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THE UNIFIED POWER SYSTEM

Revolution will have rules for magic and supernatural powers, and being a generic system it needs to have several different types of powers: magic, divine blessings, psionic, alchemy, etc.

While discussing Revolution D100 with the authors who are writing its upcoming supplements, it turned out that having different power systems in the core book, each with its specific power list, is not a useful tool for expanding the game and creating additional power systems. The problem is that most expansions benefit from leveraging all the powers in the core book, freely mixing and matching from all the lists as well as adding some new ones. For instance, our supplements Dragon Lines and Wind on the Steppes do exactly this for martial art school powers and heroic powers available to Batyrs. However, referencing more than one list of powers is definitely not elegant, and in the end forces the writer to reinvent the wheel in order to keep things tidy.

For Revolution, then, we have decided to go for a unified power list that all the five power systems in the core book will reference. The power description will also specify for what systems a certain power is appropriate. Each subsystem will have its own way of acquiring, using and fine tuning powers, but the format for power description will be the same.

We will thus describe five different power types: innate powers, for creatures, mutants and (why not?) superheroes; arcane spells for magicians; divine spells for clerics (shamans will use expanded rules presented in Wind on the Steppes); psychic abilities for psychics; and scientific gadgets for alchemists and steampunk scientists.

Here are a couple of sample powers with their attributes and the variations when applied to different power systems.

Enhance [Characteristic]

Combine #, Range #, Target # individual(s)

Arcane, Divine, Innate, Science

There are actually six Enhance powers, one for each Characteristic. Enhance allows the user to apply a temporary bonus to the specified Characteristic equal to the Level of the power. A creature must have the Characteristic in question to benefit from this power.

Divine or Innate version of this power, being tied to the spirits of nature, often cannot bring a characteristic to more than twice its initial value. Arcane spells usually do not have this limitation, while alchemical concoctions and other weird science artefacts might or might not have it, depending on the setting.

Palsy

Overcome [Will], Range #, Target # individual(s)

Arcane, Psi

If the user is able to overcome his target’s Will with this power, he can turn the victim’s own nervous system against him. The power will paralyse the target, provided its Level is equal to or greater than the target’s Toughness. If Hit Locations are used, a random one is affected and its Toughness value is considered instead. A quick exit from the Will conflict will still paralyse the target, although for a shorter time.

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CHARACTER CREATION

Character creation in Revolution is simpler than in most D100 rulesets. There are fewer point pools to distribute: while you still have some choice in where you put percentiles, gone are the days of spending hours carefully deciding where to allocate points. The limited number of skills and the nature of traits facilitates character creation while allowing you to obtain a good competence level for starting characters – around 70% for their most important skill(s). As is traditional for a D100 game, the culture from which your character comes and the profession he or she has practiced before the start of the game have a heavy influence on his or her skills and abilities.

Let us try building a human adventuress – Frida the Viking warrior – as an example.

First, we assign the standard values 17, 15, 13, 12, 10, 8 to Frida’s characteristics as we see fit; we could have rolled her but we have a concept in mind so we go with deliberate assignment of her stats. The result is STR 13, CON 15, DEX 17, INT 10, WIL 12, CHA 8. Frida’s low CHA means she cannot attract the attention of young lads in her village like her female friends, but since she wants to be a warrior herself she does not care much about this problem. And indeed her other characteristics make her an exceptional fighter.

Let us calculate Frida’s Attributes: she has +1 Might from her STR of 13, Toughness 8 because both STR and CON give them a +1 to her basic 6. In Basic Combat she has 16 Action Points (average of DEX and CON), in Advanced Combat she has 27 Life Points (CON + WIL) and 15 Melee Strike Rank (average of DEX and STR).

We could now calculate her basic skills by adding up the characteristics marked on the character sheet, but we will do this while adding the Traits for her basic culture. In Revolution, belonging to a culture does not give you a bonus to skills but just some traits: you know the basic facts about the subject, but have no extra training.

