Valiant Horizon progress: It's most of a game!

Valiant Horizon progress: It's most of a game!

February 15, 2023
TTRPG, ttrpg design, game design, total//effect, valiant horizon
Valiant Horizon, Binary Star Games
Valiant Horizon, Binary Star Games

Just not quite visually, at least not yet, as you can see.

Initial Post

Right now I've got:

  • Classes. Each Class grants a Trait, a Signature Ability (will get into this later), a Standard (at-will), and access to 6 1/encounter Powers and 2 1/encounter Reactions. Each Class represents a relationship with a former hero, FFV "hero's soul in a crystal lending you their power" style. I've got 12 Classes:
    • Bard: Healing focused one, with some added offensive buffs and debuffs. (Bard does healing because Health is Vigor and I figure they're the most "lighten everyone's spirits" concept.)
    • Berserker: Melee AOE combined with high mobility and some ability to influence enemy action with taunt-like mechanics. Very aggressive.
    • Blazemagus: High offense via reduction of resistance, addition of vulnerability, and AOE. They also have a little healing, because I figured putting that on the fire mage would be cool.
    • Champion: Big focus on offense through defense: basically if anyone attacks someone who isn't you, you get bonuses to attack them. On top of that it's got some durability tech and high Harm for single targets.
    • Commander: The "lead from the front" support class. Offensive buffs, some "give an ally actions" tech, and some "we all move up together" mobility stuff.
    • Dark Knight: The "take Harm to do extra Harm" class. Largely focused on dealing Harm, with a split between melee Weapon Harm and ranged Magical Harm (so it's pretty versatile in that regard).
    • Earthmagus: I decided to lean into the earthquake/mudslide stuff: it's great at making enemies not move.
    • Frostmagus: Encasing in ice, along with some healing stuff. Extremely good defensive buffer, as any ability they use that affects an ally also gives them a little damage reduction.
    • Knight: Extremely hard to kill and good at locking enemies down. Has a few "everyone scatter" and "everyone come to me" abilities too, and it can take hits for other characters.
    • Ranger: Long range, high single-target Harm. It's also got some "set a trap" and "pin an enemy down" tech.
    • Tactician: Extreme 4E lazylord vibes: mostly they just order everyone else around and let them take extra actions or give them extra defenses. They've also got a few surprise defenses, which is good because they're quite fragile otherwise.
    • Windmagus: The main gimmick is that it blows enemies around, which combos really well with various abilities that deal Harm when an enemy moves/is moved.
  • The combat system. This has been a thing roughly as long as Total//Effect has been around but the big change I made is relying almost entirely on either at-will or per-encounter abilities. Early on in Valiant Horizon I had a 13A/4E-style Recovery system but only per-encounter: I've even ditched that now. The only resources are Vigor (health) and Powers/Reactions. The twist I'm putting on it is number of actions: they go up every Tier to match your increased number of Powers.
  • Noncombat character stuff. You have a Background and a Class-granted Skillset, and each Class has a Signature Ability as mentioned above. Signature Abilities are basically a "you can do a cool thing 1/session, there's a roll but it mostly determines how rad it turns out and not success/failure" - the Berserker, for instance, can choose to fuck up some kind of object or structure, with the roll determining how much control they have over what happens to it, while the Knight can swear one oath that's always believed, with the roll granting a bonus on subsequent actions based on that.
  • Relationships. These go from 1 to 6, and are always associated with a specific character (and through them, a specific Class). The idea is that PC and NPC relationships happen: PC relationships strengthen your kinship with that character, and through them that hero. NPC relationships can strengthen kinship with that character and their associated hero, or with a hero that yours used to be familiar with. These are an enormous part of the game because I want to really emphasize the players being part of a grander design - and that some day, they might be the ones in those crystals, handing out their power.
  • Reputation. As Tiers advance, I want it to feel different: you're heroes establishing yourselves, so you have to care more about what people think of you. This system gives you bonuses/penalties based on what people are saying about you - inevitably you're going to not only have your reputation precede you socially, but also buy your own hype. To maintain (or ditch) a specific reputation, you'll have to act in a certain way over time.
  • A few enemies for combat.

The main things I need aside from polish/balance/etc are GM-side tools and it's almost ready for prime time. It's been cool to see it come together so fast!

(Read the original on cohost here!)