[Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

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[Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by shesheyan » Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:45 pm

READING MODERN AGE

Really like what I've read so far.

Modern AGE is classless which is perfect for a game in a modern environment in which people can have several unrelated skill sets. Three levels of play (gritty, pulpy, cinematic) are available. Gritty is similar to CoC where characters die easily and don't get many upgrades. Cinematic is like d20 Modern/D&D were characters gains more of everything often over 20 levels. Pulpy is somewhere in between. The surprising fourth option lets the GM mix and match the three levels to his liking. Probably best suited to a GM experienced with the AGE system.


Nine Abilities :
Accuracy, Communication, Constitution, Dexterity, Fighting, Intelligence, Perception, Strength, Willpower.

Generated with a 3d6 roll or point buy system. Ranging from 3 (-2) to 18 (+4). In this system an ability bonus of zero is normal for a commoner. Really like that Accuracy is decoupled from Dexterity, Strength is decoupled from Fighting, Communication from Intelligence. Perception, not Dexterity, gives bonus damage to range attacks! Very close to my ideal ten stats home-brew system. More granularity and less single Uber Ability characters.

Actions :
One major + one minor OR two minor actions. Free actions are available. All the usual action types are included. Variable actions are used for Power Talents and Reloads. Activation in order of Initiative. A round last 15 seconds thus 4 per minute.

Ability Test :
3d6 (average 10.5) + Ability bonus + Focus (skill). I really like the bell curve probabilities of 3d6. I favor this over the linear probability of the d20 or the unwieldiness of dice pools.

To test player rolls 3d6 dice. Two of one color and another of a different color (stunt dice). Average TN is 11 on a scale of 7 to 21. If the total of the three dice plus bonuses is equal or more than the TN its a success. If you roll a double on any of the three dice the other uses of the Stunt dice comes in play. It first tells you the degree of success. 1 is by the seat of your pants success while 6 is an extraordinary success.

The Stunt Dice also tells you how many Stunt Points (1-6) you get to trigger cool effects. Stunts are not attached to characters. Everyone can use them. Categories are : Combat Stunts, Firearm Stunts, Grappling Stunts, Melee Stunts, Anti-Vehicule Stunts, Exploration Stunts, Social Stunts, Infiltration stunts, and Investigation Stunts.

In combat you roll against the targets Defense score. Equal or more is a hit. Armor as well as natural Toughness reduce damage. In a modern setting armor will be very rare. This type of system encourages players to use more brains than brawn even at cinematic level.

Progression
Characters progress by gaining experience points or at milestones decided by the GM. There are 20 levels. Level 2-6 require +2000 xps to gain a level. Level 7-12 require +3000xps. Levels 13-20 require +4000xps.

That's it for now. More later.
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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by shesheyan » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:24 pm

CHARACTER CREATION

Character creation is a nine step process. Its very straightforward and easy to follow with examples of a sample character. Background, Profession and Drives shapes your character with Ability Increases, Focuses, Talents and Improvements.

• Concept: Very important to have an concept since this is a classless system.

• Abilities : see above

• Background: Social classes are Outsider, Lower, Middle and Upper. Awards Focuses, ability increases, and Talents. Social Class determines the pool of professions you can choose from.

• Profession : (Ex: Investigator) Awards Focuses, Talents, Health and Resource level.

• Drive: What inspires the character to take risks, get involved in storylines. Awards Talent and some Improvements.

• Resources and Equipment : Modern AGE uses an abstract system for currency. You make «Resource Checks» to buy stuff and borrow money. I know some people don't like this kind of system but I do.

• Determine Health, Defense, Toughness, and Speed.

• Goals, Ties, and Relationships: Short and long-term goals, their ties with other characters, and their important Relationships.

• Name and Description
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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by shesheyan » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:01 pm

CONVICTIONS (Optional Rule)

If you like action points in your game this optional rule is for you. A character starts with 3 Convictions at level 1 and gains +1 every odd level. Conviction Points can be used to :

• Dodge
• Recover : Regain Health
• Re-roll
• Surge : gain an additional Major action or Minor action
• Survive : Stabilize automatically a dying character

Regaining Conviction: You regain conviction by role-playing your Drives (quality/downfall). Once or twice in a game the GM can also award convictions for achievements, overcoming difficult challenges and solving puzzles.
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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by shesheyan » Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:59 pm

STUNTS

Stunts are probably the most unique mechanic about this system. You get them when you roll doubles on a successful 3d6 test. They are not linked to character creation and progression. Anyone can use them :

« Example
Amy is trying to fight her way through the crowd to rescue Brian before he dies. She attacks a tough on the outside of the crowd. Her attack roll is a 16 in total and her dice read 3, 5, and 5, with one of the 5s being her Stunt Die. This beats the tough’s Defense, so Amy hits. Since she also rolled doubles, she receives a number of stunt points equal to her Stunt Die (5 in this case).

