Monday, July 27, 2009

Armor List

Normal Armor
PriceNameDefSFNoiseWearRepair Hrs.
4Padded Armor+0108N/A
10Leather Armor+1216x1
16Hide Armor+2317x2
40Chain Shirt+3534x2
100Ring Armor+3215x3
120Scale/Leaf Armor+4466x6
120Brigandine Armor+4335x4
200Coat of Plates+6555x4

Heavy Armor
PriceNameDefSFNoiseWearRepair Hrs.
100Laminate Armor+5846x2
200Bronze Plate Armor+6984x3
800Iron Plate Armor+8983x4
1200Steel Plate Armor+8982x6

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Taming Resilience

We have been contemplating whether Resilience might be too powerful of a stat in our current system.  It basically works like Damage Reduction in D&D.  There is a minimum hit of 1 in our system when a hit makes contact, so for a Warrior who had +3 Res, almost every hit against him was only scoring a single point of damage.

Our new idea is to give the characters Endurance Points (EP) instead of Resilience.

They might work in the following way:


Endurance Points are spent by performing a physical action or by taking a blow.  Usually 1 point each.  EP can never drop below zero.  At the beginning of every turn, you recover 1 EP automatically (unless a status effect is preventing this.)   Therefore, you always have a minimum of 1 EP to work with in most cases when it is your turn to act.

If your EP is nonzero, it will absorb 1 damage point for you (after armor) when taking a blow (the way resilience used to, but limited to 1 point per hit.)  So +2 Armor, and 3 EP, if I am hit for 5 points, the armor takes it down to 3 points, the EP absorbs 1 (and is reduced to 2EP), and I take two points actual damage.   The cool thing about EP is that it wears down.   If two or three enemies attack you in one round, by the time the third gets to you, your EP is gone so their hit is more effective.

Ok, that is too complex.  It requires another set of counters to keep track of things--things that change rapidly--and we really don't want to keep track of more things.

Here's an attempt to simplify the concept and keep the same flavor:


After each action is complete you get your full endurance points back.  Every blow you take during the next round reduces your EP by one.   Whatever you have left-over when your turn comes around is usable for any action requiring a certain number of EP to perform.

The downside to this is that if you have 3 EP and don't get hit, you could perform a 3 EP action on one turn, then immediately repeat it on the next turn.  That's kind of contrary to the whole idea that it would track physical exertion when performing difficult feats.


The non-hit-related version.  You start out with full EP.   You spend EP as you use it.  You gain 1 EP at the beginning of each turn (unless a status effect prevents this.)

If you have 3EP, you can use all 3 points to do some amazing thing on your first turn.

Your next turn, you will recover 1EP.   If you attack, this will reduce to 0, so you decide to wait.

Next turn, you recover another and now have 2EP.   You decide to do a 2 EP action rather than wait it out one more round.   You're back to zero again.

Next turn, you recover 1EP.   You use a regular attack, and finish off the opponent.

This seems to be the simplest solution, by far.  The only downside is that enemies gain no particular benefit over you when your EP is at zero, and you have to track EP, but the EP doesn't change as frequently as in Proposal #1, so it should be much easier to track.

I think it would be easy to add a few rules to make up for the downside mentioned.  For example, when your EP is zero, maybe shields are ineffective, or maybe attackers gain a +4 bonus to Advantage against you.


Resilience works as it is now, except that you only get 1/2 Resilience protection against hits.

NPC's Tagging Along

I just had a little thought about the occasional NPC that might tag along with the party.  They could operate using a regular tactic roll like a Monster.  Could be fun.

Legendary Creatures

Just reminding myself to look at this on Wikipedia later:

English Legendary Creatures

My Conception of the Base Classes

I want to talk briefly about the six base classes and how I imagine them feeling.

The Mage

The mage will have high MP, but low HP.  A mage will tend to increase their Wisdom score as they level up, so that their spells will be more potent, but they may find value in raising their other statistics in order to become more durable in combat.

