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🎨 Creative Personal project, novice game designer seeking advice

Scrundlefish

New member
Hello everyone,
This is my first journey and post on RPG.net so I'm excited and hopeful to see what's in store for me here. Moving on

TLDR: Seeking advice on next direction for development, didn't want to post my whole project right away, but I'd love to share with anyone interested in providing feedback.

I have been developing a TTRPG system since late 2017 with much assistance from a close friend of mine Dan. I titled the project Legends and sought to create a classless system that provided the character with the freedom to assemble their skill sets from a number of "modular" talents in a hope to emulate a persons ability to learn a skill or ability merely by study (or other reasonable lore explanation). My driving passion in the early stages of development was creating a magic system with this idea of modular freedom in mind that threw the idea of a pre-written spells section out of the window. Beyond that I focused heavily on trying to develop a game that tackled what I refer to as HP Mountain, simplifying attributes, and making combat feel more reactive. I asked Dan to join me in the project shortly after developing the basic ideas I previously outlined, he joined to help me develop abilities and mechanics for martial characters but has managed to find a way to at least touch on every aspect of the game to assist in design.

How does the resolution mechanic function?
For now the game assumes that any action that is not opposed by another force succeeds. Otherwise, the game uses a contested d20 check adding a characters attribute bonuses and talent modifiers.

How we tackled HP Mountain
We replaced traditional TTRPG health points and opted for a wound system that relies on three categories of wounds that are progressively larger as they become unlocked.

Simplifying Attributes
We broke the main attributes of a living character into three basic categories: Mental, Physical, and Social. Then of we created two statistics for each of them one to represent the power of that category and the other to represent the skill of that category. Which gave us six statistics that formed the core of a character, we referred to these as the "Mundane Attribute" [Mental - Instinct(Power) & Logic(Skill)|Physical - Brawn(Power) & Grace(Skill)|Social - Essence(Power) & Influence(Skill)]. Then beyond that we added two additional statistics to which we applied the monikers Focus & Control, and they are to represent how a character interacts with magical or otherwise supernatural energy. Characters with focus are very capable of focusing energy into themselves or their equipment to perform devastating feats, while characters with control are able to control the magical energy around the to create powerful magical effects.

Making combat more reactive
This was one of the most difficult hurdles in our design process so far. We started with a ghastly 4-phase initiative system of my design that was just unbearable. It has since been refined down to a standard single initiative phase that uses an Action Points (AP) system to limit what a character is capable of doing in a ten second combat round. Additionally we created a combat system that revolves around a "declare attack - declare active defense - resolve" system to force characters to respond to each blow while limited by the constraints of their AP.

What is Legends all about?
Playing a character in Legends is all about diving in to the role of a hero or heroine of a mythical story. But the system while designed and modeled around a medieval high fantasy setting, is set up in a way to be able to adapt to an extremely wide variety of settings. As well, it is my hope that the system conveys to both the player and GM that they are encouraged to formulate abilities, items, talents, spells, etc. using what we provide as a guideline. While we hope to provide you as many options for your character as possible, there are only so many ideas that two sleep deprived young men can have.

P.S. I'm a little nervous about putting all of my admittedly disorganized work directly into a forum post, but if you'd like to take a look at what I have and offer some feedback please contact me and I'd be happy to share.
 

John Out West

Registered User
Validated User
Looking good. I'm assuming that "Opposing Force" includes things like Gravity and Complexity.

I look forward to reading your giant list of abilities.
 

Knaight

Registered User
Validated User
Seems functional. I will say that there are some heartbreaker vibes, starting with how the feature list feels like a differences feom D&D list. Discretized, boolean components as a main focus seems fun though.
 

brahnamin

Will GM for Beer
Validated User
Echoing Knaight Knaight a bit here, but yeah, starting a pitch with how not-D&D your game is is a little heartbreaker territory. I was particularly disappointed to find the 'simplified' attribute system resulted in 6 stats - just like D&D (and their derivation was actually less simple, even if they end up being more consistent). ETA - Nope. I guess you have 8 stats. 😕

I like the described attribute system (as much as I can without seeing how it interacts with the game itself), and I like wound systems over HP systems in general (though not as much as I like binary taken out/not taken out systems - such as implemented in Cortex+).

