Damage in Heresy
I've been thinking a lot about how best to represent Damage in Nocturnal Heresy. In the first draft, the damage modifier of the weapon was added directly to the target's Endurance and Health. Both a problem and not-so-much-a-problem, this meant that you wouldn't have any random amount of damage and would know instantly how much damage you'd cause your opponent. As much as I liked the idea of fights progressing faster, I didn't like the lack of chance to do any real damage. So I felt that a change was in order.
Currently, my idea is to take inspiration from some excellent games, namely Mutants & Masterminds and Savage Worlds. Health is already a derived trait in Nocturnal Heresy, and will combine the Brawn and Nerve Traits to form its value. When an attack successfully lands, the target rolls against a Success Range equal to their Health. Weapons' damage modifiers apply as penalties to this roll. If the roll lands within this value, the target only suffers minimal damage, or 1 Bleed. Should the roll fail, the target suffers greater damage based on the weapon, from 2 to 3 Bleeds. If the roll lands within the value of the target's armor (sort of like the Critical Range for the roll), the target suffers no damage at all.
How much Bleed can be suffered before the target just cannot suffer any more and dies? At current, when the character has suffered 5 Bleeds total, they are dying. This is also the upper limit of how much damage is suffered from attacks; even if the target would have suffered 6 or 7 Bleeds total, they stop at 5 and are dying. Any more damage and they are dead. If they do not get any medical help before the scene ends, they are also dead. Two or three hits can easily bring a character to the brink of death or even kill them, so a character might even die in a single round.
Most of you will likely think that this is not a good thing. Fights can suddenly end when a group of opponents gang up on one character. Which is why I took to a system that I used in Grim Fictions: A character can choose to suffer other sort of penalties that I'm calling Aggravations, instead of any Bleed beyond the first. So, a character who would suffer 2 Bleeds from a single attack could choose to suffer 1 Bleed and 1 Aggravation instead, but not 2 Aggravations and no Bleed. Aggravations can be physical injuries or mental handicaps caused by trauma, or any other hindrances that the character might suffer, and is a system that I'm pondering whether or not I should include. On one hand I would like something that covers hindrances but on the other I'm afraid that Aggravations would only add unnecessary complexity. Aggravations are usually temporary, lasting only as long as the rest of the story or until somehow removed specifically (by virtue of certain Talents), but some situations may call for an Aggravation to remain indefinitely.
Bleed would heal slowly and, if not getting any medical attention, can cause further damage. If the character receives medical attention, they heal one Bleed every day (or every week, if we want to be cruel). If the character does not receive medical attention, they make a roll against the SR equal to their Health but with a penalty equal to any Bleed they have. Failure means they suffer another Bleed. And so it goes, until they either heal all the Bleed they've suffered or they die bleeding out and alone.
Bleed also applies penalties to all rolls, starting from 1 and going no higher than 4. Talents that increase the amount of Bleeds that the character can suffer before they become dying won't increase this penalty any further than 4.
This is the current idea. I like how it looks so I hope I will like how it is applied in practice. Hopefully, I'll start working on a new draft and can get a playtest going soon. If so, I will tell you all about it.
Posted on 16th January 2015
So many ideas
I often get more ideas for games than I will ever have time to put into play. This can be a bit of a problem since I often really like the ideas I have. I try to remember them in case I ever get the chance to run them, but some ideas get forever lost in the depths of my mind.
For your entertainment and hopefully inspiration, here are some of these ideas. I intentionally keep the description pretty vague, in case any of these ideas will appear on my gaming table.
Ghost Ship: A part of my plan for trying out the many different game-lines of World of Darkness, specifically Geist: the Sin-Eaters. It would put the krewe on board a ship during the age of piracy. As of yet, I have no plot and no more details to the setting, but it's an idea I'd like to see realized some day.
