The Wheel of Time

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hector
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The Wheel of Time

Post by hector » 07 Dec 2013, 17:52

Here's a setting that never got the RPG system it deserved (instead it got a system that was pretty half arsed by even d20 standards of the day). I always thought The Riddle of Steel was probably the best system for this setting, just because it handled magic being so much more powerful than weaponry so well (sure, you can inflict murder on a mass scale, but an arrow in the back will kill you just as dead as anyone else).

I could see the Taint being handled quite well by Flaws, because you'd actually be mechanically rewarded for acting in ways that a sane person wouldn't. Actually being able to channel, however, would have to be a racial pick, similar to how it would have been handled in TRoS (Ogier is a C pick, being able to learn to channel is a B pick and being able to channel whether you're taught or not would be an A pick); I'm just not sure how the other priorities would be affected. I'm also not sure how I'd personally model strength in the five elements (Proficiencies sort of work for this, but it is predetermined to an extent; maybe treat them as separate attributes?), but I think that certain abilities, like healing, combat magic, defensive magic and the like could probably be modelled with proficiencies.

Also, there's the difference between male and female channellers. Males tend to be more powerful than females, in much the same way as men tend to be more strong physically than women - it's not always true, but the strongest male channellers are considerably stronger than the strongest female channellers. Still, women get to link their power together, which men can only do with a woman's help (up to thirteen women can link without a man's help, with thirteen more for each man involved, while at least one woman is required for each man beyond the first to link). Naturally, the most impressive feats were always performed by men and women working together.
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Re: The Wheel of Time

Post by higgins » 08 Dec 2013, 02:25

As a disclaimer, I don't really see us licensing the franchise any time soon, but as a friend of mine considered running a game in that setting, we brainstormed on how Song of Steel could handle the One Power rules-wise. I don't have access to our notes right now, but it went something like this...

When combining two or more elements, you need to roll the lowest pool from the elements used, which makes it harder to pull off complex stuff. I can't recall the mechanic for getting tired, but it was there, as were the preliminary rules for drawing upon the One Power too much.

We were divided on whether Talents should be part of the "racial" Priority or should they just be a special set of Edges. I'm pretty sure the general number of dice one could allocate towards the elements was part of the "racial" pick, too -- it was quite inflexible like that, but managing the martial and casting prowess on the "scale arm principle" has never made sense to me.

Block was a Flaw I believe, and by the first concept it granted extra Element dice to make it more appealing (and more badass). I don't recall what we decided about Taint, but what you say makes sense to me.

And as a side note, we detected a curious lack of shields in the setting. :P
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Re: The Wheel of Time

Post by hector » 08 Dec 2013, 04:58

Most of the infantry men were pikemen or archers, if memory serves. I imagine most caravan guards and the like carried shields with their one handed swords, while the main character's pretty much all used two handed weapons (Perrin with his battle axe, and later with his blacksmith's hammer; Mat with his ashanderai and every blade master in the setting).

I'd probably go with a Racial pick for Talents, just because that lets you give the E and D racial picks something to do. As for getting tired, I'd count non-stop channelling as a physical activity and use fatigue. The more effort you put into your channelling, the quicker you get fatigued. Channelling at full effort should tire you out at a similar rate to combat in full jousting plate. As for drawing too much, I don't know. If it were a system similar to that or TRoS, where you draw in more of the Power to refresh a pool, I'd let you draw in more than your maximum pool, but then every die that's equal to or less than the amount you're overdrawn by adds a level of fatigue. If you fall unconscious, you wake up burned out. Naturally, angreal can increase your maximum pool.

