Friday, May 29, 2009

The Seathing Chaos of Mana

As stated yesterday, there are three dice pools that the player gets.  The Physical pool, used for bashing, snatching, and resisting physical things.  The mental pool, used for mental activities and resisting mental effects.  And the mana pool, the one that I did not talk about at all.  The reason I did not talk about it is because the mana pool is used for far more then the other dice pools.

The mana pool is used in Manifest Destiny to moderate the use of magic, be they items, attachments, or spells.  Items refer to any magical item that you bond to, that item once bonded uses the player as a battery to provide power for the items effects.  This also applies to golemware, also called cyberware in other games.  The golemware draws power from the characters mana pool to power it's functions.

The dice that an item or a piece of golemware use are simply removed from the dice pool like they were not there at all.  If you unbond from the item or have the golemware removed, then those dice are returned to your dice pool.  So the Mana Pool acts as a way to keep players from going over board.  After all if you do not have the dice, you can not use the item.

The man pool is also used for casting spells, something that any character can do.  Spells have two parts when it comes to mana, the cost and the pump.  The cost is an amount of dice that are payed to form the spell.  These dice are not rolled.  The pump consists of any dice the player wants to add in, these are the dice that are rolled by the player and there is no limit.  So if a player wants to roll twenty four dice, then they can as long as they have them.

So why use mana pool dice for the roll and not an attribute?  Because your not rolling to see if the casting succeeds.  Instead your testing to see the potential success of the spell reaching the target.  Casting a spell is easy, but if it does not have enough focus and will just evaporate.  This is what makes the mana pool so essential, since you have to balance magical items, golemware enhancements, and your spell casting against one pool of dice.

I hope that you have found this interesting.  I never really liked how some games used static attributes to determine how the different things interacted.  And I really believe the player should have choice when it comes to what they can and can not do.  If they choose to be a brawler, then magical items can be their way to go.  While a caster would be item light.  It is about choice, after all it is your destiny.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Every one into the Pools!

Before I get into magic, or characters, or well much else.  There is the underlying ground work of the game.  I basically touched upon this when I posted my first post.  But there is allot more that can be covered really.  Now I am not going to give away the farm here.  But I can talk about some of the math, how attributes work, and the perennial favorite of dice pools.  Depending on how long I can maintain a relative level of quiet in the background...I may break this up and post more tomorrow.

As I said previously, manifest destiny is a additive math system using twelve sided dice as the random value.  This makes life really simple as things only fit into one of two categories, the roll modifier and the target number.  As you may guess, the roll modifier is anything positive that helps the person when rolling.  Things like skills, helpful spells, favorable weather conditions...and so on.  On the other side is the target number, this bad boy determines if you succeed or fail.  And it is based on a set value (targets relative size or a locks difficulty rating) and any other values that can hinder the character rolling.  Things like being wounded, loud noises when trying to concentrate, adverse weather.

This simple mechanic applies to almost everything in a simple and standard way, and while there are differences depending on what your doing.  They are minimal and are easy to see.  This really was the bulk of my work...and my first two notebooks really show the evolution of the system from one of complex math and gibberish.  To one of a functional and simple math that can handle the majority of what can be thrown at it.  On to attributes!

I have played many games, and read many more.  And I have always found attributes to be a sticking point in many games.  It has been my goal really to shift things around a bit.  This has lead to my having six attributes that are all used, these being Strength, Body, Quickness, Intelligence, Willpower, and Perception.  I am working to change some of these so not to invite lawsuits...but it has been hard since they are just so perfect for what they do.

Now you may see that one seams to be missing.  That ever loathed by GMs and always loved by metagaming players, Charisma.  Well it is no more, gone, kaput, so much dust in the wind.  I removed it, replacing it with Perception, because really charisma does nothing.  It is the appendix of gaming.   And I changed up social interaction so they utilize other attributes like intelligence (negotiation skills for example), Willpower (resisting influence of those talking to you), and Perception (testing to see if you spot that eyebrow twitching as they lie).  So I have spread out player interactions so that players can *gasp* role play.

Attributes on a whole though do many things.  The first and main part is that they determine the number of dice the player can roll for the appropriate test.  So if your trying to bash some ones head in, you use your Strength dice.  But more then that, your attributes determine the number of dice in three pools.  These being the Physical pool, the Mental Pool, and the Mana Pool.

