We've made a lot of progress on options this week, but we're not done yet, class. But let's review before we carry on any further...
Options are used to attempt all actions in the game. There are two types of options: dice options require you to roll dice for your attempt and automatic options happen simply by describing them. There are 5 base options: Attack, Move, Quick, Pass, and Free. Whenever you succeed on a dice option, you gain a bonus option to use for any option available to your character.
These are the standards for all characters in the Optional System. And there are more. Options allow you to create your own unique individual as you spend training points to learn new options. For these additions, there are more uses, applications, and definitions for options. To keep things simple, I've listed them in alphabetical order.
During the initial design phase of this system, I pictured all opposed rolls as a combination of dodges, blocks, and parries intertwined. As time went on, there was still something missing and so I turned to my old swordhandling class I took at Algonquin College in Ottawa. Defense is equal to offense in combat. Many feel a focus on one or the other is the way to go and common sense says defense lets you live longer, but you can't win if you only block and you'll get hurt or killed if you just lunge forward. Combat requires a fair balance between the two sides and using opposing rolls puts that concept on the table. But to design options only usable for offense just seemed a little counterproductive to that theory - there needed to be options adding to your defense as well.
Defensive options are unique in that they are delayed options. Take the Parry option for example. You can parry as part of your opposed rolls, don't get me wrong, but training your character to use the Parry option means you plan to do more than just bat that sword away with your spear: you plan to twist your attacker around and make a counterattack. To use the Parry option, you have to declare it on your turn but you do not roll it until you defend an attack of your choice after your Team's turn is done. All defensive options work like this. They cost attention and focus from your character in combat and hence you have to sacrifice an option from your Team to pull this maneuver off, but when you complete a defensive option, you gain the edge over your opponent and you gain a bonus option. When you pull off a defensive option, you regain control of combat and start gaining bonus options outside of your Team's turn. It can be tactically risky: if you fail to defend the attack with your Parry option, you've just wasted an option. But if it works...
What kind of RPG doesn't have skills? OK, what kind of modern RPG not emulating old-school material doesn't have skills? Some options can only be unlocked and trained after you've learned a particular skill. Other come from utilizing a certain weapon, undertaking a class, belonging to a certain race, and more. These are all trained options.
Options will come from numerous sources throughout the game and they require training points to unlock. Many weapons will have trained options attached to them, usable only when you have the weapon listed in your hands. Rogues have access to the Sneak and Hide options, wizards have the Spell option, and so forth. Some trained options can replace the standard options and reactions by automatically providing extra bonuses, just like the Charge option. While a regular charge can only be made as a stunt, the Charge option does it all automatically without the risk of a stunt. Trained options are a healthy combination of class features and feats rolled into one.
All trained options are divided into subcategories (c'mon, I ask you again, what RPG doesn't break things into subcategories?) based on their source: item, skill, power, etc. This certifies your character uses the item or skill listed as part of the option.
Like everything else posted to this blog, details and rules will change over time and termination will become tighter, but those are the literal options of the Optional System. Because she's a dice-heavy game, we'll talk next time about dice. Lots and lots of dice. ;)