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Tannhauser: The Pen and Paper RPG - A Collaborative Effort.


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#1 Lance845

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 03:54 PM

Hi everyone!

Tannhauser as a fantastic game in part, and some might argue mostly, because of the setting and story. The characters are fantastic, the time, the history, the gear! It is, I think, perfect for a pen and paper RPG where players can create their own pulp heroes to go toe to toe with the Reich, the Shogunate, the Matriarchy, and the Union.

So I started thinking of how I wish someone would make a Tannhauser pen and paper RPG. But then I started thinking of systems I would use and how it could be done. I think I have enough of an idea that I want to actually do it. I want to be someone who makes a Tannhauser RPG. But I want to do it with people so everyone who thinks like I do can enjoy it. Also... I made a RPG before. It can be a lot of work. And for this, I wanted to do it with a fresh new system that is built off the board game. That is right. I want Tannhauser the RPG to feel like Tannhauser the board game when you play it.

I have plans to emulate the stats (though expand on them), include personal command points, lots of stuff. But it all needs some brain storming. It needs some constructive criticism.

Here is what I am hoping to find here.

- 1 or 2 other people to work with me directly on design. Of course everyone working directly on the project is free to give feed back and make suggestions. But I am looking for people with a strong analytical mind who are good with problem solving to crack game mechanics. Any previous custom game rules work is a plus. Especially if it is in pen and paper.

- 1 or more writers. I wrote my last game like this. The book took me months and months to work on. Years really when it comes down to it. And with design, play test, and the other responsibilities it was just too much. I would like to stay focused on the rules and the play tests this time around so if someone is willing to take the lists of rules and notes and turn it into chapters so it is an actual book people can read that would just be amazing.

- Play Testers. I think this would be the easiest to find here. But in particular if someone with some history of DMing wants to create some 1 shots or other short games that we can use to keep testing out the game that would be great. Again, the less planning of that stuff and writing the actual books I need to do the more I can examine the mechanics and make the appropriate adjustments, build lists of weapons and gear, build character creation bonuses, etc etc...

 

In the end I hope to make frequent posts with updates and and such to keep people in the know about the project, where it is going, and get general forum feedback. But I would like to try to build a more comprehensive "team" to work on it with so as to not have too many cooks in the kitchen, but a solid team to work on it, if you know what I mean?

Is anyone interested in this?

If you want to do any of the jobs listed above please let me know here or email me, rjmaehr@gmail.com



#2 Lance845

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 04:01 PM

Oh, by the way, my resume of sorts.

I studied game design with the University of Advancing Technology and the Pittsburgh Art Institute. I designed a pen and paper system including my own magic system from scratch based around the unisystem by Eden Studios. It was pretty rockin. Currently I am system and level designer for a indy game company working on a project I cannot actually talk about so I wont. BUT, the point being, I am familiar with game systems and mechanics and that is why I am trying to build this little team and lead the development. Clearly not for profit and just because this would be awesome.



#3 Lance845

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 06:47 PM

Here is some preliminary ideas for the game. Just basics. Nothing hammered out yet.

Character creation would be point buy. Meaning you have a certain number of points that you spend on different qualities for the character.

Attributes:

Might: Melee attacks. Also some equipment will have might requirements to use without penalty (I.E. Heavy weapons)

Agility: Ranged attacks. Dodging

Toughness: Contributes to shock rolls.

Intellect: Spells and spell like things.

Willpower: Resisting mind influencing stuff

Skills:

works with attributes to accomplish actions.

Guns

Melee

Mechanics

Stealth

etc etc...

Command Points:

Each character will get 3 command points. They gain 1 command point after every battle and reset back to 3 after a rest. The more you fight without resting the more points you can accumulate to spend in a single fight.

Command points can be spent to raise a stat (increasing chance of success on a single roll)

Can also be spent to shrug off wounds.

Other stuff I have not planned out yet...

Health levels:

I would like to have health levels just like on the Tannhauser boards. Basically whatever your attribute is would determine what the attribute levels below it would be. Characters would have more then 4 rows though... I am thinking something more like 6-7. If anyone played white wolf games they would be familiar with that kind of thing. Just this would be the first time it effected all your attributes. Some perks you can take in character creation might be able to add additional health levels or reduce the degradation of specific stats. (Instead of your might being 6/5/4/3/2 it would be 6/6/5/5/4 or some such. Dunno. Numbers need to be crunched.)

 

And other stuff I haven't fully planned out yet!

Character creation will include a ton of perks you can take to customize your characters. Including unique equipment!

