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Thread: Grand Unified Theory: Modos RPG revision 1.30 thread

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    Grand Unified Theory: Modos RPG revision 1.30 thread

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    Have you ever watched a spy thriller and wondered if there’s an RPG for it? Thought that a legendary monster would make a great addition to your game, but didn’t know how to fit it into the rules? Wanted to seamlessly convert your tabletop game to a chatroom game? And back? Now there’s a free RPG for that.

    Modos RPG is entering its third playtest version. This time around, everything is fitting into place: the character creation rules apply to heroes, villains, monsters, traps, and even vehicles. The combat rules are fast and flexible, but more significantly, they are a simple extension of the core conflict system which applies to all uncertain outcomes. And all these hard-coded rules still rest on a foundation of creative roleplaying and minimal table usage.

    This thread serves two purposes: it is a chronicle of the game’s update process, and it’s an open forum for all parties interested in using Modos RPG rules. If you’re a GM, player, adventure writer, or game designer, your ideas, critiques, and questions are welcome here.

    Happy gaming,
    Michael Terlisner
    Lead Designer, Modos RPG
    Powered by: Modos RPG, version 1.30
    http://modos-rpg.obsidianportal.com/

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    Update highlights:

    Combined actions are now an action-by-action option, instead of a declaration.

    Combat postures will be simplified into the two major types (offensive and defensive), and three minor types (flanking, mounted, and flying). Each posture interacts with the other postures in terms of the two major types.

    All outcome resolutions are based on the same rolling mechanic. The simple resolutions are One Roll Conflicts, and the detailed ones are called Extended Conflicts.

    Additional tools will be added for psionics (mental conflict) and social battles (metaphysical conflict).

    Additional special equipment will be added to fill your inventory.
    Powered by: Modos RPG, version 1.30
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    Combat design question:

    Positions in combat are abstracted in order to speed play and facilitate gridless combat. They are called "postures" to help divorce the idea of specific location (position) from each condition.

    Final Fantasy, as the original inspiration for this combat system, dictates that being in offensive posture allows you to deal better damage with close-quarters weapons, and that defensive posture protects you from CQW. My original plan to emulate this was to apply a 50% damage reduction for attacks reaching beyond their effective range, e.g. a sword deals half of what it normally would if attacking defensive posture from offensive posture.

    While this speeds up combat (similar to the purpose of an Escalation Die), it presents the following problem: if a wizard is 50 feet away tossing arcane blasts, a savage warrior can still deal 50% damage to the wizard with his axe.

    My first solution is to offer full protection for being in non-offensive posture, but this will 1) slow down combat by protecting PC health, 2)simplify the wizard's tactics, and 3) force the issue of maneuver as a means of overcoming the wizard's protection.

    What to do?

    Additional notes:
    The defensive posture is being rewritten as more of a privilege than a right. IF conditions exist to stay out of spear-range, then defensive posture is available. Flanking posture is the current solution to attacking defensive enemies, and is another privilege. IF there is the potential to maneuver closer to a defensive enemy, then flanking posture can be taken. Flanking posture will act as an anti-posture: it is offensive to defensive enemies, and defensive to offensive enemies.
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    Character advancement:

    Characters improve in general power by gaining levels (permanent) and better equipment (temporary). Each level grants an attribute point, a skill point, a perk (that can be substituted for either of the previous two), and a hero point.

    Since the game does not include experience points, what's a good way to determine when and how much a character improves?

    I've been drawn to the quasi-earned elements: if a character fights well in a session, he could gain a physical attribute point, a fight skill point, or possibly a weapon focus perk at the end of that session.

    It would probably be simpler to award a full level after X sessions or at plot checkpoints, but would it be less rewarding? What's a better way?
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    The Hero system of Exp I suppose, big chunky units that are spent on improving the PC or buy down disadvantages.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    My favorite game console is a table and chairs.
    The Olde Phoenix Inn

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    I looked up Hero, and found that character advancement is done by gaining character-building points, each of which gives you a direct benefit, versus the indirect benefits of gaining experience points. Which I'll interpret as a nod toward granting PCs building points (which I've been calling level points), instead of level-up-or-nothing.

    The game I'm working on has two main types of character disadvantages:
    - player-imposed disadvantages. These are the "flaws" in character concept, which when acted out, can recover hero points (daily bonuses).
    - neglected skills or protection. If a character gets into a firefight, and he's spent all of his skill points on fight (melee) instead of fight (missile), he's going to have a tough time taking down enemies. Or if he does up against a psykinetic and hasn't taken any thought shield perks (mental armor).

    Should PCs gain level points every session? After every fight? Every checkpoint?
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    I favor session awards myself. It is a natural point at which to wrap the evening. It gives the players time to conetmplate where to put said points before the next session.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    My favorite game console is a table and chairs.
    The Olde Phoenix Inn

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    Well, the game has really easy-to-make characters, and cohorts can quickly become PCs, but I thought I'd include this:

    Sidebar: Effects of Max Damage


    In this game, it’s best to try to avoid killing a PC. The GM should consider using the event of a mostly dead PC to make the plot or character more interesting. For example, a mostly dead character could return to play with a new scar or missing limb. Or the plot could divert, and the character could become undead, get captured, or send the living PCs on a quest to revive the mostly dead character. A character who becomes unconscious might return with a nervous tick, paranoia, or amnesia. Characters recovering from the catatonic condition might see ghosts, hear voices, or become slightly more pious, having almost met their maker.
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    New Skills Excerpt

    Who wants to count squares? This new Movement skill supports the fluid nature of combat: easy movement is free!

