A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Palladium Game System: How I Would Redo it! Part 7: The Skills List

Consider this to be a work in progress. I am probably not gonna have any more time to work on this till next Monday so I want to strike while the iron is hot!

Skill Descriptions: A Skill will list its Name, and available Tech Levels if it has any. (In P/M/H or ANY format. Guess what the letter stands for? Can't? WHY ARE YOU HERE? Oh yeah, Tech Levels are an optional rule now so check section X if you want to deal with it. ANY means the skill works in all tech levels by itself.) Then there will be a simple description of the skill as warranted. Remember that ANY class can learn any skill. It is up to the GM to determine if your character can learn the skill given your campaign and what is happening with it.

Note: Where there is an X shown, it means you select a generalized type. Such as Drive Vehicle X means you would pick say, Boats, Animals, Automobiles, or Motorcycles.

SKILLS:

SIMPLE SKILLS:

Physical:
Unarmed Combat: (ANY) The ability to hurt things with your bare hands, feet, head, or items designed to improve your ability to do so like brass knuckles.

Blade Combat: (ANY) The ability to use knifes, daggers, swords, axes or any similar type of weapon.

Blunt Combat: (ANY) The ability to use weapons designed for blunt force trauma like hammers, maces, blackjacks, ect.

Polearms Combat: (ANY) The ability to use spears, halberds, and all those long distance weapons only Gary Gygax cared about.

Thrown Combat: (ANY) Slings, throwing weapons, javelins, grenades, rocks.. the skill to take something and throw it at a target.

Bow Combat: (ANY) Bows, crossbows, and similar types of mostly physical projectile combat.

Firearms Combat: (P/M/H) The skill to use any sort of projectile or beam firearm that can be used on the go. Pistols, submachine guns, assault rifles, shotguns, that sort.

Athletics: (ALL) You know how to jump, climb, run, crawl, and slide under things, plus lift weights and all those other things most gamers never do. Like play baseball and football.

Drive X: (P/M/H) You can drive any civillian vehicle type appropriate to your time period. Motorcycles, bicycles, automobiles, horses, construction vehicles, boats. That sort of thing.

Mental:

Education: (P/M/H) You can read, write, and do arithmetic, plus whatever basic knowledge is taught in school for your place and age of growing up. Level 1 is roughly a 6th grade US education, while Level 5 is a Master's degree.

Knowledge X (P/M/H) You know lots about a modestly generalized topic. History, science, the country you grew up in.

Computer Use: (M/H) You can operate a computer or other form of electronics such as a cell phone.

Construction X: (P/M/H) You can build and repair things of a simpler less technical type. Buildings and simple machinery mostly, though some more advanced things may be allowed. X would be what type.

Social:

Bluff: (ALL) Your ability to lie and misdirect someone. Popular with conservatives.

Charm: (ALL) Your ability to impress or seduce someone.


COMPLEX SKILLS:

Physical:
Artillery Combat: (P/M/H) The ability to fire siege weapons such as the catapult, trebuchet, mortars, howitzers, and other ground based heavy weaponry of the sort. Usually indirect fire type weaponry.

Heavy Firearms Combat: (M/H) The ability to fire bazookas, heavy machineguns, rocket and grenade launchers, heavy anti tank beam guns, and other support weapons.

Drive Advanced X: (P/M/H) You can drive any advanced or combat vehicle type appropriate to your time period. Mecha, tanks, combat aircraft, civillian aircraft, trains, advanced seacraft. That sort of thing.
Mental:

Technical Construction X: (P/M/H) Advanced mechanical and electromechanical construction and repair skills. X being Aircraft, Automobiles. Mecha, Powered Armor, Firearms, Computers, or any other sort of complicated electromechanical topics you can think of. Pick one per skill.

Medical Science: (P/M/H) You can heal people. Level 1 is First Aid, level 5 is advanced brain surgery Doctor Frankenstein sorts of things.

Skullduggery: (P/M/H) Lockpicking, computer hacking, trap laying.. your character can break into things they aren't supposed to, or set these sorts of things to stop others.

Social:

Interrogation: (ALL) Users of this skill can get information or actions out of an unwilling target. Threats, physical coercion, or similar such methods.

Command: (ALL) Users can get mostly willing targets to do what they want. From organizing a team to build a home, to armies going to war, command covers it. Its your ability to get someone to do what you want them to via a means of authority.

(Updated on February 5, 2009)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Old Castles & Crusades House Rules

I made these waay back in the day for an aborted game. They were partially designed to appease no class D20 players used to munckining their way to victory as opposed to clever thinking or roleplaying. A discussion on one of the IRC channels I am in lead me to want to recover them from the pits of my Yahoo group nobody uses (Unless saying "I'm playing or not playing this week can be considered using it!) and put them up here!

