Author Topic: Work So In Progress - Cubey's Generic Anime RPG System!  (Read 2331 times)

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Cubey

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Work So In Progress - Cubey's Generic Anime RPG System!
« on: June 20, 2011, 06:56:26 PM »
Heh, I guess this is as good a name as any for something that is still being developed.

Anyway, I had contact with the indie RPG Don't Rest Your Head - very cool horror setting, by the way. But what really caught my eye were the mechanics. They're very simple but elegant, involving the perfect balance of simplicity vs choice. Exactly what I need for my PbPs!

So, after some hard work, I created this: the Generic Anime RPG System, with simple rules that are (with small changes) able to emulate most anime-like settings. The attached .pdf file is still very crude, being WIP obviously, but here's where I need your input: please download it, read it, and tell me! Tell me, what of the rules is written clearly, what isn't. What is missing, what looks like a good idea, and what doesn't look like it'll work. Or maybe even... playtest it?

Okay, I think I'll do the playtesting myself.


Link for the download, version 0.12
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 02:24:00 PM by Cubey »

Sinfire Titan

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Re: Work So In Progress - Cubey's Generic Anime RPG System!
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2011, 07:19:27 PM »
I'm hesitant to click that link because I might have to agree to something.

:rimshot:

Bad jokes aside, it looks like a decent start for a rules frame.


[spoiler][/spoiler]

Cubey

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Re: Work So In Progress - Cubey's Generic Anime RPG System!
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2011, 07:22:02 PM »
Madoka joke? Yeah, I never heard THAT one before...

And actually the rules are supposed to be minimalistic, so rather than a start of a rules frame, these would be all rules there are. Unless you feel something really should be in the rules and I'm missing it, that is.

EDIT: Oh my goodness, there really is something missing! I forgot to put in what Specialties actually DO from a mechanical point of view.

Okay, I guess we're patching this up to v0.11 really fast then.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2011, 07:25:07 PM by Cubey »

oslecamo

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Re: Work So In Progress - Cubey's Generic Anime RPG System!
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2011, 08:55:53 PM »
I see this as too much simple and generic.

Since you can use any atribute for any situation, just maximize one atribute of your main three choice, then maximize determination and impulse, and dump the remaining stats (nobody says they can't be left at 0). You spent 20 points so now burn the remaining 50 in 10 specialities that cover every possible situation for the specified campaign.  So now I have an hotblooded determined mountain of muscle that can't talk and suffers from several mental problems, but is specialized in piloting mechas and use magic and cook and hack computers and fight kung-fu and five others you can think of.

So I have a +6 dice bonus on pretty much any challenge that appears, with full backup from determination and hotbloodness meaning I easily solve lv8 challenges.

Should I fail I'll probably eat 2 stress to my lv 5 score yes, but compared to a stat with a 3 on it, I can take two failures before geting disabled, and my chances of failing, which isn't that diferent from the 3 failures to disable an average stat, and my chances of failing are much inferior, so it certainly pays off to invest in as few stats as possible and then making up specialities as broad as your GM is willing to let you get away with, then arguing said specialities are apropriate to the situation.


Now on the "too generic" part, the number of parts where it says "the GM makes something up in the spot" means this is really close to freeform as the GM is constantly forced to improvise. 300 soldiers attack the players, so you divide them, but what's exact the right dificulty you should divide them? They attack one by one resulting in a grindfest of 300 conflicts? Divide them in ten groups of 30 which means they're still unbeatable (unless the party min-maxed like above and actually has a shot at taking them down as a group)? 30 groups of 10 that still demands 30 conflict resolutions?

EDIT:Plus you seem to have forgoten one of the main anime tropes, the super talented guy/gal. They're not specially smart or strong or charismatic, but have so much natural ability they suceed anyway. Think Shirou, Reimu, the main character from Break Blade, Shinji.

Cubey

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Re: Work So In Progress - Cubey's Generic Anime RPG System!
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2011, 09:26:53 PM »
These are interesting points. Let's tackle them one by one.

Simplicity
The three basic Attributes need to be at least 1 each - it's written in the rules. One Attribute at 5 and two others at 1 cost 28 points already. Maxed out Determination and Impulse are 20 each. No points remain for Specialties.

But let's ignore the non-basic Attributes and use their 40 points to buy 8 Specialties. This gives you an awesome base of +6 for the appropriate Attribute, which you can also use for conflicts of other Types. If you are able to provide an appropriate explanation. There are many situations when Inappropriate Attributes are simply not appliable.

Likewise, you say a min-maxer could simply make their specialties as broad as the GM lets them get away with. This assumes the same thing as above - that the Game Master is soft and will let you screw him over. The GM should know when to say no, such as when creating characters in MnM, a system which is really easy to break.

Still, I should probably increase the cost of Specialties. Attribute cost could scale rather than be constant, too.

Determination and Impulse seem like good buys, and that's what they should be - they really let a character achieve more than just their skills normally allow. But that power comes at a price.

Genericness:
Don't think of 300 soldiers as 300 individual Conflicts. Think of it as a large Conflict (or perhaps a Challenge would be more appropriate here) with a high Difficulty. It's like in Risus, where rather than facing a lot of Orcs, you face a Horde of Orcs which is really good at being a Horde of Orcs (so its cliche is high).
That being said, how high would I grade such a large group of soldiers as an opponent? Depends on the setting. Anything realistic, especially if the characters are out in the open and have no support? Yeah, good luck with that. But if they are a part of an army and have to survive, then it would be a Difficulty ~8 challenge with Resilience appropriate to the number of phases of the battle (think of it in a dramatic way rather than actual strategy): something like 3-4. Likewise if the players are superpowered and face normal soldiers.

