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Author Topic: Super Simple System Games  (Read 2211 times)

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Offline ffTopic starter

Super Simple System Games
« on: April 24, 2018, 08:54:39 PM »
(if theres's a better Elliquiy topic firm for this LMK)

Freeform games and system games have their pros and cons. If I'm debating one or the other for a new group RP, is there some compromise, some sort of super-simple system?

Basically, I might want to do an RP which is like a freeform RP, but has some 'impartial' way of resolving PvE or PvP combat, or a few non-combat 'skills' like deciding whether a player character has the perception skills to notice environmental clues or boobytraps. In a pure freeform RP, you hafta kinda decide all these things in an 'improv' (or OOC-planned like a co-authored story) manner. I might like a way to challenge players that is fair and impartial - to throw some enemies or monsters a them in a way that's a compromise between the two ways freeform combat seems to go (the heroes steamroll everything effortlessly, or maybe someone agrees to have their player captured or killed off.) With freeform it's tough to strike that balance between easy steamrolling, and the GM simply forcing a player to take a major L.

So anyone know any super-simple systems (rolling a couple die per fight and that's about it etc.)? Ideally something adaptable to different settings.

And/or, curious about thoughts other people may have on doing freeform combat/challenges in a satisfying manner (players feel challenged, but not godmodded by the GM).
 
My own system familiarity is pretty much DnD3.5 and nothing else, but that's probably too complex for what I'm looking for here.

Also this is a relatively academic question - I don't even have a specific current RP or new RP idea in mind, but I feel like I probably will GM at least one future game where I have these desires.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2018, 08:56:12 PM by ff »

Offline theavianone

Re: Super Simple System Games
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2018, 05:41:01 PM »
Have you considered a tabletop game called 7th Sea? Specifically the very recent second edition.

In my experience playing it I've found that it strikes that nice balance between freeform and stat based. There's no adding up half a dozen bonuses from different sources and comparing it to a defense score that is also made up of half a dozen bonuses. All dice rolls come down to adding one of the character's five attribute scores (called Traits in this system) to one of their skills and perhaps one or two bonus dice due to a feat (called Advantages), special circumstances, or just good roleplaying. That number is how many d10's you roll to decide how many actions a character can take at the moment and who takes actions before who. Skills and Traits range from 0 to 5, and most rolls average something like 4 to 8 dice.

Combat is simple and focuses more on what the characters do and how they do it rather than damage output. The core rulebook encourages you to not look at combat as "How will they survive?" but rather "What will it cost them to survive?" Player success is assumed so as the DM your job becomes forcing them to make choices and living with the consequences.

My favorite part is that there is not an automatic pairing of Skills with Traits, it all comes down to if the player can explain and justify their approach. Scaring off a crowd of people could just as easily be a Panche + Intimidate roll as it could be Brawn + Athletics, if the player explains that they are bench pressing a barrel of rum to show everyone they are not to be messed with. Heck, it could even be Wits + Perform to have the character make themselves appear insane and unstable to frighten others off.

The system comes with its own lore and setting, but I can't imagine it'd be too hard to appropriate the system to whatever setting you have in mind. One way or another, I highly recommend checking it out.

(Sorry, I can't post external links yet. Just Google '7th Sea' and you'll be able to find the official website.)

Offline ffTopic starter

Re: Super Simple System Games
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2018, 06:05:46 PM »
That sounds perfect. Thanks a ton. And I was even thinking (though I didn't say it in my previous post) that pirates were one of the likely settings I had in mind as likely candidate for my hypothetical future RP.

Looks like there are some free core rulebook pdfs online that I might check out http://johnwickpresents.com/7th-sea-basic-rules/

(for anyone else seeing this, I'm still on the lookout for other simple systems or solutions to my dilemma!)
« Last Edit: April 26, 2018, 07:39:04 PM by ff »

Offline theavianone

Re: Super Simple System Games
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2018, 06:26:58 PM »
Ah, I was hoping you'd find that!

If you are specifically interesting in doing pirate-y stuff, I recommend getting the Pirate Nations book. It's designed specifically around the Golden Age of Piracy in the 7th Sea version of the Caribbean. An evil trading company, slave rebellions, an evil undead pirate named Jorah who will offer miraculous pieces of treasure in exchange for a limb. Tons of adventure to be had!

Offline ffTopic starter

Re: Super Simple System Games
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2018, 07:40:56 PM »
That sounds cool. The evil trading company I presume is loosely based on the East India Company (which has showed up in pop culture in Pirates of the Caribbean, and Assassin's Creed Black Flag).

I should have mentioned in my original post, though, that anything I can consider for an RP here on Elliquiy will have to be available free online (or so simple that I can realistically just paste the relevant info into my RP request thread). Sort of like how DnD 3.5 had the online SRD documents at http://www.d20srd.org/. Even if I'm willing to invest the time and money in RP system books, I don't want to limit my RP Request to people who have (or buy) the same books, I suspect I wouldn't get critical mass for an RP if I did.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2018, 07:42:40 PM by ff »

Offline theavianone

Re: Super Simple System Games
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2018, 09:44:53 PM »
Ah, a fair point. The free core rulebooks should be enough for you then. I wish you well on your high sea adventures.

Offline Adrasteia

Re: Super Simple System Games
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2018, 03:22:51 PM »
Powered by the Apocalypse is pretty straightforward and has already been written in a lot of flavours. Broadly, for anything you want to do that needs a check you roll 2D6 and add the appropriate modifier. 10+, you succeed, 7-9 is partial success, below 6 you either fail or or have a very bad time. But when you fail you get XP!

I admit I haven't looked too deeply into the various rule sets, but I helped write a Shadowrun/cyberpunk version for our group to break horribly, and it wasn't too difficult for the RP newbie to understand.

Online Sain

Re: Super Simple System Games
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2018, 04:34:03 PM »
I'll agree with Adrasteia. Powered by apocalypse derivatives work great in play-by-post environment. The rolls push narrative forward and it's rather easy to get comfy with players and let them assume and dictate their own success and failure a little bit. Smooths out the bit where you have to have GM confirm everything always.

I've played it in a rather lengthy group game where it worked great and now GMing and playing it. It still works great! If you're looking for something to replace D&D 3.5 and still keep the fantasy fluff I suggest looking into Dungeon World. The SRD website has all the rules a player needs so it's not really difficult to get new people set ready to play.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2018, 04:36:30 PM by Sain »