[Novel RPG] A even more simplified concept.

Started by Eldrad, April 08, 2012, 05:18:18 PM

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I am trying for a Nearly Free Form Game concept. I have discussed this concept before in the past and have tweaked it a bit. In play testing this game really flowed. Many of the rules lawyers I know would not touch it for some reason.

When you want to do something you roll a D20. The higher you roll the better the outcome. How high you need to roll is determined by your described skill and the amount of difficulty assigned by the game master.  A natural "1" is a complete failure and a natural "20" is a complete success. I did have a clunky chart that I have since gotten rid of. 

When you want to make a character you need to forget all that you know about attributes, hit points, and anything else you have learned from other RPGs. Remember what you have learned on Free Form RPG boards on the Internet. If they work there they will work here. There is a dice roll mechanic but it exist "outside" the game itself. The players write up  Characters and give the Characters reasonable powers and equipment based on the power level being played. The game master will have the final say on "how powerful" your character is.

First chose a power level of your character.
Depends on the setting...
For example...
Is your character the most badass swordsman of the realm? Is he a weary smugger on the lost galaxy? Is he a powerful super hero that can fly, lift trains, and is bulletproof? 

Third elaborate on the character's concept.

Here are a few guidelines called the 8 Ms. Discuss the 8 Ms of the character concept if they are above or below average. If they are average then don't waste your time describing them. 
-Might or how resistant to damage and harm.
-Muscle or how strong you are compared to an average human.
-Moves or your agility and speed.
-Mind as is how strong mind is and will power.
-Manipulation as in your personality and manipulative ability.
-Martial as in your raw brawling ability.
-Missile as in your accuracy at ranged combat.
-Mystical is your intuition and ability to manipulate arcane forces. 
What is his physical description? What is his personality?   

Forth discuss your Powers, Abilities, Devices, and Skills.

How powerful they are and what they do. It's fine to add an array of powers, devices, and abilities just don't go overboard. What do you have equipment wise?

Fifth is background.

Does your character have a life other than super heroics?  What does he do for a living? What hobbies does he have? What is his social status and wealth? Many of these backgrounds will provide skills and abilities that may provide useful in some game events.

Sixth is Mental and Physical Condition

Does your character have a bad back? Is he afraid of the dark? Has he an addiction to drugs? Is he completely healthy? All these are noted on the sheet. This is also the area where you note damage from combat. With no hard numbers there are no hit points just descriptions.

Seventh is Possessions and Wealth

You and the game master get together and discuss your hero's possessions and wealth and then your income as well as personal items such as a home and vehicles.

Eighth guideline is  all these "rules" are just guidelines! The point is to have fun!

Game Master Section

If a character tries to do something and is able to do with ease the charter succeeds. If there is a pivotal time in the adventure the Character rolls on the chart. The roll is not modified in any way. The result is read from the vantage of the skill of the character. For example if a skilled person and an unskilled person both roll an 8 it would mean different things for each Character. A skilled person may have his result described far better while an unskilled would not have done as well. A bad roll is not always a failed attempt to do something. It also can be a change of plot against the positive flow of the Story. This is actually a good thing as it makes very exciting stories.


Each player declares what they are doing based on their descriptions and power levels. Each player rolls and attack and defense plus any other rolls they are doing. The higher result usually wins unless the other player pulls a cool stunt or is just far more superior.

Damage is judged from the weapon used, the protection offered from cover, armor, and stamina and the result of the Plot Roll. Make it dramatic!

The effects of combat can be very detailed from a detailed description of each body area to a simple Uninjured, Scratch/Beat Up, Injured, Severely Injured, Incapacitated, and Dying.  It all depends on how you want  to run the game.

It is up to the players and the game master as well as the dice to figure out where your character stands. Mental states can be done this way as well.

You have to decide how much damage or effect was done according to the power and skill level described in the characters text minus any relevant defenses.

Ron Edwards

External document, please - see the sticky at the top of the forum.

I recognize that such a document would probably have the same information as you've posted. That doesn't change the requirement.

Also, I am really interested in the playtesting - what sort of events occurred, what kind of system-teaching you employed, and many other things. So count me as interested and perhaps a bit of incentive to meet the requirement.

Best, Ron


Oh sorry I thought it was if you posted the entire document of many pages not just a little piece.

The entire document is a Supers game 20 pages long but I don't have it ready for prime time.

The Sci-Fi version is too much of a mess right now to post until I make it understandable.

In play testing it has been tried as a Supers, Sci-Fi, New Weird Fantasy, Horror and Modern.

It's kinda developed when there was a few people wanting to play something without taking the whole night to make characters and the GM has a tale but with no per-written down stuff.

In the Supers setting with my daughters they loved it but they have no preconceptions of rules and crunchiness so it was a blast to them. They blasted away enemies and fought villains and did lot's of collateral damage! 

When it comes to system teaching there is very little. Players come up with a concept and write down a few words describing characters and just start playing.

For example Ted the Taxi Driver, Age 40, Drinks and Smokes, Gets into lots of bar fights,  Has psychic visions.  There is a base for a character. His 8Ms are all fairly average except for Martial which may be a bit higher than normal. At age 40 his Might might be slightly lower.

Many of the traditional gamers and rules lawyers hated it and never got in to it even at my best attempts to tell a great story. Of course these people just want to play and not run anything so they don't know what a pain modern gaming can be with all the complication. 

I will post more but I have to get to bed and go to work early.