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Third Time's A Charm: Miracle (WIP Title)

PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:27 pm
by kylesgames

Basically, what I've got here is my epic rebuild of Pathfinder channeled through a Dark Heresy and Dark Souls and World of Darkness vibe. It started with wanting to add an in-depth combat system to Pathfinder to deal with the fact that my min-maxed party cheesed through HP like nobody's business, and has since evolved a good deal.

The entire point of the game is to maintain simplicity while making the game less "fluky" than Pathfinder and adding a degrees of success system, but half-way there it got hit by a minimalist/narrativist design idea, and basically half the systems were simplified down a good deal. Add in a superhero-game inspired "special abilities" system that mimics class-based development in the traditional d20 system and a point-buy mechanism, and you've got a backbone that should be fairly flexible.

It's also set in the setting I'm currently running my Pathfinder campaign in, which follows an epic world of the gods that destroys the planet (which is barely preserved by divine intervention and has been reduced to floating shards), and unleashes vanguards; essentially bio-weapons of the gods intended to power them with sacrifices.

A quick list of things I hope to do with it:
Simulationist combat within largely narrative gameplay
Point-build characters with d20-esque specialization and flavoring
There is only one die, the d20, and degrees of success make the world go around
Thirty-minute or less character creation based on characters' histories rather than arbitrary distinctions
Play almost anything under the same core rules

Re: Third Time's A Charm: Miracle (WIP Title)

PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 1:31 pm
by kylesgames
I'm mulling over options for combat. Miracle is heavily inspired by Pathfinder, though it attempts to essentially reverse all of its mechanics.

One of the things that I'm considering is that combat has a Time Unit method, more like a standard tactical game. Characters move when they are the character with the highest Speed that has the most TU remaining (i.e. someone with TU5 will always move before someone with TU4).

Attacks have a resolve and follow-through time; swinging a massive weapon may take 1 TU to resolve, and 1 to follow-through, most attacks have a 1 resolve and 0 follow-through, and fast weapons have a 0 resolve (meaning instantaneous) and 1 follow-through. Spellcasting and the like will typically only happen once a spell ends, meaning that they have 1 resolve and no follow-through.

Things I like about this system are that it brings in a whole speed/balance dichotomy—a rapier may not attack more frequently than another weapon, but a fast character can use it to strike, instantly resolve, and then move away before a slower attack resolves, while a slow character may use it to make sure they wound their enemy before the incoming hit lands. On the other hand, a fast character with a slow weapon knows that the person they are targeting will either flee or take the hit when it resolves.

It also somewhat negates the need to reflect combat distance, since movement is basically limited to "move away" or "move toward" for a particular TU. This doesn't help with figuring out where people are in relation to multiple fighters, but it does give dodging and pressing attacks some visceral nature.

EDIT: Updated PDF:

Re: Third Time's A Charm: Miracle (WIP Title)

PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 11:17 pm
by kylesgames
Tired. Headache. Magic is partly done now; a rough outline of the process of magic is finished. I do not know how comprehensible it is; it makes sense to me, but I wrote it, and the balance is almost certainly not final.

Magic in Miracle is very different than d20 magic. It is exhausted and returns quickly-it's like a mix of Morrowind's spell crafting with Diablo-styled mana pools and cool-downs. Mages do not have great success chances on casting, which means that magicians may want to use special gear to help them, but I never got around to finishing gear. Oh well.

Some more setting work got done.

Re: Third Time's A Charm: Miracle (WIP Title)

PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:23 am
by Anastylos
I need to read this as soon as possible. It sounds quite interesting.

Re: Third Time's A Charm: Miracle (WIP Title)

PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:02 am
by kylesgames
Side-note: I've got playtesting later today, so it'll be probably more polished soon, though I don't know if my players will read through a significant amount of it since I'm mostly playing it with people who have had very little experience with tabletop roleplaying games (one has a fair deal, one has some Pathfinder under his belt, and then we've got a total novice who I think has at least played a Neverwinter Nights game) and I'll probably just have to explain all the rules because they don't want to read the 30-40 pages that the rules make up.

EDIT: I'm not actually sure when I'd have a chance to draft up a new version; I'll probably be pretty tired by the time the Playtest is complete, and I've been putting off schoolwork for the sake of this.

New version before I go to the playtest (I'll have a couple more hours once I'm there to work on it, but my internet may be hit or miss).

