Author Topic: -Mastery-, A Minimalist TableTop RPG Ruleset  (Read 3380 times)

Raelifin

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-Mastery-, A Minimalist TableTop RPG Ruleset
« on: August 17, 2007, 12:38:47 AM »
[size=30]Mastery[/size]
A Minimalist Table-Top RPG Ruleset
2nd Edition


Mastery is the result of one evening of thinking about rules. I wanted to write an RPG which could be summed up on a single sheet of paper, so I wrote out the Mastery Rulebook. The bare rulebook is supplemented with examples, optional rules, and advice, which are not counted for the one page. Because I think it helps for learning the system, the examples book will be presented alongside the rulebook, but is completely optional. I don't claim that Mastery is the best, or even great. It leaves a lot to the specific GM, and I'm not sure I'd want to play it consistently, but I thought I'd share what I have. The world needs more minimalist RPGs.

[ic Rulebook]The GM is always right.

[spoiler Characters]Each character has a number of traits, abilities, and skills.

Traits represent the raw talent or power your character possesses in a field.
Example traits might include cunning, intelligence, fortitude, or agility.
Normally, traits can be -2 through +4.

Abilities represent general skill-sets which the character has learned.
Example abilities might include martial arts, stealth, acrobatics, or magical lore.
Normally, abilities can be +1 through +4.

Skills are more specific than abilities, and represent specific prowesses.
Example skills might include tracking, lock-picking, feinting, or swimming.
Normally, skills can be +1 through +5.[/spoiler][spoiler Challenges]Before playing, pick a kind of dice to use (I prefer d6) and stick with that for the rest of the game.

All challenges are made by rolling dice and counting the number of results that equal or exceed a Target Number.
Target Numbers are based on the inherent difficulty of an action. Jumping across a small gap would be easy, while jumping across a large gap would be hard. Don't even bother rolling trivial challenges.

Target Numbers:
[th]Difficulty[/th][th]d6[/th][th]d10[/th][th]d20[/th][/tr]
[tr][td]Easy[/td][td]3[/td][td]4[/td][td]7[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Normal[/td][td]4[/td][td]6[/td][td]11[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Difficult[/td][td]5[/td][td]8[/td][td]15[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Extreme[/td][td]6[/td][td]10[/td][td]19[/td][/tr]
[/table]
For any solo challenge, the GM will require a certain number of successes for the character to succeed in their action. In many instances (such as music or athletics), more successes indicate a more impressive performance.

When characters oppose one another, treat it as though both characters were performing solo challenges where the victor is the one with the most successes. In this circumstance, the degree of success is equal to the difference, rather than the absolute number of successes.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

A player rolls a number of dice for a challenge depending on their character's attributes and the circumstances of the challenge.

Each challenge uses a trait, chosen by the GM. The player then chooses one ability and one skill. If the GM decides that either are unfit for the test at hand, the player cannot use them (and may not change their choice). The player then rolls a number of dice equal to:

1 + trait + ability (if any) + skill (if any) + circumstance modifiers (if any)

Unless a challenge is impossible, all characters get one base die, which cannot be removed due to modifiers.

Circumstantial modifiers can include assistance from others, low visibility, weariness, magic, or distraction.[/spoiler][spoiler Character Creation and Advancement]Before the game can begin, the GM must provide a list of traits. These traits should optimally cover all character archetypes that players want to use.

All traits start out at +0. Each player has two points which can be spent increase a trait (+0 -> +1 or +1 -> +2). Traits may be reduced to -1 to gain an additional point. Normally, a trait cannot be increased above +2 or reduced below a -1.
If a player wants to play a specialist, however, they may opt to reduce a +0 to a -2 in order to increase a +2 trait to a +3. This specialization may only be done once.

Starting characters then gain 20 "triumphs" which they can use to buy up skills and abilities, described below. 20 triumphs is intended to represent a starting hero, and the GM is encouraged to allot more for creating "experienced" heroes.

