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Mr. Mask
2016-02-04, 02:07 AM
Here's a neat little idea, but by no means a good one. You have a point-buy system for your characters. However, your points are shared between all the members of the party. Similarly, when a character earns more points, anyone can use them.

Theoretically, you could really optimize your party, and could give the wizard a larger share of points so you can get a useful spell early on, or etc.. Similarly, you might have high-point classes and low-point ones. Let's say one of you plays a goblin fighter, that might not require many points to make them a workable member of the party, and then you have more for your wizard and alchemist.

This is probably a system that wouldn't be popular, and it may not be wise on many levels, but it would be a novel idea and might even make for some interesting mechanics.

JNAProductions
2016-02-04, 02:13 AM
I'd be interested in seeing that.

Talion
2016-02-04, 02:27 AM
It's definitely an interesting idea. You'd need a fairly cooperative party to pull it off, as well as a good idea of how many points you'd need to accommodate whatever classes they want to play. However, then you'd have to balance that against any expected challenges. So you could have a lower than average pool to make them work hard and split more fairly to those who need the points, or higher points to have more relaxed play and ensure everyone has a chance to get the points they need/want. You'd probably want to come up with a reasonable rate of points available per class tier, granting fewer overall points for high tier classes and more overall points for low tier classes, and then modify that based on how powerful the party is supposed to be, attribute-wise anyway. Alternatively, if you prefer a touch of chaos, you could instead assign a certain number of D6 or other dice in relation to the class tiers being selected and then run with whatever the total result of those are (though that may take a while to determine, roll, and record on top of the distribution issues).

You may also want to consider revising the point costs of attributes. An additional option may also be to offer additional points and allow players to purchase other perks such as Feats or Spells in exchange for their starting pool points. That could open up some assistance for classes that struggle, and since points can be distributed to whoever in the party after they are gained it can further assist classes that struggle to keep up even if they were initially stronger.

If I end up in a Pathfinder/D&D campaign I may actually propose this, particularly if it gets some more solid numbers. If nothing else its a potential means to measure party cohesion and willingness to both negotiate and worth together on their characters.

Mr. Mask
2016-02-04, 02:43 AM
Had another thought. Rather than each picking a character, you might all decide how many and what sort of characters you want in the party, then decide which one you want to play as and customize them a bit further. This'd allow you to make a more cooperative story between your characters, where you might feel less like a collection of protagonists wrestling for the spotlight. You might even trade or trade-in characters as the campaign progresses. Or, the group of players plays as the whole party, alternating between characters as often as they please.



Talion: Hmm, hard to say, not really familiar enough with Pathfinder to give any possible numbers. Was mostly thinking of systems that are already point based. Essentially, any underpowered race or class would cost less points, and overpowered ones would cost more. You might even be able to buy extra levels, feats, skills and etc for a party member.

lacco36
2016-02-04, 04:02 AM
I like the idea. It gives lots of opportunities to players for team optimization across the board.

If you want to test it quickly, I would give it a try with classless point-buy systems, since they have already the points allocated and there is no further work necessary. I have been in a situation in Shadowrun, where I already had everything my character needed and I had spare 8-10 points, which others could use...

Also the idea of first building the team and then selecting the PCs sounds quite interesting. I was already playing once a short series of games (5 games precisely), where the main player (the one who initiated the game, as well as brought together the players and who was the only one who could be present for 100% of games) had a character and the others built characters and presented him with rap sheets/references, because he had to put a team together for each run. So every player had 2 or 3 characters, but they did no swapping.

For me it would be maybe interesting to build it around the idea of real adventuring party - one that has limited amount of members (including camp healer, maybe a blacksmith) and certain goal (e.g. find the Sword of Thousand Truths, which is known to be in the fifth dungeon). A party leader will be selected - who can plan the expedition, including the staffing - they will receive a pool of points, make as many characters as possible (within budget - spend too much and they will be weak, spend too little and you have no backup) and they have to reach the end of the expedition (e.g. 5 dungeons). Between expeditions they have to switch to members who are alive/not wounded/at the camp, they can use the services provided during downtime (abovementioned camp healer, blacksmith, armorer...even a scholar can be useful for advice). They will have to manage supplies (e.g. ranger in camp provides certain portions of food, but not when in dungeon), etc...
Yes, this is something I would find interesting for me (and part of my players, who like the resource management).

D-naras
2016-02-04, 07:30 AM
Not exactly the same, but I plan on including a mechanic of the sort in my own system, though there, the players will have a shared point total to customise their base/company/guild rather than their characters. This way they get to have their awesome protagonists and a common organisation that is to everyone liking.

Storm_Of_Snow
2016-02-04, 07:38 AM
I'd go for a Cyberpunk or similar system, where the characters are clones created by a corporation or government agency, and have the points represent things like implanted skill modules, bio-augments and cybernetics provided for the team by their employer.

You might also want to have a minimum spend per player - both at generation and when earnt, so one person doesn't hog all the points and leave everyone else with nothing.

lacco36
2016-02-04, 07:46 AM
Not exactly the same, but I plan on including a mechanic of the sort in my own system, though there, the players will have a shared point total to customise their base/company/guild rather than their characters. This way they get to have their awesome protagonists and a common organisation that is to everyone liking.

A question would be, if everything (characters, base and equipment) was point-build, would it make sense to make 3 separate point values (one for chars, one for base, one for equipment), or just one to make them balance the characters vs. base vs. equipment?


I'd go for a Cyberpunk or similar system, where the characters are clones created by a corporation or government agency, and have the points represent things like implanted skill modules, bio-augments and cybernetics provided for the team by their employer.

You might also want to have a minimum spend per player - both at generation and when earnt, so one person doesn't hog all the points and leave everyone else with nothing.

This makes sense within the "budgeting" issue. The players are given a budget (as managers of the corporation) to create a team. Will they spend it all on bioware/cyberware? Or will they spend it on big guns and helicopters?

The minimum spend per player sounds reasonable as a rule, but if we assume the rule that all characters are generated and then the players select them, it would make sense to me to phrase it as "minimum spend per character". Or maybe even "per player and per character" to ensure everybody gets to "play" this first part?

Storm_Of_Snow
2016-02-04, 08:24 AM
This makes sense within the "budgeting" issue. The players are given a budget (as managers of the corporation) to create a team. Will they spend it all on bioware/cyberware? Or will they spend it on big guns and helicopters?

The minimum spend per player sounds reasonable as a rule, but if we assume the rule that all characters are generated and then the players select them, it would make sense to me to phrase it as "minimum spend per character". Or maybe even "per player and per character" to ensure everybody gets to "play" this first part?
Well, I was working on one character per player. :smallwink:

wumpus
2016-02-04, 01:02 PM
I'd have to assume that this will only work in systems where characters can be built quickly and easily. The point being that the entire group has to be in communication throughout the entire generation process (I'm thinking email, but any method will do. Perhaps some close social media). Not only that, the optimization process will be that much more complex due to multiple characters.

It also assumes that there exist builds with high bang/point cost that players are willing to play, along with others that will work great if only they had a few points more (such that the party will cover them). I'm wondering how many systems allow both cases to be true.

ComaVision
2016-02-04, 01:24 PM
First thing I'd do if the DM said that's how we're doing it is divide it by the number of players and say, "all right, we all have X number of points," and proceed to make my character.

nedz
2016-02-04, 02:35 PM
What happens when one of the PCs dies ?

Which brings up this exploit:

4 Players each make their characters: A, B, C and D
Now D gets the minimum number of points - but that's fine since he's going to tackle the first big fight alone and the player expects to get a new character very early in the game.

CharonsHelper
2016-02-04, 02:47 PM
What happens when one of the PCs dies ?

Which brings up this exploit:

4 Players each make their characters: A, B, C and D
Now D gets the minimum number of points - but that's fine since he's going to tackle the first big fight alone and the player expects to get a new character very early in the game.

Not if the total points for the party remain static. The new character that player D brings in would have the same point total.

It reminds me of wargames like Warmachine where each player buys character/units etc. with their total point budget.

lacco36
2016-02-04, 03:43 PM
Not if the total points for the party remain static. The new character that player D brings in would have the same point total.

It reminds me of wargames like Warmachine where each player buys character/units etc. with their total point budget.

Or if you get the enough starting points for e.g. 2,5 characters per player (to provide possible replacements) and don't get any more until they finish a quest.

If the build points represent resources and fame necessary to acquire new party members, you shouldn't get more until you do something heroic/loot enough gold and equipment to attract/pay for someone.

It would work without problems if it was the "expedition" style of play, where you have to manage your group. It doesn't work for players who just want to exploit a system...however, no system is unexploitable :smallsmile:

CharonsHelper
2016-02-04, 03:54 PM
however, no system is unexploitable :smallsmile:

Well - no reasonably complex system with much customization like most RPGs are.

Go ahead and try to exploit checkers. :P

Faily
2016-02-04, 04:43 PM
My groups would probably end up evenly dividing it all anyway, which probably says a lot about the people I game with. :smallredface:

Mr. Mask
2016-02-04, 05:57 PM
I think Lacco's idea is pretty great. If you have a whole contingent to form, not just one character per player but also medics, spares, attendants, that could help the process to be more like a strategy meeting than a separated character creation session. If you're all liable to have two characters, you're probably more willing to lend some points to the blacksmith or the camp's wizard. Having a more adventure focused campaign where characters are managed XCOM style could be interesting, too.

Ars Magica does something a bit like this, where you can play as secondary characters while the main player characters are wizards.



Or if you get the enough starting points for e.g. 2,5 characters per player (to provide possible replacements) and don't get any more until they finish a quest.

If the build points represent resources and fame necessary to acquire new party members, you shouldn't get more until you do something heroic/loot enough gold and equipment to attract/pay for someone.

It would work without problems if it was the "expedition" style of play, where you have to manage your group. It doesn't work for players who just want to exploit a system...however, no system is unexploitable Potentially, yo ucould penalize the party for deaths on top of that, like -5 resource points every time a character dies. That'd discourage them zerg-rushing problems where they figure they can just rebuild new characters.

lacco36
2016-02-05, 03:00 AM
Well - no reasonably complex system with much customization like most RPGs are.

Go ahead and try to exploit checkers. :P

Good point :smallsmile:. I must say I can't really exploit a system - well, technically I can, but the thought never occurs to me for some reason. Maybe because I just want to have fun and not just "win the scenario" :biggrin:.


I think Lacco's idea is pretty great. If you have a whole contingent to form, not just one character per player but also medics, spares, attendants, that could help the process to be more like a strategy meeting than a separated character creation session. If you're all liable to have two characters, you're probably more willing to lend some points to the blacksmith or the camp's wizard. Having a more adventure focused campaign where characters are managed XCOM style could be interesting, too.

Ars Magica does something a bit like this, where you can play as secondary characters while the main player characters are wizards.

Potentially, yo ucould penalize the party for deaths on top of that, like -5 resource points every time a character dies. That'd discourage them zerg-rushing problems where they figure they can just rebuild new characters.

Thank you, kind sir! But I only built on your ideas, so kudos to you for bringing it up. A question is, how far do we want to take this thought experiment... because I must say I would like to play something like this, but I lack RL players currently. But let's continue and we'll see where it ends.

And yes, the "strategy meeting" sounds good. In a tavern, perhaps...? :biggrin:

So let's say we have the first session. A party leader is voted between the players (having the "last word" before GM comes in to decide if there are some issues that the party cannot solve). A map/scenario is presented ("looking for this artefact, most probably in this area, however to find it we need to cross the marshes, find the tower, and prepare to kill the lich").

And it's off to the players. Will they make 1 hero per player with all the points? Ok, but if one dies, you don't have points to replace him.

This could be a point which needs to be addressed - what to do if a PC dies and there is no one to replace him (e.g. everyone is dead) and no points left...?

Possible solutions:

GM will provide a replacement character, however this one will be weaker than the last one and will have several flaws; players have to push on smarter to get enough points to afford a new one/upgrade of this one
PC makes a level 1/starting character - no points mean no upgrades
player gets to play a henchman/follower until there are points for a PC
player gets a debt - he will get a functional (although weaker) PC, however, he has to "pay" for it from the party pool of points and it affects the score at the end :smallsmile:
...player is out of game? I don't like this one - however, as Mr. Mask proposed, there should be a penalty for getting killed and not having a contingency


Point 4 - the debt makes me think of boardgames, where you get points for endind a scenario. So maybe that's not a good way.

