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Musings on a fan made 2nd edition; Or "Fixing Inquisitor"
Topic Started: 23 Aug 2013, 11:15 AM (3,615 Views)
MarcoSkoll
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If you're reading this, I know a lot of you aren't so much "rules people" - and I am somewhat aware that I have a bit of a habit of being rather forceful in my opinions of playing the game.

However, this project really does need input and feedback from the full spectrum of the Inquisitor community and is almost moot if it isn't a collective effort. So, if you're willing, I would very much appreciate it if you'd chip in with your comments and criticism. I (and others) may have counter-comments and critique, but discussion is what we need!

And with that said, what is this project?

I'm guessing there's one thing most of you probably agree with me on: Inquisitor, as a game, has problems. 12 years, hundreds of players, thousands of characters and some very large number of games have turned up a great many flaws.

Although the rumours of a new Inquisition themed game box are intriguing, the chance that the rules within will prove to be the second edition that Inquisitor needs are just about diddly squat. Any such project is going to have to come from the community... and while PrecinctOmega previously worked on an Inquisitor 2 ruleset, that project seems to be on hiatus (or worse) and didn't necessarily represent a consensus.

So, I think it's well worth trying to start such a project again.

This first post is mostly more of that bad habit of mine - a post that's mostly just a brainstorm; some of it is from the foetid depths of my mind, although other parts may well have been stolen from other places like Dark Heresy or Infinity first.
You'll likely notice that I'm not really looking to cut detail from the game - I feel it's part of what makes Inquisitor "Inquisitor", so I'd prefer to try streamlining things before we try simplifying them, although it is always an ultimate option.

So, without further ado, Marco-brand waffle - just thoughts for the moment, but I've "spoilered" them into categories for neatness.

General dice rolling

Actions (and Reactions)

Risky Actions

Movement

Damage and Injury

Close combat

Shooting

Psychic Powers

Well, that's my initial thoughts on what would be best fixed, and how it might be possible to fix them.

Feel free to agree or disagree, make your own suggestions for problems or solutions, or whatever really.
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Bruticus
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Good idea. I've only played a couple of games of Inquisitor but it made a pretty strong impression on me, compared to Necromunda it felt rather inelegant and unwieldy. I can't offer much useful feedback about the specific rules of Inquisitor but I can point out a few things that felt odd from a newbie POV, or from a Necromunda POV (I am quite involved with the Necromunda community edition, the fan made rules that try to fix that grand old game). I'm not sure this will be much help.

Personally I couldn't play a game where you have to deduct numbers from 100, I'm some sort of arithmetic moron and anyway the system just felt very counter-intuitive: from a game design perspective there is satisfaction in rolling high and trying to roll low feels wrong. I like your suggestion.

One of the most fun things about combat in Necromunda (and many board games) is that you roll off at the same time as your opponent and can quickly compare the dice rolls. I have no real idea here other than to say 'that's fun'. It made combat feel more competitive.

The fact that your character seems to ignore the results of being shot was one of the most surprising things to me. My inquisitor got shot in the back by a sniper rifle that (I think) quite seriously hurt him, but it had no real effect on him at all in game play terms. Maybe similarly to an wary state there could be a suppressed or wounded state (like in Necromunda) that is harder to recover from.

For psychic actions, I also fondly remember how magic worked in old editions of Fantasy. You could have a system where you roll a certain number of power dice based on a level of mastery, needing a number of 6s based on the difficulty of the spell. Rolling a 6 could allow you to roll the dice again, so if you kept rolling 6 you could keep rolling (a fun mechanic from Dystopian Wars and Chaos in the Old World). This would give using psychic powers a great sense of possibly spiraling out of control. Perhaps if you rolled a lot of 6s you could trigger an ultimate force effect while lots of 1s would be the Perils of the Warp.

I guess a lot of this comes down to: knowing what you are trying to roll or rolling against someone makes rolling the dice a bit more interesting. And I'm sure I mainly felt that way due to being a novice.
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MarcoSkoll
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> Bruticus said: The fact that your character seems to ignore the results of being shot was one of the most surprising things to me.
... I'm not sure quite what you mean here. I find most characters tend to be quite easily debilitated to some degree or another by being hit. Being stunned or losing speed are common injury results and quite a disadvantage to a character. Not acting for three turns is not a good thing and Speed 4 doesn't look so great after you're at -2, leaving you only able to declare/roll for two actions.
(Light injuries are generally not much of a matter, but these are heroes and villains. Almost any big action movie will include the hero shrugging off a few flesh wounds).