Here is the trait list for a Barbarian culture as described in the core rulebook: Athletics [Brawn] or Ride [Mount], Close Combat [Brawl, Axe, Hammer, Mace, Sling or Spear], Communication [Clan Language], Knowledge [Home Region], Knowledge [Religion/Folklore]. By picking one of the available options or putting in the actual name of the region or culture, and then calculating the base percentile for the relevant skill, we determine that Frida has: Close Combat [Spear] 60, Communication [Norse] 50, Knowledge [Scandinavia, Viking Religion/Folklore] 54, Ride [Horse] 55. In order to start defining Frida’s personality we also pick one of the suggested Motivations for barbarians, Love Freedom and Independence. It fits the personality of a girl who prefers going Viking to getting married.

We have determined that Frida wants to be a weaponthane, so she give her the profession of warrior. Professions, unlike cultures, provide skill percentile increases and not only Traits. For warriors, the skill improvements are Close Combat +10%, Ranged Combat +10%, and 5% more to one of the latter or to Ride, player's choice. The Traits gained are instead: Dodge, Brawl, pick three among 1H Axe, 1H Flail, 1H Hammer, 1H Sword, 2H Axe, 2H Flail, 2H Hammer, 2H Sword, Bow, Crossbow, Dagger, Polearm, Shield, and three among Craft [Armourer, Weaponsmith], Stealth [Camouflage], Ride [Mount], Communication [Streetwise]. After adding the percentiles and picking the options we have the following additions to Frida’s skills: Athletics [Dodge] 62, Close Combat [Brawl, Spear, 1H Sword, Shield] 70, Craft [Armourer, Weaponsmith], Ranged Combat [Bow] 74, Ride [Horse] 60, Stealth [Camouflage] 59. We need not pick a Motivation among those suggested as we have already chosen one among those provided for the culture, but “Become a hero of great renown” fits Frida’s concept so we decide to personalize it into “Prove that even a woman can become a hero of great renown”.

Finally, we can take the value of one characteristic (we pick the highest, DEX) and split it among skills which have it among its base characteristics (we choose to add 10 to Close Combat and 7 to Ranged Combat), and add two more Traits, with a limit of only one combat trait. We choose Dual Wield (a weapon stunt that the Narrator has allowed to pick) and Pilot [Boat], a perfect fit for a Viking warrior. The resulting skills/traits are then:

Athletics [Dodge] 62, Close Combat [Brawl, Spear, 1H Sword, Shield, Dual Wield] 80, Communication [Norse] 50, Knowledge [Scandinavia, Viking Religion] 54, Pilot [Boat] 59, Ranged Combat [Bow] 83, Ride [Horse] 60.

Now Frida really looks like a competent warrior, on par with most men. We decide that Frida is not wealthy so we give her the Status/Wealth Trait “Average” and equip her with a bow, a sword and a standard “Hauberk and helm” armour. She has also a knife, but not being trained in knife fighting she uses it at her raw Close Combat skill of 50 in case of necessity. We have just to assign her a third Motivation and split 60 points among the three, and she is ready to go adventuring.

Here is Frida’s character sheet.

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CHARACTER CREATION

Character creation in Revolution is simpler than in most D100 rulesets. 

....

Let us try building a human adventuress – Frida the Viking warrior – as an example.

....

In Basic Combat she has 16 Action Points (average of DEX and CON), in Advanced Combat she has 27 Life Points (CON + WIL) and 15 Melee Strike Rank (average of DEX and STR).

...

Here is Frida’s character sheet.

Neat. The skills & traits system simplifies chargen a lot. And the character sheet looks complete and compact.

I'm quite curious to learn how life points and strike rank work in advanced combat! 

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Every update gets me more jazzed about this. Tomorrow the local game group is getting together. I hope I can charm a few to support the project. Armed with info like this, I've got a good answer for their questions.

I'm so pleased R is holding on to the culture card in chargen :-). It's what really drew me to RQ3 once upon a time and to use it as my home-system.

