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Author Topic: Paragon RPG system  (Read 5202 times)
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« on: January 20, 2016, 10:00:18 AM »


Out of Character

This is a rule system I'm designing for my Paragon setting.


BASIC GAME MECHANICS

Most checks in this game are skill checks, resolved via dice rolls adding together a 12-sided base die, a number of 6-sided dice determined by the character's force attribute, and a double the character's skill rank as a flat modifier:

 d12  +  [Force Attribute]d6  +  [Skill] x2

Other checks are attribute checks, which are resolved the same way but without a skill as a modifier:

 d12  +  [Force Attribute]d6

Force attributes and skills are ranked from 0 to 5.

The result of a dice roll is the sum total of it's individual die results and it's modifiers. This sum is compared against a target number (TN) to see whether the check is passed or failed. If the result is greater or equal to the TN, the check passes. If it's lower than the TN, the check fails. Dice rolls can also be opposed, in which case there is no TN, but the higher of the two rolls wins. Opposed rolls may be rerolled in case they are tied.

The 12-sided die acts as an exploding die, meaning that whenever it rolls a '12' it "explodes". When that happens the die is rolled again, and it's new result is added to the total dice roll result in addition to the previous roll of '12'.

Characters also have point-based pools of resource attributes such as Health and Morale. These resource attributes have maximum values, while the number of points within a pool may increase or decrease between the maximum and zero during the game.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 08:16:09 AM by Ghostman » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2016, 10:07:12 AM »

CHARACTER STATS

Power Level

Paragon characters and many kinds of monsters have a Power Level, which is a measure of their progress as supernatural, semi-deific beings ascending the gulf between true mortals and true immortals. It is the very essense of greatness permeating them, effecting most dice rolls. Paragons are able to sense another character's Power Level and thereby try and estimate if they are facing an opponent too formidable to overcome, or too puny to be worth their trouble. Paragon power levels range from 1 up to 5; most paragons are level 1 or 2, while masters are at least level 3. Ordinary people lack a power level entirely.

Note

Admittedly, "Power Level" is a pretty lame term, but unless I can come up with a better one it'll have to do.
Power Level determines how many points you can spend on force attributes and how high any one force attribute can be ranked:

Power LevelForce Attribute Points TotalMaximum force Attribute Rank
  -    10    3 
  1    15    3 
  2    20    4 
  3    25    4 
  4    30    5 
  5    35    5 

By default, newly created paragon player characters have a Power Level of 1. This represents fresh young paragons that only recently completed their acolyte training and were initiated into the Paragon Order as full-fledged members. If desired it is possible to begin a game at a higher Power Level.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 08:17:05 AM by Ghostman » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2016, 10:12:30 AM »


Force Attributes

A character has five attributes that correspond to the five cosmic forces of the universe. Force attributes represent the presense of these forces in the character's mind, body and soul. Different characters have differing amounts of the forces within them: one character may be strong in Fire and weak in Light, while another one is strong in Thunder and weak in Fire.

Note

Wind is the most important force attribute to paragons. Every paragon player character should be strong in Wind, although maximising it isn't necessary.
The Force Attributes:
- Fire
- Wind
- Thunder
- Light
- Shadow


Force attribute ranks are determined at character creation. A character has a number of points to spend on increasing force attributes, determined by their power level. The first rank of a force attribute costs one point, the second rank costs two points, and so on. Thus the point cost of raising a force attribute increases rapidly:

Force Attribute Rank Total cost
  0    0 
  1    0+1 = 1 
  2    0+1+2 = 3 
  3    0+1+2+3 = 6 
  4    0+1+2+3+4 = 10 
  5    0+1+2+3+4+5 = 15 
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 08:17:46 AM by Ghostman » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2016, 10:23:06 AM »


Resource Attributes

Three vital resource attributes that measure the distance between a character and it's death:

Health represents a character's ability to withstand injury.
  • Health is measured in points that range from zero to the maximum Health attribute score. They can be thought of as bodily hit points.
  • Suffering damage (from eg. being struck in combat) reduces Health.
  • When a character's Health drops below 10, the character is incapacitated, unable to move or defend themselves until the character has recovered from this condition.
  • When a character's Health drops to zero, the character dies a bodily death and is removed from play. Depending on circumstances the character may appear or be contacted as a NPC ghost.
  • Most characters have a maximum Health score of 20.

