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Postby TheMatt » Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:57 pm

Skills ranked rather than scored?

CSCS - Combat, Stealth, Chase, Social (SCORES)
Ranked 1,2,3,4.
Do the same for skills underneath each.

-Parkour (Bouncing from place to place, with jumps)
-Stamina (Multi-day chases)
-Ranging (Overland, multi-day chases)

For rolls, sum scores+skills, vs. dc
Radical reversal, not successes, but fails. (so fewer is better)?
Arkham-style, 1-2 as a fail.
DC is permitted botches.

Or translate ranks into dice? Rank = dice sides?
One is the only success #... (Score+skill min = 2).

'Rank 1-X, with X being the best'
Score+skill = dice (d6) (dicepool), with 5-6 as success.
10 skills, ranked 1-10...scores with more skills would need higher DC's.
But most rolls opposed.
Skills dynamic--can set skills up.

-Deceive v Empathy
-Intimidate v Guts
-Dominate v Willpower

-Camouflage v. Search/Discover ("A secret door!--it's a trap!")
-Hide! v. Spot --("Quick, he's coming!")
-Sneak v. Awareness
-Listen v. Move Silently
-Blend in
-Wait (Have they moved on? Or are they still waiting?)

Essential to Stealth Encounters are 'false checks'.
Blends into social, if any interaction is called for.

-Asassiantion (Red blades, black hearts)


You are downed when you have more wounds than grit.
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Re: Ordinal

Postby TheMatt » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:25 am

More wounds then grit is counting. That is the hardest part to get around. Roll dice, compare successes.
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Re: Ordinal

Postby Maugh » Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:24 pm

In regards to ordinal attribute selection, I usually like that method. that's how I instruct people to do the attributes in Mayhem.

Also, although I never built a character for it, Shadow Run's 5e's system uses an ordinal structure, and they even add things like starting wealth into the variables. Worth looking in to. If the system weren't awful, this would be one particularly interesting mechanic.

More specifics:

You say dice pool and I want to hiss. I have yet to see a dice pool mechanic that isn't done better through a single die vs die structure. Fudge comes close. Shadowrun was almost playable.

Shadowrun did add one thing to the dice pool, you might like. To prevent snowballing numbers of dice and avoid people simply hunting for ways to maximize the size of their pool, (which slows the game down and makes it a little tedious,) they established "limits." A limit was the maximum number of successes that could be applied to one check. For weapons, this was accuracy. For spells, it was the spells overall power level. Interesting, but it did add one more variable to be tracking in a pool system that already used a lot of shifting variables.

Opposed dice pools take forever to resolve.

Wounds are good. The more games I play, the more I prefer wounds to HP. Wounds are cleaner and faster than tracking big stacks of HP. For a role-playing games, they're also more tangible, especially if identified. Makes it almost feasible to track a characters scars. "Got that one from a manticore. Nasty brute. Got that one when the guard pegged me with a crossbow bolt. That one knife-fighting. that one when that barmaid lit me on fire. Heh. good times." Good story element.

This is becoming almost an axiom for game design for me: If you can use small numbers instead of big numbers. Do so. Counting is always relative. If a +16 bonus is FREAKING AWESOME, versus a +4 bonus, then a +4 bonus is just as awesome against a +1 bonus. Ditto HP. If a character with 5 toughness, (taking 5 wounds,) is CRAZY tough, versus a character with 2, then why on earth would we worry about tracking 50 hp, when we can track 5. Small numbers play cleaner and faster, and faster play means more gaming per hour. This is why the d20 makes me twitch, why percentile games are not awesome, and also why dice pools just don't make any sense to me.
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Re: Ordinal

Postby TheMatt » Fri Feb 07, 2014 6:25 am

I just backed this: http://farawaylandrpg.weebly.com/blog.html
$10 for a PDF, and some good humor.

I liked this:
"PCs can stave off death by taking a Battle Scar which leaves them with a physical reminder of the time when they were nearly done in"
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Re: Ordinal

Postby TheMatt » Fri Feb 07, 2014 6:50 am

I really like starting wealth as an attribute.

Jake and I were working on a dicepool for a bit, and if you are using more than d6's, the math gets messy fast. +1 on a d4 is SO MUCH BETTER than on a d20. Adding numbers is taboo.

Arkham is dicepool, and I'm loving it. Mostly because it's just D6's, and I get to throw handfuls of them.

Part of the reason why are curses/blessings.
5 or 6 is usually a success
Curse - 6 only
Bless - 456

Main idea is to make a lightweight 'Big Table' game for 5+ PCs. Part of that is making resolution simple--roll dice, more successes wins. Fin. Two factors affect successes: Bless/Curse and # of dice. Nothing else permitted.

Part of the idea of Ordinal is that all operations are < or >. No addition or subtraction in combat. How to deal with wounds is pretty important, though. Wounds act as a critical 'buffer' to make sure someone doesn't go down accidentally.