Edit: also, I wasn't expecting you to license the setting; I doubt anyone will. Which is unfortunate, but there you go.
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Re: The Wheel of Time

Post by higgins » 09 Dec 2013, 02:55

hector wrote:As for getting tired, I'd count non-stop channelling as a physical activity and use fatigue.
The core won't be having rules for fatigue. We have enough things to track as it is, so, we decided to omit that area. Our current chase rules have interpretations like... the roll results in example A mean that character B has gone out of breath losing the contest, etc, but there are no metrics to track the levels of fatigue. If anyone feels the need for it, they can always add a lever.
hector wrote:Edit: also, I wasn't expecting you to license the setting; I doubt anyone will. Which is unfortunate, but there you go.
Yeah, that's your common sense talking, but as I'm running this board and authoring a game, I was merely covering my back before spewing forth anything that might be viewed as intent to use someone else's IP. One can't be too careful these days.

That said, I'll try to gain access to the above-mentioned brainstorming materials tonight. They should make an interesting discussion at the very least. :)
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Re: The Wheel of Time

Post by hector » 11 Dec 2013, 09:54

So, were you able to find those materials?
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Re: The Wheel of Time

Post by higgins » 11 Dec 2013, 13:17

Yeah, just barely got back (games are overnighters for me). But it turns out that... we wrote down a lot less than we discussed. :|

So, since it's just the two of us here right now, PM me with your email address. I'll send you the priority table, which consists the bulk of what we accomplished. Formatting it for the forums would be a nightmare.
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Re: The Wheel of Time

Post by hector » 11 Dec 2013, 16:48

Interesting ideas there. Just one thing I'd suggest: One of your elements should have to always be your highest, and one always your lowest. One's strongest and weakest elements in the Power are actually fairly important traits. Egwene, for instance, always had higher Earth than anything else, while Rand showed quite an affinity for fire.
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Re: The Wheel of Time

Post by higgins » 11 Dec 2013, 18:42

Oh, sure, feel free to play around with all that. I never got far with the series, so, it'd be great to see the input of a fan. You can add as many details and setting-specific Edges/Flaws and Talents as you like. The more input we have, the more likely the rules will actually be used some day.

Or should we just transform this into a dev thread? It'd be fine by me. :)
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Re: The Wheel of Time

Post by hector » 11 Dec 2013, 19:28

Plot spoilers in this post.

Also, rather than instant death, I'd suggest losing the ability to channel, in the form of a Major Flaw called Severed (something that can also be inflicted via a weave, hence Stilling/Gentling, or Severing as it was called in the Age of Legends). Especially since a cure is found. Another thing I'd suggest is that perhaps certain tasks within the Power should have minimum strengths in their related elements, but be improved for having higher, and then you roll an amount equal to the amount of power you've drawn in - or higher if you're willing to risk burning out. Perhaps have instant death as a possibility if you draw in half again or higher your safe limit.
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Re: The Wheel of Time

Post by higgins » 12 Dec 2013, 04:51

This is what Hector is talking about:
WoT fan-rules draft wrote:There are five elements a channeler can use: Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit; Elements are rated from 1 to 10; these rating determine the channeler's command over an Element; all channelers receive first dot in each Element for free; when combining elements, use the rating of the weakest Element used in the weave.

At character creation, you must pick the Primary Element for your channeler; no other Element can exceed the Primary Element in the terms of its rating; the Primary Element also costs less to improve [costs will be decided later].

In addition to five elements, there is Draw; Draw rating determines the channeler's ability to tap into the One Power; it also determines the channeler's maximum dice pool; each consecutive weave lessens Draw by one (make slash marks into boxes under the spent dots); Once the effective Draw reaches 0, the channeler becomes unable to weave; Draw is restored at one point per hour.

