Modos RPG

In space, no one can hear you scream

This alien is looking pretty scary:

Alien, bioweapon 8
A genetically designed creature, with black, slimy skin and a long, bony tail. The alien reacts to close range enemy attacks with a natural attack (acid spray), and uses the special move perk to add damage to its inner jaw attack. Goal: kill every living thing. Flaw: ill tempered, runs away when it takes damage. Otherwise, perfect being.
P 18, M 14, MP 6
Skills: detect +5 (3), movement +6 (2), unarmed +7 (3)
Perks: cat’s eye, martial artist, armor training (natural), weapon training (natural), bonus action (unarmed), bonus action (movement), special move, off the mark
Gear: inner jaw d8 (medium, close), natural attack (claws, bite, acid spray) d8, tough hide d6

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Come with me if you want to live

I’ve decided that 5 is a good level for a terminator. It’s a little vulnerable to machine gun fire, but what isn’t?

Cyborg 5
A flesh-covered android that specializes in terminating people. Goal: follow prime directive. Flaw: single-minded.
P 17, M 12, MP 6
Skills: armed +4 (1), scientist +3 (2), detect +3 (2)
Perks: owl’s eye, sleepless, martial artist, armor training (natural), bonus action (parry)
Gear: armored hide d6, robo-hands d6

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ROAR - Sapphire Dragon

I’m designing the first dragon for Modos 2. Possibly the only one; I’m trying to keep the book slim and trim so readers will have lots of room to mod.

I started at level 10, so it would be “epic,” and realized that level 10 is a good starting level for baby dragons. Now I’m up to 15…let’s see how it goes!

Sapphire Dragon 15
This dragon’s scales seem almost blue, but that might just be the reflection of the sky as it swoops down to eat you. Goal: to rule its countryside domain and protect its young from mankind. Flaw: takes double damage from heat sources.
P 17, M 12, MP 16
Skills: ?
Perks: mystic ward, ?

Gear: …

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Here Comes the Big One

Power of the day:

Summon Gargantua
Range: medium
Target: multi
D/M: -13/yes
Effect: a huge creature approaches and changes the environment, potentially affecting postures, actions requiring movement, and all characters in conflict.
Half: no defense (but to flee)!

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This is what fear looks like

I’m penning in the new version’s powers alphabetically, and for some reason, Fear is the first one to really grab my imagination. Here’s the first level version:

Fear 1
Range: close
Target: single
D/M: +3/yes
Effect: if the target is in a non-defensive posture, it can use actions only for defense against this power, to move to defensive posture, or to flee conflict. In defensive posture, the target may act normally.
Half: (M) no effect.

Sounds scary, right? Well, not really. But its uses are what make it cool. It could be a force field, pushing larger things (opponents) away from the user. It could be divine energy, keeping evil creatures at bay (maybe with the help of a hero point), or it could be a simple fear spell, tearing at your opponent’s psyche until she can’t stand being near you. The third level version (Fear 3) affects multiple targets, creating a better sphere-of-protection image than the first level version.

What about repelling projectiles? Well, there’s the Armor 1 power…

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Feeling like a Wizard

Despite having only seven top-tier power ideas, I just finished writing up the base game’s spellbook, er, power list. Four (almost five) power levels of ten powers each, increasing with difficulty, requiring more metaphysical proficiency at the highest levels, and costing more MP as you go.

And I know each of the powers. This must be what a grand wizard feels like.

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Is it a Marketplace if it's Free?

This is how I’m picturing the Modos Marketplace: links. Lots and lots of links. To be more specific, I’d like to set up a blog that has sections for each type of mod and genre. Then, as mods are submitted, they get a post with a link and description. That way I don’t have to host mods, just provide access to them. And I’ll probably use the comments sections as a way to measure/indicate mod approval.

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When It Rains...

An absence from the blog doesn’t mean inactivity today – it means that a lot has been changing. In all cases, for faster, easier rules. Here are some examples:

Half Damage – when defensive posture was modeled after Final Fantasy, it made perfect sense: back away from your enemies and their close-range weapons become less effective. That translated to dealing half damage. The problem was that “half damage” is relatively complicated and slow. It required multiplication, which was the only time that happened in the game. It raised the question: at what point in dealing damage does this multiplication occur? After the damage die? After protection? Can I just use a d4 instead of a d8? Let it suffice to say that weapons can still attack beyond their range (but not too far…), and they are limited to one point of damage when they do.

