Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Curse for You: Blue Diablo

Reading Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre gave me a great idea for a curse. One of the characters, Chance, is lucky. Unfortunately, all the bad things that would have happened to him, happen to those around him.

The effects of the curse can range from a mild +2 on a check to avoiding death. Roll to see which of the other members of the party will suffer the consequences. The unfortunate party member will suffer a penalty of equal strength.

With practice the character can learn to control the curse. Instead of taking the bonus, they can take a point of fatigue (or subdual) for the strain of holding it off.

The frequency that the curse strikes is entirely up to you. You are free to pepper an encounter with a range of bonuses or save it for thematic moments.

Armin swung his sword at the dragon's leg. As the beast turned, its tail collided with the cavern wall and a shower of debris fell. He ignored the stones in favor of avoiding the tail, which was sweeping towards him. As he dodged, he heard a cry to his left. Drak, one of his fellow baiters lay on the ground, his leg crushed under a boulder. The boulder had become unstable when the tail collided with the wall, when it fell the tail swept it away from Armin and onto Drak.

Armin cursed. He couldn't control the curse if he didn't know he was in danger. He pulled Drak away from the fighting into a tunnel that was too small for the dragon to follow. Once he made sure Drak was out of harm's way, he returned to the entrance of the tunnel and surveyed the battle. The baiters surrounded the dragon, attempting to force it to reveal the vulnerable areas under the wings so the archers could strike it with arrows laced with dragonsbane. The dragon was old and crafty. It knew how to fight without exposing its weak spots.

As he moved to rejoin the fight, he spotted another fallen comrade. He knelt beside the man to help but the archer was dead, bow still clutched in hand and surrounded by scattered arrows. Suddenly the dragon roared. Armin looked up to see it  snatch a man from the ground. As the dragon lifted the warrior to its maw, the raising leg shifted the wing. The underside was exposed!

The curse whispered to him. He could make the shot, but at what cost?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Design Journal: Combat Styles and Signature Moves

I have been working on my system for a very long time. Whenever I made a change I just wrote over what I had already written. I'm pretty sure I have lost some decent ideas this way. In the Design Journal posts, I will document the changes I am considering and any additions I make. This way I will have a log of my ideas and also gain input on the directions I take. First up, combat.
My current combat model looks a bit like this

4 Archery

3 Extended Range

Imp. Ranged Flank

Imp. Point-Blank Shot

Ranged Sneak Attack

Rapid Shot

1 Sharp Shooting


You buy ranks in a combat skill, such as archery, and that gets you a specialization point to spend on the sub-skills like rapid shot. The ranks you buy in a skill determines your BAB and the specializations are modifiers for your attacks.

I want to change over to a slightly different model. You still purchase ranks in the combat style and that determines your BAB. Instead of specializations, I want to use signature moves. It would look something like this


SM1: Sharp Shooter - negate 1 point of cover penalty
SM2: Additional Attack - make an additional primary attack with an AB of 2
SM3: Improved Aim - can shoot 15 feet beyond the range of the weapon without penalty
SM4: Tumbling Archer - can make attacks while tumbling up to 20 feet  at normal movement penalty

I like this model because it increases the character's overall effectiveness in combat and encourages customization. There is no set list to choose from, just a list of possible choices and guidelines for creating your own moves.

Moves would be bound by degree of effect, such as 1 point of penalty and 5ft for distance and movement. Moves should be about effects, not about increasing your attack bonus or damage. Negating specific types of penalties to attacks is acceptable, simply adding to your attack bonus is not. Of course, all moves are subject to GM approval.

There are multiple problems that I see with this. The first is that I will have to switch everything over to a penalty system such as:
Increased Range  -1/5ft
Rapid shot  -2/additional arrow

I do like this because I feel it is more realistic. Anybody can try anything but it is harder without training.  Unfortunately, I think it will complicate combat, which is something I do not want.

Also, in the skill system I am using, skills can get up to over 50. Having 50+ moves would be a pain to keep track of. I could say that instead of gaining a new move, you can improve the moves you already have or reduce the rate you can gain new moves to every other rank.