Monday, 25 June 2012

Infinity Engine Update 5

I am still working on the play test adventure "Abandoned Hope", though it is taking shape rather nicely I find that it is taking rather longer to assemble that I had at first estimated. That and I've made a few suggested modifications to the system.

The first change I have now made to the game engine is the to allow one against many combat to yield damage to both parties, that is the character can strike at target, and also be hit by other members of the gang he is facing. Rather than the all or nothing approach I had before.

The second change I've made is to fold the 'torture' skill into Coercion. I've been doing a lot of thinking about the skills list in general and I've had a bit of feedback that the list is currently to big. I think there are actually 15 skills that need to be included to get a good all round feel and Infinity Engine is currently sitting with 38. I'm looking at making a few more cuts.

In other news: I got a call from Dammi at Vagrant Workshop asking if I'd do some additional writing on Equinox. Of course I immediately agreed. Its been a long time since I have done any work on this game. I was fortunate enough to be involved with the initial work pioneering the setting alongside Casten Damm, and Jason Wallace. Since then I've had little contact with the game as I have been far to busy with Fading Suns 3rd edition. Many of the former EarthDawn writing team from RedBrick LLC, who got the chop at the same time I did, are now working on Equinox, so its great to know just how much is going into the game, and that so many good writers with passion and heart are flying Vagrant's colours.

Keep an eye on the Vargant Workshop website to see further announcements as they appear.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Infinity Engine Update 4

Been working away on Character Genesis, actually a very tricky bit of writing to do when you haven't added a lot of flesh to the new setting. But I think I've got enough done that I can build pre-gens for the playtest adventure.

I have also made a start plotting out "Abandoned Hope" adventure. So I know now what its about and some of the main scenes. This will not be a fully fleshed scenario, but it will give game masters enough to go on when learning how the Infinity Engine works and teaching it to their players.

So the last point I need to raise in this post is the name of the game, so to speak. As James Sutton pointed out recently on the RPGsite. The name "Infinity Engine" is already in use as the name of an RTS engine owned by Bioware, and wouldn't that present a problem? Actually I didn't think that it would as they are different arenas and there is nothing to connect me to bioware. I also note that some computer games companies have used the same names for their engines in the past and not come to blows about it (Phoenix Engine, being a name used by both Relic and Wolfire).

However, some friendly advice from various people has suggested that, while it is unlikely to ever be an issue, it cannot be ever become an issue if I used a different name.

A few suggestions include:

Infinity Game Engine
Infinity Drive
Infinity Core
Infinity Protocol
Infinity Code
Infinity Source

Would anyone like to make any other suggestions?

Or indicate their preferences?

Monday, 11 June 2012

Infinity Engine Update 3

I've not had a huge amount of time to work on Infinity Engine over the weekend, but thats what happens when you have friends to stay. Great to catch up on old times though. Stayed up to late on the Friday night watching "Alien". After the rush of really bad Alien related movies a few years back (AVP2, I'm looking at you) it was great to go back and see where it all began. Though I have yet to get the time to go and see Prometheus.

I have however managed to crawl through the revisions to the newly renamed "Traits Chapter", though I'm still looking for a suitable replacement term for benefits and afflictions. If anyone has suggestions, please leave a comment.

Anyway with that done I can now take a serious look at character generation, and I have come up with a new mechanism to replace the older Corruption Pools mechanics. Once I get them down on paper I'll be able to look at the nuances, and see where it takes me.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Infinity Engine Update 2

I have spent some time over the weekend thinking about and reworking the skills list for the Infinity Engine. Obviously not all the skills listed below are applicable to all possible settings, and in some cases others may have to added. These skills do reflect on my intentions for my new setting to work in tandem with the Infinity Engine and I'm currently exploring some ideas, and reading a lot of sci-fi.

Undoubtedly, given the Infinity Engines origins, there will be comparisons with Fading Suns. It is not however my intention to simply rewrite Fading Suns with serial numbers filed off. Though I am sure that both game settings will draw upon some of the same material for inspiration.

Anyway here is a look at the skills list that I have so far. If I have obviously missed something please let me know.

