Some Ideas

2010/11/03

So, I’ve been thinking lately, “How can I integrate more of the Aztec culture into the system itself?” and came up with a couple ideas.

First, why not, instead of using attributes, I use cardinal directions instead? Or something else entirely, something connected to Aztec culture?
Second, do I really want one flat target number to determine pass/fail? Or do I want to make it scalable, where the number of white dots face up determines the degree of success?
Third, should I make a defined list of “traits” and their associated bonuses? Or should I keep it more free-form, and allow players to come up with their own material?
And lastly, changing the way you determine starting scores is something I’ve really been struggling with. I’m not happy with the way it is now. Try this: your 5 attributes start at 3. If you want to raise one of those, you need to subtract 2 points from one score or 1 from two scores.

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Update

2010/06/03

I’ve updated the site to include a “Sabotage & Suns” section. This section is going to be used to display all the rules that I’ve settled on and decided I won’t change. Anything that’s not on that page, such as combat, is still experimental. I want to finish this by saying “Thank you!” to all the people cheering me on, giving me advice, and giving me constructive criticism.

Game on!

Concerns

2010/05/29

For the past several weeks, I’ve been busy with personal things, and neglected to make time for the blog. That’s not to say that I’ve been neglecting the game, in fact, I’ve read many books on the Meso-american cultures pre- and post-columbian eras. It’s always exciting for me to learn new things, and more so for research of my game. I’ve been hesitant to post anything for a little while because of the evolving nature of S&S. When I get an idea, it goes in the notebook, it gets tested, and if it seems like a good idea at the time, I’ll even post about it. The thing is, later on, the idea might not seem as good, or I realize it just doesn’t work well, or just adds more to the rules. Then what happens is I post about it, and it’s like I’m saying “Oh, wait. Never mind that last post, X works like Y now.” In fact, at least once or twice, it’s been exactly that. As an aspiring game designer, I don’t want to make the mistake of constantly changing my mind and potentially running off the people I hope will purchase the finished product.

A couple of notes about the game so far:
The core mechanic of 5d2 is here to stay, that will not change. Neither will the attributes, scores, and traits. Traits are still being worked out, as far as what they do mechanically, but it’s a concept I like a lot. However, at this moment, there’s still debate on what to do with the rest. My goal is to make the game fast, fun, and simple. The goal is established to maximize roleplaying, in a way that ties into the theme of the game.

Ideas, comments, concerns? I’ll take them all.

Traits

2010/04/27

It seems to me that the game would be incomplete if there weren’t something like ‘traits’ to further define your character. Perhaps you’re playing as a great warrior who shrugs off all but the mightiest blows, you’d probably have Toughness or Battle Frenzy. Maybe you’re playing as an expert marksman who can single out targets from incredible distances, you’d most likely have Archery or Guiding Wind. In keeping it simple, write down one or two defining qualities of your character, one or two words each, and use those as traits. As far as mechanics go, let them grant +1 to an attribute, or +2 when rolling for a specific instance of an attribute check. Go out there and toss some beans!

As always, Game On!

Recap and Revision

2010/04/13

This week we’ll be compiling all the current and revised rules thus far.

At the core of the system we have the dice, 5d2. One side is a success, the other is failure. Players roll dice and add the number of successes to their attribute score, if it’s equal to or greater than 6, they succeed at their task. If a character wants to do something that would fall under Brawn, we say he “rolls Brawn”.
Each character has 5 attribute scores: Agility, Brawn, Faith, Ingenuity, and Leadership. Attribute scores range from 1 to 5. A score of 2 costs one point, 3 costs two points, 4 costs four points, and 5 costs eight points.
Every action in combat has an initiative modifier associated with it. Players roll dice and add their initiative modifiers. Players with a higher score go first. Each turn is passed to the player with the next highest score, until everyone has had a turn. If they’re performing the same action in the following round, they don’t have to re-roll. Attacking with a heavy weapon has a +0 modifier, medium weapon has +1, and a light weapon has +2.
When a player attacks with a melee weapon he rolls Brawn. His range attacks use Agility. The opponent then rolls Brawn (to block) or Agility (to dodge). Roll dice add the appropriate score, if the attacker wins, he successfully damages the opponent. If the defender wins, he’s successfully staved off an attack, and lives for another turn.
Melee weapons add Brawn to their damage. Light weapons deal 1 damage, medium weapons deal 2 damage, and heavy weapons deal 3 damage. A character’s Endurance equals 4 times his Brawn + Faith. When his Endurance reaches 0, he rolls Faith to determine whether he’s unconscious or dead.
A character’s armour and shield protects him from damage he would normally take. As an example, light armour or a shield would protect him from 1 damage, medium armour from 2 damage, and heavy armour from 3 damage. The character takes any remaining damage. Each armour can be cumbersome, and as such, penalizes initative. Light armour is light enough that it doesn’t penalize initiative, medium armour subtracts 1, and heavy subtracts 2. Also, when a character’s armour prevents damage (by getting hit), it takes the damage itself. Each armour can take 15 times the amount it prevents. When it has taken all the damage it can take, it breaks and becomes useless, and must be repaired.

What are your impressions/thoughts/concerns so far?

Game On!

Mortal Combat!

2010/04/06

Last week, we talked about initiative. Since then, we’ve done some testing and realize we shouldn’t have penalties, as it produces negative numbers, and nobody liked that. With that said, I’d like to propose heavy weapons have no bonus, medium weapons have +1, and light weapons have +2. Try that out, let us know how it works for you!

