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RPI Roll20 Games

A List of all Games RPI is running on Roll 20.

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Iron Kingdoms An Ancient Dark Awakens


Weird War 1 - A Shattered World

Conflict System and Other Percentile Systems

Since the latest release of Conflict I have had a ton of success with new players really enjoying the disconnection of the roll from character success.  I have had several conversations with folks about other percentile type resolution systems.  These games, like Earthdawn, Dark Heresy, even Warhammer Fantasy 2nd, use a roll under a modified percentile target to determine success.  Like the challenge rolls in Conflict.  The roll in those systems is the end of the challenge; in Conflict its the start.
People see a parallel between these systems, because they are rolling percentile dice.  Those systems  players look for ways to increase the percentile target, by taking advantage of bonuses.  This increases  the chance of success.   The SkillSet uses parts of the character, and tells a detailed story as you take an action.
The thing I dislike about roll under percentile systems (and I have made several) is what I call bonus hunting.  Players making decisions to gain a plus 5 or 10% bonus.  The narrative tends to move away from the character /story and towards tactics and ways to boost the math.  The math boosting is based in the idea of winning the roll; I need to to get that 85% so I have a better chance to win.  The reasons for the actions and the characters' story falls away.  The player can also get frustrated if they cannot do what they feel they need to so they can boost that chance.  The roll is made the challenge ends. success failure or other.
I wanted a system where looking at their character for ways to succeed enhanced the story and developed the character.   The roll is made and we start.  Players make choices; doing the actions that make their story.   Using past events and weave stories into my action?  Using Main or SubSkills to boost my SkillSet?  Spend Influence to cause effects or re roll?   Players are building more than the best SkillSet they can, they are building a story related to the character.  When it really matters to their story,  they burn a passion to make sure they succeed.   The numbers and effects are almost always coming from the character aspects, skils, driving both the story and the characters growth.
Using bonuses related to that character without knowing their true target, changes the motivation for getting the bonuses.  What about the character fits the situation? What subskills can I use to drive my story.  There is no 85%.

In a generic percentile system say I am attacking a creature with a base 50 weapons Skill.  I move to higher ground (+5) and use Standing Swing to get +10 more puts my weapon skill  at a 65% total.  I swing and get a 70.  Groan I miss.

In Conflict the same thing goes like this.  I use my move to get to higher ground and get a mod of +2,  I roll against my prowess a 55, a 70 I miss.  Groan; a 1 skill depth will not do it.  I spend an influence to activate my Past event "Grew up in a soldiers Training camp, I know how to fight"  to re roll.  A 34, success I have a 4 Skill Depth.  I add in 4 aspects to my SkillSet.  I am using a  sword so  I use 1Handed weapons (3), SubSkill Melee Strike (2), Perception (3), and the Past Event (1) trained as a gladiator.  To boost my Past Event I tell a story of a gladiator fight against this same type of creature where I learned its instinctive moves, the GM gives me +3 for a total of (4) for the Past Event.  My Skillset is a 12.  Not sure of that's enough, I will use my swords accuracy (2) to add 4 more. The Ability Standing Swing gives me +1 wounds when I hit and +1 to any critical rolls.  My SkillSet is a 16.  I hope its enough.  

This is a story, with mechanics built in, and when a player knows their character they can do this pretty fast.   The best part is they are telling a story, not just doing math.  The character is deeper and building that character as the game progresses simply grows what stories a character can add to.
This is what I have been trying to design for a long time, not a percentile resolution system.  a Story system with mechanics to link the character to the story.  That is what I see when a player chooses to take a failure,  spends an influence, or narrates a Past Event to boost their SkillSet.  Decisions made based on the characters and the role in the story they want.
To be clear there is nothing wrong with percentile systems, James Bond was one of my favorite systems.  The Quality rating system did help put the character first in many ways.  That is not the system I wanted from my games.  I wanted a way to tell stories rooted in the character.  Conflict System Narration is fueled by the numbers and words that define the character.  The Conflict System unchains your character from the dice.  The roll is the start, not the end of your action.