Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Is keeping track of gear weight encumbering on a game?

A roleplaying game is not real life.

Some people prefer rules that mirror real life dynamics.

Carrying weight is one of those dynamics.

What is a theoretical spectrum of weight management system solutions and mechanics?

Seven Game Mechanics for dealing with equipment weight


What are some of the ways that games have dealt with carrying weight of items? I place two of the games that I helped create - ABS12 and 5e x 5 - into this seven tiers of weight management list.

1) Unlimited
Many games don't even worry about item and gear weight. Theoretically, a character could carry a dragon. Bags and gear stack on characters almost supernaturally. I remember playing a computer RPG where I was carrying over 50 weapons at one time. This might be a RPG where the list goes on into the thousands.

2) Gamemaster decides (ABS12)
Many, maybe most games, leave the carrying weight to the role played experience. If in the game the player tries to lift the item, the game master might describe the item as being unable to be lifted. Even though there wasn't actually a weight assigned to the item, through role play the item has now the characteristic of being unable to be lifted at least by this character and at this moment. The game master that is telling the story is left to decide if that item would even be liftable if the characters continued to try employing different methods of lifting. Maybe a spell could lift it. ABS12 doesn't really keep track of equipement. Equipment currently is tied to the vague and fuzzy gear which the 'what's good for the story' is the key to deciding what the player has.

3) Limited #
One easy method is to limit the number of items, not really focusing on the weights of the pieces. In computer RPGs, this is similar to slots in a bag or backpack. On paper, this might be a list of 10 items. In Fate RPG, important possessions are treated as an Aspect, to which beginning characters have a limited number of Aspects - normally the character begins with one high concept and one trouble aspects. Their background normally is three aspects related to the other characters. Most likely, if they have an important possession, that would be an Extra and function like one aspect (or skill, stunt). Other possessions may be explained or limited by the high concept or trouble.

At closer scrutiny, someone seeking realism might come to the conclusion that the bags and backpacks shrink and grow due to different size items. These containers when scrutinized don't make realistic sense. They however aren't meant to model real life dynamics. They are just doing the job of limiting your resources that you can carry.

4) Strength based maximum limit and simple weight (5e x 5)
Closer to realism is where an attribute such as 'strength' determines how much weight can be carried. In 5e (and 5e x 5), the default rule for carrying weight only calculates the maximum amount. This formula is 15 times the Strength score. As long as the character is below that amount, they can do anything normally. Over that amount and they can't move.

5) Strength based Maximum limits, a few increasing penalties, and simple weight
The optional rules of 5e move on to the next detail of rules
At x5 Strength score the PC suffers -10 movement speed
At x10 Strength score the PC suffers -20 movement speed plus a disadvantage with STR, DEX, and CON ability, save, and attack rolls.

6) Strength and penalty charts
d20 3.5 gets a little chrunchier. It has two charts. One is to look up the strength carrying capacity limits. The second chart looks up the movement penalty according to the character's movement speed. These amounts are not exactly the same as the quick calculations found in the prior example. They are more specific and vary in amounts.

7) Multi factor weight limits and penalties
Beyond the last example, the weight management really becomes a game within the game itself. Very specific rules, limits, and penalties may affect the entire game or portions of the game. If I was playing Rolemaster by the rules, I would need to keep track of weight and the penalties that would result from encumbrance.

Summary

Whichever method employed, the system can become crunchier as more rules and numbers are related to the weight management.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Former MERP GMs and Players - 6 Reasons not to buy Rolemaster Express (RMX)




This is a picture of my RMX book ... and my katana.

I bought Rolemaster Express based on a blog or forum series that I read nearly two years ago. In it the author tried learning RM by using RMX, having only played MERP prior, which sort of mirrored my experience at the time.

So I checked my local used gamebook store and online. I found it at Amazon for a reasonable amount.

Now, I will tell you why I consider taking my katana and putting it through my book whenever I look at the book since receiving it because of major deficiencies and unavailable supplements.

