Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

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Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Sun May 27, 2012 1:40 pm

Hi there. There's been a couple of nice little games around with a more rp feel to them, so I thought that maybe in the near future I'd like to run something similar.

The purpose of this thread is to present what that game may look like and to gauge reader interest. I don't plan to start it proper until one of the other two completes.

Ok, on to the rule system. As the name suggests, Disciples (I and II) are a key inspiration. I won't get into details of the rules, as I'm working on adapting them, but some concepts that stuck out, and made Disciples very enjoyable for me, are described below. Something like that will be what battles will look like in a DoE game.

1. Battles are between small stacks of units.

Stacks had a max of 6 units in Disciples. I'll increase that to 8. Disciples further distinguished normal size and large size units- the latter filled two positions in a stack. I'm tempted to add something like that as well, possibly allowing for mounts so that a heavy (aka large unit) could carry one small one and thus still allow having a max of 8 units in the stack.

2. There is NO maneuvering.

Each stack has a front row and a back row. Melee can attack adjacent units (vacant rows are considered "gone"). There is no shifting around in the rows during battle.

Keeps things nice and simple. A bit weird, tactics-wise, to have a siege battle like that, but hey. Apart from that, it's very balanced in terms of range vs melee.

3. Battles are short

This is a consequence of how the various units of D were balanced against each other of course, but the fact is, battles were short- two phases, usually. I'll try and set things up so as to have more than just a linear sequence of battles constitute a campaign.

4. Missing is a possibility

Self evident.

5. XP is shared

Killing blow doesn't get the XP. Survivors get an equal share of XP.

6. Casters, Archers and Warriors

This refers to the various roles of the units. In D, casters tended to be frail, slow, and had low damage scores ... but were the most dangerous, because they applied that damage to every enemy at once. Ranged units tended to be frail, fast, and high damage, and the point of them was to knock casters out ASAP. Warriors were average speed, resilient, and very high damage. Their role was to either protect the back row or fight.

As a consequence, stacks tend to have a powerful first row of warriors, the choice being, whether to focus back row on Archers or Casters. Both options are valid, but result in combo A being better than B being better than C being better than A, a nice feature for games. (Well, another option was to have a large, tough unit in the front row, as these often had some ranged ability; whether it was ok to replace a warrior+{caster/archer} combo with one dragon-like unit, of course, contingent on the situation).

Another option was to have healers/damage enhancers/paralyzers (<-- lovely units these) in the back row, and have the front row plow through the opposition. Also viable.

7. Choose your destiny

Level-ups resulted in massive improvements to stats, at least for the first few levels, but also often involved a choice. Once a development path was taken, there was no going back.

I intend to keep the above. I probably will not keep the following feature of Disciples-

8. Death is cheap

Units die. A lot. Fortunately, they can be resurrected with a potion or at a temple, unless the whole stack dies. By its nature, the D combat system is horrifically bloody, unless the battling stacks are of vastly different power level.
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Re: Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby ETheBoyce » Sun May 27, 2012 2:03 pm

I'm quite interested, do you plan to include the Disciples Armor/Resistance system as well?
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Re: Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Sun May 27, 2012 2:59 pm

I pretty much have to, since the Armour system is the only thing that changes, somewhat, the flavour of Siege battles.

Though for those who do not know, in Disciples, Armour is a big deal.

An armour rating is a number between 0 and 90 and represents a percentage of damage that is ignored, independent of source. One could have (and with leader characters geared towards this, frequently attained) 90 armour which made a unit ridiculously hard to kill.

So I may tweak some things. But yes, I'll keep the Armour system.

The Ward system OTOH is a thing of beauty. A definite keeper. Ward against X means a unit ignores the first attack in a combat that is of type X. Since battles in Disciples tend towards short, this is more useful than it first appears. Frequently, it's a better option to forego increasing stats in favour of obtaining a Ward.

Immunities ... not so much. Physical aka Weapon immunity is booping annoying, when most things have Weapon as their damage source.
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Re: Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby MarbitChow » Sun May 27, 2012 3:20 pm

I'll give it a go as well. (I mentioned elsewhere that I've got no interest in running such a game, but playing in and running are two cats of entirely different colors. :D )
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Re: Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby WaterMonkey314 » Sun May 27, 2012 5:34 pm

I might be interested depending on how busy I am once it starts up.

