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 Post subject: OVA goes dark
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:41 am 
Shelled Plebeian

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There are plenty of genres in the Anime and Manga sections and of course there are thriller and horror stories avaliable.

Not so long ago I stumbled over a "new" Anime and it has a dark background and I was inspired to use a darker theme for my new campaign. But then I realised that it has something in it's story which I don't know how to intigrate into OVA: mutation.
The so-called "cursed children" are girls with a special gene which gives them the power to fight the enemy of humanity, but this special gene is causing their bodies to mutate over time and once they reach the critical percentage of mutated cells they lose their human body and become what they are trained to fight.

So how could I implement this ongoing mutation?


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 Post subject: Re: OVA goes dark
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 4:50 am 
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Are the girls like in Claymore, once they gain enough power they go crazy and turn monstrous? Or do they just turn monstrous?

If they just turn monstrous, that'd just be giving the characters "Bizarre Appearance" Weakness at the appropriate time.

If there it's like in Claymore and the characters turn a into evil monsters, I'd probably use a Unique Weakness "Cursed Powers" or whatever phrase that works best. Character creation usually uses the Base Zero rule, but I believe a character is able to exceed the Base Zero limitation with experience points, either by buying off Weaknesses or purchasing new or increased Abilities. This Unique Weakness would put in a harder limit like the Base Zero. Once a character hits a specific number difference, they mutate and go evil/rogue. With -1 level of Weakness, that'd be something like +15 point difference. -2 level would be +10 point difference. And -3 would be +5 point difference.

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 Post subject: Re: OVA goes dark
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:40 am 
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Well, the girls turn into giant creatures and lose everything which made them human.
So the cute little girl with pigtails may become a giant spider, with no way of remembering who she was, where she comes from, what or who she likes and just infecting humans with this more or less viral-gene, so they turn into monster too.

I guess this is like in Claymore, haven't watched that yet. I'm trying to not tell too much, because I know some people dislike spoilers.

At first I thought of something like the Corruption Mechanic in WH40K, Rot in Mutant Year Zero or Taint in Legend of the five Rings. The Taint mechanic would be my favorite, since it not only offers some sort of power which is bit by bit taking away the players sanity, while making them more powerful, it also offers a mechanic for further accumulation of Taint. So it grows over time. Like in the Anime I saw. And there is a critical point where the players characters no longer can try to hide that they are losing their humanity.


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 Post subject: Re: OVA goes dark
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 4:50 am 
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I guess the biggest question would be, would you rather have it as a game mechanic or a character weakness?

If it's a mechanic, then it's something that the Players wouldn't really have much control over. Again, I like the idea of building it from the Base Zero rule. When a character exceeds the default 5 point difference normal for a 'balanced' character, then they can start 'mutating'. If you wanted it to be gradual, then every point or two beyond the default 5 points would develop into this mutation. Once a character has reached a difference that you determine would be the full loss of control (such as +10 or +15 difference)- then there goes the character.

Personally, I like the idea as a Weakness, which I mentioned before. For a -1 pt Weakness, that limit would be +15, for -2 pts the limit would +10, and for -3 pts the limit would be +5 (this would mean that pretty much anyone who went beyond the Base Zero limit would mutate).

If you wanted to keep it a mystery, you could give the players the weakness as an "Unknown Weakness" and tell them they have -1, -2, or -3 added to their Weakness total- but they wouldn't know what it does. As they increase their Abilities, you can tell them they are starting to bug out or whatever mutation they got. And when they get to the difference based on the level of Weakness they got- there they go.

Of course, that's if you want to go with a 'ticking timebomb' for them. In general, I do see the idea as something in regards of getting higher Ability levels, since the higher those are, the more powers at hand for a Player.

I guess it's more depends on the type of effect do you want it to do, and then figure out the trigger for the effect.

Which anime is this idea from? Sounds like something I'd want to check out.

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 Post subject: Re: OVA goes dark
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:39 am 
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I think it would be more of a mechanic, since the players don't really have controll over this.

The Anima I'm talking about is Black Bullet. It is based on a light novel and there is a Manga too. The Anime has 13 episodes...and I hope that there will be a second season, but I don't think so.

Also in the Anime there is some sort of medication which is able to slow down the mutation.
But since in my world all those mutations are something new, no one knows much about it...except for you are no longer human. ^^
So I think about introducing this while the game is running, like after a few sessions the PCs find someone who tells them about something the NPC found during researching the mutated.


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 Post subject: Re: OVA goes dark
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:13 am 
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I caught a few episodes. Don't really care for the main character or the... loli-harem-ness of it. But there are some neat visuals (the monoliths in the city, especially), and the side characters and setting has merit. Could use a Kamen Rider or two to beat the Gastrea (although Rentaro comes close with that one project).

There's two problems, though. For one, OVA isn't really built well for that percentage to monster aspect. With the girls, you'd just give them higher levels of Agile, Attack, Quick, and Strong (maybe Cute), then apply the Ageism and Bizarre Appearance (eyes) weaknesses, then a Unique Weakness of testing/requiring a vaccine. But the actual virus itself would be fluff and under the GM control.

