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Game Design / Work Flow

Using a Change Log

About version .7 or so of LCA! with the bulk of the rough mechanics was done I started a change log document. The changes were getting small enough that it was feasible to note them and as I was starting to forget that I'd changed things due to information glut it became informational to do so.

Over time I found it useful in many ways to occasionally go back and review how I'd changed mechanics or what updates I'd made.

I thought it might be interesting for someone who's trying to design a game for the first time to see how a system might morph and warp over time when viewed through a change log history. If you start at the bottom and work your way up you can get some idea of how basic mechanics continued to evolve and change over time.

Note these are raw and uncut and definitely un-moderated. A single simple line might have been the work of several days like "Worked on zombie script." and a paragraph of changes that took only 10 minutes.

There may be some bad words in them but hopefully used in a way that's non-offensive.

At first I only upped the version number when there were significant changes in place, later on I started to up it every time I made any changes unless they were really minor.

I use Google Docs for my system authoring, breaking the system up into 5 sections due to speed limitations with Docs once the system hit the 200+ pages. Breaking it down into smaller sections is a lot better in terms of performance.


Clearing out my todo lists. Yay, the to do queue is finished.
Added the first draft of the Mental and Physical affliction chapter.

Added ability to change init order or interrupt with rewrites.
Update shotgun entry. There are no light shotguns.
Added Well Grounded as a general Knack which handicaps any energy power used for or against a character. They're harder to hurt but also harder to buff and heal.
Change the innate toughness skills to Grit and Guts.
Spreadsheeted the character build formulas to see who badly things can get out of whack from the power gamer. Seems reasonable after playing with the numbers and the power game suffers from weakness in other areas and can become either a glass cannon or a nerf tank.

The quest to fix the documents to reflect the change in damage continues. Reminder - Never make a basic change to your damage/health/recover system if you can possibly avoid it.

Significant clean up of section 3
Change the actions back from standard and minor to just actions. So you can draw and shoot but it’s two actions costing you a -2 penalty on your draw. If you want to draw multiple weapons in one round then take Fast Draw. Modified Fast Draw and added Faster Draw.

More clean up in section 1.

Modified damage system yet again. Going to a single stress tracker for each type of stress, physical and mental.

Changed Shake It Off to Roll With The Punch.

Modified scatter system. Cleaner and simpler now but you can only get so simple with it before you just put in a rule "Drop a d20 from a 3" height over the target square, where the die lands is where the thrown object lands." and say to hell with it.

Work on the zompoc document.

Noted that bonus melee damage is only added to the first attack or the primary attack. This is for balance reasons.
Added Gun Show knack allowing strength to be added to secondary attack.

Using Full Auto or Cover Fire empties a weapon unless it has the Large Capacity Tweak. It requires an action to reload it afterwards.
Added LC tweak for ranged weapons.
Redid some of the flaws to be more punitive. Added new flaws - Cowardly and Shock Prone

Modified phrasing a bit on weights/carry
Added Bob and Weave and Flutterby Knacks.
Added in Toughness and Recovery as skills so that all rolls are now semi-universal although both do not suffer from the untrained penalty otherwise they’re forced choices.
Rewrote the dazed condition and recovery roll mechanic/results.
Updated tables and charts, fixed some typo’s and streamlined a few paragraphs for clarity.
Updated Rewrites, modified damage rewrite spending, updated some other stuff in the rewrite chapter.

Created Tables document
Cleaned up minor things with actions, standardized a few things to be in line with other actions.
Modified penalties on some actions.
Updated/cleaned up some knacks.

Updated phrasing/terminology on the movements.
Added Snapshot penalty, if you use a skill during a move action then you suffer a -3 penalty to the skill.
Minor fixes in various places.

Modified Dazed, updated grabbed condition and grabbing.
Adjusted a lot of boosts/handicaps in the stunts section
Changed some of the rewrite rules. Took out the ability to re-roll a roll. Instead you have to now decide before you roll whether or not to expend some resources on them roll. Either a +5 to the roll or count any damage die result of less than 3 as a 3.

Cleaned up the ‘how to build a monster’ section. Streamlined the recommendations and redid the examples using the new base stats.

Broke the zompoc out into its own document. Clean up and additions to the script.

Clean up in section 1. The foreword and what is LCA! are too similar and should be split out a bit.

