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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: minimum effort vs. "I can do THIS!"  (Read 1483 times)

Posts: 276

« on: October 09, 2001, 04:28:00 PM »

With all the talk about the Pool and then the 'anti-Pool' I thought I'd offer this up.  I wrote a system mechanic wherein the character's *minimum effort* required for a task is the foundation of resolving skill checks or whatever you want to call them.  I based it on a d12 but it is designed to be played equally (if not better) as a diceless system.

It goes like this:

The golden rule is, the maximum amount of effort that can be expended in a single melee round (or whatever) is 3 points of effort.  Larger chunks of time are unimportant.  You'll see why.

Your character has abilities (whatever you want them to be, skills, powers, etc.) that are rated NOT according to their splendiforous scope!  But instead according to what the MINIMUM effort *your* character needs to expend to successfully accomplish the task.  
Conan the Barbarian handles a greatsword with ease (Effort:2)

I handle a greatsword with expected difficulty (Effort:6)

Conan rolls his d12 and hopes for anything equal to a (2) or above for success.

I pray to any god who cares to listen and roll my d12 hoping for anything from (6) to (12) for a success.  Though it takes me two melee rounds to comkplete my action because my arms strain as I raise the sword and reach back to swing.

Meanwhile (if things go as expected) Conan has struck me three times and I'm situated around the arena in as many pieces.

The last part of this system is that you can always ADD effort to help your chance of success, -though doing so takes TIME to accomplish (remember the 3-point rule?)

The GM can also add points required to modify your die-roll.  Larger chunks of time really don't matter when no conflict is present.  That's why the 3-point rule is necessary, but other time mechanics aren't.

Naturally, actions such as walking, running, and so on, shouldn't require die-rolls.  It's accepted that some things require at least *some* effort (1 point) which means you are always successful anyway.      

It works diceless too.
Call it "The Effort Engine"?





Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters

Posts: 10459

« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2001, 05:58:00 PM »

Hmmmm. It has potential, IMHO, but a few things don't seem to jibe. If I put more effort into something, I don't take longer to do that thing, I take the same or possibly less time.

I would give the players an endurance pool that they could burn to either decrease the target number, or to reduce the amount of time required. Or both potentially. I'd say allow a character to push up to two or three points automatically, and then allow a will roll for more if the player desires. Any pushing beyond the base two or three costs double endurance.

A player can choose to have the character's endurance go negative. If this is done, the negative endurance score is assigned as a penalty to further rolls (representing fatigue). This penalty also applies to the will roll, so eventually the character will tire out and be unable to operate at full speed.

I'd also assign certain large weapons heaviness modifiers that would add to the effort number. So that greatsword might be +3 so Conan swings it at a 5 and I swing it at a 9 (whereas daggers and fists would be +0).

Another point is that as described your 3 point rule seems unnecessary. If Conan can attack 3 times in two rounds because his effort is 2, then you're not really payng any attention to the three point round thing. Instead, just start combat at a count of one and count up. So Conan goes on 2,4,6,8, etc. While I go on 6,12,18,etc. (5,10,15 and 9,18,27, in my example with the heavy sword). This is similar to many alternate initiative systems released in various Rolemaster Companions.

There are a number of other problems with the overall system, however. Like how much time does it take to pick a lock (the standard example)? Is it effort based, or does skill determine the length? Does a standard attack allow for defense? If so, can I speed my attack by ignoring defense? Or defend only? Can I abort currently declared actions if they become moot? How do you balance the fact that a person with a 4 rating not only attacks twice as often as a person with an 8 rating, but also will hit twice as often (resulting in four times as many total hits in the same timeframe)?

Is Mike a rabid Simulationist? Sometimes. But this system has mostly simulationist value so far. Was that your intent? If so, are you planning on adressing some of the above?


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