In terms of the bloodiness of battles, I think Erfworld battles are supposed to be very bloody - just not for the "PC" types we're used to. If we're instead playing generic mooks, it might be ok if we get killed off pretty often. (The biggest problem I see is with casters being part of the rock-paper-scissors dynamic. Canonically, they're much too rare for that to work.)
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Re: Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Sun May 27, 2012 5:39 pm

Disciples had a funny way with casting, yes.

Caster units are very "dumb", stat wise, except for one major thingy. They're weak in all regards (speed, Hits, damage) except the ability to target every enemy all at once which paradoxically makes them very important and very effective.

OTOH, the truly (imo, ridiculously so) powerful use of magic is "overland" spells. Major battles would involve massive buffs/debuffs/damage being dealt from afar by the Capital cities of a side.

So I can see a "compromise" in which "caster" units aren't exactly casters, but merely units that somehow have area of effect weapons. Meanwhile, the real magic is handled elsewhere like inside a very well defended capital and would :( not be in the realm of PCs.

EDIT: by that I mean, if I keep a spell system, it will involve units the players will not control as their own. There will be allied casters, you will ask them what to cast and decide when, but they won't be in battles, and they won't be "your" characters.
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Re: Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby WaterMonkey314 » Sun May 27, 2012 5:45 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:Disciples had a funny way with casting, yes.

Caster units are very "dumb", stat wise, except for one major thingy. They're weak in all regards (speed, Hits, damage) except the ability to target every enemy all at once which paradoxically makes them very important and very effective.

OTOH, the truly (imo, ridiculously so) powerful use of magic is "overland" spells. Major battles would involve massive buffs/debuffs/damage being dealt from afar by the Capital cities of a side.

So I can see a "compromise" in which "caster" units aren't exactly casters, but merely units that somehow have area of effect weapons. Meanwhile, the real magic is handled elsewhere like inside a very well defended capital and would :( not be in the realm of PCs.

EDIT: by that I mean, if I keep a spell system, it will involve units the players will not control as their own. There will be allied casters, you will ask them what to cast and decide when, but they won't be in battles, and they won't be "your" characters.


Perhaps we should call the "casters" Archons, or something similar? :P
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Re: Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Sun May 27, 2012 5:49 pm

Yes, something like that.

Dwagons would also fit, when we're talking about larger units, but of course Archons are funner.
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Re: Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Sun May 27, 2012 6:02 pm

On the topic of bloody combats-

The issue with death isn't just, well, death, but that it stops one from getting levelled up. And, with the cost of levels being significant for the cooler levels, it's a real bother to start anew every time.

OTOH, resurrection potions and temples that may decrypt the dead aren't a dime a dozen in Erfworld and for once ... gah ... I'll let that flavour aspect slip.

So here's what I'm thinking. Since y'all seem fond of playing weirdly evil sides, you'll play as minions of a head hunting side. Name pending. Human Resources or an awful pun on some such. Anyway, this side's shtick is that they can collect the fallen corpses from a battle and, rather than merely uncroak them, they can give a fresh recruit a corpse and the recruit will absorb the memories of the corpse. A recruit can only do this once. Chalk it up to weirdomancy or something.

From a game perspective, that means that a fresh recruit (aka, you if your character dies) can recuperate a fraction of XP from a corpse, once. Assuming there were some buddies of yours left to get the corpse back to a HR city. Fraction of XP will always be below 100% alas, and will decrease the further apart you want to go from the corpse's original build.

Meaning, say you played a warrior and reached level 3 but Eris smiled upon you and now you're dead. You now want to try life as an archer, so you use your warrior corpse to send your freshman archer character to level 2 and a bit. For example.
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Re: Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby ETheBoyce » Sun May 27, 2012 8:07 pm

Clearly our side is one of Mindflayers!
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Re: Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Mon May 28, 2012 5:08 am

DnD's famously got this covered? Well boop now we definitely have to go that path, for referential purposes.

