Role-Playing System

           This page contains all the information about the RPG elements of Xarble.  If you have any questions or comments, feel that this information is presented in an unclear manner, or really are just bored and want to say, "Hi, I read your page," then mail me (David Ghandehari).

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            Each living thing has various attributes that describe it.  This paragraph has words which describe those attributes in a fair amount of detail.  I will outline the data involved with a character in the game by following the process by which such a character is constructed.  Here we go.

            First, there is a Body class.  This class is basically a collection of Limbs, and all the information associated with creatures of similar shape and build.  For example, a Humanoid body would cover any creature that has two arms, two legs, a head, a torso, and stands upright.  This could include Humans, Klingons, Elves, Dwarves, Androids, you name it.  Each Limb has a name, a parent limb, various information about size and position, and then a flag for whether it is a hand or not.  A hand is anything that can hold and manipulate a weapon.  That's right folks, that means that Bodies can theoretically have more than two hands.  We have the option of making races that have 4 hands, or 8 hands, or 20 hands... or NO hands! Pretty cool, eh? It also means we can have n-handed weapons.
            Which brings me to the last thing that Bodies keep track of, they keep track of HandCombos, which are combinations of hands that are valid for wielding one weapon.  Let's say we have an alien with 3 hands, two normal hands at the ends of arms, and one at the end of a tail.  The alien should NOT be able to wield a weapon in it's left hand and it's tail.  That wouldn't make sense.  So, Bodies have a list of valid combinations of hands that can work together.

            Next, there is a Race class.  Each Race has to choose a Body, but a Race has other attributes that build on top of that body.  For example, the Race of a Character determines what that character's default weapons are.  For a Human, it would be a Fist.  For a cat-like creature, it would be claws.  That sort of thing.  A weapon is assigned to be the default for every hand on the body.
            Also, certain races may have a certain amount of damage resistance built into their body.  A hard exoskeleton, for example, might serve as good protection against crushing weapons.  Therefore, each Race has protection information for the whole body, just like an Armor object.
            Other things included in Race are the default Attributes (covered below) of Characters of that Race, the Hit Point bonuses that Characters of that Race enjoy, speed and dodge modifiers, and some other smaller details.

            Each Living thing then has to choose a Race, which means choosing the Body that goes along with that Race.  From there, the Living thing can modify the attributes that are standard for the Race.  Not all Humans have the same Strength, Intelligence, etc, but we are all in the same range.  Attributes are automagically raised when you get enough experience in a given Attribute.  Each Attribute has it's own experience level that is independant of all other Attributes.  When you use a skill or perform an action that uses a particular attribute, then you get experience for that attribute.  Which reminds me, another thing that Living keeps track of is Skills.  I'll talk about those later.  But you know generally what skills are.

            There are 8 (eight) attributes in Xarble.  I prefer more attributes to less, for some reason.  There's a tradeoff, here: if you have too few attributes, then each attribute stands for SO much that things no longer make sense.  This is one of the problems I had with the GURPS system.  Because there were only four attributes, each attribute took on a lot of meaning.  On the other hand, you have a problem when you have too many attributes, as well.  Sometimes, one needs to test something that falls between two attributes, or onto both.  So do you test the average?  Do you test both?  What do you do?  I think it would be really cool if attributes were interdependant, so that rasing one would raise the attributes that are similar to it a smaller amount.  As I mentioned before, each attribute has it's own experience counter, and they all raise independantly.  I can simulate interdependance by having experience given to one attribute to spill over a little bit onto other attribute that are similar.  I could even automate this in the add_attribute_experience() function, so that the scripters do not have to worry about it. Maybe I'll do that.  Just maybe...
            Here are a list of attributes and summaries of their significance:

  • Strength
          Your brute force.  Your natural ability for applying pressure to things.  Used in calculating damage for manually-operated weapons (Bows/Melee Weapons).  Also used in cases where sheer force is required, like kicking in a door.

  • Dexterity
          Your "Defensive Dexterity." Your natural ability for controlling your body as a whole.  Used in calculating Dodge, to determine how far you can jump, to determine whether you can slip into tight spaces, and things of that nature.

  • Accuracy
          Your "Offensive Dexterity," or "Manual Dexterity." Your natural ability to control small parts of your body very accurately.  Also, your hand-eye coordination in general.  Used in determining whether you hit opponents with weapons.  Used when creating or fixing mechanical or electrical things.

  • Endurance
          How many hits you can take.  Your natural ability to withstand physical adversity.  This can be pain, damage.  Determines how long you can hold your breath, how long you can run without tiring, how long you can hand from a ledge without falling.

  • Intelligence
          How smart you are.  Duh.  Your natural ability to understand things, learn things, and use that learned knowledge.  Used in any academic skill, any sort of design, or constructive process. VERY important.

  • Perception
          How easily you notice things.  How far you can see, how good your peripheral vision is, how detailed you can analyze pictures and scenes.  This is a bit of a passive attribute, but useful.  Your character will notice things that he might not with a lower Perception.

  • Charisma
          Moxie.  Chutzpah.  Your ability to make people believe in you.  Your ability to convince people.  Your ability to make people like you.  How well you can talk.  Used in determining people's reactions to you.  People may say certain things if they have a favorable reaction to you, and they may say other things if they hate your guts.  Usually, it's better for them to like you than not.

  • Speed
          Simply put, how fast you are.  This is a major factor in combat, and characters with very high speed may get two or even three attacks for every one of their opponents.  This is covered in combat, later, but I'll say now that every little bit of Speed helps.