> For psychic actions, I also fondly remember how magic worked in old editions of Fantasy.
I haven't played editions further back than 6th, so I don't know details of their rules but that sounds like it could be something well worth considering.

I recall playing a game called Havok years and years ago with a similar "explosive dice" mechanic for much of its play - it was basically about trying to get a certain number of passes on the dice, with 4+ being a pass and a 6 allowing an extra die to be rolled. (Although it actually had custom D6s, with two "pass" sides and one "pass and roll again" side).

> I guess a lot of this comes down to: knowing what you are trying to roll or rolling against someone makes rolling the dice a bit more interesting.
I think you've got a good way of putting what I like about reactive combat mechanics - dice rolling is more interesting when you have that direct involvement and making you feel like you have more of a hand in things.
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Koval
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General notes from a Skype discussion with Marco last night:

General Dice Rolling: The proposed mechanic seems fine to me. We had to butt heads for a while over magnitudes of failure, though.
----Suppose you're making a Willpower test and you need a 65. If you roll a 12, you pass by 12 points. Simple enough.
----If you roll a 98, you fail by (98-65) = 33, which is what it is at present.
----So for a pass, you pass by how many points over zero you rolled; for a failure, it's how many points over your target number.

Actions and Reactions: This is a bit trickier. Early thoughts included defining what each type of "stored action" might be (so giving examples of how Sacrificed Actions, Wary Actions and Ready States work), and having the upper limit for stored actions be dictated by your Speed stat. Again, early days.

Risky Actions: Turning currently Risky Actions into Hazardous Actions seems like a decent idea as it eliminates the messy higher-Speed-means-greater-risk-of-failing-Risky-Actions thing we have at present, although we need to define what constitutes a Hazardous Action and how one can fluff it up. Providing examples would help to illustrate the point, but it does currently revolve around individual actions rather than the action roll at the start of the turn.
----How to define fluffing up a Hazardous Action? In the RIA, it's currently "if the units die comes up as a 5", though if it's percentile I'm more partial to "if you roll a double".

Movement: I had nothing meaningful to add here, but the jury's still out on whether getting rid of Sprinting is a good idea or not. I'm tempted to keep it, but impose a hefty penalty on Awareness checks and such like, as your focus is on pegging it.

Damage and Injury: I had a few things to say here.
----The Injury table needs some serious cleaning up. This is abundantly obvious. Taking the Abdomen chart as an example, we currently have a lot of "see the previous level, which redirects you to the previous level". That's a lot of messy bookkeeping that could and should be simplified and streamlined with discrete entries that don't refer you back to an earlier point.
----A suggestion I had was to scrap the current "one point into the next injury level forces that level of injury" mechanic, and introduce "floating injury points". Say you have a BIV of 6, and you're hit in the abdomen for 14 points of damage: that becomes two full levels (14/6 = 2.something), and then the remaining damage becomes "floating injury points" that can be transferred to other locations on the next wounding hit. So a subsequent hit to the chest for 4 points of damage might just add to the floating injury total, but because we already have two points saved up, that 4 becomes a 6 and that's enough to cause a Light Injury.
----I realise that the above means more bookkeeping and generally tougher characters, but sorting out the injury tables should balance that out, and it also gets rid of Four Slaps To The Head.

Close Combat: More actions and action types would be useful, but there's a danger of overcomplicating things if we go too crazy.
----Movement actions would help immensely.
----I took a hint from a couple of other games I used to play, where weapons were subdivided into such categories as "slashing", "stabbing", and "blunt". This has two implications.
----Firstly, we could incorporate "slash", "bash" and "stab" actions, each with their own additional effects. Stabbing actions, for example, could increase the likelihood of scoring a Critical Hit.
----Secondly, some weapons could be naturally suited to certain types of attack action and provide some measure of benefit -- a hammer would be a poor choice for stabbing someone, but ideal for inflicting blunt trauma and causing Knockback.
----I will freely admit that this needs more thought, as I came up with that at around 11pm. :P
----This branched off into ideas for a Close Combat RIA, or creating melee weapons where things like power swords and shock mauls are "upgraded" versions of normal swords and hammers. Needs more work.

