Free-Form System

Discuss our dark fantasy adventure tabletop roleplaying game based on BioWare's computer game, Dragon Age Origins.

Re: Free-Form System

Postby DracoDruid » Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:37 pm

Version 1.0 is up.

There has been some major additions.

Please feel free to post constructive critics.
Version 1.7 of my Free-Form Dragon Age rules.
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby tarnishedarmour » Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:42 pm

Since you're going with the total free-form system I would suggest removing the Advancement Points awarded for level 1 from your Table 1 on Page 2. Unless your intent is 44 APs total, I believe you figured the 35 total without racial specializations was correct, correct? I would also resolve the question mark for APs for level 11to15 (may as well also expand it to 11 to 20). Whether we know GRs current design intent or not I would simply make a judgement call and then change it later depending on what is revealed.

Otherwise I like it.

i would ask for a consolidated list of unchanged talents and such before your list of obsolete talents. It simplifies the process and allows for a majority of players (and GMs) the knowledge without having to research it themselves. While we're not a lazy bunch (I swear) it does eliminate the possibility of confusion and mistakes.

Kudos.
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby DracoDruid » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:53 am

Thanks for the feedback.

Your remarks have been added into version 1.1 that is no up.

In addition, new rules for Blood Magic and revised requirements for all specializations have been added.
Version 1.7 of my Free-Form Dragon Age rules.
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby Raphaquina » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:06 pm

Some toughts:

1- Racial Benefits.
In Step Two, it's not written any racial benefits. Did you include those in the "35 starting Advancement Points"? (1 Ability point, 1 choice of Focus, 1 language maybe and 3 point-buy advancement points on the table [per Set 2 rules]). If not, does this free-form system still adds those benefits after the player spents the 35 starting points?

2- Talent degree requirements
You could add extra requirements for each Talent degree (journeyman and master, to speak). I know someone posted something regarding this a while ago and I can't remember who was, but a simple suggestion could be to add +2 for each talent degree. So, Backstab would require DEX 2 at novice, 4 at journeyman and 6 at master.

I thought about this because in early level 3 someone could be master in one or more talents, so the player need to spread their Advancement Points through levels. Of course this would consequently affect specialization requirements, but i think 6 levels are more than enough time to get everything packed up. :lol: And the only specialization who asks for too much is Assassin (because it need backstab at master degree)

3- Armor Training
I loved the split! But I noted some issues after reading carefully:
- Light Armor Training gives shitty mail benefits compared to leather/unarmored benefits. (no dex penalty compared to +1speed/+2 defense)
- Heavy Armor Training gives small mail benefits compared to plate benefits. (no dex and +1 speed compared to +1 armor rating). Master degree applies to both mail and plate, but hey if you picked up master why the hell would you use mail? (more plate AR and half that to penetrating damage it's better than using that on mail).

So, I guess Light Armor Training could benefit unarmored/leather and Heavy Armor Training would apply to mail and plate. The more severed armor here is mail though, the light talent gives bonuses both to leather and unarmored on all degrees while the heavy talent gives bonuses to mail, in fact, only on the novice degree.

You could argue that someone speccing on heavy armor would use mail only as a temporary armor while he works to getting a plate, but I like to think heavy to the bulk warriors and mail to the mobile ones, like tempests and archers. Every soldier/city guard in middle ages, even tough archers, would use mail armors, even so because plate ones were too way expensive to spend on non-general or nobles.

LOL sorry if I'm being a little realistic in that armor thing, but this is not my goal (just a little :) ). The thing is: no one would use mail because the talents, as written, shout at my face "go use leather or plate, it's waaaay better" :green: and I'd like to see someone preferring mail over plate to get some mobility/survivability as a intermediate choice. (Just like skyrim tells you that a sword is faster but less damaging than an axe, who is the same to a mace, making a trio of choice)
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby tarnishedarmour » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:18 pm

Small typo, sorry i missed it last night.

Top of Page 3 under New Focuses, you refer tot he system as Class-less DA which you have since changed. I wouldn't say it's a rush change but if something else needs to be edited later on I would include the correction. otherwise simply label it errata.

Looking forward to using this myself here soon. Thanks for all the effort you've put in to this.
If a Hero's armour is still shining he either has never used it or spends too much time polishing it. Armour is intended to be used and a Hero's worth should be measured in his armour's scars and dents as well as his own.