Updated references to skill rolls to allow the addition of the base stat. This will need playtesting obviously. Power gaming is a big concern.
Dropped the total skill and attribute values to allow for room to grow.
Added skills for Fortitude and Resolve. Physical Strength

Script work
Minor clean up in various places.

sample script work.

Additional work on zompoc script.
Added noise/attraction system for zompoc.
Revamped the carry system/encumbrance system. It was way too detailed for my needs with too much math.

Additional work on zompoc script.

Increased critical failures to equal an unmodified 5 or less on the 2d20 dice. This equates to a 2.5% chance per dice roll. Frequent enough to come up once a session but not so frequently it fucks with people too badly.
And 5 or less ties in with the multiples of 5’s I use.

Simplified Improvised weapons. They deal the same damage as normal weapons so no confusion but their damage dice do not explode and they’re ruined if you roll a critical failure on the attack roll.

Unarmed damage I’m going to settle on it dealing 1d6 and 2d6 damage. You can Knack up to get skill at killing people with your bare hands but without a knack or a weapon you’re just not going to hurt people very easily.

More rewrites in section two.
Overhaul of boosts and handicaps.
Changed Evasion penalty from Armour to 2 for 1. With the change to 2d20 it’s necessary to balance out.
Extended human attribute range out to around 8. Might make it 10 for the pinnacle of human possibilities. Would need to extend supernatural creatures out to 20.
If that’s the case then will have to make Strength worth half damage. Still pending consideration.
Added Drifting as a drive/motivation actually an anti-drive motivation.
Lots of clean up in the Powers section.

Lots of rewrites in the various skill sections in sections 1 and 2 for clean up/streamlining purposes.
Wielding Heavy weapon one handed is changed to -5 after running the numbers through the combat sim.

Pass 2 through Section 1 started
Added Mini Powers to powers chapter secton 2
Play Examples to section 1.

Work on zombie script

Work on the Zombie Apocalypse script in preparation for playtesting.
Changed bonus/penalty to boost/handicap

Added synergy mechanic for skill checks to allow AOE’s to be used as bonuses for regular skill checks or vice versa.

Added the dive for cover out of blasts as it’s own section rather than mentioned in other locations.
Added to Section 5.

Working in section 4, extended challenges clean up.

Added magnitudes to damage and armour. 1-4. Shift in magnitude results in x5 or 1/5 damage applied.
Added entry for ammo tweaks but needs consideration as to how to balance it to keep it in there.
Started on Section 4.
Clean up on Section 4.

Some changes to Rushing and Sprinting. Changes to Dodge and Parry for clarification.

Lots of minor clean up to section 3 in various sections. Section 3 is now out of first draft and into second draft.

section 2 - resolved some overlap with Knacks dealing with Take a Knee.

Removed the limits of one critical failure per scene. Since it’s now a measly 1 in 100 chance if you manage to roll it three times in a single scene then more power to you, or against you or whatever.
Removing the limitation on double move as it allows for more cinematic scenes.
Clarified the movement actions sections a bit. Defined a players actions as 1 Move and 2 Standard. They can use a Standard action as a Move.
Rewrote Parry and Dodge to make them more active rather than passive. They still include penalties for taking them as a way to balance them.

Removed / modified some the rewrite options. Changed the flat + bonus to the roll to an add a 1d6E dice after you’ve rolled which can explode once just like damage die. Removed the guaranteed success option.

Started the process of changing all references from 1h/2h to LIght / Heavy designators which equate to the same thing just different feel. wielding heavy weapons one handed suffers a -10 penalty on the attack roll.

The old Heavy weapons have become Massive for lack of a more evocative term which also required changing the name of a couple of tweaks.


Big changes on the mechanics front - Switched from 3d8’s to 2d20’s. TN becomes 20. MAP 2 after changing combat sim to handle new numbers.
Dazed Bonus 5
Impaired -2
Str First Only
All Damage Dice Explode
Shield Bonus 4
Trauma -1

Evasion Ranges from 18 to 24 (28 with shield)
22 avera

PDR ranges from 4 to 10
6 average

Updates on section 3. Updating penalties and bonuses to -1, -3, -5 where appropriate.

More cleanup.

Modified athletics to include unarmed melee. Not sure I like that yet.
General skills polish.

Added armour tweaks.
Continue to work on fantasy module.

Continued work on fantasy module.

Adjusted some of the Trauma/Stress mechanics and added clarity for them, once again I’d left some stuff out that for me was so simple I didn’t realize I’d left it out.

