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Unending Clouds: Steam/magi/clock/whatnot-punk Gothic

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:33 am
by kylesgames
I've been working on a new game because I have the attention span of a gerbil and never finish things (the fact that ABACUS is being turned into a digital game, meaning that working on the tabletop version feels a little redundant may help a little). For lack of a better title, I've taken to calling it Unending Clouds, and it's got a variety of fun things on tap.

For a start, it's an unholy abomination formed from Shadowrun 3rd Edition and Shadowrun 5th Edition ganging up to mug Dungeons and Dragons for pretty much any non-trademarked gameplay elements. It uses an exploding d6 pool system with both adjustable target numbers and variable numbers of successes required (and dice pool modifiers, which only ever come from wounds and such and never from environmental factors). It's meant to scale up in levels, and the primary form of spellcasting is Vancian, although the spellcasting mechanic itself is part-based.

To facilitate me actually finishing it to the point of making it playable, I'm putting out the quickstart guide before I go back and actually write the full thing, limiting myself to a small subset of the in-game features. Without further ado, here's a quick link to it on my site (so I don't forget). It's just a LibreOffice document right now, so it's nothing fancy typographically or format wise.

Some quick notes about what exactly it borrows from each of the rulesets I'm blending in:

3rd Edition of Shadowrun:
Attributes cap skills (technically, I follow a harder cap than they do)
Floating target numbers

5th Edition of Shadowrun:
Multiple hits to succeed
Add all dice from various categories to rolls

Massive health pool
Vancian spell-casting

My goals in combining these things was to create a game with:

Scaleability- Unending Clouds can support standard mortals or incredibly powerful individuals that are historical and legendary figures.
Each character is important- Each character has a specific role, and while there is some overlap you want to have several different roles covered. No decker/rigger analogues; everyone plays all the time, except during downtime.
Distinct designs- Unique magic systems that allow for a diverse and varied approach for magic that reflects multiple mundane approaches. Different schools of technology have specialist applications.
Dangerous- Everything can be a threat to characters, even as they grow stronger- a high or medium power character may be able to survive a nasty shot, but they'll be limping out of it.
Diverse paths- Multiple mechanics that can be explored and evaluated to deep levels (magic, steamtech, clocktech, magitech/ethertech) to make economic decisions- there is no specific single “win” path.
Detail through mechanics- Spells built in parts, no set combat maneuvers in favor of difficulty/complexity adjustments.

Right now I have a number of concerns with this:

As I've mentioned, I'm working on the "Quick Play Edition" (warning, misnomer alert!) right now, and this is about as rough as it goes.
I've pasted some things in from the full-featured version I was working on before I decided to focus to get this done quickly, so there may be some loose ends.
Stealth hasn't made it in yet.
Social interactions are basically gimped.
There are too few examples in the text.
My formatting is absolutely terrible.
The gear list is still "let's test and see how things work", and I didn't get around to my playtest over the weekend (I had a great time playing some Age of Empires II, however), so it should be taken with several grains of salt.
No armor systems in game (they'll likely be direct damage reduction, as much as that slows down combat, though the cap would be well below what most weapons do).
I use a dichotomous Health/Shock system, which allows for two types of wounds-the D&D goblin dice kind as well as a gritty Shadowrun inspired one, and they don't integrate perfectly (actually, The Dark Eye is more my inspiration than either D&D or Shadowrun there).
Energy is worthless. It should probably be usable for a dice boost (its other role is in non-Vancian casting, which is in another castle).
Guts are only used for a reroll, the rules are only in one place in a very short explanation.
Characters come out super weak. This is because in the full version they had racial bonuses/backgrounds to help them out, but nobody gets even the human racial bonuses or any background bonuses in this. I'm considering raising starting attributes to 2 around the board to fix this, giving everyone "average" stats and allowing them to have a more generous die pool.
I didn't give weapons an accuracy rating even though it's required for combat.
Spells can't cause Shock, which means they can't kill and can only incapacitate through health.


I made a game that's entirely unpolished and crappy, and more complex than anything has a right to be, but here's the rough draft if anyone wants to give me their thoughts.

Re: Unending Clouds: Steam/magi/clock/whatnot-punk Gothic

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:38 am
by Wannabe writer
Have done a rather quick scan - but Ill be printing the two games you have up and mulling them over (yes I realize this is and old fart approach), will get back to them soon - sadly I must add that I am more of a setting fiend than rules guru. :mrgreen:

Re: Unending Clouds: Steam/magi/clock/whatnot-punk Gothic

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 2:29 pm
by kylesgames