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Author Topic: Universal RPG  (Read 4605 times)
jammmer81
Member

Posts: 20


« on: August 25, 2003, 11:42:36 AM »

I'm trying to design a universal roleplaying system with the following design goals in mind.

Simplicity in execution at least

Intuitiveness
– limited searching for info
- slowdown limited as much as possible

Transferability
– skills and attributes usable in any setting without replacements or additions.
- Universal Special Effects System based on skills and attributes and dependent on using power rather than manifesting it.
- No fundamental changes to the system to fit setting.

I'm not sure how to attain such lofty goals, so I'd like some suggestions.

Thanks in advance.
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jammmer81
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2003, 12:01:33 PM »

Here is what I have coome up with so far...

Randomization Method
Universal RPG uses the same randomization method to resolve everything in the game which roleplaying cannot resolve. Roll one ten-sided die (1d10) and add the character or creature’s appropriate Attribute score, Skill rank, and weapon Damage (if applicable) to the result.
If you roll a 10, re-roll the die and add the new result to the total. You may continue to do so until you roll anything other than a 10.

Skills & Attributes

FITNESS
Fitness measures physical strength and toughness.

Brawling
You can make basic unarmed attacks (Punch and Kick).

Climbing
You can climb trees, ropes, walls, and other difficult-to-climb objects or surfaces on a success. You make no progress on a failure. Your climbin g speed is 1/4 your walking speed.

Endurance
You can increase the amount of time for which you can spend engaged in a prolonged activity such as running or swimming by one time period per Endurance rank.

Jumping
You can make vertical jumps, horizontal leaps, and combinations of both.

Lifting

Martial Arts
You can make advanced unarmed attacks.

Melee Weapons
You can make attacks with any melee weapon, such as a Sword, Club, or Staff.

Resistance
You have the ability to resist adverse physical conditions.

Running
You can increase your running speed by 1 meter per Running rank.

Swimming
When you attempt to swim, your swimming speeds are half your land speeds in calm water or one quarter those speeds in rough water, but the times for which you can swim remain unchanged.

COORDINATION
Coordination measures aim, balance, and equilibrium.

Acrobatics
You can execute dives, rolls, flips, somersaults, and other extraordinary feats of agility.

Dodge
You can avoid ranged attacks.

Hide
You can avoid visual detection by positioning yourself behind cover, around a corner, under a table, etc.

Open Locks
You can pick locks.
Piloting
You can operate any vehicle.

Ranged Weapons
You can make attacks with ranged weapons, including archaic weapons (flintlock pistol, musket), artillery pieces (Howitzer) energy weapons (laser pistol, laser rifle), firearms (pistol, rifle, stun gun), heavy weapons (missile launcher, law rocket), thrown weapons (dagger, grenade), vehicle weapons (tank cannon, chain gun, and missile weapons (bow, crossbow, sling).

Reflexes

Riding
You can ride any living mount.

Sleight of Hand
You can conceal objects, such as weapons, on your person.
You can also use Sleight of Hand to remove items from someone’s person without their knowledge.

Sneak
You can move without being heard.

INTELLIGENCE
Intelligence is the measure of a character’s mental aptitude, learning ability, and capacity for abstract thought.

Bureaucracy
You know how to handle all aspects of dealing with and running businesses, companies, governments and organizations.

Craft
You can build and repair things.
You can use Craft to make explosives. Failure often results in detonation.
You can use Craft to create false copies of documents, forms, licenses, identifications, signatures, personal seals, and so on.

History
You have knowledge of past events.

Knowledge
You have general knowledge, book smarts.

Languages
You can speak, read, write, and comprehend non-native languages.

Legend Lore
You have knowledge of myths and legends.

Science
You have practical knowledge and of the sciences.

Survival
You can survive for a limited amount of time, but longer than anyone without this skill, in any environment.

Technology
You have practical knowledge of technology, how to use, program, or hack computers for example.
PERCEPTION
Perception measures a character’s wisdom and ability to notice things, such as changes in his or her surroundings, hidden opponents, concealed objects, and even the threat of danger.

Analysis
You can analyze data, tactics, and forensics. Analysis can also be used as a , Spellcraft-like skill.

Appraise
You can evaluate the true value of saleable objects, such as books, real estate, collectables, ship parts, weapons, gear, etc.

Awareness
Awareness can be described as passive observation. It represents your ability to notice things.

Innuendo
You can send and interpret hidden signals or messages.

Intuition
You seem to have a sixth sense. You can use it to sense danger, estimate the strategies of others (tactics), a criminal’s MO, the possible outcome of a situation (predictive modeling), etc.

Medicine
You have extensive training in the fields of medical practice, from first aid to major surgery.

