A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Palladium Game System: How I Would Redo it! Part 2: Game Overview

Ok, given how infamous Palladium is for defending its IP in the face of no legal evidence whatsoever, my version will not use any Palladium game names, but will make things obvious as to what gets converted here and there.

Legal Stuff: This is all copyright me on whatever date I post and edit these things. While I welcome people to use, tweak, and share my creation for noncommercial, nonprofit use as long as credit is provided, I reserve all right to do said commercial or profit use for myself. (Though I am not averse to working with someone on a collaborative version!) Note that most of the concepts and terminology used in this continuing project are GENERIC and are thus not intentionally swiping anyone's creative IP. (Which also means the god awful game system that inspired me to write this can't say I am actually stealing anything from their Dungeons & Dragons houserules gone terribly wrong. Cuz I am not. Levels and actions and damage & spell points are like in 80% or more of the RPG genre, tabletop OR electronic.) Some mechanics may be similar to other games out there, but as game mechanics are generally immune to copyright anyhow I am safe and no actual intent of stealing is.. intended. Though I can say there are a great many games I am inspired by! So NYAH NYAH NYAH Kevvy S! My system is better than yours because some people in IRC channels have said so! Oh yeah, any names of fictional or real characters are merely used as examples and do not belong to me, only to their creators/evil corporate overlords/their moms.

Ok... now that I have that out of the way, time for the basic overview of my swell homebrew RPG that shares some basic inspiration and a minor amount of compatibility with Palladium! As this is a continuing work in progress please be aware that some terminology and things are different further on. Should I get the game to a playable point and there be some legitimate reason I can sell it as a PDF or something (someone has already told me I should and they want to help me by getting me in contact with some artsy people and stuff! This is almost as making me feel good about myself as when I won the Best Roleplayer thing at Connecticon 08!) expect most of these issues to be fixed up in the public test version.

I will need to save some heat for the full one. I could make TENS OF DOLLARS off of this. Provided there is nothing I can be sued for in it. Frankly, I would be happy making enough for the Masterpiece Beta Fighter from Robotech. But who am I kidding? Anyhow, its time for the actual rules. I mean it this time.

Seriously. Rules.

Characters have 4 stats or attributes. Use whichever one you like more.
Physical, which covers all of those physical things you do from shooting a gun to dancing.
Mental, which covers all those things that require using that thing in your skull. Like technical stuff and math.
Social, which covers your looks and personality which gets you stuff without having to actually deserve it.
Ki, which is your sixth sense, your luck, your juju, your potential to make heads explode with a thought.

Generation is done by rolling 2d8 and adding 4 for each stat. For humans 20 is the max the stat can go, and while starting values do not go below 6, if injuries and the like happen they can go as low as 1. 12-14 are considered average. There is a -1 to various things per point under 6, and a +1 for every point over 15. For other races as player characters no more than 25 as the maximum for a stat, and no lower than 3 as a minimum, with a maximum possible score of 80 points combined.

Physical is also your starting Damage, or hit point value, and its +- modifer is to close combat damage. So a 17 Physical character would have 17 Damage Points, and do 2 extra points of damage.

Mental is also how many TOTAL skills your character may know, and its +- modifier is how many bonus skill points you get per level. A 17 Mental character may know 17 skills and gets 2 extra skill points per level.

Social is more or less just used as for Social skill checks, but its +- modifier is how many sidekicks you may have. Negative modifiers here mean you may not have any sidekicks and that NPCs really don't like you. The GM will find ways of using this to annoy you.

Ki is also how many Psionic Points you have, and its +- modifier gives you that many rerolls per game session for any Skill Check. A positive one means you may use a reroll, while negative ones means the GM can force you to reroll. A Ki 17 character has 2 rerolls per game session and 17 Psionic Points.

The last thing for Stats is your Tag Stat. Your character is just naturally good with things involving this Stat, even if the number is low. Whatever stat is chosen for your Tag gets 1 rerolled check per game session of your choice, and instead of a Critical Success being just on a 1, its on a 2 as well.

Now the basic game mechanic! Roll D20 equal to or under your applicable stat. Modifiers for skill level, various penalties based on difficulty can raise or lower your stat for the test. A 1 ALWAYS succeeds (Counted as a Critical Success), and a 20 always fails. Normal difficulty is considered to be 0 as a modifier.

A quick example: Repairing a car would be a Repair Automobile skill. This is clearly a Mental skill. The character has 3 points in Repair Automobile and a Mental score of 17. If this were a normal routine repair the check would be passed on anything but a 20, as 20 is an automatic fail even though the Mental score of 17 plus the 3 points in Repair Automobile would mean the Stat was counted as a 20. If this was say, fixing a broken brake line while careening down the hilly streets of San Francisco while in the passenger seat it might have a -5 or more difficulty modifier.

No Skill Check may have more than a +10 or -10 modifier from any one source, and even when multiple sources are taken into account the check cannot be reduced or raised past a value of 10. (Meaning a Skill level 10 mechanic fixing a brake line in a state of the art repair facility with A+ certified technician assistants and the best tools and tech manuals available would still only get a +10 to his stat for the check.) Note that an untrained check is usually at a -10 and if modifiers would bring it to -11 or greater it means the check automatically fails. (The GM can just tell the player it failed outright, or make them roll for it and count a 20 roll as a catastrophic failure based on how mean the GM wants to be.)

Well, its pretty simple so far! Next installment will cover Combat and Psionics. The third segment will cover character classes, talents, and powers. The fourth and final will be the quick and dirty Palladium conversions, with my reasoning for why I wrote things as I did. (Really quick and dirty. Its not designed to be a direct transfer over.) If anyone actually LIKES it, I will develop it further from there with lists of skills, powers, and talents.)


Verdilak said...

Sounds interesting. I've been working on a Rifts 3.0 myself at my board http://rpgaming.prophpbb.com and I would also like to point you to Third Eyes Games(http://www.thirdeyegames.net/) new book, Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. and here it it's review that i did (http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=428042).

I Hate All Life said...

This is interesting, and you have some good ideas here. And this is a laudable effort.

However, you do realize that you've duplicated the Palladiumism that only high stats offer any sort of bonus, don't you? You have a huge chunk of attribute ratings (6-15) that are effectively useless. It's entirely possible for one to create a character that has no stat over 15 (and so gains no bonuses at all). Why not start bonuses earlier and have them climb gradually, and doing the ame for low stats? While this might seem a little d20ish, it certainly makes sense and doesn't encourage the sort of stat-mongering endemic to Palladium and AD&D.

Captain Rufus said...

Hey folks! Thanks for reading!
I'll try to take a look at those links when I get a chance!

I do see the point in the stat bonus thing, but that is a bonus for exceptional stats. Every point in a stat matters.

Remember its your attribute plus skill level that is your target number to roll equal to or under.

So while a 15 Physical doesn't give any extra damage bonuses, a 15 Physical is in general gonna fight MUCH better than a 10 will, needing a base 1-15 to hit plus modifiers, while the 10 has a 1-10, a full 25% less.

Though I am sort of mulling taking out the attribute bonuses entirely for sub 20 attributes and leave it for the really tough, smart, or charming.


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