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    Default STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 7.0

    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.

    Current Draft
    Due to size and formatting, the draft is available as a .pdf, via Dropbox.

    Update 2/22: Version 5.5 is up


    Update 3/21: STaRS WILL NO LONGER BE AVAILABLE HERE, AS I MOVE INTO THE FINAL STAGES BEFORE SELF-PUBLICATION. I'm happy to provide copies via direct message, though-- just let me know and I'll trade you an advance copy for feedback.

    Update 12/12: We're up to version 7, according to my current reckoning. Re-imposing some simplicity again.

    Update 6/1: Version 7.3 has been sent out for copyediting, and will hopefully be coming soon to a DriveThruRPG near you. The Rules in Brief will continue to appear here for at least a little bit, and have been updated to the new draft.

    Update 2/22: Official release scheduled for March!


    Spoiler: The Rules in Brief
    Show

    The majority of this book will be filled with rules. We’ll take time to explain things carefully, go over our reasoning, and give examples. But before we get to that, we’d like to do a quick run-through of things. If your friends already know how to play, this is probably all you need to get started.

    The Core Mechanics
    Characters are primarily defined by their ten Abilities—Agility, Awareness, Dexterity, Intellect, Manipulation, Physique, Presence, Speed, Will, and Wits. Abilities are ranked between 3 and 8, with higher numbers being better. Whenever a character attempts to do something with a chance of failure, make a Check by rolling a ten-sided die. If your roll is equal to or lower than your Ability score, you succeed.

    The Difficulty of these Checks can change, based on circumstances. At any point, the Director can assign a Modifier, making a task easier or harder. Modifiers can also be gained through Traits and actions (see the Conflict/Challenge rules). A Modifier provides either a +2 bonus or a -2 penalty to your Ability rank, depending on if it’s positive or negative.

    Characters can occasionally have adrenaline surges, where they attempt otherwise-impossible tasks. At any point, you may take a -6 penalty to your Check; if you still succeed, you accomplish something that's just beyond the normal limits of what a human can manage.

    Conflict
    The Conflict rules exist to turn a single Check into a prolonged scene with back-and-forth action. The most common type of Conflict is a fight, but everything from arguments to attempts to escape a burning building can be a Conflict.

    In a Conflict, it often matters exactly how well you did. For every two points by which the result of your Check is less than your Ability, you score an extra success. For every two points your roll exceeds your Ability, you're saddled with an extra failure .

    If timing is critical, everyone makes Speed checks. Those who succeed act before the enemies, while those who fail act afterwards. On your turn, you can take one Major Action (usually attacking), one Minor Action (usually moving), and infinite Free Actions (usually talking).

    Once a conflict has begun, there are four main actions you can take:
    • Move (varies)—Move a short distance as a Minor Action, or a much larger distance as a Major Action.
    • Overcome (Major)—To directly overcome the challenge (or a specific foe), make an appropriate Check and deal one damage per success. In a direct confrontation this is probably Physical or Mental damage to a single foe, but it could also represent your lead in a race, leads gathered through research, progress made towards repairs, or similar such measures.
    • Complicate (Major)—To hinder an enemy in specific tasks, make an appropriate Check to impose a Complication on another character, giving you a Bonus on relevant Checks against them for one turn per success.
    • Aid (Major)—To help an ally with a specific tasks, make an appropriate Check make give an ally a Bonus for a limited time—one Check per success. You can sometimes Aid yourself, depending on what you’re trying to do.


    When it’s not your turn, you need to make checks to defend yourself.
    • Against Attacks—When attacked, roll an appropriate Ability check and take one damage per failure.
    • Against Complications—When an enemy attempts a Complicate action against you, make an appropriate Ability check. If you fail, you’re affected by a Complication, imposing a Penalty on relevant checks for one turn per failure. You or an ally can attempt to remove Complications early with a relevant Ability Check.


    Health
    You have a set amount of Mental and Physical Grace, equal to the relevant Ability score. (Will for Mental and Physique for Physical). Grace represents your plot armor, in a sense—how many blows narrowly miss you or clang off your shield, how many insults you can swallow, how many bruises you can take before something really hurts. Damage is subtracted from your Grace. If you’d be reduced to zero or less Grace, you’re Taken Out, and the attacker can choose your fate. Alternately, you may choose to suffer an Injury, a sort of long-term Complication which makes relevant Checks harder until it heals. If you suffer an Injury, your Grace is instantly refilled. However, you may only ever have three Injuries at a time.

