View Full Version : Adventure Fantasy Space - Homebrew Generic RPG

2011-02-05, 02:01 PM
Since I started looking at RPGs that are not d20 I have become a huge fan of classless and rules light games. Unfortunately, most classless games are not rules light. Honorable mention goes to Risus which is both, but it's not exactly what I want. So here is my attempt to come up with a simple and generic system that is easy to learn and fast to run.

Great influences come from Risus and Mouse Guard, but there are also some ideas from BESM and probably quite a number of other RPGs as well.
The basic idea is not to make a system that simulates combat and keeps track of characters wealth and possessions. Rather it's a system that puts the characters and the story first and is used to determine if the players succeed or fail at their goals and which direction the events will take in the future.

I: The Basics
The core mechanic is very simple: Roll 2d6 and add the appropriate attribute for the action and the skill that fits the action most.
If another character opposses you and tries to prevent you from succeeding at the action, both sides make a roll and the higher one wins. If it's a static obstacle and no one tries to actively hinder you, your roll has to reach or exceed a Target Number set by the GM.

II: The Attributes
AFS has five basic attributes: Body, Agility, Logic, Will, and Spirit.
Body: The Body attribute represents a characters strength and endurance and used to overcome physical obstacles and resist physical dangers.
Agility: Agility represents a characters speed, dexterity, and reactions.
Logic: This attribute represents a characters ability to solve logical problems and understand complex situations.
Will: The Will attribute stands for a characters intuition, awareness, force of personalty, and empathy. It is also used to resist mental threats.
Spirit: Spirit represents a characters inner strength that can't be defined as a physical or a mental ability. It is primarily used to cast and resist magic spells. In a game that has no supernatural elements, this attribute may not be used.

A few other numbers are derived from these score:
Initiative: (Agility + Spirit) This number is added to a characters Initiative roll at the beginning of an encouter.
Endurance: (Body + Will) This number indicates how many hits a character can take.
Energy: (Will + Spirit) This number represents a characters amount of mana or chi used to power special abilities.

The average attribute score for a human person is 4. Characters have 24 points to distribute among the five attributes, being slightly above average. (20 when Spirit is not used.) Most player characters should have attributes of 4 or 5, but setting an attribute to 3 or 6 is also permissible. Non-human races that have a particular affinity for one attribute can also set that attribute to 7.

III: The Skills
In ASF, skills do not represent training in specific activities but rather a characters jobs or trades. When performing a specific action, it is up to the player to chose the skill he wants to use for his roll. The GM can decide that a skill is only partially helpful and the player may only add half his skill rank to the roll (round down), or that a skill is not useful at all. In such a case the player has to roll 2d6 and can only add the apropriate attribute score of his character.

A player character has 20 points to distribute among his skills. At character creation, no attribute may be set to a higher rank than 4 and a character can only have two skills set at rank 4. When the character gains additional skill points later, he can raise skills to 5 or up to 6 and may have more than two skills at rank 4 or higher.

Acrobat: Climbing, jumping, spelunking
Alchemist: Herbalism and chemistry
Administrator: Accounting, leadership, management
Craftsman: Crafts and Trades
Explorer: Treasure hunting,
Fighter: Combat
Healer: Treating injuries, poisons, and illnesses
Hunter: Tracking, trapmaking
Lorekeeper: Identifying names, symbols, creatures, and places
Mage: Special*
Merchant: Trade
Negotiator: Persuasion and deception
Orator: Rousing and inspiring masses
Priest: Knowledge of rituals and spirits
Scout: Scouting, wilderness stealth, foraging
Strategist: Planning strategies and tactics, countering enemy plans
Thief: Lockpicking, pickpocketing, trapfinding
Teamster: Interacting with animals

* The Magic skill is used to cast spells, but I have not yet finished the final magic system.

IV: Gameplay
When the player characters get into conflict with other people or creatures, it's the start of an encounter. While many encounters are armed fights, they can also be about who reaches a certain target first, who performs better at a task, or something else.

At the beginning of an encounter, all players roll Initiative for their characters. The GM rolls Initiative for the opponents as a group, but in encounters against larger groups of opponents he may also split them into more than one group. Characters in a group share the same Initiative count, but otherwise act as solitary participants in the encounter.
The players and their opponents each roll 2d6 as a single group. The side who rolls the higher number adds the margine of the two rolls as a bonus to the Endurance score of every member of the group. This represents a tactical advantage the side has and is rolled before the GM describes the situation.

When a character or creature gets his turn, he may chose to either make an attack or a maneuver:

To make an attack the character rolls 2d6 and adds his Body or Agility score and his rank in the Fighter skill. When dealing with beasts, a character may also add his Hunter skill instead. When using the Hunter skill against other creatures than beasts, it's a partially helpful skill and the player adds only half his skill rank.
The target opposes the attack by making a Fighter check (or Hunter check) on his own. When the attacker rolls higher his target loses one point of Endurance. When both get the same result, the rules are in favor of the defender and the attack misses.

Instead of making an attack, a character can also make a maneuver. A maneuver can be anthing the player or the GM can think of. But in every case the player or the GM has to first describe the maneuver and then has to make a skill check to determine if the maneuver succeeds or fails. For example a character may push over a table to gain cover, pour a barrel of water on the floor, or throw a curtain over the opponents head. The target of the maneuver than has to oppose the attackers skill check, usually with an Agility, Logic, or Will roll. If the target creatures roll is equal or greater than the attackers maneuver roll, the maneuver fails and the target is not affected by it. If the attackers roll is greater than the targets roll, the target now gets a -1 penalty to all its rolls. Multiple maneuvers performed on the same target stack, each increasing the penalty by -1.

