A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
You can get A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2 now at Gumroad
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 62
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    UPDATE: A new edition is available!

    STaRS
    The Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System

    The Promise:
    No books! No math! No prep time! No more than 15 minutes to make a character and start playing!

    STaRS is a universal, rules-light system, capable of handling everything from gritty noir to high-flying superheros. It walks the thin line between running on a book full of rules and running on GM fiat, all the while striving to be free of the narrative elements that haunt games like FATE. Friendly towards new and experienced role-players alike, STaRS is great for one-shots and long campaigns alike.

    Checks

    Spoiler
    Show

    The most basic unit of the game is the check, a single die roll to determine whether or not you succeed. Any time your character takes an action with a chance of failure, pick the appropriate Ability and roll a d10. If the result is less than your Ability, you succeed at that action. If the result is higher, you fail.

    For the purposes of example, let's take a look at Marshal John Wild, trying to lasso a wild stallion. The Director asks for an Agility check. John has an Agility score of 7. His player rolls a ten-sided die and gets a 5. Success! The good marshal drops the rope squarely around the horse's neck.

    Flourishes and Fumbles

    Not all successes and failures are equal. For every three points by which the result is less than your Ability, you succeed with a Flourish. For every three points by which your roll is more than your Ability, you fail with a Fumble. Flourishes and Fumbles don't always matter, but they serve to give you an idea of just how well or how badly you did. The more Flourishes, the better.

    For example, say Marshal John Wild is trying to climb a canyon wall to get the drop on some cattle rustlers camped up top. With no Flourishes, he takes his time and just barely scrambles to the top. With a Flourish, he might make it up in half the time, catching the varmints by surprise. On the other hand, while a failure means he doesn't make it up the cliff, a Fumble might me he makes it halfway up the cliff before his handhold gives way!

    Who Rolls When?

    Stars make all the rolls. The Director never has to touch a die. When a character shoots at a foe, he rolls to attack. When the foe shoots back, the Star rolls to dodge.

    Sidebar: Hey! That looks like math!
    Spoiler
    Show
    If you're the type who shudders at math, don't worry. The math in STaRS is very simple, and you only have to do it once— at character creation, you can write down what die rolls give you what results. If your Physique score is 7, you could write it out as _1_/_4_/_7_/_10_, or 7 (1, 4, 10), or any other way you can think of. If you roll a 10, that's a Fumble. If you roll a 4, that's a Flourish, and a 1 gives you a whopping two Flourishes!


    Abilities
    Spoiler
    Show

    What defines a character? The most important things are in your head— how does he think? How does he act? What made him the way he is today? But after personality, the most important thing about your character are his abilities.

    Each character is represented by ten abilities— Agility, Awareness, Dexterity, Manipulation, Physique, Presence, Smarts, Speed, Will, and Wits. These abilities each have a rank, a number between one and ten, representing how developed that ability is. The higher the rank, the better— a character with an Agility of 1 can hardly move, but one with an Agility of 10 will never fail. For most characters, Abilities should be between 3 and 7. There are other ways to represent super- or sub-human capabilities.

    Sidebar: Why the limit?
    Spoiler
    Show
    The answer is math. Your chance of succeeding on a normal check is 10% per rank— with a Physique score of 7, you'll succeed 70% of the time. That doesn't sound amazing… but turn to the next section and read about Advantage and Disadvantage. Those are effectively a 2-rank adjustment. Suddenly, that 70% chance of success jumps up to 90%-- that's almost a guarantee, but there's still some margin of error. If we allow you to have a rank of 8, your success rate jumps up to 96%, and with a rank of 9, you'll only fail one check in a hundred. Such perfection may sound like fun, but trust us— it's boring to play. Like we said above, you can use Scale to represent characters who appear perfect to us normal humans.

    Rote Uses
    STaRS runs on Ability checks— all other game mechanics either modify checks, or are modified by checks. That makes it especially important to know exactly what each Ability covers. To that end, we've listed a few Rote Uses for each Ability, the most common checks it governs. Together, the list of Rote Uses should cover most things you need to do in a game. If not, it's a good starting point to figure out what Ability you should be rolling.

    Categories
    Sometimes you'll see references to "mental" or "physical" Abilities. You can break the list of Abilities up along the following lines:
    • Mental Abilities: Awareness, Intellect, Will, Wits
    • Physical Abilities: Agility, Dexterity, Physique, Speed
    • Social Abilities: Manipulation, Presence



    Agility
    Your Agility score represents your gross physical coordination.
    • Acrobatics-- Flipping, diving, tumbling, balancing, and so on are all functions of Agility.
    • Melee Attacks-- Most melee attacks are functions of Agility.
    • Melee Defense-- Avoiding or parrying close-ranged attacks, be they with swords, spells, or other, requires Agility.
    • Riding-- Riding a horse or other animal is governed by Agility.
    • Stealth-- Hiding, moving silently, and otherwise sneaking around depends on your Agility


    Awareness
    Your Awareness score represents your perception and insight
    • Perception-- Noticing things about the world is a function of Awareness.
    • Reading People-- Your Awareness determines how good you are at forming impressions of people and working out their motives.
    • Searching-- Actively seeking out fine detail-- traps, evidence, and the like-- is a function of Awareness.
    • Tracking-- Your ability to follow a trail depends on your Awareness


    Dexterity
    Dexterity is a measure of a character's fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
    • Catching-- Catching a thrown or falling object requires Dexterity.
    • Driving-- Piloting a vehicle, be it a car or a fighter jet, generally depends on Dexterity.
    • Ranged Attacks-- Ranged attacks, be they a bow, a throwing knife, or a laser pistol, are functions of Dexterity.
    • Sleight of Hand-- Minor feats of legerdemain, such as card tricks, require Dexterity.
    • Thievery-- Picking locks, picking pockets, and disabling traps fall under the banner of Dexterity.


    Manipulation
    Manipulation represents your ability to control others, through persuasion and deception.
    • Deception-- Lying or misleading another is one of the main uses of Manipulation.
    • Disguise-- Disguising yourself is mostly a function of Manipulation.
    • Persuasion-- Making another agree with you requires Manipulation.
    • Provocation-- Provoking another to take an course of action you choose, such as attacking you, usually requires Manipulation.


    Physique
    Physique represents raw physical strength and endurance.
    • Athletics-- Most raw physical tasks, such as climbing and swimming, fall under Physique.
    • Exerting Force-- Exercises of raw strength-- lifting, pushing, breaking things and the like-- are functions of Physique. Without making a check, you can lift about 10 pounds per rank.
    • Fortitude-- Resisting toxins, disfeases, and other attacks which affect the body requires Physique
    • Physical Health-- Your Physique determines how many times you can be damaged by physical attacks.
    • Wrestling-- Wrestling, grappling, whatever you choose to call it, it's based on Physique.


    Presence
    Presence is a measure of personal magnetism
    • Intimidation-- Scaring people requires Presence.
    • Leadership-- Rallying allies and similar actions are acts of Presence
    • Making Friends-- Making good first impressions and getting people to like you is a function of Presence.
    • Social Health-- Your Presence determines how much social damage-- insults, cutting remarks, provocation and the like-- you can withstand.


    Smarts
    Smarts represents "book" knowledge, technical skill, and logical reasoning
    • Computers-- Hacking, programming, and the like. (If computers exist in your setting)
    • Crafting-- Building and fixing things
    • Knowledge-- Knowing about things, if not necessarily how to do them.
    • Medicine-- First aid, surgery, and medical knowledge
    • Occult-- Knowing about magic, as well as how to do ritual magic. (If magic exists in your setting)
    • Science-- Both knowledge and practical


    Speed
    Speed represents reaction time, as well as how fast you can physically move
    • Initiative-- At the beginning of combat, all characters make Speed checks. Those who succeed act before their foes, and those who fail act afterwards. Within those categories, characters act in order of Speed.
    • Ranged Defense-- Dodging ranged attacks requires a Speed check
    • Reflex-- Your ability to avoid rolling boulders, fireballs, and other such attacks depends on Speed.
    • Sprinting-- Your base movement speed in combat, along with racing, sprinting, and so on.


