Fantasy Noir [Homebrew][WiP]

A place to discuss game rules, homebrew systems and the like.
EpicEclipse
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Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:06 pm

Fantasy Noir [Homebrew][WiP]

Post by EpicEclipse » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:02 pm

So, I am working on a pen and paper system game. My intent is to make it hard, high lethality, so players have to play smart and get a bit lucky, and when they succeed, there is a more real sense of accomplishment, knowing the deck was stacked against them.

For a setting, as can be seen from the topic, is dark fantasy. Something gothic and supernatural, blending elements of magic, alchemy and low-end technology (steam, coal and clockworks mainly). In my head I am picturing something like Darkest Dungeon, Bloodborne and Monster Hunter rolled together. Realistically, the system could be used for other settings as well, based on what I have so far in my head, but the base setting would be as above, more or less.

I figured this might be a good forum to get feedback on mechanics and maybe playtesting eventually. Right this moment, I am gauging interest in providing feedback more specifically.

Table of Contents
:arrow: Attributes and Combat (Rough)
:arrow: Skills (Rough)
Last edited by EpicEclipse on Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:03 pm, edited 3 times in total.

MacynSnow
Posts: 3185
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:56 pm

Re: Fantasy Noir [Homebrew][WiP]

Post by MacynSnow » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:54 pm

I'd suggest first trying to figur out what specific setting you want as your base.here are some suggestion's(mostly these are cover blurb's,but they should give you ideas)
American Gothica(Fantasy Horror):What if the things you heard when on you pappy's knee were true?Would you run screaming into the swamp or try to fight it,even if you knew you might lose more than just physically?........
Wlofram&Hart Investigations:Welcome to 18th century london.Home to the famous Thames River,the Grand Big Ben,The Royal Family of England,and finally the Investigative offices of Wlofram&Hart,world renowned Paranormal experts and fine chap's......

EpicEclipse
Posts: 1541
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:06 pm

Re: Fantasy Noir [Homebrew][WiP]

Post by EpicEclipse » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:20 pm

I'm keeping the setting as a generic "gothic fantasy" for two reasons.

1) I don't know exactly what I *want* to include, so I don't want to create any false expectations for things like playable races or geographical features or types of "Powers" (magic, psionic, etc)

2) I tend to be fond of systems that can be reutilized for other settings, so the setting itself isn't overly important to me as making sure the system is flexible enough to be repurposed for other settings.

So starting with more of setting theme works better for me here.

My goal with the system is to have sort of a "body" of base attributes, then a system for modular "add ons" for things like magic that not all characters have. In this way, you have the broad attributes that can be used in any setting, and the toolbox to make any specific needs in the settings for things beyond the norm like magic or psionic or superpowers.

Using gothic fantasy as a setting backdrop is more to help me organize the system itself and to be something for use in playtesting the system itself before working on its repurposability.

EpicEclipse
Posts: 1541
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:06 pm

Re: Fantasy Noir [Homebrew][WiP]

Post by EpicEclipse » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:42 am

Here is a rough draft of some basic combat mechanics. Please feel free to provide feedback or ask questions.
Attributes

Each attribute is actually a grouping of related skills. Each time an attribute is advanced, a skill point is placed into one of the attribute's related skills. Attribute levels are used to determine the maximum rank of a related skill, and every 3 advancements increases the attribute’s level. No attribute may be more then 1 level higher than the next attribute below it.

LORE: Lore skills deal in things characters know or can intuit. Each skill is a different area of knowledge such as; monsters, geography, puzzles, myths and so on.

SOCIAL: Social skills deal in skills used when interacting with others. Each skill is a different technique of interaction such as; languages, deception, seduction, bartering and so on.

OBSERVATION: Observation skills deal in using the character’s various senses to interpret details. Each skill is a particular sense or observational skill such as; vision, smell, lip reading, body language and so on.

PHYSIQUE: Physique skills deal in the capabilities of a character’s own body. Each skill is a particular physical trait or skill such as; swimming, jumping, balance, strength and so on.

PROFESSION: Profession skills deal in a broader than usual area of skills that don't fit elsewhere. Each skill doesn't always relate to a specific or actual profession, but is generally a skill that would be of benefit to a professional of some sort such as survival, metalsmithing, navigating, engineering and so on.

COMBAT: Combat skills deal strictly in skills related to martial combat whether armed or not and is a more narrow list of skills overall that may seem like they belong under another attribute, but are under Combat due to their importance to combat.

