Slime Story is really coming together, though it seems like the game is determined to require me to tear out and replace chunks of it to the very end. Yesterday I wrote a combat system, this morning I decided I hated it, and today I started writing a new one. Basically, I’d devised a hybrid of Tunnels & Trolls and Slime Story’s conflict rules, which made combat too abstract for my tastes. The system I’m working on now is more like a mixture of D&D4e and Meikyuu Kingdom, with (IMO) some neat flourishes.
On the other hand I’m pretty happy with the conflict system, though it’s going to definitely need playtesting to get everything just right. It’s kind of like a cross between In a Wicked Age and Truth & Justice. Each side makes a check (2d6 plus an attribute). The winner can either spend their margin of success (Victory Points) on status effects (Tired, Upset, Injured, or Shaken) or ask the loser for a concession. I’m very glad I listened to Paul Tevis’ podcasts on “Stakes and Sticks.” Anyway, if you don’t like the way a conflict turns out for you, you can escalate, which means both sides have to switch to different attributes and roll again, but the consequences roll over, so the stick becomes more menacing.
What I like about this is that it lets you make an argument or asking a girl out on a date mechanically interesting without taking away any freedom to role-play how you want. If I best your character in an argument, I can hold several ranks of Upset status over your head, giving you an incentive to do what I want, but you don’t have to. That’s just awesome.
The major thing I need to get into playtesting to figure out is whether the rate at which you can exchange victory points for status ranks is right. Right now I have it so you can give someone a -1 to either social or physical stuff per point of margin of success.
The combat system uses a “Footing” mechanic where you declare whether your character is in a Forward (high offense), Middle (neutral), or Rear (high defense) position. Certain classes can get feats that let them get into “Ambush” footing, and enemies and screw-ups can force you into “Off-Balance” footing. A basic attack is just a check against a static defense rating, but if someone’s attacking you, you can do a “Clash” action and resolve it as a conflict instead. I’m also working on some neat stuff with “tactical actions” that can weaken or otherwise inconvenience an opponent.
I’m happy with the basic outline of the combat rules now, though I want to work in some stuff that will help push you into role-playing during battle, because as it stands now it’s like 4e in that combat won’t afford many opportunities for role-play unless you force free-form in by yourself. The way battles propel you into role-playing is IMO one of the coolest things about 3:16.
There are some things that I’m contemplating putting in, like mechanics for characters’ relationships with their parents and their overall social standing, but I’m not sure these are necessary per se.
And… that’s about all I’ve gotten done lately.