    Will
    Mental strength and toughness
    • Concentration-- Your ability to maintain your focus on a single task despite distractions
    • Magic-- Many (though certainly not all) forms of magic, psionics, and other "special" abilities are based on Will, although they may not be available to all characters, or in all settings. Stars should pick which Ability to use when they select the appropriate Power (see below).
    • Mental Health-- Your ability to withstand mental damage, stemming from telepathic attacks, extreme emotional trauma and the like.
    • Self-Control-- Your ability to keep control of your own emotions and reactions, resisting social manipulation
    • Will Saves-- Your ability to resist mental attacks


    Wits
    Wits represents a character's experience and "common sense"
    • Contacts-- Knowing the right man (or woman) at the right time
    • Memory-- When determining if a character remembers something, use Wits
    • Resisting Manipulation-- The ability to see through lies, honeyed words, and other social manipulations is a function of Wits
    • Shortcuts-- Physical shortcuts through a city, as well as metaphorical shortcuts through bureaucracies
    • Wilderness Survival-- Being able to survive on your own in the wild requires Wits


    Advantage and Disadvantage
    Spoiler
    Show

    Sometimes a task is easy. Sometimes there a circumstances— high-quality tools, a buddy to help you, an exceptionally foolish foe— that make things easier. When circumstances help you, the you are awarded Advantage. On the other hand, sometimes things are unusually difficult. The security is top-notch, you're distracted, or your foe is highly skilled. When circumstances hinder you, the you are awarded Disadvantage.

    When making a check with Advantage, the Star rolls twice and takes the better result. When making a check with Disadvantage, the Star rolls twice and takes the worse result.

    For example, our friend Marshal Wild has managed to sneak up on those cattle rustlers we mentioned earlier. Wishing to weight the odds a bit in his favor, he decides to pick off one of the varmints, stealthy-like. As he prepares to smack the man upside the head, the Director awards him Advantage— the target's got no idea the good lawman is out there, so he's not doing much to dodge. The Star controlling Wild rolls an 8 and a 4. The latter is lower than the Marshal's Agility score of 7, and the attack works like a charm— one cattle rustler, laid out cold.

    As he slips closer to camp, the Marshal spots where the bandits have left their guns. Great! Problem is, to get there, he'll have to cross through the area illuminated by the campfire. Hoping for the best, the Star rolls to be stealthy, with Disadvantage for moving through the light. He gets a 6 and a 9— uh-oh! 9 is higher than his score of 7, and the cattle rustlers see him moving. Cursing, Wild prepares for a fight.

    Of course, things are rarely so straightforwards. When Marshal Wild is sneaking up on the camp, it might be dark (Advantage), but the guards are particularly alert (Disadvantage), but he's previously arranged a distraction (Advantage), but he's wearing bright colors (Disadvantage)… Multiple sources of Advantage and Disadvantage stack, at least to a certain level.
    • One application of Advantage and one application of Disadvantage cancel each other out. If a character has Advantage due to the darkness and Disadvantage due to being heavily burdened, he makes his check without any modifiers.
    • Two applications of Advantage increase the level at which you can attempt an action by one, and two applications of Disadvantage decrease the level by one. Doing so prevents said applications from applying to your check. We'll elaborate on what that means in the next section.


    When you start looking, it's easy to find things that should give you Advantage or Disadvantage. But that doesn't mean you should. Trying to count every possible source will slow your game to a craw— a fate far worse than missing a few minor circumstances. Instead, only pay attention to the biggest, most important things.


    Scale and Level

    Spoiler
    Show

    It's an unfortunate truth in life that some things are impossible. No matter how hard you try, no matter how many springs you strap to your shoes and how much training you do, you're not going to leap high buildings in a single bound. On the other hand, there are some things that you just can't fail at. Under normal circumstances, you will never fail to tie your shoes or check your email.

    To make matters more confusing, different characters have different base capabilities. Sir Lancelot might not be able to lift more than a few hundred pounds, but with the same amount of effort, Spiderman might be able to lift a truck, and Superman an entire aircraft carrier!

    In STaRS, every action you take can be placed somewhere along a Scale. Scale is a relative measure of capability. Characters operate on a specific level of the Scale. By default, characters can lift as much, run as fast, and think as hard as a normal member of their species. This is known as their base level.

    When attempting an action at their level, a character must roll an ability check. Actions at lower levels automatically succeed, and actions at higher levels automatically fail.

    Sidebar: Scale and Flourishes
    Spoiler
    Show

    Sometimes what matters is how well you do on a task, not just if you succeed or fail. If you're attempting an action at a lower level and there would be a benefit to getting Flourishes on your check-- say, if you're attacking an enemy-- roll the check as if you had a Rank of 10, and count Flourishes normally.


    Powers and circumstances may shift the scale, making a reasonable task either easy or impossible. As we mentioned before, if you have Advantage from two different sources when attempting a task, you make the check at one level higher than normal. The same goes for Disadvantage— two sources of Disadvantage, and you make your check at one level lower than normal.

    Scale is relative not just to the characters, but to the campaign. A group of superheroes will operate on a very different scale than a group of ordinary folks trying to escape a zombie apocalypse. Directors should come up with a Scale that fits the game they intend to run, and make sure the players understand what it means.

    Normal Scale
    Spoiler
    Show

    {table=head]Level|Reference|Descriptor|Physical Example|Mental Example|Damage Example
    - -|Effortless|The kind of thing that's almost impossible to fail|Sit upright|Remember your name|A gentle breeze
    -|Easy|The kind of thing a normal human can do without effort|Climb a flight of stairs|Complete a simple arithmetic problem|A foam dart
    Base|Plausible|The kind of thing a normal human can do with effort|Withstand a punch without ill effect|Hack a computer system with appropriate resources|A punch
    +|Implausible|The kind of thing that you see "human" characters do in action movies|Leap a ten-foot fence|Develop an antidote to a new disease in a matter of hours|A sword or gun
    ++|Low Superhuman|The kind of thing you'd see Spider-Man do|Run as fast as a car|Invent entirely new technologies on the fly|A heavy machine gun
    +++|Moderate Superhuman|The kind of thing you'd see the Thing|Lift a tank|Build a spaceship out of scrap metal|A howitzer
    ++++|High Superhuman|The kind of thing you'd see Superman do|Push an asteroid out of orbit|Predict the future though logic|A nuke
    +++++|Godly|The kind of things gods do |Create a planet|Predict the motion of molecules on the other side of the galaxy|A supernova[/table]


    Altering the Scale
    By limiting what Stars can and can't do, Scale can do a lot to establish mood. Merging the Plausible and Implausible Levels of the basic Scale can help establish a comic-book feel, where even normal humans can accomplish incredible feats. On the other hand, creating a new "Practical" Level ("things normal people can do with effort but no training") and setting it as the game's Base Level can make a game feel a lot more grounded. Directors should feel free to play around with Scale to better fit the mood of the world they want to introduce.


    Traits and Flaws
    Spoiler
    Show

    Abilities represent the most basic aspect of your character, but people are more complicated than that. Beyond simple measures of strength or intelligence, everyone has things that make them special— special talents, special powers, special training, special equipment, and more. In STaRS, these special aspects are known as Traits. All Traits fall into one of five categories:

    Skills
    Skills represent special training or gifts in a particular field. Characters can have a Skill in any Rote Use of an Ability, or a similarly focused area of expertise. Skills grant Advantage on appropriate Checks.

    Knacks
    Knacks are similar in many ways to Skills, again often stemming from special training. But while a Skill is active, Knacks are more passive. A Knack prevents you from being penalized by certain types of Disadvantage, such as being able to use improvised tools without penalty or function normally in darkness.

    Boosts
    Boosts are in many ways a more powerful form of Skill, usually stemming from extranormal powers rather than mere training. Just like Skills, characters can have a Boost in any Rote Use of an Ability, or sometimes even to all uses of the Ability. Boosts allow you to make appropriate Checks one Level higher than normal. Characters can have multiple Boosts to a single Rote Use of an Ability, making them many times more powerful than normal. A Boost to a single Rote Use is known as a Narrow Boost, while a Boost to all uses of an Ability is called a Broad Boost.

    Spoiler: Sidebar: Improving Your Game
    Show
    Characters can obtain Boosts to any Rote Use imaginable… but that doesn't mean they should. If the Director thinks that a Boost might cause problems in his campaign— say, a boost to Medicine in a game where a major goal is finding a cure to a zombie virus— he should feel free to disallow it.


    Powers
    Powers are the most open-ended Trait, representing any special talent you possess that other humans do not, such as seeing through walls, reading minds, or casting spells. What is or is not an acceptable Power varies widely, depending on what kind of game you're playing— telekinesis might be perfectly acceptable in a game where everyone's playing super-heroes, but be completely out-of-place in a game about pirates. Stars and Directors need to work together to determine if a Power is "OK" for a particular game.

    Because of their sheer variety, it's impossible to provide concrete rules for how Powers work, but a few generalizations may be made:
    • Powers require Checks to use. Superman may be able to fly and see through walls, but he still needs to make an Awareness check to find the bomb in the next room, or a Speed check to catch up to the runaway airliner.
    • Powers operate on your Base Level. A character with the power of flight can't fly any faster than he can run, and a wizard using his magic to move an object couldn't exert more force than a normal man using his hands. You may purchase Skills and Boosts for your Powers, just like you may for Rote Uses of your Abilities.
    • Powers are sorted based on their versatility.

