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Customisable Weapons

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As you may know, I’m only some instruments of targeted destruction away from giving my game it’s first actual test. If you want to help out with this, then everything you need so far is in this Google doc. All you’ll need is a couple of characters and preferably a friend so you can try and kill each other. What I have spent today thinking about is how to write up the weapons for the game.

I already know that it will more than likely include a handful of specialist weapons that require specific training to use, but I wasn’t sure about the rest of it. For the play test I was happy to get down some fairly bog-standard stats for your generic store bought weapons. A shotgun, revolver and rifle, along with a sword, axe, and knife, just to see how it all pans out. This made me think the entire character creation system runs off the idea that a basic chassis is built upon to make it cooler, and offer customisation options to how players want their Automaton to look.

So why not do the same with weapons? You walk into an outfitters and have a choice of weapon type, but they are just as plain as the basic chassis model was before it started getting personalised. These would come with a low cost, and then you can rock some after market modifications. These would either to the price of bought at the same time as the weapon, or have their own price if added on later. Most of this makes sense for ranged weapons which have slightly more obvious upgrades, so I’ll need to spend a bit longer looking at what can be done with edged weapons, but I think I could make it work.

This also adds an extra level of fun, if we think that the weapons the players will be able to get their hands on will either be old ones used during the war, or new ones built to the same pattern. The higher echelons of Automaton society will have access to newer designs with higher capabilities that will be desired by all. The New Builds won’t be happy with everyone having access to these fine works of craft though, so they will be almost impossible to get hold off without doing specific favours for the New Builds. What is possible though is to make older, less advanced weapons look like something new and shiny. This will obviously have a lower “cost” so be easier to have done, but will have next to no actual effect. This can apply to a whole bunch of bells and whistles that be added to a weapon that do very little other than make it look good.

As with all things at present, this is at the moment a an idea I want to try at best, but if you have any opinions, I’d love to hear what you have to say.

All rules in one document

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A quick post here, just reassuring people that work is ongoing, but will stop appearing as dropbox links. They tend to get messed up as I modify things and move them into places that make more sense. Instead I’ve been advised that Google Drive might work for me. Because of this I have also popped everything into one document. It is not yet fully formatted, and still needs some work, but there’s plenty there to be going on with.

At the moment I’m putting some extra touches onto the combat system, and this has been leading me down the damage and repair rules, which I’ll probably be tackling next. Sadly I don’t have much of a plan for which bits of the rules I’ll be tackling in which order, as what ever it is I’m currently writing seems to influence what I end up working on next.

I do have a few things that need some work though, and the biggest of those are a character sheet, and some equipment. You will have seen recently my thoughts on economy, but I still haven’t got stats for the weapons you’ll be acquiring using these rules. I have a couple of ideas for character sheets, but graphic design is not my strong point, so please be gentle when I finally get round to putting something on line. I will probably put one or two up, and let people pick the one they prefer.

Some early thoughts on economy in RotA

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I have commented on forum threads, and other blogs on such subjects, and waxed lyrical about how much I enjoy the spending of money in games where it makes sense. My favourite example is from my most recent GMing history, and that was running Cyberpunk 2020. With the emphasis of the game being all style over substance, it makes sense for the shopping side of things to take a prominent role. There are splat books full of nothing but things to buy, and I think they’re great for adding flavour to the setting.

But in almost every other game, I would be happier if less time was devoted to the book keeping involved in keeping track of money and flicking through books to find things. In a game I have played in repeatedly – and hope to play again soon – they have a nice mechanism for dealing with day to day monetary spending while still allowing for shopping to take place for specialist items and the like. Basically, money is put to one side to cover your character’s living expenses. If you have little money then your lifestyle will be poor; living in a flop house and surviving on two cheap meals a day. This means more for buying fancy things like armour and weapons, but means you have a higher chance of picking up something contagious. Put more money aside, and you have a better lifestyle. Staying in a single room in a hotel, with meat in at least two of your three meals, plus a few pints of beer a night too.

This works for the game in question and adds to the flavour of it, which is one of the biggest things I look for. So with that in mind I have been thinking about how to handle it for my RPG. The Automata that the players will be taking on the role of  have just as much diversity of personality as do the Humans who made them. They are just as likely to be covetous of the belongings of others, and unwilling to share. As a society though, the Automata have sought to move away from the weaknesses of their creators. After the war the most valuable resource for them was fuel, but since it was necessary for the survival of the Automata, it is available to all, as long as there was enough supply.

