Please, players, I would like your feedback on this. We all have different roleplaying backgrounds and your opinion on this is important to me.
I like the system we have developed for arena fights, but it’s still too slow and too complex. I tried to come up with a qualitative fighting system, one that relied the least possible in numbers, and more on RP. I intend to use this system in other settings too. This is the result:
I got this idea while playing CK II and Fallen Enchantress. Basically, the concept here is that characters do not level up. Instead, they receive traits, penalties and skills according to what happens to them. These traits change their character and influence their way of roleplaying. So it is built with two goals in mind: a) to allow and/or provide opportunities for RP; and b) avoid mathematicalization of the game.This is how it would work:
1) All characters are created equally. Then traits are added, making them slightly different from each other.
2) Along the RP, they receive other traits. Some good, some bad.
3) They cannot die. But they must cope with those traits and RP their characters accordingly.
*) Not all traits must have evident effects. Some may work as guidelines for our RP – both the PC and the other players. I, for example, would like to know when my character is talking to someone who has the manners of a commoner (Commoner) or of a lord (Noble), or when he is maimed, intimidating, or slave-marked. It would certainly affect my RP, and enrich the IC scenes in generalInitial suggestion of traits, just to get the idea: - General traits
Foreigner : his manners and accent give away his foreign ascent.
Slave marked : he was a slave once, and the typical owner brand in his face or back is evidence of that.
Quick hands : the character's hands and fingers are very quick and nimble, a trait that can be used for good or evil.
Keen senses : the character is able to see, hear and smell better than most Pendorians. He also receives lower penalties in situations that deprive him of one of his senses.
Finesse : his high agility allows him to use small weapons better.
Strong : he is strong, and get all benefits that come from that.
Basher : after a long time of practice, he becomes skilled in bashing with his shield.
Charger : the character is skilled in riding heavy horses, and is quite efficient in leading or conducting charges.
Horse archer : he is able to use a bow or crossbow on horseback as if he were on foot.
Horseman : he can ride most horses.
Diplomat : he knows how to handle politics.
Survivalist : knows how to survive in the wilderness.
Master Swordsman (or Spearman/axeman/maceman/etc.) : is much more skilled than the average Pendorian in swordfighting. The character can use complex sword techniques.
Legendary Swordsman (or etc.) : is much more skilled than the average order knight in swordfighting. The character has created a personal fighting style, and is deadly in the battlefield, doing feats deemed impossible by most.
Martial artist : despite the name, this trait means that the character is skilled in unarmed combat.
Sharpshooter : this character rarely misses a bolt or an arrow.
Skilled weaponsmith (or craftsman/armorer/jewelcrafter/librarian/healer) : has expertise in an specific field.
Tactician : character has insights (meaning GM tips) about tactical matters during a battle.
Command I-X: character receives command points according to the command rules.
Stealth : character is stealthier than the average.
Wealthy : the character has a huge amount of gold stored somewhere.
Tracking : tracker.
Trapping : trapper.
Siege engineering : siege engineer. Knows fortifications and their weaknesses, as well as how to build them.
Hardy : the characters is more resistant to pain and injury than most. Injuries that would maim a regular knight become simple wounds on him.
Unflappable : the character is able to keep a steady mind under stress, and thus avoids psychological scars and traumas that would crush the lesser soldier (i.e. amnesia; afraid of death, etc. traits that a character may get after being knocked down).- Battle wounds (unless otherwise specified, they last for only one season):
Amnesia : player has memory lapses.
Twisted ankle : becomes slower and less agile.
Broken arm : attacks and actions that use one arm fail more often.
Broken leg : player cannot run (horseback riding is ok, though).
Scarred 1 to 10: each level means a new major scar in one’s body. They are permanent. Characters with scars receive relation bonus with military NPCs (symbolizing the prestige of surviving a death wound) and proportional negative relations in diplomatic affairs, and also towards most nobles.
Maimed (limb): during one of his battles the character has lost a limb. Permanent and cannot be cured.
Blind : one of the player’s eyes was damaged during a fight. Permanent.
