Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Down To The Core, Part 2: All These Dice

Just like its older sister, the Optional System, this new version
uses dice pools to settle arguments and conflicts. 
I am the Warden!!

It's time to get to the nitty-gritty and talk about how to construct this system. Along the way, I'll be talking about some of the fundamental from the original Optional System and will try to explain these concepts and mechanics along the way. For additional information and insight into how the original system works, feel free to pick up the Pay What You Want version of Killshot (you don't even have to pay anything for it, I don't mind).

Before I can put one solid word on paper, there's a serious hurdle to overcome in Optional Core's construction: dice pools. It's a staple of the original Optional System, where players and Directors build up a dice pool from various attributes, modifiers, gear, and difficulty levels to roll against each other, a facet that will remain in Optional Core. Here's a bullet point list of the key points for dice pools in the system's previous incarnation.

  1. All dice types are assigned a group category detailing their source, or reason for use. All d20s are base dice and represent the luck of the draw outside of everyone's reach; d12s are focus dice to represent every character's basic training and versatility; d10s are circumstance dice for outside factors manipulated by the characters (such as modifiers); d8s are option dice assigned by the individual option used in a dice roll; d6s are trained skills for everyone's skills; and d4s are bonus dice just because everyone needs that extra push now and then. 
  2. Each dice group is limited in when it can be added to the roll, with the larger groups (base dice, focus dice, etc.) being more frequent than the smaller ones. In other words, every roll uses at least a base die (d20) while bonus dice (d4s) are few and far between.
  3. All dice explode. When you roll the highest number on that die, you can roll another one and add to your running total. 
  4. When your base dice explode, you gain a training point. You can use it to increase your experience and training between sessions or cash some in for immediate benefits, such as bonus dice. 
  5. As a campaign continues forward, characters can increase the number of dice available in their individual stats, focus, skills, etc. and increase the size of their pool by spending their training points. 

Monday, 22 July 2013

Down To The Core, Part 1: Construction Begins

I am the Warden and this is my 200th post!!

In times gone by, I've made a point of marking these milestones with a review of the previous 49, 99, or 149 posts before. Over the past few weeks, I've been juggling back and forth between carrying on with tradition or forging a new path. There's a lot to talk about over the last 49 posts, from the Kickstarter to the ENnie award, but my mind is looking forward once more and the ideas are far too fresh to get caught up in the past. Today, I want to talk about the future of the Optional System and the evolution of the Optional Core.

I've used the name "Optional Core" before to describe a planned project where Directors could create their own customized version of the Optional System and provide an open system for use in multiple genres, settings, and styles. In a sense, that has not changed, but the application is currently undergoing significant revisions. My original plan was to keep working on these revisions privately and without making a fuss out of it, but we are talking about a special milestone and this blog was fundamental in the creation of the Optional System and Killshot. Denying that fact is denying my creative process. AKA why fix what's not broken?

Remember when I talked about quick-start adventures as a possible product line? Optional Core would be that product line and the system powering it. A kind of condensed and simplified version of the original Optional System from which each adventure can expand and amplify as needed. Existing primarily as a series of quick-start adventures, it could also exist as a series of free, promotional rulebooks for willing and/or experienced players to take the rules beyond the game, create original characters, and expand the adventure into a full-on campaign.