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Here I will post the news I upload to ulule, for a greater ease of discussion.

The Core Principles of Revolution

1. The rules should provide all the answers

Most fans of D100 games are experienced roleplayers, and love to tinker with the rules and adapt them to suit their taste. Needless to say, this is still possible with Revolution D100. However, we strongly believe that while a GM can always change a detail that does not work well for his or her group, this does not mean that a game author should fail to describe an important procedure "because it is a consolidated RPG practice that everyone already knows" or to provide a recommended solution for a situation that might arise "because there  is a GM for this". The GM is there to infuse life in the game world, not to fill the blanks in the rules.

Thus the Revolution D100 core book describes and regulates some procedures commonly applied at any game table but hardly ever detailed in a classic rulebook, like "what is downtime and what you do during it" or "how to handle different party members doing things on a different timescale". Revolution introduces, for instance, the concept of timescale as a core concept of the rules, thus giving you a solid set of procedures for handling the interaction between player statements and the flow of events in the game world. It is up to you to use the rules "out of the box" or change them, but the procedures are there, clear and defined for you to read, and for the inexperienced GM to learn from them.

Of course, this leaves us with the problem of not producing a bloated set of rules. The next two principles are there to ensure that this risk does not manifest.

2. Only keep track of significant events

Some classic games sound like an exercise for accountants, at times. They are still extremely fun, but is book-keeping a necessary part of the game? Maybe there is another way. In Revolution, details and scores are recorded on your character sheet only when a significant event occurs, that is when you lose or win a challenge that the Narrator has opposed to the party.

Let us use an example of a subject that is often boring or underestimated - albeit necessary - in classic RPGs: fatigue and supply consumption when travelling in a hostile territory. Keeping track of how many hours you travel in armour , or how many hours your experienced hunters devote  to replenishing your stock of dried meat, and then cross-indexing these quantities with the appropriate tables in the rules may be realistic, but it is not particularly interesting. In Revolution you do not need to do any of this: if the Narrator wishes to introduce these elements as an obstacle, he or she must simply run the journey as a challenge to the survival and exploration skills of the party. Any inconvenience due to lost stamina or supplies will be the byproduct of how well your adventurers performed. Did they win all Survival rolls? Then they managed to rest while travelling, and to hunt enough to keep some rations in stock, and to find plenty of water. Let's skip the details about how they did this and move on with the interesting parts of the adventure. Did they lose the challenge or at least suffer some marginal losses? Then the Narrator can count the point losses they suffered versus a penalty labeled and described as "fatigue" or "depleted supplies" or both, and applied to a significant scene later in the adventure, like combat with goblins at the end of a travel day, or exploring a cave complex once the first part of the trip is over.

3. You can add crunch to each subsystem independently

Of course, someone will  not find the above "narrative" approach satisfactory enough when it comes to the parts of the adventure that he or she wants to describe in deep detail (combat, for the average old school RPG player, but this is not always the case). Depending on what type of campaign you are running, there might be scenes for which the broad description of "what happens" provided by the Revolution core conflict system is not enough.

For this reason Revolution is designed to facilitate the adoption of optional subsystems as "plug ins" that can seamlessly replace the core system for some kind of scenes. Advanced fantasy combat is an example of this. These subsystems will provide rules that offer a direct, detailed description of the outcome of a die roll: how much damage does a sword slash yield, and to what part of the body; by how much does the ship engine overheat if the engineer fails his Warp Drive roll; how many terabytes of information your netrunner can smuggle out of the cyberspace with a Net Hacking success; and so on. But you only need to employ a "crunchy" subsystem for those particular aspects of the adventure that constitute the core and main focus of your campaign. And of course, many subsystems will not be in the core book but in specific genre books or settings.

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CHARACTERISTICS, SKILLS AND SEQUENCES

Characteristics versus skills

Historically, D100 games are among the first skill-based RPG systems. Yet they feature a rather classic set of Characteristics that represent the basic physical and mental features of your character – not how well he or she will perform, but rather how your character is shaped.

Yet one question commonly arises among players of all those excellent D100 games that people play: why do you measure skills on a different scale (percentile) than characteristics (1-20)? Why this barrier to their interaction?

In truth, this is a very good question. And different games provide different answers about the different roles or characteristics and skills.

