by abilities or special circumstances. Here is an example of each.
This battle is taking place on a hill. The players are downhill, and the monsters are uphill. This means the monsters get +1 on their attacks and the players get -1 on theirs. The downhill faction by taking some collective action at end of the round (they can all pass their turn, make some kind of skill check, and if they succeed they are now uphill)
A scout has an ability that allows them to sneak to cover in the middle of combat. When they are in cover, ranged attacks against them get -1, right after they make it to cover they can make a ranged sneak attack against anyone they please.
People with leadership abilities might have the ability to move their entire line over to some special kind of terrain. There are lots of avenues for terrain to have an impact, but the ability to use a terrain to your advantage comes from feats. And terrain effects can be present at the beginning of the battle by the GM.

Buyable Experience PointsThe idea is that you can spend a lot of money after an adventure living it up for several days and gain exp for it. This does two things. One, it adds a lot of flavour and sense to the world. No longer will adventurers wear millions of gold worth of armour and sleep in the dirt because they are too cheap to pay for an inn. Some nights they'll be too poor to afford a hotel, but others they'll be downing bottles of twenty year old brandy and hunting foxes with princes. It makes the world make more sense, and wealth seem like a thing worth having in the world. Especially because in the worlds I like to build there aren't going to be troves of magic items littered around for players to purchase. Which brings me to the second function: it is a wealth sink. It is fun in adventures to find lots of treasures, but it is not good to be forced to build worlds where there is always more expensive weapons and armours worth spending your treasure on. Now there is always something to spend it on: frivolous pleasures that for the characters that don't feel pointless to the player. Maybe it doesn't make the most sense that fox hunting and brandy swilling makes you a better adventurer but in my opinion the narrative benefits outweigh the narrative costs.

I'm looking to improve these mechanics in any way I can before I move forward with the project, and nothing is sacred. All help is appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Grod_The_Giant
2015-07-12, 08:20 PM
The overall impression I'm getting is a semi-randomized bidding game-- success is determined by the combination of luck ("what cards do I have in my hand") and determination ("how many resources do I want to spend to succeed?"), with abilities to reduce the role of luck and a built-in "yes, but" mechanism (snazzy idea, by the way). It'll be slow, but it sounds like you've already thought about that.

My main concern is the "when your deck runs out you're useless." You're going to go through cards fast with this, especially if any kind of opposed contest comes up. It sounds like most checks are going to take multiple cards, in which case you're only going to be able to make a handful of checks a day. I dislike abilities with limited uses on general principle, and here you're making a system where the ability to do things is a limited resource? Blech. This is doubly bad when you consider that players will have to hoard their cards like a miser, while NPCs who are only around for a scene can spend them freely.

Instead, I'd think about limited draws as a mechanism. When you try a skill check, you draw X cards (based on your skill rank, presumably), and your ability to succeed depends on your luck and willingness to accept failure points. In combat, you'd I guess draw some number of cards every round, and have to decide how to split them up between attack and defense and saving up for killing blows later on. You could maybe also limit how many cards you can spend on a specific task, to keep people (NPCs including) from simply throwing down their entire hand and vaporizing opposition.

Doccit
2015-07-12, 08:39 PM
I think you are right about running out of cards quickly becoming a problem. I was hoping to have short combat (low hitpoints) so that card loss wasn't a huge problem, but when you're losing about 4 cards every round when the fighting is heavy it doesn't take many rounds to really drain your deck. I don't share your conviction that limiting the number of things you can do in a day is necessarily a bad thing, but I think that I am definitely limiting it too much right now. Especially when I'm considering adding abilities that let you automatically succeed at certain tasks (which means they have no cost). Your concern about NPCs is also a valid one. My current idea for dealing with them would be that rather than having their own decks of cards players would just treat challenges related to them like they would anything else (IE, beating a lumberjack at arm wrestling costs 20 hearts or whatever). Monsters definitely have an advantage over players right now with their fresh deck.

I like the idea of limited draw, but it clashes a little bit with my conception of how spells would work (if you don't have a hand at all times, your fireball ability activator card can't be thrown down whenever the mood strikes you). I will certainly give it a lot of thought. I'm sure there is a way to combine a permanent hand with a limited draw. And thanks for the advice!

EDIT: Before I overhaul things to meet my new concerns I want to try a quick fix or two. How far would simply changing it from getting your deck back after a long rest to getting your deck back after a short rest meet your concerns? It would retain the limiting of what players/npcs can do before becoming exhausted in tense situations (combat or challenging skill situations) that I like, it would shrink the gap between the player's and NPC's need to conserve cards, and it would not limit the number of checks the player could make in a day. Just the amount of effort they could expend before needing a break. It also incorporates a kind of "take 20" mechanic, where when the player knows that nothing is going to stop them from preparing before and resting afterwards, they can put all the cards they like into a task.