Face represents a character's integration and acceptance in society.
  • Face is measured in points that range from zero to the maximum Face attribute score. They can be thought of as social hit points.
  • Publically committing shameful or contemptuous acts reduces a character's Face. Only major transgressions can reduce a character's Face below 10; minor embarrassments affect only the 10+ portion of the attribute score.
  • When a character's Face drops below 10, the character is disgraced and banned from attending meetings with dignified NPCs and from partaking in the gift economy until the character has recovered from this condition. A disgraced character is also limited in training opportunities and therefore suffers from slower progression in character advancement.
  • When a character's Face drops to zero, the character dies a social death, becoming a pariah unwelcome in polite society. The character's Face is thereafter locked to zero and cannot change. A player character who becomes a pariah is effectively unplayable and thus turned into a NPC.
  • Most characters have a maximum Face score of 20.

Purity represents a character's humanity and ritual cleanliness.
  • Purity is measured in points that range from zero to the maximum Purity attribute score. They can be thought of as spiritual hit points.
  • Committing atrocities and ritually impure or taboo actions reduces a character's Purity.
  • When a character's Purity drops to zero, the character dies a spiritual death. The character's Purity is thereafter locked to zero and cannot change. If the character is also infected with Corruption they immediately fall to the Scourge. Even if uninfected, the character is now effectively defenseless against threats such as Corruption and demonic possession; a player character should be retired or turned into a NPC.
  • Most characters have a maximum Purity score of 20.


Other resource attributes:

Stamina represents a character's endurance and staying power.
  • Stamina is measured in points that range from zero to the maximum Stamina attribute score.
  • Stamina is expended on major physical exertations, such as chaining multiple strikes in combat.
  • Stamina regenerates when a character sits down and regulates their breathing.
  • When a character's Stamina drops below 10, the character loses 1d6 points of Morale.
  • When a character's Stamina drops to zero, the character becomes tired and loses 1d6 points of Morale.
  • A character's maximum Stamina score is usually 20.

Heroism represents the greatness that allows a character to rise above his normal limits and perform heroic feats.
  • Heroism is measured in points (Hero Points) that range from zero to the Heroism attribute score.
  • Hero Points can be expended to boost many actions and to evade or resist harmful effects. They can be regenerated by acting in a bold, heroic manner and taking significant risks.
  • Hero Points can be instrumental to enabling player characters to survive a streak of bad luck with dice rolls, but they will be quickly depleted if used too eagerly.
  • Most ordinary people have no Heroism score at all. Paragon characters typically have a Heroism score of 5.

Dynama is a mystical power that courses through all forms of life.
  • Dynama is measured in points that range from zero to the maximum Dynama attribute score.
  • Dynama is expended to use the magical powers and techniques of a paragon character. It slowly regenerates on it's own, but can be regenerated faster by various means, such as by ritualistic sword-worship.
  • When a character's Dynama drops to zero, the character is paralyzed.
  • Ordinary people have only a little in the way of Dynama and no means of using it. Paragons have exceptionally large pools of Dynama and the ability to channel it into magical powers.

Morale represents a character's resolve to fight and struggle in the face of distress.
  • Morale is measured in points that range from zero to the maximum Morale attribute score.
  • Disheartening events, such as seeing a friend fall in battle, reduce a character's Morale, while heartening events raise it. Morale regenerates on it's own once the stressful situation has passed.
  • When a character's Morale is reduced to zero, the character suffers a morale failure, at which point they must either give up (surrender, flee or cease their efforts) or suffer severe penalties to further actions.
  • Some conditions can impose long-term decrements on a character's maximum Morale score.
  • Ordinary people generally have less than 10 Morale, while paragon characters have 10 or more.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 08:19:09 AM by Ghostman » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2016, 10:25:46 AM »

Corruption

Characters who are exposed to manifestations of the Scourge may become infected with it's impure essence. This causes the contaminated character to accumulate Corruption, which is added as a new attribute score on the character's sheet. Corruption is a numerical score that can rise and drop during game. It is a measure of the power and drive with which the Scourge strives to influence the character, and it does not have maximum limit. Corruption is checked against the character's Purity score: as long as Corruption does not exceed Purity, the character cannot fall to the Scourge without consciously embracing it. When Purity is exceeded by Corruption things change, and the character will have to start rolling checks to resist being consumed by the hungry contagion. Each failed check reduces the character's Purity, creating a rapid spiral toward spiritual death. When an infected character loses all Purity, they fall to the Scourge.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 11:26:28 AM by Ghostman » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2016, 05:57:17 PM »

