Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Matt Kay
180 followers -
British-American living in rural Germany.
British-American living in rural Germany.

180 followers
About
Posts

Post has attachment
I've started "properly" blogging about the design of GFRP.

My latest post is a bit of an update on where I'm planning on going with character creation, following a similar Kickstarter update for the Mutant: Year Zero engine Forbidden Lands.

I'll still link blog posts here.

Post has attachment
Last survey for a while: GFRP Setting

Please head to the link below and take this short survey, asking for ratings on 5 different Norse-themed settings.

This will be the last survey for a while, as I now think I have a clear idea of where I am heading mechanically and need to hunker down and get those careers fleshed out!

https://mattkay.typeform.com/to/Heba0H

Post has attachment
System critical feedback needed

I can't decide on the best implementation of Traits (Attributes, Skills, Talents). I've narrowed it down to 3 systems, all of which will work, but each has their pros and cons.

Remember, this is a dice pool system, where Attribute + Skill + Modifiers (talents, gear, difficulty, etc) make up your pool, and success is determined by how many of the highest die value comes up (6 on a d6, 8 on a d8, etc).

What are your thoughts on these options?

--------------------------------------------------------------
OPTION 1: Skill-less WFRP
--------------------------------------------------------------
ATTRIBUTES:
Attributes mirror WFRP and some of the newer WH40K stuff:

● STRENGTH (brawn, might, viogour)
● DEXTERITY (agility, coordination, finesse)
● TOUGHNESS (constitution, endurance, stamina)
● INTELLECT (intelligence, logic, reasoning)
● WITS (common sense, intuition, wisdom)
● WILLPOWER (composure, discipline, resolve)
● CHARISMA (fellowship, personality, resolve)
● MELEE COMBAT (hand-to-hand weapons)
● RANGED COMBAT (ballistic weapons)

SKILLS (TALENTS / BACKGROUNDS):
● No skill lists. Instead, there will be lots of Talents available for both character creation and advancement.
● Talents will not have any rules assigned, instead they will be short descriptors which grant a +1D if they can be invoked (i.e. "Champion Drinker", "Horse Whisperer").
● The talents needing more rules will be reclassified as "Gambits" (for advanced battlefield moves) and "Spells" (for magic).
● Possibility to use something like 13th Age Backgrounds to replicate narrative skill lists.

PROS:
● Definitely the lightest rules option, which has been one of my main design aims for GFRP. This generally makes it easier for players to be more involved in narrating their own game.
● Proven track record - successful and popular games already use this skill-less approach - i.e. 13th Age, Dungeon World, Shadow of the Demon Lord.
● Easy to control starting character dice pool sizes by giving many narrative character creation choices.
● Putting talents front and centre leads to much more focused character advancement options.

CONS:
● Without skills, it is much more subjective in terms of what can be rolled, when.
● GM will need to be a bit more involved with judging on applicability of some rolls in the absence of traditional skills (i.e. who can attempt to Heal in the absence of a Healing skill).
● Will need a much bigger list of talents than other options.


--------------------------------------------------------------
OPTION 2: WFRP meets D&D
--------------------------------------------------------------
ATTRIBUTES:
Fewer attributes, to take into account the addition of skills (remarkably similar to D&D, with the addition of Willpower):

● STRENGTH (brawn, might, viogour)
● DEXTERITY (agility, coordination, finesse)
● TOUGHNESS (constitution, endurance, stamina)
● INTELLECT (intelligence, logic, reasoning)
● WITS (common sense, intuition, wisdom)
● WILLPOWER (composure, discipline, resolve)
● CHARISMA (fellowship, personality, resolve)

SKILLS:
A comprehensive list of 21 skills (unlinked from Attributes), which is a little bit more than Coriolis (16) and D&D (18), and considerably less than Star Wars: Edge of the Empire (33), Pathfinder (35), WFRP 2E (47), Call of Cthulhu 7E (85), etc.