First of all, RMX is not supported due to a falling away of the author several years ago. The books are only available currently on the used book market.

Next I go to the actual content and compare it with MERP

Second is the number of playable races is only four in the main book - humans, dwarves, elves, and halflings. MERP had Dwarves, Umli, three types of Elves (Sindar, Noldor, Silvan), half elves, hobbits (Stoors, Harfoots, and Fallohides), 12 types of Man, Variags, Woodmen, Woses, Common Orcs, Uruk-Hai, Half Orcs, Trolls, and Half Trolls.

I believe that RMX had several more races released in supplements, but good luck finding them!

Third is the number of playable professions is only four in the main book - fighter, thief, animist, and magician. MERP had warrior, scout, animist, mage, ranger, and bard. The missing two professions ranger and bard, were really fun in the games I played back during MERP. And trying to play the game without them may be more difficult.

Fourth is that you have to deal with 10 stats instead of the 6 stats of MERP. The additional four stats do not add much to the entire game. And most of the skills are based on two stats not like one in MERP.

Fifth is that half of the spell lists are missing about four spells in their lists, unlike the complete lists found in MERP.

Sixth is that the included encounters in RMX is only 21 monsters. MERP had 31 monsters and 36 common animals.

I advise any former MERP GMs and players not to purchase RMX and to ignore the old advice that you see elsewhere.

Two years ago, I did join the RMU beta 2 test and tested that system. I gave what advice that I could in hopes that the final game would be usable by former MERP users. We'll see how much of the old complex and unappealing RMC, RM2, RMSS, and RMFRP bloat and unnecessary complexity drips back into the final version.



JAGS dice rolling: Skills, Attributes, Resistance, degrees of success/failure

JAGS is a free downloadable universal role-playing game found at http://mchacon8.wixsite.com/jagsrpg. It also can be purchased in book form.

Test played Reviews: JAGS Revised
JAGS: NPC list & skills
JAGS: Creating wild west creatures
JAGS: A) OGL 5e SRD conversion to JAGS
JAGS: first batch of directly converted wild west creatures
JAGS melee reach
JAGS: Difficulty Modifiers in more common language
JAGS dice rolling: Skills, Attributes, Resistance, degrees of success

JAGS wild west bestiary

Dice Rolling for Skills, Attributes, and Resistance

After looking at weapon reaches and difficulty modifiers I want to look at roll mechanics for skills, attributes, and resistance as well as the degrees of success or failure. I also want to rearrange the order of the degrees of success chart found on p 19 of JAGS Revised.

Basic mechanic of rolling

Roll 4d6 (6s = 0) add up all the numbers = a number between 0 and 20


  • Target Number - roll less than or equal to that number to succeed.
  • Modifiers for difficulty alters the target number.
  • There are degrees of success or failure.


Skill or Attribute check

Roll equal to or under the number.
What does a success, failure, or degree mean?

Resistance

Resistance roll is whoever makes it by the most or tie.

Degrees of success/failure

Here is my rearrange of the degrees of success for JAGS to make it easier for me to read. I put the critical success on top and the minor success in the middle. I also order it from the bottom critical failure up to critical success.

Term What it is
Critical SuccessRoll 10 or more less than target number
Major SuccessRoll 5 to 9 less than target number
Success & minor successRoll 0 to 4 less than target number.
Failure & minor failureRoll 1 to 4 more than target number
Major failureRoll 5 to 9 more than target number
Critical FailureRoll 10 or more than target number


Thursday, January 26, 2017

5e x 5 Human fighter

5e x 5 Characters Series

5e x 5: cleric elf
5e x 5 Human fighter

Human Fighter

Hit Points: 12
Hit Dice: 1d10 per fighter level

Proficiencies
Armor: All armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Tools: One type of gaming set, vehicles (land)
Saving Throws: Strength +25, Constitution +20
Skills: Athletics +25, Intimidation +15, BG Perception +10, BG Stealth +10


Speed: Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
80
(+3/+15)
75
(+2/+10)
70
(+2/+10)
45
(-1/-5)
55
(+0/+0)
65
(+1/+5)

Fighting Style, defense +5 ac when wearing armor

Second Wind
You have a limited well of stamina that you can draw
on to protect yourself from harm. On your turn, you
can use a bonus action to regain hit points equal to
1d10 + your fighter level. Once you use this feature,
you must finish a short or long rest before you can use
it again.