Oh, a system design thread, of course I have some input. grin

The dice mechanic you're using is very similar to the one from Q&D, so I can chime in my experience from playing Q&D games. The good thing about this mechanic is that the increase in dice does lead to a feeling of progression, while there still being some chance of failure... but that also gets into the downside. The thing about rolling more dice the better you get is that the system gets more swingy the better you are at something, when in real life often one of the goals of becoming better at something is to be more consistent. The amount of swinginess might also get to be a bit much depending on the feel of the game-- there's a non-trivial chance someone with 0 dice can beat someone with 2, and a remote but real chance they can beat someone with 3, and with the costs to get more dice going up faster than linearly, this could lead to some very diminished returns very quickly. If you're trying to encourage generalists over specialists, this might not be wholly undesirable, but it could also lead to a game where it felt like it was hard to excel. Q&D was also based around "failing" a roll often turning into "success at a cost," so the swinginess was desirable, but if your game isn't based around that, it might not be the best choice mechanically.

As an aside, I don't really understand the point of doubling skills. Why not just let them go from 0-10 and give the system a little finer granularity?

I don't like the idea that Wind is better. I mean, at least you're honest about it, while some systems have a stat that is better and leave it to players to learn the hard way... but, on the other hand, you know this going in, so why? Your system uses levels, so why not just connect these "essential" tasks to level and leave the stats for places where characters can actually diversify? I mean, it seems like any player who cares about optimizing isn't actually going to actually have 15 points at all, but rather automatically put a 3 into Wind and have 9 points left. I also am not sure what it means that a starting Paragon only has 5 more points (not even enough for a 3) and no higher stat cap than a mundane human, but maybe that's to encourage room for growth... but then the way the costs of improving stats rises so highly sort of makes too much growth hard. I'm just not sure what kind of play this system is trying to encourage.

Lastly, I personally think you've got too many pools of points. Having 3 pools of points, any of which reduced to 0 can kill you (or at least take you out of the game) seems pretty rough. Health at least makes sense, but I don't really understand what "social death" means at all, because it seems like in a world as open and unexplored as Paragon's you could just pack up and leave, or whatever. Different areas have different social standards, anyway, so tying this to some universal "health" stat seems like a big stretch. I'll admit I'm against automatic "you're dead" failure states anyway-- I feel like more forgiving failure states can encourage more unforgiving challenges, and I like that-- but I'm especially against multiple "you're dead" failure states that don't even seem like they should automatically mean you don't get to play your character any more. It seems like you could do well with Fate-style "Physical" and "Mental" health tracks, where your Physical track is essentially Health with some of Stamina possibly rolled in, while your Mental track is essentially a combination of Face and Morale. Purity and Dynama also seem like they could be combined into some sort of supernatural power pool, although I'm not really fond of Purity in general-- it seems too prone to ending up like the worst aspects of oldschool D&D alignment where you basically get punished for doing stuff the GM doesn't think you should do-- but it seems a lot more tolerable if such violations simply punish your supernatural power pool rather than potentially taking you out of the game for good. I'm unsure as to whether I think Stamina and Dynama even need to be separated. I understand there's a good reason for it-- Stamina is for mundane things, and Dynama is for mystical things, essentially, but since all Paragons are going to have both, it seems like it might just be annoying bookkeeping, and it might just be better to just give Paragons more stuff they can do with the single pool than mundanes; that is, mundanes just get the "Stamina powers" while Paragons get both the "Stamina powers" and the "Dynama powers."

Of course, I do like Heroism, because I am usually fond of meta-point mechanics. grin
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« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2016, 11:37:10 AM »

The swinginess isn't that much of an issue IMO. Adding more dice creates an ever steeper probability curve while also maintaining a possibility of a very low roll, and thus a failure even at relatively easy tasks. Having a force attribute at zero is definitely a weakness though, since all you got to roll is the d12. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as it would discourage min-maxing. One possible way to remedy it would be treating the d12 as an exploding die.

The skill rank is doubled for skill checks so that I can keep the ranks to the 0-5 range and use the same ramping up pricing sheme for their point buy as with the force attributes. Without the doubling skills would be too insignificant, since each rank in a relevant force attribute is an average bonus of +3.5. I might even change it to tripling if it seems that skills lack oomph, but I do like the idea of the force attributes (and therefore the power level) being relevant measures of a character's power.

