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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in perfectrpg's LiveJournal:

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Monday, June 30th, 2008
1:56 am
[voxen]
First Impressions
So, what do you think of 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons?
Thursday, October 25th, 2007
3:50 pm
[voxen]
Being a fan of strategic turn based RPGs, I'd like to build a system that is based on encounter-oriented RP-Lite and smooth turn-based combat.

Essentially, I'd like to imbue a straight up board game, like Descent: Journeys in the Dark, with a bit of the character building and advancement I enjoy in D&D, without the rules exceptions and complications that bog down play.

I feel there are a few common elements that tend to slow things down.Any further input would be appreciated.

1a. Conditional modifiers to stats, rolls, etc. that cause you to calculate your totals repeatedly during the course of play.

1b. Special situations that require extra rolls or calculation

2. Actions that do not happen on your turn (counter attacks, dodge rolls)

3. Too many options to choose from

4. Too many actions on one turn (including the game master)

Cut for Further Discussion and possible solutionsCollapse )
Of course, they're all related, and a lot of it has to do with simply "How much can a character do on any given turn?". I've got some ideas about that, like moving and action orders, that I might hold off on for now simply because I'm sick of typing this entry.
Wednesday, December 20th, 2006
8:17 am
[sailor_charon]
Who got the grades?
B in CS 201 Operating Systems Main Campus (I didn't go to this class because I can't understand the professor)
B- in CS 204 Database Systems Main Campus (I didn't go to this class either...)
A in CS 292 Senior Seminar (we talked about ethics and computers, 1 credit, easy A)
W in CS 395 Evolutionary Computation (withdrew because I was strangely failing despite understanding the material and we'd already covered most of the course material, the rest of the course was largely project time and paper reviews)
A- in ENGS 050 Expository Writing (I got to learn how to write. Easy A FTW)
A- in JAPN 001 Elementary Japanese I (Ah, Japanese, hard language, easy tests)

Semester GPA of 3.33, Cumulative GPA of 3.27
Thursday, December 14th, 2006
8:09 am
[sailor_charon]
A small game for balancing characters.
A mathematically game about balance, encouraged by the topic of skill balance.

This game is called Balloons and Rocks. Each Balloon is a character. Balloons start the game with 4 rocks, and each balloon has a stick that knocks off a rock with a probability of 100%. Each balloon has a 50% chance of trying to knock off a rock, and likewise a 50% chance of not letting their opponent try and knock off a rock (zero sum for these two attributes, think of it as a 1d20 roll against another 1d20 roll in which ties are rerolled).

Rocks may be purchased for A points.
The capacity to knock of 25% more rocks on a hit may be purchased for B points.
A 5% increase in knock off chance may be purchased for C points.
A 5% increase in knock off resist may be purchased for D points.

Let's compare the cost of some various balloons now.
Base + A survives 25% longer than Base (more rocks) and thus we can say is 25% better.
Base + B does damage 25% faster than Base and thus we can say is 25% better. Base + A vs Base + B will functionally be the same battle as Base vs Base, as will Base + A vs Base + A and Base + B vs Base + B (these other options might be slower or faster, but win chances are still balanced).
Base + C will knock off oponent rocks faster and do 5% more damage per round because of it, so is 5% better than Base.

Now we assume that A = 25, B = 25, and C = 5 are the balance costs of each of these.
Base + A + C (n) and Base + B + C (m) both cost the same # of points. Each of them should be equally likely to win in a fight.

n vs m
n will knock off .1375 (.55 * .25) rocks/round off of m, m has 4 rocks so will take 29.0909... rounds to be defeated before floating away.
m will knock off .275 (.55 * .5) rocks/round off of m, m has 5 rocks so will take 18.1818... rounds to be defeated before floating away.

Obviously, m is a more powerful balloon. What went wrong? Simple, we had linear costs applied to a linear * linear benefit (defense skill * HP, offense skill * damage). We can conclude by this, that hit points and damage capacity cannot be purchasable by a linear system if their probability of use is also purchasable by a linear system. So this is yet another place where we find that a balance, that is, the disassociation of point allocation with character quality, is impossible to achieve. If you could balance this, it would a) take a computer, and b) each and every skills cost would not only need to be based on the levels of other skills, but also on the levels of the skills of the intended opponent.
Friday, December 8th, 2006
4:06 am
[voxen]
So it's been a while since there was any activity here, but I had a random flash of inspiration and I thought I'd post about it.

