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Heroica RPG 2.0

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Alrighty folks, figured I'd kick this off. First a qualifying note, I'm still waiting on Dragonator to give some feedback on how much freedom we'll have in designing the follow-up to Heroica RPG, so until we get some inclination everything is tentative, even the possibility of there even being a Heroica RPG 2.0.

That being said, I know a lot of you have ideas and have been itching to discuss the potential successor to the last 7 year project, so I've got a couple of questions I'll put out there for general discussion and to get the creative juices flowing:

1. What should be the overall theme/genre?

2. How closely should the theme/genre be followed?

3. What aspects of the game should be covered by mechanics? i.e. skills, combat, social interactions, character creation, etc.

4. How in depth should the mechanics of the game go?

5. Will the design of the general theme/genre and mechanics be group work-shopped or left to selected individuals. I.e. how democratic should the development process be?

6. Should the running of the game be democratic or managed by select individuals?

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Gah, I told myself I'd need a break, but nope, I'm back to help. I'm just gonna spitball ideas:

1. What should be the overall theme/genre?

Sci-fi or a science fantasy. Going into a true fantasy world for Heroica was really cool, classic tabletop RPG that people think about. I think Sci-fi has some room to expand into really different alien cultures and aesthetics.

2. How closely should the theme/genre be followed?

Maybe not super hard sci-fi like the Expanse, but science-fantasy as I mentioned. Heroica had a kind of steampunk feel on the side of the Tritech and all. There's surely an equivalent for scifi even with space travel. Like fantasy, there's so many variations on sci-fi that could be explored.

3. What aspects of the game should be covered by mechanics? i.e. skills, combat, social interactions, character creation, etc.

I'd love to see character creation have some meaning. Say you're a human, you get whatever "base stat" like +1 to something. If you're a creature like an orc or a Krogan, +1 to strength or something. Players could also get permanent stat bonuses after a quest as well if the QM has that as a reward or players do something in the middle of the quest to warrant it.

For skills, I'd say something similar to the classes we already had for Heroica would be fine. The big issue is combat and making it not as challenging to calculate for the QMs. That was my least favorite part of running quests and Heroica in general. And while this may be more of a quest-by quest basis, I'd love to see more strategy involved with battles, more than just front row and back row. What happens if you take a turn to move and flank? Does the environment play a role?

Social interactions I think could be kept nearly the same from Heroica. Does a diplomatic or intimidation work (although I do think more transparency would be better, similar to a check or something), etc? I think the social interaction was always top notch in Heroica otherwise.

I mentioned in a different thread I think builds should be more involved, especially as this is a LEGO site. While not to the extent of Historica/BoBs/etc., having players build things for their characters would be awesome, especially if it progresses their "personal" adventures along. What are characters doing when they aren't questing or in the hall? Could one "personal quest" per month be used to improve character abilities? Could players make their own guilds/houses? And going back to the sci-fi example: Ships.

Say there are spaceships characters can purchase. Well, say there are base stats for each "level" or whatever. Characters can choose to build their personal ship and post into the statistics threads, etc. They can upgrade that ship, buy a new one, etc. Ships could be incredibly handy in quests as well.

4. How in depth should the mechanics of the game go?

I'm a little unsure of what you mean by this question to be honest. If I'm understanding it correctly, I think you're asking how complex should mechanics be? If so, I'd say battle mechanics (really calculation) should be simple.

5. Will the design of the general theme/genre and mechanics be group work-shopped or left to selected individuals. I.e. how democratic should the development process be?

I think in the beginning it absolutely should be democratic, especially for mechanics. Isn't that what this exploratory thread is already doing? Once things get up and running, then I'd say maybe make it more to select individuals, especially if there are groups similar to the houses. Someone I know mentioned having an individual run the overarching story of each House, which I think would greatly take the burden off of the head GM.

6. Should the running of the game be democratic or managed by select individuals?

As I mentioned earlier, democratic in the beginning until things really get underway. Say maybe a lead GM to make sure everything is running smoothly supported by a small committee, especially for houses if they were involved.

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Dieselpunk , Raygun Gothic or Zeerust would be an awesome theme. SF but not hard SF, Science Fantasy over Science Fiction. Something like Mortal Engines or Flash Gordon.

So long as there is a chance to build

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1. What should be the overall theme/genre?

I'd actually be down for something more Dark Fantasy (but that may be my current Dark Souls binge talking.) Otherwise, I think something science fiction themed (A Star Wars/Mass Effect esque setting?) could work.

2. How closely should the theme/genre be followed?

I think that it should be followed pretty closely to start off. It's important to establish what kind of world we are playing in before we get too crazy, but as the mythos starts to take form branching out becomes more and more possible.

3. What aspects of the game should be covered by mechanics? i.e. skills, combat, social interactions, character creation, etc.

Social interaction worked fine in Heroica, I feel, for basic diplomacy/intimidation skills. Things like Conversion got a little funky, but otherwise it was all very functional. I would be hesitant to tie mechanics to character creation, beyond the way it was done in Heroica (starting class, weapon, etc.) One of the fun things about making your character in Heroica was the amount of freedom you had in choosing who/what you were; if we start quantifying that more, I feel like we would lost more than we gain.

Combat and skills should definitely be covered by game mechanics. If there is two issues I feel combat should resolve, it's that:

1. Inventories got waaayyy too bloated. This was way more of an issue for me than battle calculations: sifting through massive inventories and taking care of trades, etc. Maybe some sort of limit to what you can take when you're starting on a quest...?

2. Classes got too powerful. Some of the later Expert Classes were insanely difficult to balance and calculate for, and not to mention some Master Classes were borderline unkillable. I think more side-grades instead of straight upgrades should be in order.

4. How in depth should the mechanics of the game go?

I feel like Heroica set a pretty good base line for this.

5. Will the design of the general theme/genre and mechanics be group work-shopped or left to selected individuals. I.e. how democratic should the development process be?

6. Should the running of the game be democratic or managed by select individuals?

Gonna answer these simultaneosuly, and pose a question as a response to it: do we want another Main Story? And if yes, it should be individually managed (with the plot's basis work shopped among some committee).

 

Will offer more detailed thoughts down the line, I have many an Idea floating around. :tongue:

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1. What should be the overall theme/genre?

I kinda think something like Dr. Who (sans time travel). Something like Star Wars and Star Trek just seems to advance. I think things like lasers, phasers, blasters and machine guns could be found but really hard to find. Plus, magic should be able to use by certain individuals. 

2. How closely should the theme/genre be followed? 

I think @Endgame has the right idea on this question. 

3. What aspects of the game should be covered by mechanics? i.e. skills, combat, social interactions, character creation, etc. 

I am not sure what "skills" you are asking about. For "combat" I think some examples are in order for a better answer. For "social interactions" I think you are asking about "diplomacy and intimidation" I feel they shouldn't be job pacific. If you want to learn those skills you need to take a "class" to learn those skills (I imagine even paying to take the "class".) For "character creation" I guess a point(s) bonus could used for species and job class. 

4. How in depth should the mechanics of the game go? 

It is probably a fine line to making it feel customizable and then just to complex. 

5. Will the design of the general theme/genre and mechanics be group work-shopped or left to selected individuals. I.e. how democratic should the development process be? 

6. Should the running of the game be democratic or managed by select individuals? 

Isn't 5 & 6 kinda of the same question. I imagine some sort for voting system should be put in place. If some sort of issue pops up. 


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1. Science fantasy. Sci-fi but with fantastical elements, I'm talking space dragons and everything. I'd love to see some of sort of at least semi-mystical element like Star Wars or Destiny.

2. It's hard to think of somewhere you can't go with science fantasy, but I think we should try and leave whatever dimensional and time travel nonsense we're sure to get into eventually for later. :laugh:

3. Same as it is now, with a few changes. I think remaining open-ended about the characters themselves is a good idea: racial abilities and whatnot wouldn't work, but the last thing you want to do out of the gate is put restrictions on the players.

4.

I posted a while back about forgoing tying enemy attacks into player actions, and give each side a turn. It kills conditionals without the artificial stupidity of not being able to react to your enemies. I still think that's the way to go. Other than that, the d6 system we have in place is simple and solid.

I think we should solidify the ability to use skills. We have a lot of social skills and a handful of others, but I think nailing down a more cohesive, more encompassing list could improve the class fantasy and make things more interesting. Maybe even tie a roll into it, like D&D or Pathfinder or...really, any other RPG system. I think skills should be in addition to a class's combat abilities, and not replace them. 

I think we should separate straight-up attacking and doing other class stuff. There came a point when sometimes your Shield was just not as predictable or as helpful as a really good critical hit. That shouldn't happen. This ties into my last concern...

Which is progression. This needs a complete overhaul. This artifact/weapon/item-focused progression hurt the game a lot in the long run. At the same time, you don't want to lose build diversity or dumb things down too much...but you also don't want to overwhelm players by front-loading all this So my suggestion? Ability trees.

Let's take the Knight for example. My concept is that instead of just attacking an enemy, a Knight could have three distinct actions. Attack (which everyone has), Protect, and Encourage. You can just straight up try to attack an enemy. Or you can try and protect an ally, reducing damage. Or you can encourage an ally and grant them some kind of buff. Simple, easy to wrap your head around. But when you level up, in addition to increasing your health, you can choose to improve one of these abilities. So maybe you improve attack to simply hit harder. Or perhaps you improve protect to reduce more damage. Or improve the buff that you grant with encourage. And further down the line, more interesting mutations could come into play. Maybe you render an ally immune to damage at the cost of taking their blows for yourself, or you grant a weaker buff to a number of allies. Instead of class changes, maybe you pick up an ability tree from another class at some point. Take a Cleric's Heal ability or a Rogue's Steal, similar to how the advanced classes work.

I may or may not have an interest in game design. And an idea file from two years ago about space Heroica. :blush:

5. I think an open forum about development is important. People submitting ideas and stuff. I don't think it should be put to a vote as to what appears in the game, though. It's more important that all the parts work in concert than getting every single idea in there, so I think a select few should actually put it all together.

6. Same general idea as design, but the community's voice should carry a lot more weight when it comes to balancing and such. Once the system's actually in place feedback is the most important thing.

Edited by CMP

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1 hour ago, CMP said:

I posted a while back about forgoing tying enemy attacks into player actions, and give each side a turn. It kills conditionals without the artificial stupidity of not being able to react to your enemies. I still think that's the way to go. Other than that, the d6 system we have in place is simple and solid.

I think we should solidify the ability to use skills. We have a lot of social skills and a handful of others, but I think nailing down a more cohesive, more encompassing list could improve the class fantasy and make things more interesting. Maybe even tie a roll into it, like D&D or Pathfinder or...really, any other RPG system. I think skills should be in addition to a class's combat abilities, and not replace them. 

I think we should separate straight-up attacking and doing other class stuff. There came a point when sometimes your Shield was just not as predictable or as helpful as a really good critical hit. That shouldn't happen. This ties into my last concern...

Which is progression. This needs a complete overhaul. This artifact/weapon/item-focused progression hurt the game a lot in the long run.

*very good suggestion on skill trees*

The whole post was good, I clipped and underlined stuff I heavily agree with. I *like* the idea of heaving class skills untethered from attacks - because, I mean, well, healers have been getting to do that the whole game. Imagine how annoying it'd be when you're trying to hit somebody and heal someone with only 1 hp lost, or vice versa? :tongue:

So in addition to each class getting a class specific action (like heal, protect, etc.), my idea was that they get to build their own attack die, based on techniques/attacks the have been taught/acquired from beating enemies/levelled up into/etc. A universal technique list could be kept somewhere and get added to as new ones crop up for maximum QM ease. Essentially, my idea for the system looked like this (spoilered because it is lengthy):

So let's say you are playing a knight. You have the option to Protect yourself/a party member, as per your class, OR you can pick an enemy and roll your attack die. At the start of each battle, a hero can build their attack die and use that for the remainder of the fight. (This whole die building thing has been a thing that has been stuck in my head since I built a die for Real Heroica, but anyway. :tongue: )

Every die starts like this!

