marjaerwin: (Default)
I am a longtime player, but rarely gamemaster. I haven't been able to play in some time due to my disabilities. So one of my first priorities is:

1. An inclusive gaming group and an accessible environment.

But some of my other priorities include:

2. Ancient historical roleplaying. Sometimes history is more interesting than another fantasy setting.

3. Disabled-inclusive and trans-inclusive space opera and cyberpunk opera. Because of my chronic illness and chronic pain, I'd definitely like settings where someone like me could get significant cybernetic upgrades, full-body proxy bots, or full-body conversions. But I'm disappointed with settings which impose empathy costs, humanity costs, and/or essence costs instead of health costs, and depending on the types of upgrades possibly dysphoria costs and dissociation. Now Eclipse Phase looks like a very good option for very high-tech settings, but it has buggy character creation rules, and it doesn't have variations for lower-tech settings.

4. A break from mercenary roleplaying. I for one don't want to play proessional mercenaries, adventurers, shadowrunners, etc. I want the chance to play rebels, refugees, and other people thrown into these situations.

5. A break from super-powered roleplaying. I for one don't want to play characters who are automatically more skilled and more capable than most non-player characters. I want to play characters who are doing what they can.

6. A lack of plot armor. Danger should be dangerous. Yes, I hate it when my character dies. No, I don't want special protection so that my character survives events which would kill most non-player characters. I'd be happier with two characters, so I can keep going.

7. A lack of class-based complications, whether special builds or special straightjackets, unless they're very appropriate to the particular setting.

I hope you can see how 4, 5, 6, and 7 can fit in with 2, and 3.

8. A chance to read the rules, create my characters, etc. without being tied to the computer. I can use computers, true. I find it easier to write on paper, and to read either from books or from e-readers. I can't use tablets with my sensory processing issues.

9. So the idea of using either spreadsheets, usually written for Excel, or special software, probably in Wine, to create characters just isn't right for me.

10. Meanwhile the idea of using sets of ordinary d6s does appeal to me because using 3d6 instead of d20 or d100 could allow better probability distributions and would make it easier to find dice for new players.
marjaerwin: (Default)
Eclipse Phase is a roleplaying game of life in the solar system after a singularity-gone-wrong has devastated the earth and many other settlements. It is close, in spirit, to some of Ken MacLeod's Fall Revolution novels. It is designed to focus on characters from different backgrounds and factions joining together to try to stop threats to the survival of sapient life in the solar system. I haven't had the chance to play it yet, but have tried creating characters in it. I am working on two fall evacuees, one an alpha fork of the other, to begin with.

Read more... )

Character Creation

The three different character creation systems aren't all compatible. The packages seem more internally coherent than the original rules, but they seem more trouble to add up. The three different character creation systems could each benefit from step-by-step worksheets, to keep track of accumulated aptitude increases, skill points, etc., but there are none.

The original character backgrounds, unlike the original character factions and the package-based adaptations are unbalanced. The lost are unplayable without the errata, but are playable with the errata. The isolates, fall evacuees, and re-instantiated are a few points behind the other backgrounds. The moxie bonuses for these backgrounds don't make sense to me. The skill selections for these backgrounds don't make sense for every character, but some adjustments would fix that. The original character backgrounds include advantages and disadvantages which the package-based adaptations lack, and vice-versa.

The skill purchase system has problems. The character sheet doesn't provide columns to use it properly, and the game system doesn't provide language to describe it, so I will invent my own. The skill percentage is based on the sum of the ego's aptitude rating, the morph's aptitude bonuses, and the ego's training/experience, which I'll call the skill training/experience. The character sheet combines the ego's aptitude rating and training/experience into the skill base. The customization points can be used to buy skill training/experience. The customization point costs increase as the skill increases. The customization point costs double, not when the skill training/experience exceeds 40 points, which would make sense to me and which would make aptitudes especially important, but when the skill base exceeds 60 points, which doesn't make sense to me.

Character Sheets

The basic character sheets are badly organized. The character sheets are not usable during character creation. The three different character creation systems could each benefit from step-by-step worksheets, to supplement the sheets during character creation. There is nowhere to list the specific fields of hardware, medicine, networking, academics, etc. characters have unless we repurpose the specialization column. There is nowhere to list the customization points added to each skill. There is not enough space to list traits. There is not enough space to list muse skills. The all-important reputation and traits are on the back of the sheet.
marjaerwin: (Default)
For example:

1. A roleplaying game set in the revolt, with the player-characters as paricipants. Of course, it'll run into the usual problems of historical campaigns and of armed campaigns. First the characters would be a few amid tens of thousands [amid one hundred and fifty thousand, if we can trust the Roman sources]. If there is something a few people can do to change history, why would it be something the characters are trusted and able to do? Second, the characters could get killed and shouldn't reasonably have plot armor.

