Design Help: Damage Systems

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Design Help: Damage Systems

Post by Count Zero » Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:00 am

One of my labors of love right now is creating a Superhero game which doesn’t try to simulate powers in the vein of Mutants and Masterminds, Hero System, or Wild Talents, but isn’t narrative as in With Great Power… or Capes. I want players to be managing resources and thinking about timing for their powers, but I never want them to be stuck with powers that are completely ineffective.

The basic structure of the game is that every character has skills. They are rated in a number of D6's. When you roll your dice, anything that comes up 4, 5, or 6 is a success. You have to achieve a number of successes equal to the obstacle, or beat the number of successes in an opposed roll. The average skill is 3 dice with a max skill of 5.

Next, you have Power Dice. Your power dice have a theme associated with them, such as "Son of the Thunder God". Power dice provide additional dice to your skill rolls to accomplish tasks. They can only be used if you can justify their use, such as the Thunder God casting lighting bolts, causing storms, and so forth. Powers are never used interdependently, but as part of a skill roll. When you add power dice to a roll, they are drained until they recharge.

Then you have your recovery ability. It is a dice pool just like the others. When you have power dice that have been spent, you roll the number of dice equal to your recovery and for each success you place a die back into your power pool, up to the amount that were drained.

The final part of this little mechanic is your super abilities. These are effectively your signature tricks. They are things you do all the time. They have a rating ranging from 1-5. They would have names like "Lighting Bolt - 2", "Hammer Strike - 1", and "Display of Power - 3". Any time you did an action that involved this theme, such as a lighting bolt, the number of dice up to the super ability rating were not drained and placed directly back into the power pool. Think of them a bit like aspects from SotS, but with ratings.

Example:
So, I decide to attack someone. I used my skill which is 3 dice. Plus I have a power pool of five dice and a recovery of 4 dice. I also have lighting bolt 2. So, I decide to pull three dice from my power pool for the action with a total of six dice. Once I have resolved the action, two dice go back into my power pool, one goes to my drained pool. At the end of the round or scene, I roll my recovery dice, getting three successes, and I move my drained power die back into my power pool.

Now the key to the game is there are no attributes (i.e. strength, charisma, etc.). If you want to be strong, then you describe your character as being strong through his abilities, otherwise he is just average.

What I am running into is that I can't decide on a damage system for this game. I was thinking along the lines of SotS, but having you spend successes to achieve effects like removing abilities, or causing damage.

Other systems I am looking at adding in are Weaknesses and Tools (super abilities which can be taken away). The one thing I don't want is hit points. I want damage to have a direct mechanical effect, but be narrative. I don't ever want it to be just ticking off a box.

Any suggestions for a damage system? I have sort of hit a block on this.
Whenever I get confused about D&D alignment morality, I just imagine Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Ghandi arm wrestling shirtless on the back of a killer whale.

In other words, I remember that it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense and deal with it best I can.

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Post by mordraine » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:17 pm

What if damage is applied directly to the dice pools the character has? This idea is totally a rip-off from PDQ, but it's pretty elegant. Narratively, your guy is weakened by the attack, and mechanically that's shown by the fact that his dice pool is smaller.
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Post by Count Zero » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:57 pm


[quote="mordraine"]What if damage is applied directly to the dice pools the character has? This idea is totally a rip-off from PDQ, but it's pretty elegant. Narratively, your guy is weakened by the attack, and mechanically that's shown by the fact that his dice pool is smaller.[/quote]

Yeah... I was looking at something like that, but there are quite a number of "dice pools" effectively, so I am not sure how much it will work. I will look at PDQ again, because it has been a while since I read it.



I was looking at requiring 1 + Super Ability Rating to disable a power. With a power armor guy I see it being things like punching holes in his armor.



I imagined people spending successes to achieve effects.



So your options were:

1 Success - Temporary Effect - Next person to attack gets plus 1 die

2 Successes - Cause a wound (similar to composure/health from Sots)

3 Successes - Stun Target for one round and wound target.

(Rating of tool/item) Successes: Remove one tool or item

(1 + Rating of Ability) Successes: Remove one super ability



If you got four successes you could remove one ability rated up to two and cause a temporary effect, or you could just cause two wounds. You might choose the former to get rid of an ability which is keeping your team from defeating a villain or something.





