View Full Version : Little People, Big World. Homebrew game! [P.E.A.C.H]

2011-08-21, 01:38 PM
So I've had this idea brewing in my head for the last few weeks and, since I suffer from a very short attention span when it comes to these projects I decided to write it down as soon as I could. It took me about a week but I managed to get it done.

I personally think it's complete but then again I'm not exactly the best at this so I'm putting it up here for you guys to hopefully give me some advice.

So without further wait, here it is!

Little People, Big World.

You know sometimes when you're sitting in your house, or walking down the street, you see something just in the corner of your eye? Something small and quick which is always just gona as soon as you turn your head? It's probabably a Dimunuin.

And now you're probably wondering what the hell that is.

Well, it's simple really.
Just imagine a person. You got it?
Now make them small.
Nope, smaller than that.
Absolutely tiny.
Probably only about two inches tall, give or take a bit, and there you go.
Of course there's a bit more to them than that but they've been around about as long as we have, and you can find them almost anywhere, if you look hard enough and they want to be found of course.
But this game isn't about playing 'with' them.
It's about playing them.

Base Mechanics

So at it's very very very core almost any role playing game can be summed up as "You say what you want to do, you roll a/some die/dice, what you get is compared to the target number and the GM/DM/Narrator/Referee/Storyteller/Great Gazoo tells you whether you've succeded or not as the case may be.
We don't really change that.

What does change though, somewhat, is the dice used. When you announce what it is you want to do to the Game Master they then tell you what Attribute to use (More on them later) and whether any of your Talents apply (More on that too), you roll two twenty sided dice, one of these will be your Positive die (P), the other your Negative (N), (These are chosen at the begining of the game and cannot be switched) you then take the difference between these two dice and add your Attribute and Talent modifiers if applicable, if the result is higher than or equal to the assigned Difficulty Number (DN) then you have succeded.

Getting the highest possible and/or lowest possible numbers on either dice results in a form of Critical Success/Failure. There are several different grades of Critical.

Positive 20, Negative 1 = You succeded expertly at whatever is you're attempting to do with no chance of failure. For example, you not only manage to escape the pursuit of VERY hungry birds but the window you jumped into slid shut at just the right moment to shut them away. This is referred to as a Primary Success.

Positive 1, Negative 20 = You fail magnificently, whatever is you've attempted to do is ruined and you've most likely made things more difficult for yourself in the process. For example, you not only lost your grip on the drainpipe you were scrambling up but you somehow pulled it loose, knocking it askew and sending the rest of your group hurtling onto the hard floor. This is referred to as a Primary Failure.

Positive 20, Negative 2-19 = You've succeded! But fate doesn't skew things in your manner, but whatever you've done is done well. This is referred to as a Secondary Success.

Negative 20, Positive 2-19 = You've failed, but nothing gets worse, aside from your glaring failure. This is referred to as a Secondary Failure.

Now, double twenties or double ones are a different case. On a double 20 you succeed at what you're trying to BUT the GM gets a karma token. This karma token can be played at any time to allow the GM to declare any other roll during the session by the player to be a failure, except for the roll which generated the token.

A double 1 does the opposite, the player fails at the attempt, though they get a karma token. The karma token can be spent any time during the session to make any one roll made by ANY player to be success, aside from the roll that generated the token.

If a karma token owned by either the player or GM is not spent by the end of the session then it is discarded. So spend 'em or lose 'em.

And now comes the fun bit! Character building!

So every character has five attributes that define them.

Muscle - This is your strength. Lifting, hiting, smashing, pushing, carrying and anything that you try to use sheer physical force for.

Quickness - This is for how quick and well you can move. Jumping, running, climbing, acrobatics and reacting. Anything that involves large body movement and reflexes will use this.

Handiness - Use this for anything requiring small movements, lockpicking, sleight of hand, tying knots and building. Anything requiring small delicate manouvers or coordination will use this.

Craftiness - This is using your brain, or lack of one as the case may be. Quick thinking, planning and fast-talking all fall under this.

Toughness - You wanna be able to take a hit without doing so much as becoming a very small corpse? You're gonna need this. This can also apply to resisting poison/illness and sustained endurance.

You start off with all these stats at 0 and you're given 8 points to assign on a one for one basis. No stat can be higher than five during creation however you can lower your stats to a maximum of -5 to gain points equal to those lowered.

Next you choose your characters background, there are four backgrounds to choose from which give positive to one stat and a negative to another, these bonuses and negatives can exceed the +5/-5 modifier cap. The backgrounds explain where your Dimunuin came from.

City-Born - Your Dimunuin was born and lived on the mean streets and doing so meant they had to learn to think fast, however their manual expertise has somewhat.....degraded. A City-Born Dimunuin gains +1 Craftiness, -1 Handiness.