Added considerably to the sample Fantasy module.

Split document up into sections to work around google docs issues.
Added Pulling Punches to damage. This lets you voluntarily reduce the number of damage dice you roll. Why you’d want to, I’m not sure. But options are good.
Added Massive tweak to 2H ranged weapons allowing the 4d6 cap to be raised to 5d6.

Added Insanities or the start of them anyway.
Added disease placeholder.

Added resting sections/descriptions, it’s a case of I knew what they mean and didn’t actually list it anywhere.
Changed some of the recovery wording
Changed Shaken to Impaired as being more descriptive.
Added a Poison Optional blurb.

Added the traps section and started the basics.

Lots of cleanup (duh)
Change Run to Sprint to better differentiate the two types of movement and make the effects of sprinting make more ‘sense’.
Added Family as a Drive and Motivation.

First draft of D&M chapter is finished.

Worked on D&M chapter, listed out several basic ones and started fleshing them out.

0.729 -
clean up (duh this is going to be in every update)
Added Drives and Motivations section in character creation, need to expand on that as an actual chapter.

0.728 -
Clean up / Rewording
Added the Simple Chase mechanic.

0.727 -
General clean up.
Modified some verbiage on flaws, knacks.
Went back to Standard Actions instead of Complex actions because it’s semi-standard terminology these days.
Worked some on the Classic Fantasy module.

0.726 -
Changed critical failures to be Rewritable and you can only suffer from the effects of a critical failure once per scene. A little suck factor can be memorable. Frequent suck factor is just that, suck.
General body text clean up.

0.725 -
Made Vitality a flat resource that’s used much like Healing Surges are in 4E rather than a tracker. You pay for healing with them, to active powered items, push yourself etc. If you’re out you can also take stress damage to ‘push’ yourself beyond your limits.
Modified Healing system somewhat, a little simpler.

0.724 -
Added Direct Damage - Chained Targets as a power.
Added new melee stunt - “Shields Down!”
Added new range stunt - “Flush them out.”
Modified slowed = 1/2 base movement.
Changed Shaky to Impaired, just works better for me as a word.
Modified the Raise Dead ritual.

0.723 -
Modified MOB to be a flat +1 bonus when attacking with melee against a target you have allies adjacent to.
Added There’s no I in Team - knack which lets you get a +2 (mob and flanking) when making melee attacks against a creature that another ally is attacking with the same knack.
Added another use for Rewrites - You can change one normal die in a dice roll to a Golden Ticket die.

0.722 -

The Golden Ticket - Changed explosions so that only a single golden dice can explode per roll. This dice is designated by color or if multiple colors are missing it’s the first dice rolled. Yes this is an homage to The Schwartz.
Added Golden Child knack which allows character to use Golden Ticket die on Untrained dice rolls.

Added Levitate power.

Added Summon power.
Minor touch ups.
Modified Prone significantly
Modified melee stunt tables.

Set Vitality to be a 4/2 although it’s only a single tracker with 6 boxes just like Physical and Mental. Vitality is naturally lost during the work day as well as when ‘healing’.
Vitality now powers healing. Character’s use Vitality to recover excess damage between Scenes and it powers Healing.
Healing power rewritten so that all healing costs ‘someone’ vitality.
Updated signature Mastery

0.718 -
Added The Disabler Knack and Flashbangs to Equipment.
Added Grenade Like mechanics including Scatter System.
Added some glossary terms in various locations with the intent to clear up any head scratching by readers not familiar with the basic RGP concepts.
Some power layout cleanup.
Changed Mind Control to Domination for aesthetic reasons.
Added Reduce Metabolism option.
Added Dispel option to Debuff.
Added Joker’s Wild Knack.

0.717 -
Double Tap, Burst have been turned into Knacks.
Full Auto remains a combat maneuver.
Burst modified to use 2’s instead of 3’s.
Added the Weakened state which drops a character to a 0 strength. This is typically a condition of being sick or poisoned.

0.716 -
Double Tap Modified and marked for optionality. The double tap adds a little too much complexity for little return to me. Leaving it in as a optional.
Burst Fire modified. -3 to hit and +3 damage, make two attack rolls, take the higher one.

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  1. THANK YOU for this idea. I’m collaborating with another person to create our game, but most of the work is done online with Google Docs and we don’t do a lot of face time, so this sets up for a system so we can see the changes we’re making and also make it easier to resolve conflicted ideas.

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