I really like the svelt feel of this build-process...and that the stats build attributes. This feels more like designing a character as opposed to cobbling random numbers. I too look forward to seeing how these numbers work in application...can't wait to get my mits on the playtest version!

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DO WE NEED A CONFLICT SYSTEM?

Today I wish to address a point that people have raised on different forums. D100 is traditionally a system that “does not get in the way” of roleplaying, letting you act freely until combat or some event requiring a skill roll occurs. A sort of freeform play dotted by some rolls the GM requires. Some people have argued that adding a conflict system that regulates the entire development of a sequence (for example debating a case in court, a typical example of a social conflict) will replace the exciting act of roleplaying with dry and boring rules about when to roll the dice and how to interpret them.

To address this point, I will start with an example, and go on with a description of how the core conflict in Revolution actually promotes roleplaying.

Some years ago, while playtesting my Mecha book, an episode occurred that showed me how D100 rulesets lacked a structured way of linking consecutive rolls to form a thrilling sequence that left players holding their breaths, with cliffhangers and just-in-time resolutions of dire situations. At a given point in the game, a player who had a techno-geek character wished to find information about a secret society over the Internet. We were playing in the Code Geass universe, an imaginary modern day Japan occupied by evil British invaders who rule the land with an iron fist. In this context, netrunning might be a very dangerous activity, as the cyberspace of an occupied country is supposed to be heavily guarded.

Thus the player made her first Nethacking roll. I ruled that this meant she found a clue to the place in the cyberspace where the information was stored: giving everything away with one single roll seemed excessive to me. At that point, I realized that I lacked any in-game tools to represent the two important actions that were going on:

  • the player trying to get closer and closer to the information required, and
  • the British cyber-police becoming aware of the illegal net activity and locating the cybercafé she was operating from.

I had an incredibly exciting situation at hand, one that pumps streams of adrenaline in the viewer’s blood when you see it on the big screen, and the only way the rules let me handle it was calling for more rounds of arbitrary Nethacking rolls and interpreting the results as they came. There was no way the player could be really in control of the situation – as an experienced netrunner should be in such a case – because everything depended heavily on GM fiat. There was only one real option for the player: watching the GM describe the action and making rolls when he called for them, never knowing whether that roll could only have a trivial result or could end the scene in triumph or disaster. This neutralized all potential cliffhangers, and the player had no way she could really impose her will on the situation.

At that moment I realized that having scores representing the two core goals (the netrunner getting close to the information required, and the police discovering her) would have provided the real excitement that scene deserved, as the player watched her goal coming close to achievement but at the same time had to keep an eye on the impending danger. However, in order for this approach to be effective you must share its core concepts with the player. This means that you cannot leave it to improvisation and GM fiat: it must be a ruleset that the player can understand and master, too.

The Revolution core conflict rules, however, do more than just creating one or two numeric variables representing how far you are from your goal. For each round of die rolls, the Narrator has “bonuses” to add to the opposition rolls, and he has to justify their existence with significant in-game events. In a word, the GM must spice up the description with extra obstacles instead of just rolling. The player, on the other hand, has to find a way to compensate these obstacles by applying bonuses of his or her own, and the rules require that he or she describe how this is possible, leveraging an existing Trait or making up an exciting description of what he or she is attempting. Each round you must introduce and describe a different set of events, or else there will be no bonuses for the players.

As you can see, this does not replace roleplaying at all: it promotes it, and makes it the basis of your success in the conflict.

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I just want to pass on some negative comments that has surfaced on the Swedish forum rollspel.nu regarding Revolution d100. The main illustration is by some seen as sexistic, mainly because of the main character's ridiculously exaggerated breasts. I must chime in here too; some kind of low-tech sports bra must be used in action-oriented professions, even in fantasy settings right? Highly impractical otherwise, my female friends tell me.

(This also reminds me of the lack of women on BRP Central - what can we do about that? I think it's an even bigger problem now that these forums are official for BRP).

