Saturday, December 8, 2012

Not sure what to do with this...

So I just played yet another game written the year I was born, Ysgarth 2nd Edition. A lot of the people I played with seemed to think that this game was "mind numbingly complicated", however it actually wasn't that bad. Actually, from the perspective of someone who likes playing with mechanics, it had some interesting features.

First, every ability, skill, etc. is derived from one or more pools of points...which are randomly determined. So, rather than having "72 point buy" or the like (which has become popular in modern iterations of D&D because it improves "balance"), your number of points has a degree of randomness to it. Another piece I found interesting was the idea that multiple, seemingly un-related attributes (including your character's height and weight) determine all of your other statistics (not unlike Burning Wheel).

Likewise, the system is "pseudo-classless", which is to say that while you have to declare a class (or classes), any class may learn skills from any other class (so you could have an berserker that can lob fireballs, or a necromancer running around in full plate armor).

I must admit though, that the combat system was painfully complex...roll a die, compare it to 3 or 4 tables to see if you hit, then roll anything from 1d200 to 1d1000 to see which part of the body you strike, compare that to the armor worn on that part of the body, then roll some combination of dice to determine damage (where some combination equals any that would add up to your max damage, so max 12 would be 1d12, 2d6, 3d4, 4d3, 1d6 + 2d3, etc., as the player desires). There are several places where it gives the person rolling the freedom to determine the curve of his roll in this way, allowing the player to choose whether he's willing to increase the likelihood that his roll will only be average in exchange for negating the probability of extremely low rolls.

From playing it seemed like a lot of the complexity in character creation that was bothering the other players could be extrapolated away with a simple spreadsheet (by having it auto-calculate all the derived values such as missile rating, hit points, saving throws, etc). While I'm not sure what I plan to do with this game, I do want to spend more time messing with the system, so I think this (creating the character-generating spreadsheet...or maybe even a ruby/perl script) might be my first step.