...another idea:
At the beginning they get "build points". After beginning, they get "fame" points - the characters receive normal XPs or whatever worked for the system, but for each amount of XPs, gold and resources they find, they also get "fame" - which they spend for recruiting further heroes. The more fame they have, the better heroes come to their camp. And for each death, for each quest they take but don't finish successfully, fame diminishes. But this will make the bookkeeping a bit worse... thoughts?

Raimun
2016-02-05, 05:44 AM
My groups would probably end up evenly dividing it all anyway, which probably says a lot about the people I game with. :smallredface:

I would imagine most groups would just divide the shared pool evenly. With perhaps only a point or two transfered, when someone is making a wizard or other SAD class and don't really need all the stats they can get.

Also, I have a hard time imagining the underlying reason why a party would have to share their character building resources in the first place. Are they all made from one piece of dough?

hymer
2016-02-05, 06:16 AM
I guess my main worry about this idea is about using party resources for purely selfish things. Suppose I want my character to be a famous opera singer or footballer. That will cost some resources, and won't be of much assistance in the average undertaking. If I'm taking the points for this out of my own, private pool, I won't feel particularly guilty, as long as my characters can still pull their weight. But if I'm taking those resources out of our group pool, suddenly it sticks.

Storm_Of_Snow
2016-02-05, 07:43 AM
Also, I have a hard time imagining the underlying reason why a party would have to share their character building resources in the first place. Are they all made from one piece of dough?
If they're all independent characters coming together at the start of a campaign with varying backgrounds I agree that it probably doesn't make a lot of sense. But if they've all got the same background (my suggestion of cloned soldiers for a Cyberpunk corporation, for example), then it's simply them being equipped, trained, etc from a fixed central budget.


I guess my main worry about this idea is about using party resources for purely selfish things. Suppose I want my character to be a famous opera singer or footballer. That will cost some resources, and won't be of much assistance in the average undertaking. If I'm taking the points for this out of my own, private pool, I won't feel particularly guilty, as long as my characters can still pull their weight. But if I'm taking those resources out of our group pool, suddenly it sticks.
I guess one alternative is everyone gets something that's totally outside normal gameplay, and the GM's allowed to veto it if they deem it metagaming - Belkar's Gourmet Chef skills might be something allowed, but, being a butcher may get vetoed because it's too abusable for, say, using knifes in combat.

Might work for a semi-comedic zombie apocalypse-style game where people of disparate backgrounds get thrown together.

Or maybe the rest of the players vote on it - if they're happy with your choice, go for it.

lacco36
2016-02-05, 08:20 AM
If they're all independent characters coming together at the start of a campaign with varying backgrounds I agree that it probably doesn't make a lot of sense. But if they've all got the same background (my suggestion of cloned soldiers for a Cyberpunk corporation, for example), then it's simply them being equipped, trained, etc from a fixed central budget.

I guess one alternative is everyone gets something that's totally outside normal gameplay, and the GM's allowed to veto it if they deem it metagaming - Belkar's Gourmet Chef skills might be something allowed, but, being a butcher may get vetoed because it's too abusable for, say, using knifes in combat.

Might work for a semi-comedic zombie apocalypse-style game where people of disparate backgrounds get thrown together.

Or maybe the rest of the players vote on it - if they're happy with your choice, go for it.

That's a good example. Really, for the idea itself to work, it helps to look at the first part from one level higher - not from the position of cloned soldiers/adventurers/shadowrunners, but their managers/patrons/fixers. You have limited resources and want to hire the best possible team for a job/adventure/run.

Think of it, for example, as your position in many cRPG games - a good example could be Darkest Dungeons (according to what I have seen, I have not played it myself) - who are you there? A character? No - you are the "manager".
The difference is, after you prepare the team, you can become one of the characters here.

As for the gourmet chef issue - this could give you even bonuses to morale in the long run :smallsmile:. However, the collective character creation should help - but if the people just divide points and do the chargen individually, it can become a problem. For example, I would propose to my group to allocate to every player a small budget at the start which they can use to further "customize" the character, which everyone can use as he pleases.

Apricot
2016-02-05, 11:27 AM
Hmm... so basically, this is going to result in either the standard character point-buy with minor transfers (a la group funds) or it's going to turn into really munchkinny minmaxing that sends one or two characters through the roof while giving the others nothing past the bare minimum basics to survive and maybe offer some skill-based stuff. This could definitely trivialize encounters as well as effectively remove several players from the game. Then, as others mentioned, there's the problem of what points new characters get when the old ones die: either you give them the same points as the old characters, in which case the player is doomed to be useless/overpowered forever, or you give them a different total, in which case a particularly savage group could just chain-suicide their players until all but one was munchkinned through the roof (or their munchampion gets killed by a crit and their party can no longer function). This latter case seems pretty dumb, in my opinion, so the rules should probably be matched to the former: you can hand a few points from one character to another without penalty.

Still, though, I think giving players group funds that they can distribute is far better, because you can turn around and give money back to the "sacrificial lamb" later on. You can't do that with inherent character qualities, which is something far more galling.

wumpus
2016-02-05, 12:43 PM
Anybody play a good example point-buy game and come up with a decent party with different levels of points and rough balance (at least in terms of fun-to-play)? I'm sure that designers like to make sure that after certain levels there are rapidly diminishing returns, while for other builds players have tough choices to the end.

The real question is, won't this break the game? If the game was well balanced, then the player has to make choices there for a reason. The most likely games where this will work is where the "point number" isn't hard coded into the game: the designers simply had to make things "work" at both numbers and the "diminishing returns" shouldn't exist (or will exist for all builds). At that point there shouldn't be much reason for the players to share points.

AMFV
2016-02-05, 01:45 PM
For this to work, the game would have to be much more heavily based around roles and archetypes. If we were to use MMOs as an example there might be a reason to boost up a tank at a certain point in order to ensure survival, then you'd have to switch to heals, then to DPS (Or heals, then tank, then DPS). Basically the more delineated the roles are and the more disparate the challenges are the better this will work. Basically if the players are going to explore the Underdark, then they'd want to boost up their Underdark exploring character for a bit. Essentially you would need foreknowledge in order to make this work, otherwise it would probably wind up with people splitting things down the middle, and you would lose the main strategic mini-game aspect of this system.

AceOfFools
2016-02-05, 02:16 PM
Along with minimum points per character, I'd also suggest a max number of points per character (probably expressed as "no one character can have more than X% of the total points").

Interesting idea.

lacco36
2016-02-05, 02:51 PM
Anybody play a good example point-buy game and come up with a decent party with different levels of points and rough balance (at least in terms of fun-to-play)? I'm sure that designers like to make sure that after certain levels there are rapidly diminishing returns, while for other builds players have tough choices to the end.

The real question is, won't this break the game? If the game was well balanced, then the player has to make choices there for a reason. The most likely games where this will work is where the "point number" isn't hard coded into the game: the designers simply had to make things "work" at both numbers and the "diminishing returns" shouldn't exist (or will exist for all builds). At that point there shouldn't be much reason for the players to share points.

This would be also my question - except for Shadowrun 4th and one Czech RPG (Genesis Excogitatus) I don't have experience with point-buy game systems.

So, any suggestions where to start if I want to give this a serious try?

The second part I am not sure if I understand. Can you provide an example?


For this to work, the game would have to be much more heavily based around roles and archetypes. If we were to use MMOs as an example there might be a reason to boost up a tank at a certain point in order to ensure survival, then you'd have to switch to heals, then to DPS (Or heals, then tank, then DPS). Basically the more delineated the roles are and the more disparate the challenges are the better this will work. Basically if the players are going to explore the Underdark, then they'd want to boost up their Underdark exploring character for a bit. Essentially you would need foreknowledge in order to make this work, otherwise it would probably wind up with people splitting things down the middle, and you would lose the main strategic mini-game aspect of this system.

I completely agree with the part about foreknowledge. The goal should be known, including the possible opposition (e.g. a lich guarding the last treasure the players are seeking) and information about dungeons should be also available - so that there can be some planning.

How to do this so it is fun... well, I would start by giving the players an area map, which includes the possible dungeons they can "loot", with basic information about them (e.g. an old fortress, infested by orks, a barrow which is said to be haunted...), with even some background (e.g. they have to go to the barrow - there should be a key to the last dungeon). Or also give them possibility to determine some information (e.g. for 5 points the player can say, that there is a dungeon, state its type, 2 facts about it and 3 rumors - I have to keep true to the type - e.g. fortress - and facts - infested by orcs and full of vermin - but I can play with rumors...).

And then they can successfully plan what to do and I still have some possibilities for surprises and mysteries.


Along with minimum points per character, I'd also suggest a max number of points per character (probably expressed as "no one character can have more than X% of the total points").

Interesting idea.

Nice idea - it could certainly prevent the party to spend only on one/two chars. Maybe that's just my luck, but luckily my players are the cooperative sort, who want to have fun together - so the upper limit wouldn't be so much of an issue. Any other ideas how to refine it?

oshi
2016-02-05, 07:26 PM
I feel like this would only work well worth class-less level-less systems.
As soon as you have classes you have a concept of power tiers for them, which means you have to think about adjusting costs for lower tiered characters, and that just seems boring and annoying to do, for the most part.
The problem with levels is that they usually have exponential experience requirements, which I think could lead to a pretty unpleasant social experience deciding how xp is divided in some situations.
However, I'd be very interested in seeing how this went in point buy games where the cost for things is the same for each character and the cost for each advance is consistent (I.e. +1 has a set cost regardless of whether you're adding it to a stat that's currently 1 or one that's 100). I'd love to see how this plays out in Wild Talents, for example, it'd be a pretty cool idea for representing a group of superheroes with differing levels of abilities.

Jay R
2016-02-05, 09:02 PM
The most obvious affect this would have is that I would know that the only reason I don't have bracers +6 is that the group decided to get you that Tome of Understanding instead.

AMFV
2016-02-05, 09:34 PM
I feel like this would only work well worth class-less level-less systems.
As soon as you have classes you have a concept of power tiers for them, which means you have to think about adjusting costs for lower tiered characters, and that just seems boring and annoying to do, for the most part.
The problem with levels is that they usually have exponential experience requirements, which I think could lead to a pretty unpleasant social experience deciding how xp is divided in some situations.
However, I'd be very interested in seeing how this went in point buy games where the cost for things is the same for each character and the cost for each advance is consistent (I.e. +1 has a set cost regardless of whether you're adding it to a stat that's currently 1 or one that's 100). I'd love to see how this plays out in Wild Talents, for example, it'd be a pretty cool idea for representing a group of superheroes with differing levels of abilities.

Not all, or even most class systems have disparate tiers. I would recommend making the classes specialized. In your situation there's no reason not to split it evenly. In a specialized class situation you are incentivized to make sure the specialist best suited has the most XP.

lacco36
2016-02-09, 08:51 AM
I gave it some thought during the weekend and I came up with following ideas/conclusions. Some of these I already thought about in connection with RoS (which I tried in my mind to adapt to this style of play - it has a point-buy option), which will be presented at the end.

First: Classless/levelless systems could be easier adapted, however, class-based systems offer better potential for the first ("build an adventuring party") part of the game.
The reason for this is, that with classless/levelless systems (e.g. Shadowrun), you always have something you want to spend your points on with your character. For one time, building chars in SR4 became my hobby, and only in few archetypes I have reached the point where I thought "Ok, I'm done with the character - what should I do with these 10 points...?".
This would agree with points already presented in this thread - that players would just share the points equally.
Whereas if I had a game, where fighter level costs (10xnext level value) points and cleric costs (15xnext level value), the discussions about it would be more interesting (e.g. I would accept my fighter with a little lower-level if the cleric has raise dead/lots of healing spells/buffs he could use on my char).

So, the best way I see is - as already suggested - use of a strong "archetype" point-buy.

Second: Even starting character should make a meaningful impact on a game

This will go against the first point a bit, however, it's quite meaningful for overall enjoyment to have a competent characters even if we start anew. This is where classless systems shine. If we can achieve a system, where we have a party with 5th level fighter, 7th level mage and 1st level ranger are all having fun and making impact on a game, then there is no discussion, but from my experiences, this does not work well usually - especially if the game scales with the party level.

Third: Slight push towards the simulationist/gamist is required to make the investment to "base camp"/equipment other than weapons/armour interesting for the players.

This largely depends on the players (and I must say I am lucky to have players who on their own give themselves penalties if their characters don't sleep well, etc.). If there are mechanical advantages for their characters that come from a fully equipped camp/good food/resting, they are more prone to invest time/build points/gold/whatever into these things.

If there are none, then it can be expected that the players will gladly let the PCs sleep in full armour on the dungeon floor/in the middle of a meadow, eat hardtack for months and ignore anything that does not benefit them directly.