Amy decides to perform three stunts:

1) She spends 1 SP to use Skirmish on the target of her attack, moving him to the side 2 yards. He also takes normal damage from the attack.

2) Then Amy spends a second stunt point to use Skirmish on herself to step into the spot recently vacated by her opponent.

3) Lastly, she spends her remaining 3 SP to make a Lightning Attack. Since she is still adjacent to her original target, she could attack him, but chooses to attack a new opponent—the woman now in front of her. She rolls another successful hit and gets doubles again. She does not, however, get any more SP (this is spelled out in the Lightning Attack stunt description). Amy’s player describes how she barrels into the crowd screaming obscenities, smashing the tough aside and pushing forward to rescue her friend. »

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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by shesheyan » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:10 am

I've started re-reading the rules of this system now that I have a color dead wood copy. For my 1912 one-shot I'll be using the Pulp level of play without the Convictions. We played a game in September but didn't really use the stunt system. The GM didn't promote their use. I'll be integrating them in my session as I feel they are what makes this system shine.

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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by Havard » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:17 pm

shesheyan wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:45 pm
Modern AGE is classless which is perfect for a game in a modern environment in which people can have several unrelated skill sets. Three levels of play (gritty, pulpy, cinematic) are available. Gritty is similar to CoC where characters die easily and don't get many upgrades. Cinematic is like d20 Modern/D&D were characters gains more of everything often over 20 levels. Pulpy is somewhere in between. The surprising fourth option lets the GM mix and match the three levels to his liking. Probably best suited to a GM experienced with the AGE system.
This is something I have come to appreciate more and more of late. Sounds like Modern AGE is offering this customization front and center instead of hiding the rules somewhere in an optional rules section.

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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by shesheyan » Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:05 pm

Havard wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:17 pm
shesheyan wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:45 pm
Modern AGE is classless which is perfect for a game in a modern environment in which people can have several unrelated skill sets. Three levels of play (gritty, pulpy, cinematic) are available. Gritty is similar to CoC where characters die easily and don't get many upgrades. Cinematic is like d20 Modern/D&D were characters gains more of everything often over 20 levels. Pulpy is somewhere in between. The surprising fourth option lets the GM mix and match the three levels to his liking. Probably best suited to a GM experienced with the AGE system.
This is something I have come to appreciate more and more of late. Sounds like Modern AGE is offering this customization front and center instead of hiding the rules somewhere in an optional rules section.

-Havard
Yes its literally in your face. When appropriate the page includes a pale brown box for Gritty, a yellow box for Pulp and a green box for Cinematic. Available stunts also have 3 levels of play. Some stunts are not available to low levels of play. Even the monster/enemy profils have colored stat blocks for each level of play. It's a great way to present the information. ;)

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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by shesheyan » Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:58 pm

POWERS

This step is outside the regular character generation process and only allowed if the GM is running an Supernatural, Psychic or Superpower campaign.

The powers are divided in two categories: Arcana and Psychic.

The Arcana Powers sub-categories are Digital Arcana, Divination Arcana, Fire Arcana, Healing Arcana, Illusion Arcana, Machine Arcana, Power Arcana and Protection Arcana.

The Psychic Powers sub-categories are Cryokinesis, Empathy, Extrasensory Perception, Psychic Projection, Pyrotechnics, Shielding, Telekinesis and Telepathy.

There a four powers per sub-category for a total of [edit] 64 not 32 powers.

Characters with powers have a Power Point pool based on Willpower. The points are spent when powers are used. A character can master a Power first as a Novice, then as an Expert and finally as a Master. There is a list of Power stunts which are accessed when the player rolls a double result just like in the other aspects of the game.

It's up to the GM to decided how Powers are gained and regained after use. Gaining new Power may be limited, unlimited, by substitution or through specialization. Instead of Power Points an alternate variant uses Power Fatigue. Characters don't have power points. Instead they make a test each time they use a power. If he fails he gains Fatigue Levels which can leave him Winded, Fatigued, Exhausted, or even Dying.

________________________________________________________________
I'm very happy with this chapter. The number of optional choices for the GM allows him to truly customize the way Powers will be used by the players. It's more versatile than the spell like system in Modern D20. I'm guessing other Powers are available in the Fantasy AGE core book.
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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by Kythkyn » Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:35 pm

shesheyan wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:58 pm
I'm guessing other Powers are available in the Fantasy AGE core book.
With a little tweaking, F-AGE core and companion both have powers that work just fine in M-AGE. In Magus Mundi we're doing just that, I have players with powers from the M-AGE core, but also from F-AGE companion. The M-AGE companion, due out this year (fingers crossed) will also have expanded powers, and hopefully some more psionic stuff.