I also thought plan on having teamwork rules so you can coordinate attacks and have leadership rules, so a team leader and characters working together can contribute dice to one another's rolls.



Overall, one of my goals is to make it possible for the GM to run a single player, rather than the classic team. I also want to have varied power levels, so you might have superman on the same team with someone who is considerably less powerful. The less powerful character would have the ability to manipulate the story while the superman style character would have to rely on dice rolls.



Those are completely different ideas though.

Whenever I get confused about D&D alignment morality, I just imagine Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Ghandi arm wrestling shirtless on the back of a killer whale.

In other words, I remember that it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense and deal with it best I can.

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Post by mordraine » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:48 pm

PDQ handles it by letting the player controlling the PC being attacked distribute the damage to whatever stat he wants. You could handle it that way too.

Alternately (I like this idea) you can have the attacking player decide where the damage is applied (maybe only if he got a certain amount of successes or something).
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Post by Count Zero » Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:04 pm


[quote="mordraine"]PDQ handles it by letting the player controlling the PC being attacked distribute the damage to whatever stat he wants. You could handle it that way too.



Alternately (I like this idea) you can have the attacking player decide where the damage is applied (maybe only if he got a certain amount of successes or something).[/quote]


It could be a bidding system. The attacker player bids a number of successes to generate a desired effect. The player has to conversely defending player bids against it in order to counter act it. So the player can decide which effects to accept and which to reject. So let's say we have a defender with 3 successes and the attacker with 5 successes.



The attacker says I am going to spend three successes to disable your Armor 2 power (three successes) and one wound (two successes). The defending player would then has a choice to make, he can accept the power disabled and avoid the wound, or he can take the wound and protect the power. Each has its trade of, especially considering the situation.



The player could also make an effort to create odd pattern which requires the defender to split up his results interestingly. He might throw two temporary modifiers on the defender in a effort to force him to off-set different stuff at the expense of his power.



If I were to do it this way, I think the number of successes needed would have to be reduced.

Whenever I get confused about D&D alignment morality, I just imagine Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Ghandi arm wrestling shirtless on the back of a killer whale.

In other words, I remember that it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense and deal with it best I can.

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Post by mordraine » Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:24 pm

Bidding is a very interesting idea. The one problem I see with it is that it would bog down combat.
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Post by cczernia » Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:05 pm

I think damage should reduce your recovery dice pool.
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Post by Skyman » Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:46 pm

How about having stages of condition and powers having cosmetic effects like blow back

I only say that because some things that I see with comics that is not reflected in RPG is the part where some folks actually get stronger the more punishment they take.

Maybe instead of damage you could call it Punishment
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Post by Count Zero » Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:46 pm


[quote="cczernia"]I think damage should reduce your recovery dice pool.[/quote]

Hmm... that's a good idea. So when you imagine it on the character sheet, do you see it as boxes of damage like on white wolf character sheet? So basically, each wound reduces your recovery? Do you see it as a one for one loss? When your recovery hits zero, or you knocked out?



I was thinking that you could choose to sacrifice one of your powers to offset the damage. So, a player might take three success of damage, they could choose to sacrifice a lvl 1 and a lvl 2 power to prevent the damage.



One of the key things is I would really like to see things lost because it would represent the characters being beat down, but at the some time... how does superman loose his invulnerability when there isn't kryponite around? I guess it is all narrative so it doesn't really matter.



To explain what I want to do with this game. Imagine a fight between Doomsday and Superman. Doomsday is repeatedly hammering on superman, and superman is basically down, but then at that last dramatic moment, superman recovers and punches the hell out of doomsday.



Mechanically what is happening is that doomsday is punching superman, and superman is spending all of his dice on his Invulnerability power just to offset the damage. Then superman rolls his recovery, gets a bunch of dice back and nails doomsday with a solid hit by filtering those recovered dice into his super strength.

