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Iron Kingdoms An Ancient Dark Awakens


Weird War 1 - A Shattered World

A long journey to back to the start; yet very different Pt 3

Ever play a game and have your players walk out talking about their plans for character build? "I am gonna add the dual weapons feat next level so I a can wield 2 short swords, cause its cool!" Players are not nearly as excited about getting to Skill Level 10 or moving up to a d8 in an attribute as they are about adding spells or feats; stuff they can do.  To me as a player or GM there is nothing cooler than getting (or giving) that magic sword or the points for the abilities they want; all so players can do more at the table and change the story their way.  That's what this long journey of re-re-re-re-re-re......writing conflict made me see.  So here is the end result of my journey; not everyone will like this, but its mine.

Conflict Rev X (as I call it cause I ran out of letters) is at it's core like Rev A; a System where players combine skills to create a SkillSet.  They roll the dice to see they can add an attribute into that SkillSet to make it more effective.  Failing the roll does not mean you Fail the task, you are just less effective.  This next part is where all the stuff from the previous posts comes in (I hope it was worth the read tongue-out) After they roll and have a number players can make choice, take the number, re roll, use an ability, or whatever cues they have on their character sheet.  The players roll starts a flow of choices, based on what many factors that include a character resources, abilities, and how important is the challenge to my characters story.  That second series of choices is what I have always looked for in RPG's, and tried to do in the 87,000 iterations of this system.  I came back to the same thing that REV A started with, 1) Build a SkillSet, 2) Roll for EF  3) compare EF to target  Rev X adds a step: 2a) change your results using your characters story.  where is that story?  On the character Sheet where (I think) it belongs.

The elevator pitch for Conflict Rev X is this:  Players make choices during character creation/build which allow them to manipulate the level of success they have at a challenge.  The dice don't determine success, player choices to manipulate the rolls outcome does. Using character abilities, past events, passions and SubSkills, Players choose if they are going to throw the kitchen sink at a challenge or not.  If a player wants to win a challenge they ALWAYS have a tool to do so.

Yep that's right the Player chooses to succeed or fail, the dice can change the choices we have to make to succeed, but the player chooses.  Many games have mechanics that let you re roll, let you activate an ability after to change the probabilities, let you do different things in the narrative.  Many of the parts of this system will look like others, game design is by its nature a derivative process; what makes games different is the interaction of those parts; how the players use them.  So here goes nothing.

A conflict character is made up of 5 aspects: Attributes, Past Events, Passions, Skills, and Abilities.  Characters also have equipment and relationships, but they compliment the other aspects.  There are 6 Attributes, 3 Primary (Intelligence, Prowess, Endurance) and 3 Secondary derived from the primary (Concentration, Instinct, Vitality) and 2 based on a Character Growth Rank (Influence and Skill Depth).   Past Events are exactly that, events from a characters past that are used to re roll dice, boost a SkillSet, or boost a characters Influence, Passions are the things the character would die to defend.  Use a passion and you just succeed at that task, but you then gain a goal you must succeed at to use that passion again, Skill are divided into Main Skills which add their rank (5,10,15 or 20) to a SkillSet and SubSkills which allow a character to do just about anything they want related to that subskill by spending influence.  Last are abilities, Innate and Specialized Knowledge (SK's), lnnate abilities just happen when the situation applies, SK's are triggered by spending influence, but can be triggered multiple times if a Player wishes. 

That's the 50.000 foot view, nothing really new here, except there is.  During character generation players choose things: Species, Social tier, cultures they were raised in, their age, background professions, Current profession and their motivation.  These things give a starting character all the above aspects, which can change in many ways as the character is played.

So how do we use these aspects?  The players are in the story, you have to pick a lock to get in the castle. The GM says its a Hard challenge with a minimum target of 50. The player builds a skillset (limited by their Skill Depth, we will say this character has a 3) so they can add 3 Main Skills at their ranks, SubSkills, or Past Events at 10.  Lets say this character adds the Main Skill Perception (rank 10), Main Skill Mechanical Lore (Rank 10) and the SubSkill  Lock picking (under mechanical) for 10.  Now Each character has Influence, we will say this character has 5, which can be used (a choice) for many thing including to boost ones Skill Depth. The character also has lock picks which add 10 EF to the attempt.   The Player also adds an attribute to the SkillSet; for this challenge the character can use their Concentration (usually a characters highest) which adds lets say 40.  The Character has a 80 EF before the roll, the player spends an influence for +1 Skill Depth and adds the Past event, worked for a smith for 10 more, because that smith did locks (or so the player thought of 2 seconds ago and now its true), for an 90 EF.  Player Rolls 1d100, against their Concentration (CON), and rolls a 56.  This means they don't get to add the attribute to the SkillSet, the EF is a 50. 

The Player now has choices to make; do I re roll to get the CON boost?  To re roll I need a past event and spend an influence.   Do I use a passion to succeed, but take a goal limiting the passions I have to use? Do I have an ability that can help in some way?   Can another player tweak me, getting me to a 50?  The GM said 50 is the minimum, is 50 what I really need to Succeed?  Do I go with 50 and take the failure if the target is higher than 50 (getting some bonus growth)? The player makes their choice(s) taking their actions and to get their final EF.  

While the choice is the players, the GM makes choices too.  They can spend influence to boost the target number, if an NPC is involved use their traits, abilities or subskills to add effects or change the challenge in some way.  The Player knows this, which effects the choices they make, and so it goes. 

Thats Rev X..  There is alot there I know, there is some math because I am using a d100 system, yet it actually has no more math than other systems.  That however is another post.  I hope this series of posts gave you an insight into how this system came about. I hope it piqued your interest in a system that tries to let you grow a character who can do more at the table without sacrificing fun or creating unstoppable characters.  I hope it maybe make you want to try my Conflict System.