The Red Concordant

Send to Kindle

The Red Concordan Covert

This is my current project. I am about 19 percent finished with the first draft of my Black Hack based game. So far, character creation is finished. The goal of The Red Concordant is to provide a few more options and examples for newer players. The final product should be about 10,000 words.

The text of the game will always be 100% OGL. I will publish a PDF, RTF, ODF, and DOCX version of the text.

I have been writing updates on Google+ in my RPG Ideas and Projects collection. Starting with this post, updates will also be posted on my Facebook page. I’ve quoted the beginning of the book below to explain the game.

What is The Red Concordant?

The Red Concordant is a game that provides classic fantasy adventures. The rules are broadly based on role-playing games of the 70s and early 80s. Specifically, the rules are based on The Black Hack to give it a simpler, streamlined flavor. The goal of this game is to have fun in a series of adventures, not to get bogged down in the minutiae of the rules.

The Red Concordant is also a framework for you to have adventures in your own worlds. A standard world is sketched out, but tools for making this game yours are provided near the end of the book.

In short, there is no wrong way to play this game if everyone is having fun.

What now?

Hopefully, I’ll have the first draft finished by June. Stay tuned!

Opposed Rolls

Send to Kindle

Before going into a post likely to be snored off, I wanted to thank Kevin Sullivan for the stats he generated on this site. The presentation of certain things are more clear there. He also provided me with a good idea on how to generate Class XP tables for Andras.

I had posted on Google Plus about a shortcut method of performing opposed rolls. The numbers do not come out the same, but I figured that they were close enough. What I discovered in studying these numbers points to effects of specific designs. In the end, I think that my design doesn't produce results that are always similar, but that produces results more in line with my design philosophy.

Specifically, the results show that:

  • Characters with equal bonuses to skill rolls under Microlite20 will have a similar, but varied chances of success under my system.
  • The Microlite20 system is affected by relative adjustments to the roll. My system is affected by the actual skill ranks and Attribute score.

Here is an example using the Microlite20 rules as written and comparing to my system.

Listen is Subterfuge + MIND.
Move Silently is Subterfuge + DEX

Aesir is attempting to sneak up on a guard. Aesir has a 16 DEX and a Subterfuge rank of 2. The Guard has a MIND of 12 and a Subterfuge rank of 4. According to the rules, the one with the highest roll wins. Each character receives a bonus to their individual rolls of Skill Rank + Attribute Bonus.

For Aesir, we get 2 (skill rank) plus 3 (Attribute Bonus in M20) to get 5.
For the guard, we get 4 (skill rank) plus 1 (Attribute Bonus in M20) to get 5.

Given these stats, Aesir will succeed 47.5% of the time. The guard will succeed 52.5% of the time because he will win all ties. By rule, ties go to the character with the highest skill rank.

Under the Microlite20 system, the chances of success will not change if the guard has a Skill Rank of 5 and a MIND of 10, a Skill Rank of 3 and a MIND of 14 or a Skill Rank of 2 and a MIND of 16. The adjustment to the roll remains +5.

In my system, success is determined by rolling-under the total of the Skill Rank and the Attribute itself. When performing an opposed roll, the Player Character has to subtract half the total of the NPC's skill rank and attribute. In this example, Aesir's Subterfuge rank plus DEX is 18. The guard's Subterfuge rank plus MIND is 16. Success is determined by Aesir rolling equal to or under 10. In other words, 18 minus 8 (half of 16). This give Aesir a 50% chance of succeeding. This is a slightly better chance of succeeding than with the Microlite20 system.

What I found surprising is that if the guard is changed as I mentioned earlier, Aesir's chances of success are affected.

sub MIND Aesir Wins
Guard 1 5 10 52.50%
Guard 2 4 12 50.00%
Guard 3 3 14 47.50%
Guard 4 2 16 45.00%

All four of these guards are identical according to the Microlite20 system, but the results are slightly different under my system. Nothing is really dramatic in the results, even with very improbable NPCs (do you hire MIND 16 guards? Would a MIND 10 guard have a 5 subterfuge skill?)

For the sake of completeness, let's say that Aesir is opposing a lower skilled guard of average intelligence. Subterfuge skill rank of 2 and a MIND of 10. Under the standard Microlite20 system, Aesir has a 62.5% chance of success. Ties no longer go to the guard, but they don't go to Aesir either because there would be a re-roll. Under my system, Aesir has a 60% chance to succeed.

