So I’ve joined a play-by-email RPG group and we’re trying to decide on the best game system for that style of play. I figured I’d ask the Internet! Does anyone have any experience playing this way, and if so what is the best system to use?
Shattered Empire has a deep randomized system for generating weapons and their properties for treasure parcels and shopkeepers. This system is designed for GMs to setup before play, as it involves separate rolls for type, condition, material, and bonus properties. But what about generating quickly on the fly? What about other games that don’t have a system in place?
The following may not work with every game system, but it should be easy enough to adapt. Note: This is for generating special properties, not the base weapon itself.
1. Unskilled Craftsmanship. The damage and attack dice each receive a -1 penalty.
2. Shoddy Craftsmanship. The damage and attack dice are each reduced by one size.
3. Damaged. The damage die receives a -1 penalty.
4. Rusty. The damage die is reduced by one size.
5. Primitive Material. The attack die receives a -1 penalty.
6. Unrefined Material. The attack die is reduced by one size.
7. Average. No change to weapon stats.
8. Refined Material. The attack die is raised by one size.
9. Quality Material. The attack die receives a +1 bonus.
10. Fine. The damage die is raised by one size.
11. Superior. The damage die receives a +1 bonus.
12. Exquisite. The damage and attack dice are each raised by one size.
13. Masterwork. The damage and attack dice each receive a +1 bonus.
14. Elemental Forge. The weapon gains a 1d4 bonus die for elemental damage (fire, cold, or lightning)
15. Paralyzing. Target is paralyzed for one round whenever weapon hits.
16. Slaying. When the weapon deals more than half of remaining HP in damage the targeted creature is instantly killed.
17. Reaping. Whenever the weapon deals a death blow, the wielder’s AP or allotment of actions is reset and their turn continues.
18. Keen. The weapon’s critical threat is increased by 3.
19. Brutal. The weapon’s damage threshold is raised by 3.
20. Legendary. The weapon deals double damage.
At one time I started working on a Star Trek RPG homebrew using the BASE12 system. I’ll probably not do anything else with it because I’m much more interested in creating my own worlds than I am in repurposing other people’s. But if you need a starting point for a Star Trek home game, here’s a Race/Class/Skills handbook and character sheet that you can use. This is literally everything I have, so you’ll have to get creative to fill in the gaps. Enjoy!
BASE12 isn’t for everybody; no game system is. The wide spectrum of playstyles dictates the vast array of systems and variants on the market, and that’s a good thing. Imagine if you had to play every game, regardless of setting, using the same game system? Would you really want to roll a d20 to see if you successfully charted a course for your starship? How could a complex figure like a secret government agent be summed up with only three stat categories?
The gaming boom of the aughts brought a new hurdle for developers. With a flood of new gamers–or return gamers that were away from the hobby for sometimes decades–RPGs in general took an approach of “Easy and Accessible.” It was important that newcomers not be deterred by overly complicated rules and structure. “Make it broad and approachable,” the developers thought.
The early twenty-teens saw many systems go a step further: into simplicity. It seemed reasonable that in our fast-paced/low-attention-span age that gamers would want to jump right in and game. Little setup, little structure. Just quick, easy, simple mechanics and let the role-playing take over from there.
And that, too, is a good thing. It’s especially good for pure role-players, and those that would rather meet and tell a collective story with friends than actually game.
But it’s not the only way.
I have always wanted a little more, and since I missed the boat on Pathfinder during my twenties I never quite found a system that let me dig in and get that math-crunch adrenaline rush that I craved. I wanted complicated.
And that’s why I made BASE12. I wanted a complicated, deep system. That doesn’t mean it’s hard to learn or slow to play; complicated can still exist beside quick and easy. It’s just that simple word that I wanted to get out of there.
So, yes, BASE12 is complicated. There are 12 Attributes for your character (compare this to 6 in D&D, or 5 in Savage Worlds.) This depth in defining your character’s attributes would allow you to create any type of character you can think of, and fit it into any genre.
Skills are tied to Attributes, so having more Attributes allows for more precision and variety in Skills.
Derived stats (Hit Points, Stamina Points, Action Points) as well as things like movement distance and initiative come from Attributes as well, giving greater control over minutiae.
Is it crunchy? For sure. It has depth enough for mathematicians, character tinkerers, and level-planners. But it’s still easy to learn, and quick to play.
Wanna try BASE12? It’s free under a Creative Commons license that even let’s you create and sell your own games designed for it.
