View Full Version : [New System] Only as complex as you want it: Generic Modular System

2012-10-06, 07:07 AM
Generic Modular System
I'm currently designing a new system, and wanted to put my first Beta up here for review, hints and critics.

Is it the right system for me?
Depends. If you want a complete system playable right out of the box, with world, campaign setting and everything, it probably is not. If you like to build your own settings and need a system that runs them all, you might like it. If you want more precise rules than freeform, but find generic systems like GURPS (or even GURPS Lite) too complex, this is probably the system for you.

Where can I get it?
I uploaded it to scribd.com:
Version 1.00: English (http://www.scribd.com/collections/3884256/GMS-1-00EN) and German (http://www.scribd.com/collections/3884239/GMS-1-00DE)
Version 1.01: English (http://www.scribd.com/collections/4319550/GMS-1-01EN) and German (http://de.scribd.com/collections/4321900/GMS-1-01DE)

Why yet another new system?
My group plays a large variety of different campaign settings, usually home-made. Since we don't want to adapt and learn a new system every time, we tried a few of the most typical generic systems (GURPS, WUSHU and FUDGE), but found FUDGE (and especially WUSHU) too abstract and "freeform" and not offering enough guidelines for consistent GMing, while GURPS is quite a bit too large and complex for most members of our group (I can't expect anyone to read 1000+ pages of rules). Plus, the endless lists make character creation a lengthy process almost impossible to do without multiple books.

What are your design goals?
I tried to built a generic system as flexible as GURPS, still having rules for the most common situations, offering detail where needed, but being somewhat quick&dirty everywhere else. Plus, players should have an easy time learning it, and GMs should be able to adapt it quickly to their needs.
This is done by splitting the material into small modules, with the basics (everything needed to play and build characters) fitting into 2-3 pages, and everything else being optional, easy to mix and match and only required for the GM.

Can I have a little more details?
Sure. First, the dice mechanics are inspired by Shadowrun, but cut down to the bare minimum (no rule of the six, no pools). I chose this because it is the only way I knew to make the system run on D6 only (which everyone should have plenty of), have a somewhat bell-shaped distribution of results, not require any math to be done in your head (except for counting) and be consistent enough to allow for some planning (by players or GM).
The system is classless, because classes seem like a pretty arbitrary construct to me, are not very portable between settings and limit character choices (which can only be mitigated with constructs like multiclassing that are confusing and prone to all kinds of abuse). In short: They would make the rules a lot longer with no clear benefit.

Can I make and publish my own materials? Can I modify, translate or distribute your stuff?
Sure, as long as you don't violate the license (CC BY-NC-SA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Commons_license)). If you give me credit, don't try to make money from my work and share your work under the same license, you're in the clear. If you want to do something else, please ask me first.
If I like your work (and you're ok with it) I might link it in this thread. If you need the source files (OpenOffice format) for something, PM me.

You got XYZ wrong! Will you fix it?
Probably. Just write what you think is broken and why. If I agree (and have the time), I will fix it in the next version. Since English is not my native language (and my computer keyboard has the annoying tendency to ignore keystrokes) there might be a few grammar and spelling mistakes. I'm grateful if you post them, but if you want to post a lot of them, please put them in spoiler tags so the thread doesn't get too cluttered.

What's next?
See the ToDo-List below. If you have something else to suggest, I might add it there.

2012-10-06, 07:09 AM
Modules in Version 1.00:
- Basic Rules
- Character Creation and Experience
- Character Sheet
- Movement and Acrobatics
- Stealth, Perception and Surveillance
- Social Skills, Languages and Communication
- Magic Skills and Spellcasting
- Medicine, Damage and Healing
- Ancient Weapons
- Modern Firearms
- Martial Arts/Advanced Combat
- Science Fiction (without Space Travel)
- Animals and Monsters
- Conjuration and Spirits
- Engineering and Security

New in Version 1.01:
- Mounted Combat
- Added Magic Items to the Magic module
- Added Leadership and Teaching to Social Skills
- Simplified rules for car/horse races and pursuits
- A few minor fixes

To Do:
Medium Priority:
- Early Gunpowder and Western
- Robots, Drones and Electronic Warfare
- Cinematic Combat
- Space Travel
- Hints for GMing and using the System

Low Priority (Might come some day, but not soon):
- Game Worlds
- Character Templates (to simplify creation)
- Pre-generated equipment lists

Declined (Will never happen; build it yourself if you want to):
(nothing yet)

I'm currently occupied with a bunch of Reallife stuff (and other projects), but GMS is far from dead. I will still read suggestions and might occasionally write a module or two when I can spare the time.

2012-10-06, 06:02 PM
I think it's a really nice start. I, personally, would like to see rules for crunchier combat, but I understand that that would come later. I'll definitely be following this to see how it turns out with more content.
One thing I'd like to see from it, however, is a more open-ended skill system; the list there is pretty small and I think most settings would need to alter it to some extent.

2012-10-07, 03:01 AM
Combat (especially melee) will get quite a bit crunchier with the Martial Arts module. I plan to cover a lot of weapons techniques in there, too. Just didn't want them to be in the Basic Rules to keep those small, or in the Ancient Weapons module because it is quite large already (I consider ten pages the hard limit for a module) and somewhat setting-specific.
The skill system is already pretty open in the sense that you can define your own using the others as a guideline. Perhaps I didn't clarify that enough. There will also be more skills in new modules (especially for technics/logic which are almost nonexistant atm). I don't want the insanely long list of Skills GURPS has, however - I prefer fewer but broader skills. The number D&D has feels about right to me, but there will be a few more because of different settings and not rolling every single combat skill into BAB/proficiencies.
Thanks for the feedback, anyway.