    -

    Movement - P
    When movement gets difficult, you test your success in jumping, swimming, flying, climbing, tumbling, and balancing with this skill. Movement can be used to compare the speed of two characters. In conflict easy movement is free, so this skill has three important uses:

    • Changing posture. One action is required to move from offensive to defensive posture, and vice versa. If combat terrain is difficult, the GM can apply difficulty or require more actions.

    • Fleeing conflict. A character can leave battle with one action from defensive posture, or two actions from offensive posture. A contest is required if an opponent has a means of preventing flight, like a spell, net, tractor-beam, or when the fleeing character is cornered.

    • Flanking opponents. Entering flanking posture requires two actions.

    See the Conflict chapter for more information on posture and fleeing. Opposed by movement, fight (unarmed), or other skills that could hamper movement.
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    Spellcasting Conundrum

    Designing some higher-level spells today, and there are two different ways to deal multiple dice of damage:

    1) damage-over-time. As a fire spell, this would be a sort of flame-thrower effect. One target at a time.
    2) all-at-once. This sort of fire spell would deal no damage until the end of the spell, and would affect multiple different targets.

    If each option uses the same die and number of dice for damage, let's say 4d8, what are the pros and cons of each option? Should one spell be harder to cast than another? Different levels?
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    Does damage over time have a mitigation method?

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    My favorite game console is a table and chairs.
    The Olde Phoenix Inn

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    I'm not specifically looking for an in-system response, but since you asked:

    Everyone takes one action at a time. Which is to say - you're one person, so you have the physical limitations of one person. If someone casts a spell at you, you can spend your time defending against that spell, doing something else, or marshalling your efforts for something bigger and later in the round by saving your action.

    So there are two ways to mitigate damage over time. Counter with a defense action, and if successful, you'll negate one action's worth of damage. Regardless of whether you counter, you get to apply protection (i.e. damage reduction) to reduce EVERY DIE of damage you face with your protection amount.

    Regarding the OP, if a caster targets -only you- with a damage-over-time spell, your protection will apply during each action (and each die) that he spends targeting you. If you're caught in the net of an all-at-once spell, you'll only face one die of damage, but so will several of your comrades. And your protection will reduce (but not eliminate) that one die.
    Last edited by DMMike; 11-03-2014 at 12:21 AM.
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    If the target can mitigate the damage over time, IE stop it from doing its full damage I would make it lower level than the all at once spell, that obviously cannot be stopped once the damage is done.

    If that is not the case. I would keep them the same level. Providing the damage potential is equal.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    My favorite game console is a table and chairs.
    The Olde Phoenix Inn

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    Thanks for the help - the draft spells I have so far are agreeing with you. I have:

    Burn, level 3, 1d8 damage over 3 actions, caster chooses one target per action.

    Flare, level 4, 1d8 damage after 4 actions, and spell affects 4 different targets. Since flare is a "multi" target spell, characters can increase the number of targets by taking a perk for that purpose.

    For comparison, a longbow deals d10 damage, and with the rapid reload perk, it can fire once per action. It has more range than Burn, but a longbow and arrows are decidedly bulkier and noisier than carrying spells. Flare can affect multiple targets at the same time, while only one arrow can be fired at a time. Also, rule zero dictates what uses fire spells have beyond damaging enemies - like providing heat or light. Arrows are a little more limited in their usage...
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    Inspired by another thread on skill difficulty:

    I'm beginning the conflict chapter remodel. Up for careful rephrasing: the take half rule.

    This game uses opposing d20 rolls to determine contests, with the higher result finding more success. The take half rule states that anytime a die roll is necessary, the roller can just call his result half of the die's highest number. Among the consequences of this:

    • Players who want an average roll can get a (slightly below) average roll. This comes in real handy when a low roll could have disastrous results.
    • An opposing contest of 10 (+0), which is halfway up a d20, is an easy roll to beat. If you have no bonuses, you'll beat 10 on half of your d20 rolls - but if you have a +1, you can take half and beat 10 (almost) every time.
    • An opposing contest of 20 (+10, between "difficult" and "arduous") gives you 5% odds if you have no bonuses, and that's just to tie the roll. On a tie, the GM can call for a reroll, a tie, or grant victory to the player if he's been roleplaying well. A PC with bonuses adding up to +11, which might be a "legendary" level specialist with a high attribute and a specialize perk, could take half and beat 20 (almost) every time.
    • Difficulties are listed as bonuses instead of static numbers so that the GM can choose to roll the result, instead of taking half. Say a PC is taking half with a +4 bonus, so his contest is 14. If the GM takes half for the +3 opposition, a 13, the PC will win every time. However, if the GM rolls the opposition and adds the +3, he can reintroduce some chaos, getting a 4 through 23, as long as there's a reason for the PC to fail.


    Difficulties for an average person:
    Easy +0
    Challenging +4
    Difficult +8
    Arduous +12
    Impossible +16
    Divine +20

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