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Describe a rpg mechanic you love.

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I'm reading Dark Heresy 2e and it has a skill mechanic i love. It deals with the whole "class" issue in a great way. Each skill and several other things thst cannbe bought or advanced has 2 associated talents. Talents come from your background you select in chargen and you can grt them from several sources. You have some choice what talents you get.

 

Skills and other things have 3 cost levels. The highest is for when you have no associated talents. The medium codtmis when you have 1 associated talent. Having both asassociated talents gets you the skill level at bargain basement cost.

 

So, you pick a background that reflects the character you want and it makes it easier to buy skills and abilities that support that character concept. You can buy other things but will pay dearly for it.

 

I like this a lot.

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Much as I appreciate all the detail you can add to Hero's die-rolling mechanics, I have to say that I love the color-coded task resolution table from Third Edition Gamma World. Every task or combat success you can roll for is assigned a color representing a difficulty factor, or a degree of how well you succeed. You roll percentile dice and find the color corresponding to the range in which your roll falls. Usually only one roll is needed to resolve any action. Simple, fast, clean and elegant.

 

Then Fourth Edition GW ditched that table in favor of mechanics similar to D&D, which frankly felt clunky in comparison.

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Well, I was always fond of my old City of Heroes character Tool Girl (she also has a version in DCUO), but I don't know that you'd call it love. Plus I'm happily married :)

 

*tish boom!*

 

One I do dearly love is the opposed roll mechanic in Pendragon. Each fighter rolls a d20 against their skill level or less, high roll wins. If you score your actual skill level it's a critical and counts as a value of 20. Ties are possible (and if both roll criticals it's a tie). Partial success, which normally means you get to use your shield's armour value to block damage, is achieved if you lose the roll off but still roll under your skill rating. Only the winner gets to impose damage; criticals do double. If you roll a natural 20 and fail your roll it's treated as a roll of value zero and is a fumble (note that once you get to skill 20 or more fumbles are impossible. That's cool, as at that point we enter legendary skill territory). If your adjusted skill is higher than 20 you get the amount above 20 as a die modifier to the roll, increasing the chances of a critical.

 

One consequence (deliberate) is that very highly skilled knights tend to roll criticals and thus both quickly dispose of lesser opponents and tie against each other. The latter case means they can almost literally fight all day against each other, which is spot on to what happens in the source material.

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Much as I appreciate all the detail you can add to Hero's die-rolling mechanics, I have to say that I love the color-coded task resolution table from Third Edition Gamma World. Every task or combat success you can roll for is assigned a color representing a difficulty factor, or a degree of how well you succeed. You roll percentile dice and find the color corresponding to the range in which your roll falls. Usually only one roll is needed to resolve any action. Simple, fast, clean and elegant.

 

Yeah, that FASERIP table from Marvel Superheroes was genius! It's up there on my list, too.

 

One other mechanic that I love is the Dramatic Tasks rule in Savage Worlds. It can be used for things like defusing a bomb before the timer runs out, or finding an unlocked door so you can hide before the approaching guard rounds the corner, etc. Essentially, you get five die throws to get a total of five successes. Since Savage Worlds uses exploding dice which can result in multiple successes in a single attempt, it's not as hard as it sounds. It can be quite dramatic, though. I remember one time, when the player had a couple of initial successes, then had a couple of failures, then on their fifth and final try, they got a lucky roll and ended up with three more successes due to a multiply-exploding die!  I've never seen anything that handles these sorts of dramatic tasks as well as Savage Worlds.

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Fate Accelerated's Approaches. Instead of defining what your character can do, they describe how your character goes about doing it (Sneakily, Carefully, etc.). The what is defined entirely by your conceptual aspect, supporting aspects, and stunts. Very rules lite, so it requires a play group that trusts each other and the GM not to abuse concepts.

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I really like the Presence Attack.

 

If you mean Hero's PA, I like it too; but it's always been a pet peeve of mine that we've never been given more details as to how long the various effects are supposed to last; nor how they interact with other mind-affecting abilities like Mind Control.

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Most PRE attack effects are defined pretty clearly, and always have been.

