Sunday, August 29, 2010

Older RPG's had it right, a stat mod above +3 is too much

For the last couple years it has been gnawing on me more and more with piecemeal, the stat mod going up to +5 for a 20 (1-20 spread instead of 3-18) is too much. With such a great spread it too important to have a great stat in some areas for some classes. I have taken some of the old school wisdom and I am limiting it to +3, even then only for a perfect 20 in a stat. Thus a +1 or -1 will be easy to attain, a +2 will be hard and a +3 will have to be something you really want (if you are using point buy), because it is not economical to the benefit you could be getting elsewhere.

This is the kind of pedantic and boring to read about tweaking I've been focusing on for the last month, about increasing choices and reducing problems in the basic set-up. I want a bonus to truly be a bonus, and not mandatory. I have also been tweaking the social conflict mechanics to make it more of a group activity. Trying to tie social conflict mechanics into morale is my next big project.

But yes, progress is occurring, it is just boring at this stage. Hopefully more interesting changes will be afoot soon.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Desired Effects: RPG mechanics having knock-on effects

Some of the things I am noticing with Piecemeal is the difference from traditional fantasy RPG's by the focus of it rules. One of those is smart players having their characters do dumb things.

I began noticing more and more players were participating in reckless cliches, fun things mind you, but reckless. Things where the reward wasn't worth the danger, but it was done anyways. These include things that fit popular story cliches for danger (entering the creepy basement alone, grabbing the cursed gem, getting drunk while on watch) that players KNEW where bad idea.

Now this allowed for A LOT of fun, as these created loads of fun situations to get out of. Normally players are able to avoid these obvious situations ("Use a cursed monkey's paw? I think not"). The reasoning form the players? Fate points are granted in part to your ability to do awesome things, defined as "taking extra risk for style".

Players are also focusing on talking their way through problems more. This is no doubt due to the fact that social conflict mechanics mirror combat mechanics, meaning not only that it takes longer than one roll to resolve but that it allows partial results and tactics round to round.

I am still tweaking the social conflict mechanics to aid in this result, but the fate mechanics seems to be going superbly.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gambling: PC's playing Poker

One thing that can add a lot of spice into the game is gambling. With high stakes games it can be every bit as interesting as a round of combat..

unless the mechanics involved is "make a gambling check".

Consider using the following mechanic. Each player in the game rolls a d20 and adds their luck score (if you don't have a luck score in your game, a straight d20). This d20 is rolled secret and placed under a cup or mug.

The players (and GM) then engage in rounds of social combat, betting. If social combat is won that player can then look under the targets cup. Highest score wins obviously (assuming no one folds). This can be used for straight money, state secrets on the line..or in a fantasy game for a poker game for extra years on your life, your soul, or what have you.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Not Dead: Just recovering from GenCon

So I've been quiet these last two weeks, I'm not dead: just heading to and recovering from GenCon. It was certainly a sight to see, I met up with the fine folks of Fear The Boot, bought a copy of HeroQuest from Milton Bradley, found strange new dice (d14,d16 and hex, d24), met Aaron Williams of Nodwick fame...

I am working on some continuing tweaks for Piecemeal as I ready up for book format, a few new maneuvers and some more play testing of some fiddly bits.

One thing I will be adding is rules for playing gambling. This would allow for characters to play any game with a chance and social element (poker, liars dice, etc) as more than a "roll your poker skill", but as a separate event as interesting as combat (or as dis interesting if its just pointless gambling).

Is there any interest for a further write up here of the mechanics?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Beta 019 Released

Piecemeal 1eB019 has been released,

This features some changes to parry, to social conflict, bard powers to some weapon tags, new maneuvers, changes to old and a few others. There is a full text extract and a character sheet included.

Most of the changes are simply a result of extended play test to streamline the game or make things more useful or fun.