2012-10-11, 03:21 PM
Update: The first draft of the Martial Arts Module is finished and uploaded. Should be at the bottom of the collections.

2012-10-23, 11:36 PM
Hey Autolykos! I love the system so far. It's really cool. I'm getting a chance to run a session with it this Saturday. I'm really excited. Can't wait to see the sci-fi module! I would kill for an easy to run sci-fi game.

2012-10-30, 08:49 AM
Sorry for the late reply, but the SciFi Module is up for quite some time already (I just forgot to change the FAQs on top).
Update: The Monster book is also up. At first I wanted to have spirits and conjuration in the same Module, but both turned out to be quite a lot of stuff, so they will come separately at a later date.

2012-10-30, 12:51 PM
This is pretty darn sweet; I might try my hand at writing up a module or three...

2012-11-10, 10:45 AM
Update: The Module on spirits and conjuration is done and up. Demons, Elementals, Golems, Undead and some other stuff included.

2013-07-08, 11:27 AM
Update: I've finally found some time to work on the module about locks, traps and security, and found it to be pretty intuitive to include the rules for technical skills in the same module (they'd be required anyway and are pretty short). With this addition, GMS should now include rules for most/all common situations encountered by adventurers (if you still miss something, please tell me).
This concludes my work on version 1.00; new stuff will be added after an overhaul of the rules and fixing the various grammar and spelling mistakes I've stumbled upon.

2013-07-08, 12:11 PM

I'll have to see if I can run a quick one-shot of this.

EDIT: Magical Items (or Weird Tech, or whatever) can be simulated by taking one of the Magic skills and tying it to the Devices rules; you take a penalty to your dice-pool equal to the Device's Quality, but add the Quality directly to your Impact.

So, to give an example of a Fire Wand that has a Quality of 2...

Say you are a guy with a Magic Talent of 6, and 3 points in Elemental Magic; you would roll 4 dice (Talent - Quality), then you get, on average, 2 successes. Your Impact is 4 (Successes + Quality).

Alternatively, you could simulate a magical tool or whatever with a Device that replaces/adds to an Attribute with the Device's Quality for the purposes of Skill Checks involving that tool.

So, for example, lets say you have a Mask of Beauty (+Quality to Charisma) that has a quality of 3. When using a skill that touches on, say, the Diplomacy talent, it would have a Talent of (C + C + I + 6)/3, or a +2 to that particular pool.

When it comes to magic, it would add +1, and so on and so forth. Might work for stuff like Power Lifters and Cybernetics.

So, in other words, a few options (food for thoughts):

1. Magic Skill takes a penalty equal to Device's Quality but adds Quality to Impact.

2. When determining your Talents, add +Quality to one Attribute; might want to limit which Skills this can be used with...

3. Enable you to use one Skill in place of another Skill; for example, a weapon might let you use any Weapon Skill with it (allowing anyone who picked it up who had any training with weapons at all to use it), or a dashboard computer might allow you to use Computers in place of Car when a daring chase ensues.

By the way, the Vehicle rules are lacking obvious "chase" rules; considering that turn-based games have to be hacked to allow for chases that aren't decided by "whelp, you made the Car check. Congrats."

Maybe adapt the Device rules as rules for chasing? First person to beat the Complexity of the course with their Car/Plane/Motorized Scooter Skills wins?

2013-07-08, 03:54 PM
Wow, that's quite a few interesting suggestions. I might take a few of these when writing the Magic Items module. They'd probably need a little playtesting to make sure they're balanced, but that applies to anything, anyway. A few quick thoughts (but I'd have to try it):

1) Gives you basically guaranteed Successes, if you're still confident you can make at least one. Might make the item almost mandatory for mages if it's not prohibitively expensive (but the same can be said about power foci in Shadowrun, and they aren't imbalanced either). What I really like about the concept is that a novice mage would probably shoot himself in the foot if he tried to use a very powerful wand made by/for a much stronger mage.

2) Like it, will use it. It should definitely be one of the standard items. Cybernetics can already have similar effects, so there is no reason why magic shouldn't be allowed to do the same.

3) I'm gonna be very careful about that; it could be easily exploited for min-maxing and would allow one character to steal another's spotlight with very little investment. For your dashboard computer, there's already the Neural Interface that lets a character eschew manual controls - but he's still driving a car, so he should be using the same skill IMHO - even if his manual Dexterity is replaced with mental Focus.

I think I'll add more generic rules for "extended tests" similar to the Device rules to the Basic Rules in 1.01. They could be a useful mechanic in many different areas, not just crafting items and car chases. But you're probably right, the Vehicle rules are too "simulationist" for most situations, and make car chases kinda clunky. Thinking about it, I never had an actual track in mind when doing a chase scene as a GM, so a more abstract way to handle it is probably more useful.

2013-07-08, 07:07 PM
One of the 3rd Party books for Pathfinder (Tome of Secrets) has chase rules in it that could be glanced at; basically, you keep track of whether or not you are close to someone while racing, and you have some moves you can do if you so care to (everything from attacking a guy to dropping out of the race.)

2013-07-09, 04:20 AM
Actually, I was thinking about making it even more freeform and putting it in the module with the Cinematic Rules. I'll probably make it an "extended contest" where one side adds successes and the other removes them (the Martial Arts rules already have something similar for locks and holds). Still, I'll try to get my hands on the book and take a good look...

2013-08-07, 01:55 PM
Update: Version 1.01 is up and running (for now only in English; German will follow soon). Most important changes:
- New rules for magic items in the Magic module
- Streamlined rules for car chases
- Rules for leadership and training
- A new module on Mounted Combat

Thanks to Amechra! Quite a few of your suggestions made it into the new update.

2013-08-08, 06:42 AM
You're welcome!

I'll take a look when I have a chance.