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Re: Free-Form System

Postby DracoDruid » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:10 am

Thanks you guys.
The typo I found myself yesterday, but thanks no matter what.

@ Raphaquina:
1) I added an intro to clarify how to build the character. You don't choose Background or Class. That's what the 35 AP are for (20 AP for 10 Ability points, 2 AP for +1 to one ability, 1 AP for one free focus, 3 AP for Background Benefits, 9 AP for 1st level class abilities).

2) Thought about that a while. Decided against, since it would require another extra "blabla" to explain it.
House-rule it if you wish (hell, this whole thing is one big house-rule package)

3) You are right about Mail armor, but I like the idea of mail armor being some sort of hybrid armor.
While I could make a third talent that focuses on mail armor (but I wouldn't like that), I gave mail armor
more benefits in both talents. This way, you can either be a light armored fighter who sacrifies a bit of speed and defense in exchange for more AR or a heavy armored fighter who sacrifies AR for more speed.
Mail armor might still not be the better choice in both trees, but that's intentional. If you train both ways however, mail armor gets REALLY nasty, since both talents' effects stack.


BTW: Version 1.2 up.
Version 1.7 of my Free-Form Dragon Age rules.
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby DracoDruid » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:14 am

Version 1.3 up.

I changed some talent abilities, increased the costs for armor and added a revised weapon list.
Version 1.7 of my Free-Form Dragon Age rules.
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby tarnishedarmour » Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:36 pm

Just had this question come up with my players while attempting to introduce them to the free-form version. I understand the elimination of race abilities we lost the Dwarven magical resistance and Qunari magical weakness, but is the only form f magical resistance left intended to be the Templar bonus?
If a Hero's armour is still shining he either has never used it or spends too much time polishing it. Armour is intended to be used and a Hero's worth should be measured in his armour's scars and dents as well as his own.

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Re: Free-Form System

Postby DracoDruid » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:22 am

Oh. Good point.

Well. You might charge sub-surface Dwarves for an additional 2 points for that.
On the otherhand, you could just say they lose it as soon as they go to the surface.

Qunari:
Either just drop it, or give the player an additional (Strength?) ability focus for free.

I will put this into the next version.

Keep me informed how the system performs, though!
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby DracoDruid » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:30 pm

EDIT: The post I was referring to has obviously been deleted.
Last edited by DracoDruid on Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby tarnishedarmour » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:31 pm

So consensus with my group of players (whom I at least consider to be a little out-side-the-box and mature, read: non-power gamer or munchkin) is that the Qunari magical weakness felt a little to crowbarred to begin with, and perhaps was intended to be more of a balance mechanic or something intended to make them stand out just a little more stat-wise. But the dwarven magical resistance felt not only more intune with the standard AGE system (probably because of it's Talent status, even if it could not normally be increased) but also more linked with the story and world of Dragon age itself.

That being said the question was also brought up that would a GM want a talent that simply negated magical effectiveness, and if they did, no truly valid argument was raised at our table, would it be able to be learned normally, or would it be linked to Magic or Race (and the Templar Specialization) as a requirement.

For now we have house-ruled it to be just that, it is the only Talent with a non-stat only requirement. Being having the Race of Dwarf, class of Templar, of Magic of 3 to be able to take Novice in Magical Resistance. That is, at least, until you come up with something more concrete and balanced and fitting with your Free-form system.
If a Hero's armour is still shining he either has never used it or spends too much time polishing it. Armour is intended to be used and a Hero's worth should be measured in his armour's scars and dents as well as his own.

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Re: Free-Form System

Postby DracoDruid » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:20 am

Version 1.4a is now up.

I am momentarily dabbling with the talents and specializations again.

the "a" means, it isn't complete yet (see the Bard spec.).
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Re: Class-less System

Postby Zapp » Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:48 am

DracoDruid wrote:I'm sorry. I had no idea where to upload documents for free.
The board obviously doesn't allow file attachments, otherwise I had used it.

I suggest mediafire.com
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby Zapp » Sat Feb 25, 2012 1:26 am

I have two questions:

* Did you consider "baking in" the "stunt bonus" mechanic into specific Talents? Or at least coming up with requirements to do that...? As I understand the current rule (v1.4a) anyone can lower any stunt cost; no restrictions (on who can lower what). My concern is if some stunt bonuses that RAW characters get "late in life" can now be bee-lined and purchased much sooner.