"Triumphs" are the units used to keep track of character advancement. Whenever a player does something difficult and important, the GM is suggested to give them a triumph. When a character is in a situation where they have the opportunity to increase a trait, ability or skill, (such as when creating a character) they may burn triumphs to do so. The number of triumphs it takes to move from one number to another depends on what is being increased.
[th]Cost of increasing traits:[/th][/tr]
[tr][td] -2 -> -1 = 1[/td][/tr]
[tr][td] -1 -> +0 = 2[/td][/tr]
[tr][td] +0 -> +1 = 3[/td][/tr]
[tr][td] +1 -> +2 = 4[/td][/tr]
[tr][td] +2 -> +3 = 5[/td][/tr]
[tr][td] +3 -> +4 = 7[/td][/tr]
[/table]
[th]Cost of increasing abilities:[/th][/tr]
[tr][td] +0 -> +1 = 2 (Gaining a new ability)[/td][/tr]
[tr][td] +1 -> +2 = 3[/td][/tr]
[tr][td] +2 -> +3 = 4[/td][/tr]
[tr][td] +3 -> +4 = 6[/td][/tr]
[/table]
[th]Cost of increasing skills:[/th][/tr]
[tr][td] +0 -> +1 = 1 (Gaining a new skill)[/td][/tr]
[tr][td] +1 -> +2 = 2[/td][/tr]
[tr][td] +2 -> +3 = 2[/td][/tr]
[tr][td] +3 -> +4 = 4[/td][/tr]
[tr][td] +4 -> +5 = 6[/td][/tr]
[/table]If the task of learning is difficult (such as without a teacher) the GM may require a challenge to improve.

Characters start with whatever items or equipment are considered appropriate for the setting and the character. If in doubt, ask the GM.[/spoiler][spoiler Combat]In addition to traits, abilities, skills and gear, characters have a number of health boxes which are an abstract representation of their physical condition. The number of health boxes a character has will depend on the style of game that the GM is running and the physical toughness of the character. GMs are encouraged to tie a trait, like "Health" or "Fortitude" to the number of Health Boxes a character receives (minimum 1). I suggest using a base of 10 boxes. Gritty games may go for 5 or even 3. When a character takes damage, mark off a number of health boxes. When the last one is marked, the character typically goes into a coma or dies, depending on the circumstances. A character's health should always be taken into account when determining the "circumstances" of a challenge.

Combat can also vary, depending on GM. Presented below are three ways that I suggest handling combat.
[spoiler Fearsome Challenges]Perhaps the simplest way to deal with combat is simply to make it a series of deadly challenges.

Imagine a group of explorers venturing through a forgotten tomb. They come upon a spike-laden pit trap. Jumping across the pit might take two successes against a difficult target number, with failure dealing 4 health boxes of damage, and the extra problem of getting out. Now imagine the explorers come across an ancient tomb guardian. The guardian is slow, and all the players can take actions before the guardian acts. When it does, it swings it's hammer at a single character, forcing a challenge to either block or move with failure meaning the victim takes 4 health boxes of damage. Under this system of combat, there is no difference between an environmental hazard and an intelligent opponent, except that opponents are generally deadlier and more adaptable.

This system allows the GM to avoid rolling dice, which lets them stay focused on the group. To determine the number of successes to dodge the attack of a humanoid opponent, just assume that they roll all average. That is, if they are looking for a "normal" target number, just make their degree of success = half their dice pool.

Using this system, determine if enemies act first, then take turns where the whole party acts in whatever order they want (though only within reason).[/spoiler][spoiler Single-Action Roundtable]Good for dueling, this system breaks combat down into a number of rounds, where each player takes a single action.

Each character, at the beginning of combat, performs a challenge to act first, comparing degrees of success. In the case of a tie, the character with the highest "agility" trait (or equivalent) acts first, or the GM simply decides. Each character then acts in turn, taking a single action. Typical actions involve directly attacking the opponent, or modifying circumstances to get more dice on a future attack.

Attacks are handled as contested challenges with the defender. Stunned or surprised characters cannot defend. If the attacker wins, he or she deals damage equal to their degree of success (plus any modifier from weapon or armor). If the defender wins, they gain a counter-attack advantage on their next turn of a single die.[/spoiler][spoiler Bloodbath]This system is good for games that favor violent, or unpredictable combat. In Bloodbath, all characters decide on their actions in secret and act simultaneously. The results of a round of combat depend on the nature of the actions involved.

Independent Non-Challenge: An example of this is two characters that run away from each other. No rolls are made, and both characters successfully withdraw.

Independent Challenge: An example of this is two characters that attack each other. Each character rolls a solo challenge to hit and deals their raw successes as damage to their opponent (plus any modifier from weapon or armor). This can mean that both characters kill each other, if they roll high enough.

Conflicting Challenge: An example of this is a character that attacks a defending or fleeing character. The action is made as an opposed challenge, where the victor is the only one to have their action take effect, and their degree of success is the difference between the rolls.