    All Grace is recovered after a minute or so of calm. Injuries require appropriate treatment. After they’re treated, you may recover from one Injury every time the group reaches a Minor Milestone. (see below).

    Character Creation
    In addition to their Abilities, characters are defined by their Traits—special skills, powers, equipment, and so on. Characters begin with a score of 5 in each Ability. They then receive 6 Experience Points (XP), 3 of which must be spent on Abilities and 3 of which must be spent on Traits. When spending XP on Abilities, XP and ability ranks essentially interchangeable—you can spend an XP to raise an Ability by one, or lower an Ability to gain one XP. Different Traits have different XP costs.
    • Armor reduces the damage of a specific type you take by 2, and cost 1 XP per rank.
    • Companions give you the services of a non-sentient vehicle (for 1 XP) or a sentient ally (for 3 XP). Both have half as many XP as you, and you can spend more on their behalf.
    • Powers add completely new abilities to your character. A Minor Power gives you a single narrow feature for 1 XP, a Moderate Power offers a versatile or broadly-applicable ability for 3 XP, and a Major Power grants an exceptionally far-reaching power for 6 XP.
    • Quirks cost 1 XP and let you use one Ability in place of another for certain Checks.
    • Skills make one type of Check easier, and cost 1 XP
    • Weapons let you deal an extra 2 damage of a given type, and cost 1 XP per rank.

    Additionally, your Traits themselves may have flaws, known as Discounts, which reduce their effectiveness by about half. Each Discount reduces the Trait’s cost by one XP, to a minimum of one. You'll want to add up the total cost of the Trait before applying the Discount.

    Character Advancement
    Character improvement is tied to Milestones. You hit a Minor Milestone at the end of each session, letting you recover from an Injury and re-assign a Trait Point. Major Milestones come every few sessions, after achieving a major goal, and grant you a new XP Point.

    Co-Stars
    Because Stars roll all the dice, the characters they interact with don't require their own stats. They have Grace, Powers, Armor, and Weapons, as normal (though you don't need to worry about XP costs), but instead of Abilities and Skills they impose Modifiers on any actions a Star attempts against them. This can be either a blanket "all actions against them take a Penalty" rule, or you can break things down into Challenge Groups with different Modifiers than the rest, such as an ogre who imposes a Penalty on attempts to out-muscle it but grants a Bonus on attempts to outwit it.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2019-02-22 at 11:04 AM.
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness: A big book of player options for 5e. Second edition now released!
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e. New release!
    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
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    Nifty! I especially like the new section on making weird/magic powers work, and...the entire Creating Opposition and Creating a World chapters, really.

    Now, since I noticed some things were a little off in the PDF....
    Spoiler: Proofreading-ness
    Show
    There are multiple places where there's a header line at the bottom of the page, separating it from the stuff it's meant for. There are only two egregious instances, though: The Default Scale table (the header row is separated from the table contents, making it unwieldly to use) and the "Explaining Your Game— Modifier Stacking" title bar is on a different page than its content. If you want a full list with page numbers, though....
    Spoiler: Full List
    Show
    • 7, "Stars Roll All the Dice"
    • 8, Default Scale table header
    • 9, "Modifiers"
    • 10, "Explaining Your Game— Modifier Stacking" title bar
    • 27, "Damage"
    • 28, "Ending the Fight"
    • 29, "Recovery"
    • 44, "Tactics"
    • 50, "History"
    • 52, "Zooming In"


    To model this, represent Absent Abilities with a “—” and consider the absent Rote or Ability to be Stepped Down three times, rendering the character incapable of succeeding on even the easiest of checks without outside.
    I think you mean some version of "outside assistance" at the end, there.

    • A Trivial Power is a single spell.
    • A Minor Power is a set of related spells, such as "illusion spells" or "fire spells."
    • A Major Power is an almost unlimited set of spells, such as "elemental magic."
    It occurs right after saying that a Minor Power is a single spell, and a Moderate Power is a set of related spells. I presume this list was written before Moderate Powers existed in the system.