1: Miss, 2: Miss, 3: Miss, 4: Miss, 5: Miss, 6: Miss

Not ideal.

Now, let's say that the Knight's skill tree/technique list looks like this (I'm just making a few up off the top of my head here):

  • Strike: Hit the enemy for damage equal to your WP + level. Skill cost 2.
  • Critical Strike: Hit the enemy for damage equal to your WP x2 + level. Skill cost 3.
  • Heavy Cut: Hit the enemy for damage equal to your WP + level and inflict Bleeding. Skill cost 3.
  • Shield Bash: Hit the enemy for damage equal to your shield's SP. Skill cost 1.
  • Gambit Slash: Hit the enemy for damage equal to your level + WP * number of empty slots on your die. Skill cost 2.
  • Protected Strike: Hit the enemy for damage equal to your level, and halve all damage that comes to you during the enemy's turn. Skill cost 2.

(Obviously these numbers are made up and some of these require balancing - I could see Protected Strike becoming a nightmare - but anyway.)

Now, with the caveat that the Knight starts with a cap of 12 skill points to start off with, you end up with a LOT of potential die builds right off the bat:

  • The bog standard: 1-6 are all Strike. Guaranteed damage, hardly flashy.
  • The heavy hitter: 1-4 are all Critical Strike, 5-6 are miss. Sacrificing consistency for the sake of hitting harder.
  • The gambler: 1-3 are Gambit Slash, 4-6 are miss. You might miss half the time, but hey, at least you will hit hard.
  • The coward: 1-6 are all Protected Strike. Boooooo.
  • The cautious: 1-3 are Strike, 4-6 are Protected Strike. Slightly less boo. Maybe you're dealing with tough enemies!
  • The variety show: 1-3 are Critical Strike, 4 is strike, 5 is Shield Bash, 6 is miss. Using all 12 skill cost points and using a variety of skills!
  • The "I upgraded my shield way too god damn much come at me bro": 1-6 shield bash.

Each class can make full use of their skill list to build unique builds from battle to battle, and the built die can be written out as just one line on their stat sheet. From there, as soon as QMs learn the skills (extra easy assuming some of the basic ones are shared from class to class), assuming we cut back on super complicated weapons and artefacts (which we could, because Cool Effects can be part of a class's skill list), there would be more battle to battle flexibility and less QM headaches.

...Yes, I've been thinking about this system for a while. :blush:

 

 

 

 

 

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Oh boy, here we go, it's already here. :poke:

1. What should be the overall theme/genre?

 As much as I want to return to straight fantasy, I think in a game like this a science-fantasy backdrop might work best with something akin to Starfinder, which takes inspiration from a lot of places. I'd also like to see a bit of Warhammer 40K in there, mainly in terms of some of it's ideas on races: Orcs, Tyrannids, and Necrons, just to name a few. We don't need the grim dark attached to it, but some new ideas and themes would go a ways in differentiating this new game from Heroica 1.0. 

 The main benefit I can see here is that the game is suddenly no longer restricted to Olegaia: we now have an entire galaxy to mess around in. Suddenly a world ending threat is dangerous, but doesn't get goofy when three of them are operating at the same time since they're only affecting one such world. Now they're operating at different ends of the galaxy, and if one succeeds it merely spells doom for a section of the galaxy. We also would have more room to allow creative freedom for QMs. Although I still believe that other QMs should mess around in the sandboxes of other QMs, snagging their NPCs when necessary and building off of the foundations of others, a galaxy of planets allows QMs looking for some kind of niche idea to allow it to manifest without worrying about throwing out canon. Need a city spanning an entire planet? Find a spot for it in the galaxy. What about an alien colony? We can drop that over here, on this planet. A mining outpost colony run by stereotypical southerners? Here's a planet to call your own. How about a planet of primitive humans who fight off robot dinosaurs? That goes over here, and no it is a completely original idea and not an homage, thank you very much!

Also, instead of a large, overarching narrative, I'd like to see the game encompass a number of narratives that span a year or two before moving onto a new arc or having the previous arc lead into the new one. That way there we don't have players who have no attachment to "the main plot line" because there isn't one. Sure there'll be major factions, as well as mover and shaker NPCs, but there is no all encompassing arc that the game doesn't revolve around.

2. How closely should the theme/genre be followed?

I think it should be followed fairly well, but Heroica encompassed a bunch of classic fantasy staples: we saw encounters with aliens, dinosaurs, and other strange quest ideas. I think it'd be fine to have orcs flying through space as they raid and pillage settlements, because that's par for the course for science fantasy.

3. What aspects of the game should be covered by mechanics? i.e. skills, combat, social interactions, character creation, etc.

I'd like to suggest the implementation of a point-buy system for abilities both in and out of combat. As simple as Heroica's character class system was to understand, it inevitably led to issues in terms of certain classes outshining others. So, here's what I'd like to suggest:

At character creation, a character purchases a combat and non-combat ability, free of charge. For example, you could purchase the rogue's combat template (steal gold if the target carries any, normal damage to all enemies) as well as the cleric's non-combat ability (healing, in this case). In order to get a different combat ability, you'd have to buy it with levels. Instead of certain classes being available at certain levels, you can purchase abilities with accumulated levels. With this system we could also develop simple skill trees: in order to obtain the Witch's combat template, you have to have either the cleric or rogue template. With non-combat abilities, a character could acquire more slots to obtain more non-combat abilities every ten levels or so. Again, just an idea. :classic:

I haven't put much thought into it, but it seemed to carry some traction when I brought it up, so who knows.

4. How in-depth should the games mechanics go?

I feel like ultimately what needs to happen is an in-depth look at what class skills were useful and which ones weren't: the barbarians ability to rest without a bedroll, the mage's ability to cast spells outside of combat, and so on. There's a bunch there that a either super situational or are downright rarely brought up. I'd like to see some of them either resolved or outright removed. I don't think this game needs to be too complex, because the strength of the previous game was it's simplistic combat design (on paper, at least) and it's great freedom of character creation.

5. Will the design of the general theme/genre and mechanics be group work-shopped or left to selected individuals. I.e. how democratic should the development process be?

I think this is ultimately where the benefit of a campaign setting in space. If you don't like one planet's theme, you can move to another one and have an adventure there. I do believe that ultimately the general theme/genre should initially be democratic, like what we're doing now, and then refined by a team of core storytellers who give a bit more detail to the general idea of what's been determined upon, with general updates regarding the direction of the setting before the game officially begins.

6. Should the running of the game be democratic or managed by select individuals?

I think that since this is going to be a game that lives or dies by the community. I'd like to see a few positions be democratic while others are more sit in seats to ensure that one person doesn't usurp the game and derail the story. I'm going to suggest three positions: Heroica Loremaster, Heroica Referee, and Heroica Plot Member.

The Loremaster is an individual who keeps a permanent seat on the team, and acts as the final say on approving quests, story elements, and any potential conflicting lore. The position is mainly to ensure the integrity of the game's story is maintained and a group of Plot Members don't get elected and decide to change things that would benefit themselves or tarnish another's contribution to the overall world. They also assist the Plot Members in creating major arcs, and discusses with non-Plot Member QMs about quests they intend to run.

The Referee's position is elected once a year and is held by a single member of the forum with at least one years experience in the game. An exception will be made for the first player to hold the position, but the intent is to have a player who adjudicates rules and looks into fixing any potential game-breaking class abilities, items, weapons, etc. They also are to have a general solid grasp on the game's mechanics and be the final authority when it comes to rules lawyering. 

A Plot Member works with the Loremaster to construct major arcs. They also will run quests involving the arcs they have built with the Loremaster to ensure that the Loremaster doesn't have to run all of them at once. This should hopefully help stave off QM fatigue. The position is held for a year or until the end of a major arc, at which point new Plot Members are elected to help write out the next major story arc. As a side note, one can QM and not be a Plot Master, but to be a Plot Master you must have QM'd at least twice.

Just some ideas I had. I'm open to criticism or comments on them. :classic:

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So talking with Dragonator, we have freedom in our design and we can contact him if we need anything from the site logistically. With that in mind, the only two stipulation I'd like to hopefully limit the community to:

A. Whatever we design it should be LEGO based. I'd say Heroica RPG is the default standard, if we want to put more requirements in place to ensure LEGO is actually more closely integrated into the system I'm fine with that.
B. Whatever we design should allow for RP. Again I'd say Heroica RPG is the default standard, if we start making this simply a tactical combat game or independent one off games like mafia, I believe there is a better place for that.

With that in mind, here are some of my starting thoughts.

1. Concerning theme/genre, while I have immensely enjoyed the high fantasy theme of Heroica RPG (and have subsequently bought a couple hundred dollars worth of LEGO to fit that theme), I believe changing the theme will allow for newer players to come into the game without feeling pressured to have not participated in the first game. It also allows an opportunity for those who don't enjoy high fantasy to participate and hopefully renew the player base. However I think it is worth noting that we have a fair amount of our existing player base who still enjoy high fantasy, thus I think the compromise should lie somewhere in the middle. Science fantasy is an inbetween genre which mixes the "sciency" aspect i.e. star-ships, aliens, ray guns, robots with the fantastical i.e. supernatural/divine forces, magic, cryptozoology. Some of the best examples of this feel or look are probably: D&D's Ebberon or Spelljammer settings; Piazo's Starfinder, League of Legends, some subgenres of steam/diesel punk; movies like John Carter, Disney's Treasure Planet, Disney's Atlantis, Dune, Flash Gordon, some aspects of Starwars. With all that being said, I don't think I would mind there being nods back to Heroica RPG's roots.

2. By making the theme wide it'll be pretty hard to not fit most things into the genre, but I think if we give folks boundaries regarding technology level that should be enough to help constrain things.

