RPG Question Thread


28-01-2005 17:32:01

This thread is for you to ask questions about the upcoming RPG system. I will not always be allowed to answer every question in all details and also purposefully be a bit cryptic at times, but you should be able to get some interesting prerelease information now and then. Note that I will integrate Qs and As into this main post and delete the original question in order to keep it legible. Here's four questions for you to start:

Q: You said it would be D20 based. Does that mean we are limited to the somewhat restrictive classes in that system ?
A: No. While you will find that you have Experience points and a level - even a "class level", you will find the DB character generation system extremely flexible. The one class used (I have to use that term to comply with the Open Gaming License that says I have to use a race/class system in my works) can cover everything from a mercenary with just some basic Force skills to the Force genius who can't tell the business end of a lightsaber from the safe one without resorting to classes or, worse, multiclassing.

Q: If you have levels, is it that I will improve only when I go up in rank or level ?
A: Again no. While rank jumps are associated with substantial XP gains and thus grant you some extra oomph for your character, you will be able to use your XP for continual improvement at the time you gain them. A 10th level character with 54,999 XP will be significantly stronger than one with 45,001 XP. Oh, you'll find that characters in the DB will be stronger than same-level characters in the original Star Wars D20 materials - our Grand Masters' skills would probably rival 25th or 26th level in those books, which simply doesn't exist.

Q: Do I need to buy any D20 materials to make full use of the system ?
A: No. We will use the Open Gaming Licence products available for free download at the Wizards of the Coast website to build our basic rules on. All aspects needed to change that system from a fantasy-centric setting to one in the Star Wars universe will be redeveloped by Brotherhood staff. While this is a lot of work, it's the only way to let people play without buying manuals or violating copyrights.

Q: Will every aspect of the system be public ?
A: No. We will keep the exact XP costs of abilities under wraps. You can only see the costs of things you can currently buy, but none other. This is instituted to make sure people will make their choice in-character, not by carefully optimizing their career and stats towards maximum combat effectiveness or one specific ability. It also prevents you from aiming at a specific medal just because you think it gets you the XP to get this or that skill. Expect the system to throw you a curve or six here...

Q: I was wondering... personally, I am a dedicated advocate of Neverwinter Nights and KoToR- the computer game RPG system, where the actual calculation is done by the system to make it as fun as possible. I've never even contemplated playing a 'pen and paper' RPG. How easy is it going to be for me to enjoy/use this system, considering that I have no understanding of how pen and paper RPGs work? (Manji)
A: The character calculations will be completely made by the computer so that all your character editing will be done using a system similar to the ones you know from NWN. You get your choices and the bookkeeping is done in the computer.
On the actual play side, we will however have a more manual approach. In this case, you will roll (simulated) dice on IRC and then act upon the result. Usually this means getting a number, adding a modifier and then comparing to a fixed number you get from the gamemaster (sometimes the gamemaster may not tell you the fixed value and make the comparison himself). So he may tell you to make a Bluff skill check against a difficulty class of 25. This means you roll a 20-sided die (d20), add to that your skill value for Bluff (from the character sheet) and if you have 25 or more, you pass the check. The exact results are then interpreted by the gamemaster (e.g. you convince the rebel guard that you're really only a trader). This pattern "roll d20, add modifier(s), compare to a number" is the basic way to resolve an action in the system. If that action was an attack and it succeeded (you hit something), you will afterwards usually roll some more dice to determine how much damage you inflicted - a lightsaber obviously does more damage than a short knife.
And as to the effort to learn things: The core rules are probably around 200 pages - but 95 percent of situations can be covered in 3 pages, so it's not as bad as it sounds :)

Q: Will skill in writing fiction have anything at all to do with this system? (Predator)
A: Simple answer: Mostly not.
Complex answer: As roleplaying is fiction, skill in fiction writing plays into your RPG in some ways. While it's not essential to have any real skill (okay, you should be able to answer some questions about your character similar to the current character history), it will obviously help you in messageboard RPGs - those are similar to run-ons except that you'll not write for other characters and posts tend to be shorter on average. Also, of course skill in any area the DB creates competitions in will help you win awards and thus, experience points which in turn translate into power. So - it helps a bit to be a good writer, but it's not required to make use of the system.

Q: How big a factor is luck going to play?

For example Will there be any chance that say a DJK can take on a KAP and stand any realistic chance of winning? (Predator)
A: In theory, an Apprentice could take out a Grand Master if they both rely only on weapons (if the GM uses Force powers, there's no way the APP would survive). However, that would require that the GM constantly roll 1s on a 20-sided die and the APP only 19s and 20. So, in reality, this won't happen. Ever :)
The highest character you can take on with a realistic chance of success (> 5%) is 2-3 levels above you, unless you have vastly superior equipment. That's 2 ranks troughout most the scale, a bit less at the top. You won't see GRDs running around killing KPNs on any regular basis, unless they're real armies of GRDs.

Q: I am a bit confused as to how the RPG system will work in the DB. Will this be something you can be 'involved' in (just an aspect or activity) like the GMRG or the ACC - or will it envelope the entirety of the Brotherhood - meaning that you MUST be in the RPG system to be in the DB? If its the latter, will we have to 're-build' our characters to fit the system or will there be 'equivalents' across the board? (Dalthid)
A: Your involvement can be anywhere from minimal to complete. The minimum is that you once select a few details about your character (name, race, archetype) and let the system make all decisions for you. You will then get a character with abilities commensurate to your rank and experience that is roughly the one you want (so you can have e.g. a basic Wookie capital ship pilot type). Near zero effort :)
The second stage is to actually build your character yourself. If you do that, you'll pretty much be able to model your current character (unless it's out of power range) and then you use him for stories or whatever.
And finally, you can actively participate in true RPG sessions. That's completely optional :)
Hope that answers it...

