A pick-up RPG for a rainy day.

A pick-up RPG for a rainy day.

Hey Nerds- I know that updates have been spotty recently; the holidays always complicate things and I’ve been developing some other stuff for your entertainment pleasures that hopefully will be coming down the pipeline in the near future. For now, we will be returning to our regular twice a week posts, with Murrad on Mondays and other gaming fun on Thursdays. We may go down to one post a week in the future, depending on how much writing I am doing for DMSupportGroup.com and what comes of the project I’ve been working on. In the meantime, by way of apologizing for my tardiness I have a quick re-write of a d12 system I’ve been working on for a while. This is a pretty stripped down version, the original version didn’t uh… work. As in, it wasn’t fun and it was kind of confusing. What we have here is something I wanted to have in my back pocket because sometimes the Nat One Productions guys and I are just sitting around and I want to RP a scene to work through a plot idea and also I needed something that I could apply to several different layers of play (party, faction, city, nation) with just a few cosmetic changes. Sometimes I like to use mechanics like this to resolve conflicts between different entities in the world. Like so many light RPG systems this game really depends on the idea that everyone at the table is committed to making a cool story together which isn’t every table. Anyhow enjoy and let us know what you think in the comments!

Working Title RPG-

The Basic Mechanic

Two relevant attribute scores (ranging from 0-5) are combined and modifiers added (most often +1 or +2) to generate the Roll Under (RU) score for a given activity; a twelve-sided die is rolled and if the number shown is equal to or under the Roll Under (RU) score than the action is successful. A roll of 1 on the d12 is always a success and grants 1 Narrative Point. A roll of 12 on the d12 is always a failure and results in either a lost Narrative Point or an additional failure in the encounter.

Each encounter, depending on difficulty, requires a certain number of successful turns on behalf of the party in order to achieve victory. The Narrator, during prep or at the beginning of a scene must determine the difficulty of the encounter and decide how many successes the players must achieve in order to consider the encounter a success. The Narrator also determines how many failed rolls would result in a failed encounter. On the antagonists turn successful rolls reduce the party’s successes by one and a failed roll reduces their failures by one. Encounters should be sub-divided into groups (perhaps depending on the number of players in the scene, obstacles presented in the encounter, etc) to give characters small milestones. Once a milestone is reached enemy successes and failure can’t bring the party past that milestone, this will prevent an evenly-matched battle from dragging. The Narrator should feel free to award to additional successes or failures as narratively appropriate.

Character Creation
In character creation start each ability at 0 and distribute 14 points among the six attributes with no attribute going above 5. Skills should be worded as phrases to enhance their utility in novel situations. “Trained with Bo-Master Flicc (Physicality, Finesse)” is far more useful than “Good With A Quarterstaff (Physicality, Finesse)”. The Bo-Master might have taught the protagonist things such as wall-running, high jumps, acrobatics, and meditation in addition to sweet staff skills.

“Character Sheet”

Name, Profession/Description

Health: Stamina, immune system, and endurance
Verve: Vigor, spirit, and enthusiasm
Reason: Ability to recognize and synthesize information
Senses: Sense acuity, intuition, and alertness
Physicality: Actual muscular strength
Finesse: Ability at fine motor skill

Skill [Attributes Used]

Skill [Attributes Used]

Skill [Attributes Used]

Inventory (Brief description of what you look like carrying your gear and what all you have. Encumbrance works the same way, at any time the Narrator can ask you to describe what you look like carrying everything you have in your inventory and make a ruling on encumbrance)

Character notes/Traits

Armor and Special Items:
Armor and magical items both work in the same way. Each has either an assigned RU or else an associated pair of attributes (like a skill). Some items (see below) will use one skill and a static RU score imparted by the item itself. Rolls made with these attribute sets are subject to the +1/+2 bonus related to familiarity at Narrator discretion.

Dragonscale Breastplate (RU 8)

Awesome Dueling Sword of Awesomeness (Finesse, +3)

For any scene where failure would have an interesting consequence the Narrator sets up a “Success Threshold” and a “Failure Threshold”. This marks how many of each possible outcome the party must have before the encounter is considered completed and consequences triggered. Failure does not always mean death or injury, consequences are determined by the Narrator based on the context of the scene.

At the beginning of each encounter the players should determine their overall goal for the scene, allowing the Narrator to adjust the difficulty as needed (running away should require fewer successes than fighting, etc.). Each character must then roll a d12, adding their Sense and Finesse scores to the number shown in order to determine turn order.

On their turn each player states their goals for the round and rolls the appropriate combination of attributes to determine success or failure, narrating the consequences once they determine the outcome.

Sample Exploration Skill Rolls
Track/Hunt (Sense, Finesse)
Forage (Sense, Reasoning)
Navigate (Sense, Reasoning)
Climb (Physicality, Reasoning)
Swim (Physicality, Health)
Endure (Health, Verve)
Awareness (Senses, Health)
Haul/Lift (Physicality, Health)

Sample Social Skill Rolls
Convince (Reasoning, Verve)
Flirt (Verve, Finesse)
Deceive (Reasoning, Finesse)
Inspire (Verve, Health)
Intimidate (Physicality, Verve)
Barter (Reasoning, Finesse)

Sample Crafting/Knowledge Skill Rolls
Blacksmith (Physicality, Finesse)
Alchemist (Reasoning, Finesse)
Healer (Finesse, Reasoning)
Lockpicking (Finesse, Sense)
History (Reason, Verve)

Sample Combat Skill Rolls
Heavy (Physicality, Health)
Light (Finesse, Reason)
Bow/Crossbow (Finesse, Sense)
Thrown (Physicality, Sense)
Divine (Health, Verve)
Arcane (Reason, Verve)
Psionic (Health, Sense)

Narrative Points
During an encounter a roll of a 1 on the d12 grants the character a Narrative Point. This point, which should be represented with a physical object such as a poker chip, allows the player to change the circumstances of the encounter in some significant way. Perhaps the noble they are arguing with begins to choke on a chicken bone, perhaps beheading that particular alien spooks his allies allowing the players a chance to seize the advantage, perhaps the officer realizes her gun is out of bullets. These points can result in the Narrator changing the difficulty of the encounter but should not result in instantaneous victory or failure unless there party only has one or two additional successes before the encounter would end anyway.

There is no official system of gaining “levels” in Working Title RPG. Games at different scales require different reward systems and progressions. However, in order to reward players some Narrators may decide to implement a system similar to the one that follows.

Arc Points: Upon completion of a story arc, dungeon or other goal the Narrator may decide to reward the players with Arc Points- these points, representing accumulated experience and new tricks can be used as follows.

7 AP: Raise an attribute by 1 (No attribute can go above 6 and a roll of 12 is always a failure)
5 AP: New Skill

Characters should be encourage to roleplay their gradual improvement as their characters as they work towards their AP expenditure goals, in order to avoid the classic RPG “Mario red mushroom sound” level up experience.

Narrators are encouraged to create systems that suit both their style and their players’ but to avoid prioritizing the mechanical bonuses over narrative bonuses, interesting items with ancient histories, the favor of the gods, the latest in warp technology, a serendipitous encounter with an eyewitness to the crime, a particularly helpful NPC, amulets blessed by a voodoo priest to protect you from negative spirits, or a signed letter by the President are all far more engaging rewards than “2 Arc Points”.

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