3. Mechanics... there's a lot things to cover here. I do believe one of the main reasons QM's burned out with Heroica RPG was the amount of time it took to not only run battles but also set them up, especially for high level heroes. The game's progression system led to a few different factors (keep in mind these are generalization of trends): 1. Heroes had more consumables. Consumables take the random aspects out of combat, instead of relying on a 1/6 chance to become Encouraged, you can drink a mead and be immediately Encouraged, 2. Heroes had more complex gear. When a QM has to worry about one character's weapon being able to deal 4 different status effects, that means four different rolls and I have to make sure that if one of those rolls does occur it doesn't completely make the rest of the battle trivial. 3. Heroes advanced classes made them more capable no matter the enemy. Part of this is tied to enemies only act on heroes turns, but statistically speaking as heroes advanced in levels it became more and more difficult for enemies to actually do damage no matter if they were a rat or an elder dragon. All of these things combined made QMing more difficult and more importantly made balance something that couldn't be maintained in the long run without extreme deviations from the rules. So when it comes to mechanics I think there are a few main categories that'll need to be figured out.

a. Character creation race: I loved Heroica RPG's openness in character creation. It meant you could have an orcish wizard or a gnome barbarian and never be penalized for your character decision. It also meant players were free to create their own races. With that being said the openness did leave a lot of vagueness when it came to other aspecs of the game. Skrall is an ogre, can he objectively lift more weight than Matthias who is a gnome? Heroica RPG didn't have a way to answer this and thus it fell upon QM's to make an off-the-cuff decision. If this was only a single game run by a single QM, they could ensure consistency, however in a game spanning 159 quests and over a dozen QM's, consistency is difficult to maintain. And without consistency players get agitated when they came to expect something, i.e. Skrall is stronger than Matthias, and a QM makes the opposite ruling. I know this is a silly example, but it demonstrates the drawback of a truly open system. Therefor I would propose a compromise, we create racial features of which any race can be categorized. These racial features allow for the openness of character creation but also allow for some consistency between QM's and between quests. Example of features would be: Big: these races have bonuses to things involving strength, Quick: these races have bonuses to things involving speed, Mindful: these races have bonuses to things involving thought.

b. Character creation class: There are things to be said for and against classes, in the end however I believe it helped give structure not only to battle roles but also character concepts. While I think we should keep classes, it's important to remember that we can only have as many classes as there are variables in the games mechanics to emphasize. If there are only two stats: How much damage you do and how much damage you can take, that results in two classes, etc.

c. Random probability: Heroica RPG is a d6 system and is a fixed percentage system. With that in mind, it meant that things that allowed for rerolls of the dice were extremely powerful. I think a continuing to use a d6 system is good because it is simple, however from a balance perspective we need to be better aware of how easily balance can be thrown off by messing with the probabilities.

d. Character progression: I think a system that is not tied to more powerful classes is a good step. In most systems there are two types of advancement, horizontal; i.e. being able to do more things and vertical, i.e. doing things better. Heroica RPG was ultimately a strictly vertical progression system with a few smatterings of horizontal. This ultimately led to powercreep and essentially an arms race. I think by allowing for more horizontal advancement this will keep things more easily controllable. I think the skill tree idea is a very good start and I'd lobby that incorporating an action system where in character's actions themselves in combat or social situations are not determined by a die result, but where the die results details how well the perform that action is a much better fit.

e. Combat: I'm ok with the D6 system, but I agree with previous criticism that enemies need to have their own minds and have to have their actions independent of the heroes. A smart enemy might figure out that they need to take down the healer first, however in Heroica RPG you simply need to make sure the cleric never targets that smart enemy. By divorcing these two things I think that will go a long way. Also on the subject of combat, while I don't think playing on a grid is the way to go, I think we can land somewhere in between. I can't recall the game but every combat encounter consisted of front and back rows and the heroes/enemies arrayed in a line. Heroes and enemies could only target those either directly in front of them or on their diagonals. Back rows could only be hit with ranged attacks or if the entire front row was cleared. Enemies and heroes could spend their turn moving between rows. I think something like this might be a good compromise between the totally open system of Heroica RPG and the full on tactical combat of historical miniature battles.

f. Social encounters: I think social encounters need some rules behind them. While I know most folks liked the simplicity of the Diplomacy/Intimidation job traits, there was a tendency to assume the traits worked like mind-control. That's not to say those with the traits shouldn't have an advantage in those situations, but I think there needs to be some sort of statistical element that allows for potential failure. Likewise such a system wouldn't exclude any from attempting social interactions simply because they didn't have specific job traits.

4. For a forum based game, I wouldn't go much more complex than Heroica RPG especially for those running the quests/game.

5/6. While I'm fine with the initial design being a democratic process, I think at some point for continuity and for speed, the direction of the game should be handled by a core team. I think in order to encourage more people helping with the running of the game we should also incentivize QM's/GM's by allowing their work to effect their own characters progression in some way. One of the hardest part of QMing is it often means my own character can't participate and thus ends up never progressing. 

2 hours ago, Endgame said:

The whole post was good, I clipped and underlined stuff I heavily agree with. I *like* the idea of heaving class skills untethered from attacks - because, I mean, well, healers have been getting to do that the whole game. Imagine how annoying it'd be when you're trying to hit somebody and heal someone with only 1 hp lost, or vice versa? :tongue:

So in addition to each class getting a class specific action (like heal, protect, etc.), my idea was that they get to build their own attack die, based on techniques/attacks the have been taught/acquired from beating enemies/levelled up into/etc. A universal technique list could be kept somewhere and get added to as new ones crop up for maximum QM ease. Essentially, my idea for the system looked like this (spoilered because it is lengthy):

 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

So let's say you are playing a knight. You have the option to Protect yourself/a party member, as per your class, OR you can pick an enemy and roll your attack die. At the start of each battle, a hero can build their attack die and use that for the remainder of the fight. (This whole die building thing has been a thing that has been stuck in my head since I built a die for Real Heroica, but anyway. :tongue: )

Every die starts like this!

1: Miss, 2: Miss, 3: Miss, 4: Miss, 5: Miss, 6: Miss

Not ideal.

Now, let's say that the Knight's skill tree/technique list looks like this (I'm just making a few up off the top of my head here):

  • Strike: Hit the enemy for damage equal to your WP + level. Skill cost 2.
  • Critical Strike: Hit the enemy for damage equal to your WP x2 + level. Skill cost 3.
  • Heavy Cut: Hit the enemy for damage equal to your WP + level and inflict Bleeding. Skill cost 3.
  • Shield Bash: Hit the enemy for damage equal to your shield's SP. Skill cost 1.
  • Gambit Slash: Hit the enemy for damage equal to your level + WP * number of empty slots on your die. Skill cost 2.
  • Protected Strike: Hit the enemy for damage equal to your level, and halve all damage that comes to you during the enemy's turn. Skill cost 2.

(Obviously these numbers are made up and some of these require balancing - I could see Protected Strike becoming a nightmare - but anyway.)

Now, with the caveat that the Knight starts with a cap of 12 skill points to start off with, you end up with a LOT of potential die builds right off the bat:

  • The bog standard: 1-6 are all Strike. Guaranteed damage, hardly flashy.
  • The heavy hitter: 1-4 are all Critical Strike, 5-6 are miss. Sacrificing consistency for the sake of hitting harder.
  • The gambler: 1-3 are Gambit Slash, 4-6 are miss. You might miss half the time, but hey, at least you will hit hard.
  • The coward: 1-6 are all Protected Strike. Boooooo.
  • The cautious: 1-3 are Strike, 4-6 are Protected Strike. Slightly less boo. Maybe you're dealing with tough enemies!
  • The variety show: 1-3 are Critical Strike, 4 is strike, 5 is Shield Bash, 6 is miss. Using all 12 skill cost points and using a variety of skills!
  • The "I upgraded my shield way too god damn much come at me bro": 1-6 shield bash.

Each class can make full use of their skill list to build unique builds from battle to battle, and the built die can be written out as just one line on their stat sheet. From there, as soon as QMs learn the skills (extra easy assuming some of the basic ones are shared from class to class), assuming we cut back on super complicated weapons and artefacts (which we could, because Cool Effects can be part of a class's skill list), there would be more battle to battle flexibility and less QM headaches.

...Yes, I've been thinking about this system for a while. :blush:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Endgame, while I like the build your own battle die mechanic and love the freedom of design it gives players, I think it would get really time-consuming for QM's to have to check each individual's battle die build every time they run a combat. Additionally, when-ever a new technique was added it'd need to be weighed against all other techniques to ensure it was properly balanced and couldn't be abused with other combinations.

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I think there are some really good points everyone has made.I do like Endgame's dice idea, but completely agree with WBD's concern for QMs.

WBD has a perfectly on point concern with class traits like Diplomacy and how it feels like mind control, and Kintobor brought up a good idea of eliminating less useful traits like sleep anywhere.

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Not planning to join the Heroica sequel, so take my criticisms and ideas with a grain of salt, but here's a few thoughts on my end in no particular order:

  • Effects.  Effects were broken in Heroica; doubling damage, double rerolls (good and bad), preventing entire categories of attack entirely, forcing unavoidable attacks against allies... just about every effect I can think of was either incredibly overpowered, or else completely underwhelming because some other effect did its job better (i.e. Weakened compared to Blinded).  One of the major sources of equipment getting so insane was the need for immunities and effect-dealing, with both spiraling out of control as the variety of effects dealt and received exploded in response to all the old tricks no longer working.  My suggestion, then, is twofold: regular weapons can no longer deal negative effects, ever, and immunities no longer exist, whether for elements or for effects.  Removing effects from regular weapon attacks means players can no longer kill two birds with one stone; now, if you want to put an effect on an enemy, you have to play the resource management game with either consumables or Scrolls (or whatever the sci-fi equivalent would be), which means trying to apply it comes at a cost of not dealing a regular attack.  (I almost said "at the cost of potentially allowing a Free Hit" out of pure habit, but all things considered Free Hits need to die and be reborn as full-on enemy turns, so that specific example doesn't quite pan out. :tongue: )  On the receiving side of things, immunities no longer being a thing means that neither players nor QMs can completely no-sell a given tactic, meaning actual counters and strategy need to be used to overcome them.  (That being said, resistances instead of immunities would be all right, making application of effects more difficult but not impossible while still tipping the scales in the resistance-bearer's direction.)  In addtion, I'd recommend a complete overhaul of all existing effects, positive and negative to make them less swingy.
  • Job Traits.  Something that never really made sense to me is how traits learned in one job class end up completely forgotten when the character moves on (the most egregious example, of course, being the Pet Dragon trait, but things like Diplomacy and Animal Talk seemed a bit nonsensical to just forget as well).  To that end, I suggest that out-of-battle Job Traits are no longer automatic acquisitions, but in turn are permanently kept once earned.  Obviously this means that traits like Fashionista and Pet Dragon need to be either removed or given a very high cost to gain, but in the end it seems definitely worth it.
  • Equipment.  Equipment in Heroica got way too crazy, and contrary to what one might think it was actually already pretty darn broken from the word "go".  I suggest that equipment items can only grant stats or maybe resistances if that becomes a thing, and any item that grants a new ability must take the form of either a tool (a la things like grappling hooks, jetpacks, magnet boots, etc.) or a combat roll (a la Endgame's idea; for an example, the Lens of Speed-Reading Arthur used so much back in the day might become "Speed-Caster: The character casts an elemental spell for {blah blah blah damage calculations} at the cost of one Ether, and also casts their equipped Scroll at normal Ether cost.")
  • Classes.  Heroica had a lot of classes, and they honestly got rather restrictive at times in ways that weren't fun.  I propose that we combine Kinto and Endgame's suggestions: a character's Job Traits and rolls are completely customizable, with "classes" simply being pre-packaged bundles of Job Traits and rolls that can be purchased with experience.  More "advanced" classes have higher experience costs (meaning that the scaling experience gain comes into play and also slows down stat gains), whereas players who are mostly satisfied with the abilities they have can focus on using their experience to purchase extra stat boosts.  On that note...
  • Experience.  Getting bogged down in slow level-ups at higher levels sucked.  Meanwhile, when QMing low-level Quests, each individual level-up could completely blow your difficulty curve, especially if one or more characters failed to gain experience because the fight ended with them unconscious.  Someone (Pie, maybe?) proposed something like this in General Discussion, so I also propose that characters can gain one (1) stat of their choice at level-up, rather than all their stats automatically increasing; this allows characters to customize their stat builds in a meaningful way without having to invest in equipment to do so.  Furthermore, I propose that Level is no longer factored into damage calculations, but is rather simply a measure of accumulated experience that has not yet been spent; Levels are used to purchase class-set bundles (see above), individual one-off rolls and Job Traits gained from Quests, or else spent to purchase an additional stat point if the player doesn't want to spring for a class bundle.  (The current scaling experience gain system is kept as a way to balance out saving up for more powerful rolls and class bundles, since leveling up still results in a stat increase as well.)
  • Initiative?  If the game gets rid of Free Hits and gives enemies full turns, that also eliminates the need for Battle Order to be player-determined.  I propose that characters now have an Initiative stat that determines the order they act in; PCs can increase this stat at level-up just like any other, but the "skill cost" that Endgame proposed is instead replaced by an Initiative penalty, meaning that more powerful rolls mean you act later in the turn (and yes, you can push your in-battle initiative into negative numbers).  This would take a lot of the burden off of Party Leaders, decentralizing the strategizing so that it's no longer necessary for one player in the party to coordinate the entire PC side of things, and could potentially even allow more dynamic combat encounters more akin to traditional D&D where individual actions and their consequences are calculated individually rather than having to calculate out entire rounds at once.  (This is admittedly the idea I'm least sure about, so do take it with a double dose of salt. :blush: )

Yes, this means that rolls would end up replacing equipment as the big "holy mackerel this long-time player has a lot of things to keep track of" element, but I think that by the nature of how rolls work, this would still be significantly less complex than the existing equipment system if only because there would be a vastly reduced number of interactions to keep track of (i.e. no more "SP multiplied by however many Artifacts of a given set are equipped" shenanigans, no more digging through a long and complex inventory to see exactly how some obscure item affects some specific roll, and no more having to dig through page after page of the Training Room to find a class's rolls because now they're literally right there on the character sheet).  Additionally, it gives a ton of freedom to QMs to create diverse and customized enemies, because enemy characters would have individually customized dice rolls as well to use on their turns.