 

PRE: Attacker acts before them that phase

PRE+10: As above and they only get a half phase on their next action

PRE+20: Will not act for 1 full phase and is 1/2 DCV during this

PRE+30: This is the only one without a specified time limit, but as it represents the level where targets may surrender, faint, flee for their lives or swear undying loyalty it's very situational. Since it basically takes opponents out of the fight and ensures allies will stick around, I've always taken the default time period as "the rest of the combat".

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I really liked the "fate" complication from Riddle of Steel.  Basically a situational Unluck, it'd be really easy to implement in Hero, too.

 

The magic system in Ars Magica 4e was also really good, though a little heavy on elementalism.

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Given it's propensity for over-specifying every little thing, I'm surprised there is still anything left in the 6e rules for the GM to decide for himself.

I actually don't see 6th as really specifying anything beyond the base rules. I've played it since v1 and bought into the concept of amplifying suggestions a long time ago. Take skills. A PC that has a single skill called Science us just as correct as a PC that dumps points into every science speciality mentioned in tge Ultimate Skill. Which approach is best depends on the feel and style of game.

 

The big books simply contain a lot of examples and possible interpretations. But I run Hero as a rpg.

 

If you forget the underlying premise, Hero changes from: Players playing an RPG to something like D&D 4th where the RPG played the players.

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I love Knockback.  It's so unique to comic book combat, and is instrumental in the other definitive comic book staple:  property destruction.  I can't get enough of it.  Unfortunately my players are on to me so there's been a kind of Knockback Escalation going on.  They've all got a bunch of KB Resistance so I have to keep finding ways around it.  There's just nothing more fun that people careening backwards and blowing through walls.

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The Marvel Superheroes mechanic that I loved was the Resources roll.  I hate keeping track of my character's finances.  It's exactly the kind of boring stuff you don't see in action-adventure fiction.  

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Another good one is the chase mechanic from James Bond 007. Each round, each party bids how much risk they want to take on. The one that's willing to take on the most risk gets to decide whether to go first or last (there can be benefits to either). The result is a chase that's very much like the ones in the James Bond movies. It's a fantastic translation of the source material to the RPG format.

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Another good one is the chase mechanic from James Bond 007. Each round, each party bids how much risk they want to take on. The one that's willing to take on the most risk gets to decide whether to go first or last (there can be benefits to either). The result is a chase that's very much like the ones in the James Bond movies. It's a fantastic translation of the source material to the RPG format.

 

It works especially well because of how that system uses Hero Points, since you can really go crazy in the climactic scene or critical chase if you've got a few of those up your sleeve. We once brought down a Lear Jet that was taking off using only a landrover, a VP70Z pistol and 6 Hero Points (two to launch the landrover into the air off a sand dune, 4 to get the pistol to hit something vital on an engine).

 

Would LOVE to see that system given a dust off and polish. The official license is well gone, but it could easily be redone as generic spy/action. Even under one of the current popular systems you could import the chase rules.

 

Damn. I'm going to have to pull out my old copy of the game now :)

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The Marvel Superheroes mechanic that I loved was the Resources roll. I hate keeping track of my character's finances. It's exactly the kind of boring stuff you don't see in action-adventure fiction.

The Dresden Files Accelerated defines wealth as a form of Stress. The more you spend, the higher the damage and longer it takes to recover.

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It works especially well because of how that system uses Hero Points, since you can really go crazy in the climactic scene or critical chase if you've got a few of those up your sleeve. We once brought down a Lear Jet that was taking off using only a landrover, a VP70Z pistol and 6 Hero Points (two to launch the landrover into the air off a sand dune, 4 to get the pistol to hit something vital on an engine).

 

Would LOVE to see that system given a dust off and polish. The official license is well gone, but it could easily be redone as generic spy/action. Even under one of the current popular systems you could import the chase rules.

 

Damn. I'm going to have to pull out my old copy of the game now :)

 

That is an awesome story! 

 

As far as a dust off and polish of JB007, you'll be happy to hear it's been done! Unofficially, of course. The new version is called Classified, and it has updated equipment and so on but is otherwise the game we know and love. There's even an adventure for it. Don't forget to grab the freebies! :)

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The Marvel Superheroes mechanic that I loved was the Resources roll.  I hate keeping track of my character's finances.  It's exactly the kind of boring stuff you don't see in action-adventure fiction.  

 

Fate Core uses the same mechanic. I've noodled around with ways to bring something similar to Hero.