Shooting: This needs more discussion, but basically, the current range modifier chart is a complete mess.
----I proposed a short/medium/long/extended range chart, so that each range band has discrete sub-ranges. That would be paired up with a single fixed modifier for each range; it wouldn't matter whether your weapon has Range A or Range F, firing at long range would still have the same fixed penalty, but what Range A might call long range, Range F might call medium or short.
----That ran into a problem where half an inch one way or the other might determine whether something gets slapped with a light modifier or a significantly heavier one.
----Cutting down the number of range categories (not range bands; I'm talking about 0-5, 6-10 et cetera) would be a compromise, making the table less messy without sacrificing too much granularity.
----What we do with Semi and Full Auto then depends on what we do with the range modifier chart.
----Aiming could be reined in to +10 rather than +20. This brings it more in line with Concentration and stops the silliness of a character's BS going well into triple figures*.
*At the most recent INQvitational, Sergeant Visstra managed to stack up no fewer than seven aim actions and ended up with an effective BS of 203. The DMR he was carrying made a very big mess of his unfortunate target's head. We decided that this made sense given the circumstances, but was otherwise a bit silly in practice.

Psychic Powers: Different systems can at the very least be used as starting points. This needs more thought.
----The "power dice" suggestion would only really make sense if we ported in Dark Heresy 1E's system (which IIRC was itself ported from WFRP 2E?). I'm personally more partial to Willpower tests than power dice, as that preserves a measure of the existing system, but then again, we can always playtest different options.
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MarcoSkoll
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To touch on a couple of comments I don't actually recall you making last night:

> Koval said: How to define fluffing up a Hazardous Action? In the RIA, it's currently "if the units die comes up as a 5", though if it's percentile I'm more partial to "if you roll a double".
Doubles does fix it as a 10% chance though. The RIA varies it with things such as Hazardous(2) which expands the threat band to include rolls that end in 6s, Hazardous(3) adds 7s, and so on - allowing percentages of any decimal fraction (so 10%, 20%, 30%)

Shifting the percentages with a doubles system would be more of a mess!

> *At the most recent INQvitational, Sergeant Visstra managed to stack up no fewer than seven aim actions and ended up with an effective BS of 203.
Robey had a suggestion of capping aim levels for his INQ2.0, such that most characters were limited to only so much of a bonus (those with some kind of marksman skill might be able to take more, but still limited to a degree).

This was also in addition to reducing the bonus (which you did say, yes). I'm open to either or both - but if it were staying at +20, I think I'd definitely cap it... possibly to three, maybe four. Seven is daft.
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Drubbels
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Partial draft for close combat rules (apologies for poor formatting; I'm posting this from my phone).

The Attack

The character initiating an attack is called the attacker, and his target is the defender. The attacker and defender make an opposed WS test, with the following modifiers:
+10 for the party with the longer Reach.
+10 for the party with the high ground.
+10 for attacking a character in the side.
+20 for attacking a character in the rear.
-20 for attacking or defending from a prone position.
-10 for the defender per attack he has defended himself against this turn.
-Defender's weapon's Parry Penalty for the defender.

-Attacker wins: the attack hits. Roll for hit location and damage.
-No winner or the defender wins by less than 30: the attack misses. Nothing happens.
-The defender wins by 30 or more: the defender may Attack or Manoeuver the attacker. This attack automatically hits.
After the attack, the defender may always turn toward the attacker.

Note: a defender may choose to forgo defending himself if he believes he'll be needing his parries more later in the turn. In this case, the attack automatically hits (still make an attack roll to determine whether it is a Critical Hit).

Actions

Advance - A character closes in on his enemy.

A character at arm's length moves closer to his opponent. The characters are no longer at arm's length.

Attack - a character makes a simple melee attack with the intent of hurting an enemy.

The character makes a close combat attack.

Circle - A character circles around his opponent, intent on outflanking him.