Whenever I get confused about D&D alignment morality, I just imagine Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Ghandi arm wrestling shirtless on the back of a killer whale.

In other words, I remember that it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense and deal with it best I can.

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Post by Skyman » Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:06 pm

Hey CZ I think we posted at the same time so just in case you missed it look above our post
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Post by devlin1 » Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:23 pm


[quote="Count Zero"]To explain what I want to do with this game. Imagine a fight between Doomsday and Superman. Doomsday is repeatedly hammering on superman, and superman is basically down, but then at that last dramatic moment, superman recovers and punches the hell out of doomsday.



Mechanically what is happening is that doomsday is punching superman, and superman is spending all of his dice on his Invulnerability power just to offset the damage. Then superman rolls his recovery, gets a bunch of dice back and nails doomsday with a solid hit by filtering those recovered dice into his super strength.[/quote]


Or! Every time you're hit (or unsuccessfully defend, I guess), you have an opportunity to earn Grickle Points with some sort of recovery roll. These Grickles accumulate over time, but can only be used within the same scene. (I.e., you can't accumulate Grickles from one fight and spend them in another.) Spend Grickles to help with a roll -- maybe they're extra dice to add to your pool, maybe they lower your target number on each die from 4 to 3 to 2, or whatever.



Of course, as you accumulate Grickles, you're also accumulating injuries or setbacks or whatever. It's the only way to earn them. So you can't just keep building up Grickles forever, because at some point you're just gonna die or get knocked out, and then... no more Grickles, because one way or another, your scene's over.



So Doomsday's pounding on Superman, and Superman's taking damage, making his Grickle-earning rolls, and earning Grickles. He could spend those Grickles on his defenses, but he's saving them for his attack. At some point, Superman's on his last legs, but this is when he finally decides to blow his stockpile of Grickles on kicking Doomsday's ass -- probably with a single punch, because that's often the way these things happen.

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Post by Dragonmaster Zoc » Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:28 pm

I'm not terribly familiar with the other games you're mentioning, but if I'm understanding it correctly then damage done to your dice pools would make you less capable of fighting back; as you start to lose a fight, your powers become weaker, causing you to take more damage to your dice pools, until you're helpless.

I like the idea of characters getting progressively stronger as they start to lose a fight. Maybe you could have a normal type of damage/health value, and whenever you get hit it fills in one of those boxes and you gain that as a bonus to your other dice pools.

I can also imagine narrating the fight, and someone's bound to say "Doomsday punches Superman right in the laser vision" or "Doomsday kicks the freezing breath right out of Superman"; is that something you want people to say while playing?

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Post by Count Zero » Sat Apr 03, 2010 6:24 am


[quote="Skyman"]How about having stages of condition and powers having cosmetic effects like blow back



I only say that because some things that I see with comics that is not reflected in RPG is the part where some folks actually get stronger the more punishment they take.



Maybe instead of damage you could call it Punishment[/quote]


That is all wrapped up into your ability to create powers through the power pool.



If you want to claim you get stronger as you take damage, you can do that by just adding dice to your roll from you power pool. The idea is that while a player might not have that power, he can create it on the fly and just do it. You may even have a super ability which allows you to offset the cost of adding dice to your pool, such as "Green Rage 6".



It is all about how you define the way your powers work. The dice mechanics are there to create a resource management system. You will never look at your powers and not be able to use them in this system. Just like spider man or superman never has that sort of limitation really.

Whenever I get confused about D&D alignment morality, I just imagine Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Ghandi arm wrestling shirtless on the back of a killer whale.

In other words, I remember that it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense and deal with it best I can.

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Post by Count Zero » Sat Apr 03, 2010 6:28 am


[quote="Dragonmaster Zoc"]I'm not terribly familiar with the other games you're mentioning, but if I'm understanding it correctly then damage done to your dice pools would make you less capable of fighting back; as you start to lose a fight, your powers become weaker, causing you to take more damage to your dice pools, until you're helpless.



I like the idea of characters getting progressively stronger as they start to lose a fight. Maybe you could have a normal type of damage/health value, and whenever you get hit it fills in one of those boxes and you gain that as a bonus to your other dice pools.