 

 



#4 Lance845

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 11:40 AM

This is how I am thinking attributes could work with skills to determine rolls.

-First, you roll 10 sided dice, 10s are automatic success 1s automatic failure.

-Your attribute gives you a base pool of dice. Meaning even if you have no skill in something you still might roll a 10 and get a success out of blind luck.

-Your skill works like the stats in the board game. Skill - 10  = target number for a success.

-Equipment adds dice to your dice pool.

-So.. Lets say in the pen and paper it is 1 die for a melee weapon, 2 dice for a pistol and 3 for automatic.

-Armor adds dice to your shock rolls, stamina is your base dice pool for shock rolls, and skill sets your difficulty.

So...

 

I want to shoot you.

Agility is a 4

I have a 4 skill in guns.

I have a weapon automatic.

4 (from agility) + 3 (from my gun) = 7 dice with 6 or better getting a success.

 

You try to dodge.

Stamina + armor with difficulty set by your acrobatics or some crap that would make sense for dodging it.

 

Then it would work just like the board game. Each uncanceled success would deal one wound and you would dial down your attributes.

 



#5 Lance845

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 08:03 PM

Well, I am going to keep posting stuff I am doing in case it sparks anyone else's interests. I got some positive feed back so far. Not as much as I hoped for but some.

Here is a demo character sheet. Testing the layout. Skills section will be expanded. I don't think we need that many rows for armor. And abilities might need to be expanded.

Stats are, from left to right, Might, Agility, Stamina, Intellect, Will Power, Perception (Maybe Awareness? Trying new names for the things these are normally called).

I figure you could put a paper clip on the side of the sheet and slide it up and down when you get wounded. Would allow you to keep seeing your stats while marking where you are at.



#6 Miah999

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:07 PM

Looks good so far, but I don't play RPGs so that's about all I can say.



#7 Nhoj

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 09:21 AM

 I do play RPGs and am following with considerable interest.  As soon as I get enough time I will begin giving you some positive input / critique 

 

-Nhoj



#8 Lance845

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 11:45 AM

So here are some systems I want to hybridize into this thing.

The drama points/healing surges from Eden studios Unisystem/Dungeons and Dragons 4th ed.

-I think the recovery portion of DnD fits with Tannhauser's rules for command points, but spending them to do actions like the Unisystem is more like how command points work in Tannhauser. So mixing the 2 systems together and calling it Command Points gets us something that gives players a edge to bring to a fight that emulates the source game well.

-The light and loose character creation options of GURPS Hellboy. Hellboy basically has everything Tannhauser does. And it is presented in a simple rules light version in that GURPS book. Obviously adjustments to costs need to be made, but for a basic list of perks and drawbacks players can take I think Hellboy is the foundation to build on.

-The board game itself. Some of what I have posted so far shows how the board game is being used to build the RPG. It should, in the end, feel like Tannhauser. Also I want to get in special effects on equipment. The flash guns should give you something if you roll a natural 10. Stuff like that.

 

Current trouble area: Magic. I have some hitches I can see coming from magic in the game. Things like the 7th plague need to be possible in Tannhauser but it needs to be difficult. Easily done by breaking things down into ritual and extended actions vs abilities that can be done with a single action. But less easily balanced is a spell attacking a players mind. When Itami forces a character to move in the RPG what exactly are the rolls? I think games fall into trouble with these kinds of mechanics being made into 2 separate systems that need to then be balanced agaisnt each other. They can't. They never have been and people need to stop designing them thinking they can. I want to avoid that. Casting a spell or using an ability should run on the same set of rules as shooting a gun.

So maybe... the ability grants a skill? I take a pyrokenesis Perk. That gives me Pyrokenesis skill (or maybe it just falls under occult?) and one ability (more abilities can be purchased with more points). The skill then sets the difficulty of the roll, while attribute and the ability itself create the dice pool. A player then rolls will to resist... but what sets his difficulty? It needs to be something everyone can have that has more use then just resisting spells. Maybe a concentration (that would allow you to stay focused on tasks while under preasure? I don't know yet. Need to come up with another few ideas and test the merits of each.

 

 



#9 Miah999

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 07:08 AM

Well I should be able to help you with the feel and general Tannhauseryness. Like making your character sheet feel more like a gov't fom, and working on the terminolgy.

Of course you don't have to use anything I come up with.



#10 Miah999

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 08:48 AM

Had some free tme so I worked this up, you don't have to use it though.