 

13 hours ago, Waterbrick Down said:

Endgame, while I like the build your own battle die mechanic and love the freedom of design it gives players, I think it would get really time-consuming for QM's to have to check each individual's battle die build every time they run a combat. Additionally, when-ever a new technique was added it'd need to be weighed against all other techniques to ensure it was properly balanced and couldn't be abused with other combinations.

I actually have an easy solution for that that plays off of one of the positive additions from the end of 159: Round 0.  Basically, the battle starts with the enemies' stats and potential dice rolls listed (possibly with a "surprise round" set of enemy turns if the party was ambushed), and then the party has a set period to build their own individual dice rolls, which can't be changed once combat proper begins.  Said period would also give the party time to ask questions and get clarifications on the various mechanics of the fight, hopefully reducing confusion mid-battle and potentially heading off hurt feelings caused by mistaken assumptions thanks to the encouragement to communicate concerns beforehand.

 

A few more miscellaneous thoughts:

  • Building incentives: there needs to be an effort made to attract builders to the RPG, through both regular contests and building competitions and through various in-game rewards and/or forum badges for those who regularly build sets for other users.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, building burnout was the number one thing that got in my way in this game, both reducing my ability to host and also burning me out badly enough that it became hard to even just play, and I firmly believe I was nowhere near alone in that struggle.
  • QM reward incentives: we need a system akin to the D&D Adventurer's League where those who host Quests get in-game rewards for their PCs, as an incentive to host Quests.  Under my suggested system this would likely take the form of "bonus experience" that can be awarded to the QM's PCs as they see fit, with the amount given likely based on how much experience the participants gained (and moderated by game staff and specific guidelines to prevent abuse).

So... yeah, that's my random thoughts.  Use them as you will. :blush:

Edited by Flipz

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15 hours ago, Waterbrick Down said:

Example of features would be: Big: these races have bonuses to things involving strength, Quick: these races have bonuses to things involving speed, Mindful: these races have bonuses to things involving thought.

Good idea, though I would almost say, that you just have those rolls and then people can tie their character to it. For instance, perhaps Skrall is really the kind of Ogre who suffered from malnutrition all his life, whereas Matthias has been snacking on protein bars and shakes since the day of his creation. Suddenly Matthias is the strong gnome and Skrall is the weak Ogre, but possibly with great intellect. :grin:

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Surprised to find another Starfinder fan here Kintobor. :laugh: It's pretty much my tabletop of choice. :grin:

16 hours ago, Kintobor said:

3. What aspects of the game should be covered by mechanics? i.e. skills, combat, social interactions, character creation, etc.

I'd like to suggest the implementation of a point-buy system for abilities both in and out of combat. As simple as Heroica's character class system was to understand, it inevitably led to issues in terms of certain classes outshining others. So, here's what I'd like to suggest:

At character creation, a character purchases a combat and non-combat ability, free of charge. For example, you could purchase the rogue's combat template (steal gold if the target carries any, normal damage to all enemies) as well as the cleric's non-combat ability (healing, in this case). In order to get a different combat ability, you'd have to buy it with levels. Instead of certain classes being available at certain levels, you can purchase abilities with accumulated levels. With this system we could also develop simple skill trees: in order to obtain the Witch's combat template, you have to have either the cleric or rogue template. With non-combat abilities, a character could acquire more slots to obtain more non-combat abilities every ten levels or so. Again, just an idea. :classic:

I haven't put much thought into it, but it seemed to carry some traction when I brought it up, so who knows.

That's generally my line of thinking, but I think we should still streamline things at character creation. I think each class should get a handful of ability trees, and instead of changing classes when we hit a milestone (level 15 or 20 or whatever) you get access to another class's ability tree. As far as out-of-combat skills go, maybe getting another class' ability tree grants you their out-of-combat skill?

16 hours ago, Kintobor said:

4. How in-depth should the games mechanics go?

I feel like ultimately what needs to happen is an in-depth look at what class skills were useful and which ones weren't: the barbarians ability to rest without a bedroll, the mage's ability to cast spells outside of combat, and so on. There's a bunch there that a either super situational or are downright rarely brought up. I'd like to see some of them either resolved or outright removed. I don't think this game needs to be too complex, because the strength of the previous game was it's simplistic combat design (on paper, at least) and it's great freedom of character creation.

Oh, definitely. I absolutely do not think we should just port over Heroica classes. That'd be pretty lame. I think for whatever new classes we come up with, their out-of-combat stuff should be generally on the same level. Some were useless, others were just too versatile because of how vague they were. 

16 hours ago, Kintobor said:

5. Will the design of the general theme/genre and mechanics be group work-shopped or left to selected individuals. I.e. how democratic should the development process be?

I think this is ultimately where the benefit of a campaign setting in space. If you don't like one planet's theme, you can move to another one and have an adventure there. I do believe that ultimately the general theme/genre should initially be democratic, like what we're doing now, and then refined by a team of core storytellers who give a bit more detail to the general idea of what's been determined upon, with general updates regarding the direction of the setting before the game officially begins.

6. Should the running of the game be democratic or managed by select individuals?

I think that since this is going to be a game that lives or dies by the community. I'd like to see a few positions be democratic while others are more sit in seats to ensure that one person doesn't usurp the game and derail the story. I'm going to suggest three positions: Heroica Loremaster, Heroica Referee, and Heroica Plot Member.

The Loremaster is an individual who keeps a permanent seat on the team, and acts as the final say on approving quests, story elements, and any potential conflicting lore. The position is mainly to ensure the integrity of the game's story is maintained and a group of Plot Members don't get elected and decide to change things that would benefit themselves or tarnish another's contribution to the overall world. They also assist the Plot Members in creating major arcs, and discusses with non-Plot Member QMs about quests they intend to run.

The Referee's position is elected once a year and is held by a single member of the forum with at least one years experience in the game. An exception will be made for the first player to hold the position, but the intent is to have a player who adjudicates rules and looks into fixing any potential game-breaking class abilities, items, weapons, etc. They also are to have a general solid grasp on the game's mechanics and be the final authority when it comes to rules lawyering. 

A Plot Member works with the Loremaster to construct major arcs. They also will run quests involving the arcs they have built with the Loremaster to ensure that the Loremaster doesn't have to run all of them at once. This should hopefully help stave off QM fatigue. The position is held for a year or until the end of a major arc, at which point new Plot Members are elected to help write out the next major story arc. As a side note, one can QM and not be a Plot Master, but to be a Plot Master you must have QM'd at least twice.

I agree that world-building shouldn't be too limited by the game runners, it's what encouraged so much of the creativity behind a lot of quests in Heroica.

Interesting thought with positions. :thumbup: I don't know that elections are necessary, I don't think popular vote should determine who's qualified and who isn't. Personally, I think just a general group in charge of keeping the game running would work, but maybe with one Loremaster and one Referee with the final word on the lore/mechanical sides of the game, respectively. 

15 hours ago, Waterbrick Down said:

3. Mechanics... there's a lot things to cover here. I do believe one of the main reasons QM's burned out with Heroica RPG was the amount of time it took to not only run battles but also set them up, especially for high level heroes. The game's progression system led to a few different factors (keep in mind these are generalization of trends): 1. Heroes had more consumables. Consumables take the random aspects out of combat, instead of relying on a 1/6 chance to become Encouraged, you can drink a mead and be immediately Encouraged, 2. Heroes had more complex gear. When a QM has to worry about one character's weapon being able to deal 4 different status effects, that means four different rolls and I have to make sure that if one of those rolls does occur it doesn't completely make the rest of the battle trivial. 3. Heroes advanced classes made them more capable no matter the enemy. Part of this is tied to enemies only act on heroes turns, but statistically speaking as heroes advanced in levels it became more and more difficult for enemies to actually do damage no matter if they were a rat or an elder dragon. All of these things combined made QMing more difficult and more importantly made balance something that couldn't be maintained in the long run without extreme deviations from the rules. So when it comes to mechanics I think there are a few main categories that'll need to be figured out.

a. Character creation race: I loved Heroica RPG's openness in character creation. It meant you could have an orcish wizard or a gnome barbarian and never be penalized for your character decision. It also meant players were free to create their own races. With that being said the openness did leave a lot of vagueness when it came to other aspecs of the game. Skrall is an ogre, can he objectively lift more weight than Matthias who is a gnome? Heroica RPG didn't have a way to answer this and thus it fell upon QM's to make an off-the-cuff decision. If this was only a single game run by a single QM, they could ensure consistency, however in a game spanning 159 quests and over a dozen QM's, consistency is difficult to maintain. And without consistency players get agitated when they came to expect something, i.e. Skrall is stronger than Matthias, and a QM makes the opposite ruling. I know this is a silly example, but it demonstrates the drawback of a truly open system. Therefor I would propose a compromise, we create racial features of which any race can be categorized. These racial features allow for the openness of character creation but also allow for some consistency between QM's and between quests. Example of features would be: Big: these races have bonuses to things involving strength, Quick: these races have bonuses to things involving speed, Mindful: these races have bonuses to things involving thought.

b. Character creation class: There are things to be said for and against classes, in the end however I believe it helped give structure not only to battle roles but also character concepts. While I think we should keep classes, it's important to remember that we can only have as many classes as there are variables in the games mechanics to emphasize. If there are only two stats: How much damage you do and how much damage you can take, that results in two classes, etc.

c. Random probability: Heroica RPG is a d6 system and is a fixed percentage system. With that in mind, it meant that things that allowed for rerolls of the dice were extremely powerful. I think a continuing to use a d6 system is good because it is simple, however from a balance perspective we need to be better aware of how easily balance can be thrown off by messing with the probabilities.

d. Character progression: I think a system that is not tied to more powerful classes is a good step. In most systems there are two types of advancement, horizontal; i.e. being able to do more things and vertical, i.e. doing things better. Heroica RPG was ultimately a strictly vertical progression system with a few smatterings of horizontal. This ultimately led to powercreep and essentially an arms race. I think by allowing for more horizontal advancement this will keep things more easily controllable. I think the skill tree idea is a very good start and I'd lobby that incorporating an action system where in character's actions themselves in combat or social situations are not determined by a die result, but where the die results details how well the perform that action is a much better fit.

