Simple is Beautiful

I’ve been working on some ideas for the underlying mechanics of this new, pre-alpha tabletop rpg.  This one is messy and convoluted, but I thought I’d share it with you nonetheless.

Player will be using two different dice in play.  One of them is a d6 and the other is determined based on the difficulty of the action.  When players want to attempt an action, it’s rated on a scale of I – V.  Actions with a rating of III are of average difficulty to the normal person, I’s are very basic, and V’s are tremendously difficult.


Action ratings also determine the extra dice outside the original d6:

I – d10

II- d8

III – d6

IV – d4

V – d2


Action ratings also have ranges of success to determine if an action was successful:

I – 2-4

II- 5-7

III – 8-10

IV – 11-13

V – 14 – 16


So, for example, if you’re going to be attempting a level V action, you’d roll a d6 and a d2.  In the attempt of that action, the player adds the appropriate stat (such as his natural strength if he’s lifting a boulder), to the dice.  Assuming character stats are between 1-10 and the character is of great strength (say 8), then he would roll the d6+d2 and add in his strength score.

To determine success, take the final score and compare it to the action rating’s range of successful values (being 13-15).  If the d6 and the d2 produce a 5 and we add in his strength of 8, then the result is 13 and successful.  The boulder is lifted.

An inherent flaw in the system is that it’s unclear if the rolling should ever stop.  Why should we have ratings for actions of less than average difficulty?  If this is the case, the players would roll for very mundane tasks like an opening book and in the even of a true failure (a roll of 2), it’s possible he could slit an artery on one of the pages.  Funny, but quite clumsy in the system’s design.  And not very useful when the one thing that should be tested are difficult actions (like swinging a broadsword in combat).

Also, if actions also include what is being done to the player, such as dodging the swing of an axe with the opposing character’s rating of II, the player would roll his d6+d8, add in a corresponding stat, and see if it fits in the range.  The GM would actually never roll dice in this way.  The game is written by him, but the players interact with it.  He’s just there to settle disputes and describe the world.  Which could be a flaw, but it at least is interesting and worth pointing out.

I want a system simple enough where characters can lead an army in storming a castle but when one of the players dies, have them easily create another character (stats, background, personality, and all) in the time it takes the party to be introduced to that character.  The player wouldn’t come back as another soldier, but possibly as a prisoner in that castle’s dungeon, a spy in the royal court, or a burly farmer whose crops are being trampled by the invading army.  It would be a game focused on the people of realm as opposed to some group of  intrepid, immortal, and static heroes.


Verses of the day are in Psalm 103 (11-12):


11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.


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