Systems That Model The World Rather Than The Story

I've found that Hit locations tend to work better when its the Defender making a choice of what gets hit rather than some convoluted randomization scheme.

While my system doesn't track Hit Locations for Wounds (though it could), it does do so for Armor/Weapon durability. By default all durability hits that aren't otherwise determined hit the Body slot.

If you parry with a weapon, that is what takes the hit. If you deflect with a gauntlet, the hand slots take the hit. Head, head slot. Etc etc. When you roll your Defense, you use the dice associated with these slots (ie, your gauntlets add 1d10 Armor) and if they roll a 1, you lose Durability.

Its faster and much more intuitive, and arguably Wounds wouldn't be too much of a step too far in this context either. I just don't personally find it to be all that worthwhile to do as the way Im designing Wounds is based around debuffs and DOT effects, so they need to be easy to track. Adding a great deal more variability in that isn't desirable.
 

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MacDhomnuill

Explorer
They generally do not exist.

At least, every game I've seen try has failed to be generic as in universal; they all have been best for a few specific genera. GURPS is passable for moderns, but really is built to emulate middle ages, and so car and modern rifle combats feel like poor fits to me.

Phoenix Command - took too long to resolve combats. It's probably the closest to your goal. I felt it sucked, badly.

Hârnmaster tries, but gives in to fiction right quick - all the caster types are grounded in the Hârn setting and its tropes.

CORPS also claims to be generic, but is really a genre engine. One for skilled elites doing things and having success a lot.

I'll note as well: I like the rules to be a framework to understand the setting well. I find that it doesn't work well if the setting is trying to be a physics engine; I prefer my genre baked in.
If Phoenix command had a VTT module to do all the math and record keeping it would be popular now a days. Not super popular but people would play it for sure.
 

gban007

Adventurer
An interesting OP I think, and I have a few thoughts on it, forgive me but this may get a bit meandering :)

Leaving the physics side to the side, I think there can be a bit of a blur between World and Story, depending on the game and how 'world shaking' it is as such. The more 'down to earth' a game is, I think the easier there is to be separation between the two, to allow one or the other or both to come to life more.

I think older games tended to be more World mechanic heavy due to nature of beginnings, taking a start from Wargames, where you tended to want to model that more - to extend of some games where you may have tracking of fuel levels, how much fuel different vehicles use, how likely a vehicle is to breakdown in differing terrain etc. Sometimes though that is more detail than people want to care about, and over time I think it has very much swung to skipping a lot of detail in favour of Story.

Generally speaking I think I tend to play the games that err more to the Story side, like 5e DND, the One Ring, Call of Cthulhu - the latter two I think because they are inspired by books that very much focus on the story side of things, and leave a lot of how the world operates to a bit of mystery (e.g. Tom Bombadil, the nameless ones in the deeps) - and the games look to replicate the feel of those stories, so you can replicate similar stories, without worrying too much about how the wider world operates - a lot based on assumption that physics etc are the same as ours anyway, and so people can use those by default.

When playing other fantasy games, especially High Fantasy, I tend to worry more about story side of things, as World feels somewhat mutable in most cases due to prevalence of magic, but if I were to play something a bit darker or grittier, I would expect it to start showcasing the world more in terms of mechanics - even if just to extent of say classic dragonlance with no clerical spells (and as a comparison, 5e version does away with that to concentrate on story rather than world, not a right or wrong thing to do, but I think shows emphasis), or Dark Sun with a few things going on there.

When playing Sci-Fi I tend to want to have a bit more of the World detailed in mechanics, if it is stuff like how to achieve FTL travel, time taken to move from system to system, how long different suits (or species even) can last in a vacuum - the harder the science fiction, the more I want this detailed. Star Wars I'm happier to wave a lot of that due to it being a bit more fantastical in nature, but if I was playing Star Trek I would want it more codified, and the mechanics to help describe how the World works as such.

Where there is a source inspiration where it feels like the World is quite different, I like to see that supported in mechanics - like a Wheel of Time variation, male channelers going insane, people treating channelers different to others, different strengths of different sources etc. Warhammer (40k and fantasy) I would like to see the influence of Chaos shown, and how uncertain the Warp is, how certain rituals can make things more likely to occur but at a cost (Whether to person doing ritual, or others). A grittier World (e.g. Warhammer Fantasy) should be shown like that in the rules, as I think it is (I have recently through various bundles got a number of the rules, but haven't had opportunity to read them yet let alone play), with wounds etc taken and the like.