Smaller numbers are certainly better, but you also want some granularity. I thought Dresden files did a good job with that---all numbers under 10, but you started with 3, so you didn't KO automatically.

Going to lower the damage numbers on Middie? Ours got set to DnD standards, almost by default.
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Re: Ordinal

Postby Maugh » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:50 pm

Definitely NOT changing damages on Mayhem. four years too late for aht. Part of the foundation for that was the weapon system, and we experimented heavily with 1 die, 2 die and even 3 die combinations for weapon damage. It turned out that 1-2 die weapon damage generally got the best spread of conceptual diversity versus damage spread.

Blue shift, on the other hand, I am actually going to switch to static weapon damages, rather than damage rolls, so i can get granularity and personality in numbers, but avoid getting too high with the tracking totals.

Arkham is a good example for a dice pool mechanic, for a board game, but I think that only works because Arkham is a board game, and not technically an RPG. (Though it does play best when treated like an RPG.) There are other war-game style games that also do really well with dice pools, which makes sense. For a light tabletop, dice pools could make a lot of sense. Fun, relatively fast, but with a lot of personality or card variation to counterbalance the lack of heavy book-based content. Sounds like a good project.

A full RPG, though, might need more to it to get enough content in it to keep players exploring. If all you can do is change the success threshhold from 4, 5 or 6, and add or subtract dice, that gets pretty limiting, pretty quickly, I think. In contrast, Mayhem has attack dice which can shift up or down, plus three different kinds of bonus/penalties, plus crit ranges, and damage dice for the crit mechanic. There's a lot of wiggle room there not only for alternate weapons, but also for character abilities.

In Contrast, Mab (and HOTBIB,) use the coin, where there is really only two things you can do. Either have a check for success/failure, (50/50 success/failure,) or TWO successes in a row, (25/75), or ONE success from two coin throws, (75/25).

Seems like the best balance between granularity and low numbers really is the 1-12 range. Convenient, then, that there are nice, even steps between the d4/d6/d8/d10/d12. Dresden files did a good job of keeping that light. Wouldn't mind playing that one again. I just wish they had more diversity in content. Ah well. No project is perfect.
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Re: Ordinal

Postby TheMatt » Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:56 pm


And yes, if it was all one dicepool, I would agree. ArkHam works because the # of dice in a pool varies by encounter, and you can shift your allocation of points between pools between enounters. You cannot, however, shift them dynamically--once per turn, they are set. Making it so you can't alter them mid-encounter, but let people switch them around a bit, works well.

Thinking sequential tests. Must succeed at A before you can get a chance at B. And logic gates. (Re: Mab). Both, either. Tests: Sequential, alternate, dual.

Mind if I make an addenda to Mayhem? Alt weapons list, alt weapon abilities? Perhaps several setting specific lists? (China, Japan, India, etc).

Damage dice are cool. They just have to stay small... 12 HP, can a d4 be used? I'd say so. Average is 2.5, and you want a character to have <4 hits until death. D4's are just kind of unpleasant.

Other bit of Ordinal are Destiny Points. Give yourself a +1 success post hoc. Twinking around with a conflicted gauge of Destiny----Experience. You take the latter, you get bonus skills/abilities. Take the former, and you can (x times/session) add a +1.

Second bit was 'Drama' dice. Burn one (before rolling) to get a 456 success. Earn them by doing something with dash, with panache, with style....by only counting 6's as successes. Slaughtering goblins is easy...until you decide to make it LOOK easy, in a "I'm not left handed" sort of way.

Big Table, big crowd, no 'campaign' as such, so no leveling up (no point). So characters are 'complete' upon creation, and any changes to the characters are story driven--collecting gear, enemies, allies, and scars.

Not sure how to do damage. Any ideas?
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Re: Ordinal

Postby Maugh » Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:49 pm

House of the Black Iron Bell. It's the mab-like one-shot I ran for Halloween. Got really violent. A bit darker than Mab. Quite amusing.

Sequential tests works really well for the coin toss because it can actually increase tension for that second test. For really heinous tests, I make them flip three times, (12.5% chance of success.) I had a pyromancer who wanted fire, but I wasn't letting them -make- fire, just control it. So when they got to the room that is open to daylight, he wanted to call fire from the heat of the sun. I let him try, but with three checks. Made the first, made the second, and by the time he was doing the third, he was suuuper tense. Sort of like fighting on a ladder. You get all the way to the top, and you know that you have a chance for success, having come so far, but you also know that you could totally fall.

I don't mind at all if you made adjustments. It would sort of defeat the purpose of that kind of a project otherwise. I just can't change the book at this point in time, without REALLY good reason and a huge amount of work. Still addendums would be neat. Any amount of secondary content helps the project.

d4's have really limited application. Probably why magic missile always seems to be d4+1. 2d4 to 4d4 are fun, though, with a nice range and centralized distribution. D12's are awesome. Easily my favorite.

Lots of games use post-roll fudges like that, most notably fudge/fate, shadowrun and burning wheel. They apply "edge" or "Fate" points, to apply those kinds of bonuses. Either re-rolling misses, applying extra bonuses, or other effects.

