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Bionicle RPG Rule System

Posted by The Iron Toa , in RPG system Oct 05 2012 · 2,582 views

game stats roleplaying
Bionicle RPG Rule System I am happy to announce I am now using a blog as the home of the Bionicle RPG system I and several others are working on. Here's a list of people that have contributed:

BenLuke-116, Katuko, makuta_icarax, Portalfig, The Iron Toa, The Mask of Ice, Toa Alaka, Toa Kaithas

Update as of 10/10/2012:

And here is a list of people that still seem to be actively contributing:

makuta_icarax, The Iron Toa, The Mask of Ice

Come on back, guys! We're actually starting to get somewhere now.

And we have another joyous announcement. It is time to start to split this project into its aspects, which will be worked on over multiple blog updates. First, we have the Races and Subtypes. I have made a detailed post that will get much bigger over time, but I can't do it alone -- read it, and give me your comments and suggestions! Soon, we will have separate posts about the combat system, powers, items, societies -- every part of this project we can think of.

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It will be a mostly D&D derived system, but there are some important differences. Here is what we have so far:

Attributes:
Strength: Used to determine melee damage, blocking, and how much a character can lift/carry, certain athletic feats like climbing
Dexterity: Determines dodge/evade (we should pick one term to use), hit chance, ranged damage, certain athletic feats like climbing and acrobatics
Toughness: Determines/contributes to values of Vitality (HP) and Endurance, and resistance to physical effects.
Charisma: Determines how well characters can get along with and persuade others. Used for lying, persuasion, and intimidation, but also important for friendship and getting you and your allies to work together.
Intelligence: Used to determine how quickly/how much you can increase your skills, learn new languages, and how easily your character can figure things out.
Will: Determines damage of Powers, aim of Powers, and control over Powers, resistance to mental effects, and how quickly Endurance is lost. That is, a character with higher Will would take less Endurance damage from suffering pain or using powers.

Resistances: Heat, Cold, Electricity, Sonic, Mental, Light, Shadow, Poison, Acid, Energy (generic powers), Elemental (direct damage from Elemental Energy-based powers), and either Crushing/Piercing/Slashing or just Physical.

Moral Light - characters that are evil enough can, with the proper training, tap into their inner shadow. There is a very rare ability to see the Moral Light and Shadow in a being to determine if he is good, neutral, or evil.

Destiny: a GM can come up with a Destiny for a character, and is encouraged to bend the rules a little to make characters fulfill their Destinies. A player can tell the GM what he has in mind for his character, but the GM makes the decision, and should keep it a secret in most cases.

Toa Energy: The normal value for this will be -1. There is a small random chance for a Matoran to have 0, which means he has the potential to become a Toa. The player of a Matoran won't necessarily know if this value is -1 or 0. If a Matoran does become a Toa, his Toa Energy is set to 60. This energy can be used to heal others or to transform destined Matoran into Toa. Transforming other Matoran costs 10 Toa energy, so a Toa can transform up to 6 Matoran. When a Toa's value reaches 0 and he has completed his Destiny as a Toa, he becomes a Turaga. If he hasn't completed his Toa Destiny yet, he remains a Toa until he does.

Size categories:
Fine: Less than 1/8 bio
Diminutive: 1/8 - 1/4 bio
Tiny: 1/4 - 1/2 bio
Small 1/2 - 1 bio
Medium 1-2 bio
Large 2-4 bio
Huge 4-8 bio
Gargantuan 8-16 bio
Colossal Greater than 16 bio

Skills: I think the D&D skill list suits our purposes. Except instead of Spellcraft... I don't know what to call it, but it will be control over innate powers. Use Magic Device would be Use... Powered... Device? We need a better name for that too, but that would be the skill for using Kanohi and other things that aren't part of a character but are mentally activated. Also, we'll want to have some different subcategories of the Craft and Knowledge skills.

I'm starting to understand the D&D combat system but I think I could use some practice. Here's what I understand of how it will work for us:
Characters that win an initiate roll or ambush their opponents go first. Attacking characters make a roll (or multiple) to determine their chance to hit and again for damage. All physical attacks need to roll for both, some powers automatically hit but can be resisted, and for some powers instead of rolling for damage you roll for Intensity and Duration. Defending characters, if they can move and it's not an auto-hit attack, can attempt to Dodge or Block it. If they are hit, the damage or chance of affecting them is mitigated by their Resistances. An attack that does Vitality damage or a physical debuff is resisted by a roll based on Toughness and the appropriate resistance type. Endurance damage and mental effects are resisted by Will and the appropriate resistance type. For simplicity, I suggest a certain amount of Vitality damage always does a certain amount of Endurance damage, and how much is based on a character's will. Otherwise, the defender would need to roll twice - once for how much damage it did and again for how much it hurt. Still, this is pretty complicated -- we still need to include how distance affects ranged hit chance. I still need help with this.

