PEACH my setting-generic, diceless, PVP, political RPG

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PEACH my setting-generic, diceless, PVP, political RPG

Postby Naturax » Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:03 pm

FactionRPG is a setting-generic, diceless, player versus player, roleplay-intensive system for games of deceit, manipulation, intrigue and politics that I have been working on for the last two years.

The Rules Primer: http://www.myth-weavers.com/wiki/index.php/FactionRPG_Rules_Primer
The Complete Rules: http://www.myth-weavers.com/wiki/index.php/FactionRPG_v3.7

I'd be interested in hearing general feedback with regards to where there is room for improvement. Something to consider would be whether or not this system would be suitable for an Erfworld-style game.

Thanks!
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Re: PEACH my setting-generic, diceless, PVP, political RPG

Postby MarbitChow » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:42 pm

Looks interesting. Do you have some gameplay examples worked out?

It seems similar in concept to Steve Jackson's Illuminati card game, of which I'm a huge fan.

Faction specializations may need balancing.

You might want to consider allowing specializations for assets, rather than factions, which would allow you to weight them so that more BP could be spent on specializations that seem more useful.
This would allow factions to have more personality, and allow for games with a small number of players to develop a wide range of strategies.
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Re: PEACH my setting-generic, diceless, PVP, political RPG

Postby Naturax » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:35 am

Thanks for all of this feedback! You've got some really insightful ideas.

MarbitChow wrote:Looks interesting. Do you have some gameplay examples worked out?


I've got a few games in progress over on Myth-Weavers:

Ravnica: http://www.myth-weavers.com/game.php?g=5975
Sharn, the City of Towers: http://www.myth-weavers.com/game.php?g=5876
Kamigawa : http://www.myth-weavers.com/game.php?g=6364

MarbitChow wrote:It seems similar in concept to Steve Jackson's Illuminati card game, of which I'm a huge fan.


I've been told I need to check it out. They might have some mechanics that will inspire some changes in my game. There isn't an online version, is there?

MarbitChow wrote:Faction specializations may need balancing.


Would you please be more specific? What looks overpowered/underpowered to you?

MarbitChow wrote:You might want to consider allowing specializations for assets, rather than factions, which would allow you to weight them so that more BP could be spent on specializations that seem more useful.
This would allow factions to have more personality, and allow for games with a small number of players to develop a wide range of strategies.


The primary design goal behind giving specializations to factions is that it gives you a reason to collaborate with them. If you want to Damage something, you have incentive to find the faction with Tactics and get them to help you out.

But, I should try assigning specializations to assets instead just to see how it works out. It would make a lot of sense to do something like that in a setting such as Shadowrun. How much BP do you think it should cost? Double?
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Re: PEACH my setting-generic, diceless, PVP, political RPG

Postby Crovius » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:29 am

Naturax wrote:
MarbitChow wrote:You might want to consider allowing specializations for assets, rather than factions, which would allow you to weight them so that more BP could be spent on specializations that seem more useful.
This would allow factions to have more personality, and allow for games with a small number of players to develop a wide range of strategies.


The primary design goal behind giving specializations to factions is that it gives you a reason to collaborate with them. If you want to Damage something, you have incentive to find the faction with Tactics and get them to help you out.

But, I should try assigning specializations to assets instead just to see how it works out. It would make a lot of sense to do something like that in a setting such as Shadowrun. How much BP do you think it should cost? Double?


In my opinion, doubling tends to make some... issues with scale. Things that already cost a lot will be worthless for their price while specializations that are cheap now won't be hindered as much. Maybe a percentage increase, maybe make everything cost 20-50% more? This looks really interesting.
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Re: PEACH my setting-generic, diceless, PVP, political RPG

Postby Naturax » Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:31 pm

Crovius wrote:In my opinion, doubling tends to make some... issues with scale. Things that already cost a lot will be worthless for their price while specializations that are cheap now won't be hindered as much. Maybe a percentage increase, maybe make everything cost 20-50% more?


That's a good point. Something like "spend EP equal to the asset's value in order to give it a specialization" might be a little unintuitive, though. So I might have to just go with +2 BP.

I guess everyone with any hidden assets will probably take one token asset with Hide in Plain Sight, and then if you find it and take it or destroy it, that will really hinder their operations.

