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Author Topic: Under 100 - Core Rules System  (Read 3771 times)

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Offline Niarra

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Under 100 - Core Rules System
« on: 07/10/16, 12:28:46 AM »
+3 Show voters
As a long standing tabletop GM, I feel that a rules system can bring a lot of valuable structure to a RP adventure. Unlike free-form social interaction (lovely though that always is), many adventures require that characters attempt to take actions that carry with them a chance of failure, and that's where the rules come in.

I decided to try my hand at designing a system for my SWTOR RP events with the following chief goals in mind: 

1) That the system could be used, without alteration, in either a chat room or in-game environment.
2) That there would be minimal bonuses or penalties to try to juggle.
3) Most importantly: that the system allow players to create a truly customized character within the rules, and contribute to the RP accordingly - because no one likes knowing that their character, who is supposed to be an expert Force-user/pilot/slicer, only has a toss of the coin chance at success. 

I was struggling to find something that would work both in-game and out of it (keeping in mind the in-game window's limited /roll functionality), and then I had a flashback to my gaming youth playing Rifts, and suddenly realized that something good could actually come out of the Palladium system's mechanics. :omg: Specifically, from how Palladium handled the use of skills: as a percentage number of 100. Everything else flowed from there. There have now been a lot of playtests and a lot of community feedback since I first introduced the system, and many revisions have made it much more streamlined and nuanced.

If you are a player new to RPing with a rules set, or if you just hate reading rules, you can refer to my post directly after this one in which I do a simple walk through of designing your character. While all the other rules are important, in a pinch you can rely on your GM to give you guidance during the adventure.

So, without further ado:

The Under 100 System

Revised as of 6/5/17

Core Principle: The core mechanic of this system revolves around Skill Groups. All actions, including combat actions, fall under one of 14 Skill Groups. A player can pick 9 Skill Groups for their character (see below rules for details). They will then choose one of 6 Skill Group Allocations (a predetermined array of numbers), and apply those numbers to their 9 Skill Groups as they wish.

Skill Thresholds: The Skill Group Allocation numbers represent a skill threshold. The higher your skill threshold, the better you are with that skill. Your threshold with a skill can range from 30 to 100. All rolls are a random roll from 1-100; if your roll result falls under your skill threshold, you succeed. So in this case, a lower roll is better - and the higher your threshold with a skill, the better your chances are of rolling a number under it. Example: If your Skill with Perception is 80, and you roll a 68, then you succeed; conversely, if you roll a 85, you fail. 

Using Skills: When a player wishes to have their character take an action that may carry with it a chance of failure, they can either declare which Skill Group they want to use to attempt the action, or they can simply say what they would like to do and the GM tells them what Skill Group it would fall under. Conversely, a GM can call for a specific Skill Group roll at any time.

Core Skill Groups
These three skills are obligatory for all characters; they must be included among the 9 skill groups assigned to every character.

Skill Group                Governs
AthleticsFeats of agility or strength, such as (for example) balance, jumping, long-distance running, or tests of endurance.
PerceptionVisual or aural observation, sensing motive & deception
SocialSpoken interactions, including but not limited to: diplomacy, deception, persuasion, intimidation, rumor gathering


Exclusive Skill Groups
All characters must choose one of these two skills as part of their 9 Skill Groups. The Force skill group is mandatory for any Force-using character, and a Force-using character cannot take Gadgetry as one of their skill groups. A non Force-user must take Gadgetry.

Skill Group                Governs
ForceUse of the Force, all types (see below section on the Force as a skill)
GadgetryGear-related "Bag of tricks", gives bonuses to: Ranged, Technical, Vehicles (see below section on uses for Gadgetry)


Other Skill Groups
After assigning the three mandatory Core Skill Groups  and either Force or Gadgetry to a character, each character has 5 open skill slots remaining. Fill these by choosing five skills from this Other Skill Groups table. Note that skills are catch-all buckets for system ease; your character may be a specialist in only one type of history, art, or combat, but that detail, and the self-imposed character limitations on the skill, are up to each player to define and provide.

Skill Group                Governs
MeleeCombat style for all melee weapons (including lightsabers), as well as for hand-to-hand combat. (A thrown lightsaber still falls under the Melee skill; weapon type is what determines the skill group.)
RangedCombat style for all ranged weapons (blasters, cannons, grenades, etc)
StealthMoving silently; the color on how this is achieved (pure physical ability, tech, the Force) is up to the player to define for their character
TechnicalUse of computers (including slicing), mechanics, and general technical knowledge
VehiclesPiloting, all types (landspeeder, airspeeder, starship); represents above average proficiency (the average person might be able to drive a speeder from point A to point B, but would not be able to perform any heroic piloting feats without this skill)
MedicineHealing, medical skills, medical sciences (a Force user can use this to represent Force-assisted healing techniques)
UnderworldForgery, smuggling, underworld knowledge and contacts
ArtistryVisual or performance arts, including music; any type of specialized craftsmanship
NaturistWilderness survival, animal handling, nature knowledge
HistorianWide or specialized knowledge in history and culture(s)


Skill Group Allocations
Once a player has chosen the 9 Skill Groups they want to use for their character, they then choose one of the following six allocation options. Assign the 9 numbers from your chosen Allocation group to any of your 9 Skill Groups however you wish; each number can only be used once.
Note: Game Masters / Event Organizers can determine whether or not any of these Allocation groups are going to be excluded for any given event that they are organizing. The organizer should announce as much to the players during sign-ups.

Baseline Allocation - 90, 80, 75, 70, 65, 60, 60, 50, 50
Standard Allocation - 85, 75, 70, 70, 65, 65, 60, 60, 50
Diverse Allocation - 80, 75, 75, 65, 65, 65, 60, 50, 50
Specialist Allocation - 90, 90, 70, 65, 60, 60, 50, 50, 40
Savant Allocation - 100, 90, 60, 50, 50, 50, 40, 40, 30
Median Allocation - 75, 70, 70, 70, 70, 65, 65, 60, 60


Gadgetry - Application of this Exclusive Skill
Gadgetry does not function like a normal Skill Group. Instead, it is used to enhance other skills, and is meant to give non Force-using characters their heroic edge. It represents technical boosts to equipment and equipment related skills: "tricked out" weapons, tools, and vehicles. A player can use Gadgetry in one of the three below ways; only one use of Gadgetry can be applied to a single skill check.
  • If a roll for a Technical, Ranged, or Vehicles skill failed, the player can then make a Gadgetry roll. If successful, the player can re-roll the failed Technical, Ranged, or Vehicles check.
  • Prior to making a Technical, Ranged, or Vehicles roll, the player can make a Gadgetry roll. If successful, a chosen skill's threshold number is increased by 10 for the next roll only. This can also be used to increase the threshold of another character, representing an act of assistance in a task.
  • When making an opposed Technical, Ranged, or Vehicles roll, the player can make a Gadgetry roll to (if successful) decrease the opposition's threshold by 20. This use of Gadgetry is made when the GM announces an action is going to be opposed.


