Monthly Archives: February 2010

Future Fantasy: The Rigger

So, the level 1 Document for The Rigger is up. Take a look, tell me what you think, what’s overpowered, and what’s underpowered.

Right now the class is clocking in not quite as beefy as the other defenders, but that’s by design- you’re having your drones take the hits, not yourself. My first impulse is to design the class to be powerful- I want people to like it and immediately want to play it. I can always scale it back later, though there’s a power or two I think may end up in a higher level slot.

As it gains levels, in addition to having access to more variety, the Rigger gets Utility powers that have a variety of noncombat drones (like snoopers to spy, or do tasks at range), and Loadouts, which are like stances for your drones and summons.

(Tim says I need a different name for the class to differentiate it from other things. So technically right now it’s the Drone Rigger, and I’m accepting suggestions as to what the dude should be called.)

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Yesterday I went out to Cross Plains. There’s a gaming group out the local library for kids, with a couple of adults supervising. They have someone drive out once in a while to run D&D for them, but they’re looking for someone to give them a hand.

I came by, with some bags of games. When I arrived, some of the kids were puzzling over a newly opened box of Dominion, and I was asked if I knew how to play. After teaching the game, some more kids wanted to play it, so I taught it to 3 more, and sat out, watching the game and answering questions.

For the most part, the kids were very polite and well-mannered, but overly energetic at times. For me it was a very tiring experience, but fun. The kids were VERY enthusiastic to have someone who might run D&D for them on a more regular basis- the other adults don’t know much about it.

One of the kids wants to learn to GM, so near the end of the afternoon I pulled him aside and we collaborated on an idea for an adventure- I wanted to show him that making an adventure and running a game is easy! He came up with the monsters, the traps, the treasure (with some prompting from me), and I’ll do the heavy lifting of picking encounter loadouts. (I didn’t have any books with me, otherwise I probably would have statted one with him right there.) Next time, when I play, I’ll have him co-GM with me, with me having take as much of the role as I think he can- I’ll probably split the monsters with him, and let him play the really fun ones.

The kids seemed to be happy to meet me- I got some hugs from the younger girls, and they were especially eager for the chance to play more D&D.

Future Fantasy: Class Breakdown

So, over the last few posts, I’ve come up with a pretty solid foundation for the classes. 11 of them in total, 2 Defenders, and 3 of every other role. Over the classes, the stat use breakdown is as follows:

Primary Attacks:
1 Uses Strength, 2 use Dexterity, 4 use Intelligence, 2 use Wisdom, and 2 use Charisma. None use Constitution.

Secondary Stats
2 use Strength, 2 use Dexterity, 2 use Constitution, 3 use Intelligence, 2 use Wisdom, and a whopping 5 use Charisma. 2 (the Soldier and Summoner) are designed to have variable support stats. 1 (the Commander) is still sketchy. Looking at that, it should probably be 2 of Strength/Dexterity/Constitution.

Next, I’m going to try to fully flesh out a class, for levels 1-10. Any suggestions where to start?

Future Fantasy: Mystic Classes

The third power source is the Mystic. Mystic characters use magic energy to channel spellpower. They might be erudite and educated, or as tempestuous as the force they command. Mystic attacks are known as Spells.

The Channeler: Mystic Striker
The Channeler is deeply linked to raw magical energy, and is a bright burning flame. The channeler has potent attacks, and has the ability to inflict damage on himself to increase their potency even further. The Channeler primarily uses Charisma for attacks. Constitution allows the Endless Font to channel almost unlimited power, and Intelligence allows the Font of Power to channel more intense bursts of power, albeit for shorter periods of time.

The Enchanter: Mystic Leader
The Enchanter weaves magic to protect and augment himself and his allies. Whether enchanting magic items in advance or on the fly, the Enchanter is a master of defensive and persistent magics. The Enchanter’s spells and techniques are mastered through years of study, and rely on the Intelligence attribute. Wisdom augments the Abjurer’s defensive capabilities, and Charisma gives the Rejuvenator additional healing prowess.

The Adept: Mystic Controller
The Adept is unmatched at controlling the battlefield, moving enemies around with a variety of push, pull, and slide effects. Based primarily on Wisdom, the Adept buffets its enemies with force effects, keeping them out of cover and in their allies lines of fire. The Forceful Adept (channeling the Adept’s Strength) is especially adept at moving a single target around at a time, whereas the Furious Adept (channeling the Adept’s Charisma) moves whole squads around.

