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Battlequest: A Tabletop WIP


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#1 Ratcatcher

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 06:59 PM

Presented via FAQ, until I can get it a bit more organized... If you're familiar with DnD or Tabletop Roleplaying, skip the first two questions.  :)

 

What is Battlequest?

 

Battlequest is a tabletop roleplaying game (RPG) with at least two people (recommended five or six) at a table. Like many tabletop roleplaying games, Battlequest is played with one of the players acting as a narrator, storyteller, and deitous force (known as the Game Master, or GM) over the rest of the players, who each play one character in a world cast with other characters played by the GM (known as non-playable characters, or NPCs). All that is needed to play are pencils, paper, and a variety of different polyhedral dice for each player and the Game Master.

 

Because of the nature and simplicity of Battlequest, there may be some discrepancies found between the rules of the game, expectations of the players, and playstyle of the GM. If such discrepancies occur, the ultimate and overriding rule is that the Game Master is always right. The rules of Battlequest are meant to be adaptable to fit the needs of the game, as seen fit by the GM. Such leniency is given to the Game Master because this player is sacrificing the right to play a character in order to make the game fun for everybody else.

 

How do I play Battlequest?

 

The play of the game takes place in three simple steps:

  1. The GM describes the situation, scenery, and setting
  2. The players (perhaps in a turn order, but definitely one at a time) describe to the GM how they would like to interact with the world
  3. If necessary, the GM has the player roll a 20-sided dice to check the success of the player's action

Rinse and Repeat.

 

What makes Battlequest unique?

 

Though Battlequest is played like many other tabletop RPGs, there are several unique aspects about it. Firstly, the players seven skills that encompass everything a player might do outside of battle. These seven "Quest" skills are Arcana, Athleticism, Awareness, Creativity, Deftness, Intellect, and Personality. The "Battle" skills are Accuracy, Dodge, Heavy Weaponry, Light Weaponry, Magicka, Shield Use, and Pugilism. There are no governing attributes for these skills. Players will improve their skills by using them, and especially by failing at them; this is the foundation of Battlequest. As players improve their skills, they will be able to select Talents that govern their skills and increase their odds at success in them. Because of the nature of these two separate trees, each player will have a "Quest Level" and a "Battle Level", both of which are equal to the amount of Talents in their respective trees.

 

How do I level up?

 

Leveling up in Battlequest is intended to be both interactive and easy. Each time you use a skill, you put down a "mark." There will be a couple of skills you have proficiency in, and if you fail at one of those skills, you receive two marks. The number of marks you need to level up a skill are equal to four times your next level. For example, if I'm trying to progress from level 3 to level 4 in Intellect, I need 16 marks to achieve level 4. In Battlequest, you need only level 3 Quest Skills to receive a Quest Talent, or 3 Battle Skills to receive a Battle Talent. The catch is this: the Talent you receive must correspond to one of the three skills leveled (more on this later).

 

How do I use skills?

 

When you request an action and the GM asks you to make a skill check, the GM sets a number in his head that you have to achieve (known as a Difficulty Check, or DC; an average task usually requires a 15, a difficult task might be anywhere between 20-25, whereas a simple task might be 5-10). You will roll a 20-sided dice, then add your skill level in that check, then include any modifiers set by the GM or by your talents. For example, the GM asks me to make an Intellect check. My Intellect is 6, so when I roll a 17 on my 20-sided dice, I tell the GM that my total number is 23.

 

How do I create a character?

 

Ready to play? All of your Quest and Battle skills will start at 1. You have 9 points you can distribute to the Quest Skill tree and 6 Battle Skill points. You may also receive 3 Talents from the Quest tree, and 2 talents from the Battle tree provided that the talents you receive come from skills you put points into. For this reason, it is recommended you distribute your skill points three-at-a-time, and then take a talent in one of those skills, performing that process three times for each tree. The GM may want to set a limit to your starting skills (usually 5 or 6). An example of creating a character is provided below. Finally, choose three skills you wish to be proficient in the Quest Skill tree, and two skills in the Battle Skill tree. These skills will level up faster. If Arcana is one of your proficiencies, you may also choose three Aspects (see "Magic" below; the GM may also limit which aspects you can take at your level or even give them to you based on your background)

 

Spoiler

 

(Not challenging enough? Try Peasant Mode! You start all skills at 1 and receive no talents to begin with. You'll be bad at everything to start!!!)

 

What Talents may I select?

A WIP. Quest Talents are almost complete, but Battle Talents need some development. Any ideas would be welcome.

 

Spoiler

 

 

How does Combat work?