The Force - Application of this Exclusive Skill
A player can use the Force skill to take Force-using action, or to take the Force Enhancement special action. The three disciplines described below are not unique skills ('Force' as a skill is a single skill group) in and of themselves, but rather just meant to be a guide to what can be done with the Force (as if we didn't know already); the player can provide the lore and color.

Force Enhancement (special action): Prior to making a Melee, Ranged, Perception, Vehicles, Medicine, or Naturist roll, the player can make a Force roll. If successful, the chosen skill's threshold is increased by 10 for the next roll only. 
  • Affect the Physical: a Force roll can be used to physically affect surroundings; examples are moving objects, Force choke.
  • Affect the Self: a Force roll can be used to affect the player's physical abilities; examples are Force speed, energy absorption/deflection, increased endurance.
  • Affect the Mind: a Force roll can be used to extend the player's senses or to affect the senses of others; examples are visions, telepathy, mind trick. NOTE: See the section below on Enemy NPC Types for rules on how each type contends with PC attempts to manipulate their minds. Regarding attempts to use the Force to manipulate the minds of other PCs, as a general rule this is prohibited, except insofar as another PC agrees to allow a player to read their character's thoughts or otherwise affect their minds.


Combat - Basics:
     Almost all combat in the Under 100 system is executed by the player making a single unopposed check to determine the success or failure of their attempted combat action. This is designed to keep combat moving swiftly. As with all other skills, combat rolls are meant to represent a character's own proficiency; if they are a very good sharpshooter, they are simply more frequently going to land their shots. This works the same with NPCs when attacking PCs; if the NPC is a very good sharpshooter, they simply have a better chance of landing their shot, even against a PC. Fortunately, player characters are Big Damn Heroes™, and most of the Bad Guys™ of the galaxy are not as good at shooting things as heroes are.
     The three skill groups directly associated with combat are: Melee, Ranged, and Force.
     Successful Hit: Any roll on a combat skill that falls below the associated skill's threshold is a success.
     Damage Dealt: Damage dealt by any successful attack is a flat value of 1 Hit Point.


Combat - Defensive Actions:
     Sometimes a character wants to take a purely defensive action in combat. In this case, the player has three defensive action options available, and they need to tell the GM which one they are attempting before they make their roll. In all cases, the player uses their primary combat skill as the skill check they will be rolling for (Melee, Ranged, or Force).
     Self-Defense: A character can take a fully defensive stance. Color-wise, this could be a lightsaber-wielder attempting to deflect blaster fire, or it could be a ranged fighter ready to take cover or tumble out of danger. If the PC succeeds in rolling under their skill threshold, they negate the next point of damage that would otherwise have been inflicted on them (prior to the PC taking a different combat action).
     Defense of Others: A character can attempt to step into the line of fire with the intention of defending others at the cost of their own safety. If the PC succeeds in rolling under their skill threshold, they take the next point of damage that would otherwise have been inflicted on the target they are protecting (prior to the PC taking a different combat action).
     Disarming an Opponent: This is the only combat action that is an opposed check. (Note that Mook NPCs cannot be disarmed as they cannot make opposed checks.) This opposed check pits the combat roll of the attacking PC against the combat roll of choice of the defending character. See the below section on Opposed Skill Checks for resolving opposed checks.


Initiative:
     To determine your character's Initiative score, you first need to have selected your character's 9 skill groups and have assigned the threshold numbers to them. Then choose three of the skills from the following options; all three choices must be skills you have assigned to your character.
      Athletics, Force, Gadgetry, Melee, Ranged, Perception, Stealth
     Take an average of the thresholds of the three chosen skills (the sum of the thresholds, divided by three). That number is your Initiative score.
     In combat, characters are assigned turn order based on Initiative score, from highest to lowest. 


Player Character Health:
     Hit Points: Player Characters should be assigned a health pool by the GM at the start of an adventure. This pool can be variable depending on the GM's expectations. Hit Point pools should not be lower than 4, but can go as high as 10.
     Unconsciousness: A PC taken down to 0 HP is considered unconscious. They can be revived by medical treatment from an ally (specifically, an ally's use of the Medicine skill group), and revive at 1/4 of their total HP, rounded down. They can only be revived in this manner once during a single encounter. Alternatively, they can be revived out of combat after the encounter ends by any ally, with or without access to the Medicine skill group.


Healing:
     Only PCs trained in the Medicine skill are considered proficient enough to be able to render healing during a combat encounter. (Outside of a combat encounter, any PC with a medpac or trained in the Force can attempt to heal another PC at a skill threshold of 40.) Any successful application of healing restores 2 HP.
 

Heroic Moment Points:
     Each PC gets 2 Heroic Moments points at the start of an adventure. They can be refreshed at the discretion of the GM if an adventure goes long. They can be used/spent in one of four ways:
     Automatic Success: A Heroic Moment point can be used by a player to earn an automatic success on any skill check (including opposed) for any skill in their 9 assigned skill groups. 
     Outside Skill: A Heroic Moment point can be used to take an action that falls under a skill group a character does not have among their 9 assigned skill groups. A PC can attempt to roll for any such skill with a skill threshold of 50 for one roll. (Note that not having a skill among your 9 assigned skill groups doesn't mean your character is ICly incapable of doing something related to that skill, it just means that they can't usually do it at the level required for a heroic feat/adventure.)
     Heroic Sacrifice: A Heroic Moment point can be used to take a hit for another character, even if your character wasn't using the Defense of Others combat action at the time.
     Negation: A Heroic Moment point can be used to negate the effects of a successful attack against a player's own character.


