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RPI Roll20 Games

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Iron Kingdoms An Ancient Dark Awakens


Weird War 1 - A Shattered World

The Dark Crystal Board Game - Some Thoughts

So I got the Dark Crystal Board game a few weeks ago for my Birthday.  I love the Dark Crystal and I am very excited for the new Netflix series as well.  Because of this I bought the game. 

So first this is all my opinion, so take this all with a grain of salt.  First we setup the game (my youngest daughter).

So we started; the key part to setting up the game is burying the Augruh's Observatory card in the world deck.  This is a card based world generator, but when the Observatory comes out its the start of the end game.   There is also a turn counter to the great conjunction, starts at 19 for a normal game.   So the Gelflings have 19 turns to find the observatory, get the shard of the Dark Crystal, invade the castle fight a bunch of Skeksis and heal the crystal.  

Play is move to a space, add a card from the world deck, then roll skill challenges.  Each character card has 3 skills, a set number of Willpower and a special power they can use once.  Gelflings and Skeksis move around the board expanding the world with placing new cards on each blank space.  Cards have a challenge, like climbing cliffs, against a skill.  You roll your skill die (d4 -d12) versus a die set by the card.  So the game is basically rolling to move, overcoming skill challenges. You can spend a will power (hits) to gain a D20.  You can also group together and help each other. The problem is the gelfilings need to get as many cards as they can out as fast as they can so grouping works against them.  Then there are the ancient ones, who can aid the characters with a bonus card; if they go back to the old ones home for a turn. Again making it harder for the gelflings to get to get cards out, while giving the skeksis

Meanwhile the Skeksis are trying to get the Gelflings and slow then down so they don't find the observatory and the shard in time.  But the Gelflings have 0 (and I mean zero control) over when they find the observatory and can even start the end game.  Its basically a hopeless game of find the card, with almost no time for the good guys.  Thats supposed to add tension, it just adds frustration.
My daughter lost, then won (we made some changes and tried them an she won that time).  So it had flashes of fun, but lots of repetition and no real choices that change the game or get you to the end game.

So we were disappointed, the observatory card as the second to last card, and I slowed her down just enough to win.  I did not do anything on purpose I was just trying to catch the gelflings.  So we came up with with the following changes.

Character Powers

Jen new powers

Connect to the Ancient ones for help from the board (no healing) costs a Will

Stop Short or pass a board space for 1 will Power

Move directly to the Observatory (start of turn only) Costs a Will

Kyra new powers

Move directly to Jen from anywhere board, forms a group (at any time) costs 2 Will

Stop Short or pass a board space for 1 will Power

remove/discard any one card from the board (start of turn only) Costs a Will

Emperor new powers

Remove a Will from the board space they are on (costs them their turn)

Use a Garthim from the Castle.  Emperor stays in Castle and moves a Garthim from the castle as their Proxy.  The Emperor can use their regular abilities through the Garthim or the Emperor can remove the card the Garthim is on from the board for 2 will.

Emperor in the castle can add themself to any end game challenge to stop the Gelflings.

Exile new powers

Move directly to a card a Gelfling is on (start of turn only) Costs a Will

Remove a Will from a space (costs their Turn)

Rules Changes

--- Augrahs Observatory is held by the Jen/Gelfling player(s).  It can only be placed on the board when the Gelflings have Placed 3 Will on a Space.  The Placement happens the Turn after a space has 3 Will and no gelfling can be on the space

--- Gelflings hold world cards in ahand.  If there is one player they get 3.  2 Gelfling Players get 2 each.  When a Card is to be played to the board it comes from the Gelfiling Players who turn it is.  

---- Each Gelfiling can drop a will at any location they are on, after they finish the spaces challenge.  Placing the Observatory happens after there are no Gelflings on a space with 3 will.  It is possible to drop 2 in one turn.

-- Gelfling dice explode (roll a 6 on a d6 roll again)

-- Once the Observatory is placed and the Gelflings meet the conditions of that card End Game starts.

-- Will rewards.  Winning any challenge gains the winner a Will back, grouped characters must choose who gets the awarded will.

Waylaid Gelflings lose all their cards (discard to the bottom of the world deck), grouped Gelfings roll a d8 and move away from each other. OInce that move is complete they must resolve any cards their.  Any will power on the space they are waylaid is also lost.  Captured Gelflings cannot use any powers until they escape.

Skeksis always draw opposition cards, even if they use a power that ends their turn.