    Your group is the final arbiter of whether a Power is Trivial, Minor, or Major— not us.
    Similar to the above, "Moderate" is missing.

    For a Social Conflict, your weapons are words, rathe r than swords— logical arguments, cutting remarks, and more.
    The space in "rather" shouldn't be there.

    A successful Attack deals one point of Damage, plus one additional point of Damage for every Flourish.
    While there's nothing wrong here, I think it's worth repeating this in the damage and scale sections, to remind readers where the number they're multiplying is coming from.

    The key word there is manufacture. If you need to do something to get the Advantage, you need to take the Aim action.
    I think you mean "Aid action" here.

    Without treatment, you naturally recover one point of Damage per hour. Still, Directors should keep the
    ...that's the whole paragraph, something happened to it.

    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.
    I think this is from an older version, where Skills were the advantage trait and Boosts were the scale Step trait.

    Put simple, Co-Stars aren't really characters.
    Should be "simply" instead of "simple"

    It’s east to feel constrained by years of other people's world-building, afraid that anything you do will violate "cannon."
    First, that should be "easy". Second, the term for looking for at the end is "canon", with the single "n" in the middle; there are two other instances in the PDF where this happens, but they'll all rather close together.

    The first thing to think about is genre It's not enough to just say "fantasy" or "sci-fi"— you should try to be a bit more specific than that.
    To be consistent with the rest of the PDFm there should be a period after "genre".
    Feytouched Banana eldritch disciple avatar by...me!

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

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    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasdoif View Post
    Nifty! I especially like the new section on making weird/magic powers work, and...the entire Creating Opposition and Creating a World chapters, really.
    Thanks for the complements, and double-thanks for the proofreading!
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness: A big book of player options for 5e. Second edition now released!
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e. New release!
    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

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    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    I've managed to start a real-life campaign to test out this latest batch of rules, so we might see some changes coming in. (Especially to Advancement-- I've never run/played STaRS for more than a one-shot, although a friend ran it for a semester with no complaints). Group contains a mad scientist, a firebender, a mind/space mage, and a sniper-- one total RPG newbie, one experience player who's never touched the system, and two experienced players who've played a one-shot with it. No sticking points so far, although it looks like I'm going to have to write up some Expanded Rules on vehicles...
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness: A big book of player options for 5e. Second edition now released!
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e. New release!
    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

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    Okay, the first thing I noticed is that you eliminated the "god" level Scale from previous editions. Which is fine, as that level of play is probably better represented with a more complicated system.
    I'm still reading through the new sections, so I'll have more comments later.
    Last edited by 137ben; 2014-07-20 at 11:29 PM.

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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    So, from a balance standpoint, I feel like the system may be a bit too compressed. It's probably most obvious in terms of Powers; the difference in versatility between Minor/Moderate/Major is huge compared to the point cost difference. The cost to Step Up also seems fairly low considering the power of it, and feels like it will lead to everyone needing to be within a Boost of each other for anything at all important to the campaign.

    I have some ideas. They do result in somewhat more complexity, but I think a good amount of the complexity is of the "advice as to what the numbers mean" variety, which I don't think is a bad thing. And they can kinda subsume some of the existing options, which also hopefully helps. Not sure if they'll be useful to you, but here we go:

    Spoiler
    Show
    Basics

    Abilities: Hard cap Abilities at 7, rather than 8. There's a reason for this.

    Trait Points: Under this system, I'd advise ten Trait Points as the default.

    Trait Groups: This isn't strictly necessary, but I think with where I'm going it would be good. Let there be three separate groups of Traits; Physical, Mental, and Social. Traits in a given group would naturally be limited to actions and effects relevant to that Ability group (so you couldn't have like an information gathering Power in your Physical Group). Trait Groups could be set to just forcing more individual purchases, or they could each have their own pool of points, possibly allowing you to move points around at the rate of gaining one point for one group at the cost of one point from both other groups (or two from one other group).

    Trait Stats:

    Here's probably where the most mechanical complexity comes in (although it also removes some; this system would in theory replace different grades of Powers and subsume Variable Powers entirely). There are three Trait Stats. Now, my basic theory would be, they apply in each Trait Group separately. That's adding nine total stats, so might be going way beyond appropriate complexity for this game. Just having three Trait Stats and ignoring Trait Groups entirely is plausible too, although that increases overall versatility a fair bit. Anyway, the Trait Stats are as follows:

    Power: How strong your Traits can be. Your Traits (in that Trait Group) can have a maximum point value equal to your Power.