This also begs the question if Infusion should permanently give specializations to assets, but maybe only if the action strength is double the asset's value (as is required for exceptional successes on Attack actions). That would make defensive actions more symmetrical with attack actions, since there would be two levels of success. The neat part would be figuring out what the super-exceptional success when Shrouding would be.

Crovius wrote:This looks really interesting.


Thanks! I've been working on it for over two years and it's gone through a lot of evolutions since then. It's getting close to where it needs to be, but still needs a little work, I think.
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Re: PEACH my setting-generic, diceless, PVP, political RPG

Postby Naturax » Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:27 pm

Check out the BP cost for adding specializations to assets: http://www.myth-weavers.com/wiki/index.php/Creating_a_Faction_in_FactionRPG
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Re: PEACH my setting-generic, diceless, PVP, political RPG

Postby MarbitChow » Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:35 am

Naturax wrote:
MarbitChow wrote:It seems similar in concept to Steve Jackson's Illuminati card game, of which I'm a huge fan.

I've been told I need to check it out. They might have some mechanics that will inspire some changes in my game. There isn't an online version, is there?

I don't think there's an online-playable version, but you can check out the rules here

Naturax wrote:
MarbitChow wrote:Faction specializations may need balancing.

Would you please be more specific? What looks overpowered/underpowered to you?


Ambush vs. Hide in Plain Sight, for example. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but Ambush allows you to increase the effect of your action x2, while Hide in Plain Sight only gives +1 per asset.

Naturax wrote:
MarbitChow wrote:You might want to consider allowing specializations for assets, rather than factions, which would allow you to weight them so that more BP could be spent on specializations that seem more useful.
This would allow factions to have more personality, and allow for games with a small number of players to develop a wide range of strategies.


The primary design goal behind giving specializations to factions is that it gives you a reason to collaborate with them. If you want to Damage something, you have incentive to find the faction with Tactics and get them to help you out.
But, I should try assigning specializations to assets instead just to see how it works out. It would make a lot of sense to do something like that in a setting such as Shadowrun. How much BP do you think it should cost? Double?

Ah, I see now. I was viewing this from the 3-5 player perspective, not the 13+ scenario. In that case, I'd recommend giving the assets less-powerful versions of the specializations, and rule that a Faction's specialization and an asset's specialization are not cumulative - you can only use one or both (making it useless for a faction to add specializations that they already possess to their own assets).

Or even better, only allow an asset's specialization to apply to it's own value, so (for example) an asset w/ Planning would not lose value, but any other assets involved in the action still would.
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Re: PEACH my setting-generic, diceless, PVP, political RPG

Postby Naturax » Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:10 pm

MarbitChow wrote:I don't think there's an online-playable version, but you can check out the rules here


Sweet, thanks!

MarbitChow wrote:Ambush vs. Hide in Plain Sight, for example. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but Ambush allows you to increase the effect of your action x2, while Hide in Plain Sight only gives +1 per asset.


The balancing factor with Ambush is supposed to be that it can only be used defensively, though in playtesting I am noticing that it is probably too powerful. I could scale it down to +1 strength per asset collaborating on the action, which would have the added bonus of letting public assets hide themselves without any assistance.

MarbitChow wrote:Ah, I see now. I was viewing this from the 3-5 player perspective, not the 13+ scenario. In that case, I'd recommend giving the assets less-powerful versions of the specializations, and rule that a Faction's specialization and an asset's specialization are not cumulative - you can only use one or both (making it useless for a faction to add specializations that they already possess to their own assets).

Or even better, only allow an asset's specialization to apply to it's own value, so (for example) an asset w/ Planning would not lose value, but any other assets involved in the action still would.


This is a really interesting idea. Something I'd like to stay away from, though, is having the faction with Planning, for example, be the only one that can fully benefit from their specialization. I really want collaboration to give the full benefit of the specializations of the other factions so that you have a reason to exchange services.
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Re: PEACH my setting-generic, diceless, PVP, political RPG

Postby MarbitChow » Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:52 pm

Naturax wrote:
MarbitChow wrote:Or even better, only allow an asset's specialization to apply to it's own value, so (for example) an asset w/ Planning would not lose value, but any other assets involved in the action still would.

This is a really interesting idea. Something I'd like to stay away from, though, is having the faction with Planning, for example, be the only one that can fully benefit from their specialization. I really want collaboration to give the full benefit of the specializations of the other factions so that you have a reason to exchange services.

