Thursday, 5 August 2010

Downtime (Again!) [Updated xI]

OK, here's another crack at sorting out some kind of supportive downtime system. I've been pondering for a couple of weeks now and I think I've wrapped my head around the basics.

Basic Principles
  • I still want to keep this as abstract as I can, while providing options for players to stiff each other interact during downtime.
  • It needs to be an extension of player actions, not something they rely on.
  • But it also needs to provide a more epic canvas, to give players the feeling of being in charge of something greater than they are.
The Fief

Each player (or group of players) can buy a fief at character development. The advantage of clubbing together is in having more actions per downtime; the downside is that you have to share power.

A Fief has the following basic characteristics:

Owner: Obvious if only a single owner, but groups have to pick one person as leader. This is important, because it defines the fief as owned by one of the factions.

Morale: Goes up and down. Once it hits negative, the rating is applied as a modifier to all the downtime actions. Morale can be attacked by certain actions and is lost when you lose battles.

After that, the character(s) can buy Holdings to increase their abilities.

Holdings are individual buildings that allow the character to project their power. The most obvious holdings are the ones that produce troops and spies, allowing the characters to harass and fight with each other, but they also produce money and equipment. Holdings are bought at Level 1 and can be upgraded, which costs time and money.

Holdings generate a level of whatever they build equal to their level
  • Agency. These generate their level in spies. As a downtime action, spy points can be assigned among four stances - Internal Security, Sabotage and Passive/Active spying.

    Internal Security is the fief's defensive rating and Sabotage destroys Holdings levels, while Passive spying provides info on what holding an enemy owns and Active spying provides info on your opponent's downtime actions.

  • Barracks. These produce trained troops who will die for you. Troops can be assigned to Garrison your fief (providing a defensive rating), or sent out to skirmish. They are better at damaging enemy Holdings than saboteurs, but have to wade through the enemy Garrison first.

  • Counting Houses. No matter what the Church may say, money is too useful to give up. Your fiefs are generally self-sufficient - that's what serfs are for. Instead, Counting Houses provide spending money, needed to pay for building upgrades, additional troops for that downtime period, bought info and equipment - things that may otherwise be unavailable or where you've reached the natural limit.

  • Fabricants. These are used for fabricating equipment, weapons and so on. Not so much in the sense of 'I want a new pistol' (that's what contracts are for), but on the scale of 'my army needs rifles. And tanks'. Of course, you don't have to keep them for yourself - you can always contract out to other players and make some money/cement alliances in doing so...

    Equipment provides bonuses and occasional special rules, but I'll talk about crafting in another post.
Player Actions:

This system isn't supposed to replace player actions, but supplement them. As such, players can spend an additional downtime action to join in the fun. They get to add an appropriate skill to the action - so if they're sending out a warband, they can throw in their tactics skill on top of the army's rating, or contract in an Engineer to add their technical skill to a science project.

The number of downtime actions per downtime come from averaging the lead character's Mind + Bureaucracy. If playing in a multi-player fief, the Mind rating comes from the ruler, while the Bureaucracy skill may be donated by another fief member. If there are more than two members in a fief, each further player adds +1 to the skill rating (unless they choose not to for some reason).

[Update x1]

Combat is something I'm a little uncertain on - not in general, but the specifics of which model to use.

My first choice is to have each Garrison point being ablative - each point must be assigned to defend against specific attacks, rather than simply providing a set defence number. Resolution is simply by who scores the highest, with the difference between scores representing the amount of damage the winner can throw around. The point is to give a small sense of realism in that troops can't be in all places at once and makes players think about what they wan to defend.

The second method is to make the Garrison stat apply to all fights, but resolution isn't 'who scores highest'. Instead, the victor must achieve a multiple of the defender's score, as in Games Workshop's Battle For Armageddon. The higher the multiple scored, the greater the devastation.