In many games (and perfectrpg concepts) there's this idea of attributes, which are general, all-encompassing things, and skills/abilities which are more specific but more easily trained.

What I was thinking is, what if your attributes are just the sum total of your (purchased during character creation and advancement) ability points? So in order to train up your Strength (e.g) you go out and raise any physical ability. Or, if the attributes are even more general, like, Combat, Willpower, and Agility, so be it. Then, when you want to attack someone with a sword, you roll combat + swordskill... depending on the system the two combined could be a modifier or a percentage chance to succeed.
What it means is that someone who's really good at fencing (or whatever) could raise their 'strength' more easily by training in a weapon they're not familiar with, or if it's general enough that 'melee attack' is a skill (or maybe split it into heavy weapons and light finesse ones), they train something else that they aren't as familiar with.

And non-combat skills could be just as important, and points spent on seemingly niche things (e.g. hacking, or gambling) would never be wasted since they would always increase your base intelligence, or whatever.

I'm assuming the advancement system would use a triangular point buy. Maybe your first rank in something would cost 3 'points' and each successive rank costs 1 more point. If you're a guy who does a lot of boxing, each rank of 'boxing' you buy is effectively 2 more to your skill when rolling it. But once you're paying 10 points for each rank, you could raise your 'combat'/'strength' skill more by training in one of the related disciplines that are cheaper for you.

The only important consideration to make is that you'd want to put it together where focusing all of your points on swordskill (or whatever) provides a better benefit than just increasing all combat/strength skills evenly to gain a bonus--which in turn requires a set number of skill sets in which players can advance to keep it balanced..

My original thought is 4 attributes, Strength, Agility, Willpower (strength of mind/personality), Intellect (""agility of mind)... and a handful of skillsets tied to each, like melee combat, sports, and fitness for strength. If the first rank costs 3 points, the second 4 and so on, a specialized character might spend 25 points on melee, purchasing 5 ranks (3/4/5/6/7), for a total stat+skill of 10 (since each point purchased goes to the attribute as well). If instead, a character purchased 2 ranks in 3 different skills (for 21 points) based on the same attribute, in this case Strength, they would have a higher base attribute (6) but a lower melee skill total (only 8).. However the specialized character would only have a score of 5 in the other two skills.

I see there are potential problems as stated (with 56 points spread evenly among 3 skills, a player's total would be 16 in any given skill (4 ranks each for a base attribute of 12 + the 4 from the skill), whereas a specialist spending 52 points would have a 16 in just that skill (8 + 8)
.. with 156 points a generalist has overall scores of 24+8=32, the specialist (with 150 points) has a score of 17+17=34, but a 17 in the other two skills... so specializing probably wouldn't be worth it at that buy value. Then again, both are extreme cases of someone spending no points in any of the other attributes, which means they're incredibly limited socially and mentally.

I know it's long and rambling, but I really like it so far. Basically it's just built-in synergy bonuses, but it means no advancement is wasted. And hey, it might work in a superhero game, which is the new hotness.
Friday, August 18th, 2006
5:05 pm
[noneuklid]
Skills and Attributes
Assuming both are mutable, what are the differences between a Skill and an Attribute?

x-post rpg_design, perfectrpg
Thursday, February 9th, 2006
2:24 pm
[sailor_charon]
Saturday, July 30th, 2005
12:59 am
[voxen]
I know this isn't really perfectrpg related, but I do a lot of design for D&D -- characters, prestige classes, and the like -- and since I'm moving away from all of my gamer friends, I was hoping to build a wiki-type net space where I could put my creations and then others could comment or suggest changes, as well as upload their own. That way, I'd be able to B.S. about D&D a thousand miles away, and share some of the silly characters (and their minmaxed or creative level advancement) with my friends and random people on the net.