Background: Border patrol

Equipment
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
● chain mail 80 AC + 10 AC = 90 AC + 10 AC = 100 AC w shield
● a longsword 1d8 (1d10) and a shield (+10 AC)
● a light crossbow and 20 bolts  1d8, 80/320
● a dungeoneer’s pack

Dungeoneer’s Pack (12 gp): Includes a backpack, a
crowbar, a hammer, 10 pitons, 10 torches, a tinderbox,
10 days of rations, and a waterskin. The pack also has
50 feet of hempen rope strapped to the side of it.

Equipment: An insignia of rank, a trophy taken from a fallen enemy (a dagger, broken blade, or piece of a banner), a set of bone dice or deck of cards, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp

Ken's Bare Minimum RPG working definition

I think I'm almost coming to a set of data for finding the bare minimum needed for my own use, although others may find it useful as well.

It's something like this


Ken's Minimum RPG

1) The rules must intend and support at least 1 person to assume a character or thing that has a persona through personification
2) which is experienced in a created situation in a setting that has at least a alternative or imagined experience, time, or space other than reality
3) and has at least one reciprocating external influence on individual character(s) which may change the player(s) experience or path, of which examples include

a) another person that gives influence to the experience,
b) a limited resource that restrict available player options,
c) a judge,
d) a baked in pathway with branches,
e) a tool to use a randomizer, with character may influence of when or the quality of the results of this tool,

4) which follows created, agreed upon, or preexisting rules (at least one) built primarily around character interaction and other related activities
5) which the entire game is for the purpose of enjoyment, entertainment, or competition.  

The forum this working definition was created can be found begining 21 January 2017 up to 26 January 2017 at https://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?797055-What-is-the-bare-minimum-needed-for-a-game-to-qualify-as-a-role-playing-game

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Against RPG theory/Opinion.

In a prior post I posted the entire collection of posts that a moderator collected.

My disagreement against RPG Theory organization efforts

RPG theory Opinion Quackery & Pseudo-Science

In it I label RPG theory exactly what it should be labelled - quackery and pseudoscience (meaning fake). And it is built around a cult of personality which is an individual that uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods to create an idealized, heroic, and at times worshipful image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise.

In this post I explore just how I came to those conclusions.

Its not a theory. It's not even a Hypothesis. It's an opinion
First, there is the issue of calling it a theory. A theory on the least useful level is a contemplative and rational abstraction of general thinking - normally called a hypothesis. On a higher level a theory is rigorously tested, independently verified, reliable, and comprehensive. Theory require facts.


  • Opinion is a judgment, viewpoint, or statement that is not conclusive
  • Hypothesis is a proposed testable explanation for a phenomenon.
  • Contemplative means profound thinking about facts.
  • Rational means that it is based on facts or reason.
  • Reason means using logic, establishing and verifying facts, changing and justify beliefs


When I look to how the RPG Opinion was created the original source says the entire theory is based on the authors own thinking and not based on any consensus. The only element that I see is mentioning that it is based on the author's own thinking - which to me means it is contemplative only based on the author's own experience. It certainly was not created based on any external facts - not even consulting anyone else. The theory makes up it's own vocabulary and creates/quotes simplified fictitious game experiences as examples. So in the first place it is really an RPG opinion.

At the most it could be a RPG hypothesis, but that would require that the theory be testable. In my search for evidence of testing, all that I find are either those few that support it or the many that refute the theory. I believe that much of the pushback comes from the go-it-alone nature of the opinion. Many that oppose the opinion quotes as evidence a survey that directly contradicts the opinion and their own rational logic.

