Beta release

The Beta of the Basic Rules are finally ready. A few play tests have been done and the findings incorporated into the Beta.  Please feel free to read the Beta, playtest it and revert with your comments.

The links below contains the rules and the cards needed to play.

Approximated Fray Basic Rules Beta

Approximated Cards Beta


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10 Responses to Beta release

  1. JackOfHearts says:

    It looks like you are going through a similar process as me. Just read through your beta rules. Two things I really like: simultaneously selecting actions, and behavior categories for monsters. I’d be interested in why you selected the d12 resolution mechanic, and why the focus on cards for non-combat encounters. For combat, I can see how they’re useful for simultaneous actions. The mop up mechanic is an interesting way to get everyone vested in a die roll each turn and to add some unpredictability.

  2. Thanks for downloading and reading the beta, any comments and suggestions on improvements are welcomed! Separate replies for the diffent discussions below.

  3. Why the d12? I did have several other options in consideration then making the choice.

    D20 – Apart from being sort of the trade mark for D&D and the D20 system it adds a large element of randomness to the resolution. The effects of advantages, skills, and specializations have relative little impact on the outcome. Less obvious in combat but when it comes to skill resolution it often turns evident when four characters roll to hear a faint whisper of a ghost the +4 modifier for the elven hunter might turn out to be pointless as the human merchant gets lucky and rolls 19. During the cause of an evening’s play there might be three rolls for the hunters prime skill and he might very likely not “win” any of them with kinds of defats the goal of having all players have their niche to excel in and moment to shine. It all turns to random. Could perhaps be countered by having larger modifiers but I seem to believe that larger modifiers removes some of the feeling in a game (quite subjective perhaps).

    3D6 – Apart from being tainted by my groups dislike for GURPS resolution mechanism it will produce a better curb then it comes to outcome and thus allow the hunter to be the one that hears things most of the time and hence fulfills the criteria of allowing all players their niche. However, adding three deices together with a modifier takes more time than just adding one dice and a modifier (and when it maters the dice are usually recounted more than once by the players).

    2D6 – As per 3D6 without the taint from GURPS and a better distribution and less “adding up”-issues. A very good contender in my book, the runner up actually but with a very limited distribution advantage and the need to add up two dice I went for the D12.

    D12 – Allowing a less random distribution allowing for skills to matter and no adding up the dice issues.

    • JackOfHearts says:

      The only issue I have with the D12 roll is that it has a linear distribution (same chance of great success as average result) – I’m not sure this is too bad for an rpg game, but the simulationist in me kind of wants to have -some- curve to make the average somewhat mroe likely. You could play with your difficulty numbers to create a bell-curve of success, but that’s trickier and not as transparent to the player. This is the main area I’m still struggling with in Lost Worlds.

  4. Focus on cards for non combat

    Good question.

    For combat and the simultaneous execution they are more or less mandatory making the selection and recording so much easier. They also contain all data needed for the maneuvers (defense, effects, modifiers etc) making the need to consult page three of the character sheet and page 67 of the fighters manual etc non-existent).

    For non combat then, why?

    Consistency – since combat was executed with cards it would only be consistent to use cards for roleplaying scenes.

    No need to consult the rules – All effects and rules are covered on the cards so no need to find the information on the character sheets or in the rulebooks

    Resolution – one “sort” of scenario I am experimenting with is the scenario where the antagonists are operating with their own agenda in the same setting as the party. In such a scenario the selection of actions are affecting each other and the simultaneous execution will again come in to play. What choices the other side is making should then not be known before choosing what actions the party intends to take.

    E.g. In the royal court of Markanda (a map consisting of several important location, the emirs chambers, the library, the counselors chambers etc) scenario one of the conditions for success is that the player characters must operate in a way that attracts the least possible attention to them. At the same time the agents of evil are operating by sending agents to different locations on the map with different agendas. The players choose to send the thief alone to the royal kitchen in order to snoop around (unknowing of their antagonists plans) and he finds himself in the royal kitchen area together with the emir’s cupbearer and the antagonists assassin. Had the players known, or anticipated, that the antagonist would send an assassin to poison the emir they would most likely have sent more than one character to guard in the kitchen and prevent the attempt.

    • JackOfHearts says:

      I see the consistency aspect of it, and the rules summary. How many cards does each person end up having then? In 4e, I printed cards for each power for people in my play group, thinking it would speed things up. What it actually did was give them a simpler place to review all their options instead of picking a power they knew. It lead to analysis paralysis in combat as the number of cards grew to 12-20 cards.

      For now, I’ve kind of decided that the way around this is to limit the number of actual different attack types they can make, since combats will hopefully take less time anyway, it won’t feel so monotonous. I’m also hoping to trigger some powers based on the die roll, so that they can have some extra powers, but not have to analyze all of them each turn.

  5. Mop up mechanics

    This mechanics is introduced in order to prevent the over use of the same card over and over again making the game monotonous and predictable and to some apart simulate that there is not always the possibility to do the same thing over and over again.

    It does promote the tendency to fire the best guns at once as there then is a better chance to be able to fire them again but choosing the right card for the right situation have turned out to be more important. Also, not having the most dangerous or important foe enter the battle until round two or three in a few combat encounters also quickly removes this tendency.

    The set chance for the return of a card to the players hand is also used to balance the cards against each other by making slightly more powerful cards harder to get back.

    And yes, it does get all the players interested in the one roll at the end. The roll can be rotated among the players round by round or done by the group’s leader for different styles of play (fantasy – rotate, military squad like games – the highest ranking characters player still in action)

    • JackOfHearts says:

      One other thing I was thinking about. You’ve given all the cards a number to uniquely identify them, but I find the way they’re presented distracting. I’d consider changing it to something more like Me? (199) instead of 199 Me?.

      Also, it seems like you could hang some interesting mechanic on the actual number (something like, lower numbers resolve first in the phase, or a card that has an additional impact when the target played an even numbered card). Still have triggers in my brain!

  6. The number of cards for combat are around eight at first level, 11 at level four, 15 at level eight and 19 at level 12. With five or so being the basic attacks that “everybody” can do, one from Background, another from Ancestry and one from Class they should all be reasonably known at first level after one session. And with one new card added each level they should all be quite known to the players all through progression. They should all also be quite straight forward with minimal requirements and devoid of strange triggers.

    As one counter to the possible analysis paralysis we will most likely use a one minute timer for the selection of cards after first few combat encounters in order to add to the concentration on the action and to get the feeling of urgency.

    The numbering is currently arbitrary and made in order for me to keep track of all the cards and avoid duplications and substitution mistakes. As soon as a number is used it can’t be reused even if the Card is removed from the game for some reason in order to avoid mix up between the rulebook and the actual cards.

    Had an early idea, based on the initiative from Roborally, of having all cards in initiative order but discarded it for the three phases with the results entering into effect after each phase. But effects triggering on the number can be a nice device for some special effects. The naming with number first and the title later is unfortunate since the name really is the important part to the players and the number is just a crutch for designing as implemented now. I’ll change that in later iterations, thanks!

    Also fully agree with you that short, fast paced, battles will remove most tendencies towards monotony.

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