Monday, I talked about NaGa DeMo (National Game Design Month) and a few ideas I had for my game. After thinking long and hard about the three ideas, I've settled on the Golden Age Superhero game. The game will be set during the late 1930s until the early 1950s (which most people consider to be the "Golden Age of Comic Books"). Characters will fight crime, take on the horrors of World War II, and create a place in history as the first superheroes (for their world anyway).
Now that I have a concept that I like, I need to figure out what the basic mechanics of the game will be. Currently, I'm aiming to design a more rules-light system. I have nothing against crunch (I'm currently running a Pathfinder game after all), but I kind of want to keep the game simple and focus more on having fun with the game instead of stumbling over mountains and mountains of rules.
The core mechanic of the game closely resembles the core mechanic of the d20 system. For those of you not familiar with the d20 system, I'll elaborate. When attempting something in the game that has a significant chance of failure, the player rolls a d20 and adds any relevant modifiers he or she might receive to the die's result. If the final result is equal to or greater than a target number assigned to the task by the Game Master, the character succeeds at the task. However, I might chance the specific die (possibly to a d12 or a d10) at a later date.
Characters in the game will be defined by four aspects: Archetypes, Motivations, Attributes, and Abilities. A character's archetype represents the character's basic concept and a character's motivation represents why the character has become a superhero. For example, Spider-Man's archetype would be "Friendly-Neighborhood Superhero" and his motivation would be "With Great Power Must Also Come Great Responsibility". Both of these phrases will affect the character in certain ways and gives the rest of the group a clear idea of what kind of hero the character is.
A character's attributes represent their most basic mental and physical characteristics. Currently, each character has six attributes. They are Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Perception, and Willpower. Each attribute will have a score that act as a modifier to die rolls associated with the attribute. For example, a character with a Strength of 3 would add 3 to their die roll when trying to break down a door.
Finally, a character's abilities represent their powers and talents. Each ability will be defined rather broadly to allow each player to alter the trappings of the power. For example, the "Attack" ability could be a character blasting an enemy with magical power, swinging a mythical sword at them, or shooting them with their high-tech laser. Like attributes, each ability will have a score that acts as a modifier to die rolls associated with the power.
Currently, this is more of a "blue-print" than a concrete list of rules. I still need to figure out what the main die will be (currently its the d20, but as I said, that might change down the road if I feel like another die does the job better), how situations like combat and the like work, and what powers are available for the players to choose for their characters. However, typing all of this out gives me something to look at to keep myself on track during the month and remember the basic elements of the game.