Navigation
You can orient yourself by terrestrial landmarks, such as the stars. This skill also includes the ability to plot space/star travel courses (Astronavigation).

Observation
Observation can be described as active awareness. It represents your ability to make observations.

Profile
By observing behavioral patterns in others, you can judge a person’s emotional state, intentions, motivations, truthfulness, etc.

Search
Your ability to actively search for and find what you are looking for is determined by the Search skill.

GUILE
Guile measures a character’s physical attractiveness and ability to influence or manipulate others.

Animal Handling
You are adept at the handling, and training animals.

Bluff
You can deceive others.

Command
You can lead others, such as military troops, construction teams, college students, etc.

Diplomacy
You can make deals, negotiate contracts, settle disputes, etc.
You can use Diplomacy to haggle over the price of almost any item. You can use Diplomacy to use the proper patterns of behavior in any given culture, organization, or society.
You can use Diplomacy to deal with the darker aspects of society. This allows you to use illegal means to find unsavory people, acquire weapons, stolen items, or drugs, and get things done illegally.

Disguise
You can disguise yourself as someone else, not only in appearance, but in mannerisms, voice, etc.

Gambling
You may attempt to try your luck, so to speak, by engaging in activities that have a risk of great monetary loss, but a possibility of an even greater monetary gain.


Interrogation
You can get information out of unwilling subjects through such techniques as “good cop bad cop,” temptation, coercion, making deals, the threat of physical violence, or anything else you can think of.

Intimidation
You can make others do what you want them to do out of fear.

Perform
You are particularly talented in the Performing Arts (Dancing, Oratory, Playing a musical instrument, Singing, Storytelling).

Willpower
You can resist adverse mental conditions, such as temptation, the power of suggestive drugs, unconsciousness caused by mental weakness or extreme pain. Willpower is used to resist the use of Presence skills by others against you.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2003, 12:58:36 PM »

Hello Jammer, and welcome to the Forge.

I have some comments, but I want to preface by asking why you want to do a generic game. What's wrong with GURPS that your game will solve? Or the Action! system? Or Risus? If we know what goals you have for your game in terms of making it superior to these, then we can see what you're going for.

Quote
Universal RPG uses the same randomization method to resolve everything in the game which roleplaying cannot resolve.
I propose that this doesn't mean anything. You're going to have to be more specific. I can resolve abolsultely anything without any such mechanics via "roleplaying". This would be "freeform" roleplay, and it happens all the time. You need to say when the system gets used, and who decides.

Quote
Universal Special Effects System based on skills and attributes and dependent on using power rather than manifesting it.
What does this mean? What's the difference between using and manifesting power (the latter sounds quite passive)?

Quote
Roll one ten-sided die (1d10) and add the character or creature’s appropriate Attribute score, Skill rank, and weapon Damage (if applicable) to the result.
And compare to what? How do I interperet the results?

Mike
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DevP
Member

Posts: 576


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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2003, 02:13:25 PM »

Hi!

Quote
Intuitiveness
– limited searching for info
- slowdown limited as much as possible

Transferability
– skills and attributes usable in any setting without replacements or additions.
- Universal Special Effects System based on skills and attributes and dependent on using power rather than manifesting it.
- No fundamental changes to the system to fit setting.


On one hand, the road of universal systems has been well-tread, but: I am *emphatically* for super-intuitive systems, and moreover I think you have something interesting about the Transferability.

I'm thinking that, if you can plop a character design from Midieval Norway to Cyberpunk SpaceTokyo, then what probably stays in common is not any set of skills, but some ratio of raw abilities and the way you can use them in skills... I'm going to toss some quick thoughts out into left field. I'm a amateur here, but it's a random idea for you to like or hate, and spin out some more thoughts.

To begin with, you have Fitness, Coordination, Intelligence, Perception, Guile. One good move could be to reduce these stats a bit further. My suggestion: how about three stats? Physical, Mental, Social. (My thinking is that Fitness, Coordination, Perception and Guile are certain presentations of the Physical; Coordination, Intelligence and Guile regard certain representations of the Mental; Intelligence, Coordination and Guile represents aspect of the Social, especially if you consider skills that are socially expected (such as arithmetic and driving in our own)).

Now on top of this, we could come up with WAYS that these raw elements show themselves: Technique, Knowledge, Instinct, Socially Common Skills, Economically Valuable skills, Crafts, Hobbies, Professional Skills. Alternately, we could up with gimmicks that reflect your character's relative position in society - Civilian, Underground, Criminal, Lawman, Ethical Elite, Economic Elite, etc. All of these elements should be common in *most* societies.

