MapTool Proprietary Game System

MapTool campaign files that encapsulate properties, tokens, and macros for a particular ruleset or game world. "Framework" is often abbreviated "FW".

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MapTool Proprietary Game System

Post by vertebrae8 »

I only have a moment before I go to bed, but let me share: I have been thinking of making a ruleset from the ground up that uses the strengths and avoids the weaknesses of virtual tabletops. If you could make a rule system for gaming that was optimally suited for MapTool, what are some of the first things that come to mind?

Would you take out movement? Take out initiative? Would you use only d100s for everything? Would you make progression skill based, with no classes? Would you change the way you DM? Would you create a skirmish/rpg hybrid?

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Re: MapTool Proprietary Game System

Post by Jagged »

Interesting topic. Did you mean the weaknesses of virtual tabletops or of Maptool in particular?

There are a number of things I think this tool does very very well, that significantly add to the gaming experience. They are line of sight and vision in general. So if I was going to write a game system to show off Maptool it would include vision distance, light sources and character facing.

I would also make give it a fantasy setting simply because most of the resources we have are of that theme :)

Incidentally I am finding that D&D Essentials with its emphasis on encounters works very well with Maptool.

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Re: MapTool Proprietary Game System

Post by wolph42 »

the weakness of a VTT and its framework is that it can't work with 'vagueness'. If you build a FW for a game then you use a programming language which on a VERY basic level boils down to
IF players does x THEN do y ELSE z.
This can be text, die rolls etc. This however requires the rules to be VERY explicit. I've been building a FW around warhammer 40k RPG for the last years and have encountered numerous occasions where it simply wasn't clear what was meant or it is left of to the gm or there are several optionals rules, what then happens is that
IF players does x THEN do y ELSE z.
IF players does x AND ruleA THEN do y ELSE (IF players does x AND ruleB THEN do w ELSE (etc.)) and things become convoluted and difficult to program. So a clear concise and relatively simple system if a pre for a VTT.

The same counts for distance, area, movement etc. Another example again in W40K, there are 'Hordes' this is an abstract ruling for 'a lot of e.g. Orks', instead of fighting them one by one, you are fighting 'the horde'. The horde has a magnitude which signifies the size of the horde. What it does NOT describe is how big the area is the horde covers. Obviously its an amorphous entity which you cannot force into a square or circle, which thus makes this rule very BAD for a VTT.
The funny thing is however that the same 40k has a table top war game for which a VTT is IDEAL, cause it consists out of large areas, with mountains, rivers, water, structures etc and a LOT of tokens. To create an overview and line of sight, distance etc a VTT is perfect.

So the system should be simple and concise and it should involve: movement, terrain, line of sight, fog of war, light, darkness.

hope this helps a bit.

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Re: MapTool Proprietary Game System

Post by Mylon »

Working from the ground up with a computer in mind, I'd want rolls to be focused around arbitrary-sized dice. What's more, skills and traits can be designed to have better synergy with one another.

As a rough example of this in action:

Character has +2 in agility, +1 in strength, and +4 in fighting. As a result, his roll to swing an axe is 1d( 50 (base) + 20 (agility) + 5 (strength) + 40 (fighting) ). The target rolls 1d (defense value, done in a similar composite manner) and the results are compared to determine success. Critical hits can occur if certain requirements are met, like if the attack roll is 2x the defense roll. Glancing hit may occur if the attack roll is only 5% over the defense.

Directly related bonuses provide +10 to the roll, while synergies provide less. In this case, only +5 for strength. If using a finesse weapon, then acrobatics may provide a bonus to the roll in place of strength.

Advantages of this is character creation / advancement is coarse grained for easier management, but the dice can represent more finer detail given character development.

The catch to this particular design is I don't think the random target number is likely to be well received by players, so it would be nice to obscure this information. The random target number is such that even novice characters can succeed and the 1d (composite skill) is such that even veteran characters can fail. This makes every roll dramatic! (If it's not a dramatic task, why are you bothering to roll?) This is a trait I really love about Savage Worlds, except they use exploding dice in place of the variable target number.

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Re: MapTool Proprietary Game System

Post by Azhrei »

thelevitator is building his own game system, BS&S (Blood, Sweat, and Steel, IIRC) and is building the MT configuration at the same time. So while his game isn't strictly for VTTs, it is built with VTTs in mind and thus I believe MT's capabilities are influencing his game design up to a point.

You could PM him here and see if he wants to contribute to this thread. :)

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Re: MapTool Proprietary Game System

Post by Jade »

Warhammer Quest and MapTool seem like they were made for each other.

(Just saying.)

In addition to what others have mentioned, part of the beauty of programming a Framework for a VTT is that you can do more computer-game-ish stuff that you can't do with tabletop. Stat calculations can get complicated and become on-the-fly. Rolls and modifiers can get convoluted. You want things to be simple enough for the players to grasp what's going on, but you're not limited in the way traditional games are limited. (But, as has been mentioned above, you are limited in other ways.) But I mean, you can use averaging, incremental initiative, complex damage or weapon charts, you name it, without slowing the game down one whit!

So MapTool can work particularly well with Simulationist-style systems. Perhaps even more so than Gamist systems, though it can work quite well for them. I would expect that it's not so great for Narrativist systems except insofar as they fit one of the other two classic RPG categories.

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