Q: Is it possible to have NO involvement in the RPG at all? Like no auto asigning things or anything of the such. (Dranik)

A: The options are that you can either have your character made upon a pre-set path for automatic customization, or that you do it manually. If you would like, you can choose not to have it done automatically, and then just don't customize your character at all.

Keep in mind, these character sheets will be used for more than just RPG. The items you own and the powers you have will be what you are supposed to use in fiction. This will all also carry over to the ACC and eventually to the wargame and vendettas.

Q: And does this system mean that for those of us who have what is now considered and unapproved race in our character histories are going to have to go change it? (Dranik))

A: You will need to get your race approved and its stats determined.If it has a name that is from a non-SW source (e.g. Elf, Klingon), you will also have to rename it. The system allows for a wide power variety in races, so extra power should be of little concern. Jac has instituted the CRAP (see his news posts / reports) to deal with races.

Q: Seeing as we are working with D20's, will we be using the ruling where: if you roll a natural 20 attack, then confirm with a critical, then hit again, the creature is instantly dead?(Fire-Knight)

A: No. The basic D20 critical ruling is that you just get double (or, depending on weapon, 3x or 4x damage) on the critical hit scenario you describe. Character deaths won't be a common incident and, after all it's Star Wars where main characters don't die :)

Q: I am just wondering around when is this RPG going to come out? I am anxious to see it, but I am wondering when I can prepare to start playing it. (Sunflash)

A: Good question, I wish I could give you a definite answer. The release date ultimately depends on the coding and how it all works together in Project Rebirth as well as on the speed of approvals throughout the DB (a lot of people will agree), but I'm confident you'll get your share of the action in 2005.

Q: Will the RPG-system allow for creation of characters that follow the teachings of the Light Side as well? (Jin-Long)

A: The system generically supports Light, Dark and Non-Force users. However the specific assignments of Light side powers (which are available, at which level) need to be determined before allowing Light Side users. They'll of course only be available as NPCs :P

Q: What happens if your character dies during the game? (Alanna)

A: That's a good one, Lannie. We have three campaign styles available:
1) Open Campaigns. In an open campaign, you can play what you want, when you want and all reward for open characters is your choice. That means if a character dies in an open campaign, you can delete or resurrect him as you see fit. The only place where he's definitely dead is that one campaign.
2) Strict campaigns. These are most akin to traditional pen and paper RPGs. Lose a strict character and you actually lose him.
Both 1) and 2) are played only with characters that are not your main identity.
3) Real campaigns. Usually reserved for major competitions, real campaigns use your actual DB character. These are usually designed to be not really deadly and if an "oops" really happens, the Grand Master('s character) has some options available to restore life to a fallen comrade if the body is preserved quickly enough. Of course, you may, with your agreement, have your main character permanently die in a real campaign. That will then lead to you having to create a new character sheet - and change your DB name. Dead is dead after all. Permanent death of a main character requires LH approval to ensure the mechanism is not abused in order to just restart your character sheet because you regret some choices - the restarted character will need to be significantly different.

Q: Are you going to be running all these campaigns by yourself, or will you have staff to assist? I ask because I'm wondering how much time you'll be able to give to the individual players? (Alanna)

A: By Krath not! Does the CM judge every battle himself or do you run every single writing competition in the DB ? No, anyone certified (through prior experience or demonstration of skill) can run a campaign.

Q: If we lose our characters, do we keep our rank and medals or have to start from scratch? (Lenzar)

A: Depends on the character type. Your main identity is obviously safe (we won't dismiss the GM from office for losing his character in an RPG), so you build your new identity with the same rank, position and medals. A strict character is lost and you get to build the next one with whatever your gamemaster approves. Which might be almost the same or nothing at all :P

Q: This is for the new ACC system? >.> I must say, it kind of blows if we're doing away with the writing all together. (Taigikori)

A: Whoa! How did you get the idea that this would replace writing ? What it does is two things:
(a) It provides a more detailed description of what a character can and cannot do. Instead of just seeing that you can do "Journeyman Force Powers" but having no guide of their exact strength and extent as an APP, PRT or DJK (quite different, I can tell you), you will know for each power just how good you are at it. You will also be able to influence that, so you can have your very own set of abilities.
(B ) It allows to create situations (as in tabletop roleplaying) in which the results of an action are not determined by the writer, but instead by a random roll, thus adding to the realism of a simulated reality. If you were to jump a ten foot wide chasm, you could probably not tell in advance whether you'd succeed or not. If you just write a story however, you decide whether your character will complete that jump or not if he attempts it. Thus, most likely, you'll tell about a success (because a smashed character is hard to write about). This however leads to characters having strange strings of luck and being "too heroic" for their skills. In a roleplaying environment, you'll however not know the outcome - the gamemaster will tell you. You thus might not wish to jump or at least sufficiently prepare yourself with e.g. a Force power that improves your success chances.

The ACC however uses only (a) of these two capabilities. While judges may take into account how realistic your actions are, you still control them and write them. The incorporation of (B ) leads into a new activity - full roleplaying - in which the writing is supplemented by this means of resolving actions in a dialogue format. Sticking with the jumping example, you write your decision and attempt to jump, then you roll your (virtual) die, the gamemaster will tell you the rough effect (aka land safely or fall and hurt yourself) and then you write on, telling about this effect happening.


04-07-2005 12:24:59

Last update July 4, 12:25 pm EST


04-07-2005 12:34:49

Like many of us, we like to think about playing a D20 RPG but always thought it kind of overwhelming. Will there be a .doc cheat sheet available to give players the basics?