Thinking this a bit through, I see a problem in-universe. A side that can use corpses of the fallen (not necessarily its own) to boost fresh recruits has a huge advantage compared to sides that can't. So there must be some in-universe, in-story justification to make them not stomp everyone around. There would be some possibilities for that, but whatevs, that was just an idea, not fixed in yet. Next step is to get some details on the mechanics translated to the Erfworld setting, which I'm now doing.
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Re: Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby Werebiscuit » Mon May 28, 2012 5:19 am

Bland When are you thinking of Starting this up ? I ask because I'd rather not have 3 similar games running that I'm involved in. It 's bad enough avoiding crossovers at the moment :D I'm also off on holiday in 3 weeks time so I'll disappear from ALL games for a couple of weeks during end june -mid July.
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Re: Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Mon May 28, 2012 5:31 am

I'm not doing anything until at least one of the other games completes. And nothing in the next two weeks. I would like to start mid-to-end June though. I'll see.
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Re: Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby five-thirteen » Mon May 28, 2012 12:34 pm

Well it sounds like a cool concept, come June I'd definitely like to be part of this.
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Re: Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Thu May 31, 2012 8:43 am

*Ping*

Ok then, let's get some aspects of Disciples translated to the Erf settings.

The "Elements"

Various abilities, including damage, have a "source" in Disciples. If a unit has a ward/immunity against a source, then it will negate the first/all use(s) of abilities that have that source in a battle. Wards also protect a unit from overland damage spells. (<- "overland", out of battle spells- I'll leave these for later).

So, here are the available sources:

Disciples: weapon, earth, air, water, fire, mind, death, life. Weapon was the most common damage source. Many units (the undead) were immune to mind attacks. "Boss" units tended to be immune at least to mind, to disable paralyze attacks on them. Life mostly functioned as source for heal and boost abilities. Nothing was immune to life, but with the exception of boss units and capital guardians, nobody used life as a damage source.

Erfworld (proposed): Life, Motion, Matter, Mind, Fate, <tbd>. Life functions as source for beneficial abilities, so we can leave Fate as damage source for boss units ("you can't fight Fate"- no Wards nor Immunities against it). Matter will function as Weapon did in Disciples, ie the most common damage source. Mind gets its separate source so that I can keep the paralysis attacks of Disciples, along with all the strategies involving wards/immunities against them (paralyzers are awesome in general play; not so cool against boss units).

I'll probably split motion into several; the more "magical" weapons will tend to do damage in one of the subclasses of Motion. Several subclasses so as to keep the strategizing that arrives when several magic sources are available to pick or ward against.

Unit stats and combat order

Disciples: initiative, hits, armour, primary damage {with source and chance to hit}, secondary damage {likewise}. Special stats: wards and immunities, range and number of targets.

Initiative is a number from 10 to 90 and decides the order of combat. Who has the higher (adjusted- more on this in a bit) initiative goes before the one with the lower initiative; tie breaks settled randomly. When it is a unit's turn, it has a choice: Defend (and until its next turn, primary attacks against it do half the damage they normally would), Use ability (most often this means Attack), a couple special actions that I'll deal with later (Retreat, Surrender), and Wait. Wait delays the unit's action to until all the units have gotten a chance to act. After that, waiting units get to act in reverse order of initiative.

In general, you could expect certain types of units to have certain ranges of initiative. Capital guardian units had the highest initiative, followed by damage booster units, followed by archers, followed by warriors, followed by casters/dragons, followed by paralyzers, followed by healers.

Hits
is self explanatory.

Armour: a number between 0 and 90 deciding the percentage of primary damage that is dealt to the unit.

Primary damage: the amount of damage it would do to an armour 0 unit, as long as there aren't active wards or immunities against the primary source. The damage will happen if no miss occurs; how likely that is depends on the chance to hit.

Secondary damage: if the primary damage is successful (no miss, and no wards/immunities against the primary source), then another to hit roll using the secondary chance to hit is performed. In case of success, the secondary damage is dealt.