Updated in March 2009.
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Ok. Castles & Crusades is still basically Classic D&D with mostly just the archetype character classes and less of D20 D&D's variety of customizations.

On one hand, this makes for nice easy play. On the other hand, it means you have a little less difference in characters. So these little rules are here to give yall a little extra twist.

Starting Options: Players begin at level 3 with maximum possible HP for their level and 500 GP for equipment.

At level 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 PCs gain 1 point which can be used for a variety of different things.

At the moment, the points may be used for the following with more detail aftwerwards:

1: 1 point added to any stat.
2: A feat from D20 D&D that your character has the prerequisites for, and the GM approves.
3: An apprentice/relative who inherits your PC's gear on his untimely demise and who may be played simultaneously with your original.

Now to detail!

1: This one is simple. Add a point to any stat. This may NOT take a stat past 19.

2: The feat chosen must not replicate a specific ability a character class in C&C has. You must make all the existing prerequisites of the feat. The DM (me) reserves the right to allow or deny any feat.

4: Ok. This is the complicated one! :) At level 4 you get a level 1 character. At level 8 you get either a level 3 or 2 level 1s. At
level 12 you either get 1 level 6, 2 level 3s, or 4 level 1s. These characters may be played simultaneously with your original, or may sit around at home where they gain 10% of the XP your main character gains. These characters can be given your main's hand me down gear and what not. No, you can not have these characters have their own apprentices as well. You may switch out characters from time to time within reason as well. (Need a cleric? Leave your fighter at home and give the kid your +3 plate.) Note you cannot use your apprentices as Red Shirts or pack mules. You have to actually roleplay them and should you try to abuse them, the DM will take control over these young PCs as appropriate. Why do this? Well if your character dies and there is no way to revive her, the rest of the party gets all your stuff and your new character may take a long period of time to replace you. Apprentices get your gear and immediately come into play if with the group, and will be able to get their inheritance quickly if you fall in battle. Not to mention it allows you to shore up an understrength party and have characters safely advancing at home instead of having to start all over again from level 3. I would also like to add that in the event of a TPK (total party kill) and there are no apprentices waiting in the wings the campaign ends there and we move on to a new game, leaving players unfufilled, and the DM cranky because he spent lots of money on game materials that won't get used. Also note that should the group get too large the DM reserves the right to make the Robins to your Batman stay home.

The Palladium Game System: How I Would Redo it! Part 6: Psionics

Now for the final part of the actual rules! (Everything else is the laundry list of skills, talents, powers, and a few things I forgot like blast weapons and indirect fire weapons.)

Psionics: Regardless of if you are a magician, a mutant who neems people with your brain, or some kind of reality warping monstrosity, Psionics is what we call what you do.

To cast a Psionic power, you make an attribute check using your Ki stat plus the appropriate skill. Depending on the power level of the spell no matter if you made or failed the check you roll that power level in Psionic Points spent, with any extra points being taken from your Damage attribute. If your target has a Ki stat, they may negate your attack or effect by rolling the same die as your power level was and subtracting as many Psionic Points as they rolled, with extra being taken from their Damage. Otherwise the effect goes off as described.

Psionic Power Level: Spells (which if not already mentioned are skills and are otherwise treated as such for purposes of total known and improvement) all have a power level based on a die. From D2 to D20+. Lower end spells can be boosted by 50% (rounded down) in range, effect, and duration by increasing the power level. For every 2 power levels increased, it requires one extra combat action to cast (Normally a psychic attack costs 2 combat actions.) rounded down and it can take multiple combat rounds to cast if the power level is high enough. Also you can boost a spell 2 die codes and cast it as 2 simultaneous spells of the normal level at the same or multiple targets.

Rough explanations of what each power level is like. Note that the actual spells may be slightly different in their range, duration, and effect. These are guidelines for the actual spells when I get to writing them. (Estimate that like skills, talents, and powers there will be roughly 20-30 of them in total.) Also note that in some cases higher power level spells are in fact better than lower ones boosted to the same power level.