Which leads to the second problem. The level and speed of infection is much more in service of the story. As such, having numbers to gauge the infection is fairly arbitrary. It just happens, and the strength of the infected monster is entirely dependent on the challenge the GM wants to give the players. If a player is at risk of turning monstrous, that's much more of a role-playing scenario, with the understanding that a player would have a certain amount of time to find a cure. That timing would again be best handled by the GM as appropriate for the story, maybe make some sort of endurance roll to see if there is a rise of a chance. This honestly would be the closest approach to the source.

Take a Resident Evil game for example. There really is no danger that Jill Valentine or Chris Renfield would get infected by the zombie virus, because they're needed to finish the story. Even when Leon Kennedy gets a Las Plagua thing, he just stomachs it out til he finds the machine that lasers it out of him. The only real danger is if their HP goes to zero. And a sidekick character that gets infected? Usually they only turn when it's the worst possible time in the story.

I'm not as enthralled by idea, as by taking it out of the players hands, they might just think that their character is doomed and things wouldn't matter that much. Sort of a TPK scenario, which is only fun if the players are okay with that sort of story. Plus, that's more work for you as the GM, since then you'd have to keep track of the 'doom' for not just the story but for the players as well.

If it's an NPC that is infected, that can be bullocks by a dice roll. Say the first roll, they only turn if you roll 2 out of a 2d6. Then next time it would be on a 3. And so on. Or the number rises when the target is hit by the virus again (the fluids of a monster seeping into a wound). Rolling whenever seems appropriate for a possible turn. There is no need for actual stats of the NPC and just throw in the monster stats when they do turn. That guy in the first episode who turned into a spider monster wouldn't have had any stats as an NPC, just as the monster. And again, he turned as quickly as needed for the episode.

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 Post subject: Re: OVA goes dark
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:23 am 
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I watched that anime but I don't recall exactly how it worked now... Just bits and pieces. So I have an idea but it may or may not fit.

Make a Unique Ability: Corruption. For anyone with this virus giving them power, they start with 1 rank in it. It essentially fuels the superpowered abilities the character has. When they use their corruption they get extra rank(s) they can add to abilities that make sense for the setting. You can model it after Transformation if you like, or give them half that much without consequences but offer more if the player is willing to increase their corruption rank. Up to you whether it's a chance or if it definitely increases each time. Unlike Transformation, I would probably say the GM is the only one who can add Weaknesses if this corruption ability is used.

The goal is to keep Unique Ability: Corruption below a certain rank you set. You prompt them to use their abilities and risk getting closer to their fate by challenges that push them, where this isn't the only option but it's the easiest one. If they take the bait and their rank goes up, you can have them buy it or just give it to them depending on the tone you want to set. If a PCs rank gets too high, they become an NPC.


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 Post subject: Re: OVA goes dark
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:32 pm 
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I think I'll discuss these options with my players. ^^


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 Post subject: Re: OVA goes dark
PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 7:59 am 
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Sounds nice, hotaru, downloading it right now.

How did you solve it in the end, what mechanic/weakness did you apply?

You know what I would have done in your place? Kept a power ceiling.
Only problem for the players, they can't go over it. And when they get new/better abilities via experience, they need to take weaknesses too. And the weaknesses, those I'd give to them, my choice. And if they won't take better abilities they won't be able to face the harder situations/monsters w/o being curbstomped. So essentially the party's forced to advance, but the more they get stronger, the worse weaknesses they get from little ol' moi, up to the point where they become mad monsters.

Mmm, I like a little sadism in my RPing :P

XOXO,
Rose-

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 Post subject: Re: OVA goes dark
PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 12:41 pm 
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Roswynn d'Cannith wrote:
You know what I would have done in your place? Kept a power ceiling.
Only problem for the players, they can't go over it. And when they get new/better abilities via experience, they need to take weaknesses too. And the weaknesses, those I'd give to them, my choice. And if they won't take better abilities they won't be able to face the harder situations/monsters w/o being curbstomped. So essentially the party's forced to advance, but the more they get stronger, the worse weaknesses they get from little ol' moi, up to the point where they become mad monsters.

Mmm, I like a little sadism in my RPing :P

XOXO,
Rose-


Unfortunately, that would not work. Power Ceiling rules limits how many total points in Abilities a character can have, regardless of the number of Weaknesses. With a Power Ceiling of 15, a character could have 15 points in Abilities and 25 points in Weaknesses, but they would not have the Base Zero balance. They could not have 20-30 points in Abilities based on their 25 points in Weaknesses, but still are limited to only 15 total Abilities points.

I get what you mean, though. And that's similar to what I initially suggested way up there. Keeping a character within Base Zero (that is, within 5 points of total Abilities and Weaknesses) would keep a character 'safe'. However, if they go beyond the 5 point difference would edge a character towards madness or body horror. It would then depend on what number outside of Base Zero would be the point of no return.