* Why do you make "Arcane Lance"/Spell Lance into a spell (for purposes of using stunts; i.e. the AL uses Spell Stunts and not Combat Stunts). I mean; wasn't the idea that mages have spells and they have their weapon of choice: their Lance. By making the Lance into something that uses spell stunts, won't that mean that many mages can simply ignore the list of combat stunts (because they almost never use any stunts from that list). In short: I thought it was a good/fun thing that mages got to use both spell and combat stunts?


Thank you for your work on this. Decoupling these abilities from their classes and levels is exactly what I need for my own levelless and classless game! You did the difficult part. Completing the transformation of the game (by switching out your levels with 5-6 APs each) into no levels and fully open-ended XP is the easy part. :)
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby Zapp » Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:17 am

A smallish piece of feedback:

Page 6 wrote:Master: You can daze opponents with sharp blows to vulnerable areas.

I suggest to reword this into using the established term "stun". Otherwise the reader might get confused "what effects does dazing have". Remember both "daze" and "stun" exist in that Other Fantasy Game, with similar but not identical effects.

I suggest "Master: You can stun opponents with sharp blows to vulnerable areas."


By the way, does anybody know if there are other, official, ways to stun a foe? Using magic for example. (Stunning him in such a way it counts for backstabbing as per Dirty Fighting or the above, that is)
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby Zapp » Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:25 am

Page 6 wrote:You can train to fight with a weapon in each hand. Everyone without this talent treats his off-hand as 2 points lower in STRENGTH and DEXTERITY for all purposes, such as attack rolls, damage rolls, and Minimum Strength requirements.

But doesn't this apply to everyone WITH the talent too?

What does the benefits of Journeyman/Master "In addition, your off-hand penalties are reduced by 1 point" otherwise mean?
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby Zapp » Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:34 am

Page 11: While a Duelist might use Dual weapons it's not spelled "Dualist" :)

Page 1: I don't think there are any "skills" anywhere in Dragon Age. Focuses are "Ability Focuses", not skill focuses.
Last edited by Zapp on Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby Zapp » Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:43 am

The official ARMOR RATINGS seem a bit too random.

The weapon groups seem a bit haphazard, both in organization and stats.

Care to elaborate?

If your answer is "I just prefer my tables" that's okay, but I thought to ask to see if there's an underlying thought to your reorganization besides just "making things more orderly".

Why, for instance, is your armor progression 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9 "less random" than the original 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10?
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby DracoDruid » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:46 am

Wow! Hello Zapp.

Don't know why I wasn't informed about all your posts.

I will try to reply to all of them as good as I can.


1) Stunt bonus:
I don't see any real danger in this. When to take a look into the later level stunt bonuses, those stunts aren't really game breaking.

2) I changed the AL to spell stunts in order to preserve the "Spell Lance" special ability. Since Set 3 I consider allowing the AL to both Spell and Combat stunts, only problem, both tables have "2 SP = +1d6 damage".

3) Backstab/Master: This is actually an original text from the book, but I like your suggestion.
(or I can't remember changing it... :P)

4) Dual Weapon. Yes, novices still have -2 to STR & DEX, but every additional Talent degree reduces this by 1.
(effectivly negating it at Master)

5) DuA/Elist: Thanks! :P

6) Skill Focus: Thanks again. :)

7) Armor Rating: I wanted to make the difference between, Leather/Mail/Plate more important than Light/Heavy.
I chose (after much consideration) a fix difference of 2 points between heavy X to next Light Y.
And as I wrote, I wanted the heavy versions always have +1 AR but -1 AP.
Finally, I thought, that 3 AR for the least possible armor was just a bit too good, so I started with 2 points.
(And I heard many people complaining about the damage curve being to low, so slightly less AR seems a good thing)

8 ) The weapons are acutally more of a personal preference.
a) I thought the "Staves" group was just plain stupid. I was just another blugdeon group.
b) The "Dueling" group was similar. Since I already included the "Shield" group as weapons the "spiked buckler" was redundant, and the "main gauche" was nothing else as a dagger. So the only interesting weapon was the Rapier, which could perfectly replace the "throwing knife".
c) I thought a single "Thrown" group better than splitting those weapons into other, since training to throw a weapon is different than fighting with it in close combat.
d) finally, I thought that only "natural weapons" (aka fists) should have NO Min. Str. so I adjusted those too.