What doesn't come across from the rules posted thus far is that skills are completely divorced from power level. Skills represent knowledge and ability gained through learning, while power level & force attributes represent ability gained via supernatural transformations that explicitly happen in-setting -- there's basically a magical ritual that a character performs, that transforms the character into a more powerful being (-> go up a power level). You do need to first go through training to be able to successfully perform that ritual ("unlocking" your potential by ordeals and hard work) but it's not about learning.

Regarding the wind thing: I like the idea that paragons have a sympathetic connection to wind, that they are favored by this particular cosmic force or simply following a way of life that naturally aligns with the qualities and symbology of wind. The system is used for statting non-paragon characters and monsters too, and those won't have the same affiliation. I also dislike the obsession with symmetry and rock-paper-scissors schemes that a lot of magic systems have when it comes to representing elements/forces/schools, etc. It feels way too tidy and artificial. Although game balance is definitely a concern here.

I agree that there's a quite large number of point pools, but I think they all have an important part to play. Morale is very important as a mechanic that determines when enemies flee or surrender, which is something that should happen much more often than their fighting to death. Stamina and dynama need to be separate so that paragons (who have large pools of dynama but much smaller pools of stamina) will be in risk of being exhausted if they spend their stamina too rapidly. I could change corruption to be an on/off flag and simply have it sap a character's purity, but that may not be quite what I'm after. What I like about the current setup is that corruption is fairly harmless as long as it stays below your purity, but either attribute changing could spell trouble.

Regarding the three deaths: They all represent points of no return where the character becomes effectively unplayable. In all cases the character may still be around, just as an NPC rather than a PC. A bodily dead character is a ghost, either stuck in the world of the living or moved on to the afterlife. A socially dead character is dead in the eyes of their peers, shunned and disgraced and possibly exiled; like a cop who took bribes or a doctor who experimented with unethical treatments, they are forever banned from returning to their line of work. A spiritually dead character is a soulless husk of a person, or a delirious madman.
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« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2016, 04:09:39 PM »

Ghostman

The swinginess isn't that much of an issue IMO. Adding more dice creates an ever steeper probability curve while also maintaining a possibility of a very low roll, and thus a failure even at relatively easy tasks.
Right, I pointed that out, too. The question is if that's desired in a game like this... awesome heroes don't usually fail at relatively easy tasks. That said, having high skills could compensate, and it would be a reason to invest in them. So I don't know.

Ghostman

The skill rank is doubled for skill checks so that I can keep the ranks to the 0-5 range and use the same ramping up pricing sheme for their point buy as with the force attributes. Without the doubling skills would be too insignificant, since each rank in a relevant force attribute is an average bonus of +3.5. I might even change it to tripling if it seems that skills lack oomph, but I do like the idea of the force attributes (and therefore the power level) being relevant measures of a character's power.
Right, I thought it was obvious that you'd have to price skills differently, but if not, then, yes, you'd have to price skills differently. I didn't see this as a problem because I assumed there would be many more skills available (systems that add Stat+Skill usually have general stats and specific skills anyway) so you'd probably need a different cost structure to have a reasonable amount of skills, anyway.

Ghostman

I also dislike the obsession with symmetry and rock-paper-scissors schemes that a lot of magic systems have when it comes to representing elements/forces/schools, etc. It feels way too tidy and artificial. Although game balance is definitely a concern here.
Fluff-wise, I agree with you. However, from a game balance perspective, if you have a pool of points to spend on five different options of equal cost, those five things should be roughly equal. That's not to say they need to do the same things, or be applicable in the same situations, but they should all roughly provide the same amount of "bang for the buck." A system that overtly states that one stat is going to be more essential than the others fails to do this right away. Like I said, anyone who cares about optimizing isn't actually going to spend 15 points, they're going to put an automatic 3 ranks into Wind and then spend 9 points. This decreases build diversity and creates trap options, and is just a bad thing to do mechanically.

