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Bionicle RPG Rule System

Posted by The Iron Toa , in RPG system Oct 05 2012 · 5,235 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.


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

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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The Iron Toa
Oct 08 2012 06:12 PM
We can have the average be 12, then. I realized the Dex for Matoran now is kind of low. I have to work on homework now but I'll take another look at it when I get the chance. But does having the physical stats and Will have a smaller range make sense?
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Oct 08 2012 06:23 PM
Oh, definitely! Better to keep things more balanced, I think. If you're working on that, I'll take time to spell out combat. Which may take awhile. But I want to make sure I cover everything, so it'll be worth it.
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The Mask of Ice
Oct 08 2012 11:46 PM
How about this, we make 10 the average, have a standard array like this: 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8. We could include rolling 4d6 and discarding the lowest die as an option.

Also, I think we should ditch ability adjustment for Toa; They'll be overpowered if we do that. How about this: Matoran get +2 to one score, and -2 to another along with their elemental benefit, based on their element.

For advantaged/disadvantaged situations, how about a mechanic that makes you roll 2 d20's and take the higher result on advantage, and the lower result on disadvantage.
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The Iron Toa
Oct 09 2012 12:04 AM
Actually, Matoran should be less acrobatic than beings like Toa, but their small size should give them a bonus to dodging. And there's no reason their aim, climbing, and other abilities can't be good. So I think I will give Matoran average or just slightly less than average Dexterity. An average score of 11 sounds good. I think I will use these average values for Matoran (minus subracial modifiers), and while I'm at it I've decided to use the first three letters of each Attribute for an abbreviation:

14 Cha, 11 Dex, 12 Int, 8 Str, 8 Tou, 10 Wil

Does it look good to you? I will work out what the modifiers are for each subrace, and will change what stats of other species I have so far to match this new way of doing it. If it's ready, I will post it tomorrow.

Matoran are very industrious, so I was thinking they should get a bonus to crafting, and take less Endurance damage from strenuous activity. I don't mind if they're very tricky characters to play in combat against larger things, but they should be far from useless, so I need to come up with realistic bonuses for them.

Ability to use Kanohi powers should be based on race/form - all Turaga should be able to use Noble masks but never Great masks. But for the sake of beings like Skakdi and the Barraki's species that can use Kanohi but do not always, I think I will have it be based on Will. What should the Will requirements to use Noble and Great Kanohi powers be? Maybe 14 for Noble and 18 for Great? 12 and 18? 12 and 16?

Couple other things to think about that aren't important now but we might as well get out of the way if we have a good idea:
-What should the chance of a Matoran having the potential to become a Toa be? Keep in mind that to become a Toa, they have to both have this potential and come into contact with Toa Energy from an existing Toa. But I want to know is how likely it should be for a Matoran to have latent Toa energy, ignoring the probability of it being unlocked.
-What should the Will save be for the first time activating a Kanohi? I think it should be very difficult, nearly impossible to use it at will the first time, but circumstance bonuses would help greatly. (Just like in Legends of Metru Nui.) Maybe it should even be up to the GM when first-time Kanohi users have a chance of succeeding.

Mask of Ice:

I'm not sure what you mean about ditching ability adjustment for Toa. Their stats should certainly change when they transform from Matoran, if that's what you mean. I like your idea about choosing the best out of two rolls. Do you think we could incorporate that into a sort of Destiny system? Also, your idea of rolling 4d6 and discarding the lowest roll might be best - that way it would be unlikely to get a terrible score. But on the other hand, it might make things too complicated.

And I think I will use -2 and +2 elemental modifiers for Matoran. Any other modifiers can be based on things like feats and traits. For example, instead of Onu-Matoran being able to put 2 additional points into Str or Int, they could just take the Miner or Engineer trait, which could do more than affect those two stats. And those traits would be easily available to Onu-Matoran, but not exclusive to them.
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Oct 09 2012 01:51 PM
I don't think to activate a Kanohi (except for the first time), it should be difficult. Unless there's some negative effect on the mask-wearer, generally the effect should be easy to use. of course, for the first time, it should be very difficult, and decrease from there.

As for the Matoran becoming Toa... I would imagine most players will want to be Toa. I know I would. Keep that in mind.
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The Iron Toa
Oct 09 2012 02:19 PM
Exactly - I think extreme use of a Kanohi should do significant Endurance damage, but usually using a mask should be easy once you figure it out. But it's that first time that I'm talking about. It's not an ability someone can unlock at will - something has to push them to succeed in that first try.

You make a good point about the second issue. And I realized that eccentric Matoran - such as Matoran adventurers - are more likely to be Toa. How rare Toa are will depend on the setting - maybe in some settings you will be able to chose to start as a Toa or a Matoran you know has the potential, in others you can never play a Toa, and in others it's random. I'm hoping we can put enough detail into other species, even obscure ones, to make them fun to play.

Oh, and what do you think about me posting my list of races on a new blog page?
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Oct 09 2012 04:55 PM
Totally good idea! Probably one blog post for each major topic will be best.
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The Iron Toa
Oct 09 2012 05:07 PM
Okay, I will add what I have for a list of races in a little while. Then maybe I'll see about making separate posts for powers and physical combat, but I'm not sure if I'll be ready to. For now, we can discuss those topics here.