Opposed Skill Checks: This is an optional rule set, used at the discretion of the GM.
     Under normal circumstances, a character wishing to attempt an action only needs to roll under their own skill threshold to achieve success. However, there are a few circumstances in which a character's attempted action may be directly opposed by another PC or NPC. When the GM calls for an opposed check, the two opposing parties will each roll for the relevant skill; to win the opposed check, one party must roll both beneath their own skill threshold as per normal, and also beneath the roll of the opposing party. In other words, the lowest roll (that also meets the roller's skill threshold) wins.

The following are the circumstances in which a GM might call for an opposed check:
  • The opposing character is another Player Character. (If a GM is running an event using the PVP Rules Set, then that rules set may replace this use of Opposed Checks.)
  • The opposing NPC is not a mook (mooks cannot oppose); see below rules on NPCs.
  • The action can reasonably be opposed/prevented; e.g. counter-slicing an active slicing attempt (the Technical skill), attempting to win a race using Athletics.


Enemy NPC Types:
     The GM creates NPCs that fall under one of the following three categories. As is always the case in GMing, these NPC rules can and should be adjusted as the GM needs them to be. To make for more simplified and stream-lined play, a GM can choose to use only Mooks to oppose the PCs; in addition to lessening the book-keeping needs, it also creates an adventure in which the PCs feel particularly heroic. However, to create more drama and risk, including Champions and the occasional Boss is recommended.
  • Mooks: Mooks have no skill groups, and cannot oppose checks. They are assumed to be trained in the task the GM is using them for, and so take all actions as a roll toward a universal skill threshold of 40. Mooks do not have a Hit Point pool; if they are successfully attacked once by a PC, they fall. Mooks are completely susceptible to mind-affecting uses of the Force, with no means of defense.
  • Champion: Champion NPCs are able to make opposed checks. Like mooks, they do not have skill groups but are assumed to be trained in the task the GM is using them for, and take all actions as a roll toward a universal skill threshold of 60. Champions have a Hit Point pool of 2; they must be successfully attacked twice by a PC  to be taken down. Champions can attempt to resist a mind-affecting use of the Force with an opposed check (using their universal threshold of 60).
  • Boss: Boss NPCs are able to make opposed checks. They should be created as a PC would, picking from the skill groups and applying one of the skill allocation arrays. A Boss's Hit Point pool is at the GM's discretion, and is best determined by calculating how many PCs might be present to oppose them. Boss NPCs follow the same wounded rules as a PC (if the optional wounded rules are being applied). Regarding resisting a mind-affecting use of the Force: if the Boss is a Force-using character, resisting is an opposed check of Force skill vs Force skill; if they are not a Force-using character, resisting is an opposed check using the Boss's second highest skill (whatever that skill may be) to represent a strong will but no dedicated training in the arena of mental powers.


PVP Rules Set: This is an optional rules set, used at the discretion of the GM. It is NOT recommended to use these unless the event/adventure is planned to be predominately comprised of PVP.
     If a GM wishes to make PVP combat a significant part of their adventure, they have the option to use these rules, which are based on opposed checks that function differently from normal opposed checks in the Under 100 system; these differences are designed to put players on more equal footing, and to minimize the random element in determining success or failure so that a character's IC proficiencies play a greater role in deciding outcomes.
    PVP Stats: A player creating character stats for a PVP adventure will pick their skill groups and assign thresholds as normal. Then each skill threshold should be divided by ten, rounded down. For example:             
Skill & Threshold                PVP Score
Athletics, 505
Perception, 707
Force, 858
Melee, 656
    PVP Defense Score: After converting the normal skill thresholds to PVP scores, a player creates a PVP Defense score by choosing three skills from the following options; all three choices must be skills you have assigned to your character.
      Athletics, Force, Gadgetry, Melee, Ranged, Perception, Stealth
     Take an average of the thresholds of the three chosen skills (the sum of the thresholds, divided by three). That number is your PVP Defense score.   
    Rolling Mechanic: When making rolls using these PVP rules, a player rolls a number of "10 sided dice" equal to their PVP score for each attempted use of a skill. For example, rolls using the above stats would appear as follows:
          Athletics roll: /roll 5d10
          Force roll: /roll 8d10
     The conversion of the threshold score into a number of "dice," with more dice being used to represent higher thresholds, means that the results of a roll will have a chance of being higher proportional to the character's "proficiency" with a skill. This means that for rolls using this PVP rules set, higher total numbers in roll results are better.
   PVP Combat: In PVP combat using this rules set, all combat actions are opposed. (This is fundamentally the opposite of how PVE combat is handled in Under 100, which is why these PVP rules are a separate and optional rules set.)
     The basic way opposed combat checks work with this PVP rules set is as follows:
  • Player A, on their turn to act, initiates a combat action and rolls for the relevant skill: /roll 8d10 ( Result: 7,6,6,8,8,7,6,1, Total: 49 ) 
  • Player B chooses if they are going to oppose Player A's attack with either a Defense, or with a Counterattack.
    • For the Defense action, the defending player makes their opposing roll based on their PVP Defense score: /roll 7d10 ( Result: 7,6,4,10,10,5,10, Total: 52 ) If the defending player's roll result is higher, they successfully negate the effect of the attack.
    • For the Counterattack action, the defending player will take damage from the attack regardless of the results of their opposing roll; they are accepting damage for the possibility of dealing a simultaneous counterattack. A Counterattack attempt uses the defending player's combat attack skill for rolling: /roll 8d10 ( Result: 7,6,6,8,8,7,6,2, Total: 50 ) If the defending player's roll result is higher, they successfully deal damage to their attacker at the same time as they take damage; the attacker does not get a defending roll.
  • If there is a tie between the attacking and defending rolls, no damage is dealt by either party (regardless of which defending action the defending player chose).
    Circumstantial Bonuses: If the GM wishes to grant circumstantial bonuses to the opposed PVP checks using this optional rules set, bonuses can be assigned by adding (or subtracting, for penalties) increments of d10 to a PC's roll. It is recommended that a GM wishing to do so clearly outline ahead of time the conditions for such bonuses or penalties, and no score/roll should ever be higher than 10d10 as an upper cap. (Note: the SWTOR in-game chat window does not allow dX rolls in quantities greater than 10, and this also corresponds with a skill threshold of 100 being the highest threshold available.)