Fourth: Assignment of flaws to characters/NPCs/equipment should be valid tactic, however should present the players with specific problems.

To acquire more points for the beginning, the players may assign flaws to their characters/NPCs/equipment, however - the consequences should be there. Mechanical and narrative - e.g. if they give one of their cohorts a flaw "addiction", they should encounter problems with the addiction somewhere along the way. E.g. he steals some equipment and travels to the city to get drunk. The question is, where to draw the line?

My opinion: if they want to have a camp full of drunkards, lechers and troublemakers, let them have the fun.

Fifth: Every profession should count and provide an advantage. Every skill should have reason to exist.

This should incorporate also the "I want to be a famous footballer" issue. Ok, the football players have no reason to exist in the world, but the bards could provide morale, the scholars information, the priests some blessings, the guards safety...


Since RoS is a classless system, which has a point-buy option, it can be adapted without too much work.

Ad 1 - Since the "archetype buy" is the way I chose, I would introduce the "concept" - a stand-in for a class, which is already there as a guideline for creation of character. This "concept" would grant the class a point discount (e.g. guardsman will get a discount for skill packet and proficiency in some weapons, including a discount for one piece of weapon/armour, while the scholar would get discount for knowledge skills, mental attributes, and equipment connected with research). Since the character generation in RoS can be fast or slow depending on GM and player, I would propose that the players select archetypes they want to buy (e.g. 2 guardsmen, a thief, 2 rangers, a knight, a scholar, a mage, priest and two warriors), assign race and do not detail these more than necessary (e.g. the knight will have skill packet "knight/courtier" at 7 and will have 14 weapon proficiency points in two separate categories, flaw "overconfident"). After this, they select their starting PCs and detail these completely.

Other characters will be detailed during play or as need arises (with points assigned to them beforehand).

For this to work, I will have to prepare the archetypes/concept costs and the concept discounts.

Also, there could be a distinction between PCs (the most expensive, most detailed), cohorts (middle ground) and hirelings (lowest detail, least expensive). The difference between cohort and hireling would be - if the PC dies and there is no other PC to replace him, cohort can be taken as a replacement, hireling not so much in my view.

Worst part would be the magic system. The RoS has a terrible one in my opinion, one that I don't even use since it's... well, too complicated to be worth even trying out.

But I've been tinkering with one system and I'm thinking it could work...

Ad 2 - Starting character in RoS can be compared to experienced adventurer. So if the "minimum spend per character" is high enough, I see no issue there.

Ad 3 - The "Morale" issue is the only one that needs solving, due to the fact that fatigue, starvation and cold/heat damage are modeled sufficiently. RoS spiritual attributes could be used as "morale" if modified. I don't have the exact idea, I will have to think about this one a little bit more.

The basic idea is, that each character will have a morale pool, from which they can get rerolls/bonus dice, which will be limited by their living conditions, motivation and flaws.

Ad 4 - currently the flaws are insufficient for this kind of play. What I would like to achieve is along these lines:

Addiction - during adventure, if presented with stressful situation (morale decreased by X), the player rolls Willpower at TN 7 (+1 per additional morale point loss). If fails, the addicted person has to indulge or take penalty of Y for next Z hours. If in camp with lower morale than A, the person will seek to indulge - roll the same to resist. If the roll botches, the person will steal B pieces of equipment and leave for city (taking C days to get there and back).

This may be a little too specific for my liking (the second part mainly), however, it can be left on the player responsible for the character together with GM to think of acceptable consequence.

However, this would require quite a lot of possible gifts/flaws, specifically the flaws of equipment would have to be invented.

Ad 5 - The skill system would require a slight overhaul - some skills would have to changed to reflect their usefulness (e.g. for guardsmen - while at camp, they are more effective at guarding it, so maybe a bonus to perception? Or directly a skill for guarding...?).

So these are my thoughts. As you can see, quite unfinished. A question is - should I continue? I must say that I find the system quite interesting to work with, but my current RL players are bound in two campaigns, which lasted for about 5 years each, so they don't want to test anything until at least one of them is closed...

...but I enjoy the exercise. Should I continue in this way? Anyone has any specific ideas?

Mr. Mask
2016-02-09, 08:03 PM
Solid ideas, Lacco. I can't say whether you should continue, as I understand your dilemma--it's just a matter of whether you can get the time for it and if it'd get in the way of other stuff you're doing. If you want to keep theorizing on it a bit, it's generally a good creative exercise.

One idea I would suggest, is a couple of group/camp stats. Fame and Morale, probably. As you do stuff and Fame increases, you get more power in negotiations, recruiting new allies even gaining charitable help and volunteers in your quest. If your morale gets too low, you get more problems in camp and people might start to leave, or it may even be a losing condition.

This would also make characters like minstrels and cooks more important, as they can keep up morale or even give you a boost to fame gains by spreading word of your deed. Recruiting high profile characters like nobles would require high fame, and could boost your fame even further.

Siegemonkeys
2016-02-09, 09:04 PM
Here's a neat little idea, but by no means a good one. You have a point-buy system for your characters. However, your points are shared between all the members of the party. Similarly, when a character earns more points, anyone can use them.

Theoretically, you could really optimize your party, and could give the wizard a larger share of points so you can get a useful spell early on, or etc.. Similarly, you might have high-point classes and low-point ones. Let's say one of you plays a goblin fighter, that might not require many points to make them a workable member of the party, and then you have more for your wizard and alchemist.

This is probably a system that wouldn't be popular, and it may not be wise on many levels, but it would be a novel idea and might even make for some interesting mechanics.

That sounds like all it'd cause is arguing over who should get how many points, unless everyone just decides to divide them equally, in which case why even have a group pool?

lacco36
2016-02-10, 02:36 AM
Solid ideas, Lacco. I can't say whether you should continue, as I understand your dilemma--it's just a matter of whether you can get the time for it and if it'd get in the way of other stuff you're doing. If you want to keep theorizing on it a bit, it's generally a good creative exercise.

One idea I would suggest, is a couple of group/camp stats. Fame and Morale, probably. As you do stuff and Fame increases, you get more power in negotiations, recruiting new allies even gaining charitable help and volunteers in your quest. If your morale gets too low, you get more problems in camp and people might start to leave, or it may even be a losing condition.

This would also make characters like minstrels and cooks more important, as they can keep up morale or even give you a boost to fame gains by spreading word of your deed. Recruiting high profile characters like nobles would require high fame, and could boost your fame even further.

Thank you. The dilemma is not about time - I have some time every evening, so slowly I could do it - theoretically. It's the matter of getting inputs - I can usually work until some point where I need a creative push and then I can continue. If the push doesn't come, I'll most probably put the project on a backburner where it stays for quite a long time. And currently there are not too many things I can do (my health prevents me from exercising/fencing, my gaming group is currently busy and we can play only once a month), so I have time I can spend - not much, but some.

I wanted to include the morale stat for the characters, but I thought it would be quite much for bookkeeping. However - if we make one "camp morale", which will impact the characters/events in camp - and each character, which is adventuring, will have to keep a track of their own morale - and morale should be used for rerolls/bonus dice or as a penalty when the morale is too low.

For the camp morale - my idea was, that if it is low, the flaws of the characters in camp will start to flare (e.g. the drunkard guardsman will get drunk, the selfish mercenary will steal a share of treasure...). This could work since if these characters are entertained/busy (=high morale), they won't have time for this. If they are bored... GM needs to get creative.

And the minstrel idea is really good - it will give another decision point. Will we send the bard out of the camp to spread the word and give us fame...or do we keep him at the camp for the morale boost so the fighter and the gladiator won't duke it out because they are both bored to death and both have bloodlust/troublemaker flaw?

As for fame... well, the question is - would you spend it (e.g. on heroes/allies) or only accumulate it (reach a threshold = open some new possibility)?


That sounds like all it'd cause is arguing over who should get how many points, unless everyone just decides to divide them equally, in which case why even have a group pool?

Arguing or discussion. Depends on the group.

Mr. Mask
2016-02-10, 10:50 PM
Well, a fame stat you increase over time does sound more interesting than a spendable resource, even if it behaves like one. Say, if knights "cost" 10 fame each, and you have 50 fame, you can recruit no more than 5 knights. But recruiting knights doesn't decrease your fame stat. So, it's more like a cap like in army building.

Of course, it doesn't necessarily have to be that strict or gamey, you could just make the fame stat a guideline.


Oh, one potential idea I was thinking of, is if you had each player make a team of adventurers, and all the teams are part of the same camp. This idea has some problems, but some potential advantages. You could for example limit the player's to use one of the teams, without mixing and matching. Or, you can allow mixing and matching and balance it through other means.

For example, if a strong party member dies, give a fame and morale penalty, the size of it related to how strong the party member was. If they die in a suitably dramatic way to complete a mission, you might lessen the penalty or even give a bonus instead. This'd make a party of high profile characters risky.

If there was ever a dispute in the group, presumably each team would operate as it's own faction, with potential for some power struggles and PvP.

lacco36
2016-02-11, 02:52 AM
Well, a fame stat you increase over time does sound more interesting than a spendable resource, even if it behaves like one. Say, if knights "cost" 10 fame each, and you have 50 fame, you can recruit no more than 5 knights. But recruiting knights doesn't decrease your fame stat. So, it's more like a cap like in army building.

Of course, it doesn't necessarily have to be that strict or gamey, you could just make the fame stat a guideline.

I would be more for a spending stat. Or both - you spend the fame, however the overall stat stays, even impacting morale and party size. E.g. you have 250 fame overall, but gain 50 fame, you can recruit 5 knights - or save it for later, however the overall fame is 300, which gives you for example morale bonus and thus you can enlarge your party.

My first idea for fame was to make it a currency with which you draw heroes to your camp. With money you can buy hirelings, but heroes would only come if you are sufficiently famous (e.g. a new hero presents himself every 50 fame points - either the players make someone or the GM provides an NPC which can be used by players). However, you could also make it a reward by itself - every 50 overall fame you acquire gives you something. Maybe peasants provide you with food for next month. Maybe you get a new carriage with a skilled driver who will work only for food. And maybe the reward will be just a rumor of hidden treasures...

Another use of fame could be to use it as "payment". Let's say that there could be several basic motivations, which will be required for the party members to be satisfied. Riches (every 250 gold = 1 point of Riches), fame (every quest/dungeon/battle = 1 point), adventure/thrills (dangerous situation = 1 point) and good deeds (...?) come up to my mind now.

A mercenary will require his monthly payment in riches and adventures.
A priest - in good deeds and riches (for orphanage :smallsmile:).
A knight in adventure and fame? A crusader (paladin) in good deeds and fame?
So you have to buy the knights with the don't have to pay for the knights up front, but you have to keep them satisfied. If not, they start acting out (e.g. the knight leaves the camp to go for a solo quest to gain fame, the priest will heal the orphans instead of your fighter, etc.). Two months without pay and you roll if he leaves.


Oh, one potential idea I was thinking of, is if you had each player make a team of adventurers, and all the teams are part of the same camp. This idea has some problems, but some potential advantages. You could for example limit the player's to use one of the teams, without mixing and matching. Or, you can allow mixing and matching and balance it through other means.

If you allow the mixing and matching, it's fine for me - because then it's just a matter of everyone building a set of heroes which he wants to play with and they can just select one to go on a quest every time. However, in my opinion, this doesn't mesh well with the original idea you presented - players having to discuss the use of points and creating the party together.


For example, if a strong party member dies, give a fame and morale penalty, the size of it related to how strong the party member was. If they die in a suitably dramatic way to complete a mission, you might lessen the penalty or even give a bonus instead. This'd make a party of high profile characters risky.

Yes, a dramatic death or a death worth of song could even be used by the bards to draw in other heroes. However, a character dying will always cost them - especially if a proper burial cannot be provided :smallsmile:


If there was ever a dispute in the group, presumably each team would operate as it's own faction, with potential for some power struggles and PvP.

I must say, that I envision this as mostly cooperative game. The environment and the game itself should be the common enemy. If they want, they can do PvP, but the GM should provide enough trouble to solve - managing the camp, the adventuring group(s), fighting of bandits, goblins that try to steal their food...and then the stupid drunk/lecher/greedy mercenary steals all money to go to a brothel - no time for infighting.

Cluedrew
2016-02-14, 09:29 AM
I really like the idea where the party, or in the context the adventuring guild, is its own entity. I think the support things should be bought with the same pool of points as the adventures.