I'm sure there's more I missed, so here's the link to the old topic for reference. We should post everything we came up with onto here.

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makuta_icarax
Oct 05 2012 03:31 PM
Awesome! I'll link to it in my sig.
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The Iron Toa
Oct 05 2012 03:39 PM
Cool. So let's talk about combat. Distance and size of the target should affect chance to hit, so how will we include that?

Edit: Okay, it looks like in D&D smaller sizes give a bonus to your attack and defense. We're not using AC, so instead of it providing a bonus to that, we could just add a penalty to an attacker's roll if he's attacking a smaller or a bonus if he's attacking a larger target. And how about for ranged attacks, there's a penalty proportional to the distance to the target?
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makuta_icarax
Oct 05 2012 05:48 PM

Cool. So let's talk about combat. Distance and size of the target should affect chance to hit, so how will we include that?


Ok, well, size modifiers on an attack roll usually go like this: (The size is the size of the target)
-Colossal +8
-Gargantuan +4
-Huge +2
-Large +1
-Medium/normal +0
-Small -1
-Tiny -2
-Diminutive -4
-Fine -8


As for range, I think as soon as you leave the "ideal" range of your weapon, you take a -2 penalty for each range "increment" away from your target you are. I'm not sure how we would define ranges, though.
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The Iron Toa
Oct 05 2012 07:04 PM
Would it be too complicated for each combatant to keep track of the distance to his target? A relative positioning system?

I also realized we'll need to keep track of weight, especially with Gravity-related powers. The only reference to weight I know of, however, is in The Many Deaths of Toa Tuyet when Devastator is referred to as 'a big boy, probably close to a ton of mechanical muscle'. Guardian I mean Devastator is pretty darn big, I'd expect an organic creature of his size to weigh at least a ton. Do you think we could measure weight in kilograms?

Update: I did a little thinking and studying of Devastator's picture. For him to weigh only a ton, Matoran Universe beings can't be any heavier than an organic equivalent. So we can probably keep the original weight charts for size categories. We could change it to metric, though, or come up with our own Bionicle weight system.
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makuta_icarax
Oct 05 2012 11:58 PM
The relative positioning system works for me, I feel like that's the only reasonable option.

As for weight, I don't know metric at all (uneducated American here), but I think it would be unnecessary and overly complicated to create a new system. Maybe we could do a relative weight system based around the weight of a Toa or a Matoran?
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The Mask of Ice
Oct 06 2012 12:02 AM

The Iron Toa, on , said:

Cool. So let's talk about combat. Distance and size of the target should affect chance to hit, so how will we include that?

Ok, well, size modifiers on an attack roll usually go like this: (The size is the size of the target)
-Colossal +8
-Gargantuan +4
-Huge +2
-Large +1
-Medium/normal +0
-Small -1
-Tiny -2
-Diminutive -4
-Fine -8


As for range, I think as soon as you leave the "ideal" range of your weapon, you take a -2 penalty for each range "increment" away from your target you are. I'm not sure how we would define ranges, though.


Let's use squares by default, but include optional rules for FATE-esque zones, for online play.
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The Mask of Ice
Oct 06 2012 12:07 AM
So, wait, are we still going to use FATE points, aspects and world creation?

For elemental powers, instead of condensing them into different spells, we could simply do this:

The ability score specific to your elemental power = your maximum EE. With each elemental power, we have a list of minor effects, all of which cost no EE. Then, there are EE cost tables for area attacks, nova blasts, object creation, status effect placing. Your EE recharges after a long rest (at the end of the day).
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makuta_icarax
Oct 06 2012 07:32 AM
I don't think we were really going to use FATE points anymore, or aspects. I'm not sure about the rest, but I was under the impression we were going for D&D spells too.
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The Iron Toa
Oct 06 2012 12:06 PM
I don't think I want to use the FATE system, sorry The Mask of Ice. Once we get the rules down, however, I would like it to be easy to make new settings for campaigns.

I don't know about ability scores yet. I've been getting some good info from the d20srd online, but haven't read all of it. If you could explain it to me, that would be great. I like the idea of having a table for how much more EE/Endurance it costs to enhance your powers. Once we get an idea of what the numbers for these should be, I or someone else could get working on that. Anyone know spreadsheets? I took a class on it a couple years ago, but I got bored and ended up failing. I could give it a try again, though. Perhaps we ought to work on powers later, but charts and tables would come in handy for a lot of other things.

I don't care that much what weight system we use, but either way we should come up with a good estimate of how much Matoran and Toa would weigh. My first guess is around 100 pounds for Matoran and 250 for Toa.

