Saturday, March 7, 2015

Trek to the Stars: Beginnings part 2

In the last couple of posts I have written about the beginnings of some game ideas I have been tinkering with. The idea is kind of stuck in my head, and I am working through the basic ideas to alleviate this issue. If you are interested, here are links to the earlier posts:
The Beginnings of a Mechanical Idea
Part 1: setting basics

In this post I will be digging a bit further into the mechanics. Last time I talked about the basics of how the skills and die rolls will work, but it was all in generic terms. This time I would like to nail down some of the specifics of the system. I have a couple of ideas on how to do skills and I would like to discuss the possibility of both before making a decision. In fact I think I might be able to combine both, but lets get into it before I go further with ideas I have not described yet.

Both ideas work on the same basic idea. For each skill you roll a pool of six sided dice and then you can select a number of them to keep and try and overcome a target number. The target number is set by the GM, but you can increase it to add an effect to the roll(still working on the specifics of this). If you hit the exact target number that counts as a critical success(still working on what that means). The dice pool cannot go over ten(I have found that a dice pool of over ten dice tends to get unwieldy). As I am using d6s for this I feel like using the skill list(or at least some of the skill list) from the d6 System. So here it is.

Potential skill list
Acrobatics: Dodging, jumping, climbing, and maneuvering
Close Combat: Hand to hand with fists, kicks, weapons, and all things in between
Ranged Combat: Shooting and throwing in a fight over distance
Flying/0-G: Use for athletics and acrobatics in a zero g environment, or when flying(if you can fly)
Athletics: Swim, Run, lift
Navigation: Figuring out where you are, and how to get where you want to go
Pilot/ride: Controlling vehicles and riding beasts(maybe I should have two skills?)
Computer/communications: Using computers and communications gear
Sensors: Operating sensor systems(maybe combine with computers?)
Heavy Weapons: Using indirect fire weapons and vehicle weapons
Knowledge/wise/knowing stuff: This is a bunch of skills and I need to work out what should apply and how it should apply. I kind of want to do it like Burning wheel's wises.
Language/culture: This is important, but I am uncertain how to make it interesting without making the game about this.
Willpower: Strength of will
Craft: Making things
Perception: Noticing and investigating
Stealth/pickpocket/burglary: maybe more than one skill for all the underhanded and subtle skills
Persuade: Using emotional appeal
Bargain: Using material leverage(money, goods)
Con: Using false authority
Repair: fixing and diagnosing things
Medicine: Diagnosing and fixing people
Demolitions: Energetically deconstructing things on the macro scale

So that is the current list of skills I have. I am still on the fence on some of them and missing chunks of skills that need further extrapolation. I would love suggestions and any thoughts on this section.

Now to get to the two ideas I had.

Idea 1: Approaches
In Fate Accelerated there are no skills or attribute. There are approaches which describe how one goes about doing things rather than what one can do. The approaches are: Careful, Clever, Flashy, Forceful, Quick, and Sneaky. In this idea You roll a number of dice equal to your skill rating and keep a number of dice equal to the approach you are using for the skill. Any skill can be paired with any approach, based on how you describe the action.

Example time: You are in a running firefight with a group of bandits on a farmstead near Tharsis. You have a ranged combat rating of 6 and are trying to draw there fire. You have a flashy rating of 2. The difficulty to hit the bandit is 7. You roll six dice and get 4, 3, 5, 2, 2, 1. You must pick three of those and add them together to try and get over the target number. You take the 2, 2, and the three. This is a critical success. You do double damage(or whatever we end up letting critical success mean). You win this round and the game move forward.

I see this being interesting, but a bit fiddly. It does allow for giving in game actions an extra level of meaning and import. However, if I go this route, the approaches would need to top out at something like five or six. Any more and things get really complicated.

Idea 2: Level Based Perks
Another idea, rather than using approaches you have a series of perks or whatever. These are similar to Alternity's skill rank benefits. So you need a certain skill level and then can spend points to gain the benefit out of your skill xp that you have already placed into the skill. In this system you should start with the ability to only keep two dice per roll and then the rank benefits allow you to increase that, as well as removing penalties and allowing for normally impossible actions.

So that is my idea. I am currently leaning toward Idea 2, as it allows for more control and will help spread the skill xp around a bit once you have spent your character points. I could combine the two ideas and really get finicky, but I am unsure if that would work all that well. I would love to hear your thoughts, critiques, and suggestions.