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Author Topic: System games.  (Read 1761 times)

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Offline InkiduTopic starter

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System games.
« on: September 08, 2008, 09:07:49 AM »
I don't like to miss out on much, and I always wanted to try a system game, but the jargon and the shorthand everyone always uses makes me confused like a English major in Japanese class.

I know a lot about video games that use stat like systems, but dice rolls and a lot of the finer mechanics.

So I would like a patient person to go over the whole shebang with me, if it's not too much trouble.

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: System games.
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2008, 12:45:54 PM »
I've got about 20 years behind the GMs screen. What would you like to know? We can deal in very general terms, or with specific systems, whatever you find preferable.

Offline Xillen

Re: System games.
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2008, 12:56:28 PM »
Hmyeah, you seem to know the basics, and it's sorta hard to cough up everything. What exactly is it that you're looking for?

Are you planning on GMing a game, or just playing it? Do you have questions about which ruleset to use? How to make a character? etc...

I guess the GM or player's perspective is the most important one.

Greetings, Xillen.

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: System games.
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2008, 03:20:48 PM »
I know things like Str equals strength.

I'm not looking to get into specific systems just the most widely used ones.

My problem is the (And this will sound so stereotypical) 1D20 stuff. Goes up right over my head.

Offline Haibane

Re: System games.
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2008, 04:23:59 PM »
I would have thought the best thing to do Inkedu, would be to play a 'test' game with an experienced system GM, just your character and his/hers and the GM could show you through the whole deal. Nothing like hands on experience to learn a process.

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: System games.
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2008, 04:38:04 PM »
Widely used systems. Ok, here's the basics of dice rolling. There are three systems I'm fairly familiar with which have different mechanics for determining success.

First, and easiest, the percentile system. You have a stat or skill rated at a certain % value. Roll under that number, you succeed. Roll over it, you fail. Now, that number may be modified by outside factors, but you're still aiming to roll under it.

Example: I have a shooting skill of 40%. Any time I try to shoot someone, that's the number I'm working from. Now, maybe I'm at close range (+10%), but its foggy (-5%). My final roll is 45%. If I can roll 45 or less using a d100 (or more commonly 2 d10s) I hit my target. If I roll 46 or higher, I miss.


Second, the d20. The d20 system works by assigning a target number, which you're trying to beat. Your d20 roll beats that number, you succeed. If it don't, you fail. Again, the roll will be modified by outside factors ... skills, equipment, bonuses from high stats and so forth.

Example: I'm trying to bluff my way into somewhere I have no right to be. The GM decides the target number will be 20. Now, I have points in my bluff skill (+5), and a high charisma (+2). I now need to roll 13 or more on the d20 to bluff my way in. I roll a 10. Good, but not good enough, and I don't get in.


Thirdly, the 'X or better is a success'. In the White Wolf games, a 7 or better on a single d10 is a success. A 10 counts for 2 successes. I roll a number of dice equal to my stat + skill, count the 7s or better. I need to get X number of successes to succeed in whatever I'm trying.

Example: I'm trying to dodge out of the way of an attack. The attacker has gotten 4 successes. I roll my Dex (stat - 4 dice) and my Dodge (skill - 3 dice). I get 10, 8, 7, 7, 5, 3, 3, 2 . This gives me 5 successes, so I dodge the attack.


Now, frequently the better you roll, the GM will make the outcome more favourable to you. On the flip side, roll really badly, and it's likely to get worse.

How is that?

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: System games.
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2008, 10:23:54 PM »
I think I get the first and second but not the third. D means dice I suppose and the number before the d is the number of dice and the one after is the side. I really don't know anything about it. XD

I guess I just need a real easy-going game. I'm afraid I'll just piss of a bunch of experienced players.

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: System games.
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2008, 02:35:41 AM »
I think I get the first and second but not the third. D means dice I suppose and the number before the d is the number of dice and the one after is the side. I really don't know anything about it. XD

Correct. 3d10 would mean 3 ten sided dice. The White Wolf method is actually fairly simple. Roll this bucket of dice, 7 or higher on each one is good. I say bucket because I'm used to playing Exalted with it, and you'd regularly be rolling 6-8 dice for a test (bearing in mind you generally only need one 7 or better to succeed). Add in charms and stunt bonuses, and the most I ever saw anyone roll was something like 24 d10s :)

I guess I just need a real easy-going game. I'm afraid I'll just piss of a bunch of experienced players.

Actually there's nothing to prevent the GM rolling dice for you, til you come up to speed.

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: System games.
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2008, 06:35:55 AM »
Well okay. What are popular stats and experience systems. I know in KotOR II it takes two attribute points to add a +1 bonus in that attribute. That tends to be the DnD thing?

Offline The Great Triangle

Re: System games.
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2008, 09:21:02 AM »
That's the d20 system, the current most popular system for RPGs.  (note: I don't like d20 very much)

D&D, Star Wars RPG, and Mutants and Masterminds are the main d20 games.