I can also imagine narrating the fight, and someone's bound to say "Doomsday punches Superman right in the laser vision" or "Doomsday kicks the freezing breath right out of Superman"; is that something you want people to say while playing?[/quote]


It does a get a big tricky there. The heat vision is the tough one, but I could totally see the player saying, "Doomsday kicks Superman in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him. That disables his freezing breath since he can't catch a breath."



I was considering mechanics which allow to recover lost powers during combat.

Whenever I get confused about D&D alignment morality, I just imagine Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Ghandi arm wrestling shirtless on the back of a killer whale.

In other words, I remember that it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense and deal with it best I can.

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Post by Count Zero » Sat Apr 03, 2010 6:31 am


[quote="devlin1"]Or! Every time you're hit (or unsuccessfully defend, I guess), you have an opportunity to earn Grickle Points with some sort of recovery roll. These Grickles accumulate over time, but can only be used within the same scene. (I.e., you can't accumulate Grickles from one fight and spend them in another.) Spend Grickles to help with a roll -- maybe they're extra dice to add to your pool, maybe they lower your target number on each die from 4 to 3 to 2, or whatever.



Of course, as you accumulate Grickles, you're also accumulating injuries or setbacks or whatever. It's the only way to earn them. So you can't just keep building up Grickles forever, because at some point you're just gonna die or get knocked out, and then... no more Grickles, because one way or another, your scene's over.



So Doomsday's pounding on Superman, and Superman's taking damage, making his Grickle-earning rolls, and earning Grickles. He could spend those Grickles on his defenses, but he's saving them for his attack. At some point, Superman's on his last legs, but this is when he finally decides to blow his stockpile of Grickles on kicking Doomsday's ass -- probably with a single punch, because that's often the way these things happen.[/quote]


I like the idea of Grickles something you build up. The key concept was that superman was filtering all of his dice into his invulnerability just to offset Doomsday's damage. Then he gets the initiative, and is able to suddenly come back.



Do you know of any games out there that actually use a system like you are describing?

Whenever I get confused about D&D alignment morality, I just imagine Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Ghandi arm wrestling shirtless on the back of a killer whale.

In other words, I remember that it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense and deal with it best I can.

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Post by Dragonmaster Zoc » Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:20 am


[quote="Count Zero"]It does a get a big tricky there. The heat vision is the tough one, but I could totally see the player saying, "Doomsday kicks Superman in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him. That disables his freezing breath since he can't catch a breath."
[/quote]


Mechanically, I like the idea, but it just seems like there are more unjustifiable situations than justifiable ones. A lot of that really depends on the nature of the powers; the Punisher pretty much just has a lot of guns, so those can be knocked away or recovered pretty easily (even though that means Doomsday is consistently punching him "in the gun" rather than killing him outright), and anything Iron Man has can be broken or activated with a back-up generator, but the Flash...



How do you plan to deal with power tiers? Someone like Superman or The Hulk deals with getting hit far differently than someone like Batman would. Are you going to just assume that all characters have some level of nigh invulnerability that allow them to even participate in combat at this level?


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Post by cczernia » Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:31 am


[quote="Count Zero"]Hmm... that's a good idea. So when you imagine it on the character sheet, do you see it as boxes of damage like on white wolf character sheet? So basically, each wound reduces your recovery? Do you see it as a one for one loss? When your recovery hits zero, or you knocked out?[/quote]

I'm not exactly sure. I imagine that depends on how much damage can be dished out in an attack and what the average recovery die pool is. Say the average is 5 and the average attack does 3 points of damage. That means a fight will be over in 2 or 3 rounds. If that is the case you might say that x amount of damage reduces your recovery by 1. If a character does damage but not enough to reduce recovery you could have one of your other effects.



A character can be "taken out" when their power pools and recovery are reduced to zero. So, an average person could have a recovery pool but no powers to reduce.



I also like the idea of Grickle Points. Not sure how to include them.