D2: Range 2 meters. Duration 5 seconds. Effect: Akin to a light breeze, moving a metal fork.
D3: Range 4 meters. Duration 10 seconds. Effect: Mild breeze, moving a large plate.
D4: Range 10 meters. Duration 25 seconds. Effect: Strong wind, moving a 20 pound object.
D6: Range 20 meters. Duration 1 minute. Effect: Tropical force winds, moving a 50 pound object.
D8: Range 50 meters. Duration 2 minutes. Effect: Hurricane force winds, moving a 100 pound object.
D10: Range 100 meters. Duration 5 minutes. Effect: Sound barrier breaking winds, moving a 250 pound object.
D12: Range 1 kilometer. Duration 10 minutes. Effect: 5 times speed of sound breaking winds, moving a 500 pound object.
D20: Range Earth Sized Planet. Duration: 1 hour. Effect: 1/10th speed of light breaking winds, moving a 1 ton object.
D20+: Range: A Solar System. Duration: 1 24 hour Earth Standard Day. Effect: Breaking the bounds of reality.

A Note on D20+ spells and boosting. For D20+ you roll a second D20 for number of points spent, though these are taken from your Damage attribute and not your Psionic Points. If you fail at making your Ki check when casting one of these spells both die rolls are considered to be a 20, and you PERMANENTLY lose 1d4 Damage and Psionic Points. This damage is counted as part of the 20 you lose for failing the check. Defending against D20+ spells works the same way. But better to take 1d20 damage than whatever the insane amount of damage you would take from the spell, right?

What happens if you go to zero or negative in damage when casting or defending against a spell? Well, in casting the spell's case you fail to cast the spell and are now probably dying as a result. In defending if you go to zero damage or below you not only fail to stop whatever spell is being cast, but you will probably be killed by the spell's effects if it is a damage type spell!

Regaining Damage and Psi Points: Damage is regained at 1 point per hour of uninterrupted light activity, or 2 points an hour while resting provided you are at 0 damage or higher. Negative damage requires medical care. Psi points regenerate at 1 point every 30 minutes of uninterrupted light activity, or 3 points every 30 minutes of resting.

Well, that's the game system. Now the long arduous task of writing well balanced and interesting skills, powers, talents, and psionic spells...

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Belated Painting Oath Update

I actually finished my oath for December on the first of the month, but for some stupid reason never posted pictures of my 95% completed tanks here. That extra 5 is just the odd touch up or extra coat I may want to do here and there. Most of my models are never really finished, they just get to a point I consider them done. Which my two lovely little babies below are:

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The blue could use a second coat and if I ever learn how to do weathering effects I would love to add some. As it stands though, they are done, they look nice on the field, and they are effective to boot!

Sadly with all my other projects and the usual holiday busy schedule joining in the January painting oath isn't possible. Oh well, I can always do my Dreadnought next month. Bad enough I don't get to play 40K for 2 weeks because of the holidays.

But that saved me money which allowed me to make my oath of no goodies till at least after Christmas. Since the money I was alloted and would have spent could be used towards taking advantage of a 40% off coupon at Borders netting me a 50 dollar Dark Heresy sourcebook cheap! Its all Magic Drew's fault though. I wouldn't have even gone down there if he hadn't wanted to.

The Palladium Game System: How I Would Redo it! Part 5: Character Classes, Experience Points, and Level Up.

Due to semi popular demand I continue this project, though by this point its not really even vaguely like Kevvy S.' game system other than trying to not fall into whatever traps and bits of failure the Palladium system has become. Maybe I will come up with some fancypants name for it?

CLASSES:

In our system there are only three classes, Soldier, Scholar, and Sorcerer.

Soldiers are your fighting men and women who get on the front lines and do battle. From Conan to Han Solo to Rick Hunter these are the guys and gals who make with the killy.

Scholars are your learned types who prefer to use their wits and knowledge more than bashing things about. This is the province of Sherlock Holmes, Nene Romanova, and Chief Tyrol. They might not be as tough in a fight, but they know what needs to be known, or they can turn your Aston Martin into a sea plane.

Sorcerers are those people gifted with the ability to put their Ki into action. From Gandalf to Professor Xavier to Yoda, their abilities to use Psionic powers no matter what they actually call it is their calling.

What do classes do? Well, your class determines what Powers you may select from without having to use a Talent to do so. (If you want to play say, Indiana Jones you might use a Talent to let his Scholar class take Soldier powers. Psylocke of the X Men is clearly a Sorcerer who took a talent to take Soldier powers. You get the drift!) Otherwise classes mostly determine how many skill points, damage, and psi points you get per level. The advancement works as listed below:

Soldier: 5 damage, 1 psi point, 3 skill points.
Scholar: 2 damage, 2 psi points, 5 skill points.
Sorcerer: 1 damage, 5 psi points, 3 skill points.

Level Ups: At 1000, 2000, 4000, 8000, 16000, 32000, 64000, 128000, 256000, 512000, and then 1 million additional experience points thereafter your character goes up a level. This is when you gain the above increases to your character, and as mentioned previously, depending on what level you may gain more combat actions, talents, and powers.