Lost an ear : lost an ear. Keen senses become regular senses. Permanent.
Demonic curse : he was hit by a demonic weapon and survived. The strike has left a scar that has a faint red glow. Its effects are unknown, but religious NPCs tend to consider the character’s survival a miracle.
Afraid of dying : he has survived a brutal attack and is now afraid of dying. Penalties during life-or-death situations for one season. Can be cured before that.
Ill : battlefields are a great way of transmitting diseases. After falling on a poodle of blood and dirt, the character has contracted a debilitating disease. Can be cured (this one also by lesser skilled healers).
*. Most of these wounds can be cured by master healers (or any medic or shaman).Examples:
For instance, when Theo was hit in the back of the head by a shield during the Veccavi invasion, he could have earned the Scarred I (for falling in battle) or Amnesia (for being hit in the head). When he was hit that that crossbow bolt during the siege of Cez, he could have gotten the Blind or Pierced lung traits instead of dying. If he had being knocked down by cavalry charge, it would be something like Broken leg or Twisted ankle. A sword strike could have maimed him, and all of the above could have simply given him another Scarred trait.
Obviously, positive traits would also be implemented. Traits can be gained through IC and metagame actions. Have you consistently RPed creative tactics during battles? Tactician trait. Have you RPed a pious and unyielding knight? Pious or Iron will trait. Has someone paid for your stay at Elacrai/Naval Academy/Poinsbruk library?
Some retroactive examples:
-Iskar is by far the most diplomatic character, sending detailed IC letter to several lords and cautiously weaving his hidden goals in them. The Diplomat skill would be fitting.
-Kamos’ trait is already well known. He punched people, was punished by it, but could have gained the Martial artists trait.
-As far as I know Pravenstern has designed quite a lot of things. He is seen by others as an Skilled smith, and gets special features from it.--- But not only long-term roleplaying could be used by players to gain positive skills. If implemented, one could associate this system with the quest system [more on that later this month]. A player can choose to gamble, and risk a dangerous, but quick and rewarding quest.
This is how gambling works:
A player picks one of the several quests in Pendor. He accepts the quest and leaves for it.Yet another example. Griffons assemble and it is decided that on player must lead small party in a skirmish against a Vanskerry patrol. The player, says the Griffon grandmaster, will be rewarded if he succeeds.
So, you see, there is a risk involved: if the Griffon party loses, the player will get a negative trait, possibly lose an eye or an ear. But if he wins, the Griffon chapterhouse will fund his stay at the Mettenheim Academy of Swordsmanship, thus giving the character a Swordmaster trait.
I think we often forget that this is an RPG There is a risk, there is a reward, there is a quest, and there is the sense of accomplishment of facing danger and winning. It think this is great.
Some positions give free traits: the Shadow Legion centurious will get a free “Empire Ironbred” trait, a Clarion knight will get the “Larian hunter” trait for free. Background
This is how your character was raised and what he was doing before starting his training at his respective order. One may also create other “professions” if needed. This background helps by giving us a loose personality to RP and develop upon. It also gives the character a specific set of skills that can be used when needed. They are as follows:
Adventurer: you are a free spirit and have decided to take control of your own destiny. You quested for a long time, and have learned a lot from the world. In your journeys you have found quite a number of quality items and equipment, but sold most of them, keeping only a few. Your weapon specialization varies.
Warlord: you were a man-at-arms, either independent or a king’s army, and eventually became the leader of a small warband, until the time you joined your order. You know how to handle all weapons, and, being part of many battles you also don’t lack the practical experience of battlefield.
Scholar: you know a lot about a lot of things. You speak most of the known languages, and you have memorized castle designs, Pendorian geography, and history books, and you know well the lore of the kingdom. Your martial skills, however, are severely lacking, and you must do a lot of effort in order to become competent on the field.
Ranger: you have lived in the wilderness for a long time. If you did not undergo Silvermist education, you may even seem a bit uncivilized for the townsfolk, eating with your hands and such. You are an excellent hunter and trapper, and in the wilderness you often see what other people cannot. You are highly skilled in the use of bows or crossbows, but your real advantage over the others lies in your knowledge of the wilderness, its beasts and its dangers.
