Monday, April 18, 2011

The Core Mechanic

The Demonsword Project tabletop RPG is not for the faint-hearted or math-averse; or at the very least, the Alpha 2 version is a bit heavy on the numbers. I have put a lot of effort into making it consistent, perhaps even simple; however it will likely be daunting at first.

The core mechanic is two parts. First, when you want to use some skill, roll the dice associated with that skill and compare against the DC (or, if the roll is opposed, compare against your opponent's roll). If you win, you have successfully performed the skill--however, it may not do what you intend. That's where the second part comes in: bonuses.

Bonuses may come from the skill, from the character, from the equipment, from previous actions, or they may come from rolling 5 or more over the skill DC. In any case, they affect the outcome. Bonuses may make you jump farther, shoot straighter, hit for more damage, craft finer details, sneak more quietly, listen more intently, or any number of other things depending on the circumstances.

The key to this, however, is that you have to roll substantially higher than the DC to get many bonuses. Fortunately, the DC is comparatively low, and you will be rolling a lot of dice. You'll always know what dice you need; the stats in DSRPG are dot based (comparable to White Wolf systems), and each dot is in the shape of the die it represents. In other words, if you have 1 d12 dot, 2 d8 dots, and 3 d4 dots filled in on your sheet, you roll those dice.

The bonus system is a reversal of previous RPG tropes in a few key ways; most notably, it allows you to chain skills in a sensible fashion. If you do a controlled jump off a cliff and land on an enemy, for example, you can easily transform skill bonuses from the jump into skill bonuses in the attack--assuming both the jump and your attack succeeds. Have several spellcasters combining their efforts into one enormous spell? Not only does the Bonus system accept it, the Demonsword system recognizes a special class of skills that makes sense of the logistics, called Augmented Skills. Augmented skills, which I'll get to in another post, represent any skill--magic, cyborg, interpersonal, or other--in which part of the inherent success of the skill relies on someone or something else. It could be a magical companion, a cyborg enhancement, or other mages in a partnership--it doesn't matter.

Apologies if this post is a little winding; I meant to finish it some time ago and had lost my steam when I came back to it. But, I'll definitely get back into the parts of it I skipped over later. Stay tuned!

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