At the GM's discretion, the above listed values can be switched around where your classes' highest value increase can take 1 or more points from the other 2 categories. Thus a Soldier could choose to not get any skill or psi points and get 9 more damage this level. I recommend at least requiring 1 point to stick in each of the 3 categories.

Gained combat actions as mentioned can be sacrificed for another power and 5 skill points. You can also sacrifice a power for another talent and 5 skill points if you wish.

Advancing Skill Points: A skill has 6 levels. 0 (untrained), 1 (hobbyist), 2 (basically trained), 3 (Veteran), 4 (Expert), 5 (Master).
As mentioned in the skill section most skills can be used untrained though depending on the skill it is an additional -5 or -10 penalty before other modifiers are taken into account. To buy a skill at level 1 it costs 1 skill point. The value of the next level is the skill point cost to advance it. (Thus a level 4 skill costs 10 skill points in total.) You can save skill points from level to level if you need to learn a skill that costs more points than you gained this level.

Remember your Mental attribute is how many total skills you may know however there are talents and powers to give you either additional skills over this limit, or to give you multiple skills for a cheaper cost. (For example the Mech Jockey power would give you Operation: Combat Mecha, Mecha Close Combat Weapons, and Mecha Ranged Weapons all at level 2 as the cost for a power. One power spent and it saved you 9 skill points!)

Experience Points: Like many RPGs it takes experience points to level up. Its not realistic but its simple and everyone knows how these work. In our system a level 1 opponent is worth 100 experience points if defeated by one character. (Thus if 4 PCs defeated a single level 1 opponent its 25 xp per PC!) Every level of the opponent doubles the XP gained. (Thus a level 7 enemy is worth 6400 XP.) Non levelled opponents or things like role playing or solving tricky problems can be worth whatever the GM wants as a basis for however fast he or she wants the PCs to advance. But woe be it to the GM who would give a level 10 party a measly 1000 xp each for say, throwing the One Ring into the Pit of Doom. That's just being stingy!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Saturday Changeling LARP Report: Rufus' War Journal Part 3

The extra special holiday comics episode! Its written as if my character Rufus is sort of out of whack due to painkillers and numerous injuries sustained from fighting an evil beastie. No insult to other players or their characters is intended outside of me finding it mildly amusing to see what is going through Rufus' head due to said injuries and painkillers.

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I hope everyone will enjoy the silly! Its actually sort of what happened, just in an abbreviated form. Plus Rufus' currently addled brain making himself a bit more heroic and all...

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Palladium Game System: How I Would Redo it! Part 4: Skills, Powers, and Talents

Im being lazy right now and thus my full on conversion will have to wait. And will mostly be here.

But call this a teaser and a placeholder.

Skills: Skills are used with an attribute check to do everything in the game. Levelling up gives you skill points, though there are certain powers and talents that give you more as well. You may have as many skills as you have Mental attribute points. (Though again, Talents and Powers can help this go higher.) An untrained skill check is a -5 or -10 depending on if its a Simple or Complex skill. (Again with modifiers any check of -11 or more is an automatic fail.) Complex skills are like Computer Programming, Robotics, and such. Simple Skills are like Firearms, Computer Operations, and Drive Civilian Vehicles.

As this is a generic framework system, it is up to GMs and players to determine what is complex or simple. If its something that even untrained a normal person could probably wiggle through doing its simple. If its something that generally needs a lot of training its complex. Obviously even complex can be tried, but outside of very favorable conditions it will most likely fail given our -11 is autofail rule. (Note a +11 does not exist. There is no auto pass. GMs may decide certain situations do not call for a roll and automatically say the check succeeds though. But if a player wants to roll and hope for a critical success they take the risk of rolling a 20 and failing. Or even more if their attribute and skill are low enough. (Normally you wouldn't need to roll to drive a car down the highway if you had even 1 point in Drive Civillian Vehicle and a 10 in your Physical or Mental attribute, but if you really want that critical success and are willing to deal with the potential for failing...)

Talents: Talents are mostly character based things that ignore classes. They can be racially based (Like an Elf may have Night Vision or Long Life.), or just a personal trait. Like Bruce Willis in Die Hard would have had the "Tough SOB" Talent. Characters have 2 of these starting out. Humans may select their two choices from a list, while other races have 1 or both preselected. At levels 5, 10, 15, and 20 characters get another Talent.

Power: Powers are CLASS BASED abilities similar to talents though set towards the class they chose. (Some Talents will allow selection of other classes' Powers allowing a form of multiclassing.) Powers can include being able to do special combat actions, use special equipment, or even learn multiple appropriate skills cheaper than normal. Characters get 2 of these at first level, then at levels 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18 they get another one.

