Just Some Random System Ideas

I was doing the washing up and, as generally happens when you’re doing something mindless, my brain wandered. This being my brain we’re talking about, it wandered off into RPG systems and went down a little train of thought…

FATE style d6-d6 gives a nice probability curve that zeroes out and actually favours relatively realistic system construction because of it. All the wild, pulpy, narrative action comes from the stuff that’s bolted on.

Rather than having the positive and negative dice being the same, couldn’t we make one positive and one negative of different sizes. Say D6-D4 for example. The better you are the bigger your dice, the worse you are the smaller. The more difficult something is the bigger the negative dice that the GM rolls.

So your stats would be a D4 to D12 spread (1-5 essentially, same spread as Storyteller) but you could go off the edges with penalties or bonuses representing that extra amount. So you’d have steps, for example…


To allow for the excesses of chance, allow highest roll to ‘explode’ and add one each time it does. So if you rolled a D4 and got three 4’s in a row – and then something else, your score would be 6.

Maybe a standard Stat/Skill split but the constricted range means you’d have to go Stat governing skill, probably, rather than making them additive. So if you have a Strength of D4 you could only have a Strength-based skill of D4.

You could rip the Focus system out of Xpress (in fact this whole thing could be an Xpress build) to allow for specialities to compensate for potentially low skills, so each level of Focus would step you up one.

EG: Skill: Shooting/Rifles/Assault Rifles D6/D8/D10

If you get a zero total it’s a marginal success/fail (GM discretion). The sort of thing where you barely leap the gap and end up hanging by your fingernails. Positive number success, negative number failure. The lower the worse, the higher the better.

It’s an RPG so we need to work out how people get killed (or not). I think I’d like to preserve a separate damage roll, even though it slows things down a bit and I’d like to wrench something off Silhouette (and from an old InPhobia magazine article) by going for wound levels. A good hit would step up the damage die though (one step per positive, so +3 hit on D6 damage would make it d12 damage). You’d roll your Resilience against the damage you take.

How do people get hurt?

  1. Scrape – Resilience – No effect at all, cosmetic.
  2. Light Wound – Resilience+1 – No effect but +1 to any future damage rolls for each one taken.
  3. Down – Resilience+2 – KO’ed/crippled, out of the fight, +2 to any future damage rolls for each one taken.
  4. Dead – Resilience+3.

Debilitating wounds would be special attacks, more difficult.

So if you have D8 Resilience (Average, step 3) You’d have:

  • LW: 3
  • Down: 4
  • Dead: 5

I’m thinking bare hands would have (Strength-3) damage and various melee weapons would step that up (+1 dagger, +2 short sword, +3 Longsword) and so on). I think to be realistic (if that’s your bag) guns would need to be pretty damn deadly. So I think a d8 base for a 9mm gun.

There’d be a load of other details, but you can see the basic idea here.

So, by way of example: Two average but professional swordsmen face off.

Sir Dude: Gets initiative, lashes out with his attack, he’s got a sword skill of d8 and scores 4.

Sir Sweet: Tries to defend himself with a parry (using his sword skill). He gets 6 and, so, easily deflects the blow. He counter attacks with 3.

Sir Dude: Ducks under using his agility with a roll of 7 and sweeps with his sword, getting a 3.

Sir Sweet: Tries to parry again, but this time only rolls a 1. Sir Dude has gotten right past his defence by +2. So rolls damage for his longsword, d8 stepped up twice makes d12. He rolls a 12 and a 7, so that’s only 12. Sir Sweet is in serious trouble. He only rolls a 3 for his defence which means Sir Dude hit him for damage 9. He’s so run through and so utterly dead it’s not even funny.

You’d probably need some additional safety net for PCs (it’s a bit deadly) but there’s the nub of a system in there.