JBPuffin
2015-07-12, 09:44 PM
I'd say that it certainly makes things easier, but it may not be enough. Maybe have a pool of chips that you can cash in instead of cards - they only replenish during long rests, and maybe not even fully, but they make an attempt a lot easier. How they make things easier is up to interpretation, but it would definitely give players more action time.

Doccit
2015-07-12, 10:07 PM
The chip idea is very interesting! I think I understand what you are talking about. I'm not sure what direction you meant by not enough though. Was the chip idea meant to supplement a system based on limited draw or to supliment the system that I currently have in place?

Glimbur
2015-07-13, 06:22 AM
Have you looked at Deadlands? They use a card-based resolution system with chips. It has been long enough that I don't recall all the details, but you might check it out for inspiration.

Grod_The_Giant
2015-07-13, 06:50 AM
Decks refreshing during a short rest, or even during a scene change should help a lot. Probably enough that you don't need to worry about running through the deck, provided your draws are typically small.

As for limited hands... I was thinking that "drawing a hand" would be roughly similar to rolling a die, in that it's the first thing you do when you want to do something in-game. Laying down cards from that would be analogous to adding your modifier. So if you want to toss out a fireball, you just snatch some cards and see if you've got enough juice to do it right.


Have you looked at Deadlands? They use a card-based resolution system with chips. It has been long enough that I don't recall all the details, but you might check it out for inspiration.
I think there's an entirely card-based Western game out there-- Aces and Eights, maybe?-- but it's not Deadlands. Deadlands uses Savage Worlds (or a precurser for the original draft), with cards being splashed in here and there-- initiative, showdown-at-high-noon, and some of the magic.

Doccit
2015-07-13, 09:06 AM
Thank you for the suggestion Glimbur! I have read deadlands actually. The savage world's version and the original one. There are a lot of interesting things in there and I've looked there for ideas, but it brings up a point of worry of mine: while I really do believe that cards have a lot to offer over dice as a randomizer (they let me do a lot of rather complicated things very elegantly) I am worried that it is going to feel like a gimmick. I was once reading a forum thread about hexes v squares and someone said that hexes only belonged in games about bees. I don't think that they were right about that, but the idea sticks.

In your opinions, do cards only belong in games about the old west/fortune tellers/etc, or could they be made to work in any setting without feeling like different for the sake of different?

Grod_The_Giant
2015-07-13, 05:52 PM
Thank you for the suggestion Glimbur! I have read deadlands actually. The savage world's version and the original one. There are a lot of interesting things in there and I've looked there for ideas, but it brings up a point of worry of mine: while I really do believe that cards have a lot to offer over dice as a randomizer (they let me do a lot of rather complicated things very elegantly) I am worried that it is going to feel like a gimmick. I was once reading a forum thread about hexes v squares and someone said that hexes only belonged in games about bees. I don't think that they were right about that, but the idea sticks.

In your opinions, do cards only belong in games about the old west/fortune tellers/etc, or could they be made to work in any setting without feeling like different for the sake of different?
I think it depends on how you use them. Deadlands' use of cards is very poker-related, which does lend itself to the old west feel, or perhaps a seedy criminal underworld type of thing. But if you're not sticking close to established card games, and you don't inject cards into the fluff, I can see it fading into the background. As for different for the sake of different... I think that all comes down to how elegant your rules are. But it sounds like you've got a lot of cool ideas in that direction; I wouldn't worry too hard.

JBPuffin
2015-07-13, 06:28 PM
Chips could be used in either - trouble atm would still be running out of cards and being unable to act. Probably a better fit for the non-limited draw system.

Doccit
2015-07-13, 11:46 PM
Thanks for saying Grod. I hope that I can produce systems good enough for people to not find it unusual that they are using cards.

Now that I've given it more thought JBPuffin, I'm reluctant to add an extra element like a chip to play. Especially when it is reminiscent of poker, which I'd like to avoid. I'm thinking it might be a good idea to try something like this...

Short Rest/End Scene: shuffle your discard into your deck, then take the top 5 (maybe 3?) cards off your deck and put them in another pile (think exile from magic the gathering)
Long Rest: shuffle your discard and your exile pile into your deck.

