Friday, June 17, 2011

Gear systems and point of view.

Gear is an interesting thing in role-playing games. Many games follow the old path of "spend money, buy gear," which on the surface if familiar to all of us--except most of us acquire gear in steps. Food and clothing as needed, but things like rope? How many of us have actual rope. Candles? First Aid Kits?

Usually we pick these things up over time, a piece here a bit there. Some games have differing systems for owning stuff--resources in general, assumed gear, and so on.

MSH, that is Marvel Super Heroes assumes you have an a rank that represent how much you have in general terms and it can be pushed for bigger purchases. High Valor assumes you can eat, drink, and have clothes, ordinary things you'd have for your profession. Shadowrun you spend points which gives you cash, which you spend on gear.

The issue comes down to what do I want to do in Derelict Delvers, being a D&D "retrofuture" clone, it was clear it work on credits and be typical, spend money on gear. Yet now that it is just space opera, and not a clone at all, it changes what we need to do. I began testing a point based system. Since gear impacts play.

You spend 15 points to have 15 points of gear. Gear of course varies from handlights and rope, to weapons and armor. Yet an interesting thing arose that I like. You can spend different points on your gear and decide on its quality and functionality.

Ghyren the Pilot might have a really good handlight for doing those repairs. While Dr. Hend might not, instead putting more points into diagnostic gear.

The problem? Playtesters want consistent items. That is they want a handlight to always be +1, unless of course its got a specific adjective added to it like "High Quality" handlight. Which of course doesn't bother me, but just goes to show how framing an element in a game can change its perception. Since zero is an average in the game (that is it provides no enhanced benefit to ones roll.) A +1 item is therefor a "Good" item, but where do we stop? Since virtually magical technology of the agents could exist, that goes beyond any arbitrary stopping point? I'm thinking of 1-3 for ordinary use, and only higher for really special gear.

That means players will need to tweak what they have now, in the playtest. Le sigh.

Quality Value
Good +1
Excellent +2
Amazing +3


clash bowley said...

You also need a consistant system for improving beyond +3. For example, you could say a Delver can only raise equipment above +3 that someone has personalized by tinkering. That means one can raise an item to a max of one's Science! score.

You are also limited by your Science! score in the number of bonus points you can personalize, at Science Score -3. A Science! Score of 5 would allow you to personalize 2 items with +1 over Excellent, or 1 item at +2. This would limit the best Science! guy tricking out everyone else's gear to his best effort.


Silverlion Studios said...

Seems a bit crunchy for my purpose here.

clash bowley said...



~Sam said...

Well, you could always opt for cheapie, budget versions of things, providing lesser functionality at lesser cost. A -1 Widget will cost less, get the job done, but won't do as ideal as a +0 set.

The reason why its -1 could vary from "old" to "made on Pluto" or "Needs fixing."