And I decided sub-racial Attribute modifiers (that's what I'm calling them) for Matoran elements will mostly be +2 or -2, but I have a few cases of -/+4 and a couple -/+1. They'll still need work to be balanced, especially keeping in mind some elements grant bonuses and penalties to damage resistance, skills, movement speed, and other effects.
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Oct 09 2012 08:02 PM
I'll review them for balance once they are finished. Combat is being worked on.
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The Iron Toa
Oct 09 2012 09:46 PM
I was thinking about what separate posts we should have (once we have enough of each to make a decent start), and I came up with the following:

Attributes Basic Stats, Races and Sub-Races
Races and Sub-Races
Characters and Traits
Combat and Movement
Non-combat Skills
Powers and Energies
Items and Upgrades
Society and Geography
Rahi and Creatures

Does that sound good? I'm probably forgetting something.

Edit: Oh, monsters. I'll add that to the list -- as 'Rahi and Creatures' -- and change 'Attributes' to 'Basic Stats'.

Edit again: The list of Stats is going to be pretty big, so I'll make it its own thing. Really, the list of races will be more than big enough to stand on its own.

Edit again: I'm typing about character creation in the Races list, and decided we need to come up with traits and feats. Maybe Characters and Traits should be its own post?
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Oct 10 2012 08:07 AM
Yeah, probably. Typically, its set up first by species, then by class, which includes traits. Since we don't have class, we can just have traits.
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The Mask of Ice
Oct 10 2012 08:34 AM

And I think I will use -2 and +2 elemental modifiers for Matoran. Any other modifiers can be based on things like feats and traits. For example, instead of Onu-Matoran being able to put 2 additional points into Str or Int, they could just take the Miner or Engineer trait, which could do more than affect those two stats. And those traits would be easily available to Onu-Matoran, but not exclusive to them.

Trust me, the "4d6 best 3" method has been used for D&D since 1e.

So, are racial benefits like this?:

Matoran: +2/-2 to two ability scores based on an element, an elemental trait, and expertise dice. (We could make it so that "Miner" and "Engineer"-type feats are based on expertise dice, like: "Make a mining check and automatically succeed. Spend an expertise die and roll. You get ore based on the table")

Toa: As matoran, but no expertise dice, elemental manipulation, and medium size. (They can get elemental finesse feats, which work a bit like meta-magic feats)

Turaga: As matoran, but no expertise dice, but control over a faction, or two NPC Matoran helpers (structured like PCs)

Let's start designing the system starting from lower levels. I could make some racial PDFs. We should start with levels 1-3, and develop features from there.

EDIT: Let's replace Will with Wisdom. Wisdom encompasses will, and also includes common sense, physical senses, empathy, etc.
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The Iron Toa
Oct 10 2012 09:11 AM
The Matoran traits aren't uniform, but lots of the adjustments are -2 and +2, then an additional bonus. I will post what I have later today on a separate blog update, and you can critique it there.

I think things like 'Miner' and 'Engineer' would have more to do with skills, and maybe traits. We haven't gotten to them yet, but I did think it over a little last night (well, early AM) when I went to bed.

My idea for traits is this: each character has a certain amount of points, say 5, to spend on traits at character creation. Each trait is in one of three categories: a negative one, which grants a point, a neutral one, which neither grants nor costs points, and positive ones, which costs a point. Or perhaps they should cost two each, but certain races get a discount. Or maybe some cost one, some two, some three, etc. In any case, I don't want it to be exploited, of course.

For skills, I decided each time a skill is used, you gain one XP point. It takes 10 XP to get from the first level to the second, and that number doubles every time. So to get from level 10 to 11, you need 5120 XP (if my calculations were correct -- I'm kind of in a hurry now.) But you don't need to do all that while playing like normal. You can have your character practice, so he gains a certain amount of XP per hour. For combat, at least, he will only gain half XP from practicing on his own, but training with a partner benefits both with normal XP gain. Say if he has days off he can automatically practice for a certain number of hours (maybe up to 6 or 8 or something). In addition, he gains additional XP over years that aren't covered, depending on what he would be doing. Like if you make a character for one campaign, when it's done the next one you play is 1000 years later, and your character hasn't been in stasis or something that whole time, you can adjust his skills to represent the experiences he... experienced in the between time.

Please add your comments and suggestions. I have to go to school now, I will check back and work on my races and stats list this afternoon.
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The Mask of Ice
Oct 10 2012 09:48 AM
There, I made a Doc file for the Matoran (it's not really finished, there'll be a lot more elemental subtypes): https://dl.dropbox.c...ICLE Races.docx
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The Iron Toa
Oct 10 2012 01:11 PM
Thanks Mask of Ice, but you need to take a closer look about how we're doing things. We're not using character levels (though we will use levels to keep track of skills), and we don't have a Wisdom score. The reason we don't use Wisdom to encompass Will is because Will isn't a measure of how smart you are in either intellect or wisdom. It's a measure of mental strength, which in biomechanical beings is greatly dependent on race.