A character at arm's length from his opponent may move up to two yards to the side, preserving the distance between him and his opponent.

Crushing Blow - A character trades accuracy for greater force upon impact.

The character makes a close combat attack. If the attack hits, it deals Trivial (2) (or +2) damage, but counts as double damage for the purposes of knockback. Requires a heavy, blunt weapon, such as a staff, maul, club or hammer (or the side of a particularly gigantic sword).

Disengage - a character uses swordplay to cover his own retreat.

The character makes a close combat attack. If it hits, it does not deal damage. Instead, the character does not provoke an opportunity attack if he leaves the combat as his next action on this turn.

Fire Pistol - A character draws a pistol and fires it at his opponent point-blank.

The character makes a close combat attack using a pistol. Reach modifiers are ignored, and the defender cannot counter-attack.

Manoeuver - a character attempts to control the position of a fight to his advantage.

The character makes a close combat attack. If it hits, instead of dealing damage, move both characters up to 4 yards in the same direction, preserving the distance between them. This cannot move any character into a harmful obstacle or off a ledge.

Piercing Thrust - a character settles for making only a small wound if it means he can bypass most of his adversary's armour.

The character makes a close combat attack. If it hits, it ignores the first four points of armour the target has but deals Trivial (2) (or +2) damage. Requires a sharp-tipped weapon, such as a spear, sword or knife.

Slashing Strike - a character intends to make a wide, deep cut, even if it means sacrificing some armour piercing capability.

The character makes a close combat attack. If it hits, it deals Rending (2) (or +2) damage, but counts double armour points. Requires a bladed weapon such as an axe, sword, knife or claw.

Step Back - A character takes a few steps back, increasing the distance between himself and his enemies.

A character moves back to arm's length from his opponentu This action cannot be used by a character who is already at arm's length.

Critical Hits

If the units die of an attack roll comes up a 1, the hit is a Critical Hit. This means that the result of the damage roll for the attack is doubled (before reduction for armour).
Edited by Drubbels, 28 Aug 2013, 06:17 PM.
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Koval
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That looks to be on the same sorts of lines as what Marco and I were discussing on Monday. Tabulating modifiers and actions would certainly make things look nice and tidy, for what it's worth.
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Drubbels
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By the way, are you aiming more for an Inquisitor 1.5 (major changes and modifications) or an Inquisitor 2.0 (complete overhaul)?
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Koval
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I'm angling for something closer to 1.75, but I'm also aware that I'm not the only person involved. At the moment, it's still pre-alpha.
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Drubbels
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General Dice Rolling
@Marco - that idea from Infinity feels counter-intuitive but is pure genius. Should definitely be implemented.

Actions (and Reactions)
I'd suggest doing something like D&D 4E, where you can spend a "Ready" Action. Essentially, you declare an action you want to take and the circumstances under which you'll take it.
"I'll start running as soon as someone rounds the corner."
Possible problem with this approach is that, where in D&D you get only one Standard Action a turn and as such can only Ready one action, you get more actions in Inquisitor. People might Ready all the time, which could really bog the game down. A possible solution is that a Ready Action means you automatically sacrifice the rest of your turn after that, but it only works reliably if you declare it early in your turn (since it only works if you actually reach the action). That way, people will only Ready if they feel they really have to; it will cost them (most of) their turn. Characters might also often declare their last action which they don't know what to do with as Ready, just in case they actually make all their action rolls, but this is rare enough that I don't believe it will slow things down too much.
Note: Overwatch can be fully incorporated into Ready.

Risky Actions
Completely agree, Hazardous Actions are a better system.

Movement
For Encumbrance reducing movement, there are basically two options: it either reduces the number of yards a character can move per action by an amount depending on the degree of over-encumbrance, or it simply blocks off sprinting for over-encumbered characters and both sprinting and running for greatly over-encumbered ones. I think I prefer the second option, but some thought needs to be put in to the Encumbrance thresholds.

Damage & Injury
Really like Koval's idea with floating injury points, definitely seems worth implementing.

Close Combat
See my earlier post.

Shooting
Perhaps something similar to the DH method could work, with some modifications: roll To Hit at a +5 bonus per semi-auto shot, causing an additional hit for every two degrees of success. That way, at least the amount of shots fired is actually relevant for your chances to hit (which, strangely, it isn't in DH).