Because the original opinion has not been tested as far as I could find, the threshold of disproving it can be on the that same level of evidence. All it requires is another person's rational based on personal experience. Any actual real facts or data actually is stronger than contemplative thinking about one's personal experience.

Because of this I have also labelled the author a quack.

Quack - a person who dishonestly claims to have special knowledge and skill in some field
Pseudoscience - a collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method.

So, because the RPG opinion has been labelled a theory, that assumes that a testable body of knowledge has measurable facts tested. This RPG "theory" is thus pseudoscience and baseless. It tries to appear as scientific, but it's not. Maybe had the author actually sought consensus and sought out actual facts could the opinion even been considered a hypothesis - not to mention a theory.

How someone can actually make a RPG theory

If someone really wants to make a RPG theory it takes facts, testing, evidence, and consensus to make a claim that it is in fact a theory in the first place.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

5e x 5: cleric elf

I wanted to try out the 5e x 5 rules by creating several characters.

Here is an cleric elf using the modified standard aray method of stat generation. I haven't picked a trait nor a flaw.


Cleric Elf

HP: 10

Hit Dice: 1d8+2 per cleric level

Proficiencies

Armor: Light armor, medium armor, (LD) heavy armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons
Tools: None

Languages: Two of your choice Celestial, 
Proficiency Skills:  Medicine +20, Religion +10, Persuasion +10, Arcana +20, Perception +20
Speed: Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
60
(+1/+5)
65
(+1/+5)
70
(+2/+10)
50
(+0/+0)
75
(+2/+10)
50
(+0/+0)


Saving Throws: Wisdom +20, Charisma +10
Darkvision:  60 feet 
Keen Senses: proficiency Perception
Fey Ancestry: You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can’t put you to sleep.
Trance: Elves don’t need to sleep. Instead, they meditate deeply, remaining semiconscious, for 4 hours a day. (The Common word for such meditation is “trance.”) While meditating, you can dream after a fashion; such dreams are actually mental exercises that have become reflexive through years of practice. After resting in this way, you gain the same benefit that a human does from 8 hours of sleep.

Level
Proficiency Bonus
Features
Cantrips Known
Spell Slots per Spell Level




1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
1st
+10
Spellcasting, Divine Domain
3
2
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Spells

Wisdom modifier + your cleric level = 3
  1. C Sacred Flame 1d8 radiant, 60'
  2. C Resistance 1d4 save, touch
  3. C Light
  4. lv 1 healing words, 60' 1d4+2 hp
  5. lv 1 shield of faith, 60' 10min, +10AC
  6. lv 1 bane, 30', 1 min, -1d4 attack & saves
  7. LD Bless, 30', 1 min, +1d4 attack & saves
  8. LD Cure Wounds, touch, +1d8+2hp
Disciple of Life

Also starting at 1st level, your healing spells are more effective. Whenever you use a spell of 1st level or higher to restore hit points to a creature, the creature regains additional hit points equal to 2 + the spell’s level.

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

● Mace 1d6 bludgeoning 4 lb. —
● chain mail (80 AC + 20)= 100
● a light crossbow and 20 bolts
● (a) a priest’s pack 
● A shield (+10 AC) and a holy symbol

Priest’s Pack: Includes a backpack, a blanket, 10 candles, a tinderbox, an alms box, 2 blocks of incense, a censer, vestments, 2 days ofrations, and a waterskin.

Equipment: A holy symbol (a gift to you when you entered the priesthood), a prayer book or prayer wheel, 5 sticks of incense, vestments, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp

Background: Religious: Evangelist
Persuasion, Arcana
Contact: Influence

Friday, January 20, 2017

My disagreement against RPG Theory organization efforts



Reposting my responses Against RPG Theory which is really a RPG Hypothesis since it hasn't been tested. At the end is a moderators comment in red.
Quote Originally Posted by kwickham View Post
This thread is confusing, detached, and abstract.

