What are you playing?

What are you guys playing?

What do you want EpicTable to support?

Obviously, people are going to be playing D&D 3E and 4E, but what else? At GenCon, I seemed to hear a lot about Shadowrun. Pathfinder RPG seems a given. FATE, Spirit of the Century, Dresden Files.... Other indie games?



One of my major goals is to make it easy for you to be able to adapt EpicTable to your needs. To that end, I've been consuming just about every game book I can get my hands on, looking for interesting mechanics that require something I've not thought of. For example:

I'm working on character sheets and game mechanics, so there's no time like the present to let me know what you're playing.



Okay, so someone's going to say, "Just give us to tools to build our own support." And you're right (kind of). And I will (kind of).



So what's with all this snarky "kind of" stuff? I'm focused on making it easy for non-programmers to add game support. I want to give you as much power to extend the system as I can; but at least in version 1.0, I'm not targeting programmers. You won't find a plug-in API. You won't find a scripting language. I hope you'll discover that EpicTable's Game Designer allows you to do most everything you need to do without resorting to programming. Later, maybe there will be a plug-in API (that's how I plan to extend the system, so...), but for version 1, I'm trading some of the ultimate(ly frustrating?) power of a plug-in scheme for a larger investment in tools to open up game adaptation to a wider audience. The more I know about the games you're interested in, the more appropriate that toolset will be.
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Comments

  • Just give us to tools to build our own support. :D :p :rolleyes:

    John Lammers;465 wrote: I'm not targeting programmers.


    Yeah, that's probably best for an initial version, as long as you keep your code modular (black box) enough that you can add more advanced support later.
  • Ah. One of the best games I ever GM'd was 7th Sea by AEG. It shared a roll and keep dice mechanic with L5R that I really enjoyed, where you rolled d10s equal to your ability and skill but only kept the ability score's number of dice. These were then added together.



    L5R is still going strong though 7th Sea is no longer being produced.
  • ThunderYak;468 wrote: ...7th Sea by AEG...you rolled d10s equal to your ability and skill but only kept the ability score's number of dice. These were then added together...


    That's a good example. Would you express that as "keep highest N"? I have implemented "drop lowest" and "drop lowest N" with character generation dice in mind (e.g., "4d6 drop lowest"). It had struck me that "keep highest N" and "drop lowest N" were two sides of the same coin, but couldn't think of a use for "keep highest". I retrospect, that's kind of brain-dead of me, because even some of the D&D stats rolling mechanisms have you roll N and take the highest 3 (which for any number but four is a more natural way to think about it than dropping N-3).



    Speaking of AEG, I saw "Legend of the Burning Sands" today (at Barnes and Noble, no less), and it looks pretty cool. I've heard good things about it and an interview with its creator on one of the RPG podcasts--The Canon Puncture Show, I think.
  • Would you express that as "keep highest N"?


    I don't know. Someone else could confirm that. The best I can do is give and example.



    If I was attacking, then I would add my Finesse of 2 to my Attack of 3. I would roll 5d10 but only keep the two highest (number equal to my finesse). The system also employed exploding dice and Drama Dice.



    A Drama die is an in-game reward. It can be rolled after a skill roll if one thinks it needs more 'umph' and it is always considered a 'kept' die. Thus to add to the example above the roll would be considered 6d10 with three kept. The die notation is written as 6k3 (roll 6; keep 3).
  • That's helpful. Thanks.
  • Typical Dice Roll

    ==========

    Two or more d6's rolled simultaneously. Highest value is the outcome (not added together). If more than one "6" is rolled, each additional "6" adds 1 to the total. Then, modifiers applied.



