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[Unity] Wanted to share a project I've been working on :)

U

Unity

Guest
Howdy folks :)

I’m pretty new around these parts but I’ve been sifting through the forums and you guys have a fantastic and bustling community here. I hope you don’t mind if I share a passion project of mine that I’ve been crunching away at for quite some time now. Hopefully other folks thinking of making a RPG will find something of value in this thread. If there's enough interest here, I'd love to use this as a place for a sounding board. Questions and feedback/criticism is welcome. I've included some WIP class layouts and a couple of art pieces.

There’s so many flavours of RPG “ice cream” out there and that’s an amazing thing about our hobby. With all this variety, it’s pretty easy for a gamer to find something that they can really tuck into. My only hope is that I can present my personal flavour of RPG that others can dig and wouldn’t mind stashing up on :)

Little Bit About the Setting:

Unity is an RPG set in an epic fantasy world infused with long-lost arcane powered technology. But there are no cute halflings or gnomes to punt around and there’s definitely not any kobolds in a cellar to slaughter. Unity is a world on fire. Not post-apocalyptic but it’s teetering on the brink. Demonic armies spill forth from rifts like a black tidal wave of death. The dead are coming back to life and they’d love to add you to their ranks. The robotic wonders your ancestors once created have gained sentience and many now seek freedom even if the price is to be paid in the blood of their former masters.

As if your ancestors haven’t done enough, they pissed off the god that created all of you by killing his wife (technically everyone’s mother…) and so he took away the unique powerful gifts that he had bestowed upon his children during their creation and cursed them horribly.

The curse turned them into drug addicts or self-imposed celibates, and one race, the red-headed stepchild of the family, he went ahead and gave them super leprosy, and the only way for them to survive is to graft robotic parts on themselves (which are limited, and the knowledge to create them is lost), or harvest organs from other people…. Constantly. As if the cultural tension between the four main races of the world wasn’t already bad enough, ripping out one of your neighbour’s kidneys under the cover of night and implanting it into yourself takes it to a whole new level.

I probably shouldn’t have written that with such levity. Unity is a very bad place to be during the time the game takes place. The only way to survive is…. You probably guessed it – work together :D

I can condense the setting chapter of the book and do a more in-depth proper write up of the lore with the correct tone/mood in another post if people are interested.





Design Goals:

1. System that encourages telling great stories and developing dynamic characters through both rules that don’t impede creativity and a rich setting history that facilitates strong narrative and dramatic themes

2. Accessible, especially for someone who has never played tabletop RPGs before while still possessing tactical depth and enough complexity/crunch to satisfy the gamer in me.

4. Remove/Minimize any mechanical impediment to player engagement – ie. Waiting for your turn to come up in a big battle sometimes makes you pull out your phone or zone out.

5. Easy on the GM (prepwise and in-game overhead)





System Features:

1. Resolution: We’ll be using 2D10 + modifiers vs Target Difficulty.

2. Grid-less, Miniature-less combat: For bigger more complex battles, drawing on a blank piece of paper or a whiteboard will do in a pinch. Using a battlemap and miniatures is still completely viable and will enhance your experience, but are by no means necessary.

3. Class Fantasy: A lot of indie games are pushing Classless as a feature, so please don’t stone me but I LOVE classes :) They feel like a warm blanket fresh outta the dryer or the cold side of a pillow – just comfortable and familiar.

Unity will have classes and each class will provide a ton of flavour and also very distinct combat playstyles. But I have experienced myself that horrible feeling of being pigeonholed as the “dumb fighter” or the “frail mage”. Classes are here for flavour, flair and combat craziness – their skills (not powers) are largely divorced from the archetypical stereotype they carry with them. So go ahead and let’s have our warrior poets and wizardly Cross-Fitters. Plus it sounds so much cooler to be a Driftwalker or Dreadnought :D

4. Team Oriented Tactical Combat: It’s called Unity for a reason! Class powers and the way initiative is handled encourages finding awesome combos to string together both within your own class and together as a team -- think Colossus and Wolverine with their fastball special. Players will very much have to work together. One thing I always found while GMing games is I had to hold back against my players most of the time, even when using recommended encounter groups. From the playtesting, you can absolutely go HAM on your players and they have the tools to fight back and they’ll be extremely giddy when they figure it out.