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Post by devlin1 » Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:16 pm


[quote="Dragonmaster Zoc"]I can also imagine narrating the fight, and someone's bound to say "Doomsday punches Superman right in the laser vision" or "Doomsday kicks the freezing breath right out of Superman"; is that something you want people to say while playing?[/quote]

There's already PDQ, in which you punch a superhero in the girlfriend, so it not like there isn't precedent for that sort of thing. But punching Superman in the laser vision is almost totally narrative and not at all a simulation of anything but the genre. "Why doesn't Superman just [blank]?" is something that comics readers say all the time. In mechanical terms, it'd be because, since he failed to defend against that attack, he's narratively lost the ability -- or right, even -- to use that particular power.


[quote="Count Zero"]I like the idea of Grickles something you build up. The key concept was that superman was filtering all of his dice into his invulnerability just to offset Doomsday's damage. Then he gets the initiative, and is able to suddenly come back. [/quote]
Yeah, there are two ways to look at the Doomsday beat-down: Superman's successfully defending, in that he isn't dead, or Superman's taking damage. Grickle-accumulation works either way, but I like tacking it onto damage taken, because then there's an oddly contrary motivation to want to take a few hits, and it makes that eleventh-hour comeback something that can only happen after a severe beat-down, so there's some genre emulation there.



I know I didn't define Grickles at all -- it's actually a slang term my mom uses for any form of foreign currency -- but I was seeing it as something like a combination of determination, anger, and frustration. Tying it to successful rolls, though, would make it more like momentum or self-confidence -- more optimistically heroic, IMO. Nothing wrong with that. It's more interesting to me, though, if you have to go through Hell to get 'em.


[quote]Do you know of any games out there that actually use a system like you are describing?[/quote]
Nah. That awful [i]Chronicles of Ramlar[/i] used momentum mechanic to do something similar, but it was tied to successes, not damage. SotC/FATE [i]kinda[/i] does this, as long as your consequences keep getting tagged, but if your opponent instead invokes his own aspects and/or tags scene aspects but never touches yours, you don't get any Fate Points, so it's not quite the same.

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Post by Count Zero » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:53 pm


[quote="Dragonmaster Zoc"]Mechanically, I like the idea, but it just seems like there are more unjustifiable situations than justifiable ones. A lot of that really depends on the nature of the powers; the Punisher pretty much just has a lot of guns, so those can be knocked away or recovered pretty easily (even though that means Doomsday is consistently punching him "in the gun" rather than killing him outright), and anything Iron Man has can be broken or activated with a back-up generator, but the Flash...



How do you plan to deal with power tiers? Someone like Superman or The Hulk deals with getting hit far differently than someone like Batman would. Are you going to just assume that all characters have some level of nigh invulnerability that allow them to even participate in combat at this level?[/quote]


Like Devlin said, it is all narrative, so it doesn't really matter that much. I am not trying to do simulation in any way. In fact, I am specifically trying to avoid it. The one thing that bugs me about every super hero game is they try to simulate everything down the minute detail.



As to the power tiers, I was looking at going the route of Mortal Coil. Lower powered characters would have more "hero points" which allows them more control over the story directly, while more powerful characters would have fewer hero points, but their dice would allow them to manipulate the system.



Honestly though, I found that it doesn't really matter that much. I played in a game run by Czzernia, and we had widely different power levels and the game ran just fine. I honestly think we worry about balance too much in a game.

Whenever I get confused about D&D alignment morality, I just imagine Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Ghandi arm wrestling shirtless on the back of a killer whale.

In other words, I remember that it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense and deal with it best I can.

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Post by Count Zero » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:03 pm

I imagine an average character to have a couple of skills at 4-6, but most about 2-3. An average power level of 5-6, a recovery of 3-5, and a three powers (one at +1, +2, and +3).

So Electron, an electrical power based character might look like this:

Power: 6
Recovery: 4
Super Abilities:
- Electrical Bolt 3
- Control Electrical Device 2
- Flight 1
Skills
Fighting 3
Awareness 4
Teamwork 2
Athletics: 2


On the Grickle concept. What about moving a die to your drained in order to avoid damage? If you do that, when your recover that die, you get a grickle die in addition to returning the die to your power die.
Whenever I get confused about D&D alignment morality, I just imagine Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Ghandi arm wrestling shirtless on the back of a killer whale.

