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    1. Combat-less TTRPGs with stat depletion?

      Combat appears to be an important facet of most RPG systems out there, including ones embedded into the games themselves. Seems fair to say that most RPGs have combat as a major, dedicated part of...

      Combat appears to be an important facet of most RPG systems out there, including ones embedded into the games themselves. Seems fair to say that most RPGs have combat as a major, dedicated part of their gameplay: stats like weapon damage and armor resistance are tracked and augmented by enhancements and skills; there are special game states and (for videogame RPGs) controls that separate combat from non-combat; combat serves as one of the major sources of XP for character growth.

      There's probably a good few examples out there of games that tried something different that I haven't even heard about. Disco Elysium does "combat" through skill checks in the few instances that it does tackle physical encounters. Griftlands uses card-based actions for both combat and social encounters, each having their own separate decks and "health" values.

      What I've been looking for was the kind of a system that doesn't take combat for a special game state. A system where the simulation extends to assimilate combat as just... a thing that happens because you're in danger – or looking to be the danger.

      To understand where I'm going with the next bit, you should know a couple of things about Frontiers.

      Frontiers is an episodic story about a group of friends playing a homebrew from-first-principles tabletop RPG system. The system, so far titled Frontiers RPG 'cause I'm very original, deals away with or reimagines much of the classic RPG trope library.

      One thing that differentiates Frontiers RPG is having 20-some traits for characters, where each trait is an abstracted statistic representative of a character's distinct natural-performance categories. For example:

      • Instrumentation determines how well the character naturally operates simple and complex technology
      • Visual Space determines one's eyesight and, consequently, the ability to model the geometry of an environment or an object in the head (because apparently these things are linked in the human brain)
      • Biomechanics determines how well does one's muscles perform under stress
      • Presence determines the strength of the vibe the character gives off naturally; the vibe itself could be intimidating, commanding, or inspiring, depending on said character

      Traits are tracked on a low scale:

      • −10 is the lowest possible for any living creature with any amount of agency.
      • −5 is the lowest any human could possibly get without outside intervention, and means the person is unable to perform in this area completely.
      • 0 is average human performance.
      • +5 is the best a human being could naturally achieve at their peak.
      • +10 is the epitome of human potential when amplified with hyperadvanced technology or supernatural effects.

      This means that when someone with Presence +1 enters the room, people can't but notice, even if they don't concern themselves too much with the person. When it's someone with Presence +3, however, most will stop what they're doing for a few seconds and pay attention to what the person is doing. Presence +5? The party stops when the person enters the room: they inspire this much awe and respect (or fear, depending on the person). Characters with high Presence naturally make for excellent leaders, teachers, negotiators, and point-makers.

      There are no dice rolls. Each challenge has a difficulty rating on the same scale as traits, which is how the outcomes get determined: either by checking the trait itself or the average of a set of traits (which are sometimes conceptualized into skills and sometimes only exist as checks). For example, if your character's Conditioning (representing physical endurance) is +1 and the challenge is a short jog (difficulty 1), they succeed without a problem.

      What makes this system not entirely deterministic is stat depletion. Each trait value above 0 grants the character 1 point of the trait. These points may be used to assist oneself or another character in a challenge if the challenge is of higher difficulty than their trait would normally allow to automatically succeed in. Points are regained at rest, up to the maximum of trait value points: e.g. Instrumentation 2 grants you maximum of 2 points you can have on your character at any given time.

      What I've been working with for a few months was HP-like stats derived from specific traits:

      • wounds for physical damage, derived from Conditioning
      • willpower for mental stress, derived from Volition
      • stamina for physical performance, derived from Stress Response

      (Having willpower as a stat works because for normal humans, D&D-like adventures would inevitably take their toll. Seeing people suffering may damage the will of a high-Empathy character, but then, everyone would suffer from seeing their loved ones in danger. Seeing a giant fucking monster would certainly make you consider your life choices. Persevering through emotional and mental challenges where your willpower is mechanically limited – a person can only take so much within a limit of time – is an underexplored, underdeveloped field of roleplay, and it fits into the story thematically.)

      This naturally geared itself to combat-as-special-state. Abstracting "health points" only makes sense when the only thing that matters is whether you're able to fight further. To this end, I figured that at a certain level of wounds, all traits would take penalty (to simulate being beaten up and stressed from combat) until such a time when the character receive proper care and rest.

      Lately, however, I came upon a way to streamline the system and make it "wider" (i.e. not just combat/non-combat simulation): use the trait points directly. This approach enables the player by allowing them to use their whole potential in all manners of situations, and have said potential used against them if they're facing a challenge their ability does not allow them to surpass.