After you know what you’re going to do, and when you get to do it, you’re going to want to know how to resolve it. If you want to attack with a melee weapon, your going to roll dice (always 5d2) and add your Brawn score and your Ingenuity score together for your Melee Bonus. This is opposed by the opponents Melee Bonus. If the defender wins, he lives for another turn unscathed. If the attacker wins, now he has to determine how badly the opponent got hit. This is where endurance comes in. Currently we’re experimenting with different systems, but wish to present the current one we’re testing. Each character’s Endurance is equal to 10 plus his Brawn plus his Faith. The attacker deals damage equal to his Brawn plus his weapon damage, +1 for light, +2 for medium, and +3 for heavy. Test this amongst yourselves. Tell us what you find!

As always, Game On!

Roll Initiative

2010/03/30

In all the games I’ve played, and the many I’ve only read, I find that I like the older systems of initiative more appealing. With that said, I’ve modeled Sabotage & Suns initiative with them in mind. At the beginning of a battle, each PC declares an action and rolls dice (or tosses beans), this is their initiative for the turn. When a character wants to do something, there is a modifier associated with it. Attacking with a weapon uses the weapons initiative modifier. This modifier ranges from -2 for slow or cumbersome actions, to +2 for quick or easy actions, and changes a characters initiative for the turn. Each turn starts with the highest initiative for the turn and works it’s way down until each character involved with the battle has had a chance to act. After the turn is over, each character declares new actions, rolls dice, and the turn is resolved as before. For S&S, light weapons have +2 Init, medium weapons have +0, and heavy weapons have -2.

Example: John playing a street thug, Billy playing a priest of war, and Mark playing an archer, encounter a group of undead (two skeletons and three zombies) sent from a nearby necropolis to assassinate the king of this city. John decides he wants to take a slice at one of the skeletons, hoping to sever its head from its spine. Billy says he’s going to charge after a zombie. Mark takes a shot after another zombie. They roll dice.
John, rolls 3, adds 2 for using a dagger this turn, total 5.
Billy, rolls 2, adds nothing as he’s using a medium weapon, total 2.
Mark, rolls 2, subtracts 2 as he’s using a heavy bow, total 0
Zombies act together, rolls 3, but they’re slow and subtract 2, total 1.
Skeletons act together, rolls 4, adds nothing as they’re using medium weapons, total 4.
In order we have: John, Skeletons, Billy, Zombies, and Mark. Their actions are resolved in that order. When the Mark has taken his turn, the round is over, and the next round starts. The process is the same for each round.

Come back next week when we talk about Endurance!
Game on!

Amendment, Rituals

2010/03/23

Last week we took a peek at the core mechanic for Sabotage & Suns. We also looked at purchasing points in attributes, and I asked you if it was enough. We came to the conclusion that it’s not. In last weeks post, we said attributes ranged from 0 to 4. I’d like to correct that to range from 1 to 5. Attributes still follow the same point-buy system, simply bumped up by one. An attribute of 2 costs one point, 3 costs two, 4 costs four, and 5 costs eight.

Now let’s talk a little about Faith. Your character’s Faith attribute, that is. The most important aspect of Faith is that it’s the governing attribute for magic. It represents your devotion to the Gods, your conviction to your beliefs, and how strong your connection to the Divine is. In S&S, magic is ritualistic. That is to say, you don’t just “cast a spell” to buff your allies. You set up your altar, you make an offering to the appropriate god, and bless your companions. Be descriptive when narrating your ritual. This could give your companions a slight edge in the upcoming war with the neighboring king, in their mission to steal from the royal treasury, or trying to convince the seamstress to give you a discount on expensive garments. Don’t forget it’s all about rituals. It may be a small, private ceremony, or it could be a big public event. The bigger and more important the ritual, the greater of sacrifice is needed.

So, grab a notecard, write your attributes and scores, toss some beans, and test the basic system. Of course more will be on it’s way, we’re working out the kinks and still fleshing the system. Any feedback would be welcome. Email us, let us know if you have any issues, explain any problems with the system and an idea of what you might do to remedy that.

Game on!

Roll Some Dice

2010/03/16

My research into Meso-american cultures, particularly Aztec and Mayan civilizations, lead me to a game called Patolli. In this game, you try to move your game pieces around an X-shaped playing area in hopes of winning the opponents items that he bet at the beginning of the game. Players would have five kidney beans marked with a single white dot on one side of each bean. These beans would be tossed, and the white dots counted, to determine how many spaces their game pieces were moved. Before each game, each player would typically bet six items. This is the basis for the core system of S&S:

Roll 5d2 (0 and 1), each 1 is a success. Total number of successes plus your attribute score must be equal to or greater than 6.

Not a lot of people carry around d2s all the time. Sure, you could use coins, but there are a host of other things you could try too. If you have d6’s, you could count 1, 2, and 3 as 0, and 4, 5, and 6 as 1. Or, you could use kidney beans, with a white dot painted on one side, as they did in Patolli. You could use glass or plastic stones, or even bottle caps. It’s your game, play how you want.

Now, when you’re creating your character, 10 points are to be used to pay for your 5 attribute scores. Each score ranges from 0 to 4. Starting at 0, if you wish to increase it to 1, it costs 1 point. Each point higher costs twice as much as the previous number, with a maximum attribute of 4 costing 8 points. With the 10 points, I could create a character with scores of 3, 2, 2, 1, 1. The math being 4 + 2 +2 +1 + 1. If you didn’t notice you don’t have to pay for each step up. You don’t have to pay for a score of 1, then 2, then 3. Just pay for the 3 and you’re done. If, during the course of the game, you find or are allowed an item that increases your attribute scores, even if temporary, it cannot improve it beyond a score of 4.

If you want something more to play with, the five ability scores are: Agility, Brawn, Faith, Ingenuity, and Leadership. More about these will be discussed in a future post. Go ahead and chuck some dice, play around with this system. Let me know what you find and how it plays!
Game on!