Combat Actions: Not really in the above, but as they are gained during level ups I will mention them here. As in combat, characters start with 2 actions at first level. At levels 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 they get another one. If a character chooses, they may instead of getting another action, receive 1 additional power, and 5 skill points. (So a 20th level character could instead of having 7 combat actions could only have 2, but have 5 extra powers and 20 extra skill points.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Palladium Game System: How I Would Redo it! Part 3a: Combat Movement

As the main combat overview was getting silly big, I decided to put movement into a subsection.

As mentioned, normal movement is 4 squares in any cardinal direction per move action, or 3 squares if any diagonal movement is taken. (All 3 squares could be diagonal if you choose.)

However there are a few special things to take into consideration. Fast characters move 5 squares (4 with diagonal), and slow move 3 (2 with diagonal).

Everyone pretty much has the same speeds then. Its how many move actions you take that really determine how far you go.

But there is a catch you say. What about stuff like cars, jets, or space movement? That's easy. We have 3 more scales of movement, with each being equivalent to 10x the movement on the previous scale. Meaning a slow space movement ship can go 30 squares in Jet Scale, 300 squares in Car Scale, and 3000 in Human Scale. Given that we consider a square in Human Scale to be 2 meters, this means a square in Car Scale is 20 meters, a square in Jet Scale is 200 meters, and Space Scale is 2000 meters, or 2 kilometers.

For you math fiends this means a ship in Space Scale is moving on average 8 kilometers every 10 seconds. Space is big.

For slower scale units trying to move in larger scale ones the best bet is this: they move ONE square in the scale above them every 3 turns if fast, 4 turns if normal, and 5 turns if slow. For scales more than 2 scales above the one being used (if you need to worry about a guy on foot while the battle map is in Jet Scale for some reason..), they do not move AT ALL. Likewise a unit in Jet Scale moving on a Human Scale map doesn't even get to move. It can pretty much be put wherever the controlling player wants to put it! (Though a good GM may require some sort of check roll to see if something that fast can even pinpoint itself! )

This is obviously abstracting movement, but the whole purpose of this inspired by Palladium game system is to simplify the overly detailed nerdshoes stuff Palladium does. (If you want megadetailed stuff go play Gurps or Advanced Squad Leader.)

Optionally you can even add in a ultratech speed scale where every square is 20 kilometers or a .2 meters per square if you like to play really tiny things.

Things that can slow down movement: This is simple. If its minor difficult terrain its 1 additional square of movement to cross. If its modestly difficult terrain its 2 additional squares of movement to cross. If its very difficult terrain its 3 additional squares of movement to cross. Anything beyond this may take multiple move actions to cross if not be outright impossible for certain units to traverse.

Ideas on the terrain: Minor difficult: Muddy ground, obstacles that go to about 1/3rd the height of the unit moving.
Modest difficult: Very broken and uneven terrain, obstacles that go to about 1/2 the height of the unit moving.
Very difficult: Extremely broken, uneven outright dangerous terrain, obstacles that go to about 90% of the height of the unit moving.
Beyond: Quicksand, massive snowdrifts, obstacles that go beyond the height of the unit moving.


Well! That should be it for combat. I could add in more combat actions with rules but I really do not see the point or the need.
Next up should be Talents and Powers, then Classes & Skills to finish it all up outside of some conversion guidelines. (The latter depends on how badly I want to see Palladium try to Cease and Desist me, and how vague I want to get on conversions. Since character sheets from Palladium are available online, it would be a piece of cake just to tell you "Take the stat from the first row, and add the third one together and average and that is your X stat." Plus its a way for fans to be inspired to do their own conversions without ever giving Kevvy Wevvy a chance to even challenge you. Like if I were to tell one what the big shiny Rifty guys on page XXX armor would be in my ruleset without ever using any of Palladium's silly and overzealous TM, R, and C symbolled words what can they really do to stop me?)

Nothing. Because even a sad goober like myself can be awesome for one shining, irrelevant moment online!

It is all just a basic framework

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Palladium Game System: How I Would Redo it! Part 3: Combat Overview

I continue this series of my own personal not to be used without my written consent but I will give it to ya for some credit a cookie. Maybe I am using that Creative Commons thing. I dunno. Except I am continuing on my endless diet and as thus, must generally be cookie less.

(Updated with MORE STUFF on December 10)

Combat Basics: Characters have 2 actions at low levels in combat. Each round of combat is considered to be 10 seconds in duration. Each square or inch is considered to be 2 meters(or 6 feet). You can select the following action options and resolve them one at a time in any order the active character chooses.

