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December 24, 2011 / Wythe

d6 RPG System: Notebook #2

P.D. said:

Nice, back and forth with more thoughts:

I would like to keep ability scores, making them -6 – 6 in range, all starting at 0, giving X or XdX points to distribute, allowing X points to be taken as minuses and added to other scores as bonuses, somewhat per last night, but refined to make more sense based on an all-d6 combat/skills/saves system.

Ability scores – I don’t think ability scores are wrong by any means. There are, however, two things that I think: 1) if you took the “picking archetypes” mode of character creation I outlined before, and just added ability scores to them (like the bad ass is the bad ass BECAUSE he has a super high strength…) then really, the difference between generating characters that way and generating them in a more traditional, XdX way is kind of trivial—as in, you would choose which method to use based on the game, rather than the system. Using it to do a super-short one-off, be efficient and use the archetypes. Using it as the start of something ongoing, give people more options with the XdX method. 2) I’ll handle in the next…

Consider:  Marry Fortitude save to CON; Reflex to DEX; and Willpower to WIS.  I.e., all saves are simple ability checks.  STR could theoretically be used to keep from being crushed by falling ceiling, etc.  Much simpler.

This is incredibly a good idea. Why is it not already like this already? also, 2) I think that in line with your moon battles getting rid of cha (changing to luck) we could go even further with condensing/changing ability scores. Like Str and Con… Why aren’t these the same score? I mean, I can imagine a character with incredibly high con and relatively low str, but the opposite, a really strong character who isn’t also really hearty/robust… I dunno. Seems like an unnescessary level of specification. Perhaps we combine these two??? And, yes, why is CHA a score, and is it a measure of how hot you are or how charming a talker you are. Also, there was already that move (I forget in what…) to split scores that represented more than one thing… but that’s more complicated not less, but it makes sense if you’ve already condensed… So maybe it’s something like:

  1. STR (muscles/toughness)
  2. DEX (agility/accuracy)
  3. MIND (intelligence/wisdom)
  4. CHA (hotness/charm)

And maybe for beginning or level 1 characters, you can only get points in the big category, but if you want to as/as you speccialize, you do so by optionally shifting points into one half of a category… not sure.

Consider:  A SAN value (perhaps not percentile anymore I guess) because that’s awesome (what is mechanic for temporary and perm insanity? lose 1/2 SAN in 1 round? lose more SAN than your WIS score?).  Optional in games with no great old one/terror roll.  But I would always use.

I think Cthulhu-esque sanity rules are really useful and also really easy to graft on top of any other system. The biggest issue is simply figuring out what triggers sanity checks/loss—which again is more of the modular design. In the archetype picking system, SAN is actually what I was getting at with the third category. Once again, those categories just map onto scores of varying high or low-ness, (well kind of) but you know, it occurs to me that instead of always rolling on a random table at the TIME OF insanity, that a person’s insane tendency be determined as part of their character. Like if you’re the coward, you know that if you break you will always either run away or freeze up. If you’re paranoid you’ll always attack a party member, if you’re Brash you’ll always dive headlong into hand to hand combat with something terrible. ETC ETC.

Big questions:  Why limit it to human-only adventures?  Why specific jobs such as cook mixed in with more archetypal jobs such as scientist, law?  Patrick, brought this up to you:  Big difference between archetypes (fighting man, rogue, sorcerer, scientist/artificer, healer, psion) and jobs (LAPD, Black Legionary, Spiral Shaman of the Cult of Khamod, Tinker-Mutageneer for the OMEN Corporation, etc.).  Something to think about.  I think a more generic/archetypal scheme works much better.

I don’t think there’s a reason to keep this human-only. The only reason was the direction of my insipiration. Like, watching The Thing seemed like such an awesome setting for adventure, and then realizing that every Antarctic Research Station drama I’ve ever seen is ALSO like every Submarine drama is ALSO like… right? So, anyway, the Cook was in there just because I wanted to try and cover the different kinds of people in the movie… BUT I do think that the way you handled the fever dream 6000years past adventure was the way to do things. Starting with the archetypes, but then rendering them out to jobs/roles/characters that make sense in the setting. Hero = SARGE. ETC.

And I SUPER LOVE Michel Serres’s basic “outsider” archetypes, Hero, Saint, Madman, Genius, and Rebel.  I love that they seem to work in Conan/low fantasy, Tolkien/DnD/high fantasy, gaslamp, WWI/II, spy, contemp war, post-contemp/spec real, and post-apoc settings.  The Hero always gets bonuses to lead; the Saint can always heal; the Madman is always charming/surprising; the Genius can always do smart/wizardy stuff; and the Rebel is always a mole/knows the villain/has a political function.  This schema is what I was working on, personally.

+1 I might add a 6th, (because working on d6 system, it seems that making things happen in 6’s just feels right…) I propose something along the lines of what I was calling “The Hapless“—essentially the fish out of water, or the unskilled but somehow critical bystander-turned-adventurer. You know, this is the journalist who happens to be visiting the research station when things go wrong, or the kid of the primary scientist who just happened to come with dad to work, or the man on the train who was reading his paper in the wrong compartment… just a thought.

More later, but those are my main thoughts.  That, and that Body and Mind values should have simple game effect (+2 X/-2 X).

Body and Mind Values? Do you mean the 2 and 3 category from my character picker? if so, yes agree!

I said:

Love the idea of a 6th archetype, the total wildcard—the normo McNormalson trapped with the fantastic/futuristic spy/badasses/etc.—the Hapless.  The Kafkan hero.  Brazil.  Love it.