    Versatility: How many Traits you can have. At Versatility 1, you get one Set of Traits (in that Trait Group). Each additional point of Versatility provides an additional Set. One Set is a number of Traits whose total point values add up to your Power, so if you have Power 4, Versatility 3, you could have three Sets of Traits; one with a single 4-point Trait, one with two 2-point Traits, and one with four 1-point Traits, for example.

    You may also take Broad Sets. Each Broad Set costs three normal Sets, but any Traits in a Broad Set that would normally apply to a single Rote or Power instead apply to an entire Ability.

    Flexibility: How often you can change your Traits. For each point of Flexibility, you can entirely change one Set per Milestone. In addition, if your Flexibility is at least 4, you may change 1 point worth of Traits per scene per point of Flexibility. If your Flexibility is at least 9, you may also entirely change one Set per scene per three points of Flexibility. You may change multiple Traits and Sets at once or divide the uses per scene up as you choose, but each time you make changes it costs a Major action if done during a Conflict.

    You only spend your Trait Points on Trait Stats. The first point in all three costs 1 TP, and then you spend TP on each one individually.

    Companions: Companions are purchased directly with TP, rather than placed as part of a Set. A sentient Companion costs 10 TP, a vehicle costs 2 TP. Companions have their own Abilities and Ability Points as normal. They don't have their own TP. You may assign any of your Sets to one of your Companions instead of you. For each additional TP spent on a Companion, it gains one of your own Sets without costing you access to it.

    Traits:

    Boosts: Directly improve a chosen Rote or Power, either providing a bonus on checks or directly improving in-game values such as speed, weight, range, targets, area, and so on.

    One Point: +1 to the relevant Ability or roughly half again normal effectiveness.

    Two Points: +2 to the relevant Ability or roughly twice normal effectiveness.

    Three Points: Advantage on checks or roughly three times normal effectiveness.

    Four Points: Advantage and +1 or roughly five times normal effectiveness.

    Five Points: Advantage and +2 or roughly seven times normal effectiveness.

    Six Points: Step Up or roughly ten times normal effectiveness.

    More Points: Follow the above pattern; a nine-point boost Steps Up and gives Advantage and multiplies in-game values by 30.

    Variant: Instead of getting a bonus on checks, you can add to your Flourishes or deduct from your Fumbles at the rate of one per two points of the Boost (so a four-point Boost would provide two additional Flourishes on a success, and remove two Fumbles on a failure).

    Knacks: Knacks cost a flat two points, or one point if the Disadvantage is particularly rare or niche.

    Powers:

    Free: Trivial powers, basically. Free, but you can have no more than two per Set.

    One Point: One-point powers tend to make things more convenient. They might remove a Disadvantage for a situation that is largely under your control, or get around role-playing complications without actually providing unique capabilities. Obviating the need for tools is probably the most common example; for instance, being able to blast foes with directed energy is no stronger than any other attack, but also can't be disarmed, removed, detected by a search, etc.

    Two Points: Two-point powers tend to mitigate restrictions or offer minor but concrete tactical benefits. Many low-end sensory and movement powers, and "counters" to specific other powers, are typical. For example: seeing in the dark, spider climbing, detecting magic, seeing invisible creatures, ignoring difficult terrain, basic telekinesis (no better than normal strength, but at range) and telepathy (no better than normal communication, but mind to mind), etc.

    Three Points: Three-point powers provide notable advantages over normal use of a relevant Rote. They still typically let you accomplish goals you normally could, but without needing normal situational prerequisites, or in a strategically different manner. The difference between this and a one-point power is a one-point power removes personal prerequisites; things you have control of most of the time. Three-point powers remove the need for things you don't have control of. Basic invisibility is a premier example (you can still be detected normally, but you don't need cover, concealment, or anything to hide; it could be an open field in broad daylight and you can still use stealth). Divination type powers, letting you perform research or interrogations without an actual information source to draw from, are another example. Any sort of power that might have a tactical mechanical effect or just let you do new things that aren't inherently better than other options is generally also a three-point power; Area attacks, for example, or illusions.

