RolePlayersINK Pure Imagination, No Limits

RPI Roll20 Games

A List of all Games RPI is running on Roll 20.

  Links to the games .

Iron Kingdoms An Ancient Dark Awakens


Weird War 1 - A Shattered World

A long journey to back to the start; yet very different Pt2

So last post I talked about the old guard games where character build was somewhat disconnected from the resolution system.  This had the benefit of allowing players more build control, to make the character they wanted,  without changing the odds in a  real way.  That changed, players wanted their build to have  an effect on the game in more direct ways, and that led to the slow growth.

So I always hated systems that limit the direction of my characters growth; so as games began linking the growth to the resolution directly systems began to slow down the growth of characters.  Systems wanted to avoid the 3.5 issues of everyone becoming a god at 5th level. The indie games of the early 2000's, like burning wheel or other forge games talked about GNS and such.  But really they tried many different ways to let player choices effect the outcomes.  The idea of Yes, but systems changed the ideas of how an RPG was played.  No longer was the binary Fail or Succeed your only choice; rather a you succeed but something else happens.  All this innovation and change lead to new RPG systems which link the attribute/skill values directly to the resolution; regardless of the dice used.  Savage Worlds combines a roll of an attribute or a skill + the wild die and does exploding dice; creating a scale WHICH grows as the dice increase and rolls explode.  A Player might hit 30 or 40+ with a crazy good roll and abilities.  These successes are further constrained by the raise system, where every 4 pts is a success or raise.  The system still constrains, to create additional ways to boost or effect the scene.  Yet the characters only do build every few sessions, they update only one or 2 parts of the character at any one time.  You might add a new ability or up a dice type on several attributes or skills or add an ability or 2 every few sessions.  These systems found new ways to use Special dice and pools (genesys /EotE, Shadowrun) or special results (Fate, *world, dragon/fantasy Age, Star Trek adventures, Torg).  Using the dice pool or roll results to create narrative outcomes or set a result type the characters have to deal with.  What all these new systems have in common is how they limit character growth. Some are more limiting while others can drive a more robust build because of less math, more narrative systems. 

Savage Worlds, Cypher System, DnD 5th, Iron Kingdoms, Shadowrun 5th and so many games today limit character build using limiting mechanics. Players can only boost a few things or make a single choice at each level.  It works beautifully, it is NOT a bad thing, having played ADnD and 5th with my kids and friends today I see that many new games (Savage Worlds,Cypher System, *World, and the Warhammer 3rd/Genesys to name only a few) are so much more accessible to players because of the mechanical adds to the character.  Players have more cues as to what they can do and the effect they can have, but they build  what they want over time slowly.  Players who are more mechanically focused seem to spend less time thinking about the story direction of their character and more about which options will have more mechanical effect.  Focusing on the story or mechanical build of a character or a combination are all valid ways to play; whats fun for one will bring fun for all at a good table.  This is really a good thing, I advocating for the good olde days of Role play when GM fiat was how everyone lived or died, with the occasional 20 messing up their plans. I just wanted something different; Something closer to real life, cause in life you don't get 50 rolls to succeed at something and get your bell curve.  I get 1 or 3 rolls and I need to succeed or my boss is gonna be pissed.  So in life I make choices and in the games I play I want those choices too, but its still a game and has to have something that forces choices on me.

So where an I going with this? In the ADnD, Traveler, Twilight 2000 days a character was more story with some abilities and maybe skills (depended on the game).  Traveler characters could die in creation, for goodness sake.  I would make a character (or 6 looking at you ADnD) and I was off to forge my way through the world the GM created.  The story of the character was what I had done; "I had a Fighter Cavalier indebted to King Arthur for his help destroying the Storm Giants of Nargula".  The story defined how I was a bad ass; because I fought with King Arthur against Storm Giants, not that i got a +6 with your specialty weapon cause your a cavalier right?  Do you have the Blade Turn Feat?  They might ask oh are you 20th level, because THAC0, but the mechanical had little to do with the story of the character. When the characters mechanical parts directly effected how I succeeded or failed at the table the characters "story" became entwined with the characters abilities.  The good olde days of GM fiat (and several GM's more intent in telling their story than the groups) planted the seed of my particular desire: a system that where the players choice of mechanical character build would add directly to their story.  Yes creating a system where Probability has nothing, or very little with my success at the table.  Where a players choices have a greater impact than the roll of dice; and their story grows because of those choices and cues. 

So I created my Rev A system, with math so big no dice could touch it.  True story; I once had a player (really high level) hit 25,000 on an attack.  That's when I knew my system had to change.  Using math to cover the probabilities worked, it was a very 80's solution, but it was not fun as a game.  So I started playing other games, and creating new stuff that emulated what they did.  I lowered the numbers, I added abilities, I sped up character growth and slowed it down.  I created dice systems that were directly impacted by the characters build and then created systems that had nothing to do with it.  Woe to my players and I would announce I had it and then change it 2 weeks later and it all came back to the same design I created so many years ago in college; build a number and see if it better than the target the GM had built.  What changed was the choices the players made to get there.  That change came from the foundation of what I have been talking about in the last 2 posts; A hybrid system where players make active choices, roll the dice and react, making more choices, before giving the GM their final mechanical value.

So in part 3 I explain the Rev X Conflict System and how its the same in some ways and yet different.