e. Combat: I'm ok with the D6 system, but I agree with previous criticism that enemies need to have their own minds and have to have their actions independent of the heroes. A smart enemy might figure out that they need to take down the healer first, however in Heroica RPG you simply need to make sure the cleric never targets that smart enemy. By divorcing these two things I think that will go a long way. Also on the subject of combat, while I don't think playing on a grid is the way to go, I think we can land somewhere in between. I can't recall the game but every combat encounter consisted of front and back rows and the heroes/enemies arrayed in a line. Heroes and enemies could only target those either directly in front of them or on their diagonals. Back rows could only be hit with ranged attacks or if the entire front row was cleared. Enemies and heroes could spend their turn moving between rows. I think something like this might be a good compromise between the totally open system of Heroica RPG and the full on tactical combat of historical miniature battles.

f. Social encounters: I think social encounters need some rules behind them. While I know most folks liked the simplicity of the Diplomacy/Intimidation job traits, there was a tendency to assume the traits worked like mind-control. That's not to say those with the traits shouldn't have an advantage in those situations, but I think there needs to be some sort of statistical element that allows for potential failure. Likewise such a system wouldn't exclude any from attempting social interactions simply because they didn't have specific job traits.

a. So as races are introduced to the game, the game runners assign one or two racial traits to them much like a class' out-of-combat skills? As long the game runners can keep up with the introduction of these races, it's a really cool idea.

b. I think with a science fantasy setting there are lot more options when it comes to figuring out classes. Most archetypes can be worked into such a setting, IE, space knights and the like. I still think class fantasy should be emphasized more than in Heroica.

c. Yeah, re-rolling is simply too powerful, I think we've all learned that much. :laugh:

d. Exactly my thinking. Instead of this:

SHIELD: Summon – The evoker spends 1 ether to call forth an elemental spirit to aid them in battle (see Summoning). If a spirit has already been summoned, it will perform a Summon Burst that damages all opponents equal to two times the evoker’s level at the cost of 1 ether per damaged opponent. If all ether is depleted, nothing happens.

CRITICAL HIT/GREAT SPELL: The evoker attacks or spends 1 ether to cast an elemental spell with strength equal to two times their weapon power added to their level. (e.g. WP 10x 2 + Level 15 = 35 (elemental) damage)

HIT/SPELL: The evoker attacks or spends 1 ether to cast an elemental spell with strength equal to their weapon power added to their level. (e.g. WP 10 + Level 15 = 25 (elemental) damage)

AIM/SPELL AIM: The evoker focuses their strike to attack their target with strength equal to their weapon power only. The evoker can spend 1 ether to aim an elemental spell with the same power instead.

DAMAGE: The evoker is struck by the opponent’s attack.

SPECIAL DAMAGE: The evoker is struck by the opponent’s special skill.

We have something more along the lines of this (and for evoker, its spell-casting equivalent):

FLAWLES HIT:  The hero lands a perfect strike, attacking with strength equal to five times their weapon power added to their level. (e.g. WP 10 x 5 + Level 15 = 65 damage)

CRITICAL HIT: The hero attacks with strength equal to two times their weapon power added to their level. (e.g. WP 10x 2 + Level 15 = 35 damage)

HIT: The hero attacks with strength equal to their weapon power added to their level. (e.g. WP 10 + Level 15 = 25 damage)

GRAZE: The hero only barely hit their target with strength equal to their weapon power only.

MISS: The hero misses their target.

CRITICAL MISS: The hero misses their target, and their weapon becomes inoperable for the next round.

...and this.

PERFECT SUMMON:  The evoker spends 3 ether to call forth an immensely powerful elemental spirit to aid them in battle with strength equal to their level x 5.

GREATER SUMMON: The evoker spends 2 ether to call forth a powerful elemental spirit to aid them in battle with strength equal to their level x 3.

SUMMON: The evoker spends 1 ether to call forth an elemental spirit to aid them in battle with strength equal to their level x 2.

WEAK SUMMON: The evoker spends 1 ether but struggles to call forth an elemental spirit to aid them in battle, with strength equal only to their level.

NO SUMMON: The hero fails to summon an elemental spirit.

SUMMON BACKFIRE: The hero spends 1 ether to try and call forth an elemental spirit, but angers it, taking damage equal to their level.

e. I'm somewhat reminded of Darkest Dungeon the way you describe this: in that game, both heroes and enemies are arranged in a specific order (Crusaders up front, Arbalests in the back, etc) and your main determiner in doing so is that your attacks can only be used from certain positions to target certain positions. Perhaps something similar is in order; sniper attacks can only be used from the back lines to target mid or back lines, melee attacks can only be used from the front to target the front, reach weapons like polearms can only be used from the front but can target front or mid, etc. It'd provide a bit of weapon variety, keep ranges somewhat relevant, and prevent ranged weapons from just being outright better, which bothered me in Heroica. 

f. I see your points. If that's the case, I do think skills should be rolled for, like in other tabletop games. Like, let's say anybody can attempt diplomacy, but our charismatic space knights or whatever gain a +1 when rolling for diplomacy. Perhaps when you hit certain milestones you can improve one of your skills. Perhaps an NPC's level could be tied to how high you'd need to roll. Kind of dancing on the edge of becoming DnD in that respect, but I agree that it's too vague as it stands.

2 hours ago, Flipz said:

Not planning to join the Heroica sequel, so take my criticisms and ideas with a grain of salt, but here's a few thoughts on my end in no particular order:

  • Effects.  Effects were broken in Heroica; doubling damage, double rerolls (good and bad), preventing entire categories of attack entirely, forcing unavoidable attacks against allies... just about every effect I can think of was either incredibly overpowered, or else completely underwhelming because some other effect did its job better (i.e. Weakened compared to Blinded).  One of the major sources of equipment getting so insane was the need for immunities and effect-dealing, with both spiraling out of control as the variety of effects dealt and received exploded in response to all the old tricks no longer working.  My suggestion, then, is twofold: regular weapons can no longer deal negative effects, ever, and immunities no longer exist, whether for elements or for effects.  Removing effects from regular weapon attacks means players can no longer kill two birds with one stone; now, if you want to put an effect on an enemy, you have to play the resource management game with either consumables or Scrolls (or whatever the sci-fi equivalent would be), which means trying to apply it comes at a cost of not dealing a regular attack.  (I almost said "at the cost of potentially allowing a Free Hit" out of pure habit, but all things considered Free Hits need to die and be reborn as full-on enemy turns, so that specific example doesn't quite pan out. :tongue: )  On the receiving side of things, immunities no longer being a thing means that neither players nor QMs can completely no-sell a given tactic, meaning actual counters and strategy need to be used to overcome them.  (That being said, resistances instead of immunities would be all right, making application of effects more difficult but not impossible while still tipping the scales in the resistance-bearer's direction.)  In addtion, I'd recommend a complete overhaul of all existing effects, positive and negative to make them less swingy.
  • Job Traits.  Something that never really made sense to me is how traits learned in one job class end up completely forgotten when the character moves on (the most egregious example, of course, being the Pet Dragon trait, but things like Diplomacy and Animal Talk seemed a bit nonsensical to just forget as well).  To that end, I suggest that out-of-battle Job Traits are no longer automatic acquisitions, but in turn are permanently kept once earned.  Obviously this means that traits like Fashionista and Pet Dragon need to be either removed or given a very high cost to gain, but in the end it seems definitely worth it.
  • Equipment.  Equipment in Heroica got way too crazy, and contrary to what one might think it was actually already pretty darn broken from the word "go".  I suggest that equipment items can only grant stats or maybe resistances if that becomes a thing, and any item that grants a new ability must take the form of either a tool (a la things like grappling hooks, jetpacks, magnet boots, etc.) or a combat roll (a la Endgame's idea; for an example, the Lens of Speed-Reading Arthur used so much back in the day might become "Speed-Caster: The character casts an elemental spell for {blah blah blah damage calculations} at the cost of one Ether, and also casts their equipped Scroll at normal Ether cost.")
  • Classes.  Heroica had a lot of classes, and they honestly got rather restrictive at times in ways that weren't fun.  I propose that we combine Kinto and Endgame's suggestions: a character's Job Traits and rolls are completely customizable, with "classes" simply being pre-packaged bundles of Job Traits and rolls that can be purchased with experience.  More "advanced" classes have higher experience costs (meaning that the scaling experience gain comes into play and also slows down stat gains), whereas players who are mostly satisfied with the abilities they have can focus on using their experience to purchase extra stat boosts.  On that note...
  • Experience.  Getting bogged down in slow level-ups at higher levels sucked.  Meanwhile, when QMing low-level Quests, each individual level-up could completely blow your difficulty curve, especially if one or more characters failed to gain experience because the fight ended with them unconscious.  Someone (Pie, maybe?) proposed something like this in General Discussion, so I also propose that characters can gain one (1) stat of their choice at level-up, rather than all their stats automatically increasing; this allows characters to customize their stat builds in a meaningful way without having to invest in equipment to do so.  Furthermore, I propose that Level is no longer factored into damage calculations, but is rather simply a measure of accumulated experience that has not yet been spent; Levels are used to purchase class-set bundles (see above), individual one-off rolls and Job Traits gained from Quests, or else spent to purchase an additional stat point if the player doesn't want to spring for a class bundle.  (The current scaling experience gain system is kept as a way to balance out saving up for more powerful rolls and class bundles, since leveling up still results in a stat increase as well.)
  • Initiative?  If the game gets rid of Free Hits and gives enemies full turns, that also eliminates the need for Battle Order to be player-determined.  I propose that characters now have an Initiative stat that determines the order they act in; PCs can increase this stat at level-up just like any other, but the "skill cost" that Endgame proposed is instead replaced by an Initiative penalty, meaning that more powerful rolls mean you act later in the turn (and yes, you can push your in-battle initiative into negative numbers).  This would take a lot of the burden off of Party Leaders, decentralizing the strategizing so that it's no longer necessary for one player in the party to coordinate the entire PC side of things, and could potentially even allow more dynamic combat encounters more akin to traditional D&D where individual actions and their consequences are calculated individually rather than having to calculate out entire rounds at once.  (This is admittedly the idea I'm least sure about, so do take it with a double dose of salt. :blush: )

 

 

I actually have an easy solution for that that plays off of one of the positive additions from the end of 159: Round 0.  Basically, the battle starts with the enemies' stats and potential dice rolls listed (possibly with a "surprise round" set of enemy turns if the party was ambushed), and then the party has a set period to build their own individual dice rolls, which can't be changed once combat proper begins.  Said period would also give the party time to ask questions and get clarifications on the various mechanics of the fight, hopefully reducing confusion mid-battle and potentially heading off hurt feelings caused by mistaken assumptions thanks to the encouragement to communicate concerns beforehand.

 

A few more miscellaneous thoughts:

  • Building incentives: there needs to be an effort made to attract builders to the RPG, through both regular contests and building competitions and through various in-game rewards and/or forum badges for those who regularly build sets for other users.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, building burnout was the number one thing that got in my way in this game, both reducing my ability to host and also burning me out badly enough that it became hard to even just play, and I firmly believe I was nowhere near alone in that struggle.
  • QM reward incentives: we need a system akin to the D&D Adventurer's League where those who host Quests get in-game rewards for their PCs, as an incentive to host Quests.  Under my suggested system this would likely take the form of "bonus experience" that can be awarded to the QM's PCs as they see fit, with the amount given likely based on how much experience the participants gained (and moderated by game staff and specific guidelines to prevent abuse).

So... yeah, that's my random thoughts.  Use them as you will. :blush:

Effects need an overhaul. Absolutely. Too much all-or-nothing. Instead of Lucky, maybe Accurate: +1 to weapon attack rolls. Maybe Blinded is a -1 in the same respect. That sort of thing.

