>> Edit: Abbreviations expanded out to hopefully help readability
>> Edit2: A (readable and updated) PDF version of the below system; downloadable from here: S.M.A.R.T. RPG
A little while ago I posted about retrofitting the 1e Surprise Mechanic as a combat system, and teased (blog link) about making a RPG system from this. So here goes:
The PC has 5 stats:
S – Skill, basically fighting skill (or other physical prowess)
M – Magic, ability to cast magic etc.
A – Armour (used to reduce physical damage)
R – Resilience (basically health; 0 is unconscious, -1 is dead)
T – Trickery / Thievery (specialist type skills)
1st level & advancement
At first level the PC gets 3 points, where 1 point must be used in S(kill) & R(esilience). So 1 free point to spend on the any stat.
On levelling up the PC gains +1 to spend on any stat
There is no limit on the stats except, A(mour) may not exceed 3
Players decided if they have done enough to level up.
Player rolls a D6 and if it is equal or lower than their PC’s S(kill), they hit, and do D(amage) equal to the die roll. A roll above S(kill) is a fail.
D(amage) is reduced by opponent’s A(mour); but never lower than 1.
D(amage) reduces the opponent’s R(esilience) by the same amount.
Example 1: a PC with 4S(kill) rolls 3 on a D6, which means they hit for 3D(amage). The opponent has 2A(mour), so overall the opponent receives 1D(amage).
Example 2: a PC with 4S(kill) rolls 5 on a 6D, which means they fail to hit.
PC can cast a number of successful spells per day equal to M(agic).
Player describes spell effect PC is trying to achieve.
Spell is successful if the D6 roll is equal or lower than M(agic). A roll above M(agic) is a fail.
Damage done; and/or duration of spell; and/or number of opponents affected by the spell is equal to the (successful) die rolled.
Example 3: a PC with 4M(agic) rolls 3 on a D6, which means the spell works, and works for 3 “thingos”, where the thingo is:
(i) 3D(amage) done by the spell (e.g. for a fire blast spell); and/or
(ii) works for 3 rounds (e.g. for a bar door spell); and/or
(iii) the spell effects 3 opponents etc. (e.g. for a sleep spell)
Example 4: a PC with 4M(agic) rolls 5 on a D6, which means the spell fails.
Class & stat interactions
There are no classes per se; but as the PC becomes more specialize, this comes at a cost to the advancement of their other abilities.
For every 3S(kill) points spent, -1T(rickery)
For every 2S(kill) points spent, -1M(agic)
For every 3M(agic) points spent, -1S(kill) and -1T(rickery)
For every 3T(rickery) points spent, -1S(kill) and -1M(agic)
For every 1A(mour) point spent, -3M(agic) and -2T(rickery)
So multi-classing is costly compared to a single specialization, and so is probably only worthwhile when the primary stat exceeds 6, and so further advancement in the primary stat is not effectively useful. Then again, improved R(esilience) is always at no cost.
Comments on monsters /opponents
A monster with 6S(kill) is a BEAST, like a dragon. So, each increment in a stat should be thought of like an exponential increase.
So, to put a marker down, here are some examples:
Orc – S M A R T: 1 0 1 1 0
Ogre – S M A R T: 3 0 2 2 0
Dragon – S M A R T: 6 3 3 9 1
Comments on magic items
Plus weapons will distort the D6 game mechanic quickly, so in this system a +1 is a big modifier! So, probably best to imbue magic items with useful properties rather than simple pluses.
Well that’s it.
I’ve never really been interested in writing an RPG system (perhaps it shows), but I was prompted to bring this together after receiving a message to my podcast. Clearly, it’s rules light and would not suit power-gamers. What interested me, was how a simple mechanic (i.e. the Surprise Rule in 1e) could be used as the basis for a game. That is, one simple D6 roll determines the ‘hit’ and the ‘damage’ outcomes.
What do you think? It’s certainly not been play tested! If you try this system, I’d be interested to hear any feedback.
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