The answer that Revolution provides is quite simple and game-oriented: characteristics are used to calculate the resources your character has available (physical prowess, cunning, personal magnetism), while skills represent how effectively he or she will use those resources. Thus, both have an important role in how your character will interact with the game world, and these roles are not interchangeable.

In Revolution, you do not calculate or roll a chance based on a characteristic, and you do not use a skill to determine an attribute score.

Now someone will say that characteristics are useless when it comes to interacting with the game world, if you never roll them. However, this is not the case. Because Revolution does not suggest you to play by simply rolling one D100 and determining the outcome of an interaction. It suggests you to run all significant interactions as conflicts – where both your characteristics and your skills will count.

How do you use characteristics and skills in a sequence?

First, let us exchange the term “conflict” with the word “sequence”. Conflict and scene are terms that have a specific and clear meaning in RPG design theory, but these updates are not for theorists but for gamers. Thus, although the word conflict is perfectly suited to define what goes on, it smells of game theory; talking about a “sequence” instead reminds us of an exciting part of a movie when tension rises and the heroes accomplish some important feats to overcome a deadly challenge.

At the start of a sequence, the Narrator determines what characteristic will be used as your point pool, depending on the main focus of the sequence; normally, CHA for social interactions, INT for investigation, DEX for acrobatic challenges, CON for survival and so on. In some cases, the Narrator can rule that the average of two characteristics is used.

The Narrator then determines who is your opponent, whether an impersonal force (the Old Forest, the Curse of Anubis, etc.) or some non-player character, and assigns it a pool of points based on a characteristic for an individual or on an abstract arbitrary value for an impersonal entity.

The characteristic point pools work exactly like Hit Points in classic RPG combat: if your pool depletes before your opponent’s, you lose.

In order to determine who “scores a hit” on the opponent’s pool, player characters and their opposition roll on their appropriate skills. Unlike the characteristic used for the pool, which remains fixed, the skill used may vary according to the action described for each round. As all of these rolls are opposed, player characters might find themselves forced to use a wide array of skills as the opposition tests them in search of their weaknesses. If more than one player character is involved in a sequence, inactive characters may use their abilities to provide bonuses to the character who is rolling for effect, or defending against an enemy attack.

Thus, in a Star Trek game, you may have a sequence involving the USS Enterprise negotiating a dangerous asteroid field. The base pool for the Federation crew is of course based on Captain Kirk’s INT, while the opposition uses an arbitrary value determined by the Narrator according to how dangerous he or she wants the obstacle to be. During the Narrator’s turn in the sequence, you may have boulders heading for the Enterprise and Mr. Sulu maneuvering to avoid them; if Mr. Scott has declared that he is overcharging the engines for a limited interval of time, his Operate [Pulse Drive] skill will support Sulu’s remarkable Pilot [Spaceship] abilities. Later, when the time comes for the crew to take the initiative, you may have Mr. Cechov use his Ranged Combat [Phasers] skill to fire at the asteroids, supported by Mr. Spock’s Operate [Sensors] to predict their trajectories.

Whoever wins these challenges will subtract 1d6 points from the opposition’s pool, until there is only one winner left. And here Captain Kirk’s well-known smarts may make the difference, as the player characters have a bigger resource pool to tap!

You might argue of course that this is too simplistic for a true Star Trek game. This is probably true. Such an abstract interaction is only recommendable for a kind of sequence that is not the core of the game. You will use it for sequences that are likely to happen once or twice per campaign: for those that take place each session, you will probably want to introduce an advanced, “pluggable” subsystem.

However, the core sequence rules of Revolution D100 are a precious tool to handle those moments in your game for which you do not want to introduce an entire new subsystem, and yet you want to feel epic. Do not underestimate them, you will find them handy.

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Yeah this Characteristic-Conflict sounds like a great concept, and certainly an innovation to the BRP system.

It vaguely reminds me of Traveller where your Characteristics get directly depleted, although here the Characteristic itself is not being depleted, but the points used to represent it's capacity are drained.

The possibilities are endless with this idea, and it fits neatly within the preexisting rules of BRP. Nice one Paolo

I'm happy I'm backing this one

Edited by Mankcam
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I just received the email update regarding Skills and Traits, which no doubt you will may also post here.

 I must say I'm very impressed Paolo, these ideas are pure gold.