High Politics: I would like to do a game of intense politics, using either Changeling: the Lost or Vampire: the Requiem. The idea is to have maybe 3 or 4 players, each making the people in power who fight for supremacy and their servants, then rotating the game so that each political power gets a turn. This means that on occasion you would be working against the monarch that you created, which is challenging. The good thing about Changeling is that the Freehold is already split up into separate courts that exchange power according to certain rules (vanilla CtL exchange monarchy according to the seasons), and the different monarchs don't necessarily work against each other. On the other hand, I have never played much Vampire and I'm itching to give it a proper go, and the reference to Game of Thrones as they oppose each other for power would be interesting.
Sakura no Werewolf: Historical game with the World of Darkness, I kinda thought it would be cool to do a Werewolf: the Forsaken game set in Feudal Japan. As with the Ghost Ship idea, this is as far as I've gotten with the idea.
More Werewolf: A fairly simple idea to try out Werewolf: the Forsaken, focusing on the disappearances of several people within the pack's terretory, including one or two wolf-blooded.
Mage: I would like to make a historical game for Mage: the Awakening. My initial idea had them set in Baghdad some time after the Crusades, perhaps even during. In fact, having the group protect a city from the attack of Crusaders could make for an interesting plot.
Curriculum: Another game of World of Darkness (last one, I promise), this one focusing on a group of children who've been sent to a boarding school. Weird stuff start happening when unruly students suddenly start behaving oddly proper and friends start to act like they don't know the protagonists. Can't give too much up, that would spoil the fun, but I was planning to use WoD: Innocents.
A New Scion Game: I want to run a game of Scion using a completely different set of house-rules, somewhat based on the God-Machine rules for World of Darkness. The story would focus more on the Gods having distanced themselves from the World (possibly post-Ragnarök) and the PCs becoming the new Pantheon. The game would start before the PCs' Visitations, essentially human, and follow their rise from mere mortals to divinity. It would be a long campaign I imagine and I wouldn't run it until my current Scion game is still going.
Goðavegarkvæði: Technically not an idea I want to get started since this is my current Scion campaign, but it is something I want to continue and preferably finish. When my current game of Savage Worlds is at its end, I am likely to do a story or two of Scion before I do an official test-run of Nocturnal Heresy.
Nocturnal Heresy: Obviously, I want to try out my own gaming system. I have the rough outlines of a plot ready, set in what will be one of the iconic city-states of the setting. It will focus on the mystery that is the death of the state's Duke and the fate of the city as factions rival each other to become his successor.
Society of Adventurous Gentlemen and Ladies: I want to run a pulp adventure game using Savage Worlds, something akin to films like the Phantom, the Shadow, the Mummy and obviously Indiana Jones. It would focus on the members of the Society, a kinda secret organization that aims to uncover the secrets of the world and protect those secrets from the wrong hands, such as the Iron Lotus or the mysterious Mister Midnight.
Aside from all of these ideas I also want to do a super-hero game, probably with Mutants & Masterminds (2nd or 3rd edition but not sure which), and a science-fiction game, likely with Savage Worlds but Eclipse Phase looks awfully tempting. I have enough ideas that I shouldn't run out any time soon, but now I just need to find the time and players to run these games. Better start looking :)
Posted on 8th January 2015
NH Playtest File
Every now and again I mention a game that I've been working on. I've been calling it Nocturnal Heresy, you may have noticed. Some months ago, I got the game to a point where I was ready to playtest it but the ball never started rolling, and I haven't really touched it since.
I plan on starting the playtest one day however, but in the meantime, I have decided to share with you what's already completed. I've taken in some ideas and thoughts and plan on making some changes and additions to the mechanics, but the setting is getting a nearly complete revision. I felt like the setting was somehow just too weird or silly or simply not well thought out, and now I have ideas that might hopefully fix that.
The link to the DOCX file is at my Facebook page, linked here. If you want to check it out, page through it and even playtest it, go on ahead and have fun. I would very much like to hear what you have to say about it if you do, so please consider leaving a comment on my Facebook page.
Posted on 28th October 2014
I haven't been very active lately. This is primarily because I lack motivation, and I lack motivation because I don't know what I should be doing. That is to say, what project I should be doing right now. We started the Savage Worlds game earlier this week. We met up and created our characters, using the setting that I and my wife created. It is the first time any of us have played SW, so we only got to the point where everyone chooses their gear. Everything else is done. Naturally, we are using a character-sheet that I created, using the one I have on this site as template. There are some things that I noticed need some more work.