Here’s a link: Base12 RPG System
As I move into the final stage of playtesting before starting a Kickstarter campaign for Shattered Empire, I’ve decided it’s time for people to test it out and give me feedback without me sitting at the table with them.
If you are a GM that has access to a group that would like to playtest a Strategy RPG in a High Fantasy setting and are willing to give feedback on mechanics and documentation clarity, please send me a message or email me at LegendaryDropCast@gmail.com and I’ll send the penultimate draft of the game documents to you.
Looking forward to taking this thing to the next level!
(to get an idea of the crunchiness of this system, here’s what the Character Sheet looks like…)
(NOTE: This is a repost of a roll chart I put up here a couple years ago, but didn’t see a good way to “reblog” it, so I just did the old copy + paste)
In light of Independence Day, here is a holiday roll chart!
While tending to my holiday obligations this year, I began contemplating the conception of holidays and celebrations within a given culture, and how vital they are in providing a cultural identity. Observed holidays can speak volumes about the values, history, and priorities of a group of people. Therefore, providing such “window dressing” when introducing a new culture to your players in a home game can help an unknown city of mindless NPCs take that leap into a living breathing community of believable people. Perhaps the townspeople are busily preparing for upcoming festivities, or maybe they are already in full swing. What is the feeling in the town? Is it pulsing with excitement, or are the people somber and reflective? Holidays can help you set a mood, quickly provide narrative exposition, or give an interesting backdrop for quest hooks. Of course, sometimes a party of adventurers steamroll their way off-script into one of these locations, so having a roll-chart ready to pull up can help an unprepared GM look like a clairvoyant. So for those that want some extra details about their towns, here’s a randomized chart.
* NOTE: This is designed for a fantasy setting, but a couple tweaks could make it work for other genres.
What kind of holiday is it? (Roll 1d12)
1. A seasonal festival. Spring planting, Summer or Winter solstice, or Fall harvest.
2. Birthday of a local leader (king, governor, tribal chief, mayor’s eldest daughter)
3: Anniversary of the death of a local hero, king, or town founder.
4. Religious high holiday, marking the adoption of a specific Deity as the town’s patron.
5. A public wedding celebration, perhaps of a notable person or persons.
6. Observed day of remembrance for a great battle, end of a war, or liberation of the town or realm from foreign control.
7. Local election, perhaps for mayor, sheriff, or judge. Public debates or voting may occur.
8. A great tournament, contest, or other organized leisure event.
9. Anniversary of some mystical or magical event that helped shape the town, such as a portal to another realm opening up , or the sudden appearance of a magical object or creature.
10. Anniversary of some natural or catastrophic event that helped shape the town, such as a great earthquake, tidal wave, or meteor that fell from the sky.
11. Strange custom. Perhaps completely superstitious, or based in religion or cultist beliefs. A day where everyone wears buckets on their heads to keep the corn-eating spirits away, for example.
12. Apocalypse celebration. According to legend, an Oracle, or the local calendar, this is the day that the world is supposed to end.
How is it celebrated? (Roll 1d20)
1. Traditional feasting.
2. Dancing, singing, and live music.
3. Courting and the admission of love for a secret object of affection. All remaining singles are randomly and forcibly coupled.
4. The granting of a boon upon the townspeople. Perhaps extra food rations, gold and treasure, or practical items.
5. With a day of silent meditation, where no business may be conducted and nobody may verbally communicate.
6. A public execution of the town’s most hated criminal.
7. With the sacrifice of an animal, where each townsperson is required to drink the beast’s blood.
8. With the sacrifice of an innocent person, virgin, or elder, in order to appease the gods or devils.
9. By exchanging gifts with strangers in the street.
10. With a huge bonfire where everyone brings an equal amount of fuel to signify unity.
11. With the juggling of geese.
12. With the choreographed mass suicide of each and every member of the town.
13. With a battle to the death between two armed combatants.
14. With the personal blessing of the town clergyman upon every citizen, including a fortune reading or prayer for luck and prosperity.
15. By sacrificing an object of personal value or importance.
16. By throwing food and excrement at all outsiders until the sun sets.
17. By participating in a seven-hour chant while holding hands in town square.
18. With the release of 1000 chickens into the village, which must be collected alive in the highest amount in order to crown the Festival Champion.
19. By marching to war on a neighboring city.
20. With a 24 Hour “purge-style” day of lawlessness with no legal ramifications.
Enjoy, and happy holidays!