More spreadsheets than EVE Online

posted by doomfunk Original SA post

Imagine Role-Playing: More spreadsheets than EVE Online

The player's guide opens up with a brief summary and definition of role-play within the context of tabletop, and an example of character interaction between two players and the GM. This is completely unremarkable and pretty standard for any indie RPG book, in my experience.

Then we get to Creating Your First Character , a brief summary of what we'll need to do to make a character from scratch for this game. It starts with the materials you'll need:

d4: 7
d6: 6
d8: 1
d10: 2
d12: 1
d20: 1
d00: 1 set

You can basically throw out the d8 and d12. I can't think of anything the d12 is used for, and the d8 is used for quarterstaves and daggers only , two weapons that basically get no use for reasons I'll get to. You'll also need about triple the sum of d4s and d6s, depending on your character. Again, I'll get to that.

Attributes in Imagine are divided into four categories. Each category has a derived statistic from the three stats linked with it, and each stat has a slew of modifiers to a lot of stuff associated with it. Attributes range (normally) from 5-20, with super-abysmal and super-exceptional statistics being detailed in the Master's Manual.
The four categories are:
Physical - Strength, Agility, and Vitality
Mental - Intelligence, Wisdom, and Knowledge
Personal - Appearance, Charm, and Social Class
Mystical - Aura, Piety, and Will Force
This is also where you'll start rolling a shitpile of dice. You determine your attributes with d4s - hence the 5-20 range, but there's a bit of a twist. They are also intrinsically ranked due to importance or essentiality.
For Physical stats and Aura , you roll 7d4 and drop the lowest two dice. For Mental stats, Appearance, Charm, and Piety you roll 6d4 and drop the lowest die. For Social Class and Will Force you just roll 5d4 and you'd better not bitch about being homeless and unable to commit to anything.
Oh, and females of all races get -1 str, +1 agi.

Here, we get into the tables . Oh god, the tables! This book is fucking full of so many tables it's like a dice-roller's IKEA catalogue or a Crate & Barrel order form.

Attributes and their bonuses, by category:

One thing you'll notice immediately is a lot of these seem to do the same thing. Sometimes this is a cumulative effect, and sometimes it's not.
Both Agility and Strength add to Weapon Speed - this is cumulative; however, each weapon has a 'minimum speed', so you can only drop the speed of your attacks so far. More on this later.
Both Intelligence and Wisdom modify the base Control Resistance provided by Will Force. At 20 in all three, you're 95% immune to any effect, magical or not, that will affect your mind outside of dealing direct attribute damage to your smarts.
Charm and Appearance are the same goddamn thing. All three social stats modify the morale of any followers you have by the same amount, and Charm and Appearance both have a modification to the control resistance of the target/targets of any of your abilities, again magical or nonmagical, that go versus that. I... seem to have left the minuses out of the spreadsheet I put together to clip these from, so it's additive at low stat ratings, and subtractive at high stat ratings.
Yes, this literally means that being sexy makes you a great military commander. I always shake my head at 'appearance' stats in any game - if anything, it should be a perk that adjusts stuff in certain situations, but Appearance in Imagine is a crucial stat for any illusionist or mentalist for this. Go ahead, try not to picture cults of sexy psychics.

Other, quick notes on attributes:
One of the things I like is that the character load limit is a multiplier applied to your character's own weight. There's no flat scale of carry capacity in D&D; a two-foot character will have trouble carrying 40 stone of equipment even at 20 Strength. The centaur race, incidentally, generally weighs around 600-800 pounds, so centaur warriors end up able to carry more than just about anyone.

Yes, a character of average intelligence is barely literate. And yes, it is possible to speak one-third of a language.

'Memorization Points', from Knowledge, are your spell capacity. I'll describe this in detail when I get to magic in its own update, but in Imagine, you combine Vancian casting with a mana-based system. You memorize and prepare a number of spells equal to your sum of memorization points, and pay for casting them with your Aura, which regenerates based on your Aura Control.
Piety-based casting is directly Vancian. Your god affords you x uses of y invocation for the day.

Aura is, directly, your magical strength. It makes sense for a character's capacity for magic to determine their ability to resist magic, right? Well, how about everyone else? Most magical effects aren't calculated via any to-hit roll, they're instead done vs Magic or Control resistance. Wizard Supremacy is, as usual, concretely in play here.

Note how Piety has a Commune chance listed there. This is, in game terms, your chance to demand a favour from your character's deity of choice. Of course, this is subject to the whim of any GM, but the idea is generally, if you nail your Commune you get what you want, and you have to do something for your god in return. In a game I've been a player in, one of the other players nailed a commune chance with 'The Rock God', was instantly resurrected from death on the moment of death, and awarded a powerful magical hammer. Nude. (He had to sacrifice about five hundred goats on a pyre over the next week.)

Under Will Force, there's a rating called Endure. Normally this is only about 10%; if you boost WF higher than 20, it gets to be significantly higher. Endure is your ability to say 'no' to literally anything, including death. If you can consistently nail below your Endure rating with your d%, your character will refuse to die by any means.

As a personal note, my favourite character I've played in Imagine had a Social Class of 19 . This is not what made him my favourite, but all the money I had him roll around in sure did help.

Physical stats, you average to determine Endurance . This is your base sum of health, modified by race and title advancement, multiplied or divided by body area. Goblins, dwarves, centaurs, ogres, and saurians are the tough guys, elves and midfolk and avians are the feebs. Each race has its own modifier to base, starting Endurance, and each race has its own die type you roll on advancing a title.

Mental stats average to become Perception . This is exactly what it sounds like. Again, every race has its own modifier to this, ranging from +10% from elves and avians to -10% for... ogres. Regardless of race, everyone gets +1% Perception per title.

Social stats average to become Affinity . This is apparently what you roll when first meeting someone with no preconceived notions to see if they like you or not. Elves and midfolk are charming, dwarves and ogres and saurians are surly. Apparently. Regardless of race, everyone gets +2% per title.

Mystical stats average to become Fortune . This is your luck. It doesn't really come up much unless you're about to get your leg blown off or a lance through the eye and you've exhausted all your other options. I've never had a DM ask me to roll Fortune to see if I find a thousand gold inside the melon I'm eating. Midfolk and... mountain dwarves are luckier, ogres and avians have a pretty stiff penalty. Regardless of race, everyone gets +1% per title.

And, to keep this from being a really light start, a quick note on Imagine and levels:
Imagine doesn't use levels. It uses Titles and Goals . You start off at first title, goal 0. After you advance 3 goals, the next xp benchmark you meet, you advance a title.
Whenever you advance a goal , you gain a set number of skill points based on your class. Nothing modifies this sum, it's flat. You also have - again, based on class - two 5% chances to increase an attribute by 1 point. This can be a real headache considering how percentile skill values are calculated - each skill has one or two attributes you subtract its 'skill rating' from and then multiply by 5 to determine your base chance in that skill. And, as you can see from looking at the Knowledge table, you can have a lot of fucking skills .
Whenever you advance a title , you generally gain two to five new skills based on your class, your derived statistics increase as above, and you might upgrade your Attack Skill. I'll tackle that when I get to classes and combat, because it's honestly a really neat system that deserves a fair amount of attention.
If you are an arcane or divine spellcaster, every title you gain after you gain either scroll knowledge or divine knowledge increases your Aura Control or Piety Control by 2.

I played this game for years. I'm 100% confident the core system designer is a big fan of graph and spreadsheet porn.

The Racening

posted by doomfunk Original SA post

Imagine Role-Playing II: The Racening

Alright. So now we know how Imagine's twelve sixteen stats work, roughly. Just for you guys, I went and rolled a character up.
That's a lie, I'm using a character I actually played as an example.

I ended up with:

STR 16, AGI 20, VIT 14: 50/3, or 17 END

INT 18, WIS 18, KNW 18: clearly 18 PER

APP 12, CHM 15, SOC 12: 39/3, or 13 AFF

AUR 17, PIE 16, WIL 17: 17 FOR

What a mess. Well, it looks like I could do a lot of things, doesn't it? I guess I'd better pick a race before I pick my class.

Imagine's not much different from 3E or 3.5E D&D, in that each of its four books offers a bunch of new races and classes for you to play. You probably noticed in the Knowledge stat description an entry termed racial skills . Yeah, you get a handful of abilities based on your race, and these range from convenient, to very useful, to holy shit. That said, they're not the defining qualities of each of the races. Some races can fly, some races have a unique distribution of END across their body areas, and some races (midfolk) just kind of suck all around.

Let's run down a quick list of the Imagine races in the two core books.
Player's Guide:
Civilized or Barbaric Human
High, Gray, Wood, or Dark Elf
Civilized, Mountain, or Dark Dwarf
Town, Forest, or River Midfolk
Mountain or Forest Avian
Master's Manual
Chetahl (a cat-man)
Dark Avian
Civilized Giant (base height is 13' btw)
Forest and Mountain Goblin
Grahl (a dog-man)
Troll and Rock Troll

There are more in the Aspects of the Wild and Epitaphs of the Fallen supplemental books but I seem to have either misplaced my copies or left them under my DM's couch and so they'll have to be updates unto themselves when I can get them back or borrow his copies.

