I am preparing to run a fantasy RPG using +Joshua Macy's excellent SFX! System Zounds! Now, if you haven’t heard of it before, you can download it for free from DriveThruRPG. He has created a handful of fine games based on different genres: Kapow! For superhero games, Zap! For SciFi games, ARGH! For modern horror games, and Zounds! For fantasy games. These are great fun, easily available for one shots and ongoing campaigns.
I plan on running an ongoing campaign through Google Hangouts. I may need to adjust the timeslot to get more people in the game, but that’s besides the point. I am lucky enough to have Joshua in my circles, so he’ll probably join in, which is always great to have a developer there if you’re looking at changing how things work. They can give you reasons why they did something the way they did or suggestions on how to make your change better. Also, if you have missed something already covered, they can point it out. Already, here I am looking at things that I want to be able to do in my game that isn’t necessarily covered in the book.
Influence and Reputation
To be fair, Reputation is listed as a suggested Asset within the Zounds! Framework on page 28. However, there is no follow up for it. I look at it as allowing characters to use in order to gain favorable outcomes from certain groups. Those groups might be a ruling council of elves or members of the secretive Thieves’ Guild. It might be used in combing powers to carouse, negotiate, or investigate. One thing I consider alongside this is granting XP specifically to be used toward increasing reputation or influence. Influence is pretty much written like rank, although for my own campaign, I’ll define the areas of influence and ranks in more definitive terms. The same can be said for reputation. I’m also considering looking at a way to “damage” either one of these assets. You overextend your influence or you lose face in front of a group that respects you.
Legendary Magic Weapons
What about weapons that level up with the character? Now, SFX! And Zounds! Already make room for doing this easily, permitting characters to spend XP in the form of Boosts on whatever they want really. However, once again, how about specifying XP toward improving special pieces of gear. It would work a lot like Magical Research, but wouldn’t necessarily be that. It might be a warrior meditating with their blade, or a rogue training with their lockpick tools. These are just ideas, but I think they are worth bouncing around. The concept is not too different from D&D 3.5’s Weapons of Legacy.
Specialized Powers, Gear, and Boosts
This one is a bit odd. Because Zounds! Is already designed to be quite freeform both in character creation and advancement, it is near impossible to limit a character’s abilities. However, if a character has unlimited options, is it possible to have options that are limited to specific groups. Again, similar to D&D’s 3rd edition Prestige Classes, is there a way to allow characters to perhaps purchase packages that give some sort of discounted benefits or benefits that are unique to those who have met the proper requirements. It probably all falls under flavor and the Primary Rule of what makes sense and what fits the setting. For example, the Dread Knight package might have a Darkened Blade 6 power that allows them to attack Will instead of Toughness. Anyone else might have a Power that does the same exact thing, but is called something different and should also look different, but it has the same exact effect.
In most of the SFX! games, it is recommended that we use different scopes to indicate the overall power level of the game. I think, as with traditional fantasy RPGs, we need to be able to transcend scope a little bit easier. This gives the feel of leveling up like old school RPGs where you go from the peasant to the local hero to the brave knight to the cosmic champion.
These are some basic things I’m eyeballing right now. For those of you who have read or even played in a Zounds! Game so far, what do you think?