Anyone that experienced the 90s knows some practical reasons why players stopped playing RPGs to the degree that affected the sales of RPGs. Erickson calls it a stage where 'intimacy and isolation' become more important than games played in youth. In other words, those individuals that flocked to escape into fantasy worlds of teenage life in the 80s 'grew out of book RPGs' as relationships developed and families were started. And the workforce became more important than gaming with friends who no longer were gaming in book form.

In addition, competition from new mediums such as video game systems with 'save spots' and memory cards in RPG adventures such as super nintendo ('91), playstation ('95), and nintendo 64 ('96) also helped contribute. My former gaming friends were then playing video game console RPGs rather than spending time purchasing vast tombs of books needed to experience group pen & paper RPGs. I could either spend $50 to buy a RPG such as FF VII or Diablo and receive a somewhat similar experience of having gone through an adventure.

Online RPG games of the late 90s helped bring back the social experience that lacked in earlier 90s console games. Everquest, World of Warcraft, Lineage, etc. All for a monthly subscription.

If anything, the RPG community became behind the times. Maybe because of stuff like these theory arguments where designers were blaming the system rules and content - not understanding fully the psycho-social and demographic shifts. Products have life cycles. If there was a 'Dark Age of RPG', I know I helped contribute to after leaving RPGs of book form literally in my apartment dumpster.

I tried to look at some of this theory-crap, which seems about as useless as the stuff that the theories tried to call crap. I judge any theory by how practical and results oriented that resulted from those theories. I'm not impressed with any of the products that are listed resulting and are attributed to followers of the theory. I don't see anything that has lasted down to today from the list that I saw. So I judge all of the theories impractical and will not lead to any noticeable fruits of adherence. For any theory to be true, after testing the theory, the results of such theory must be repeatedly confirmed. If not, it is wrong and should be changed. In science, people that make claims that do not work and are pseudo-scientific are called quacks.

Coming back to gaming after 25 years, I was just looking for a system that fulfilled most of my gaming needs for my own setting. I was told at least twice that the setting and the game were integral which could not be detached. I strongly disagree. As long as the gaming mechanics emphasize the most important elements I'm seeking for my style of play.

RPG theory seems like any cult following that will promise gold, wealth, and happiness that instead leads to a waste of time and focus.

Quote Originally Posted by kwickham View Post
I think that any timeline of evolving quality of game is fake and has been constructed to fit quackery theory. The theory tries to qualify game systems, which is fake in itself.

example: 1) Here are these qualities of a well-made and highly effective game which we've decided on which fits the games that we enjoy. 2) These games don't have these, so they suck. 3) These new games from our adherents have those qualities, so they don't suck.

The real bar to measure games is commercial success. One of these 'well-made' games, if they don't succeed commercially aren't really 'well made'.

The idea of 'well-designed' is fake and false. The real ideal is what 'sells' and 'what doesn't sell'. And there is no formula or principles that can accurately predict those factors in any form of entertainment. It's more 'lucky' vs 'unlucky'.

Even if we look at something that seems like it could be accurate such as 'playtesting' I'd like to see the numbers showing success rates resulting from X# playtesting hours vs games that lack playtesting success rates. In the articles that I read, I saw a lot about preaching the need for playtesting to fix flaws and rules that don't fit the purpose of the system. I've been a part of playtesting a few games the last few years. In those playtesting groups, suggestions and problematic areas vary greatly. Playtesting, in my opinion can lead games down the wrong path and away from their initial ideas. Playtesting isn't a good method to create a game. It can only find small bugs and help edit already existing concepts.



Magic the gathering, video games, and even smartphone apps are direct competition with traditional RPG games. Traditional RPG games should be very afraid of Pokemon GO and Minecraft. Because that brings almost the same experience to these younger players, using a new medium. If I were a RPG gaming developer of any kind, I would be trying to transport my RPG rules into a 3D smartphone app. Because the next gen of teens is going to expect it. If not, they will be left out once again. And sit around wondering 'is it because the system isn't well written'?

