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ORD Spotlight #4: Tunics [Jun. 26th, 2007|07:10 pm]
Associated with Returner Games

demonicgerbil
http://www.returnergames.com/ord/index.php/Tunics

So far I've looked at a Job, a Race, and a rule set. I reckon that I may as well continue to dip into new sections of the ORD and expand my coverage of topics into new areas.

So, we have here Tunics, made by that paragon of never running his Whydah campaign Memona. At a glance Tunics seem like an interesting choice because they're an armor, which there aren't as many of as there are weapons available, and also they appear to take up two equipment slots instead of one like a normal piece of gear. So, let's dig in and see what we have.




At first glance I notice that there are two tunics per tier, and none of the tunics are 'basic.' They have all special effects. Because they occupy two equipment slots (head and body), the special effects are quite costly - and they're priced at roughly what two pieces of equipment might cost.

This issue of 'cost' requires a table, because I like tables. And it will let me do a side-by-side comparison. These prices are from the Head Slot and Body Slot pages as they currently exist at the moment. I understand some people may or may not have more up-to-date prices, but as they are not actually implemented, bite me.

Tier'Bare' Hat+Robe CostCheapest Tunic Cost
Tier 1175430
Tier 211251375
Tier 325502600
Tier 449504140
Tier 578007150
Tier 61183013300
Tier 71610011650
Tier 82100023470


(That table looks so 1996...)

One would expect that even the worst tunic of a tier should cost more than what a bare Hat and Robe should cost. Initially that assumption holds out, but the pattern is utterly destroyed by the time we get to Tier 5. Don't even get me started in the weirdness of Tier 7's Tunic being cheaper than the Tier 6 Tunic. That's wrong, it goes against every mechanic in the system, and more importantly it drives a semi-truck with a tanker trailer loaded full of nitroglycerin into the wall of common sense.

I'm not really sure if I need to go on, here. The first Tunic is too expensive for a starting character to purchase. The later Tunics oscillate wildly in 'relative' price compared to Hats and Robes. I'm not sure how Death Proof or Seal Proof on the Tier 6 Tunics drive the price up beyond what you can get on the Tier 7 Combat Caster's Cloak: Shadow Eater, Holy Eater, Shadow Enchancer, Holy Enhancer. Although it is a shame that there are very few Jobs (the Callers are all I can think of) in the system that can exploit both the Holy and Shadow enhancers at the same time.

The Tunics do break down the FFRPG's high end "Give 2 Artifacts and 1 Unique" paradigm. The Tunic's high end abilities are very powerful, and a single Unique Tunic can give bonuses comparable to two other pieces of gear. The Unique Crusader's Cloak gives the bonuses of Peytral (Unique Mail: +2 STR, Auto-Power Up), with the Golden Yarmulke (Artifact Hat: Auto-Magic Up), and leaves a +2 MAG left over. That's awfully darn powerful.

But even the Crusader's Cloak pales in comparison to one of the Artifact Tunics. Vermillion’s Cloak gives Refresh. For those who aren't familiar with it, Refresh comes from Final Fantasy 11. It's essentially "MP Regen." I don't believe there are rules for Refresh on the wiki at present, but it's safe to assume that it restores 10% Max MP every status phase, in a manner identical to how Regen works with HP. This is incredibly powerful. A 'decent' Black Mage is going to get back enough MP to cast Ultima every 3 rounds. I shudder to think of what a creative player could get away with when they have access to such an infinite and cost-free font of MP.

Finally, I do have a petty gripe. Real Tunics don't cover the head. They're essentially long shirts... Though I suppose "Hoodie" doesn't sound as "adventurous" as "Tunic."

So, in conclusion, I can reasonably opine that Tunics are crap. They're unbalanced in the system, poorly priced, and internally inconsistent. Don't use them.
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Phantom Dice script [Jun. 26th, 2007|02:49 pm]
Associated with Returner Games

demonicgerbil
I know I'm boring everyone now, but I made a quick and dirty script for the Gambler's Phantom Dice. I patterned it off of my already-existing Bad Breath script, so it was a piece of cake. You can, as always, see the raw script over at the Silvertech wiki. See directions below for how to make Sugar roll you some Phantom Dice.

