Saturday, June 2, 2012

Completely Pantsless Roleplaying

I was watching the Avengers Cartoon on Netflix and there is an episode where the Hulk and a super-villain named Graviton (he controls gravity) battle it out in a shipyard. Graviton sends wave after wave of cargo containers smashing into the Hulk and I caught myself thinking, ‘Awesome fight, but there is no way you could do that with a hit point system”. RIFTS tried, but the numbers got silly real fast.

In any RPG basically the characters start off with low stats, but generally enter situations that they can handle. As the character gains levels their stats go up, but the situations they find themselves in are more difficult. The basic premise hasn’t changed; only the numbers have gotten bigger. Unfortunately, in some games this leads to stat bloat and/or unwieldy amounts of dice to roll.

Getting back to the Hulk, superheroes don’t “gain levels’, neither did Conan, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, Frodo and Sam, or Katniss. Harry Potter kinda did, but he was literally growing up in each book and in an environment where he was actively learning new skills. What do those characters gain? Experiences.

So, in keeping with that idea, and to honour the fact that I've hardly worn pants the past five months, I came up with this. It owes a great deal to RISUS and I have no idea if it would actually play or not, but I think the premise is sound and it was fun to think up, so what the heck? If I get really bored, I'll do a list of possible MAXs and MINs.

To Do Everything Roll 1d6
1-3 Easy
4-5 Medium
6 Hard
7+ Impossible

How to build a Completely Pantsless Character
Player Characters (or PCs) in CPR are created by selecting three MAXs and one MIN. To make it simple, MAXs and MINs can be anything the player can think of, though some examples are provided. When choosing or creating MAXs and MINs, players should keep in mind what kind of personality, background and abilities they want their PC to have.

MAXs are anything that benefits the character such as skills, bonuses, positive quirks, special items, background details or anything the player can come up with.

MAXs can be bonuses to the Dice roll, but must be applied to a specific situation and no bonus may be higher than +3. Each + costs a MAX. For example, Pherry the Wonder Elf has Woodlore +2, which means he spent two MAXs and he can only apply the bonus when doing something woodsy.

MINS any detrimental elements to the characters such as phobias, character flaws, handicaps, etc. MINs can also be applied to Dice rolls with the same conditions. For example, Pherry is coulrophobic, so all rolls made in the presence of clowns are made at -1.

Characters also start with four KO points. At the time of character creation, they can gain extra KO points by sacrificing a MAX, or loose one by using up their MIN. NPCs have KO3 unless otherwise stated.

Fightin’n Stuff
Non-Player Characters (NPCs) and Monsters have three basic stats; HIT, DAMAGE and KO. They are Easy, Medium, Hard (or Impossible) to HIT and then Easy, Medium, Hard (or Impossible) to DAMAGE. There may be a specific number, for example Easy 2, associated with the stat which indicates that they must roll that number of higher to HIT or DAMAGE.

All humans (and humanoids), including PCs are Easy 2 to HIT and Easy 2 to DAMAGE unless they are wearing armour or take a MAX to raise

When a fight breaks out, the GM randomly chooses which player goes first, but she cannot choose herself or the same player twice in a row. The turn then continues clockwise around the room until the fight is over.

The player whose turn it is then chooses an opponent and rolls the D6, applying any applicable MAXs or MINs, to HIT.

If the PC meets or surpasses their opponent’s HIT, then they are successful and can now roll to see how much Damage has been inflicted.

Weapons have a Damage rating from +1 and up. Armour has a negative rating raging from -1 and down. Roll for Damage and apply all weapon and armour modifiers. If the result, with modifiers, is equal or higher than the opponent’s DAMAGE stat, then they loose a number of KO points equal to the weapon’s Damage (so a +2 weapon would inflict 2 KO point).

When a character runs out of KO, they are out of the fight. Their condition depends on how they ran out of KO points. If they were shot or stabbed, they now require medical attention, but if they lost the KO points to a spell or a fall, they may be unconscious or too exhausted to continue fighting.

Doing Other Stuff
Anytime an action or event comes up in play the requires a roll, the GM simply determines if it will be EASY, MEDIUM or HARD and the player rolls a D6. If the PC has any applicable MAXs, the GM may lower the difficulty.

If a PC does not have an applicable MAX, then it is up to the GM to raise the difficulty to reflect how hard it would be to perform that action without training. Fixing a bicycle without training might only be HARD, but fixing a super-computer would be IMPOSSIBLE.

Gaining Experience
Each time the PC does something particularly awesome, they gain 1 Awesome point. GMs also award Awesome points at the end of an adventure. For every 10 Awesome points the player can select a new MAX. For every two MAXs the player selects, they must choose a MIN.

The caveat is that the MAXs and MINs selected must be in some way related to what happened during the adventure. For example, the PC learned to drive a tank and speak Farsi, but has also been Brainwashed by the Order of Chaos to kill the King of Romania.

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