I know I could just put up a web page, but I'd like to make it more dynamic and social... Does anyone have any suggestions on how to do this (i.e. packages to seed the 'wiki' (I dislike that word, but it is what I'm going for) or a site that already exists with a similar purpose)?
Thursday, March 31st, 2005
1:21 am
[voxen]
Continuous Combat, Revisited
Refer to previous discussion Here.

If your character really has a speed, I feel it would be better to do a count-up to a certain point / then you get to go kind-of-thing. Although you could (as Tharasix suggested) just double everyone's speed if someone gets to fractions, with a count-up (A la Final Fantasy type games), higher speed is better, so there's never any need for fractions, and your speed is always your speed, if you catch me. Basically, envision a speed of 1 as the slowest possible speed for someone to act in battle: perhaps an automated mortar or something that fires once every few minutes might go into fractions or decimals, but that would be the exception. Then, give each action a duration, like, firing a grenade launcher from the hip, and if that action takes longer than your speed score you adjust it. Otherwise, you still take your speed in segments as a sort of reaction time.

Now, I find the alternative much more exciting. Keep the build up method, as Charon originally stated, but don't have a generic 'speed' for your character, because that is not really something I can contrast in life. An expert fencer who's never fired a gun will not be able to effectively operate a revolver as fast as he can slash and thrust. Instead, let the person's skill with the weapon (or skill... fast computer hacking/spell casting/bomb disarming anyone?) lower the action time from the standard value. Come up with an initiative that helps a character get started, if a character has a speed stat it could be subtracted from a base value to figure it out. each technigue you have takes an amount of time (you could call this speed, but it's more appropriately slowness).
Monday, February 21st, 2005
5:43 pm
[tarq]
Question about character creation.
Do you prefer systems that have you roll randomly for player attributes/statistics, or systems that give you a certain number of points to allocate? Please explain your choice and why.
Saturday, February 12th, 2005
11:28 pm
[voxen]
What's the best way to do time elapsing in a battle? Simultaneous, turn based, a mixture of the two (FFT time-units, f.e.), or something completely different, and why?

Which do you prefer, or what system would you like to try?
Tuesday, December 28th, 2004
7:03 pm
[noneuklid]
Perfect is subjective.
Therefore, the perfect RPG is the one which is inherently modular. I haven't used GURPS, but I recall BESM, which was a highly modular system. It was a great RPG, as long as you didn't actually try to play it. Abrupt jumps from no complexity to ultracomplexity during the course of play.

In my opinion, the perfect RPG is likely to occur in an online format rather than in a paper format. Players are readily available, mathematical assistance can be built in, and any number of graphical or literary aids can be distributed at essentially no financial cost and minimal time cost. Most current eRPG interfaces suffer from a clunkiness resulting from too strong a desire to 'stay true' to paper-based RPGs. In the physical world, rolling dice and shuffling disorganized papers is fun. In the digital world, sorting through needlessly complex windows on a less-than-panoramic monitor and clicking on poorly randomized dice icons is not fun.

That's not to say I'm advocating MMOs, console-RPGs or even MUDs over classic RPGs. These are dramatically limited (both meaninings) thanks to their static world interface and apathetic GMs (that is, GMs which necissarily cannot care about individual players). I think the classic RPG, 'stepped up' to the digital age, is the route to the perfect.

That said, here's some of my work. Read more...Collapse )

Current Mood: contemplative
Tuesday, October 19th, 2004
4:50 pm
[voxen]
There are many different possible settings for an RPG; Classical fantasy (Middle-Earth, dwarves and elves and magic), Future fantasy (like final fantasy), modern, future, ninja v. samurai, elizabethan, well, the list could go on forever..

Which setting is your favorite (or the most compelling to you), and why?
Monday, September 6th, 2004
4:38 pm
[voxen]
In response to a few things sailor_charon and I had been brainstorming around.

I don't think a system with multiple damage types - e.g. "Lethal" and "Stun" - is acceptable for the perfect rpg. Now I see nothing wrong with characters taking damage in different capacities, which we could discuss further; however, take for an example a baseball bat. Normally, one swing from a baseball bat swung by you or me will not deal lethal damage. But a well-placed strike or a blow to a small creature--say, a helpless kitten--could certainly be life-threatening.