Otherwise, keep it as it is now, but instead of a straight -20 penalty, it's -5 for every full 5 or 10 yards. I think I recall Marco proposing this or something similar on The Conclave some time ago.

Psychic Powers
I agree with Koval that it's probably best to keep WP tests for Psychic Powers: not only does this fit better with the rest of the game, it's also a lot easier to write powers for. Just coming up with an appropriate difficulty modifier is a lot easier than finding an appropriate psychic threshold, in my opinion.

A combined system (power dice to cast, willpower test to control) doesn't sit very well with me. It requires a LOT of depth for each and every power, coming up not only with what the power does when it is used properly but also with what it does when it goes out of control. I suppose using power dice to use the power and then testing Willpower to suppress Perils of the Warp could work.
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Koval
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Marco and I are probably going to butt heads over this again tomorrow evening, so thank you very much for giving us some food for thought. It's really helpful. :)

I like the general idea behind Ready Actions, but as you say, it might be difficult to implement, and we've already got three ways of generating reactions -- again, though, food for thought, and we might even be able to fold it into one of the existing options if we're careful.
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MarcoSkoll
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The answer to that is "I don't know". It's strongly down to how much other people want to change and how much they want to change it.

However, from my perspective, my belief is that the "feel" of the game is sacrosanct, but the rules are not. Whatever rules are changed or replaced, they should still be trying to do the same thing as Inquisitor - just less clunkily.
This project will hopefully turn out a detailed and cinematic narrative game that mixes skirmish and role-play elements; if what we end up with won't let you play the same games as Inquisitor already does, it's not done its job.

Now, I recognise that some people think Inquisitor is a weird bastard of a game - but hey, that's the weird bastard of a game some of us like to play. If we wanted a completely different game, we'd playing something else.

Expect somewhere between 1.5 and 2.0 - mind you, a lot of editions of 40k and Fantasy weren't exactly radical overhauls, so I'll be content to call it 2.0 either way.

EDIT: Dang, more posts in between.
Edited by MarcoSkoll, 28 Aug 2013, 09:17 PM.
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Koval
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At the moment, we're discussing this and going "let's playtest a few things and get some feedback". We want to look at Reactions and Close Combat in particular, but even playtesting one mechanic would ultimately be useful and move this project forwards. :)
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MarcoSkoll
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Pretty much - this is still in very early stages. It's very much seeing what people want to do - which I guess we still don't really have a full picture of, because there's only been so many respondents so far.

I think, myself included, eight people have contributed their thoughts between here and the 'Clave, which isn't a huge fraction of the crowd. Hopefully that'll increase with time or some actual material to look over.

~~~~~

On the note of draft material and play-testing, Koval and I are hoping at trying to assemble some bits and pieces in the hopes we can hijack one of the games at the "Eramus Affair" event at the end of September to run some tests.

Our primary interests are (as he says) reactions and close combat, given these are two of the bigger tasks; re-engineering the injury, shooting and psychic systems* are obviously other big ones, but any changes there will probably require lots of adjustments to avoid sudden shifts in character toughness or weapon effectiveness.
*If, in fact, we do go much further than Koval's revised version. It's not currently looking popular that we do, but I don't want to be taking ideas off the table too quickly.

So those two areas seem a good start - reaction is a new feature (rather than a changed one) that needs testing to make sure it don't slow the game down, and close combat shouldn't be too dramatic to re-engineer.

I'm also expecting to test of the more minor things like the modified dice rolling (it'll be important as a part of opposed close combat) and a replacement of the Risky Action rule at the same time; neither should be too large a task.

The modified rolling is essentially in a testable state already - and we've already got a basis for the replacement of Risky Actions.
It'll only take deciding on a default risk for any present risky actions and shifting a few Risky Actions that don't presently have a roll to using one - which is largely movement actions, so I'd expect a draft of things like new climbing, swimming and jumping rules.

Well, and deciding on a new way for Heroic to work too, seeing as I feel the effect on Risky Actions is an important part of the skill - their thrilling heroics wouldn't be very thrilling if they went wrong all the time.

It's possible we'll also throw in a very crude test of a (more) range dependent semi-auto too - the rules will likely have to change later on, after things like the range table have been adjusted, but it would be worth seeing how it plays out.

