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silly little game: "Trust me."

Started by Damocles, May 28, 2001, 10:12:00 PM

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"Trust Me" (First Draft)


"Trust Me" is a minimalist universal roleplaying game emphasizing mutual trust between players and game master.

After a fashion.

__What You Need__

For each player:
-Two differently-colored, ten-sided dice (a D100).

__Character Creation__

Players write down any or all of their character's appearances, personalities, backgrounds, strengths, weaknesses, abilities, or whatever else they consider to be useful information for the GM or want to note down for themselves.

That's it.

__Task resolution__

_Basic Task Resolution_

When a character does something the Game Master may allow a player to roll for the result. The player may then determine the likelihood of a success in percentages. If he rolls under or equal to that value he succeeds. Maximum likelihood for an outcome is 99%, minimum is 1%. The determination of this likelihood is completely up to the player. The player may ask the GM for additional information before deciding, but the GM is not required to give it.The GM may feel free to argue, point out aspects of the situation the player may have missed or "missed", or sneer at will until the player chooses to say "Trust Me" whereupon the GM is required to cease arguing and look happy or at least neutral.
Contrariwise, it should be noted that demanding/granting a roll is completely up to the GM. The player may whine, look crestfallen, argue, or get red in the face until the GM says "This is for your own good." whereupon the player will just have to grin and bear it.

Example #1:
Player:"I pick the lock."
GM:"You don't succeed."
Player"What! But I'm a master thief, and it's just an ordinary lock."
GM:"This is for your own good."
Player:[shuts up]

Example #2:
Player:"I jump over the chasm. Can I roll?"
GM:"Okay. How likely is it you'll make it?"
Player:"I figure about 98%"
GM:"It's a wide chasm."
Player:"Fine, let's say 95%"
GM:"A _really_, _really_ wide chasm!"
Player:"Trust me."
GM:[shuts up]

Example #3:
Player:"I ride over to the tavern."
GM:"Okay. Roll."
Player:"Huh? For what?"
Player:"Oh, come on. This is stupid. Surely, I can...."
GM:"This is for your own good."
Player:[Gnashes teeth]"99% I'll make it."
GM: "Go ahead. Roll."
Player: [rolls]
GM: "What did you get?"
Player:[sobs quietly]

_Chance rolls_

GMs may ask for a roll from any player when an event is up to pure chance.

Player: "I'll ask everyone I meet about the way."
GM:"It's fairly late and there are not too many people about, so you'll have to roll to see if you're lucky."
Player:"Fair enough. How many people are about?"
GM:[shrugs] "Not too many."
Player:"So, I guess that's about a fifty/fifty chance then?"
GM:"If you say so."

_Advanced Task Resolution_

It is  possible to go beyond simple success/failure outcomes and include more complex possibilities. This way it is, for example, possible to reduce a complex combat situation to one roll. This is best explained by example:

GM: "How likely is it you'll win this combat?"
GM:"And how likely is it you'll do that without getting injured?"
Player:"What is my opponents attitude towards this fight?"
GM:"Hm. Good question. He's pretty angry, not thinking straight and he wants to kill you badly."
Player:"Right. I guess that gives me an advantage. So I'll say 85%, but on the other hand 50% that I'll get injured, and 20% that it's a serious wound."
GM:"Sound fair to me. Now, if you lose, there's also a chance that you'll at least give him something to remember you by."
Player:"Okay. Let's say, there's a 10% chance for that. Deal?"
GM:"A 10% chance if you lose or a 10% chance in this situation overall?"
Player: "Er. The latter."
GM:"Okay. Roll."

In this example, the following results are possible:
1-20: The PC wins, but is seriously injured.
21-50: The PC wins, but is injured.
51-85: The PC wins. Period.
86-90: The PC loses. His opponent is not injured.
91-100: The PC loses, but manages to injure his opponent.

This method should probably be used sparingly since getting the numbers straight might take longer then just rolling several times, but in some situations it might be appropriate.

_Opposed Rolls_

There aren't any, as such. When two or more player characters come into conflict, the GM decides who gets to make the roll. The other player(s) may comment freely on his decisions regarding the probabilites of the situation, cast doubt on his legitimacy, or sulk until he says "Trust me." wherupon they will have to shut up and also put aside any large blunt objects they may have been waving around for emphasis.

__Wound System__

This space intentionally left blank.


Players may decide how much experience they have gained and adjust their character descriptions accordingly whenever and however they chose. Alternatively, they may choose to leave it to the GM.

This came to me in a sudden flash of inspiration, more or less. I kind of like it, but I'm not sure if it's actually good for anything, and if so, what. What do you think?


The main thing I like about this system over straight free-form (which it most closely resembles) is that it takes into account at least some variability in results, not planned by GM or player.

Three things I'd add to it:

First, a simple table of probabilities for combat, which aren't necessary but just mean that in most situations you don't have to hash it out. A list of likely outcomes down the left, a list of perceived relative combat prowess across the top. Players can modify it at will - just speeds things up.

Second, an explicit mention of variable levels of results: the player doesn't just say "I succeed" but "I barely made it" or "I whupped *ss" or whatever.

Finally, I wrote an article of gruesome damage results, without accompanying system, for critical miss about a year ago. Could fit as an appendix.

                     - James


Thanks for the comments. I have decided I'm not gong to work on this as a game directly since it I suspect that, in practice, it wouldn't be much different from SLUG. I'm still thinking about, though, whether it might make for a good subsystem in some circumstances. Maybe for interactions between a PC and PC-created background material.