    Other Under 100 Rules Sets/Modules: The following are additional specialized rules sets that use the core Under 100 system.
    Starship Rules
    Gambling Rules


    Under 100 Character Sheet Generator:
    Players are welcome to go to this Google Docs character sheet as a tool to easily whip up some character stats using the Under 100 system. Only fields with a drop down option need to be selected by the player, and everything else calculates automatically. (Just keep in mind that the selections of the person who used the sheet before you may still be present, so you just want to override them with your own choices.)
           1. If you are new to making a character sheet with the system, check out this post showing a simple conceptual walkthrough of the process. The following steps 2-5 apply just to using the Character Sheet Generator, for those who would like to make use of that tool.
           2. Choose the Allocation Array you want (this can be updated after you've selected your skills as well, to see which numbers you like better)
           3. Choose/Assign your 9 Skill Groups to the threshold scores of your Array (the array numbers populate highest to lowest, so it is helpful to rank your skills in proficiency order)
           4. For each of the Initiative, PVP Defense, and Gambling categories (on the right of the sheet), choose three skills to contribute to creating those scores. Only skills from your character's 9 chosen skills apply, and only those skills with drop-down options are eligible for each category. Set your chosen three skills for each category to 'Select'. (All skills other than the three you choose should be set to N/A.)
           5. When done, go to the 'File' menu of the spreadsheet and choose 'Download as - PDF' and you can then save a single sheet image of your character sheet, which you can attach to a forum post at need. [/list][/list]
    « Last Edit: 06/05/17, 03:05:32 AM by Niarra »
    Niarra Reymark, Jedi Master and Diplomat // Derrad Reymark, Starfighter Ace and Softie // Jheva, Padawan and Pattern Reader // Yatei, Jedi Knight // Zelek Arr, Corn Grower
    Sivala, Sith Academy Overseer // Rannayel, Sith Lord and Museum Curator
    Erran Veshkgalaar, Mandalorian Accountant // Caustrin Neyvor, Dangerous Puppeteer // Ariza Fey, Psycho and Pyro // Kettur Vaen, Semi-Spook

    Offline Niarra

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    Re: RP System (Under 100) - Looking for Feedback
    « Reply #1 on: 07/10/16, 12:33:39 AM »
    +1 Show voters
    Steps for Character Creation using the Under 100 System

    1. Think about your character. :think: You are about to choose 9 Skill Groups (from the skills listed in the post above this one) that best represent your character's abilities.

    2. If you wish, you can use this Google Docs character sheet generator as a tool during this process. It will take care of all of the math for you, and all you need to do is pick and prioritize skills. More tips on the generator tool are at the bottom of this post.

    2. If you are not using the character sheet generator tool, begin by assigning yourself the 3 skills from the Core Skills Group (see post above); these are required for all characters. If using the tool, just make sure that these three skills are included in your final list.

    3. If your character is a Force-user, take the Force skill as your 4th skill group. If your character is not a Force-user, take the Gadgetry skill as your 4th skill group. If you are using the generator tool, just make sure that you have either Force or Gadgetry in your final list.   

    4. Choose 5 more skill groups for your character from the Other Skill Groups table (see post above).

    5. When you know what your 9 skills are going to be, give thought to how you would rank them in terms of your character's proficiencies. If you are using the character sheet generator, you can rank them top to bottom in the tool itself.

    6. Pick one of the 6 Skill Group Allocation options (see the post above for the numbers if you are doing this manually; the character sheet generator has all of the numbers built in): Baseline, Standard, Diverse, Specialist, Savant, or Median. Assign the 9 numbers from your chosen Allocation group to any of your 9 Skill Groups however you wish (each number can only be used once; 9 distinct numbers mapped to 9 distinct skills).

    And you're done! Below I'll show two finished character examples, using my characters Niarra and Derrad, and including an image of what the sheet looks like if you were to use the tool. 

    Character: Derrad Reymark - Basic character concept: Expert at starship piloting, charismatic and socially adept, above-average with blasters but not a front-line warrior.
    Skill Group Allocation: Baseline
         Vehicles: 90
         Social: 80
         Ranged: 75
         Perception: 70
         Technical: 65
         Underworld: 60
         Gadgetry: 60
         Athletics: 50
         Medicine: 50



    Character: Niarra Reymark - Basic character concept: Jedi diplomat and healer, strong in the Force, not a combat expert.
    Skill Group Allocation: Specialist
         Force: 90
         Social: 90
         Medicine: 70
         Perception: 65
         Historian: 60
         Melee: 60
         Naturist: 50
         Athletics: 50
         Artistry: 40




    Character Sheet Generator Tips:

          1. Only fields with a drop down option need to be selected by the player, and everything else calculates automatically. (Just keep in mind that the selections of the person who used the sheet before you may still be present, so you just want to override them with your own choices.)
           2. Choose the Allocation Array you want (this can be updated after you've selected your skills as well, to see which numbers you like better)
           3. Choose/Assign your 9 Skill Groups to the threshold scores of your Array (the array numbers populate highest to lowest, so it is helpful to rank your skills in proficiency order)
           4. For each of the Initiative, PVP Defense, and Gambling categories (on the right of the sheet), choose three skills to contribute to creating those scores. Only skills from your character's 9 chosen skills apply, and only those skills with drop-down options are eligible for each category. Set your chosen three skills for each category to 'Select'. (All skills other than the three you choose should be set to N/A.)
           5. When done, go to the 'File' menu of the spreadsheet and choose 'Download as - PDF' and you can then save a single sheet image of your character sheet, which you can attach to a forum post at need.
    « Last Edit: 07/18/17, 01:14:54 PM by Niarra »
    Niarra Reymark, Jedi Master and Diplomat // Derrad Reymark, Starfighter Ace and Softie // Jheva, Padawan and Pattern Reader // Yatei, Jedi Knight // Zelek Arr, Corn Grower
    Sivala, Sith Academy Overseer // Rannayel, Sith Lord and Museum Curator
    Erran Veshkgalaar, Mandalorian Accountant // Caustrin Neyvor, Dangerous Puppeteer // Ariza Fey, Psycho and Pyro // Kettur Vaen, Semi-Spook

    Offline SivWysan

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    Re: RP System (Under 100) - Looking for Feedback
    « Reply #2 on: 07/10/16, 09:42:43 AM »
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    I like it!  Might make some samples of mine to post to see how it works out. 



    Offline Seraphie

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    Re: RP System (Under 100) - Looking for Feedback
    « Reply #3 on: 07/10/16, 08:37:01 PM »
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    This looks like a very interesting system Niarra! I'll want to play with it some once I'm back from my current travels. I'll just mention the two concerns that jumped out at me as I read through it all.