Ghostman

Morale is very important as a mechanic that determines when enemies flee or surrender, which is something that should happen much more often than their fighting to death.
This is a valid issue, but I also think that this only necessitates a separate pool if you remain committed to the idea that "0 health = dead," which is not required or even all that great. I'll confess a certain bias toward Fate-like mechanics, but I think the way it handles a situation like this is pretty elegant. When they take damage in combat, characters accrue stress (and eventually, consequences) and when a character is reduced to 0 stress, that character is taken out, which can be whatever it needs to be for the situation. There's also the option to concede a conflict before your stress hits 0 in order to have some say in what happens to you, such as fleeing instead of being beaten/killed/whatever, and enemies conceding (and fleeing) in the face of mounting stress reflects morale breaking pretty well, in my experience. I also like that it puts the choice of whether to flee or push on in the player's hands, rather than a pool of points mandating "you've lost the will to fight."

Ghostman

Stamina and dynama need to be separate so that paragons (who have large pools of dynama but much smaller pools of stamina) will be in risk of being exhausted if they spend their stamina too rapidly.
Right, I understand there are good reasons to keep them separate, but I remain unconvinced those reasons are better than the (in my opinion) also good reasons to unify them. Can they trade Dynama for Stamina at all? If not, it seems a bit odd that nobody has found a way to harness this supernatural power in order to enhance physical abilities.

Ghostman

What I like about the current setup is that corruption is fairly harmless as long as it stays below your purity, but either attribute changing could spell trouble.
I don't like the corruption mechanic at all, to be blunt about it, because I dislike death spiral mechanics.

Ghostman

Regarding the three deaths: They all represent points of no return where the character becomes effectively unplayable. In all cases the character may still be around, just as an NPC rather than a PC. A bodily dead character is a ghost, either stuck in the world of the living or moved on to the afterlife. A socially dead character is dead in the eyes of their peers, shunned and disgraced and possibly exiled; like a cop who took bribes or a doctor who experimented with unethical treatments, they are forever banned from returning to their line of work. A spiritually dead character is a soulless husk of a person, or a delirious madman.
Personally, I would call a shunned and disgraced character an interesting story arc rather than an unplayable character. I think it creates some real player agency issues to simply take the character out of play at this point, though from the rather deterministic nature of the setting I guess I can understand how it might not be within the scope of the intended game. However, I think "social death" can also create troublesome player agency issues with characters who aren't involved-- since the social mechanic dictates how other people react, it means that if my character is in a party with a shunned (and removed from play) character, the system is mandating that she shun the "socially dead" character as well, regardless of how she herself may feel.
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« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2016, 10:50:59 AM »

I've changed the rules on the three health stats a little, hopefully making them clearer and fairer. It's now much harder to lose face completely, and spiritual death simply causes extreme vulnerability to varieties of supernatural nastiness. Which would be unlikely to affect a random peasant NPC, but is basically a game ending condition for a PC.
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« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2016, 11:00:23 AM »

Skills

Skills represent learned knowledge and ability in various broad activities. They are ranked from 0 to 5, but count as double when applied to skill checks.

Each skill is based on one of the 5 force attributes.

Fire-based skills:
  • Melee: Attacking with and defending against melee strikes.
  • Athletics: Practice athletic sports, climb, balance, jump.
  • Healing: Administer first aid and medicine.
  • Arts: Perform inspiring poetry, flute-playing, dancing.

Wind-based skills:
  • Triarmatura: The magical martial art of paragons, using triarma. (Cannot be higher than the sum of the character's Melee and Missile skills.)
  • Travel: Find your way without getting lost, camp safely, arrive at destination in timely manner.
  • Etiquette: Avoid faux-pas, give a good impression, request audiences, gather information.
  • Ritual: Conduct religious, meditative and social rituals.

Thunder-based skills:
  • Missile: Attacking with and evading ranged strikes.
  • Leadership: Inspire comrades, assert authority over underlings, organize complicated operations, devise effective tactics.
  • Cavalry: Ride and tend to mounts, knowledge about mounts.
  • Initiative: Seize the advantage in combat and other critical scenes.

Light-based skills:
  • Lore: Knowledge about scholarly subjects, unravel riddles.
  • Forbidden Lore: Same as lore, but concerning secret and unwholesome subjects.
  • Heraldry: Knowledge about important people, recognize people.
  • Investigation: Find clues, detect hidden foes, unravel plots.

Shadow-based skills:
  • Mysticism: Knowledge about esoteric and religious subjects, parley with demons of Pandemonium.
  • Stealth: Hide yourself or conceal items, slip past guards undetected.
  • Hunting: Practice sport hunting, follow tracks.
  • Intuition: Act on instinct, avoid undetected danger.

