Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The Jam is ON!

So, I'm kicking off on this "MS Paint TTRPG Jam" today! I won't lie, I've been doing some prep leading up, mulling over ideas and all, but I didn't lay down anything I'll be using in MS Paint, or draft anything that's going in the project directly. If any of you've read my last post, you'll know that I'm aiming to crank out an RPG in 2 weeks! The name I've got for this thing right now is "Savage City" and it's an RPG inspired by Beat 'em Up, Fighting and Wrestling video games. The RPG inspirations most directly are 1.) Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game and 2.) Marvel Super Heroes (yeah, the FASERIP one).

In addition to writing an RPG, I was hoping I'd get a couple blog posts out of this as well and today I thought I'd begin by describing the core mechanic of "Savage City." The core mechanic is one I've had kicking around for a while, and it originated in me trying to come up with a die mechanic that kinda replicated the Universal Table from TSR's Marvel Super Heroes, but without needing the actual table.

(Yeah, you know, this thing!)

What did I come up with?

Well, one way to describe it that most parallels the Universal Table is to say you roll a d6 of a special color to represent "Shift 0", and you roll an additional number of d6 of another color equal to the column you would be rolling on. So, for example, rolling on Feeble would be 2d6 (a 1 rating plus the "Shift 0" die), Excellent would be 6d6 (a rating of 5 plus the "Shift 0" die), Unearthly would be 11d6, etc. To get the equivalent of a "Green" result on the Universal Table, you'd need to roll a single 6, "Yellow" would require two 6s, and "Red" would require three 6s rolled. Basically, you roll a die pool in a White Wolf kind of way, but only 6s count as "successes". Why is the "Shift 0" die a different color? Because if the "Shift 0" die rolls a 6, you gain a level of success and roll again, rolling until it no longer rolls a 6. Additionally, if no 6s are rolled on the die pool and the "Shift 0" die rolls a 1, you get the classic White Wolf style "Botch" result.

So, I think it is easy to see broadly how that emulates the MSH Universal Table, it generates failures, Green, Yellow and Red results anyways, yet I can sense that questions remain... "What if you roll more than three 6s? What happens then?" In this case, for each 6 rolled above three, the success gets bumped up a level of effect. Like, in Marvel Super Hero terms, imagine you rolled your Fighting and punched someone, normally you'd do Strength in damage, so if you had Excellent Strength you'd do 20 damage. Under this system, if you rolled 4 successes, it'd be equivalent to rolling a "Red" result AND your Strength would be column shifted 1 step to the right, and you'd've done Remarkable (30) damage! Sure... OK, maybe that sounds cool, maybe not. If you were really looking to replace MSH's Universal Table though, you'd wanna look at the actual probabilities, right? Well, yeah. I am happy to report that they are reasonably comparable! Take a look and decide for yourself:

(The classic Marvel Universal Table percentages)

(My percentages... you'll need to click to expand for sure!)

See! Not bad, in my opinion. There is no way a simple die mechanic was gonna exactly match the Universal Table, but it was way closer than I dreamed it would be when I first considered the idea. Again, the 1 die row on my chart is "Shift 0" on the Marvel chart, "Beyond" would be 18 dice on my chart. Probably easiest to compare starting at 4 dice vs. Typical. Now, even with the percentages being acceptably similar, if you were actually trying to clone Marvel Super Heroes, or simply substitute this die mechanic directly, there would be important questions about how Karma would work and how could it modify these rolls and so on. I have ideas along those lines but fortunately they don't matter too much, because "Savage City" is not a Marvel Super Heroes clone. Combat in "Savage City" will be vastly different, the Attributes... different, the number of dice rolled... determined differently.

Today, I just wanted to point out and explain the core mechanic I'll be going with. As for how it will be implemented... I'll be posting on that as well, in time. I don't want blog posting to interfere with me working on the game, so I'll shoot for describing the basics of the combat system in my next entry probably next week. Then after that, hopefully I'll be posting with a link to where you can grab the game and go on about how things wrapped up for me. 

Monday, September 6, 2021

My "MS Paint TTRPG Jam" Challenge

Well, we're a week past the end of #RPGaDay2021 and I need something else to do. Time for my first RPG Jam!

Over the last few years itch.io has become a fairly popular place for indie table top RPG creators to post up their work, even if it is more dominated by indie video games. One of the fun things about the place is that sometimes folks will start up "jams", where people are challenged to create a piece of work within a time limit. Usually that piece of work has a theme or set of limitations specific to the jam. It's a way to get some community happening, check out what other people are doing, and also motivate people who could use some motivation to produce. Anyways, about a week back Ian Yusum proposed an "MS Paint TTRPG Jam" that kicks off on 09/14 and runs for two weeks until 09/28. The idea is that you start making the RPG (or adventure, or whatever RPG related thing you want to make) when the start date hits, and you use good ol' MS Paint to do all of the art and layout, and kinda everything. It's definitely gonna produce a certain aesthetic!

Why am I doing this? Well, like a lot of role-players, I like to fiddle about with rules and systems. Also, there are games I've thought were great or had great ideas that have gone out of print and are no longer available. Rather that just type up my own half formed ideas over and over, but never really move them forward past a certain point, I thought committing to this jam might convince me to take some ideas further. I'm being public about it, so it adds that "Do I want to fail at a thing I publicly committed to?" factor to proceedings. This seems to have worked for #RPGaDay2021, so maybe it can work here!

Anyways... what is my plan? Well, when I heard about it I opened up MS Paint, checked what the default system fonts were, and experimented with mocking some things up. Here are a couple pix I produced:

(Possible Game Title?)

(Vague Page Layout Ideas)

No surprise if you know me. It looks like I'm aiming for an RPG inspired by "Beat 'em Up" games! My inspirations are definitely the White Wolf Street Fighter RPG, a dice mechanic I came up with ages ago that produces multiple levels of success, and a desire to keep the rules that are non-essential to the concept of the game nice and minimal. I mean, with only 2 weeks I'm figuring the best I'll be able to do will amount to a funny draft version that I will hopefully later firm up and flesh out, but I'm really hoping to get something nice and play-test ready made! If I'm lucky, the game will be satisfying for emulating any kind of beat 'em up, fighting game, wrestling & a decent amount of side-scrolling action while also totally being an RPG, but that's pretty ambitious. Better to keep to myself with the most ambitious of dreams, then "Show, don't tell" with what I produce at the end of this thing.

Hopefully I'll end up with some fun material to show you. Best of luck in whatever RPG endeavors you are currently up to. Also... if you're feeling bold, feel free to jump on in and try the jam with me! We've all got to start somewhere!

The Year of Absence

Oh man! It happened. Any of you still around may vaguely remember that my last post was about some minor progress I had made on a "Game...