Move 4 squares (or inches) in a cardinal direction, or 3 squares with any form of diagonal movement. (Obviously if you use inches and a tape measure just follow that as it is.)

1 Action Actions:
Snap Attack. Normal attack check.

General Action: Something you can do while still being able to do other things in a 10 second timeframe. Reload or unjam a weapon, say something more complicated than a short sentence, start a car, ect.

Defensive Maneuver: Make a defense check to appropriately attempt to avoid being hurt by any enemies attempting to do hurty things to you. Its generic. Consider it to be everything from trying to stay in cover in a hedgerow to parrying a close combat attack with your sword to launching chaff from your jet fighter. If you succeed anyone attempting to hit you or do something to you has their stat reduced by 5. This remains on until your next turn or someone hits you. A natural 20 rolled on this check gives the enemy a +5 to hit you till your next turn. Your fancy footwork or mad parrying failed and you tripped up somehow.

Believe in Yourself: Make a Ki check to: A:) Transfer Ki into your Life Points B:) Make your next action an automatic success C:) Turn a Tech 1 attack into a Tech 2 attack (only good against Tech 2 Damage Targets). If you pass the check roll 1d6. This is how many Psionic Points you spend in doing this. If your roll takes you to negative Psi Points you take 1d6 Damage Points in damage for every point under zero you went.

2 Action Actions:
Aimed Attack: You steady your aim and if applicable get an extra reserve of strength for this attack. It is then just treated like a normal Snap Attack, except you have +5 to your check and to your damage.

Burst Attack: If your weapon can burst fire you may do a Burst Attack. You do +3 to your check and to your damage, plus add one extra die of damage based on whatever is the highest damage dice your weapon uses as a single shot. (So a 3d4 weapon would do 4d4+3 damage on a Burst Attack. A 1d6 + 2d8 x10 damage weapon would instead be 1d6 + 3d8 x10 +3.)

Guard Action: You prepare to do a 1 action action IF something simple happens to you. Your action is considered to happen before whatever happens does anything else. (Such as if an enemy shoots at you you will fire back at him. If you were to say "Attack and enemy if he comes within 5 squares of me" as soon as an enemy finished a move action that brought them within 5 squares you would then be allowed to attack, then the enemy would do any other actions they had to do.)

Psionic Action: Make a Psionic action. This could be to use a Psionic skill of any sort unless the skill says it takes more than a round.

3 Action Actions: (Yes I know most PCs only start with 2. Some things require more skill and training!)
Location Targeting: as a Snap Attack with an additional -5 to your penalty for purposes of hitting, but instead of doing normal damage, if you hit you do half damage if you make your check. However if your D20 roll is a 1-4 you do no damage to the target but you destroy what you were aiming at that you could realistically hit. (If a guy with a flight pack is charging at you, you probably can't see his flight back. ) This can be anything from a head shot on a zombie to hitting sensors on a giant crab robot with a sensitive mono eye to taking out a car tire. Note it is up to the GM to decide the exact results of the attack.

Full Round Actions: These are anything that either takes your character's full attention for the round, or something that is a continuing action. Like repairing a car or picking a lock or powering some ridiculously overwrought mega attack that the enemy is dumb enough to not bother you while you are doing it. It is GM's decision what happens if you get hit during this.

Full Auto: A Full Round Action requiring at least half the remaining ammunition in a weapon capable of Full Auto fire. This attack uses all ammunition in the weapon, and is counted as a Burst Attack, except it does 1d4+1 of these attacks that may be spread to any one target, and or any other targets within 1 square (2 Meters) of that target as long as the target is visible. Each attack has to be rolled to hit like a normal Burst Attack. If you were to say, have 3 as your number of attacks with this action you could attack a target and 2 adjacent targets, put all 3 on the original target, or split them up any other way desired.

The Combat Round:
As mentioned its 10 seconds. Initiative is determined by rolling a D20 for each side and the side with the most winning Physical Checks gets to move and activate a unit first. Then the loser moves one and it alternates till everyone has gone with the winning side going before the last units of the loser side. With odd numbers divide up who goes together to balance it out. (Like if it were a 5 to 2 battle and the 5 number went first, they would have 3 units going, then 1 of the loser, then the last 2 of the winner side, then the last loser. If it were the other way, the winner would use 1 then the losers would use 3 then the winner would move their final unit, then the losers move their last 2.) With odd units its up to the players and GM to determine how they want to divvy things up. Low to high numbers doing things, high to low, or whatever other solution works best.

Initiative lasts for the entire combat encounter.