The second wave of interest in RPGs, I attribute to the Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Harry Potter movies. These things brought back teens to fantasy books and reading adventures. It's not that they were written any better.

Quote Originally Posted by kwickham View Post
It doesn't pay to be great, if no one buys your stuff.

Okay, a film analogy.
The film critics and film students are wrong.

The problem is that film critics and students are taught what was great in the past. They mistakenly assume that what sold back then, will sell today. Demographics and tastes change.

Paramount and Dreamworks got lucky with Transformers in that several series were nearing their end, and people were ready for something else. The Matrix III, Resident Evil Extinction, Sam Raimi's Spiderman III, Xmen III Last Stand, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer heralding the end or near end of other Scifi series. Transformers 4 has been critically been chastised as being awful. Yet had they not made that movie - had it been stuck in pre-production, they wouldn't have made 1.104 billion.

But had they looked towards that failed movie cartoon in the past, they may not have even done the movie.

Transformers the Movie (1986) budget 6 mil, box office sales 5.8 mil (failed to recuperate profits), Hasbro lost 10 mil in total costs including advertisement.

They would have failed to see that there is still public interest in "Transformers".

However the tastes have changed recently. The scifi demographics have shifted from Transformers to Star Wars. People are ready for something new.

Bringing this back to rpg games, the gaming consumers are the ones that define what is good or good enough. Like it or not, the most important games are the ones on top of the sales list, despite anyone's artistic or design subjective principles.



Good art and design does not exist outside of society and culture. They are relative, subjective, and changing. Art and design don't matter. I said that subjective quality doesn't matter, rather it is a little inspriational luck, timing, and sales.

But people don't like hearing how little control that they have and how chaotic results may be. They would rather follow quackery and 10-steps to success formulas knowing that they followed the formula despite the outcome.

Why is it that successful game makers are not the ones creating these 'great game' definitions?

Who defines quality and what will remain and endure? Certainly not the critics and students. 'Quality' is consumer defined. It's 'they' who decides to buy the products. Creators need a little inspiration, luck, and timing - not quackery principles created by critics. Otherwise all or most film students would be creating a constant stream of commercial successful films.

But they don't... Why not?



The critic is flawed, wrong, and maybe emotionally too attached to wrong principles. The consumers are right. Chess, Checkers, Backgammon, Scrabble, and Monopoly are 'the top five boardgames' until tastes change.

If it's 'terrible' and 'unfun' then that is subjective rather than social-culturally defined. And the social-cultural defined tastes always trumps individually defined 'quality' with their money spent.

Quote Originally Posted by kwickham View Post
RPG critic theory is in no way in the same league as culinary science. I would never equate culinary cooking science with quack RPG theories. Cooking techniques have been refined over thousands of years through trial and error. There are proven track records to back up the various techniques and processes. RPGs are nowhere in that league of knowledge. Almost nothing in RPG theory is proven. I'd compare it to a closer time frame product that is more recent such as video games or cellphone apps.

And as for the chef analogy, if a chef can't bring in people to eat his or her own creative foods and increase sales progressively to compete in the local market, then for sure they will be headed towards working at McDonalds. A chef has to look at their bottom line or fold no matter how creative or ingenious that they think they are.

Maybe many in the industry have been lulled into comfort because they don't depend on RPG sales for their primary income.



I cite Occam's Razor: Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Judging a game by sales is the method with the fewest assumptions.

I use different 'P' words - pragmatic or practical at best.

Earlier, I did mention that people dislike chaos, chance, and hoping for right timing.

The illusion and lure of of promising steady, constant, and reliable criteria from a cult of personality is needy, weak, and deceptive at a minimum. I don't know, maybe it is comforting to hear during a time of low sales. "At least my game is critically acclaimed". However, someone who writes 'critically acclaimed game' is trying to do what? Sell more games.