The goal of these changes

What I am doing with these changes is giving the players choices that influence the outcome of the game and more closely match the movie.  The Emperor can now move to the castle and still send Garthim out to impede the Gelflings.  The Gelflings can group up when they need, and spend will to get show the risks they are taking to get to the observatory.  
I have thought about other changes to the skills system and such, but it gets too complicated.  I want it to stay a simple game, but players get choices and create stories.

The Chamberlain (exiled) Waylays the Gelflings at the Podling Village and now Jen an Kyra are seperated, Jen moves to he Cliffs and Kyra to a Blank where she places a card.  The 2 Will on the space they were on drops to 1.  On the emperors turn he sends a Proxy Garthim to the Cliffs to get Jen.  Kyra spends 2 will and joins jen at the cliffs cause he only has 1 will left.  They work together defeat the Garthim and drop 1 Will.  The space has 2 will now, they are close to the observatory and ending the Skeksis rule.

Now will the chamberlan spend a will to move to a spot and remove a Will next turn?  Will the emperor leave the castle? Send another proxy out? Will Jen try to get back to the location with 2 Will, or pick a second location?  or even return to the ancients for healing or help.  Will Kyria explore the world and remove threats or also try to move back and get 3 will on the table. 

Choices abound and each one will change the game.  I hope to try this this weekend and will let you know if works as well as it did the first time, when we free formed it.

So Thanx for reading .. Have Dark Crystal gives these rules a try.

A personal note to those who have helped me

So I tend to come up with game ideas all the time.  I also tend to bug my friends as I come up with these ideas.  I have to say I am fortunate in that they actually listen, chuckle and give me awesome advice and ideas.  They are in many ways unsung hero's of the games I have made; making them better.  They have also helped me to create amazing worlds and parts of those worlds.  Below is a list of what these folks have done for me in a hopeless attempt to say thank you.

Mark O.

      Mark helped create Strikeforce.  Every system, every part of the world has been touched and changed by him. He built this world in 3d color; from the balck and white foundations I made.  He created Jensen Dega Arms, a renegade corporation that was as good as it hoped it was.  He created (and breathed life into) Max McPherson one of the greatest character arcs I have ever had the pleasure to GM.  His ability to create a story that forced me to expand the world;  From new cultures, people and entities to aliens and hidden agendas that not only drove the story, but the world.

His support for the first release of StrikeForce was unending, his drive to make me think is always appreciated.  He taught me how to GM better, he taught me stories, he is as much a creator of StrikeForce as I am.

Every day we played MERP, BattleTech, or Strike in college was an adventure beyond description and one day closer to me almost flunking out of school.

Troy A.

       Troy also contributed huge swaths of story and repercussions as his character Fred came to define what a Diaxtron really was in the world of 2126.  Fred was unflappable, and ready to jump into anything.  Of course he would bitch about it later.  Troy also pushed back when I came up with stupid rules, he really did make me think.

Dan S

     Dan is the everlasting skeptic.  I am sure that when Cthulhu rises Dan will mention to him how he could have done it with more power and violence.  I mean this in the best way possible, he is a creator in his own way.  He will talk theory endlessly and push back, to make me see the payers side of the argument.  His ability to see what might be more fun or just make more sense is amazing.  Dan creates characters with amazing stories, not always the great hero.  He is about interesting and always makes my games better.  The Psionics in the Conflict System and StrikeForce are his.  He took a bad and unfinished system and created a system that works not only in the maths, but one that can enhance all the stories at once.  His greatest saying to me was simply this "Use a d100, the numbers better be 1-100, cause otherwise this makes no sense."    

Chris H.

    A friend who can say he has tried every game I have every tried to make (minus some real turds no one saw).  Chris is the player who seizes on an Idea for his character and make sure to exploit every loop hole you have.  This dogged ability to turn rules against me, taught me how to write rules that aid play and players, without making a game unplayable.