    • A Trivial Power only applies in very narrow situations, or is not very useful even when it does apply, such as speaking any language, or firing bolts of energy.
    • A Minor Power is useful, but has well-defined limits, such as reading (but not influencing) minds, or creating holograms.
    • A Major Power is exceptionally broad or poorly-defined, such as "telepathy," or "ritual magic."

    Companions
    Companions are independent entities who hang out with you for whatever reason. They may have minds of their own— such as a sidekick— or not— such as a special vehicle. Thus, in STaRs, both Robin and the Batmobile would be represented as Companions.

    Companions are their own character, with their own set of Abilities and Traits. However, they neither start with nor earn experience for themselves. See the Character chapter for details.

    A Star generally controls his own Companions. That being said, your Companions are (usually) your friends, not your slaves— if they're sentient creatures, they'll behave as such, looking out for their own well-being rather than mindlessly following your commands.

    Not all Companions are capable of their own thoughts, though— vehicles are also are represented as Companions. Non-sentient Companions lack Mental and Social Abilities, although some may have Awareness thanks to sensor arrays or the like. Vehicles generally have no Dexterity score. Most of all, non-sentient Companions cannot act on their own— you must donate your own actions in order for them to do anything.

    Summary
    Trait Benefit
    Skill Grants Advantage on relevant Checks
    Knack Removes Disadvantage on relevant Checks
    Boost Increases Level of relevant Checks
    Power Grants exotic new abilities
    Companion Provides a sidekick or vehicle


    Flaws
    The flipside of special powers is special weakness, or Flaws. Flaws work exactly like Powers, but in the opposite direction. Flaws are denoted as Anti-Traits, such as an Anti-Skill or Anti-Knack.

    Anti-Skills
    Anti-Skills represent unusual ineptness in a particular field. Characters can have an Anti-Skill in any Rote Use of an Ability, or a similarly focused area of expertise. Anti-Skills inflict Disadvantage on appropriate Checks.

    Anti-Knacks
    Anti-Knacks represent an inability to take advantage of certain advantages, either willfully or through your own ineptness. An Anti-Knack prevents you from benefiting from certain types of Advantage, such as a character who glows in the dark or who refuses to attack unaware enemies.

    Anti-Boosts
    Anti-Boosts represent an exceptional, possibly even supernatural weakness. Characters can have an Anti-Boost in any Rote Use of an Ability, or sometimes even to all uses of the Ability. Anti-Boosts cause you to make appropriate Checks one Level lower than normal. Characters can have multiple Anti-Boosts to a single Rote Use of an Ability, making them many times more powerful than normal.

    Anti-Powers
    Anti-Powers represent the loss of an ability normally possessed by humans, such as being unable to walk or speak. Just like Powers, Anti-Powers are based on their versatility.
    • A Trivial Anti-Power is only rarely a weakness, such as a learning disability.
    • A Minor Anti-Power is useful, but has well-defined limits, such as a missing arm.
    • A Major Anti-Power is a nearly crippling disability, such as being blind.



    Conflict
    Spoiler
    Show

    Ability checks are all you need to handle characters in isolation, but sooner or later, every story involves conflict. When two or more characters are acting against each other, that's a conflict, whether the fight involves angry words or drawn swords.

    The Round
    The basic unit of conflict is the round— a hypothetical unit of time during which all participants in the conflict act. The length of a Round varies from setting to setting and scenario to scenario— a Round of swordplay might only be a few seconds, but a Round of verbal sparring at a ball might last for many minutes.

    Turn Order
    When conflict first breaks out, all characters who intend to join the conflict make Speed checks. Those who succeed may act before their foes, and those who fail act afterwards.

    Within those categories, the order of action doesn't particularly matter. Groups might simple move in a circle around the table. Alternately, characters may act in order of Speed, high to low. If two characters have equal speed, determine who acts first either by common agreement or random chance—roll a die or flip a coin.

    A character may choose to act later in the round, if he so desires— a choice known as holding.

    Actions
    There are three types of action in combat— Major, Minor, and Free. Each round, a character gets one Major and one Minor action, and as many Free actions as they'd like. You made take a second Minor action in place of a Major one, if you so choose.

    • Major Actions take both time and effort, such as shooting a gun or casting a spell-- generally, things for which you might have to make a check.
    • Minor Actions take time, but little effort, such as moving a short distance or reloading a gun.
    • Free actions take little time and little effort, such as talking or opening a door.


    Movement (Minor Action)
    A character may move a short distance as a minor action—approximately two yards for every Rank of Speed, at basic human scale. To move farther, you may make a Speed check as a major action.

    Attacking (Major Action)
    The grizzled gunslinger takes aim and fires his trusty Peacemaker. The witty debutante humiliates her rival with a cutting remark. The psychic crushes a mind under the weight of his own doubts. All these and more— any action designed to harm a foe— is an attack.

    To attack a foe, whether that attack is physical or mental, make an ability check. If you succeed, and the level of the attack appropriate, you affect and damage your target. A successful attack deals one point of damage, plus one additional point for every Flourish.

    There are three types of attacks— physical, social, and mental.

    • Physical attacks hurt your body. When someone makes a physical attack, they're trying to kill you— or at the very least batter you into unconsciousness. Swords, lasers, and fireballs are all physical attacks.
    • Social attacks hurt your feelings. When someone makes a social attack, they're trying to manipulate you into doing what they want, or reduce you to tears. Insults, intimidation, and persuasion are all social attacks.
    • Mental attacks hurt your mind. When someone makes a mental attack, they're trying to change the way you think. Telepathic attacks and serious trauma are the main source our mental attacks. It's possible to use words to inflict mental damage, but you need an extremely strong emotional connection in order to do so. A scorned lover could inflict mental damage, as could an abusive parent or a former torturer, but a stranger or a high-school rival could not.


    Getting back to our friend Marshal Wild, we find that the good marshal has been cornered by two men with knives. With his life on the line, Wild fires his trusty six-shooter at the closer varmint. He makes a Dexterity check and rolls a 3— compared to his rank of 6, that's a success and a flourish! He pegs the man square in the chest, hitting him for two damage. The man hits the ground, leaving only one surviving bandit to charge the lawman.

    Sidebar: Attacking Multiple Targets
    Spoiler
    Show

    If you want to attack multiple targets in a single action, make your attacks at Disadvantage. The maximum number of targets you can affect this way should be capped-- half of your Ability, rounded down, is a good guideline.

    Area Attacks
    Area attacks, whether a fireball spell or a rocket launcher, work similarly to multiattacking in that you roll attacks against all foes in the area at Disadvantage. Instead of limiting the number of targets, Directors should limit the area-- one yard of radius per rank of Ability is a decent guideline. Some attacks may have more limited spreads, such as a flamethrower, but don't worry too much about how that changes things-- better to keep the radius the same, only affect a fraction of the total sphere, and figure that the decreased area and increased ease of aiming balance each other out.

    If that's too complicated, you can use static numbers instead: a 20ft radius burst, 50ft cone, 100 ft line, or 10x50ft cylinder.

    Defending
    When an enemy attacks you, roll an ability check to avoid the attack. If successful, you are not affected. If you fail, you're hit, and you may take damage. This is known as a defense check.

    • Avoiding a melee attack is an Agility check
    • Avoiding a ranged attack is a Speed check
    • Some social attacks— especially those dependent on falsehoods— may be resisted with Wits.
    • Most social and mental attacks are resisted by Will checks.


    The bandit takes a stab at Wild, who rolls an Agility check to dodge. Unfortunately, he gets an 8— two points above his rank— and the knife cuts him right across the arm.

    Damage
    Failing a defense check isn't the end of the world. You still get to make a resistance check— a Physique check for physical damage, Presence check for social damage, and a Will check for mental damage. Succeed, and you don't take any effect. Fail, and you take one damage, plus one damage for every fumble on your defense check.

    Damage comes in the form of Ability penalties. For every point of damage to an ability, treat it as if its rank were one lower. For example, if you have a Physique of 7, and you take two damage, your Physique is effectively 5 until you can get treatment.

    • Physical damage inflicts penalties to Physique
    • Social damage inflicts penalties to Presence
    • Mental damage inflicts penalties to Will


    After getting cut, Marshal Wild makes a resistance check. He rolls a 7, which is higher than his Physique of 6. He takes a point of damage— ouch!


    Damage and Scale
    Damage depends on the level of the attack coming at you. If the attack is at a higher level than your ability to resist it, you're in a whole lot of trouble.
    • If the damage level is one level higher, you take normal damage on a successful check, and double damage on a failed check.
    • If the damage level is two levels higher, you take double damage on a successful check, and are instantly taken out by a failed check.
    • If the damage level is three levels higher, you don't even get a resistance check— you're taken out.