Scout: similar to the ranger, but on horseback and on open terrain. You are among the fastest riders in Pendor, and in this category fit both Windriders and Clarion Rangers.
Priest: you are the priest of a goddess. You may perform blessings on people (thus improving your relation with them in that context), make curses (works well on the illiterate), and act as a minor representative of the respective church. Commoners often follow your suggestions, instead of that of the local authorities.
Noble: you know how to deal with nobles. You have memorized every banner of every major Pendorian lord - and of some respectable foreign lords too. You know how to ride, how to fight with gentlemen’s weapons, and you have your own family signet ring and banner – even if it flies only over a small estate in Pendor’s countryside. Nobles are usually more pleased with your presence, but commoners fell a bit uneasy. Swords, crossbows and horseback fighting are natural to use.
Commoner: you speak the tongue of the people and will be able to mingle easier among them, possibly making a good agent, preacher or merchant. Your manners, however, greatly displease the nobles. You also know the basics of farming, woodworking, fishing and hunting, and has learned how to use bows and polearms.
Alchemist: a general physician. You know how to heal people, and may have moonlighted as warrior, merchant, or even healer-for-hire.
Shaman: same as alchemist, but only in the North. You know the traditions of Ravenstern and the Mystmountains, and you can use local flora with much more efficiency. You don’t know anything about the medicines and ailments from other regions.
Medic: same as alchemist, but only in the East. You know the traditions of the East, and can use Empire flora with much more efficiency. You don’t know anything about ailments and plants from other regions.
Outlaw: whether your order knows it or not, you were once an outlaw. You know how bandits think, where they would like hide, and how they fight. You also know where rich people like to store their valuables. As the ranger in his forest, you can find your way and survive well in any urban environment. Knows where to hide, where to find food, and where to ambush his enemies. Knows “people” in nearly every city. You may or may not have redeemed yourself and work against your former brothers in crime.
Merchant: before becoming a knight, you were once a merchant, and thus part of the blooming and wealthy Pendorian merchant class. You are the best at creating caravan routes or offering trade agreements. You may or may not have become a fighter to defend your goods, or a politician to gamble at higher stakes. You may also have bought your way into the nobility, becoming a lesser noble yourself.
Seaman: you were a man of the sea. You know how to sail, and can identify ship designs and flaw at a distance.
The backgrounds above with explanation of their mechanics:
Adventurer: basically the most generic class. You can specialize in three weapons, instead of only one, as happens with the other backgrounds. You also get one free quality item (a super keen sword, a rare piece of armor, an expensive cloak, a good horse, etc.) or two custom traits of any kind.
Warlord: “good” proficiency in all
weapons, plus one of the following: a) a martial or physical trait; b) a command bonus; or c) an “exceptional proficiency in one weapon”.
Scholar: Has “good” proficiency only the order’s weapons of choice (is allowed to learn others during the RP, though). Can succeed in most engineering, medical or strategic problems, and grants the order a metagame bonus in these areas. Can choose two mental traits. I doubt anyone will choose this one, but here is is.
Ranger: “Exceptional” in bow or crossbow. Knowledge of trapmaking, hunting, foraging, and hiding. Can predict the weather fairly well, and can track parties and detail their nubers and composition. One free physical or mental trait.
Scout: “Exceptional” in bow, crossbow, or spear. Extremely fast rider. Can track, forage. One free physical or mental trait.
Noble: “good” proficiency with one-handed swords and crossbows; horseback fighting, noble benefits. One free physical or mental trait.
Commoner: “good proficiency” with bows and simple polearms. Commoner skills. One free physical or mental trait.
Priest: “good” proficiency in any weapon of choice. One physical or two mental traits.
Alchemist: can treat a wide variety of wounds and illnesses. Cannot treat serious wounds. Two free physical or mental traits.
Shaman: Extremely skilled in Northern illnesses. Know the effects of every single herb of old Ravenstern. Some say they can even cure serious wounds. One free physical or mental trait.
