Friday, February 24, 2012

Breaking Point

In drafting, I typically hit breaking points where I have to make a design decision- I've just hit the break point for the next version of Resolute Supers. My current draft of the game is over 30 pages, and I haven't written many of the rules for it yet!

Realistically, I don't know if the game can compete against heavy hitters in certain categories. I know for sure that I can't compete as a full-scale rules system on the order of the new Marvel game or DC/Mutants and Masterminds. They're too big, with too many resources behind them. I'm one guy. Not going to happen.

On the next level is Icons and BASH, which I think I could compete against- but to what end? They both have large followings and seem to do many things well. I'd be another contender in the mid-sized game field.

The last level is small scale- keeping always to 16 pages or fewer (which has been my publishing model for some time), and a $1 price point on everything. I can't offer as much as other games, but I can offer a little game of big adventure.

Oh, hey... that's my tag line, isn't it?

So, I'm at the editing step where I need to take things out or slim things down. The first thing that is coming out of this edition is setting material. I've tried to shoehorn setting and background into the rules, but it ends up being a cursory and superficial glimpse of the game world- you see the tip of the iceberg and have to fill in the details. Ultimately, the core rules should be just that- the rules- and everything about the world should come later. Instead of giving a general overview of the default setting, there is no implied default setting.

This should help me get back to 16 pages... I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ability Flexibility

As I'm drafting the next generation of Resolute Supers, I hit an idea about how abilities are used in combat. In short, it comes down to this- rather than having one (or maybe) two abilities that drive your attack rolls, you instead attack using your best ability... so:

- Hulk attacks with his might, since this is his best ability.
- Captain America attacks with his prowess, since that's his best ability.
- Mr. Fantastic attacks with his elasticity, since that's his best ability.
- Nightcrawler attacks with his teleportation (his best ability) when he teleports and attacks as a simultaneous action; he'd use prowess when he's just attacking normally.

This is a pretty big departure from the previous incarnations of the game, but it cleans things up quite nicely. These characters all need a second ability to actually deal decent damage (Hulk needs prowess, Cap needs might and his shield, Mr. Fantastic needs prowess... I'll have to keep thinking on Nightcrawler, since teleport probably pairs with prowess on teleport-based attacks, but prowess pairs with might (and probably that rapier he sometimes carries) on non-teleport attacks...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

LONG Post Ahead... Archetypes

You’ve been warned.

I’ve been thinking about introducing the concept of archetypes into the next version of Resolute Supers, and your archetype would guide your options in character building. Here are the (incomplete) notes I have worked up for the elementalist, which is a catch-all archetype for all supers who primarily deal with an energy or element (so Human Torch, Electro, Iceman all fit in this category... Magneto is here for now, although I feel like maybe he belongs over with mentalists and psionicists in a different category... but magnetism is here for now). This uses the new D12 mechanic I’m thinking about...


As an elementalist, you have become attuned to one pure elemental force, shaping and channeling this in a variety of ways. You will select one element to which you are attuned, and which forms the foundation for all of your powers. Roll D12 to pick your element.

1 Air (opposes earth)
2 Cosmic Energy (opposes radiation)
3 Earth (opposes air)
4 Electricity (opposes water)
5 Flame (opposes ice)
6 Ice (opposes flame)
7 Kinetic Energy (opposes magnetism)
8 Light (opposes shadow)
9 Magnetism (opposes kinetic energy)
10 Radiation (opposes cosmic energy)
11 Shadow (opposes light)
12 Water (opposes electricity)

Roll D12 in each of these abilities:

Bolt or Control (Roll D12. even = bolt, odd = control). With bolt, you emit energy from your body, projecting it at targets; with control, you shape and focus the energy causing it to emerge at points of your choice. For example, with bolt of flame you may throw flame from your hands, while with control flame, you cause objects and creatures to suffer combustion. With bolt, you deal damage using prowess, but with control you deal damage with resolve. For both bolt and control, foes dodge your attacks with evade. You automatically get to stack your bolt or control rating to evade and soak rolls against the same element; your bolt of light +7 also allows you to add +7 to evade rolls when someone else tries to use light energy against you, and you add an additional +7 to soak rolls against light-based damage.

Evade. Roll D12 +rating to dodge enemy strikes.

Prowess. Roll D12 +rating to deal damage with your elemental bolt attack.

Resolve. Roll D12 +rating to deal damage with your elemental control attack.

Roll randomly to determine your other abilities and aspects.

1-2 Roll again and add to your Bolt or Control rating.