Power Timing – Spells, now called “Powers” to emphasize genre agnosticism, had the potential in Modos 1.4 to take effect during the casting of them. This required at least two additional rules, for the payoff of being able to use (essentially) multiple Fire powers in a row for one low MP cost. I axed it. Now, powers take effect on the final Magic action, after paying the MP cost, and a Magic user wanting to blast multiple targets in a row can simply use Magic (Fire) for three consecutive actions.

Gear Elements – Character elements are neatly divided from gear; the former are attributes, powers, and skills, while the latter are just stuff that gets listed under “gear.” This doesn’t have to be the case. I had been keeping a special category of gear separate from the rest, because it “increased the effective power of a character.” What didn’t occur to me at the time was that character elements also do this, and doing so meant that the gear was acting like character elements – blurring the line I just mentioned. With this distinction made, it’s pretty obvious that gear can act like elements, and vice versa. So this category of gear, now called Special Items, can be character elements if they are effectively permanent possessions, or just listed as gear if they are temporary possessions. For example, a pair of goggles that let you see infrared and shoot lasers are pretty hefty for a first level character – something the GM probably doesn’t want the character to use all the time. But if that character levels up a few times, taking the Owl’s Eye perk and a point or two in Magic (lightning), those goggles could be a regular feature of that character.

More stuff – redefining Range, altered perks, smoother Power entries – has popped and will pop up, to be streamlined and re-assimilated. I’ll keep you posted.

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Easy as 1, 2, 3

Writing my way through the perks chapter led to well, a lot of things, but specifically to the Spell Weaver perk. Right off the bat, it needs help because “spells” are now called “powers” to help the base rules feel a little more flexible for other genres.

Spell Weaver allowed high attributes other than Metaphysical to contribute spellcasting actions. This became a problem because 1) the new Bonus Action perk lets you pick which skill to which you want your bonus action to apply, so there doesn’t need to be a separate perk for Magic (formerly Cast Spell), and 2) the perk implied that actions have a character to them – that they’re inherently tied to an attribute. Which isn’t really necessary anymore, not with the decoupling of attributes and skills, so I found another chance to streamline some rules.

With this in mind, I removed the Free Actions rule because it implied that actions are always tied to an attribute. Now, they’re just actions. PCs get three per round. And the GM, instead of needing to choose one of twenty skills each time she asks for a contest, now just needs to choose one of three attributes – whichever is closest to what the character is up to. The player can add skill points to that contest if he has skill points that he thinks (and the GM agrees) would be relevant to the task at hand.

For example:
PC: I chuck the superball so it bounces off the wall, going around the cameraman and into the reporter’s face.
GM: Dayley Cummings begins her report…roll a Physical contest.
PC: (rolls) I’m adding Knowledge (skill points), since I studied geometry and physics in undergrad, for 16.
GM: Sounds good. The ball makes a nice thump as it hits the wall, and hurtles mercilessly toward Dayley (rolls difficulty contest)…

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Breakthroughs in Metaphysics

It has been an awesome week for rules-writing! Issues seem to be resolving themselves, as I let the old rule framework shine through its rusty coat and reveal what it’s really made of.

For starters, I’m writing to beef up the metaphysical end of the game. In theory, each attribute (physical, mental, metaphysical) is equal in significance, and until this week, the purpose of metaphysical was mostly to allow spellcasting (which is now called using powers, to make the game more genre-flexible).

But as I was designing the revised Persuade skill, I noticed that the old description included language about affecting PCs. As it stood, the rule effectively meant that PCs could ignore Persuade if it was used on them. It’s not good to have rules that can just be ignored. So while there’s always the potential to run an extended conflict for persuasion, I looked for another solution, and found goals, which are positioned slightly differently in the new ruleset. And it occurs to me – why can’t characters get goals from other characters? Suddenly, persuade gains game-mechanical significance by allowing NPCs to add a goal to a PC’s character sheet. PCs don’t have to act on them, but they can get hero points if they do, which is definitely a motivator.

Deceive, being a fellow metaphysical skill, fell right into place: PCs gain a flaw when thoroughly deceived.

Engage doesn’t fit as nicely into Goals and Flaws, but it seems pretty obvious that if someone is effectively engaging you, your attention will be drawn to them and necessarily away from other things. Which sounds like a Detect penalty to me.

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