    {table=head]Damage level|Successful check|Failed check
    0|No damage|1 damage, + 1 damage per fumble on the defense check
    +|1 damage, + 1 damage per fumble on the defense check|2 damage, + 2 damage per fumble on the defense check
    ++|2 damage, + 2 damage per fumble on the defense check|Taken out
    +++|Taken out|Taken out.[/table]

    Taken Out
    If your rank would ever be reduced to zero or below, you are taken out— your opponent chooses what happens to you, although it's up to you to decide how exactly that plays out. If you are taken out by social damage, for example, your foe may declare that you withdraw from the party— but it's up to you whether or not you leave in a quiet snit or go out screaming. The events must be believable.
    • Being taken out by physical damage usually means you're dead, dying, battered into unconsciousness, or otherwise too injured to keep going.
    • Being taken out by social damage usually means that you're an uncooperative, grumpy mess, unwilling or unable to continue socializing.
    • Being taken out by mental damage usually leaves you a broken mess, unable to accomplish even the simplest tasks-- if you're not catatonic.


    Recovery
    Recovering from damage requires two things: treatment and time. Treatment heals half of your current damage, rounded up, but cannot be applied again until you take more damage. Afterwards, remaining damage heals at the rate of one point per damage type per hour.
    • Treatment for physical damage is first aid— bandaging wounds, setting broken bones, and the like. It requires a Smarts check, as well as medical supplies, and usually takes ten minutes.
    • Treatment for social damage is quiet time. A character must spend at least ten minutes alone doing something they enjoy, such as reading or painting. There is no check required.
    • Treatment for mental damage is counseling. It requires either a Presence check made by another Star, or a Will check if the counseling is provided by a director-controlled ally. Counseling takes at least an hour.

    Maneuvers (Major Action)
    What if you don't want to just stab your foe? Warriors and diplomats alike seek ways to gain advantage over foes. Warriors wrestle their foes to the ground, throw sand in their eyes or knock the sword from their hand. Diplomats set verbal traps, discredit their rivals and prepare the stage for more impressive lies. These actions and more fall under the broad category of maneuvers.

    A maneuver requires an ability check of some sort— Stars and Directors have to choose whichever ability feels best. Agility and Physique are commonly used for combat maneuvers, while Manipulation is a generally good choice for social maneuverings.

    If the check succeeds, you inflict a condition on your foe, such as "knocked down" or "blinded." When the condition is relevant, you gain Advantage against the foe. You might have Advantage when making attacks or defense checks against a blinded foe, but not when making a social attack. On the other hand, while you might have Advantage when lying to a foe with a "credulous" condition, but not when attacking them.

    A condition persists for one round, plus one round for every flourish on the initial Ability check. Rounds are counted at the end of your turn, with the turn you use the maneuver being turn zero.


    Defending Against Maneuvers
    Your enemies are just as capable of attempting maneuvers as you are. The process works about the same as when you're the one maneuvering, but reversed— you make an Ability check to resist the maneuver, and if you fail, you suffer from the condition for one round, plus one round per fumble on your Ability check. When suffering from a condition, you are at Disadvantage on any relevant checks.

    Aid (Major Action)
    The opposite of a maneuver, an Aid action is an attempt to help an ally. Name an action your ally is attempting and make an Ability check, usually using the same Ability as you would if you were the one taking the action— a Smarts check to help your buddy hack a computer, a Physique check to help break down a door, and so on. If you succeed, your ally gains Advantage on the action. For every flourish, you ally may gain Advantage on one additional check of the same type.

    The benefits of an Aid action only last a short time, usually no more than a few rounds of conflict r a minute of "real time"-- or until your ally makes the check or checks he has Advantage on. For longer-term help, when attempting an Aid action, you can make your Ability check at Disadvantage. If you succeed, the benefits can last much longer-- anywhere from an entire conflict to several hours of "real time," although the effects of Aid can still only be used on the same limited number of checks.


    Character Creation
    Spoiler
    Show

    Characters in STaRS begin their lives with no Skills, no Traits or items, and a Rank of 5 in each Ability. At the beginning of a campaign, Stars have 3 Ability Points and 3 Trait Points to spend on improving their character.

    Ability Points
    Raising the Rank of an Ability costs 1 Ability Point per rank. Alternately, a Star can chose to lower the Rank of one of his character's abilities, giving himself an extra Ability Point to spend elsewhere. At character creation, a character's Abilities cannot be higher than 7 or lower than 4. Even later in his career, a character's Abilities may not exceed 8 without permission from the Director.

    Trait Points
    Traits are purchased using their own currency, Trait Points. The cost of various Traits is:
    Trait Cost
    Skill 1 Point
    Knack 1 Point
    Narrow Boost 2 Points, plus 1 Point per additional Level
    Broad Boost 3 Points, plus 1 Point per additional Level
    Trivial Power 1 Point
    Minor Power 2 Points
    Major Power 3 Points
    Companion (Vehicle) 1 Point, plus any Points spent on the Companion's Traits
    Companion (Sentient) 3 Points, plus any Points spent on the Companion's Traits
    Spoiler: Companions
    Show

    Companions are created just like characters, except that they receive neither Ability nor Trait Points. Instead, you may donate your own Points to your Companions, who then spend them to increase their own Abilities or purchase their own Traits. You may not receive Points from your Companion— any Points they get by lowering Abilities or taking Flaws can only be spent by them.


    Discounts
    Traits can get expensive in a hurry. Stars may want a Boost or a Power but be unable to afford it. If that's the case, you can get a Discount by accepting certain limits. Each Discount reduced the price of the Trait by one Trait Point. You can apply multiple Discounts to a single Trait, but the cost of a Trait cannot be reduced to below one (for Common Traits; see below).
    • Restricted: A Restricted Trait can only be used a few times in a given span of time— once per hour, five times per day, or something similar. Stars and Directors must agree on what's a reasonable restriction, bearing in mind how often you're likely to want to use the power. Once per hour is a good Restriction on a Damaging ability, but would hardly matter for a long-distance travel power.
    • Limited: A Limited Trait can only be used in certain circumstances— super-strength that only functions in the dark, damage resistance that only works for fire, and so on. A Limited Trait should lose about half its usefulness.
    • Equipment: Traits can also be external, rather than internal— in other words, they come from fancy gear. Equipment functions normally, but as a separate item, Equipment can be lost, stolen, broken, left behind, or otherwise unavailable. Lost equipment can be replaced with time, money, or at least a visit to a stockpile somewhere. You can’t apply this discount to a Companion.


    Common Traits
    Some Traits are so widely available that it doesn’t make sense to have to pay for them. Think of a cell phone— STaRS would model it as a Trivial Power and Equipment, coming in at one Trait Point, but we’d bet everyone you know has one. Common Traits are widely available in a given Setting, either being easy and relatively inexpensive to purchase, such as a phone, or else are common in the population as a whole, such as a game where everyone has minor psychic powers. When applying Discounts to a Common Trait, you may reduce the cost to zero Trait Points, rather than one.

    Spoiler: Sidebar: Improving Your Game
    Show
    Weapons and armor are essential tools for many characters— so important that we wanted to make clear how they work.
    • Weapons are Narrow Boosts to Melee or Ranged Attack, Limited to Damage. They’re usually both Equipment and Common Traits. Basic, one-Level-Boost antipersonnel weapons— guns, knives, swords and the like—thus cost zero Trait Points.
    • Armor is a Narrow Boost to Physical Health, and again is typically both Equipment and a Common Trait. Basic, one-Level-Boost armor— bulletproof vests, chainmail and so on— thus costs one Trait Point.


    Flaws
    Since Flaws are essentially Anti-Traits, they are "anti-purchased"— each Flaw you take gives you Trait Points as if you had taken a corresponding Trait. If you take an Anti-Skill in computer use, you'd gain one Trait Point to spend on something else. If you take an Anti-Boost to memory, you'd gain two Trait Points, and so on. Directors should be wary of allowing Stars to take too many Flaws— be sure that they represent major character weaknesses. If things get too bad, groups may wish to establish a limit on how many Trait Points may be earned by taking Flaws, such as "no more than one-third the starting value."



    Advancement
    Spoiler
    Show

    Character advancement is measured by Milestones.
    • A Trivial Milestone comes at the end of every session, or at any point during the session where characters have significant downtime.
    • A Minor Milestone occurs at the conclusion of a scenario or longer plotline, usually once every two or three sessions.
    • A Major Milestone occurs at the conclusion of a long-term story arc, usually once every five or six sessions.

    At each type of Milestone, characters gain different bonuses.
    • At a Trivial Milestone, a character may re-assign one Trait Point he already possesses.
    • At a Minor Milestone, a character gains one Trait Point, which he may spend immediately, or save for later. He also gains the benefits of a Trivial Milestone. He may use his new Trait Point along with his re-assigned point to purchase a more expensive Trait, if he so desires.
    • At a Major Milestone, a character gains one Ability Point, which he may spend immediately. He also gains the benefits of both a Trivial and a Minor Milestone.



