Saturday, 12 March 2011

Scrapes (3) - Developing devices

More cool rules ideas, with something for almost everyone this time. A quick recap.

In the first we had horrific injury ideas from Tales from the Maelstrom, for wargames and 40K especially, with new counters from me too. More Maelstrom house rules here.

In the second, we had Ork fungus brew from Digital Waaagh!, also for 40K, and a set of numbered counters useful for remembering D6 results.

Today magic items and high technologies, bringing together excellent ideas from five different blogs and some of my own thoughts on expansion.

The post I saw first was this one at ArmChairGeneral, on unlocking the potential of magic items over time, rather than gaining an all or nothing power. He argues this reduces balance issues, and suggests ways the power could be accessed gradually. In my comment I mentioned the idea of a slow merging of item and wielder, something used in the Lone Wolf novelisations, with the stuff of hero and Sommerswerd combining.

As well as being a big fan of counters, I'm a fan of tracks. A simple strip at the base of a character sheet could be used to note the order effects are gained. Going further, the linear strip could be a segment, circle or even sphere, to better visualise the growth.

Let's open this up. How about every major item of equipment ever gained by a character having a process of development, even if only to represent growing skill?

How to simulate that intuitively? Greg Christopher has a good idea, republished here at his new Synapse RPG blog. The idea is that every use of a skill resulting in the best possible score - a double one on 2D6 in this case - increases experience. Simple, excellent, a direct link between gameplay and character development. Read the whole post for why Synapse might be a fourth type of RPG. For our purposes this increased experience could take many forms, from a modifier to specific effects.

Want more ideas for those possible effects? Try these advanced weaponry ideas at Underworld Kingdom. There are links at the base of the post to PLANET ALGOL, for more ideas on phasic and ranged weapons, especially for old school roleplaying games.

To close, some thoughts on the decay of magic from Gorgonmilk, again applicable to other equipment, especially the high-tech. The key concept is the idea of the item having a half-life, with possible loss of efficacy and distortion appearing at this point.

For me the interest here is also in the link to the wider world, with the age of the item suggesting history and previous wielders. The idea of a lifetime could interact with the merger idea too. If wielder and item are bound in some way, maybe the traits of past users are retained? Would loss of efficacy or distortion manifest in the wielder too?

Lots to think about. Interestingly, four out of the five blogs mentioned here are featured in the top blogroll on the left - strange new worlds. This wasn't intentional; the ideas are just consistently good in there. The roll is filled with blogs mostly developing a distinct project. If you value diversity and new ideas, go visit.

Better still, get stuck into your own project and make the imagining real.

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