OTHER ATTRIBUTES: Other attributes can be added for other modular systems such as magic or psionic, and will entail skills specific to that power If attained by the character. Other attributes otherwise follow the same rules for advancement limitations.

LUCK: Unlike other attributes, Luck has no related skills but is applied in other situations. Advancements simply go towards increasing Luck’s attribute level which is used in and out of combat for other situations.

Combat
Combat skills are listed under their own attribute due to their importance when a conflict breaks out.

This game uses wounds and injuries rather than hit points and one who is not careful could very quickly find themselves dispatched.

Each round, every enemy and player has a chance to act. Most often, enemies will get to act first unless the players manage to catch them off guard and each round will see players and enemies take turns.

Each individual in the combat does not have a turn, all the players act simultaneously on their turn, moving and attacking in concert and likewise for the enemies.

Combat takes place on a hex grid. In general unless there is a special ability, power or item in play, player movement speed is 5 hexes. Enemy movement will vary from creature to creature, though humanoid enemies will generally also have 5 movement.

Attacking is performed in a short sequence of steps;
:arrow: Roll to hit
:arrow: Roll to wound
:arrow: Roll to resist (Performed by the target)

When a character rolls to hit, they roll a number of d10 equal to their Speed (including any bonuses). Once they have rolled, they may distribute the value of their Technique to any of the rolls. The base target to hit is 2 + target’s Evasion. Characters with multiple attacks may split their attacks among any valid targets, but only before rolling.

If any of the attacks are successful, the player rolls a d10 for each successful hit, then distributes the value of their Power to any of the rolls. The base target to wound is 2 + target's Toughness. A die result of 10 is a critical hit. (Characters with levels in Luck may compare their Luck to the targets. A positive value increases the range where a successful wound will be critical, while a negative value makes a critical hit impossible.)

If any of the hits succeed at wounding the target, the wound severity is equal to the amount by which they succeeded on the wound and the wound location is randomly determined. A character may perform a called shot, but must succeed on two rolls to hit and may not benefit from their Speed. If either misses, the attack fails, but if they succeed, they may choose where they wound.

The target then rolls a d10 for each wound they receive, adding their Vitality to each. The target for each wound is equal to its severity plus 1 for every other wound. If the target is armored, instead of Vitality, roll the armor’s Toughness instead and do not add the target’s permanent wounds to the severity.

For unarmored targets, failing the roll to resist the first time on a location results in it being disabled and unusable until healed. For the head, disabled renders the target unconscious and dying. For the torso, the character is knocked down and dying but is conscious. Arms and legs simply become unusable. A single disabled leg reduces speed by half, rounded down. A disabled arm prevents the use of two handed weapons.

The second time the wound resist is failed results in destruction of the locations. For the head or torso, this means death. While dying, the character must roll a d10 and add their Vitality against a target equal to the number of wounds and permanent wounds plus 1 for each successful resist. Failure results in death.

Armor protects each location it is worn on. If armor fails to resist against a successful wound, it becomes damaged, regardless of location. The number of times armor can withstand damage depends on the type of armor. Once armor sustains the amount of damage it can in a particular location, it is destroyed in that location. Damaged armor must be repaired, destroyed armor may not be repaired.

A potential third layer of protection is an aura, likely projected by magic or some kind of Power. Unlike armor, an aura has no locations, a hit anywhere affects the aura as a whole, but otherwise works like armor, rolling it's toughness to resist successful wounds and having a defined limited number of times it can sustain damage before being destroyed.

If a character is about to die, they may instead permanently lose 1 Luck to survive and stabilize. The character may not go below 0 Luck to do this.
Some things to be added;
:arrow: List of skills for each attribute.
:arrow: What exactly a critical hit does.
:arrow: Healing from wounds.
:arrow: Effects of permanent injuries.

EpicEclipse
Posts: 1541
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:06 pm

Re: Fantasy Noir [Homebrew][WiP]

Post by EpicEclipse » Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:54 pm

Hammered out a list to skills for the attributes. Not set in stone per se as the intention is that each skill list can be modified as needed for a setting. The skills listed here are fairly generic for fantasy settings.

I have also been toying with the idea of specializations, granting some manner of bonus for a skill used in certain contexts, but that is still a work in progress as some skis have more areas to potential specialize in than others which are less broad in scope.

Anything I appears to have missed?
Skills
Each attribute contains several skills. This list assumes the basic setting of the game. Other skills may be added or adjusted as required.