The chiefs and local guards could then be there own characters as well, they generally don't go on the adventures but if the home base ever gets attacked they might become very important. Actually I could easily someone's favourite character being someone back at camp who never enters the dungeon. I know in a lot of stories my favourite is a side character we never get to see very often.

This pales in comparison to some of the other thoughts that have been thrown around but there you have it.

lacco36
2016-02-14, 12:58 PM
I really like the idea where the party, or in the context the adventuring guild, is its own entity. I think the support things should be bought with the same pool of points as the adventures.

The chiefs and local guards could then be there own characters as well, they generally don't go on the adventures but if the home base ever gets attacked they might become very important. Actually I could easily someone's favourite character being someone back at camp who never enters the dungeon. I know in a lot of stories my favourite is a side character we never get to see very often.

This pales in comparison to some of the other thoughts that have been thrown around but there you have it.

Well, the idea with adventuring guild is an interesting one - it could really bind the whole thing together.

The party could be created by the adventuring guild for certain expedition (as per usual, the details and front payment were both provided by shady figure in cloak in some seedy tavern). There is a budget, a limitation as how many/who you can take with you, a goal and even a time limit. And the guild (you) is responsible for the whole thing.

I also agree that the support things should be bought with the same type of points. Currently I am listing professions/concepts that could be used and trying to tie them to some point value (two types of values - one for heroes, who will be completely created from the scratch by the players, one for hirelings, who will be a bit cheaper, but will be controlled by the GM). I am a bit nervous about the provisioning, I would like to keep it from bogging down the game...but we'll see.

As for the side characters - yes, my idea is for the NPCs to be "valuable", not only cannon fodder. But we'll see.

The question is - who will be willing to play this? :smallsmile: I would, however, no GMs around...

Cluedrew
2016-02-15, 08:53 AM
I would be willing to play it, although I am always short on time.

Actually, you could make this a full adventuring game if you expanded it wide enough in terms of the organization you can play as. A run of the mill adventuring group might be the standard, but then you could play as a bandit camp, or some special underfunded branch of a government or church, which were kind of like churches back in the day.

Another idea that came to me is the idea that when you said that the camp folk would be controlled by the GM. That would work but I like the idea of blurring the lines between NPC & PC. The camp folk could be full characters, just lower level and often non-combatants. Or just non-combatants, maybe eventually you get enough wealth and power to higher the best smith this side of the Dwarf cities. Or maybe he has there since the beginning, practicing on the bits of rare ore the adventurers have brought back between fixing their gear.

You could even play with the Game Master's chair a bit. Since not everyone has to get sent on every mission the GM could have a few characters that don't usually go out, but every once in a while someone else could run a mission. Maybe one not as connected to the main campaign, a little side adventure.

lacco36
2016-02-15, 09:36 AM
I would be willing to play it, although I am always short on time.

My time schedule for hobbies is quite short now - usually between 19:30 and 21:30 each second day. I can steal a moment to write something down during the day, but for RPGs or other things I am short on time. So I am fine with preparing some rules & writing down ideas, however, to play it the players would have to accomodate my schedule. And that's a problem now.


Actually, you could make this a full adventuring game if you expanded it wide enough in terms of the organization you can play as. A run of the mill adventuring group might be the standard, but then you could play as a bandit camp, or some special underfunded branch of a government or church, which were kind of like churches back in the day.

So this could definitely work in the future and as an idea it's great...

But at first I want to make a playable first version as soon as possible - to test it out if I find someone to do so. I've already cut out lot of ideas (my first list of concepts/professions was around 67 entries...and I didn't include mages/sorcerers). So I'm saving time.


Another idea that came to me is the idea that when you said that the camp folk would be controlled by the GM. That would work but I like the idea of blurring the lines between NPC & PC. The camp folk could be full characters, just lower level and often non-combatants. Or just non-combatants, maybe eventually you get enough wealth and power to higher the best smith this side of the Dwarf cities. Or maybe he has there since the beginning, practicing on the bits of rare ore the adventurers have brought back between fixing their gear.

My idea was, that the players build their party - from heroes (controlled fully by players, whether in camp or on adventure) and cohorts (if a player has no hero alive, the cohort becomes a hero - he can use the "spare build points" to enhance him, however usually this character will be weaker om the beginning - sort of spare heroes for discount - and can be partially controlled by players - players choose their traits/flaws and thus can predict what happens) and hirelings (completely controlled by the GM). So if you have 1 hero in the camp and GM rolls that there will be an attempt by mercenary hireling to steal some money, you roleplay the whole thing. If there are only cohorts, you just say if they engage him or not - and if combat occurs, you can event take control of them. And if there are only hirelings, you find it out when you get back.

I wanted to avoid giving the camp folk (hirelings, non-combatants, etc.) full character generation - my idea was that you mostly just take a template (concept), pay the price with build points, assign flaws/traits to get more points/if you want them (e.g. the cook is a Drunkard, but Very Honorable) and maybe put some spare points to the concept (e.g. I want him to be able to fight better, I give him 3 more points for combat proficiencies). However, I wouldn't want the players to go through whole chargen for each character. That would be too much even for me.


You could even play with the Game Master's chair a bit. Since not everyone has to get sent on every mission the GM could have a few characters that don't usually go out, but every once in a while someone else could run a mission. Maybe one not as connected to the main campaign, a little side adventure.

This would be possible. Also, each dungeon could be designed by different player and they could run the party through it. However, my players don't like to switch seats with me :smallsmile:.

Cluedrew
2016-02-15, 09:57 AM
I wanted to avoid giving the camp folk (hirelings, non-combatants, etc.) full character generation - my idea was that you mostly just take a template (concept), pay the price with build points, assign flaws/traits to get more points/if you want them (e.g. the cook is a Drunkard, but Very Honorable) and maybe put some spare points to the concept (e.g. I want him to be able to fight better, I give him 3 more points for combat proficiencies). However, I wouldn't want the players to go through whole chargen for each character. That would be too much even for me.Well that depends on how complex character generation is normally. Dungeons & Dragons (or GURPS) type character generation is out of the question, fast systems might be able to handle it.

Or you might be able create a tool set like NPC classes to make them faster to make without having a different system for it.

Are you actually prototyping this? I am impressed Mr. Lacco. If so yes, create the minimum viable product first. I was approaching it from the perspective of thought experiment because I have way to many projects on the go right now.

lacco36
2016-02-15, 10:50 AM
Well that depends on how complex character generation is normally. Dungeons & Dragons (or GURPS) type character generation is out of the question, fast systems might be able to handle it.

Or you might be able create a tool set like NPC classes to make them faster to make without having a different system for it.

Are you actually prototyping this? I am impressed Mr. Lacco. If so yes, create the minimum viable product first. I was approaching it from the perspective of thought experiment because I have way to many projects on the go right now.

Yes, I am prototyping it - however, as stated above, when I get stuck I need creative inputs. I was also approaching it as a thought experiment only, but the spark from this thread ignited my creativity. We'll see how far I get.

I am using RoS as my basis (as I know the syste quite well and with basic knowledge of the game it allows character generation from idea to full character in quite short time), so there is also the additional issue of magic system. This time I decided to use the vancian approach, as in DnD.

I can post short overview of selected concepts/professions (the reduced version) in the evening or tomorrow. These will be both used by PCs and hirelings, however, for PCs these will provide mechanical advantage, while for NPCs a full template.

E.g. if a player selects a cleric as his template for PC, he will pay some points and acquire access to divine magic, but also the flaw "Wows" and "Code of Conduct" representing his binding to church/god and rules of these. He can then work on the character as he likes and spend further points.

However, if he then hires a cleric (NPC hireling), he gets a package with pre-defined attributes, skills, weapon proficiencies and spell levels. He can influence (or if the GM allows it) his spells (e.g. focused on healing), but can not directly assume control - only if, again, GM finds this advantageous.

I wanted to ask - if you were to play such game, what level of competence would you expect? Beginning adventurers? Journeymen? Veteran? E.g what level would a mage be as basic template? I was counting around the equivalent of LVL 3-4 but with more spell slots.

Also, what level of bookkeeping is fine? Provisions per week/per person?

lacco36
2016-02-16, 04:09 PM
Sorry for the doublepost, but I promised to post some preliminary results. So, as promised:

I can post short overview of selected concepts/professions (the reduced version) in the evening or tomorrow. These will be both used by PCs and hirelings, however, for PCs these will provide mechanical advantage, while for NPCs a full template.

There are two costs listed at each class/concept. The first one is for Heroes, the second for Hirelings.
Heroes have all attributes at their minimum (2), one skill packet of their choice at 6 (competent), as well as the advantages and flaws.

Hirelings are pre-generated with attributes (average or better), skills at level 6 (competent) and listed flaws/traits. Players can invest more points into them or add flaws to gain more points, but it is not necessary.

Starting equipment consists usually of one dull basic weapon, backpack and set of peasant clothes if not specified.

Special skill/Profession skill is a skill that is not available to other concepts/classes or is available at larger costs.

First concept is the "blank slate" - adventurer. For players that want to customize everything.


Adventurer
"Blank slate" hero, no advantages, no disadvantages. Fully customizable.
Comes with a dull basic weapon, backpack and set of peasant clothes.
Hero cost - 30 Hireling cost - X
Advantages: No disadvantages
Disadvantages: None
Skill packet (Special skill) - None
Equipment - Dull basic weapon, Backpack Set of peasant clothes


Other concepts/classes below.


Academic/Scholar
Thinker, the "know stuff" class. Knows ancient languages and is able to read future from the stars. In camp/city can research information about dungeons and their denizens.
Hero cost - 35 Hireling cost - 36
Advantages: Buys Knowledge/lore skills with "pay 1 get 2" discount
One starting knowledge skill at 5
Disadvantages: None
Skill packet (Special skill) - Academic (Astronomer - allows reading of future/omens)
Equipment - Quarterstaff or Dull small dagger
Set of freeman clothes
Personal library
Writing utensils

Alchemist
Practicer of alchemy. While in camp can prepare concoctions of various magical or mundane effects. Cannot master any other type of magic.
Hero cost - 39 Hireling cost - 40
Advantages: Herbalism at -1. Can practice alchemy
Disadvantages: Cannot master any other type of magic
Skill packet (Special skill) - Ritualist (Alchemy - allows preparation of potions at camp or during resting)
Equipment - Quarterstaff
Small dagger
3x Potion of healing (power 3)
Field laboratory
Ingredients
Small wagon and mule

Healer
Practicer of healing arts. Knows both ancient secret healing techniques as well as the "modern" surgery and is able to cure any wound, poisoning or disease if given enough time.
Hero cost - 33 Hireling cost - 36
Advantages: None
Disadvantages: None
Skill packet (Special skill) - Healer (Ancient healing knowledge - speeds up healing)
Equipment - Quarterstaff
Small dagger
10 bandage kits
Satchel with herbs (12 portions)
Surgery kit



Guardsman
Militiaman or guard. Able to handle a weapon, but his main strength lies in the knowledge how to effectively guard (and not fall asleep).
Hero cost - 34 Hireling cost - 36
Advantages: Additional proficiency point (Sword&Shield, Mass Weapon & Shield, Poleram/poleaxe)
Disadvantages: None
Skill packet (Special skill) - Guardsman (Guarding - guards get 1/2 fatigue for guarding and add to security by allowing their skill to substitute for camp perception rolls to notice trouble)
Equipment - Bent spear
Rusty mace
Banged-up wooden shield
Leather armour"

Bladeslinger
An adventurer, who prefers to use his sword and wits, not only strength. However, he is easily provoked into violence...
Hero cost - 40 Hireling cost - 40
Advantages: Can improve his starting proficiency to 9 (by paying 5 points). Additional +1 WIT and AGI
Disadvantages: Must take "Troublemaker" minor flaw
Skill packet (Special skill) - Swordsman (N/A)
Equipment - Arming sword or bastard sword
Leather armour
Oil and whetstone
Small dagger
Riding horse

Fighter
Fighter lives for the fight and tries to master several weapons. His greatest virtue is his flexibility in fight.
Hero cost - 40 Hireling cost - 39
Advantages: Each proficiency with 6 points in it gains 1 free point (to 7).
Disadvantages: None
Skill packet (Special skill) - Soldier (N/A)
Equipment - 3 weapons (tier 2, good quality)
20 arrows/quarrels or 3 javelins/throwing axes
Up to light mail armour
Tools for weapon maintenance
Riding horse