Job Traits. I keep calling them skills. I completely forgot they already had names. :blush: Whoops. I think this is a given if we're dropping the whole class changing thing, which personally I really think we should, but if we're not then I still agree that skills should be divorced from your class once you've acquired them: space knight might be the reason you have a +1 diplomacy in the first place, but you shouldn't lose it if you become capable of changing your class later.

Agreed as far as equipment goes. I don't even think one-of-a-kind items (and definitely powers) should be a thing. I think if a GM introduces a cool new equipment item, it should become available in whatever hub we come up with after the quest is done.

I'm still like halfway with ya'll on this. :laugh: I agree that classes should be nothing more than job traits + combat actions rolled together, but I still am strongly against being to change them entirely. I think whenever you would normally change classes, or advance classes, or whatever, I think that you should instead get to take a 'piece' of another class. Say you're some sort of space rogue and you just hit level 15. You can choose to become a little more Protective (you get the Protect action and a job trait related to that) or maybe become Magical (you get the Spell action and and an inevitably nerfed version of Spellcasting), but at heart I think you should remain a space rogue.

Yeah, this was my line of thinking when I drafted a whole bunch of stuff two years ago. I still agree with parts of it, but I really don't like the idea of making someone weaker because they wanted to try other cool new class stuff. If you scale things based on unspent experience points it's just discouraging players from trying new stuff. I like the idea of being able to point stat points into stats you want, outside of a basic + 1 to each when you level up for scaling purposes: power, health, ether/other class resource. But I don't think you should be made to choose between this and alternate class options. Additionally, the advantage of using level is that everyone has one and there is always a minimum baseline for the purposes of damage scaling. Even if you pump every extra stat point into health, you should still be able to damage enemies reliably, which is what using level does. I think your power stat should be your level + whatever points you into power, and that's what your damage scales off of.

I'm on board with an initiative stat instead of battle order. I think it should be a stat, it gets added your d6 roll. But I still think heroes and enemies should remained confined to their own turns: all heroes go, then all enemies. If you put enemies between heroes that's only going to bring conditionals back in full force, something that has to be avoided.

2 hours ago, Flipz said:

Yes, this means that rolls would end up replacing equipment as the big "holy mackerel this long-time player has a lot of things to keep track of" element, but I think that by the nature of how rolls work, this would still be significantly less complex than the existing equipment system if only because there would be a vastly reduced number of interactions to keep track of (i.e. no more "SP multiplied by however many Artifacts of a given set are equipped" shenanigans, no more digging through a long and complex inventory to see exactly how some obscure item affects some specific roll, and no more having to dig through page after page of the Training Room to find a class's rolls because now they're literally right there on the character sheet).  Additionally, it gives a ton of freedom to QMs to create diverse and customized enemies, because enemy characters would have individually customized dice rolls as well to use on their turns.

I actually have an easy solution for that that plays off of one of the positive additions from the end of 159: Round 0.  Basically, the battle starts with the enemies' stats and potential dice rolls listed (possibly with a "surprise round" set of enemy turns if the party was ambushed), and then the party has a set period to build their own individual dice rolls, which can't be changed once combat proper begins.  Said period would also give the party time to ask questions and get clarifications on the various mechanics of the fight, hopefully reducing confusion mid-battle and potentially heading off hurt feelings caused by mistaken assumptions thanks to the encouragement to communicate concerns beforehand.

 

A few more miscellaneous thoughts:

  • Building incentives: there needs to be an effort made to attract builders to the RPG, through both regular contests and building competitions and through various in-game rewards and/or forum badges for those who regularly build sets for other users.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, building burnout was the number one thing that got in my way in this game, both reducing my ability to host and also burning me out badly enough that it became hard to even just play, and I firmly believe I was nowhere near alone in that struggle.
  • QM reward incentives: we need a system akin to the D&D Adventurer's League where those who host Quests get in-game rewards for their PCs, as an incentive to host Quests.  Under my suggested system this would likely take the form of "bonus experience" that can be awarded to the QM's PCs as they see fit, with the amount given likely based on how much experience the participants gained (and moderated by game staff and specific guidelines to prevent abuse).

So... yeah, that's my random thoughts.  Use them as you will. :blush:

As much as I like Endgame's battle die idea it's just way way too much to keep track of as a GM in my opinion.

I think more build incentive is a great idea and yes, it's one of the main reasons hosting became an issue for me. QM incentive is also a great idea and bonus experience is a really straightforward way to do it. :thumbup:

 

Edited by CMP

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16 hours ago, Waterbrick Down said:

Endgame, while I like the build your own battle die mechanic and love the freedom of design it gives players, I think it would get really time-consuming for QM's to have to check each individual's battle die build every time they run a combat. Additionally, when-ever a new technique was added it'd need to be weighed against all other techniques to ensure it was properly balanced and couldn't be abused with other combinations.

I certainly agree that it adds complexity. I would second Flipz' suggestion for a one time round-zero, where you build your die and then you're off to the races for the rest of the fight, but even then I could see things getting complicated (Round Ones of battle would always be something of a doozy because you have new rolls to adjust to, and if you got a party that loves switching up their combat die...) Some potential additional workarounds/thoughts:

-Paring down effects/equipment/armor/weapon/what have you to be less maddening. I second Flipz idea that weapons/artifacts should apply stat bonuses at best and nothing else; I will personally apologize for unleashing Combrys, the Overkill gloves, all of the Dragon Armor, and all the weirdly-similarly-named-Oculoid items. :laugh: I think we all agree that we need to do this regardless - the custom die system would surplant the complexity and inventory digging of the old equipment system, while hopefully being less utterly confusing/not-uniform.

-Proper naming of the techniques would go a looong way to making it easier for QMs to know what does what. I still have to check how certain advanced/expert classes handle each of their rolls (some shields and criticals become lunacy, especially when you throw in Double Strike or weapon effects), but if we agree on a nomenclature for techniques (say Devastating means that damage is equal to lvl + WPx3, Critical is lvl + WPx2, Slice inflicts Bleeding, and Strike is milquetoast, then I already know how to calculate the Strike, Slice, Critical Strike, Critical Slice, Devastating Strike, and Devastating Slice techniques out of the box.)

-Technique balance is my long term concern. They would all have to be pre-approved before they are handed out in quests, and a universal list of a not-insane number would be kept. Standardization is the system's greatest benefit, in my mind. The good news is, with each technique having a skill cost, you could balance certain ones by making them more or less expensive. Long term it'd have to require heavy monitoring, though.

In summary: first rounds for QMs would be slightly harder (and I say slightly because how many QMs actually made it through a round of battle without glancing at the heroes' stat sheets once? Basically only for level 1 characters is my experience, but maybe I'm wrong?), build variety becomes cooler from battle to battle, something fills the complexity/depth gulf caused by simplifying items/equips/weapons... could potentially be a ticking time bomb if someone figures out game breaking combos. :blush: I'll keep tinkering and maybe run a test battle or two to see how it works.

 

3 hours ago, Flipz said:

*Good Stuff*

I will give Heavy Agrees on the parts about status effects and trimming down artefacts/weapons, and Agrees on changing levelling and QM incentives. Job Traits becoming permanent seems to me like it could result in one character becoming an all powerful jack of all trades, whereas I am assuming we want to promote more horizontal progression... although becoming a jack of all trades might be the apex of horizontal progression, I feel like you should still need to pick something and stick with it, just so you can't do everything under the sun at once.

16 hours ago, Kintobor said:

I think that since this is going to be a game that lives or dies by the community. I'd like to see a few positions be democratic while others are more sit in seats to ensure that one person doesn't usurp the game and derail the story. I'm going to suggest three positions: Heroica Loremaster, Heroica Referee, and Heroica Plot Member.

 

I think collectively we've been pretty good collectively at Loremastering and respecting eachother, but a Plot Committee and someone/someone(s) who make mechanical rulings would be a good idea.

 

EDIT: And now I see that CMP has posted a lot of what I will assume to be Good Stuff, so I will dive into that after these Thanksgiving leftovers are taken care of.:laugh:

Edited by Endgame

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I would love an open sci-fi fantasy setting. Similar to R.I.F.T.S. Or shadowrun with a wide range of high tech and magic.  Some sort of modifiers for race would be fun. But if those were In place vindsval might never have been created since he was outside the established races. Regardless I had a great time these past 4 or was it 5 years. Count me In whatever we come up with. 

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So much to comment on. I'm in agreement I think with most folks that effects became too ridiculous and added to the challenge of keeping things balanced. I really recommend the addition of resistances as opposed to immunities, while it may make the math slightly more complex, I think it yields great strides in terms of efficiency of combat creation.

On the subject of equipment and weapons, I'm a little more torn. I think there is something special about unique items and the freedom that comes in creating them just like the freedom of race creation. They are great ways to have players remember past adventures and help build the lore of a setting. If anyone could go out and buy a "Holy Avenger" sword, would it really be that cool if you took it out of the hoard of a giant space dragon? I don't think the answer to lessening the complexity of the game is getting rid of unique weapons, but making sure they don't break the statistics of the game in the first place.

Concerning Job Traits/Skills, I agree once they are learned they should be kept for a character. However I think this needs to be counterbalanced by the fact that if players focus more of their advancement on gaining new job traits/skills they give up the opportunity to hone the ones they already have. I also think job traits/skills should have some form of pre-requisites as this will help cut back on people picking and choosing to create the most "optimized" build for the entire game.

Initiative I'm fine with, but as CMP mentioned we need to keep the heroes and enemies actions separate in order to cut back on all of the conditional actions.

Regarding stats, I agree with CMP I think level is a necessary evil in order to keep everything in balance. It creates a common denominator that can always be depended upon for rough calculations and approximations. However I do think that it should have less of an impact on things like combat in comparison to Heroica RPG.

On a completely different subject, I don't know if we're considering keeping elemental damage, but I think it would be beneficial to also create an armor/weapon type triangle of weaknesses. Thus giving some flexibility both to heroes and to enemies for specialization. i.e. A character could have blast armor which is really good at absorbing energy weapons, but terrible against piercing physical weapons. This would allow enemies to be potentially dangerous to certain heroes without totally disregarding their investment in armor.

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I would love to see more Fantasy. But taking forms from let's say Steampunk, I'm all for that. Truly scifi, hmm. Sure you attract more people but you also deter people (like me).

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10 hours ago, Waterbrick Down said:

On the subject of equipment and weapons, I'm a little more torn. I think there is something special about unique items and the freedom that comes in creating them just like the freedom of race creation. They are great ways to have players remember past adventures and help build the lore of a setting. If anyone could go out and buy a "Holy Avenger" sword, would it really be that cool if you took it out of the hoard of a giant space dragon? I don't think the answer to lessening the complexity of the game is getting rid of unique weapons, but making sure they don't break the statistics of the game in the first place.

Concerning Job Traits/Skills, I agree once they are learned they should be kept for a character. However I think this needs to be counterbalanced by the fact that if players focus more of their advancement on gaining new job traits/skills they give up the opportunity to hone the ones they already have. I also think job traits/skills should have some form of pre-requisites as this will help cut back on people picking and choosing to create the most "optimized" build for the entire game.

On a completely different subject, I don't know if we're considering keeping elemental damage, but I think it would be beneficial to also create an armor/weapon type triangle of weaknesses. Thus giving some flexibility both to heroes and to enemies for specialization. i.e. A character could have blast armor which is really good at absorbing energy weapons, but terrible against piercing physical weapons. This would allow enemies to be potentially dangerous to certain heroes without totally disregarding their investment in armor.

