Mhu Thulan

Roleplaying games, resources for, design of

Category: Design

Comments on Scum & Villainy v1.6

I’ve run seven sessions of Scum & Villainy, based on the 1.6 release that is current at the time of writing, and have tried to compose my thoughts on it below. This isn’t really a review, and is rather premature until the final release is out, but may be useful if you’re thinking of trying it. My primary audience is the S&V developers — I want to write my comments down for them before I forget and before they have to commit to the final text.

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Hitting Harder, Casting Faster

I’ve made some tweaks to the Immergleich rules.

Evening out the speed of combat

Despite considerable design efforts on my part [1], melee with comparably-strong opponents tends to take longer as PCs go up in level. High-end single monsters, in particular, take time to grind down. That’s tedious.

Complication — my previous previous changes have left high-end monsters already very vulnerable to big-hit special attacks (e.g. the Thief’s backstab ability, or the Magic Missile spell). So I can’t just further reduce their hp. I could reign those attacks in a bit, or I could increase PC damage more subtly. I have done the latter:

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Working with the Design Space of a Tabletop RPG’s Resolution System

I want to make decisions about the main resolution system for a game I’m designing, but feel stymied because I don’t know what the relevant design space is. I don’t feel confident that I know the questions I can usefully ask. You can see  a similar problem (while designing a different game) in my previous posts Combining Dungeon World attribute checks with LotFP skills, badly, and in Some numbers for Dungeon World rolls with LotFP skills — I’m coming up with ideas, and generating some stats about them, but I don’t have any clear idea of my goals so it’s all a bit aimless.

I want to know:

  • What is the space of plausibly-useful resolution systems that I can use for a game like the one I am designing?
  • How can I “navigate” that space for a particular game so as to home in on the system that gaves me game behaviour I like?

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Simple random attributes lead to average characters?

Jon Spengler says in Rolling D&D Stats is Bad For You, a Reprisal that standard rolling methods generate a lot of mostly-average characters. I.e. many chars with all their attribute close to their overall mean. In contrast, assign-an-array methods tend to give extremes — characters who are strong at one thing and weak at another. And thus the latter is usually better for play.

My instinct was that he was right, but I decided to put some numbers on it to check it, and so that we can measure how much difference the various creation methods make.

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Immergleich rules update — attributes, skills and hit points

I’ve implemented some significant changes to Immergleich’s rules. They affect three things – attributes, skills, and hit points.

Attributes are now attribute modifiers

D&D characters are succinctly described by their six attributes (strength, dexterity, etc). it’s easy to make lots of rolls using just attribute values. Creating them randomly gives you a possibly-surprising character to play, which is fun and a challenge. But the raw attribute values (3-18) are very rarely used, and they don’t improve through advancement at all.

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Some numbers for Dungeon World rolls with LotFP skills

Over on G+, I had some suggestions about alternatives to my ideas in  Combining Dungeon World attribute checks with LotFP skills, badly. I’ve replied here so that I can use table formatting.

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Combining Dungeon World attribute checks with LotFP skills, badly

The Problem

As noted in D&D attributes, equal random generation, and skills, I’ve introduced Dungeon World -style 2d6+(attribute mod) rolls to my LotFP-based game.

Complication — LotFP already has a skill system. And it’s not clear how my attribute rolls should relate to it.

The LotFP skill system only covers a small set of activities…


… and most characters are terrible at them — their chance of success is a flat 1 in 6, regardless of level.

So I could just drop LotFP skills?

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