Edited by Mankcam

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TABLE OF CONTENTS, AND GOING VIRAL

It is now time to disclose the proposed table of contents for Revolution D100:

  • 1. Character creation
  • 2. Skills and Traits
  • 3. Adventuring
  • 4. Basic Combat
  • 4a. Advanced Fantasy Combat
  • 5. Equipment
  • 5a. Advanced Weapon and Armour Design
  • 6a. Advanced Vehicle Design
  • 6. Powers
  • 6a. Believer magic
  • 6b. Arcane magic
  • 6c. Psionics
  • 7. Character Improvement
  • 8. Creatures

If you have read our previous updates carefully, you might have already guessed that the chapters labeled with a letter are "plug-ins" that build on the general concepts provided in the basic system, which is described in the chapter with no letter. New and very detailed plug-ins will be added by supplements and settings - for instance, believer magic will get a more detailed treatment in both Merrie England and Homeward - but those provided in the core book should be enough to run a classic fantasy adventure or dungeon crawl. On the way to publication we hope to add more support for science fiction.

Going Viral

A point on a different note now.

The campaign has reached an important point in its progress and is nearing 50%. Funding proceeds steadily as we explain what will be in the game. The first wave of backers, "the enthusiasts", is already on board or has planned to pledge as soon as finances permit.

However, for a campaign to be successful it cannot limit its action and its appeal to the most enthusiastic supporters. It must rather leverage their enthusiasm to get other people's attention and persuade them to contribute. In other words, the enthusiasm shown by the first wave of backers must turn into a marketing machine!

I am therefore asking you, the early birds, to help Alephtar Games going viral on each and every social media about Revolution D100. Here are some simple actions you can take to ensure that Revolution is funded and that as many options as possible are also funded and made available to you.

  • Put a link to the revolution D100 campaign in your signature on the RPG forums you visit regularly. Here is an example taken from the rpg.net signature of one of our existing backers:
    Support the Revolution D100 crowdfunding campaign!
  • Use the Revolution D100 campaign image on Facebook and G+. It is a great fantasy picture, which our cover artist Tiziano Baracchi graciously granted us to represent the campaign before we commission the real cover for the game, so it will definitely add to the attractiveness of your profile.
    Here is the avatar version
    And here is the cover image version.
  • Share the updates that Alephtar Games posts on Revoution D100 on social media. Do not be afraid of annoying people: social media are about exaggeration, if it does not go viral to the point that someone feels "fed up with it" you are not doing it right. And the social network software will wisely choose which of your contacts to show the link to.
  • And above all: talk about Revolution D100 to all your roleplaying loving friends. We are sure that we will end up answering the question "why should I choose Revolution?" for one thousand times. If you send us one friend of yours, that will be 1001 times - but we are still willing to accept the challenge!
Edited by RosenMcStern

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TRAITS, STUNTS AND POWERS

Skills and Traits

Revolution uses a mixed approach to skills that hybridizes the classic percentile skill system with a talent-based approach. A limited list of percentile Skill exists, each of which has a base percentile obtained by adding two base Characteristics. Each skill represents proficiency in a broad, general area (e.g. Athletics, Ranged Combat, Stealth…), and base scores for beginning characters are limited, rarely going beyond 50%. Skill proliferation is discouraged, and replaced by Traits that complement skills and add a standard 30% bonus to obtain the final score at which players roll action attempts. Each Trait represents basic competence in a very narrow and specific field, often related to the character’s origin and profession, and has no number attached: it is an all-or-nothing attribute.

The number of traits a character can possess is limited. Each skill provides “slots” that can host the Traits that the skill uses. The number of slots depends on the character’s current skill score, and on whether the skill is prominent for that character.

Traits are listed under a specific skill that provides the “slot space” for them, but can be applied to other skills if this makes sense. For instance, assume your character is looking for tracks in the Siberian taiga, and he does not have the Track trait. Normally the character would roll his Perception skill without the 30% standard bonus, usually a very poor chance, but if he has the Taiga trait in the Survival skill he can apply it to Perception, too, thus raising his chance.

Stunts and Powers

Not all Traits represent competences and proficiencies in normal activities. Some traits represent the supernatural powers that a fantasy or sci-fi character possesses: Fireball, Telekinesis, Darkvision and so on. In this case the Trait represents both the fact that the character possesses the power, and the percentile at which it uses it – usually calculated by adding it to a skill specified in the power description: Concentration for psionics or magic spells, Perception for magical senses, Athletics for the power of Flight, Close Combat for magical weapon-like appendages, etc.