The Mage's deck will consist primarily of skill cards which grant additional abilities and higher levels of magic proficiency, and spell cards, which allow the Mage to utilize their MP.  The Mage will also have a monster card serving as a familiar.  The Mage may also have a few item cards equipped such as a cloak and staff.

The Bard

The Bard has decent MP and average HP.  A bard will tend to increase their Wisdom and Agility scores as they level up.  Agility will impove their performance abilities while Wisdom will improve their magical potency.  Bards do what they can to avoid direct combat, and their Strength and HP scores will be correspondingly low.  Their trade depends upon having an audience, and they work best in a group.

The Bard's deck will consist of skill cards, usually including at least one "entertainment" skill such as Music or Dance that allows them to enact spell-like powers without spending MP while focusing on the task of performing, as well as item cards, such as instruments or costumes that will enhance their performance abilities, and spell cards, which allow them to use their MP to cast low-level spells.

The Thief

The Thief has low MP and average HP.  A thief will tend to increase their Agility score as they level up, giving them more sneakiness as well as a knack for getting out of tight spots.  They may also find it useful to increase their HP or Strength if they find themself getting into a lot of scuffles, or their Wisdom if they want to improve their likelihood of accomplishing knowledge-oriented skills.

The Thief's deck will consist of skill cards, providing them with both social and combat abilities that others would consider too underhanded to employ, and an abundance of item cards, including tools such as lock-picks, light weapons such as knives, and valuables acquired during their adventuring, usually in transit to be sold for cash.

The Ninja

The Ninja has low MP and average HP.  A ninja will tend to increase their Agility score or their Strength or HP scores as they level up, doing all of this with a focus on effective, agile combat techniques, surprising their opponent with their speed and untrackable nature.  Ninjas may also choose to discipline themselves by devotion to the spiritual life, spending points in Wisdom to increase the effectiveness of their Chi-based skills.

The Ninja's deck will consist of skill cards offering a variety of physical or spiritual benefits, and item cards, such as throwing weapons, although many Ninjas prefer to fight unarmed.

The Warrior

The Warrior has low MP and high HP.  A warrior will typically raise their Strength score as they level up, to maximize the effect of what they do best: damage.  They may also choose to raise their other scores.  Some Warriors even decide to increase their Wisdom and MP to gain the ability to cast a very small number of primitive spells, trying to offset, at least in some small way, their greatest weakness.

The Warrior's deck will consist of skill cards offering greater weapon proficiency and the ability to perform certain acts of courage and bravery in the protection of others, and a few expensive item cards such as weapons, heavy armor, a helmet, and a shield.

The Paladin

The Paladin has decent MP and average HP. A paladin will typically raise their Strength or Wisdom score as they level up giving them more potence in combat and in their practice of divine magic, although some paladins may choose to ready themselves for a more defensive role by raising their HP.  Because a paladin is devoted to their deity, certain types of magic are forbidden to them, but other magic may be granted that is far more potent than what could be cast by a Mage of the same level.

The Paladin's deck will consist of skill cards and item cards much like the warrior, and a deity card and spell cards to aid in the practice of divine magic.  Many of the Paladin's skill cards will grant higher levels of proficiency in divine magic.  At 6th level, paladins acquire a mount and add a monster card to their deck.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Good Cause: Mario Marathon

Check out Mario Marathon, where they are earning money for Child's Play which gives video games to hospitalized children.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

First Draft Maps

Here are first drafts of what the Overworld Map for the game might look like.  Click to enlarge.

Jeff's Overworld Map:

Susie's Overworld Map:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tough Calls

During the playtest, we ended up having to make a couple of tough calls.

The Ninja's SecondStrike feature states that any attack which "makes contact" can be followed by a SecondStrike.  What if someone is in Full Defensive Posture, and the stike hits but hits for zero hitpoints?  Since it wasn't a "Miss," it still made contact, so the SecondStrike is still effective.