    The first concern I would raise is complexity, both for players and for the GM. I've been trying to use a very simple straight rolls with some opposed rolls system, with no stats usually, and even that seems to scare away some beginners. I'm sure those more experienced though would easily slide into your system. Keeping track of bonuses, or penalties (for being wounded), can, in my experience, drastically increase the load on the GM just in terms of managing the combat, not that that's necessarily a reason to avoid doing so, but just something to keep in mind. I love the depth the complexity adds, it's just important to weigh that against the weight of all the extra numbers.

    My second concern is with every player starting with 4 hit points. How fast players take damage depends a lot upon how you GM, but in my event where we first attacked the Nar Shaddaa star fortress, to rescue Minnette, all PCs started with 10 HP, as I usually do, and most were down to 4 to 6 by the end, so just be careful you don't end up with all your PCs out of commission before the end of an event.

    I look forward to trying the system out!

    Offline Niarra

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    Re: RP System (Under 100) - Looking for Feedback
    « Reply #4 on: 07/10/16, 09:01:44 PM »
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    Thanks for the feedback so far, Seraphie and SivWysan! I'd love to hear what people think if they were to try to slot their characters into the system, as regards the skill options available.

    The first concern I would raise is complexity, both for players and for the GM. I've been trying to use a very simple straight rolls with some opposed rolls system, with no stats usually, and even that seems to scare away some beginners.

    You're probably right that players who are new to a rules based RP system (as opposed to just free form storytelling) might find it a little complex. I'm definitely coming at this from the perspective of someone with tabletop RPG experience, and as a consequence this system felt very simple to me, but I can't assume it will seem so to everyone. It will always ultimately be on the GM to know what system might work best for their players. Conceptually, I think this system - like many rule sets - will seem much simpler in play than it may on reading. Or at least that's my hope! Play testing will tell. But ultimately it may indeed only be a good system for a more experienced player group.

    Keeping track of bonuses, or penalties (for being wounded), can, in my experience, drastically increase the load on the GM just in terms of managing the combat, not that that's necessarily a reason to avoid doing so, but just something to keep in mind. I love the depth the complexity adds, it's just important to weigh that against the weight of all the extra numbers.

    Another good point. Since I did come at this from the perspective of someone accustomed to GMing tabletop, the GM side of this felt really simple by comparison. But there's no doubt that the GM will need to keep track of player HP/status, and also manage the NPCs' status (as well as have your players' skill lists on hand to reference if you need to).

    That being said, I think you could actually just strip some pieces right out if you wanted to, and it would still work. For example, if you really just wanted a story-telling tool and weren't planning on doing a lot of combat (or wanted simplified combat), you could simply not use the wounded rule at all (for either PCs or NPCs), and could ignore some of the Champion and Boss rules and deal mostly with adjusted Mooks. That way you'd still be left with a skills system to provide character color, but wouldn't have as much to manage otherwise.

    My second concern is with every player starting with 4 hit points. How fast players take damage depends a lot upon how you GM, but in my event where we first attacked the Nar Shaddaa star fortress, to rescue Minnette, all PCs started with 10 HP, as I usually do, and most were down to 4 to 6 by the end, so just be careful you don't end up with all your PCs out of commission before the end of an event.

    That's a really great point, and one I can't speak to at all without some play testing. I was definitely plucking numbers out of thin air here. Maybe it would be better to suggest that PC HP pools can be variable, up to the discretion of the GM at the start of any given adventure. That way the GM - who will know the scope of the conflict they have in mind - can tailor the HP pools accordingly. So if you want to create drama and risk in what you know will be a short adventure, you can use a HP pool of 4. But if you know you are going to have several combat encounters in a long adventure, a larger HP pool may be warranted.

    As I process all this feedback I'll be updating the initial post with some rules additions/adjustments. Yay for feedback! Thank you!  :cake:
    « Last Edit: 07/10/16, 10:53:38 PM by Niarra »
    Niarra Reymark, Jedi Master and Diplomat // Derrad Reymark, Starfighter Ace and Softie // Jheva, Padawan and Pattern Reader // Yatei, Jedi Knight // Zelek Arr, Corn Grower
    Sivala, Sith Academy Overseer // Rannayel, Sith Lord and Museum Curator
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    Offline Niarra

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    Re: RP System (Under 100) - Looking for Feedback
    « Reply #5 on: 07/21/16, 01:46:18 AM »
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    I've made a couple adjustments to the rules based on Seraphie's feedback. Mostly around highlighting which rules can be optional.

    Also added:

    * One more optional skill group (Historian), as it occurred to me that this is a particularly useful skill to have in a galaxy as old and storied as SW's. (And we do seem to have a lot of scholarly type characters out there...)

    * Another option for use of a Heroic Moment point, to address occasions in which a PC really, really wants to be able to make a roll for a skill they don't have among their 8 skill groups.

    Any additional feedback or suggestions from other GMs (and players too!) is very welcome. I'll be test driving this system next week and want to sneak in as many refinements as possible beforehand.
    « Last Edit: 07/21/16, 01:56:38 AM by Niarra »
    Niarra Reymark, Jedi Master and Diplomat // Derrad Reymark, Starfighter Ace and Softie // Jheva, Padawan and Pattern Reader // Yatei, Jedi Knight // Zelek Arr, Corn Grower
    Sivala, Sith Academy Overseer // Rannayel, Sith Lord and Museum Curator
    Erran Veshkgalaar, Mandalorian Accountant // Caustrin Neyvor, Dangerous Puppeteer // Ariza Fey, Psycho and Pyro // Kettur Vaen, Semi-Spook

    Offline Maryck

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    Re: RP System (Under 100) - Looking for Feedback
    « Reply #6 on: 07/28/16, 07:40:41 PM »
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    Question regarding a physically powerful saber user, do we have to invest in both Agile AND Brawn to convey that? On one hand their saber dynamics, and the other their physical strength?
    Maryck Vos - 28, Jedi Master, Ace Pilot, Warrior, Emancipator

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    Offline Kremon

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    Re: RP System (Under 100) - Looking for Feedback
    « Reply #7 on: 07/29/16, 12:42:59 AM »
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    I like this system. It makes sense, and whilst somewhat confusing at first; once I worked everything out and saw your character examples, everything fell into place nicely. It's also got a wonderful ease of use to it, as you can pick your skills, without having to delve into your backstory and give a big long explanation as to why your able to do something.