The Physical pool is the average of the three physical attributes.  So Strength plus Quickness plus Body divided into a nice simple number.  Not to big to be badly abused, not to small to be useless.  Just right to keep you alive and kicking.  The mental pool works the same way.  The mana pool though is different in that it is multiplied and determines how much Mojo you have to cast spells with.  And before you wonder, EVERY ONE in Manifest Destiny can use magic!  In fact, the Mana pool is used for so will be tomorrows section.

To prevent the abuse of pools, they are kept relatively small and they will refresh over time instead of just all returning in one shot.  Players can use them to do anything that the pool suggests, so the physical pool is for smashing, bashing, or anything physical.  While the mental pool can be used for picking locks, chatting up a friend, or may be getting that bar maid in your bed.

Well I think I have rambled on enough for now.  It really is hard not to.  But I hope this also helps people to may eventually come here to have a grounding in what I am writing.  And as I said, I will write a little about magic in general.  I will keep the specifics for later.  Thanks for reading and hope to hear from you.

For the Children: Death to the DMCA!

Phrases that I really do hate: "It was for the children", "We are out of soda", and really anything that comes out of a politicians mouth.  The problem is that I have been faced with a dilemma.  As you can read, I used the first phrase that I rather despise. So much harm have been done cause of that phrase...So why not do some good.

Now it has not been long enough for any one to really know me.  But I do rather hate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  It is a royal fuck up, more so then many things.  I place it on the top just because it is the one piece of legislation that makes almost everyone a pirate, criminal, infringer?  Choose one or all I do not care really.

See as with many parents, I have bought my children movies to watch.  And some times we go on trips in our little car.  Now I do not like to hear the whiny laments of bored children.  So I do what I need to do.  I rip them DVD's and re-encode them for use on my PSP.  I then hand that PSP over with a head phone splitter plug.  And you know what you get...Golden silence for an hour and a half or more.  Something that is rare indeed, and cherished.

Now I know the argument from the MPAA, they will say "Well you can buy a dedicated portable DVD player".  But why should I?  My wife and I are already struggling to put food on the table.  I am not going to run out just to play nice.  I have a PSP, I have a computer, and I have the tools. This is Fare Use...screwem.  CSS is dead and buried.  Heck even BD+ and associated DRM's are dead and by passable.  It is a lost cause really...I just wish they would accept it.

So, I bring my rant to a close, and for the future I place this war cry: For the Children the DMCA must DIE!  I am a pirate cause they made me one...something to think about.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Manifest your Destiny

So the very first post of the blog.  What to say.  This has been something of a long trek for me.  I have been working on this RPG for some time and have been whittling closer and closer day by day.  But things always get in the way.  Finances, reality, virtual reality (Games), and so forth.  But still I continue.  So why don't I just talk about the game in this one.  If any one actually visits that is.

I have been playing RPG's for nearly twenty years now, since I was eleven.  I have always found them to be interesting.  Some times more then computer games have been.  The problem is no system really ever had the right balance to me.  And so a few years ago I got a notepad and started writing.  It is a tradition in this genre I guess.

Manifest Destiny is a game about possibility.  Based in a distant time, humanity has left the physical plane leaving technology in place that make magic possible.  This opened a whole world of possibilities for the children of humanity.  Those beings who we humans had a hand in making, be it purposefully or by accident.  In time Humanities children found a path to another universe.  This is where the player hangs his hat.  Not in the old world...but as a colonist, separated from the rules and shackles of society past.

The game its self is a D12 based system.  Attributes set the number of dice you roll and skills add bonuses to those rolls.  I endeavored to make the system simple...may be at times to simple as people some times miss the point.  But all in all there is consistency.  All of the math is additive, so bonuses go to rolls, while hindrances go to the target number.  The die is the random factor of luck.  And yes, something can be so easy, that there is no need for luck at all.  It has been my goal to break out of tradition though and so my magic system, initiative, and rounds are a little more experimental.

I will not get into magic and the rest now.  But as it stands, this is what I am working on.  I am also working to get an editor so that I can keep my mind where it wants to be.  Working at odd angles and in the shadows of reality.

Currently, I am also working on better race first ones were simple.  But as the image in my mind grew, so have the races the player will know and hopefully love.  So back to the grind and I hope that some one actually reads this.

Note: When writing on the fly, like in a blog, my spelling and gramar tends to get left on the side of the road.  This is one reason why I have been working on getting an editor.  So roasting me alive about it.