Asynchronous: An example of this is a character that attacks a character trying to focus on something. In instances where one action (like attacking) is unaffected by another action (like focusing), but not vice-versa, the action that is not effected works and the other is disrupted.

Bloodbath can become unwieldy in non-one-on-one situations, and favors power in numbers.[/spoiler][/spoiler][/ic][ic Options][spoiler Magic]Magic is intentionally left out of the Mastery system, as it varies widely from setting to setting. For those who don't want to create their own rules for magic, I have developed an optional default magic system.

Coming Soon
[/spoiler][spoiler Gifts and Flaws]Coming Soon
[/spoiler][spoiler Luck]Coming Soon
[/spoiler][/ic][ic Advice][spoiler Monsters and Races]Remember that the GM is always right! Mastery is built to be flexible, not all-encompassing. If you, as a GM, feel that dwarves deserve stat mods - do it! It is because of this that the system doesn't handle monsters or races. These things differ so much from one world to the next, that it's on the shoulders of GMs and supplement writers to come up with rules for such things.[/spoiler][spoiler Skills and Abilities]As a GM, the biggest task will be learning to classify skills and abilities and to call "not applicable" skills when players try to use them. This can be hard, as a player can fail simply because you don't think farming ability helps classify wild plants. Combat can be especially bad, as powergamers will instantly create "Skill with Erchax the Longsword" and try to pass it off as a skill. Skills are more powerful than abilities, and should be much more specific, and very rarely cover simple attacking. Parrying, for example, makes a good skill. Counterattacking with a specific weapon is a good skill. Both of these are only usable in certain situations, which is why they're skills and not abilities. Abilities represent professions, general skillsets and skill with weapons. When considering whether something is a skill or ability, also take into consideration the world and type of game you're playing. Engineering might be an ability in a steampunk setting, but in a dark ages world it would probably only be a skill.

Don't be afraid to say that certain actions are only possible by characters with points in a specific skill. I can't do magic, so why should a farmer or a barbarian? This even applies to abilities, though less so. I may not be able to do a cartwheel unless I have acrobatics, for instance.

Lastly, say no to skills and abilities that don't match up with a test! Don't let your players re-pick different skills or abilities once you turn the first ones down! (unless you really think they deserve it) If players know that a bad choice will result in no extra dice, they'll be more likely to pick the most realistic skills and abilities. Disallowing skills and abilities also forces players to get creative and tackle problems from different angles.

Here are a list of abilities I suggest for medieval fantasy: (Note that even with this list, players should be allowed to make their own)
    * Lance, Flail, Blade, Axe, Spear, Hammer,  of Staff Training
    * Fencing
    * Knife Fighting
    * Archery
    * Knife Throwing
    * A Martial Art

    * Farming
    * Gardening
    * Woodworking
    * Masonry
    * Architecture
    * Sailing
    * Mining
    * Smithing
    * Art
    * Music
    * Dance

    * Stealth
    * Bluffing
    * Acrobatics
    * Athletics

    * Animal Lore
    * Street Lore
    * Merchant Lore
    * Woods Lore
    * Acedemic Lore
    * Occult Lore

    * Tactics
    * Leadership
    * Diplomacy
    * Interogation


Here are a list of skills I suggest for medieval fantasy:
    Blocking
    * Parrying
    * Dodging
    * Feinting

    * Animal Handling
    * Horseback Riding
    * Firemaking
    * Fletching
    * Coopering
    * Tracking
    * Haggling
    * Boatbuilding
    * A Musical Instument
    * An Artform, such as sculpture
    * Gem Cutting
    * Wagonmaking

    * Forgery
    * Knots
    * Inuendo
    * Swimming
    * Climbing
    * Sprinting
    * Etiquite
    * Lockpicking

    * Arithmatic
    * Science
    * History
    * Geography
    * Cartography
    * Demonology
    * Relgious Lore

    * Seige Warfare
    * Military Dicipline

    * Loyalty
    * Hatred of Something
    * Love of Something
    * Desire for Something


Note the last few skills. In certain situations a character can use generic skills that represent devotion to their cause. Be very careful with these, as they can be overused. Point out to players that take these skills that you'll be more open to their use if the player uses them sparingly. If correctly employed, such skills can add heroic drama to a tense moment.[/spoiler][spoiler Weapons and Armor]Weapons in mastery are a bit vague, much like the setting itself. The power level of weapons and armor depends on the technology of the setting and also how gritty the GM wants to run things. High weapon damage means more deadly combat, while high armor values tend to make for a more "epic" game (as high armor tends to mean a generally higher expected damage).

