Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Raven Speaks!



It is with unabashed exuberance that your humble host presents the first guest post on Thoul's Paradise.  What follows comes from the keyboard of Raven c.s. McCracken – complete and unedited – for you to peruse and treasure.

Hello everyone, I’m here to talk about the newest version of the World of Synnibarr.

Developed in the late 70s, Synnibarr was the first science fiction fantasy role playing game and my first product.

In this version, entitled Synnibarr: Invicta, we completely redesigned the game engine.

We simplified many of the rules and created a new series of mechanics that dispense with the old fashioned static level adjustments and ability scores, for a dynamic system based on merit that allows for continuous expansion, customization and character individuality.

The streamlined mechanics are constructed to form a foundation that models a wide range of situations. The detailed guidelines fluid enough to be accommodating, yet precise enough to define the variables that allow one to play everything from trench warfare with spells and firearms, to starship combat.

In this system, in many aspects, there are no limitations save those of the player’s imaginations.

Some of the changes: virtually every dice roll a player must make may be changed for the better through the use of Constitution.

We have added “Flashback” guidelines that replace roll-playing with role-playing. The storytelling aspect removes the dice-roll and eliminates the random factor with a role-player’s characterization of the situation. When the dice fail, we can flashback.

Fate has been empowered in this version, unlike previous editions, and is no longer subject to being “called.”

The convoluted algorithms, while still very much a part of the game, have been streamlined and simplified wherever possible.

Now, with some of that out of the way, allow me to introduce some of the new game mechanics.

First off, it must be said that this version of the game is based solely on a single formula: Con x merit = cogency. I like that word…cogency, it means…wait for it…power!
This formula can also be used for technology: EGs x merit = cogency. Now if you think about this, what has been done is a unification of the mystic and the physic.

With constitution being the power source for metaphysics and EGs the power source for physics. Now we move on to merit.

Each tech item or spell/ability has a merit value/cost. A 10 merit ability powered by 1 constitution point is treated like this: 1 con x 10 merit = 10 cogency. Tough math: one number multiplied by another. This formula is applied to tech as well: 1 EG x 10 merit = ….wait for it…10. Lol..

Now…the value of cogency: 1 point of cogency inflicts 1 point of damage or blocks one point of damage or telekinetically lifts and or transforms 1 kilogram of mass. That’s it…

Now…think about this in gaming terms… transform/lift covers a wide range of possibilities… from metamorph to teleport, telekinesis to flight at light speed, from time travel to immortality… all at 1kg of mass per cogency point.

The damage or blocking with any ability /spell /energy weapon/ shield, is covered by this as well. The primary limiters are energy (EGs) and the merit of the item. Now we can have lasers, force fields, EMP’s, etc and all balance out against each other and the mystic.

And now to the meat…The constitution a character burns into any ability/spell is regulated by the character’s Con Gate: which starts out at 5. You may burn up to 5 con points in a single second of combat. The EG gate is technology’s control. Through merit one can adjust both the character’s con gate or the devices EG gate.

Merit: every item/spell aspect of the system can be gaged in merit. Merit is what is rewarded for experiences and accomplishing tasks. This rewarded merit may be allocated to an ability/spell. In the case of technology, merit is added to the device through money.

Now with the addition of merit the calculation is drastically altered!!

For example: Tamijin, the mage allocated 40 merit to a 10 merit spell, Now the spell is 50 merit and 1 con xs 50 = 50 points of damage/defense; or better yet, 5 con, the limit of the gate, x 50, for 250 cogency!

There is the foundation of the system. The base that allows us to extrapolate forever; with this matrix, one can eventually play out character’s as fantastic as our green skinned friend with, “breathtaking anger management issues” wearing powerarmor and throwing a few spells for good measure.

With this foundation, we have a handle on some of the more ambiguous factors such as time, light and gravity!

Now to the prime mechanic: keep in mind that all dice rolls may be altered with the use of constitution. 1 con point adds +5 to the roll on the percentile dice. Any dice roll above 100, reduces the opposing dice roll by the above 100. For instance, if you burn 5 con points for a +25 on the shot roll, the max the roll could be is 125 and in this instance you would reduce the opposing Fate roll by 25.

That’s it…roll above 100 and reduce the opposing roll by that amount.

This prime mechanic is applied to skills and combat. In the case of skills we use the terms AIM and DEED in combat we use SHOT and FATE. Aims reduce deeds and Shots reduce Fate…sometimes..lol. keep in mind that Fate rolls may be adjusted by Constitution as well.

Synnibarr employed this mechanic in a few instances in the older versions; however, now the system has been based on this simple mechanic.

Constitution: with a clear understanding that one can burn constitution for adjusting the dice rolls and that it must be used for any abilities/spells, one can see the value of the 5 con points allowed each second.

Now to Combat: Just as in the old versions of the game, combat is played out in three second turns. Players power-up with constitution up to 5 only, at the start of every second within the turn, draining the 5 from the 100 con point awarded to every character to start in most cases. When the 100 con points are gone the character is out of power for abilities and adjustments until they rest and so forth…

Basic combat: Players roll advantage, (d10) the highest roll starts combat AND the player gets TWO actions on this starting segment of combat 1st. Players then go in order of advantage. Once all players have taken their action(s) we move onto the next second and power up.

Actions: players almost always roll a shot, in an effort to reduce the defender’s Fate roll per the prime mechanic; some attacks, such as swinging a sword are considered normal attacks and some actions -such as using a firearm or spell -are called beam or blind attacks. Of course there are also wide beam attacks and area effects; which in general, are a bit more difficult to evade… (Dark chuckle)

Based on the action, the defender usually has five defense choices: Block, Disarm, Dodge, Grapple, Sacrifice. These are also divided into B.A. (beam or blind attack) Fates.

The defender rolls the fate for the situation and if successful we determine the outcome. For a simple Fate dodge the outcome is obvious… the character dodges.

So there you have it: combat is Advantage, Shot and Fate.

These three fundamental aspects, the prime mechanic, the calculation for cogency and the combat system, form the heart of the game engine. With these elements, we can play out virtually anything and if I have my way we will.

Synnibarr was made to push the limits; we have been working hard to create a solid framework in which the players are not only presented with a Worldship to explore, but a Centiverse of adventure in which godhood and beyond is a possibility. The new guidelines take advantage of these basic factors and through them define a game like no other.

Thank you all for your interest; may you always make your fate!

Raven c.s. McCracken.


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