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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:05 pm 
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Welcome!

RPG Erfworld is a group project by the fans and creators of Erfworld. Our ultimate goal is to make an Erfworld game! We're tackling this in discrete phases. All of 2017 is dedicated to working out stack battles.

Rob has appointed me as the manager for this project, which means I will serve as a coordinator and steer the editorial direction of our efforts. But we need all the help and ideas that we can get!

The main purpose of this thread is to increase visibility for the project, recruit volunteers, field questions, and discuss the project. If you are in any way interested in seeing an Erfworld game become reality, please check out the RPG Erfworld Wiki, which is where the majority of the "action" will be happening!

Volunteers are welcome to explore this page to learn about what roles we need to fill and where the project is currently focused. Check in anytime you want to offer help!

Feel free to reply with questions or contact me by private message, and as we go I will curate an FAQ accordingly.

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Last edited by 0beron on Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:05 pm 
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    FAQ

    What's with the name?
    You know what they say, a rose by any other name, etc etc. The form of this game is still slightly up in the air, but on a deep level Erfworld is a universe of roleplaying. Whether you are the lowliest Stabber, a crafty Caster, or even the very Ruler of a Side, every unit has a story to live out. So whatever form the game eventually takes, we as players will be adopting the role of somebody. So lets not nitpick about whether this satisfies a strict definition of "RPG", because nobody even agrees on what they definition is in the first lace.

    How can I participate?
    Hop on over to the Volunteers page, there you can find a team to sign up for that best suits your interests. But anyone can contribute at any time; if you don't have a lot of free time to commit, don't let that stop you from participating. Even without signing up for a dedicated role, you're part of the most important team of all: Contributors!

    What is the goal/what form will the game take?
    We envision a pen-and-paper tabletop game which could be played with nothing more than the rules, polyhedral dice, and some scrap paper. And for now, we are only focused on the combat aspect, which includes simple stacks of Infantry, all the way up to complex stack compositions with leadership and "non-stacked" engagements like archery fights.
    I know it can be difficult to restrain our enthusiasm; but right now we're thinking small. No map, no turns passing, no Treasury or Sides. This phase of the project is aimed at drilling into the minutia of combat, so that we have a moderately simple tabletop game where players can pit stacks against each other with minimal supplies and maximum fun. This specific "deliverable" will then serve as our foundation to "think big" and grow into the full-scale RPG everyone wants someday.

    What if I'm not interested in that?
    The wiki will serve as an archive for all things related to making an Erfworld game reality. So if you have ideas about magic, cities, economics, and more, then there will be a place to record that even if the project management team is not actively supporting it. Stay tuned for more info when I broadcast the list of volunteers needed.

    Why not just use [insert game here] and mod it?
    Legal and financial issues aside, this is not a feasible approach for Erfworld. This universe marches to the beat of its own drum and no existing games even come close to mirroring the entire thing. Obviously we are making use of the classic polyhedral dice as our core mechanic and some generic gaming concepts, but everything else needs to be written from the ground up in order to meet the high standards of authenticity that this fandom expects.

    Where is development starting?
    Over the week since this project was announced, several fans have contributed fantastic ideas about a mechanic to use as the basic root of our combat system. Our first priority is to analyze these suggestions and synthesize a single mechanic to proceed with. Our "Balance" and "Playtest" teams will take primary responsibility for that task.

    But wait! I didn't get a chance to post my rules idea yet!
    Fear not! In order to ensure we're not just picking the first submissions given, initial brainstorming will continue until 11:59pm, Eastern Time on January 21st. After that time, we will turn our attention to playtesting the rules we have and developing a root mechanic.

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    GJC wrote:
    Two guys with basically the same name in a discussion about a character getting cloned.
    There's gotta be a good joke in here somewhere.


    Last edited by 0beron on Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:29 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:11 pm 
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    This is very exciting. Is the plan to primarily design a system for the online game table? For real life face to face play? Or something that works for both?

    Also, where should we discuss specific ideas like stack warfare? Is this thread the right place to do it, or will you make separate threads for each subtopic?

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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:20 pm 
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    Given that you and I both were involved in what amounts to an Alpha version of this concept, I'd be happy to join in.

    Unless this is something else.

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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:23 pm 
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    Omnimancer wrote:
    This is very exciting. Is the plan to primarily design a system for the online game table? For real life face to face play? Or something that works for both?
    We are aiming for a "middle-ground" game which is similar to d20 RPG games like D&D. So the end product would be a word document ruleset which could be played in person or online using the Gametable application. Of course, there is no such thing as a bad idea; so very complex ideas that could only be done in a standalone computer game, or very simple ideas for card games and LARPing will both be filed away for later use.