There would still be a reason.
A "faction specialization" would be the full-strength version. Any asset in an action that the faction joined in would benefit from the full specialization.
An "asset specialization" would only be applied to the asset itself, sort of a special ability.

For example, a faction w/ ambush contributes two assets. The fact that the faction has at least one asset in the action means that all assets gain ambush.
Another faction commits an asset that has an ambush "asset specialization". Only that asset gains the x2 benefit.
If a faction is involved, the faction's specialization takes precedence over any asset specializations, so there is no additional benefit in adding an Ambush asset to an action that the Ambush Faction is engaged in.

-----

An unrelated question: what mechanic prevents the Upgrade Faction from just dumping all of their starting build points into a single asset, and then targetting a new zero-strength asset every turn to build up as large a force as possible? Space is a limiting factor, I assume, but it sounds like the Upgrade Faction could just about guarantee that they use up all the available space as rapidly as possible.
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Re: PEACH my setting-generic, diceless, PVP, political RPG

Postby Naturax » Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:52 am

MarbitChow wrote:A "faction specialization" would be the full-strength version. Any asset in an action that the faction joined in would benefit from the full specialization.
An "asset specialization" would only be applied to the asset itself, sort of a special ability.

For example, a faction w/ ambush contributes two assets. The fact that the faction has at least one asset in the action means that all assets gain ambush.
Another faction commits an asset that has an ambush "asset specialization". Only that asset gains the x2 benefit.
If a faction is involved, the faction's specialization takes precedence over any asset specializations, so there is no additional benefit in adding an Ambush asset to an action that the Ambush Faction is engaged in.


Ah, I understand now. That's definitely something for me to try out in my next playtest.

MarbitChow wrote:An unrelated question: what mechanic prevents the Upgrade Faction from just dumping all of their starting build points into a single asset, and then targetting a new zero-strength asset every turn to build up as large a force as possible? Space is a limiting factor, I assume, but it sounds like the Upgrade Faction could just about guarantee that they use up all the available space as rapidly as possible.


That is an excellent question. At the moment, one limiting factor is that when you create a new asset, you are actually enhancing a currently existing 0-value asset (there's an infinite number you can pluck out of the aether). If you tell anyone what you are targeting, they can try to damage that 0-value asset, but they would need to beat your strength on the action to destroy it before its value goes up, but that's not going to be much of an obstacle.

Maybe a true obstacle is that you're committing all of your resources to a specific action for the first few turns, not building relationships with the other factions, and not necessarily working towards your end goals. I think the ideal game has a fixed number of turns (10ish), which means that maybe you'll fall too far behind to catch up. This is certainly an interesting problem you've posed.

What bothers me most about this setup is: if you have this one big asset able to create more assets, why are you just doing this now (when the game starts) instead of having done this earlier? It's not like the faction didn't exist before the game started. So maybe some other kind of mechanic is in order.

A friend of mine suggested some way to measure how many assets your faction can exert influence over, and if you take on too many (or your influence is reduced) than your assets start going uncontrolled or something. I'm not sure if this relates to the problem of hand, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.
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Re: PEACH my setting-generic, diceless, PVP, political RPG

Postby MarbitChow » Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:14 am

Naturax wrote:That is an excellent question. At the moment, one limiting factor is that when you create a new asset, you are actually enhancing a currently existing 0-value asset (there's an infinite number you can pluck out of the aether). If you tell anyone what you are targeting, they can try to damage that 0-value asset, but they would need to beat your strength on the action to destroy it before its value goes up, but that's not going to be much of an obstacle.


Couldn't they just spend 1 build point to make the primary asset hidden? (I'm assuming that you can't reveal and target a hidden asset on the same turn.)

Naturax wrote:Maybe a true obstacle is that you're committing all of your resources to a specific action for the first few turns, not building relationships with the other factions, and not necessarily working towards your end goals. I think the ideal game has a fixed number of turns (10ish), which means that maybe you'll fall too far behind to catch up. This is certainly an interesting problem you've posed.


I didn't see anything in the rules about what the victory conditions are, so that's hard for me to judge.

It seems like Upgrade, Cannibalize, and Tactics factions could combine to devour the rest of the players completely.
Tactics and Cannibalize are already formidable together, and Upgrade spends a few turns building up a few potent bonus assets.
Once the combo got going, it would be very hard to derail, especially if it remains hidden from the other players.