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PRE+30: This is the only one without a specified time limit, but as it represents the level where targets may surrender, faint, flee for their lives or swear undying loyalty it's very situational. Since it basically takes opponents out of the fight and ensures allies will stick around, I've always taken the default time period as "the rest of the combat".

 

Most Hero combats are a matter of turns, like a minute or two. What happens after that? How long will allies "stick around?" How long will they follow your lead once the fight has stopped, before they start questioning their loyalty? How long will enemies remain cowed before they attack again or try to escape? The potential impact of a Presence Attack, especially the biggest effect, can last well beyond the end of combat. But even at a +10 level, "He [Presence Attack recipient] considers very deeply what the attacker says, and may comply with requests or obey orders which seem good to him." Is that just for the moment of the Presence Attack, or does that susceptibility persist for longer? One request or order, or successive ones? How do Presence Attacks interact with Mind Control or Presence-based Skills?

 

It's certainly possible for individual GMs to work out their own parameters. For example, because of its mechanical similarities to Mind Control, I added Breakout Rolls like for Mental Powers when Presence Attacks are used in my games. But with almost everything else in Hero through the 5E and 6E rules being so exhaustively spelled out, not having official rulings on those situations looks like a glaring omission to me.

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But with almost everything else in Hero through the 5E and 6E rules being so exhaustively spelled out, not having official rulings on those situations looks like a glaring omission to me.

 

Yes, agreed. But 5e and 6e are probably better off for it.

 

I've played countless games of 2e, 3e, and 4e Champions without difficulty, despite the lack of exhaustive rules treatment for Presence Attacks. It was easier to keep thugs cowed and ready to spill their guts on a PRE+30 (or PREx3), even after the fight was over, than to memorize some complicated protocol for handling Long Term Presence Trauma. If the GM wanted the big bad villain to have a chance to shrug off the effects of a particularly impressive Presence Attack, then an EGO Roll (like the breakout roll you refer to) was simply made as needed and that was that.

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Ah, back when Presence Defence was a Thing :)

 

Big Bads should usually be pretty much immune to PRE attacks anyway. Those big fat Psychs like Megalomaniac, Always Right, Does not Suffer Fools and Utterly Vain help, as does Berserk when Thwarted.

 

Doctor Doom is your go-to boy for that sort of stuff. Doom Bots auto destruct when they realise they've not followed the Master's intentions.

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I think all or at least most of my favorite mechanics have already been mentioned. So, I'm going to mention one that's more of a convention than a skill:

 

In Top Secret: S.I. (and I think the original Top Secret) modules, if a skill was needed for the adventure, the characters without it were given a baseline low level of the skill. IIRC, characters who already had the skill got a small boost to it.

 

Come to think of it, I also liked the combat system with the hit boxes for each body location on the character sheet. It was fast and very visceral. I don't think there's a game system where it's more fun to take a hit from a submachine gun burst.

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1. In Top Secret: S.I. (and I think the original Top Secret) modules, if a skill was needed for the adventure, the characters without it were given a baseline low level of the skill. IIRC, characters who already had the skill got a small boost to it.

 

2. Come to think of it, I also liked the combat system with the hit boxes for each body location on the character sheet. It was fast and very visceral. I don't think there's a game system where it's more fun to take a hit from a submachine gun burst.

 

Numbers added by me for ease of reference.

 

1. That's what Cramming is for in Hero. Expand it to include some physical demonstration of the skill and voila! In fact, you can make Cramming an Everyman skill and allow more "slots" to be purchased to represent the Jack of All Trades aspect that some characters seem to have. Still, it is an awesome mechanic and fits many of the spy movies where the character has to bone up on his esoteric knowledge before meeting the Big Bad.

 

2. Hands down this is an awesome use of Hit Locations. There is no ambiguity. You run out of Hit Boxes, your limb is in a world of hurt. If that extremity happens to be the head or torso, well goodnight sweet prince. I don't know about "fun" being the appropriate term for taking a hit though. :)

 

3. Slap a basic power build framework on top of Top Secret S. I. and you have a delightful rules lite game system. The aftermarket one for Fuzion, with a few minor tweaks, would be an excellent choice. Might even want to have character creation be more point buy than randomized though.

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