Yeah... that's a WIP. Here's what I got though:

 

Every round of combat lasts about 12 seconds. Within that 12 seconds, you will get a number of swings depending on your weapon. Here's the chart:

Daggers, Knives, unarmed combat, and extremely light weapons: 6d4 per round (2 seconds for each swing)

Short swords, Hand axes, Quarterstaves, and other light weapons: 4d6 per round (3 seconds for each swing)

Longswords, Battleaxes, Spears, Maces, and other heavy weapons: 3d8 per round (about 4 seconds for each swing)

Greataxes, Greatswords, Warhammers, Pikes, and other "massive" weapons: 2d12 per round (about 6 seconds per swing)

 

Damage from an enemy source can be negated in two of three ways: Armor and Blocking or Dodging. The first way is Armor! Wearing armor negates damage from the enemy per swing, up to three points. However, wearing armor reduces your ability to dodge (explained later), as shown below:

 

No armor: No damage negated, (may dodge with up to 3d12 dice)

Leather, Bone, or light armor: 1 damage per swing (3d8)

Chainmail, Half Plate, or medium armor: 2 damage per swing (3d6)

Plate Mail or heavy armor: 3 damage per swing (3d4)

 

Being flanked reduces the amount your armor negates by 1.

 

Shields and dodging roll dice that may negate damage equal to or less than the number rolled. For example, if somebody with a longsword rolls an 8, a 6, and a 4, and I (whether dodging or blocking) rolled a 7, a 4, and a 2, I could negate the 6 and the 4. I would still take the full 8 though. You may only block or dodge as many times as there are swings against you. As for what shields can roll, refer to the chart below. You may NOT block AND dodge in the same round:

 

Bucklers and smallest blocking devices, as well as weapon blocks: up to 6d4

Small shields: up to 4d6

Large shields: up to 3d8

Tower shields: up to 2d12

 

Accuracy: Throwing a weapon only counts as one swing, and uses a dice corresponding to the chart above (for example, a thrown dagger deals 1d4 damage). Longbows fire at a rate of 12 seconds, but fire 2d12 which is considered a single swing. Shortbows fire at a rate of 4 seconds, making their dice 3d8, with each dice being a swing. Arrows can be blocked, but not dodged, and are not considered flanking at any time when facing an armored enemy. Bows may not be used against an enemy 5 ft or less away that's not prone.

 

How does Magic work in this game?

(WIP)

 

Magic is a powerful and innate entity found in everyone, but to manipulate or even master this entity requires a lot of study on a mage's part. To break it down, there are Aspects of magic that can be learned by a mage, split into two categories: Essence and Power. To "cast a spell," At least two aspects are required, with at least one Essence and at least one Power needed. One or more Material components whether mundane or magical are also required to empower a spell, and are consumed on casting. A spell may also be given an Aspect known as a Complication to bolster it's abilities.

 

Powers:

Spoiler

 

Essences:

Spoiler

 

Complications:

Spoiler

 

There may be other Complications, Essences, or Powers out there yet to be discovered, but these are some basic ones to get a mage started and up to an intermediate level. Using a spell with just one essence and one power may have a DC varying from 12-15, with each additional Complication, Essence, or Power adding to the DC in some way. Spells are made with an Arcana check. It is also important to note that the player will not know all of these Aspects right away; they'll have to learn them in game.



#2 Burger Warrior

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 12:31 PM

Huh, this isn't a bad system at a glance. I can really appreciate how you've put an emphasis on growing from failed rolls... however, I think the exact numbers could use a little bit of work. Speaking here as a long-time veteran of Pathfinder, DnD 4e and 5e, Mutants and Masterminds 3e, Savage Worlds, and a couple other systems, there can be a lot of rolling in just a single session. Many of those, particularly with your high 'average' DC of 15, will be failures. That's a ton of skill growth per session, and I'm not entirely sure this system would be at its best weighted down by the number bloat that will inevitably follow it.

 

You've taken a lot of care to keep this extremely simple, which I can respect, but constant leveling without much in the way of a limit - and with accelerated speed on failed rolls - could lead to adding giant numbers to dice rolls in short order. From experience, that tends to make things trickier for people fresh to the tabletop. Further, I'm of the opinion that being able to advance all your skills so quickly from doing poorly weakens the dynamics of a party; where typically most people in a group fill a unique roll or three.

 

I think to adjust that and still keep things simple you can either: change the rate of growth in skills (so you don't level up from 1 to 2 by a single failure), or use a 'proficiency' system so you pick a few skills at character generation that will grow from failure as your character is particularly bent to learn from mistakes in that area of their life (a typical barbarian probably doesn't care to grow their arcane stat even if they roll it reluctantly or as a joke). I'm personally a fan of the latter method, because it will help your party fill their unique niches and doesn't stray far from examples set in other systems.

 

Besides that, I think there should be clearer limits on things like out-of-combat magic and perhaps some sort of level cap so gamemasters don't have to continually escalate threats to challenge a party over a longer campaign, but that's more of a personal preference thing and down to what you want from your creation, here. I hope this all helps. ^^


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#3 Ratcatcher

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 09:43 AM

Thanks for the feedback! I didn't really see that issue before, thanks for pointing it out. Perhaps if I not only doubled the current trend, but maybe in character creation, players could select three major skills that they will definitely attempt to build more than others? Then only these "Major Skills" learn from failure. That's a really good idea, thanks Burger! ^.^

 

As I get further into development, it gets more difficult to see flaws and potential issues, so I always appreciate and take feedback very seriously. More often than not I will agree with your suggestion if it's been thought out, and I can tell you really thought this one out.