Art (specific)practice with a specific art form
Athleticsmovement on land, running, jumping, and climbing
Aquaticsmovement in water, swimming, and diving
Beast Riderriding and handling riding and draft beasts
Bureaucracyknowing how to get things done in a bureaucracy
Coercionforcing other people to do what you want
Commandcontrolling others in a tactical environment
Craft (specific)practice is a specific craft
Culture (specific) language and customs within a specific culture
Deceptiontelling convincing lies
Demolitionspreparation and defusing of explosives
Disciplineresisting metal domination, psychic intrusion, and torture
Dogmaunderstanding the nuances of theology, and ecclesiastical thought
Drivehow to drive land vehicles from motorcycles to 18-wheelers
Etiquetteunderstanding the finer points of social graces in high society
Free Fallmovement in free fall, or micro gravity
Fightthe ability to fight unarmed or with improvised weapons
Gamblingknowing how to play the odds in game of chance and skill
Gunnerythe use of heavy weapons and artillery
Helmhow to maneuver a starship
Inquiryknowing how to conduct forensic investigations, and interrogations
Interfacebeing able to mesh, program, and hack smart cores
Intrusionthe ability to over come security systems
Legerdemaindeft manual dexterity that allows for slight of hand tricks and stage magic 
Lore (specific)practice within a specific scientific or academic field
Medicineknowledge of how to treat injuries and illnesses
Meleethe training to fight with close combat weapons
Perceptionthe ability to use ones senses
Persuasionthe ability to manipulate others with subtlety
Pilothow to fight various atmospheric and trans-atmospheric craft
Ritualthe practice of rites and rituals believed to confer supernatural power
Sailhow to maneuver water born vehicles
Shootthe training to handle and use various ranged weapons effectively
Sneakthe ability to move quietly and remain hidden
Survivalan understanding of fire-making, foraging and shelter building
Streetwisean appreciation for criminal contacts and black market dealers
Technologythe ability to make repairs to broken or damaged technology
Throwthe training to use various thrown weapons
Torturethe practice of using pain to extract information

Friday, 1 June 2012

Infinity Engine Update 1

I think the news is out that I'm working hard on revising the FS3 VPS system into a new incarnation. That new incarnation I call the "Infinity Engine". I started out with a copy of the Game Mechanics Chapter form the FS3 Players Guide and chopped out everything that even remotely looked like it was HDi's IP. Then I cut away all the fat back down the bare bones and started to make revisions.

I'm not going to say that the FS3 VPS didn't do a good job, I think that it did, but it could be made to flow better with a few modifications. So why didn't I make these changes before? Simply put they would have deviated to far from the recognisable VPS system to reasonably be its successor. Now that I am no longer bound by those limitations I can really make the system work the way I always thought that it should.

What stays the same?

Attributes and skills are still rated from 1 through to 10, sometimes higher. Adding the two ranks together gives you a goal number. Once you have that you roll a d20, you want to roll high but not over the goal.

That all sounds very familiar.

As with the FS3 VPS, a roll of 1 is the possibility of a mishap, while rolling the goal number exactly is the opportunity for a critical.

So what have I changed?

In FS3 VPS you divided your score on your die by 2 to work out how many victory points you scored. I dumped that, whatever you roll on the die thats you degree of success, you roll a 12, your degree of success is therefor 12.

I also changed the way damage is calculated, by removing the weapons DMG value, all weapons are effectively same, and the skill of the user becomes paramount. I always thought it was funny that a broadsword did more damage than a dagger... both can kill you when used correctly. This also brings physical conflict in to line with social and mental conflicts, the effect is to harmonise the system. That said I recognise that weapons need to add something to the system and I'm considered a few ways that I might reintroduce some kind of effect to the type of weapon being used, more on that in a future post.

The way damage is taken has also been changed. Every character now has a standard set of Health Tracks with the same number of boxes on them. Instead of simply making off a number of boxes equal to damage, you reference damage against the characters thresholds to see what type of injury he has taken.

Physical Thresholds
 Blooded              Crippling                  Mortal
 Up to Vigor x2   up to Vigor x3           over Vigor x3
 OOOOO            OOOOO                  O

Blooded level injuries are basically ablative, they simply soak up small amounts of damage, but once all the boxes are filled any further blooded results move up to crippling injuries. Crippling injuries come with a -2 penalty to all further physical actions, so two crippling injuries give -4 etc. A mortal wound takes a character to deaths door and give a permanent wound effect.

Example: Cherish Valan has just been shot, suffering a 12 point injury. She has a Vigor of 5, so here thresholds are as follows: 1-10 Blooded, 11-15 Crippling, and 16+ Mortal. She suffers a Crippling Injury, crossing off a single box of crippling damage. Suffering a -2 penalty to all physical actions from this point on. 
In the following turn, she suffers a further two hits, 6 and 14 injury respectively. This causes her a level of Blooded and a second Crippling injury. She is now at -4 to all physical actions.

Of course armour and shields will have effects but I am yet to define how they will work with in Infinity Engine. Healing was also revised to work with the new way that damage and injuries work.
The health tracks for mental and social work in exactly the same way.

Still a lot more to be done before I can release a playtest document, bear with me.