~~~~~

Oh, to respond to your close combat stuff, Adeptus Noob - there's some good ideas in there that I'll be expecting to borrow (or at least adapt).

As a minor criticism though, I don't think it's done much to encourage fighters to attempt to outmanoeuvre each other though. The penalty for being attacked to the side or rear is actually greater in the default rules, and it still costs a full action to circle.

My favourite idea is still including things like "Circle" actions as something that can be combined - as in the LRB, it's not worth spending a full action for the benefits positioning confers, so either we need to make the benefits bigger (and it's not quite right that the character being circled makes it too easy to stab them in the back) or reduce its "action cost" by letting it be part of another action (albeit, as some penalty to the attack).
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Necris
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If I recall correctly Robey had a polite cease and desist on a fan made second ed inquisitor in that Andy said something along the lines of him hating the idea of Robey being taken to court for something he loved
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Koval
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If we get the same then that's fair enough, but I don't see there being much of a problem considering how various fan-made Necromunda rewrites have turned out.

I suppose it boils down to presentation, as GW's IP policy has no problem with fan-made rules if they're presented as such.
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MarcoSkoll
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I know Jervis told Robey in 2010 that GW's position on giving an "official" stamp to any material produced outside the studio had changed and what he was doing could no longer be the bona fide 2nd edition, but I recall hearing nothing of a C&D.

In light of things like the fan edition of Necromunda, any number of fan made Arbites/Demiurg/Hrud/Inquisition/Nicassar/Sisters of Battle/etc Codices and (as Koval points out) GW's own legal section...

... I think we're probably in the clear. Obviously, copying any more text from the original than absolutely necessary would be a bad idea, but as we're changing and tightening up a lot of the rules, a lot of the original text will be redundant anyway.

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☺Easy E
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This probably isn't that helpful, but an Action/Reaction system is a must for a game of this scale.

In addition to Infinity I recommend you check out how Force-on-Force does it. Some RPG systems may provide some insight as well.

In my mind the "Turn Sequence" is the most importnat aspect of a game, so it will require the most thought and testing.
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MarcoSkoll
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> This probably isn't that helpful, but an Action/Reaction system is a must for a game of this scale.
It's one of the things I most want to fit in, but also the area I recognise is likely to be where I will most have to compromise on my visions.

As reactions will interrupt, and potentially derail, action sequences, they're something I'm worried might be too slow in the form I have in mind. But still, depends on how things go!

> In addition to Infinity I recommend you check out how Force-on-Force does it.
Having looked through their quick start rules (I'm not paying for a full version just to review the reactions rules), it looks a bit too "squad based" to really fit into Inquisitor.

The way it scales with the size of the squad is a very interesting idea - and I'm possibly interested in actually trying out the quick start scenario to see how it actually "feels" as a mechanic - but I can't immediately see the specifics fitting that well within the non squad based Inquisitor system.

However, there may be some ideas in there...
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MarcoSkoll
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Ladles and Jellyspoons,

For your delectation, this is Alpha V0.1.2, which is largely what Koval and I are planning on hijacking a game to test at the weekend (although I may have made a few more adjustments by then!)
It's highly incomplete and many of the rules are only to test game-play concepts rather than the actual rules, but this is only really prepared for an Alpha test*.

* The colour formatting is something I currently use for Alpha versions of the Revised Armoury. A lot of you are probably familiar with the red text for things changed from the previous edition, but the green text is for things marked as for likely revision and the blue text for alternative notes**.
** And having said this, neither the green or blue text are exhaustive. Don't consider anything not in green to be fixed, or any suggestions not in blue to have been disregarded.


We'll probably be using Asandrea and Astrid for the test.
I'm a little bit divided on whether I want to try and hunt down a third play tester to join us, as an extra person to give feedback would be good, but having only a few characters on the table is also a plus when testing unfamiliar rules!

~~~~~

Anyway, due credit to lots of people, but Adeptus Noob gets special mention because I butchered large amounts of his text into the draft close combat rules.
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