The thing to fix here is presentation.

Don't tell me you've simplified attributes, just show me how attributes work in your game and (if necessary) how they are derived (IMO, it's better if you do not make it necessary for the player to derive stats - keep the consistency you've developed, but just list them). Don't talk about HP Mountain. It's not a thing in sooooo many RPGs these days that calling it out as a problem you've 'fixed' is similar to saying how great the new car you designed is because it has automatic transmission. 50 years ago, sure. Now, not so much.

Bravo on phasing out phased initiative.

Not requiring dice for non dramatic actions is great, but I question the idea of never rolling dice unless actively opposed, but I'd want to see the specifics of how that is handled before commenting further.

Telling players half of their attributes represent 'skill' and then laying out lists of skills might get confusing. You might want a different word there (on the attribute side of things). Maybe power and finesse rather than power and skill. Just a thought.

I can't say much more without reading the actual document, but one last thing I'll point out if you ever intend to publish - There was a d20 game called Legend and Mongoose is working on or recently worked on a game called Legend. Something to consider.
 

Scrundlefish

New member
Thank you all for your initial insights. My journey to figure out what you meant by heartbreaker led me to discover GNS theory and much of the associated vocabulary that I hope will help me better improve my game. I'll be back soon with more details regarding the functionality of the system.
 

Scrundlefish

New member
Attributes
Spoiler: Show

Mundane Attributes
What is an attribute score? A # ranging from 0-10 that represents one of your capabilities
What does an attribute score mean? 0 average person 1-3; noteworthy or impressive at a local or regional level, 4-6; national to international prestige or ability, 7-9; the pinnacle of known human capabilities, 10; You regularly do the impossible. You have exceeded human limits.
How do I increase my attribute score?
Pay for each increase, 0->1->2->3 etc
So to change a score from 0->3 it costs 30 pts (5 for the first increase, 10 for the second, and 15 for the third, 5+10+15=30)

Score12345678910
Pt Cost5101520253035404550

Mental Attributes
Instinct - The Instinct attribute measures the mental power, insight, awareness, and intuition of a character.

Instinct Test
An Instinct test describes any action involving a character's perception, understanding, or "gut feeling" in which an opposing force would cause a reasonable chance of failure.

Logic - The Logic attribute measures the mental skill, education, long term memory, pattern recognition, and wit of a character.

Logic Test
A Logic test describes any action involving a character's recall, critical thinking skills, or reasoning abilities in which an opposing force would cause a reasonable chance of failure.


Physical Attributes
Brawn - The Brawn attribute measures the physical power, athletic training, endurance, and overall toughness of a character.

Brawn Test
A Brawn test describes any action involving a character's strength, fortitude, or physical prowess in which an opposing force would cause a reasonable chance of failure.

Attacking with a Melee Weapon
When making an attack with a melee weapon (such as a longsword, mace, or spear) you receive an accuracy bonus equal to your Brawn.

Lifting and Carrying
Your Brawn attribute determines how much weight your character can carry and sustain for an extended period of time. Insert GURPS math here plzzzz

Grace - The Grace attribute measures a characters physical skill, flexibility, balance, and fine motor skills.

Grace Test
A Grace test describes any action involving a character's muscular control, physical dexterity, or reaction time in which an opposing force would cause a reasonable chance of failure.

Attacking with a Ranged Weapon
When making an attack with a ranged weapon (such as a bow, sling, crossbow, or javelin) you receive an accuracy bonus equal to you Grace.


Social Attributes
Essence - The Essence attribute measures the social power, tenacity, and presence of a character.

Essence Test
An Essence test describes any action involving a character's self confidence, emotional stability, or strength of spirit in which an opposing force would cause a reasonable chance of failure.


Influence - The Influence attribute measures the social skill, charm, and manipulative capability of a character.

Influence Test
An Influence test describes any action involving a character's connections, reputation, or stated desires in which an opposing force would cause a reasonable chance of failure.


Wounds


Chapter 2: Mythical Characteristics

Mythical Attributes
Focus - The Focus attribute represents a character's ability harness and guide the metaphysical forces of reality within themselves.

Energy - A character with Focus gains an energy value equal to their [Focus*2] to power their supernatural capabilities.

