January 28, 2010

Chevalier Play Test

Filed under: Games — Tags: , , , — bilbo @ 9:23 am

This time around I had a go at what I will be calling Aspects. This is inspired by a designer I very much respect, Clash Bowley over on I Fly By Night. Essentially, Aspects are a free form descriptor that the player can generate and invest experience in. However, it goes a bit further than that allowing the GM to imbue items with an Aspect (or more than one). For instance, the other night a knight got a crit on a bandit that had been plaguing the thoroughfare. The sword cut off the limb of the bandit. After the battle, I told him to write down the Aspect: Vorpal Rank 1 for his sword and to give it a name. He named it Thrond as he imagined it came from the north and had Nordic runes on it. As play progressed, he brandished the sword and made a stirring speech to rally his men against a dragon. I gave him the option to advance his Vorpal to Rank 2 or give it an Inspire of Rank 1. He chose the Inspire.

Now, you might ask, that is fine but how does it play out in the system. This worked so much better than I thought it would. Basically, the Vorpal Rank 1 added 1 to damage roles. I switched back and forth between that and adding 1 die to the damage roll. I could see either working. The Inspire affected his Renown (previously called Honor) allowing him to gain 1 addition Renown point whenever he earned 1 normally. Also, I added it to any skill checks for leadership. This mechanic will have more weight in campaign play.

Finally, I want a method to remove Aspect ranks as well. So, a thought would be with weapons and tools, you could have crit failures do this. Perhaps a save of rolling under the rank on a d20. This means you most likely will loose your Vorpal 1 on a failure but could just as easily gain it back (on a crit success).

I look forward to more play test on this as I think it has applications in Nebuleon, Shades and just about all out games.


  1. I like it. It would allow all kinds of ramdom effects to be added to the players equipment. If a players equipment has special effects, then the player and the GM will have more roleplaying options available to them, and that’s never a bad thing.

    Comment by scott — January 28, 2010 @ 12:18 pm

  2. Cool, Bill! That’s a sweet way to make something temporarily “magical”, though it’s not necessarily magic at all. It could be a placebo effect – like “lucky dice” or the like. That would be very cool, and subtle. What about extending the concept? If the player gets five crits in a row without losing the power, it becomes famous, like Durendal or Joyeuse, and the effect becomes permanent, because everyone believes in it, even the enemy. Actually, you could use this to replace what you have in place for magic weapons…


    Comment by clash bowley — January 29, 2010 @ 9:36 am

  3. Clash, yeah, this was my intent. Essentially, the ranks work to that manner making it resistant to failures. The more ranks a weapon gets (and it is cumulative across all Aspects) then the better the chance to save becomes. I think it has potential and is pretty universal. It does not have to be “magic” but as you point out, placebo effect. So, the Millennium Falcon might have an Aspect of Tough 4 adding a check against any critical system being taken down because Han believe she is just a tough old bird.

    I see a lot of potential in this concept.

    Comment by bilbo — January 29, 2010 @ 10:25 am

  4. The aspect should relate to the crit that casued the belief, correct? Like your Vorpal Rank 1 example – the severing of the limb creates the belief that the sword is vorpal, and this belief is magnified with each servering, right? Say an enemy’s sword breaks against yours in combat, your sword can take on the aspect Weaponbreaker Rank 1, correct?

    I really like this!


    Comment by clash bowley — January 29, 2010 @ 11:40 am

  5. Yes. The problem here is that I am not sure I can systemically quantify that aspect of….Aspects. It more or less has to be interpreted by the players and the GM. You could take the Vorpal incident and the player made a point that it could have been damage, to hit, or even armor piercing Aspects there. In the end, I am inclined to let the group decide and provide a number of examples.

    Comment by bilbo — January 29, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

  6. Go with it, Bill. I think far too many things are systematically quantified anyway. the opposite is sort of like defining from center – here’s what it should look like approximately, use this as your guide – which I am always in favor of. Lay out examples and assume common sense.


    Comment by clash bowley — February 1, 2010 @ 7:37 am

  7. I agree with Clash. You can’t worry about the people that just don’t “get it”, because they are not going to use that mechanic anyway. The ones that have creative minds, on the other hand, will love it. In the end, you can’t please everyone, so please the ones that will get the most out of it anyway.

    Comment by scott — February 1, 2010 @ 12:09 pm

  8. kewl idea

    it really adds some ‘character’ to the game

    Comment by Alan Hume — February 9, 2010 @ 2:08 am

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