Theories are just there to try controlling critique, in hopes of increasing sales and decreasing sales of stuff that is actually selling well. It's more of a jealousy thing and a coping method to avoid self-esteem pain.

Just look what is happening outside of RPG gaming to see that there is more than principles influencing consumer desire to buy games - something besides these fake quack theories of 'well made' games.

I just don't understand the need to create an artificial and arbitrary (autocratic or bureaucratic) subjective model of ideal structures and processes. And then see in the next few years a stream of crappy 'artsy' RPGs that thought they are making gold nuggets.

If any one game defies any model in any way, the entire model is incorrect. That's science. Anything else is pseudo-science.

Don't feed the quack wanna-be theorists who are just out to set their own standard quality for their own games.


What these walls of text amount to is "this thread is bad and other posters should not be having this discussion." You've basically made 1,228 words of threadcraps. Please don't post in this thread again.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

JAGS: Difficulty Modifiers in more common language

JAGS is a free downloadable universal role-playing game found at http://mchacon8.wixsite.com/jagsrpg. It also can be purchased in book form.

Test played Reviews: JAGS Revised
JAGS: NPC list & skills
JAGS: Creating wild west creatures
JAGS: A) OGL 5e SRD conversion to JAGS
JAGS: first batch of directly converted wild west creatures
JAGS melee reach
JAGS: Difficulty Modifiers in more common language

JAGS wild west bestiary

For JAGS, on p 17 in the JAGS Revised edition, there is a small amount of guidance for picking difficulties to modify skills and attributes during checks.

Using a mixture of different difficulty charts, this is my attempt to fill in a little more detailed gradual list of adjectives to describe difficulty. I take a little from p. 17, GURPS 4e, 3.5 edition, and even 5e to blend it together to form this list.

Difficulty Descriptionmodifier
Impossible
Nearly Impossible-10
-9
Dangerous-8
Heroic-7
Extremely Difficult, Formidable, Very Hard-6
Challenging-5
Difficult, Tough, Hard-4
-3
Very Unfavorable-2
Unfavorable-1
Average, Medium0
Favorable1
Very Favorable2
3
Easy, Simple4
5
Very Easy6
7
Trivial8
9
Nearly Automatic10

I'm going to try this list out and see how it performs.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

JAGS melee reach

JAGS is a free downloadable universal role-playing game found at http://mchacon8.wixsite.com/jagsrpg. It also can be purchased in book form.

Test played Reviews: JAGS Revised
JAGS: NPC list & skills
JAGS: Creating wild west creatures
JAGS: A) OGL 5e SRD conversion to JAGS
JAGS: first batch of directly converted wild west creatures

JAGS wild west bestiary

Coming back to JAGS after a 5 month or so trek into the other stuff, newly off of working on modern equipment conversion, I wanted to look into the JAGS equipment and starting with weapons. Specifically I wanted to look at JAGS unarmed and weapon reach.

Melee Weapon Reach

JAGS has four reach distances for melee weapons (JAGS Revised p. 116), which are named and measured by yards.

Close reach is when the distance is less than 1 yard. Mentioned are grappling, biting, and head butting.

Short reach is when the distance is between 1 and 2 yards. Mentioned are unarmed strikes (punch & kicks) and knives. Others unarmed attacks listed are crossing, grabbing, karate chopping, and spear hand. Other weapons listed include brass knuckles, short sword, and hatchet.

Medium reach is when the distance is between 3 and 4 yards. Attacks mentioned are broadsword, club, baton, hammer, mace, baseball bat, morning star, epee, rapier, saber, nunchaku, morningstar, and any standard size melee weapon. Martial kicks also can be done at medium range.

Long reach is when the distance is between 5 and 6 yards. Attacks mentioned are staves, great/2 hand swords, battleaxe, great axe, spear, great maul, polearms, staves, flail, whip, and net. I assume any great 2 handed weapon.