In other words, I remember that it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense and deal with it best I can.

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Post by Dragonmaster Zoc » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:59 pm

If I'm understanding that correctly, Electron normally uses three dice (his fighting skill) whenever he wants to hurt someone; if he's doing something electricity-related, he has the option of adding up to six more dice (his Power), but those dice would be drained until he can earn them back by making a recovery roll (and he could only potentially earn back 4 dice per round or per scene).

If he was specifically throwing lightning bolts at people, then he could use his three dice (fighting skill) and another three dice from his Power pool, but his Power pool would never decrease at all because he has the lightning bolt super ability at level 3. Conservatively, he could sit back and do this all day, but that would be boring. I would suggest some mechanic to discourage over-use of your most powerful ability.

Maybe when he gets hit, the damage would be done specifically to the ability he was using at the time. Say, Bad-guy kicks him in the face (succeeds in a combat roll) against him while he's trying to shoot lightning, so his lightning bolt loses power and he'll be more inclined to switch to a different power.

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Post by Count Zero » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:30 am


[quote="Dragonmaster Zoc"]If I'm understanding that correctly, Electron normally uses three dice (his fighting skill) whenever he wants to hurt someone; if he's doing something electricity-related, he has the option of adding up to six more dice (his Power), but those dice would be drained until he can earn them back by making a recovery roll (and he could only potentially earn back 4 dice per round or per scene).



If he was specifically throwing lightning bolts at people, then he could use his three dice (fighting skill) and another three dice from his Power pool, but his Power pool would never decrease at all because he has the lightning bolt super ability at level 3. Conservatively, he could sit back and do this all day, but that would be boring. I would suggest some mechanic to discourage over-use of your most powerful ability.



Maybe when he gets hit, the damage would be done specifically to the ability he was using at the time. Say, Bad-guy kicks him in the face (succeeds in a combat roll) against him while he's trying to shoot lightning, so his lightning bolt loses power and he'll be more inclined to switch to a different power.[/quote]


You are getting the idea. The Super Abilities are meant to represent tried, and test uses of a character's powers. Basically, he could always drop three dice into is action pool in for a lightning bolt and have those drop back into his power pool. The key is though that he doesn't have to just use three, he could use six, and drop three into his drained pool and then throw three back in because he needs some umph.



For flight, he might be in a chase, normally, he can use a die from his power pool freely for tests that require flight. He may be chasing down Blur, who has similar stats, but has Running 7. He is trying to catch him, so he keeps feeding extra dice in hoping to get lucky and catch him. His power will drain rapidly, so Blur will probably get away.



Finally, he doesn't have to use any of his powers at all, he could just add raw power dice to roll. So let's say he is trying to do a large area of effect attack. We'll call it "lightning orb". He decides to put all of his power dice into this attack. Once the roll is resolved, all of his power dice go into the drained pool. When the end of the round comes up, he can roll his recovery and hope to get some of his power dice back.



The entire purpose of this system is to create resource management mechanics.



I have looked at shutting down powers, or simply weakening them, which in turn makes the character less efficient. I have considered giving the player three wound levels. Bruised, Wounded, and Knocked out. Each time the player takes X amount of successes, he gains a wound level. Instead of taking the damage, he can loose points off a power or something similar.

Whenever I get confused about D&D alignment morality, I just imagine Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Ghandi arm wrestling shirtless on the back of a killer whale.

In other words, I remember that it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense and deal with it best I can.

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Post by Uber_snotling » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:35 pm

Two ideas.

1. Why not use coins rather than dice if you want the binary solution of 1,2,3 vs. 4,5,6? Heads you win, tails you lose. Then you can use different denominations for the different types of dice.

2. How about if the successful attacks just get added as FUDGE DICE (+, 0, -) to the player? At the end of the round, the player who has been hit can either use a recovery roll to recover spent power dice or try to lose those FUDGE DICE. The FUDGE DICE are used on subsequent rolls (offense and defense).