5. Failing Forward: I love this concept from other games and have incorporated it into Unity. Something is always happening, no more miss-fests

6. GM Doesn’t Roll: GM can roll if he/she wants, but the game is built for the GM to sit back and create interesting situations and facilitate the player’s ideas





Next Steps:

1. Playtesting has been extremely positive. Would love to branch out to different types of group, especially include players who are much more casual or new to tabletop RPGs. Also, have groups playtest w/o me there.
2. Core Rules are 80% of the way there. Classes are the majority of the work -- most of the secret sauce in the game comes from having meaningful and compelling choices as you grow your character. Powers also need to synergize within the class itself and across the team. Balance is important. Embracing each class' fantasy is also key. Lots and lots of iteration and tuning here. Monster/NPC section needs some love.
3. Lore is mostly written but badly in need of an editor :)
4. Getting the website up to help generate more awareness and also provide a more professional introduction to the game.
5. Working on different layout styles.
6. More art!
7. Kickstarter down the road hopefully? Would love to be able to hold this in my hands one day as a hardcover book, even better would be to get it in the hands of those that are interested and would enjoy a glimpse into my world :) One of my guilty pastimes is just curling up with a beautiful RPG book on a rainy day and losing myself in the lore.​
 
R

Red Ferret

Guest
Well, color me intrigued, an RPG that has killer robots and kidney transplantations. The art is just amazing! I am new as well and I agree this community has been wonderful to me so far. I am currently trying to create my own RPG too and asked for some help in another thread and the response has been beyond what I could hope for.

One of the things that I was told and stuck out to me was to find out what the focus of my game would be or what my players and I wanted out of it the most. I can say without a doubt that would probably be a very solid combat system. I am curious about how you handle combat in your game because you mention that it was built to be played without using a grid while another one of your design goals was to having a satisfying tactical component to it. I cannot wrap my head around how that would work out without positioning. Would you mind explaining how your combat system works?
 

brainwipe

Icar RPG Author
Validated User
Focus, focus focus.

Games that try and quote features that are everything to everyone and can be used in hugely contracting ways tend to fail because they lack focus. It is OK to have focus. You don't have to please everyone! People will always play however they want, you don't have to keep repeating that it's their choice. Proudly state how your game is to be played and let the reader decide what to do.

For example, you say that it's about drawing on a blank piece of paper but can use minis. I find that good systems are either good freeform or good minis but not both.

Some questions
If a class isn't defined by their role in the team and in turn the skills they possess, how do you define them?

What is it that I can do in this game that is different from the others?

Is the goal of "Accessible, especially for someone who has never played tabletop RPGs before" something you're really aiming for? Nothing else I've read on the post suggests it's for newbies. Why not pitch the game at experienced gamers? Do you have a playtest group completely new to RPGs?

Is the art generic sci-fi fantasy? I can't see the setting you've described in it and none of the battle images have more than one fighter. I'd expect to see a bunch standing back-to-back surrounded by the robotic horde.

I hope you find that helpful, best of luck with your project!
 

Superhero

Registered User
Validated User
I like your ideas and goals, and your game pitch. And the art is easily comparable to the very best out there. Thumbs up!

May I ask a ballpark number how expensive such art is?
 
U

Unity

Guest
Well, color me intrigued, an RPG that has killer robots and kidney transplantations. The art is just amazing! I am new as well and I agree this community has been wonderful to me so far. I am currently trying to create my own RPG too and asked for some help in another thread and the response has been beyond what I could hope for.

One of the things that I was told and stuck out to me was to find out what the focus of my game would be or what my players and I wanted out of it the most. I can say without a doubt that would probably be a very solid combat system. I am curious about how you handle combat in your game because you mention that it was built to be played without using a grid while another one of your design goals was to having a satisfying tactical component to it. I cannot wrap my head around how that would work out without positioning. Would you mind explaining how your combat system works?
Thanks Red. I definitely feel fortunate to be part of a hobby that has a great community. I have always met folks that are more often friendly, helpful and intelligent in the RPG community. And it’s great that you are embarking on your own design journey – it’s crazy fun, sometimes stressful but mostly fun :)

Alright – let’s talk about the combat system in Unity.

