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Author Topic: Let's Talk Mechanics  (Read 10170 times)
Foghorn
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« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2011, 03:51:07 AM »

Battletech in its customization of vehicles was something the caused my brother and I to pour over sheets for hours on end...without even playing the game sometimes. Not something I'd expect to see in Fantasy Craft so much, but never have I played a game (which I'll admit is a little limited) that had the amount of control and customization that Battletech did for putting your dudes together

I realize it's not overly "new", but it's something that I haven't seen replicated in another game and all the talk of Lifepaths reminded me of Mechwarrior 4th Edition's character creation which naturally reminded me of all the good times with Battletech as well.
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Mister Andersen
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« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2011, 06:21:15 AM »

Personally, I despise life paths and will no longer play a game where I am required to use one. They are one one of the most vile systems ever to be inflicted on players.

Mechanisms for player control of the narrative are absolutely the best thing. Be they action dice, inspiration points, what have you; they have to refresh regularly and do so in a manner independent of level (aka the d20M epic fail of action points) and GM whim (quieter players inevitably lose out here).

Fate Cards are an interesting subset of this, introducing balanced randomness to the process.
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« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2011, 09:12:30 AM »

Mutant Chronicles was another one with a sort of Lifepath character generation, and I like it.  (Even if it can't kill your character off.)

Lots of love for Mutant Chronicles here too. Their Lifepath system tended to be a lot less fatal (and sometimes complicated with certain supplements - I'm looking at you, Imperial) though you could end up with a character that didn't suit your style of play. Sure, you could just pick the options you wanted, but that tended to end in min-maxed characters that were somewhat light on flavour.

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A downside to Lifepaths, is that they are rather setting specific, IMO.

That all depends on the genre. Fantasy tends to be a little easier to generalise down to base components, as does a modern day Lifepath, but sci-fi is a little different due to the vastly different styles. Cyberpunk can be quite different from Space Opera, which is quite different again from Post-Apoc - then you start mixing the styles and it gets even crazier.

As for other mechanics...

The Dresden Files character generation system is so involved it can become a mini-campaign unto itself, and tends to end up creating characters with plenty of depth to keep a campaign going for a long time.

Mutants & Masterminds points-buy character generation is great for a game where a skill monkey can team up with someone who is all brawn and little brain, and someone who has more superpowers than you can shake a stick at. Sadly, they made things a bit more complex with the latest edition (while also making some things more simple), but versatility is still there.
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« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2011, 11:16:03 AM »

I realize it's not overly "new", but it's something that I haven't seen replicated in another game and all the talk of Lifepaths reminded me of Mechwarrior 4th Edition's character creation which naturally reminded me of all the good times with Battletech as well.
You beat me to it I was going to say I liked MechWarrior 4th Editions life path system.  It lacked the flavor of the 3rd edition but it also lacked the craziness.

I liked how Ninjas & Superspies handled the different ranges of H2H combat, I also like the very specific moves especially if you had the 2 or 3 rifters that added more styles and with the use of this guys netbook, http://www.kuseru.com/   Of course the same system had its woes and headaches that I think we are all familiar with.
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« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2011, 12:29:06 PM »

Personally, I despise life paths and will no longer play a game where I am required to use one. They are one one of the most vile systems ever to be inflicted on players.

Well, there are also really two subsets of the concept.

There's the Traveler style version where it's a complicated element of rolling up a character with the promise of great benefits, and the threat of PC death before entering play.

R. Talsorian's from Mekton and Cyberpunk didn't give or take away anything. They were just a tool for determining background. Family status, romantic relationships, social standing, appearance, etc. They even explicitly said they weren't required and if you didn't like a roll to roll again, or pick something you liked, or make something up.

I was referring more strongly to the second even if it's, I suppose, not really a mechanic compared to the first.

On a similar note, the Mythic Game Master Emulator. Great tool for a seat of their pants GM when the players ask a question you don't know the answer to. Put it in a yes/no format, pick the likelihood, roll some dice and not only give you an answer modified by the current conditions it generates random twists and plot points.
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« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2011, 12:59:02 PM »

Teenagers From Outerspace's Too Much is Too Much mechanic. Roll too well and you succeed, but things go awry as well. Very much in the style of the source material.
This, plus I also like it and any other system's "name your own trait/use any trait you can reasonably justify" part of the character.  I've gotten kind of tired of systems which have no way of directly using things like knowledge-type skills to win a fight.  Because sometimes it just makes sense but you can't figure out how to make it flow reasonably into the mechanics part of resolution.

Examples: FATE Aspects and using knolwedge-type skills for Declairations.  PDQ.  HeroQuest 2nd Ed.

In a sub-vein of that I like how Cartoon Action Hour: Season 2 handled the "narrow vs. broad" issue of those types of systems: if two skills are competing against each other the narrow (i.e. the more specialized one) gets to roll an extra die and take the higher of the two.
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« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2011, 04:58:09 PM »

It has probably been done before, but I really like new World of Darkness's one roll combat, as it is so quick and streamlined.

Dice pool = Attack skills - Defence and armour
-> No. of successes = damage

Dragon Age RPG: to knock someone out you simply say "I pull the final/killing blow". There is no subdual damage, saves to make etc.

I also like weird hippy story-telling games like Fiasco and Dread, but that's another story...