Re: Third Time's A Charm: Miracle (WIP Title)

PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 10:11 pm
by kylesgames
Well, playtest was informative:

I definitely need to rebalance some things. The resolve/follow-through system, while great for emulating video game mechanics, is way complex and confusing. Truthfully, I think it's smart to just do away with it and have a single completion system where basically everyone gets one action and it completes after an amount of time based on their speed. Characters who have enough time left over can then choose to block or move, but not do a second attack unless the weapon allows it.

Weapons need a buff. As is gear is basically non-contributory to the game, except for armor. I shied away from giving weapons hit effects, but I think that most of them should do something, since a lot of people didn't like how things went with that. Part of this should be diversity (fast/strong/accurate weapons), and some should come down to simply giving the existing armory a buff.

Mages burn through their juice really quick, and need some way to recover Magic Fatigue. Special abilities exist to do this, but they're not great on their own because few characters have them. Perhaps having MoS decrease fatigue would be good.

More points. Characters need more. I don't think that the point-related Blood needs changing either, just simply making both the modifier costs and the available pool larger would help.

Clearer race mechanics. Players can make exotic fantasy races as part of character creation, and I think this needs to be more standardized. Likewise, perhaps some sort of pureblood bonus for spending all one's points on a particular race, since specialization is basically a very lucrative road to a quick death right now.

Larger pre-baked spell list. This isn't something I was unaware of, but it put my players off spellcasting. On the other hand, my brother really got into using Wordcasting, so I know it at least tentatively works.

EDIT: Oh, I also need to include a concept of difficulty modifiers and give players more opportunities for expansion while limiting them from maxing their stats at character creation.

Playtest PDF:

Re: Third Time's A Charm: Miracle (WIP Title)

PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 3:09 pm
by kylesgames
Still haven't made enough changes to warrant a new PDF release, but here's what to expect once it's done:

Multiple different tiers of Ratings/Modifier; Attributes function on a Slow Track, Combat Skills on the Medium Track, and Histories function on the Fast Track. Some Special Abilities will have Milestones based on one or another Track.

Races will essentially function as four separate units of 10 Points; these can be used to buy Racial or Magical Special Abilities or Attributes only. Each purchase of a given Race has homogenous effects (which was always intended, but not officially enforced).

Switching base Points at character creation from 90 to... undecided amounts. 160, probably. That's less generous than it used to be, but you can still make a decent character from it.

Rebalancing of derived attributes—Blood is based on Modifier rather than Rating, but is more generous.

Additions and refinements to some of the setting sections.

Switching over to a simplified combat system: Removing stun, knockdown, and simplifying locational damage, and combining resolve/follow-through mechanics into a single time unit system that functions more or less akin to Shadowrun's Initiative Pass system with more flexible actions. Bleeding occurs much more frequently, and multiple actions per turn have successive penalties.

Adding more combat-oriented Special Abilities. Also, maybe adding in some non-combat Special Abilities.

Rebalancing and expanding the gear system; armor needs some minor overhauls for the new TU system, while weapons need major overhauls to make them distinctive as well as add some real oomph to combat.

Ritual magic, the Trigger Word (for casting a spell and using it later, something that can be useful), and Alchemy (maybe). More sample spells, and potentially a couple more Words. Manastorms, which are passive magical effects that can be accessed by certain characters and hinder others.


Scabard campaign I whipped up for future playtesting but which is also basically a setting encyclopedia in the making:

Re: Third Time's A Charm: Miracle (WIP Title)

PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2014 4:43 pm
by kylesgames
Really slow progress. I'll probably update with a new version before all the features I wanted to add are in. I've revamped the Table of Contents for style, added in an Examples appendix, and finalized some changes to the Printouts appendix. The appendices are a low priority right now; I removed the example character sheet and the blank character sheet is outdated.

For the next update, we'll see the new combat system and everything (that I catch) changed to reflect the new changes, which means Gear and Magic, some new weapon qualities, improved armor penalties, and some special abilities.

I've decided to include an examples appendix, tagged by rule. This means that you can search through all the examples included in the book, and refer quickly back to the rule in question. This will be updated as I go through finishing up the rules and adding examples for each. I'm making it "dumb", for a dozen reasons, mostly related to quality and convenience, so if these examples change I need to update them both places—a simple enough job for my friends Control-C and Control-V.