I hear ya about the whole gridless design goal and lack of positioning affecting tactical depth. First it would probably help to understand why this was a design goal in the first place.

As a long time GM and player I noticed that most of the fun I had with my groups were when we were telling fantastic stories together, exploring interesting character development and making spectacular plays in combat.
Sure, having a somewhat granular level of quantifying distances (i.e. 5 ft squares) can lend to some interesting tactical decisions in combat but the drawback was that more often than not, a lot of time was spent prepping the battlemap, finding appropriate textures, deciding the perfect positions to place the enemies and then when actually fighting – counting squares. While enjoyable on some level, we felt that combat could be more streamlined and we could dig up depth elsewhere to make up for it. It also didn’t feel very good when someone was literally one square away from doing something awesome (that spectacular play!) but couldn’t and then the moment passes and we never see what could have happened and that entire turn they just spent moving their character only.

In Unity distances are abstracted in the system into range bands:

AdjacentNearFarVery Far

On a turn without any passives or active powers, a character can move to a near distance and perform an action or they can forgo any action and double move to a far distance – sound familiar? :)
With that being said, the tactical depth in Unity comes from a few places:

Class abilities/powers have been designed to have synergy both within the class itself and in tandem with other classes:

Let’s take a quick look at the Dreadnought class Tier 1 powers as an example of synergy within the class itself.

The Dreadnought is an iron-clad juggernaut powered by fury. They live for battle and are most at home charging headlong into a throng of enemies and being in the thick of things while holding the biggest and baddest weapon they can find. The more they fight the stronger they get.

They have a list of carefully designed powers to choose from at Tier 1. They can pick 2 from the main combat powers list and 1 from the auxiliary powers list at Level 1.

From the main combat powers list they could choose a power called Reckless Assault which modifies a basic melee attack to do double damage if it lands. The cost for this power is that on a miss, they unbalance themselves and take an immediate retaliation that hits them as if they had zero armour value. It’s a big risk which gets minimized as they grow in power or face weaker enemies – a decision they need to carefully balance.

From the auxiliary power list there is a passive power called Relentless which activates when the Dreadnought hits 0 HP. The Dreadnought gets to make one immediate desperation melee attack that if it lands, heals her for the amount of damage she incurs (can happen only once per combat). Now if you are going down anyways, why not invoke Reckless Assault which gives you a chance to heal for double and keep on swinging.

But the choices are not always obvious or “cookie cutter” because among the Tier 1 powers you might have something different in mind for your Dreadnought. Maybe you want to be an AOE melee machine. From the main powers list you could take Mighty Cleave which allows you to hit adjacent enemies with one swing as an active power. You could try and use it with Relentless but sometimes there might not be more than one enemy to leech off of but another auxiliary power that looks enticing could be Thrive on Chaos which increases your damage by +1 for every enemy adjacent to you – that would synergize with Mighty Cleave nicely turning you into an AOE beast but now you don’t have a powerful cheat death mechanic in your pocket and this might affect how you tactically approach a battle.

There are many more powers like this and all of them are compelling choices. Futhermore, these powers begin to tie in with other classes’ powers to create effective combos that elevate the combat experience for the party.

Team Synergy:

An example is the Priest class has a spelled called Mark of the Heretic, their hand ignites in righteous fire and they instantly brand an adjacent target with a holy symbol. The symbol stays active until a successful attack is made on that target which ignites the symbol and it explodes dealing damage to all adjacent enemies. The Priest doesn’t really have a way of gathering enemies so alone, he might wait until the enemies clump up naturally or if the Mystic steps in and casts Arcane Tether to tie two objects together with a magical rope. Arcane Tether one end to a pesky enemy caster who’s far away and the other end to your hulk of a Dreadnought. Have the Dreadnought Charge into a few already adjacent nearby enemies, and use her action to yank the tethered caster over (now with a bonus to the roll from invoking Charge). Priest moves up and brands with Mark of the Heretic. The Fell Hunter who has been hanging back spends Focus to bump his attack up for a higher accuracy and fires a round into the marked target setting off a blaze of divine fire that chunks the enemies.

With a lot of variety for powers and ways to build your character, a plethora of tactical options open up to you during play.