Skill ranks are determined at character creation. To start with, a paragon character has a set of skill ranks granted by their path. The character also has a number of skill points to spend on purchasing further skill ranks, with the cost of each rank progressively increasing the same way that the cost of attributes does:

Skill RankTotal cost
 0    0  
 1    0+1 = 1  
 2    0+1+2 = 3  
 3    0+1+2+3 = 6  
 4    0+1+2+3+4 = 10  
 5    0+1+2+3+4+5 = 15  
« Last Edit: December 06, 2016, 03:41:44 PM by Ghostman » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2016, 03:14:54 PM »


PHASES OF THE GAME

Paragon RPG play alternates between two phases: the Citadel Phase and the Adventure Phase.

The Citadel Phase takes place in the player character's home base: the skyward realm and it's citadel. The phase covers the span of everyday life that runs it's course when the characters are not undertaking exciting and unusual missions. This span of time between adventures may vary from weeks to months, or even years. Players have to make decisions on what sort of activities their characters spend their time on during a citadel phase. They usually have the choise of following options:

  • Exchange of gifts and favours with NPC paragons. PCs may be able to acquire new items or owed favours, but may also end up indebted themselves.
  • Acts of charity and goodwill, which enable disgraced characters to become reconciliated with society and recover lost Face.
  • Training, which generates skill points to allocate on characters' skills, new techniques and powers, and increments to Morale.
  • Courtly activities, which can cultivate new and existing alliances, although it may also result in rivalries and enmities.
  • Pilgrimages, asceticism, purification rituals and other forms of religious austerities. By enduring these, characters may recover from loss of Purity and cleanse themselves of the vile Corruption of the Scourge.
  • Medicinal treatment. By resting under the care of the citadel's physicians, injured characters may recuperate lost Health.
  • Information gathering, which can increase the characters' knowledge of the world and of recent events.
  • Contests and displays of impressive feats, such as hunting, athletics or poetry. Successful performance may result in prizes and other rewards, though there is a risk that characters embarrass themselves.

These activities primarily take place off-screen and are to be quickly resolved via game mechanics, while players give short narrations on what their characters were up to during the phase. Particular scenes that are of importance to plot or otherwise interesting may be roleplayed in detail. Depending on the length of time being passed, the game master may allow 1-3 activities to be selected by each player character. The same activity may be selected more than once during the phase -- for example, a severely wounded character may spend two activities on medicinal treatment if one would not be sufficient for a full recovery. PCs may be limited to a maximum of a single training activity in order to enforce a similar pace of advancement in skills, techniques and powers.

The Adventure Phase covers the time that player characters partake in an adventuring scenario, though it glosses over most of the minutiae and focuses on meaningful and relevant scenes. Typically the Adventure Phase begins with a briefing by the PCs' master, who presents them with their next mission and outfits them for the task. Following their briefing the characters may need to embark on a journey, which could be a major undertaking in and of itself. Arriving on their destination, they have to deal with what ever problem they were dispatched to take care of, as well as any obstacles and complications that may arise. The Adventure Phase usually concludes with the PCs returning home from their endeavour and receiving rewards according to their merits.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 08:22:38 AM by Ghostman » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2016, 11:42:45 AM »


VIOLENCE

Violent confrontations put characters' very lives at stake, and are therefore resolved via a dedicated subsystem.


Killing Intent

Characters who desire or anticipate an outbreak of violence may declare a killing intent toward their perceived foes. A killing intent reflects a character's mental preparation to commit to a potentially lethal confrontation. It may also arise from a character's intense feelings of contempt or hatred toward another character. By declaring killing intent, a character gains a +1d6 bonus to Initiative and 5 temporary Morale points for a combat sequence against these foes, in case that violence does come to take place during the scene.

However, declaring killing intent also causes a character to radiate a murderous aura, which may betray the character's hostility or even their presense (thereby foiling stealth efforts) to foes. All human beings and many kinds of monsters are capable of sensing a murderous aura, although paragons are supernally perceptive of them -- an ordinary person might simply experience goosebumps and a vague feeling of dread, not necessarily recognizing it's source as another person, whereas a paragon would be certain of the nature, cause and origin of the aura.

Sensing a murderous aura requires passing an Intuition skill check vs TN 12.

Some powerful paragons and other magical beings may be able to conceal their murderous aura, or alternatively, to strengthen it so that it instills fear upon their enemies.