3-4 Flight (ability). In combat, you may use 1 turn to travel your flight rating units and make an action with no penalty; each unit beyond this imposes a -1 penalty to the action; with flight +7, if you fly 10 units and emit a bolt of light +5, you roll D12+2 to attack (3 units beyond your flight rating of 7).

5 Invulnerability (aspect). You soak your rating +7 wounds from every physical attack that strikes you. With invulnerability +7, you soak 14 wounds from every physical attack.

6 Missile (aspect). You may use 1 turn to emit a missile of elemental energy that explodes, dealing damage over an area of effect. Attack normally with either bolt or control, but at the destination, the projectile explodes, affecting all creatures within 3 units; all creatures must roll to resist.

7-8 Radiant Burst (aspect). You may use 1 turn to emit a burst of energy in all directions. You make a simultaneous bolt or control attack action (depending on which you use as your linked ability) against all creatures and objects (including allies) within rating range. With bolt of cold +7 and radiant burst, you may use your radiant burst to make an attack against all creatures and objects within 7 units, rolling D12+7 to attack. All creatures roll to evade your attack, and you roll damage normally against all targets you hit.

9-10 Reflective Aura (aspect). You may use 1 turn to activate an aura of energy that envelopes you. All targets landing a melee strike against you automatically suffer your linked ability rating wounds, less invulnerability. If you have reflective armor linked to your bolt of flame +8, targets striking you in melee automatically suffer 8 wounds on every attack that hits you; a foe with invulnerable +3 suffers 5 wounds on every attack it lands against you, while a foe with invulnerable +8 or better takes no damage from your reflective aura.

11 Summon (aspect). You may use 1 turn to call a creature composed of the same elemental energy to serve you. This creature is built on your linked ability rating x3 CPs. The creature remains until destroyed, or until the end of the scene. The creature will obey your commands.

12 Roll on Freak table.

Random Character #1: 40 Character Point Elementalist

Roll #1: 11 (Shadow)
Roll #2: 3 (Odd - control as linked ability for shadow)
Roll #3: 7 (7 CPs in Shadow Control is a rating of +4)
Roll #4: 4 (4 CPs in Evade is a rating of +3)
Roll #5: 2 (2 CPs in Prowess is a rating of +2)
Roll #6: 11 (11 CPs in Resolve is a rating of +5)

After these automatic rolls, I have spent 24 CPs and have 16 remaining;

Roll #7: 1 (add to control)
Roll #8: 6 (add 6 CPs in Shadow control, bringing total CP investment to 13 CPs or +6 rating)
Roll #9: 5 (Invulnerability)
Roll #10: 7 (7 CPs in invulnerability gives rating of +4)
Roll #11: 5 (Invulnerability again)
Roll #12: 10 (however, only 3 CPs remain, so this increases CP investment in invulnerability to 10, bringing the rating to +5).

My super:
Evade +3 [4]; Invulnerability +5 [10]; Prowess +2 [2]; Resolve +5 [11]; Shadow Control +6 [13]

Well... this is a random character that is actually somewhat playable. I’m glad I didn’t get the freak table, because I haven’t written it yet! So far, not a bad start.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dice, Dice Baby

I’ve always had Resolute as a 2D6 system because I liked the compact nature of the bell curve it provided. I liked that it scaled well with abilities rated from +0 to +10 (what I see as an ideal sweep of ability ranges). However, in the last few days I’ve been thinking about what would happen by moving over to the D12 as the base resolution mechanic for the system. This drops a bell curve in favor of a linear progression, increasing the likelihood of results on the extreme ends. It makes it more likely that the unusual will happen, but also makes having a low ability when fighting a character with a higher ability less of a killer. While theoretically you can make up the difference on up to a 10-point difference in abilities with the dice when rolling 2D6, the statistical reality of this is that you won’t, and in essence I’ve come to see 5 points as a breaking point for most situations; if you have a +7 in an ability, any foe with +2 or less opposing you has very little genuine shot of getting any consistent results. Now, even if you have a 10 point differential between your ability and a foe’s resistant ability, you should still have an 8% chance of success. A human firing a rifle at the Flash gets an 8% chance to hit? I’ll take those odds... it’s a long shot, but it can happen.

You can actually layer this one change on the previous editions of all Resolute systems with pretty much no effort at all; the game is designed to perform within a result of 0 to 12 on the dice. This doesn’t change much.

I’m also a fan of this reducing one step of math. I know it’s not much, but adding 3+5=8 rather than just rolling 8 straight up is a small mathematical process, but it’s one that you repeat 1,000 times while playing. Something to consider...