Phantom Dice Script 1.0
Type: FFRPG online roleplaying aid
This script will roll 2d6 and output the result of Phantom Dice for up to 9 targets.

Usage
!phantomdice or !phantomdice #

Where is a list of names for the targets of the Phantom Dice ability. Up to 9 names may be entered. Where # is the number of targets, between 1 and 9.

Changelog
1.0 - June 26, 2007

* Ripped off the Bad Breath script to produce a quick and dirty Phantom Dice script.
* Uses Sugar's dice roller to roll 2d6, and then [expr] to add them up.
* Has the same name/number functionality as the Bad Breath script does.
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ORD Spotlight #3: Map Combat [Jun. 26th, 2007|01:34 am]
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demonicgerbil
http://www.returnergames.com/ord/index.php/ORD:_Map_Combat

These Map Combat rules were penned by JonB and the Damn Elf, the latter of whom is busy renovating his newly purchased house these days and never shows his face on IRC. Slacker. :p Other people like NinjaWeazel and Newbie X have contributed to it as well.

The rules attempt to transcribe the FFRPG's abstract combat system into something resembling the map-based combat of Final Fantasy Tactics or Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. The older editions of the Final Fantasy Roleplaying Game were explicitly built with map combat support in mind, but the (perpetually in beta) Third Edition relies completely on a wonderfully fine-tuned abstract combat engine based on "the bad guys are here, and the good guys are here, and you hit each other" approach seen in classic Final Fantasy games, even neglecting the "Rows" of later entries in the series.

So, unlike a lot of ORD stuff, this particular set of rules has both canon and historical significance for the FFRPG.




The first thing that the Map Combat rules tackle is "how far can you move." Ranges are based on "hexes" which have an undefined size. The movement range depends on Speed, the character's Job, or the Monster's Type. Same this with the "Jump" which determines how tall a height change the character can move across from one square to the next. Pretty solid rules so far, there's nothing outrageous here.

After defining how to move around the map, we next come to new advantages that make sense in the Map Combat context. These advantages provide modifiers to a character's Move and Jump scores.

The rules for actually conducting an attack are laid out well, and easily understandable. I would dispute, depending on the range scale for a 'hex', whether Polearms and Flails should have such long ranges. Other than that, the text explains itself well, even providing an ASCII visual description of what a 'cone' effect looks like.

So how does attacking work? It's easy. Each attack has a Range (R:) and Area (A:) stat associate with it in Map Combat. The Range is how many hexes away the attack can hit, and the Area stat is how many hexes around the target are affected. Area is just, then, a more concrete way of saying something is T:Group in Abstract combat. There's some examples in the text to help clarify how these stats work.

Much of the rest of the ruleset is devoted to defining, for various abilities in the FFRPG, what the Range and Area and other details are, and how exactly they work in Map Combat. Much of the important rules relating to this are given in the errata, which occupies around one-third of the total size of the rules.

Of particular interest is the text that starts above Table A3-1 – Terrain Coloring and Difficulty and continues down to the extensive errata section. These rules describe how different terrains affect characters, and how they require differing amounts of Move to go into a hex of that terrain - or if the terrain is simply impassible because there's a huge tree in the way, or it's really deep water you wouldn't want to swim in while wearing armor. These rules could have some life on their own outside of Map Combat and get some use elsewhere in a campaign, so they're a nice addition.

The errata, I only have this to say: When your errata reaches a length comparable to the scale of the original rules, it's time to edit the rules and incorporate the errata into the main body of the text. The way it is organized now is confusing, spreads needed information through multiple locations, and is otherwise poorly done.

The Map Combat rules get a 8 for substance, and a 4 for organization. The Russian Judge gives it a 1 because it was written by Capitalists.

All in all, I like the Map Combat rules, and I think they'd work great on tabletop. I know some people have been using them online, and have had differing levels of success with them, with regards to speed issues and the fun factor.