    If all dice rolled comes up "1", then the roll is a Fumble. Modifiers NOT applied to Fumbled rolls.
  • That's an interesting one I hadn't encountered before. Thanks.
  • I must say I find it great to see a developer who's so inclined to hear the pleas of the hopefully future users :D



    The system I would want the most is the one that almost every, if not all, virtual tabletop lacks, which are Shadowrun, WoD(new) and L5R



    According to your blog posts you're already working on the Shadowrun and WoD, which is great :D



    Shadowrun(4th edition) has a few complications regarding rolls, since if a success but half of the dice(or more) come up as 1s then a glitch happens. Basically it´s a success where something goes wrong. Let's say you´re trying to jump across a huge gap, and you get a glitch. You'd get through it but, for example, you'd crush a disc you were carrying on your landing.



    If you glitch AND fail the test, then you´re screwed.



    and that's already pretty long for a first post, so I'll cut it here :D



    PS: Actually there's another system, but GURPS rolls are really simple, just a 3d6 roll + modifier for tests and a XdX roll for damage and such, so I believe it would already work just fine. Same for Paranoia since it´s based on d20 rolls :)
  • Welcome, Galtran!



    I'm glad to see a Shadowrun, L5R fan join. I've only read Shadowrun (working my way through 3rd edition and 4th edition is on my stack), not played it, so your feedback will be really helpful/appreciated. I'm also interested in what you have to say about L5R. It sounds like we'll have pretty good coverage of WoD, Shadowrun, and L5R between you and ThunderYak and Serge Wolf.



    It may interest you to know that there's a 7th Sea fan on this forum (ThunderYak), since John Wick was heavily involved in both. Also, John Wick describes his new game, "Houses of the Blooded" as something like "imagine if everyone were Scorpion Clan". I'm guessing that means more to you than it does to me, if you've played L5R, but at any rate, I've heard very cool things about "Houses of the Blooded" and it was/is available in PDF form at IPR for $5. I picked it up just because for $5, it's worth a read, especially given the track record of John Wick.
  • Thanks for the suggestion, I find $5 a really reasonable price to pay for a pdf book, I hope it´s worth it. The download should be finished in a few seconds :D
  • I must say I found the system of Houses of the Blooded one of the funniest systems I've ever read. Pretty good book, and I can't wait till I can convince my friends to try it :D
  • Was it supposed to be funny? (I'll confess--I bought it based on good reviews and the low price tag, but haven't gotten around to reading it yet.) Or was it inadvertently funny?
  • I found it funny because it's unusual. When you succeed on a roll, you get to narrate what happens, instead of the narrator(GM or whatever you decide to call it) and that gives leeway to funny stuff to happen :D
  • Galtran;519 wrote: I found it funny because it's unusual. When you succeed on a roll, you get to narrate what happens, instead of the narrator(GM or whatever you decide to call it) and that gives leeway to funny stuff to happen :D


    That technique was pioneered by Clinton R. Nixon in a game called Donjon. It's also used to some degree in InSpectres. Shared authority is a pretty common feature of many story (narrative, indie) games.
  • Galtran;519 wrote: I found it funny because it's unusual. When you succeed on a roll, you get to narrate what happens, instead of the narrator(GM or whatever you decide to call it) and that gives leeway to funny stuff to happen :D


    It's actually one of the things I like most about story games. The players are more involved in crafting the story rather than just reacting to it. Primetime Adventures has a kind of cool twist on this in that the player with narration rights and the "winner" or "loser" aren't necessarily the same, so you could "lose" the conflict but still end up narrating the outcome, for instance, or you could narrate another character's success or failure. I keeps everyone more involved in every conflict. Very cool stuff.
  • By the way, if you're interested in this kind of game, there's a great community at Four Ugly Monsters where you can find a game to get into, and the Story-Games forum is full of people discussing these games.
  • Oh, you're asking for the less than usual kind of stuff? Well, what about:



    Earthdawn: The dice-rolling method is pretty much standard (take one or more dice, add the results; any dice yielding the highest possible result are rolled again and added), but the number and collection of dice to be used is not. Everything is given as a 'step' number, which is looked up on a table to get the dice to be used. Example: your character is shooting his bow at a target. His basic talent with the bow is 10, which translates to d10+d6. Long range results in -1 step, so you roll d10+d4. If the character has a magic bow (+2 steps) you would roll d10+d8 instead. You have to apply modifiers and similar effects before rolling the dice, not afterwards.



