eyebeams: (Default)
One of the things I want to do with my old-timey tribute game Rhodium RPG is have unbalanced classes, befitting a game where Frodo, Thundarr the Barbarian and Iron Man might team up. But unlike a traditional hacked together method, I'm going to organize it into tiers:

The Hero tier consists of normal folks done good, the kind of protagonists who top out at the Die Hard level of competence.

The Adventurer tier is for folks like Blade, Batman, Buffy and many more low-level superhumans.

The Legend tier is for guys in powered armor, outright superheros and demigods.

How do we balance these? We don't, but we use blatant staples in the form of GOOJ (Get Out Of Jail) points to balance appeal. These allow you to buy special privileges or just avoid death. Now I could just differ the number, but these would not give the class tiers different flavours. Here's what it is instead:

* Heroes gain GOOJ points as they go up in level. Your Frodos and McClanes change over time and wrestle their central status from the cruel hand of fate.

* Adventurers start with a fixed amount of GOOJ. Batman never gets any luckier. He's consistently Batman-like. (Batman is an Adventurer; Robin is a hero, assuming he survives in a particular incarnation.)

* Legends loose GOOJ as they advance. They have wild origins and early days, but tend to settle down a bit over time.

The tiers are still unbalanced, but GOOJ is fun to use (or will be), so the question isn't just about power, but the kind of play experience you want, which will qualitatively change more and more from the alternatives as time goes on.

The goal is not elegance. The goal is Rational Inelegance -- that means I'm exploring a more hacked together design, but those design elements have reasons for being the way they are.
eyebeams: (Default)
One of the things I want to do with my old-timey tribute game Rhodium RPG is have unbalanced classes, befitting a game where Frodo, Thundarr the Barbarian and Iron Man might team up. But unlike a traditional hacked together method, I'm going to organize it into tiers:

The Hero tier consists of normal folks done good, the kind of protagonists who top out at the Die Hard level of competence.

The Adventurer tier is for folks like Blade, Batman, Buffy and many more low-level superhumans.

The Legend tier is for guys in powered armor, outright superheros and demigods.

How do we balance these? We don't, but we use blatant staples in the form of GOOJ (Get Out Of Jail) points to balance appeal. These allow you to buy special privileges or just avoid death. Now I could just differ the number, but these would not give the class tiers different flavours. Here's what it is instead:

* Heroes gain GOOJ points as they go up in level. Your Frodos and McClanes change over time and wrestle their central status from the cruel hand of fate.

* Adventurers start with a fixed amount of GOOJ. Batman never gets any luckier. He's consistently Batman-like. (Batman is an Adventurer; Robin is a hero, assuming he survives in a particular incarnation.)

* Legends loose GOOJ as they advance. They have wild origins and early days, but tend to settle down a bit over time.

The tiers are still unbalanced, but GOOJ is fun to use (or will be), so the question isn't just about power, but the kind of play experience you want, which will qualitatively change more and more from the alternatives as time goes on.

The goal is not elegance. The goal is Rational Inelegance -- that means I'm exploring a more hacked together design, but those design elements have reasons for being the way they are.
eyebeams: (Default)
The Rhodium Role-Playing Game is an old-timey RPG that uses multiple task resolution systems and imbalanced classes -- but it does so for specific reasons.

Attributes!

Let's start by rolling 4d6 for 8 Attributes. Arrange the results however you like among:

Strength (ST): The basic Strength skill is Might. Add half your ST to muscle-powered hand weapons. Your ST is your base starting Stun Points.
Agility (AG): The basic Agility skill is Grab. Add half your AG to parry or slip hand-held weapons and unarmed attacks, or strike with them.
Endurance (EN): The basic Endurance skill is Toughness. Your EN is your base starting Hit Points.
Move (MO): The basic Move skill is Evade. Add half your MO to dodge ranged attacks. MO + 10 is the number of feet a human character can move per round.
Appearance (AP): The basic Appearance skill is Charm.
Intelligence (IN): The basic Intelligence skill is Reason. Add half your IN to all skills, including IN skills.
Presence (PR): The basic Presence skill is Convince.
Willpower (WL): The basic Willpower skill is Resist.

AP, PR and WI are "dump stats." This means they're less important that other Attributes outside of specialized niches, allowing characters who want to concentrate on other areas to better arrange their scores. Of course, some characters will want to focus on these, and characters with low scores may be left in the lurch at unpredictable times. Treating them as dump stats benefits players, but it also creates flaws that the GM can exploit at a later time to make the story interesting.

Skills!