            So far, there are 23 (twenty-three) skills in Xarble, and more are on the way if we come up with them, or if we get suggestions that we like.  Right now, they are all hard-coded, but maybe I'll eventually move them to the Java part, if I decide I want more flexibility.
            Each skill will eventually have a distribution across what I call "Affinities". Right now, I have plans for three, Scientist, Warrior, and Thief, but I'll probably rename/rewrite them.  I may just break it down into two, Physical/Mental.  Anyway, each skill is related to one or more of the affinities. The player has a certain position in the "affinity space", which modifies performance of those skills.  For example, Unarmed Combat probably has an affinitiy rating of 100 Warrior, and zero Scientist and Thief.  Dodge, on the other hand, might have 50 Thief and 50 Warrior, and zero Scientist affinities.  So if the player's affinities match the affinities of the skill perfectly, there is a bonus to the skill, whenever a test is made.  On the other hand, if they are wildly skewed from the skill's affinities, then there will be a penalty.  This is all relatively invisible to the player, there may be a bar graph in the character sheet that describes this stuff.
            Each task you want to perform with a skill has a certain predefined difficulty.  Each skill will eventually be based on one or a combination of attributes.  In order to see if the player suceeds in using their skill, you just add the average of all the attributes the skill is based on to the character's trained level in the skill to a random number between 1 and 20.  If that number is greater-than or equal to the difficulty of the task, it was performed successfully.             Anyway, here are a list of skills and what they are used for:

  • Unarmed Combat
          This is one's trained ability to fight without any weapons that don't come with the body.  This includes punching, tail attacks, claw attacks, and so on.

  • Blunt Weapons
          This is one's trained ability to fight using a blunt weapon, like a bat, or a table leg, or a crowbar.

  • Knives
          This is the trained ability to use a small knife in hand-to-hand combat.  This can range from steak knives to machetes

  • Swords
          This is the trained ability to use a large blade in hand-to-hand combat.  There aren't too many swords in Xarble, because most people have Guns when they want to kill, but there are some new innovations, like the vibrosword, which is an electrically-charged sword that vibrates at a very high rate, making it look like a blur.  It slices, it dices, it makes Julilenne AND curly fries with the flick of a wrist.

  • Pistols
          The use of your standard, one-handed, small pistols.  Most of them are automatic, these days, but occasionally you'll find a revolver from the olde days.

  • Rifles
          For longer range, and more accuracy, people train in the use of Rifles instead of pistols.  Most notable about rifles is the long barrel, which supposedly keeps the bullets on target more.  This is a broad skill, and covers sniper rifles, hunting rifles, and assault rifles, as well as shotguns, which aren't technically rifles.

  • Submachineguns
          This is the ability to hit a target with a small weapon with a very high rate of fire.  This doesn't include assault rifles, but it does include things like Uzis.

  • Laser Guns
          This is the ability to hit a target with a gun that emitts a highly-focused beam of light/energy.  These babys usually have no recoil, and that's a bit hard to get used to, actually.

  • Rail Guns
          This is the ability to shoot guns which use the electromagnetic force to propell small shards of metal at near the speed of light.

  • Throwing
          This is the ability to hit a target with a thrown object.

  • Dodge
          This is your ability to see an attack coming, and to get out of the way in time. This isn't really limited to combat, it could be for traps and other odd things, as well.

  • Lockpicking
          The ability to pick locks.

  • Pickpocketing
          The ability to steal stuff from other people's person without them noticing.

  • Stealth
          The ability to not be noticed when you don't want to be.

  • Electrical Engineering
          The ability to design, fix, and reverse-engineer electrical equipment.

  • Computer Programming
          The ability to make computers do what you want them to.

  • Computer Hacking
          The ability to make computers do what you want them to, if someone else doesn't want you to.

  • Piloting
          The ability to pilot or drive any sort of vehicle.

  • Weapon Maintainance
          The ability to repair, clean, unjam your weapons.

  • Armor Maintainance
          The ability to repair and clean your armor.

  • Vehicle Maintainance
          The ability to repair, clean, and modify any sort of vehicles.

  • Mechanical Engineering
          The ability to construct, repair, and reverse-engineer mechanical devices.

  • Medicine
          Knowledge of pharmacuticals, as well as of physiology, and how to assist wounded people.


            Okay, let's put something here! Here's how armor works, in a nutshell. There are many possible body types, explained above, whereas each body is a heirachial tree of limbs (starting at the center and working out) that people with that body type possess. Each piece of armor is made for a particular body type. Within that body type, each armor object doesn't neccessarily cover all limbs of that body. So, each piece of armor protects some subset of the number of limbs in a body type. There are multiple damage types, explained more in the Combat section, and each limb of each armor object can protect against each damage type differently. Right now, you can only set how much damage it absorbs, but I will probably add a "Resistance" factor later, which will reduce the damage by a multiple, instead of a subtraction, like "Absorption".
            In addition to all that, you can wear certain armor objects on top of each-other. Each living object has 5 layers where armor can possibly go. The first layer is used up by any natural protection that the race my offer. The other ones are fair game. Each armor object has a predefined layer assigned to it, which represents where it is worn, with relation to other pieces of armor. For example, a trenchcoat would be layer 3, the outermost layer, whereas a jock-strap would be layer 0, the innermost layer (not including the race layer). This is because you always wear a trenchcoat on top of all your other clothing, whereas a jock-strap always goes underneath your other clothing. (Unless you are a sicko-commie-pervert-type person. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but, please, we can't accomodate EVERYONE in this game!) Anyway, this is so that you can't wear three trenchcoats on top of each other. When you get hit, the damage is reduced by each armor object that occupies that limb before it is actually subtracted from your hit points.


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All Contents Copyright (C) 1998 David Ghandehari, Sherman Mui, and Kandarp Patel.