An important component of this is that the hand isn't effected by the rest (so if you like you can keep your special face cards ready to throw down at any moment. I'm not sure if I need per say to limit the amount of short rests the player can take but it feels right for some reason. It adds something that replenishes with long rest like JBPuffin was suggesting without having to use chips. This brings back Grod's concern about limiting the number of skill checks you can make in a day though.

Mark Hall
2015-07-14, 05:37 PM
Have you seen my work on ODE, in my sig?

Grod_The_Giant
2015-07-14, 07:48 PM
An important component of this is that the hand isn't effected by the rest (so if you like you can keep your special face cards ready to throw down at any moment. I'm not sure if I need per say to limit the amount of short rests the player can take but it feels right for some reason. It adds something that replenishes with long rest like JBPuffin was suggesting without having to use chips. This brings back Grod's concern about limiting the number of skill checks you can make in a day though.
I can accept limiting how many checks (ie, high-risk actions) you can make in a scene, but daily? I'd keep your basic resolution mechanic far, far away from any daily limit. You can have class abilities with a daily limit if you want, or some sort of metagame currency (action points, fate points, bennies, whatever), but I wouldn't go any farther than that.

Doccit
2015-07-14, 08:05 PM
I have not Mark! But I will check that out right away.

I think you've won me over with the daily thing Grod. Daily limits aren't something that I enjoy in games either. I think I was looking to put in a mechanic which encouraged players to sleep. And thinking about it, that can be done much better with mechanics that aren't as core to the whole experience.

Grod_The_Giant
2015-07-14, 08:34 PM
I think you've won me over with the daily thing Grod. Daily limits aren't something that I enjoy in games either. I think I was looking to put in a mechanic which encouraged players to sleep. And thinking about it, that can be done much better with mechanics that aren't as core to the whole experience.
Are you looking to make a grittier, "count your torches and hope the guard makes his Spot check" kind of game, then?

Doccit
2015-07-14, 09:36 PM
Not really. GMs should be able to ambush players in the middle of the night if they want to, but I know that players will never sleep if you don't give them a reason to and I want the world to make sense.

Also I've now read the game Mark. I think there are some very cool things going on in there (jokers being critical and health being the sum of your attributes, for example, I really liked) but I feel like fundamentally you are still using a skill check as your primary mechanic. That isn't to say that it is bad, in fact, I think it has several advantages over my design (one being that it would be faster to execute at the table). I think we are trying to do very different things though.

Also, I've so far been trying to keep the thread limited to ways in which cards have an effect on gameplay, but I figure that while I'm asking for advice I should run a few of the other mechanics I'm hoping to implement into the game by you guys. Here are a few things I've got planned. Tell me if you think they're good ideas or not, and whether the mesh or conflict with the other ideas I have in place.

Character CreationRight now I am thinking that fundamentally player abilities will come exclusively through feats. I like the freedom that this offers, but traditionally the problem with such systems is overwhelming the player with choices. I've got a few ways to deal with that. First, at the first level everyone will choose a "path", which determines their starting gear and gives them a few feats. There will be around 6-10 choices and a make your own path option. Presenting creating your own path as an option allows freedom for those that would want it while making setup easier. I am thinking that path will determine almost everything about your character at the first level.

Next, rather than at the second level opening everything up, here is how I will restrict choice: each item/item group (an example of an item group would be claymore, longsword, and flamberge. Relatively similar items.) will have a number of feats associated with it, and you may only select a feat if at the time when you level up, you have one of its associated items on your person. Now, the players don't have to look through books and books to make sure they are making the optimal choice. But it doesn't significantly restrict choice, because you chose to bring the items you did into the dungeon with you. They'll be a somewhat restrictive encumbrance system to support this.

PositionI mentioned earlier that you can alter your position on the battlefield on your turn and I didn't really go into what that meant. I'll start by saying that I prefer gridless combat (it can be a lot simpler to track and in many ways more immersive). I've tried to implement it many times before in different games but I always run into corner-cases that massively inflate the rules. The problem was that I was trying to perfectly emulate combat on a grid without a grid. In this attempt I've been more relaxed about positions being more fluid and less precisely defined. Anyway enough of all that.