There are lots and lots of skills -- so many that I'll deal with them later, when we get to character classes -- but they all work they same way. Every skill is based on a percentage score . . . well, several. Each skill has a base attribute. Multiply this by the ease of the challenge:

Hard: x1 Tough but memorable; most people only have a 26% chance of success.
Medium: x2 Getting hard; in a crunch, a normal person has a 38% chance of succeeding.
Easy: x3 Not so bad; in dramatic situations, the average person has a 50% chance of success.

Here's one trick. If your skill is a class specialty, you automatically add 1 to your ease rating, to a maximum of Simple (you can't get the Simple rating any other way).

Simple: x4 When stress or drama is involved, the average person has a 64% chance of success.

As characters go up in level, they improve at basic and trained skills. For every level for which they possess training (or basic ability), add the following:

Hard: +5%
Medium: +3%
Easy or Simple: +1%

Training works better for harder tasks, you see -- that's when all the sweat you poured into learning has a chance to shine.

Add your IN bonus to skills at the same rate at all times.

Skills are percentage-based to make them easy to figure and resolve. This game is mostly about action, so that's where the tactical detail comes in. Skills are simple.

When two characters compete with skills, the winner is clear when somebody fails. Otherwise, resolve in this order:

1) The character with the highest skill.
2) The character who rolls lowest on d%.
3) Flip a coin.

If one character is the "main guy" (a PC, the initiator of the situation and so on) he can set a dare, by rolling against a lower ease multiplier. If he succeeds, his rival has to use the same multiplier as the main guy.

Skills are only one kind of acquired trait. The rest are Physical Training (PT), Combat Training (CT) and various special abilities.
eyebeams: (Default)
The Rhodium Role-Playing Game is an old-timey RPG that uses multiple task resolution systems and imbalanced classes -- but it does so for specific reasons.

Attributes!

Let's start by rolling 4d6 for 8 Attributes. Arrange the results however you like among:

Strength (ST): The basic Strength skill is Might. Add half your ST to muscle-powered hand weapons. Your ST is your base starting Stun Points.
Agility (AG): The basic Agility skill is Grab. Add half your AG to parry or slip hand-held weapons and unarmed attacks, or strike with them.
Endurance (EN): The basic Endurance skill is Toughness. Your EN is your base starting Hit Points.
Move (MO): The basic Move skill is Evade. Add half your MO to dodge ranged attacks. MO + 10 is the number of feet a human character can move per round.
Appearance (AP): The basic Appearance skill is Charm.
Intelligence (IN): The basic Intelligence skill is Reason. Add half your IN to all skills, including IN skills.
Presence (PR): The basic Presence skill is Convince.
Willpower (WL): The basic Willpower skill is Resist.

AP, PR and WI are "dump stats." This means they're less important that other Attributes outside of specialized niches, allowing characters who want to concentrate on other areas to better arrange their scores. Of course, some characters will want to focus on these, and characters with low scores may be left in the lurch at unpredictable times. Treating them as dump stats benefits players, but it also creates flaws that the GM can exploit at a later time to make the story interesting.

Skills!

There are lots and lots of skills -- so many that I'll deal with them later, when we get to character classes -- but they all work they same way. Every skill is based on a percentage score . . . well, several. Each skill has a base attribute. Multiply this by the ease of the challenge:

Hard: x1 Tough but memorable; most people only have a 26% chance of success.
Medium: x2 Getting hard; in a crunch, a normal person has a 38% chance of succeeding.
Easy: x3 Not so bad; in dramatic situations, the average person has a 50% chance of success.

Here's one trick. If your skill is a class specialty, you automatically add 1 to your ease rating, to a maximum of Simple (you can't get the Simple rating any other way).

Simple: x4 When stress or drama is involved, the average person has a 64% chance of success.

As characters go up in level, they improve at basic and trained skills. For every level for which they possess training (or basic ability), add the following:

Hard: +5%
Medium: +3%
Easy or Simple: +1%

Training works better for harder tasks, you see -- that's when all the sweat you poured into learning has a chance to shine.

Add your IN bonus to skills at the same rate at all times.

Skills are percentage-based to make them easy to figure and resolve. This game is mostly about action, so that's where the tactical detail comes in. Skills are simple.

When two characters compete with skills, the winner is clear when somebody fails. Otherwise, resolve in this order:

1) The character with the highest skill.
2) The character who rolls lowest on d%.
3) Flip a coin.

If one character is the "main guy" (a PC, the initiator of the situation and so on) he can set a dare, by rolling against a lower ease multiplier. If he succeeds, his rival has to use the same multiplier as the main guy.

Skills are only one kind of acquired trait. The rest are Physical Training (PT), Combat Training (CT) and various special abilities.

October 2011

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