I just had a couple other concerns. First, how will we do dice rolls on the internet? Is there some website we can use that allows both rolls others in your game can see and ones that are hidden? Secondly, and I'm loathe to make things more complicated but... we might need to distinguish between organic and mechanical damage. After all, there are powers that only affect one or the other (like the Mask of Healing). What would be the best way to solve that problem?
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makuta_icarax
Oct 06 2012 02:58 PM
I was meaning to ask you about the cost for the powers... I'm not really sure how to balance that. We would need to come up with a base amount or something like that, and then from there we could sort of determine how much an increase would "cost".

I can sort of make charts... I don't actually have Excel though, so I'd be really limited.

The dice rolls on the internet is definitely an issue. I have no idea how we could do such a thing, beyond the honor system. I mean, if someone really want to cheat at an online RPG based on a toy line... I think they already lost.

The difference between damage is a fair point, but:
1. That would require us to figure out mechanical/biological values for each species
2. Make combat really, really difficult

I personally don't think it is necessary. The Mask of Healing could be used to restore HP or something (limited, of course), and we could work rules around this. The alternative would be very tough to do.
In the event that, say, there's an attack that only hurts organic tissue, then we could have it only be able to target people with organics.
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The Iron Toa
Oct 06 2012 03:27 PM
I was hoping someone with more experience as to how much is an average amount for numbers like hitpoints and damage and stuff would help us set the baseline. Otherwise, I'd say we should come up with something that's simple, but allows enough flexibility. I'll do a little thinking about it.

I have OpenOffice, I should be able to figure out its spreadsheet program. First I'll try to figure out what the numbers should be in the first place. Did you take a look at the equations I posted on the old topic? Toa Alaka thought they made it too complicated, but I think if we used a chart to list common values it would help. But I might have changed my mind about some of them - I should take another look.

I'm pretty sure there's some way out there to do artificial dice rolls, but we need to keep in mind the rules for using other websites. Hopefully that won't be a problem though.

Ah, how about the degree to which an effect that only affects organic or mechanical parts harms or heals a being depends on how much of them are biological or mechanical? For example, a virus that eats organic tissue would be devastating against an Agori, useless against a robot, and moderately effective against a Matoran? As for the Mask of Healing, maybe it can only restore a biomechanical being's health to a certain extent, like up to half their full health or something.
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makuta_icarax
Oct 06 2012 03:57 PM
Yeah, I like that idea for the organic/mechanical. I just don't really know how to implement that in the actual rules...

There definitely are artificial dice rollers, I use some of them, the problem is exactly what you said. I don't want to tick off the mods.

That's fine on the Mask of Healing.

I did look at the equations, but I don't really remember them all that well. If I recall correctly they were pretty basic, so a review/redo couldn't hurt at all.
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The Iron Toa
Oct 06 2012 07:26 PM
I just read that Toa can pass out from stressful use of their elemental powers. The case I read of was when Vakama absorbed all the heat of an Elemental Fire entity. Maybe Toa can sometimes pull off feats they don't usually have the finesse for, but it drains their Endurance.

I realized I'm not sure how skills should increase if we don't have levels. Should you get XP for each skill for using it? That sounds complicated...

Anyway, let me review the equations from the old topic:

Finesse = Will * Skill or Will + Skill

In which Skill is your Power Control skill. I think Will * Skill would work, or maybe a fraction of it like your Will * Skill / 2.

Accuracy Penalty = W * Power^2 / (X * Channel Time * Finesse)

I've decided Channel Time will only come up for very powerful attacks - regular use of power will be instantaneous. I don't want to do away with it completely, because it should take several rounds to charge up for a Nova Blast, for example. W and X denote where we can set a constant. Basically, this is saying that the penalty to your Attack Roll increases exponentially when more Power (EE or Endurance) is put into the attack, and is inversely proportional to how much time you take to focus on the attack and your Finesse.

If Accuracy Penalty > Finesse * Y, the power channeled will be released as an instantaneous AoE of random Area and Intensity.

Instead of the above equation, let's say if an elemental or similar type of attack ends up with an attack roll of 1 or less, then the character will lose control of his gathered power and release it randomly. Maybe if you get a natural 1, too.

Power = Intensity * Duration * Area * Ranged * Z

All the things that contribute to power cost. I think this makes sense as it is.

But let's type up the equations for physical combat now.
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makuta_icarax
Oct 06 2012 07:43 PM

Instead of the above equation, let's say if an elemental or similar type of attack ends up with an attack roll of 1 or less, then the character will lose control of his gathered power and release it randomly. Maybe if you get a natural 1, too.


Perfect. Yes. The equation was just not clicking in my head, and this works wonderfully.

As for XP, maybe it would be best to keep track... I wasn't thinking about the lack of levels. I have an XP chart that could basically do the work for us.