The Summoner: Mystic Controller
The Summoner focuses on summoning allies and conjuring zones to control the battlefield. The Summoner has a number of encounter based summon spells, but can only maintain one summoned creature at a time- at the Heroic tier, anyway. The Summoner is based on Charisma, due to the presence needed to chain such elemental creatures. The Focused Summoner masters a specific type of summon, and gains extra benefits when using it. The Adaptive Summoner has a wider variety of possible summoned allies, and can use whatever is needed to suit the encounter at hand. Different ‘elements’ or types of Summons use different abilities for different benefits. Focused Summoners will want to focus on one secondary ability, whereas Adaptive Summoners get more out of spreading their secondary bonuses across several abilities.

Future Fantasy: The Setting

I was agonizing over the choice of a default setting for Future Fantasy. How close to the real world? How many elements lifted directly from D&D? Nation states or completely balkanized? Then it hit me: collaborative/random worldgen.

So I scribbled some notes on randomly generated megacorps. Here’s a sample I rolled up just now:

I have three megacorps. One comes out of a mixed-race business partnership, and specializes in Consumer Goods, Resource Collecting, and Light Manufacturing. The first two suggest logging and paper harvesting- a company with a lock on the world’s forests, and control over paper towels and toilet paper. They make their own logging equipment, but the manufacturing arm is really aimed at household appliances. It’s owned by a partnership of elven and human interests. Arborea Corporation. For a Greener Future.

Next we’ve got a corporation run by a shadowy board of directors. No one knows their true identities. They deal in Security Services/Mercenaries, Heavy Manufacturing, and also Consumer Goods. How about controversial but powerful manufacturing giant Monolith Technologies, which uses its subsidiary Tower Security Solutions as a private mercenary army and interferes in small governments. It recently pulled a hostile takeover on a second-tier plastics company, and is making waves in the home consumer markets.

Lastly, we’ve got another mixed-race partnership, this time developing military hardware, also consumer goods, and also mercenaries. Iron Hammer Technologies, (the board dominated by dwarves and hobgoblins) specializes in military needs for a new century, with its massive goblinoid security specialists using the latest gear. Iron Hammer also specializes on ‘hearth defense’ and personal defense weapons.

So Monolith might be looking to ‘intervene’ in the lizardfolk jungle rebellion to get an edge in on the paper goods product, Monolith and Iron Hammer probably have a rivalry over security contracts, and Iron Hammer is probably looking at the juicy consumer goods field and looking to expand. And there’s also plenty of room for conflict within each corp. I think this oracular system is going to be a winner.

Future Fantasy: The Tech Power Source

The second power source for Future Fantasy is the Tech power source. This is the domain of characters who use technology, specifically a computer interface, as their primary means of combat- electronic warfare, remote machines, or other techniques. These guys will still probably pack a piece and pull a shot off here or there, but if they do, it’s probably coordinated with some sort of trick ammo or signal telemetry or some such technobabble. Tech powers are known as Hacks.

The Rigger: Tech Defender
The Rigger deploys Drones, which are minions. These minions fly around and follow the commands of the Rigger, and their attacks can mark enemies. The Distracting Rigger increases the attack penalty for not attacking a Drone, and the Punishing Rigger gains a reaction attack similar to those of conventional defenders. Once his drones are destroyed, he can deploy more, and many of his daily attacks deploy special drones. Drones are very much like summoned creatures.
The Rigger is based primarily on Intelligence, with Dexterity (reaction time) being the secondary for the Distracting Rigger, and Charisma (force of personality) being the secondary for the Punishing Rigger.

The Overwatch: Tech Leader
The Overwatch monitors the battlefield, focusing on enemy communications and movements, and communicates that to the entire team. The Overwatch has a lot of “spotter” abilities to focus fire or reward interarcing fields of fire- if an ally doesn’t have a clear shot but you do, you can let them ignore cover. The Overwatch also has a subtheme of reaction and defense. Since so much of it is based on perception, the Overwatch’s key ability is Wisdom. The Point Man uses Constitution to stay cool under enemy fire and lead from the front, whereas the Mission Control uses Intelligence to debuff enemies as it buffs allies.

