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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 62 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: OneShot RPG  (Read 317 times)
Jim D.
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« on: March 16, 2010, 10:11:25 AM »

Hey, all.  First post and all that blather.

Vincent Baker, in a few of his recent posts on his blog, discussed the notion of currency in character sheets.  Included in his posts were modified images of guys in buildings with guns.  Somehow I put the two together and came to the conclusion, "Let's see if I can create a tabletop RPG system on my lunch break."

Out of this mire came "OneShot", a game designed to be rules-light, quick and dirty, and allow for a bizarre hybrid of narrativist storytelling and lethal tactical combat.  The "official setting", if one can call it that, is a mob/triad/police setting where a bunch of guys get together and fight until someone dies.  The idea being that if you wanted to sit down and reenact the tea house shootout from Hard Boiled, you could.  That said, I realized the rules extrapolate well to different one-shot or short-term campaign settings, so I'm planning on doing a playtest at some point involving the ODSTs from the Halo universe.  Just to see if I can.

Here are the rules in a nutshell:

Character creation involves four stats.  Assign 20 points across; 5 is average.
Strength (ST):  Physical strength, toughness.
Speed (SP):  Raw speed and reflexes; fine dexterity.
Acuity (AC):  Perception, attention to detail.
Charisma (CH):  Interpersonal skills, sense of self, willpower.

Characters also get four specializations:  these can be anything narrowly defined, like pistol shooting, concealing objects, spotting personnel, cooking, dynamic entry, lockpicking, electronics, dodging, quick reload.

To do something, you make a roll.  Rolls are resolved using 1d10, adding the relevant stat.  If a character's specialty applies, add 1 if it's an attack or defense roll; otherwise add 2.  If a character is at some kind of advantage, add 2; if it's a serious advantage, add 4.  Similarly, subtract 2 and 4 for disadvantages.

In any case, a 10 is a success, a 1 a failure; otherwise resolve as below.

If the character is doing something to the environment or without opposition, set a number to beat.  For reference, 7 is trivial, 9 easy, 11 average, 13 challenging, and so on.  Otherwise, have the characters involved make rolls; higher wins.  In the case of ties, the attacker wins; if no "attacker" can be determined (such as diplomacy, etc.), the action results in a stalemate.

Combat is round based, with different types of attacks requiring different rolls.  Heavy melee and unarmed attacks use Strength, quick melee and unarmed attacks use Speed, and ranged attacks use Acuity.  Any attack is opposed by the target's Speed.

On a hit, the target suffers Damage equal to the attack's power (for example, 4 for a 9mm handgun, ST + 0 for a club), plus half the margin of success.  (e.g. A character is shooting an enemy with a 9mm; he rolls a 12, the enemy a 10.  5 Damage is inflicted.)  If a character takes damage, he must make a ST roll opposed by his damage total; failure indicates a lethal wound and potential death.

Characters receive one or more Life points based on their importance to the story.  (Mooks get 1, elite enemies 2, bosses and player characters 3.)  On a failed ST roll for Damage, one Life point is lost, and the target's Damage is reset.  A character with zero Life is either dead, knocked out, mortally wounded, whatever at GM discretion.

Players also receive three Resolve points.  If a player fails a roll, he may attempt it again (essentially reroll, erasing the previous failure) by spending a Resolve point; the roll is made in the same way and using the same stat as before.  He may attempt over and over again as long as he has Resolve points remaining.

It seems like a solid, straightforward system, but there is one thing eating at me, and I want to figure it out before I attempt a playtest.  As I examine characters and work out the rough mechanics of a session, I find Charisma is almost a throwaway stat.  The others are called many times, but the only time Charisma matters is for interpersonal relations and morale checking.  Is there a way to make it more useful?  I'm contemplating tying it to the Resolve system.  What sounds best?

  • Give more Resolve points to characters with high Charisma, representing their greater force of will.
  • Make Resolve-initiated rerolls Charisma-based instead of whatever stat was called for at the outset.
  • Give more Resolve points to characters with high Charisma, but instead of rerolling, spend a Resolve point for a flat bonus to the roll.  Possibly grant one Resolve per Charisma, and each Resolve spent gives you a +2 to a roll you made.  GM tells the player up front how many points he needs to spend to convert the failure into a success.

I'd very much appreciate any thoughts on the system or the Resolve quandry.  Thanks very much for your time.  Smiley
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