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The Simple System


Malachite
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The Simple System

 

Aspects represent a character’s overall being and broad aptitudes. They fall into three arenas: Mental, Social, Physical. Mental covers how they think and their skill at puzzling through life in general. Social covers how well they interact with others and how they go about it. Physical represents the person’s bodily control and fitness. For each Disadvantage you take you gain two Advantages to spend on defining your character’s positive Aspects. 

 

Skills follow the same rules as Aspects (for each Disadvantage skill you take, you can take two Advantage skills, all must be spent within skills), but these represent competencies the character has acquired through training. While there is overlap with Aspects, skills should be more focused and not have descriptors like “athletic” or “brainy” but instead like “cross-country running” or “computer programming”. Skills can be broad or narrow, but their Disadvantaged skill must match in the widest breadth of the two skill Advantages bought with it. Basically, try to keep it balanced and not game the mechanics.  

 

Some things in life aren’t covered by Aspects or Skills. Things like Wealth, Family Connections, Allies, Professional Backing, are all important parts of certain characters. They fall under the Perks category and work just like Aspects and Skills. 

 

If your game has superpowers or other supernatural components, just place them in a fourth category (usually titled Powers) that follows the same rules as above. Easy peasy.

 

Rolling the Dice:

Check your descriptors for ones that seem appropriate to the scene. Roll 1d6 + 1d6 for each Descriptor that applies. For each Advantage applied, remove the lowest result. For each Disadvantage applied, remove the highest result. You’ll be left with 1d6 at the end; match the number to the chart below and let that guide your character’s actions for the scene.  

 

  1. Bollix! Not only did you fail, things got worse in some other major way. Have fun with it!
  2. Well, that didn’t help. . . You failed. 
  3. What’s that? You failed, but doing so has some small side benefit for the character.
  4. Drat! You succeed, but doing so causes some complication or setback in the scene.
  5. Phew! You succeed.
  6. Excellent! You succeed and gain some other major benefit for the character.

 

Combat Style - This can be “martial arts” or “assassin” or “drunken teen” or even “fat kid slappy”. Just a description of how your character fights. It doesn’t give Dis/Ad, just is a guide for writing.

 

That’s it. This isn’t a combat simulator system, just a guideline for characters and too keep PCs from being perfect at everything or having no interesting flaws to write with. Also, when rolling does come into the picture, it should be for a thematic event, not a blow-by-blow rolling. For small, quick combats, roll once. For larger or longer scenes, roll three times: first act, second act, final act. As with any system, the ST has the right to adjust descriptors to suit their story or to disallow anything they think might break the game.

 

A note on powers and other highly unlikely things for people to be able to do without training: if you’re not a werewolf, your character can’t shapeshift like a werewolf. Likewise, if you’re not a trained surgeon, heart surgery isn’t something you should be rolling for. This system is to introduce a bit of random chance to a written narrative, not simulate all of life perfectly. Don’t make a roll for something your character flat-out can’t do and be willing to give an “untrained” Disadvantage on stuff that’s specialized enough and they don’t know.

 

Example: Little Nim

Aspects: 8/4, that's the 2:1 ratio you're looking for

Mental 4/1

Advantages: Quick Witted, Observant, Devious, Eidetic Memory

Disadvantages: Distractable

 

Social 2/2

Advantages: Adorable, Looks Innocent

Disadvantages: Look Like a Little Kid, Too Curious For Your Own Good

 

Physical 2/1

Advantages: Swift, Nimble

Disadvantages: Small

 

Skills: 6/3

Advantages: Acrobatics, Pickpocket, Lock Picking, Eavesdropping, Linguistics, Manipulation 

Disadvantages: Uncouth, Luddite, Lying   

 

Perks: 2/1

Advantages: Everybody's Little Sister, Entrenched in the Sable Krewe

Disadvantages: Never a Mover or Shaker


Powers: 2/1

Advantages: Zip (Superspeed), Unaging 

Disadvantages: Never Grow Up

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