    Alternity: TSR's old SciFi-game uses a basic die (d20), which is modified by a so calles 'situation die', which is rolled seperately and either subtracted (easy test) or added to (hard test) the basic die. The result has to be less than or equal to the acting character's skill.



    And there's always TORG: the acting value is always static; you roll for a bonus number which is added to this value. The goal is to reach a target value. It gets bizarre when you look a determining the bonus number. You roll 1d20, looking up the bonus number on a basic table. When you roll a 10 or 20 (in case of monsters or {most} NSCs only in case of 10), you roll again, add up the results and finally look at the bonus table. You may spend a 'Possibility' (sort of XP) to roll once more, again adding the die result. You have cards, which are played on the table, several of which also grant you bonus rolls.



    I guess the TORG mechanic is extremely hard to automate, at least in a generic piece of software. To enable this way of rolling dice, one would need the possibility to add another die-roll after the result is known.



    If you want me to I can scan my collection for other weird stuff. ;)



    Huldvoll



    Jan van Leyden
  • Welcome, Jan!

    This is just the sort of thing I'm looking for. I think you're right that mechanics like that used by TORG are difficult to automate, and for some systems, automating them runs counter to their owner's terms of use. But your suggestion--allowing the user to add another die--is right in line with where I'm headed.



    Essentially, I'm distinguishing between support for a mechanic and automation of a mechanic. I want to support the broadest array of mechanics possible, and automate a few high-value, fairly general cases (e.g., summing dice, counting successes, identifying high die, etc)



    A really useful thing about your feedback: I've already implemented dice rolls like 3d4 + 1d6, and "exploding" rolls, but I've not implemented "roll 3d4...now later, roll 1d6 and add it to that prior roll". "Step" numbers, like in your Earthdawn example, are supported via the dice rolls embedded into the character sheet. The trick is to make it very quick and natural to change this stuff on an ad-hoc basis--for the GM to say, "use +2 steps on that" and for you to be able to do that without a lot of fiddling. That is, you'd like to not have to open the dice roll dialog just to bump up or down a couple steps.
  • I am a non-coder, so while the Tools to Build My Own Support are great, I apprciate not needing to become a coder.



    I'd like EpicTable to be able to support D&D 3.5, Pathfinder RPG, and D&D 4E. I actively play and/or run all three. I don't discriminate or do the Edition Wars. :)



    Given the chance, I'd like to use EpicTable to run ShadowRun 4E, Earthdawn (RedBrick edition), M&M2E, and Savage Worlds. ShadowRun would be a big coup for EpicTable in my opinion.





    I'd also really really like to see EpicTable do is allow different types of lighting (Bright, Dim/Shadowy, and Dark), and each character only see what they're supposed to see. Also, there are some rule distnctions between 3.5/PF and 4E concerning this that I'd like to see reconciled in one VTT. So that you could define which mechanic governed depending on the type of game you're running.



    For example, in 3.5 a PC can see twice as with low light vision, whereas in 4E characters with low light vision just see dim/shadowy areas clearly. Subtle distinctions. 4E light sources don't appear to have a radius of bright light and then dim. (Pardon me if any of that is ncorrect, but that is my good faith understanding).
  • I'm also pretty big on the non coding way of setting up games. I'm not particular to any one set of rules, so being able to set up and start play quickly is a big plus for me. The first VT I went with was Fantasy Grounds, which is a good VT, however my group decided on 2nd Ed. AD&D as our first game. I think it took around 3 months of coding to get the ruleset down. So in all I'm looking forward getting a hold of EpicTable and running it through the ringers.
  • Jimmy Olson;596 wrote: I am a non-coder, so while the Tools to Build My Own Support are great, I apprciate not needing to become a coder.
    I am a coder and even I don't want to build my own support for a game. Ironic that that should cause me to build an entire VT instead.... :)