Other traits do not represent a simple competence in a specific area, but a particular mundane feat that you can perform by leveraging another trait you have. Such Traits, defined as Stunts, do not normally alter the chance of successful use of a skill, but allow the use of particular techniques. For instance, a samurai who has the Kenjutsu trait might also learn the Iaijutsu techniques in order to attack with his katana directly from its scabbard.

With this very simple approach, Revolution D100 guarantees that you can describe all the competences appropriate to your game world with a single, streamlined system. Are you fond of detailed combat techniques? Create new stunts. Do you want a magic-rich environment? Go full throttle with powers. The rules will support you in any combinations of the two, and much more.

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It seems the SIZE characteristic is replaced by a Size category instead, which is not a bad idea, as that is a clumsy characteristic to get your head around I think. I take it that WIL stands for Willpower, and simply replaces POW as a characteristic.

I think Life Points ports to Hit Points. I would have preferred the title 'Health Points', so the shorthand remains HP, but no biggie. I'm glad there are Hit Locations, although I'm pretty happy with the current d20 roll from RQ6 and BRP BGB (or Renaissance's Major Wound/Hit Location chart). Not sure if I think altering this achieves alot, but I will have to wait until I read the rules a bit more. I guess the stat block has to be a bit different, otherwise it is no different from the current BRP games already on the market.

Having said this, the stats are so similar that it almost directly converts to any MRQ D100 SRD BRP game, and you could just as easily wing it if using BRP BGB build as well. This means any future setting supplements will pretty much retain compatibility, which is a good move.

I must say I'm liking many of the rules I am seeing; and even if a troupe doesn't use this system in its entirety, there is a toolbox for optional rules to add into any BRP game here.

I'm happy I am supporting this project, but it's starting to look like an almost essential purchase for BRP GMs due to the amount of plug-in optional rules

Edited by Mankcam

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Thank you for the praise! I will answer here a couple of questions Clarence asked on rpg.net.

Life Points are not Hit Points. They combine Fatigue and Magic Points in a single variable. So far, it has worked in playtest. In Advanced Fantasy Combat, Hit Points are locational only. We are considering the insertion of a "no-location" option.

Might is basically the same as "Damage Modifier". As it works differently in Basic and Advanced combat, though, we have given it a more "neutral" name.

The thread on rpg.net is turning into a discussion between Alephtar and the ones who are already "sold" on the system, i. e. a big celebratino of "How beautiful this game will be". In that context, this is detrimental. I kindly ask you to ask for information (and give praise) here or on Ulule, and leave rpg.net and therpgsite for questions from people who are not already in. "Hooray I like it" statements are less appreciated there - the audience is quite diffident on generalist RPG forums, and excitement sometimes generates a negative response.

 

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Life Points sounds good. I actually ran a game in the late 1990s using RQ3 with Magic taxing both MP and FP. It was good for simulating the toll magic can take in some settings, although it was very clumsy due to the two points tallies to mark off. I think your concept will work much more smoothly

Might = Damage Modifier works well. Much better name in any case.

I think if you want to play a less complex game, then Major Wound system similar to Renaissance works well as an optional rule. Perhaps for more pulp orientated games possibly, where you don't want to slow things down by recording every reduction in limb hit points. It can sometimes be a bit fiddlly for certain genres I think, and from my perspective hit locations work best for a gritty game rather than a cinematic one. However its certainly not a deal breaker if its not there however. In any case having Hit Locations as the default option is always my preference.

In regards to generalist sites like RPGNet and TheRPGSite,  I tend to peruse those sites less often than this one, and mainly for other systems rather than BRP related (although BRP often turns up on those forums). Some of the flame wars that occasionally happen on the larger sites tend to be too hostile for me, and are simply a waste of mental energy when that starts occurring. However for exposure I guess any game should be discussed there.

Personally I will probably keep using this site for discussion regarding Revolution D100, considering we were kindly included for input in the actual naming of the system right from the start. I think we all enjoyed that thread

Edited by Mankcam

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We are considering the insertion of a "no-location" option.