    Doubly nice; if your supremely qualified in something, like say; an amazing starship captain, you can choose to be highly skilled in that category, and then not have to worry about breaking your character's lore when you roll something like a one and having previously exemplified starship captain make a simple mistake and crash his ship into a cliff.

    Great solution to the problem; I look forwards to using it in future.

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    Re: RP System (Under 100) - Looking for Feedback
    « Reply #8 on: 07/29/16, 02:20:43 AM »
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    I really, really enjoyed play-testing this system! Here are my thoughts so far:

    • The skills system was really fluid, and easy and simple to use. I like that there are few enough skills that it's very simple to build a character sheet and remember what to use when, but also has enough that you can create nicely specialized characters.
    • One thing I thought about while we were play-testing was that it might be nice, for the more specialized skills, to have to specify some kind of focus. Like, say, History: Ancient Jedi; Artistry: Music; Underworld: Republic. You could have 'General' be the default for all savants. It would prevent things like people having knowledge that fits the skill but not their character. I don't know how to do that in a way that doesn't make it more complicated or challenging than you want it to be though.
    • For the combat, something that was sort of weird for me was that the enemies would respond to the rolls before the player could. I think it works better when it is the other way around: GM tells the player what their roll means, the player writes out their post based on that, and then the GM responds with the other character. That's less a system thing and more of a 'how to put the system into an RP situation' thing, though, I think.
    • I think a second time around, I'll pick a different build template and work off that! I found the spread of the standard template to be a little overpowered on the high end of things and underpowered on the low. I felt a little hesitant using the lower powered skills because the odds were so slim and a little bored when the high level skills always seemed to succeed. But also I'd love to preserve that feeling when, say, you use a lesser skill and it pays off, or feeling powerful when you do something your character is meant to be good at. Maybe making there be more skills to a template so that there are more things in the 'average' range will fix some of that? Up to you, I know you envisioned it as being easy to use, so don't want to make it unnecessarily complicated.
    • Jumping off the above, maybe boosting it up to 9? Because characters have to take either Force or Gadgetry as a requirement it would be nice to have one extra 'elective' skill. Incorporating specializations could make it a little less overpowered. Sticking with eight would probably be fine though, because it keeps things simple and it's easier to remember 8 skills than 9!
    • Something a few groups I've been in have done that made combat really fun, and also let everyone feel like they'd done a lot, was that when you got a bad guy to 0 HP, people who wanted to get the last blow could roll for the takedown. It let everyone get their moment in the spotlight and feel awesome if they went to enough sessions, and also made it so that most fights ended with a memorable character moment. (And if a fight was cut short, like with Palless, it felt all the more impactful!) That might be cool for something you save for bosses or champions.
    • Overall I thought this was a really good system and enjoyed using it! I'm looking forward to using it again and can't wait to see how you apply it to starship combat.
    • Sidenote: I'd love to see how this skill system would work out in an event that relied on the social skills, like a party or a band contest or something.

    Honestly, overall I really liked it and there's not much that I feel needs a lot of changing. I'd love it to stay simple even though I added a lot of ideas in the suggestions. XD But that is why they are only suggestions. Anyway those are my thoughts! Can't wait to use this again in the future and play-test more. :)
    The Jedi: Bren (Archaeologist), Iirim (Healer), Zorru (Recruiter), Orans (Master), Aybekk (Padawan)
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    Offline Karmic

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    Re: RP System (Under 100) - Looking for Feedback
    « Reply #9 on: 07/29/16, 09:43:52 AM »
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    Yea its always nice when as a Darth level stealth based Assassin I can reliably sneak in an RP Event and not have it fail on me.... =D

    Or just use the Force to pick something up. =D

    Any system that lets you overcome that random part of RNG that doesn't let skilled characters be skilled is a good thing.

    And I like your idea there Noth of having a rolloff (or even like initiative one could take turns per fight) to see who takes down the final hit on a few bigger baddies.  Not every NPC (cuz in some events I know you have the 1 or 2 HP NPCs that everyone can take down their own) - but on the bigger multiple HP baddies it would be nice to make sure everyone got that turn with a death blow. :)

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    Re: RP System (Under 100) - Looking for Feedback
    « Reply #10 on: 07/29/16, 04:50:19 PM »
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    @Maryck, to answer your question:

    Question regarding a physically powerful saber user, do we have to invest in both Agile AND Brawn to convey that? On one hand their saber dynamics, and the other their physical strength?

    It probably comes down to the difference between RP color and mechanics. For mechanics, for ease and simplicity, all lightsaber combat falls under Melee Agile. You could RP color that as finesse or as physical strength, as best fits your character.

    However, if you also wanted your character to show physical strength in other areas, such as hand-to-hand, feats of strength, or melee combat with any weapon other than lightsabers, then you would also want to make sure your Melee Brawn skill was fairly high since all such feats would fall under Melee Brawn.

    I put lightsabers under Melee Agile because the motif of the dexterous, fencing-style lightsaber combatant is a common one in SW lore, and a common character trait for RP. I also wanted to differentiate between ability with a lightsaber (which is after all a very specialized combat form) and other combat abilities. Force-users who might be trained in lightsabers shouldn't get a "free pass" on also being good with hand-to-hand or wrestling or whatever, which they would if melee were all lumped into one skill.

    A flip side example, as regards Melee Brawn, would be someone who wanted to play a martial arts expert. Mechanically that would fall under Melee Brawn, but they could RP color that as nimble and flowing or as brute force brawling, as best fits their character.
    Niarra Reymark, Jedi Master and Diplomat // Derrad Reymark, Starfighter Ace and Softie // Jheva, Padawan and Pattern Reader // Yatei, Jedi Knight // Zelek Arr, Corn Grower
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    Offline Niarra

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    Re: RP System (Under 100) - Looking for Feedback
    « Reply #11 on: 07/29/16, 05:01:36 PM »
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    Doubly nice; if your supremely qualified in something, like say; an amazing starship captain, you can choose to be highly skilled in that category, and then not have to worry about breaking your character's lore when you roll something like a one and having previously exemplified starship captain make a simple mistake and crash his ship into a cliff.