An Attack Check is done by rolling the appropriate stat check and as in normal checks, rolling equal to or under the stat. In combat as in normal checks you raise your stat by the positive modifiers, and reduce it by the negative ones with the final modifier being no more than + or - 10. A natural rolled 20 is a critical failure and any remaining actions that unit had this round is lost. A natural rolled 1 is a critical hit, which either does maximum possible rolled damage, or in the case of Damage Level 1 attacks against a Damage Level 2 target, the attack damage is rolled as normal and is considered to be the Damage Level 2.

Damage: Most things have Damage Points. Some things using supernatural or ultra high tech construction have Level 2 Damage Points.

Normally damage is simple. When something takes enough damage to have 0 points left it is disabled or knocked out. If it goes into negative damage a Physical Roll must be made with whatever the damage taking it beyond 0 is as the negative modifier. If it passes the roll it is still alive or repairable. If it fails the roll it is either unrepairable or dead. For things that do not have a Physical attribute like armor, its Physical score is counted as 5, 10, or 15 depending on the quality of the item.

L2 Damage: As mentioned L2 Damage is for the ultra supernatural and the ultra high tech. Like Godzilla or Cthulhu or giant transforming robots. L2 Damage weapons do their normal adjusted damage times 10 to normal L1 Damage sources. L1 Damage to an L2 Damage target is reduced by 90% meaning 10 points of L1 damage does 1 point to an L2 target. (While a L2 Damage weapon doing 10 points does 100 points to an L1 target.) Round down for purposes of dividing up the damage.

As mentioned a Critical Hit ignores these restrictions and effectively makes an L1 attack an L2 one.

Some Combat Modifiers:
Range Weapons Range: Short Range: +5 to hit and damage, Medium: Normal to hit and damage, Long: -5 to hit and damage.

Cover: 1/3rd cover: -3 to hit. 2/3rd cover: -6 to hit. 90% cover: -10 to hit.

Target Speed: -1 to hit for every 10 squares moved this round.

Dual Wielding Weapons: -5 to hit and damage for the dual wielder's attacks.

Single handed weapon used in 2 hands: +3 to hit and damage.

Indirect/Scatter Attacks: These attacks have a normal attack, but may scatter with targets with 100% target having a -10 to hit as in 90% cover. If the attack misses, the attack scatters in a random direction 1 square (2 Meters) for every point you rolled over your attribute.

ARMOR: Armor takes damage (and sometimes reduces or increases the wearer's stats beyond normal maximums and minimums) before the wearer does. Though for every 10 points of damage the armor takes the wearer takes a point of damage that is not part of the total damage just received. In the case of L2 armor this means an L1 attack has to cause 100 points of L1 damage (making it 10 points to L2 targets) to cause 1 point of wearer damage. This damage point is always considered to be at the Damage Level of the target.

When an armor reaches 0 any remaining damage goes to the wearer inside, or the wearer's personal armor in the case of vehicles, ect. This damage going internal is counted as whatever level it was otherwise, meaning if 5 points of L2 damage gets through a suit of armor to the L1 damage wearer they are taking 50 points of damage. Likewise, if 5 points of L1 damage breaks through to a L2 wearer they will just ignore the damage.

Hand to Hand/Ram Damage: Normally for a human sized character it is D4 damage. Half human sized is D3, Quarter is D2. One and a half human sized is D6, twice is D8, triple is D10, quadruple is D12, more than quadruple is D20. Weapons override these close combat attacks, though weapon damage is increased by 1 for every die type over D4.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Palladium Game System: How I Would Redo it! Part 2: Game Overview

Ok, given how infamous Palladium is for defending its IP in the face of no legal evidence whatsoever, my version will not use any Palladium game names, but will make things obvious as to what gets converted here and there.

Legal Stuff: This is all copyright me on whatever date I post and edit these things. While I welcome people to use, tweak, and share my creation for noncommercial, nonprofit use as long as credit is provided, I reserve all right to do said commercial or profit use for myself. (Though I am not averse to working with someone on a collaborative version!) Note that most of the concepts and terminology used in this continuing project are GENERIC and are thus not intentionally swiping anyone's creative IP. (Which also means the god awful game system that inspired me to write this can't say I am actually stealing anything from their Dungeons & Dragons houserules gone terribly wrong. Cuz I am not. Levels and actions and damage & spell points are like in 80% or more of the RPG genre, tabletop OR electronic.) Some mechanics may be similar to other games out there, but as game mechanics are generally immune to copyright anyhow I am safe and no actual intent of stealing is.. intended. Though I can say there are a great many games I am inspired by! So NYAH NYAH NYAH Kevvy S! My system is better than yours because some people in IRC channels have said so! Oh yeah, any names of fictional or real characters are merely used as examples and do not belong to me, only to their creators/evil corporate overlords/their moms.