Starting a Violent Confrontation

A combat sequence begins when one or more characters resort to violence against others. Depending on the events leading up to that point the battle may be started either openly, or with one side taking the other by surprise.


Readying Weapons
A character may both draw a sheathed weapon and sheath a drawn weapon once during a round of combat without it counting as their action for the round. They may even do so outside their own turn. Readying a weapon that cannot be drawn from a sheath usually takes the character's action for the round, assuming that the weapon is otherwise accessible -- alert combatants may begin a battle with their weapons at the ready, though. A weapon may be freely dropped at any point, even outside one's own turn.


Turns and Initiative

At the onset of violence, all combatants roll Initiative. Combat proceeds in rounds, with combatants taking turns in the order of Initiative (highest to lowest). During their turn a combatant may move, engage with an enemy, or perform other kinds of actions.


Exchanges

Note

During a surprise round, a combatant initiating an exchange against a surprised foe acts first regardless of Initiative. Hero Points can be expended to seize the offensive: a combatant who expends more HP than their opponent always gets to act first, regardless of Initiative and surprise assaults.
A combatant engaging with another initiates an exchange between the two. An exchange consists of attacks and defenses, magical and mundane alike, performed by each engaging combatant against the other one. The combatant with the higher Initiative acts first, their opponent acts second. If the two are equal in Initiative then they will act simultaneously.

By default, a combatant gets to perform a single action during an exchange. In some cases it is possible to chain multiple actions (such as strikes) in rapid succession, at the cost of Stamina. The exchange ends when one of the combatants is cut down or otherwise defeated, or when both combatants have used up their actions.

An exchange can be either ranged or melee. In a ranged exchange, only ranged attacks can be used. A combatant who does not possess any means of ranged attacking cannot initiate ranged exchanges but may still be forced into a ranged exchange by an enemy -- a decidedly one-sided affair. In a melee exchange most types of ranged attacks are either infeasible or penalised.


Defense

In the interest of reducing the number of dicerolls needed during scenes of violence, combatants possess two Defense scores (melee and missile) that act as target numbers for other combatants striking at them. Defense (Melee) applies against melee weapon and unarmed strikes, while Defense (Missile) applies against missile weapon strikes. Defense is a measure of how difficult it is to hit the combatant with a weapon or an unarmed strike.

For most combatants, Defense scores are calculated by using their Melee and Missile skills and their corresponding force attributes:

 Defense (Melee)  =  10 + 3x Fire + 2x Melee
 Defense (Missile) = 10 + 3x Wind + 2x Missile

However, paragons possess a special Defense score based on their Triarmatura skill and Wind attribute, which applies against both melee weapon & unarmed and missile weapon strikes:

 Defense (Triarmatura) = 10 + 3x Wind + 2x Triarmatura

For most paragons this special Defense score is higher than the other two, and thus is the only one needed.


Striking

The most common action in exchanges is striking the opponent, either with a weapon or with unarmed combat techniques. A strike is resolved in following steps:

Strike

1. The attacker rolls to strike, using appropriate combat skill, against the defender's Defense score (Melee, Missile or Triarmatura). If the attacker's roll succeeds, it results in a threat (the strike threatens to hit the defender). If the roll fails, the strike misses.

2. The defender has to decide how to react to a threat. If the defender does nothing, the threat turns into a hit. If instead the defender chooses to avoid the strike, the threat is nullified and the strike misses. Avoiding is an action that costs one point of Stamina.

3. When a strike has been confirmed as a hit, the attacker rolls for damage, using a number of dice based on the type of their weapon. The result is inflicted as damage to the opponent, reducing the opponent's Health. In addition to the loss of Health, the defender also loses 1d6 points of Morale.

Weapon TypeDamage Roll
Unarmed Strikes1d6
Weak Weapons2d6
Strong Weapons3d6
Triarma4d6 (3d6 when not powered)


Chaining Strikes

Multiple strikes can be made against an opponent during an exchange. When a roll to strike succeeds (producing a threat), the attacker has the option of immediately following up with another strike. A combatant's first strike during an exchange costs nothing, but all subsequent chained strikes cost one point of Stamina each. When a roll to strike fails (not threatening) the chain ends and no further strikes can be added to it. A combatant can chain up to a maximum of 5 strikes, the first strike included.