Warrior
Clan or wildling warriors, feared for their physical provess, for their skill with weapon. Poor as they can get, but proud.
Hero cost - 45 Hireling cost - 44
Advantages: Additional +1 and +2 to ST or TO (players choice), Trait "Quick healer"
Disadvantages: Must take "Overconfident" minor flaw
Skill packet (Special skill) - Clan Warrior (N/A)
Equipment - 2 weapons (tier 2, bad quality)
10 arrows/quarels or 1 javelin/throwing axe
Leather armour

Mercenary
This one fights for money - and he expects a lot of it will come out of this expedition. However, he is skilled with a weapon and has no qualms about using it.
Hero cost - 43 Hireling cost - 42
Advantages: Additional weapon proficiency points (3)
Disadvantages: Must take "Paid to Work" minor disadvantage
Skill packet (Special skill) - Mercenary (N/A)
Equipment - 3 weapons (tier 2, 1 good and 2 poor quality)
10 arrows/quarrels or 1 javelin/throwing axe
Up to light mail armour, of poor quality
Work horse

Squire
Knight-in-training. He wants to test his mettle, but learns rather quickly.
Hero cost - 37 Hireling cost - 36
Advantages: Trait "Quick learner"
Disadvantages: None
Skill packet (Special skill) - Knight (N/A)
Equipment - 2 weapons (tier 2 and 1, poor and good quality)
Riding horse
Up to scale armour

Knight
A full-fledged knight. His armour may not be shiny, but he has a good horse, a strong arm, hard head and a set of ancestral armour.
Hero cost - 48 Hireling cost - 54
Advantages: Free destrier horse
Disadvantages: Must take "Code of Conduct" and "Wows" minor flaw
Skill packet (Special skill) - Knight (N/A)
Equipment - 3 weapons (sword/hammer/axe, spear/lance and shield, good quality)
Plate armour (poor quality)
Large tent, personal servant on mule

Crusader
A holy warrior. His touch can heal his allies and destroy his opponents and he wishes only to rid the world of evil and fulfill his mission.
Hero cost - 50 Hireling cost - 54
Advantages: Can practice paladin magic
Disadvantages: Must take "Code of Conduct" and "Wows" major flaw
Skill packet (Special skill) - Knight (Purification - can provide morale to his allies)
Equipment - 1 good quality weapon
shield
mail armour
warhorse


Entertainer
This jester can sing, dance, tell bawdy or inspiring stories. The best companion for evenings around campfire or for marching. Just having him around can benefit good mood...
Hero cost - 32 Hireling cost - 37
Advantages: One starting "Perform" skill at 6
Disadvantages: None
Skill packet (Special skill) - Entertainer (Entertain - can entertain and thus increase morale of people in camp)
Equipment - 1 musical instrument (lute, flute, lyre or bagpipes)
1 good quality light weapon
leather armour
riding horse
book of poems

Rogue
Rogue is something between travelling performer, street entertainer and professional cutpurse/thief. He is a funny companion if you are not his mark.
Hero cost - 38 Hireling cost - 42
Advantages: None
Disadvantages: Must take "Cleptomania" flaw
Skill packet (Special skill) - Thief/Entertainer (N/A)
Equipment - 1 musical instrument (lute, flute or lyre)
1 poor quality light weapon, good quality small dagger
lockpick set
rope (50') and grappling hook

Burglar
Burglar specializes on getting inside of closed rooms, opening closed doors and - especially - for getting valuables stored or stashed somewhere. His trap-finding senses are something to value in a dungeon.
Hero cost - 35 Hireling cost - 39
Advantages: None
Disadvantages: None
Skill packet (Special skill) - Thief (N/A)
Equipment - 1 poor quality light weapon
good quality small dagger
lockpick set
climbing tools
rope (50') and grappling hook
prybar

Assassin
A figure in dark clothes, looking at everything with cold calculating stare. A killer. Someone who gets paid for killing. He can make anyone disappear without a trace.
Hero cost - 37 Hireling cost - 42
Advantages: None
Disadvantages: Must take "Paid to Work" major disadvantage
Skill packet (Special skill) - Assassin (Silent Death - can dispatch troublesome persons...in camp, city, or even dungeon)
Equipment - 1 large dagger
vial of poison
lockpick set
set of black clothes
climbing set


Scout
Good rider with good eyes. Scout is able to spot enemies from afar, and find the shortest route possible through nearly any terrain. He starts with a good horse.
Hero cost - 32 Hireling cost - 40
Advantages: Free courser horse
Disadvantages: None
Skill packet (Special skill) - Woodsman (Scouting - can discover new locations and encounters)
Equipment - Basic equipment
Set of low freeman clothes.
Spyglass
Courser horse

Ranger
Skilled hunters, foragers and survivalists, rangers prefer to work alone. They are able to track and hunt down their prey, but are also able to fight various animals and monsters. A ranger can often find locations that are well-hidden.
Hero cost - 33 Hireling cost - 44
Advantages: None
Disadvantages: Must take "Loner" flaw
Skill packet (Special skill) - Woodsman (Pathfinding - speeds up overland movement)
Equipment - Spear/one melee weapon
One ranged weapon
Leather armour

Hunter
Hunters are exactly what it says on the tin - they hunt animals, bringing their meat and skins to the camp. They prefer hunting from afar and often use traps.
Hero cost - 32 Hireling cost - 42
Advantages: None
Disadvantages: None
Skill packet (Special skill) - Woodsman (Hunting/Trapping - may provide additional food)
Equipment - Low quality spear
One ranged weapon (good quality)
Woodsman clothes
5 traps


Craftsman
All professional craftsmen belong to this concept. From butcher, blacksmith, to masons or carpenters - each has a skill that can contribute to the party.
Hero cost - 35 Hireling cost - 37
Advantages: None
Disadvantages: None
Skill packet (Special skill) - Craftsman (Blacksmith, Armorer, Leatherworker, Fletcher, Tailor, Cook, Butcher, Bowmaker, Engineer, Mason, Carpenter… ... e.g. blacksmith can repair several items or increase their effectiveness while in camp, cook uses food to increase morale...)
Equipment - One weapon
Small wagon with mule
Assorted tools and materials

Laborer
"Unskilled" workforce. The people that carry out simple tasks and perform services under someone's lead. Their primary purpose is to assist with tasks in the camp, but they can take up adventuring…
Hero cost - 25 Hireling cost - 30
Advantages: None
Disadvantages: None
Skill packet (Special skill) - Labourer (Workforce - can be assigned to simple tasks, will increase effectiveness of these tasks)
Equipment - Basic tools

Page/servant
Pages and servants usually only assist people. They can increase the comfort of people in the camp, by taking on the menial tasks that slow people down and bore them.
Hero cost - 25 Hireling cost - 30
Advantages: None
Disadvantages: None
Skill packet (Special skill) - Steward (Assistance - can assist with menial tasks, improving morale or effectiveness of these tasks)
Equipment - Basic equipment

Steward
This concept combines a quartermaster, servant, cook and general assistant. While having no fighting provess, the steward is able to haggle with traders, talk to nobles, prepare feasts and organize everything in the camp.
Hero cost - 30 Hireling cost - 38
Advantages: None
Disadvantages: None
Skill packet (Special skill) - Steward (Cooking/Stewardship - large increase in morale)
Equipment - Basic equipment
Writing utensils



Ritualist
Ritualist is a specialist mage, who casts spells only as prepared rituals. He needs to prepare the rituals for quite long time, however he can counterspell quite quickly.
Hero cost - 40 Hireling cost - 50
Advantages: Can cast arcane spells (LVL 2 of all schools for hirelings) Automatically gains ""Universal"" spells at highest school LVL
Disadvantages: Must take "Geas - rituals" major disadvantage
Skill packet (Special skill) - Ritualist (Ritual Spellcasting; Counterspelling; Symbol Drawing; Arcana)
Equipment - Writing utensils
Spellbook
Various spell ingredients
Small silver knife
Small dagger

Cleric
Clerics wield the power provided to them by gods. They need to follow teachings of their deities and must pray each morning/evening to gain their spells. Their main advantage though lies in ability to channel the divine magic to heal their allies, while assisting them with their formidable combat prowess.
Hero cost - 45 Hireling cost - 50
Advantages: Can cast divine spells (LVL 3 of each domain and LVL 3 of universal cleric spells for hirelings)
Automatically gains 2 Domains, including Domain Spells (1 per level) and special Domain Power
Disadvantages: Must take "Code of Conduct" minor and "Wows" major flaw
Skill packet (Special skill) - Clergyman (Prayer - can provide morale boosts; Healing Power - speeds up healing; Turn Undead)
Equipment - Good quality weapon
Up to scale armour
Heater shield
Holy symbol

Mage
Mages wield the arcane power, harnessed by their willpower. They need to study their spells, but can cast any of them with ease. However, most of them lacks any combat training. They are quite versatile and can be used well in dungeons or in camp.
Hero cost - 50 Hireling cost - 50
Advantages: Can cast arcane spells (LVL 3 of all schools for hirelings), automatically gains ""Universal"" spells at highest school LVL
Disadvantages: Must take "Geas-gesture" and "Geas-voice" minor disadvantages
Skill packet (Special skill) - Ritualist (Spellcasting, Ritual Spellcasting, Counterspelling, Symbol Drawing, Arcana)
Equipment - Mage staff
Robes
Writing utensils
Spellbook
Spell ingredients
Small silver dagger


Quite unfinished, but it should give a small overview.

Soooooo...ideas? Suggestions? Bear in mind, this is the small version of the list - no "prestige" classes, just the basics, while setting up some differences between classes. And yes, I am big fan of mundane/combat classes.

And to repost my question:

I wanted to ask - if you were to play such game, what level of competence would you expect? Beginning adventurers? Journeymen? Veteran? E.g what level would a mage be as basic template? I was counting around the equivalent of LVL 3-4 but with more spell slots.

Also, what level of bookkeeping is fine? Provisions per week/per person?

Let me know.

AMFV
2016-02-16, 04:22 PM
Something we haven't mentioned is the similarity of this system to wargames. Party Point-Buy Pools work in many ways very similar to Army and Squad limits in many war-games. So you could start moving things in that direction. Also that would encourage greater cohesion, which might make it more valuable to split points differently.

Cluedrew
2016-02-16, 06:21 PM
Before I get distracted again:
Starting level? In D&D terms... level 1 tops. The tone of this game seems to suit a lower power level. Not a "realistic" one, but one where the hero group is still week enough that it makes sense for them to rely on normal people for support. Some of this can be tweaked with things like... well cut out spells like Create Water, talking care of yourself should be non-trivial.

In my mind you the concept holds together until you start getting to the nation-wide power level. Sure your band may be more elite than any regiment of the army... but the entire army? That doesn't really fit. Now you could start at a higher power level and not grow as far, that even might work even better, but I see this game as having a very low (as compared to D&D) ceiling.

For amount of bookkeeping... per-week stats should be fine. The thing is we want just enough bookkeeping so that you know when you don't have enough. Because that when we actually care, if you don't have enough money, how do you handle that? If you are running low on food do you force people to continue on half rations (moral & performance penalties aplenty) or do you stop and hunt for food when that endangers the job you have.

Question: What base system are use planning on using? You have been using a lot of d20 terms but I'm not sure if you said. I really like the variety of roles as well. I'm sure there are a thousand tweaks you could make that but that looks like a very solid base for the first draft.

To AMFV: True enough. Are there any things from War Games that you think would help this concept? The only one I can think of is applying the idea of units to parts of the guild. Camp: Any physical base and the people who stay there, Travellers: Combatants and non-combatants who travel with the heroes, Heroes: PCs or special characters that take the front in adventures.

lacco36
2016-02-17, 02:47 AM
Something we haven't mentioned is the similarity of this system to wargames. Party Point-Buy Pools work in many ways very similar to Army and Squad limits in many war-games. So you could start moving things in that direction. Also that would encourage greater cohesion, which might make it more valuable to split points differently.

Good point - I haven't noticed that, but that may be caused by my small knowledge of wargames. I second Cluedrew's question - what other concepts of wargems could you see as advantageous?

...and what is meant by Army/Squad limits?

...and what direction could it be?

My knowledge of wargames ends with...ok, let's be honest: I have seen some pictures and read one story - that's it. So if you could point me to good sources of info, I would be really glad.

On the other hand - I want to keep the focus on PCs/heroes. The camp is there for support and as source of possibilities for roleplay (and of course a little bit of trouble-generation :smallbiggrin:), but it shouldn't be the focus of the game. The main focus is on party going into dungeons and having adventures - but this time they have to keep also the people in the camp happy.