Ok... now that I have that out of the way, time for the basic overview of my swell homebrew RPG that shares some basic inspiration and a minor amount of compatibility with Palladium! As this is a continuing work in progress please be aware that some terminology and things are different further on. Should I get the game to a playable point and there be some legitimate reason I can sell it as a PDF or something (someone has already told me I should and they want to help me by getting me in contact with some artsy people and stuff! This is almost as making me feel good about myself as when I won the Best Roleplayer thing at Connecticon 08!) expect most of these issues to be fixed up in the public test version.

I will need to save some heat for the full one. I could make TENS OF DOLLARS off of this. Provided there is nothing I can be sued for in it. Frankly, I would be happy making enough for the Masterpiece Beta Fighter from Robotech. But who am I kidding? Anyhow, its time for the actual rules. I mean it this time.

Seriously. Rules.

Characters have 4 stats or attributes. Use whichever one you like more.
Physical, which covers all of those physical things you do from shooting a gun to dancing.
Mental, which covers all those things that require using that thing in your skull. Like technical stuff and math.
Social, which covers your looks and personality which gets you stuff without having to actually deserve it.
Ki, which is your sixth sense, your luck, your juju, your potential to make heads explode with a thought.

Generation is done by rolling 2d8 and adding 4 for each stat. For humans 20 is the max the stat can go, and while starting values do not go below 6, if injuries and the like happen they can go as low as 1. 12-14 are considered average. There is a -1 to various things per point under 6, and a +1 for every point over 15. For other races as player characters no more than 25 as the maximum for a stat, and no lower than 3 as a minimum, with a maximum possible score of 80 points combined.

Physical is also your starting Damage, or hit point value, and its +- modifer is to close combat damage. So a 17 Physical character would have 17 Damage Points, and do 2 extra points of damage.

Mental is also how many TOTAL skills your character may know, and its +- modifier is how many bonus skill points you get per level. A 17 Mental character may know 17 skills and gets 2 extra skill points per level.

Social is more or less just used as for Social skill checks, but its +- modifier is how many sidekicks you may have. Negative modifiers here mean you may not have any sidekicks and that NPCs really don't like you. The GM will find ways of using this to annoy you.

Ki is also how many Psionic Points you have, and its +- modifier gives you that many rerolls per game session for any Skill Check. A positive one means you may use a reroll, while negative ones means the GM can force you to reroll. A Ki 17 character has 2 rerolls per game session and 17 Psionic Points.

The last thing for Stats is your Tag Stat. Your character is just naturally good with things involving this Stat, even if the number is low. Whatever stat is chosen for your Tag gets 1 rerolled check per game session of your choice, and instead of a Critical Success being just on a 1, its on a 2 as well.

Now the basic game mechanic! Roll D20 equal to or under your applicable stat. Modifiers for skill level, various penalties based on difficulty can raise or lower your stat for the test. A 1 ALWAYS succeeds (Counted as a Critical Success), and a 20 always fails. Normal difficulty is considered to be 0 as a modifier.

A quick example: Repairing a car would be a Repair Automobile skill. This is clearly a Mental skill. The character has 3 points in Repair Automobile and a Mental score of 17. If this were a normal routine repair the check would be passed on anything but a 20, as 20 is an automatic fail even though the Mental score of 17 plus the 3 points in Repair Automobile would mean the Stat was counted as a 20. If this was say, fixing a broken brake line while careening down the hilly streets of San Francisco while in the passenger seat it might have a -5 or more difficulty modifier.

No Skill Check may have more than a +10 or -10 modifier from any one source, and even when multiple sources are taken into account the check cannot be reduced or raised past a value of 10. (Meaning a Skill level 10 mechanic fixing a brake line in a state of the art repair facility with A+ certified technician assistants and the best tools and tech manuals available would still only get a +10 to his stat for the check.) Note that an untrained check is usually at a -10 and if modifiers would bring it to -11 or greater it means the check automatically fails. (The GM can just tell the player it failed outright, or make them roll for it and count a 20 roll as a catastrophic failure based on how mean the GM wants to be.)

Well, its pretty simple so far! Next installment will cover Combat and Psionics. The third segment will cover character classes, talents, and powers. The fourth and final will be the quick and dirty Palladium conversions, with my reasoning for why I wrote things as I did. (Really quick and dirty. Its not designed to be a direct transfer over.) If anyone actually LIKES it, I will develop it further from there with lists of skills, powers, and talents.)

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