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Old 06-11-2010, 07:50 AM   #1
Jim de Mighty
 
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Default I don't want to make FATAL 2nd Edition

Hey guys, I've lurked here a lot, now I've finally seen a golden opportunity to join you on this forum (much better than /tg/).

I have a sort-of problem. I'm making my own RPG system with a friend, I'm sure everyone here has. It uses percentile dice for task resolution vs a target number. In order to speed up play, there will be no negative modifiers, instead the TN is adjusted for difficulty.

So far, it seems simple enough, and I'm really tired, so it must be REALLY simple.

But for some reason, I'm worried. I don't want to make another FATAL. The very mention of it, the thought of it sends shivers down my spine. Can you help me? I don't want to make... it.
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:34 AM   #2
The Colonel
 
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Default Re: I don't want to make FATAL 2nd Edition

Yeah, I think the main sins of that system revolved around casual obscenity, misogyny, actual genuine racism and an evil child's delight in gratuious cruelty.
Having an overcomplicated dice based system would be more like cloning Rollmaster ... and on the face of it your system doesn't sound too complicated...
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:37 AM   #3
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: I don't want to make FATAL 2nd Edition

Welcome. I'm sure you'll get lots of comments -- once the thread gets to the point that there's something to discuss. You ask for help, but what problems in particular are you struggling with?

Personally, I see no difference between addition and subtraction in terms of speed of play.

Play gets slowed down by the very existence of modifiers, especially when there's lots of them scattered through books that people have to look up. The common answers seem to be (a) learn the system so you don't waste time looking things up; (b) estimate modifiers freely on the spot, which might result in inconsistency from fight to fight, but keeps things moving; (c) have a simple, rules-light system that doesn't have many (or any) modifiers in the first place, which won't model detailed reality particularly well.

(a) as well as (b) are helped by good organization of the rules -- put modifiers for similar situations all together in tables where you can find them easily, and have a good index.

FATAL is infamous as much for its subject matter and writing as the rules themselves.
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:51 AM   #4
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Default Re: I don't want to make FATAL 2nd Edition

As long as you don't plan on putting in mechanisms like what happens when the circumference of "Tab A" is greater than the elastic limit of "Slot B", you will be safely out of FATAL territory.

Other than that, I'd say don't try to to design your system in a vacuum. Stand on the shoulders of giants. Look at earlier systems similar to yours. It doesn't matter if it was successful or not, they will tell you things you want and don't want in your system.

Bravo on choosing a nice, solid, simple basic mechanic like D100 vs TN. Let the innovation be in your content, not your randomizing tool

Other than that, playtest, playtest, playtest the stuffing out of that system.

(And if your system does make it big, I'd love a mention on your 25th anniversary deluxe edition :) )
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Old 06-11-2010, 09:14 AM   #5
Ze'Manel Cunha
 
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Default Re: I don't want to make FATAL 2nd Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by ed_209a View Post
Bravo on choosing a nice, solid, simple basic mechanic like D100 vs TN. Let the innovation be in your content, not your randomizing tool.
Though as to any randomizing tool, make sure it's doing what you think it's doing.

The problem that people often have when using dice and target numbers is a lack of understanding of what the odds actually are.

I used to know an actuary who enjoyed taking any game's mechanics through a statistical analysis to see what the odds really were, the statistical reality was often miles away from the perception the game writers had while writing the rules.
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Old 06-11-2010, 10:12 AM   #6
combatmedic
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Default Re: I don't want to make FATAL 2nd Edition

That thread title sounds like a serious threat!


''Give me that sweet, sweet can o' Coke Classic or I'll unleash a Second Edition of F.A.T.A.L. on an unsuspecting world!'
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Old 06-11-2010, 04:36 PM   #7
PK
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Default Re: I don't want to make FATAL 2nd Edition

F.A.T.A.L. is only as infamous as it is because of its pro-rape attitude, incredibly poor writing, and fascination with various body parts. The fact that it's 900 pages long doesn't help, either.