General Skills
● Athletics (run, climb, swim)
● Balance (acrobatics, coordination, reflexes)
● Charm (convince, manipulate, seduce)
● Deception (bluff, mislead, lie)
● Discipline (endure, resist, withstand)
● Force (brawl, break, destroy)
● Intimidation (provoke, scare, threaten)
● Observation (perceive, notice, track)
● Stealth (eavesdrop, hide, sneak)

Learned Skills (minus 2D or Impossible when unskilled)
● Alchemy (chemistry, philosophy, transmutation)
● Animal Handling (calm, train, ride animals)
● Comprehension (prior knowledge)
● Crafting (build, create, design)
● Healing (provide medical care)
● Investigation (analyse, assess, examine)
● Occult (hex, pray, runes)
● Piloting (row, sail, fly)
● Thievery (legerdemain, sleight-of-hand, unlock)

Combat Skills (minus 2D or Impossible when unskilled)
● Artillery (cannon, catapults, explosives)
● Melee Weaponry (hand-to-hand weapons)
● Ranged Weaponry (bows & firearms)

PROS
● Much more like "traditional" RPGs, meaning veteran gamers will feel comfortable with this approach.
● Easier for the GM to rule on whether something can be attempted (i.e. no skill training, no chance).

CONS
● Not a rules-light approach, involving less narrative play.
● Harder to control starting values using narrative character creation choices - more likely to use a point-buy system.
● Dice pool sizes likely to be much bigger when talents, gear and modifiers are taken into account.
● Boring.

---------------------------------------------------------------
OPTION 3: Mutant Year Zero Engine
--------------------------------------------------------------
ATTRIBUTES:
Even fewer attributes, to replicate the Mutant Year Zero (MYZ) engine:

● STRENGTH (brawn, might, viogour)
● DEXTERITY (agility, coordination, finesse)
● INTELLECT (intelligence, logic, reasoning)
● WITS (common sense, intuition, wisdom)

Derived Attributes would be:
● TOUGHNESS (STR + DEX + racial modifier - determine starting Wound threshold)
● WILLPOWER (INT + WIT + racial modifier - determine starting Insanity threshold)

SKILLS:
Smaller list of 17 more generic skills, having almost the same number of skills as Coriolis (16). However, unlike the MYZ engine, these will be unlinked from Attributes.

General Skills
● Balance (acrobatics, coordination, reflexes)
● Charm (convince, manipulate, seduce)
● Comprehend (prior knowledge)
● Deceive (bluff, mislead, lie)
● Fight (melee weapons)
● Force (brawl, break, destroy)
● Intimidate (provoke, scare, threaten)
● Move (climb, run, swim)
● Notice (observe, perceive, track)
● Ride (boats, carriages, horses)
● Shoot (bows & firearms)
● Sneak (eavesdrop, hide, sneak)

Advanced Skills (-2D or Impossible when unskilled)
● Craft (build, create, design)
● Heal (provide medical care)
● Investigate (analyse, assess, examine)
● Invoke (hex, pray, runes)
● Steal (legerdemain, sleight-of-hand, unlock)

PROS
● Extremely popular MYZ engine approach (Tales From the Loop just won 5 Ennie awards, after all, including Best Game and Product of the Year)
● Easier for the GM to rule on whether something can be attempted (i.e. no skill training, no chance).
● Less boring than a bigger list of Attributes and Skills.

CONS
● Still not a rules-light approach, involving less narrative play than Option 1.
● Also harder to control starting values using narrative character creation choices - again more likely to use a point-buy system.
● Dice pool sizes still likely to be much bigger when talents, gear and modifiers are taken into account.
-
votes visible to Public
Poll option image
33%
Option 1 (Skill-less WFRP)
Poll option image
17%
Option 2 (WFRP meets D&D)
Poll option image
50%
Option 3 (Mutant Year Zero Engine)

Post has attachment
Coming to a bit of a design crossroads, and there are a number of factors I'd like feedback on.

The first one has to do with dice pools. This game will use dice pools, with sucess measured by how many dice show the highest value (i.e. a 6 on a d6 / an 8 on a d8).

So my question is, which die type appeals most? I'm attaching a table showing rates of success if that helps, and please comment to let me know further thoughts on this.

I'm personally favoring the d8 for a number of reasons, but don't let that bias your decision!
-
votes visible to Public
Poll option image
Pools of d8 (middle pool size)
Pools of d10 (largest pools)
80%
Pools of d6 (smallest pools)
20%
Pools of d8 (middle pool size)
0%
Pools of d10 (largest pools)

Post has attachment
Public
Matt Kay commented on a post on Blogger.
Great article and analysis.