    Omnimancer wrote:
    Also, where should we discuss specific ideas like stack warfare? Is this thread the right place to do it, or will you make separate threads for each subtopic?
    This is certainly a fine place for discussion! Material should definitely go into the Wiki, which I will add some more structure to in the next few days. Right now I am looking to gauge the volunteer interest, but don't let me stop you from getting a jump start on things!

    Kaed wrote:
    Given that you and I both were involved in what amounts to an Alpha version of this concept, I'd be happy to join in.
    Some of those ideas definitely may be incorporated.

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    GJC wrote:
    Two guys with basically the same name in a discussion about a character getting cloned.
    There's gotta be a good joke in here somewhere.

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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:24 pm 
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    0beron wrote:
    Reserved for FAQ post


    Too many casters, too OP please nerf.

    Jillian must have a special rule that whenever she enters the field the players will pause the game for 10 minutes to start a shouting match about whether she is a good character or not :lol:

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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:30 pm 
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    So what is this game going to be played like? The system I created on these forums and has since been improved on or altered is the medium I imagine when I think of this game, except that there is some mechanical support like an actual map and units you can move around without requiring a combination of a hexmap and MS paint.

    Obviously, this may not be what you have in mind. So can you give more details about the general play you are thinking of?

    Is this going to be like I just described, or will it be more like a card game? A modified Risk playing board?

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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:33 pm 
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    I'm in! Such an amazing project idea, I would love to help in any way I can.

    Of course, that being said, I can't think of a lot of ways I'd be helpful. :p No technical skills whatsoever.

    I do love RPG type games though. Don't get a ton of time to play them, but I absolutely love listening to DnD-type podcasts. So if you need a warm body to help out with something, I'd be more than happy to give it my best.

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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:36 pm 
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    Happy to help. I've worked on some RPG modules for Pathfinder 3rd party, have written stand alone custom systems for WebRPG/OpenRPG, and have a love of designing systems and mechanics. I can be reached via selerik@gmail.com

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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:40 pm 
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    Right now, we are focused on completely fleshing out a set of rules for what happens when 2 stacks meet for combat. So map, turns, and bigger concepts like that aren't a concern right now.

    The mechanics of battle will be a dice-based affair, with a text document of rules to play by. This is why funding the second Kickstarter stretch-goal is important; having the Gametable application available to us as a playtesting tool will be invaluable.

    Long-term vision; a bigger text document much like a D&D rule manual which can be played in a variety of media just like gamers already do. Some may play in person at a table, some may play in text-only formats, others may play at a digital table like the Gametable app or roll20, and so on. Our long term goal is just to make the rules a reality.

    side note, I'm very excited by how many volunteers are cropping up already! I will be working ASAP to give the Wiki some more page structure so I'm not holding anyone back!

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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:45 pm 
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    Happy to chip in. I have some modest experience with homebrews, and across various systems, so maybe rules-y or playtest-y.

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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:54 pm 
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    As someone who has done far more than just megalos and giants, but neglected to post them, consider me super interested in this project.

    When you say stack combat, how many stacks is the eventual goal? A game designed to handle the Battle for Gobwin Knob is really more of a Civ-style game. But a game that can handle up to the Dwagon Donut is closer to the "D&D" scale.

    Is the RPG intended to recreate more than just stack combat? Detailed character creation more complex than Bogroll's statblock will run counter to the level of disposability shown in the world of Erf at large. Are the players supposed to be warlords controlling their units in that hex battle, or will they be "Overlords" managing each hex's battle(s) and then managing their schmuckers for the turn? These are questions that do influence how you handle stack combat, because the bigger the intended scope for where stack combat will be used, the more abstract it should be.

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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:55 pm 
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    I am very excited about the prospect of this becoming a playable game and would like to assist as I can. I have a few ideas about a starting point with the basic questions as posed in the news story. Is there a landing page for that discussion yet?

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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:58 pm 
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    Do you really think it's going to take a full year to flesh out the micro aspects of the game for stack combat?

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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:59 pm 
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    I'm definitely in. Done some homebrew in d20 and helped with the Legend RPG project as well. Plus gamed in just about every major gaming system. GURPS, RIFTS, all the way back to The Fantasy Trip and the old boxed set of Dungeons & Dragons.