I keep saying "damage", but often, in particular for secondary damage, that's not exactly what goes on. The secondary damage was inflicting a status (like poisoned, frostbitten, blistered, paralyzed etc) on the victim. That status might result in damage inflicted to the victim for the next few turns, and that damage would ignore armour. When fighting siege battles, it really helped to have poisoning units around, for instance.

Primary damage isn't necessarily damage either. It may be healing (which ignores armour, of course) or some stat boost (like providing a ward for the duration of the battle, or more common, boosting damage).

In general, units had only one primary ability with, maybe, a secondary effect. The only choice was who to target with it. Exceptions- some units had an ability for friendlies and another for enemies. Also, leader units could carry two potions/scrolls/various other one shot magic items and use them in battle.

I've mentioned wards and immunities before.

Number of targets: how many targets to attack.

Disciples: 1, 2, <every valid target at once>

Erfworld: 1, 2, <every valid target at once>

Melee and Archer units often had only 1 target. Some higher level ones had 2, which allowed them to attack the same target twice if you so chose.

"Caster" aka Archon units tended to be able to attack everyone at once.

Range: either "adjacent" aka melee, or "any" aka ranged. "Any" is simple- anything that makes sense as a target for your ability is a possible target (you wouldn't shoot your own allies now would you; but you may shoot any enemy; conversely, you can't heal an opponent).

"Adjacent" requires that the Disciples battlefield be explained. It looks like this:

Code: Select all
Stack A       Stack B
kA1 fA1       fB1 kB1
kA2 fA2       fB2 kB2
kA3 fA3       fB3 kB3
kA4 fA4       fB4 kB4


kA* is the "back row" of the A stack, where squishy units go. fB* is the front row of B, where beefy melee units go. There is no maneuvering during combat. Units stay and possibly die in the position that they started in.

fA1 can normally attack fB1 and fB2. If both fB1 and fB2 are empty, it can attack fB3. If fB3 is also empty it can attack fB4. If fB4 is also empty, it can attack kB1 and kB2 etc.

fA2 can normally attack fB1, fB2, and fB3. If all these are empty, it can attack fB4. If that's also empty, it can attack kB1..kB3 etc.

Symmetric for fA3, fA4 etc.

Erfworld: combat, hits, defense, primary damage {with source and chance to hit}, secondary damage {likewise}. Special stats: wards and immunities, range and number of targets.

Apart from renaming initiative to combat, armour to defense, and declaring that adjusted initiative tiebreaks resolve simultaneously, nothing changes.

Special actions

Disciples: retreat, surrender.

If a unit retreats, it attempts to flee the battle. If it survives until it's next turn, it's gone.

Surrender affects the whole stack at once. All units in that stack kill themselves.

Erfworld: retreat, surrender.

I'll probably change the surrender mechanism though.

Stat adjustment

During combat, initiative and primary damage (except for heal and non-damaging abilities) get a 1d5 adjustment. The adjustments to initiative get applied at the beginning of a combat phase and decide the order of action.

Damage adjustments get applied in the case of a successful blow. Notably, the 1d5 is armour piercing.
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Re: Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby ETheBoyce » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:18 pm

Hark what news on this?
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Re: Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:26 pm

ETheBoyce wrote:Hark what news on this?


Indeed, it's high time to announce things, since the middle/end of June is upon us. I had hoped there'd be fewer simultaneous games happening, but things are what they are.

Rule thread and signups start next Wednesday. Hopefully we can have up to 8 players for this, with me as a GM. See y'all then!
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Re: Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby Werebiscuit » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:12 am

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
ETheBoyce wrote:Hark what news on this?


Indeed, it's high time to announce things, since the middle/end of June is upon us. I had hoped there'd be fewer simultaneous games happening, but things are what they are.

Rule thread and signups start next Wednesday. Hopefully we can have up to 8 players for this, with me as a GM. See y'all then!



As you know Bland(as per other threads) I'm away on holiday for the next 2 weeks. If you've got 8 players by then , then I've missed the boat. If you're still looking for players at that point then you can count on another one :D
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Re: Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:28 am

If interest is sustained, I'm open to adding characters as we go along. We'll manage somehow.
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Re: Disciples of Erfworld- trolling for interest

Postby kriss1989 » Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:54 pm

Intrigued. We'll see how it goes.
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