Naturax wrote:What bothers me most about this setup is: if you have this one big asset able to create more assets, why are you just doing this now (when the game starts) instead of having done this earlier? It's not like the faction didn't exist before the game started. So maybe some other kind of mechanic is in order.


"I've just finished restructuring. Prior to the beginning of the game, I had assets (corporations, societies, etc.) all over the place, and as the game begins, I've just finished organizing them all into a single cohesive whole."

I realize that this is an RPG, but in my experience, it's a lot easier to prevent abuse by mechanics than it is by RP reasons. A moderately clever player can ALWAYS come up with an RP justification.

Naturax wrote:A friend of mine suggested some way to measure how many assets your faction can exert influence over, and if you take on too many (or your influence is reduced) than your assets start going uncontrolled or something. I'm not sure if this relates to the problem of hand, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.


That's rule actually makes it more likely that players will concentrate their power into a few powerful assets, since it's easier to stay under the limit that way.
You could just do something simpler, like limit the max strength of an asset to X, where X is about 1/3 to 1/4 of the total build points.
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Re: PEACH my setting-generic, diceless, PVP, political RPG

Postby Naturax » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:34 pm

MarbitChow wrote:
Naturax wrote:That is an excellent question. At the moment, one limiting factor is that when you create a new asset, you are actually enhancing a currently existing 0-value asset (there's an infinite number you can pluck out of the aether). If you tell anyone what you are targeting, they can try to damage that 0-value asset, but they would need to beat your strength on the action to destroy it before its value goes up, but that's not going to be much of an obstacle.


Couldn't they just spend 1 build point to make the primary asset hidden? (I'm assuming that you can't reveal and target a hidden asset on the same turn.)


If the asset creating the new asset was hidden, sure no one would be able to stop you. I'm talking about the case in which you ask someone else to collaborate with you on creating the new asset.

MarbitChow wrote:
Naturax wrote:Maybe a true obstacle is that you're committing all of your resources to a specific action for the first few turns, not building relationships with the other factions, and not necessarily working towards your end goals. I think the ideal game has a fixed number of turns (10ish), which means that maybe you'll fall too far behind to catch up. This is certainly an interesting problem you've posed.


I didn't see anything in the rules about what the victory conditions are, so that's hard for me to judge.

It seems like Upgrade, Cannibalize, and Tactics factions could combine to devour the rest of the players completely.
Tactics and Cannibalize are already formidable together, and Upgrade spends a few turns building up a few potent bonus assets.
Once the combo got going, it would be very hard to derail, especially if it remains hidden from the other players.


This is definitely something I'll have to keep an eye on. The only way to know for sure is to playtest!

MarbitChow wrote:
Naturax wrote:A friend of mine suggested some way to measure how many assets your faction can exert influence over, and if you take on too many (or your influence is reduced) than your assets start going uncontrolled or something. I'm not sure if this relates to the problem of hand, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.


That's rule actually makes it more likely that players will concentrate their power into a few powerful assets, since it's easier to stay under the limit that way.
You could just do something simpler, like limit the max strength of an asset to X, where X is about 1/3 to 1/4 of the total build points.


Hrm. Capping maximum asset value as a function of total asset value is an interesting idea, and I'm glad you proposed it. I'll have to mull over that one for a bit.


Thanks again for all of this feedback. This kind of discussion is very helpful. Here's hoping you'll consider playing the next game I run!
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Re: PEACH my setting-generic, diceless, PVP, political RPG

Postby Naturax » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:55 pm

MarbitChow wrote:Upgrade spends a few turns building up a few potent bonus assets.


It just occurred to me that this strategy is not viable if the game begins with 0 free space, or close to it. The intent is that there not be a huge vacuum to fill up right at the start of the game, but rather that you have to step on toes in order to make gains.
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Re: PEACH my setting-generic, diceless, PVP, political RPG

Postby Naturax » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:10 pm

The new version of my system is up, if anyone is interested in taking a look at the changes I went with: http://www.myth-weavers.com/wiki/index.php/FactionRPG

Also, I'm running a game set in the continuity of the recent Batman films if anyone is interested in trying it out: http://www.myth-weavers.com/showthread.php?t=101571
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