Archive for December, 2012

I’ve often been dissatisfied with the way that most games handle contested rolls. It comes down to, hey roll your dice and you get a decent success. The GM then rolls his dice, and by happenstance, rolls better than you. That’s it, your character’s out. The rest of your group derides your character for his lack of ability, even though you rolled a better than an average roll and their characters had no better chance.

I am prone to equate this to combat being reduced to each combatant making an attack roll and whoever rolls the highest wins…. ugh!!!!!

I have toyed with the idea of making a social combat where each participant whittles away the resolve of the other individuals in a contest of wit, charisma, and intelligence. With the amount of time that I have seen combat take, I am leery at creating another type of combat.

So to that end, I’ve decided to use a diminishing roll where the participants can choose to re-roll at the cost of dice in their dice pool.

For example:

Rancid and Coleman approach a traveling caravan that eye the two suspiciously. Coleman lays a hand on Rancid’s arm, knowing the grizzled wastelander was less than cordial with others.

“We’re looking to trade for some water, would you happen to have any?” Began Coleman.

“We have a couple liters we can spare, but it will cost 10 blue chips.” The caravan master kept a rifle pointed at the duo, but Rancid couldn’t tell if it was loaded or just for show.

Coleman scoffed, “that’s highway robbery. I’ll give you 3 blue chips for 3 liters.”

The player rolls Coleman’s bartering of 7 and gets a success. The Game Master (GM) roles the caravan master bartering of 5 and gets 2 successes.

“Ha! without water you’ll dry up in sun.” The caravan master knew he had the upperhand. “I’ll tell you what, I’ll cut you a break  and I’ll give it to you for 9 chips.”

The player decides to roll again, he pays 1 die for having to reroll, bring his total to 6. He achieves 2 successes, not enough to sway the caravan master. He pays another 2 for a reroll, bringing his dice total to 4. In a last ditch effort, the player rolls and gets 4 successes.

Coleman sees that the caravan master is playing them; his offer of 5 chips was flatly refused. Eyeing the caravan master’s rifle Coleman changes his tactics, “I’ll tell you what, we’ll give you 3 chips and two rounds for that thirty-aught-six.”

The GM decides to reroll for the caravan master. Paying one die for the reroll, the caravans die total is reduced to 4. The GM rolls 2 success, not enough beat the players roll.

The caravan master’s eyes widen, he considers it for a minute but decides it is too good to pass up.


Two of the caravan hands bring out the water, as Coleman hands over the chips and bullets. The caravan master smiles as he slides a round into the empty chamber of his rifle.

“Pleasure doing business with you, you see anyone on the trail, you tell them Coyote Bill will hook ‘em up.”

Last night we were discussing movement in combat and had decided on moving 1 square for each odd phase movement and 2 squares every even phase movement. There are six phases each measuring about .5 seconds in time. A square is 1 meter.

According to this formula, we were moving 3m per second. This falls in line with the games movement where the average character walks at 10m per 3 seconds. I decided to do some math and looking up speeds of 100m dash:

  • Cheetah 5.6s
  • World Record 9.58s
  • Athlete Sprint 14s
  • Jog 30s
  • Brisk Walk 60s
  • Walk 74s

I played with some numbers and I rounded them off to do a movement for 1 combat phase (half-second)

  • Cheetah 10m
  • World Record 5m
  • Athlete Sprint 2.5m
  • Jog 1.6m
  • Brisk Walk .6m
  • Walk .35m

This falls in line with the characters movement, but I didn’t like the math involved. I like more of a simplistic approach, so I cam up with the following movement rates for OverBurn.

  • Walk – a casual walk moves .5 meters (this is generally people unaware that combat has ensued).
  • Fast Walk – A fast walk in combat moves 1 meter or 1 square and takes a -1 penalty on any actions.
  • Jog – A jog in combat moves 2 meters or 2 squares and takes a -2 penalty on any actions.
  • Sprint – A sprint in combat moves 3 meters or 3 squares and takes a -3 penalty on any actions.
  • Insane Bolt – A character making an insane bolt move at 5 meters or 5 squares and is incapable of taking actions that require a dice check.

I think this is simple enough to remember and allows enough movement through combat to keep it dynamic. Characters are allowed to move, even if they don’t have an action that phase, but cannot move to prevent another character from acting. Overall I’m very happy with the way it works.

As I perused the web last month, I came across the site Naga Demon, National Game Designers Month, a site dedicated to fueling the desire to create games. It appears to be in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. I discovered the site half way through the month and thought it was a novel idea (pardon the pun). I have not really kept up on  the site, but it has spurred me to work on Overburn.

Overburn update.

  • Combat Rules – The combat rules are coming along and I hope to be done at the end of the year to start play testing in 2013. I am dubbing 2013 as the Year of the Burn.
  • Psionics – Psionics are really beginning to take shape.
  • Skills – I have created a rudimentary lathe… no wait, a rudimentary set of skills. It should be enough to start playing, but I have to flesh out the definitions.

I hopefully I can keep this drive up this month, with all the festivities and all. Here is the Naga Demon banner for those who participated. I’m not sure if I qualify as I have been writing this game for a little while now, but I’m going to say I did.