Sewer-Rat - Being raised in the sewers hasn't exactly done too much for your brains, the lack of exposure to others has meant you've had to fend for yourself and so you're tougher than others presume. A Sewer-Rat Diminuim gains +1 Toughness, -1 Craftiness.

House-Gnome - The relative comfort of the house gives means you can often find a place to crash and relax when one's needed due to all the nooks and crannys that often go unnoticed, despite this the odd way humans set out their houses mean your exploring skills have been well practiced. A House-Gnome Diminuim gains +1 Quickness, -1 Toughness.

Wild-Heart - A Wild-Heart has spent their life where humans rarely tread, forests, fields and caves are their homes. They've had to build their own houses and tools just to survive and hunt but they do rarely venture fare from their branches or hills. A Wild-Heart Diminuim gains +1 Strength, -1 Quickness.

Now talents are what seperate you from every other Diminuim.
Every Diminuim gains two talents when first created. A talent relates to specific task the Diminuim can perform better than any other, something like climbing, building or swordfighting. A talent gives two bonuses, whenever you would be rolling the dice for something related to the talent you can a +3 modifier to the roll, the other bonus means that when a roll uses a talent the result can never be a critical failure. The roll can fail by not reaching the DN but it will not automatically fail upon rolling a Primary or Secondary Failure. Rolling a double 1 will still cause a failure and still cause a karma token to be gained.

Default DN.

The default DN list represent what tasks of certain difficulty will need to succeed.

Simple - 8. These are for tasks that even an average Diminuim will be able to succeed in without pressure.
Easy - 10. With a small bit of talent these can be very easy to pull off.
Average - 12. Just like it says, talent can pull help anyone at these most of the time.
Tricky - 14. Whilst natural skill helps these can require a bit of help to complete reliably.
Challenging - 16. Even those with practice can find these hard to get right every time.
Difficult - 18. Getting these done is an impressive thing to behold, even with training.
Impossible - 20. Just like it says, it's gonna be rough to get this done, but if you do it'll probably be worth it.

Even though they may not seem built for it a Diminuim can put up a decent fight if needed, though against something the size of a human they're gonna need wits along with strength and speed to even get something of a victory.
Every dimunuim has 10 hits representing the damage you can take before getting knocked out of the scene. When they are reduced to 0 you cannot continue to the fight, either you are knocked unconcious or otherwise leave the scene of the fight. Being hit again when at 0 hits causes the character to die. Unfortunately death is final so you're going to have to rely on your teammates to help you survive when you can't save yourself.

To make an attack you simply use either your Muscle, Quickness or Handiness, whichever is more relavent to the weapon/attack, with the weapon bonus added to it to make a roll. If this beats the DN assigned to the attack then it hits. After it hits you need to figure out whether the target was tough enough to take damage from it. They make a Toughness roll with the bonus of their armour added on, if defending roll beats the attacking then no damage has been sustained. If the defender was beaten by 1-5 one hit is lost, 6-10 means two hits are lost, 11-15 causes three. Any more than that will force a second Toughness roll against the damage without the armour bonus added on, if this fails then the character is instantly reduced to 0 hits and is knocked out, if they succeed then they still take three hits.

If a Diminuin instead wants to rely on his agility rather than his toughness to avoid a blow he can roll that instead, however it doesn't allow you to add an y bonuses from your armour. On the other hand a succesfull avoidance roll allows you to completely avoid any damage the attack would've caused.

A starting character begins with 7 points in equipment. Equipment is rated by these points based upon the bonuses they give. There are three catagories of equipment; Weapon, Armour and Tools. Each one gives you a bonus to whatever it is used for. It is possible however to use some tools as weapons, although unless you pay points for both capabilities it will only count as a weapon three ranks lower than its tool rank. A tool that is both a weapon and a tool costs one point less than buying them seperately, for example if you have a character that uses a well built grappling hook as a weapon you can purchase it as a tool only for about 4 points, however if used in a fight it will confer only a +1 bonus to any attacks, though any non-combat uses will provide a +4 bonus. Buying it as a 3 point tool, 3 point weapon will cost 5 points and confer a +3 bonus to both non-combat and attack rolls. Weapons that are over 5 points are usually large, heavy items and thus require at least 3 Muscle to wield.

Armour works almost the same, except for the fact that armour of 4 points or higher is quite cumbersome to wear and reduces Quickness by 2 for any rolls involving it.