However, as a game system alone, it still fails, but "uses percentile dice" is certainly not one of the reasons. In fact, although it's regularly mocked, using (4d100-2)/2 to produce an "IQ-like range" of attributes is actually an interesting (if flawed) idea. (For example, (6d100-3)/3 would've been more realistic, and (3d100+49)/2 gives more playable results.)

The biggest problem with F.A.T.A.L.'s system is that nothing is connected. Attributes and subattributes are all random and unrelated. You can be a vocally talented speaker yet too dumb to know any languages. It's a hodge podge of descriptors that only occasionally make sense together.

The task resolution system is okay. Nothing spectacular, but nothing broken. It just gets ridiculous when the rules direct you to one of the thousands of critical success or failure results.

So, keep your system simple, clear, and sane -- and by the latter, I mean it should be hard to build a character that doesn't make any sense whatsoever, and actions should have results that one might expect.
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: I don't want to make FATAL 2nd Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha View Post
the statistical reality was often miles away from the perception the game writers had while writing the rules.
this.

d100 vs. TN may let OP avoid that, however. The worst statistical stupidities I've seen involve dice pools and sets of multiple dice. With a flat distribution, it may be easier to keep your probabilities feasible. Then again, d20 has a flat distribution and D&D 3rd edition breaks down whenever PCs are over or under 10th level.
This brings me to another important point to decide: what's the ratio of PC skill versus the die roll in your system, Jim? In d20, for example, the random element can be four times as significant as a talented beginner's skill. As the game progresses, the random element becomes superfluous (ie. you succeed as long as you don't roll a 1). In any case, you need to settle somewhere between these two extremes.
I have a homebrew system for a terrorist RPG I'm running where PC scores and dice roll results run from 1 to 10, rolled to hit a target number with an average difficulty of 10 (so average people can expect to succeed roughly half the time). Instead of a roll of plain 1d10, I use a median of 3d10 (roll three dice, discard the highest and lowest result) and a median of 5d10 (discard two highest and two lowest results). This keeps the spread similar (1 to 10) but lets me adjust the significance of the random element. It's simple and quick in practice because there's less addition and subtraction involved.
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Old 06-13-2010, 09:54 AM   #9
Frank Rozum
 
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Default Re: I don't want to make FATAL 2nd Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by ed_209a View Post
As long as you don't plan on putting in mechanisms like what happens when the circumference of "Tab A" is greater than the elastic limit of "Slot B", you will be safely out of FATAL territory.

Other than that, I'd say don't try to to design your system in a vacuum. Stand on the shoulders of giants. Look at earlier systems similar to yours. It doesn't matter if it was successful or not, they will tell you things you want and don't want in your system.

Bravo on choosing a nice, solid, simple basic mechanic like D100 vs TN. Let the innovation be in your content, not your randomizing tool

Other than that, playtest, playtest, playtest the stuffing out of that system.

(And if your system does make it big, I'd love a mention on your 25th anniversary deluxe edition :) )
And be sure to playtest the stupid ideas, or the PC's will do it for you and them ruthlessly exploit them.

Whoops...sorry. That only applies to wargames, not so much for RPG's. Well, look at your rules from the point of a player and ask yourself, "how can I munchkinize this?"
Then look at it like a GM and say, "How can I keep control of my game?"
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Old 06-13-2010, 11:41 AM   #10
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Default Re: I don't want to make FATAL 2nd Edition

In the Giant in the Playground forums, someone described how he actually tried to GM it. The haphazard and pointless attributes have already been mentioned.
  • Check character creation so a step doesn't require redoing calculations made in an earlier step.
  • Ensure a character creation step, such as randomly picking character class, isn't typically re-rolled at least twice, such as due to class entrance requirements.
  • Check the maths of any class advancement, such as a barber cutting 10,000 beards or so to achieve second level.
  • Avoid requiring boring actions, such as cutting beards, as the only way to advance.
  • Ensure starting characters can afford basic equipment appropriate to the campaign, such as a weapon to fight bandits.
You can't accidentally make something as horrid as FATAL because you have the minimal insight to realize you can make a mistake. However, you are setting your bar far, far too low. Consider an RPG that was actually printed for comparison. Try stating your design philosophy and objectives.
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