The Mage had a spell which added a small amount of Heat Damage to any attack made by a single ally.  The Heat Damage is combined with the other Potential Damage before subtracting off resistances.  The Heat Damage is also considered Weapon Bonus (even if the Weapon is fists) so it increases the Potential damage of a Light Hit as well as a Heavy Hit.  Also, we contemplated what would happen if the Damage Types had differing defenses working against them, which they could have in this case (but didn't, as no armor was being worn.)  We set it aside, since it didn't apply in the situation, but I will take up that question here.

The damage types in this system are:  Physical Damage, Direct Damage, Mystical Damage, Heat Damage, Cold Damage, Electrical Damage, and Chemical Damage.  Each of these has something unique.  Physical Damage is reduced by armor worn and a person's own resilience before it affects HP.  Direct Damage bypasses the armor, and is only reduced by resilience.  Heat, Cold, and Electrical damage bypass Metal Armor only (because it serves as a conductor), and is reduced by other Armor and resilience.  Chemical damage is the opposite, only being reduced by Metal Armor and resilience, as it is strong enough to burn through cloth, leather, or wooden armor.

A situation with combined damage types is quite complicated, and I'm not sure under what scenario the combo that I'm about to describe would happen, but lets pretend there were two damages being inflicted in a single blow.  4 Points of Chemical Damage and 3 Points of Heat Damage:  If the target was wearing +2 Metal Armor, it would deflect 2 points of Chemical Damage, but it wouldn't work against the heat Damage, leaving us with 2 Points of Chem Damage + 3 Points of Heat Damage, or 5 points of making it through the armor to the Resilience.  If the Resilience was 3, then 2 points of total Damage would be taken.  But which 2 points?  What if I had an ability where every point of Heat damage I take is transmuted into a Magic Point?  That's a good question.  Before answering it, lets look at another scenario:

What if it was 4 points of Mystical Damage and 3 points of Chem Damage?  Mystical Damage is (generally) unaffected by armor OR resilience, so 4 points would pass through to MP.  If there were only 3 MP, it would absorb the 3 MP and leave 1 point of HP damage.  The other 3 points would have the possibility of being absorbed by armor and resilience, according to the normal rules.  It seems that in the case of Mystical Damage, it is always very clear how much of the Mystical Damage remains.

So we are left with the question of how to find out which type of damage is left after all the reduction has been taken into account.

First of all, Cold and Heat damage cannot happen simultaneously.  If they do, they cancel each other out and only the balance remains.  i.e., 4 Cold plus 3 Heat = 1 Cold.  Not a very effective battle strategy.  This canceling happens before the attack makes contact.

So I'm making a ruling that resilience reduces damage in the following order:

Physical Damage (Because it is the easiest to deflect.)

Heat or Cold Damage

Electrical Damage

Chemical Damage (Because it leaves residue which continues to burn for some time.)

Where to put Electrical Damage (before or after Heat/Cold) is kind of arbitrary, but I needed to decide something, so this is what it will be until I find out a reason why it should be otherwise.

This is also the same order that standard armor absorbs damage in, and the same order that armor absorbs damage in after its namesake is absorbed.  i.e., Heat Resistant armor would absorb as much Heat as it can first, then it would absorb things in the usual order as just given.

Race Expansion

We've already been dreaming up expansions to the game.  One obvious thing is to allow the players to select from a variety of races.

At this point, we believe that the core game will include 6 character cards, all human, two of each base class, one male and one female.

Later expansions will add races such as Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes (small forest-dwelling people about 2/3 the height of humans; not the guys with the pointy dunce caps, although gnomes may like to wear wide-brimmed pointy hats), and a couple of less widely known races, Reptilians and Feladrin (or Feladrine.)

