Gears: The only constant is change!

Ghost in the Shell I finally made up my mind about Gears, my roleplaying game in development. Thanks to the comments I got during the last weeks I was finally able to decide what I should focus on next. Creating a game system that works in every genre is no easy feat, so I will probably focus on getting to work Gears in one genre and then move on to the next. Each game will contain all rules needed to play and a complete mini-setting.

The first game will probably be a Cyberpunk game that I intend to create as entry into the Cyberpunk Revival Project.

I’ve also decided to make some changes to how Gears will work in general:

  • Basic task resolution
    The core mechanic will stay pretty much the same, but I am considering using some of the ideas, John Powell posted recently as a comment on one of my Gears-related posts.
  • No classes and levels
    Although there are no classes per se, character creation will make use of character packages which speed up the character creation process. Players and GMs may come up with their own character packages.
  • Skill ranks
    I will probably change the skill ladder from four to six levels

So basically Gears will stay the same (with some tweaks) and instead of focusing on multi-genre I will try to get games for specific genres done first. So, what are your thoughts on these changes? Please let your voices be heard in the comments below!

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

5 thoughts on “Gears: The only constant is change!”

  1. Cool!

    My favourite campaign setting is cyberpunk themed, so i'll take a look when you finish it.

    Maybe (after all the work I have in the pipeline) i'll investigate on some cyberpunkish dice ^^

  2. So, if I understand it correctly, there will be no kind of stand-alone Gears rules, only settings each using the Gears ruleset in their own way? Not that I mind though, I'd rather have a game where setting and rules work well together than one where the setting is forced on to the rules or vice-versa ;D

  3. @Markus: There will be a stand-alone Gears ruleset later, but I will focus on specific games powered by the Gears rules first. I am not sure if the unified Powers system I had in mind will survive that step, though. But I agree, having a game where setting and rules work well together is much better than a game where the rules are forced on the setting regardless of the consequences.

  4. Sounds like quite a project.

    My friends and I have been working on a Sci-Fi RPG system for almost a year now… We are a couple of sessions into our second playtesting. After almost completely reworking the system twice, and getting ready for what is hopefully the last major changes. (Space Ship combat does not feel the way we were aiming for.)

    We also opted for a level-/class-less system that is working wonders for us.

    Attributes are bought with points, termed Gene Pool. Skills are broad wich allows you to do a lot with them and they are in turn placed in Skill Groups. eg. Cybernetics is a skill that will allow you to do anything from creating mechanical devices that interact with a living nervoussystem to developing Artificial Intelligence. Cybernetics is in turn placed under the Skill Group: Applied Science.

    We have 9 Skill Groups and your aptitude in any of them is based on a combination of 3 attributes.

    At Character creation you may allocate your 6 prioritized Skill Groups and you are awarded Skill Points based on the 3 attributes pertaining to the respective Skill Groups. Meaning: You tend to be very good at the skills in your prioritized Skill Group and less so at the skills in the ascending 5 Skill Groups.

    Character creation is fast and, in our minds, intuitive.

    Combat is, however, very lethal. In a Sci-Fi setting with phasers and other particle projection weapons that kill with a glancing hit, we opted to 'keep it real'. The weapon damage system is based loosely on Palladiums Mega Damage system. ie: firearms do Xd6 damage, particle projection weapons do Xd6x10 damage, space ship weapons do Xd6x100, etc.

    This has also worked out well in playtesting, players do not pull weapons without seriously thinking over their actions… and killing is never done lightly. A security guard with a particle projection pistol and a particle shield will make anyone quiver in their boots…

    Experience points are awarded after each session and skills are raised individually with the cost of raising skills varying from player to player depending on the attributes that the Skill Categories are based on.

    But, I am getting carries away writing about one of my own projects… ^^

    Good luck on grabbing the £30 in Amazon vouchers.

    You certainly seem to be off in a good direction.

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