      • rather than exchange punches in a bar fight, you can use your Executive Function – your thinking-on-your-feet – to distract your opponent and sucker-punch them while they're looking away
      • in a fistfight, character may use their Coordination to deflect a blow – or two points to direct it in a specific way: for example, to harm their proximous ally
      • before approaching the bench in order to testify, characters may use their Empathy in order to read the room and understand what sort of an appeal would work best
      • seeing an atrocity committed would take a point away from the character's Volition; if they have none left, they may faint, become disstressed (receiving a malus to all checks of a particular nature), or even become catatonic (unable to act coherently until snapped out of it or well-rested)
      • being shot by a scared youth may take a point or two of the character's Conditioning, but because they're still standing, they could use Volition to "not fucking flinch", which gives them a temporary bonus to Presence that they can use to interrogate with greater success or otherwise use the youth's capacities

      This works, at least on the surface, because it reflects the potential traits grant almost exactly. Someone with Conditioning 0 may be able to take a punch, but it would leave them seriously disoriented or may even inflict lasting damage (broken rib, dislocated jaw etc.); meanwhile, another character with Conditioning 4 may be able to get shot with a pistol and still function to a degree. Someone with Inner World +3 should find it little trouble to jot down a short story to tell their children before bed, while someone with Inner World 0 would find it impossible to come up with a logo for their new product even with intense consideration.

      What I haven't yet figured out is:

      • how to handle such "shooting above one's head" attempts for trait values lower than 0 (which is encouraged for challenge and roleplay reasons)
      • how to handle situations where all points are depleted and the player still wants to try a difficult thing that's just above their character's level
      • whether players should receive more than one point per level of trait, or even see points granted scale with value (Engineering 3 → 1 + 2 + 3 = 6 points total)

      The system is not perfect, but it's hella interesting, and I'd like to pursue it. If it leads nowhere, at least I explored. What I'm looking for from this topic is review of the concept of stat depletion and its potential implications. Assume that the rest of the system is perfectly viable and feasible unless its parts directly contradict or hamper the system as a whole. What problems can you see with this section? What benefits can one derive from it?

      5 votes
    2. Recommend FLOSS games

      I'd like to ask for recommendations for FLOSS (Free/Libre, Open-Source Software) games, playable on Linux or Android. I saw an old thread on this topic, but it's over a year old, so I thought it'd...

      I'd like to ask for recommendations for FLOSS (Free/Libre, Open-Source Software) games, playable on Linux or Android. I saw an old thread on this topic, but it's over a year old, so I thought it'd be okay to ask this year. Genre-wise, I'm pretty open. RPG, adventure, FPS, RTS, TBS, 4x, puzzle, sidescroller, platformer, single-player, multi-player, online, offline... whatever. I would prefer not needing to have original (commercial) game assets.

      Fine print: I do like a good FPS, but, having played commercial titles on PS3 and PS4, I've found that the FLOSS FPSes I've tried just don't hold a candle to them. Also, I prefer having a short TTK (think: hardcore mode, R6S, BFV), and every FLOSS FPS I've tried has had a long TTK.

      I've already played:

      Linux:

      • Wesnoth
      • 0 A.D.
      • roguelikes (currently have an active character in Angband)
      • Ur Quan Masters
      • Minetest
      • bzflag (long ago)

      Android:

      • SuperTuxKart
      • Pixel Dungeon
      • Andor's Trail
      • Mindustry
      • Pixel Wheels
      • Vector Pinball
      • Minetest
      • Wesnoth
      • HyperRogue

      What I haven't played, but might check out:

      • FreeOrion
      • Endless Sky
      • Glest, MegaGlest
      • Warzone 2100
      • Zero-K
      • KeeperRL
      • OpenRCT2
      • Oolite
      21 votes
    3. Tildes' Game Backlog Burner Event: Week 1 Update Thread

      What is this? See here for full details on the event. Post Your Update How did your week go? What games did you get through? How did you feel about them? What's up next for you? Focuses for Week 2...

      What is this?

      See here for full details on the event.

      Post Your Update

      • How did your week go?
      • What games did you get through?
      • How did you feel about them?
      • What's up next for you?

      Focuses for Week 2

      • Games in genres you don't normally play
      • Games that take longer than 4 hours to complete
      • Story-driven games

      Let's burn through these backlogs!

      6 votes
    4. How to start a DnD campaign with your friends?

      Times are tough and isolation is getting to everybody, we've been playing some easy jackbox games with my friends on Google Hangouts, when the idea came to me: Why not start a DnD campaign? I've...