What I really like about M-AGE is the different styles of powers and the further customization, with rules like limited power points, or no power points at all. I'm using different variants in different games
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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by shesheyan » Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:16 pm

SOCIAL INTERACTIONS

The rules offers four ways to play out social interactions.

The first is to role-play them free form without using any rules or rolls.

The second option uses the First Impression and Attitudes table. The GM first decides what the initial attitude of the NPC is. The character's Communication ability, Reputation and other modifiers can modifier instantly this first impression, ranging from Very Hostile to Very Friendly. A second option is to make a 3d6 on the table and adds bonus/penalties to the roll. A high modified result will make the NPC friendlier.

The third option is called Detailed Social Interactions. This is used to influence a NPC over a long period of time. The PC makes a number of social maneuvers equal to the difference between the initial attitude and the attitude the pc is trying to obtain from the NPC.

Example
«Sean wants to infiltrate a secret society called the Shadow Masons, and must win the trust of the group’s “Gate Master” through social maneuvers. The GM decides the suspicious Gate Master is Standoffish, and Sean must make him Friendly. That’s 3 shifts, plus 1 shift to get the Gate Master to induct Sean into the conspiracy. Sean must perform four tasks that gradually increase their trustworthiness in the Gate Master’s eyes. Sean starts off by arranging to bump into the Gate Master a few times at the grocer’s and on the street, introducing themself and casually saying, “The news is all rubbish—things get done behind the scenes.” Building rapport this way is represented with an opposed Communication (Persuasion) vs. Willpower (Self-Discipline) check, which Sean wins. The Gate Master now regards Sean with a Neutral attitude, as a smart local character. Next, Sean arranges to bump into him at the local watering hole, and buys him a few drinks. Sean’s player, Howard, roleplays this well, getting the taciturn man to open up, and the GM decides no roll is required, and the Gate Master (whose name is Jim, Sean learns) is now Open to Sean. When they meet again, Sean confesses to Jim that they know he’s a member of the Shadow Masons, and that Sean considers this a good thing. “We need people willing to take charge, but stay humble, in the background,” says Sean. This time, the test is Communication (Etiquette) vs Jim’s Willpower (Faith); Sean narrowly succeeds, and the Gate Master is now Friendly. The GM decides that Jim makes the next move. “If you want to join us,” says Jim, “You need to bring a freshly severed hand to us on the night of the next new moon.” This infiltration may be trickier than Sean thought.»


The fourth option is called the Grand Gesture. It is used mostly to achieve an attitude shift in one fell swoop :
Example
Brian wants to join an elite security force, but to do so, he needs to graduate at the top of a grueling training course, the sort of program that Navy SEALs would recognize. By policy, the instructors are Hostile; to pass, he needs to make them Friendly by excelling at the tasks set before him over 2 weeks. That’s 4 shifts, plus 1 shift to graduate. The GM decides this is a grand gesture, an advanced test with a success threshold of 20 (4 multiplied by 5 shifts) and each increment lasts a day and requires a different combat related attribute and focus. After some early setbacks, Brian manages to score 22 by day 14. He’s now a member of a black ops mercenary company. If he’d washed out, he would have gained nothing.

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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by shesheyan » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:48 pm

COMBAT

Combat is handled as a theater of the mind system. There are no rules provided to use miniatures on a grid. For exemple there is no hard coded rule to determine line of sight between two models as in Savage Worlds - which was designed to be played with models.

When the roll is successful the players get to spend Stun Points when the roll was a double on any of the 3d6. If I rolled 4+4+2 for a total of 10 AND a hit. I receive 2 stunt points because the other two die show 4 and 4 - a double.

There are several combat stunts lists to choose from : General Combat Stunts, Melee Stunts, Firearms Stunts, Grappling Stunts and Power Stunts. It is recommended to only use the «Core» Stunts during the first games to learn the system. There are two Core stunts per category. It is very manageable. Expand the available lists as the players learn the game.


SAMPLE STUNTS

General Combat Stunts
(Core) Momentum: Gain +3 to initiative per SP spent, until the end of the next round. Cost 1 to 3 points.

Melee Stunts
(Core) Parry: Your opponent suffers –1 to Defense per SP spent until your next turn, as you guide their limb or weapon askew. Cost 1 to 3 points.

