Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Updated Lost Songs of the Nibelungs Character Sheet (with some notes)

New city, new face-to-face play-tests. For the occasions I updated the LSotN character sheet. For one, the play-tests with the old group had brought up some changes and ideas I wanted to give a spin, but I'm also still looking for the visual style of the layout. I think I've made some progress in both areas. But see for yourselves ...

The Sheet and the Problems

The biggest issue so far had been the combat section. There is a board game aspect to the game and I want that expressed. But it needs room. The second issue had been the attributes. A main feature of Lost Songs is that people collect scars over time. It is connected with status and will make each character an individual while gathering experience. Works well so far, but also needs room on the sheet. Add all skills and advantages and it gets quite cozy fast. This is my solution (so far):

It's all done with inkscape ...
One of the first reactions had been that it is quite busy as a character sheet. I can see how that could be a first impression. But I thought the new players handled it quite well after a very short time and that's more important than the first impression (another player said that it forces a player to take a close look and that's a good thing, too). Some explaining notes are in order.

Part I: Battle

The board game part of the sheet. This is were a player places the dice in combat to illustrate his actions. Those following the development of the game might already have a handle on what's what, but for the uninitiated I'll talk a bit about it while showing what's new.

Every character has a number of d6 Combat Dice (C.D.). All start with 2 of them, but level advancement allows for fighter types to get more. They are rolled for each round of combat. Every 1 is discarded, every six generates a new d6 that is rolled immediately and added. The sum is the initiative and each die can be used for an action in that round. Slowest character has to put his dice first.

There are three main actions a character can perform per round: (1) the Main Actions (Attack - Damage/Soak - Defence), (2) the Delay Action (delay up to 2 dice into next round, one of them needs to be declared as delayed attack/defence) and (3) the Drop Die Actions (Do, Move, Coop, et cetera). The dice a character has available for a round are the dice a character is to distribute.

Doubles and Triples will make more powerful Main Actions: if a double is used in the Main Actions, the result of the dice is doubled (so a result of 3, 3 means the dice count as a 6 each). With a triple the results are tripled (so a result of 3, 3, 3 means the dice count as a 9 each). If an attack is made, damage needs to be declared, too (so you need the dice to do so). If "Soak" is declared, at least one die needs to be on "Defence".

Base Attack (B.A.) is added to a declared attack, Base Defence (B.D.) is added to a declared defence.

Here are a few new concepts. If a character is not able to completely defend against an attack, he may decide to soak some damage instead. The result of the die he uses is the damage reduction he gets that round against one attack and reduces Endurance instead. If a character is able to use a shield, the character may use one die for soak without the need to declare a defence die, too.

The last thing that changed here is that the size and the kind of weapon one uses influences the number of Damage Dice a character may use per attack (1 D.D. for small melee weapons and so forth). There rules for ranged combat now (shooting with a bow will make as much damage as an attack is over the targets defence, distance will reduce this).

Delay Actions are a bit more free handled as they were. One die needs to be declared, all other dice are just delayed and may be used for all kinds of actions in the next round. It allows for a bit more flexibility.

There aren't many changes with the Drop Die Actions. If a character wants to do anything but fight, he has to use a die to do a D.D.A. by putting it on the respective square on the sheet. Cooperation is still one of the most important D.D.A.s, since it allows one character to give a die to another character to use (cooperation is a huge feature early in the game).

A new aspect here is "Rage". A character is allowed to use [level +1] Rage Dice in a combat by just declaring it after the initial roll of a round (adding it to initiative and so on). The rage dice he uses are rolled after the combat to reduce a characters Endurance, but the D.D.A. Regain allows a character to get the die back by spending a die during combat. Every other rule affecting Endurance got ignored so far, but this seems to work.

Part II: Scars & Roots

Not many changes here. There are two types of tasks in Lost Songs, the Ability Roll and the Save. Ability rolls are the active part and is basically a d20 + ability score vs. difficulty (skills might be added to the result). A character wants to do something, this is what he rolls. If they roll below the difficulty, they might reduce Endurance to make the difficulty after the roll. They are always able to make it, but sometimes it comes with a price ...

Saves are the passive part of the game. Characters get poisoned, stressed or see things that threaten their sanity. Stuff like that is resolved by rolling d20 plus one of the saves vs. a difficulty. If they are below, they fail and the ability connected to the save is reduced by the difference between result and difficulty. Over time character will get tired, stressed out or will have a streak of bad luck. For every ability in the Buffer Zone they get -1 to all tasks (the Buffer Zone is always 10 until a ability score is permanently reduced below 11, then it's half of the ability). For every ability in the Hurt Zone, they get -3 to all tasks. It all adds up and to keep track of it, they got the string of numbers on the left. Every damage below that reduces the ability permanently.

Roots are to illustrate where the characters come from and how they are related to the others in the group. No changes here.

Part III: Traits

All the advantages and skills a character has. I wanted this as complete as possible on the character sheet, so the only difference to the old character sheet is that all the information is on there already and Level Advancements are a separate entry now. But how characters advance is a different post (that will be up the next few days, I think).

That's it for now

I see a second character sheet in the near future, something for the back of this sheet for detailed notes and stuff like that. But that's secondary. All a player needs is on this one sheet ...

2 comments:

  1. I like this
    "A new aspect here is "Rage". A character is allowed to use [level +1] Rage Dice in a combat by just declaring it after the initial roll of a round (adding it to initiative and so on). The rage dice he uses are rolled after the combat to reduce a characters Endurance, but the D.D.A. Regain allows a character to get the die back by spending a die during combat. Every other rule affecting Endurance got ignored so far, but this seems to work."

    It seems to me that it will introduce a way for characters to push themselves and pay a price for it. At the same time delaying the rolls until after the combat keeps things clean, while giving the players an opportunity to overextend themselves without noticing until it is too late.

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    1. Thanks, Mark! Yeah, that's exactly how it works. With the Rule that Soak damage reduces Endurance instead of Health it gets a nice dynamic where you may overreach but have the consequences afterwards (in most cases anyway, an attacker could go explicitly after an enemies Endurance, but that's a different story). And it's all immediate, nothing extra. People seem to remember it.

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