28 Nov Tidying Up Dem Rules
I’ve had an intense last couple of months. Churning through well over 100 pages of the manuscript (250 is the target size), I’ve also hammered through the rules to make sure they’re the best, simplest and most streamlined they can be. And it’s been an interesting experience! You may note that I have actually been playtesting this game for some six years now (it’s hard to believe it’s been that long), but progress since the Kickstarter has been immensely faster in rules development. Why? Because there’s just so much more interest, so many more people playing it, giving opinions, feedback and helpful advice.
One of the key things I found that had to be changed was combat. This wasn’t because everyone gave me feedback that combat was boring, or that they even said it needed to be changed, but rather because I had to explain combat to so many people, and each and every time I did, I came up against the same hurdles. Seemed simple enough to me, but it turns out that every kink in the line gets magnified a thousand times. You need that line smooth, man!
So recently combat changed to a one-roll system (you roll to Strike once, then if the defender doesn’t manage to successfully Defend against it, damage is added to the strike). It’s faster, smoother and I really like it. There are some definite differences between the two, and if I were to call one as being more balanced than the other, I’d say the original way had it…but it’s a tradeoff between “perfect” mechanics and smooth playability. There’s also the point that my personal role playing focus has definitely changed to a much more story-based game rather than a combat-based game. This means the mechanics will tend to open up a bit and support other facets of the character more (though still providing a gritty, realistic combat system). By way of example, when I first began Immersion there were something like 12 skills for combat, whereas now there are more like 4.
Around the same time one of my lead playtesters, Stuart Holbrook, came up with this epic idea for Dynamic Initiative. Really awesome idea, and it stops Initiative being a static thing, or a thing that you have to roll for every round. The idea is that if you do a particularly good action, or someone else fails really badly, then you win/lose the initiative, and it changes organically that way. Brilliant.
Once again, I have had to learn that less rolling is better. Heck, way back in the day we’d roll for every little thing. Now we let the story flow and we roll when it’s important!
But there was a final sticking point that was giving me trouble…and that was Attributes. Anyone familiar with the system would know we had 12 Attributes, ranging from Physical and Social to Mental and Spiritual Attributes – 3 of each to be exact.
Well…the final departing from my old combat-based days has taken place, and those Attributes have been culled down to 8. It’s a big move, and I’m really quite happy with it. Instead of Strength, Dexterity and Constitution being part of the Physical group, it’s now Brawn and Dexterity. This really makes sense to me. Then there’s been the old sticking point of Charisma, Tact and Beauty for Social Attributes. Hmm…it just doesn’t really add up. No one ever wants to put points in Beauty. And is that really something so important? I can’t remember a single roll with Beauty in the last thousand games. So that’s gone. Now it’s Presence and Tact. Presence had been a Skill, but now it’s an Attribute (as it had once been a long time ago). Once again, this makes waaaay more sense actually. Because Tact is your skill with words, trading, bartering, etc., while Presence is your ability to be awe-inspiring, dominate a space, scare people, or charm them and seduce them. You can choose what your character looks like. That’s all part of the story for gawd’s sake.
Ultimately, these changes will serve to make the game smoother, make every stat something truly worthwhile and relevant to the game, and should then make for a better, smoother and “funner” game! 🙂 At least that’s the plan.
Anyway, there are a bunch of changes like that, but rather than lay them all out here, I’ve got them in our Quick Start Rulebook. There’s also a bunch of pre-gen characters (which are better than they were in the Reviewers’ Rules, because these are much more like “people” than just “psychos” and the adventure in there too is one I am very happy with – far more about wits, clever thinking and diplomacy than just blowing stuff up).
You can download a copy of the Quick Start Rules here:
And our new character sheets here.
Until then, game well, game often, have fun! Oh… and if you haven’t checked out our forum, please do so! 🙂
~Oliver R. Shead
P.S. Check out the new image…isn’t it wicked? It’s actually a Government Enforcer from NORAD (a major faction), who has come to Las Vegas to persuade the Immortal (who, apparently, is immortal…it’s all in the title) to give them trade, treaties, and generally whatever they want. NORAD are powerful, but the Immortal has a legion of fanatical followers called the Skulls, who believe that like him, they can defy death and become immortal (he has, apparently, died seven times and come back from beyond the veil). Can tanks and bombs have any influence on such people?