    Adversaries
    Spoiler
    Show

    Creating Adversaries
    Designing non-player characters ("NPCs")— any character not controlled by the Stars themselves— tends to be pretty simple. After all, when the Stars are rolling all the dice, there isn’t much need for adversaries to have specific abilities. There are only a few questions to think about.


    Does he have a name?
    Most NPCs Stars meet are not important-- they're guards, innkeepers, and civilians, there to fill out numbers and little more. NPCs of this category are known as extras. Extras may pose a threat in numbers, but one-on-one, they’re no match for a Star.

    On the other hand, some NPCs are important— they’re kings, knights, and dragons, with their own histories and motivations. If an NPC is particularly important to the world or story, they’re referred to as a named character. When making checks against a named character, Stars are at Disadvantage.

    “Named characters” are certainly not the only NPCs whose names the Stars might know. And the Stars might never know the name of the demon they fought at the Tower of Bones. But Tom the Innkeeper is still an extra, and the demon is still a named character. If it helps, think of named characters as the “boss monsters” of your world.

    What Scale does he operate on?
    NPCs obey the laws of scale, just as Stars do. If your NPC has any traits or items that change the level he operates at, be sure to note them.

    How tough is he?
    NPCs don’t have Abilities, so they can’t take damage in the same way as players. Instead, they have three sets of endurance boxes— one set each for physical, social, and mental health. When a Star deals an NPC damage, check off one box of the appropriate type for every point of damage. When all boxes of a type are filled, the NPC is taken out.

    Extras usually only have one box for each type, although it’s certainly possible for them to have more— especially if the extra is very large or well-armored. Named characters usually have two or more endurance boxes of each type.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2014-07-10 at 08:17 PM.
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!
    Spoiler
    Show

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Modules

    Modules are sets of optional rules. Directors may pick-and-choose modules based on the setting of the game they intend to run and the personal styles and preferences of their group members.

    Action Points
    Spoiler
    Show

    Goal: Reduce the role of luck and make characters succeed more often.
    Suggested uses: Action-heavy campaigns, or those where characters should succeed more often than they fail.


    At the beginning of each session, all Stars receive a single action point. At any time, they may spend this Action Point to reroll a check, or to gain Advantage on a single check.

    Action Points may be gained in any or all of the following ways:

    • As a reward for actions or role-playing that the Director or group as a whole judges particularly "cool" or impressive.
    • Whenever the Director imposes difficulties on the character that do not follow from their own mistakes, such as deciding a character has run out of ammunition at a vital moment.
    • When a character gets into trouble by obeying his flaws and motivations, despite the Star knowing that the actions are a bad idea.
    • When the character accomplishes significant goals; see the "Character Goals" module.



    Aspects (Not stolen from FUDGE/FATE at all, no, not even a little bit )
    Spoiler
    Show
    Goal: To encourage character individuality and roleplaying
    Suggested uses: Character-driven storylines


    At character creation, Stars pick one or more Aspects for their character. These might things like "Bad-Tempered," "Brother of [Character]," or "Loyal Beyond Death"-- not necessarily good or necessarily bad, but simply aspects (ha-ha) of the character's history and personality. Any number of Aspects may be chosen, although the Director may assign a specific number. Any number of Aspects may be chosen, although the Director may assign a specific number— 3 or 5 are good choices.

    At the beginning of each session, a character starts with one Aspect Point for each Aspect. At any point in the session, while acting in accord with an Aspect, he may spend an Aspect Point to gain Advantage on a single check. For example, a character with the "Loyal Beyond Death" Aspect might spend an Aspect Point to gain Advantage on a Block check made to defend a wounded ally, while a character with a “Cowardly Lion” Aspect might gain Advantage on a Speed check made to outrun a foe.

    Aspects are not always positive. At certain points in the game, they might Compel the character to act in a particular way. For example, the "Cowardly Lion" aspect could be compelled to force a character to flee from battle. Generally, the Director points out that an Aspect would be coming into play, and the Star decides how it manifests. Stars may also point out when Aspects should come into play, although the Director is the ultimate arbiter.

    When a character is being Compelled, the Star has two options. He may accept the circumstance, acting in accordance to his Aspect, and gain an Aspect Point. Alternately, he may spend an Aspect Point to ignore the Compelling circumstance, editing the scene if necessary to accommodate his choice.

    Aspects and other modules: Aspect Points can easily be combined with Story Points, using one unified point currency for both sets of uses. They combine less easily with Action Points-- their roles are too similar.


    Character Goals
    Spoiler
    Show

    Goal: To give characters a sense of purpose
    Suggested uses: for character-driven games


    During character creation, Stars should come up with a list of Goals— things their character wants to accomplish over the course of their career. There are three levels of Goal, and characters should have at least one Goal for each category.

    • Trivial Goals are easily accomplished, easily repeated tasks. They're often more along the lines of favored activities than long-term objectives. Think of trivial goals as things that you can do every game session. Competing in drinking competitions, seducing women, and winning duels are all trivial goals.
    • Minor Goals are difficult but achievable tasks. They generally require a substantial investment of time and energy to accomplish. Minor goals should take multiple sessions of gameplay to achieve. Avenging a loved one's death, overthrowing an evil king, or spreading the worship of your god to a heathen land are all examples of minor goals.
    • Major Goals are grand, overarching ideals. They should be theoretically achievable, but almost impossible in practice. Character who accomplish major Goals tend to retire shortly thereafter. Major goals are long-term campaign ideas, things that should take many, many sessions to achieve. A character's major goal might be to conquer the world, to ascend to godhood, or to discover the philosopher's stone.


    Goals and other modules: Character Goals work well with the Action and Story Points modules, particularly the latter. If any of the latter modules are being used alongside this one, here are some suggested rules for expansion:
    • Accomplishing a Trivial Goal grants a single Action/Story/Hero Point for use that session.
    • Accomplishing a Minor Goal grants an additional Action/Story/Hero Point at the beginning of every session.



    d12 STaRS
    Spoiler
    Show

    Goal: To give the d12 some love.
    Suggested uses: Why not?


    As an alternate to a d10, checks can use a 12-sided die, or d12. If this module is used, characters should start with a 6 in all Abilities. More importantly, the "cap" for Ability Ranks becomes 9 at character creation, with a final limit 10.

    As a side note, you may use the guidelines in the above paragraph to play with 2d6 in place of a d12, although doing so is not recommended-- it makes rolling multiple die for Advantage and Disadvantage more clumsy, and the resulting bell curve doesn't work well with the basic system math. Still, six-sided die are a lot more common than any other type...


    Extra Effort
    Spoiler
    Show

    Goal: To simulate extraordinary busts of energy, or extremely draining actions.
    Suggested uses: Any game


    At any point when rolling a check, a Star may grant himself Advantage. Afterwards, he takes a point of Damage to whatever ability he used. This damage may only be recovered with an hour of rest, during which he makes no checks using the damaged Ability.


    Hero Points
    Spoiler
    Show

    The Action Points and Story Points modules can be combined, creating a single unified resource for both sets of uses— Hero Points


    Races/Species
    Spoiler
    Show

    Goal: to provide guidelines for characters of different species
    Suggested uses: settings with a wide variety of different sentient races, such as fantasy or science fiction games.


    Reduce starting points-- both Ability and Talent-- by some amount. Stars may choose between a set of different "packages," representing different racial attributes. Packages for different races should have equivalent point values.

    For example, in a fantasy campaign, Stars might start with 3 Ability points, 1 Talent Point, and choose from one of these three racial packages:

    • Human— +2 Talent Points on character creation.
    • Dwarf— +1 Physique, -1 Speed, a Knack allowing them to ignore penalties due to darkness, and a Boost to checks made to resist forced movement.
    • Elf— +1 Agility, -1 Physique, a Skill in Smarts checks made regarding magic, and a Boost to Awareness checks regarding Perception.



    Random Ability Generation
    Spoiler
    Show

    Goal: Make characters even more distinct
    Suggested uses: Groups willing to accept that their characters have different power levels


    Roll 1d4+3 ten times, once for each Ability, and assign the numbers as you see fit. For a truly "old-school" character generation method, roll the Abilities in order.


    Sanity
    Spoiler
    Show

    Goal: To enhance the experience of horror games.
    Suggested uses: Settings where horror and madness are important themes.


    Characters add an eleventh Ability, Sanity. Sanity represents, well... sanity. It is not the same as Will-- some strong-willed characters might have difficulty adjusting to truly alien threats, while some weak-willed characters might be used to going with the flow and accepting what they see.