Lore;
History: The study of historical events both distant and near. The knowledge includes details of the event, place and people involved. Also entails more recent and upcoming events.

Geography: The study of the land, knowing various information of different kinds of environments including the flora and fauna commonly found.

Bestiary: The study of creatures both large and small from simple aquatic fish to monstrous dragons. This knowledge uncovers information including habitats, diets and details that may point at a weakness.

Religion: The study of the gods and the practices of their followers. Knowledge in this area includes rites, practices, mandates and critical for dealing with followers and how to recognize them.

Science: The study of various sciences from physics to chemistry, the knowledge provides understanding of less obvious forces of the world.

Occult; Study of the strange, the mysterious and the supernatural. Knowledge involving magic and other mysterious powers falls under this purview as well.

Social;
Linguistics: A command of languages beyond that of your own people. Includes written and spoken forms and the ability to translate even lost dialects.

Persuasion: Whether by peaceful diplomacy or menacing intimidation, you can bring others about to your way of thinking.

Deception: Lies, whether spoken or implied through body language, deception is the art of making someone think what you wish rather than what is true.

Barter: The ability to recognize or appraise the true value of goods or services and bargain for the best price possible.

Etiquette: The skill to comport yourself appropriately amongst different groups of people from the slum-dwellers to the aristocracy.

Innuendo: The skill to speak in such a way to pass messages secretly while to outsiders sounding like you are talking about am entirely unrelated topic. This skill also covers other means of covertly passing and recording messages.

Observation;
Visual: The use of one’s eyes to see details or to see across long distances.

Auditory: The use of one’s ears to hear sounds either miniscule or distant.

Olfactory: The uses of one’s nose and tongue to pick up details of a smell or taste.

Extrasensory: A “sixth sense" that may alert one to danger or other things that cannot be picked up by other sends.

Insight: The use of the senses and he mind to observe and realize when something is wrong or deceitful.

Investigation: The uses of one’s senses to locate minute details and piece together information or track another.

Physique;
Strength: Raw, physical strength. The ability to lift, push and pull heavy loads or break things with brute force.

Acrobatics: Use of flexibility and agility to move nimbly and gracefully to avoid various kinds of hazards.

Athletics: This skill covers swimming, running, climbing and other similar activities.

Coordination: More to do with manual dexterity, the ability to move with very fine motor skills, most often with the hands, but can cover other situations as well.

Stealth: The skills to hide and move silently, remain undetected and do things without others noticing.

Endurance: Physical ability to continue to be active for long periods before slowing down and stopping.

Profession;
Domestic: From mending and cooking to the logistics of running a household, domestic skills cover a broad array of tasks that can be useful to any adventurer.

Medical: Medical skills deal in the care of others, mending wounds, treating diseases and knowing what to do for various maladies and how to use medical equipment.

Performance: Performers use various skills from music to acting to entertain others or distract them.

Crafting: Crafters employ various techniques to build anything that can possibly be built from weapons and armor to buildings and carts and even more unique inventions.

Fieldcraft: Those who ply their trade in the field as scouts, foragers and hunters use this skill for navigation, foraging for food and locating other vital resources.

Animal Handling: This skill covers the training and caring for various types of animals for domesticating or training for use in combat.

Combat;
Combat skills are described under the combat section and how they they are used in combat.

EpicEclipse
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Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:06 pm

Re: Fantasy Noir [Homebrew][WiP]

Post by EpicEclipse » Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:28 pm

I was just thinking about being a little more clear on combat. The way I have it posted above seems, bloated? And to be fair, when a character makes an attack, it is 4 sets of rolls being made, 3 from the attacker and 1 from the defender.

For the attacker;
Rolls to hit (based on Speed and Technique skills) versus enemy evasion
Rolls to determine hit locations (unless a called shot is made)
Rolls to wound (based on power, with Luck factoring for potential critical) versus enemy toughness

And the defender;
Rolls to withstand (based on vitality)

And that is it on a basic level. Then you factor in modifications brought about by weapons and armor and magic as needed and critical hits if one gets lucky.

Equipment will be something I need to work on, but I have a general design theory for how to implement it.

Critical hits likewise have an idea in mind but I still need to mull over it at little (but critical can be brutal based on what I have)

EpicEclipse
Posts: 1541
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:06 pm

Re: Fantasy Noir [Homebrew][WiP]

Post by EpicEclipse » Tue May 15, 2018 11:56 pm

I have been plucking away at this a bit, but haven't gotten any feedback.. So not quite sure what direction to go in, or if I need to backtrack so as not to finish everything only to have to dismantle things to fix one part.