 

Directly after this post, I'm going to edit the original to have added Quest Talents, though they're not very exciting. I definitely want to add more perks for taking talents, much like feats from DnD, but it's not easy to think of perks when the game is still in such early stages. It's much easier to batch out general options, which is what I have, so BEAR WITH ME. :P

 

 



#4 Ratcatcher

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 05:58 PM

Oh my goodness. I've been working hard on how magic is to work, because I love magic personally. I want this to be good. But WOW, can it be hard to think of things when you're busy with life! Anyway, ahem, let's continue.

 

I decided to go with a loose, fluid, spellcrafting system rather than a strict, "this spell does this" system. Because, well, freedom. Boxers over briefs, I guess. Anyway.

 

I also decided to implement a proficiency system, as well as up the effort it takes to level up a skill. It was, in fact, VERY low. Combat is next, but let me know what yall think of the loose and fluid spellcrafting system! :D



#5 V.Metalic

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 06:49 AM

What does loose and fluid spellcrafting actually means? :)


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#6 Ratcatcher

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 06:09 PM

What does loose and fluid spellcrafting actually means? :)

 

I'm glad you asked. (Insert elevator/tutorial music here)

 

I DON'T want my TTRPG to look like hundreds upon thousands of THESE:

 

Spoiler

 

NONE of that please! I have nothing wrong with that, other than the fact that I don't want to spend hours pouring out spell after spell, balancing and perfecting and fine-tuning. Ugh. I'm a simple guy.

 

What LOOSE and FLUID would "means" ( :P ) is that there's no set limit to what a player can do. No having to list off spells or memorize details. They just create the spell they want when they need it. Does that make sense?



#7 Burger Warrior

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 08:51 PM

Clears throat

 

NO GOD PLEASE NO! NO! NOOOOOO!

Ahem, in more helpful terms, coming from a somewhat veteran GM and someone who is a huge fan of magic systems in TTRPGs... I would love it if you actually provided some kind of guidelines or categorization for magic please for the love of God.

 

There's plenty you can do with a more nebulous system than DnD or Pathfinder's more intensely detailed and specific spells, but under 'do what you want' people can just throw death rays with wild abandon and that's both annoying and just sort of negates... everything I do as the GM. I would recommend taking a peek at something like Mutants and Masterminds or maybe Savage Worlds if you want fluid and also fairly simple and straightforward ways to implement magic into games with loose guidelines. M&M in particular is built for making custom super heroes so it pretty effectively covers literally everything you can do with supernatural powers in some way, shape, or form (the trouble being it works fundamentally differently from DnD besides sharing the d20 as a standard dice, so it's very much something to base your work on you can't copy and paste this stuff).


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#8 Ratcatcher

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 10:33 AM

Clears throat

 

NO GOD PLEASE NO! NO! NOOOOOO!

Ahem, in more helpful terms, coming from a somewhat veteran GM and someone who is a huge fan of magic systems in TTRPGs... I would love it if you actually provided some kind of guidelines or categorization for magic please for the love of God.

giphy.gif

 

Pffffffffhahahahaha I'm sorry I wasn't very clear on what I'm planning on doing. There will most DEFINITELY be a "damage limit" if you will on any harmful spells, based on your Battle - Magicka skill. The IDEA I'm going for is that if you can conjure fire, you can totally combust somebody's eyes... though it won't damage them severely and most definitely not permanently in early levels. Magic fire at low levels is unique, and doesn't do as much as you'd think it would. I mean, sure, spicy eyes hurts for a bit and is a great torture tactic, but it won't blind or even severely wound them at early levels. 

 

Does that bring you hope? :)



#9 Burger Warrior

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 08:30 AM

That does help, yeah. Guess I should have figured you'd at least keep damage scaling in mind. XP

Buuut I would personally still look at how other systems like the ones I mentioned handle customizable magic systems via clear parts with distinct costs. Perhaps deathrays were less of a good example compared to being able to always open locks or teleport wherever you like - stuff that can negate a lot of challenges with a difficult-to-quantify effect. ^^;

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#10 Ratcatcher

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Posted 03 September 2019 - 03:06 PM

Made a couple edits:

 

1. Houston, we have Combat! With minimal playtesting, I have an idea of what combat roughly looks like. Further playtesting may change things.

 

2. Combined "archery" and "thrown weaponry" into "Accuracy," and added the Battle skill "Pugilism," which focuses on unarmed combat.

 

Please tell me what you think, and how I could incorporate the battle skills in combat. I'm still testing some ideas and what would be best.






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