Here are some general guidelines:
-- Medieval --
Fist, Foot or other weak attack = +0 damage
Daggers and light weaponry = +1 damage
Light Swords and Spears, Clubs, Handaxes = +2 damage
Large Swords, Battleaxes, Projectiles, Maces and Hammers = +3 damage
Lances, Greataxes, Gratclubs and Flails = +4 damage

Leather Armor = +1 armor
Chain Mail = +2 armor
Plate Mail = +3 armor

-- Modern --
Brass Knuckles = +1
Baseball Bat, Flamethrower = +2
Light Rifle or Pistol = +3
Chainsaw, Submachine gun, Revolver = +4
Heavy Rifle = +5
RPG or Plain grenade = +10
Shotgun +1 through +4 depending on range

Riot Gear = +2
SWAT Armor = +3

-- Modifiers --
Long Range or Weak Swing = -1 damage
Gritty Setting = +2 damage to all weapons. +1 to unarmed attacks.
Charging or otherwise extra-powered blow = +1 damage


Remember that weapons are more than just that single number. Some weapons (such as daggers) are easier to wield in tight quarters and conceal. Others (such as flails) might be difficult to wield. Some will require special conditions to be effective (lances) or require more time to use (ranged weapons). If you feel that an attack deserves a damage modifier (such as a killing blow or a point-blank shot), propose it to the GM. And as always, modify these numbers as you see fit to make the game that is fun for you.

Proficiency is also important with both weapons and armor. In cases where a character attempts to use a weapon without any skill or ability, the GM may decide to impose any number of circumstance penalties. Armor, unlike weaponry, has no associated skill or ability (under the defaults), but the GM has full right to impose penalties on any number of things, especially if the wearer of the armor is unfamiliar with it.[/spoiler][/ic]

Examples coming eventually...
« Last Edit: July 16, 2008, 11:06:26 AM by Raelifin »

Stargate525

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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2007, 01:00:04 AM »
I like this. Alot. This is the system I would literally keep in my wallet for on the fly sessions.

One suggestion though. Perhaps change the name of traits to abilities, and change abilities to focuses (or something similar). I keep getting confused, as I'm used to seeing abilities as the broadest set.
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Raelifin

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« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2007, 09:10:41 AM »
What if I made traits into abilities, and made general skills and specific skills instead of skills and abilities?

I must admit, I'm hesitant to change the names based solely on differing d20 terminology.

Túrin

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« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2007, 12:02:25 PM »
Simple but elegant. I like it. :)

Quote from:  Bad
2 = Weak
3 = Good
4 = Great
5 = Excellent
6 = Amazing
7 = Phenomenal
8 = Heroic
9 = Insane[/quote

I take it 0 successes counts as an automatic failure?

Túrin
Proud owner of a Golden Dorito Award
My setting Orden's Mysteries is no longer being updated


"Then shall the last battle be gathered on the fields of Valinor. In that day Tulkas shall strive with Melko, and on his right shall stand Fionwe and on his left Turin Turambar, son of Hurin, Conqueror of Fate; and it shall be the black sword of Turin that deals unto Melko his death and final end; and so shall the Children of Hurin and all men be avenged." - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Shaping of Middle-Earth

Raelifin

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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2007, 12:26:19 PM »
Yes. Added. Thank you.

Atlantis

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« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2007, 03:32:13 PM »
would each skill have to directly corresspond to one of your abilities?
Spoiler
Spoiler

 [spoiler FORTUNE COOKIE!] [fortune]
[close]
[close]

 [spoiler The Welcoming song]Welcome new member,
Hope you like it here,
Just don't let these guys,
Talk off your ear.

When we get annoying,
Which happens quite often,
Be annoying too,
And our hearts will soften.

If ever you're bored,
Just show up online,
We wash away boredom,
In absolutely no time.[/spoiler]


 [spoiler The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins]In the middle of the earth in the land of the Shire
lives a brave little hobbit whom we all admire.
With his long wooden pipe,
fuzzy, woolly toes,
he lives in a hobbit-hole and everybody knows him

Bilbo! Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins
He's only three feet tall
Bilbo! Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins
The bravest little hobbit of them all

Now hobbits are a peace-lovin' folks you know
They don't like to hurry and they take things slow
They don't like to travel away from home
They just want to eat and be left alone
But one day Bilbo was asked to go
on a big adventure to the caves below,
to help some dwarves get back their gold
that was stolen by a dragon in the days of old.