I'm not familiar with Break Blade, but by Shirou, Reimu and Shinji you mean the characters of Fate/Stay Night, Touhou and Evangelion respectively, right?

They are nowhere near the same characters. Not just in this game, but in general.
Shirou would definitely have a lot of Determination. His other Attributes would be low.
Shinji, on the other hand, has a lot of Impulse, with Determination steadily increasing as plot advances. It's the Eva unit going berserk as much as he does, though.
Reimu has high Attributes in general. Sure, she didn't work hard for them - but she still does. A Touhou setting would use different than default Attributes, obviously.

oslecamo

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Re: Work So In Progress - Cubey's Generic Anime RPG System!
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2011, 09:43:40 PM »
Ouch sorry at my math fail there. Three maximized atributes indeed cost 60 points.

On the other hand, "punch/kick your way out of it" is extremely common in many anime setings. Like in Negima, where the main character is a mage in a fantasy seting, and even then he concludes he's better off punching everything on his path. Spinzaku is in a mecha seting with guns and giant robots and mind-control powers and heavy politique intrigue, and he still literally kicks his way out of almost every situation!

Fist of the north star? All about a martial art that can literally do everything, from healing to replicating drugs to making people tell the truth to whatever the character needs to get done.

Also I recomend you read Break Blade, which in my opinion is a very nice take on the "normal dude falls on a prototype cockpit on the middle of a mecha war".

Cubey

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Re: Work So In Progress - Cubey's Generic Anime RPG System!
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2011, 10:05:25 PM »
It's true that you can punch your way out of most discussions. But will the recipient of your punch feel convinces of your argument if you do that? It's all a matter of appropriate dramatic timing, which I doubt people can pull off all the time. To give an example from Crossbone Gundam, because I've read that recently:

[spoiler]Tobia was asked to quit fighting for his friends, and instead join the other person in her soon-to-be formed society for Newtypes. To create a better, more enlightened world. His answer? Punch her so hard it draws blood, and then cut his own arm to show they both bleed, just like other humans - and are not better than them just because they're Newtypes.[/spoiler]

Although that example goes a bit the other way - too awesome to pull off more than once or twice total. Still, let's change the attribute cost so that min-maxing rather than balancing builds becomes less viable.

So far, I think it'll work fine to change the cost from a static 4/level to 2*new level. So an attribute of 5 costs 30 total, where it used to be 20. Level 3 still costs 12 points.

Specialties should cost ~10 points. That should be enough to avoid having one for every occassion for all but the most experienced characters.

This means a starting character has 80 points to play with - I want the starting average to be 3 in all attriutes (12*5 = 60) + 2 specialties (20). Speaking of average...

The rules state 2-3 to be the average human level, but that's not exactly what I mean. To clarify that bit, it's the average for the kind of character the players are supposed to be. If it's a high school setting, then high school students have that much on average - and it's safe to assume normal humans have an average of 3 as well. However, if the setting is about badass martial artists, then 3 is the average level for a badass martial artist. On that scale, normal people may barely score 1 or not even register at all.

EDIT: Possibly change the side effect of Determination Dominance? A high-Attribute character won't feel that Stress too much, as you stated.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2011, 10:07:35 PM by Cubey »

kamikasei

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Re: Work So In Progress - Cubey's Generic Anime RPG System!
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2011, 11:17:55 PM »
I think it'd be a big aid to understanding if you gave some examples of when a game might apply the three basic Attributes along with relevant Specialties, and when you'd see it as making more sense to change the Attributes themselves. When is Mecha Pilot an appropriate Specialty, and when should it be an Attribute in its own right? Also, examples of how you'd represent some iconic characters would probably help.

The costs of 4 and 5 for Attributes and Specialties seem awkward. Unless you spend your points as you lay out in the example, or dock yourself five whole Attribute points to buy four extra Specialties, you're left with leftover points. It seems... messy. On the other hand I may be more prone to being bothered by that sort of thing than most.

The main question that arises in my mind is how to handle abilities external to the character. All stats described are entirely about the character's own ability. How do things like equipment and minions enter in to play? A magic sword, a prototype mech, a summoned dragon, a Pokemon team - how do you see these being handled? Example characters would probably be a good way to clarify this.
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[/spoiler]

Cubey

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Re: Work So In Progress - Cubey's Generic Anime RPG System!
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2011, 11:26:55 PM »
To use your example: Mecha Pilot would be an appropriate Specialty for a setting where mecha are present, but the plot does not revolve around them. For example, Full Metal Panic - there is a lot of mecha combat, but there's also a lot of non-mecha combat and non-combat encounters.

In a setting focused on giant robots, such as Gundam, Mecha Pilot would be more appropriate as a seperate Attribute. Although on second thought, it would be too useful compared to other attributes, so perhaps such a setting could have Attributes of Melee Combat, Ranged Combat, and Tactics.

There are systems that handle equipment or sidekicks. Others (such as Risus or Fate) do not, and this is one of them. It's the character's abilities that are important and their tools are only that, tools - or perhaps to be more precise, the character's equipment IS a part of their abilities. To continue with the mecha setting, someone with higher Attributes or certain Specialties might have them because they are that good a pilot, but also maybe because their unit is exceptional. There is no difference from a mechanical point of view.

Cubey

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Re: Work So In Progress - Cubey's Generic Anime RPG System!
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2011, 02:25:48 PM »
Version 0.12 is up!

Changes:
-modified character point cost for attributes and specialties
-made the determination pool hurt you more if it's dominant
-added a paragraph about temporary attribute adjustments (which the determination pool dominance does too, by the way)

And I think I'll give it a rest for a day or two now. My LP is lagging behind. Of course, all input is welcome in the meantime.