Why does it give a worse chance? The amount of change is less in my system. If you compare the original example, Microlite20 provided no advantage to Aesir. He and the guard were equal. In my system Aesir had a slight advantage, thus a higher chance for success as compared to M20.

Changing to scores provided Aesir a great advantage. Instead of being even with the Guard, he now enjoys a +3 advantage. That big of an advantage yields bigger results. In my system, Aesir already had an advantage over the first guard. Changing the skill and MIND score had less effect because the amount of advantage changed comparatively less.

Somehow I'm Awake, What Does All This Mean?

Advancement in Microlite20 provides for increasing Skill Ranks and Attributes. This makes the characters very high powered around 10th level. In my variation of M20, characters cannot change Attributes except by magic or optionally by age.

I hope this means that characters can be fun to play for more than 10 levels.

This also means that using Microlite20 as a platform to develop Andras helps me get the bones of the system working well. This will be easier to playtest, especially for newer GMs. This also allows me to playtest a solo version of M2010 (my system). Maybe I have been reading too much T&T lately, but having a solo version plus the Mythic GM appeals to me.

As always, more later.

Platforms and Other October Things

Send to Kindle

By now, I'm sure that many have read the recent buzz about creating platform instead of product. This has triggered a few things in the RPG set starting with Zak and then continuing in this and this.

Oddly enough, there has been criticism in the past where Labyrinth Lord called itself the Rosetta Stone of Old School Fantasy. Truth be told, it is the platform that created Original Edition and Advanced Edition. It also spawned Mutant Future and Humanspace Empires. All that's left is Alternity and Boot Hill and we got the whole shooting match. (Maybe if you're a completist, you'll want the Amazing Engine, too.)

But Swords&Wizardry has generated its own progeny as well. There's Ruins & Ronins, Ultima, and Battlemech (can't find the link). This isn't even mentioning the number of versions of the core rules and Brave Halfling's new rules in development.

Are there more clones that operate like platforms? Looking at other old school games, S&W and LL appear to be the two largest platforms. Microlite20 is a strong third, there are so many add-ons for it, that compiling them all generates a 600+ page document. Openquest is a great rules system, but no one that I know of is working on a space-based game with OQ as the foundation. The D6 game spawned all sorts of games in West End Games' hey day, but only one publisher is actively building on it. Both of these systems could be great for making all sorts of games. That's why I use part of the spell building system in D6 Fantasy and a variation of the OQ skill system in Andras.

So, what does this prove except the fact that I can add a boatload of links to a post? There a platform out there for whatever game you want to make and it is broader than the legacy of TSR.

Did you know that the STRength scale in the Action! System is setup so that the STR of a horse will scale to units of horsepower?  Give a STR value to a vehicle and you have the power rating for its engine. It also scales in powers of 10 so that you don't have to have a space craft with a STR 4200.

But I digress.

I don't believe that Andras will become *the* platform for gamers everywhere. What I do know is that I like a game that can help me define just about anything I want. Mechs? Sure. Interdimensional Self-Replicating Bismuth Golems? You betcha. Greyhawk? Not a problem. A Spelljammer version of Tekumel? Yes, but the rest of the internet will hate you for it.

I hope that with the fair number of systems presented, folks can find something to use for their game. Skill-based wizard? Roll d20+d10 under the INT score for a rules-lite game and a roll under Spell skill for a more nuanced approach. Spell Creation System? Here's a short version and a detailed version complete with an expandable table assigning effects to point values. Vancian Spell Name Generator? How about Hastra's Delicate Surfeit. Monster Builder? Here's some tables and an XP Chart.

More than that, I also want to provide spreadsheets. If someone wants to make their own spreadsheet based generators, lots of useful data will already exist in spreadsheet format. Better yet, convert the files into csv and build database apps. Go for it. I am intentionally building the various spell lists in a spreadsheet for this reason. Monsters will exist in a spreadsheet as well as the class builder. It's one thing to provide a text version of the rules, it's another to provide a dataset for folks to build with.

The ideal system for me would be 48 pages of rules and another408 of magic item tables, classes, spell lists, price lists, etc. The GM's guide would have a bunch of tools to make just about anything from a monster to a class to a demi-plane and everything in-between. A person could basically ditch everything after page 48 and use the GM guide to recreate anything needed.

Work continues very slowly in October - with birthdays, anniversaries and non-profit events, it's a very busy time. But I have the XP tables for monsters ready as well as the SRD versions of spells in the 2e PHB in a spreadsheet. This winter, I hope to get quite a bit of work done and have a playtest document before March.

Thanks for the six people that indulged me a bit of commentary.