Bilbo! Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins
He's only three feet tall
Bilbo! Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins
The bravest little hobbit of them all

Well he fought with the goblins!
He battled a troll!!
He riddled with Gollum!!!
A magic ring he stole!!!!
He was chased by wolves!!!!!
Lost in the forest!!!!!!
Escaped in a barrel from the elf-king's halls!!!!!!!

Bilbo! Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins
The bravest little hobbit of them all

Now he's back in his hole in the land of the Shire,
that brave little hobbit whom we all admire,
just a-sittin' on a treasure of silver and gold
a-puffin' on his pipe in his hobbit-hole.

Bilbo! Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins
He's only three feet tall
Bilbo! Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins
The bravest little hobbit of them all
 CLICK HERE! [/spoiler]

 
Spoiler
Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55% of plepoe can.
I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

fi yuo cna raed tihs, palce it in yuor siantugre.
[close]


 [/spoiler]
 
   

 

Raelifin

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« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2007, 05:40:56 PM »
Not at all. I might have skill at swimming, without being generally good at athletics.

Matt Larkin (author)

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« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2007, 06:57:25 PM »
I think the question, and forgive me Atlantis if I misspeak, is whether every skill would be tied to an ability.

In your example, I'd say it does tie in well. You might not be a stellar athlete, but if you're not in fairly good shape, you won't be a champion swimmer.

My encouragement Rael, it sounds pretty good.
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Wensleydale

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« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2007, 07:04:02 PM »
Agreed here. I like it, and it'd certainly be good for on-the-fly gaming.

Thanuir

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« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2007, 04:22:14 AM »
Nice enough, seems functional, but I wouldn't call it minimalistic.


Personally I would allow player to select which skills, abilities and traits he wants to use. Target number would then be assigned by the GM based on how relevant the player-selected skills, abilities and traits are. This would make the GM's job easier, IMO, and that is always a good thing.

Raelifin

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« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2007, 08:52:45 AM »
Quote from: Thanuir
Nice enough, seems functional, but I wouldn't call it minimalistic.
That's odd. I define a minimalist work to be that which is stripped of all but what is essential. I deem the essentials of an RPG to be GM involvement, character building and test resolution. Mastery doesn't have rules for things like poison, drowning, magic, sleep, monsters, magic items, certain combat effects (like grappling) and more. What would you call a minimalist RPG?

Quote from: Thanuir
Personally I would allow player to select which skills, abilities and traits he wants to use. Target number would then be assigned by the GM based on how relevant the player-selected skills, abilities and traits are. This would make the GM's job easier, IMO, and that is always a good thing.
So if the player tried to use fishing to attack the dragon, you'd set the DC to impossible? I agree that it makes the GMs job easier the way you have it set out, but Mastery wasn't designed to be easy on the GM, it was designed to be simple and give the GM power.

Let's say a character (Bob) looks something like this:
Might: +3, Gardening: +3, SneezeArt +4

Bob falls in a river and the GM says he needs to make a test to stay afloat. Bob wants to use the above skill, ability and trait. Even if the TN is 6, Bob will still get it. If the TN is 7, that's too bad for Bob. What if Bob is wearing armor? Is the DM going to further increase the TN? Or will they increase the number of successes needed? If it becomes impossible, couldn't bob have probably done it if he just hadn't selected sneezing skill? The selection of skills is OOC, and if you let that fall through without a sanity check, it becomes silly.

Thanuir

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« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2007, 03:36:40 AM »
Quote from: Raelifin

Quote from: Thanuir
Nice enough, seems functional, but I wouldn't call it minimalistic.
That's odd. I define a minimalist work to be that which is stripped of all but what is essential. I deem the essentials of an RPG to be GM involvement, character building and test resolution. Mastery doesn't have rules for things like poison, drowning, magic, sleep, monsters, magic items, certain combat effects (like grappling) and more. What would you call a minimalist RPG?
GM is a good general choice, but not strictly necessary, IMO. Defining roleplaying, or rpgs, is not really fruitful, though.

Take a look at Risus. It is free and quite fast to read. It has GM, chargen and resolution system. And it is pretty good.

Quote
So if the player tried to use fishing to attack the dragon, you'd set the DC to impossible? I agree that it makes the GMs job easier the way you have it set out, but Mastery wasn't designed to be easy on the GM, it was designed to be simple and give the GM power.

If a player tried to attack a dragon with fishing, I'd simply ask "How the hell?". The player might have a great idea that involves nets, tridents, fishing rods and a red herring.
Generally, I would always ask two things from players; what they are trying to achive and how. "What" determines the likely outcome of success, "how" tells the difficulty of the roll.