Maybe some of the people that have played under these rules could give some comments about them from a Player or GM perspective?
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Reels Scripts [Jun. 25th, 2007|03:37 pm]
Associated with Returner Games

demonicgerbil
I've finished up, today, basic support for all the kinds of Reels that the Gambler is able to use and implemented them on Sugarlips. It's actually up to version number 3.05 for the script, because I'd slated the version that supported all Reels for version 3.00. Anyway. You can find the script at the usual place. Basic instructions are below, if you just want to use what Sugarlips has implemented.

Reels Script 3.05
Type: FFRPG online roleplaying aid
This script contains function to allow you to roll the dice needed for various kinds of Reels abilities on the FFRPG Gambler.

Usage
!elementreels (skill) (gadget)
!mooglereels (skill) (gadget)
!chocoboreels (skill) (gadget)
!statusreels (exp)
!attackreels (exp) (blind)
!magicreels

Where (skill) is the character's rating in the Gambling skill and (gadget) is the rating of any Gambling Gadget to be used. (exp) is the character's Expertise/Gambling%, and (blind) is a 1 is the Gambler is blinded.
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ORD Spotlight #2: The Labayu [Jun. 11th, 2007|12:54 pm]
Associated with Returner Games

demonicgerbil
http://www.returnergames.com/ord/index.php/Labayu

I know, it's been a bit longer than I promised since my previous entry. My apologies for that, but most of you know the basic cause of the delay and how un-fun it was.

For today's installment, I picked one of those races that Morgan put up on the Wiki more or less at random and came up with the Labayu. They're more or less Red XIII's people. Sadly for me, this puts horrible images of Hojo trying to breed Red XIII and Aeris together...

In any case, my personal derangements aside, let's take a look at the Nananki-knock off and see what we have.




The basic description of the race is simple and short, but it gets the point across. Although I have to wonder just how something without opposable thumbs decorates himself with feathers and beads, etc. That seems like it might be somewhat difficult...

The "core" of any race mechanically is its statline, and the Labayu seems to reflect the way Red XIII is portrayed in Final Fantasy VII. Having not played Ehrgeiz (all I know about it is that it's basically FF7: The Fighting Game), I can't comment on how well the Labayu matches up with the Django character from it. In any case, "fast" and "strong" seem to be what Red XIII does best in FF7, and its what his stats here show.

The Labayu's height and weight seem pretty spot-on, reflecting that of real-world lions rather well. The lifespan may in fact be too short, when we see Red XIII at the end of FF7 he doesn't look particularly close to being elderly despite the 500 years between the events of the game and the ending.

The first section of the society bit seems to reflect on most predatory pack animals, while the latter portion has me against wondering how they can decorate when they lack thumbs. It gives a pretty good indication of the kind of people these are. The roleplaying section carries on the theme of primitive but intelligent, and even addresses the lack of hands issue.

In conclusion, the Labayu (which means Lion in... uh... some language... >.>) could be a fun race to play. The writeup is fairly well done with no glaring errors, omissions, or inconsistencies, and the non-Humanoid aspect could make for some very interesting situations with a competent GM at the helm.
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!avail script [May. 17th, 2007|02:50 am]
Associated with Returner Games

demonicgerbil
Tired of trying to figure out at what level a certain availability is reached? Well worry no longer! Sugarlips now has a new TCL script that does that for you:

!avail < number>

where < number> is the availability you want to look up.

This returns the level that availability first becomes... available. The script, for those running an eggdrop bot, is as always found on the Silvertech wiki.
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ORD Spotlight #1: The Surfer [May. 9th, 2007|10:03 pm]
Associated with Returner Games

demonicgerbil
http://www.returnergames.com/ord/index.php/Surfer

I remember when Elemental Knight made this. It was one of a few jobs people did for a "Expert Competition" or something. It was a long time ago. Last year in fact. In any case, I don't recall what all submissions were finished, but EK made the Surfer.

The concept is kind of silly, but as it's only an exercise in "Hey, let's take an implausible skill and build a job around it" who cares, right? In the Surfer's case, it's built around the Swimming skill. I'm sure all of us will agree, Swimming isn't something usually associated with combat.




First, the abilities:

Catch the Wave

Sort of a... anti-Entrust? Instead of letting someone else use your init, you use their init. I'm not too sure how useful this would be, but it's certainly an interesting little ability to have.

