Sunday, 11 November 2012

New System Mechanics

Its been a while since I last posted, but that doesn't mean that development work has stopped. Yes it has slowed while I wait for people to feedback on the open playtest. That gave me time to work on the world background and ignore the system for a while.

I have been at a crossroads with regards to the system for some time. Do I stick with the old d20 and roll under mechanism replete with little flaws that I cannot iron out. Or do I change it to the d10 based roll dice and pick one. After about a month of agonising over the options, I've finally come to decision. I'm changing the mechanics of Infinity Core from the d20 based to d10 based. I'm working on a new playtest document right now, and I'll shortly be penning a new scenario to go with the new playtest.

So what does this new Infinity Core offer that the one did not?

1. Higher degree of success.

That is the character is much less likely to fail on a dice test. One of the problems of the old IC and its predecessors was that a character need to have fairly high attributes and skills to have reasonable chance of success. I think that a player characters should be succeeding at least 3 out of 4 action tests. For this to happen under old IC a character would need to have a goal number of 15. Which gives the character very little room for development and encourages min-maxing to ensure a character is capable in a few key areas.

In new IC a higher skill gives more dice, and more chance of gaining a Critical, and a greater probability that a die will come up high enough to earn a successful result. But even with a single die on an average difficultly of test  a character should have a 60% change of success. Now factoring a bonus from the characters Attributes and this basic chance could be anywhere from 60-90% success.

When putting the system together I also made the assumption that failure was not an option. In many games you make an action test and you succeed or you fail. If you fail you can usually retest with some kind of penalty. In the new IC I designed the action test so that failing to roll the required target number (threshold) is not an assumption of failure. Instead it is an assumption that it is not a success yet. That is to say that the character needs more time to get a successful resolution. Provided that there is time (as determined by the gamemaster) the character my make second and subsequent action tests to bring the threshold down and finally succeed. I just means that a character who takes three action tests to succeed, takes three times longer to complete the task than someone who did it in a single action test.

Combat and conflict are of course a different matter. You cannot extend actions when in conflict. Combat being the one time when you absolutely succeed or fail against an opponent.

2. More Interesting Critical System

While the old IC system had the ability to add Critical results, it was a flat critical. Under the new IC criticals are grades based on dice matches. So there are different levels of critical success, graded from minor to legendary. When you roll your action pool of dice, every die that has the same result as the lead die you pick as your action result stacks up to give a little bonus and critical effect.

So a rookie rolling a test with only a single die in his action pool, will not be able to score a critical (without involving Destiny, I'll talk about Destiny later). While a master rolling 5 dice in his pool is both far more likely to obtain a successful result and get one or more matches to obtain a critical effect.

3. Manipulation of the Die Mechanics

A new mechanic that refines and replaces the Conviction in the old IC, is replaced with Destiny. A ranked characteristic that gives a limited ability to manipulate die mechanics. Spending Destiny during a game can add a bonus to an Action Test result, buy extra dice, allow the Destiny ranking to be transplanted for either an Attribute or a Skill, boost a critical effect to a higher level, or reduce the effect of an enemy critical that affects the character.

Of course each character only has a small number of Destiny points with which to manipulate the game, but they can be used to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.


  1. I really like the idea of the new system. Using more dices adds not only graded Critical System but also a graded Mishaps during combat. In general I'm not a big fan of counting bullets/arrows/energy. We can use multiple Mishaps for it. For example: 1xMishaps - miss, 2x - no ammo/energy (reload for one turn), 3x - jam/overheat (cool-down for 2 turns), 5x - explosion. Of course not every weapon have to got a full degree of misfortunes. Let say that the more 'epic' is the weapon the more 'epic' is the risk. We can use similar things to melee weapons or psionics. The possibilities are endless.

  2. Mishaps are much less likely as the character gets more dice. That said it is certainly possible for a character who is very unlucky to roll 5 dice have them all come up 1 and then be in a world of trouble as a result.

    But I too prefer to use Mishaps over ammo counting and other bookkeeping.

    1. Agree. It's less likely only if we have to got 1 on all the dices but if we consider Mishaps as number of 1s regardless of number of rolled dice then it's quite possible. For example 1-2 ones on five dices.

    2. That would bring up the interesting possibility of scoring both a critical and mishap at the same time.

    3. Indeed. From the story-telling perspective you can overcharged your weapon and deal twice the damage but deplete the energy source.

  3. Yes in deed you could, That is going in. ;)

    It means a small rewrite, but I'm sure I can find time to do that, along with everything else.

  4. Actually I just spotted flaw in the above idea. More dice = more chance of generating a mishap. That is counter intuitive to the point that more dice = more skill.

    So its not going to work, still I liked the idea.

    1. Not necessary. The more skill you have the more complicated things you can do. Greater effect = greater risk. Farther it can be said that specialization limit the Mishaps and only when we've got 2-3 and more ones something happens. But of course it's your call.