A world that is slowly dying, I would like to see that portrayed, whether there is general timers going on with each day causing something worse to happen - something you can see in some CRPGS (one of my favourite series, Avernum, in it's third entry has an internal clock with various monster invasions going on, and if you don't go fast enough towns / villages will fall to the monsters before you get there - won't prevent you winning the game but will make it harder).

Free League has a game out called Death in Space - sounds an intriguing one, but when it talks about being in a collapsing universe, I would hope to see mechanics that show how that is eventuating / impacting on characters over time, to support getting the feel of a collapsing universe.

I guess in summary it depends on the game as to whether the World is part of the forefront, or just part of a backdrop, as to how much the rules should support it, but I think in some games it should be at the forefront, and the closest I can think of a game getting there is my limited experience with Traveller from years ago, otherwise I don't have much exposure as yet.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I've found that Hit locations tend to work better when its the Defender making a choice of what gets hit rather than some convoluted randomization scheme.

While my system doesn't track Hit Locations for Wounds (though it could), it does do so for Armor/Weapon durability. By default all durability hits that aren't otherwise determined hit the Body slot.

If you parry with a weapon, that is what takes the hit. If you deflect with a gauntlet, the hand slots take the hit. Head, head slot. Etc etc. When you roll your Defense, you use the dice associated with these slots (ie, your gauntlets add 1d10 Armor) and if they roll a 1, you lose Durability.
Does the attacker get any say in this? As in, can the attacker specify a specific body part or piece of equipment to attack e.g. "I'm going for her sword, I want to disarm her" or "I'm going for his legs, in hopes of slowing him down", that sort of thing?
 

Does the attacker get any say in this? As in, can the attacker specify a specific body part or piece of equipment to attack e.g. "I'm going for her sword, I want to disarm her" or "I'm going for his legs, in hopes of slowing him down", that sort of thing?

So to start, the Warrior has a core mechanic called Techniques, which form the basis of a battle combo system. Essentially, you string different maneuvers together, and you get escalating effects the longer you keep the chain going, up to a max of 5 moves per combo.

And many of the Techniques will be exactly the sort of thing you noted; Leg Strike is one, and Disarmament is another. If you watch this nifty fight, you'll more or less know what Im going for.

So, by improvising an action to mimic these Techniques, you can access the same effects. Won't be as good or strong as it would be coming from the actual class (or by being a Battlemage or a Paladin, who both get lesser access to Techniques), but its there. And meanwhile there's also going to be Skill Actions, which can be used to invoke your offensive Skill (for martials this would be Striking), and that will give you a small range of options, most likely including your basic disarms and trips and such.

But as far as Durability goes, the idea is to keep it strictly in the wheelhouse of the defender to choose where they get hit, and then for the actual loss to be automatic as part of invoking that location to defend themselves. This avoids the convoluted randomization scheme, and keeps the tracking efficient; Durability isn't a constant loss, and you'll know by sight when to mark a loss because you'll just look for any 1s.

Meanwhile with NPCs, the idea is to avoid overloading the WK with a pile of widgets to fiddle with constantly. Instead of specific locations modelled in the same way as Players, they'll just have a generic Armor dice pool made up of specific moves representing how they defend themselves, and by attacking these locations you can disable these moves.

The reason that isn't done the same way for Players is because the individual items on a PC are much more robust than their NPC equivalents (outside of special enemies that might have Adventure ready loot rather than scrap fodder), so it matters more that each item is tracked individually.

Also avoids some potential confusion where people feel they should be able to keep using the same kind of Defensive move just because they have armor dice left in their pool.

Its a rather clever setup imo; in play they feel more or less identical, and the simplifications for the WK really shine when the PCs aren't fighting for their lives against common rabble anymore. The big important NPCs become more meaningful to track this for, and the rabble is more likely to die before their armor gets broken.
 

aramis erak

Legend
If Phoenix command had a VTT module to do all the math and record keeping it would be popular now a days. Not super popular but people would play it for sure.
It would need more automation than just a VTT... Char Gen is slow and cumbersome, too, even in the reduced complexity ALIENS Adventure Game...
Rhand (the standalone version, not the supplement version) was a slower slog still with inobvious interactions.
 