Link to a larger image: https://lh6.googleus.../s800/THRPG.jpg

I made a couple of terminology changes, they may not work for you, but here's a quick run down: Added race, changed perk to qualification (it fits from a military sense), changed drawbacks to phobias, renamed and reorganized the skills list. Most the other changes are cosmetic.

Statistic symbols: Might, Agility, Stamina, Will Power, Intelect, Situational Awareness



#11 Lance845

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 02:46 PM

Very nice. I do like the more military formness of the character sheet. I will have to adjust stuff (or tell you what I need adjusted if you don't mind remaking a character sheet?) Once I hammer out a few more details.

 

On to magics stuff...

 

First magic will be broken into 2 categories.

Magic and Powers.

Magic is actual spells. This is Obscura Corps type ****. Powers are "natural" abilities of the character that come from part of their nature. Basically you have a Riech spell caster he will be using magic. You run into Itami he will be using powers.

Magic is based on intelligence and requires materials, locations, and the proper time. Sometimes the material might negate some of these requirements (like the Patmos amulet). Location is more or less important depending on the spell in question (places of power kind of thing). This means big end of the world type crap requires everything to be just right and a certain number of successes to cast. But small stuff can be done with material aids and be used fairly regularly in combat. The skill is Occult. Most spells will have a occult requirement to cast without penalty.

 

Powers on the other hand... Powers are gained through perks. Like the perk "Oni" would grant the ability to purchase certain powers and the skill that is your aptitude at using these powers. Powers are based on willpower. itami would have the Oni perk and the Power that lets him move people. The power would add no dice of it's own. So it is essentially a will vs will contest with his Oni skill setting difficulty and his (probably high) will power giving him a dice pool.

Types of psychic powers would also fall under powers because they are not ritual or arcane in nature but instead a inherent ability of the character. Different powers and spells will have "cool downs" determining how often you can use them for balance sake.

 

Qualifications and phobias wont quite fit because some of the "qualifications" will be things like "Demons Taint" (Har Har!) and some of the "phobias" would be things like Animal Intellect (which could be coupled with Demons Taint to Make the Strosstrupen).



#12 Lance845

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 02:40 PM

I realized today what I am actually having trouble with is a broader mechanic called an attribute test. How do you determine the difficulty when rolling for something based purely on a stat?

You try to lift rubble off an ally (might test).

You walk into a room and you have a perception test to see if you notice anything is wrong.

The mind control ability of Itami is basically a contested willpower test. Each person trying to trump the other to dominate or resist domination. Itamis side could arguably be determined with a skill. But it does not have to be. It could simply be a result of his willpower alone, the power allowing him to make a willpower test to accomplish the task.

Should the difficulty be a 6? A 50/50 chance on every die? Should I go the White wolf route and say a 7 or higher (or their old way 8 or higher)? With the only thing that boosts your chances being how high your attribute is and thus how large your dice pool is? Further can this be expanded to other powers? A pyrokinetic who attempts a fireball style attack would roll a willpower test with dice added by the power itself (the way guns would add dice to dice pools?) That seems like a way to make powers either consistently weak or powerful compared to skills depending on how high or low the difficulty is set. At 5 it's like you always have a 5 in guns. Never better or worse. Great for early game. Crap when people start raising skills higher.

Another idea was to have the attribute set the difficulty. A 3 will power means roll 3 dice with 10-3=7 as the difficulty. But this escalates quickly. A 5 in willpower is then 5 dice with 5 or higher being a success. And large or huge creatures with massive strengths would then always get a success unless they rolled a 1.

I need ideas from other people. Suggestions on how attribute tests could work that I can bounce around. Maybe somebody will approach it from an angle I have not thought of and we can find something that clicks.



#13 Miah999

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 03:03 PM

The difficulty should be determined by the stat, and the dice pool should be standardized, this limits the complexity, and is in keeping with how the TH game works. So players will be able to pick up quickly.



#14 Lance845

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 04:05 PM

The problem with that is what role do skills play then? Every character is just as good with a sword as they are a gun? A conversion from board game to pen and paper requires a little more complexity. My first thought when deciding to do this was your idea. But it was too limited. It encompassed everything you needed to do in the board game but not everything a person can reasonably do, which a pen and paper has to.



#15 Lance845

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 04:25 PM

The best suggestion I have heard so far is 2 part.

First, the difficulty should have half the stat rounded down. Second, that the cap for difficulty should be set to 7. Both from skills and attribute tests. Each time you would otherwise gain a bonus beyond cap instead would offer some other benefit. Like reducing dice for the other guy or maybe a free success or some such. Dunno about that part. But the cap would be needed to keep things in order.



