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Bionicle RPG Rule System

The Iron Toa


blog-0074609001349466766.jpgI 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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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I was thinking our main currency could be gold, not in coins but by weight, just how it backs currency in real life. But we can get to that later. Let's ignore that stuff until we get the game mechanics down.


As for Nova Blasts, I don't think any Nova Blast should automatically kill a Toa (well, maybe a few, like gravity, but I'm not sure). I'm taking my concerns about the amount of EE Toa have to Storyline and Theories.

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I think to ensure that the Toa run out of energy, we would just need to make the eventual costs of the energy attacks very large. In other words, it takes lots of effort to properly use elemental power.

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So maybe controlling it takes a lot of energy, and Nova Blasts can be so big because it's pure uncontrolled EE? That helps... but I feel like not all the way. I could do some more calculations later and see if I can come up with a good scale of things.


I'm also going to post a new update about stats and character creation soon. Have you read the list of races yet, makuta_icarax, and made any progress on the combat system?


Mask of Ice brought up something I think we need to think about -- what will we use for perception? Like Spot, Listen, Search checks -- do we need a seventh attribute for that, or should they be based on another attribute? Or stand on their own?


I added a new post with the stats we have so far, and how to roll a character. I'll try to come up with a system for skills and traits next. Once we have those and a combat/movement system, we should probably take some time to incorporate everything in a way that's well-balanced.

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14 Tou

11 Str

6 Int

8 Dex

n/a Cha

13 Wil (+1 for other Bohrok in the area to a maximum of of +4)

5 if not connected to Bahrag


A possible stat sheet for Bohrok; assuming NPC's wouldn't have much use of Charisma, and a Bohrok's would be abysmally low anyway. I'll post the subtypes when I've made them nice and formatted.

(I did this based on the fact that I seem to remember reading that 11 was the average)

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Yeah. I think automatons like Bohrok should be a special case. They probably should have no Charisma, and be immune to normal mental attacks - I'm not sure if they would even need Will. Krana, however, would have those stats, and I think Krana would have high Will but most would have low Charisma.

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Are you accepting applications for the game yet? Such as your character in general. Also please tell me what a D&D is, so I my understand your game better. Thank You.

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We still need to make a rule system, and I haven't worked on it for a long time. If you have any ideas, let me know. D&D stands for Dungeons and Dragons, a famous RPG rule system and collection of thematically linked settings.

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Are you interested in any help? I've just discovered this project, and have long been interested in this sort of idea myself. Please PM me if you're interested.

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