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4 hours ago, clarence said:

I just want to pass on some negative comments that has surfaced on the Swedish forum rollspel.nu regarding Revolution d100. The main illustration is by some seen as sexistic, mainly because of the main character's ridiculously exaggerated breasts. I must chime in here too; some kind of low-tech sports bra must be used in action-oriented professions, even in fantasy settings right? Highly impractical otherwise, my female friends tell me.

It's a well known historical fact that during the D100 Revolution, the revolutionary Ninja-Nuns wore special bras under their black leather armor... 

Joking aside I hadn't noticed the silly breasts. Maybe because it's mostly back on black, maybe just because I'm a guy and I've grown accustomed to Seoni-esque sorceresses gracing mainstream rpg's covers. A distinctive, less stereotypical style of female depiction could be nice di R100.

 

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9 hours ago, smiorgan said:

It's a well known historical fact that during the D100 Revolution, the revolutionary Ninja-Nuns wore special bras under their black leather armor... 

Joking aside I hadn't noticed the silly breasts. Maybe because it's mostly back on black, maybe just because I'm a guy and I've grown accustomed to Seoni-esque sorceresses gracing mainstream rpg's covers. A distinctive, less stereotypical style of female depiction could be nice di R100.

 

I hadn't noticed and I normally would. In fact, I have just looked at it again and I can sort of see what they mean, but wouldn't have noticed if it hadn't been pointed out. 

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13 hours ago, clarence said:

(This also reminds me of the lack of women on BRP Central - what can we do about that?).

Sort of off topic, but the forum software designated all new members who didn't state their gender to be female for quite some time, so we do have a lot of women here. They just just don't know they're female!

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Ok, here's the Sexy-time Lingerie Test from Gaming As Women (GAW):

The Sexy-time Lingerie Test
If you saw your mother (yes, your mom) wearing what is on the picture, would you assume you walked in on your mother as she is heading out to a fetish party or some other sexy fun-time?

If the answer is yes, then it is sexy-time lingerie.

Read the full, very funny and educational, post here: http://www.gamingaswomen.com/posts/2013/02/men-wear-armour-women-wear-sexy-time-lingerie/

(I also asked some female friends about the image in question. 100% answered it is stereotyping women, the breasts are ridiculous, and the image will push away female customers…).

: )

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2 minutes ago, clarence said:

(I also asked some female friends about the image in question. 100% answered it is stereotyping women, the breasts are ridiculous, and the image will push away female customers…).

It can be added that the feminist movement in Sweden is extremely strong and influential. My girlfriend had no negative reactions to the image. If it should be a cover or not is another question - it doesn't exactly spell "multi-genre" roleplaying game system. My guess is that it's a placeholder (unless Paolo has communicated otherwise?)

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I'm all for the gratuitous sword and sorcery covers of my youth heh heh, 

but I don't find this image on the Revolution D100 woman particularly sexualised so I'm really unclear what all the concern is about 

Edited by Mankcam
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BOOBS: a sure way to increase traffic on your thread :)

Anyway, quoting the article Clarence linked

36 minutes ago, clarence said:

Female Rogue: Sneaky leather vest for stealing stuff

Well, this is exactly what I see in the picture. No sexy lingerie.

The breasts are not ridiculously exaggerated. The picture is not perfectly vertical but leaning 30 degrees clockwise, and so is the rogue. If you look at any of the covers Tiziano has done for us, you will notice that this is a characteristic of his artwork: he never draws normal, vertical scenes. This makes her look as if she was wearing a super-pushup-extra-wonderbra, but what you are seeing is a meager C size. She is just pictured at the best possible angle, like in some bathroom selfies.

Anyway, the image is a placeholder, as Sverre guessed. I had one with a dwarf with axe (much more stereotypical, but Swedish dwarfs are less vocal than Swedish women on forums, so it would have caused less outrage) but the author could not give me copyright.