Burning Energy
A character may spend one point of energy to re-roll a die for any test they have performed. Then new roll must be taken, higher or lower.


Control - The Control attribute represents a character's ability to modify and manipulate the metaphysical forces of reality around them.

Mana - A character with Control has an amount of Mana equal to their [Control*10] to fuel their spells.


Combat Resolution
Spoiler: Show
Combat Resolution
Combat Step by Step
1. Determine Surprise - The GM determines whether anyone involved in the combat is surprised, a character who is surprised does not roll initiative and receives no AP for that round.
2. Establish Positions - The GM decides where all the characters are located. Given the PCs stated positions, the GM dictates where adversaries are--how far away and in what direction
3. Roll Initiative - Everyone involved in the combat rolls an initiative check (1d20).
4. Determine Action Points - At the start of each round, every character receives a number of Action Points (AP) equal to their initiative score +10.
5. Acting in Combat - Characters act in descending initiative order performing actions, until all characters have passed.
6. Following Rounds - At the end of step 5 a round is complete, return to step 3 to start the next round.

Your Turn
On your turn you may expend AP to perform actions, swift actions, and movements. You decide what order to take these actions in, and you may even elect to delay your turn until others have acted first. The most common actions you can take in battle are explained in this chapter under the “Combat Actions”, “Movement and Speed”, and “Reactions and Interrupting” sections later in this chapter.
Types of Actions
Standard Action - Costs 5 AP. Complex, skilled, or high effort actions like attacking an enemy, breaking down a door, or picking up an unconscious ally.
Swift Action - Costs 3 AP. Simple actions that only minorly affect your other actions and movements such as drawing a weapon, helping a friend stand, or opening an unlocked door.
Free Action - Costs no AP. To represent small interactions that do not influence or hinder your other actions and movements, such as communicating or minor gestures.
Combat Actions
  • Any character may pay 2 AP to attempt to Evade an attack
  • Any character wielding a melee weapon may pay 4 AP to attempt to Deflect an attack
  • Any character wearing a shield may pay 6 AP to attempt to Block an attack
  • Walk - Move up to your base speed (10 Hexes/10m) (No AP cost)
  • Enter a stance (No AP cost)
  • Perform a “swift” action (-3 AP)
  • Perform one somatic gesture (-5 AP)
  • Run - Move up to double your base speed (20 Hexes/20m) (-5 AP, must first walk)
  • Sprint - Move up to four times your base speed (40 Hexes/40m) (-5 AP, must first run)
  • Perform an attack (-5 AP)
    • Performing an attack: The attacker declares his target and rolls a d20+the attacker’s accuracy bonus
    • Performing an active defense: When an opponent declares you as his target you may attempt an active defense (Evade, Deflect, or Block) in order to avoid his attack. Roll a d20, if you roll higher than your opponent’s attack roll then you are not hit by the attack. If you and your opponent have the same total, the attack is considered a graze and the damage the attack would deal is reduced by half. If your opponent’s total is higher than your roll then you are hit by the attack and take full damage
  • Perform a “Focus maneuver” (-5 AP)
  • Unleash a fully prepared spell (-5 AP)
  • Delay (-5 Initiative, no AP cost)
  • Pass turn - End your turn while conserving your remain AP (-all remaining initiative)
Resolve Tests

A character must make a Resolve test when they suffer three minor wounds in a single combat round, when an ally the character can see enters the critical state, or when an ally of the character dies. A character who fails a resolve test suffers 1 minor morale wound and ends any stance they may have had, losing all benefits it may have provided.


