Author Topic: Come test my RPG - it's probably hilariously broken!  (Read 3046 times)

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Offline Caranfin

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Come test my RPG - it's probably hilariously broken!
« on: January 14, 2013, 03:29:37 pm »
As some of you know, I've been working on a pen-and-paper RPG system for quite a while now. It's been a way-too-long process of incoherent and, at times, entirely lacking design goals, bad decisions, and complete periodical rewrites. During the last year, however, I got it in my head that I wanted to actually finish this thing and, what's more, actually make it a fun game instead of a convoluted mess of rules with no common theme or clear goals. I set a deadline of new year's 2013 for the game to be feature-complete.

Now we're here. The system is ready, with the core-rules somewhat tested and the cohesive whole entirely untested. So it's going to need a ton of work, most of which will likely feature really weird things happening because I forgot to account for something obvious (like one of our early combat system tests where we found out that a soft padded jacket would handily deflect arrows fired at it point blank). I'm going to need people to test the system. I've got quite a few testers already, but more testing has never hurt anyone.


About the game
I suppose if you've read this far you might want to know more about the game, yes? Working title Hedge Knight is a tabletop RPG about landless, wandering knights in a harsh low-fantasy medieval not-Europe setting. I don't really like to throw around the term 'realism' in the context of a game, but the tone of the entire thing is decidedly realism-flavoured. I've tried to minimise the annoying bits of realism, like dying of diarrhoea, losing your arm to infection after getting scratched in a fight, or  being entirely unable to do anything for months after receiving any kind of actual injury, while keeping the all-around tone and player character capabilities at a mundane level. Expect knights rolling in the mud, struggling to jam their dagger through their opponent's eye-slit, and even the most skilled fighters afraid of taking on more than a single - however mediocre - enemy at a time.

Combat, as you might have surmised, is a really dangerous business. It's better not to get into a fight at all if you can avoid it, and if you do get into a fight, you had better have a way to get the advantage firmly and early into your own hands. Of course, as the combat is quite lethal, other ways of conflict resolution are extremely important and the game has robust (but hopefully simple to use and coherent) systems to make social and stealth challenges mechanically interesting instead of just a roll or two of your "diplomacy"-skill or whatever.

The general theme of the game is that chivalry is pretty dumb, and largely a front that nobody who wants to survive actually adheres to. It's all too easy for nobles and their knights to appear honourable and just, when they are wealthy and powerful enough to actively ignore what the common folk think of them. As landless and penniless, the player characters have no such luxury. The game has an active system for tracking the player characters' reputation among both the common folk and the nobles, who they are most likely trying to get employed by.


Testing
So yeah, we're going to run frequent testing for the perceivable future as often as my (and my testers') schedule allows. We will play using the online tabletop system roll20, with vocal conversations (if everyone in the group at the time has a microphone) through either roll20's own system or my group's mumble server. Testing will take a minimum of a couple of hours at a time, with no longer commitment necessary, although I'd really appreciate written feedback from everyone in every testing session.

If you're interested, PM me (or post in this thread) an e-mail address I can send the current-version rules to (after I've finished writing them, sometime next week). I'm checking this forum often so if you have any questions, fire away. I can also be reached on MSN messenger (I think under artturi at riihonen net), Skype (artturi_riihonen), or Google Talk (ariihonen gmail) if you want to have a more instant conversation.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2013, 03:32:47 pm by Caranfin »

Offline evilcandybag

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Re: Come test my RPG - it's probably hilariously broken!
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2013, 05:07:02 pm »
Reporting for testing!
"Actually, wooden stakes are for vampires. Wooden steaks are for vegetarians."

Offline gaijin

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Re: Come test my RPG - it's probably hilariously broken!
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2013, 08:41:27 pm »
If I can squeeze it into my life, i'd love to take a whack at testing this.
Oi, is this when I get a huge sig-image, start whining about "moar sid" and make nonsensical arguments to no good?

Offline Torp v2.0

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Re: Come test my RPG - it's probably hilariously broken!
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2013, 02:34:22 am »
Werevolvo awoke me from my deep slumber to inform me about this, and I'm in.
...why Torp was picked over you... HE'S JUST BETTER THAN YOU IN EVERY RESPECT. -SomethingGood
<Radicz0r> Torp is well prepared for universal destruction

[03:18:49] <WereVolvo> ARCTIC
[03:18:51] <WereVolvo> not arctic

Offline evilcandybag

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Re: Come test my RPG - it's probably hilariously broken!
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2013, 12:53:59 pm »
Our name shall be "Equestes Moderandi" (us hedge knights can only afford so much Latin schooling), and our Hammers shall be feared by ne'er-do-wells all over the land!
"Actually, wooden stakes are for vampires. Wooden steaks are for vegetarians."