    Jimmy Olson;596 wrote: I'd like EpicTable to be able to support D&D 3.5, Pathfinder RPG, and D&D 4E. I actively play and/or run all three. I don't discriminate or do the Edition Wars. :)



    Given the chance, I'd like to use EpicTable to run ShadowRun 4E, Earthdawn (RedBrick edition), M&M2E, and Savage Worlds. ShadowRun would be a big coup for EpicTable in my opinion.
    I've played a lot of D&D 3.5 and a lot of 1st edition, and I love the Pathfinder adventure paths (really, just about anything Paizo does), though I haven't had a chance to check out Pathfinder RPG. I haven't played D&D 4th Edition, though aspects of it look intriguing. EpicTable will certainly support these. How deeply depends somewhat on feedback from the community, and for D&D 4th Edition, I gather it depends somewhat on licensing. The last I heard on this topic, the 4th Edition licensing might be pretty limiting. With 3.5, you were okay as long as you didn't automate certain things like resolutions, but 4E seems much less clear.



    I'm not familiar with Earthdawn or M&M2E, and I've not played Savage Worlds or Shadowrun (though I've read through them and I have an odd Shadowrun craving).



    Actually, I've really been getting into the so-called "indie games" over at IPR. I'm dying to play "Don't Rest Your Head".

    Jimmy Olson;596 wrote: I'd also really really like to see EpicTable do is allow different types of lighting (Bright, Dim/Shadowy, and Dark), and each character only see what they're supposed to see. Also, there are some rule distnctions between 3.5/PF and 4E concerning this that I'd like to see reconciled in one VTT. So that you could define which mechanic governed depending on the type of game you're running.



    For example, in 3.5 a PC can see twice as with low light vision, whereas in 4E characters with low light vision just see dim/shadowy areas clearly. Subtle distinctions. 4E light sources don't appear to have a radius of bright light and then dim. (Pardon me if any of that is ncorrect, but that is my good faith understanding).
    These are great suggestions. I've entered this in my feature tracking system so I don't lose track of the low-light vision aspect of it. EpicTable lets you define the full and dim radii for your light sources, so based on what you say above, I guess you'd just give them the same value for 4E. For aesthetic purposes it might be good to still show it dropping off from full to shadowy, though.



    If you haven't already, you may want to check out this discussion: Tavern in Virtual Tabletop TrueVision
  • tdwyer11b;597 wrote: I'm also pretty big on the non coding way of setting up games. I'm not particular to any one set of rules, so being able to set up and start play quickly is a big plus for me. The first VT I went with was Fantasy Grounds, which is a good VT, however my group decided on 2nd Ed. AD&D as our first game. I think it took around 3 months of coding to get the ruleset down. So in all I'm looking forward getting a hold of EpicTable and running it through the ringers.


    I'd really like to get your take on EpicTable's game system adaptation during the beta, when you can really work with it. In the meantime, can you tell me what kinds of things you're doing to adapt a VT to your game? Things that come to mind, for me, are:

    • unusual dice rolls

    • character sheets

    • reactions to some rolls, like maybe initiate ordering?

  • John Lammers;600 wrote: I am a coder and even I don't want to build my own support for a game. Ironic that that should cause me to build an entire VT instead.... :)


    Lol.. Well, that does make sense when you consider that one of the goals of technology is to make our lives easier.



    John Lammers;600 wrote: I've played a lot of D&D 3.5 and a lot of 1st edition, and I love the Pathfinder adventure paths (really, just about anything Paizo does), though I haven't had a chance to check out Pathfinder RPG.


    If one of your design goal is system nuetrality while having an eye towards 3.5, then you're not going to have any problems with Pathfinder RPG. Its not significantly different from 3.5 in terms of what happens on the battlemat. Some of your macro-ed functions might be different, but Pathfinder RPG is not vastly different than 3.5. More like just fine tuned and tweaked.