Basically, the idea is that you cross the raw ability AND the gimmicks you have for it's presentation, consider the role of the skill in society, and thus the task resolution is a test for if you *would* have a relevant skill in this kind of society. (Example: Jenn is Physically strong, and has Technique and Civilian gimmicks. She may have possessed firearms and sharpshooting skills had she been in Frontier America, but perhaps not in modern-day London.)

Random idea.
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jammmer81
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2003, 04:58:57 PM »

Quote
Roll one ten-sided die (1d10) and add the character or creature’s appropriate Attribute score, Skill rank, and weapon Damage (if applicable) to the result.
And compare to what? How do I interperet the results?

Oops, I forget to write that.

Here is the revised wrte up.

Task Resolution
Roll one ten-sided die (1d10) and add the character or creature’s appropriate Attribute score, Skill rank to the result.
If you roll a 10, re-roll the die and add the new result to the total. You may continue to do so until you roll anything other than a 10.
   Compare the final result to the difficulty chosen by the referee. If the result equals or exceeds the target number determined by the difficulty, you succeed at the task. Otherwise, you fail.
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jammmer81
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2003, 06:59:51 PM »

Quote
To begin with, you have Fitness, Coordination, Intelligence, Perception, Guile. One good move could be to reduce these stats a bit further. My suggestion: how about three stats? Physical, Mental, Social. (My thinking is that Fitness, Coordination, Perception and Guile are certain presentations of the Physical; Coordination, Intelligence and Guile regard certain representations of the Mental; Intelligence, Coordination and Guile represents aspect of the Social, especially if you consider skills that are socially expected (such as arithmetic and driving in our own)).
Quote
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jammmer81
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2003, 07:05:30 PM »

I had thought of using those exact three attributes before. Perhaps I could use a prioritization system for determining scores. Something like primary =3d6, Secondary =2d6, and tertiary =1d6.

The rest of what you suggested sounded interesting, but I don't fully undersand it. Could you elaborate on that?
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DevP
Member

Posts: 576


WWW
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2003, 07:33:07 PM »

Quote
Something like primary =3d6, Secondary =2d6, and tertiary =1d6.


That sounds nice and intuitive. Let me try to restate what I was thinking of.

Jenn the Jedi is skilled at Light Saber, Nova Blastergun, Small Craft Piloting, Mechanical Repair, Languages, Diplomacy and Stealth. Why?

Her Saber + Gun skills come from both being part of a Military/Security background; she also is of a Religious Elite, which here gives her access to these skills. She has good Coordination and Reflexes. She needs to pilot small craft because she is Mobile and Independent. She knows Mechanical Repair due to needing to be Independent and her Ingenuity. She knows languages because she is well traveled and Political, and she knows Stealth because her task requires Covert actions...

So: Military, Religious Elite, Covert, Coordination, Reflexes, Ingenuity, Political, Independent, Mobile, Well-Traveled.

Now Jenn wants her persona to fit into a 1980s cop show, fighting crime on the mad streets of Miami. All of her stuff can still fit: Military (she's a cop), Religious Elite (she's used to be a Rabbinical scholar, and is still a friend of high-level Rabbis), Covert (she usually operates plain-clothes for sting ops), Coordination, Reflexes, Ingenuity, Political (she has to help balance racial/class tensions on the job), Independent, Mobile (she's a state trooper), Well-Travelled (from being a Rabbinical Scholar?).

Military x Coordination explain her firearms skill; Political and Well-Traveled suggests she knows local languages; Mobile x Coordination suggests she's pretty good at driving a car; Mobile x Independent could justify using a motorcycle; and so on.

So basically: the task system could be roll some dice and take the highest number. The abilties give you a base: 4+ is enough for easy stuff, 5+ is enough for average stuff, 6 is necessary for difficult things. You can add extra dice by justifying that having a relevant skill here is part of your character's integral nature. (It should generally take at least two justifications.)

So: Jenn jumps into her Ferrari to chase down some thugs. It's going to be hard to chase down their Ford Nova, but she's got 3d6 for physical stuff, and is Coordinated, has Reflexes, and is Mobile. Off of 6 dice, she succeeds easily, and catches up. She wants to lean over while driving, and take out their tires. This is going to be hard, and relies on her Coordination and Military background: With 5 dice, she fails this time around, and the shot just hits concrete...

The exact numbers of dice and such as important yet, as I did just pull them from thin air. Do you like this general idea? It's a bit wierd, but it might have the transferability you want.
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Eric J.
Member

Posts: 396


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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2003, 11:23:46 AM »

Welcome to the Forge.

First thing.  What do you mean about Universal?  Universal here has no meaning.  Your RPG has to opperate for a basic purpose.  I would guess that you already know the premise.  Is it a set of basic rules for action roelplaying that can be added on to to fit different types of play?  You already said that you wanted intuitive rules.  What kinds of play do you want to see with your game?