Quote
The selection of skills is OOC, and if you let that fall through without a sanity check, it becomes silly.
When desiging a game, I always assume I will play it with good players, or at least adequate ones. That is, if GM tells them that the game is not one of slapstick humour, they will play fairly seriously and not try anything too goofy. If players (or the GM) are out to ruin a game, there is little a designer can do to prevent that. So I just assume the players and the GM are there to play together and not spoil the game for each other.


If you only want to give the GM power, it is very easy to accomplish. Go totally freeform. Or use the traditional resolution system: when trying something, roll a die. High result is good, low is bad. It works pretty well. Been there, played and GM'd that.

Matt Larkin (author)

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« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2007, 08:36:44 AM »
Hey Rael, is this project complete now?
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Raelifin

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« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2007, 09:54:05 AM »
Quote
GM is a good general choice, but not strictly necessary, IMO. Defining roleplaying, or rpgs, is not really fruitful, though.

Take a look at Risus. It is free and quite fast to read. It has GM, chargen and resolution system. And it is pretty good.
Whoops, I forgot to post here after I read that. It's a good system, and I like the strategy involved (though the slippery slope is annoying).

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If a player tried to attack a dragon with fishing, I'd simply ask "How the hell?". The player might have a great idea that involves nets, tridents, fishing rods and a red herring.
Generally, I would always ask two things from players; what they are trying to achive and how. "What" determines the likely outcome of success, "how" tells the difficulty of the roll.
Difficulty is part of likely outcome of success. And yes, if the player comes up with something appropriate, it's very easy for the GM in Mastery to go with it. (Remember that the player is supposed to describe the course of action as a first-thing so the GM can pick the right trait.)

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When desiging a game, I always assume I will play it with good players, or at least adequate ones. That is, if GM tells them that the game is not one of slapstick humour, they will play fairly seriously and not try anything too goofy. If players (or the GM) are out to ruin a game, there is little a designer can do to prevent that. So I just assume the players and the GM are there to play together and not spoil the game for each other.
That's a good idea that I have to disagree with on one point: The GM or players may not realize that they're doing something wrong until it's too late. Rules and guidelines prevent things from going too wildly off course. Mostly I just agree with you though.

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If you only want to give the GM power, it is very easy to accomplish. Go totally freeform. Or use the traditional resolution system: when trying something, roll a die. High result is good, low is bad. It works pretty well. Been there, played and GM'd that.
No. There's a very big point here, and that is the inclusion of strategy as well as creativity. RPGs are called games because they resemble activities that can be won or lost (even though they can't). Part of the fun, for me at least, is tactically devising ways to defeat my foes, and I feel that freeform doesn't give me the structure needed to do this consistently. I love freeform, don't get me wrong, I just think that there's a lot to be gained from GM heavy gaming.

@Phoenix Knight:
The rulebook is finished, and that's all you need to play, really. The book of examples isn't "done," though there's a good chance I just won't bother writing about equipment and skills. My interest in the project isn't very high, atm.

Thanuir

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-Mastery-, A Minimalist TableTop RPG Ruleset
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2007, 12:58:22 PM »
Quote from: Raelifin
Difficulty is part of likely outcome of success. And yes, if the player comes up with something appropriate, it's very easy for the GM in Mastery to go with it. (Remember that the player is supposed to describe the course of action as a first-thing so the GM can pick the right trait.)
Whatever works for you. I would, of course, houserule the trait selection to players, but it is a modular rule (not tied to others), so houseruling is easy.

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That's a good idea that I have to disagree with on one point: The GM or players may not realize that they're doing something wrong until it's too late. Rules and guidelines prevent things from going too wildly off course. Mostly I just agree with you though.
True, that is one important function of rules. It can also be accomplished by strong reliance on source material (this game is like Star Wars/Michael Crichton's books/four-colour superhero comics) or a pre-game discussion (pitch session, where people talk about what they want to play and create characters and do similar preparations), but rules are an easy way.

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There's a very big point here, and that is the inclusion of strategy as well as creativity. RPGs are called games because they resemble activities that can be won or lost (even though they can't). Part of the fun, for me at least, is tactically devising ways to defeat my foes, and I feel that freeform doesn't give me the structure needed to do this consistently. I love freeform, don't get me wrong, I just think that there's a lot to be gained from GM heavy gaming.
Okay. Strategy and tactics are not a huge factor for me, so it is easy to ignore them. This does explain quite a bit.