A way of handling initiative that promotes taking this team-oriented tactical approach while also elevating player engagement

The example above would be a bit clunky to pull off using a standard individual turn by turn initiative system and sometimes downright unfeasible. I’ve done away with having individual turns. Now there are team turns. Teams can decide how each character is going to contribute during that round before putting the play into action. I thought it would become a big meta-fest but with our playtesting, we found the party could effectively communicate in character as to how to plan the attack and it kept everyone engaged. I cannot tell you how many times a player zones out or starts reading something or going on their phone during a big battle because they are 8 turns away from going (this could be seen as a player/table etiquette problem as well). I actually don’t blame them.

Mechanics that encourage using smart resource management and using the right tool for the right job

Classes each have their own resource pool to draw from to use their powers i.e. Dreadnoughts are powered by Fury, Mystics by Mana, Priests by Faith etc.. Managing this pool is important and part of the thought process for deciding what actions to take. Taking it a step further, with the mechanic of Armour Value in the game, sometimes taking a blunt force trauma approach to downing your enemies might not be the most efficient way to do things and you could end up burning a lot of resources when selecting the right power would be much more thrifty.

An example is, an entire party could just burn their resources and use their offensive attack powers and try to whittle down a heavily armoured enemy that’s buffing everyone around him. The enemy is surrounded by a bunch of guards. The Dreadnought or Judge might not have an issue standing in the thick of this group but the agile Phantom class would be melted instantly… but it also turns out the player playing the Phantom has an awesome assassination power called Expose Weakness that fluff wise would unlatch a piece of armor or draw attention to a weak spot in an enemy’s defense and allow all attacks for that round to bypass the target’s armour value.

Instead of burning resources on a straight forward attack, the Dreadnought and Judge can ask “How do we deliver the Phantom safely to the big bad?” and pick the appropriate tactical approach.

I hope that gives a basic picture of how combat plays out in Unity. I don’t try to hit the player over the head with really obvious choices on how to build or approach a fight. I think a lot of the fun is figuring out how different classes and their abilities interplay with each other and coming up with creative ways to overcome an encounter or build a character. I try to build the system’s foundation to support this idea like how the initiative is handled.

There’s a certain cadence to battle because as you fight you are rolling 2d10s to attack and defend and when you roll double (10% chance) you get a chance to recharge some of your resources. After a fight you also get to roll a small die and recharge some of your resource. Players are encouraged to actively use their powers but in smart ways.

I hope that provides some clarity on where I'm going with combat and the design theme that I'm pushing. Any questions just let me know.
 
U

Unity

Guest
Focus, focus focus.

Games that try and quote features that are everything to everyone and can be used in hugely contracting ways tend to fail because they lack focus. It is OK to have focus. You don't have to please everyone! People will always play however they want, you don't have to keep repeating that it's their choice. Proudly state how your game is to be played and let the reader decide what to do.

For example, you say that it's about drawing on a blank piece of paper but can use minis. I find that good systems are either good freeform or good minis but not both.
Thanks so much for this. It will help me refine the way I present the system. I have massive respect for what you do over at The Free RPG Blog. Since embarking on this journey a couple years back I remember trying to devour every design resource I could get my hands on. Blogs like yours are an absolute boon to RPG designers. You don’t really see it from the other side until you cross over but man, we really are all in this together when it comes to making RPGs. I just want to see other people succeed in the Indie market because I know how it feels now. Well maybe not games like FATAL or Racial Holy War :p

“If a class isn't defined by their role in the team and in turn the skills they possess, how do you define them?”

Sorry I should have been more clear in the initial post. A class does define the character’s role on the team in combat and it also has some minor bearings outside of combat that line up with the class fantasy, i.e. you expect a hulking warrior type to have an easier time breaking open things, or a wizard type should be more familiar with arcane scriptures.

When I talk about skills I use that term the way say D&D uses them. Skills like Acrobatics, Persuasion, Perception etc… A lot of these skills are baked into classes as major bonuses or they are specific or listed out. I wanted to divorce that concept that the fighter type couldn’t be proficient in Lore/Knowledge style checks or that the wizardly couldn’t have great athletic moments.

When players create characters in Unity, I ask them to step back and make their backstory or their History a mechanical supplement to their character. There is no list of skills to pick from.