That is why I think it is imperative to come up with a system that uses one damage value and then subtracts the target's natural toughness or whatever to equal the final value .. even if that is the point you seperate between stunning and lethal levels. so if you get hit for "five" points of damage, but have a toughness of "six", all the damage you take is non-lethal. enough of it builds up and you could still go unconscious or be awake but too beaten to defend yourself, but you don't have to worry about dying from it. If the above character had only "three" toughness, they took 2 lethal damage, which represents serious internal damage, broken bones, a deep knife wound, whatever.. Now if they're knocked down and not looked after, they could die. That, and lethal damage should probably take a lot longer to heal.

I imagine that in a normal fight in this system, since most players would be seriously tough compared to average joe citizens, most of them might be worn down in a fight but only take one or two lethal levels of damage (from a critical hit or the like). Their superficial damage heals up after a day or two of resting, and they keep some aches and pains. Maybe, though, that punk with the butterfly knife stuck them good and they'll have to make sure to watch that wound as to not get any worse. That level of lethal damage could take up to a week to heal, or something.
Tuesday, August 31st, 2004
9:32 pm
[sailor_charon]
Been a while since I've seen anything on here. I've been working on my RPG system for a while now. I think I've come up with a very interesting game mechanic in one area that I think might help the system sink it's teeth into the (over-saturated) market. I've been looking at damage for a while though (for 2-3 years at least now), and I still don't know what exactly I think in terms of taking/blocking/healing it. I know that I like the idea of a gun shot being possibly lethal. I don't really know beyond that.

I've seen a few different damage systems. I've seen a distinction between stun/lethal in nearly half the systems I've seen. The other systems seem to mainly deal with pure lethal. How do you feel about different armor/damage types? How do you feel about different HP types? I'd love to hear some other people's opinions on this idea. I'm having hard time figuring what I want on my system, and there's no one to argue with ^_-.
Friday, June 25th, 2004
1:10 pm
[sailor_charon]
Saturday, May 22nd, 2004
6:57 pm
[voxen]
I had an idea.

In order to keep a system constant with "realism" and "cinematics", allow normal characters to have a variety of skills/points, but when it comes to damage/dying/heroic feats, only cinematic/fantasy characters have Levels.

So, you make a level 0 guy, he's got toughness and skills and abilities. He can improve in ability, but not really luck. Or, you give that guy levels, which give him the super-ability to dodge/take damage as well as dish it out, like more hitpoints or the uncanny ability to dodge bullets.
Wednesday, May 19th, 2004
5:10 pm
[sailor_charon]
Continous Combat
A long post about initiative.
Friday, May 14th, 2004
12:46 pm
[thededine]
Genre, Mood, Plausibility, and Power
sailor_charon and voxen have touched on, but not discussed, a rather intrinsic issue of game design that I'd like to draw out for more detail. Does the perfect RPG emphasize 'realism' or is it built on the basis that 'realism sucks'? Either one has profound effects on gameplay, on the game system, and if you extrapolate enough, the game setting.

Are fights short and lethal, making life in general 'short, harsh, and brutal', or are fights long drawn-out affairs with badguys falling of cliffs and always coming back for more, making life a dramatic and never-ending open question? Which would would you prefer to play in for your freetime?

Are the PCs powerless or powerful? Are the PCs average or exceptional? Those are two very different questions. Do you want to play a character who is powerless like everybody else in the world, or a character who is powerful unlike the unwashed masses, or a character who is powerless in a world of powerful people, or a character who is powerful in a world of powerful people?

Does 'power' necessitate breaking the laws of real-world physics?

Does realism necessitate lethality? Does realism necessitate a sharp ability curve that only allows badasses to accomplish badass feats? Can a realistic system have magic, or does the inclusion of magic negate any realism?

Obviously, this comes down to a matter of preference, but I don't think that discussing our preferences would be a bad idea, either.
Thursday, May 13th, 2004
10:29 pm
[voxen]
Can a combat system that strives for realism also be forgiving to player characters? Or should the core concept of a realistic combat/damage system be that it is not forgiving?

Would a better system reward players for smart/guerilla tactics and punish them for ignorance, or would it make more sense to go easy on characters, who as the heroes of the story are not generally supposed to die as easily (and always come back from near death to greater achievements)?
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