Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Options, Part 2

I am the Warden!!

Where were we? Ah, yes. Options. Yesterday, we discussed how options drive the Optional System according to your Team and bonus options. Now we're going to talk about the five base options, those available to every single character represented in this game.

Base Options
There are five (5) base options available to every character and can be used at any point and time on your Team's turn, regardless of training. Each of these options represents a core task applicable to any untrained character, such as farm hands, millers, barmaids, law enforcement, snotty noblemen, and more. Even animals have access to these options - that's just how basic they are.

Attack: Don't let the name fool you; this option is not always used for attacking another character. But yeah, it's predominantly used for planting your sword in their neck. The Attack option is the default option for rolling dice; any time you have to make a dice roll against difficulty dice or an opposing character, you can use the Attack option. The majority of options available in OS substitute the Attack option and provide additional benefits or access to greater reactions, functions, and more. The Attack option is the simplest version of the active dice roll: you roll dice against an opposing set of dice to perform an action.

Move: The Optional System does not use miniatures or maps. It doesn't make sense to build a system requiring minis when you can't manufacture your own. So we're going old school on this motherfucker. Simplifying movement, distance, and range for this game is another crucial goal to the final design and this is where the Move option comes in handy. When you spend a Move option, you do not move a set number of feet or inches; you move to a location within your line of sight. For example, you stand in the middle of a room with pillars standing at the far side of the room. You can reach a pillar in 1 Move option. It doesn't matter how far away it is - you just need to declare 1 Move option to reach it. To make it to another pillar, you must spend another Move option. Each Move option places you one step closer to reaching a target, meaning the only measurement of distance is the Move option itself. Move options can also be used for accomplishing jumps, climbing a cliff, swimming, and any other form of movement with a risk of failure, but when it comes to making it from Point A to Point B, you simply get there.

Quick: These options are NEVER dice options. You must have to roll for a Quick option, but it does take a concentrated effort to perform it. Drawing your weapon, opening a door, and all those other basic deeds you'd look like an idiot rolling for. It's like starting up a new video game where they say your character is the sole hope for salvation in the universe and then proceed to explain how to put on your pants. Because Quick options never require dice, you cannot gain a bonus option from these actions.

(Or can you? There's a little something called "stunts" which can help with that problem, but we'll get there another day.)

Pass: When we talked about Teams, the Pass option came up. Passing is the critical component of the Team structure and allows you to pass your bonus option to another member on your Team and use it as if it were their own. This option is an automatic option, just like the Quick option, though it can become any other option after it has been passed. (In our playtests so far, players have simply started calling out "Pass!" when they use this option. I still have a grin over that.)

Free: Hold on now, it's not as easy as that. This final base option does allow for those rapid-fire, easy-peasy things players have argued for generations over. Talking, thinking, and so many other things not worth getting into at the moment. Free actions are a great way to just say "Whatever, you can go nuts with those," but those games feature a 6-second timeline on their turns; their games incorporate an averaging concept to a character's turn where you roll an overall result for your series of thrusts, parries, and lunges. The Optional System has you roll for EVERY SINGLE stroke, gesture, and incantation, so having unlimited free actions cannot properly apply here without getting out of hand. Each option represents no more than 1 second of time. How many words can you get out in one second? Every Free option allows for 3 deeds, including one line of dialogue per deed, before you have to use the Free option as part of your Team's turn. This option will be entirely at the discretion of the Director, though we have used the principle that any words spoken directly to another character count towards a Free option. Of all the base options, I'm expecting this one to get the most tweaking over the next couple of years.

But That's Not All Folks...
Not by a long shot. All characters in the Optional System can use training points (we'll get to that too) to gain additional options. The purpose of these options is to provide players with unique opportunity, attack styles, and actions uncommon in their allies - it's a way to individualize your character. As a player, instead of learning how to achieve every single action like grappling, sneaking, spellcasting, and the like, all you need to read up on are the 5 base options and those you're trained in.

Next time, I'll go into option types, such as defensive options, and their uses throughout the Optional System.