Please do :-)

I get more and more stoked about this with every update Paolo. Thanks for handling it all the way you have. Well done.

Cheers!

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The Magic provided in the core rulebook will necessarily be a "sample of the real thing". Years and years of publishing settings has taught us (but not TSR...) that how magic works and what it can do is an important element of characterisation for the setting. Which means that each setting will have its own take on magic: Piety-based monotheist magic and demonology (i.e. Summoning) for Merrie England, shamanism for Wind on the Steppes, and so on.

The basic rules for Enchantment are already determined in the core rules presented here. Want to bind a demon? It's a conflict of WIL between you and the critter. Want to create a magic item? A conflict of WIL against a score determined by the power of the item. Want to raise undead? A conflict of WIL, INT or CON against the characteristics of the dead one. The details will be in the magic chapter of the core book to allow players to "build their own magic", but the magic rules will probably be rewritten along these guidelines for each setting. Yet the core rules will still allow you to "drop" a wizard or a cultist in a setting where they are not the usual form of magicians.

Most important of all, the conflict rules allow for freeform magic, for those groups who like this approach.

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In the example stat blocks, the barbarian fyrd member has a skill of close combat (bite), it may be a little too barbaric <g>

My feeling about the SIZ characteristic is that it should be kept. It is the common element of the d100 family.

We could have the SIZ characteristic for the mass/weight and a reach class for the length of the creature.

 

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In the example stat blocks, the barbarian fyrd member has a skill of close combat (bite), it may be a little too barbaric <g>

Ah, these Celts really look like animals when they drink too much :)

 My feeling about the SIZ characteristic is that it should be kept. It is the common element of the d100 family.

This subject will be discussed during the beta test phase.

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PERSONALIZING THE RULES

WATCH OUT FOR THE RPG.NET Q&A ON REVOLUTION D100 WITH PAOLO AND SIMON ON THURSDAY OCT 15 AT 19:00 GMT. FEATURING ALSO CHARLES AS OUR GUEST STAR.

Today's update is about one of the favourite subjects of the average D100 player: customization, that is tailoring the rules to suit one's needs and tastes.

THE TOOLKIT APPROACH

Many, probably most roleplayers love to tinker with the rules of the game they play, sometimes rebuilding it from the ground, other times just adjusting some details that produce in-game results that the group finds bizarre. 

Most multi-genre roleplaying games originate from the generalization of a system designed for a specific setting or genre, and thus may have a "sweet spot" in that particular genre. But this does not mean that a generic system cannot support different genres with equal efficiency. For instance, the original game that fathered all D100-based ruleset was tied to a gritty, bronze age fantasy world. Yet its most popular and successful derivative implementation is a modern horror game. Flexibility and modularity are the key factor in this department.

The toolkit approach to designing a ruleset implies that the rules contain a wide array of gauges and switches devised to allow the players to choose beforehand among several options, with the rules suggesting which configuration and plug-in is the best for the particular kind of game the group has in mind.

An example of how choosing a rules option might be important for setting the mood of a game is the decision, quite common with D100 rulesets, of whether to use hit locations in combat or not. If your game is about a zombie apocalypse, you can easily figure how having quick rules for blowing up pieces of undead might be extremely appropriate. However, if you are playing a superhero game, describing the position of a wound in detail, or in the most extreme cases handling the loss of a limb, is almost always out of context. And what about a space opera game? Normally you would say that locations are not very useful here, but if I ask you to name a famous sci-fi franchise where the protagonists get their hands cut off every other movie, you might suddenly realise that there are contexts where they might be more than appropriate.

This example can easily show you that there is no quick and easy "right answer" to the question "Should I use this option in my game?".  An inflexible, option-less ruleset that tries to make choices for you might lead to an unsatisfactory game. With a toolkit ruleset, instead, when creating a campaign for a game world that the system does not support natively, the job of the GM is not that of adapting the world to the ruleset, but rather that of tailoring the ruleset to the world; either by following the suggested guidelines, or by trying unexplored paths for the most creative and daring GMs.

And this is the reason why the so-called "toolkit approach" is so popular with D100 roleplayers.

THE OUT-OF-THE-BOX APPROACH

While tinkering with the rules is one of the favourite sports of our usual customers, it is also true that some players prefer to have a simple, straightforward set of rules that they can apply without selecting options beforehand. They want to take the game out of its (metaphoric) box and start playing after reading the rules, without any preliminary choice to make. To them, options are an unnecessary complication that hampers their reading and understanding of the rules  of the game.