    You hit it right on the head; that is exactly the scenario I wanted to avoid! Here, you might fail to achieve the stunt you're trying, but your fail chance decreases by measure of the expertise you are choosing to assign to it.

    Also, no such thing as critical failure chances. I know that this might lessen some drama, but let's be honest - it's more common to see critical failure cause frustration and discontent than it is to see it trigger great story evolution. I have seen it do the latter, but that sort of thing is much easier to build on in a tabletop setting as opposed to the written-interaction version of RP, where all contributions just flat out take longer to get written up and put out there, and the rules set supporting the repercussions isn't as robust.

    To not tilt it too far into easy mode, though, I figured that also meant doing away with critical success. The closest thing to critical success in this system would be to use a Heroic Moment point for a guaranteed success; given that it's kind of like calling on the Force to guarantee your moment of glory, that would always be a good opportunity to RP color some epic-ness.

    I have not totally closed the door on the idea of critical failures/successes, not until I've gotten a few more play tests in, but for now this is where I'm leaning.
    « Last Edit: 07/29/16, 06:18:35 PM by Niarra »
    Niarra Reymark, Jedi Master and Diplomat // Derrad Reymark, Starfighter Ace and Softie // Jheva, Padawan and Pattern Reader // Yatei, Jedi Knight // Zelek Arr, Corn Grower
    Sivala, Sith Academy Overseer // Rannayel, Sith Lord and Museum Curator
    Erran Veshkgalaar, Mandalorian Accountant // Caustrin Neyvor, Dangerous Puppeteer // Ariza Fey, Psycho and Pyro // Kettur Vaen, Semi-Spook

    Offline Niarra

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    Re: RP System (Under 100) - Looking for Feedback
    « Reply #12 on: 07/29/16, 05:49:24 PM »
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    I want to give special thanks to @Zmaj, @Noth, @SivWysan, @Lolermelon, @LVT, and @Artumis for being my guinea pigs in the first play test of this system. I greatly appreciate your patience and your contributions, and hope you had a good enough time to not run screaming for the hills the next time I say I want to test the newest revisions!  :evil:

    Here are a few things I took notes on, based on the gameplay, that I believe need to be worked into the system - either by means of a new rule/solution, or in some cases just general GM guideline/suggestions. I really want to strive to keep the system as rules-light as possible.   :think:

    Initiative: D'oh! I didn't have an easy rule for this written up! I am thinking of just making it a straight roll, with lowest winning. Either that, or have it use the best of the character's combat-oriented skill groups: Force, Melee Agile, Melee Brawn, or Ranged. Player thoughts? 

    Defensive Combat Actions: Something as obvious as deflecting blaster bolts with a lightsaber had not (to my embarrassment) been something I considered in the original build. A place needs to be found in which to fit this and other similarly defensive actions (especially given how iconic they are in the SW setting). I still very much want to avoid opposed checks in combat as much as possible. A new Defense skill group is an option, but that also takes away from the desired goal of keeping things simple and options smaller in number. At the moment I am leaning toward the idea that this needs to be a proactive/readied action rather than a reactive one; if you have the initiative you can make your combat skill group roll with the declared intent of being purely defensive. In this case, it would just be up to the GM to be fair and not make their NPCs always shoot only at the PCs who aren't being defensive. Player thoughts?

    Disarming: In order to be fair (to both opposing Player Characters and to a GM's carefully laid plans), I can't immediately think of any way to handle this without it being an opposed check, despite my attempts to limit those. I would probably pit the disarming character's attempt against the best combat skill group of the defending character. Player thoughts?

    Number of Players & Turns: I am very happy that so many people asked to show up to the event! It did show me that the higher player attendance made the GM'ing side more difficult, but as a universal GM'ing truth that was no surprise. The more interesting take-away was learning that it wasn't keeping track of HP or player skill thresholds or conditions that was difficult (a simple printout took care of that); rather, it was keeping track of all the rolls being made in that fast-filling chat window while players continued to add (awesome and vital) chunks of RP goodness into the mix! In a way I did this to myself, because much of the adventure was something of a "skill challenge" in which all the players making skill checks was an ongoing constant. So, as a GM guideline, I think a GM who knows that they plan to have a skill-intensive segment of an adventure should consider using an initiative order throughout that segment - to keep track, make sure no one gets missed, and also allow each PC to have their moment fully in the spotlight as their turn comes up.

    Not Everything Needs to be a Skill Check: I deliberately made the first play test very heavy on skills because I needed to test them. I'm pleased with how it went overall, and think that the skills work as intended for the most part. But as a GM of an adventure there's always a fine line to walk between letting the rules dictate and letting the pure RP shape things. There's no way to write that balance into a rule set; that has to be felt out in the moment. So I welcome any player feedback (from this first session just past, or from any others yet to come) about moments where they may have preferred that a skill check wasn't involved. Sometimes a GM really needs that check in order to create the drama of a possible failure, but other times a GM can get too married to the rules. For myself, I think what I'll do going forward is make it clear upfront when a particular "challenge" will involve skills, versus when the players will be allowed to pure RP their way through it; a negotiation with bit NPC from whom one wants to buy a used speeder as a small part of a larger adventure is probably a Social skill check, but a fully interactive and RP'd out negotiation with a major NPC should probably be pure RP (maybe with just a "boost" from a Social skill check to color how effective a PC is at leveraging their charisma to in support of their verbalizations).

    So, thanks again to my guinea pigs! I definitely want to test run this again, after I make a few revisions and adjustments.
    Niarra Reymark, Jedi Master and Diplomat // Derrad Reymark, Starfighter Ace and Softie // Jheva, Padawan and Pattern Reader // Yatei, Jedi Knight // Zelek Arr, Corn Grower
    Sivala, Sith Academy Overseer // Rannayel, Sith Lord and Museum Curator
    Erran Veshkgalaar, Mandalorian Accountant // Caustrin Neyvor, Dangerous Puppeteer // Ariza Fey, Psycho and Pyro // Kettur Vaen, Semi-Spook

    Offline Niarra

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    Re: RP System (Under 100) - Looking for Feedback
    « Reply #13 on: 07/29/16, 06:16:37 PM »
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    I really, really enjoyed play-testing this system!

    YAY!  :whee:

    Here are my thoughts so far:

    YAY, feedback!  :cake: I really appreciate it.

