Monday, February 28, 2022

You All Rock (Seriously)

Thank you for the robust comments yesterday. FYI, I am a little (okay, a lot) zony from the meds I'm on, so please excuse any particular rambling that follows...

Rather than posting a response to everyone from yesterday, I thought I'd do a general idea dump about my thoughts on Resolute.

It started as a supers game, and then was adapted as a fantasy game... and then again as a supers game... and I think then again as a fantasy game. I came back to it several times over maybe a five year period.

Your posts yesterday made me realize how insulated I am in terms of my game design work. I read very little in the way of other game systems - I really do sort of work in a vacuum, which is good (because I am not really influenced by other systems), but bad (because I probably am missing out on some great ideas that I could adapt, and that would improve my games).

That said, today, I did a little bit of reading of some of the free stuff for BoL, and I can see places where we overlap, and places where I am taking a fundamentally different approach. I suppose the biggest difference is that I am thinking of making this game a solitaire system by nature; the expectation is that you are playing alone, and the game provides the challenges. There will be notes for scaling the game up for additional players, but the default will be geared to one player.

The current draft has only four stats: Attack, Defend, Talent, Hits. As I mentioned yesterday, you have a rating between 0 and 4 in each of these, which is a modifier you add to a 2D6 roll. I like BoL's idea that you have the character and gear you want, and that is reflected in your stats; if you have high Defend, you must carry a shield or be fleet of foot; if you have high Attack, you might be particularly strong or skilled in weapons; you might carry a great sword or a rapier you wield with great precision. Talent is how good you are at 'stuff' - my experience is that smart people are smart about a lot of things; people who are good at stuff are good at many things. Talent reflects that. Hits are your life; if you have greater hits, you have tremendous stamina or you wear heavier armor - or both.

I was already working on an advantage/disadvantage system that (it turns out) is very much like BoL. I will file it under 'great minds think alike'; you get to focus on one of your first three abilities (not Hits), and you roll with advantage whenever you use that ability. If your focus is on attack, you roll 3D6 and keep the better two results any time you attack.

Random thought: I might swap out the terms focus and talent. Focus would be the ability (you focus on something; additionally, focus is the general stat for awareness, perception, and is used for initiative; focus makes a bit more sense in this context). I also like that it is an active verb; attack, defend, focus, and .... I need a better word for hits. I use the online thesaurus a lot, and a quick search brought me to endure, and that brought me to persist... and that brought me to 'be resolute'. Since that's the title of the game, it makes sense that you would have that find stat be 'resolve', which is both a noun (a thing you have) but can also be a verb (I resolve to get better at this...). So, the revised four abilities are:

Attack, Defend, Focus, Resolve

That is pretty sweet. You suffer damage, and it hurts your resolve; you have wounds, but the bigger deal is that you just give up. Your mind and body can no longer persist, and you fall. It's more the vibe of the game, and it opens up more possiblities; at zero resolve, you can no longer fight, but that doesn't mean you are necessarily dead; you might surrender to your foes, or turn and run. You might decide to fight on for another few rounds, knowing that you have already suffered wounds that are going to kill you (going all Boromir). It could be random (roll 1D6 and see how you respond), or it could be a choice you make in play. Regardless, I like the dramatic effect of changing it from hits to resolve; it's better storytelling - and it presents an opportunity for your character to survive. I would have to build some sort of penalty for turning and fleeing at 0 resolve; you lose some XP, or your renown drops. I almost want to add renown as an ability; NO - that is your level! Instead of levels, you have renown; once you hit certain thresholds of renown, you upgrade your character a bit. That's nifty, and it also becomes a sort of default social interaction stat as well - your name and reputation are more important in this world than your natural charm. People don't care if you are cute; they care if you have slain the Red Wyrm of Govin's Gap.    

Random non-secuitur - you do not make a seperate roll for damage; an attack always deals 1 hit (if successful) unless you have some ability that upgrades this; a magical sword may deal 2 hits, or you could have an ability that allows you to deal +1 hit if you roll high enough. A dragon's bite might always deal 3, while its breath weapon deals 2 to all in the area of effect. 

You will select focus as your talent if you want to be a thief or a wizard; you then focus your raw talent in a particular field of study, gaining a range of abilities. 

The game will then presume that you use your focus ability in some meaningful way to overcome obstacles. You come across a locked door; your focus in being a thief allows you to attempt to pick the lock, while your attack talent encourages you to break the door down or rip it off its hinges.  

A monster then is a static set of abilities. There are critters and then there are true monsters; the critters always have 1 hit, and have minimal special abilities. Origionally, I was thinking of this as a card game, so I was thinking that critter cards would have a spot for how many critters you are facing; you place a die on the card to represent how many are left (you will never encounter more than 6 critters at a time). Characters and true monsters would have a similar spot designated on the card to place a die to represent how many hits remain. While the card game presumed a player has no more than 6 hits, I've expanded that a bit. I liked the idea that when you pull a dragon card, there are squares for two dice, since that thing would have 12 hits. 

Reviewing this post, I'm not sure how I got from one idea to the next. This is pretty rambly, but I trust you to make sense of it... Thanks again.

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