The battle has a front line where the melee is happening, and each faction (usually a battle has two factions; the players and the monsters) has a back line. You can't move to a faction's back line while that faction has at least member in the front line (unless you are with that faction of course). You can only attack people on the line that you are in unless you've got some kind of ranged attack, in which case you can attack any line. On your turn you move from the front line to the back line, vice versa, or from the back line to far away from the fighting (you are nolonger in combat)

That is the basics. The rest is handled by abilities or special circumstances. Here is an example of each.
This battle is taking place on a hill. The players are downhill, and the monsters are uphill. This means the monsters get +1 on their attacks and the players get -1 on theirs. The downhill faction by taking some collective action at end of the round (they can all pass their turn, make some kind of skill check, and if they succeed they are now uphill)
A scout has an ability that allows them to sneak to cover in the middle of combat. When they are in cover, ranged attacks against them get -1, right after they make it to cover they can make a ranged sneak attack against anyone they please.
People with leadership abilities might have the ability to move their entire line over to some special kind of terrain. There are lots of avenues for terrain to have an impact, but the ability to use a terrain to your advantage comes from feats. And terrain effects can be present at the beginning of the battle by the GM.

Buyable Experience PointsThe idea is that you can spend a lot of money after an adventure living it up for several days and gain exp for it. This does two things. One, it adds a lot of flavour and sense to the world. No longer will adventurers wear millions of gold worth of armour and sleep in the dirt because they are too cheap to pay for an inn. Some nights they'll be too poor to afford a hotel, but others they'll be downing bottles of twenty year old brandy and hunting foxes with princes. It makes the world make more sense, and wealth seem like a thing worth having in the world. Especially because in the worlds I like to build there aren't going to be troves of magic items littered around for players to purchase. Which brings me to the second function: it is a wealth sink. It is fun in adventures to find lots of treasures, but it is not good to be forced to build worlds where there is always more expensive weapons and armours worth spending your treasure on. Now there is always something to spend it on: frivolous pleasures that for the characters that don't feel pointless to the player. Maybe it doesn't make the most sense that fox hunting and brandy swilling makes you a better adventurer but in my opinion the narrative benefits outweigh the narrative costs.

Grod_The_Giant
2015-07-15, 06:46 AM
Character Creation: I think you might be a bit too worried about choice paralysis here. Firstly, you're writing a single-man homebrew game: there are never going to be books and books worth of options to pour through. "Path" as a shorthand makes sense, especially if each of the pre-made ones comes with a list of suggested feats to take at later levels. I also like the idea of sorting feats into groups, which will help narrow the options more.

On the other hand, I don't like the "you must have the item with you at the time of level up"-- it simultaneously manages to feel unnecessarily restrictive, largely redundant (you've probably already got the items you use most) and likely to lead to weird circumstances where the level-up comes just after you lost your gear for whatever reason and so can't pick the feat you wanted. It also doesn't really narrow down the choices that much-- it mostly shifts it forward so you have to decide what feat you want in time to obtain the item pre-adventure. Finally, it doesn't seem to jive with the Buyable Experience Points option you describe later.

Position: Not much to say here. It's more abstract than I, personally, like, but that's not the end of the world. If you haven't done so, I recommend looking up Fate's Zones system-- it's vaguely similar to what you're trying to do, but with a bit more complexity and concreteness.

Buyable Experience Points: This whole section sounds very much like it's based off D&D, where power and wealth are intimately (and unhealthily, in my opinion) linked. That's not true for every game-- heck, I'd say it's not true for most games. If players aren't forced to spend their cash on magic items to stay competitive, I think you'll naturally see them blowing money on parties and castles and such. I encourage you to go all-out and cut the link between treasure and power altogether, so that GMs don't have to worry about their players getting "enough" gold to advance. Instead... perhaps some sort of reputation or influence system?

Doccit
2015-07-15, 10:28 AM
Character Creation: The point about how it clashes with the bought exp thing is a very good one, and I honestly didn't notice it. The restriction I'm using isn't as good as I had originally thought. My hope was that pushing the planning burden back would make it so the only people who had to confront a plethora of options when they leveled up were the people who were going to plan their whole character out from the start anyway, but as you've pointed out I may actually be forcing people to plan far ahead who would not otherwise, and that is something I don't want to do. While I know that paralysis won't be as big of a problem in this game as big name ones, I still feel like there should be some kind of restriction on what feats can be taken and tying them to the item groups makes a lot of sense. I will certainly think about what such a restriction could be. Do you have any ideas on that?

Position: I've familiarized myself with fate zones. They are interesting and somewhat similar to what I'm going for. But I'm not sure I need to be any less abstract. I'll think about incorporating some of their elements into this but I don't see the need for a higher level of detail. One important advantage of my simpler system over the fate one is less combat prep time for the GM.