Mundane Talents
Spoiler: Show

Mundane Talent-Groups
Weapon Groups
  • Polearm
    • Fending - when an opponent enters engagement, you may make an immediate minor interrupt attack.
      • Phalanx Stance - +2 acc to immediate interrupt attacks while wielding a Polearm.
  • Blade
    • Balanced - +1 Accuracy bonus to attack rolls with blades
      • Parrying Stance (Prereq: Balanced) - While in this stance you receive a +1 bonus to deflect rolls as long as you are wielding a blade.
  • Axe
    • Rending - Your attacks with axes reduce the wound mitigation properties of light armour by 1 minor wound.
      • Savage Stance - While wielding an axe your attacks deal 1 additional minor wound, as well you receive a +2 bonus to any attempt to disarm.
        • Hewing - While in Savage Stance your attacks with axes reduce the wound mitigation properties of medium armor by 1 minor wound.
  • Blunt
    • Impact - Reduce the wound mitigation of heavy armour by one wound.
  • Hand to Hand
  • Deadly Hands Your unarmed strikes deal a moderate wound, additionally you may perform deflect active defenses with your hands and feet as well as apply attack modifiers to your unarmed strikes.
    • Fluid Body - While in this stance you receive +1 bonus to evade rolls as long as you wielding no weapons.
  • Thrown
    • Basic Training: Strong Throw You increase the range of any weapon you throw by 4m.
  • Marksman
    • Basic Training: Practiced Draw While wielding a marksman weapon you may perform a swift action to ready your ammunition instead of a full action.
  • Firearms
    • Basic Training: Eggplant Practice Firearms you wield ignore the block active defense.

Passive Defense Groups
What happens when you aren’t proficient with armor? Unarmored - nothing | Light - half speed while hidden, -1 to all active defense rolls | Medium - -2 to hide rolls, half speed while hidden, -2 to all active defense rolls | Heavy - -3 to hide rolls,half base movement speed, half speed while hidden, -3 to all active defense rolls
  • Heavy Armour: additional 3 AP cost to perform any active defense
    • You do not suffer penalties to your active defense rolls or to your base movement speed from wearing only heavy armour. However, your base walking speed while hidden is still reduced by ½ and you still suffer a -3 penalty to all hide rolls..
      • Tower Stance: While in this stance your base speed is reduced to 0m and you may perform block active defenses without suffering the heavy armor 3 AP penalty.
        • Heavy armor expertise: You may run in heavy armor with no penalty. Additionally if you perform the run action in combat you are permitted an improvised melee attack that deals one moderate wound at the end of your run at no AP cost.
  • Medium Armour: additional 2 AP cost to perform any active defense
    • You do not suffer penalties to your active defense rolls or to your hide rolls while wearing only medium armour. However, your base walking speed while hidden is still reduced by ½.
  • Light Armour: additional 1 AP cost to perform any active defense
    • You do not suffer penalties to your active defense rolls or to your speed while hidden as long as you are wearing only light armour
  • Unarmoured: (Instinct)
    • +2 to all evade active defense rolls.

Initiative
Instinct
  • Instinct Reaction Training: You may add your Instinct to initiative rolls you make. Additionally you receive a +1 bonus to initiative rolls.
Grace
  • Grace Reaction Training: You may add your Grace to initiative rolls you make, additionally you win initiative ties.