      Times are tough and isolation is getting to everybody, we've been playing some easy jackbox games with my friends on Google Hangouts, when the idea came to me: Why not start a DnD campaign? I've never ever played one, just watched some Youtube (Geek and Sundry, Mathew Colville), and definitely never though about hosting one until now.

      After looking around, there are a lot of cool resources for running one, Roll20 seems to be the most popular and praised for ease of use. Rules are very well written into it and all the tools needed to deal with the mechanics are in. So technology-wise I think we're set.

      Now I have a lot of questions on how to get an adventure running. Do I just get an official DnD guide book, do I just rip off the White Orchard level from Witcher 3 to start off or do I come up with some generic fantasy land? I'd like to run a small adventure in one night, just to get a taste of it and maybe branch it off later if everyone is up for it.

      For characters I think it would be easier for me to come up with 8-10 pre-generated ones for a group of 4-5 people (with specific people in mind) to tailor it a little bit for my group, but still present some variety, while smoothing the learning curve and lowering the barrier to entry. Feels like a decent idea.

      I'm still not sure where to start with this expansive world and I'd love to hear for seasoned DMs an players here on Tildes. How did you start your first game, what was the setting? How do I gently introduce players to mechanics? How do I deal with unpredictable situations?

      And most importantly, how do I make sure everyone is having fun?

      18 votes
    5. Tildes' Backlog Burner Event: Shrink your unplayed games list this April!

      What is this? First off, this is NOT an April Fool (I promise!). I know that many of us will be stuck at home for this month, I know that many of us could likely use something to pull our...

      What is this?

      First off, this is NOT an April Fool (I promise!). I know that many of us will be stuck at home for this month, I know that many of us could likely use something to pull our attention away from the news, and I know that many of us have accumulated quite the to-play list of games. As such, I'm thinking it could be fun for us to tackle those lists together and collectively clean up our clutter! Let's all burn through our backlogs!

      The goal isn't necessarily to completely clear them, just to put a dent in them.

      How does it work?

      Your "backlog" is all those games you've been meaning to play or get around to, but never have yet! For the purposes of this event, an item can be removed from your backlog in one of three ways:

      • Finished: you completed the game, or, for open-ended games, reached some level of "done" that you consider satisfactory

      • Moved On: you tried it out, but it didn't hold your interest, got repetitive, wasn't for you, or had some other issue (like compatibility problems or glitches)

      • Removed: you are choosing to remove this from your backlog without playing it, likely because it no longer interests you, but really for any reason at all.

      Use this thread to talk about your backlogs, plan for the month, and once you start playing, inform us of any backlog downsizing and their associated categories. Give us a list of the games you removed. Tell us why you moved on from what you were just playing. Gush about how a particular item held your interest long enough to see it through. The goal of this isn't to beat every game you own; it's to explore what you already have in the way that's best, and most meaningful, for you. If you're not enjoying a game, dump it and move on!

      If you're not sure what you might write, take a look at a previous backlog post to get an idea. Also if you want to keep track of statistics or anything else like that, go for it!

      What's the timeline?

      I will post an update thread weekly, each Wednesday, for the four weeks of April. At the end of the month, I think it would be neat to tally how many collective games we all removed from our backlogs, as well as what the best finds were from our collective digging into our libraries. I expect we'll turn up some good hidden gems, as well as interesting insights.

      Each week, I'll also include some "focus" areas which can help narrow down choices for what to play. Those are just recommendations for fun, however. Play whatever you like, whenever you like, however you like! If it's in your backlog, then it's automatically a good choice!

      Do I need to sign up?

      You don't have to do anything to officially join or participate in the event other than post in these threads! Participate in whatever way works for you. Also, because this is ongoing, it is okay to make more than one top-level post if you're updating the thread with new information.

      Focuses for Week 1:

      • Games you've been meaning to play for more than a year
      • Games you can mod
      • "Evening-size" games

      Let's burn through these backlogs!


      Meta Note: I am also running this same event for ~books as well. I am not active in the other media-focused communities on Tildes, but I encourage someone(s) to pick this up and run it concurrently for ~movies, ~tv, ~anime, and/or ~music (and any other places you think it might fit). I like the idea of it being sitewide, with people participating in their media formats of choice. Any runners for those groups have my full permission to steal this wholesale, tweak it for their target group, and post it there.

      16 votes
    6. What do you do with 51 character levels?

      My gaming group got to talking at our last game about how long we've been playing. Most of us were at 20+ years. I asked them if they'd ever played a 20th level character, and the answer was a...