Image

Example: Jon has Draw 6, Fire 6 and Air 3. He wants to hurl fire, which demands both Fire Element, as well as Air to make the fire move. The Narrator determines the TN and Jon gets to roll 3 dice (lower of Air and Fire, Draw places no restrictions). Jon ticks off the 6th box and has now an effective Draw of 5. Then he wants to call upon fire without hurling it. This is a pure Fire test, but his maximum dice pool of 6 is now restricted by his spent Draw. He calls upon fire with 5 dice. Now he has an effective Draw of 4. Any firing SAs add dice on top of those mentioned pools.
WoT fan-rules draft wrote:Ovechanneling: a channeler can at any moment bypass the Draw restriction and use his Element pool for a weave (it is still subject to using the lowest Element, if multiple ones are used); in case of success, the weave works as normal; however, should the channeler fail the roll, their character is instantly destroyed; the second overchanneling without a rest requires two successes for the channeler not to perish, the third one three and so on; and yes, overchanneling works just fine with an effective Draw of 0.
WoT fan-rules draft wrote:Block (Major or Minor Flaw): The character receives extra points in One Power [could be either Elements or Draw; exact amounts to be determined as the rules solidify; major will give more than minor]; however, the drawback is that the character can only wield their powers under certain conditions [in case of Minor, the restriction is fairly easy to pass -- needs a presence of a male, etc; in case of Major, the restriction is significantly harsher; both need examples from the novels]
hector wrote:Also, rather than instant death, I'd suggest losing the ability to channel, in the form of a Major Flaw called Severed
As I have no inkling on what happened in books 2-14, I just took the perishing at face value as it was mentioned by a friend. Then again, it's great that there seem to be other options. We could perhaps make a random d6 or d10 result table. One option perishing, one is getting severed and... are there more?
hector wrote:Another thing I'd suggest is that perhaps certain tasks within the Power should have minimum strengths in their related elements, but be improved for having higher, and then you roll an amount equal to the amount of power you've drawn in - or higher if you're willing to risk burning out.
I don't get it. Can you bring an example?
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Re: The Wheel of Time

Post by hector » 12 Dec 2013, 09:04

For example, Travelling (making a gateway between one place and another) requires a minimum strength in the Power to use. The more power you put into it, however, the larger the gateway can be and the more people you can fit through it.

Being string in Earth grants an affinity with metals and, eventually, the ability to turn metal into heartstone (I forget how to spell the actual name, but it's a glasslike substance that's literally indestructible - the bridge at Whitebridge is made from it).

Anyway, the reason behind being able to draw on greater amounts of the power was to implement angreal and Linking. An angreal basically amplifies the amount of the power you can use at once. A sa'angreal does the same, only an order of magnitude more. Linking allows you to use other people who can channel as angreal. Thing is, a man can only link with another man with the help of a woman (at least one woman for every man after the first). Up to 13 women can link together without the help of a man, but they require one man for every 13 more they want to add.

Also, men and women channel differently; they can't see each other's channelling, though men can feel when a woman is holding the Power (though they might not know that that's what they're feeling). That's why Moiraine can't teach Rand to channel; only a man can do that, and the only men who know enough about the Power to be useful are the Forsaken. It's also why men go mad but women don't. Thing is, if a man is controlling the link between him and a woman, he has to channel like a woman, which is entirely different from what he's used to. Same as when a woman is controlling the link - she has to channel like a man.

Edit: Finally, there are three potential outcomes of channelling beyond your strength: The lightest is simply falling unconscious, and waking up with a massive migraine; you can't channel until the migraine is gone. The medium is falling unconscious and being unable to channel at all when you wake up (that is, being burned out). The heaviest is being flooded with the Power and being burned to a cinder by it.
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Re: The Wheel of Time

Post by higgins » 14 Dec 2013, 09:45

hector wrote:For example, Travelling (making a gateway between one place and another) requires a minimum strength in the Power to use. The more power you put into it, however, the larger the gateway can be and the more people you can fit through it.
Ah, yes, I suppose we could define what each dot can or cannot do a'la VtM's disciplines, if that helps to invoke the setting feel. X amount of dots allows to form a gate, X+1 allows to take someone along based on channeler's willpower, successes, whatever, etc.