-At this point you could have one of two mechanics.
2a. Replace power dice with FUDGE DICE directly. In the original example Blur hits Electron with four successes. Electron tries to use his lightning orb, but uses two coins and four FUDGE DICE for his power pool.
2b. Or roll one FUDGE DICE for every normal coin you flip up to the number of "hits" you have taken. In this case, the average result is unchanged, but there is extra variability in the action in both the negative and positive directions. This might better fit the Superman-Doomsday fight as it can make a player have a larger dice pool with the potential for super-success. For example, Electron flips 6 coins and rolls 4 FUDGE DICE to set off his lightning orb against Blur. On average, he still gets 3 successes, but could in exceptional circumstances get more than 7 or less than 0 (blunder!).

Player goes down once FUDGE DICE = Power dice pool plus special powers pool. So Electron has 12 FUDGE DICE = 6 power + 3 + 2 + 1. Or goes down using some other combo of stats to determine the HP.

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Post by Count Zero » Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:52 am


[quote="Uber_snotling"]Two ideas.



1. Why not use coins rather than dice if you want the binary solution of 1,2,3 vs. 4,5,6? Heads you win, tails you lose. Then you can use different denominations for the different types of dice.



2. How about if the successful attacks just get added as FUDGE DICE (+, 0, -) to the player? At the end of the round, the player who has been hit can either use a recovery roll to recover spent power dice or try to lose those FUDGE DICE. The FUDGE DICE are used on subsequent rolls (offense and defense).



-At this point you could have one of two mechanics.

2a. Replace power dice with FUDGE DICE directly. In the original example Blur hits Electron with four successes. Electron tries to use his lightning orb, but uses two coins and four FUDGE DICE for his power pool.

2b. Or roll one FUDGE DICE for every normal coin you flip up to the number of "hits" you have taken. In this case, the average result is unchanged, but there is extra variability in the action in both the negative and positive directions. This might better fit the Superman-Doomsday fight as it can make a player have a larger dice pool with the potential for super-success. For example, Electron flips 6 coins and rolls 4 FUDGE DICE to set off his lightning orb against Blur. On average, he still gets 3 successes, but could in exceptional circumstances get more than 7 or less than 0 (blunder!).



Player goes down once FUDGE DICE = Power dice pool plus special powers pool. So Electron has 12 FUDGE DICE = 6 power + 3 + 2 + 1. Or goes down using some other combo of stats to determine the HP.[/quote]


Well.. for one thing coins suck and aren't fun to "roll"... especially 8-10 of them. Secondly, I don't want to used specialized dice. While aspects of SoTS/Fudge have influenced this design, it is really a pretty minor influence.



On the dice system, I have considered going with a D10 and having 7-10 a success, but the D10's just didn't have the same feel as the D6's. They actually "felt better". Even when I presented that to people who were helping me test out the system a bit, they agreed too. The D10 just felt wrong for it. Especially when you were managing pools of dice.

Whenever I get confused about D&D alignment morality, I just imagine Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Ghandi arm wrestling shirtless on the back of a killer whale.

In other words, I remember that it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense and deal with it best I can.

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Post by Uber_snotling » Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:18 am


[quote="Count Zero"]Well.. for one thing coins suck and aren't fun to "roll"... especially 8-10 of them. Secondly, I don't want to used specialized dice. While aspects of SoTS/Fudge have influenced this design, it is really a pretty minor influence.
[/quote]


Do you hate the idea of having damage/punishment causing greater variability in future results? The idea behind 2b was a mechanic that made higher and lower rolls more likely as additional damage is taken, which meets your conceptual Superman-Doomsday fight test.

You can always fake the fudge dice using regular six-sideds if that's your issue.