MacynSnow
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Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:56 pm

Re: Fantasy Noir [Homebrew][WiP]

Post by MacynSnow » Wed May 16, 2018 2:55 am

EpicEclipse wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 11:56 pm
I have been plucking away at this a bit, but haven't gotten any feedback.. So not quite sure what direction to go in, or if I need to backtrack so as not to finish everything only to have to dismantle things to fix one part.
Your doing fine so far Epic,i just haven't had much to say 'bout it....

EpicEclipse
Posts: 1541
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:06 pm

Re: Fantasy Noir [Homebrew][WiP]

Post by EpicEclipse » Wed May 16, 2018 2:58 am

MacynSnow wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 2:55 am
EpicEclipse wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 11:56 pm
I have been plucking away at this a bit, but haven't gotten any feedback.. So not quite sure what direction to go in, or if I need to backtrack so as not to finish everything only to have to dismantle things to fix one part.
Your doing fine so far Epic,i just haven't had much to say 'bout it....
That's still feedback! :D

EpicEclipse
Posts: 1541
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:06 pm

Re: Fantasy Noir [Homebrew][WiP]

Post by EpicEclipse » Tue May 22, 2018 6:42 pm

I am currently toying around with how I want to do something like magic or other powers. I think they would work best modularly, mostly so that for flexibility purposes, new powers can be introduced for different settings.

What I am presently considering is that techniques/magic are created similarly to am attribute with its own subskills and ability to improve them, though I may have these technique attributes scale automatically and differently than regular attributes. (I don't want to create a situation where all other attributes are neglected in favor of power dumping all improvements to make a super technique). More testing is required on that aspect anyways.

I am also considering a secondary mechanic for magic and techniques where by they are either Fixed or Flex techniques/magics.

Fixed would he a specific spell or technique, like a special attack in a fighting game. It does one thing the same way all the time. These would scale better, but lack versatility.

Flex would of course be the opposite. Some that is more like a collection of techniques or spells based on a more generic "theme". They wouldn't scale as well, but would offer more versatility in how it is used since besides the generic theme, no other properties are entirely set.

As an example of what I mean, say a player wants to make a mage so needs some magic. They could have a flex technique for a school of magic, giving them access to a lot of different kinds of spells under that school, but nothing with major power comparitively. But they want to have one or two powerful signature spells, for that they would need to make a fixed tech pique for each signature spell. These would be stronger spells, but would be the one specific spell with its set properties.

In addition, I have been contemplating an energy or stamina system as well. Fixed techniques would have to always be used at maximum power, which would mean you'd need to build up enough stamina or energy to even use them, while flex techniques could use less energy for a lesser effect.

Anyways, just some thoughts on a mechanic I have been toying with.

MacynSnow
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Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:56 pm

Re: Fantasy Noir [Homebrew][WiP]

Post by MacynSnow » Tue May 22, 2018 7:03 pm

EpicEclipse wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 6:42 pm
I am currently toying around with how I want to do something like magic or other powers. I think they would work best modularly, mostly so that for flexibility purposes, new powers can be introduced for different settings.

What I am presently considering is that techniques/magic are created similarly to am attribute with its own subskills and ability to improve them, though I may have these technique attributes scale automatically and differently than regular attributes. (I don't want to create a situation where all other attributes are neglected in favor of power dumping all improvements to make a super technique). More testing is required on that aspect anyways.

I am also considering a secondary mechanic for magic and techniques where by they are either Fixed or Flex techniques/magics.

Fixed would he a specific spell or technique, like a special attack in a fighting game. It does one thing the same way all the time. These would scale better, but lack versatility.

Flex would of course be the opposite. Some that is more like a collection of techniques or spells based on a more generic "theme". They wouldn't scale as well, but would offer more versatility in how it is used since besides the generic theme, no other properties are entirely set.

As an example of what I mean, say a player wants to make a mage so needs some magic. They could have a flex technique for a school of magic, giving them access to a lot of different kinds of spells under that school, but nothing with major power comparitively. But they want to have one or two powerful signature spells, for that they would need to make a fixed tech pique for each signature spell. These would be stronger spells, but would be the one specific spell with its set properties.

In addition, I have been contemplating an energy or stamina system as well. Fixed techniques would have to always be used at maximum power, which would mean you'd need to build up enough stamina or energy to even use them, while flex techniques could use less energy for a lesser effect.