Read more: A personal note to those who have helped me

Conflict System and Other Percentile Systems

Since the latest release of Conflict I have had a ton of success with new players really enjoying the disconnection of the roll from character success.  I have had several conversations with folks about other percentile type resolution systems.  These games, like Earthdawn, Dark Heresy, even Warhammer Fantasy 2nd, use a roll under a modified percentile target to determine success.  Like the challenge rolls in Conflict.  The roll in those systems is the end of the challenge; in Conflict its the start.
People see a parallel between these systems, because they are rolling percentile dice.  Those systems  players look for ways to increase the percentile target, by taking advantage of bonuses.  This increases  the chance of success.   The SkillSet uses parts of the character, and tells a detailed story as you take an action.
The thing I dislike about roll under percentile systems (and I have made several) is what I call bonus hunting.  Players making decisions to gain a plus 5 or 10% bonus.  The narrative tends to move away from the character /story and towards tactics and ways to boost the math.  The math boosting is based in the idea of winning the roll; I need to to get that 85% so I have a better chance to win.  The reasons for the actions and the characters' story falls away.  The player can also get frustrated if they cannot do what they feel they need to so they can boost that chance.  The roll is made the challenge ends. success failure or other.
I wanted a system where looking at their character for ways to succeed enhanced the story and developed the character.   The roll is made and we start.  Players make choices; doing the actions that make their story.   Using past events and weave stories into my action?  Using Main or SubSkills to boost my SkillSet?  Spend Influence to cause effects or re roll?   Players are building more than the best SkillSet they can, they are building a story related to the character.  When it really matters to their story,  they burn a passion to make sure they succeed.   The numbers and effects are almost always coming from the character aspects, skils, driving both the story and the characters growth.
Using bonuses related to that character without knowing their true target, changes the motivation for getting the bonuses.  What about the character fits the situation? What subskills can I use to drive my story.  There is no 85%.

Read more: Conflict System and Other Percentile Systems

Prowlers and Paragions Kickstarter

Today I want to throw out my full support for my friend Sean Pattrick Fannons kickstarter for Prowlers and Paragons Ultimate edition. 

I love games, especially Role Playing Games, and Sean is a very talented and thoughtful designer.  He designs games that you play the BIG DAMN HERO.  Prowlers lets you play Hero's who are larger than life, capable of amazing things and telling even more amazing stories.

The world and what the game system lets you play out a story that brings your character and their opposition in comic book style.  The options available to players to create a character in their minds eye are awesome, if you can think of it this game can create that hero.

So check out the Kickstarter and don't forget the world needs HEROS...


GhengisCon 2019 -- A Resounding Success

So for the past few weeks I have been off the web creating, updating, and preparing for Ghengis Con in Denver.  
The Plan was to test Zombie Golf, Panic, and the newest (and after this weekend final) version of the Conflict System.  The Con was a rousing success for me and the games.  every game played really well, several rules changes/variants came about.  Finally we have a couple of very cool taglines for Conflict RPG System.

First it was a great con, I would love to say thanx to all the players who tried the games and talked to me about them.   I got a ton of great feedback, great ideas, and most importantly some fun games.

So lets talk about the 3 games, how they played, what I and the other players liked and what did not really work.  

Zombie Golf will be the first discussion, I am going to do highlights in this article and a more detail in later articles.  Zombie golf played well, but with the new zombie values it turns out to be very hard to win.  Between the frustration buildup from hazzards and the greater wound values the hordes built up and then people start dying or rage quitting.  I also noticed that there was a need to get more trophy cards out, gotta have them to play them. Another good suggestion was to change the dice from a d12 to a 2d6; this would give a better spread, playrs could better anticipate when to use a bonus or not. This will be an alternative mode in the base game, and a bonus for the ProAM expansion.
The end result was the creation of two levels of play, Regular play and Horde play.   In Horde Play the wound values double, how long a person keeps their trophies are the major differences.

Panic was a different story, it played just fine. Very tactical and fun when doing lines. However 2 things, the narration mechanic needs to be done for all scenes, not just successes.  Then other thing is its the second time I was asked for a party game version of Panic. A Party version would take the tactical movements of the board out and focus on the funny narrations. I figured out a way to create table read rules.  No board everything else the same.

The Last was Conflict System X40 (as I am calling it) Using the World of StrikeForce:2136.  The X40 System is a design I tried in different ways, but never in this way. The goal has always been to minimize the effect of the roll on the players ability to take actions and do more at the table.
The issue with my math based (or Lee math systems as my friends would say) systems was the attributes. I always felt the attributes needed to be in any skillset.  Thats adding 40 or 50 points, then add skills in and now 80.. and so it grows.  Then you think about ADnD and 2E, the specific reason the attributes were there was to bonus the rolls.  James Bond used them to set Skills and then the roll.
So I figured out that the abilities sets the characters Skill Depth. The Skill Depth sets how many Paste Events, Main and Subskills a player can add together for a SkillSet.  That total, the SkillSet total, determines a players success.  So the roll becomes a limiter, not a binary success failure.  This allows me to set all the skills to a range of 1-4, a SubSkill value of 2, and a Past Event value of 1.  This means the Skillset become a range of 1 - 40.  And now a roll of the dice does not stop you from succeeded, it makes it harder.
A tage line comes out of all this:
Conflict System: Never let a Roll Stop You!

So all good innovations and design ideas from every one.  More details on all of this in future posts.  

Oh and one more thing Zombie Golf is going to Kickstart, April 1! Be ready!