Instead we look at the character as a whole – were you an orphan? Did you have a privileged upbringing? Were you part of a guild at some point? What did they do? Who or what influenced your outlook? Who taught you what? Make it a story. Now imagine that story is a “big pie” that’s been cut into 6 slices. What portion of that pie (in slices) are some parts of your story that are character defining? I would tell them don’t just say “Sailor or Vagabond”, it’s about telling great stories.

When a player wants to attempt something that requires a roll or a certain skill it’s easy enough to say well that sounds like you can add your *insert basic relevant attribute bonus*. But the player can also say “Listen, when I was a young lad my father, Captain Stein of the very popular merchant ship Trinity in Greenwater would take me on his trips often. We’d spend countless nights lying on the top deck and he’d teach me about the constellations and it was there I learned to navigate under the stars so I think I should get a bonus to my roll” and the player had devoted 3 slices of his pie to that then he gets the proportional bonus to his roll. On top of that, later on someone might ask the player about his father and an interesting thread develops. Is his father still alive or dead? How can I use this to expand the story on a personal level to my player?

In the end the character may have a different role in combat than he/she does outside of combat. The classes strongly define a character’s role in combat but only very loosely define that role outside of combat, instead the player gets to decide how the character plays when he/she isn’t smashing face.

Does that make sense? Let me know because you ask great questions that can only help me make a better game and I want to nail these down.

“What is it that I can do in this game that is different from the others?”

This was and still is a huge sticking point for me. I started this journey wanting to create the game that *I* wanted to play. I knew exactly what I wanted from having played a dearth of other RPGs and finding things that I liked about them or things that I thought I liked but ended up not liking in actual play. I always thought, well if I could combine X from Game A with Y from Game B with Z from Game C but then also expand upon those concepts according to my taste I would be a happy camper.
I feel like I’ve done a lot of that. From descriptions of abstracting distances to dissolving skill lists, and having very well developed classes I’m heavily influenced by games like 13th Age and Barbarians of Lemuria and World of Warcraft (egads! An MMO :)). But from also wanting to push for interesting story telling and putting that at the forefront when combat is not at hand, I want very much to channel the narrative love of a Dungeon World session. The resolution system is 2d10+mods vs a DC sure, but I make it very clear in the rules that a failure shouldn’t always result in a miss. There’s always a narrow margin to ask what kind of complication can we introduce to make things interesting. Can we create opportunities for the story to unfold in ways that are unexpected but could be potentially spectacular? Even in combat, a miss on a power 90% of the time has another effect. A miss on a basic melee attack or ranged attack gives you the option to force damage but at your detriment – you can weigh the risk vs reward ratio and decide accordingly. We always want to be moving forward.

With that being said, I’m hoping to bring a different feel with Unity. The rhythm or pulse of the game should play differently from other RPGs. As I mentioned in my above post on combat, there is a certain cadence to combat and we see it unfold during playtesting over and over. It’s a positive feeling that keeps players engaged. Another design goal that I want to achieve is to make it as low maintenance as possible. As a GM this means, minimizing the creation of maps or knowing how to perfectly place your enemies on a grid, and also minimizing or doing away with having the GM roll. As a player if you have a character and your class reference sheet, that’s all you need – no need to constantly flip through a book looking for an obscure rule for a specific task.

It comes back to the 2nd paragraph of my original post. There’s just so many flavours of RPG ice cream out there that there’s something for everyone and I’m hoping that someone will like my own personal flavour that I’m creating with Unity. It might be like chocolate but there’s either something subtle or distinct about it that you can’t quite put your finger on. The end goal is that whatever I do, I just really want to do it well. There are so many time-tested great ideas out there already but they just don’t come together in the right ratio or way I like and maybe there’s others that feel the same (I can only hope!)

Another thing that I wanted to mention but it leads into this:

“Is the art generic sci-fi fantasy? I can't see the setting you've described in it and none of the battle images have more than one fighter. I'd expect to see a bunch standing back-to-back surrounded by the robotic horde.”