Before I get distracted again:
Starting level? In D&D terms... level 1 tops. The tone of this game seems to suit a lower power level. Not a "realistic" one, but one where the hero group is still week enough that it makes sense for them to rely on normal people for support. Some of this can be tweaked with things like... well cut out spells like Create Water, talking care of yourself should be non-trivial.

In my mind you the concept holds together until you start getting to the nation-wide power level. Sure your band may be more elite than any regiment of the army... but the entire army? That doesn't really fit. Now you could start at a higher power level and not grow as far, that even might work even better, but I see this game as having a very low (as compared to D&D) ceiling.

I was thinking more the equivalent of levels 3-4, mainly because of the magic users and the fact, that the world/dungeons shouldn't level with players (due to system I'm using being levelless). I like level 1 adventurers in D&D, but I think the players should be given fairly competent characters to the start.

And I will ask - what is the tone of this game for you? I play lot of sword-and-sorcery (with focus on the sword), more gritty, no money at the start and only slow progression. So the PCs can be competent, but they are usually underequipped, and until they prove themselves, they are usually on the "empty pockets" side.

And yes, I assume that spell "Create Water" will create enough water for the cleric - if you want more, you burn higher level spells. So the party with food-court cleric can survive on rations provided by him, but will be left without his other spells.

As for the tone of the game from my point of view - few poor, but qualified adventurers (or a more, but underqualified adventurers) join their forces to search dungeons in the area for the (insert artifact name here). If they succeed, the game ends, but another expedition may be formed with the same adventurers (and more starting points). However, the "nation-wide power level" should be avoided. If the PC is on the power-level of archmage, or has a small fortress, he should be retired and can become either helpful NPC ally or - can become a quest-giver.

So my scope would be - around 200 starting points per player, around 4-5 players. 180 spent on characters (giving you e.g. 2 competent heroes and hireling, 1 very competent hero and 2 hirelings or 4 heroic peasants with sticks and stones), 20 on the camp (e.g. stockade, watchtower, field kitchen, infirmary and few tents) giving you at start around 12-20 people in the camp. And at the height of the game, it should give mostly around 40-50 people (around 10 heroes, most of the rest non-combatant support).

At the beginning, the players will have to worry about getting enough provisions, will have to improvise a lot, scrounge and will go to dungeons to be able to pay off the hirelings. In the middle, they will mostly try to get good loot out of dungeons with good risk/reward ratio while keeping the people at the camp happy. At the end they will have lot of support personnel, who will keep them happy/with good morale, and lots of equipment, but will need a lot of resources to pay them, so again - to the dungeons.

I would assume an area with around 10-15 dungeons, only 3-4 of them "visible" at the beginning. The rest they have to find (some will be hidden until they send someone to search the empty parts of the map) or will be uncovered via information (e.g. scholar in the city researches one, they find a map as part of the loot, a questgiver will provide them with one or (un)happy local peasants will let them know...). The "final" dungeon with the artifact can be hidden or visible (but highly dangerous) from the beginning.

So yes, the ceiling will be lower if you compare it with D&D, but can be extended both ways.

...also, you can complicate players' life by only getting into account the logistics - let's say it takes a week to get into the city and back, so if you find some jewels, etc. and you want to make them into money you can pay people with, you have to wait. The same for food provisions bought for the money. And let's not start about you sending a drunkard/gambler courier into the city with the jewels... :smallbiggrin:


For amount of bookkeeping... per-week stats should be fine. The thing is we want just enough bookkeeping so that you know when you don't have enough. Because that when we actually care, if you don't have enough money, how do you handle that? If you are running low on food do you force people to continue on half rations (moral & performance penalties aplenty) or do you stop and hunt for food when that endangers the job you have.

I agree. But "weekly" planning is fine for me - you either assign the ranger to hunt for food for the whole week (providing food for X people for the week) or you send him to scout the area for dungeons. I would give 2 decision points here - what to do during day and during night. Usually the night will be for resting, but e.g. someone will have to keep guard during the night. Who? The ranger that hunts during the day? Ok, but his dice pool goes down along with morale and his fatigue up.

So e.g. for food, the portions will be "for week", with food being divided into "iron" rations (filling, bland, not good for morale), "soldier" rations (filling, average) and "knight's" rations (very filling, good, tasty). For the ranger that means he can hunt (with average roll) e.g. 6 portions of iron rations per week (feeding 6 people), 4 portions of soldier rations or 2 portion of knight rations. If he has some traps, this could add to him actively hunting.


Question: What base system are use planning on using? You have been using a lot of d20 terms but I'm not sure if you said. I really like the variety of roles as well. I'm sure there are a thousand tweaks you could make that but that looks like a very solid base for the first draft.

I will be using Riddle of Steel. It is a priority-build system, but has an alternative system for point-buy, allows to build everything from peasants to mages, has a good combat system, but really bad magic system.

I try to use the d20 terms due to the fact, that most people in this forum game it. I usually don't, but I have played some in the past. Also, I want to fix the RoS magic system - using the D&D "vancian" magic approach. In past I attempted several systems, but not the "spell slot" system - I wanted something more freeform, but it didn't work.

If you think of tweaks, just write them - so we don't forget them. Currently, for example, the classes/concepts are not balanced and I think the point costs are quite off. But only playing will show that.


To AMFV: True enough. Are there any things from War Games that you think would help this concept? The only one I can think of is applying the idea of units to parts of the guild. Camp: Any physical base and the people who stay there, Travellers: Combatants and non-combatants who travel with the heroes, Heroes: PCs or special characters that take the front in adventures.

Again, my low knowledge of wargames doesn't help the understanding. What does the "applying the idea of units to parts of the guild" mean?

Volunteers needed!
...so, can I volunteer someone (Cluedrew? AMFV? anyone?) to test the campbuilding? Let's say 200 starting points per player, try to keep last 20 or more for the camp/equipment. Assume, that for a competent (LVL 3 equivalent) hero you need additionally to spend around 33 points (23 for attributes, 6 for weapon proficiencies, 3 for skills and 1 for starting equipment; e.g. if you omit equipment or want him to be weaker/non-combatant, just lower the amount), for hireling you don't need to spend any additional points, and if you want more, one flaw given to a hero will give you 3 points (or 6 if you choose the "major" variant of flaw) and one flaw given to hireling will give you 2 points (or 4 for "major" flaw). The flaws can be selected from list below or just think of some :smallsmile:

I know that originally the idea was to spend the points together, but I want to have idea about how the points handle.


Drunkard
Gambler
Lecher
or other Addiction
Bloodlust
Rage
Bad reputation
Kleptomania
Ugly
Chicken (= fears combat, not actual animal)
Greedy
Overconfident
Phobia (needs to be specified)
Shy
Sleep Disorder
Tormented
Fearful
Bossy
Argumentative
Bully
Cold-hearted
Competitive
Critical
Cruel
Dishonest
Fidgety
Gloomy (automatically major = gains 1 stress point every morning, penalty to morale in camp/party)
Grouchy
Hopeless
Immature (stress can be removed only by "playful" activities)
Loner
Jealous
Pious (can only remove stress by praying/religious activities?)
Lazy
Selfish
Picky
Secretive

Storm_Of_Snow
2016-02-17, 04:10 AM
Good point - I haven't noticed that, but that may be caused by my small knowledge of wargames. I second Cluedrew's question - what other concepts of wargems could you see as advantageous?

...and what is meant by Army/Squad limits?

Normally, you get at least a minimum size, and quite often a maximum size for a unit - depending on the system, you can also get things like support weapons, either in the unit itself or as support elements attached to it, upgrades for the squad leader (weapons, skills etc.), colour parties etc.

At army level, you have minimum and maximum numbers of types of units, commanders and so on, and in addition, some campaign packs, and in particular historical systems, may put limits on certain units depending on the particular period or region you're representing (e.g., WW2 North Africa would see quite different selections available compared to WW2 Normandy).

lacco36
2016-02-17, 04:19 AM
Normally, you get at least a minimum size, and quite often a maximum size for a unit - depending on the system, you can also get things like support weapons, either in the unit itself or as support elements attached to it, upgrades for the squad leader (weapons, skills etc.), colour parties etc.

At army level, you have minimum and maximum numbers of types of units, commanders and so on, and in addition, some campaign packs, and in particular historical systems, may put limits on certain units depending on the particular period or region you're representing (e.g., WW2 North Africa would see quite different selections available compared to WW2 Normandy).

Thank you for explanation!

...and more questions: what are colour parties in this context?

As for minimum size - one hero per player, maximum size - by points and also maybe by investment into camp (living space? sleeping space?)...? Ideas, guys?

Storm_Of_Snow
2016-02-17, 06:20 AM
...and more questions: what are colour parties in this context?

Colours are a unit's standard/ banner/ whatever else you want to call them - which is where NCO ranks like Colour Sergeant come from (and not because they're really good with a paint brush :smallbiggrin: ).

A unit's colours are in effect the unit's honour (and have been treated as almost religious artefacts in some cases) - and those assigned to protect them (the colour party) are usually the toughest people they have. Their officer would normally be with the colours, and as they'd need their musician with them to signal manoeuvres, they'd be a part of the colour party as well.

lacco36
2016-02-17, 06:31 AM
Colours are a unit's standard/ banner/ whatever else you want to call them - which is where NCO ranks like Colour Sergeant come from (and not because they're really good with a paint brush :smallbiggrin: ).

A unit's colours are in effect the unit's honour (and have been treated as almost religious artefacts in some cases) - and those assigned to protect them (the colour party) are usually the toughest people they have. Their officer would normally be with the colours, and as they'd need their musician with them to signal manoeuvres, they'd be a part of the colour party as well.

Now it makes sense to me :smallsmile:. And yes, I see how "colours" in this case could affect morale quite easily, however, the question is, how to implement them in the "dungeon delving". In camp it seems quite easy - the party can announce that some artefacts/items recovered from dungeons will serve as their "standard" (dunno the correct word equivalent) to provide morale boost, or penalty if destroyed/stolen.

And another question is - whether we want a game with "warband"/group with rigorous hierarchy or an adventuring group. I'm more for the second one.

Will you by any chance volunteer to test the point values...? :smallsmile:

Cluedrew
2016-02-17, 06:55 PM
On Level: From what you say it might be a difference in perception of the power of a level one character in D&D. The resulting description seems to match what I thought would make sense.

On Riddle of Steel: Just as well you are using the d20 terms. I know nothing about Riddle of Steel.

On Volunteering: Depends on when that opportunity comes up. I have to try to get my playtest ready for tomorrow. However if you got the rules just for making the camp I can put an hour or 2 over the weekend.

On Groups: Maybe a simple divide like combatants/support might provide some structure. However part of the reason they do that in wargames is to create realistic (and predictable) army structures. Which means that armies can't vary to absurd and unbalance-able extremes. This is not as important in a PvE game (that is actively moderated by a game master). A system based on approximating the support required to keep a group of adventures going (example: number of sleeping spaces) might be bettered suited. You would have to try to know for sure. Colours as part of the moral system might be nice.

AMFV
2016-02-17, 08:11 PM
I would say the main focus in a Skirmish wargame is on group tactics. So instead of making different character concepts viable, you might make different tactical concepts viable. Maybe a party focuses on defending one wizard who acts as Arty and wipes out the enemy, maybe they focus on mobility and aggression.

Basically you're looking at the tactical difference between a sport like boxing where the focus is on individuals, and onto the tactics of a sport like football (where you've got a more unified front, but there's less complexity in terms of individual roles).

Basically you'd not need to have as much complexity in terms of actual PC development, since you're getting that in the group strategy element, that would be where you'd want the complexity. I mean Song of Blades and Heroes, has only two stats. Because the complexity needs to be there in other areas, and increasing individual unit complexity means that strategies aren't able to be as complicated, since you've got to balance for more factors.

I would suggest against RoS for that reason. RoS is fairly complex and if you want the focus to be on group strategy, increasing individual complexity is not going to be the thing you want to do. You'd want to have the players able to contribute to formations in different ways, I'd include formations, bonuses for staying in position. Ways for the group to react to things instead of just one character. I mean that would probably be the best tactical simulation roleplaying game, since in actual warfare entire groups and units are trained to react, rather than just individuals.

lacco36
2016-02-18, 02:39 AM
On Level: From what you say it might be a difference in perception of the power of a level one character in D&D. The resulting description seems to match what I thought would make sense.

That is possible, haven't played D&D for some time. However, the power level I assume per hero is around:
- goblin = dead goblin
- two goblins = challenge
- orc = challenge, but dead orc
- two orcs = trouble ahead


On Riddle of Steel: Just as well you are using the d20 terms. I know nothing about Riddle of Steel.

