Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Sharing (AKA Teamwork, Part 2)

Couldn't sleep a wink last night. I really wanted to and spent all night lying in bed or on the couch in the hopes of actually falling asleep, but it never happened. You know that kind of night where you have no energy to do any work and just lie there like a zombie? Now I'm struck with a tremendous surge of energy and just might pop out two of these today. But I digress...

Back to Teams! Yesterday, I talked about the concept of Teams in the Optional System. Everyone groups together and splits their actions amongst each other. Now I'd like to talk about how that works exactly, the sharing.

Options: The System Core
It struck me around 3AM that I should have explained something else first, perhaps the penultimate essential to this system. Options. All actions, those requiring dice or a simple description, are called options and hence the name of the system. There are 5 basic options available to all characters the moment they make their dramatic entrance: Attack, Move, Quick, Free, and Pass. Most of these are rather self-explanatory at the moment (and I will get into them, rest assured, because you can learn a lot more than five!) but for now we're going to look at the Pass option.

Each Team starts with a minimum number of options equal to 1 + the total number of characters on a Team. Play with a Team of 3, they all have at least 4 options between the lot of them. A Team of 4 has 5, 5 players get 6, and so on. At the start of your Team's turn, choose one player to start the ball rolling OR have each Teammate roll 1d20 and the highest goes first.

When you roll dice to complete an option, you gain a bonus option transferable to any other option available to your character. So when you attack an enemy and hit, you gain a bonus option. You can use it to shoot/swing again, move out of the way, draw another weapon, or pass that bonus option to a Teammate. The Pass option translates the use of that bonus option to another character on your Team and allows them to attempt something on their own. If that second character succeeds on a dice roll, they gain a bonus option and can pass it onto to the first character or any other character on their Team.

Passing grants a Team incredible flexibility on their turns and easily allows players to work together through more than just marching order. For example, you want to push an opponent off a cliff in the heat of a deadly swordfight but haven't a good Strength score. Your ally does have the muscle, however, and will give you a hand. By passing your bonus option to the ally, the problem can be relieved without having to worry about your opponent striking first, a common concern in most RPGs.

Which Team Goes First?
An excellent question! Each fight, encounter, scrum, or whatever you want to call it starts somewhere. These areas are known as danger zones and commonly occur as a specific area, location, or character in which a fight has clearly begun. For example, you smash through a locked door into an antechamber; once you pass through the door, you discover armed guards waiting for you on the other side. The door is the danger zone and the fight begins as soon as you pass through it.

The Team closest to the danger zone goes first; their proximity to the danger gives them a chance to act faster and respond to the danger at hand. If the danger zone centers on a character, say the heroes are chasing down a thief and finally catch up to him, the character would act first as soon as the first pursuer reaches him. If only one Teammate is the closest to the danger zone, he represents the entire Team for proximity.

Surprising your enemies is one of the fundamental requirements of any combat system and watching players strategize how they will get the jump on your enemies. For the OS, any character who declares an option in advance (I call them "defensive options") can roll 1d20 against any Team granted the first turn. If we go back to our fleeing thief, a player can declare a defensive option before the start of the fight such as "As soon as I get close, I'm going to use an Attack option to tackle him to the ground." He intents to act before the thief can. He rolls 1d20 against the thief and if he wins the roll, the chasing character gets to act first, along with the rest of his Team. He then gains a bonus option from winning the dice roll and the turn carries on from there.

More Options, Please
As stated above, options are the core of this system and it's time we got into those. Another day. In the meantime, I think this post was just what I needed. I've yawned by way through this last paragraph. Thanks for reading.