Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Elthos RPG - Progress Report

Just a quick post on the latest progress with the Web Application, now tentatively (ok pretty sure) named "The Mythos Machine".

A number of my play testers and some friends out there in Cyberland suggested that players are going to want to have the option to Allocate stats to their Characters in some kind of point buy system.  At that time (5 weeks ago) the idea was only a glimmer in my eye, and I fretted that it would take a long time to build that into the site.  But I decided it is a good idea after all.  So I programmed the application to allow the GM to choose what kind of Character Generation System they want.
  1. Roll Random
  2. Roll Random + Allocation.
  3. Pure Allocation
Roll Random allows the Player to click a button and generate their Character's Requisites (along with everything).  The Gamesmaster can decide in their World Configuration how many Re-Rolls Players are allowed (otherwise nothing would stop the ardent Player from rolling as many as they could until they hit a Maximal Character).  The default is 3 Re-Rolls.   It lets you keep all three and then decide which you want to play.

Roll Random + Allocation allows the Player to click a button and generate their Character's Requisites, but then gives them the ability to move points from one Requisite to another in order to optimize the Character for a wanted Class or Race.  They also get to see a list of Races the GM has allowed Players to select from and will roll the Character so that it fits the selected Race's minimum and maximum Requisite limits, and does so randomly within that range.  If they roll well they can move points around to beef up (and diminish) their Requisites.   Again the GM can define the number of Re-Rolls.

Pure Allocation allows the GM to predetermine how many points in total can be allocated to the Character, and this is based on the Race Generation Dice that the GM has chosen for their World.  The Race Generation Dice can be 1d6, 2d6, 3d6 or 4d6, and there's pretty good arguments for using any of them.   The lower the Race Dice number the faster the game play tends to be as all the numbers are small and easier to work with.  It also happens that all the numbers in the game tend to track along with that choice.  For example in a 1d6 Race Generation Dice game the maximum Life Points at 2nd Level is 12 (if the Character has a 6 Strength).   For a 4d6 system the same 2nd Level Character will have 24 Life Points.   Monsters and NPCs work the same way.  So augmenting the Race Generation Dice bumps up all of the stats of everything across the World.

Which leads me to the next major change to the system.  I decided that if I was going to go so far as to allow alternate Character Generation Methods, I should probably go all out and create a method by which the GM can choose their World's Race Generation Dice as well.  Hitherto this, there was only one option, the simplified and fast-play oriented 1d6 system.   So with this change I am no longer emphasizing the ODS as "The One Die System", but instead I am referring to it now as the "The Optional Dice System".  I think this is a big improvement as I understand completely the reaction I got on a few occassions where perspective Players pretty much scoffed at a One Die Six System.  After all, they reasoned, who the heck can do anything with just one six sided die to run an entire RPG World?   Well, actually, I can.  But that's a quibble I would just assume live without, and so now we have The Optional Dice System and everyone can be happy.

What turned out to be necessary in making The Optional Dice System was I needed to factor in that Races and Classes will have to change their Minimum and Maximum Requisites Boundaries, as well as Character's Life and Mystic Points.  So I automated that process in the background.  The system will tell the GM what the effects will be if they go, for example, from a 2d6 System to a 4d6 system, or from 3d6 to 1d6, etc.  They can take a look at the effects on Races and Classes, as well as Character's Life Points and Mystic Points.  If they like what they see, and save the new setting, then all the calculations are done in the background and everything in their World flexes appropriately, including Requisite Bonuses.   It's pretty nifty and took a bit of thought to get that piece right.  (Pat on the back).

In addition, I took the opportunity to neaten up the Character Screen and make it both more orderly, and more handsome at the same time.  I'm fairly pleased with the results... not so much because it looks perfect (yet) but because in doing so I made it a lot easier for future embellishments to the look and feel of the screen, and the site as a whole.

These changes represent the last of what I have in mind as far as large-scale systemic modifications to the Mythos Machine.  At least in his Phase.   So I'm very happy that's all behind me now.  It worried me a lot before Christmas because I though these changes would take several months.  Good coding practices along the way, however, added up and it took far longer than I had expected.  Usually in the world of programming it's the opposite of that.  So another pat on the back for me.  Happy Happy.  :)

So this has been a pretty solid three weeks of effort coming out of the New Years and I'm happy with the progress being made.  Ok, that's all.   Back to the Salt Mine.

PS - the site will be changing over to an Open Beta in the not too distant future as we polish  up the look and feel and get it into a final shape that I feel is acceptable enough to show to the general public.  I hope people will find it a useful and enjoyable RPG System, and I think it can easily be used in conjunction with Virtual Table Top systems like Roll20.  We'll see.  I'm of course hoping so, but frankly, I won't know until we put it out there and get some real world reactions to it all.

Ok - salt mine is calling.  Ciao!

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