2. A battle game covering the battles of the war. Unfortunately, we don't know where most of the recorded battles took place, though Barry Strauss has suggested some in his The Spartacus War.

3. A campaign game covering the whole conflict in Italy, with an expansion or another game covering a possible escape into the Balkans.
marjaerwin: (Default)
Last December, I tried testing a roleplaying campaign for my brother. I had to stop partway through, because of some unresolved story issues, because of sickness, and because of the massive frustration of using an adventure designed for the Pathfinder system, which I don’t like, and don’t have the required supplements for, with the core rules for the Basic Roleplaying system, which I kinda like.


I hope to restart sometime if and when I recover from this sickness. I hope to be able to get a bit farther with this adventure, though it’s not my preferred style of adventure, and try to run some other Pathfinder-conversion adventures which might be. I don’t know what to do though.

I think that trying to convert things from one detailed old-school-updated system to another detailed old-school-updated system has been more trouble than it’s worth.

I wrote up several pages of house rules and conversion rules and was always running into gaps.

I managed to convert over the non-player characters, but I have way too much trouble trying to convert over the accursed bestiary. I don’t have the required Pathfinder bestiaries, multiple volumes including third-party volumes, I can’t use the appropriate Pathfinder websites, and I have to convert everything before I can use anything.

I also ran into Basic Roleplaying rules issues. Like poison and healing and first aid.

I also had to deal with some campaign-specific rules, figuring them out, debugging them, clarifying them, and then converting them.
marjaerwin: (Default)
I will be trying to playtest a Pathfinder adventure shortly. I am not familiar with the Pathfinder system, find character classes an obstacle to roleplaying, and do not have the full rules. So I am not in the best position to test the balance, but at least I can try to test the plotting. I talked with the designer and will be using the Basic Roleplaying rules.

Anyway, here are some of the house rules I'm using to try to fit these together.

Character Creation

Pathfinder uses levels to differentiate character abilities, but does not define these levels. Basic Roleplaying does not. Character creation requires adjustments to ensure that (1) different-level characters can be included, as appropriate (2) Basic Roleplaying characters are not too vulnerable for the Pathfinder adventure and (3) some but not all characters can use magic, or sorcery, as the case may be.

The main player characters start at 5th level in Pathfinder. They should probably start with 24 points for attributes, potentially 6 spells, and 310+INTx14 points for skills, modified for age in Basic Roleplaying. They should get the total hit points option, where they have twice as many as the default, and the skill category bonuses option, where attributes affect skills. They should require the literacy skill to read or write; if they can take language (other) as a professional skill, then they may take literacy as one.

Basic Roleplaying Pathfinder Equivalent Character Creation Stuff
Normal 1st Level 24 points for attributes; 4 spells; 250+INTx10 points for skills
Heroic 6th Level 24 for attributes; 6 spells; 325+INTx15 for skills
Epic 11th Level 24 for attributes; 8 spells; 400+INTx20 for skills.
Superhuman >16th Level 24 for attributes; 10 spells; 500+INTx25 for skills.

The magic rules do not specify who can or cannot use magic, and do not impose any special restrictions on magic users. I will restrict magic to characters with POW≥14, and the points required should balance things between magic users and non-magic users.

The allegiance rules assume random allegiance values, but I will allow the players to distribute up to 10 points between good and evil, setting aside chaotic and lawful.

Difficulty Multipliers

Pathfinder uses difficulty numbers, but does not define these numbers. Basic Roleplaying uses difficulty multipliers. In some cases, it also makes sense to apply difficulty additions.

Basic Roleplaying Pathfinder Equivalent
Easy x2 Difficulty Class 5
Normal x1 Difficulty Class 10
Hard x1/2 Difficulty Class 15
Very Hard x1/4 Difficulty Class 20
Impossible Difficulty Class 30

There are certain exceptions to these difficulty numbers.

Optional Rules

The following optional rules are in play:

Point-Based Character Creation, p. 19. This replaces rolling for attributes.
Total Hit Points, p. 30. This gives the characters a better chance of survival.
Increased Personal Skill Points, p. 24. This gives higher-level characters extra personal skill points, as well as professional ones.
Skill Category Bonuses, pp. 20, 31, 48. This applies attribute modifies to the skills.
Freeform Professions, p. 41. Because.
Literacy, p. 67. Because Medieval.
Distinctive Features, pp. 34, 35. Because.
Allegiance, p. 315. Alignment.
Power Use in the Action Phase, p. 189. I'm not sure how to do Initiative, but this seems appropriate.


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