John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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Coming Along Horribly Well...

Pursuant to my post the other day about skills/feats/talents and what to do about them for this mystery/horror idea, I decided to go with the plan there, of dropping talents (or more accurately, turning them into feats) and creating ready-made templates. The game is shaping up nicely now, stealing an hour here and two hours there to work on it when I'm not drawing or at work. I've finished the templates and almost finished the skill list. I've also come up with a name (which was actually pretty difficult) and started working on background material (mostly revising and fleshing out good old Madison, Virginia).

One nice thing about the character creation system is that it's completely modular — all characters get six trained skills (plus their Int mod) and five feats, four points to put towards defense bonuses (with no more than +3 on any one), and can take up to two flaws in exchange for additional trained skills or feats. There are something like 33 skills, compared to SWSE's 20, so I figured I should be generous with skill training. Also, since there aren't talents any more, characters get a feat on every odd-numbered level (since they get BAB and skill raises on even-numbered levels).

Characters all begin with the same BAB and a d6 hit die, but can improve those if they want to burn feats to do so. (Each step up in hit dice costs a feat, so to have the fighter-level d10, you have to spend two feats to get it.) The templates are simply "pre-made" selections using those parameters, which gives people who like to have classes (like jamesbarrett for instance) something to hang their concept on, whereas people who like to custom-craft their character (like me) can do that instead.

The first thing that may strike those of you who've dealt with game balance issues is, "Wait — couldn't somebody just take a couple of flaws to crank up their hit die, spend a ton of feats on BAB, improved defenses, and so on to totally munchkinize their character?"

The answer is, well, yes they could. But there are a couple of mitigating factors that come into play there. First, I've got a good group of players, so that's not really likely to become a problem. Second, even if we did have a munchkin at the table, this is a mystery/horror game! Being a combat monster means you're probably going to get eaten first when the Squamous Polyp materializes overhead. Finally, the flaws are pretty darn big; they're things like Obsession, Fragile Mind, and that sort. Nobody's going to take them casually.

I'm very pleased so far — I hope (and expect) that this will be a very fun game, that combines the best of both worlds between the d20 system and Call of Cthulhu. I just wish I could play in it instead of running the thing, but that's the way it always goes, alas!

-The Gneech
Tags: gaming, uncanny midnight tales, yog-sothothery
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