    Known as something of a powergamer over on the GITP boards, I'm really good at finding a mechanic, and breaking the heck out of it, and also giving my opinion on what could be used to fix it without causing other issues.

    Stack based combat is interesting, I'll have to check out what you've already got and see where I can contribute.

    To start off with, we're looking for a simple stack combat system, correct? In that case, we need to know how we break it down into numbers. Because ultimately, it is the numbers that are going to be crunched if we ever want this to go to the web, so it has to be able to be defined in discreet numbers to be used by the mechanic.

    Aside from the basic 'attack' and 'defence' and the 'damage' and 'hit points', there's some other things we probably want to decide if we want as either a main field of entry or as a special entry that can affect things, or just not included at all.

    Armor. How is it handled? Does it provide Damage Avoidance (harder to hit), Persistent Damage Mitigation (reduces damage of all attacks of the appropriate time by x, or maybe y number of times), or just Extra Hit Points?

    I'm assuming gear will provide static pre-defined bonuses as statted on the relevant card. Spear +1 gives a bonus to attack and/or damage, kind of thing. Unless you've got something cheating pretty hard like an Arkentool or a Charlie Linkup Device (like Charlie's guns that give the user the Archery special or the Wonky Wrench), most of these should be just giving static bonuses, so they are pretty easy to figure out.

    To what do stack bonuses apply? Does it give each unit more of a chance to hit? More damage? More durability? Varied depending on the unit type (i.e. Spear type units gain bonus to defense whereas sword type units gain bonus to damage)? How does a unit with Leadership affect this? If you have a Chief Warlord, does his bonus universally apply in some small fashion?

    Obviously, there's a random factor involved with each battle, but how big an influence is that dice roll? What if the bonuses involved exceed the random factor of the die (for example, most high-end tank types of at least moderate optimization end up with something like 1d20+50ish, where the d20 is actually relatively trivial unless the opponent's AC falls into that range)? Should the static bonuses outweigh the random factors?

    Casters, and how they fit in. Honestly, I'd go ahead and largely leave this out of the basic game, because how casters can affect things in the story is so widely varied that they can really unbalance things fast, unless you give each specific caster one or two abilities which they can use, or unless you have a deck of 'spell' cards which require a caster of the appropriate type and level to play. That can be hashed out later.

    How does stack size, mechanically, affect the units in a stack? Current wisdom says that on average, seven is the optimal number for a squad, with a bell curve falling off from there of usefulness. But there are likely to be things that could affect this.


    Last edited by ShneekeyTheLost on Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:06 pm 
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    Sonic Screwdriver wrote:
    When you say stack combat, how many stacks is the eventual goal? A game designed to handle the Battle for Gobwin Knob is really more of a Civ-style game. But a game that can handle up to the Dwagon Donut is closer to the "D&D" scale.
    That is a question to tackle collaboratively as we go. The actual mechanics should be infinitely scale-able but after a certain size it become impractical to roll all of those dice at a table in any sort of timely fashion and it would require a computer instead. That's what I mean when I say that some ideas will be filed away and saved for later, when and if there is ever budget for a Civ-like game.

    Sonic Screwdriver wrote:
    Is the RPG intended to recreate more than just stack combat? Detailed character creation more complex than Bogroll's statblock will run counter to the level of disposability shown in the world of Erf at large. Are the players supposed to be warlords controlling their units in that hex battle, or will they be "Overlords" managing each hex's battle(s) and then managing their schmuckers for the turn? These are questions that do influence how you handle stack combat, because the bigger the intended scope for where stack combat will be used, the more abstract it should be.
    Units are uniform and standard, you would not go through "character creation" for a Stabber or even a Twoll; since all of their stats are the same. And it's unlikely that players would determine those stats; we as the creative team would build a big roster of units that exist in the world.

    Now as for who the players are, that is open to some flexibility. In this initial phase, we can imagine the player as an off-screen Ruler who is just calling the shots. In later phases, Players could be the Ruler or they could be a Commander unit within the stack. It depends on what level of responsibility (and complexity) that particular group of players wants, but I think the ruleset should support both scales and everything in between. If you just want to be a Warlord in your single stack, here's the rules for that and ignore the rest of the book. But if you want to be King Conquer III, ruling the entirety of your side over many turns, you're gonna need the whole book.