Buyable Experience Points: Yeah it is a reaction to the unhealthy coupling of wealth and power in DnD. I like the idea of an influence/reputation system parallel to leveling up, but I don't have many ideas for how to implement it. I'll think hard about it. I want to preserve the enthusiasm for spending money that comes in systems overflowing with magic items, each incrementally more splendid than the last, without the stupid worldbuilding constraint. With the current system, both the players and their characters would be excited to get back to town and spend their gold on fun. I feel like given the marginal utility of properties (castles, docks, etc) players won't be excited to purchase them in the same way that they are to purchase magic or experience points. Anyway I'll think about what I could do with it.

I'm also now thinking of having three versions of each item in a way that sinks weath and doesn't require a lot of extra pages.
Basic item - Low price. Full functionality. For example, a carrier pigeon.
Mastework item - Triple price. Some small bonus. This pigeon, of superior breeding, get messages to their location faster.
Unique item - ten times price. Adds +1 fame but otherwise is functionally identical to the masterwork item. This pigeon is descended from one that turned the tide of an ancient battle. It was anointed with holy oils blessed by St. Dominick. Etc.

Grod_The_Giant
2015-07-15, 05:16 PM
Character Creation: The point about how it clashes with the bought exp thing is a very good one, and I honestly didn't notice it. The restriction I'm using isn't as good as I had originally thought. My hope was that pushing the planning burden back would make it so the only people who had to confront a plethora of options when they leveled up were the people who were going to plan their whole character out from the start anyway, but as you've pointed out I may actually be forcing people to plan far ahead who would not otherwise, and that is something I don't want to do. While I know that paralysis won't be as big of a problem in this game as big name ones, I still feel like there should be some kind of restriction on what feats can be taken and tying them to the item groups makes a lot of sense. I will certainly think about what such a restriction could be. Do you have any ideas on that?
You could tie it to Path somehow, with feats associated with your Path being easier to acquire. But honestly, I don't think you need to. Especially since you're grouping your feats, so a player can say "I use a longsword, platemail, and smooth talking; let me check out the Longsword, Heavy Armor, and Bluff feats."


Position: I've familiarized myself with fate zones. They are interesting and somewhat similar to what I'm going for. But I'm not sure I need to be any less abstract. I'll think about incorporating some of their elements into this but I don't see the need for a higher level of detail. One important advantage of my simpler system over the fate one is less combat prep time for the GM.
The downside is that more abstraction can easily equal less interesting combat. Especially, in my mind, position: without meaningful movement-- cover, flanking, difficult terrain, etc-- combat devolves into "I attack," "I attack," "I attack." Now, if your combat card game is sufficiently fun in abstract, or combat is sufficiently fast and rare, this might not be an issue, but... Abstract zones and battle lines and such are also less intuitive, which can make teaching new players harder.


Buyable Experience Points: Yeah it is a reaction to the unhealthy coupling of wealth and power in DnD. I like the idea of an influence/reputation system parallel to leveling up, but I don't have many ideas for how to implement it. I'll think hard about it. I want to preserve the enthusiasm for spending money that comes in systems overflowing with magic items, each incrementally more splendid than the last, without the stupid worldbuilding constraint. With the current system, both the players and their characters would be excited to get back to town and spend their gold on fun. I feel like given the marginal utility of properties (castles, docks, etc) players won't be excited to purchase them in the same way that they are to purchase magic or experience points. Anyway I'll think about what I could do with it.
If you do decide to go with some sort of metagame currency, carousing might be a good way to get it back. But it's worth considering verisimilitude: if carousing is how adventures gain power, how is it that the idle rich who do that sort of thing every day aren't also the most potent fighters in the setting? Maybe if the partying is how you "digest" experience, so to speak-- you earn your xp normally, but to add it to your character you must spend some amount of time and/or money kicking back and relaxing?


I'm also now thinking of having three versions of each item in a way that sinks weath and doesn't require a lot of extra pages.
Seems alright, I guess? But I wouldn't have both money-sink items and "pay for xp," unless the item provides a similar amount of power.

Doccit
2015-07-16, 09:09 AM
I've come around. You're right about not really needing a restriction. I like the verisimilitude of it needing to be plausible that you trained with a longsword in order to get better at wielding one when you level up, but mechanically it doesn't manifest itself very well.

I am confident that the card stuff by itself will have enough strategic elements that a strategic positioning system isn't needed to make it fun. Zone based combat is less intuitive, but I feel like it pays off in the long run, and this specific version of zone based combat is very very simple so it shouldn't be too hard to pick up.

And the item tier thing was meant to be there only in leiu of a cash for experience system.

Anyway, I think I'm done planning the mechanics and am ready to jump into writing the game! Thank you for all of your help and advice. I'm sure I'll be back for help with design challenges down the road.

Grod_The_Giant
2015-07-17, 06:40 AM
Good luck!