If a character or creature is under effect of a maneuver, it can try to counter the maneuver as its action during its turn. To do so, the affected creature makes another attribute or skill roll of its choice to remove the obstacle or overcome the tactical disadvatage. The Target number to remove the penalty is the original roll of the attacker who performed the maneuver.

When a participant in an encounter is all out of Endurance, he is defeated and can no longer take part in the encounter. What it means to be defeated is determined by the GM, but usually it leads to the character geting a permanent -1 penalty to all rolls either for being wounded or demoralized. These penalties can be removed after one night of rest by making a successful Body or Will roll against TN 12, but only one penalty for every night of rest.

V: Magic
The magic system is optional and intended for fantasy gamess. Other magic systems can be created for games that use other concepts of supernatural powers. I have not yet finished this part, but I'd like to get some oppinions on the rest first.


Okay, this is the current state of my work. Please tell me anything you think about it, so I can do some fine tuning before testing and know for what things I have to look out.

2011-02-06, 02:34 AM
Most of my concerns are in presentation. There are a few typos, as well as some larger concerns.

AFS never explicitly states that it uses an attribute+skill against difficulty system, though it is implied in the stating of useless skill procedure.

Gameplay doesn't list much of anything regarding what to do if there is a skill use that doesn't warrant full on conflict rules. It is implied that one would roll against a target number as in other systems, but clarification would be nice. While this is in Basics, that seems counter intuitive, furthermore what target numbers indicate for difficulty is omitted.

What skill ranks and attributes mean within the setting need to be clarified, as having only the human average point is worthless.

There are non presentation concerns as well. Agility and Logic appear as if they might not be up to par with the other attributes, and the attributes lack boundary conditions. How low and how high they can be need to be defined.

Extended rolls as in Gameplay appear as if they might take too long. Furthermore, they appear to be extremely abstract, which even basic rules relating to situational advantages and disadvantages are enough to remedy.

2011-02-06, 07:09 AM
Most of your points I've actually thought of, but probably forgot to mention as I did several attempts to get this all written down.

Rolling "2d6 + Attribute + Skill" is stated right at the beginning of the Basics section, but not written as a formula.
That it takes a roll against a Target Number if your action is not opposed by another character is also mentioned, but the section only mentions it briefly, since I assume almost everyone here is familiar with the concept that is identical to d20 games.

But here are the Target Numbers:
TN 9 = Very easy, almost impossible to fail.
TN 12 = Easy, low risk of failure for player characters.
TN 15 = Challenging, even experts may fail.
TN 18 = Hard, requires skill and luck.
TN 21 = Very hard, even most experts will fail.
TN 24 = Impossible.
A character with an attribute of 6 and a skill rank of 6 has a 3% chance of rolling the 12 required to reach TN 24.

The average attribute for humans is 4, so most player characters will have scores of 4 or 5. Maximum for character creation is 6, but non-human races can raise some attributes to 7, like Elves having Agility 7 and Orcs Body 7.

However my experience is, that you need Agility almost all the time. Every time quick reactions are needed or you have to do something with great care, you need Agility. Also, you can use Agility as your attribute for the Fighter skill instead of the Body skill.
But I agree that Logic does not seem like a particularly useful attribute. In d20 games I always dump Intelligence at 10. While there are some uses for it (like the Administrator or Strategist skill), it's probably the least useful attribute.

But I'm afraid I don't understand what your last point is.

2011-02-06, 01:28 PM
My last point largely refers to your maneuver mechanics. Those would be greatly improved if there was some sort of variable bonus for how appropriate the maneuver is to the general situation. That connects the characters to their surroundings better, and helps the players be more immersed.

Human Paragon 3
2011-02-06, 01:44 PM
It strikes me that manuevers will rarely fail, since you are rolling Attribute + Skill + 2d6 and your target is only rolling Attribute +2d6. You should have a 4-6 point edge on him most of the time.

Also, tipping over a table to gain cover... why should that be an opposed roll?

I suggest you add a bit more detail to the conditions. Look to the weapons section in Mouseguard for some ideas on different situational bonuses you might get.

It also seems counter intuitive to have that many different skills, attributes, and scores for a mechanic that's so simple and abstract (roll 2d6+N until you wear your opponent's "endurance" down). I would either add some complexity to the system or strip out some of the scores.

2011-02-06, 06:05 PM
Also (incredibly minor point): If Spirit is only used in certain games, how would you calculate Initiative in other settings?

2011-02-07, 06:10 AM
The problem with myneuvers being a skill roll versus an attribute roll is true, I have to think of something there.

Tripping over a table maybe wasn't the best example. But the basic idea is that combat is always in motion and opponents can interfere with your maneuvers. For example, the opponent could kick against the table while you lift it so it lands in a way that isn't very useful, or he uses the opportunity to get into a diferent position so the entire thing has become pointless. It basically comes down to that you try to limit your opponents mobility, but he always has the chance to slip out of it.

And yes, good question about Initiative without Spirit. Maybe Agility and Will?