• Design notes: Implementing “log ST” in a game

    A friendly correspondent (who, like me, is working on a home-brew game system but isn’t ready to release) asks me about ideal implementation of “log ST” in a system. Log ST is the name commonly given to a game feature that sets levels of character Strength to an exponential progression, so that every extra +1 Strength mutliplies the previous level of power by some amount. Typically, that’ll be expressed as every additional X levels of Strength multiplying lifting power by some easy-to-grasp multiple Y. An example is in the HERO System, in which every +5 Strength multiplies lifting power by 2. My reply to my correspondent largely mirrors this post,…

  • Game design musing: It’s About Time (Part III)

    Part 3 of 3. If you thought the articles were geeky before, be warned: it gets worse here.The past two articles: Part IPart II Jumping into the new: Action points, Version 1 In the last episode, I detailed some of my early endeavors at gaming more varied action times. Enough of that. Here’s another general method: action points. I can’t point to any single system as an example; I’ve seen many variations in home-brew games or as options for existing systems. One reader (see comments in first article) points to an AD&D version from an old Dragon magazine. The idea is simple: give each character some number of “action points”…

  • Game design musing: It’s About Time (Part II)

    More on the subject of attack time and pacing in RPG combat systems, focusing on a couple of old home-brew efforts. Continued from Part I: On to another round of writing. I planned to wrap this up, but it looks like there’s going to be a Part III as well. (One note: With occasional digression, I’m discussing melee, not ranged, combat.) Recap Looking at how a few game systems (including some I haven’t mentioned) handle action time and pacing in their combat systems, the below seem par for the course: Combat actions take place in turns, with a default of one attack per turn. Under turns, there’s typically no mechanism…

  • Game design musing: It’s About Time (Part I)

    Gear up, spelunkers! It’s time for a dizzied descent into the dankest depths of game-design geekdom. In a very old blog post I briefly pondered the topic of action pacing – especially combat pacing – in RPGs. Below are some thoughts on how three major game systems tackle the topic. A caution in advance: while I know my GURPS, please accept my apologies where I mangle HERO; it’s been a long time since I last played. And I really risk disservice to D&D, as my only familiarity with 3e rules is from perusing the books, not actual play. Corrections to my text are greatly welcomed. Timing Basics In the three game…

  • Game design musing: ST schemes

    Log ST. You know, ST schemes under which every +X points of ST equate to some multiple of lifting power. Typically, this would be x2 lifting power per +5 ST, per the HERO System. ST 15 would lift twice as much as ST 10, just as ST 105 would lift twice as much as ST 100. Log ST was the choice for the original superhero game that became HERO, and is often labeled a great fix for GURPS’ troubles with four-color action. But could it work in GURPS? Some recent emails and forum postings on the topic follow. (My text is in black.)   An email: You state that Quad-ST…