Firearms Stunts
(Core) Overwa tch: Your opponent suffers –1 to attack rolls per SP spent until your next turn. Cost 1 to 3 points.

Grappling Stunts
(Core) Hinder: Melee attacks your opponent makes before your next turn reduce their damage by 2 per SP spent. Cost 1 to 3 points.

Power Stunts
(Core) Powerful Manifestation: Increase the Force of your power by 1 per SP spent, to a maximum of 3. Cost 1 to 3 points.

As per the description you can see that they are Feats in D&D parlance. The major difference, again, is that they are not selected during character creation or advancement. They are special actions friends and foes can select during combat when they are generated - they must be spent immediately or lost. In other words the AGE System brings the 3.5 & 4e «feat exploits» style at your gaming table but without the headache of min/maxing and the nightmare of feat trees and cherry picking.

Clearly a breakthrough design in my mind. ;)

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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by shesheyan » Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:54 pm

GAME MASTER SECTION

- 16 pages on How to Run a rpg game with advice ranging from being inclusive to bringing life to your world.
- 12 pages section for ability tests, chase rules, combats considerations and handling hazards.
- 19 pages on Action, Exploration and Social Adversaries.
- 8 pages on rewards including XPs, advancements, reputation, membership (to organisations) and relationships.
- 11 pages on modern campaign settings per Genre and by Eras with a soft recommendation on which of the three modes to use.

The book also includes an 11 page introductory adventure.

- 2 pages glossary and 2 page index, printable play aids, which are always welcomed.


Final Thoughts
If you are looking for a traditional RPG with a light ruleset that packs a lot of info in 191 pages. Modern AGE is for you. If you like crunchy simulationist systems with rules for just about any situation - grenade deviation diagram - this game is not for you. I've been searching (and trying to write such a game) for the last 5 years. It gives me everything d20 Modern did but without the heavy 3.5 coding and cherry picking optimizing. The book is easy to understand with multiple exemples. I give it a 4 star out of 5 rating.

EDIT
The adversary section is too bit thin for a system that claims to cater to many campaign styles ranging from swashbuckling pirates to post-apocalyptic. The adversaries presented in the book are for the 1920-2019 era. 98% are humans. There is one guard dog and a cyborg. There are no horror or urban fantasy creatures for exemple. I guess Green Ronin figured GMs would buy the Fantasy AGE bestiary for that. It's what I ended up doing. But the book contains an intro adventure. Maybe that was the trade off. An adventure instead of monsters.

There is no mathematical formula to build encounters or rules to build monsters from scratch. But there is a a chapter on adjusting and beefing up adversaries per game mode (gritty, pulpy, cinematic). There are rules for extras (mooks and hordes). I don't see the lack of formulas as a flaw. I own many RPGs who don't offer encounter and monster creation formulas similar to what can be found in more recent editions of D&D.

The designers of Modern AGE spent more time detailing the rules for social encounters, chases and breaching (hacking), reputation, membership, and relationships. Which are very important in a modern game. Overall it's a good game. I got alone of material in a sleek 191 pages.

GR published the Lazarus setting book for Modern AGE (2019). It's a post-apocalyptic world. Maybe that is their marketing strategy. Instead of front loading everything in a single modern core book they will publish setting books for each era. It makes sense. In the long run the authors have more pages for each setting that they would in a single core book. For exemple the Future d20 Modern book tried to cover too much ground and it felt diluted.
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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by shesheyan » Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:10 pm

I've now played 3 games with this system. One as a player and two as a GM. It's a keeper. Really looking forward to when the characters reach level 4 and they can choose their first career Specialization.

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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by agathokles » Sun May 12, 2019 11:26 pm

shesheyan wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:54 pm
I give it a 4 star out of 5 rating.
Thanks for the detailed review. You seem very positive about this rules set, yet you're giving it only 4 out of 5. I'm curious as to what you feel is missing.

GP

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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by shesheyan » Mon May 13, 2019 1:11 am

agathokles wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 11:26 pm
shesheyan wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:54 pm
I give it a 4 star out of 5 rating.
Thanks for the detailed review. You seem very positive about this rules set, yet you're giving it only 4 out of 5. I'm curious as to what you feel is missing.

GP
The adversary section is too bit thin for a system that claims to cater to many campaign styles ranging from swashbuckling pirates to post-apocalyptic. The adversaries presented in the book are for the 1920-2019 era. 98% are humans. There is one guard dog and a cyborg. There are no horror or urban fantasy creatures for exemple. I guess Green Ronin figured GMs would buy the Fantasy AGE bestiary for that. It's what I ended up doing.

But the book contains an intro adventure. Maybe that was the trade off. An adventure instead of monsters.