The Player's Guide also goes over rules for mixed-race characters, outlining (yes, of course) a table for crossbreed compatibility and which crossbred creature is 'viable' and able to continue to reproduce, which is healthy but infertile, and which cannot crossbreed at all. Centaurs and Saurians cannot.

The X indicates zero chance, 2 sterility, and 1 a healthy baby whatever.

Civilized Humans add +3 divvied up between one to three attributes of the player's choosing, and move 6 points around between their attributes before finalizing. That's pretty good! Definitely stresses the almost tropeworthy 'flexibility of mankind'. (Neither of these perks can modify Social Class.)
As for racial skills, they have to pick whether they're from a city, a town, or a village.
Cityfolk basically get the whole suite of rogue class skills as racial skills.
Townsfolk are worthless. They get half of the same skills cityfolk get and with a reduced bonus to Lie. There is no advantage to having a character be from a township.
Villagers have bonus skills mostly for hunting and trapping.
Civilized Humans get 2 END at first title and 1d4+1 when titling up. They have a cap of 19 for strength, and 18 for agility, vitality, and appearance.

Barbaric Humans add 3 to STR, 1 to AGL, 2 to VIT, and take -1 to INT, -2 to KNW, and -3 to SOC. Additionally, they don't get silly things like 'money' for their starting SOC, instead they have some tribal starting gear.
They also get +15% to their control resistance , +10% to resist magic, and +10% to resist poison. He's too wild to tame!!
As for racial skills, Barbaric Humans get everything villagers get, plus the skills Berserking and Tame Animals - very good skills .
Barbaric Humans get 3 END at first title and 1d6 when titling up. They also take -5% to PER, +5% to FOR.
Unlike Civilized Humans, Barbaric Humans have no cap on their physical stats. INT, WIS, and AUR can't go above 17, KNW and APP above 18, and CHM and SOC above... 15. Ouch.
Between 5 and 13 SOC you get saddled with light hide armour and a variety of weapons of questionable utility. At 14 or 15 SOC you get any or all of the options for prior SOC ratings, plus light chain armur and a wooden shield.

High Elves add 2 to AGL and CHM, and 1 to APP and AUR. They take -1 STR and WF, and -2 VIT and SOC.
They also get +20% control resistance, +5% magic resistance, -10% poison and disease resistance.
Racial skills are very similar to a villager, excepting they can also innately detect magic, and get a skill called Sing with a +20% bonus. This is the crux of bardic magic and can have very powerful effects , especially considering in Imagine you can sing while doing basically anything, including casting other spells.
They get -1 END at first title, and 1d3 when titling up. However, +5% bonuses to PER and FOR and 10% to AFF.
High Elves can only raise STR and VIT to 17, WIS and SOC to 18, and INT to 19.

Gray Elves add 3 to AUR , 2 to WIS, 1 to INT, and lose 3 CHM ( bah ), 2 VIT, and 1 STR.
Additionally, +25% control resistance, 15% magic resistance, -15% poison resistance, -10% disease resistance.
Their racial skills are all very useful . They detect magic and Aura as separate skills innately, and get an ability called Area Sense that is either very useful or totally useless, and Meditate+10% , one of the broken-er skills.
-1 END at first, 1d3 when titling up. +10% PER.
STR and VIT capped at 16, AGL and APP at 19.

Wood Elves add 2 to AGL and PIE, 1 to AUR and APP, -1 STR and VIT, -3 CHM and SOC. grumpykins
+20% control resistance, +10% magic resistance, -10% poison resistance, -5% disease resistance.
Racial skills are identical to Barbaric Humans, except: replace Berserking (noooo) with Sing (yaaaay) and Wood Lore, a skill that seems like you just know a lot about wood - until you read its description. You can reshape (like clay) and enchant wood with this skill. Racial skill for wood elves.
No modifier to starting END, 1d4 when titling. +5% PER and FOR.
SOC is capped at 15,CHM at 17, APP STR VIT and INT at 18, KNW and AUR at 19.
So far, this seems like a really good fit for the stat spread I rolled. But, let's keep going.

Dark Elves add 2 to AGL and AUR, and lose 3 CHM 1 STR and 1 VIT.
+10% control and magic resistance, -5% poison, -10% disease.
Racial skills are... awesome . Sing again, Telekinesis, stealth-associated skills, Darkness, Fear, and Levitation, with bonuses to the magical skills and moving unseen.
Dark Elves can also see in total darkness and see heat within 120'. This just keeps getting better and b----
even moderate light is blinding to them. Bright light is even worse- they actually burn when exposed to it, can barely hit anything and have a hit to their initiative.
-1 END, 1d4 END when titling up. +10% PER, -10% AFF, -5% FOR.
STR and VIT capped at 17, CHM at 18, INT/WIS at 19.
This is also a really good fit and has some really great skills. Again, let's slog through this.

oh god i can't go on
Civilized Dwarves get Lore skills similar to the Wood Elf's Wood Lore, except for Stone and Metal. I cannot begin to describe how good that is. Problem: They have a penalty to AUR and these skills are based on that stat.
They're also strong and tough and pretty smart - unusual for a fantasy game's basic dwarf. Civilized dwarves are pretty great. Unless you want them to swim, all dwarves have stone bones and sink in any fluid substance.

Mountain Dwarves Berserking (yaaaaaay) +20% ( YESSSS ) but start with social class-locked gear like Barbaric Humans. Mountain Dwarves are a great option if you want to play a total, homeless fighting machine. They're strong and tough as hell and really resistant to magic and poison. They don't have a penalty to mental stats, but they do have low caps for INT and WIS - but no cap on PIE so they can make good divine casters, too.

Dark Dwarves are exactly like civilized dwarves but evil. Oh, and they can see better in the dark, and are mildly photosensitive. It doesn't specify what light triggers this - a really bad editing error - so one can either assume they're blinded in anything other than utter darkness (but only a little bit) or that it's an effect from bright light only. It's also specified that female dark dwarves are extremely rare, coveted, and often isolated from others. Well, great.

Town, and River Midfolk are kind of the same. They're slightly resistant to magic but easily fooled by illusions, fat, slightly dumb, and charming. They're also really frail , with the worst starting END of any race.

Forest Midfolk , on the other hand, are actually... pretty good. They're a lot like Wood Elves, except not quite as magically-inclined - more focused on the whole 'lurking in the woods and setting traps and sneaking' side of things. They take a huge -30% to their illusion resistance though, the dumb shmucks. In spite of that, unlike other midfolk, they have no penalty to their mental stats at all - they're just poor and short. And not at all sociable.

Mountain and Forest Avians are.. weird. I don't think they're supposed to be related, because mountain avians are bat-men, and forest avians are bird-men. Their differences are very minor, excepting that forest avians get Sing and suffer a minorly different statistical penalty, with virtually identical stat caps.
Oh, and they can fucking fly. It's pretty clear by the name, but yeah, they have huge wings and can fly with a running start or a drop. They're also very resistant to fire.

Goblins are big and really strong, and really dumb. They also have the Smell skill +30%, which (as a skill) allows you to place, directionally, creatures around you regardless of whether they're hiding or invisible or whatever. And Berserking (yaaaay). By the way, did I mention they're really dumb? Because they're really dumb.

Ogres are bigger and stronger, with caps of 22 to STR and VIT and the bonuses to get them there. They have stiffer bonuses than Goblins to their mental stats, normally, but much higher racial caps and 5% of them are born with the gift for magic - making them actually quite intelligent and capable as far as magic goes.
They get Berserking and Smell again, and another skill called Force where you can simply perform superhuman feats of strength. This is where the bend bars/lift gates percentage went, into one skill that you can use in any number of situations to be STRONG.
Ogres also have 5 points of hide in all body areas. This directly subtracts from any damage they take, unlike armour, which works... differently.

Centaurs are strong, and as tough as Ogres. They're also very intelligent. Their only real downside is the horse ass. They walk and run faster than anyone, can carry a virtual (or, literal) ton, and are almost impossible to trip. Centaurs are one of the most unbalanced races in this book, because they don't rely on any slim percentile chance to overcome whatever downside the race comes with - and it simply doesn't come with one. Centaurs are just great, period.

Saurians are, again, strong and tough and not especially smart (but not Goblin stupid). They can berserk and also get force and smell, and a very convenient skill called Danger Knowledge with a high racial bonus. Danger Knowledge is a spider-sense, a way of just uncannily knowing when something bad is headed your way.
Unique among any race, Saurians also have really, really thick necks. Most of the time you can game combat by attacking the neck, an area normally difficult to armour but easily severed - beheadings for everyone, right? Well, Saurians flaunt that by having 1 point of Hide in all body areas per 3 full points of Endurance, and HUGE racial bonuses to Endurance. Their Hide caps out at 20, but that's -20 damage straight from any hit they take to their very tough necks.
Saurians are the toughest of the tough and they don't give a fuck. As far as being straight-up fighters you'll find nobody more suited to the task.
Downside? -30% to resist cold-based magic. Oh, and they can't wear chain or plate armour or it chafes their hide and weakens it - and they overheat and grow weary twice as fast. Oh, and they're already topheavy so if they wear more than 20 pounds of kit above the waist they take -2 agility.