    Sanity is a primarily defensive Ability. When faced with truly horrific or alien threats and events, Stars make Sanity checks or suffer "Sanity Damage," inflicting penalties to-- surprise!-- sanity.

    If a character is Taken Out by Sanity Damage, he's usually left either catatonic, or utterly insane-- violently or otherwise.

    Sanity damage heals much more slowly than other types. It works much the same as recovering from Mental damage, but counseling takes at least a day, after which damage heals at a rate of one damage per hour. However, if the monster that caused the Sanity Damage is killed, a damaged character may immedietly attempt a Will check to recover as if they had received counseling.

    As a side note, in many settings where Sanity would be relevant, using magic leaves you a little bit batty. If you like the idea, have characters take Sanity damage every time they use magic-- but be sure to tell your players ahead of time!


    Story Points
    Spoiler
    Show

    Goal: To give Stars more narrative control.
    Suggested uses: Groups or campaigns where the story is the most important aspect of the game.


    At the beginning of a session, each character receives one Story Point. This point may be spent at any time during the session to affect the narrative or setting. Each use of a Story Point must be approved by the Director. As a general rule, the use of a Story Point should be used to provide new avenues of advancement, rather than to instantly bypass an obstacle.

    The use of Story Points falls into two categories: Stating a Fact, or Asking a Question.

    • State a Fact— A Star can spend a Story Point to introduce a single true fact to the setting. For example, one Star might spend a Story Point to determine that the assassin the party is chasing was the one who killed his mentor years ago. Another might spend a Story Point to determine that, while lost in the woods, his character just stumbled across an old path. A third might spend his Story Point to determine that the captain of the town guard is a drunkard.
    • Ask a Question— Alternately, a Star can spend a Story Point to introduce a mystery. Questions alter the world in a similar manner to Facts, but they cause problems, rather than solving them. One Star might spend his Story Point to ask "why are there no men in this town?" Another might ask "What killed all the dwarves in this mine?" In both cases, the world is altered to make the circumstances of the question true, but the Star does not know how.


    Story Points may be regained when the Director imposes difficulties on the character that do not follow from their own mistakes, such as deciding a character has run out of ammunition at a vital moment, or when a character gets into trouble by obeying his flaws and motivations, despite the Star knowing that the actions are a bad idea.

    Story Points work well with the Character Goals module.


    Stunting
    Spoiler
    Show

    Goal: to encourage Stars to be more creative and dramatic when describing their actions.
    Suggested uses: more light-hearted or "epic" settings


    Directors should award Stars Advantage to checks when the Star describe their actions in particularly interesting or exciting ways.


    Swashbuckling
    Spoiler
    Show

    Goal: to encourage Stars to take risks in the name of looking cool.
    Suggested uses: swashbuckler-style games with lots of rapiers and somersaults.


    Whenever a character takes an unnecessary physical risk, such as sliding down a banister instead of using the stairs, he gains Advantage on the roll.


    Wealth
    Spoiler
    Show

    Goal: to include an economic system in the game.
    Suggested uses: any setting involving significant amounts of money or treasure


    Characters add a eleventh Ability, Wealth, representing their character's monetary reserves. Like all Abilities, Wealth operates according to Scale.

    {table=head]Level|Reference |Money|Example
    - -|Effortless|A handful of change|A candy bar
    -|Easy|A few dollars|A dinner
    Base|Plausible|A few hundred dollars|A plane ticket
    +|Implausible|A few thousand dollars|A car
    ++|Low Superhuman|Many thousands of dollars|A house
    +++|Moderate Superhuman|A few million dollars|A plane
    ++++|High Superhuman|A few billion dollars|A major company
    +++++|Godly|Your bank account just says “yes.”|A county[/table]

    Unlike other Abilities, Wealth can change during gameplay.
    • Characters can attempt an action at a level one higher than normal, at the cost of decreasing their Wealth rank by one if they succeed.
    • Characters can gain permanent bonuses to their Wealth Rank as a result of their actions— rewards for quests and so on.

    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2013-08-25 at 01:09 PM.
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!
    Spoiler
    Show

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Reserved for bad reasons. Maniacal laughter, tempting fate, and so on.

    Post away!
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!
    Spoiler
    Show

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    I think it's the best revision yet. Having both Items and Boosts seems a bit redundant, but that's small potatoes.

    More importantly, Physique is missing its description.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Quote Originally Posted by Grinner View Post
    I think it's the best revision yet. Having both Items and Boosts seems a bit redundant, but that's small potatoes.

    More importantly, Physique is missing its description.
    Thanks! I'm pretty excited about it too-- my biggest issue with v3.5 was that even I (as creator) couldn't figure out what you needed a skill for. Between ditching that idea and codifying what each ability does a bit more... thanks for the catch on Physique.

    Items are more of a descriptor on a Talent than a distinct thing. Sometimes you have super-strength, and sometimes you have a powered exoskeleton. One you can take off, one you can't.
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!
    Spoiler
    Show

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Items are more of a descriptor on a Talent than a distinct thing. Sometimes you have super-strength, and sometimes you have a powered exoskeleton. One you can take off, one you can't.
    True. Really, I had been thinking about the min-maxing potential there.

    • "Hey! I've got 7's in Agility and Physique."
    • "Hey! I've got super-strength."
    • "Hey! I've got a suit of power armor."
    • "Hey! I've got training in Melee Attacks."
    • "Hey! I chop the BBEG into pieces."
    • "Hey! Why am I even rolling?"


    I do understand the distinction you've drawn, but it seems a bit too easy to break, y'know?

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    STaRS has always been pretty fragile in that respect. Heck put a 7 in your stat and take a Skill, and you've got a 91% chance of success, by my calculation. I think you might be seeing a bit more of a distinction between Talents and Items than there is, though-- you can't "stack" the bonuses. Or if you do, it wouldn't cost any more than buying it all in one place.

    Mind you, if the GM allows, then yeah, you can totally roll around in an Iron Man suit. But in such a case, I presume the villain would too.

    (Also worth remembering: you're starting at Disadvantage when fighting a boss. On top of whatever gear and position advantages he might have. I haven't copied over those rules yet, but see the old thread)
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!
    Spoiler
    Show

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    I think you might be seeing a bit more of a distinction between Talents and Items than there is, though-- you can't "stack" the bonuses. Or if you do, it wouldn't cost any more than buying it all in one place.
    I get what you're saying. If Items are Talents by another name, perhaps the Items section should be a sidebar, so that no one has my misconception?

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Quote Originally Posted by Grinner View Post
    I get what you're saying. If Items are Talents by another name, perhaps the Items section should be a sidebar, so that no one has my misconception?
    Good idea.
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!
    Spoiler
    Show

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Hey, playground! I've started working on this again. I think I've got the rules pretty straight; now I'm just working on legibility.
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!
    Spoiler
    Show

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Hmm, these rules seem pretty interesting. Might I ask how it would be a good choice for a simplistic game over something like FUDGE or FATE?

    Also, good to see you back.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Quote Originally Posted by Starsign View Post
    Hmm, these rules seem pretty interesting. Might I ask how it would be a good choice for a simplistic game over something like FUDGE or FATE?
    I've played FATE-- specifically, the Dresden Files RPG-- and somehow it never quite grabbed me. Aspects require a major change in thinking to cope with, from either side of the screen, which was one major problem. I also found FATE... not significantly faster than something like M&M. For a supposedly rules-light system, it took way too much explaining, and still required an amount of mechanical prep work for the GM. And I could never figure out how to describe stress properly. So that's why I'm not running FATE.

    STaRS runs really, really fast. STaRS is really, really easy to improvise with. It's also a rules light system with no narrative mechanics, which I haven't seen often.
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!
    Spoiler
    Show

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    OK, conflict rules are up!
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!
    Spoiler
    Show

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Jasdoif's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon, USA

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Looks neat overall! Few things in particular to ask/mention/suggest....

    • The rules for different kinds of recovery seemed needlessly convoluted at first glance, but once I figured out that you needed to receive treatment before the hourly recovery started happening, it all made much more sense. Perhaps I was just slow in realizing it, but it might be helpful to give that more emphasis.
    • I don't a section on Talents here, despite the mention of Talent points. Are they unchanged from the original draft?
    • To make sure I understand the changes to (dis)advantages properly....For every two net advantages or disadvantages, your effective scale is increased or decreased a level; and only if you have a (dis)advantage remaining do you reroll? Or to put it in other words, odd=reroll?
    • For the 2d6 variant/module mentioned in the original draft...for rerolls for (dis)advantage, I'd recommend instead to roll 3d6 and add the higher/lower two. That way, the bell curve doesn't directly apply like it would in a straight reroll, so (dis)advantage behaves more like it would when using a single die.
    • Something that'd be really helpful, I think, is how to gauge how many extras to use. For instance, in the play example in the original draft, there was a group of 15 skeletons. How did you come up with 15 as the number to use?
    Feytouched Banana eldritch disciple avatar by...me!