I wanted this attitude to permeate most of their society. A socialist state as it were, especially with regard to trade. The only value of objects is how hard they are to create and how useful they are. What this means for the game is that each item has a score that modifies the dice roll required to convince the owner to part with it. This will make the Bargain skill a lot more useful to people, and hopefully stop the Interface Attribute being used as a dump stat quite so much. As a side effect it might also stop players thinking that treasure is so important. Unless something has a use, it has no value. As an example of play, the characters find themselves at an Automata settlement where they make an additive that prolongs the burn time of fossil fuels. One of the Automatons they meet has a lovely pneumatic sniper rifle, that one of the players could really use. This is a rare item, so the base chance to convince any Automaton to give it up would be pretty high, and the two characters would make opposed Bargain checks to see who can be the most convincing about who should own the weapon. If the NPC is a guard of the town, then he would get a bonus, as he has more use for it, but if it was a scientist or production worker who lacked the skills to use it, the player character would have the advantage as they were often in dangerous situations dealing with Human aggressors.

When it comes to character creation, each player character will have a set number of points which they can use to get access to items. Each item is worth a number of points equal to its Bargain modifier, and I’m playing around with the idea of allowing players to spend some of their character points to increase the number of points they’ll get for equipment. Based on a character creation session I ran, one player did ask of there was anything else they could spend their points on as they had picked up all the skills they wanted, and had a point left.

I’m not one hundred percent sure on any of this yet, but I would like to try it out. I know that a lot of gamers are happier without micromanaging equipment and money, and although this will not get rid of such concerns in their entirety, it should minimize them some what. As always sound off below with your own thoughts on the subject.

First draft combat.

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Before we carry on into how combat works in my game, I have to give props to another system who I have inadvertently taken inspiration from. My basis for three different attributes determining the base for the three different combat skills was taken from a game that a couple of my friends are working on. They’re much further through than I am, and will hopefully have their game ready to go before too long. Keep an eye on their website, and if you’re on Facebook check out the page for the game as they will be posting advance updates on there. It really is a great system, and for my mind the combat system is one of the best out there. The fact that I have borrowed from it somewhat is just my way of paying the two chaps a compliment, and I hope you take the time to check them out once the game is fully ready to go.

Onto my system. There isn’t really that much different to most combat systems out there, as I don’t particularly feel like re-inventing the wheel. In it’s simplest form, you roll 2d10, and add them together along with your combat score. The bit I want to try out to see if it works is how hit location and damage are decided. I may end up ditching it and going for something a bit more simple, but please take the time to check it out and let me know what you think. If you’ve created a character or two, you could even try out a combat and let me know how it goes.

I also start talking about how Automata take damage in this section. Again, I am trying something out a bit different here, to highlight that the characters taking damage are more than flesh, but steel and brass instead. I was going to post it all on here, but it involves a hit location table, so to make life easier for myself I have decided to just throw up a link to the document in my DropBox account. As always, I’d to love here any feedback people have to offer.

Character Creation 1.1

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I’ve been a bit busy so this post should have been ready to go by Friday. I’m glad I was a bit snowed under though, as it gave a lovely chap on G+ the time to look through my previous work and run off a character for me. It was nice to see that he had done similar things in a similar way to the people from my gaming society. He even had a fair few of the same concerns, hopefully the revised draft of the document will have resolved them.

Changes to look out for.

Different layout. Not only have a reworked the order of a few things based on where my test group expected to find them, I have split character creation into more distinct phases. This should hopefully make it easier to follow for people, and has cleared up the confusion as to what exactly a Career Module is.

The fact that they’re now called Modules rather than Packs is a little change, but part of a wider scheme of re-writes that I’ve been picking away at to highlight the Steampunk feel of the game and the setting. You will notice some sections have a paragraph in italics, these sections are written to be part of a catalog that Humans from the era would have looked through to select their Automaton parts and packages.

I have also made some changes to how Upgrades are laid out, with the MK I option being more distinct. There’s also a couple of extra Skills, Modules, Upgrades and Faults that were recommended tome by players, and if any readers come up with something they’d like to see on an Automaton, just let me know.

Possibly the biggest change is the points difference for Faults, and the fact that you get Complication points for them. In terms of balance, the numbers needed to be high, but it meant that players didn’t get too many choices. The addition of Complication points means I can lower the actual points without massively unbalancing things. As before it is still a work in progress, so please add any comments and thoughts below.

For now though, here is the link to the document. It is just an update on the original file, so previous links should work too.

Character creation document ready to go.

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The first draft is all done bar the equipment stuff. This is because – as mentioned previously – I’m trying to come up with a feasible way of equipping characters that will involve no money at all. I have some good ideas, but will need to put a bit more work into it until its ready to be seen by the public.

So what I would really like is for anyone who has the time and inclination to try and build a character based on what I have so far. To do this you’ll need to download the character creation document from my dropbox link. There are already some changes on this document compared to what’s on the website, as I’ve been looking at numbers and getting feedback, so please make sure you’re using the most up to date stuff. If anything changes, it’ll change on the dropbox document and I’ll notify people either on here or on my main Facebook page.

It is saved as a pdf, and if you want to print it off, I have made the font large enough that you can turn it into a booklet, meaning you will only need to use three pages printed front and back.

Once you have created something, please let me know how it went, if it all made sense, and what you had trouble with. If you can manage it, I would also love to see the final character. This is just for my own curiosity, and to get an idea about how people lay the info out for themselves, so I can start thinking about a character sheet design. That link, one more time.

Character Creation Summary

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This is my first draft of this, and until I take it out and test run it – hopefully tomorrow evening – I won’t know exactly what I’ve missed out or messed up. Please feel free to take a look though, and if you see any glaring errors, please post them in the comments section. Don’t worry about drawing my attention to the lack of an equipment list though. I have a few ideas about this, but I think that might deserve a blog post all of its own, as I want to try out something a bit different than just buying things with money.

Click the link for a PDF of the character creation summary, or just read what’s below. The pdf has links to the relevant blog pages too, so that people reading it on a tablet or some such can find what they need until I have the time to write up a full character creation handout.

Rise of the Automata

Character creation

In Rise of the Automata (RotA), players will be creating Steampunk robots as characters. Several parts of the character creation process read like a catalog of products, this because all the player character Automata were put together before the war that shook the planet by the Humans who would one day become their enemies.

Each phase of the character creation process is listed before, and should be completed in order.

1. Concept Think about the kind of automaton you would like to play. Which aspects of their personality would you like people to remember? What skills do they bring to the table, and how would they contribute to a post war Automaton world?

2. Chassis Each Automaton has five attributes which start at one point each. The type of chassis that you pick gives several bonus points to certain attributes based on the job they were designed for. Once you have selected your Chassis, you have a further five points to spend adding to your attributes on a one for one basis. No Attribute may be raised above five points at this stage.

3. Career Pack All Automata get the basic level in one Career Pack for free at character level. Since this is a factory install, and standard equipment, the Automata do not add any Complication points for it, no matter what level they buy it as, either during character creation or with experience points.

4. Skills All skills are purchased on a one for one basis, and you have fifteen points to spend. No skill may be raised above five points during character, even if they are part of a Career Pack.

5. Character Points You now get an additional ten Character Points that may be spent to customise your Automaton. You may also select up to ten points of Faults which grant you extra Character Points. These points may be spent on Skills, Attributes, and/or Upgrades. Skills and Upgrades are bought on a one for one basis, but raising an Attribute costs the new level in Character points. You
may not have more Processor Upgrades than your rank in the Processor Attribute.

6. Equipment This section has yet to be written, so for now just jump onto the next stage.

7. Finishing Touches Work out your derived Attributes. The Build score is applied as a positive modifier to all close combat damage rolls, both Melee and Brawl, and a negative modifier to damage dealt to your Automaton from blunt attacks. Anything that constitutes a piercing attack ignores Build, and can only be negated with Armour. Adding together the scores for Operations and Input gives you a base Initiative score. Your Processor score limits the number of Processor Upgrades you may ever have. Set your Malfunction score to one, and then add together all of the Complication Points you have acquired. For each full ten points, raise your Malfunction score by one point.

8. Name There are many ways that Automata use to distinguish themselves from each other. Each Chassis and Career Pack has a unique set of numbers and letters, and these alone are enough to function as a name. Since the War though, it has become fashionable for Automata to give themselves Human names. Since they are gender neutral though, they tend to stick to generic honourifics followed by a surname, the more extravagant and upper class sounding the better. Examples include The Honourable Caruthers, The Cantankerous Appleton-Smythe or The Divine Winstample.

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