I have a massive setting that’s epic high fantasy as a base but infused with arcane technology. Without getting into too many details (it would be pages, creation story and all) the game takes place at a time called the Age of Wrath. As four factions/cultures living in a world on fire, you are all tied to one destiny and that destiny is looking pretty grim at this time. As a people, all of you are an absolute former shell of those that came before you. But such greatness had a price and that was hubris and we all know that tragedy tends to follow hubris. The god that created you sundered the world and that Great Calamity caused all the horrible things currently happening that pushes Unity towards the edge of apocalypse. As a player you create a character that acts as a sliver, a dim light of hope in an insurmountable sea of darkness. Your ancestors were the ones that were laid low by the wrath of your god. They were the ones that lived so large and created technological wonders that the world may never see again. You are adventuring on the ruins of a Golden Age and there’s much to explore and discover.

So sorry maybe you could tell me, is that sci-fi fantasy? It leans heavy towards the fantasy side but there’s an infusion of sci-fi. The discovery of certain technologies like powerful weapons, forgotten cities and the Titan Rigs (giant robots) are all part of the game but they are used sparingly, but know that they are there. The Great Calamity basically blasted you back to the Dark Ages.

I have more art but because the sci-fi element is used sparingly, I don’t have anything like the robotic horde commissioned yet but I can share with you this picture.



No robots, but some tech on the Afflicted Mystic and the gun on the Fell Hunter. If you can help me come up with a way to describe the genre I’m in – I’d appreciate it. I’ve just been saying epic fantasy laced with arcane infused technology :)

“Is the goal of "Accessible, especially for someone who has never played tabletop RPGs before" something you're really aiming for? Nothing else I've read on the post suggests it's for newbies. Why not pitch the game at experienced gamers? Do you have a playtest group completely new to RPGs?”

You definitely have a good point. The goal of accessible is because I have two groups of friends. One are experienced gamers and we love to geek out and get into all manner of tabletop fun. The other group love tabletop games of all sorts (boardgames, card games, social deduction games) but have never tried something like D&D and when it was introduced they weren’t enthused to get into it and felt like there was just “too much to know”

One day this group asked me “What are you up to?” I told them I was making a tabletop RPG kinda like D&D and they said oh can you tell me what that’s about again. I ask them “Do you like great stories?” *nods* “Do you like cinematic adventures?” *nods enthusiastically* “Do you like boardgames that aren’t mindless, where you think about your moves?” *nods* then I go “Well I’m kind of making all of that into a single game” You see this spark in their eyes but then they remember trying to create a character for D&D and that spark fades as quickly as it came. And I think that it’s not even that D&D is that complicated but it’s just the impression it can give off.

What’s proficiency? Why does he use a d8 and I use a d10? What do you mean I don’t get a bonus to this skill? What – why is 18 to my strength +4? How does that work? I add my what to my what now? Can’t I just tell you what my character is and go?
I’m striving to remove those barriers as best I can and in playtesting character creation is getting there. What race and class? You have these 4 scores to place in these boxes that are completely self-explanatory (Might, Agility etc.) and now tell me about your character, she could have any history – make her real for me. Then I use the pie slice analogy. Now look at these powers you can get, pick two from here and one from there. Now point on the page to the weapon and armour that you see your character using. Within a few minutes we have a fully functional character. Of course there’s more to it, but giving that veneer of ease and feeding the game in digestible chunks is absolutely key for me to making it accessible. Playing in game itself outside of combat is a breeze – just tell me what you want to do.

I have a massive playtest session tonight but it’s with my gamer group. We are testing out some new mechanics which I have no doubt I’ll come back here and ask for help on :) But I have a playtest scheduled with my non-gamer friends – it’s just hard to know if I’m achieving my “accessible” goal with them as I know they want to help me and probably will be a bit biased with their feedback.

Thanks Rob for asking those questions – this is exactly what I need if I’m going to make the best game possible.


I like your ideas and goals, and your game pitch. And the art is easily comparable to the very best out there. Thumbs up!

May I ask a ballpark number how expensive such art is?
Cheers brother, that means a lot to me :) Oh man... the cost of art is an extremely variable thing. I have been commissioning art for awhile now and it really depends. There are numerous factors:

1) First and foremost the artist: I always let them dictate their price then it's either I agree to it or move on. I have seen some HUGE variability here. Some charge per piece, some charge per hour.
2) The art itself: What are we asking for? A character concept? A landscape? A fight scene? Do you have reference pictures or a clear idea of what you want or does the artist need to help you design it as well? Is there a background? How detailed do you want it to be? Can the artist just photobash and call it a day? Are you happy with that? So many of these questions feed into the cost.
3) Revisions: I think I can count on one hand the amount of times a "final" piece has been delivered that everything was just -perfect-. It's pretty rare. Asking for revisions can drive the cost up quickly if it wasn't discussed beforehand that you had a certain number of free revisions.