Yet Revolution will be a "toolkit" ruleset. How to make it appealing to this kind of players, too? It is quite simple: we will use the "open" part of the rules, the reference implementation (SRD) that we make available for free in electronic format, to provide an "out-of-the-box" version of Revolution, one that does not contain any option but heads straightforward for the explanation of the default rule. In this way people who dislike choosing among options can stick to the SRD, and yet have a useful resource in the commercial edition of the game to handle those rare cases when they need a variation of a rule - a need that this kind of player usually feels only after multiple sessions of play.

But how can we be sure that the default configuration that we propose in the Revolution D100 SRD is the one best suited to the tastes of players who prefer not to tinker with the rules? Well, in fact we cannot be sure that it will suit everybody's tastes, but by adopting the option configuration that was most popular during playtest we can at least ensure that there is a high chance that the rule default presented in the SRD will please the majority of those players who want to play Revolution "out of the box". And this is exactly what we will do: use the most popular options as the default for the SRD, and leave the description of the other options for the commercial edition of the game.

THAT'S ALL FOR TODAY, FOLKS. CHARLES, SIMON AND I ARE WAITING FOR YOU AT THE RPG.NET Q&A ON THURSDAY OCT 15 AT 19:00 GMT.

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Concerning skills and traits in stat blocks:

How do you read Stealth [Hide, Sneak] 67%?

I understand that the ninja has at least 67% of succeeding in any stealthy endeavor (e.g. camouflaging a cart in the woods) and has 97% (+30 bonus) when it comes specifically to hiding and sneaking around. Correct? Or it means 67% when hiding and sneaking and 37% general stealth?

Best,

Smiorgan

P.S.

I generally like the stat blocks. They seem eminently back-compatible despite the rules innovations.

 

 

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The score given is that for the included traits. Any usage of the skill without a trait is at -30%, thus the ninja has 37% in Conceal, Disguise or Sleight of Hand. His masters have not taught him the whole array of ninja tricks yet.

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The score given is that for the included traits. Any usage of the skill without a trait is at -30%, thus the ninja has 37% in Conceal, Disguise or Sleight of Hand. His masters have not taught him the whole array of ninja tricks yet.

That's quite elegant. Are traits included in other areas to the same affect? Say on equipment or magic, etc.

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Yes, although things may vary for some very peculiar kind of magic. For equipment, if I understand your question well, it is the same: the value listed for Close Combat refers to you ability with the listed weapons. The rest is at base skill, that is -30%.

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A NEW WAY TO USE D100

For today’s update, we talk about a subject we have already tackled on forums. However, not everyone reads forums, so here we go.

We promised a new way to read d100, with levels of success but reduced math. And we stay true to our word. Here it is.

Revolution has three levels of success: failure, success and advantage. You can use the word critical or special success instead of advantage – it does not matter; you get the idea, no matter what term we use.

However, the big difference is that in Revolution both failure/success and success/advantage are determined by a comparison, not an arithmetic operation. In other games, you have to divide your chance of success by a given factor (5, 10, 20 or the like) and if you roll lower than that, you have a better level of success. In Revolution, you have an Advantage when you have a success and the tens die is higher than the unit die. No division. Not even when you compile your character sheet. Just check which die rolled higher.

Now, this might sound as yet-another-way of reading dice that does not add anything to the game. But it isn’t. Not only does it eliminate arithmetic for those who are not comfortable with divisions at the gaming table, but it introduces a new concept:

        The rate of critical-to-success rolls changes with skill

While other D100 games have one roll in twenty, ten, five or two being a special/critical success – no matter whether you are a rookie or a master – this is not the case in Revolution. At a meager 10% skill, only one roll in 10 is a special roll. Once you reach 50%, one roll out of five is significantly better. At a 100% mastery of an ability, one roll out of two is a master success. Your ability to crit grows with your skill.

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I like this idea. It is very cool and I think I might steal it mercilessly for my own homebrew. (Currently using 1 on units as crit and 0 on units as fumble.)

I guess the obvious question is what happens for skills over 100? That may have been answered elsewhere.

Also, do you plan on having "disadvantage"?

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