    • One thing I thought about while we were play-testing was that it might be nice, for the more specialized skills, to have to specify some kind of focus. Like, say, History: Ancient Jedi; Artistry: Music; Underworld: Republic. You could have 'General' be the default for all savants. It would prevent things like people having knowledge that fits the skill but not their character. I don't know how to do that in a way that doesn't make it more complicated or challenging than you want it to be though.

    I thought about this too in the design phase. I think if I were designing this for tabletop, I would absolutely do what you suggested; that setting allows for greater rule complexity in part because it's so much easier to clarify and educate around rules when you can talk it through. But for a simplified in-game system I ran into the same thing you did - I couldn't think of a way to do it that didn't make it too complicated. I suppose what the system relies on is that people will be using the generalized Skill Groups to represent their character's more specific knowledge. It does open the door to player abuse, but in the end if you're going to have a player who abuses in that respect there probably isn't a whole lot your rules system can do to stop that behavior anyway. 

    • For the combat, something that was sort of weird for me was that the enemies would respond to the rolls before the player could. I think it works better when it is the other way around: GM tells the player what their roll means, the player writes out their post based on that, and then the GM responds with the other character. That's less a system thing and more of a 'how to put the system into an RP situation' thing, though, I think.

    I totally agree with you. This was purely a consequence of a first test run and things getting a little bit away from me (partially because I tried to be too cheeky about throwing in so many moving pieces, particularly for a first run). The GM just needs to get a better handle on this right out of the gate and state the order of things. Your proposed order makes the most sense to me as well.

    • I think a second time around, I'll pick a different build template and work off that! I found the spread of the standard template to be a little overpowered on the high end of things and underpowered on the low. I felt a little hesitant using the lower powered skills because the odds were so slim and a little bored when the high level skills always seemed to succeed. But also I'd love to preserve that feeling when, say, you use a lesser skill and it pays off, or feeling powerful when you do something your character is meant to be good at. Maybe making there be more skills to a template so that there are more things in the 'average' range will fix some of that? Up to you, I know you envisioned it as being easy to use, so don't want to make it unnecessarily complicated.

    Even before going into it I was afraid that the 'over-powered on one end vs under-powered on the other end' thing might be a problem. And, like you, I walked away from this first session with that feeling having been reinforced. I think what I am going to do to address this is to create a 5th Skill Group Allocation array. Perhaps call it the Median allocation group and take off the high and low end numbers altogether, resulting in an array that puts you closer to the middle on all skills. Increasing average competency across a wider range of abilities while also increasing the overall risk of failure might be a good fit for people wanting to play "Jack of all trades, master of none" characters.

    I might also tweak some of the numbers on the other arrays, too. Those 10s are kind of brutal.  :think:

    • Jumping off the above, maybe boosting it up to 9? Because characters have to take either Force or Gadgetry as a requirement it would be nice to have one extra 'elective' skill. Incorporating specializations could make it a little less overpowered. Sticking with eight would probably be fine though, because it keeps things simple and it's easier to remember 8 skills than 9!

    I've been considering boosting it to 9, yes. The main reason behind limiting it to 8 had to do with the Allocation arrays working primarily in increments of 10; to be under 100 and yet over 0 that meant only 8 slots could fit. But perhaps tweaking the Allocation numbers would make room for a 9th skill. If anyone else has feedback as to whether or not they feel 9 skills would start to be too much to keep track of, please let me know!

    • Something a few groups I've been in have done that made combat really fun, and also let everyone feel like they'd done a lot, was that when you got a bad guy to 0 HP, people who wanted to get the last blow could roll for the takedown. It let everyone get their moment in the spotlight and feel awesome if they went to enough sessions, and also made it so that most fights ended with a memorable character moment. (And if a fight was cut short, like with Palless, it felt all the more impactful!) That might be cool for something you save for bosses or champions.

    That's a nifty idea! I'd like to keep that in reserve in the idea box, to consider after I've been able to do one more play test where combat features more extensively. (I can lift the GM curtain a bit here for the sake of play-testing feedback and say that Agent Sycent was meant to surrender, so another play test in which I see the full combat spectrum - initiative through take down - is still needed.)
     
    • Sidenote: I'd love to see how this skill system would work out in an event that relied on the social skills, like a party or a band contest or something.

    In my post above this reply I sort of touched on that. I think if a GM is fully transparent about a particular adventure segment being a social skill challenge (as opposed to something that should really be RP'd out), this could (hopefully) be made to work. The way I'm imagining it now would be a combination of straight failure/success rolls and some opposed checks. Looks like I need another play test!!  :lol:
    Niarra Reymark, Jedi Master and Diplomat // Derrad Reymark, Starfighter Ace and Softie // Jheva, Padawan and Pattern Reader // Yatei, Jedi Knight // Zelek Arr, Corn Grower
    Sivala, Sith Academy Overseer // Rannayel, Sith Lord and Museum Curator
    Erran Veshkgalaar, Mandalorian Accountant // Caustrin Neyvor, Dangerous Puppeteer // Ariza Fey, Psycho and Pyro // Kettur Vaen, Semi-Spook

    Online Noth

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    Re: RP System (Under 100) - Looking for Feedback
    « Reply #14 on: 07/29/16, 08:34:11 PM »
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    Ah, I'm glad you liked the feedback!

    For disarming, I think using the Combat Agile and Combat Melee scores for your defense would work well. Defense is part of combat after all. Which skill could depend on what someone's doing. So maybe use Melee Agile for a defensive action with a lightsaber, and Melee Brawn for something like a fistfight parry or shield use? I'm having trouble thinking of anything that would allow for defensive actions (since players are bound to take it - it's so Star Wars-y haha) but not bog down combat in defensive rolls.

    I've been wanting to do an arts competition kind of event for about a year now, just never got everything together since I stopped playing for a while. :c But if you want help play-testing different situations I'll happily help out with those too!

    One other thing that Karmic mentioned... Do we have a stealth skill? How would stealth and sneaking be handled by the system?
    The Jedi: Bren (Archaeologist), Iirim (Healer), Zorru (Recruiter), Orans (Master), Aybekk (Padawan)
    The Politicians: Varooth (Senator), Seirion (Aide/Spy), Ayrak (King)
    The Mandos: Urziya (Rallymaster), Terr (Chieftain)
    The Outlaws: Telen (Slicer), Majia (Pirate/Smuggler)
    The Imperials: Athuuna (Agent), Zhekrazh (Lord), Z'ridia (Apprentice)