With that being said, the range of cost is around 50 to 450+ dollars for a piece of art. Bigger pieces in the upper end of that range, an uncomplicated half page character with no background on the lower end. But please keep in mind, that I offer the artist a contract up front ensuring that I will commission a minimum of X amount of art from them - this makes them lower the price per piece most of the time because it's more important to have steady work and income over the long run that will outpace a big lump sum from one picture.
 

mats

How do I change this?
Validated User
First of all - very nice art. Kudos on that. It proves (to me) that art is the crucial factor of presenting the game. I immediately feel this is a good game (before I even read a word) and I'm more inclined to read it.

I like the other stuff as well, the whole general concept and approach. It's great what you did with initiative (or the lack of it)! And the combat as a whole seems interesting. As for classes, I like them as long as they're flexible enough to get close to what I want to play. The only thing that didn't sit well with me was:

The curse turned them into drug addicts or self-imposed celibates, and one race, the red-headed stepchild of the family, he went ahead and gave them super leprosy, and the only way for them to survive is to graft robotic parts on themselves (which are limited, and the knowledge to create them is lost), or harvest organs from other people…. Constantly.
It seems a bit too harsh. It's hard for me to see civilizations and cultures surviving (and having tensions) if people harvest each other for organs and everyone has a deadly disease by default. My guess would be that 99% of the population dies in the first 10 years. And who would bring children into such world. It also seems to encourage betrayal among characters to get other player's equipment and organs... It's not game breaking, I've definitely heard of more extreme settings, it just struck me as weird.
 
R

Red Ferret

Guest
Appreciate you taking the time to explain the combat system. It sounds really cool!

I like how everything kind of flows from one thing to the next. I also like how you are deciding to handle initiative. I saw the entire scene play out inside my head when you talked about team synergy. I hope you do not mind but I might borrow some of these ideas as a baseline for my combat system. The way in which you describe everything makes it seem fairly elegant and simple but I can see the depth behind it if I spend a little time to examine the moves available to me. I think I need to start with something simple but with room for a lot of potential. I have received so much valuable information these past couple of days I feel like my brain is going to explode. I need to get back to basics.
 
U

Unity

Guest
I hope you do not mind but I might borrow some of these ideas as a baseline for my combat system.
Glad you liked it. And please borrow away man. This is what it's all about -- constant improvement and new ways of approaching different concepts. If you improve it and make it better, please share your findings with me so I can make my game better too :) Feel free to PM me if you have more questions or want to kick some ideas around, I would be more than happy to help and I think it's healthy for my creative sanity as well to step away from my own stuff every now and then.

First of all - very nice art. Kudos on that. It proves (to me) that art is the crucial factor of presenting the game. I immediately feel this is a good game (before I even read a word) and I'm more inclined to read it.

I like the other stuff as well, the whole general concept and approach. It's great what you did with initiative (or the lack of it)! And the combat as a whole seems interesting. As for classes, I like them as long as they're flexible enough to get close to what I want to play. The only thing that didn't sit well with me was:


It seems a bit too harsh. It's hard for me to see civilizations and cultures surviving (and having tensions) if people harvest each other for organs and everyone has a deadly disease by default. My guess would be that 99% of the population dies in the first 10 years. And who would bring children into such world. It also seems to encourage betrayal among characters to get other player's equipment and organs... It's not game breaking, I've definitely heard of more extreme settings, it just struck me as weird.
Thanks for the kind words mats. I definitely am a visual person and an avid lover of RPG books. There's a certain feeling I get when I hold a really nice and well made book with gorgeous art in my hands and I told myself if I were to create my own RPG I would want to replicate that feeling in my book the best I can. I'm a huge stickler for quality and the look and feel of any product is so vitally important to me.

