Monday, September 24, 2018

Retro Phaze VI: Chapter One Draft

Well, here it is. Took me long enough, eh?

This should, at least, give my readers (it's a small, highly exclusive club, I'm given to understand) a good idea where things are going. 

The major changes to the rules can be summed up as follows:

• The spell and weapon ranges have been seriously reigned in, to make things work more like Shining Force or Fire Emblem; spell areas and creature movements are scaled down to match.

• The game now features Land Effect, with an impact on both movement and character defense, just like a real tactical RPG! (The final chapter will have lots of advice on making tactical maps with varied terrain using "drop dice"—drop some dice on the table, those tell you where forests and mountains and rivers go—on the fly.)

• The core mechanic is now rolling low on 1d12 (under base TN + modifiers) rather than rolling high on 2d6 (+ modifiers vs. a TN). This makes probabilities way, way easier to deal with. The game still only features d6s for everything else; but the awkward "roll and keep" mechanics are pretty much gone, replaced with plus or minus fixed numbers of pips. These are otherwise still the only dice in the game: 1d12 for task resolution, Xd6±Y for everything else.

• Some of the stats have been re-named, just to make things fit together a little better. The core attributes reflect what each class mainly wants out of them: Fighters and Monks depend on Strength and Discipline, Rogues and Wizards on Finesse and Cunning. And, since the primary task resolution has been flipped around, the "Defense" score is now called "Vulnerability," and it works just like descending AC in OSR games (i.e. no armor is VN 6, leather armor is VN 5, chain is VN 4, etc.).

• And, of course, with the Scholar class made standard and moved into the front of the book, the alternative campaign options are going to have all of those weird Shining Force races and extra Final Fantasy style classes: the alternative promotions for each base class remain Dragoon (Fighter), Geomancer (Monk), Machinist (Rogue), Bard (Scholar), and Summoner (Wizard).

• Finally, there is now an Action Point mechanic that governs all use of multiple attacks in a round. Fighters get lots of them; Monks and Scholars get fewer, but Monks can spend them on counter-attacks, and high-level Scholars on extra spell-casting. Monsters now generally make just one attack per round, but particularly vicious monsters will get Action Points to spend—and certain Boss monsters may have so much Cunning that they act twice per initiative cycle!


  1. I am so here for this. Going to give it a read tonight.

  2. Sounds good, I hope it doesn't add too much complexity!

    1. The new edition does add some complexity, but I think that's generally a good thing. Action Points and Land Effect are the two big new complications, and they both add _tactical_ complexity, which I think makes the game more fun.