Point A) I think unique weapons should be kept, as that was always a fun way to show what you've earned from quests, as well as character specific items for your story. As you said, making sure they don't become game-breaking is important. Would a way to middle-ground be introducing a similar unique item for everyone? Say it's a weaker version of the original?

Point B) Pre-reqs would be helpful, but until we have an idea of classes, I'm a little confused on how these pre-reqs would work, or at least I'm having trouble visualizing them. Going back to the diplomacy idea, would it be you get Diplomacy, and then you can purchase Intimidate after you've purchased Diplomacy, or you can upgrade Diplomacy?

Point C) I think elemental damage should be kept, especially things like freezing, burning, and pure energy. But the armor changes would be great to include as players will have options, and maybe combat will be more balanced.

6 hours ago, Alfadas said:

I would love to see more Fantasy. But taking forms from let's say Steampunk, I'm all for that. Truly scifi, hmm. Sure you attract more people but you also deter people (like me).

I think that's why science-fantasy is being leaned towards more, as that can fit just about everything possible.

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16 hours ago, Waterbrick Down said:

So much to comment on. I'm in agreement I think with most folks that effects became too ridiculous and added to the challenge of keeping things balanced. I really recommend the addition of resistances as opposed to immunities, while it may make the math slightly more complex, I think it yields great strides in terms of efficiency of combat creation.

On the subject of equipment and weapons, I'm a little more torn. I think there is something special about unique items and the freedom that comes in creating them just like the freedom of race creation. They are great ways to have players remember past adventures and help build the lore of a setting. If anyone could go out and buy a "Holy Avenger" sword, would it really be that cool if you took it out of the hoard of a giant space dragon? I don't think the answer to lessening the complexity of the game is getting rid of unique weapons, but making sure they don't break the statistics of the game in the first place.

On a completely different subject, I don't know if we're considering keeping elemental damage, but I think it would be beneficial to also create an armor/weapon type triangle of weaknesses. Thus giving some flexibility both to heroes and to enemies for specialization. i.e. A character could have blast armor which is really good at absorbing energy weapons, but terrible against piercing physical weapons. This would allow enemies to be potentially dangerous to certain heroes without totally disregarding their investment in armor.

The problem isn't that some items were overpowered. It's that a bunch of small modifiers can add up. Few people are ultra powerful because of one single item. Nerfing items can be taken a lot more personally than just nerfing abilities across the board, I feel. Additionally, notice how everyone incredibly powerful was either a rogue or came up with a way of farming gold endlessly. I really think we should avoid using artifacts and whatnot for the sole reason that they're material objects. Gold shouldn't be a measure of how powerful someone is.

On that last note, I have something I've been meaning to add but keep forgetting to. This is one of the few ideas I had back in the day that I feel has aged pretty well, so I'm just gonna cut and paste it here:

Kinetic damage is as ancient as the oldest races, but it sure is still effective. Everything from bullets to explosive shrapnel to sticks and rocks and the claws of hostile wildlife is kinetic. Kinetic damage deals 50% more damage to vulnerable health bars, but only deal half as much damage to heavy armor bars. 
Elemental damage is unorthodox, but it’s more than earned its place on the battlefield. Ice such as from cryo weapons, incendiary fire damage, and crippling acid and toxins are all elemental. Elemental damage deals 50% more damage when melting through armor bars, but deals only half damage against shield bars.
Energy damage is the most cutting-edge tech one can efficiently dish out. High-end plasma weaponry, electromagnetic ion weaponry, even antiquated laser ‘beam’ weapons – all of it boils down to energy. Energy damage deals 50% more damage to shield bars, but only half damage against health bars.
 

Lifted pretty much straight from Mass Effect. :laugh: Because at the end of the day, I think the elemental and enemy type system just didn't work. This encourages heroes to have a few different weapons (no weapon can deal two types of damage), it kills the headache of calculating elemental multipliers, it ensures enemies aren't just straight up immune to certain weapons, and doesn't go overboard with how effective a certain weapon can be. It would also get rid of SP and defenses.

Basically, instead of elemental types, immunities, and defenses, enemies will have one or more bars of damage you need to get through. Shields first, then armor, then health, though none but the strongest enemies will actually have all three. Armor can be anything from mechanical parts to natural plate armor, so you could even throw it on wild animals and whatnot. Basically, you just mix and match whatever is appropriate.

Obviously it'll need to be altered if we do a non science fantasy setting. But I think the foundation of it is pretty sound. Let me know what you all think. Looking at it now, we should probably add a damage type (and a mental defense to match) for whatever magical force or psychic energy or whatever we decide to use in place of straight up magic.

5 hours ago, KotZ said:

Point A) I think unique weapons should be kept, as that was always a fun way to show what you've earned from quests, as well as character specific items for your story. As you said, making sure they don't become game-breaking is important. Would a way to middle-ground be introducing a similar unique item for everyone? Say it's a weaker version of the original?

It's true, I'm just concerned about the long-term. Nobody intentionally make overpowered or broken items, but in conjunction with others the effect compounds.

Edited by CMP

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23 hours ago, Endgame said:

Job Traits becoming permanent seems to me like it could result in one character becoming an all powerful jack of all trades, whereas I am assuming we want to promote more horizontal progression... although becoming a jack of all trades might be the apex of horizontal progression, I feel like you should still need to pick something and stick with it, just so you can't do everything under the sun at once.

I'm with Endgame on this. If job traits are permanent, then if things were working in the Heroica fashion, one could simply jump to every class to acquire the new skills. Pretty sure, you already thought of that already, but I seriously contemplated doing that with Pretzel, switching to a different job class for quests and then returning to Artisan whenever I went to the marketplace. :grin: 

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26 minutes ago, Palathadric said:

I'm with Endgame on this. If job traits are permanent, then if things were working in the Heroica fashion, one could simply jump to every class to acquire the new skills. Pretty sure, you already thought of that already, but I seriously contemplated doing that with Pretzel, switching to a different job class for quests and then returning to Artisan whenever I went to the marketplace. :grin: 

What about something like this:

Classes A, B, and C have access Traits 1, 2, and 3 when they have the skill points to unlock. Classes D, E, and F have access to Traits 4, 5, and 6 when they have they skill points to unlock. Neither Group ABC or Group DEF can access the traits of the other group until they reach Level X, or max out one Trait, or similar?

I think making traits permanent is a step in the right direction, but class jumping will be an issue. Maybe divorce traits from classes is the solution, as I believe has been mentioned.

 

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22 hours ago, Waterbrick Down said:

So much to comment on. I'm in agreement I think with most folks that effects became too ridiculous and added to the challenge of keeping things balanced. I really recommend the addition of resistances as opposed to immunities, while it may make the math slightly more complex, I think it yields great strides in terms of efficiency of combat creation.

On the subject of equipment and weapons, I'm a little more torn. I think there is something special about unique items and the freedom that comes in creating them just like the freedom of race creation. They are great ways to have players remember past adventures and help build the lore of a setting. If anyone could go out and buy a "Holy Avenger" sword, would it really be that cool if you took it out of the hoard of a giant space dragon? I don't think the answer to lessening the complexity of the game is getting rid of unique weapons, but making sure they don't break the statistics of the game in the first place.

Concerning Job Traits/Skills, I agree once they are learned they should be kept for a character. However I think this needs to be counterbalanced by the fact that if players focus more of their advancement on gaining new job traits/skills they give up the opportunity to hone the ones they already have. I also think job traits/skills should have some form of pre-requisites as this will help cut back on people picking and choosing to create the most "optimized" build for the entire game.

Initiative I'm fine with, but as CMP mentioned we need to keep the heroes and enemies actions separate in order to cut back on all of the conditional actions.

Regarding stats, I agree with CMP I think level is a necessary evil in order to keep everything in balance. It creates a common denominator that can always be depended upon for rough calculations and approximations. However I do think that it should have less of an impact on things like combat in comparison to Heroica RPG.

On a completely different subject, I don't know if we're considering keeping elemental damage, but I think it would be beneficial to also create an armor/weapon type triangle of weaknesses. Thus giving some flexibility both to heroes and to enemies for specialization. i.e. A character could have blast armor which is really good at absorbing energy weapons, but terrible against piercing physical weapons. This would allow enemies to be potentially dangerous to certain heroes without totally disregarding their investment in armor.

Honestly?  What is there to add to a weapon other than "also deals {x} elemental damage" and/or "also deals {x} special effect" and or "deals damage to {x} number of enemies using {y} mechanic"?  All of those are things that are the domain of other items and abilities (specifically elemental spells, scrolls, and SHIELD rolls), and what we lose in cool factor we make up in terms of mechanical simplicity.  I remember back in the day when mundane weapons -- even starter weapons -- had enough sentimental value for people to use them.  The "Holy Avenger Sword" won from the tomb of a space dracolich is still an awesome reward, but now it's because of how it was gotten more than what it can do.

Something to keep in mind is that Job Traits don't need to be automatically gained, but rather take time to learn.  I suppose upgrades could work, but honestly I think that Job Traits that have mechanical effects (i.e. Wild Mind, Pet Dragon, etc.) should either not exist or should be a vast, vast minority; to my mind, Job Traits should be more focused on skills and skill checks from D&D than mechanically changing how characters battle, with combat-focused Job Traits being turned into dice rolls instead.

I honestly dislike the way that Level was factored into damage calculations; it did its fair share of contributing to power creep in damage dealt and enemy HP bar size, and made it harder for low-level players to contribute at all to high-level parties.  (Yes, WP and SP were worse for that, but hopefully this game won't make the same mistake of letting players generate their own wealth and thus the economy becomes the sole domain of QMs, limiting how bad weapon upgrades can feasibly get.)  By divorcing Level from damage output, it allows even the absolute barest novice to still be able to hang with the big guys to some extent, and will overall make the numbers involved in calculations smaller (and thus make damage calculations easier).

I honestly cannot recommend the Fire Emblem weapon triangle enough, particularly the variation seen in Fates; in Fates, there was the normal rock-paper-scissors of Swords>Axes>Spears/Lances>Swords for melee weapons, but the system was also expanded to include ranged options: Magic lumped in the Red category with Swords, Bows lumped in the Green category with Axes, and Daggers/Shuriken lumped in the Blue category with Lances.  (Yes, the official name for throwing weapons was "Hidden Weapons", but that's dumb and I refuse to use it. :tongue: )  Now, if making a triangle or square out of weapon types to, for example, match Pie's damage type system sounds restrictive, don't worry, there's plenty of room for customization; Fates in particular had the Reaver weapons (i.e. the Swordreaver axe; called Dual in Fates but that'd be confusing given how Heroica's used the term in the past) that reverse the weapon triangle, as well as Slayer weapons (i.e. Dragonslayer sword vs. wyvern units and manake, Swordcatcher lance vs. units using a sword) that deal triple weapon damage to certain units, and even magic versions of physical weapons that dealt damage using the units Mag stat against the enemy's Res stat the way magic and Dragonstones did.  Aside from Slayer weapons, the weapon triangle primarily focused on improving odds to hit and reducing odds to get hit rather than actual damage numbers, so it could be a good system here to reduce the chances of getting to stack damage multipliers.

...That got a little infodump-y, so to explain: I never liked how weapon types effectively ended up being "hey, see this sweet new class you think works well for your character?  Well screw you, it uses none of the weapon types you've invested so much time and resources into!" rather than having actual, tangible meaning to them.  A weapon triangle (or square, or pentagon, or whatever) system would help make weapon choice a bit more meaningful.