The second most popular RPG system is Storyteller, sometimes called the d10 system or the buckets 'o dice system.  A proprietary system used in most white wolf RPGs.

Exalted, Scion, and World of Darkness are the main games which use storyteller.


There are several generic systems worthy of mention, such as GURPS and BESM, which use a 3d6 and 2d6 resolution method respectively.  Warhammer fantasy RPG and its sci fi counterpart, Dark Heresy use a d% resolution system, and have a reputation for being brutal.  (Mostly because d% requires a very high chance of failure to accommodate situational modifiers)

That should just about cover all of the systems you're likely to find in a chain bookstore or see a game proposal for.  (although I didn't cover a couple of notable systems, like Wushu, RISUS, or Spirit of the Century, which have primarily online distributions.)


I will be starting up a game for system newbies pretty soon, most likely werewolf, from the world of darkness.  Keep your eyes out for a players wanted ad sometime soon.

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: System games.
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2008, 10:39:15 AM »
You know I'll miss it so try and throw me a pm if it isn't too much work. ;D

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: System games.
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2008, 12:59:16 PM »
I'm also very partial to Legend of the Five Rings, which uses another system altogether.

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: System games.
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2008, 01:15:32 PM »
I'm also very partial to Legend of the Five Rings, which uses another system altogether.
That's a book.

Offline Haibane

Re: System games.
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2008, 01:29:18 PM »
I think the game (known as L5R and created in 1995) is different to the book(s).
« Last Edit: September 09, 2008, 01:31:32 PM by Haibane »

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: System games.
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2008, 01:38:45 PM »
The five rings is an old Japanese book written by Musashi. For those not in the know.

Offline Haibane

Re: System games.
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2008, 01:47:31 PM »
You mean "A Book of Five Rings" or Go Rin No Sho. Not "Legend of the Five Rings" which is a roleplaying game.

Offline Xillen

Re: System games.
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2008, 02:47:36 PM »
D (or d) is used as if it were a mathematical value. If it says something like:

5x3d8+2, then you take 3 eightsided dice (each causing a random value ranging from 1 to 8 ) and count the sum. Then you add 2. Finally, you multiply the total amount by 5.

Percentile dice (d%, d00 or d100) is IRL commonly created by rolling 2 tensided dice, where one refers to the ones (0-9) and the other to the tens (0-90 in steps of 10), and the values are added together. Double 0's counts as 100. There are tensided dice that show the actual extra 0, but you can also roll 2 dice of different colors and choose beforehands which one is the tens, or roll one die twice.

As for system recommendation... I'd recommend you to join one as a player instead of trying to GM one, and in that case, go with whatever system the GM chose (ask if he's ok with newbies to the system beforehand, though). Once you've gotten a bit familiar with games, you can more easily understand the different advantages and disadvantages of the various ones.

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: System games.
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2008, 03:52:11 PM »
Ack don't math it up. I can do it as long as it doesn't look like a formula. I wasn't planning on GMing a game. What made you think that?

Offline Xillen

Re: System games.
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2008, 04:37:28 PM »
Well, your later messages seemed to be heading towards "Which system should I use...".

If you're not gonna GM, the choice is most likely not up to you. If you come across an interesting system story, go with whatever system the GM decided on and learn from there.

Trying to soak up all the generic stuff might just mess up your head. Better to dive in and experience it firsthanded :)

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: System games.
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2008, 08:55:11 PM »
Well, your later messages seemed to be heading towards "Which system should I use...".

If you're not gonna GM, the choice is most likely not up to you. If you come across an interesting system story, go with whatever system the GM decided on and learn from there.

Trying to soak up all the generic stuff might just mess up your head. Better to dive in and experience it firsthanded :)
Yeah but I'm not going to burden anyone without knowing something.

Offline The Great Triangle

Re: System games.
« Reply #20 on: September 09, 2008, 10:51:56 PM »
Well, Inkidu, I've gone and set up a players wanted ad for a system based vampire game and a system based werewolf game.  Pick whichever bitey monster sounds the most intruiging to you.   :)

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: System games.
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2008, 02:30:07 AM »
Yeah but I'm not going to burden anyone without knowing something.

Who says you'll be a burden? If I sat down to play, say, Call of Cthulhu, I wouldn't know the system. It's not one I've played before. A good GM will make allowances for that, and tell you what you need to roll, what stats or skills on your character sheet you need to be looking at and so forth.

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: System games.
« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2008, 10:16:54 AM »
I just like knowing what I'm getting into.

Offline Haibane

Re: System games.
« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2008, 03:01:15 PM »
Most GMs welcome players, no matter if they know the system or not, as long as they are enthusiastic. I'd much rather game with an eager noob than a bored veteran ;)

You won't be a burden Ink, GMs want you.

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: System games.
« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2008, 10:28:21 PM »
Well I know how the D20 combat system for DnD 3.5 works now.