Next time on doomfunk goes crazy: Races, part 2! And maybe we pick one for this fucking example character!

Races II: Race Harder

posted by doomfunk Original SA post

Imagine Role-Playing: Races II: Race Harder

To start off, the latter half of the core book races. The following races are in the Master's Manual, not the Player's Guide and as such are... well, you'll see.

Chetahl are nocturnal catpeople. They are one of the 'tribal' races and as such have a hit to Social Class and have their gear determined by their starting SOC rather than by player purchase option. They also have the highest AGL cap of any player race in the core books, and generally good stats all around with the exception of SOC and WIS. They can see in the dark, and have 4 points of fur-based Hide in all body areas. If they wear any chain or scale they need to ensure they have flexible armour layered under it or it'll fuck up their glossy coat.
Also, they have Blend and Move Unseen both as racial skills, and get a +20% to those skills in an environment of the player's choice - because of their fur pattern, you see. Curiously, only metal platemail ruins this bonus. Your catman can be covered head-to-toe in wooden plates but as long as he's standing still in the middle of a grassy field he can just vanish from sight. Any other metal armour is fine too, whether it's dingy iron rings or glossy golden scales.
All chetahl must make a Will Force save to enter or be upon water.

Dark Avians buck the tradition of the "dark x" races in Imagine, in that they're not actually evil. They're just owls. They have a bonus to moving silently while flying because of this, since they (and owls) have a fringing of downy feathers between their more fanned ones. As a rule, if they're not flying at full speed it's completely silent, no roll required. Unlike other avians, these guys are really, really smart and make for pretty good mages or priests or whatever.

Fairies are, well, fucking fairies. We're about where the Master's Manual gets fucking retarded right now; fairies have a 5,000-year lifespan, rock-bottom physical stats, but +4 to Aura and a racial maximum of 22 Aura . Their Knowledge and Appearance are similarly capped over 20 but marginally less relevant. As for racial skills, like Dark Elves, they get telekinesis and levitation (though they can fly at will on psychically-projected wings so levitation is kind of worthless here), with telekinesis basically overcoming immediately their gutter-shit strength value. Further, they get a skill called Phase which permits you to, well, phase. In Imagine, phasing is a transition to 'the phase plane', a spectral parallel world where everything's a bit more ephemeral and a bit more like something out of Tron. You can shlup through walls while phased as long as they're less than about a foot thick.
Fairies also get Sing and Wood Lore as racial skills. And they can turn into animals, and as a special rule, 'animals' - for fairies and fairies only - includes Will O' Wisps who are intrinsically phased at all times.
Phasing, as a skill, is especially broken as there's nothing preventing you from phasing in or out while you're casting a spell. It takes ten seconds to phase, and most of the real heavy-hitting spells take about ten seconds to cast. So, the canny player of a fairy will begin unphasing the second before they begin casting an elemental storm, permitting them to blink into existence and then just rape everyone with fire, ice, lightning, acid, negative energy, sand, or plasma.

Civilized Giants are the strongest and toughest player race in terms of raw stats, with a STR cap of 24 and a VIT cap of 25. Aside from a colossal bonus to Force their racial skills are nothing special (though.. apparently they're very good sailors ) and they range from 11' to 15' in height. They can live to 1600 years of age . Their only real downside - aside from height - is that their AGL and AUR are capped at 16. While as intelligent as elves or humans, they are actually unable to channel Aura at all, so they can't cast spells anyway... Even though they can be almost any Mage class.
Additionally, they are required to use a special category of weapons which are oversized and do way a lot more damage than their smaller counterparts.

Gnomes are an awful lot like fairies, except with divine magic as their ridiculously-good capacity, rather than arcane. Compared to fairies, their racial skills are utter shit (losing out on the phenomenal Phase, Telekinesis, and Sing skills in favour of... Speak to Plant, Speak to Animal, and Tame Animal. Tame Animal paired with Speak to Animal is actually not bad, but in terms of direct comparison there's no contest in utility.) As a special rule, no animal will willingly attack a gnome, and controlled animals will get a second control resistance check to avoid attacking them. They can also crossbreed with fairies.

Forest Goblins are "more typical" goblins than the baseline Goblin found in the Player's Guide. They're small, a little bit smarter, petty, live in the woods, and tend to attack in groups. They get a racial skill called Surprise Attack which is, essentially, the backstab skill.

Mountain Goblins are by contrast much larger and stronger, being more similar to some kind of juvenile ogre than other goblins. It's also almost as if the designers knew every mountain goblin would be dumb as hell, as they get five (and only five) racial skills. Granted, these include Berserking, Force, and Smell.

Grahl are dog-people. They're pack- and clan-based in their society, but actually have things like "money" and "possessions" that they can start with, unlike basically everything else in this book. They're strong and tough, have a 50% bonus to their racial Smell skill (which pretty much ensures they'll never be snuck up on), can howl to communicate with others of their kind at a range of about 5 miles (give or take 2.5 miles depending on wind conditions and terrain), and have 8 points of hide in all areas. Of course , there is racial tension between them and the cat-people.

Trolls in retrospect remind me a lot of the trolls from Linley's Dungeon Crawl or Stone Soup. They're big and strong and tough as shit and really stupid and have trouble wearing armour. With a racial cap of 10 to APP and SOC and a table of gear you start with per your SOC ( never including any clothing ), they uh ... yeah. They have 4 points of hide in all body areas. Loss of any vital region will cause death.
Trolls do regenerate, at a rate of 1d4 END to all wounded areas per 10 seconds. The book specifies their regeneration is due to a yellow gland in the lower body cavity. They take double damage from any source of fire, and are very sensitive to light.

Rock Trolls are even fucking dumber than trolls. Upside: Racial Stone Lore so you can just make yourself enchanted stone weapons as you choose, and rock trolls disappear quite handily when standing against any stony surface. They have 15 points of hide in all body areas, because rocks, and are actually immune to being killed unless their head is severed or destroyed. Their regeneration is much weaker than normal trolls - instead of regenerating per round, they just have double normal regeneration per day. Their "regen gland" is a small purple gland in the neck. They are enormous, and just like normal trolls, usually naked.
Rock Trolls permanently turn to stone when touched by sunlight. This is per body area.

The Master's Manual has a lot of new options for a character's race, not just new races. They lead off with breaking racial restrictions for classes (a rule that I've not actually described at all, I realise, because I've basically trained myself not to look at that part of the racial entries in either book - my GM never locked our classes by race, because that's just silly), and more racial mixing rules! .
The new racial mixing rules include "bizarre racial mixes", like the nonsensical half-human human - a barbaric/civilised hybrid that the book essentially refers to as Tarzan. Of course, any GM can just veto a retarded racial mix, but the book suggests applying the racial advantage and disadvantage system that consumes the previous handful of pages to balance out the half-ogre half-pixie half-midfolk that someone wants to play.
The system amounts to a merit/flaw system but, Imagine being Imagine, offers a couple of methods of randomly generating advantages and disadvantages for your character involving no less than four tables.
The first method is utterly random, you throw a bunch of dice and maybe you get an advantage, maybe you don't.
The second is a give-and-take - You select a number of advantages and disadvantages, and then roll to determine what they are. Maybe you'll get lucky and get a great advantage and a not-so-bad disadvantage. Probably not!
There is also a point-buy method permitting players to cherry-pick their advantages and disadvantages. Some advantages cost 1, some cost 2, depending on general utility.