It's not hard system once you get used to it. Combat is great, the difference lies mostly in the feeling - in D&D a fairly powerful character (e.g. LVL 10 fighter) will smile when he sees 20 goblins. In RoS a skilled swordsman can defeat two enemies or get a standstill with 3 enemies - but it feels quite awesome when he does that. However, some parts are more difficult for starting players (especially combat, since it requires different mindset - charging enemy headfirst is a viable tactic against some foes, but it can get you killed quickly). But I think it's worth playing at least once.


On Volunteering: Depends on when that opportunity comes up. I have to try to get my playtest ready for tomorrow. However if you got the rules just for making the camp I can put an hour or 2 over the weekend.

Ok, I will try to make the camp generation rules ready. I can also manage to be available for questions - either here or on skype/hangouts. However, I'm not sure about the timeframe. Do you want to try to make a complete camp (4 players) or just what would 1 player put together?


On Groups: Maybe a simple divide like combatants/support might provide some structure. However part of the reason they do that in wargames is to create realistic (and predictable) army structures. Which means that armies can't vary to absurd and unbalance-able extremes. This is not as important in a PvE game (that is actively moderated by a game master). A system based on approximating the support required to keep a group of adventures going (example: number of sleeping spaces) might be bettered suited. You would have to try to know for sure. Colours as part of the moral system might be nice.

I thought about the division, but several times there was a statement that also the non-combatants/support should be "playable". So basically, the hero/hireling system works on the assumption, that whatever you want to play (an adventuring blacksmith?) you buy as hero and whatever you want just as support, you hire. I wouldn't go to the combatant/non-combatant division, since this shouldn't be a full wargame - but an RPG with tactical options.


I would say the main focus in a Skirmish wargame is on group tactics. So instead of making different character concepts viable, you might make different tactical concepts viable. Maybe a party focuses on defending one wizard who acts as Arty and wipes out the enemy, maybe they focus on mobility and aggression.

Basically you're looking at the tactical difference between a sport like boxing where the focus is on individuals, and onto the tactics of a sport like football (where you've got a more unified front, but there's less complexity in terms of individual roles).

Thank you for the overview of skirmish wargames! Some of the ideas are really useful. Especially the focus on tactical concepts - that sounds good. Can you give a quick look at the concepts/classes and try to estimate which way I should move there (e.g. provide even more specialized concepts as "archer", "crossbowman", or more general ones? generate more specialized magic users or just general ones with mechanical differences?)

I agree that several tactical concepts should be possible - the examples you provided were good enough, so I don't need to provide mine. However, there are two things I expect from this whole experiment - first, it should be a role-playing game mainly about dungeon delving (which should be the main focus) by a small group of heroes, that have some support (as opposed to the traditional "dungeon-blacksmith-tavern-repeat" model - and I know there are other possibilities) which considers impact of camp/equipment/staff on morale/efficience of heroes that go dungeon delving. Second is to make players cooperate from the first meeting - to build a party, which will be lacking in several ways, but will try to work against the environment.

So yes, basically, I want dungeon delving with some strategical points - not in the individual view (e.g. planning the optimization of the character), but in the view of whole company (i.e. even the NPC hirelings shall be considered) and lots of roleplaying hooks (e.g. the hirelings in the camp, the traders, etc.).


Basically you'd not need to have as much complexity in terms of actual PC development, since you're getting that in the group strategy element, that would be where you'd want the complexity. I mean Song of Blades and Heroes, has only two stats. Because the complexity needs to be there in other areas, and increasing individual unit complexity means that strategies aren't able to be as complicated, since you've got to balance for more factors.

I'll make point to look at Song of Blades and Heroes, though - any other recommendations? Especially for good mechanical/fluff information considering the camp/strategic element?

As for the PC development - the focus should still be on the PCs. The difference would be that the player could have several PCs (however, only 1 per adventuring group so he has to carefully weight which one he will send into the dungeon), but when in dungeon, the game would switch to a complete role-play with no strategy elements, and when in the camp, the game could get a more of strategy feel. I don't know if I can explain it well...


I would suggest against RoS for that reason. RoS is fairly complex and if you want the focus to be on group strategy, increasing individual complexity is not going to be the thing you want to do. You'd want to have the players able to contribute to formations in different ways, I'd include formations, bonuses for staying in position. Ways for the group to react to things instead of just one character. I mean that would probably be the best tactical simulation roleplaying game, since in actual warfare entire groups and units are trained to react, rather than just individuals.

And here I agree. I already thought about using some other system (I read some discussion about combination of 1e+2e D&D for a good effect), but the issue is - I know the system and it's capabilities, while I don't know the D&D quite well. And the complexity is quite high, but I don't plan to increase it (ok, the morale system...yes, but that will use already built-in system for spiritual attributes).

I also thought about removing the granularization of skills in RoS, giving the profession/concept only profession skill and special skills (e.g. for swordsman the profession skill would be "Swordsman" and it would incorporate basic care of weapon, weapon practice/instruction, tactics for fighting against humanoids, and his special skill would be "Body Language" and "Style Analysis" - the first giving him advantage to defend against melee combatants and the second ability to read manuevers of opponents). The player could customize the character by adding other skills, but it would remove some bookkeeping. Do you think this could help?

As for formations - the idea is swell, but I would need help with incorporation - what formations can give you what advantage when you have a small group (4-6 people) to work with?

So if you decide to build/run a tactical simulation RPG, please let me know - I'd like to test it.

Thank you both for your help with this - I appreciate it!

AMFV
2016-02-19, 10:09 AM
That is possible, haven't played D&D for some time. However, the power level I assume per hero is around:
- goblin = dead goblin
- two goblins = challenge
- orc = challenge, but dead orc
- two orcs = trouble ahead



Well, if you're aiming for group tactics as the balance point, then you really want group synergy to be your critical aspect. In RL a fight with one person is pretty even odds depending on skill level. A fight with two people is a challenge, even if the one person is extremely skilled unless they have a huge advantage in terms of terrain. Which appears to be what you're going for. The thing to remember is that groups are often able to turn odds into not so much of a numbers game as one of competing strategies. A much smaller group that's defending a defensible point will be able to hold it, a tiny force can substantively harry a larger one.




Thank you for the overview of skirmish wargames! Some of the ideas are really useful. Especially the focus on tactical concepts - that sounds good. Can you give a quick look at the concepts/classes and try to estimate which way I should move there (e.g. provide even more specialized concepts as "archer", "crossbowman", or more general ones? generate more specialized magic users or just general ones with mechanical differences?)

I will do so, although that may take me a minute. One thing you might want to do is have it so that the point buy includes points that are permanently assigned, but some that can be moved around. Basically you make the equipment points some of the loadout, the same way as Only War does (well sort of). So basically people can move their points around depending on the mission, or move their spells around depending on the mission. I'll probs send a PM with the class review. A lot depends on what you're going for, if you're going for strategy you may want multiple classes to be able to fill similar roles, but a lot depends on what mission your players are going through.

I would try to get them in broad strokes, your wizard may be able to be a big gun type, eg. Artillery and area damage, or they may be a heavy machine gun, basically acting as battlefield control. Basically the key here is to look at the roles you want each class to have. Fighter types would probably be "point man" or "door-kicker" types, so they would have to be built around contributing in terms of that. Basically instead of looking for inter class balance, you're looking for each individual's ability to adapt to different roles in the group. Potentially you could fix the roles with a point cost, and then allow somebody to potentially double up on billets. EG. somebody could be doing the medic role for that mission (which would unlike whatever healing spells wizards get, or fighters having the ability to use bandages) or the scout role (which would unlock stealth magic, or stealthing abilities), or other options like that. You could also have the party adjust to have more or less people doing a given role based on mission requirements.



I agree that several tactical concepts should be possible - the examples you provided were good enough, so I don't need to provide mine. However, there are two things I expect from this whole experiment - first, it should be a role-playing game mainly about dungeon delving (which should be the main focus) by a small group of heroes, that have some support (as opposed to the traditional "dungeon-blacksmith-tavern-repeat" model - and I know there are other possibilities) which considers impact of camp/equipment/staff on morale/efficience of heroes that go dungeon delving. Second is to make players cooperate from the first meeting - to build a party, which will be lacking in several ways, but will try to work against the environment.


I would consider going all the way, don't make it just hirelings. Make it an actual military type game, or at least a structured game. Maybe the heroes are part of an Adventuring Guild which purchases the rights to delve dungeons (after all those are natural resources), or part of a military organization. The focus on organization will allow you to make things like gear and logistics factor into the point system instead of into individual finances. Like I said I would allow some of the points to be restructured whilst others are more permanent.

Morale is absolutely critical, as most battles either end in retreat or surrender, rather than most people being killed. So engagements should be focused around those type of goals. Also you can have enemies that attack those lines of support, make those fully involved in the game, I mean I'd make that a strategic aspect of the game. Maybe start out with the players having less customization and less authority to decide their own missions, particularly at the start, then have them develop more as they increase in rank an authority.

I would have the temporary points be in the way of group benefits or standards, things that they could change depending on their strategic situation.



So yes, basically, I want dungeon delving with some strategical points - not in the individual view (e.g. planning the optimization of the character), but in the view of whole company (i.e. even the NPC hirelings shall be considered) and lots of roleplaying hooks (e.g. the hirelings in the camp, the traders, etc.).


Definitely the type of thing you'd see in Skirmish wargames. I would have the strategic points start out less and then increase throughout the character's development.



I'll make point to look at Song of Blades and Heroes, though - any other recommendations? Especially for good mechanical/fluff information considering the camp/strategic element?

As for the PC development - the focus should still be on the PCs. The difference would be that the player could have several PCs (however, only 1 per adventuring group so he has to carefully weight which one he will send into the dungeon), but when in dungeon, the game would switch to a complete role-play with no strategy elements, and when in the camp, the game could get a more of strategy feel. I don't know if I can explain it well...


This is sounding pretty much like a skirmish wargame, like flatout like a campaign mode of a skirmish wargame, although potentially with more depth. This is definitely a really cool concept.



And here I agree. I already thought about using some other system (I read some discussion about combination of 1e+2e D&D for a good effect), but the issue is - I know the system and it's capabilities, while I don't know the D&D quite well. And the complexity is quite high, but I don't plan to increase it (ok, the morale system...yes, but that will use already built-in system for spiritual attributes).

The problem is that the more people are focused on customizing their characters, the less they're going to be able to focus on customizing their group. So I might take some of the customization options away, and replace a lot of those with group and/or formation benefits, leadership abilities, that sort of thing.



I also thought about removing the granularization of skills in RoS, giving the profession/concept only profession skill and special skills (e.g. for swordsman the profession skill would be "Swordsman" and it would incorporate basic care of weapon, weapon practice/instruction, tactics for fighting against humanoids, and his special skill would be "Body Language" and "Style Analysis" - the first giving him advantage to defend against melee combatants and the second ability to read manuevers of opponents). The player could customize the character by adding other skills, but it would remove some bookkeeping. Do you think this could help?


Yes. That is definitely the way to go. I might reduce it even further, to Melee, or some such. If you are going to have complexity have things focused on what they're being used for. So give instead of having "Ax skill" vs. "sword skill" have "skirmish melee" vs. "shield formation melee", and variations thereon, that way the focus is on improving the group and how you're interacting with a group. In a strategic situation that's the more critical part.



As for formations - the idea is swell, but I would need help with incorporation - what formations can give you what advantage when you have a small group (4-6 people) to work with?


Depends on who they're fighting, what weapons they have, what their objectives are. A formation of Pikemen is going to be very effective against cavalry, for example (although that's typically a larger scale), but they won't be able to move very quickly or react as quickly, and if they don't cover enough of the field the cavalry can just go around them. There are advantages and disadvantages to each kind of fighting. It's a series of rock-paper-scissors games and tradeoffs. Tactics that work well against cavalry won't work attacking a fortified position. In a dungeon basically you're looking at room clearing type operations, outside of that, you've got many many different scenarios.

For every enemy strategy there's on that's going to beat it, and a counterstrategy that will beat that one. Which is what would be the cool aspect of this I think.



So if you decide to build/run a tactical simulation RPG, please let me know - I'd like to test it.

Thank you both for your help with this - I appreciate it!

Not a problem, when I've got more time I'll review things more thoroughly.

CharonsHelper
2016-02-19, 07:29 PM
With the way this is going - I think that you should take a look at Warmachine/Hordes for inspiration. (They're really both the same system, just with hard asymmetry between Warmachine & Hordes and with soft asymmetry between the factions within each.)