#16 Miah999

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 09:21 PM

I see what your saying, I guess it's that extra complexity that while I guess it's necessary is why I don't play RPGs.

But one last suggesstion...

Stats represent inate physical traits/genetics not stuff you can teach/learn.

Skills would then represent what can be taught/learned, so it would be a multiplier for the stats.

This way you could keep standard dice pools (to be determined).

Examples: Your might stat is 3, your Personal Combatives sklill is 1.5 so your difficulty is 6 (4.5 rounded down to 4) (10-4=6)

                  Your might stat is 3, your Hand-to-Hand Arms skill is 2 so your difficulty is 4 (10-6=4)

                  Your might stat is 3, your Firearms skill is 2.5 so your dificulty is (7.5 rounded down to 7) (10-7=3)

That's just some combat examples but this gives you a huge ammount of possiable combinations for different actions.

The stat/skill could also be additive instead of a multiplier.

All just something to think about.

 



#17 Lance845

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 10:04 PM

The reason why I went for stats as the base dice pool size was two part. One, it made stats (which will be much more expensive to increase then skills) give a big bonus for doing so. After all, there is only so strong a human can get. Extra dice is extra chances for success. But it also factors into the unskilled attempts at tasks.

Somebody with a high agility (which would be used to fire guns because it is based on quick precision as opposed to brute force) would have more dice and more chances for a natural 10 to get blindly lucky and pull off a shot. Probably not a very good one, but still a chance. Where as a klutz with crap agility would have a significantly lower chance to accomplishing the same thing due to a smaller dice pool.

One of the other things to keep in mind is that stats and skills are not static numbers in RPGs. You do not simply make a character. Character progress is a large part of the fun. It is not just about facing challenges, but improving and facing tougher challenges. Consider The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Clearly every character who was in the first book was a way bigger bad ass by the end of the 3rd. Experience point gain, which is then spent to raise attributes and skills, simulates that progress for the characters.

To that end, putting in fractions and such is WAY complicating the math on something I am actually keeping VERY rules light. Other RPGS do some serious real life emulation in their rules and get very complicated. I am trying to keep Tannhauser fast and loose to simulate both the style of the setting (Pulp Heroes, Sci Fi, Weird Tales kind of stuff) and the board game.

Thanks for the feed back though. It is stuff to think about. And even if it's an idea I can't or don't use this kind of feedback might get me approaching this from a new angle. I appreciate it.



#18 Miah999

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 10:50 PM

I wanted to make one last go at this because it's something I believe in, so here it goes.

I think that the dice pool should be locked at three d10s multiplied together that will give you any number between 1 and 1000, I think.

Then the Stats could be any number 1-100, multiplied by the Skill a number 1-10, that will give you a difficulty score of a number between 1 and 1000.

So all you have to do is roll 3 d10s and multiply them, then if the number is lower/= then you difficulty score it's a "hit" and your apply the effect, damage, etc.

There should only be a few stats, like the 4 in Tannhauser already, these represent the systems of the body. Then you can have lots of different skills, like for guns magic, etc, that way even if a character has a high mental stat, if their Hermetics skill is 0 they won't be able to use "magic".

I drew up another character sheet and threw some stuff on it just to start to look at things. Then I started rolling dice, to get a feel. It seems to work Ok.

Now let me say I really like this idea, and I'm going to continue it's development, but your welcome to ignore it, I won't mind. Thanks for your time.

 



#19 Lance845

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 04:47 AM

So how does "damage 10" translate into damage to the player?



#20 Miah999

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 05:57 AM

I haven't decided yet, one step at a time you know.

Here is my current working model for damage,

Step 1 is as above, say it is a hit.

Step 2 is for the target to determine how much damage was caused, at first I was using 10 as a straight percent off the player's 100% health, but that doesn't give the target any chance to dodge, or shake off the wound. So then I thought about TH's shock roll, but how to fix the dificulty. I thought about the Stamina Stat X the Physical Training Skill, in this case that gives you a 70. Roll three d10s and get 10, 4, 7, that's 280 so the target failed the roll and would suffer 10% damage. If the target rolled 1, 4, 6, that would be 24 a success.

Now the question is does a success block all the damage or only some? Right now I'm using the Physical Training Skill, an subtracting it from the Damage, so 10 becomes 8, then I subtract the total DFS value from the armor section, in this case 5, so now the damage recieved by the target is only 3.

I'm worried this is too complex, but I don't know how complex it should be.

Now there could be Abilities or Equipment the change which Stat x Skill combo is used for the "shock roll".

Again use only what you want.

Back to being a dad, later.






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