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Post by Skyman » Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:02 pm


[quote="Uber_snotling"]
You can always fake the fudge dice using regular six-sideds if that's your issue.[/quote]

Just a side note. Six sided dice are kinda blah... as in generic board game blah IMHO. so for me coin and a six sided are not the prefered but that is my preference. carry on

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Post by Count Zero » Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:50 am


[quote="Skyman"]Just a side note. Six sided dice are kinda blah... as in generic board game blah IMHO. so for me coin and a six sided are not the prefered but that is my preference. carry on[/quote]

Yeah... I have considered that too. I kept thinking that. Why use a D6 when I have all these cool dice to mess with. I realized that the dice didn't really matter that much. I wanted to produce certain behaviors, and the probability of a D10 or D20 doesn't necessarily improve the system behavior at all.



My three primary goals here were:

1. No simulationist power behavior

2. No Attributes in the traditional sense (once again too simulationist)

3. Players having control over how their results play out.



Basically, the goal is to create a very narrative/gamist system. The way you get your narrative wants is by manipulating the system.



I have even considered mixing the dice up, but I can't really see any real benefit other than getting to use the dice in my bag.

Whenever I get confused about D&D alignment morality, I just imagine Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Ghandi arm wrestling shirtless on the back of a killer whale.

In other words, I remember that it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense and deal with it best I can.

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Post by Count Zero » Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:58 am


[quote="Uber_snotling"]Do you hate the idea of having damage/punishment causing greater variability in future results? The idea behind 2b was a mechanic that made higher and lower rolls more likely as additional damage is taken, which meets your conceptual Superman-Doomsday fight test.

You can always fake the fudge dice using regular six-sideds if that's your issue.[/quote]


So, let me be sure I am understanding the example. Normally dice would provide a binary result of + or 0. If you take damage, then you replace normal dice with fudge dice, so you have a -, +, or 0. So the minus may cancel out a 4, 5 or 6 on a normal dice, or provide the positive result. So it effectively makes the variables a wider. Correct me if I am misunderstanding you.



There is part of me that likes that idea, but I am very uncomfortable with the idea of throwing in odd dice readings like that. I don't want people to have to worry about special dice to play the game. I also don't want to see weird interpretations come into the game which bogs things down. It seems that would potentially create that.



I have considered just having damage put on "aspects" with a die ratting and have a damage like similar to SoTS. So basically, once you have those on you, a player can freely tag those for bonus dice.

Whenever I get confused about D&D alignment morality, I just imagine Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Ghandi arm wrestling shirtless on the back of a killer whale.

In other words, I remember that it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense and deal with it best I can.

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Post by Uber_snotling » Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:42 pm


[quote="Count Zero"]So, let me be sure I am understanding the example. Normally dice would provide a binary result of + or 0. If you take damage, then you replace normal dice with fudge dice, so you have a -, +, or 0. So the minus may cancel out a 4, 5 or 6 on a normal dice, or provide the positive result. So it effectively makes the variables a wider. Correct me if I am misunderstanding you.[/quote]

That was option 2a. That just makes people weaker as they take damage, and does nothing to increase the variability.



Option 2b was the one that increased variability. As opposed to replacing your normal rolls, you add dice to your rolls. So if you wanted to shoot a lightning bolt with 4 dice but had been hit for 2 damage earlier in the fight, you'd roll 4 normal dice and 2 fudge dice.



In an undamaged situation, my four six-siders give me the following probabilities:



0 successes = 1/16

1 success = 1/4

2 successes = 3/8

3 successes = 1/4

4 successes = 1/16



Add the two damage fudge dice and you get:

-2 success = 1/144

-1 success = 6/144

0 success = 15/144

1 success = ~30/144

2 success = ~40/144

3 success = ~30/144

4 success = 15/144

5 success = 6/144

6 success = 1/144



More great success (>=4) and more spectacular failure (<=0) while the average result is still 2. So as your superhero takes damage, they become more erratic.

Note: didn't do full probabilities ~ = approximately


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Post by Count Zero » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:18 pm

Hmm... that isn't a bad idea, but I am not sure if I want to go that route. I will consider it.

I think the thing I am starting to run into is that I am doubting the design overall now. Maybe I am approaching the fundamental mechanic the wrong way. Not sure... will have to look at it some more.
Whenever I get confused about D&D alignment morality, I just imagine Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Ghandi arm wrestling shirtless on the back of a killer whale.

In other words, I remember that it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense and deal with it best I can.

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