Active Defense Groups
  • Deflect:
    • Swift Deflect: You may add your grace to all deflect rolls you make, additionally when you attempt a deflect active defense that would cause an attack to graze that attack instead misses.
      • Deflect Expert: (Prerequisite: Swift Deflect and Grace 2) +1 bonus to all deflect active defense rolls, additionally the AP cost for performing a deflect active defense is reduced by two.
    • Sudden Denial: (Prerequisite: Influence 1) You may add your influence to all deflect rolls you make, additionally when you successfully deflect an opponent's attack you may force them to move 1m away from you.
      • Riposte: (Prerequisite: Influence 2) When you successfully deflect an opponent’s attack you may pay 3 AP to make an immediate interrupt attack.
  • Evade:
    • Mobile Evasion: (Prerequisite: Instinct 1) You may add your instinct to evade rolls you make, additionally when you successfully perform an active defense evade you may make a 1m step as a part of your evade.
      • Expert Evasion: (Prerequisite: Instinct 2) +1 bonus to all evade rolls, when you attempt an evade active defense that would cause an attack to graze that attack instead misses.
    • Anticipate: (Prerequisite: Logic 1) You may add your logic to all evade rolls you make, additionally you may perform an Anticipate action to receive a +3 to your next evade active defense and an additional 2 initiative.
      • Adaptive Defense: (Prerequisite: Logic 2) +1 bonus to all evade rolls, additionally when you successfully perform an evade active defense you receive a +2 to your next active defense this round.
    • Retaliate: (Prerequisites: Mobile Evasion and Anticipate)When you successfully evade an opponent’s attack you may pay 3 AP to make an immediate interrupt attack.
  • Block:
    • Shield Bash: (Prerequisite: Brawn 1) You may add your brawn to block rolls you make, you may make a swift action shield bash minor attack to push an enemy up to 1m .
      • Counter-strike: (Prerequisite: Brawn 2) When you successfully block an opponent’s attack you may pay 3 AP to make an immediate interrupt attack.
        • Expert Shield Bash: (Prerequisite: Shield Bash and Brawn 3) You may make an intent action shield bash moderate attack to push an enemy up to 3m.
    • Steady Block: (Prerequisite: Essence 1) You may add your Essence to block rolls you make, additionally when you attempt a block active defense that would cause an attack to graze that attack instead misses.
      • Expert Block: (Prerequisite: Steady Block) +1 bonus to all block active defense rolls, additionally the AP cost for performing a block active defense is reduced by three.
Attribute Groups
  • Instinct:
  • Logic:
    • Vital Strike - minor attack modifier: you suffer a -2 acc penalty to this attack roll. Additionally, when you successfully hit an opponent with this attack you may deal an additional wound of your weapons type
  • Brawn:
    • Inner Strength I (Prerequisite: Brawn 2) - You receive an additional moderate wound in your vitality track.
    • Inner Strength II (Prerequisite: Brawn 4, Inner Strength I) - You receive an additional major wound in your vitality track.
    • Inner Strength III (Prerequisite: Brawn 6, Inner Strength II) - You receive an additional moderate wound in your vitality track.
    • Inner Strength IV (Prerequisite: Brawn 8, Inner Strength III) - You receive an additional major wound in your vitality track.
    • Heavy Blows I - opponent’s suffer a -1 to block and deflect active defenses
      • Powerful Strikes - When you successfully hit an opponent with an attack you may deal an additional wound of your weapons type.
    • Heavy Blows II - opponent’s suffer a -2 to block and deflect active defenses
    • Heavy Blows III - opponent’s suffer a -3 to block and deflect active defenses
  • Grace:
    • Melee Weapon Finesse (prerequisite: Grace 1) - you may add your grace instead of brawn to melee weapon attack rolls made with a weapon that does not have the heavy property. As well, while wielding a light weapon you may make an attack with that weapon as a swift action.
      • Rapid Strikes (prerequisite: Grace 2) - When you may make an attack with a grace weapon you may pay 3 AP to immediately make a second attack with the same weapon.
        • Skirmisher Stance (prerequisite: Grace 3) - You may perform a swift action to move up to your Grace attribute in meters before or after performing an attack on your turn.
  • Essence:
    • All out Stance (Prerequisite: Essence 1) - while in this stance you receive a +2 acc bonus to your weapon attack rolls and a -2 penalty to all active defense rolls.
    • Recovery I (Prerequisite: Essence 1) - Once per encounter you may regain one minor wound as a swift action.
    • Recovery II (Prerequisite: Essence 3) - Once per encounter you may regain one moderate wound as a swift action.
    • Recovery III (Prerequisite: Essence 5) - Once per encounter you may pay regain one major wound as a swift action.
  • Influence:
    • Rally
    • Intimidate
    • Inspire
    • Distract
General Weapon Talent Group
  • Weapon Training - Chosen weapon group receives a +1 acc bonus. This talent may be taken multiple times, but you must select a different weapon group each time.
    • Light Weapon Familiarity - You may make an attack with an unready light weapon and ready that weapon as a part of that attack.
    • Massive Weapon Familiarity - When an attack you make with a heavy weapon would kill your target, you may target a second adjacent and within range opponent. The new target of your attack may attempt to perform an active defense against your original attack roll, if you hit you may assign any wounds leftover from your previous attack to your new target.
    • Opportunist Training - When an opponent moves to exit engagement with you, you may pay 5 AP to make an immediate interrupt attack targeting that opponent.
    • Lunge - Minor thrust modifier: +1 m reach, as part of executing a maneuver with this modifier you must make a 1m step forward.
    • Disarm - Minor attack modifier: When you hit or graze with this attack the target must make a physical test against your attack roll or drop one weapon of your choice.
    • Trip - Minor swing modifier: When you hit with this attack the target must make a physical test against your attack roll or become prone.
    • Feint - Swift action: Make an attack roll, target opponent must make a mental test against your roll or lose 5 AP.
    • Hobble - Minor attack modifier: When you hit with this attack the target must make a physical test against your attack roll or have their base speed reduced by one half until the end of the targets next active phase.
    • Pin - Moderate thrust modifier: When you hit with this attack the target must make a physical test against your attack roll or have their base speed reduced to zero until the end of the target’s next active phase.
    • Cripple - Moderate swing modifier: When you hit with this attack the target must make a brawn test against your attack roll or have their base speed reduced to zero until the end of the target’s next active phase.
    • Backstep - Minor attack modifier: As part of performing a maneuver with this modifier you must make a 1m step directly away from your target
    • Melee Power Stance (Prerequisite: Weapon Training) - While in this stance you suffer a -2 acc penalty to melee weapon attack rolls, additionally when you successfully hit an opponent with a melee weapon attack you may deal an additional wound of your weapons type
      • Sunder Armor (Prerequisite: Melee Power Stance) - Temporary armor break that reduces target’s armor mitigation
    • Melee Precision Stance (Prerequisite: Weapon Training) - You receive a +2 Accuracy bonus to melee weapon attack rolls while in this stance.
      • Spot Weakness (Prerequisite: Melee Precision Stance) - while in Melee Precision Stance if an attack roll you make surpasses an opponent's active defense by 5 or more, you may reduce the target’s armour mitigation by one minor wound for this attack.
      • Expert Melee Precision Stance (Prerequisite: Melee Precision Stance) - Stance upgrade that adds 1 reroll per attack permitted before damage is dealt.
    • Ranged Power Stance (Prerequisite: Weapon Training) While in this stance you suffer a -2 acc penalty to ranged weapon attack rolls, additionally when you successfully hit an opponent with a ranged weapon attack you may deal an additional wound of your weapons type
      • Impale (Prerequisite: Ranged Power Stance) - Minor ranged modifier: This modifier allows your attack to target everyone in a straight line from you up to half of you weapons maximum range. Starting at the closest and moving farther away, opponents may perform active defenses as normal. If an opponent successfully blocks or deflects your projectile the attack stops.
    • Ranged Precision Stance (Prerequisite: Weapon Training) You receive a +2 Accuracy bonus to ranged weapon attack rolls while in this stance.