One of my favorite application of that is Shadowrun. "The hand of God," which lets your character survive one lethal injury, at the cost of a permanent Edge point loss. Fun, plus it makes for good story. "He survived with a hole in his head?" Also. Always good to give players the -choice- to let their characters die or not.

Big table, big crowd, no ongoing campaign, sounds ideal for a lot of our groups. You'll have to focus on either pre-gens, a la arkham, or make character creation pretty straight-forward, so that there's not a lot of setup.

The mid-game stat changes of Arkham are very interesting. If you think about it, you "build" your character by setting those stats at the beginning of the game, but every round you have the chance to adjust those stats. You're really re-balancing your character all the time.

For a big group, light games, "injuries" seems to be the most clean way for tracking that sort of thing. taking 2-4 injuries gives people the chance to get hit without dying, but to know when they're in serious trouble. Attacks deal one injury, with really nasty attacks (attacks that would kill some people outright,) deal two injuries and REALLY nasty attacks, (getting crushed by a boulder, etc.) would deal three.

For granularity, there seems to be a heuristic for how we identify toughness of characters. "Weak" "Normal," "Tough," "Ridiculous" 1-4 injuries, total, or maybe 2-5. People can compare a character who has 31 hp versus one who has 52, but stripping it down, they're really just thinking. "tough" or "ridiculously tough." Tracking numbers has its place with a small, dedicated crowd of regular players, but if you're trying to run a big-group game, it is to your advantage to skip the math and jump straight to the conceptual level.
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Re: Ordinal

Postby TheMatt » Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:01 pm

I'm leery of sequential tests. The 'fight on a ladder' dynamic is very attractive, but each test makes success MUCH less likely, and does so erratically, via squares. A -2 for a 9 drops you over 30%, while a -2 at 3 drops you 8%.
For example:
9/10*9/10 = 81%
8/10*8/0 = 64%
7/10*7/19 = 49%
3/10*3/10 = 9%
1/10*1/10 = 1%

Works for Mab, don't think it will work for Ordinal.

Can I get a Mayhem subforum under Content, so I can keep threads about addenda collected?

d12s are pleasing. Trying to keep Ordinal to d6's, but can't do initiative that way,without lots of ties. Thinking I'm going to use d20 for initiative, to prevent overlap. 1 = no action, 20 = get 2 dice, roll both. Could use d12, but with 10+ rolls, overlap almost inevitable. D20 better for init.

I really like the post-roll effect. Cthulu permits you to roll more dice, at a cost of clue tokens. Idea is that [Destiny] the only thing that can be added AFTER a roll. (Adding Destiny before a roll that misses seems silly).

I REALLY like the 'Hand of God' mechanic. Tempted to let characters use it multiple times, as attribute damage. "He survived the axe to the face, but he'll never win any beauty contests". Almost have to, really, as it is a 1-shot, and all the characters (effectively) die at the end. Call them 'injuries', which subtract from Attributes.

The [Design Rule] for Ordinal is 'no subtraction'. Which means I can't have HP, in the normal sense. The other day, I was kicking around the idea of statuses: Knocked down, disarmed, stunned, staggered, KO'd, killed.

I like your toughness typology. 1-5, as 'Meat'; Weak; Normal; Tough, Ridic. Arkham has something similar: HP 1-3, and you have to roll SUCCESS>=HP to kill something. Do the same for ordinal. Anything less than X does nothing.

Not sure if to divide the attack and damage rolls, or just use same roll for both. Doing so will make balancing easier, and provide more [Bonus Space] for giving +1's.

Armor is the other issue. Played Arkham on Saturday, and Armor applies before the roll, and subtracts dice. Effectively, your AC is a negative number....which means you can have AC-10.

For character gen, check out the 'Ordinal: Template Matrix' thread.
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Re: Ordinal

Postby Maugh » Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:59 pm

The hand of god mechanic was also used in Dresden files, although in a different way. Increasingly severe injuries, all the way up to permanent damage. Obviously you wouldn't want to go so complicated, but permanent consequences are cool. You could handle them in similar ways to Arabian Nights curses, actually, with a card. "Draw from the permanent injury stack." Heh.

Traumatic injuries:
Str/Dex: Muscle/Nerve damage.
Int/Cng: TBI. (Traumatic Brain Injury.)
Inu: Blindness/hearing loss.
Cha: Gnarly Scars. (but chicks dig scars?)
End/Wil: Lung/Liver/Internal damage.

Initiative: Really, Why roll for initiative? It's a step of set-up for combat that actually slows down the pacing and pulls players out of the story. You don't wait to figure out who hits first, you start hitting. If you can find any way to avoid this, you should Especially on d20's.

Armor is it's own can of worms. If you're using a low injury count, then armor could simply increase the total number of injuries that they can take before suffering more serious damage. It's really the "armor as HP" schtick, but on a smaller scale.

More later. Getting late.
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