[TSR Alternity] Rules: What do you dislike/like?

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Angel Tarragon
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[TSR Alternity] Rules: What do you dislike/like?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:06 pm

Considering re-buying the core books of the system. I'm curious as to what others like and/or dislike about the rules system.
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Re: [TSR Alternity] Rules: What do you dislike/like?

Post by shesheyan » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:49 pm

I never played Alternity but some people have said they do not like the «roll under» mechanic for success. I personally find it interesting. Cthuluh works the same way and its a classic and well loved RPG. Its probably due to the fact that a lot of buyers of Alternity were D&D (TSR) customers and used to roll over.

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Re: [TSR Alternity] Rules: What do you dislike/like?

Post by FaerieGodfather » Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:06 am

Low-level characters are far too incompetent, both in the breadth of their skills and the depth of their specializations. They don't represent the intended fiction well at all.

I also don't like the jump between d12 and d20, which doesn't make any sense to me at all, and then adding addtional d20 penalty dice... just huge, completely incongruous cliffs in the difficulty curve.

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Re: [TSR Alternity] Rules: What do you dislike/like?

Post by FaerieGodfather » Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:07 am

I love the system, almost as much as I love the settings, but it needs serious house-ruling.

Also... non-intellectual skills are too dependent on the Intelligence stat.

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Re: [TSR Alternity] Rules: What do you dislike/like?

Post by RobJN » Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:26 am

Skill costs -- by the book -- are ridiculously expensive.

Fortunately, for this, and most of the other gripes, there are the A-team's official optional rules.
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Re: [TSR Alternity] Rules: What do you dislike/like?

Post by finarvyn » Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:49 am

I liked the based concept of the dice chain, where you would add or subtract various dice types depending upon the various modifiers that seem to fit the situation.

Also, for those who don't like a "roll low" game it's easy to flip the whole thing over.
FaerieGodfather wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:06 am
I also don't like the jump between d12 and d20, which doesn't make any sense to me at all, and then adding addtional d20 penalty dice... just huge, completely incongruous cliffs in the difficulty curve.
Remember that when Alternity was created, there was no DCC RPG and so many of the dice created for that system could be used in a revised dice chain. (E.g. between the d12 and d20 we now also have d14's and d16's, which didn't exist back in the day.)
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Re: [TSR Alternity] Rules: What do you dislike/like?

Post by shesheyan » Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:25 pm

RobJN wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:26 am
Skill costs -- by the book -- are ridiculously expensive.

Fortunately, for this, and most of the other gripes, there are the A-team's official optional rules.
Very interesting document. Saved on my computer. It good to see when a community can produce a document that makes the game better. Finarvyn has a point, Dungeon Crawl Classics dice could be used. Has anyone worked on that for Alternity?

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Re: [TSR Alternity] Rules: What do you dislike/like?

Post by RobJN » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:35 pm

shesheyan wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:25 pm
RobJN wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:26 am
Skill costs -- by the book -- are ridiculously expensive.

Fortunately, for this, and most of the other gripes, there are the A-team's official optional rules.
Very interesting document. Saved on my computer. It good to see when a community can produce a document that makes the game better. Finarvyn has a point, Dungeon Crawl Classics dice could be used. Has anyone worked on that for Alternity?
Those optional rules are from the developers themselves. I'm not sure if they were a result of feedback from players after the release, or from the designers' own findings from in-house playtesting. Rich or Bill may have talked about it in their Alternity Game Day chats from back in the day....
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Re: [TSR Alternity] Rules: What do you dislike/like?

Post by finarvyn » Wed Jul 18, 2018 1:41 pm

shesheyan wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:25 pm
Finarvyn has a point, Dungeon Crawl Classics dice could be used. Has anyone worked on that for Alternity?
I'm not sure there would be much to "work on" for this. I haven't played Alternity in years, but my memory is simply that there is this dice chain and you brainstorm the number of factors working for or factors working against an action taking place, then you move that number of dice on the chain to determine what die adjusts the d20 roll.

So, dice mechanic is: d20 +/- adjustment die.

If the jump from d12 to d20 is too large, simply add dice in the chain and use them.

Standard polyhedral dice chain = d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20 (maybe with a d3 in there?)
Dice chain with Goodman dice = d3, d4, d5, d7, d8, d10, d12, d14, d16, d20

And if that's too many, you wouldn't have to use all of the Goodman dice options. I think that's all you need. No real work involved, unless there is something important that I've forgotten about Alternity. :|
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Re: [TSR Alternity] Rules: What do you dislike/like?

Post by RobJN » Wed May 29, 2019 7:03 pm

Gripe about the cost of skills aside (which is patched by ditching the "cost+rank" and just re-purchasing the specialty skill again at cost or cost-1), there is quite a bit I like about the system. In no particular order:
  • baked-in bounded accuracy. No ridiculously high DCs or ACs, and no glaring gap between BAB and ACs.
  • the durability track. No ridiculously high piles of hit points, but also not-squishy at first level. More like... as squishy at level one as level six?
  • grades of success, rather than flat out pass/fail. Bacon has been saved by many an Amazing success.
  • Achievements and rank benefits. By-level abilities a la carte... spend/bank those achievement points wisely.
  • Not-really-classes. Who needs a cleric, when you've got a Blackmoor University grad student who happens to dabble in necromancy..?
  • Armor. It doesn't make you harder to hit, it takes the hits.
  • Armor. Or rather, secondary damage. Even when armor soaks the hit, it's likely still going to hurt.
  • Action Check and the action economy. Four phases, in which you can (usually) take two actions. Except when you try two things at once. Also: flubbing the Action Check eats one of your actions. :twisted:
  • Complex skill checks. Great for tension, especially when everyone can get a piece of the challenge
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