Multi-Weapon Talents
Multi-Weapon Fighting - Whenever you make an attack you may pay 3 AP to attack again immediately with another weapon you have ready. Additionally, you may enter a stance as long as one of your hands satisfies the stance’s requirements.
 

Scrundlefish

New member
I didn't include our magical system (based on talents rooted in focus and control) because though we as developers clearly understand its nuances and flow, we haven't given it enough written form for it to be understandable quite yet. The only other core section that I left out is our weapon and armor tables which are fairly basic and standard. armor reduces incoming damage against attacks that connect with the character, reducing greater amounts of damage as the armor becomes heavier. The passive defense group talents discusses how wearing armor affects a character.
 

PeteNutButter

Registered User
Validated User
I've been rocking a rather different, but also slightly similar AP system in my game. One of the hurdles I had to overcome was the potential difference between what happens when one player rolls high and the other low, or when the difference is foe vs player. It can be very unfun for either side to take a beating just waiting for a turn.

Has this been an issue at all? If so, I'm curious how you've resolved it. I have my own solutions, but I don't think they'd work for this system.
 

Scrundlefish

New member
I've been rocking a rather different, but also slightly similar AP system in my game. One of the hurdles I had to overcome was the potential difference between what happens when one player rolls high and the other low, or when the difference is foe vs player. It can be very unfun for either side to take a beating just waiting for a turn.

Has this been an issue at all? If so, I'm curious how you've resolved it. I have my own solutions, but I don't think they'd work for this system.
This is only somewhat of an issue, imo less in than the sense that it's a problem and more that it's about how well a player manages their AP. This kind of AP disparity rarely shows up in our one on one duels, as a player is likely to save roughly 40%+ of their AP when they pass their turn in order to ensure that they can effectively defend themselves. We have seen this appear somewhat in scenarios involving 3 or more independent foes, where two fighters engage and wear down each other's AP and the third takes the opportunity to unleash an all out attack on the defenseless others. We are currently iterating PvE tests to see how this interacts in larger engagements.
 
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