Oh, and to recommend another Fire Emblem element, maybe ranged weapons should act like bows in FE, so that when using them you're vulnerable to melee attacks somehow?  Just a thought; 1-2 range weapons are kinda OP in FE, so separating everything out into 1 range or 2 range could be a good idea.

I don't like the idea of the class you start out with determining the entire rest of your time in the game, especially if this goes with multiple starting classes again.  It's something that really annoyed me in Heroica 1.0, and I think that level of restrictiveness should stay there in the past.

 

As far as theme, I can't believe I forgot to plug Nexo Knights as a great example for the starting aesthetic, just to drive home the science-fantasy nature of the theme.  Just a thought.  :wink:

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I will fully admit I want to read this but am only skimming at the moment. I have a few thoughts - will go back and re-read more carefully.

As a long time QM and player - Heroica was incredibly easy to run while the heroes were low level, extremely hard to run at higher levels. We want to streamline things, to make them more complicated.

I see WBD (almost called you Skrall...) talking about more horizontal growth instead of vertical growth. I STRONGLY agree with this. CMP gives a great example too with each class having a base skill they can use to help their allies in combat. This is something that makes a lot of sense to me. I was originally going to propose only three classes (with maybe branches later): Offensive / Support(This would be both buffs and debuts) / Healing(Tank). They would all be able to "dip into" each other's territory, but would be VERY good at what they do. This would make for collaborative play and still allow for diverse strategy without making things overly complicated. That being said, I also really like CMP's idea of dividing those things out over multiple classes.

I suggested this in another thread, but I think the best way to allow people to power up is to let them increase one stat every time they get XP. This means that someone could get decently powerful, but mixed parties of new and older players wouldn't be a nightmare. Using our current stats let's say we have a hero who has gotten 10 XP and one that has no XP (assuming, randomly, that we start each stat at "2").

10 Hero
Power: 7
SP: 3
Health: 6/6
Ether: 2

1 Hero
Power: 2
SP: 2
Health: 2/2
Ether: 2

It looks tough, but imagine the enemies are balanced for it - and a level 10 hero would have probably been on 2 quests while the 1 hero has been on none. It also, importantly, allows for people playing the same class to really customize their build without a zillion artifacts. If you want to be a really heavy hitter with no protection, that's fine. If you want to be a spell caster with lots of ether but no power, that's fine. A spell caster with lots of armor and health that needs to constantly replenish ether? That's fine too. Etc.

I have a lot of ideas for story as well, but feel we should hash out character creation/stats first. I'm in favor of more challenging dice rolls, but again don't want to overcomplicate things. I'd love to host, but the reality of the situation is I don't have 3 hours to run a round of combat.

My final BOLD suggestion is (I can go more in depth about this, and haven't thought out all of the mechanics, but am interested in what people think: TWO HEALTH POOLS. In my mind (we were always going sci-fi) they'd be called "Shield" and "Health". Shield can be replenished relatively easily between battles and during, and acts as a barrier to Health. Health, on the other hand, is extremely expensive/difficult to replenish (in my earlier example I think maybe only the healer class would be able to do it). It would only fully regenerate between quests. That way EACH BATTLE has a serious impact, even the "throw away" ones. It would essentially "make the party more tired" as the quest went on, so battles wouldn't have to get progressively more complex to get more challenging. It was the initial idea behind ether, but it immediately went down the tube because people simply had too much. If we make the quests have more serious resource drain people will be more careful about their decisions. It will still inspire serious thought in EACH combat situation without forcing people to juggle a zillion effects. It's probably my biggest departure from Heroica, but it's the one I feel most strongly about.

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2 hours ago, Zepher said:

I will fully admit I want to read this but am only skimming at the moment. I have a few thoughts - will go back and re-read more carefully.

As a long time QM and player - Heroica was incredibly easy to run while the heroes were low level, extremely hard to run at higher levels. We want to streamline things, to make them more complicated.

I see WBD (almost called you Skrall...) talking about more horizontal growth instead of vertical growth. I STRONGLY agree with this. CMP gives a great example too with each class having a base skill they can use to help their allies in combat. This is something that makes a lot of sense to me. I was originally going to propose only three classes (with maybe branches later): Offensive / Support(This would be both buffs and debuts) / Healing(Tank). They would all be able to "dip into" each other's territory, but would be VERY good at what they do. This would make for collaborative play and still allow for diverse strategy without making things overly complicated. That being said, I also really like CMP's idea of dividing those things out over multiple classes.

I suggested this in another thread, but I think the best way to allow people to power up is to let them increase one stat every time they get XP. This means that someone could get decently powerful, but mixed parties of new and older players wouldn't be a nightmare. Using our current stats let's say we have a hero who has gotten 10 XP and one that has no XP (assuming, randomly, that we start each stat at "2").

10 Hero
Power: 7
SP: 3
Health: 6/6
Ether: 2

1 Hero
Power: 2
SP: 2
Health: 2/2
Ether: 2

It looks tough, but imagine the enemies are balanced for it - and a level 10 hero would have probably been on 2 quests while the 1 hero has been on none. It also, importantly, allows for people playing the same class to really customize their build without a zillion artifacts. If you want to be a really heavy hitter with no protection, that's fine. If you want to be a spell caster with lots of ether but no power, that's fine. A spell caster with lots of armor and health that needs to constantly replenish ether? That's fine too. Etc.

I have a lot of ideas for story as well, but feel we should hash out character creation/stats first. I'm in favor of more challenging dice rolls, but again don't want to overcomplicate things. I'd love to host, but the reality of the situation is I don't have 3 hours to run a round of combat.

My final BOLD suggestion is (I can go more in depth about this, and haven't thought out all of the mechanics, but am interested in what people think: TWO HEALTH POOLS. In my mind (we were always going sci-fi) they'd be called "Shield" and "Health". Shield can be replenished relatively easily between battles and during, and acts as a barrier to Health. Health, on the other hand, is extremely expensive/difficult to replenish (in my earlier example I think maybe only the healer class would be able to do it). It would only fully regenerate between quests. That way EACH BATTLE has a serious impact, even the "throw away" ones. It would essentially "make the party more tired" as the quest went on, so battles wouldn't have to get progressively more complex to get more challenging. It was the initial idea behind ether, but it immediately went down the tube because people simply had too much. If we make the quests have more serious resource drain people will be more careful about their decisions. It will still inspire serious thought in EACH combat situation without forcing people to juggle a zillion effects. It's probably my biggest departure from Heroica, but it's the one I feel most strongly about.

This is basically the most concise way I have of explaining why I like the idea of not having Level contribute to damage output.  If we extrapolate those numbers out another 10, 20, 30 Levels, that's still not an unreasonable gap for new players to join in with the long-time vets.

I like the idea of simplifying classes like that, but I would still want people to be able to change their base class in between Quests, and not be locked out of the opportunity to play other roles just because of a choice they made literal years earlier.

I also like the shields/health idea, seems like a great way to make healers uniquely relevant in a way that healing consumables can't be (i.e. only healers can restore health, whereas shields can be recharged with disposable batteries and short rests and the like). :thumbup:

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My main issue with allowing 100% control over stat allocation is how easy it is to fall behind if you don't make optimal decisions, especially for newer players. But as long as there's some sort of affordable respec option at the hub, I'm on board. Additionally, instead of a slower EXP gain, maybe you earn a couple of extra stat points the first couple of levels, and that slows later? Say you get 3 for the first ten levels, 2 for the next ten, etc? It'd help with play catch-up, for sure.

3 hours ago, Flipz said:

Something to keep in mind is that Job Traits don't need to be automatically gained, but rather take time to learn.  I suppose upgrades could work, but honestly I think that Job Traits that have mechanical effects (i.e. Wild Mind, Pet Dragon, etc.) should either not exist or should be a vast, vast minority; to my mind, Job Traits should be more focused on skills and skill checks from D&D than mechanically changing how characters battle, with combat-focused Job Traits being turned into dice rolls instead.

I honestly cannot recommend the Fire Emblem weapon triangle enough, particularly the variation seen in Fates; in Fates, there was the normal rock-paper-scissors of Swords>Axes>Spears/Lances>Swords for melee weapons, but the system was also expanded to include ranged options: Magic lumped in the Red category with Swords, Bows lumped in the Green category with Axes, and Daggers/Shuriken lumped in the Blue category with Lances.  (Yes, the official name for throwing weapons was "Hidden Weapons", but that's dumb and I refuse to use it. :tongue: )  Now, if making a triangle or square out of weapon types to, for example, match Pie's damage type system sounds restrictive, don't worry, there's plenty of room for customization; Fates in particular had the Reaver weapons (i.e. the Swordreaver axe; called Dual in Fates but that'd be confusing given how Heroica's used the term in the past) that reverse the weapon triangle, as well as Slayer weapons (i.e. Dragonslayer sword vs. wyvern units and manake, Swordcatcher lance vs. units using a sword) that deal triple weapon damage to certain units, and even magic versions of physical weapons that dealt damage using the units Mag stat against the enemy's Res stat the way magic and Dragonstones did.  Aside from Slayer weapons, the weapon triangle primarily focused on improving odds to hit and reducing odds to get hit rather than actual damage numbers, so it could be a good system here to reduce the chances of getting to stack damage multipliers.

...That got a little infodump-y, so to explain: I never liked how weapon types effectively ended up being "hey, see this sweet new class you think works well for your character?  Well screw you, it uses none of the weapon types you've invested so much time and resources into!" rather than having actual, tangible meaning to them.  A weapon triangle (or square, or pentagon, or whatever) system would help make weapon choice a bit more meaningful.

Oh, and to recommend another Fire Emblem element, maybe ranged weapons should act like bows in FE, so that when using them you're vulnerable to melee attacks somehow?  Just a thought; 1-2 range weapons are kinda OP in FE, so separating everything out into 1 range or 2 range could be a good idea.

Yes, job traits need to be normalized. Either they all have to have some sort of mechanical impact or they all need to not have any at all. I don't think mechanical impact works if we're divorcing them from classes, but it might if we attach them to ability trees (for example, if we had some sort of Scout Drone akin to Pet Dragon, and it was tied into an ability tree with a Distract action involving the drone.)

I don't think that enemies are normalized enough to work out a weapon triangle, personally, and I don't think it makes much sense to have it affect damage. I do think we need to consider range more, because ranged weapons were just better in Heroica. I think there should be three ranges that both heroes and enemies use, and I think the main difference between weapons is what range you can fire them and what range can you fire to. 

2 hours ago, Zepher said:

My final BOLD suggestion is (I can go more in depth about this, and haven't thought out all of the mechanics, but am interested in what people think: TWO HEALTH POOLS. In my mind (we were always going sci-fi) they'd be called "Shield" and "Health". Shield can be replenished relatively easily between battles and during, and acts as a barrier to Health. Health, on the other hand, is extremely expensive/difficult to replenish (in my earlier example I think maybe only the healer class would be able to do it). It would only fully regenerate between quests. That way EACH BATTLE has a serious impact, even the "throw away" ones. It would essentially "make the party more tired" as the quest went on, so battles wouldn't have to get progressively more complex to get more challenging. It was the initial idea behind ether, but it immediately went down the tube because people simply had too much. If we make the quests have more serious resource drain people will be more careful about their decisions. It will still inspire serious thought in EACH combat situation without forcing people to juggle a zillion effects. It's probably my biggest departure from Heroica, but it's the one I feel most strongly about.

This exists in Starfinder; they're called stamina points. Short rests (10 minutes or so) restore your stamina points, while long rests (a night's sleep) restore your hit points. I like this idea, and on top of that it could work with my damage bar idea. Maybe some classes use shield points, some use armor points, some use...whatever magical barrier points. 

 

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