Anyways, just some thoughts on a mechanic I have been toying with.
I'd link the Stamina/Energy system to a specific Stat,with Stamina being for Martial Artist/Superhero types(there've been plenty in the Noir genre) and Energy being for Magic....

EpicEclipse
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Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:06 pm

Re: Fantasy Noir [Homebrew][WiP]

Post by EpicEclipse » Tue May 22, 2018 7:57 pm

Except I am not using those kinds of stats to link things to. Linking resources like that also makes the acquisition of those stats mandatory for an 'efficient' character, which is a concept I am actively trying to avoid.

Right now, attributes and their associated skills can be taken with .ore or less equal result. They represent areas of particular skill. Even the combat attribute skills can be compensated for the lack of by armor and weapons when one has the appropriate proficiency. Weapons will be adding to the to hit (Technique) and to wound (Power) rolls, where those two actual attributes only get distributed when there are multiple attacks from having Speed. Weapons will actually impose a speed penalty (to a minimum of 1) for heavier weapons so speed isn't a be-all end all attribute.

Armor will have its own toughness so you don't need to be reliant on your own toughness and vitality, butbheavier armor will have an evasion penalty so you don't exclude toughness and vitality to pump evasion exclusively.

So even combat skills are not a necessity, and for that reason, I would not want to tie stamina or energy to a particular attribute or skill.

I am still considering options, but right now I am considering either a resource generating system, so that rather than having your own pool, you generate energy for use, or a system by which your stamina or energy is automatically scaled regardless of what you put your improvements into (I think Bloodborne did something like that where all attributes contributed to armor)

In both cases, it puts everyone on a more or less even playing field where their individual builds won't reflect unfair advantages in this particular area.

Even with the techniques/magics, I am planning that they scale regardless of what you put your improvements into so that players don't have to choose between being combat effective or actually having character depth to go along with the ability to protect themselves in a fight.

In essence, it should reduce min/maxing tendencies and encourage a greater emphasis on building a character over a block of combat stats or flowchart.

Nunya B
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Joined: Thu May 10, 2018 8:51 pm

Re: Fantasy Noir [Homebrew][WiP]

Post by Nunya B » Tue May 22, 2018 9:24 pm

I might have missed it, but I don't get how skills work in execution. If Con-Ed the barbarian needs to leap a gully, spot the hidden tunnel into the mountains, and sneak past the demon guarding the entrance, how exactly does that work?

Combat sounds slow. You've got three rolls, and the attacker has to allocate bonus for the first two. That seems like it'd take a while.

The balance between Technique and Evasion is going to be very very fiddly: At T0/E0, the attacker basically always hits with all attacks. At T15/E15, the attacker basically always hits exactly once no matter how many attacks they have. Evasion scales much better than Technique. As a result, at higher ranks Speed will stop mattering since only one attack will have much chance to hit. At lower ranks, Speed will be a godstat since it'll directly multiply number of hits.
Exact same comment regarding Power and Toughness.

The "spend Luck to not die" mechanic combined with the "staircase caps" presents the possibility of a character who nearly died a few times reaching a point where they have to increase Luck to increase their other abilities, but because they're behind on Luck they have to spend their XP increasing it so they fall behind in raw numbers and keep dying so they can't advance so they keep dying so etc etc.

Seems interesting overall, but I can't really say much more at the moment.

MacynSnow
Posts: 3185
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:56 pm

Re: Fantasy Noir [Homebrew][WiP]

Post by MacynSnow » Tue May 22, 2018 9:28 pm

If your looking for good inspiration for that,then i recommend looking a 2 systems for ideas;
The Marvel Universe Roleplaying Game(2003)= This system uses a point allocation mechanic that ensures absolute fairness all around(it's also a nice game on it's own,it just couldn't seem to get off the ground financially).

Valiant Universe Roleplaying Game=this uses a similar mechanic to Marvel,but instead assigns a certain number of dice to your energy pool(it's not bad,but again suffers from a lack of available materials and tends to try to railroad players into "Role-Playing",which i don't approve of Railroading at all).

EpicEclipse
Posts: 1541
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:06 pm

Re: Fantasy Noir [Homebrew][WiP]

Post by EpicEclipse » Tue May 22, 2018 10:31 pm

Is the Marvel Universe one the same that uses power stones to designate where your efforts are being placed? If so, I have that book on my shelf. It looked interesting, if not necessarily intuitive.

If it's not the same, that is one book I am looking at for its power resource mechanics. It wouldn't work as Is, but has potential as a resource generation mechanic.

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