So to start, the Warrior has a core mechanic called Techniques, which form the basis of a battle combo system. Essentially, you string different maneuvers together, and you get escalating effects the longer you keep the chain going, up to a max of 5 moves per combo.

And many of the Techniques will be exactly the sort of thing you noted; Leg Strike is one, and Disarmament is another. If you watch this nifty fight, you'll more or less know what Im going for.

So, by improvising an action to mimic these Techniques, you can access the same effects. Won't be as good or strong as it would be coming from the actual class (or by being a Battlemage or a Paladin, who both get lesser access to Techniques), but its there. And meanwhile there's also going to be Skill Actions, which can be used to invoke your offensive Skill (for martials this would be Striking), and that will give you a small range of options, most likely including your basic disarms and trips and such.

But as far as Durability goes, the idea is to keep it strictly in the wheelhouse of the defender to choose where they get hit, and then for the actual loss to be automatic as part of invoking that location to defend themselves. This avoids the convoluted randomization scheme, and keeps the tracking efficient; Durability isn't a constant loss, and you'll know by sight when to mark a loss because you'll just look for any 1s.

Meanwhile with NPCs, the idea is to avoid overloading the WK with a pile of widgets to fiddle with constantly. Instead of specific locations modelled in the same way as Players, they'll just have a generic Armor dice pool made up of specific moves representing how they defend themselves, and by attacking these locations you can disable these moves.

The reason that isn't done the same way for Players is because the individual items on a PC are much more robust than their NPC equivalents (outside of special enemies that might have Adventure ready loot rather than scrap fodder), so it matters more that each item is tracked individually.

Also avoids some potential confusion where people feel they should be able to keep using the same kind of Defensive move just because they have armor dice left in their pool.

Its a rather clever setup imo; in play they feel more or less identical, and the simplifications for the WK really shine when the PCs aren't fighting for their lives against common rabble anymore. The big important NPCs become more meaningful to track this for, and the rabble is more likely to die before their armor gets broken.

An addendum to this post is that I did in fact confirm today that we'll be adding Sundering as an option for Momentum. This will go both ways for PCs and NPCs, and will provide for attacking armor directly.

Mostly came to this conclusion on the basis that what was making my philosophy work is that losing Durability on your stuff is never passive; as in you're always going to either be doing something to lose it, or will have something done to you that causes tue loss.

And ideally, these will be the same thing. Ie, when the goblin goes to sunder your shield, the loss will either be a result of you attempting to defend yourself (which isn't guaranteed), or because you didn't or couldn't, and so the goblin hits his mark.

In both cases, the game is automatically telling you to mark the loss. You either see a 1 in your defense roll, or your GM tells you to mark the loss according to however I decide Sundering will work. Can't really get more painless than that.
 

Theory of Games

Disaffected Game Warrior
This is so bad. People should avoid this thread and poke their eyes out if they read it.

I mean. FATE. Super-story-based RPG. The color of the mechanics paints the setting, characters and action in a way that FEEEELSSS like somethin-somethin cinematic. People will say "Feng Shui" or "DramaSystem" (is that one word?) . This whole hobby is ridiculously akin to professional acting by people rarely paid to act. We just do it BECAUSE FUN right? And it let's us investigate these paper-top people we create. Like who the f*k is this person anyway? "Burning Wheel" is the other quintessential "I'm acting like an actor" rpg.

Everything else is combat. Even the "Powered by the Apocalyose" rpgs get .......... I mean they FALL into combat because WTF are we doing besides fighting stuff in a fun way that doesn't work like DND. DND is so disgustingly mechanical and we love it for that. Every time I make a DND character I want to spit on the page. Or my screen. oR at the table. It's sooooooooooooo / I feel like a robot running a robot doing robotic stuff.

What are we talking about again?
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
This is so bad. People should avoid this thread and poke their eyes out if they read it.

Mod note:
If you feel that way, maybe you'd prefer to not take part?


I'm not sure what you were doing, but if I were you I'd check with my doctor about my dosage.

This looks like trying to smear someone with a stigma of mental health issues. Please don't do that. Thanks.
 

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