Medic: Extremely skilled in Eastern illnesses. Know the effects of every single herb of old Empire. Some say they can even cure serious wounds. One free physical or mental trait.
Outlaw: is the ranger of the city. Has combat bonuses in sieges or in any urban battles. One physical or one mental trait. If not redeemed, may contact Red Brothers and get espionage bonuses as well.
Merchant: two physical or two mental traits. Instead, the player can choose the trait “background”, symbolizing that the character has spent all his resources to become part of the nobility.
Seaman: two free physical of mental traits. Knows everything about ships, boats, Vanskerries and pirates.
Examples of background adaptations. At the right side of the background is what the character has become during the RP, not
the name of his class (let’s keep this simple and avoid that kind of thing. It's too limiting.).
Warlord ---> master horseman
---> legendary footsoldier
Noble ---> Advisor/steward
---> High officer at an order
Priest ---> Frontline preacher (battle cleric)
---> Inquisitor/ high priest
Outlaw ---> Counteragent (works against the outlaws)
---> Agent (secretly works for the outlaws)
---> Independent outlaw
Ranger ---> Trapmaster
---> Pendorian ambassador at Elacrai
Alchemist ---> Healer
---> Multitasking knight
Further examples of regular order members (not players)
Radiant Cross would fighters with alchemist background.
Ravenspear would be fighters with scholar background.
Dawn knights would be fighters with priest background, or priests with fighter background.
Clarion rangers would be fighters with noble background.
Silvermists are rangers. Alternatively, they could be fighters with commoners, outlaws or nobles. So what?
How would these be used? Simple. Fights would be decided by the GM after consideration of the players’ traits. E.g. an archer with Blind and Martial artist is fighting against a warrior with Pierced lung and Basher? The archer will get severe penalties for hitting, and the warrior won’t be able to run for more than one round. Now, after the players PM their actions, the GM decides subjectively what succeeds – no need for converting IC actions into numbers then into IC actions again. In the example above, the archer could get to-hit bonuses if he chose to use his unarmed skills instead of his bow. The warrior, on the other hand, would be more successful if he chose to bash the archer, instead of running around, charging or climbing the stairs. Detail
It would be best if all players kept their updated stats in lower case in their signatures. Since we can’t actually see each other’s characters, it would be great if some info were handy when we read each other's posts. This would really improve our interaction (“Oh my, I didn’t know I was talking to a Wealthy Noble!” or “By the goddess, I totally ignored that you didn’t have a hand, I’m so sorry sir grandmaster!”).
Let my give the example of an NPC:Warlord
, scarred II, sharpshooter, horse archer, noble, maimed (one foot)
He is a lesser D’Shar noble. He receives relation bonuses in military interactions (scarred II), penalties in courtly interactions (scarred II), he is able to successfully RP high difficulty precision shooting during battles (sharpshooter), is a noble and gets everything that the position entails. He can also shoot on horseback without penalties (horse archer), and must walk with a cane (maimed).
As complementary note, I must say that this is the most realistic character management system I’ve seen in a very long time. I never really agreed with the idea of leveling up, and I really liked the idea of a RPG (I forgot its name; Call of Ctullhu, perhaps?) in which the longer you were in the adventuring life, the worse it would be for your physical and mental health. I always wanted to find something that accounted for the physical traumas and psychological distress that one get after facing demons, armies of rapist Vanskerries, superhuman Noldor, etc.
See Achilles and Ulysses, for example: both high level warriors, but totally messed up - one a crazed psychopath and the other a pathological liar. Or Anakin Skywalker, an epic level knight who in his quest lost a hand, two legs, and his sanity. Or Frodo, one finger short and with a wound that ached every year. Or Kara Thrace. Or Katniss Everdeen. Or Tyrion. What I’m trying to say is that what we consider epic level characters have reached that at a cost, and that they are awesome that way.
As I said in the beginning of the long text, I would like your feedback on this. I’m developing this for another RPG, but if you want it we could implement it here as well.