Tuesday, July 7, 2009

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.

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