General Advantages:
A ttributes - +1 to any one of the 12 basic attributes. 1 point.
R esistances - +10% to any of the five resistances (magic, control, illusion, poison, disease). 2 points.
E motion E ffects - Bonuses that occur when a character is under the effects of a certain emotion. GM is the final arbiter of when these efects trigger. 2 points, and these exist in two axes-
the bonus, which is 10% to combat, magical, divine magical, or stealth/intrusive skills
and the emotion, which is: calm , anger , sadness , love , lust , greed , ambition , joy , friendship , hope , despair , anguish , triumph , freedom , responsibility , guilt , safety , power , jealousy , drunk . "Don't make me hopeful. You wouldn't... like me, when I'm hopeful."
P hysical - 20 various physical effects. Some of these are extremely good (+10% to Endure, 1 point less damage from all attacks, fast healing - which is literally identical to Rock Troll regeneration), some less so (+10% to one skill, +10% to one physical attribute save, +2 starting Endurance)
M ental - 20 various mental effects. Again, some of these are extremely good (+1 Aura Control to spells requiring concentration, limited telepathy, an ability to roll Danger Knowledge passively while asleep and rouse oneself in 1d4 seconds, re-memorizing spells and such in 1/2 the time), and even the less impressive ones could be extremely useful in play (2 bonus spoken, written, or somatic languages that don't take up language slots, telempathic emotion sense within 10', +20 memorization points, +5% perception).
P ersonal - 10 various effects. There's one that gives you +2 to Appearance while well-dressed. Another that gives +5% to Courtesan, Harlotry, Story Telling, Sing, and Diplomacy. There are only three 'actually quite good' ones, that affect morale and control resistance of those you're targeting or make it easier for you to vanish in a crowd.
M ystical - 10 effects. hese are actually all great - +5% fortune, +5% commune chance, regenerate Aura as though one title higher, calculate invocation uses as though one title higher, +20% resistance to any spell with adverse effects, and a 20% to falsify and readings of your Aura or Aura residue from your spells.
we're nearly done with advantages
Each race also has four advantages and four disadvantages.
E lves - An improved form of the Mental 'light sleeper' advantage - you only take 1 second to rouse, rather than 1d4. Limited telepathy with friends and lovers and perfect telepathy with a "life mate". +10% to all skills involving Charm. -1s to initiative, over and above dex/int modifiers.
D warves - Mild fire resistance. +25% Load Limit. Can smell gold and precious metals. -1 damage taken per die from smashing weapons only.
H umans - Learn skills in half the time. Alignment detection returns the detector's alignment. Gain a nonmagical racial skill from another race as a bonus. +10% to any three social skills involving artistic expression.
M idfolk - +25% load limit. +10% charm saves. +10% control resistance when spoken to harshly. +2 hit/damage when fighting for home, kin, or a cause you believe in. Yes, even with racial advantages midfolk are mostly useless.
A vians - +20% when surprising from the air. +10% morale with same race. Improved fire resistance. +20% to followers' morale checks.
G oblins - +10% to hunting, foraging, and survival checks. Pregnancy resolves in half the time . Bonus damage from tusks, or claws.
O gres - Gift of Magic. Better bite or claws than Goblins. +1 hide per class title.
Gift of Magic turns Ogres from a fairly strong, but balanced race to amazing tank-mages. I've played the ogre-mage in a group before by happenstance, and it was kind of embarassing how much better than most of the group I was when it came to most situations, simply by virtue of being ridiculously strong and still good with magic.
C entaurs - +10% to one Knowledge-based skill. +1d6 damage when trampling. +2 to hit with missile weapons. Gain Horsemanship as a racial skill, applicable to your horse ass.
Horsemanship allows you to roll that skill to flatly avoid a melee or ranged attack to your mount. Centaurs using this can effectively nullify attacks below the waist, if they roll well.
S aurians - Chameleon skin (+30% blend after 1d4 seconds). Double normal healing rate. Tail spikes, granting a really nasty tail slap attack. Spring to feet in 1d2 seconds when knocked prone.
F airies/ G nomes - 2-5 points of Luck per day, mimicking the spell Luck, where you can just add or subtract these points from anyone's rolls during the day. Cast Invisible once per day per title. Improvements to flight. ...Skin changes per mood...
T rolls - Fire tolerant - normal resistance to fire, no more double damage, but +1 damage per die from fire effects. Can breathe underwater. Accelerated regen - +4 END per 10s to all wounds, doubled if resting. -1 damage/die from all physical attacks.
R ock T rolls - Normal resistance to and damage from fire. Ability to return to flesh when removed from sunlight. Stone Swim 3/d. Slightly better regeneration - 1 END/10s to all wounds, doubled if resting.

General Disadvantages:
A ttributes - -1 to any one of the 12 basic attributes. 1 point.
R esistances - -10% to any of the five resistances (magic, control, illusion, poison, disease). 2 points.
E motion E ffects - This is a direct inversion of the emotion effects advantage. You suffer when under one of the described states.
P hysical - These range from albinism and anosmia to an inability to suffer submersion in any fluid or see in anything other than normal lighting.
M ental - Some of these are utterly crippling - inability to ever learn to read, or use any spell or power requiring concentration, paralytic forgetfulness. Colourblindness falls in here, for some reason.
P ersonal - IMO these are hilarious and awesome inversions of the bonuses. Fashion Victim - -3 Appearance when let to dress yourself. Annoying Voice - -10% to Charm when speaking, -5% to control another being with voice, -5% to courtesan, harlotry, story telling, sing, and diplomacy.
M ystical - These are probably the worst, ranging from a capacity to accidentally resist beneficial spells or effects, to having your Aura flare up and glow at odd times revealing your alignment, Aura stat rating determining its intensity, and you're easier to hit in the dark, to having to successfuly save vs magic twice when hit by a spell.
Racial disadvantages:
E lves - Take twice as long to conceive a child. -10% to Wisdom saves. -10% to Charm saves. -20% to Morale checks.
D warves - Alignment shifts towards neutral in matters of money or treasure; will attempt to keep some of any treasure, always. -10% to Intelligence saves while not with an object of obsession. -10% to Charm saves and -5% Affinity. Need 1 extra hour sleep and +10-30 seconds to wake up.
H umans - -10% to WF or control resistance involved not looking at something or listening. +1 damage per blow from smashing weapons. -10% to WF to avoid insanity. -20% to all mental saves to avoid following the actions of a crowd.
M idfolk - Affected as if by Fear in losing combat situations. -10% to WF or control resistance involved not looking at something or listening. Need 1 extra hour sleep and +10-30 seconds to wake up. -10% to Morale checks.
A vians - -20% when making flight-related AGL checks. Afraid of strangers or outside ideas; resists ideas from other cultures, avoids new beings. +1 damage per blow from smashing weapons. Take twice as long to conceive a child.
G oblins - +10% Berserking but -10% Wisdom saves (...worth it!). -20% to all mental saves to avoid following the actions of a crowd. -10% to WF to avoid insanity. "Foul breath" - -10% charm, -5% affinity.
O gres - +10% Berserking but -10% Wisdom saves (...worth it!). Take twice as long to conceive a child. -20% to surprise due to repulsive odour. -10% to Knowledge saves.
C entaurs - +10% Berserking but -10% Wisdom saves (Still worth it!). -10% to Morale checks. Mob Mentality (-20% to all mental saves to avoid following the actions of a crowd.) is half their disadvantage chart.
S aurians - +10% Berserking but -10% Wisdom saves (Really worth it!). -10% to Blend and Move Unseen due to scale discolouration. -20% to surprise due to repulsive odour. -10% to all personal attribute saves.
F airies/ G nomes - Take twice as long to conceive a child. -10% to Wisdom due to a quick temper. -10% to Will Force saves to avoid Insanity. +1 damage per blow from smashing weapons.
T rolls - All fire attacks cause triple damage and resistance to fire is -30%. Lethargic during periods of bright light; -6 hit/damage, +2 to defense adjustment, +6 to initiative. Slower regeneration - regen is per minute rather than 10 seconds. Infertile - cannot bud new trolls. Yep, trolls reproduce by warty buds.
R ock T rolls - All fire attacks cause double damage and resistance to fire is -20%. Transmutes to stone permanently when struck by any magical or divine light, not just sunlight. Cannot use Stone Lore. Normal heal rate rather than double. Lifespan halved.

Most advantages cost one point, most disadvantages give one point. The exceptions are the Gift of Magic for Ogres, which costs ten points to buy if you don't nail it randomly, simply due to how good it is, the fire tolerance qualities for trolls, which cost two points, regeneration augmentation for trolls, which costs 4 or 2 for rock trolls, and the ability to return to flesh for rock trolls, which costs 4.

Based on everything we've looked at, I'm going to be making our example character a dark elf for the various awesome racial skills and synergy with the stats I rolled up. I'll roll for advantages and disadvantages rather than buy, and next time we'll go over some classes and see what's a good fit!

Or, better yet, what hilariously lampoons common tropes when a player opts to be a dark elf!


posted by DieLaughing Original SA post

Hi, I'm a veteran of the same group of Imagine players that Doomfunk was in, and since I've finally recovered my books I'm going to share a little bit with the thread. Doomfunk kinda called dibs on the skills and classes but there's plenty of left in the combat rules.

We're going to start with a look at how armor works in Imagine. To do that, we start with the five types of damage that can be inflicted in non magical combat; Cutting/Thrusting, Piercing, Smashing, Crushing, and Constricting. Cutting/Thrusting is done by sharp and pointy things in melee combat, while Piercing is done by pointy missiles and Smashing is done by blunt melee or missiles. Crushing is blunt force that hits you and keeps on moving, like a battering ram or a giant stepping on you. Constricting is being squeezed by something like, well, a boa constrictor. When a hit is evaluated the damage value is compared to the armor value in the body area being hit, with different armor values for different materials, with light clothing having a value of 1 and heavy plate at the top of the scale at 22. For any damage type, if the damage is less than a quarter of the armor value then the damage is outright ignored. After that, there's three tiers of damage mitigation for each of the five damage types, each with their own rules.
               Between 1/4 & 1/2      Between 1/2 & full      exceeds full
Cutting/       no damage              1/4 damage              subtract 1/2 armor 

Piercing       no damage              1/4 damage              subtract 1/4 armor

Smashing       no damage              1/2 damage              subtract 1/2 armor

Crushing       subtract 1/4 armor     subtract 1/4 armor      subtract 1/4 armor

Constricting   no damage              no damage               subtract current 
*armor is halved each consecutive round of Constricting Damage.  
So if someone's got a heavy plate helmet and you clock him in the head with a club for fourteen damage he'll take 7 points, but if you had used a hatchet he would have only taken 14/4 = 3, rounded down. Now to complicate things armor is worn in up to 3 layers, with the innermost layer always being something flexible like leather or cloth and then a Towers of Hanoi puzzle where outer layers cannot be more flexible than the layers beneath them, and rigid plate can never be layered over rigid plate. And players have to choose and purchase different pieces of clothing and armor, play the layering game, and then keep track of the skill and combat stat penalties that different weights of armor carry, for a minimum of 19 different body areas(centaurs, bug people, and reptilians have more; up to 25 body areas.)

Next up is wear and tear that armor accrues as it takes damage. For every blow that a piece of armor takes, it loses some fraction of its armor value. This of course means another table.
Material           Armor value Cut  Thrust/ Smash/ Constricting
                                    Pierce  Crush
Light Clothing     1           1/2  1/5     1/20   1/20
Normal Clothing    2           1/2  1/5     1/20   1/20
Heavy Clothing     3           1/3  1/5     1/20   1/20
Soft Leather       4           1/3  1/5     1/20   1/20
Leather            5           1/5  1/5     1/20   1/20
Hardened Leather   6           1/5  1/5     1/20   1/20
Studded Leather    8           1/5  1/5     1/20   1/20
Wood               10          1/10 1/10    1/10   1/10
Lacquered Wood     11          1/10 1/10    1/10   1/10
Ring Mail          12          1/10 1/10    1/20   1/20
Chain Mail         15          1/15 1/15    1/15   1/20
Heavy Chain        16          1/15 1/15    1/15   1/20
Banded Mail        17          1/15 1/15    1/15   1/20
Scale Mail         18          1/15 1/15    1/15   1/20
Heavy Scale        19          1/15 1/15    1/15   1/20
Plate              20          1/20 1/20    1/20   1/25
Heavy Plate        22          1/20 1/20    1/20   1/25
So when that plate helmet got smacked with a club in the previous example, 1/20th of 14 = 1 rounded down got subtracted permanently from its armor value. And it gets even better; when an attack penetrates (that is, does anything other than "no damage" on that first table I posted) damage has to be calculated for every. single. layer. And you have to keep do this for every physical attack that happens in combat. Now ~imagine~ that a knight wearing plate layered over leather and cloth gets hit with a 5-headed flail that hits him in the upper torso, mid torso, right shoulder, and right upper arm. That's 20 separate calculations just for the armor, without even hit point damage to the character himself, for one attack.


Next time, we'll look at the targeting bullseye, the body area hit chart, and all the dice you have to roll when a character actually starts taking damage!

How to Combat Skills People

posted by doomfunk Original SA post

Imagine Role-Playing: Classes, Part 0, and Skills, Part 1
How to Combat Skills People

I didn't really have any idea my buddy DieLaughing was going to cover armour and plans to cover combat eventually. That's okay, considering Imagine's combat rules are hectic and obtuse - but honestly work very well once you've got them committed to memory. But that's a lot to memorize. Since I've been working through the book more-or-less in order, I'll continue doing that in the event he comes back to do the actual combat rules.

Yes, it's been months since I've said anything on Imagine Role-Playing, sorry about that! I've been reading about very interesting settings and very fucked books thanks to you people.

Classes, in Imagine, operate from four main categories (those being very familiar - Warrior, Rogue, Mage, and Priest). These key up with four of the six primary skill groups pretty nicely, which is a bit of a perk considering how skills work in this system.

Since the class you take is little more than a selection of skills and proficiencies (and, in the core books at least, the classes are pretty standard/generic) I'll instead quickly go over How to Gain Levels:

Simply put, you don't! Imagine is a levelless sys---

Just kidding! Imagine levels you up in two ways: You have Titles , of which there are 10 (15, including the 5 post-mortality demigod/god levels), and Goals , of which there are 3 per Title. Naturally, every character begins at first Title, and zeroth Goal. Each Goal marks a major advancement in your learning, and once you hit that third Goal since you last gained a Title, you also gain your next Title. It's pretty seamless.

The way they work is pretty simple:
Titles don't govern much beyond what class skills you have access to, and bonuses to your derived statistics as determined by your race . Classes give an average of about four new class skills per Title gained. Some classes give fewer, some give more, and it'll generally vary per Title within a class but it averages out to generally around four. Titles are also factored into divine and arcane magical skills from the perspective of a "practitioner title", which is simply the number of titles you have had that skill for. Someone who's been able to do the magic thing since first title is going to be better at it than someone who picked it up at 5th - generally speaking , of course.
Goals are where you get your skill points, which are expressed as a flat number that you distribute amongst your skills directly. This is a one-for-one percentile increase, as skills are derived as percentile values, and rolled for using d%. Class governs the skill points you gain per goal, generally determined by your parent class with some wiggle room that is intended to indicate how many really good skills your class has, but mostly amounts to rules designer fiat. Additionally, every time you achieve a Goal, you have two 5% chances to raise a stat. These are determined by class, but if you have already hit your racial maximum for that stat, you can roll them for whatever stat your choose. Additionally, these can be banked for a greater degree of success. I have pretty good luck with my d% so I tended to just go for broke and roll them all when I got them, but that's me.

So in short, if for whatever reason your GM was having you make a character freshly of 7th Title, you'd have roughly 26-30 class skills on your plate, and something like 288-396 skill points to distribute amongst them. Whew!
Making first-level characters in Imagine isn't so bad. Making higher-level characters in Imagine can be excruciating.

As a final note, proficiencies are actually determined by class, as are "core skills" for that class - which receive a 30% bonus, which is pretty awesome - and base social skills for that class - which are only very situationally useful.

Now, all that said, let's pay some attention to skills!

Remember how stats go? Skills are stat-reliant. Each skill derives its initial chance - its base value - by taking the attributes associated with the skill (only ever one or two attributes) and averaging them, then subtracting the skill rating from that amount. The result - whether positive or negative - you multiply by 5, and that result is your base, unacquired ability to be successful at whatever fucking skill it is you're trying to use. Generally speaking, you'll be using skills at higher ratings than base, but... There's a table of common skills that anyone can take a whack at regardless of actually having them for their class or race, and on top of that you can try to roll restricted skills from your class that you haven't actually hit the Title to unlock yet. So if your class will eventually permit you to turn invisible at will, if you have a favourable percentile chance to do so, you can try it at any time. (This is unlikely).

Anyway, following that is the ability bonus you add to your skill once you actually have training in it via race or your class. This is where your skill points go when you spend them, as well. As you advance a character, certain numbers, you'll just keep erasing and re-writing... And yeah, if a game goes on long enough, you'll likely develop holes in the charsheet eventually.
So, the ability bonus is - at minimum - a small random value determined by the skill in question, which is then modified by any bonuses your class affords skills of that type, and then including any skill points you've spent on it.
The small random value is called the starting bonus , and depending on the general complexity of the skill ranges from 1d10% to 4d6%. I actually learned something new in covering these rules - all racially-acquired skills have their starting bonus doubled . I really wish I'd known this five years ago. Nobody told me, and it's a tiny spot in the book, in an easy place to miss.

Anyway! Characters with inordinately high Knowledge attributes - since there's a stat that governs how many skills of which type you can have - will doubtless have more skill slots than they know what to do with. That's okay!
Skill slots can be converted - as long as they're unassigned - to other skill slot types. The rules for this are... kind of a mess. Generally, it works like this, in terms of slot conversion:
1 Racial skill = 1 Class skill;
2 Social skills = 1 Racial or Class skill.
Racial and Social skills can be converted bidirectionally, but Class skill slots cannot be cashed in for racial or social skill slots. After all, you're probably not going to be earning more social skills, and you're definitely not going to be earning more racial skills, but class skills keep on showing up on your character sheet and nothing can change that.

Skill slots can also be sacrificed for a skill bonus. This is a permanent deal. For racial and social skills, giving up a slot affords 2d4% to another skill of same type; for class skills...
Well, for class skills, you actually have to do it when you gain a Title. In the case of class skills, you're not actually giving up a skill slot , you're giving up an entire skill . There's no randomness in this exchange, either - giving up the skill gives you 10 points right away to put into your class skills, and must be administered immediately, and only to the same class you skipped the skill from (yes... there is dual-classing and multiclassing in Imagine. It follows virtually identical rules to AD&D.) As a final note on sacrificing skills for points: You can never sacrifice "core" skills from your class. They're core, after all. You need them to be that class.

Skill slots can also be sacrificed for language proficiency. It has to be a racial skill slot, in this case, but you can upgrade social skill slots to racial skill slots and then cash them out (if you like).
One slot amounts to 1/3 proficiency in a language, which amounts to basic vocabulary at the initial 1/3, vocabulary and basic comprehension at 2/3, and the whole damn language at 3/3.

Skills are also not capped at 100% . You can raise a skill to 200%, to account for various modifiers and penalties. The player's guide, naturally, has a table of titled rankings for each 20% bracket of proficiency in a skill (which I am going to skip. -- I want to say, I've decided to skip nearly all of the tables, because scanning or recreating them would simply be too painful. The book has on average slightly more than one table per page. I am not exaggerating. )

And finally, how do we contest skills? That is actually the most simple and elegant rule Imagine has: You compare margins of success.
Say I, the legendary poet YeGoone, am having some sort of jam session talespinning fight with the legendary poet Grog of Narde. We look up our Story Telling ratings, then roll our d%. Let's say I've got a Story Telling rating of 86%, and roll a 64; my margin of success is 22. Grog's player has a 90%, and rolls a 60 - still successful, but his margin is 30, a full 8 points more successful than my success. My cheeks burn in shame as his biting story is more thrilling and enthralling to our audience than my own, and I retreat, humbled, to my basement dungeon to play WoW plot revenge.

To wrap up this entry, I'm going to cover the Combat Skills , the first of six categories of class/race skills. Combat Skills are what they sound like: Them's fightin' skills. I'll follow the book's example and list them alphabetically (with one exception), following with their effects, and generally speaking how overpowered they are.
Weapon Knowledge (Strength and Agility, rating 12, +2d10%) is the one skill absolutely every class is guaranteed to give you. It's largely an artificial limitation on how many of your class's weapons you're actually proficient with - each 10% amounts to one weapon you get to know how to use. I find this a dumb rule, and honestly a dumb skill, because that's literally all it does. You can also roll it to grok a weapon's quality. That never matters.

Armor Knowledge (Strength and Agility, r14, 2d6%) is a pretty great skill. Each 25% you have in this skill eliminates one "layer" of penalties for your configuration of armour. This includes defensive adjustment, initiative and weapon speed penalty, and skill reduction - rigid armours tend to limit your movement, making you easier to hit, slower, and clumsier, and this skill shows your character knowing their suit well enough to move in spite of it. The catch: It takes a week per level of rigidness for you to learn your suit, and if you ever change out a piece of your suit, you have to relearn the whole thing. Rigidness is expressed, as DieLaughing noted, in four tiers: Flexible, Semi-Rigid, Articulated, and Rigid. You sum up your penalties, go with the worst state of rigidness your armour contains, and suck it up. With a fully articulated suit of plate over the right maille and leathers, this skill alone can put you at nearly no penalties.

Armor Lore (Agility and Knowledge, r18, 1d10%) on the other hand, is a much higher-level version of Armor Knowledge that functions identically, but a successful roll eliminates all penalties for a suit.

Berserking (Vitality and Will Force, r14, 2d6%) berserks you. This has no set duration: It lasts until you die, or all hostiles die, leave perception, or are non-mobile. It adds 50% more Endurance, raises your Strength, Agility, Vitality, and Will Force by 2 each, halves your Intelligence, Wisdom, and Knowledge, grants you immunity to unconsciousness, grants you immunity to shock, and is noted as never being quiet. I guess in playtesting someone tried to pull off going into a quiet berserker rage for a surprise attack, or something. After your rage ends, your enhanced states are penalized by 2 each. Recovery rate for attribute points is one per hour - that's right, eight hours to fully recover from berserking! Also, if an ally tries to interrupt your rage, you'll probably kill him - it takes an Intelligence save to not attack them, at the penalised rating. Plus, berserkers generally aren't very smart to begin with, so we're looking at an attribute save probably somewhere around 35%.

Body Parry (Agility, r11, 2d10%) permits you to interfere with the intended target of an attack with another area of your body. You compare the damage value of the attack to your armour as per DieLaughing's post, and then assign the damage to that area as normal - unless you beat your skill rating by half, in which case you achieve a soft parry and damage is halved before comparing to your armour.
Parrying thrown weapons is at 1/4 rating, and fired missile weapons cannot be parried. Our GM once let me body parry a called shot to the eye with a 1/4 roll using the rest of my character's head, saving his life as his headgear amounted to an armor rating of about 42. Good times.

Brace (Agility, r8, 4d6%) permits you to set and steady yourself for an attack. This is extremely useful for archers or crossbowmen as it indicates you steadying your weapon; for melee attacks, its use is limited! To brace in melee you need a weapon capable of dealing thrusting damage, and for an opponent to be charging you. Upside: This doubles or triples your damage with that weapon, depending on the speed of the charge. Also, as you can see, bracing is ridiculously easy - anyone with a half-decent agility can brace quite well. As a rule of thumb, charging is only a good idea when your weapon's reach is greater than theirs, and you're certain you'll kill them in one hit or take them unaware (somehow. More on that when I get to martial arts.).

Critical (Strength, Agility, r15, 2d6%) is the, uh, critical hit skill. If you make your skill roll as part of an attack, you add two seconds to the attack speed and roll to hit; if your attack hits dead center after any penalties or modifiers are applied, you double your damage after applying any other modifiers to damage. A quick note on damage: When you double a doubling, Imagine parses that to a tripling, and doesn't go any higher than triple. So while it's theoretically possible to charging-brace-critical another charging-brace-critical character (a ridiculous situation involving flying and mobile-yet-immovable walls or something) both characters would not actually go to x4 damage, only x3.

Disable (Strength, Agility, r15, 2d6%) lets you cripple a limb immediately. You add 2 seconds to the attack roll (you'll see a trend of this), and require a center hit after bonuses and penalties to your roll, and must do at least 1/4 of the body area's Endurance in damage. This makes crippling the neck very easy! Same for the shin or forearm.

Disarm (Strength, Agility, r12, 2d10%) again goes by your weapon speed +2, but does no damage. Instead, if you succeed your Disarm vs their Weapon Knowledge, their weapon is flung 1d4 feet from them. If you have to disarm an opponent more than once they kind of get the idea and further attempts are at half your skill.

Dodge (Agility, r14, 2d6%) is ridiculous. It allows you to just say "no" to ranged weapon attacks. You have to see them start their attack, but if you make your roll they just miss because you're butter-smooth. You can make your roll at half rating to catch the weapon instead, for style points.

False Attack (Agility, r13, 2d10%) is a feinting maneuver, meant to fake out your opponent's defenses. If you succeed in your roll, any defense an opponent mounts against your false attack is wasted and they still must account for its recovery time while you only took one second to freak them out and are still free to ruin their shit.

Feint (Agility, r16, 2d6%) is the melee version of Dodge. If you make the roll, melee attacks just miss you. Countering False Attack with Feint is particularly funny imagery, as both skills rely on positional deception - think of the classic football handler versus intercepting player shuffle, where they're both trying to move in every direction at once.

Focused Attack (Strength, Agility, r15, 2d6%) is the companion skill to Critical. It sets your weapon speed to max, regardless of modifiers reducing it, and says "hey kid, don't bother rolling any dice today, your weapon attack will do absolute maximum possible damage if it hits." Focused+Critical thus means your weapon hits like two trucks.

Missile Lore (Agility, r17, 1d10%) is where the Real Archery Shit is at. You can gain proficiency in missile weapons outside of your normal proficient grouping via this skill, by making a Missile Lore skill roll in lieu of a Weapon Knowledge roll. You also get +2 to hit, +4 damage, and +10% to weapon combat skills, and -1 attack speed to all missile weapons. And you can further specialize in a missile weapon - one per Practitioner Title - to "master" a weapon, increasing those bonuses to +3, +6, +20%, and -2, respectively. As a bonus, mastered weapons attack as if one bracket of proficiency higher, unless you're already at Master attack rating. Bear in mind you'll likely have maneuvers like Focused, Critical, etc by the time you get skills like this. Yep.

Second Weapon Knowledge (Agility, r14, 2d6%) permits you to overcome the penalties you incur while using a weapon in your off-hand, following the "layered" penalty reduction Armor Knowledge does. These penalties are based on your Agility already. An Agility of 20 amounts to zero penalties. This skill - and the next skill - are thus kind of useless.

Second Weapon Lore (Agility, Intelligence, r17, 1d10%) eliminates all penalties for using an offhanded weapon. Characters below Agility 20 are non-ambidextrous unless they luck into that handedness in character creation, and thus have their offhand action time slightly penalized during the combat turn - this skill shores that action time back up, by 1 second per 20% of the skill. That's less than useless, but at the same time, most characters inclined to dual-wield are likely already to be quite nimble thanks to racial bonuses or attribute point moving, or by the time they acquire this skill, Goal attribute gains.

Sever (Strength, Agility, r17, 1d10%) cuts limbs or necks clean through. Requires a sharp slashing weapon, increases weapon attack speed by 2 seconds, and must be a dead-on hit dealing damage greater than half the target area's Endurance, with the area being armored below 50 points, and fleshy (not... made of stone or whatever). Cuts it clean off.

Shield Parry (Strength, Agility, r10, 4d6%) is basically Body Parry, but with a shield. Shields have coverage ratings based on their size and add their armour rating to the total armour rating of whatever area you're blocking with. Shield Parry can be used on ranged weapon attacks, though, and confers a bonus or penalty (based on shield size - -40% for bucklers, to +40% for body shields) to blocking them. The soft parry rules apply here, too.

Slay (Strength, Agility, r18, 1d10%) lets you kill an enemy in one mighty blow. Requisite conditions are identical to Sever, excepting that it must be a "vital body area" - head, neck, upper torso, midsection. Instantly kills an opponent. Very useful against regenerating creatures.

Stun (Strength, Agility, r14, 2d6%) works identically to Slay, but rather than killing the target, you render them prone and unable to act for 1d6 minutes. It's very easy to accidentally kill a target of Stun, considering the required damage amount.

Sweep (Agility, r14, 2d6%) permits consecutive strikes against multiple opponents in melee range. You roll to hit for the first opponent, then roll Sweep for any additional opponents in range and add a second to your attack time as you turn and hack each of them with the same initial swing. Each Sweep check beyond the first is at -5%. There's nothing saying you can't just hit once and spin in a circle to come back to and hit the first guy again as long as you can make the roll.

Trap Weapon (Strength, Agility, r14, 2d6%) pins a weapon against another surface, using a weapon you're wielding, your shield, or one of your limbs. The rules for this are pretty complex based on the surface against which you're trying to trap their weapon - let's just say it's most effective if you're using a weapon designed to trap the weapon, and least effective if you're trying to trap it against the weapon's wielder (but still possible). As a special rule,if you keep a weapon trapped for 10 seconds and make a 1/2 Strength save, you can automatically break it.

Trip (Strength, Agility, r12, 2d10%) trips mans. Takes 3 seconds, and you need to be within 10', and roll better than 10 on a D20 (including your melee modifiers). Trip is resisted with your victim's Agility save.

Weapon Lore (Agility, Knowledge, r17, 1d10%) is identical to Missile Lore, but for melee weapons. Same bonuses apply, same everything.

Weapon Parry (Strength, Agility, r12, 2d10%) is the third member of the Parry knitting circle, with identical rules to Body Parry, in general. Crossed weapons can be used simultaneously to parry to greater effect.

That's it for combat skills! Tune in next time while I get into the most broken skills of the game that don't involve anything magical! This includes being able to rip someone's head off with your bare head, and fly through the air kicking everything around you forever, and taking half damage from literally any attack!

What Does 'Discipline Skills' Mean?

posted by doomfunk Original SA post

Imagine Role-Playing: What Does 'Discipline Skills' Mean?
Is this an entire skill category for spankings?!?

Spoiler: It's not.

Disciplined skills, in Imagine, represent great personal strength of will (sort of). In a way, each disciplined skill sort of fits with another skill category generally, but for some reason didn't make it into that one, and instead got placed with all the other misfit skills in this grouping. It's an odd list, because as you'll see, the overall theme is entirely transparent and basically meaningless. It's also where the most systemically broken skills exist, where a whole lot of good ideas went to pasture and matured into really OP stuff.

Acrobatics (Agility, R16, +2d6%) is a phenomenal skill. It usually is, regardless of whatever system you're discussing, but in this case its uses are... manyfold. This is the first skill that shows the real grab-bag nature of Disciplined Skills off, in that it's one skill with... 13 skill maneuvers blanketed underneath it. Each of these maneuvers has a different rating from the original R16 of Acrobatics - 16 kind of just represents the overall average of these ratings. I'll express these separate maneuver ratings simply as the modifier to your normal skill chance, with skills like these.
Evade/Duck (+/- 0%) improves your defense adjustment. This maneuver doesn't have a listed duration, just an act time of 2 seconds. Anyway, drops your defense adjustment by -6 . Yes, that's a flat -6 from every attack roll made against you. Bear in mind 20 Agility only provides a -5. Also, bear in mind these values stack. -11 to enemies' to-hit rolls.
Body Feint (-10%) is a complex maneuver. It's sort of a combination of the Combat Skills Feint and False Attack, with the added bonus that you switch positions with your opponent if you Body Feint while charging and shed your double-damage bonus for the advantage of a backstabbing attack.
Jump Run (+10%) lets you skip the normal 'warmup' cycle of movement - normally you must walk for a second, then jog for a second, then run. With Acrobatics, you can start from jog.
Jump Stop (+5%) is the inverse of Jump Run.
Jump Turn (-5%) is... Okay, bear with me here. When you're running at full speed in Imagine, you have to arc your movement along more or less realistic curvatures, you can't just turn 90 degrees without either looping or slowing to turn, then speeding up again. With Jump Turn, while running full-speed you can make a 45-degree turn in one second, or while jogging you can turn 90 degrees in one second.
Spring (+20%) is weird. It's a wall-jump, right? But it is explicitly described as a defensive combat maneuver, a reaction to being attacked, with a limitation per your Practitioner Title. Each surface you spring from improves your Defense Adjustment by -1. So, in theory, a 20 Agility acrobat could pair this with Evade/Duck inside of a cube for -17 to be hit - for one attack. Every Spring must occur during the act time for that one attack, and Spring bonuses are reset after the attack is resolved. This does not permit you to jump off of walls to scale vertically.
Backflip Attack (-10%) is worded very strangely, but I believe it is trying to say that when you're using two weapons with act speeds of two seconds or less, you can strike multiple opponents from any position around yourself, not simply in front of you.
Wall Boost (+10%) doubles your standing jump height when you have a wall nearby. This is the basic wall jump.
Double Wall Boost (-10%) is the theoretically-perpetual wall jump, permitting you to jump off of two walls in close proximity in perpetuity. Each wall jump after the... second requires a Strength save. If you fail a save at any point, you fall.
Overjump (-5%) permits you to move through an obstructing opponent by jumping over, under, or around them. This must be a standing jump and can only bypass one creep.
Spin Attack (-10%) is mostly identical to a Martial Knowledge maneuver - more on that later - and cannot be combined with it, but you spin while attacking for +1 to hit, and +1 damage per die.
Running Overjump (-20%) uses running momentum to bypass as many dudes as you can clear with your running leap distance, a value based upon your height and ground speed. While in the air, you have -4 to be hit (So, if you're under the effects of Evade/Duck, our example 20 Agility acrobat is at -15 to be hit.) You may also Weapon Parry while airborn.
Cartwheel, Dance, Handstand, etc. (+/-0%) "Mostly they look cool."
As an added bonus, simply being trained in Acrobatics permits you to jump to your feet in 1-3 seconds from prone, versus taking 1d6+1 seconds to clamber to your feet.

Balance (Agility, R12, 2d10%) essentially grants you two rolls when attempting to maintain your footing in balance-troublesome environments. It works like this: Normally you take an Agility save to keep your footing, but sometimes that save is penalized or whatever. The Balance skill never is, and always goes before your Agility save. Make Balance, you're golden. Fail Balance, you still get to roll your Agility. You can also roll Balance to get the Acrobatics rising-from-prone time, if you don't have that skill.

Body Control (Wisdom, R15, 2d6%) is a physiological meditative skill. You spend 10 seconds to enter a trance, plus some extra time based on the trance in question. Nowhere is there stated a limit on trance effects you can enter into.
Catatonia - 10 seconds ; You seem to be dead. Lasts one day per Goal, or until you decide to wake up.
Free Mind - 60 seconds ; Allows you to recognize if you're being controlled magically or psychically, or if you're insane, and allows an additional roll to escape the effect (either Control Resist or Will Force).
Heal - 60 seconds ; Heals 1d4 per Practitioner Title to any body area you choose. You may only use this once per day per Practitioner Title.
Reduce Fatigue - 600 seconds ; Allows you to skip food, water, and rest for one full day per Practitioner Title. You have to feast on each of these you bypass in the amount you skipped before using this trance again.
Reduce Pain - 600 seconds ; the really broken one. Halves all damage received over the next hour, and renders you immune to shock and grants you perfect concentration for spellcasting purposes. No change to rating or anything, you just do it.
If a psychic contacts you mentally at any time while in your trance, they fuck everything up and you have to start over.

Break Fall (Agility, R16, 2d6%) allows you to reduce your fall damage. Used as-is, it adds 20 feet to the distance you may fall without injury. You may implement device-based aids as well, and each requires a skill roll and adds 10-40 feet (based on object) to your fall distance. You may also use this to break your fall on beings below you as you fall. This is the goomba stomp skill.

Charming (Appearance, Charm, R13, 2d10%) permits you to influence people subtly. There's a range of time required to convince them to do stuff, but it tops out at -25% to your skill chance to convince them to die for you . Takes one day for that. Victims are permitted a Control Resistance, and each successful resistance roll affords them a cumulative +5% to resist any Charming rolls from the same user - you start to see through others' bullshit more and more clearly, you see.

Convert (Wisdom, Will Force, R17, 1d10%) permanently alters another's viewpoint. With this you can change lifestyles, beliefs, worship, or ethics - just through influential debate.

Convince (Wisdom, Will Force, R17, 1d10%) is incredibly vague but temporarily alters another's perception. I have no idea why it's just as easy to roll for Convince as it is for Convert.

Force (Strength, R14, 2d6%) permits you to push your strength beyond its normal limits. You use this to bend bars, lift gates, rip doors off their hinges, brutally dismember creatures with your bare hands, or to increase twisting damage from a weapon you've impaled into an opponent, or to dramatically increase your odds of success while grappling.

Horsemanship (Agility, Will Force, R15, 2d6%) is the all-in-one tactical riding skill. There's a normal "Riding" skill under the Social category - this is for Hard Riders Only. It has a small list of maneuvers you can teach a mount, and those maneuvers' activation times. Each trick takes a week for the mount to learn, making trained mounts valuable.
The tricks are: A quick stop from gallop; A standing quick turn by spinning on the hind legs; Moving backwards; Having the mount enter combat at all ; Adding horsemanship to Agility saves to prevent being thrown from the saddle; No penalties while using a polearm from horseback; Preventing the mount from being spooked; Calling the mount from a distance; Causing the mount to jump over an obstacle.
Expanded rules permit you to use Feint and Dodge through the horse, through this skill.

Intimidation (Will Force, R14, 2d6%) scares people.

Leap (Agility, R10, 4d6%) increases the distances you can jump upwards, standing forwards, or running. It adds 1/2 upwards, 1 foot forwards, or 2 feet forwards when running, for each 20% of your skill chance.

Martial Knowledge (Strength, Agility, R16, 2d6%) is... well... Martial Knowledge is a highly complex skill.
It has four styles: Offensive, Defensive, Balanced, and Contact. Each of these styles has a selection of maneuvers from the net list of Martial Knowledge maneuvers that it's limited to - and that's it. You get whatever you didn't have before when you pick up Martial Lore. This is easily the most complex skill in the game simply for this reason, but add to it that its maneuvers permit you a lot of really weird shit you can do in a fight. This is over and above the basic attack maneuvers (martial punch and kick, elbow and knee smash, head butt, heel strike, rake, finger punch, counter punch and kick, and scissor strike) and blocks (arm block, leg block, and body block) or holds (half neck hold, full neck hold, arm hold, leg hold, or torso hold).
What I'm going at here is the weird last category simply called "Moves". A lot of these are Martial versions of previously-described Combat Skills. The others... are interesting.
Jump (+20%) increases your effective Agility for upward jumping distance by 2. It also permits you to jump at an opponent during an attack, increasing your chance to hit by 2, and adding an additional die+1 of damage to your attack. This bonus damage is applied before any doubling effects are resolved.
Flying (+/-0%) increases your effective Agility for forward jumping distance by 2. It also enables a running, leaping attack maneuver. This adds +4 to hit your opponent, and doubles your damage rolled.
Spinning (+5%) is the big brother of Acrobatics' spin maneuver. This increases your roll to hit by 2, and adds +2 damage per die rolled.
Jumping, Flying, and Spinning cannot be combined unless you possess Martial Lore. Then, they all can! For super-uber-attacks.
Immovable Stance (-5%) is a defensive maneuver that eliminates any defensive adjustment you possess, and precludes any attacks. Instead, you resist attempts to displace you - trip attempts, earthquakes, tsunami - using your Martial Knowledge skill.
Sweep (+10%) uses a martial kick to knock an opponent over.
Snap (+15%) reduces attack speed by shedding your Strength bonus to damage. This can be very useful if you're fighting a particularly evasive opponent - you can drop your attack speed to overwhelm their defenses, since defensive maneuvers take time too. (This is never useful.)
Tension (+5%) stores extreme muscle tension to double your Strength damage bonus, before any other doubling occurs, in one attack. You can prepare Tension in advance and just walk around like Frankenstein's Monster for a while before slamming someone.. nothing states you must gather tension directly before your attack.
Double Attack (+15%) allows the skill user to combine two punches or kicks into one roll to hit and one skill roll. That's it.
Now, here's the funny thing about Martial Knowledge. The deadly triumvirate of flying, spinning, and jumping don't require that they be used with a martial attack. A weapon attack is fine. Hell, even a great maul is fine. It'd be the slowest attack in the world but a flying, spinning, jumping great maul attack would do 9d6+19 damage, doubled. Throw Tension into the mix for extra devastation. Remember how armour works? Hahaha, who cares, you're a flying spinning hammer.

Martial Lore (Agility, Wisdom, R18, 1d10%) upgrades your Martial Knowledge from one style to every style. It also permits you an amount of blindsight, eliminating one 'layer' of blind penalties for each 25% of Martial Lore you possess. It also lets you combine the deadly triumvirate from Martial Knowledge, since you couldn't before. And , it grants you separate action capacity for each of your limbs. Double Attack doesn't matter anymore, you essentially have a brain for both arms and both legs and can flail intelligently however you like.
It also adds some new maneuvers:
Combined Attack (+5%), which is essentially Double Attack but permitting any martial maneuver.
Stunning Head Blow (+15%) combines two punches to either side of a target's head, to stun them. This is like the Combat Skill Stun .
Eye Gouge (+10%) uses two simultaneous finger punches to blind an opponent. Permanently.
Death Strike (-10%) uses a Heel Strike or Rake to drive an opponent's nose into their brain or tear their throat out, instantly killing most creatures.
Feather Block (+20%) reduces the damage from any attack you use a Martial Knowledge block maneuver on to 0. You can effortlessly block a giant dragon bite with your leg, if you want.
Crushing Hold (+10%) adds a huge amount of Crushing Damage (the kind that shreds armor violently) to any grappling maneuver you use with it.
Flip (+/-0%) has you flip in place for a momentary -4 defensive adjustment, to immediately face a different direction.
Wall Jump adds +2 to your effective Agility for any jumping maneuver you use with it, and permits you to immediately initiate Jumping or Flying maneuvers. For certain bulkier enemies, you can Wall Jump off of them.

Meditate (Wisdom, Will Force R14, 2d6%) is a lot like Body Control! Except, more mentally-focused. It only permits one trance state but it's a doozy.
From meditate, you get: An immediate Control Resistance roll for any ongoing effects on you that require it; +1 to hit and damage for one hour; 1/2 fatigue for the next hour; 2 temporarily lost attribute points restored; and, for the next hostile spell or effect depending on it, your Will Force counts as one higher.
Meditate can only be used once per hour.

Sail (Agility, Knowledge, R8, 4d6%) permits you to sail a vessel against the wind, or avoid treacherous obstacles. That's it. That's all this skill does.

Slow Fall (Agility, R14, 2d6%) uses a nearby surface to halve the effective distance you've fallen, for purposes of mitigating damage. NFI why this can't be part of Break Fall or, hell, Acrobatics .

So here's the kicker about Disciplined Skills - there are three classes in the core book that really focus on them, but when they do they really do . The Monk in the Player's Handbook has the martial skills and Acrobatics and Force, Meditate, and Body Control. The Martial Artist gets all of these earlier than the Monk does; the tradeoff is, they don't get any divine spellcasting. Considering Martial Lore turns you into a killing machine, it's a decent exchange - however, divine magic has a number of excellent martial applications. It's a good balance, insofar as martial knowledge can be considered balanced.

So, bearing in mind that once you have Martial Lore, you can combine flying, spinning, and jumping, and additionally you can bounce off an obstacle you've impacted to continue flying, spinning, and jumping, you essentially become a deathly pinball, where the pinball machine is the enemy formation, and your score is expressed in bloodshed. I was the first member of my group to put it to this use, which then led to serious houseruling to prevent the ridiculous situation from repeating - because, frankly, it was ridiculous. My character did not touch the ground while he spun through the air lopping heads off and kicking guys in the throat.
For reference, he was a martial artist, not a monk. If he was a monk, he would've been wreathed in holy armaments and doing even more damage by the time he could combine the maneuvers.

Also, here, you can see where there's actually quite a simple solution to all of the skill bloat intrinsic in the system. Maneuvers such as Stun, Slay, et cetera could instead be parented under an umbrella skill as Death Strike and Stunning Blow are. In fact, the entire Combat Skills and Disciplined Skills selections could be greatly simplified by instead making weapon proficiency skills for various weapon groups, then throwing in all existing Combat Skills as maneuvers under them. Give Dodge and Feint and everything balance or falling related to Acrobatics as additional maneuvers, and reduce the bloat on your character sheet by a huge sum. Instead of providing new ratings to calculate from based on skill maneuvers, instead, just give the flat percentile adjustment. Make life easier for everyone.

Next: Divine magical skills, and all the headaches those entail.