      My gaming group got to talking at our last game about how long we've been playing. Most of us were at 20+ years. I asked them if they'd ever played a 20th level character, and the answer was a unanimous no, so that's something we're going to remedy with the next campaign.

      I got to fiddling around with characters and noticed that 5e caps itself out nicely once you hit 20th. No matter what you create, the limits on action economy, maximum spell/attacks, stats/scores all give rise to a nice plateau. The hit points getting huge is the biggest change, so you just end up trading healing word whack-a-mole for characters that can actually take some real punishment and using power word heal. Needs a wound mechanic so that going down has lasting consequences even if you get right back up, but that's easily workable.

      I was bored and threw another twenty levels on for a 40th level character, and then another 11 for a meaningful dip into a third class. Just cap the character's proficiency bonus at +6/20th and nothing really changes except you have a far larger bag of tricks at your disposal. Twelve feats is like candyland. I'm anticipating some of my players are going to get ferret shock trying to keep up with their spell lists during combat. Too many choices, they'll make a hilarious mess out of it and it'll be fun. I have a tiny hourglass sitting on the table to keep the pressure up, I'm sure that'll get some use.

      I told them to pick their favorite character they've played over the years that they want to revisit and make the best version they can, complete with character history, holdings, etc. They also have to explain everything on their sheet - every level, feat, item, holding, etc all have a story attached. You're a monk? Where and when did you get that training, etc.

      Then one of my players turned me on to the epic level book for 5e from 2c gaming. It's perfect, plugs right into the limits and takes them up a bit, but also adds all sorts of epic madness. Every class/archetype gets its own ten level epic prestige class. That's the 'real' 21-30 I can use for their advancement. I can also torment them with the prestige evolutions from the campaign setting we'll be using. There's plenty of advancement to be had this way despite already being at 51st level. I'm working in all of their existing characters from adjacent games as well, so we've got a ready made pool of henchmen.

      I have a feeling there's going to be a lot of spelljamming and planar travel in this campaign. There's probably a gods war in there somewhere too. I have my 2nd Edition monster manual binders right here, and a third of the critters in them can give these characters nightmares for days. I'm figuring I'll be making heavy use of Illithids as one of the main threats, that trailer for Baldur's Gate 3 has them back in vogue again. Psionics is such a wonderful foil for magic.

      So what kind of character would you build if you were making a character that's already the master of his/her/its? tiny corner of the D&D universe? What do you do with those 51 character levels?

      Any races allowed, of course. Racial abilities are the least of it at this point. Origin can be from any campaign setting, past or present.

      8 votes
    7. Do you play any games online? Let´s meet!

      Folks, I´m going crazy over here. My social interactions are extremely limited. Online gaming has been a timesaver, but my friends are not always available (I can´t even really work because both...

      Folks, I´m going crazy over here. My social interactions are extremely limited. Online gaming has been a timesaver, but my friends are not always available (I can´t even really work because both my computers broke down).

      I play on the PS4 nights and daw, on the GMT-3 time zone, but that´s flexible. Some of the online games I have / can play:

      • Path of Exile
      • Rocket League
      • Destiny 2
      • Torchlight 2
      • A Way Out
      • Fifa 19
      • GTA V
      • Overcooked
      • Doom
      • Borderlands 2
      • Titanfall 2
      • Brawlhalla

      My username on PSN is goombatrooper22.

      Post your platforms and available games!

      11 votes
    8. [LFG] Any Path of Exile players on the PS4?

      I recently became quite invested in this game, but my friends are not really interested in it. And talking to random people on PSN feels kinda creepy, TBH. Besides, most people don´t seem that...

      I recently became quite invested in this game, but my friends are not really interested in it. And talking to random people on PSN feels kinda creepy, TBH. Besides, most people don´t seem that interested. In these times of coronavirus, I´m playing from 1 am to 4 am (GMT-3) almost every day, but I´m open to playing at other times!

      I have a level 24 duelist.

      4 votes
    9. What are some good party games that can be easily played via video chat?

      My in-laws are wanting to do a distance game night soon where we meet up and play some party games together while on video chat from our separate locations. I think it's a wonderful idea, but I'm...

      My in-laws are wanting to do a distance game night soon where we meet up and play some party games together while on video chat from our separate locations. I think it's a wonderful idea, but I'm also not sure what games we can play? Anyone have any ideas for some good, casual fun (think stuff like Pictionary/Charades) to be had via video chat, and how we can best set things up? Are there any good tools/websites that will help us out?

      Also feel free to make suggestions that aren't necessarily applicable to my situation but still work for the question as a whole (e.g. a D&D campaign). I want this to be a resource for everyone, not just me.

      16 votes