There is definitely a place for both styles of game, really depends on what the group want. In my two groups, both come from histories of playing "Tangible Obstacles" games. One group is embracing and frankly having their minds blown by BitD and a few other PbtA games, while the other group are largely hostile to this Instant Action style of play.

I personally prefer to GM rules-light or narrative systems which put an emphasis on improv, so the Instant Action style is my preferred style.

Post has attachment
2nd Aug #RPGaDay #RPGaDay2017

What is an RPG you would like to see published?

I'm really enjoying creating my own rules-light WFRP-inspired grimdark game - GFRP, so that's the obvious answer. Sorry for the shameless plug!

https://plus.google.com/collection/cLvmRE

That said, I am also very much looking forward to Fria Ligan's fanasy survival game which will use a modified Mutant Year Zero game engine. They've hinted that they're working on it, and I'm hoping for a Kickstarter next year to throw my money at.

Post has attachment

Post has attachment
OK, so here's version 0.6 which I'll be playtesting tomorrow:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1W_dUsFLkrHExCG6rkWCVfiZv8ZyMwc7q7IvW5OZ0lNU

Latest Character Sheet is attached.

There's still a lot left to do, including the Adventuring Careers and Magick, so at this stage, this is more about polishing and simplifying the ruleset (based on Mutant Year Zero and Coriolis).

Any comments on the mechanics (especially advice on simplifying) would be greatly appreciated.

Things to note:

*I've copied the Disorder and Critical Injury tables from other sources for the purposes of play tomorrow - I will be completely rewriting these;
*Setting info will probably change based on the playtest - at this stage I am running with a Pre-Renaissance Europe ruled by a Viking God-Emperor;
*Only 3 races, based on Human / Dwarf / Halfling - not sure how much I like this, open to comments, but I want this to feel Norse and don't want a lot of "race creep" - also "Elves" are major antagonists in the setting, so no playable elves;
*Conflict & Combat section needs to be rewritten to be more streamlined, at the moment it is a bit of a mashup of Coriolis (everything), Shadow of the Demon Lord (fast/slow turns) and WFRP2 ("gambits");
*Section on Corruption and a Mutation table to be added;
*Magick is still not fleshed out, but I want this to be a low-magic game, so the path to a traditional mage would be Hedgemage > Warlock > Sorcerer. I will create Magick for my setting first, then look at adding in support for WFRP later.

Post has attachment
OK, just a quick one. I'm tentatively calling this game "GFRP: Grimdark Fantasy Roleplay".

Here's a sneak peek at a quick Character Sheet mock-up in LibreOffice Calc (Excel). Need a few more days to tidy up the actual rules before showing the first draft.

Why the need for a rules-light version of WFRP?

The main reason should be obvious to anyone who has played it: it's a bloated (beautiful) beast and just doesn't play well in comparison to newer RPGs that have had the benefit of decades of innovation in game design.

Also, I was a bit disappointed when Zweihander released and it had a staggering 600+ pages. Granted, there are quite a few innovations in the "first WFRP retro-clone" (others before it I guess are classed as hacks), but I feel it doesn't make WFRP more accessible, especially to new roleplayers.

So that's when I decided to do a full-blown hack / retro-clone myself. While I'm not quite ready to share a manuscript yet (the rules are still being written), here are the criteria I have established for my new game:

(1) The percentile system has to go. It's nostalgic but dated and doesn't get a lot of love from players (in my experience).
(2) The confusing skill system needs serious work.
(3) Combat needs to be streamlined but kept deadly.
(4) Magic to be reverted to 1st edition careers, pre-Realms of Sorcery, but mechanics will be overhauled so no power points or ingredients (personal choice, I hate what GW did to the setting after WFRP1 was published, and feel the colleges/colours of magic moved the setting away from being low fantasy).
(5) Conversion with WFRP1 and WFRP2 must be possible and easy, so that GMs can easily run existing adventures (esp TEW) with it.
(6) The final product shall be complete yet succinct, with a low page count (ideally under 100 pages, without art).

More musings later, including looking at the ruleset I'll be using and some of the other games that are influences (Shadow of the Demon Lord, Coriolis / Mutant Year Zero, The Black Hack, etc).
Wait while more posts are being loaded