    John Lammers;600 wrote: I haven't played D&D 4th Edition, though aspects of it look intriguing. EpicTable will certainly support these. How deeply depends somewhat on feedback from the community, and for D&D 4th Edition, I gather it depends somewhat on licensing. The last I heard on this topic, the 4th Edition licensing might be pretty limiting. With 3.5, you were okay as long as you didn't automate certain things like resolutions, but 4E seems much less clear.


    4E is even more battlemap dependent than 3.5 is.. so there is likely to be a customer base, even if you don't see that from your early adopters. Becareful of making an assumption based only the feedback you have initially on the boards. The 4E community was the first one promised a functioning VTT along with the ruleset. It has never been stated outright by WOTC, but having read, played, and GMed 4E, I can tell they designed 4E as so not to be a hassle to run on a VTT. When they frakked up and failed to have a VTT to coincide with the RPG, their fan base was very annoyed...



    ...and they're very hungry for a VTT. Because they expected to have one by now. So just be mindful that if you don't have a lot of feedback, it might be that you just haven't attracted any attention from that community.



    The flipside of that is that some 4E fans are spoiled by the initial marketing WOTC did. That is, wanting a VTT that is not system neutral and caters to their every need because it is offical and fully licensed.



    However, since WOTC is no longer offically talking about a GameTable (though not denying that they're interested in further 'digital offerings' some day), many of those fans are hungry and desperate enough to go elsewhere. Let me be clear, they might still have a VTT in development, but they're not talking about it in order to cool the fan ire down until they have something concrete. But let me also put it this way, Vegas is saying WOTC won't have anything till late 2010 at best...



    As for the GSL, just to be clear.. it was rewritten recently and rereleased. It showed significant improvement for 3rd Party Print Publishers (though Green Ronin told them to keep it anyway). However I don't believe software developers saw any improvement. WOTC is still protecting their long term goals in this arena.



    Nevertheless, 4E can be supported with a system neutral VTT. You can't copyright game mechanics, only IP. Game mechanics have been determined by the Supreme Court to be alogtithmic equations, though one might argue that you could copyright the expression of an equation.



    In any case.. 4E works similiarly to 3.5 in terms of battlemat action. Yeah, the game is significantly different.. but not on the battlemat.



    When it comes to powers and such, and what sorts of things that your initiative tracker keeps track of- that's where your macro system is going to have to be open enough so that people can customize it for 4E (because you won't be able to do it for them due to the GSL).



    Let me give you an example: 4E has a lot of status effects and conditions that last from round to round. While in many respects it is streamlined, the game does create a fair amount of crap that GMs and Players have to keep track of round to round. Ongoing damage is one of them. An effect like "5 Fire Ongoing damage" means that at the start of your turn you automatically take 5 fire damage, but the very last thing you do at the end of your turn is to make a save (on 10 or higher) to remove those ongoing conditions (roll seperately for each). Unlike 3.5, if you fail the saving throw on one round you just take the damage and make another saving throw the next round until you finally suceed. Sounds simple I realize, but 4E has a LOT of positive and negative effects that carry over from turn to turn. I'd love to see your Initiative Tracking System being open enough to keep track of them.



    And if I can define the ongoing condition (fire) and the effect (take damage and then make a save to end it), you the software designer don't have to worry about the GSL.



    What is important, as a software designer, when being mindful of 4E is that you leave the basic infrastructure there and let the user add the details. Don't hardcode yourself into a corner. See my comments below.

    I'm not familiar with Earthdawn or M&M2E,


    I am basically familar with them, but not enough to write paragraphs about them, :) They're quality games though that I've daydreamed about running.

    and I've not played Savage Worlds or Shadowrun (though I've read through them and I have an odd Shadowrun craving).


    Me too. Oddly you would think that Shadowrun would be one of the first to get VTT support, but it usually doesn't.