Then again, a gate sounds like a factor of multiple elements, so, a clear definition is likely to more difficult to compile that it sounds.
hector wrote:Anyway, the reason behind being able to draw on greater amounts of the power was to implement angreal and Linking. An angreal basically amplifies the amount of the power you can use at once. A sa'angreal does the same, only an order of magnitude more.
Sounds like a Draw booster to me :) Or if we decide to define the Element dot values, it could be used to gain access to higher dots. I'm not sure.
hector wrote:Linking allows you to use other people who can channel as angreal. Thing is, a man can only link with another man with the help of a woman (at least one woman for every man after the first). Up to 13 women can link together without the help of a man, but they require one man for every 13 more they want to add.
Actually that works out pretty nice. Highest base Draw character female acts as a base Draw pool; a single linked woman gives +1 Draw; then double the amount of current linked women adds another +1 Draw. Three women linked to the primary one would give +2 Draw, six would give +3 and 12 would give +4 to a total of 13 women.

Or yeah, we could instead use this mechanic to boost the elements, which... would make it way more useful and something that Draw-affecting SA dice couldn't do.

And maybe we could even allow the dice pool to be combined of highest Elements. So, if we have Fire 6, Air 3 character and Air 6, Fire 3 character, they could combine into throwing 6-dice fireballs as they'd count as Fire 6 and Air 6 working together.
hector wrote:Thing is, if a man is controlling the link between him and a woman, he has to channel like a woman, which is entirely different from what he's used to. Same as when a woman is controlling the link - she has to channel like a man.
I'm drawing a blank on how to solve this right now. What are the actual effects though?
hector wrote:Finally, there are three potential outcomes of channelling beyond your strength: The lightest is simply falling unconscious, and waking up with a massive migraine; you can't channel until the migraine is gone. The medium is falling unconscious and being unable to channel at all when you wake up (that is, being burned out). The heaviest is being flooded with the Power and being burned to a cinder by it.
Roll d6. 1-3 mean passing out. 4-5 mean losing powers. 6 means disintegration. Or is that too scary? :)
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Re: The Wheel of Time

Post by hector » 14 Dec 2013, 16:10

It's essentially the difference between raw power and skill. When you have a Talent, you can sometimes do that thing instinctively, even if you know relatively little about the Power. Sometimes if you're strong enough in the Power, you can do something through sheer brute force that someone else could have done with far less of the Power. That's why I'd suggest separating proficiency from raw power.
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Re: The Wheel of Time

Post by higgins » 14 Dec 2013, 16:59

That's pretty much how I envisioned it. Element rating would be your proficiency (what you can do) and Draw would be your power (how much can you do it).

But then again, I had Elements restrict the pool to the lowest common denominator. This is because I'm more used to the "this is your pool; tell me what you want to accomplish and I'm setting the TN" type of magic system. I wasn't going to restrict what anyone could do... they'd just have very little dice to weave certain things. However, I totally understand if that's too loose for most people.

However, if we defined what each Element dot would give access to, that dice pool restriction would would not be necessary, as we could lay restrictions on the spell effect, rather than the dice pool. That'd make it more technical -- giving you strict guidelines on what someone can and cannot do, but that sounds pretty cool as well.

I was going for the more freeform before, but... we could just as well go for the effect restriction thing. Whichever is more representative of the setting in your opinion works fine for me.
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Re: The Wheel of Time

Post by higgins » 17 Dec 2013, 05:58

Okay, let's try that second approach for a change. If we wanted to define what each elemental dot would give access to, and not account them into the dice pool at all, then having ten different levels would be far too specific. Five levels of power sounds much more reasonable.

For someone who has read the books, defining a single element would be easy enough, I imagine -- Earth 3 or 4 would allow to manipulate metals, Earth 5 would allow to create heartstone, etc. But is there a good resource out there that... defines the use of mixed elements?

And if we wanted to differentiate the sexes a bit more, we could give male channelers an extra point in either Earth or Fire, and females would have a an extra point in either Air or Water.
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