Incapacitation

When a combatant's Health drops below half of it's maximum value, the combatant is incapacitated, falling on the ground and unable to move or perform any actions. Incapacitated combatants are completely defenseless and can be finished off trivially easily by a strike of any melee weapon; there is no need to roll to hit or damage. Ranged strikes still need to check for a threat, rolled against a flat TN 10, the defender cannot avoid a hit, and damage need not be rolled. Incapacitated combatants will slowly perish if they are left for dead. First aid applied after battle (Healing skill check vs TN 15) will remove the incapacitation state.

A combatant may resist incapacitation by expending one Hero Point. This can also be used to regain capacity on one's own after already being incapacitated.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 08:23:42 AM by Ghostman » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2016, 05:47:48 PM »


Movement and Footing

Detailed grid-based character positioning isn't used in Paragon RPG. Instead, an abstract movement system is employed in scenes of violence. It is assumed that combatants never stand still for long, but are always moving around, maneuvering, closing in on and backing away from their foes. Most of the time there is no cost for movement -- and no benefits for staying still.

All combatants taking part in a battle have a footing, which reflects their attitude, positioning and maneuvering on the battlefield. Footing can be either Forward or Rearward. Combatants in the Forward footing are in the thick of battle, standing boldly out and aggressively engaging their enemies. Those in the Rearward footing are hanging back, taking cover or moving evasively to avoid heavy engagement.

Footing is declared at the beginning of the battle and can be changed during it. Changing from Rearward to Forward footing is free, but changing from Forward to Rearward costs one point of Stamina. This cost can be ignored if the combatant changing their footing forgoes their other actions for the turn instead.

Combatants in the Rearward footing roll one extra die on all defensive combat skill checks, but may initiate only ranged exchanges. Combatants in the Forward position may initiate ranged exchanges against Rearward opponents, and may initiate melee exchanges against all opponents. However, an attempt to initiate a melee exchange against a Rearward opponent requires expending a Stamina point and can be intercepted by enemies or evaded by the targeted combatant (see below).


Interception

When a Forward combatant declares a melee exchange with a Rearward opponent, any of the enemies that are currently in Forward footing may declare an interception. An interception triggers an immediate melee exchange between the attacker and the interceptor. Declaring an interception costs one point of Stamina. If the intercepted combatant defeats the interceptor during this exchange (by causing death, incapacitation, surrender, flight, etc) then they may choose to carry out their originally declared melee exchange -- otherwise that exchange is prevented.


Evasion

A Rearward combatant may attempt to evade a melee exchange declared against them by maneuvering away from the incoming foe. The attempt costs one point of Stamina and requires winning an opposed roll of Athletics (or Cavalry, if mounted) against the opponent. A successful evasion prevents the melee exchange.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 08:25:22 AM by Ghostman » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2016, 09:52:01 AM »


Surprise Rounds

Normally, all combatants are considered ready to defend themselves when violence breaks out. Sometimes though, combat begins with one side leveraging the advantage of surprise. This may happen due to the opposition being unaware of their enemies (because of an ambush or other kinds of stealth tactics), but it could also happen simply because they did not expect any hostility and the assault was launched all of a sudden. Those combatants who act with the advantage of surprise get to partake in one round of actions before the normal sequence of rounds. This special round is called the surprise round. All other combatants' turns are skipped during the surprise round, and they may be forced to begin the battle without readied weapons.

Gaining a surprise round via stealth tactics generally requires that the assailers pass Stealth skill checks or otherwise make themselves undetectable by their enemies.

Gaining a surprise round by a sudden, unexpected assault requires declaring killing intent, in an unthreatening situation where the foes are unsuspecting of danger. Those combatants that were able to detect the attacker's murderous aura (or were warned) before the assault will be unsurprised and allowed to act during the surprise round.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 08:25:40 AM by Ghostman » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2016, 11:40:18 AM »


Retreat and Pursuit

To retreat from battle, a combatant must be in Rearward footing, capable of moving and choose retreat as the sole action for their turn. If no one engages the retreating character in melee, that character has successfully quit the field on their next turn and is no longer taking any part in the combat. Sometimes conditions may make retreating impossible, such as during fighting onboard a ship in the middle of a sea.

Enemies may choose to pursue a retreating character, though that requires them to retreat from battle themselves. The contest of a pursuit is automatically won by a character that moves significantly faster (eg. a mounted zeetha rider versus a human on foot), otherwise the characters make opposed rolls of Athletics (or Cavalry, if mounted), rerolling any ties.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 08:26:02 AM by Ghostman » Logged

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