That is why I gave a 4. I could have given this book a 4.5 on 5.

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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by agathokles » Mon May 13, 2019 8:36 am

shesheyan wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 1:11 am
The adversary section is too bit thin for a system that claims to cater to many campaign styles ranging from swashbuckling pirates to post-apocalyptic. The adversaries presented in the book are for the 1920-2019 era. 98% are humans. There is one guard dog and a cyborg. There are no horror or urban fantasy creatures for exemple. I guess Green Ronin figured GMs would buy the Fantasy AGE bestiary for that. It's what I ended up doing.

But the book contains an intro adventure. Maybe that was the trade off. An adventure instead of monsters.

That is why I gave a 4. I could have given this book a 4.5 on 5.
Thanks, that is indeed a rather important point. I see the same comment in several reviews of Fantasy AGE, before they got Fantasy AGE Bestiary out. Also, I remember a distinct lack of guidelines for monster building and encounter balancing in Dragon AGE. I suspect the same carried over to other iterations of the AGE system.

GP

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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by shesheyan » Mon May 13, 2019 12:19 pm

agathokles wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 8:36 am
Thanks, that is indeed a rather important point. I see the same comment in several reviews of Fantasy AGE, before they got Fantasy AGE Bestiary out. Also, I remember a distinct lack of guidelines for monster building and encounter balancing in Dragon AGE. I suspect the same carried over to other iterations of the AGE system.

GP
There is no mathematical formula to build encounters or rules to build monsters from scratch. But there is a chapter on adjusting and beefing up adversaries per game mode (gritty, pulpy, cinematic). There are rules for extras (mooks and hordes). I don't see the lack of formulas as a flaw. I own many RPGs who don't offer encounter and monster creation formulas similar to what can be found in more recent editions of D&D.

The designers of Modern AGE spent more time detailing the rules for social encounters, chases and breaching (hacking), reputation, membership, and relationships. Which are very important in a modern game. Overall it's a good game. I got a lot of material in a sleek 191 pages.

GR published the Lazarus setting book for Modern. It's a post-apocalyptic world. Maybe that is their marketing strategy. Instead of front loading everything in a single modern core book they will publish setting books for each era. It makes sense. In the long run the authors have more pages for each setting that they would in a single core book. For exemple the «Future d20 Modern» book tried to cover too much ground and it felt diluted.
Last edited by shesheyan on Tue May 21, 2019 7:58 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by agathokles » Mon May 13, 2019 2:34 pm

Of course, frontloading doesn't pay. Also with Dragon AGE they had a good strategy for partitioning content in different books.

G

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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by shesheyan » Tue May 21, 2019 7:57 pm

agathokles wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 2:34 pm
Of course, frontloading doesn't pay. Also with Dragon AGE they had a good strategy for partitioning content in different books.

G
Encounters & Enemies will provide more creatures for Modern AGE:
viewtopic.php?f=86&t=21858

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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by agathokles » Wed May 22, 2019 9:03 am

shesheyan wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 7:57 pm
agathokles wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 2:34 pm
Of course, frontloading doesn't pay. Also with Dragon AGE they had a good strategy for partitioning content in different books.

G
Encounters & Enemies will provide more creatures for Modern AGE:
viewtopic.php?f=86&t=21858
Thanks for the pointer.
G

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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by agathokles » Mon May 27, 2019 6:29 pm

shesheyan wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 12:19 pm
There is no mathematical formula to build encounters or rules to build monsters from scratch. But there is a chapter on adjusting and beefing up adversaries per game mode (gritty, pulpy, cinematic). There are rules for extras (mooks and hordes). I don't see the lack of formulas as a flaw. I own many RPGs who don't offer encounter and monster creation formulas similar to what can be found in more recent editions of D&D.
While I agree this may not be a major issue in modern games where combat may be de-emphasized (indeed I too tend to use this kind of games, e.g., Unisystem or Call of Cthulhu, for modern settings), I think the level-based nature of AGE does warrant some more attention to encounter building (BTW, these formulas can be found also in pretty old editions of D&D, starting from the BECMI Master Set at least).

I've been investigating this issue a bit, since I'm considering running an AGE game set in The Elder Scrolls setting, Tamriel.
I've found this blog post which performs an interesting reverse engineering of AGE (Fantasy AGE specifically, but I think the same consideration apply to Modern), in order to build encounters with a given expected duration in rounds. While it is likely of little use to you, it might be of interest for other people who may find this thread.

GP

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Re: [Modern AGE] Reading the basic rulebook

Post by Kythkyn » Mon May 27, 2019 6:49 pm

Honestly, with the stunt system especially, most of encounter design is playing it by ear
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