Shields, Scars, and Rituals

Sun 17
Posted by at 1:35 pm. Filed under: Design Notes

Despite the fact that I feel like I’ve been putting a lot of work in lately, I still seem to be only about three-quarters of the way done with the playtest document. I think that’s largely because a lot of the stuff I’m putting in comes from new ideas, like these three:

Shields – In OSH, shields don’t actually provide any extra armor class (it’s assumed that it’s part of whatever “armor set” you choose), and if you want to wield one, it does limit what kind of weapon you’re allowed to use with it as well as burdening your encumbrance.

Somewhat inspired by this post, if you are wielding a shield, though, you can choose to have it “shatter under a blow”, destroying it but also reducing whatever damage you just took to only a single hit point. But then you’ve gotta go find a new shield.

Scars – Every home-brewed RPG with a hit point system has to figure out where they stand in the “what do hit points represent” discussion. As can be seen in my roughly-designed character sheet upthread I added some basic “health status” notes to the hit point checking-off list.

While I was working on the basic healing rules this morning I decided I’d add a “scars” box to the character sheet. Every time you drop to two hit points or left (the point where “battered and bruised” turns to “actual wound”), when you heal you have to jot down a quick note as to what scar it left on your character, and how it happened.

Rituals – The challenge of balancing a class’s ability to do magic rears it’s ugly head again! I like what 4e does with separating combat spells from rituals, though I don’t like that it basically turns combat spells into just another “combat trick” similar to any class’s tricky abilities in combat but with magic flavoring on top.

Currently OSH spells are outlined under talents, and a lot of them are at least combat-ishly utilitarian. I wanted to introduce more ritual-like non-combat spells to the game after the Basic Game to represent a magic-user’s (or any studious caster-type’s) ability to do truly awesome reality-warping spells outside the realm of the flashy in-combat quick-casting.

Right now I’m thinking of “Ritual Casting” being a Magic-User talent that allows access to various player-level-based powerful spells with more vaguely defined effects. Taking this specific talent would be a unique case that requires giving up some sort of previous talent. I dunno, this one’s a tricky one.

Still haven’t hashed out the exact nature of the combat rules, either. I keep hoping that letting them stew around in the back of my mind will encourage a niftier solution to come to me, but at this point I’m just eager to get the character classes fully finished so that the system becomes truly playtestable and solutions can be sought after that way.

What do you think?