    Kaed wrote:
    Do you really think it's going to take a full year to flesh out the micro aspects of the game for stack combat?
    We want it to be absolutely perfect, and stack combat is essentially the backbone of the entire universe. Every hypothetical needs to be considered and addressed if possible. Additionally, Team Erfworld is advocating a "slow & steady wins the race" attitude on this project. Take our time and get it right the first time.

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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:08 pm 
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    Since it seems like people are giving introductions, guess I should as well...

    Long time gamer, amateur designer at heart. I've written at least two RPG systems (not published, but posted in places on the 'net), published one adventure, have designed countless homebrew stuff, and still have my notes for a Civ-4X style mass combat system that's intended to be played without a computer.

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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:15 pm 
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    Good idea! I'm sure there are many who know me in the context of the forums and Erfworld superfan, also by my Zero Baron cameo in the comic, but I haven't talked much about msyelf outside of Erfworld as much!

    I am an avid gamer, with an 8-year history of playing Dungeons & Dragons (3.5, 4, and 5th). I currently DM for two groups and have many others under my belt. I design homebrew content for my campaigns, and have recently got into designing one-shots as well. I'm also quite the Excel guru.

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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:33 pm 
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    0beron wrote:
    Sonic Screwdriver wrote:
    When you say stack combat, how many stacks is the eventual goal? A game designed to handle the Battle for Gobwin Knob is really more of a Civ-style game. But a game that can handle up to the Dwagon Donut is closer to the "D&D" scale.
    That is a question to tackle collaboratively as we go. The actual mechanics should be infinitely scale-able but after a certain size it become impractical to roll all of those dice at a table in any sort of timely fashion and it would require a computer instead. That's what I mean when I say that some ideas will be filed away and saved for later, when and if there is ever budget for a Civ-like game.
    I don't think a single set of rules can, or even should, be infinitely scale-able. For example, both D&D & Super Dungeon Explore have rules that are great for skirmish-scale combat, but just increasing the number of units by an order of magnitude isn't something the rules can handle. And it's more than rolling more dice, and any adjustments to handle that increase honestly make it a different game. Heck, I'm certain that Civilization's rules are actually garbage if you just have a lone camel archer fight a single mandekalu cavalryman.

    Now, linked subsystems in a single book are totally different; and as you might have noticed, I take the term for additional rules that change how you play as a different (sub)system even if they have an identical foundation.

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     Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:40 pm 
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    0beron wrote:
    Right now, we are focused on completely fleshing out a set of rules for what happens when 2 stacks meet for combat. So map, turns, and bigger concepts like that aren't a concern right now.


    Although we are only designing stack battles for now, I think it's good to keep in mind how this portion of the game could fit into the larger picture. The overall Erfworld game might actually consist of several different games, a Civ/Risk map territorial control game played on a board, a separate Dnd style game to simulate stack combat within a hex, etc., that could link together, with ways to transfer resources/successes/failures between each portion of the game. If we're making separate but connected games, we don't need to plan the whole thing now, but we should keep in mind where the linking points are. For stack combat that may be as simple as determining what units you enter/exit combat with. But I think we should really specify when the stack warfare ruleset starts applying and stops applying, so it's painless to segue between rulesets.

    Going back to the actual topic of stack warfare, I think we want battles to be as streamlined as possible. I would rather the Erfworld game be fun and easy to play, even if it doesn't capture the full complexity of warfare in the comic.

    To do that, I think we should treat stacks as a single unit. So instead of simulating the performance of every single archer and piker in a battlefield, we can roll for their performance as a group. For large battles, maybe we can even treat entire armies with multiple stacks as a single unit.

    Maybe the system could work something like add up the total hp of your stack, then do a series of opposed dice rolls based on their average combat and defense stats. Bonuses like stack bonus, leadership, specials, magic, could add a positive or negative modifier to the dice roll. Each dice roll takes an amount of hp off your stack, periodically croaking units, and whoever runs out of units first loses.

    If we also want DnD style combat between individuals, perhaps they can be special rules for commanders allowing detailed blow by blow action. Then you could simulate complex fight scenes involving warlords and casters. But I think it's best to limit that kind of slow paced gameplay to being just for commanders. Otherwise a large battle with thousands of units would require a team of accountants to run.

    _________________
    I've written a few Erfworld fanfics!
    *The Walking Unled - Croakamancy gone wrong.
    *Decryptocurrency - Wanda and the moneymancer.
    *A Very Erfworld Questmas - Peace on Erf.
    *Blast From The Past - 10 part story about an army frozen in time. Finished!

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