Actually, the Feladrin are our own creation (or adaptation.)  They are a race of human-like creatures who have ears and a tail like a cat, and retractable claws.  Their preferred class is Ninja, or, less often, Thief.  Their name is based upon the word Feline, and is pronounced Fee-lad-rin.  In Japanese, they are called Neko.  They are not furry creatures like the Catfolk seen in many western RPG's.  The Samurai Catgirl pictured at the right was drawn by tickledpinky at deviantart, and is close to what I might imagine the Feladrin to be like.  We haven't done any art for our game yet, so we'll see.

We are discussing the idea that not every race in the expansions will be available in every class.  For example, the gnome is probably too small to be an effective warrior, and the dwarf is certainly too slow to be a Ninja or Thief, and may not have the mental aptitude necessary to be a Mage, although he might make a decent Paladin.

For the gnome, we're looking at this painting by Mike DuBois as a possible idea for general characteristics.  Essentially, something of about the stature of the Black Mage in classic Final Fantasy, with a preference for a similar style of hat, but not having an obscured face.

Elves and Dwarves will have their classic appearance.  (The tall kind of Elves, not the Santa Clause variety.  And, the stocky, red-headed style of Dwarf, not the ones from Snow White.)

Welcome to 8-bit Dice

The purpose of this blog is to chronicle the development of a new tabletop collectable card role-playing board game.  Yes, it might be all of those things.

The game is yet to be named, but we have most of the rules in place and we've begun playtesting.

There are six classes to choose from:

Mage, Bard, Thief, Ninja, Warrior, Paladin.

Each character has the following stats:

Max Hit-Points (Max HP), Strength (Str), Resilience (Res), Agility (Agi), Max Magic Power (Max MP), and Wisdom (Wis.)  Also, a"Class" which defines a series of 9 traits that activate as the character levels-up, and a set of five "Skills" that the character is eligible to train in.

The first level stats are printed on the card; and, for a first level character, these stats always add up to 10.

The game is designed to play with much lower numbers than most RPG's.  This way, things are usually single-digit and easier to track.  Characters progress from level 1 to level 9.  A first level Warrior has 4 hitpoints, and a 9th level Warrior has around 20 to 30 hitpoints.

The reason this blog is called 8-bit Dice is that we've been trying to make the game mechanics feel similar to many of the 8-bit RPG Nintendo games that we used to love to play.

During combat, when it is your turn, you get to choose from a menu with many familiar items:

Items (Use, Equip, or Pick Up)
Run Away

Anything that requires a roll uses 2D6, and typically only a single roll (such as a standard attack or casting a spell.)

We playtested with a first level Nina, Warrior, Mage, and Thief.  We paired up into teams, the Ninja and the Mage versus the Warrior and the Thief.  The mage had an Eagle as a familiar.  This pairing isn't how the final game will usually work, (there will normally be monsters) but it provided a good stress test on the combat system to put relatively equal teams against each other.  After this, we leveled up everyone to Level 2 and did it again, then did the same thing on Level 3.  Everything seemed pretty fair, but we tweaked a couple of the Mage's spells to give them more balance as we went.  Also, the second level Ninja gained a very powerful move called SecondStrike.  When any attack makes contact, a second unarmed strike is made at an accuracy of Agi -2 and power of Str +0.  We all decided to adjust it to Agi -4, because otherwise it was too easy to make the SecondStrike every time, and the Ninja was dealing far more damage than anyone else.

Finally, we created four more eagles and let each of the characters battle them alone (well, the Mage had her familiar also.)  These battles proved to be very closely balanced, with the Mage and Warrior both ending the battle with a single Eagle living and one hitpoint left. The Warrior happened to die, and the Mage was victorious.  The Ninja ended up dying with one eagle still living with two hitpoints remaining.

What happened to the Thief?  He had to go to sleep before we got to the Eagle fights.

All of these fights were done without the aid of items such as weapons, armor, medicine, etc.  We all felt good about the system so far.

I will post more here at 8-bit Dice as the game develops further.