Just to clarify, yes, I think Body/Mind is a clearer nomenclature than Constitution/Mental State, but same diff; sounds like we both envision this as a very simple “traits” system.

And I especially love that everyone has to pick one Archetype, one Body, and one Mind attribute, and there can be no repeats!  So perfectly devious.  Perfect especially when pushing the limits of the system, with, say, 4–6 players (as opposed to 1–3, who almost get too many options, too “classic”/time-consuming/old school a feel).

Linking abilities to class totally makes sense.  I think the way I was moving in Moon Battles! is right:  If you are the Hero, you just get +2 STR or whatever makes sense; Genius gets +2 INT; Saint gets +2 WIS or WIL or whatever.

I don’t at all mind your 4 condensed abilities, but why not have 6, since every other attribute = a set of 6?  But I’m open to ideas here.  I think the way to run it to make it simple is to start everyone at 0 and say “distribute X points, and you get some plusses based on Archetype, Body, and Mind.”  Or something like that.  So it would take all of, I dunno, one minute to finish your numbers.

I mean, I totally agree, for one-offs, no one wants to waste an hour perfecting the skillset of Hrothfalmad the Nimble (+8 Trapsetting, +12 Cooking [Beans and Boisonberries only]), but, that said, I don’t think anyone will mind taking one minute to see if their hero is more or less strong, fast, tough, smart, or empathic.  I think, in fact, most players will want at least this basic, almost meaningless/tromp l’oeil level of customization.

And if every stat = some key number they’ll actually roll (so CON/toughness/whatever = hp or hit dice or whatever, etc.), then that one minute of score rejiggering will be well worth it when The Hapless Cook actually gets into the shit versus the White Fungus Zombie Queen in the basement of Antarctic Research Center 4 (ARC 4).

Thoughts on HP/hit dice/no. of wounds?  Thoughts on wep. dmg.?

P.D. said:

Love the idea of a 6th archetype, the total wildcard—the normo McNormalson trapped with the fantastic/futuristic spy/badasses/etc.—the Hapless.  The Kafkan hero.  Brazil.  Love it.

Nice. In a weird way, if the archetypes are the 5 outsiders, this 6th is kind of the “insider”. Or, rather, they’re the outsider of the adventure group by virtue of the normalness (this is Paul Reiser’s character in Aliens.) Also, which essay/book is the 5 archetypes in? Would love to read.

Just to clarify, yes, I think Body/Mind is a clearer nomenclature than Constitution/Mental State, but same diff; sounds like we both envision this as a very simple “traits” system.

Agree. That is much clearer.

And I especially love that everyone has to pick one Archetype, one Body, and one Mind attribute, and there can be no repeats!  So perfectly devious.  Perfect especially when pushing the limits of the system, with, say, 4–6 players (as opposed to 1–3, who almost get too many options, too “classic”/time-consuming/old school a feel).

Again, it might not be great to enforce non-overlap for every game/type-of-game, but I do like the idea of having to play around that constraint.

Linking abilities to class totally makes sense.  I think the way I was moving in Moon Battles! is right:  If you are the Hero, you just get +2 STR or whatever makes sense; Genius gets +2 WIS or WIL or whatever, etc.

I’m having a thought about this that I will clarify later.

I don’t at all mind your 4 condensed abilities, but why not have 6, since every other attribute = a set of 6?  But I’m open to ideas here.  I think the way to run it to make it simple is to start everyone at 0 and say “distribute X points, and you get some plusses based on Archetype, Body, and Mind.”  Or something like that.  So it would take all of, I dunno, one minute to finish your numbers.

6 abilities?! TOUCHE, SIR… Though, I do kind of think that condensing STR and CON still makes sense…What if it was:

  1. STR
  2. DEX
  3. MIND
  4. CHA
  5. SAN
  6. LUCK

??? – then you could use the same “system” of rules for sanity… which would mean easier checks (a plus) and less “score-keeping” to track the slowly depleting sanity meter. The sanity meter running down is nice… but practically it seems we only really care about sanity when it breaks… know what I’m saying?

I mean, I totally agree, for one-offs, no one wants to waste an hour perfecting the skillset of Hrothfalmad the Nimble (+8 Trapsetting, +12 Cooking [Beans and Boisonberries only]), but, that said, I don’t think anyone will mind taking one minute to see if their hero is more or less strong, fast, tough, smart, or empathic.  I think, in fact, most players will want at least this basic, almost meaningless/tromp l’oeil level of customization.

Infinite lol’s re: Hrothfalmad the Nimble. Patrick has his next character, fo’ real. Agree, though, that generally some low-level customization is desirable. Case in point, look how quickly we distributed the +8 you gave us for 6000 years ago.

And if every stat = some key number they’ll actually roll (so CON/toughness/whatever = hp or hit dice or whatever, etc.), then that one minute of score rejiggering will be well worth it when The Hapless Cook actually gets into the shit versus the White Fungus Zombie Queen in the basement of Antarctic Research Center 4 (ARC 4).

Word.

Thoughts on HP/hit dice/no. of wounds?  Thoughts on wep. dmg.?

I think health should generally be on a magnitude of 10% (or so) DnD damage. Like, a strong character might have 10 hit points, and that damage is way less die rolls, and more keyed to weapon type. I also think the way you treated health was good in 6000 years ago—like, no immediate healing, but first aid stops bleeding… WAY MORE REALISTIC.

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