Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Chapter 1

How Comprehensible Is This?

If this is chapter 1 of the book with, maybe, a little boiler plate before this covering "what is JAGS Revised" and "What is JAGS Revised Archetypes" and Who Am I!? What Am I Doing Here?! Why Did I Download This--I thought It Was Porn!?--if we started with some high-level overview stuff like the below, how does it read.

This Is My First Pass
I usually wouldn't post stuff from the book at a first pass--but I'm in the airport traveling to Boston so ... what the hell, eh?


Welcome to JAGS Revised Archetypes! There’s a lot here and we’ve done our best to lay it out in a way that will make sense and make it easily digestible. This side of the page is for players who will be focusing on making PCs for the game. Here are the concepts you’ll need to understand (at a high level—detail follows).

Major Concepts

Here are the major concepts we want you to be aware of as a PC:
v  How many APs do I get? The GM will tell you. A very few abilities give you negative APs.
v  Levels. Each 8 AP the character has is “one level.” Each full 8 AP spent on an attack is the “level of the attack.” Most attacks do more damage at their first level (L1) than each level (L+) thereafter.
v  A-Cost: You only pay full-points for your most expensive attack. You will calculate the “Attack Cost” for any attack you have so you can get a discount.
v  Armed vs. Unarmed Strength: If your character ‘commonly uses a bladed weapon’ of any sort, you’ll buy the ARMED version of Strength enhancing abilities.
v  TAP Cost: Total Archetype Points. Some abilities have a cost that is based on the Total AP cost of your character (they are a % of your Total AP).
v  Wield vs. Wear: In some games (MMO type adventures) your characters will find treasure and gear rather than pay for it. The “expected gear” you will have at your level (each 8 AP is 1 level) is the wield (for weapons) and wear (for armor).
v  Gear. In some games you’ll pay APs for gear. In others it’s free. In some games you’ll have a Wield/Wear level that tells you how many effective APs you “ought to have” in gear.

Welcome to JAGS Revised Archetypes! This section is for the Game Master and covers (at a very high level) some of the basic concepts you’ll need to know to use this in your JAGS games!

Major Concepts

Here are the major concepts we want you to be aware of as a GM:
v  How many APs do the PCs get? Usually it’s a multiple of 8 AP’s and ranges from 16 to 128 with an average being around 32 (64 is a lot, 128 is a whole lot). 16 APs will make decent “action movie heroes” while 32 will make “action movie super heroes” and more will make actual “super hero types.”
v  Scale: if you are playing very high level characters like super heroes or post-modern battle-field cyborgs you can use the Scale rules to play powerful characters on a reasonable number of APs. You can pick a Scale Number to “multiply their abilities by.”
v  What Archetype Traits are Legit: Depends on the game but GATs (Generic Archetype Traits) are almost always legit in addition to whatever else you want.
v  Building Bosses and Monsters. If you are building characters to “fight the whole party” we have special advice for you as to how to do this in a way that makes it balanced and fun.
v  Gear. Whether the PCs pay Archetype Points for gear is a hard decision (for some games, like cyber-punk games, what gear exactly is can be a tough decision). We have several different solutions—but for MMO-style adventure games (PCs are collecting treasure, leveling up, and fighting lots of monsters) we have the concepts of “Wield and Wear” to help explain how much gear the PCs ought to have.

 Acronyms and Major Concepts Glossary
JAGS Revised Archetypes has a lot of concepts and acronyms and so on. Here is a quick overview of the major concepts for you to reference. All of these are explained in more detail later.