    But note: Microsoft holds the rights to Shadowrun "software", while Catalyst Games holds the rights to the RPG. Microsoft got those rights when they developed Shadowrun based videogames, which were very questionable in terms of actual similarity to the RPG. The tricky part is does VTT support count as "software"? I am betting it does. Microsoft shut down a proposed MMO based on Shadowrun with a Cease and Desist letter and snatched up the developer's internet domains. The developer intended to make a MMO that was closely based on the RPG, but Microsoft flexed their muscle and the terms of their rights. So again, like 4E, you're going to need to provide system neutral support and an open infrastructure.



    Hey John, welcome to Software Development!:eek::p ;) Here we the users are wanting an easy to use system and you have to hopscotch around everybody else's Intellectual Property! We all got you coming and going!



    Seriously, its good to see someone trying to keep this hobby alive with the natural pogression of technology.

    These are great suggestions. I've entered this in my feature tracking system so I don't lose track of the low-light vision aspect of it. EpicTable lets you define the full and dim radii for your light sources, so based on what you say above, I guess you'd just give them the same value for 4E. For aesthetic purposes it might be good to still show it dropping off from full to shadowy, though.



    If you haven't already, you may want to check out this discussion: Tavern in Virtual Tabletop TrueVision


    That's awesome.. I only mentioned it because I think there has been an issue with Maptools where some of the lighting was hard coded. When 4E came out and people wanted to match the rule system, there wasn't anything in place to let you define that... because it was hard coded. However that might be fixed soon, as Maptools is doing a release version of 1.3 soon, and then starting an interface overhaul with 1.4...
  • John Lammers;600 wrote: Actually, I've really been getting into the so-called "indie games" over at IPR. I'm dying to play "Don't Rest Your Head".


    Never been that much into the Indies.. but I played Amber DRPG for a decade or so.. :) And I have dabbled with Dead Inside, and Nobilis.



    Though I've never known anybody that could actually GM Nobilis. :rolleyes:
  • Jimmy Olson;596 wrote: I'd also really really like to see EpicTable do is allow different types of lighting (Bright, Dim/Shadowy, and Dark), and each character only see what they're supposed to see. Also, there are some rule distnctions between 3.5/PF and 4E concerning this that I'd like to see reconciled in one VTT. So that you could define which mechanic governed depending on the type of game you're running.



    For example, in 3.5 a PC can see twice as with low light vision, whereas in 4E characters with low light vision just see dim/shadowy areas clearly. Subtle distinctions. 4E light sources don't appear to have a radius of bright light and then dim. (Pardon me if any of that is ncorrect, but that is my good faith understanding).


    Have you seen how Battlegrounds handles the two different light & vision systems? EpicTable could probably do something similar, or perhaps even improve on it.
  • Jimmy Olson;602 wrote: Maptools is doing a release version of 1.3 soon, and then starting an interface overhaul with 1.4...


    For clarification, the 1.3dev version allow you to define your own sight types (e.g. dark vision and lowlight), and lights (including shape, color, and distances). There are several template campaigns with the 3.5e and 4e lights preconfigured available in the forums.
  • I'm currently playing Castles & Crusades using Fantasy Grounds and Savage Worlds with Maptools. The games I'm really interested in would be Icon system Star Trek and Rifts since both are my favorite settings and have pretty good systems. Traveller would be alright to play as well though I’m not as big a fan as my friend.
  • I wondered when Rifts was going to show up.... I've never actually played, but I have a good friend who was into Rifts. I figured it was only a matter of time.... I'll be looking for you guys to help point me in the right direction with respect to game mechanics that are difficult to handle with EpicTable out of the box.
  • There was a game that I had never played but was looking to get into called All flesh must be eaten. It was a zombie horror game. Sounded kinda fun.
  • Jharris;651 wrote: There was a game that I had never played but was looking to get into called All flesh must be eaten. It was a zombie horror game. Sounded kinda fun.


    I haven't played that one, though I've seen it in the game store. As far as zombie stuff goes, I've been kind of interested in Zombie Cinema. Rather than try to give you the gist from my faulty memory...
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