I already have a pretty big list of elemental subtypes. I'm going to make a new blog update with it very soon. And I will definitely change the 3d6 roll to best 3 out of 4d6. What about the rolls that are 1d6? Roll twice and take the best? Or should you only get one shot for those?
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The Mask of Ice
Oct 10 2012 01:56 PM
How about we have Will, and also have Wisdom? It would be like the Power stat in Call of Cthulhu. Of course that'll make figuring out a point-buy system harder, but every RPG system needs an ability score like that. Still, D&D uses Wisdom as a measure of mental strength.

About character level, how about this, when you gain a level in enough skills (let's say, 5) your character level goes up.

Used my powers over my own blog to combine your double post into one. ;) - The Iron Toa
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The Iron Toa
Oct 10 2012 02:17 PM
I did suggest Wisdom a while ago but was convinced not to simply because we won't use it in a game mechanic sense. If you want your character to be considered wise, you can roleplay him that way, but as far as an effect it has on stats, it can be merged into Intelligence.

Maybe we could keep track of character levels based on skills, but the idea was level wouldn't be very important. Actually, that reminds me, we'd better keep that in mind before we get too carried away with skills.
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The Mask of Ice
Oct 10 2012 02:35 PM
It would be used. You need it for perception, insight, etc.
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The Iron Toa
Oct 10 2012 03:07 PM
Hm, well insight fits pretty well into Intelligence but perception -- that's a tricky one. I'd say things you detect quickly should be based on Dexterity, because it's sort of a reflex thing. Things that you need to search for, well finding those would depend on Intelligence, because it would help to be smart enough to know how to find it.

Really, there are different systems, and you could make a case for having different attributes, but what we have so far seems to work just fine, and it would complicate things to change the attributes at this point.

And take a look at my Races list and tell me what you think, if you're up for a long read.

Edit: I just thought of a couple more things, one of which isn't so much an immediate concern, but I should still mention it while I have it in mind.

The first is using Nova Blasts as a measure of a Toa's elemental power. We know a Nova Blast consumes all of a Toa's EE, and for an average Toa will encompass an area larger than Metru Nui. (Let's assume that's for a Nova Blast at full EE capacity.) Gali Nuva's Nova Blast, which was more powerful than a regular Toa's, flooded all of Karzahni. Metru Nui is roughly 47.6 kio by 24 kio, so let's say a regular Nova Blast is 80 kio in diameter. (I was going with 50, but I don't think Toa Nuva Nova Blasts should be that much bigger.) Her Nova Blast was described as creating a wall of water 1 000 feet high, or 222.22222... bio. For a regular Toa, I will reduce that value to 100 bio, or 450 feet.

The ground (or whatever is underneath the Toa) would certainly take some damage, but I think most of the effect would occur on the plane the Toa is standing on and above. So the blast would be dome-shaped, I'd say -- but not a hemisphere, because that would mean its height would be as large as its radius. So... man, this is taking some research! I was going to use a simple length*width*height formula, but I noticed that wouldn't suit this at all. (Several minutes later...) It looks like the value we're looking for is the volume of... half of an oblate ellipsoid. The volume of that shape is calculated by the formula 4/3 * (pi) * a^2 * b, in which a is the radius of the circular plane in the middle, and b is the length perpendicular to that plane from the middle to the 'flattened' edge of the ellipsoid, if you follow me. In our case a = 40 kio = 40 000 bio (half the blast diameter) and b = 0.1 kio = 100 bio. So the volume is 640(pi)/3 cubic kio. Divide that by two, and we get 320(pi)/3 cubic kio. This is approximately 335 cubic kio, or 335 000 000 000 cubic bio!

(I wish they had me solve Bionicle-related math and physics problems at school.)

And the Nova Blast devastates everything that hits it. What's that mean? I estimate something on the order of 20d6 damage. We haven't figured out how much EE it takes to fill a certain amount of volume, or how much it takes to do a certain amount of damage, but we don't need to figure that out to know that a Toa's maximum EE pool is very large. So my question is: how can we make it so that a Toa will run out of this energy after a long and draining battle, without breaking from this bit of lore? I know it has something to do with Toa being unable to control their power perfectly, but I'm not sure how exactly it'll work.

The next thing I thought about was currency. We don't have to worry about it too much right now, though. The only unit of currency we know is the Widget, which is used by Matoran. Roodaka described them as 'ridiculous', which makes me think it's not a popular currency in places like Xia. I think different species, cultures, and regions should use different currencies, which we can work out when we work on the Society and Geography part. But what should the standard that backs and unites all these currencies be? Should it be (protodermic) gold?
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The Mask of Ice
Oct 10 2012 11:58 PM
Since widgets are mostly unpopular, they could act like an electrum piece in D&D: Half the value of the credit, which I assume is our main currency. My solution to a Nova Blast is this: Ordinary Toa can only do it by expending EE equal to their max EE to create a cloud area effect. This automatically deals 1d6 per the Toa's level damage of their element to all in the area. Doing the 335 cubic kio Nova Blast instantly kills you if you're not a Nuva.
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