I'm not trying to be pushy.  I just want you to ask yourself these things if you already haven't.  If you understand all of that you will have a MUCH easier time making your game.
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MachMoth
Member

Posts: 130


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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2003, 02:53:54 PM »

I think he made it pretty clear what he means by universal.  I know universal can refer to style of play, and a lot of other things.  However, if you read into it, he makes a point of using the word "setting" in 2 out of his 5 goals.  Both saying that the elements mentioned will not be altered based on setting.  Also, thanks to games like GURPS, most people automatically assume univeral = any genre/setting.
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M. J. Young
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Posts: 2198


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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2003, 03:27:57 PM »

Quote from: MachMoth
...if you read into it, he makes a point of using the word "setting" in 2 out of his 5 goals.  Both saying that the elements mentioned will not be altered based on setting.  Also, thanks to games like GURPS, most people automatically assume univeral = any genre/setting.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, I disagree. I think there are three kinds of "universal", and people tend to confuse them.[list=1][*]A single game engine which is adaptable to any one setting, exemplified by GURPS but clearly what is intended by D20.[*]A unified game which blurs all settings into one world, in which characters may travel between the settings but are always in the same world. This gives rise to wizards in science fiction settings, ray guns being used against medieval elven armies, and other anomalies. Rifts is the poster child for this, although it has some limitations.[*]A campaign system which carries the same characters from setting to setting, genre to genre, adjusting the system automatically to balance various genre tropes so that characters remain whatever they are but settings are not thereby unbalanced. Multiverser is in this category. OAD&D had an effort in one of the appendices to make it do that, but it never found popularity.[/list:o]So I wouldn't assume people take "universal" the same way. I take GURPS to be Generic, but not universal, Multiverser to be universal, but not generic. It's not the same thing at all.

--M. J. Young
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jammmer81
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2003, 06:19:42 PM »

[quote = Dev]
Quote
Do you like this general idea? It's a bit wierd, but it might have the transferability you want.


I think your idea rocks! T's very original and I think it would work really well.

Thank you very much for your support.

Keep the suggestions coming.

That goes for everyone.
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DevP
Member

Posts: 576


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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2003, 06:27:28 PM »

I'm glad you like. I think we're all still curious what you're looking for. Like:

Quote
1. A single game engine which is adaptable to any one setting, exemplified by GURPS but clearly what is intended by D20.
2. A unified game which blurs all settings into one world, in which characters may travel between the settings but are always in the same world. This gives rise to wizards in science fiction settings, ray guns being used against medieval elven armies, and other anomalies. Rifts is the poster child for this, although it has some limitations.
3. A campaign system which carries the same characters from setting to setting, genre to genre, adjusting the system automatically to balance various genre tropes so that characters remain whatever they are but settings are not thereby unbalanced. Multiverser is in this category. OAD&D had an effort in one of the appendices to make it do that, but it never found popularity.


Which of these fits? I suppose the kind of transferability I'm hoping for seems to be more like #3. What other kinds of things are you looking for?
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jammmer81
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2003, 06:49:57 PM »

Ok, based on what Dev has posted, hee is how the system looks so far.

Attributes
Physical, Mental, Social

Primary = 3d6
Secondary = 2d6
Tertiary = 1d6

Traits
Charm, Coordination, Etiquette, Ingenuity, Instinct, Knowledge, Reflexes, Style, Technique, etc.
 
Gimmicks
Military/Security, Religious Elite, Covert, Political, Independent, Mobile, Well-Traveled, Socially Common Skills, Economically Valuable skills, Crafts, Hobbies, Professional Skills, Civilian, Underground, Criminal, Lawman, Ethical Elite, Economic Elite, etc.

Roll Attribute dice + 1d6 per appropriate Trait/Gimmick.

As for what the roll should be compared to, I'm not sure. Perhaps I could use a difficulty table; something like...

Difficulty Table

Difficulty    Target
Descriptor   Number
Low        5
Below Average    10
Average    15
Above Average    20
High      25
Exceptional   30
Incredible    35
Awesome   40
Heroic      45
Superhuman    50

What do you guys think?

I anxiously await more replies.

See you tomorrow.
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jammmer81
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2003, 07:04:52 PM »

I would have to say that #3 is the type of universality (is that a real word?) that I want.

Hm, what else am I looking for?

A magic/psionics/superpower/gadget sysem that focuses more on how you use these abilites rather than creating the special effect that enables you to do it. ie, "I want to throw a fireball at the goul" as opposed to "I want to create a fireball and throw it at the goul."

I have more, but It will have to wait until tomorrow because I'm out of time. I hope that adequately adresses at least a couple issues.
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