Sunday, July 16, 2017

NPC and Characters for ORFA

Imperfect though it may be, ORFA is the evoluion of a d20 based gaming system that actually works for Jorune. It is not intended to be the ultimate Jorune gaming experience - it is intended to allow a Sholari to get people new to Jorune into the skin of the player races and out onto the surface to deal with the races, the cultures, the history, the threats, the animals, and the intrigues of one of my Top Three adventures worlds. The first is Barsoom (Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars), Tchai (Jack Vance's Planet of Adventure), then Jorune (or Sho Caudal, as it is called by the natives and most of the immigrant races).

Most important, ORFA is not a "Product". There is no ORFA Core Book to buy. It will be a free ORFA Jorune download and each published scenario or article with characters will have those characters fully generated and available. This means in Sholari Magazine, any of the Sholari Adventure Kits, or other possible publications. We hope to follow with other settings adapted to ORFA (hopefully an ORFA Pulp and an ORFA SciFi or two).

ORFA was started as Jorune 3.5 for my personal games (and those people put up with a LOT). The idea was to reduce the drama around clunky exchanged, create fun character genreation, and speed up combat. For a while it was called Oracle System for a while, and that survives in the Sholari's all purpose fortune telling Die Roll–the Oracle Die. Someone, I wish I cold remember who, made a comment about On Roll Fits All as the name this system. But they were right. 

We found a single roll could not only answer the Yes/No of simple success, but the Quality of Success could be measured with the point difference between target and role, or between combatants in real inter-character combat. The basic system was for four zones with a fifth for the special effect of the setting - which in Jorune is "Isho". Some races have modifiers that effect every roll on a stat.

It is the beneficiary of attempts to use other systems. For example, the D6 System of "plusses" to basic rolls helped shape the ORFA +1-+4. The Fuzion Skill+Stat formula found its way in, and we began to see places where more than one skill within a Stat tree could be applied to the roll. Another set of experiences with web RPG systems gave us the idea of "Factors" for weapons - Weapons doing increased damages for groups of points in the Quality of Success

But the best success was with Combat. Our Combat scenes were getting close to real time. Players knew the modifiers for their characters from previous attempts, the basics of Stat+Skill(s)+Modifers for the Target Numbers became easier to identified. The weapon factor was applied faster and faster.

We got to a rhythm of "Scene Description" "Initiative" "Statement of Intent", "Roll" with all modifiers, Success/Failure Quality of Success, applied Factors to damage, Next Action – IF the combat continued.

We found the combination of stupid choices with bad rolls could kill someone in one roll, which tallied with what we saw in the world where an inexperienced loony with a weapon and kill someone who would be thought of as a master with the right intent, the Stat+Skill(s)+Mods for the target number, Luck a good Roll, a good Degree of Succes, and the right Factor for a weapon (in the right Hit Location). Combat was deadly, not a macho shouting match. The player's liked that.

I used the earliest drafts of ORFA in my last games in California, Colorado, then back in California again. A couple of Sholaris ran ORFA Jorune in some conventions and sent me valuable feedback.

When Jorune raised its head again, it was time to also look at ORFA and present it in a simple presentation. We eliminated the difference between NPCs or full Characters. Any character could be picked up and played. We wanted options for features some people liked, and others could do without. Options like methods Initiative, multiple paths for Character Improvement, etc. 

In Sholari, Volume 2, Number 1 there are two articles involving characters. In ORFA there is no difference between a Player Character and an NPC. This means any NPC could be picked up and played running this character. 


  1. Exciting news, do you have a timeline ?

    1. Crap. I wrote a response to this. Then wrote the response to Jancie, burt the first one disappeared.

      We are getting together the art for Sholari v2n1. All the text is in. We hope to have the full issue up on DriveThruRPG in the next few weeks.

      ORFA, basic ORFA JORUNE plus the NPCs from the two scenarios in Sholari, will follow a couple of weeks later. Two more are in process, plus the second issue of SHOLARI, and two collections of previous fanzine stuff over the next six months. Slow off the starting box because of serious disk crashes and a complete failure of one computer. Working on a new comptuer with a new external drive.

  2. So if most of the races call the planet Sho Caudal, who calls it Jorune, and what is the source of the name?

    1. Who uses 'Jorune' - humans, sometimes because they are faithful to the name they were given as children, some (like Thantier) do it as a political statement. Iscin races know both and usually change what they use with who they are talking to. Jorune was the name of the astronomer who first detected Jorune, but we have to wait about another 130 years for that.

  3. Jorune was the name given to it when first discovered by humans. Possibly still called that in Entren. Sho Caudal is / was it's Shantha name.

  4. Janice: Dmn has it right. Sho Caudal is not just the name for the after death disposition of one's naull, but also their world for the world, and things relating to and of said world. Also, Shantha have littler tolerances for timekeeping - days, years, past, future. They are very Vedic - there is "Now" and there is "Not Now", "Now" matters most, but "Not Now" helps understanding of the "Now", which is what is important.

    The idea people can separate their spiritual, scientific, economic, and breathing is something they really cannot stand. And the to get picky over how "Not Now" is divided.

    I may let people see my extended Sho Caudal timeline. It goes back to the weaving of the first dysha - Ca Launtra, Heal - through the Shanthic Wars, the Ramian invasion and expulsion through The Desti, the tragedy of the Gift, and then the Human Colony and the aftermath, which Jorune is still in. (I think my detailed story of the Iscin/Bomoveris story is worth releasing as a novella... it is that filled with character and detail). Maybe... we shall see.

    Maybe, if the avalanche can begin.