The Crasher: Tech Controller
The Crasher is the classic hacker, breaking into hostile systems- computer databases, security systems, and enemy devices, turning their own toys against them. The Crasher likes to put ongoing effects on enemies, and uses Intelligence for its attacks. The Black Hat uses Charisma to add some extra potency to its attacks, making sure that hacked targets stay hacked. The White Hat adds a defensive flavor, adding a Wisdom component and adding the ability to grant saves, and possibly turn such hacks back against the enemy.

Future Fantasy: Ammo Factor

Tracking individual shots isn’t really that fun. That’s why Future Fantasy introduces the Ammo Factor for most ranged weapons (and some melee weapons!).

Ammo Factor is a number from 1-20, but usually near the lower end of that. When you make an attack with a weapon with an Ammo Factor and the unmodified attack roll is equal or less than the Ammo Factor, you’ll have to reload after the attack is finished. Whether reloading is a move or a minor action depends on the weapon.

Weapons with a large clip size usually have an ammo factor of 1. A weapon with a smaller capacity, like a six-shooter, would have an ammo factor of 3. A pump action shotgun, which needs to be reloaded often, might have an ammo factor as high as 7 or even 10. A missile launcher, which needs to be reloaded after every shot, has an ammo factor of 20.

Some Soldier abilities might let you lower your ammo factor. Some Tactician abilities might lower the ammo factor of your allies. If you have to make multiple attacks with a single action, and fail the first ammo check, you still get to make the other attacks- you aren’t out of ammo until the end of the action.

What happens if you’ve got a 2-shot capacity shot gun and manage to keep making your checks? Clearly you were reloading during the enemy’s turn when you saw an opening. What happens if you fail your check turn after turn on your gun with a huge magazine? Either you’re wasting lots and lots of shots with burst fire, or you’ve got some dud clips.

This also opens for special ammunition one-shot items- use the clip, and you get the benefits (like heat seeking bullets, tracer rounds, or exploding bullets) until your clip runs out.

Future Fantasy

So, I had thought a bit about a cyberpunky future game based on the 4E engine. I’ve thought a little bit more about the potential classes and what might differentiate them from D&D’s classes. So here’s a look at the Martial classes.

Soldier: The Defender
The Soldier is a ranged defender. One of the big differences of Future Fantasy would be a lot more ranged combat, emphasis on cover (especially moving between cover to get a clear shot and popping in and out) rather than melee flanking. The Soldier’s primary stat is Dexterity.
Like the fighter, the Soldier marks anyone he attacks, and can attack them if they shoot anyone other than him. Also, he has a number of attacks that do ‘suppressive fire’ which force enemies into cover or grant the soldier extra attacks.
The soldier is meant to have a balanced stat spread otherwise, potentially benefiting a little bit from all other stats. Strength gives access to heavy weapons like miniguns, Con is always useful for a defender. Wisdom gives a bonus against cover, and Charisma grants a ‘keep cool’ ability. Only thing Soldiers will probably skimp on is intelligence (and I still want a minor bennie for that too.)

Assassin: The Striker
The assassin is a ranged striker, similar to the archer ranger. Like the archer ranger, the Assassin has an “assassin’s quarry” feature. Unlike the ranger, the assassin does not have access to Twin Strike, but focuses on single attacks that are very damaging. The Assassin also has a few unarmed powers to help out if enemies manage to come into melee range. Assassins use Dexterity as a primary attack stat. The Living Weapon assassin uses Strength as a secondary, to augment the unarmed melee aspect of the class. The Cunning Killer uses Intelligence as a secondary, and prefers to stay back and snipe from a fixed position.

Razer: The Other Striker
The Razerboi/Razergrrl (or Razer for short) is the other martial striker. This is the melee class of the group, using Strength as the primary. The Razer is very akin to the melee ranger in that the focus is on abilities that grant multiple attacks per turn. Attacking with cybernetic weapon implants, instead of having a damage boost ability, they just deal lots of damage built into their attacks. Think twin strength that adds your strength mod.
The side builds are the Deadly Dancer, a dexterity based build focusing on mobility, and Graceful Glamor, a charisma based build focusing on defense.

Tactician: The Leader
The Tactician is very much like a ranged version of the warlord, with Intelligence as a primary. Most of his attacks have the weapon keyword, and could be either melee or ranged. This is the class I’m sketchiest about for potential class features or secondary attributes. I’m thinking lots of abilities that grant shifts to allies.