The most important thing, however is that Revolution will be the first roleplaying game with rules for chainmail bikinis! Yes, you will be able to dress your adventuring lady in a fantastic sexy outfit that has a realistically calculated ability to stop some blows. Just be prepared to roll up lots of sexy female adventurers.

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On the other picture, the guy with the sword looks too much body-built and stereotyped, I energically protest.

For the cover, just put a bit less light on the coat and that's it. And if there are rules for chainmai bikinis, make some for fur-string armours for male barbarians as well.

 

(Paolo, you, Italian macho !)

Edited by Zit

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Speaking of typical fantasy RPG book covers - if I am ashamed have the book visible on my work table, it's too much. I like how BRP famly products have been more mature (mature - lol) on that regard. Hopefully Revolution D100 will keep up the good standards.

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I just assumed it was a use of the Enhance [Characteristic] Power.  ;-)

To be honest, I'm a HUGE fan of all things Edgar Rice Burroughs, and have have so many books with covers featuring scantily clad females that I never even noticed anything out of the ordinary. I most definitely don't see anything wrong with the picture and would say she is of medium size in my opinion and completely covered. I see nothing objectionable, nor does my wife. I wanted to get her permission before posting about breasts. ;-)

Rod

Edited by threedeesix
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10 hours ago, Mankcam said:

Personally I'm all for ridiculously exaggerated breasts :-)

I honestly could think of real life acquaintances who are way more "exaggerated" in that department than the incriminated picture... well, but that's kinda not the point.  

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7 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

The most important thing, however is that Revolution will be the first roleplaying game with rules for chainmail bikinis! Yes, you will be able to dress your adventuring lady in a fantastic sexy outfit that has a realistically calculated ability to stop some blows. Just be prepared to roll up lots of sexy female adventurers.

First "published" RPG with rules for chainmail bikinis.  ;-)

Classic Fantasy started life as a spoof of D&D and I have rules written up for chainmail bikinis complete with wardrobe malfunction table. It still leaves my friends in stitches every time we use it.

Rod

 

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9 hours ago, Trifletraxor said:

It can be added that the feminist movement in Sweden is extremely strong and influential. My girlfriend had no negative reactions to the image. If it should be a cover or not is another question - it doesn't exactly spell "multi-genre" roleplaying game system. My guess is that it's a placeholder (unless Paolo has communicated otherwise?)

You make a good point, as clarence is falling victim to the self-selecting survey. Backing up an opinion with "I asked a bunch of my friends, and they all agreed with me" is generally a given, as we tend to associate with people that share our opinions. It's like the post-election shock when people are confronted with the winner and say, "But I don't know anybody that voted for them!"

I book nude models for life-drawing sessions, so a lot of the women I know would give an indifferent shrug at the image. Some of them are gamers and there are certainly things in some games that annoy them as women, but not that cover. A sexy damsel in distress would annoy them, but a sexy woman who looks like she is in the process of doing something awesome would be fine. 

I'll admit that I don't really care about the cover either way. It doesn't make want to buy the game or not buy it, so I have no real dog in this fight. 

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Well, I really wasn't after proving an opinion right and everyone else wrong. Sorry if it came across like that. But I thought it would be good for an all-male forum to hear what a few women thought of the image. Is Sweden feminist? Or just one of the most gender-equal countries in the world? Or both? Hard to tell, but I think the latter (and to me that is very welcome). The fact that I was passing on spontaneous comments from another forum, from both sexes and not only from my own friends, I think lends some weight to the critique though  

An anecdote: When ordering artwork for BRP Space I asked the illustrator, among other things, for a female character. A few days later a really good ink drawing came back depicting a female bounty hunter in a tight space suit. With huge breasts. I explicitly asked him to make the breast-size a bit more practical for a profession with a lot of physical activity, and the next day I got the revised version. With huge breasts. Sigh. After some consideration I fired up Photoshop and made the alteration myself. Result: A much richer character, not judged only by her sexiness. 

And by the way Paolo, when will you show us the final cover?

Edited by clarence

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