In order for your characters to advance they gain Experience at the end of every adventure. Experience can generally be given used a small guide for each character.
Was the adventure a failure? 1 point.
Was the adventure a success? 2 points.
How important was the adventure? Minor/Average/Important/Deadly Serious? 1/2/3/4 points respectively.
Did the character out-perform themselves? 2 points.
Did the character not really interact? -2 points.
Minimum of 0.

The experience can then be turned into actual character advancement according to the following.

Increase stat: 3 points up to +5, 6 points from +5 upwards.
Gain talent: 12 points to purchase new talent or double bonuses from old talent.
Inventions: 2 points per bonus. (More detail below)

One thing Diminuins are good at is inventing. Give them a task and a some scrap materials and they can usually build something to help. As long as the Diminuin has something to work with they can make a Tricky Craftiness roll. If the result is positive then an invention can be built with a point total of half the roll difference, minimum of 1. However such inventions aren't particularly stable and as such will only last until the end of the scene. Spending 2 points of experience per point will however allow you to keep the invention as part of your characters standard inventory. Of course inventions can still be lost, broken or stolen but you'll most likely have a chance to get them back.

2011-08-22, 01:13 PM
So no comments then?

2011-08-23, 10:53 AM
I like it a lot, here are the parts I think are great:

- Very simple stats/skills list (stat+skill+gear+modifier seems pointlessly complex, your stats are also skills, and the list is very good despite being very short)

- Very simple talent/specialty system, I like the 2 benefits

- XP system rewards roleplaying success more than bloodthirstyness, always good

- XP can be spent on things freely, rather than in fixed level packages, I'm a fan

- I like the gear system, it is pretty simple although I'm not sure it would be realistic in a non-borrowers type setting

- Speaking of which, your setting is good, there is lots of drama and conflict in being a tiny creature in a big world.

- Karma is good, I'm a fan of giving players resources to bend the odds when they want

- Simple health pool is good, and the massive damage = chance to pass out thing is something I really need to add to my system as it allows one hit knockouts in a glancing damage system nicely

Now onto the constructive criticism portion of the feedback, some of this is based upon a somewhat similar system I just built to introduce a friend to roleplaying https://docs.google.com/document/d/1doSbKuGYvlTMfbzHq5KvYlxJ_DTLAAHX7j-wvvPHfQA/edit?hl=en_US (similar simplicity goal, although I designed mine with a modern fantasy setting in mind rather than borrowers)

- a positive and negative die makes a nice curve, but having the player roll both has the downside of making them track which is which, and making low and high rolls sometimes good and sometimes bad. I suggest having the storyteller roll an evil die to add to the DC, and player roll their good die to add to their skill, and just see who comes up higher total (same thing, looked at differently).

- Using d20s makes a VERY large curve, which somewhat devalues skill, you might want to chose something a bit smaller (although my choice of d6 might have been a bit too small), perhaps an exploding d6 (rolling 6 is treated as 5+ roll again) or exploding d8 or d10. I think very skillful people with the right tools should be able to reliably do things that are next to impossible for unskilled and toolless people. But perhaps your curve works out that way.

- Karma seems like it is very rare and uncontrollable in your system, and I'm not sure if it can be spent before or after rolls to guarantee success. I chose Karma (heh used the same name) to be much easier to come by, a reward for several methods of good roleplaying, and spendable both before a roll (very effective) and after a roll (less effective).

- I'm not sure Karma to the storyteller is a good idea, they already control the situation with godlike power, and they should be focusing that on making play challanging but rewarding, not spending resources given to them by random rolling to shaft players later. If a plot twist makes sense and provides great opportunities for challange, then that's a good choice regardless of what players have rolled so far.

- It seems a bit odd that your attack rolls must make an attack against a storyteller determined DC, then make a separate roll against a toughness or agility +armor to determine damage. I think it makes more sense to shortcut this process and declare the DC to be the defenders toughness and armor, and the damage to be decided by the roll to hit (I use the same method to determine degree of success or failure on all rolls)

- also what is up with declaring armor not to work with agility, people can't shift their armor in the way, like shield, bracers, the dark knight? People can't mostly dodge, only being glanced by an attack on their armor to be deflected or absorbed more easily?

- You don't provide any guidance about how fast health is regained, or how cooperating to achieve tasks works (although both of these take a good bit of storyteller evaluation).

- Finally, an issue with XP. People make mistakes, especially in the beginning when designing their characters (as they do not know the system and setting well). Make sure they can slowly sell back talents, and skills, and gear over time to fix these mistakes. After all, people change their skills and strengths over time, getting out of practice and shape, and suffering injuries and losing gear. Use this to give the players freedom, not misery.

Overall, the system+setting is a gem of simplicity and conciseness (although I am biased because I clearly am a fan of simple systems like this) and I hope my feedback (and similar, if less streamlined system) help you as much as seeing this has helped me.