Cheers! Cheesy

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ArawnNox
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« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2011, 06:00:41 PM »

I realize it's not overly "new", but it's something that I haven't seen replicated in another game and all the talk of Lifepaths reminded me of Mechwarrior 4th Edition's character creation which naturally reminded me of all the good times with Battletech as well.
You beat me to it I was going to say I liked MechWarrior 4th Editions life path system.  It lacked the flavor of the 3rd edition but it also lacked the craziness.

I'm of 2 minds about this. 2nd edition MW was fast as hell to create a character with it's priority system for attributes, mech, etc. 3rd Edition, while I loved how I could get a fully fleshed out character if I had no idea what I wanted to play, made it damn near impossible to get the kind of character that you wanted. Never tried 4th Ed.
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« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2011, 07:38:15 PM »

A Dirty World has some of the best narrative mechanics I've seen, chiefly because it ties up your personality, motives, and weaknesses all in one simple bundle. Without trying to explain it in detail - you should go buy it - conflict between characters, be they PC or NPC, is about staking what you care about against the other guy. If you lose, your relevant stat changes in the next scenes. If you win, you can force him to shift his around. Get enough shifts in the wrong direction and you can die, fall unconscious, panic, or simply lose your faith. Mood and ideas are therefore as important as having a gun or being tough. Its actual play examples are also great as they make what would otherwise be considered "social scenes" as pacey and suspenseful as two guys hitting each other.

Also, the idea of giving a fellow player your PC's dark secret is genius.
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« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2011, 12:06:09 AM »

I've really enjoyed some of the Warhammer 3rd mechanics. I like the fact that you can eyeball difficulty levels by just throwing in bonus or penalty dice; I was never a fan of looking up modifiers on tables.

I also find the social interaction rules of Warhammer 3rd very interesting: kind of set up like a combat round, and players use skills corresponding to their roleplay to influence the opposition. The combat-like setup also is a great way of getting everybody at the table involved, even if it's just a skill roll, and make them feel like they did something beyond just listening to the dedicated role-players who often dominate such encounters.

Both mechanic sets above felt a bit half-baked, though, which was a bit disappointing. Warhammer 3rd uses its own dice, and it looks like probabilities weren't really evaluated properly when the system was developed, so a bunch of alternate suggestions have already appeared. Same with the social interactions: great idea, but then the players and GM are left a bit hanging when it comes to implementation.

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Mister Andersen
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« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2011, 01:12:33 AM »

It's been a while since  I played/looked at it, but I recall liking how Star Wars Saga Edition combined Saves and Armour Class. So if you're making a mental or social attack you target their Will defence, an attack against their physcality (say poison or a beating) targets their Fort defence, and attempts to hit with a weapon target Reflex defence
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« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2011, 06:23:55 AM »

Already mentioned: Lifepaths.
- Traveller
- MechWarrior 3rd Ed. (if dice don't favor you great chance of losing limbs, or other bad stuff physical or social)
- Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader (Origin Paths preview PDF)
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« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2011, 12:00:08 PM »

I've really enjoyed some of the Warhammer 3rd mechanics. I like the fact that you can eyeball difficulty levels by just throwing in bonus or penalty dice; I was never a fan of looking up modifiers on tables.

Yeah, I also really liked this.

Its a little hard to explain without getting into full rules discussion of Warhammer 3rd, but you can also accomplish something sloppily or at cost, fail in a way that still gives you some benefit, and get a whole range of results between when resolving die rolls. Its never just "you did it" or "you fail".

Also, the game encourages you - players and GM alike - to extrapolate every result into bits of character, scenery, or story. Its a little bit like every die is an action die, but not quite.

The box set rules (the only version I've played with so far) could use some serious reorganization and clarification, no doubt. When I ran two sessions with the introductory adventure for my regular group, I found it better to use them as a guide rather than a strict structure, something that could drive many people up the wall, especially when you consider its price point. I believe they came out with a new player's guide and gamemaster's book to try and get it together, but its still definitely not for everyone. 
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« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2011, 03:58:59 PM »

The box set rules (the only version I've played with so far) could use some serious reorganization and clarification, no doubt. When I ran two sessions with the introductory adventure for my regular group, I found it better to use them as a guide rather than a strict structure, something that could drive many people up the wall, especially when you consider its price point. I believe they came out with a new player's guide and gamemaster's book to try and get it together, but its still definitely not for everyone. 

In my experience this boils down to whether a particular game is mapped out to align with the way your brain processes information. Thus, no game is organized poorly and none are organized well* - it's just a matter of whether those statements are true for a particular game and you.

* Barring truly stupid organizations that map up to no human brain function, of course, but that's not the point I'm making here.
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« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2011, 02:42:23 AM »

The box set rules (the only version I've played with so far) could use some serious reorganization and clarification, no doubt. When I ran two sessions with the introductory adventure for my regular group, I found it better to use them as a guide rather than a strict structure, something that could drive many people up the wall, especially when you consider its price point. I believe they came out with a new player's guide and gamemaster's book to try and get it together, but its still definitely not for everyone. 

In my experience this boils down to whether a particular game is mapped out to align with the way your brain processes information. Thus, no game is organized poorly and none are organized well* - it's just a matter of whether those statements are true for a particular game and you.

* Barring truly stupid organizations that map up to no human brain function, of course, but that's not the point I'm making here.

IMHO, many of Fantasy Flight's board games are also pretty poorly written.

Would you say there is a best 'all round' order to present RPG rules? And if so, what would it be?

Cheers! Cheesy
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