Tuesday 15 April 2014

Forge Engine monster stat blocks...

I'm still working on the Forge Engine (while juggling various updates to Hero Kids).

At the moment I'm developing the monster stat blocks so that the GM has all of the information they require at hand.   The trick has been to provide all of the monster's information in a compact and usable form.   Ideally, I want to fit two monsters per page (in an digest sized printed book), or four monsters per double-page spread for a PDF.

The important aspect is to assist the GM in managing the energy pool and attacks of multiple monsters.   This has led me to include an attack line that shows the monster or character's basic attack, which they make by just spending the energy cost of the weapon, as well as their strongest attack, where they spend the weapon's cost and then add as much energy as possible to maximize the attack.

So the elements of the stat block are:
•   Name
•   Type and Size
•   Attributes (Strength, Agility, Stamina, Influence, Intelligence, Acuity)
•   Energy Pool
•   Physical and Mental Defenses
•   Health and Move Distance
•   Skills
•   Basic Attack and Maximum Attack
•   Specialized Combat Skills
•   Traits
•   Inventory/Equipment


Wednesday 5 February 2014

Forge Engine combat turns description...

One of the unconventional elements of the Forge Engine RPG is the structure of the turns.   Traditional RPGs have a round/turn structure where each character has a discrete turn within each round.   Their actions occur within their own turn, and time passes in a strangely linear fashion which requires some mental gymnastics to unravel.   Once each character's round is over, play passes on to the next character in the initiative order, etc...

The Forge Engine's combination of an Energy action economy and a system of actions and reactions that are individually costed means that the traditional linear round structure can be replaced with a more non-linear 'do what you want as long as you have the Energy' structure.   Characters can jump in and out of the action as long as they have enough Energy to perform their action; whether it's moving, attacking, reloading, or some other costed action.

As with any system, there are several caveats.   First, characters can take reactions before their first turn in combat, but they can't take actions.   Second, if a character is surprised, they can't take actions or reactions until their first turn, which means that they can't spend Energy to dodge when they're being attacked.

(Dammit, that should be 'Character #2' up there, not Character #3...)

So, what other RPGs have non-traditional round and turn structures for combat?

Friday 31 January 2014

Forge Engine Character Sheet

The first thing I look at whenever I check out a new RPG is the character sheet, because you can tell so much about a game just from this one element. This is the character sheet for the Forge Engine RPG I'm working on.

Feedback, questions, and discussion are always welcome.

Monday 6 January 2014

Not Forgotten!

You would all be forgiven for thinking that I've abandoned Heroes Against Darkness and this blog, but that is not totally the case!

First, I've spent most of the year continuing to support Hero Kids, which has had success beyond my wildest hopes.   Hero Kids now has ten adventures and a bunch of expansions that add to the game.

Second, I've also been continuing to work on The Forge Engine.   I first mentioned this new system in my previous post almost a year ago, which seems crazy.   Suffice to say that the system has had a lot of testing since then, including a number of major revisions to the core mechanics to ensure they work in all of the situations and genres that the system targets (fantasy and modern, and even sci-fi).

I'm always on the lookout for playtesters, so drop me an email at justinhalliday(a)gmail[dot]com if you'd like me to include you in my list of playtesters.

No, I'm not dead.   I've just been working on Hero Kids and its adventures, which are available at DriveThruRPG:

Hero Forge Games at DriveThruRPG

Monday 25 February 2013

Playtesting the Forge Engine

Tonight was our first playtest of a new game system I'm working on called the Forge Engine, which is an Abilities and Skills based d10 system:

•   Ability and skill based system (classless)
•   Give players freedom to craft their own characters
•   Increased power through larger dice pools (d10 dice)
•   Opposed rolls for combat to keep participants engaged
•   Skill challenges against static difficulty numbers for simplicity
•   Dice pools give degrees of success (or multiple hits for combat)
•  Combat rolls combine abilities, skill, weapon, and armor into one resolution step
•   Energy depletion system reflects fatigue from exertion
•   Meaningful decisions for players during critical situations
•   Variable Energy economy replaces discrete action economy

Luckily, we had a pre-game run-through yesterday that ironed out a lot of kinks, so tonight's game went surprisingly well (apart from almost getting killed by a pack of mutant rats).

And as an interesting experiment, I'm a player in the playtest, not the GM.   This gives me a much better perspective on how the system is working, and gives me more time to help the GM and the other players.

No, I'm not dead.   I've just been working on Hero Kids and its adventures, which are available at DriveThruRPG:

Hero Forge Games at DriveThruRPG

Friday 28 December 2012

Review: Heroes Against Darkness Gets 4E Right (Allegedly)

Looks like the release of the print version of Heroes Against Darkness has shaken out some new fans.

+John Bell - The Retired Adventurer - has posted a review of Heroes Against Darkness on his blog:

Heroes Against Darkness Gets 4e Right

"I mention all of this because Heroes Against Darkness is a 4e heartbreaker, and a really good one." 

"There are lots of little tweaks like this that I really like. The GM advice chapter is also pretty meaty, and I'd feel fairly comfortable giving Heroes Against Darkness to a new roleplayer as their first adventure game."

"Heroes Against Darkness in general has the feel of 4e done right. I don't say that as someone who hated 4e and wanted it to be fundamentally different, but as someone who played it and felt that the game didn't live up to its own promise. If that sounds like the kind of thing you'd be interested in, go check it out."

It's not all flowers and holding hands though, 'cos John has a couple of criticisms:

"The not particularly serious one is that there's some extraneous swearing in a couple of chapters. I'm not a prude, but it kind of comes out of nowhere and doesn't serve much purpose."

Now I'm a fairly conversational writer, so sometimes more colorful turns of phrase slip into my works.   As far as I can tell, in reading Heroes Against Darkness you'll get one 'shit' and one 'crap'. You've been warned!

The second criticism is more serious:

"The more serious one is the underdeveloped skill system. Skills are mentioned in a couple of places: Each class has some suggested skills they should have, and there's a big list of possible skills, but the actual rules for skills are totally missing, from how many skills characters should have, to how and when they select those skills, to what skills do or how one uses them, to how one gets more. As a quick set of house rules, I'd imitate 4e somewhat: Having a skill would grant a +5 on any checks related to that skill. Character would select say, four at the start and could add another every other level."

I deliberately left the skill system out of Heroes Against Darkness, but its absence has been noted.   But all is not lost, and we've had a few discussions about it over at RPGnet:

RPGnet thread: [Heroes Against Darkness] This is my kind of D&D clone

Thanks for John for taking the time to review Heroes Against Darkness.

Head over to DriveThruRPG to pick up a print edition of Heroes Against Darkness:
DriveThruRPG - Heroes Against Darkness

Sunday 23 December 2012

Heroes Against Darkness in Print Now!

After what seemed like an eternity (considering the speed of the POD process for Hero Kids), I finally took delivery of the proofs of Heroes Against Darkness hardcover and softcover books today from DriveThruRPG!

I won't bore you with any more of the trials and tribulations of the process, suffice to say that right now you can buy the hardcover and softcover books of Heroes Against Darkness from DriveThruRPG:

Hero Forge Games Products at DriveThruRPG

Everyone loves pictures, so here are a bunch of shots of the proof copies that arrived today.