Advantages and disadvantage of longer reach

The advantage of having a longer reach weapon is that an opponent with a shorter reach will have to move closer before they can use their weapon. This may mean first doing an 8 REA (Reaction) Long move or a 5 REA step movement per reach level. So the longer reach weapon may be able to attack first even if the opponent goes first if they use up too much REA.

The disadvantage of having a longer reach weapon is that when closer than two reach levels, the longer reach character will suffer a -2 to all rolls for each additional level.

The example (p. 117) shows a knife wielder against a sword wielder with medium reach, but I will look at would have to survive a staff Long reach. Common JAGS character movement is 3 walk, 4 run, and 6 sprint yards. None of those speeds changes the To Hit modifier (bottom p. 117). This means that the characters will be more than 6 yards from each other before combat, maybe they are 7 yards away. For the knife wielder to reach range, they will need to travel at least 5 yards - that is two levels of reach (Long and Medium) to be at 2 yard reach. A) This would take an 8 REA Long action move which allows an unblockable Reaction attack from the opponent. or B) This would use up 5 x 2 = 10 REA just to move since it is moving inside of reach if using Step Inside reach.

For the movement rule, see p. 117 and 140 Step Inside reach.

The reach rules give an advantage to longer weapons. I requires those that close in to use up their REA in order to get close enough to strike themselves.

Friday, January 13, 2017

RPG rewards for characters that do bad things?

In a forum, a question came across asking about whether they would award experience points to a character for killing a friendly rival in a guild  as a means for self promotion within a guild of fighters.

For an overview of player and human morality see my character post:
Story vs RPG Part 6: Character Alignment, Morality, and Ethics

Here are my replies merged into one post.

1st reply
If the kill doesn't advance the character's story, I do not give any experience. That's why I prefer the RMU experience system which lacks kill points. If it does advance the story, I do.
This comment concerns my preference for experience point systems. Many only focus on awarding experience for each kill, regardless of whether or not the kill moves the story along. The amateur writer in me wants to see a story purpose for actions besides a) getting more experience and b) getting loot and treasure from the kills.

Those two things anyone can get by playing a first person shooter type game. I don't want to simulate 1st person shooter games.

2nd reply
With a murder, of course there would be severe future repercussions.
NPCs trying to knock off the PC.
NPC loved ones being targeted.
Family and friend betrayal.
The law seeking justice that leads to execution.
In my game world it would be a sort of Game of Thrones effect, where in the future the ramifications probably will come back to haunt the murderer despite any personal selfish goals.
This in a way furthers what I hinted at in the first post. That for major parts in the story that things happen for a reason. Of course monster fodder  fall under a 'kill the obstacle' sort of story obstacle. But in this instance, we are not talking about killing fodder unnamed stuff. It's a rival guild member.

3rd reply
In response to another post mentioning player guilt and whether GMs can tell players that their characters feel guilt or not, this is my response.

I think A GM could award experience for great roleplaying if the player feels guilt. Or maybe some other bonus that the guilty reaction leads to some sort of forgiveness especially if they followed up with some unselfish response.
The ruthless played character, I myself wouldn't feel any connection with nor any need to further their story. They can play themself out of my game and go find someone who will tell the story that they want.
When I GM, which has been a few times the last two years, I don't like telling stories that don't fit my own tastes. I know that there are GMs out there that would enjoy that type of game. Why keep both the player and me locked in a situation that isn't fully told in a satisfying manner.

Morality in Gaming
I know that the opinion of gaming, alignment, and the stigma of gaming as being all a satanic cult is unfound and wrong. Sure, there are many satanist players and GMs. I see those products on being sold frequently and even recommended to me when I did my game search. Their philosophy and spine is very evident once I even looked into the game system and read a few reviews. However their are many GMs and players that are not into spreading selfishness through gaming. Some even enjoy grey and murky moral situations such as in the bible, koran, kojiki, and all the other holy books. Because in these grey situations, even then lessons can be learned about life. I like grey games where the players rise to the situation and triumph.

And like I say, if someone wants a dark and grey game, there are plenty of GMs that already do that stuff.

It's just not me