BTW: A new version will be up in the next days or so.
Version 1.7 of my Free-Form Dragon Age rules.
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby Zapp » Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:25 am

Regarding armor and armor talents:

Currently, you have named your armor talents "light" and "heavy". But these labels appear to have nothing to do with the light and heavy armors in the game.

For example:
Light Armor Talent does not appear to help wearing Light Plate, despite the naming. Instead, Light Plate seems to be considered "heavy armor" for the purposes of Armor Talents, since Heavy Armor gives bonuses to both kinds of Plate armor, including Light Plate.

I find this slightly unfortunate.

Possible solutions:
1) rename the talents. Perhaps as straight-forward as "Strength Armor Talent" to replace "Heavy Armor" and "Dexterity Armor Talent" to replace "Light Armor". Or "Strong Armor Talent" and "Quick Armor Talent" respectively, I don't know.
2) split the talents into three: one Leather Armor Talent, one Mail Armor Talent, and one Plate Armor Talent. Here I guess I'm thinking about D&D, a game with true support for all three levels of armor (light, medium, heavy). Currently Dragon Age only supports two (strength-based and dexterity-based) since Plate is simply better heavy armor than Mail; and Mail is simply better light armor than Leather. Once you have the money and Master-level Talent, that is.
3) change your existing talents into truly giving bonuses to all light armors and all heavy armors, respectively. Light Armor Talent gives dex-based bonuses to wearing Light Leather, Light Mail and Light Plate while Heavy giving str-based bonuses to the three heavy armors...
4) do nothing (always a possibility, of course)
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby DracoDruid » Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:10 am

Hey Zapp!

As always helpful in finding the quirks. Much appreciated.

You are right, the naming is a bit confusing.

So renaming the talents two clearify their intention might be a good idea.

Hmm... Quick Armor/Strong Armor: not so much... :/

Anyone else got a good idea?
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby ricardo » Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:11 am

I can see light plate as a Heavy armour. Like a Light aircraft is still a big vehicle! or a light cruiser is still bigger than a heavy destroyer.

Perhaps half plate would make you feel better.
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby Zapp » Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:39 am

ricardo wrote:I can see light plate as a Heavy armour.

I can too! :)

It's just that the game designer in me is allergic to using the same terminology for two completely different things, especially when there's a risk for confusion (as in this case, since both uses of "light" applies to armor). In other words, the generic terms "light" and "heavy" are already used up for armor, IMHO.

But as I did say: I find it slightly unfortunate. Not a disaster :)

ricardo wrote:Perhaps half plate would make you feel better.

A good point. :)

Yes, renaming the equipment is definitely a possibility. Perhaps:

Leather
Studded Leather
Ring Mail
Chain Mail
Half Plate
Full Plate

(Yes, I know the designers went with the generic "light" and "heavy" for a reason.)
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby Zapp » Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:53 am

Zapp wrote:2) split the talents into three: one Leather Armor Talent, one Mail Armor Talent, and one Plate Armor Talent.

I'll probably go down this route myself.

I quite like the notion where thieves can stay in leathers throughout their careers (i.e. the game providing the mechanics to make this into an actual good choice). Same with warriors that doesn't see themselves as "tanks" (for various reasons; including pure aesthetics!) - they should not in my opinion find that plate is strictly better than mail (meaning that staying in mail for roleplaying reasons have a definite cost in reduced combat ability).

It shouldn't be too hard to make sure that the Leather Armor Talent tops out at giving comparable benefits to what Light Armor Talent gives today. Sure, the Rogue that dons mail probably should get better Armor Rating, but the Rogue that stays in leather would then get something else, making the choice interesting, a real choice.

The same way, a Warrior staying in Mail needs to get something the Warrior that moves into Plate doesn't. (That something would be the same thing the Rogue-in-mail gets, of course! :) )

But more details on this is off-topic for your thread, so I'll leave it at that here.


Instead, I want to bring up something I feel your ruleset shares with the original game:

What is the benefit of the "light" armors? That is, once you have some money and a few levels, is there any reason to stick to light leather, light mail or light plate?

I think the answer, bluntly, is "no". The light versions are only for those not yet ready for the heavy versions. (And that might be fine for your game, I just wanted to highlight the potential issue)

Again, I have played D&D, which is pretty good at providing good mechanical reasons to stick to all types of armor...
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Re: Free-Form System

Postby Zapp » Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:11 am

ARCANE LANCE (NEW)
Requirement: You must have the MAGIC TRAINING (NOVICE) talent.

Should be MAGICAL TRAINING
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