I suggested a Unique Weakness, call it something like "Cursed Abilities" or what have you. At level 1, that point of no return was a difference of 15 points. At level 2 it would be 10 point difference, and at level 3 it would be 5 points (In essence, anything beyond Base Zero).

And in order to gain more power or more abilities, a character would then have to gain weaknesses to keep them from losing control. This would allow the players to keep control over their characters while knowing that 'ticking bomb' was still there.

A more sadistic GM could have slightly different numbers for when a character loses control. Say three characters have "Cursed Abilities" level 3. One character doesn't lose control at having a 6 points difference, but does at having 8 points. Another character loses it at 7 points difference. And the third is unlucky enough that the moment she goes 6 point differences, she's lost. However, the players wouldn't know at what point between 6 and 10 point difference their characters would mutate, and so the safest way to avoid it is to keep upping their Weaknesses whenever they gain Abilities to stay within the Base Zero safe zone.

Of course, too many Weaknesses would also trigger the horror...

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 Post subject: Re: OVA goes dark
PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 5:16 am 
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Malancthon wrote:
Unfortunately, that would not work. Power Ceiling rules limits how many total points in Abilities a character can have, regardless of the number of Weaknesses. With a Power Ceiling of 15, a character could have 15 points in Abilities and 25 points in Weaknesses, but they would not have the Base Zero balance. They could not have 20-30 points in Abilities based on their 25 points in Weaknesses, but still are limited to only 15 total Abilities points.


Dammit, you're right, Malancthon!... Hey, I told you folks I'm better at designing magitech, in Breland we didn't even have RPGs! :P Also, I'm used to Base Zero when creating characters for OVA... I didn't remember very well how Power Ceiling worked :wink: Thank you for the correction!

Quote:
I get what you mean, though. And that's similar to what I initially suggested way up there. Keeping a character within Base Zero (that is, within 5 points of total Abilities and Weaknesses) would keep a character 'safe'. However, if they go beyond the 5 point difference would edge a character towards madness or body horror. It would then depend on what number outside of Base Zero would be the point of no return.


Then I'm totally with you on that! As soon as they leave the 5 pts safety net... boom, mutations! :twisted:

Quote:
I suggested a Unique Weakness, call it something like "Cursed Abilities" or what have you. At level 1, that point of no return was a difference of 15 points. At level 2 it would be 10 point difference, and at level 3 it would be 5 points (In essence, anything beyond Base Zero).


Hey Mal, you really love creating new Uniques, or is it just me? :wink: Well, I usually am too afraid to try it, but this one you're suggesting sounds pretty cool to me. I would still simply give an auto safety net of 5 pts to everyone & that's that, if every character were subject to the "curse", (i.e. the gastrea phage of Black Bullet, for instance), but if only some charas were to suffer from this problem your concept would sound ideal.

Quote:
And in order to gain more power or more abilities, a character would then have to gain weaknesses to keep them from losing control. This would allow the players to keep control over their characters while knowing that 'ticking bomb' was still there.


Nice!

Quote:
A more sadistic GM


That's me :twisted:

Quote:
could have slightly different numbers for when a character loses control. Say three characters have "Cursed Abilities" level 3. One character doesn't lose control at having a 6 points difference, but does at having 8 points. Another character loses it at 7 points difference. And the third is unlucky enough that the moment she goes 6 point differences, she's lost. However, the players wouldn't know at what point between 6 and 10 point difference their characters would mutate, and so the safest way to avoid it is to keep upping their Weaknesses whenever they gain Abilities to stay within the Base Zero safe zone.

Of course, too many Weaknesses would also trigger the horror...


:idea: :shock: :idea: Malancthon, I am officially in love with your perversion and I think this is an awesome idea 8) It's almost Lovecraftian! I love it to pieces! And I'll make sure to steal it if I ever have a campaign featuring this scenario - hell, it would be worth it to run a campaign expressedly like this just to use this Unique :twisted:

XOXO,
Rosie :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: OVA goes dark
PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 4:17 pm 
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If you like the idea of uncertainty for the time of mutation, but don’t feel comfortable assigning different numbers to different players (eg. it seems unfair), you can make it a DN instead and have players roll against it with two dice. Every time they bump up the curse, it requires another roll—and of course, the higher it gets, the more likely that roll will fail. This keeps the mystery of exactly when it will happen but allows the same “fairness” for every character.


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 Post subject: Re: OVA goes dark
PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 10:03 am 
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Great idea, Clay!

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 Post subject: Re: OVA goes dark
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 2:18 pm 
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It’s modified from some rules I made for a certain magical girl anime that shares themes with the show you described. They might pop up on the blog in a few weeks, maybe!


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 Post subject: Re: OVA goes dark
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2016 10:58 am 
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Clay wrote:
It’s modified from some rules I made for a certain magical girl anime that shares themes with the show you described. They might pop up on the blog in a few weeks, maybe!
I have some friends who will be very excited to play in said certain magical girl anime setting. :mrgreen:


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