Archetype Points: the currency you use to buy Archetype Abilities (special powers) with.
Character Points: The currency you use to buy “normal abilities”, stats, Traits, and so on with. A few unusual abilities here are listed with AP and CP costs (especially some bio-powers like “night vision” indicating they can be bought with either.
Success Points. SPs can be used to improve what rolls were made by and, in some cases, to even improve the number you were rolling against. SPs can be gained through special powers , awarded by the GM, or, in some games, even found as treasure.
SP Pools
Many of these traits give you “Success Point Pools.” These are allotments of Success Points that typically “refresh” at the beginning of each combat or game session (depending on the specifics).
Generic Archetype Trait. These are non-genre specific traits that are “almost always legit” in any game. This may be in addition to whatever specific traits are legit (so in a modern-day ESP-detectives game the characters could probably get both ESP and/or GATs)
TAP Cost
Total Archetype Point Cost. Many abilities don’t have a “fixed cost” but instead have a TAP-Cost. This is a % of your Total APs. We have calculated the cost for common Levels of play for these abilities so you don’t have to do any math. If you are playing on a weird number of APs (not within the listed range or not divisible by 8) you will want to do the math yourself or use the JAGS character builder.
Attack-Cost: you only pay full price for your most expensive attack—after that you pay 1/3rd the cost (see the examples). A power like “plasma blast” is nothing but an attack so it’s full cost (however many APs you spend) is it’s A-Cost—but a lot of powers mix attacks and other stuff together so you may pay, for example, 24 APs for some Trait but if it has an A-Cost of 12 that means of those 24 APs, only 12 were spent on doing damage. The A-Cost for the ability is 12 AP.
Attack Slots
Attack Slots are how A-Cost works. When you have a certain number of APs in an attack you get an infinite number of “slots” of the same (or less) effective value that you can “put an attack in” for 1/3rd (round normally) its listed cost. So if you have a 12 AP Super Strength Punch you can, for 4 additional APs get 12 APs worth of “plasma vision” (and then for another 4 AP you could get 12 APs worth of toxic touch or something).
Armed vs. Unarmed
When you are buying STR, BLD, or anything else that effects armed hand-to-hand damage you must decide if your character could or commonly does use a sword or knife or claws or other PEN-damage attack. If you do (or could and maybe would) you should buy the Armed cost. This is because Hand to Hand PEN damage is better than IMP damage and any bladed weapon converts all your HTH damage into PEN damage. Note: examples of characters who clearly should not buy the Armed version are “brick” super heroes who fight with their fists. Adventuring types usually will pick up a sword if it behooves them.
Stacking Powers
Some abilities add to damage you do with another attack. An example is the GAT (Generic Archetype Trait) “Dead Eye” which adds PEN damage to any PEN attack you have (so if you have a 9mm you’ll shoot for extra damage because of your Trait). When you buy a power that stacks, add it’s A-Cost to any attack it might stack with (in the case of Dead Eye it won’t add to your punch damage) to get your “Total A-Cost” for that attack. If you have a bunch of things that add to your gun attack it could wind up being the most expensive attack—even if you have more APs than any one of them invested in another (for example, Hand-to-Hand) attack.
We use the term Level in a few ways. A Level is 8 AP’s (we choose this arbitrarily but not entirely randomly—we’ll explain in GMs notes later). So if you have a PC built on 24 AP you can say that’s a Level 3 PC. However, Levels are used in a couple of other ways:
v  A Level of an Attack is 1 Level for each 8 APs in the attack. So if that Level 3 character had all his APs in Plasma Blast, he’d be a Level 3 character with a Level 3 Plasma Blast. Mostly characters will have around maybe half their APs spent on attacks.
v  When playing with Wield and Wear (treasure/gear rules) the character might be “expected to have” some of their AP in equipment so a Level 3 character might not have a full 24 APs to spend from this book. They might, for example, be expected to have half their APs in equipment (found or purchased) and so they might only have 12 APs to spend from the lists here. These rules are in the section for Gear.
Wield and Wear
For MMO-style games where the PCs are finding treasure and leveling up and stuff the convention is that you do not pay APs for “gear”—only for “innate abilities.” However, for these games we still track what the character is expected to have (and depending on their luck and skill they might exceed that … or fall short). The Wield and Wear are AP values of how much “effective gear” the character will have. Wield is for attacks and Wear is for armor or other defenses.
Special Attack Notes
There are some special attack descriptors that you should keep in mind. Here are some of the major ones and brief notes on their meanings:
v  Charge Up: The attack takes a Round or more in combat to rev-up. This means you usually can’t use it on Round 1 of combat.
v  Cool Down: The attack needs some “time off” after each use or each round of use so it might only be operable every other round (but it can be used on Round 1).
v  Activation Roll: A roll is made at the beginning of each round to see if the attack is able to be used (usually the roll is something like a 9- meaning it’s available to the character only around 40% of the time)
v  Armor Piercing: A PEN attack that ignores all armor if the Armor Save fails. It may also have extra PEN value making this more likely!
Resisted Attacks
We’ve revamped Resisted Attacks pretty strongly. Here are some of the concepts:
v  Intensity: A character hit with an RA will need to make a Resisted Roll of their Full DP vs. the Intensity score of the RA.
v  POWER STAT: All Resisted Attacks have a POWER STAT of 12. If the target’s CON (or, rarely—but sometimes for Psionics—WIL) is less than 12 they get a -1 to their roll for each point of CON they are below 12. If higher than 12 they get a +1 to their roll.

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