Cutback

This is Third Eye, only weaker. Nothing more to say, really...

Floater

This is pretty neat. It's the anti-SOS ability. The Agility Up part of this is probably more useful, but I wonder about how often the Surfer is going to be at 75% HP or better.

Off the Lip

Not a bad ability. It does roughly 200% damage when it's first gained, and ends up doing artifact-level (for a d8) damage at high levels, and throws in Silence as a bonus.

Stall

Stop is a wonderful, wonderful status effect. Maybe it's a bit underpowered, but it's still nice.

Tow-In

Sort of a more friendly version of Misdirection Masque. I can see how it could be useful. When combined with Cutback and Floater, the Surfer can do a fair job of keeping someone squishier alive.

Tube-riding

I'm not sure I agree with the choice of statuses, but Protect and Reflect aren't bad ones to have. Plus, hey, you're ridin' the tube. >.>

Tubular

Similar to how Elan upgrades the Ninja's Justsu abilities, Tubular pumps up the Surfer's. And wow, it makes them pretty awesome. Cutback no longer sucks in most situations, Off the Lip is back to doing good damage, Stall gets to slap Condemned on people, and the Haste from Tube-riding makes it essential.




My thoughts:

While the Surfer isn't something I would want to play, it does present a somewhat compelling set of abilities that could plausibly derive from the Swimming skill. There are some pretty neat ideas there too. I'm not sure how much use Catch the Wave and Floater will be in practice, but they're interesting mechanically. For that matter, Tow-in is a pretty interesting little ability. I especially like the "Sharing Statuses" aspect of it, though I wonder if the characters share status immunities as well? Seems like there could be some interesting strategy that derives from that.

Well, I'll see you all again in a couple weeks, when I talk about some other randomly chosen ORD-thing.
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New Feature: ORD Spotlight [May. 8th, 2007|10:33 am]
Associated with Returner Games

demonicgerbil
Well, in order to breathe some new life into this place, I'm going to try to do a bi-weekly feature where I'll grab something out of the ORD and present it here. Maybe I'll talk about how cool it is, maybe I'll shred it, or maybe I'll suggest improvements or give some ideas, or the like. I'm not sure what I'll do yet, but dangit, I'll do it. :p

Anyway, my goal is to produce a six 'issue' run of this feature over the summer. We'll see how it goes. :)
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Live: Returnerblog [May. 7th, 2007|05:24 pm]
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demonicgerbil
Check it out: http://www.returnergames.com/wordpress/
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Proposal: Returnerblog [Mar. 19th, 2007|10:37 pm]
Associated with Returner Games

demonicgerbil
So. I dig it. We could use it to post news, gossip, and all that bloggy stuff. I'd want to get a blog built on a decent platform. Not a weak blogger.com blog or whatever. For that there's here at livejournal, y'know?

I hear that Hosting Matters is a very reliable webhost. I also hear that WordPress is a good software platform for running a blog. I know that one of my favorite 'blogs', Not Even Wrong, runs off of WordPress. Dreamhost has a package that includes automatic WordPress installation. So if we wanted to have returnerblog on the site, we could sell ads on the blog to pay for the site's cost. (Dreamhost being our webhost returnergames.com runs off of.)

So I guess the question is 'What could we do with it'. We could do, well, just about anything we wanted with it. I suppose (a) personal blog(s) wouldn't really be appropriate. It also wouldn't really be able to serve as a replacement for the boards. But we could do something like post a monthly "Dev News" newsletter. (Which would be a good little featurette to keep pressure on us dev-types to keep working.) People could write articles about how to be a good GM. I could see people debating the pros and cons of 'guild' games in its pages. Final Fantasy videogame reviews, and maybe news, could easily find a home there. Huge lists of 'canon' could slip into it (here's every sword from FF EVAR. srsly).

I don't know. I think if we had something like this, and it was more prominently featured/promoted than returnercon (and comments tied to board accounts instead of livejournal accounts so as to open comments to any member of the potentially broader community), and it could in some way support the server's costs that we'd find uses for it and actually use it. But maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part.

Anyway, I just thought I'd throw this out there and see if it sticks to the wall. :p
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