Offline Caranfin

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Re: Come test my RPG - it's probably hilariously broken!
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2013, 06:30:44 pm »
The system has an education skill (also including stuff like heraldry and history and stuff at the moment, we'll see if I want to keep them in one skill or not) so depending on your best scholar's abilities your group might even have an actually grammatical name. :P

Offline Caranfin

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Re: Come test my RPG - it's probably hilariously broken!
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2013, 11:36:12 am »
Progress update: I ran into a dumb problem yesterday that I should have noticed ages ago, and had to rework a part of my basic conflict resolution rules to not be terrible. I lost a ton of time, but unless I get tons of hard course assignments today or tomorrow I should be able to get this done during this week as promised.

Offline evilcandybag

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Re: Come test my RPG - it's probably hilariously broken!
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2013, 07:40:58 pm »
Looking forward to it!
"Actually, wooden stakes are for vampires. Wooden steaks are for vegetarians."

Offline Caranfin

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Re: Come test my RPG - it's probably hilariously broken!
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2013, 10:25:08 pm »
Sweet.

I ran into another problem (caused by my previous fix, as well) and had to rewrite another bit of conflict resolution rules today. I feel like an idiot. I'm hopeful I can get this crap done during the weekend, but I'm spending it at my girlfriend's place so it's not entirely up to me how much time I have for writing a pretend knight game.

Meanwhile, you guys could start thinking about what sort of dudes (or dudettes, I don't judge and I see no point in limiting knights to just men in a fantasy game) you are going to play. It's important you do this before you've read the rules so we can see how well the system supports various character concepts that aren't created with the rules in mind.

The setting we're going to use is also pretty vague, since that isn't a priority. That doesn't really matter, though, since I always like to involve my players in the world building as well. Things that are set in stone are that the game is set in a vaguely European land with a bunch of kindgoms and baronies and stuff, but the specifics of each kingdom, their relations and histories, and any other cultures or ethnicities they might be in contact with are unknown. If you have fun ideas for history, culture, interesting persons, or so on, throw them at me and we'll get a richer game world to test in (and also I'll get more ideas for test scenarios).

EDIT: Oh yeah I meant to add that the rough period this takes place in is late medieval or early renaissance. Plate armor and big weapons are becoming the standard instead of sword and board, but less well off fighters are going with maille and added plate elements and shit. Don't get too bogged down on historical accuracy, though, as who really cares that much (WereVolvo does, but he's a weirdo).
« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 10:43:51 pm by Caranfin »

Offline Caranfin

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Re: Come test my RPG - it's probably hilariously broken!
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2013, 08:15:49 pm »
Yeah as is evident I haven't quite managed to hit my deadline. Sorry about this, I really thought I'd get it finished comfortably by last Friday, but the problem I mentioned and it's fix caused a ripple effect of additional problems elsewhere in the system so I've had to do a bit of redesign. Nothing substantial, just time consuming as I have to calculate a ton of probabilities and shit again. It will be ready for testing during this week or the next.

Offline evilcandybag

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Re: Come test my RPG - it's probably hilariously broken!
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2013, 10:03:06 pm »
Awesome! Looking forward to trying it out but give reasonable heads up beforehand, I am a Very Busy Man.
"Actually, wooden stakes are for vampires. Wooden steaks are for vegetarians."

Offline Caranfin

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Re: Come test my RPG - it's probably hilariously broken!
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2013, 10:55:42 pm »
I have enough testers that regular attendance isn't a necessity for most people. We'll look for good testing times with When Is Good and arrange testing times and groups by that information. Most testing is going to be just grinding combat or other types of challenges to really stress test the mechanics, but we'll get a couple of longer campaigns going straight away (hand-waving some encounter-specific mechanics if necessary) to test the campaign- and scenario-scale mechanics (reputation, money, fatigue, stuff like that).

The scenario scale tests will probably be run with pre-made groups (like you, Volvo, Torp, Gaijin, for example) and will only run when everyone (or most of the group if people can't make it but are ok with the others playing without them) in the group has time. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that being Very Busy isn't a problem and I'm going to arrange testing times around your schedules and not around mine.