    The Index of the Giant's Comments VI―Making Dogma from Zapped Bananas

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasdoif View Post
    Looks neat overall! Few things in particular to ask/mention/suggest....
    Waah, sorry for the slow reply.

    The rules for different kinds of recovery seemed needlessly convoluted at first glance, but once I figured out that you needed to receive treatment before the hourly recovery started happening, it all made much more sense. Perhaps I was just slow in realizing it, but it might be helpful to give that more emphasis.
    I'll take another look on that.

    I don't a section on Talents here, despite the mention of Talent points. Are they unchanged from the original draft?
    Nope, I'm an idiot and didn't post a vital section, aparently.

    To make sure I understand the changes to (dis)advantages properly....For every two net advantages or disadvantages, your effective scale is increased or decreased a level; and only if you have a (dis)advantage remaining do you reroll? Or to put it in other words, odd=reroll?
    Yes. That's a good way of thinking of it, yeah-- I might steal that.

    For the 2d6 variant/module mentioned in the original draft...for rerolls for (dis)advantage, I'd recommend instead to roll 3d6 and add the higher/lower two. That way, the bell curve doesn't directly apply like it would in a straight reroll, so (dis)advantage behaves more like it would when using a single die.
    I'll consider it, if and when I transcribe those modules over here.

    Something that'd be really helpful, I think, is how to gauge how many extras to use. For instance, in the play example in the original draft, there was a group of 15 skeletons. How did you come up with 15 as the number to use?[/list]
    If I had something like that, I'd post it. But to be honest, every time I've run this I've just taken guesses. The 15 skeletons were 5/player, most likely.
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!
    Spoiler
    Show

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Thank you so much for posting this, Grod! This is quite literally the homebrew system I've been searching for for 3 whole years. Light on the math, multi-genre, easy advantage/disadvantage mechanics... You're quite literally my hero! ^_^

    I do have a question about the Abilities, however. After listing the applications of each one (not counting Skill Checks, Maneuvers, and Aids, which I assume are universal), I've found that a few of them seem to be rather imbalanced.

    Agility – Melee Attacks
    Awareness – Social Defense*
    Dexterity – Ranged Attacks
    Manipulation – Social Attacks**
    Physique – Physical Resistance, Magic Defense***, Lifting Capacity
    Presence – Social Resistance, Social Attacks**, Mental Recovery****
    Smarts – Physical Recovery
    Speed – Melee Defense, Ranged Defense, Magic Defense***, Initiative, Multi-Attacks, Movement
    Will – Magic Attacks, Mental Attacks, Mental Resistance, Mental Defense, Mental Recovery****, Social Defense*
    Wits – N/A

    *: Unclear or split responsibility. The number of *'s identifies each pair.
    If I'm understanding correctly, Speed and Will both have six unique applications. Wits, Smarts, and Awareness, on the other hand, appear to be woefully wimpy. Perhaps a more even spread of mechanics would be beneficial?

    Wits could cover Mental Resistance, as it already appears to be a reflection of sanity (the natural extension of common sense and memory). It could also cover Initiative, reflecting the fact that those with battle-hardened instincts will act before the rookie speedsters who hesitate. Another possible use would be Mental Recovery, as relating personal experiences and emphasizing positive aspects of life (both being based in common sense) are techniques counselors tend to rely on to soothe troubled minds.

    Awareness could cover Ranged Defense, as dodging something as fast as an arrow or a bullet could plausibly be chalked up to foresight rather than reflex.

    Smarts could cover Magic Attacks, as harnessing magic into tangible, practical forms is probably a matter of computation, experimentation, and memorization. Raw Telepathic Attacks would remain a matter of Will.

    Although you purposely left this one out, I feel Presence would be a good candidate for applying Social Recovery. A consoling talk with a trusted friend or leader is probably more effective at mending hurt self-esteem than a 10-minute read. Quiet time could be a requirement for the time-based recovery, though.

    Also, there are four separate stats concerning Social Combat, and I feel a bit of specialization would clear up misunderstandings. Manipulation and Awareness could be used for Rhetoric Combat (as stubborn, strong-willed people can still be provoked and persuaded with the right words; realizing what your opponent wants you to do is the key to doing the opposite), while Presence and Will could make up Charismatic Combat (where dirty tricks are absent and only sheer will and authority matter). It may seem unnecessary, but we've already created distinctions between Melee & Ranged and Magic & Telepathic Combat, so I see no reason not to.

    For defense purposes, if we treat close-proximity magic (explosions, wand sparks) as Melee Attacks, magical projectiles (fireballs, lightning bolts) as Ranged Attacks, and hexes and curses as Maneuvers with various saves depending on effect, that clears up the wonky "Magic Defense" issue.

    Additionally, perhaps Social Attacks transform into Mental Attacks if the required emotional conditions are present? It makes sense, as only telepaths directly communicate with their will -- everyone else uses words.

    If these adjustments were to be implemented, the above chart would now look like this:

    Agility – Melee Attacks
    Awareness – Ranged Defense, Rhetoric Defense
    Dexterity – Ranged Attacks
    Manipulation – Rhetoric Attacks
    Physique – Physical Resistance, Lifting Capacity
    Presence – Social Resistance, Charismatic Attacks, Social Recovery
    Smarts – Magic Attacks, Physical Recovery
    Speed – Melee Defense, Multi-Attacks, Movement
    Will – Telepathic Attacks, Mental Defense, Charismatic Defense
    Wits – Initiative, Mental Resistance, Mental Recovery

    Thanks for taking the time to read. None of the above thoughts need to be implemented -- I only offer them as suggestions to perhaps enhance your already wonderful work. May your endeavors always bear fruit! :D
    Last edited by GigaNerd17; 2013-08-09 at 06:34 PM.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Quote Originally Posted by GigaNerd17 View Post
    Thank you so much for posting this, Grod! This is quite literally the homebrew system I've been searching for for 3 whole years. Light on the math, multi-genre, easy advantage/disadvantage mechanics... You're quite literally my hero! ^_^
    Glad you like it so much!

    I do have a question about the Abilities, however. After listing the applications of each one (not counting Skill Checks, Maneuvers, and Aids, which I assume are universal), I've found that a few of them seem to be rather imbalanced.
    The imbalance comes, I think, because you're looking at things purely in terms of combat. Being fast is great in a fight, but it really doesn't do much for you elsewhere. On the other hand, look at how much you can do with a good Smarts score.

    But, feel free to re-define what ability goes with what Ability. (Heh heh heh). As long as the list is reasonably well defined, it should work just fine.


    Also, the reason that I didn't allow a Presence check to help social recovery is that... well, you've been burned out on socializing. You're in the kind of mood where other people are just driving you up a wall, whether or not they mean well. I could see someone taking a... well, I guess it'd be a Power to be able to console people, though.
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!
    Spoiler
    Show

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    The imbalance comes, I think, because you're looking at things purely in terms of combat. Being fast is great in a fight, but it really doesn't do much for you elsewhere. On the other hand, look at how much you can do with a good Smarts score.
    The way I see it, combat is one of the most empowering and rewarding experiences of an RPG. If I can't actively use my Smarts, Awareness, or Wits scores while everyone else is having fun fighting the dragon, then why should I even bother depositing in those stats? Whatever I accomplished in town means nothing if I can't share in the bloodbath.

    The more troubling issue I saw, however, was that Speed and Will covered all the defenses. To become the ultimate defender, you only need to max two stats. (On the other hand, the ultimate attacker requires 5-6) I didn't like the idea of all the mental stats being lumped in Will, either.

    I suppose we just hold differing views on the matter. ;)

    Also, the reason that I didn't allow a Presence check to help social recovery is that... well, you've been burned out on socializing. You're in the kind of mood where other people are just driving you up a wall, whether or not they mean well. I could see someone taking a... well, I guess it'd be a Power to be able to console people, though.
    Ah, I misunderstood the implications of a social knockout, then. I imagined it as badly losing an argument and being forced to concede / having your supporters shift sides, but given the "burnout" definition, that makes sense.


    Thanks for taking the time to answer! ^_^
    Last edited by GigaNerd17; 2013-08-09 at 10:56 PM.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Quote Originally Posted by GigaNerd17 View Post
    The way I see it, combat is one of the most empowering and rewarding experiences of an RPG. If I can't actively use my Smarts, Awareness, or Wits scores while everyone else is having fun fighting the dragon, then why should I even bother depositing in those stats? Whatever I accomplished in town means nothing if I can't share in the bloodbath.
    True... on the other hand... Something like D&D is heavily weighted towards combat, both in volume of material and in time investment. Meanwhile, fights in STaRS go down very fast

    The more troubling issue I saw, however, was that Speed and Will covered all the defenses. To become the ultimate defender, you only need to max two stats. (On the other hand, the ultimate attacker requires 5-6) I didn't like the idea of all the mental stats being lumped in Will, either.
    Mmm. I like the fact that you can't be an "ultimate attacker" without using half the stats in the game, but the "ultimate defender" thing is an issue, I admit. I think I'll move melee defense to Agility, and... something from Awareness to Wits would make sense. (Recognizing Falsehood? Manipulation Defense?) Stay tuned!