And about that initial "pitch" lol... yeah that is totally on me and it was completely the wrong way to talk about the setting of my game! I was trying to be too hard to be outrageous and horribly explained what is actually going on in Unity during the time the game takes place. Maybe this is better? Let me know :)

It's a dark time for sure and the factions are struggling to cope not only with how horribly the world has changed around them (demonic incursions, the rising dead, former machine slaves rebelling, the wild and natural monsters of the world banding together and enroaching on civilization) but also how they've been negatively affected on a personal level.

1. The Valla: These are the drug addicts I was talking about. The Valla were the First Born of the Creator's children. Because they were his first attempt at creating a people, he made them almost too perfect. Each Valla was born with an innate gift via a natural gemstone in their forehead to tap into the "Drift" an immaterial and invisible place that permeated all of reality. The Drift contained all the psychic, emotional and spiritual emanations of all living things. Through this gift the Valla could live in a psychic community together and communicate with each other at the speed of thought. They were the ones that named the world Unity in their native tongue because they knew nothing other than that from the time they were born. Part of the world changing Calamity that occurred was not just the physical sundering of Unity and tearing a rift open in the Drift but it was also part of the Creator's ire to take back the gifts he had bestowed on each of his children. With the Valla, can you imagine a lifetime of never being alone, always being part of a massive psychically linked community and then having everything go dark in an instant? Their society began to crumble and for the first time they had to know the feeling of loneliness. It drove a lot of them mad and many to suicide. Later on it was discovered that for a brief moment, they could re-activate their link to each other by imbibing a drug created from a flower that cropped up after the Calamity which they called the Drifting Glory. But like heroin, it requires bigger and bigger doses to reach the same effects as a tolerance builds.

2. The Furians: These are the self-imposed celibates. The Furians were made from the molten rock of the mountain. They were the second attempt by the Creator to create a people. They were hardworking and industrious. Their culture was one bound by family, duty and honour (think samurai). The 2nd picture in my first post is an image of them. The gift of the Furians was a deep reservoir of physical power that they could tap into that allowed them to work for days on end. They caught up to their older brothers and sisters, the Valla, quite readily using this gift. To access the gift the Furians needed to channel a certain intensity and focus to draw upon it. They found that anger helped them reach this point the quickest. When the Calamity happened, the Creator corrupted this gift and turned it into the "Red Rage". Furians that purposefully or accidentally tap into this power have a chance of going into a blind rage where everything goes red. They awaken to usually find the blood of their loved ones on their own hands. Because of their cultural values, many Furians adopted a way of life that resisted feeing anything emotionally to ensure they would never again commit such terrible acts. Lack of passion led to the race slowly dying off. Some Furians could not give up such a gift and they continue to dance on the edge of disaster by trying to balance between tapping into the rage and maintaining control.

3. The Afflicted: These are the constant transplanter/cyborg folk. They use to be part of Humanity, the youngest of all the created races. They were the forward thinkers, philosophers, inventors and scientists -- the best and brightest Humanity had to offer. When the Creator wanted to punish his youngest, he sent forth a horrific disease that only afflicted these shining stars. They called it the Phage and it swept through the Human Empire. Former brothers and sisters now rotting away physically were ostracized and seen as pariahs. The Afflicted had to go into hiding in the dark and dangerous places of the world, places where no one else dared to tread. Through their tenacity they found a way to survive, leveraging the science and technology they had managed to bring with them to prolong their lives. Unfortunately the Phage is implanted into their genetic structure and so it is continuously passed onto their children. Because the entire world turned their back on the Afflicted so readily, some of them had no qualms about using the other races' organs to help them survive. That's where the whole parts replacement thing comes from. But I think I definitely need to tone it down i.e. Afflicted children are completely fine until they hit puberty then a finger or an ear starts to rot and it slowly spreads from there.

My hope for having these flaws in the races is to provide for interesting storytelling opportunities and also a bit of colour and flavour in character creation. Not a hard template for a player to follow but ideas for them to run with. Tension can be good. Please let me know if this sounds better to you (or anyone reading this) than the initial explanation or if it still doesn't make sense and there are some red flags.
 

Age_Past

Registered User
Validated User
One thing I frequently ask for is a combat example. I think a CE is the best way to show the dynamics of combat. Could you do one using the existing rule set? Maybe go 5-6 rounds deep in action?
 
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