It's more of a skirmish level game with a single powerful caster, the caster's creatures which are powered by their magic, and more mundane cohorts.

I could see it working if each player always brought their primary character along with various familiars which were powered by their magic.

Ex: The fire caster can bring along a few types of fire elementals (probably high offense), but if the party knew they were going up against a water mage the group's points would be better off having the earth caster bringing along another rock elemental or two even though it wouldn't be powered as efficiently. (if that makes any sense)

lacco36
2016-02-20, 04:01 PM
Sorry it took me so long to reply, but you both gave me lot to think about. So, let's get to it:


Well, if you're aiming for group tactics as the balance point, then you really want group synergy to be your critical aspect. In RL a fight with one person is pretty even odds depending on skill level. A fight with two people is a challenge, even if the one person is extremely skilled unless they have a huge advantage in terms of terrain. Which appears to be what you're going for. The thing to remember is that groups are often able to turn odds into not so much of a numbers game as one of competing strategies. A much smaller group that's defending a defensible point will be able to hold it, a tiny force can substantively harry a larger one.

That is exactly what I am going for, and, luckily, the ruleset I work with allows me to do this. As for the group synergy - yes, this is something that isn't specifically a part of the system, but I was already thinking about it.

One possibility which I thought about was adding traits to heroes/hirelings, which would give them bonuses in situations where these fight together (e.g. if two heroes select "went to fencing school together", they will receive bonuses when fighting side-by-side). However, these are just small ideas and don't really provide group synergy. Second was using manuevers such as the shield wall - but that's already in the system.


I will do so, although that may take me a minute. One thing you might want to do is have it so that the point buy includes points that are permanently assigned, but some that can be moved around. Basically you make the equipment points some of the loadout, the same way as Only War does (well sort of). So basically people can move their points around depending on the mission, or move their spells around depending on the mission. I'll probs send a PM with the class review. A lot depends on what you're going for, if you're going for strategy you may want multiple classes to be able to fill similar roles, but a lot depends on what mission your players are going through.

I would try to get them in broad strokes, your wizard may be able to be a big gun type, eg. Artillery and area damage, or they may be a heavy machine gun, basically acting as battlefield control. Basically the key here is to look at the roles you want each class to have. Fighter types would probably be "point man" or "door-kicker" types, so they would have to be built around contributing in terms of that. Basically instead of looking for inter class balance, you're looking for each individual's ability to adapt to different roles in the group. Potentially you could fix the roles with a point cost, and then allow somebody to potentially double up on billets. EG. somebody could be doing the medic role for that mission (which would unlike whatever healing spells wizards get, or fighters having the ability to use bandages) or the scout role (which would unlock stealth magic, or stealthing abilities), or other options like that. You could also have the party adjust to have more or less people doing a given role based on mission requirements.

I'll look forward to the class review PM :smallsmile:.

As for the first part - no idea how Only War does it (will have to check), however - if I undertand correctly, you propose that e.g. points used for equipment can be switched while in the camp to provide the sort of equipment that is necessary for the next mission?

With magic, I can easily see that working - a pool/library of spells could be purchased with points in the beginning (or can be allowed if the players invest into a library), giving the ability to "rearm" the wizard at any time he visits the camp.

No idea how the equipment would work - only if you had a shop/caravan that could provide anything if you had the resources.

Another idea - if the players invest into "armory", all weapons/armours they find in dungeons will be available there.

The issue is - I am still not sure if I want to delve into a full-on strategy - while I love playing strategy games, I am seldom good in them. I have won only one match of chess in my whole life and while I have won nearly every match of Halatafl I played, can't really say I am good in it.

The same goes for actual military-type game - I am familiar with some aspects of military, but only familiar.


I would consider going all the way, don't make it just hirelings. Make it an actual military type game, or at least a structured game. Maybe the heroes are part of an Adventuring Guild which purchases the rights to delve dungeons (after all those are natural resources), or part of a military organization. The focus on organization will allow you to make things like gear and logistics factor into the point system instead of into individual finances. Like I said I would allow some of the points to be restructured whilst others are more permanent.

I like the idea about the heroes being part of AG - and "purchases rights to delve dungeons" is pure gold. Let's say the players have 2 roles in the game - first one being middle-level managers of the AG (basically "free agents" can do anything if they have the budget), who just bought "right to delve dungeons" in the area. They have some budget to begin, but will have to take quests if they want pay some of the upkeep; and the second one being "heroes" (selecting a character, customizing it and roleplaying it). This would change my division of characters into hirelings and heroes - every hireling could potentially be a hero.

One possibility how to handle it was already suggested by you - the hierarchical structure. Let's say there are 4 players. That means also 4 PCs (at least). These four generate the first camp, pick up the "staff" and then select their "heroes", further customizing these. And from this moment - the 4 PCs are also the managers/leaders. If one of them dies, player picks up any hireling he likes and continues.

Do you think it would be better if these 4 PCs were "outside budget"? Created before the game starts (before the camp/staff/equipment is discussed)?


Morale is absolutely critical, as most battles either end in retreat or surrender, rather than most people being killed. So engagements should be focused around those type of goals. Also you can have enemies that attack those lines of support, make those fully involved in the game, I mean I'd make that a strategic aspect of the game. Maybe start out with the players having less customization and less authority to decide their own missions, particularly at the start, then have them develop more as they increase in rank an authority.

I still think about the "battles" as "dungeon delving", however I agree.

I fully intend to make morale important part of this whole thing. Hungry, tired and irritated adventurers leaving their camp consisting only of few sleeping bags around campfire should have really low chances for success when compared to the ones that come from fully equipped camp and happy group.

The lines of support should be attacked both from outside (e.g. a group of bandits attacking the caravan that brings them food) and outside (e.g. demoralized warrior killing the caravan leader because they traded insults, not food/money). One of the things I want to do is to find a system that will track camp morale in such way, that when there is low morale, incidents happen - and so the players can come to a burned-down camp after really bad week (don't put arsonist thief from Rivia into a tent with always drunk Rivian-hating barbarian).

For the customization - the original plan was that the players can fully customize only "their" characters, but can only assign some traits/flaws to the hirelings. This would represent the "you can't really know who you hire" part, while giving them possibility to customize at least something ("ok, we hire the drunkard, but not the lecher...).

The authority about deciding their missions... well, I would give them the basic mission (e.g. kill the Lich) but as they progressed I would give them sidequests - which they can accept or refuse (in the beginning they can't really refuse because they need money). The question is, whether this is what you proposed...?


I would have the temporary points be in the way of group benefits or standards, things that they could change depending on their strategic situation.

Any examples?


Definitely the type of thing you'd see in Skirmish wargames. I would have the strategic points start out less and then increase throughout the character's development.

This is sounding pretty much like a skirmish wargame, like flatout like a campaign mode of a skirmish wargame, although potentially with more depth. This is definitely a really cool concept.

Thank you, although I am still sceptic about the strategy aspects (see explanation above..).


The problem is that the more people are focused on customizing their characters, the less they're going to be able to focus on customizing their group. So I might take some of the customization options away, and replace a lot of those with group and/or formation benefits, leadership abilities, that sort of thing. Yes.

That is definitely the way to go. I might reduce it even further, to Melee, or some such. If you are going to have complexity have things focused on what they're being used for. So give instead of having "Ax skill" vs. "sword skill" have "skirmish melee" vs. "shield formation melee", and variations thereon, that way the focus is on improving the group and how you're interacting with a group. In a strategic situation that's the more critical part.


One possibility how to make the customization of characters less of a focus is to limit possible speed of advancement. In my games the PCs advance rather slowly (they can improve their skills by use or training, but it takes time) and usually this is not an issue.

Second possibility is the "unavailability" of better equipment. Meaning, everyone gets their starting equipment and the shop with new weapons opens after they clean up first dungeon/finish their first mission/buy a shop.

As for the leadership abilities - there we agree. Some of the classes should have the advantage of already having these, others could "buy" these, however, currently I have no idea how to model these (except for "tactics" skill and "command" ability).

For the skill reduction - this depends whether we want to go full-strategy or not. For me, this is mainly on the "no" side, since I like the combat system as it is. So the skills can be reduced to single packet with roughly specified contents and a target number, as well as specific abilities the character has (e.g. the command ability, which will provide bonus to all who listen to his commands and act on them). The proficiencies not so much - I don't want to rework the combat system.


For every enemy strategy there's on that's going to beat it, and a counterstrategy that will beat that one. Which is what would be the cool aspect of this I think.

This leads to the issue already mentioned - I have neither the time nor knowledge to build a completely new strategic game. I can approach this part as thought experiment, but not really work on it. I will however gladly participate in playtesting/providing feedback/ideas to anyone who would take it upon him.

I also think this would be quite interesting - each room/part of dungeon being a battlefield and players being commanders that need to select what resources they throw at that specific part... yes, that could be interesting. How "deep" would you go? I mean, would you stay at the manager-level or go down to 'each player commands a group"?


Not a problem, when I've got more time I'll review things more thoroughly.

I will be indebted :smallsmile:. Thank you for your time - I appreciate it.


With the way this is going - I think that you should take a look at Warmachine/Hordes for inspiration. (They're really both the same system, just with hard asymmetry between Warmachine & Hordes and with soft asymmetry between the factions within each.)

Thank you - I'll be sure to check it when I have some time :smallsmile:. Any specifics that you would recommend since I don't have the time now?


It's more of a skirmish level game with a single powerful caster, the caster's creatures which are powered by their magic, and more mundane cohorts.

I could see it working if each player always brought their primary character along with various familiars which were powered by their magic.

Ex: The fire caster can bring along a few types of fire elementals (probably high offense), but if the party knew they were going up against a water mage the group's points would be better off having the earth caster bringing along another rock elemental or two even though it wouldn't be powered as efficiently. (if that makes any sense)

I like the "rock-paper-scissors" style of mages. And yes, it makes sense.

I usually prefer playing mundanes, and must say that I like the idea of PCs being both mundane or casters - but I prefer casters to be rare.

When anyone mentions the player bringing anyone (familiar, hireling or animal) to a dungeon with him, I always remember the rangers from my first RPG game. They both had dogs. Dogs vanished when they weren't necessary and suddenly appeared when they were.

I am afraid that if there are several henchmen with the PC, GM will have to always think of them.

What I would like to avoid is GM overload - what would you propose (as rule or anything) for the game if you want to make sure the players won't bring lots of henchmen (which have to be managed by the GM) to the dungeon?
(the answer "don't provide many henchmen" already occured to me)

AMFV
2016-02-21, 06:44 PM
There's a lot to cover there, and I'll do more later. But my recommendation to avoid DM overload is either to have the players control the henchmen, or alternatively give the henchmen an extremely limited number of things they can do. Like have them have the options: Attack, Defend Me, Flank, Run, or Cover my Movement. Things like that, keep the options extremely limited and then the henchmen will contribute but they won't exponentially increase the complexity.

lacco36
2016-02-22, 02:45 AM
There's a lot to cover there, and I'll do more later. But my recommendation to avoid DM overload is either to have the players control the henchmen, or alternatively give the henchmen an extremely limited number of things they can do. Like have them have the options: Attack, Defend Me, Flank, Run, or Cover my Movement. Things like that, keep the options extremely limited and then the henchmen will contribute but they won't exponentially increase the complexity.

I was also thinking about introducing a leadership skill which would limit the amount of people under your "command". Meaning, that it would limit the camp size, but also how many people you could bring to dungeon.
It would use PC's power of personality and leadership skill.
Power of personality would be derived attribute - would use the charisma (called "SOCial in RoS) and willpower. Calculation via POW = (SOC+WIL)/2 and leadership skill (which is a set TN, but we could use the inverted version - 10-skill TN, since 10 is rating for untrained), which would allow him to directly command X people.
In case of e.g. fighter, who has SOC 4 (average), WIL 4 (average) and leadership skill 7 (meaning he invested 3 points)
POW = 4
Total amount of party members = 7 (including PCs). So in a group of 4 players, this can mean 3 PCs (not counting himself) and 4 henchmen in dungeon.

And yes, the thing is that henchmen would only do what their class usually does - so the fighter would fight, defend, flank, cover or help with tactics. Mage wouldn't be willing to haul loot.

In the camp, this would limit amount of people, but let's say the PCs could "share" command there (as opposed to dungeon delving, where only one leader can be present). This would mean, that the priest can be a leader for some people, but if the priest dies, his people get a blow to morale and will be willing to leave.

If you have more people than you can lead, you could expect trouble. However, how to model situation, when there are no leaders in the camp (all PCs are dungeon delving?).