One of the unconventional elements of the Forge Engine RPG is the structure of the turns. Traditional RPGs have a round/turn structure where each character has a discrete turn within each round. Their actions occur within their own turn, and time passes in a strangely linear fashion which requires some mental gymnastics to unravel. Once each character’s round is over, play passes on to the next character in the initiative order, etc…
The Forge Engine’s combination of an Energy action economy and a system of actions and reactions that are individually costed means that the traditional linear round structure can be replaced with a more non-linear ‘do what you want as long as you have the Energy’ structure. Characters can jump in and out of the action as long as they have enough Energy to perform their action; whether it’s moving, attacking, reloading, or some other costed action.
As with any system, there are several caveats. First, characters can take reactions before their first turn in combat, but they can’t take actions. Second, if a character is surprised, they can’t take actions or reactions until their first turn, which means that they can’t spend Energy to dodge when they’re being attacked.
(Dammit, that should be ‘Character #2’ up there, not Character #3…)
So, what other RPGs have non-traditional round and turn structures for combat?
Aces & Eights just operates in time units called segments, if I remember right, and each activity takes a certain number of segments. So it's real-time, the GM starts counting up at 0, each person announces their action and when the corresponding number of segments pass (e.g. maybe 5 to drop to the floor, 3 to draw a knife, 8 to draw a sword) the action completes and they can declare a next action. Very free-form, but it looks too complicated to me.
When the rule book comes out I am guessing we are going to have a list of actions with their respective costs, and any caveats attached to those actions.
Will you also have a template for user creating actions? Also, will our equipment (swords, guns, magics, ect) affect our action energy? If so, will we have a template for user created equipment?
But seriously, this looks really cool and I am looking forward to messing around with it. Do you have a setting already in mind (space, fantasy, western, ect)? Thanks!
Hi Jauquine, the actions don't have inherent costs, other than movement (one Energy per 5') and minor actions (1 Energy per minor actions). All other actions allow the user to channel a variable amount of Energy through them. As for the equipment, each piece of equipment has an Energy cost for its use, ranging from 1 Energy for automatic pistols to 4 Energy for a great-sword. The user can then channel even more Energy through these to exert more effort, and in doing this they gain the benefit of their trained Skills. So equipment is super easy to make, it's just an Energy cost (that reflects the effort of using the weapon) and then the rating (that reflects the effectiveness of the weapon, so two-handed weapons have a higher rating than single-handed weapons).
So it sounds like the player can channel their energy into their weapon to do more damage. But at the expense of doing stuff later. That is a very interesting idea. It kinda reminds me of Magic The Gathering, the way you can attack with more creatures but those creatures can not block you next turn (with exceptions), or if you use up all your mana casting stuff you can't counter opponent spells.
Are these actions just related to combat or do you have actions that relate to diplomacy, crafting, and stealing stuff?
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Yes, the dynamics of the Energy are a lot like M:tG, except this is more like the potential that each player has in their lands, rather than in creatures in the field of play.
When you're outside of combat, your actions are only constrained by your rating in each Attribute and the corresponding Skill.