    Ah, I misunderstood the implications of a social knockout, then. I imagined it as badly losing an argument and being forced to concede / having your supporters shift sides, but given the "burnout" definition, that makes sense.
    You would get socially broken

    Thanks for taking the time to answer! ^_^
    Thanks for the feedback!
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!
    Spoiler
    Show

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Well, as soon as I can scrounge up a group, I'll playtest this (with my personal adjustments) and record the session for you to review. Talk can only get us so far, after all! XD


    A few final questions, though:

    1. The number of tiles on a map a character can move is equal to its Speed, correct? In that case, all NPC's require at least a Speed score for movement calculation and initiative.

    2. Is wrestling/grappling just a maneuver?

    3. How do mounts and pets work in this system?

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Quote Originally Posted by GigaNerd17 View Post
    Well, as soon as I can scrounge up a group, I'll playtest this (with my personal adjustments) and record the session for you to review. Talk can only get us so far, after all! XD
    Sounds good! I've playtested old versions, but I haven't had a chance yet to test 4e.

    As for a lot of your questions... they're contained in the new section (situational rules) that I had kept meaning to update from the last draft but forgetting about. They're up now.

    The number of tiles on a map a character can move is equal to its Speed, correct? In that case, all NPC's require at least a Speed score for movement calculation and initiative.
    Initiative doesn't really matter, since the check is "succeed I go before the baddies, fail I go after." But they do need something for movement. Can't believe I forgot about that.

    2. Is wrestling/grappling just a maneuver?
    Yep.

    3. How do mounts and pets work in this system?
    See the Situational ("Advanced?") rules

    EDIT: This is silly. I'm merging the Situational rules with the main ones, via "sidebars." Stand by.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2013-08-10 at 04:11 PM.
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!
    Spoiler
    Show

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Alrighty, I'll hopefully be playtesting this on Thursday. Got a few last questions I need to be sure of.

    1. Was this system designed for square grids, hex grids, or both?

    2. How do Conjuror/Summoner-type sorcerers work in this system?

    3. Does it cost talent points to gain a companion?

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    I'm liking the revision. It's looking really good, and reads together well! I just have a few minor points to make.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Talents and Flaws

    • Two applications of Advantage increase the level at which you can attempt an action by one, and two applications of Disadvantage decrease the level by one. Doing so prevents said applications from applying to your check. We'll elaborate on what that means in the next section.
    The problem I have here is that, after reading this, I'm inclined to look for a Level section to explain this further. Of course, there isn't a level section - it's in the Scale section, just after this statement. I do appreciate the placement in this particular case, as it helps point out where the reader needs to go, although I still find that directing people to the Scale section when talking about level (and not mentioning Scale) to be a problem.

    Perhaps the section would be better labeled Scale and Level?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Conflict

    There are three types of attacks— physical, social, and mental.

    • Social attacks hurt your feelings. When someone makes a social attack, they're trying to manipulate you into doing what they want, or reduce you to tears. Insults, intimidation, and
    I think you're missing part of the sentence here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Conflict
    Defending
    The bandit takes a stab at Wild, who rolls a Speed check to dodge. Unfortunately, he gets an 8— two points above his rank— and the knife cuts him right across the arm.
    There's a bit of a conflict here. In abilities, it mentions that Agility is used to avoid melee attacks and Speed for ranged. However, here it mentions Speed being used to avoid a melee attack. Which is correct?



    Also, on the topic of Speed, you might want to present a real-world value (feet? yards? meters?) for how far a character can move with a specific speed. It would be fairly easy to translate that into your grid of choice, but a bit more difficult to translate "7 grids of movement" into something sensible for players not using a grid.
    Quote Originally Posted by darthbobcat View Post
    There are no bad ideas, just bad execution.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Thank you to zimmerwald1915 for the Gustave avatar.
    The full set is here.



    Air Raccoon avatar provided by Ceika
    from the Request an OotS Style Avatar thread



    A big thanks to PrinceAquilaDei for the gryphon avatar!
    original image

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Sorry I missed you yesterday.

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    I'm liking the revision. It's looking really good, and reads together well!
    Thanks! I'm glad it reads well; that was one of my main worries.

    The problem I have here is that, after reading this, I'm inclined to look for a Level section to explain this further. Of course, there isn't a level section - it's in the Scale section, just after this statement. I do appreciate the placement in this particular case, as it helps point out where the reader needs to go, although I still find that directing people to the Scale section when talking about level (and not mentioning Scale) to be a problem.

    Perhaps the section would be better labeled Scale and Level?
    Agreed.

    I think you're missing part of the sentence here.
    D'oh!

    There's a bit of a conflict here. In abilities, it mentions that Agility is used to avoid melee attacks and Speed for ranged. However, here it mentions Speed being used to avoid a melee attack. Which is correct?
    Agility-- I changed it recently, but forgot to update later in the document. Fixed now.

    Also, on the topic of Speed, you might want to present a real-world value (feet? yards? meters?) for how far a character can move with a specific speed. It would be fairly easy to translate that into your grid of choice, but a bit more difficult to translate "7 grids of movement" into something sensible for players not using a grid.
    Check the Movement entry in the Combat section-- base speed is 2 yards/rank of Speed.

    EDIT: Also, core gameplay (not character creation) rules can, again, be fit onto one side of a standard 8.5x11 inch piece of paper. Victory!
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2013-08-20 at 11:33 PM.
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!
    Spoiler
    Show

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Updated a bunch of modules from the last draft, and tweaked how Aid worked a bit.
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!
    Spoiler
    Show

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Well, my playtesting session has been postponed 'til Tuesday, but in the meantime I found one important issue that hasn't been addressed:

    Are maneuvers a major action or a minor action?

    Either answer radically alters the gameplay. If they require a major action, then maneuvers become a way to "set up the play" for your allies, as by the time the condition wears off, the initial character wouldn't have had a chance to attack or otherwise make use of it. If they require a minor action, then maneuvers become almost spammable, and combat becomes much more hectic (which isn't necessarily bad).

    The only other option I can think of would be to make maneuvers a major action but have conditions last 'til the end of your next turn, giving a grappler time to strike their bound opponent and such without taking advantage of the system. Either way, just wanted to check with you about it, because I wasn't quite sure how it was meant to be handled.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Quote Originally Posted by GigaNerd17 View Post
    Well, my playtesting session has been postponed 'til Tuesday, but in the meantime I found one important issue that hasn't been addressed:

    Are maneuvers a major action or a minor action?
    Good question/point. They're a major action, alright, requiring time and effort. But when it ticks over is a good point... in older drafts, conditions had a "save" each round-- on the target's turn, you'd roll your check again to see if the condition sticks around-- but I dumped that because I felt like the reversed save was too confusing.

    "Until the end of your next turn" sounds good, though. Thanks for the catch!
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!
    Spoiler
    Show

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    I ran a one-shot using this draft of the rules tonight-- it worked like a charm. People who had never seen the system before went through character creation in 20 minutes, including time spent picking random items to fill their pockets with. The overhauled skill system lent a great sense of certainty to the game, one that was kind of lacking in the last version. And the core gameplay, the fast-and-lethal combat, remained intact.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2013-08-28 at 10:38 PM.
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!
    Spoiler
    Show

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Hey, Grod! The game went great, and I've finally got the goods for ya. Here's the adjusted rules set we were playing with, and here's the recording we made of the entire session. (Make sure to download it instead of viewing it in the browser, but be warned, as it's a 274 MB file!) Feel free to review it at your leisure. ^_^

    Keep in mind that two of the players were under 14 years old, and everyone at the table was new to RPG's. In fact, this is actually only my fourth serious attempt at running an RPG, so my apologies if the GMing wasn't ideal. If you feel you have the spare time, any advice would be much appreciated.
    Last edited by GigaNerd17; 2013-08-30 at 08:28 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 4.0

    Quote Originally Posted by GigaNerd17 View Post
    Hey, Grod! The game went great, and I've finally got the goods for ya. Here's the adjusted rules set we were playing with, and here's the recording we made of the entire session. (Make sure to download it instead of viewing it in the browser, but be warned, as it's a 274 MB file!) Feel free to review it at your leisure. ^_^
    Glad it worked out for you! Do you have any specific feedback?

    (Also, I can't open the document with your adjusted rules-- I don't have Openoffice)
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!
    Spoiler
    Show

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •