After a long pause, during which time I have written, designed and laid out an entire supplement for Doctor Who; wrote, recorded and engineered a 45 minute science fiction audio-play; created an alpha prototype for a Sword & Sorcery boardgame; experimented with publishing tabel-top RPGs as fully functional apps and have generally been kept hopping by my graduate degree *DEEP BREATH* I am back at work on Barbarians of Heavy Metal. And about time, too.
The game will be designed specifically for the Gameslate format, with a cheap text only version of the rules going up for distribution after the full app is finished. It is part of my experimental game design class, so the player’s version of the app should be ready by Summer, to be quickly followed up by the full game.
Now that I’ve had a year to digest the idea, I’ve started realizing the mechanics. The core mechanic of Barbarians of Lemuria is intact, but modified in a number of ways to fit the genre:
Roll 2D6+D8, Base Difficulty 13
The D8 is called ‘the Rocktohedron’ and it is something special for BoHM. First, it adds a 3rd die to the roll to extend the spread between character ability and difficulty and prevent characters from becoming too powerful too quickly. But more importantly, it ties into your School of Rock, your school of musical martial arts.
By rolling your school’s sacred number on the Rocktohedron, you activate a Harmonic effect. By rolling the sacred number of your opposing school, the one opposite yours on the Rocktagon, you instead generate Discord, or some sort of penalty. These will be described in further detail in the next post.
Mighty Successes, Legendary Successes and Critical Failures still exist, and are generated on the 2D6 part of the roll, as normal, but are now called Hardcore Success, Thrashing Success and Bollocks. They work pretty much the same way except now they are organized into a ‘Results Ladder’ that goes Bollocks-Failure-Success-Hardcore-Thrashing. The reason for this will be explained when we talk about Harmonics and Discord, but suffice to say, striking certain Harmonics or Discords can move a result up and down the ladder without need for Hero Points.
Another change comes in the area of Opposed Rolls. In BoHM all opposed rolls will involve bidding wars, similar to the system used in the old James Bond RPG chase system, with both sides gradually increasing their risk to borderline ridiculous levels to outperform their opponents.
Another possible change, one which I need to see in action to judge the effectiveness of, is to add in three factors to the characters roll, instead of the two normally allowed in BoL. So, instead of Celerity+Fire being used for ranged combat, I might allow Celerity+Fire +Appropriate Career. This allows for a wider spread of difficulties, a wider range of character ability and a whole lot more variety in the mix of Attributes, Combat Abilities, Careers, Styles and Instruments. A virtuoso guitar performance would use Celerity+Yngwie+Guitar, for instance, a crushing drum solo would use Might+Deadite+Percussion and firing a Titan’s weapons would use Celerity+Fire+Titan Rider.
Regular Career use would add an appropriate Style, assuming that certain Schools of Rock are more adept at certain tasks. So trying to fly an aerospace fighter through an asteroid field, which requires precision and virtuoso piloting, would be rolled using Celerity+Yngwie+Flyboy.
So as you can see, in BoHM, your School of Rock is more than just a musical style. It is a way of life that affects every aspect of the game and helps to further define your character and their place in the Metalsphere.
Now that you understand the basic mechanical modifications, the next post will discuss the ins and outs of BoHM characters…