Mass Combat has been giving me a headache. I wanted something quick and easy to use, something that doesn't require a massive amount of math and modifier calculation and all that sort of thing. I have been working on this system for nearly two weeks and it has gone through five complete overhauls and unknown variations in each. But, those ideas have been distilled into what I believe is a very elegant and simple system of determining huge battle outcomes in a single roll.
The Goal of the System
The overall goal of the system was to allow players the ability to quickly calculate large battles (from hundreds to millions of combatants going at it simultaneously). Through a lot of trial and error and suggestions from rpg.net, the idea came about to use ratios. While the system is not complete as of yet, it is in a stage which it can be playtested. Here is what it looks like in an overview.
Mass Combat in a Nutshell
All troops numbers are simplified/rounded and turned into a ratio. Players roll 1d20 + Unit Level + Ratio Modifier and compare rolls with the combatant. The high roll wins. The low roll is subtracted from the high roll. This number becomes the margin of success (MoS). The MoS determines the damage dice to be rolled as well as the damage modifier (the MoS is added to the damage roll for total damage). The number of combatants also determines how much damage is done. For example, if you are charging into battle with a force of 8,000, then your damage is multiplied by 100. If you have a force of 5 million, your damage is multiplied by 100,000. This also allows easy scaling.
Other modifiers can also be easily tacked on to the base roll - things such as position, elevation, weather, etc. can all be easily added to the base roll. Also, all of these modifiers are single digits so the math never become overly complex.
So, I think the headaches are almost over. I will start testing tonight and see how all of this works as I use various sized armies.
The artwork for FAL is coming along nicely. I hope to have it all completed in the next month or so - well before the Kickstarter project starts up.
All of the artwork is staying with the theme of quirky, crazy, weird, fantasy, imaginative, wtf is that sort of thing. They are all full color and I really hope to be able to publish the book in full color as it will add so much to the feel of everything.
The picture here is a giant crab battle with a several Frogors battling a group of adventurers. We have a wizard in brown (homage to Tolkien's Radagast the Brown of Middle Earth). I particularly like the Orka with the lance as well as the guy getting cut in half.
There are tons of hidden easter eggs in the artworks of the book. Most all of the references come from older science fiction, fantasy, and pop culture of the 70s and 80s.
Some major changes have been made to the core dice mechanic. Instead of a step die system, I have decided to simplify things completely and change the system over to a d20 roll where 1/2 level is added along with an applicable modifier.
1d20 + 1/2 Level + Skill Modifier
That is the base mechanic for every single roll. All rolls are made against a Target Number or Opposed Roll. That's it.
My main idea in designing this system was to make it super simple and easy to play so that the focus could really be centered in interaction with other players and NPCs. While conflict is handled through dice rolls, much of the game is narrative centered as a by product of this ultra simple system.
I have also simplified the skills list from an open system to a defined set of 14 skills that incorporate everything needed to define a character. Each skill will have a modifier which is added to the 1d20 roll. This has further streamlined the overall system of Far Away Land.
It must have been fate that I stumbled across my old one page system when I did. Looking at the simplicity of that system and how easy it is to pick up and play really influenced my decisions to change various mechanics in recent weeks. The step die system was fairly complex and required a lot more explanation and walkthrough as compared to this roll + level + modifier system. Also, by simplifying the dice mechanic, I have been able to add greater depth to combat without having to use up page upon page of rule explanation to show how the system functions.
Finally, the spell system has been overhauled and is in play test. Everything has been simplified and made easier to play. I have also added a Powers system that can be used in race creation. Basically, you can have super powered medieval fantasy characters with all sorts of insane abilities. I'll talk about this some more later…
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