Power = Intensity * Duration * Area * Ranged * Z


That seems fair enough. How would one calculate area, though? And what is ranged (I'm assuming its how far the attack reaches)?
---------------------------------------------------------------
Melee Attack Roll
1d20 + Base attack bonus + Strength modifier

Ranged Attack roll
1d20 + Base attack bonus + Dexterity modifier

Dodge Roll
1d20 + Dexterity modifier + species/race/whatever bonus + Equipment bonus

Block Roll
1d20 + Strength modifier + species/race/whatever bonus + Equipment bonus

Not sure if I'm missing anything
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The Iron Toa
Oct 06 2012 08:15 PM
We could keep track of XP for each skill. I'll try to come up with how much XP is gained from use of skills and how much it takes to gain levels.

Just calling use of powers 'attacks' is easier, but not completely accurate, as there are also powers that can help and buff your allies.

For Area, in some cases it would be the number of targets, in others, like forming a wall of an element, we'd need to keep track of how big the manifestation of it is. As for Ranged, I meant Range - it should cost more power to extend your supernatural reach 100 bio than 1 bio.

Thanks for doing the physical combat equations. Speaking of physical combat, do you think we should have resistances for piercing, crushing, and slashing? Someone said just 'physical' would do, but I think we should keep different physical damage types if it's not too complicated.
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makuta_icarax
Oct 06 2012 08:20 PM
Personally, I feel the XP per skill thing will become very complicated, very fast. But that's just my opinion.

As for the resistances... eh. I'm not so sure. That works well in MMORPGs or video games, but keeping track of that in the middle of player-run combat can be very hard.
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The Iron Toa
Oct 06 2012 11:09 PM
How about you just gain an XP point each time you use a skill? Then it could take more points to level up each time.

And I say we keep the 3 different physical resistances, but for simplicity the values can be equal for most beings. There would be exceptions -- a gelatinous creature, for example, might be immune to crushing and resistant to piercing damage because it has to be sliced apart to be killed, while something made of ice (a structure or a creature) would be most vulnerable to crushing damage.

Looking back over the rules for rolls you posted, I just realized something. Strength shouldn't determine your chance to hit. It makes more sense for that to rely on dexterity instead. I don't want to make dexterity overshadow strength, though, and hopefully this can be avoided by Strength's importance in blocking. I imagine Block will be the most common form of melee defense, and we could determine if a block succeeds by having the attacker and defender make a roll based on their strength. And of course, melee damage would be based on strength. Usually, at least -- I think there's a finesse feat that lets you substitute dexterity.
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makuta_icarax
Oct 06 2012 11:11 PM
When you put the XP like that.... that makes a lot of sense. That's not difficult to do at all. The only problem I can see now is that in D&D there are a lot of things that depend on character level.

And the damage thing sounds good to me! That's completely reasonable, and only makes sense.
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The Iron Toa
Oct 06 2012 11:36 PM
Ah, attributes increase with level too, don't they? Well, how about attributes instead increase slowly over time from using them? Practice like study and exercise that characters can do in their off-time can also help increase attributes and skills. (With some exceptions, like your Toughness might go down eventually because a life of adventuring wears you out.)

But on the other hand, some beings just aren't capable of ever being as strong, smart, charismatic, willful, etc as others. So how about each character has his actual attributes which he rolls for, then a potential value for each one, the maximum a particular attribute could reach? For simplicity, we could make the potential attributes based on race instead of unique for each character. So a Po-Matoran might be able to get his strength up to 18 but other Matoran can only get theirs to 16, for example.

Oh, and I know Caster Level is important for D&D spells - we can just use your Will, Power Control Skill, or the Finesse value I mentioned earlier instead.

I considered how different the values of Finesse can be between a character that has low Will and is less skilled and one with high Will and a lot of skill. I think that's too much difference, so I'm thinking a sum would be better. The degree of control you have over your power can be represented by a sum of your Will and your level in the Power Control skill... okay, we need a better name for that skill. Maybe a different term for Finesse, too.
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The Mask of Ice
Oct 07 2012 01:27 AM
I don't think <i>those</i> FATE mechanics would clash with d20, but anyway.

How about making a spreadsheet like this: It lists (a sample) EE cost as "1 EE per the burst's radius, and all within must make a saving throw or take 1d6 + your elemental ability modifier per extra EE you spend on this power."

Matoran could have expertise dice, which they roll and add to any skill or attack roll, which refresh every round, in addition to their element-specific benefit (Ta-Matoran get resist fire, and by the way, instead of expressing resistances and vulnerabilities numerically, we could simply do it like this: resistance halved damage of a type, and vulnerability doubles it) and you would be able to take feats which allow you to use your expertise dice for different effects, and the dice gradually increase in size and number as you level.
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