First of all, an err on my part, I allowed them to start play with more Edges than the book suggests. I honestly could not figure out how many the book actually suggested, since I couldn't find it anywhere written how many the Wild Cards start with. It says that human characters begin with one free Edge and then goes on to say that you can have more by taking on Hindrances, but it doesn't say how many is standard. The Archetypes imply that you start with one, but I still find that the book lacks clarity in that regard. So I gave them 3, but human characters don't start with a bonus Edge; they get a cultural bonus instead. Then I realized that my character-sheet assumes a maximum starting Edges of 3, but I failed to take into account Hindrances, so space was an issue.
Second problem with my character-sheet design was that I didn't include any room for known languages. Being a student of linguistics, I enjoy the inclusion of languages in settings, and our setting has a fair number of languages that characters can learn, and the PCs start with a number of languages already known. I was going to include a section on languages, but forgot to add it in. The group worked around it though, hopefully to their satisfaction, but this is something I should keep in mind for later versions.
That's about it. I would like to have some clearer ideas for what to do next. I recently got my fancy copy of Demon the Descent, so I might start paging through it and make a character-sheet for it. I will be writing some more about my SW game as it progresses; I plan on experimenting a little bit with it. To start with, I want to include some NPC companions that will travel with them, and they can recruit other companions during the quest. The companions will have a noteworthy impact on the final scene of the campaign (assuming we get to that part). I'm also going to try out the SW Adventure Deck and stuff, so I hope this game will be a lot of fun.
Posted on 10th October 2014
As cool as it would be, this post is not about adapting Scion to Savage Worlds rules. It would certainly be doable, although I don't know how to handle Epic Attributes.
Earlier this week, the latter Scion group finished their story. Earlier, the action group ended with a fight with Ixion, possibly the best match in a long time. It did not end with a single punch, but with Ixion dividing the group, and nearly getting his hand on Andvarinaut (a powerful ring of legen, which some think Tolkien based his ring of power on). The group spent the whole session fighting him, and managed to crush him. They then got rid of the ring, it would be too dangerous if it got in the wrong hands, like say Pan's, one of the recurring villains.
In any case, the latter group had to investigate the kidnapping of Freyja's daughter, an actress/super model who was in a photoshoot in Japan. After meeting with Nurarihyon (or however you spell that), they found out that the kidnapper was a yokai and that Big N was protecting the kidnapper. After finding the kidnapper, they were all ambushed by a group of ninjas, and found out that the kidnapper was actually trying to save Freyja's daughter, but she didn't speak Japanese. Essentially, the kidnapper was in love with Freyja's daughter, had been stalking her, and saved her from a previous attack from the ninjas, but she just misinterpreted it all. The Scions saved her and handed the kidnapper/stalker over to Odin for processing, and possibly torture. Then they held a party, invited Freyja and kinda ruined a home. They also uncovered a possible conspiracy, that sent the ninjas, and that will colour the story that will come. I plan on making it more cloak and dagger, while the others will remain the assault force.
But that will have to wait. Scion is going to be put on hold temporarily while I take a break from Scion and turn to running a game of Savage Worlds. I've been anxious to try it out and me and the wife have been working on a campaign setting to use. We may have gotten a bit over the top; we've decided on what fantasy races exist in the world (most of them anyway), what languages they speak and what currency they use. Not to mention how some of the different cultures think. Orcs are not stupid, but they have no written language and most are illiterate, which makes others think they are kinda dumb. Wood Elves are pacifists, the humans of Do Zuun live in a militaristic matriarchy, and the Deep Dwarves don't believe in death. That sort of thing. Magic is also limited to artificing and alchemy, and maybe some rituals. I'm excited to see how it goes and I have most of the plot worked out.
In preparation to the game, I've made a new character-sheet for Savage Worlds. It is a landscape version and I'll be using a special version for the game I'll be running (putting the title of the setting instead of the "Savage Worlds" title). When the game gets going, hopefully soon, I'll add some information about our game. Until then.
Posted on 19th September 2014