    Six Points: Six-point powers are game changers in their field. They give you a capability that pretty much auto-win against unpowered individuals in the same field, or that provide options that are explicitly superior to normal mechanics. Flight. Teleportation. Full-fledged invisibility (i.e. "If you don't have special senses, you can't see me.") Mind control. "Save or lose" type effects. Directors and Stars alike should naturally consider the impact of any six-point powers with care.

    More Points: The above breakpoints will probably cover most basic Powers, with Boosts then serving to augment them further (or lesser Powers added to fill gaps); for example, you might get Flight as a six-point Power, but super-sonic flight would probably further require a twelve-point Boost. Especially potent Powers may of course warrant higher point costs.

    Quirks: Three points (though an argument could be made for two).
    A role playing game is three things. It is an interactive story, a game of chance, and a process in critical thinking.

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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    Thank you for your feedback. I find that I disagree with some of your points, though.

    Boosts are quite powerful, yes, but I think you're underestimating how expensive they are-- especially since you'll often need both an attack and defense Rote, and it takes about 3 Boosts to really put you out of the range of an unBoosted rival*. Given that TP aren't meant to be pouring in very quickly, I don't think it's possible to Step yourself into invulnerability, or way beyond the range of other players. Except for the really isolated Rotes, like stealth or science, in which case... hey, you specialized in it, you should be able to enjoy it.

    Power-wise... I can see where you're coming from, for certain, but I honestly believe that fewer categories is better. I'm willing to accept some potential balance bits to maintain the ability to say "ehh, sounds like a Moderate Power to me." Having versatile characters isn't at all a bad thing. (I'm used to playing M&M, where it's dead-easy to get things like flight or invisibility. It causes fewer problems than you'd think). I will step up the cost of a major power to 4 TP, though, and add a sidebar warning against "I can do anything" Powers.

    --------

    *Character Advantage cancels out like any other form. If you've only got two Boosts, one Complication or NPC-Aid action is enough to make you vulnerable again.
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness: A big book of player options for 5e. Second edition now released!
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e. New release!
    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
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    I've read the 4e rules, but I'm gong to read this one all the way through when I get a chance.
    Quick typo fixes I noticed after reading the world building guide:
    • Page 53: Last paragraph- first and second sentences are redundant.
    • Page 48: First paragraph: Green text- should be "steal the spotlight" rather than stoplight

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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    a good first rpg system i would say, good for teaching, little to confuse
    Reality is my clay, Imagination my tools.

    Always have an idea on hand.

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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    Quote Originally Posted by infinitetech View Post
    a good first rpg system i would say, good for teaching, little to confuse
    Thanks. Much appreciated.
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness: A big book of player options for 5e. Second edition now released!
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e. New release!
    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
    Orc in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    also for world generation would you like to see how my map creation for my rpgs is currently set up? it should make decent, whole worlds that can get as detailed as you want with a few levels of random roll numbers and basically zooming in (id have to type up the ruling for you)
    Reality is my clay, Imagination my tools.

    Always have an idea on hand.

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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    No thank you.
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness: A big book of player options for 5e. Second edition now released!
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e. New release!
    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

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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    After another round of revisions, I'm tentatively calling STaRS rules complete. The next few days will probably see a bit more formatting and grammar work, but other than that... <shrug> hopefully coming soon to a (online) gaming store near you?
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness: A big book of player options for 5e. Second edition now released!
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e. New release!
    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

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    This system really helped my friends and me get into roleplaying, so thank you so much for making it, Grod. I'll be looking over the 5e rules tonight and running my first 5e campaign tomorrow. I'd really like to keep up with STaRS and I hope you find a way to distribute it to a wider audience. I think it has a lot of potential. I want to make it work simply with Roll20.net, but in that website's current state I think it'll be too in-depth. (sucks because I want to play with friends remotely)
    If you were interested, I could share my campaign materials to make a sort of campaign book for the system. That way you could link people to those and it would be even friendlier to newcomers, having a pre-made campaign and all.
    Last edited by joshua220; 2015-08-01 at 03:44 PM.

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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    Quote Originally Posted by joshua220 View Post
    This system really helped my friends and me get into roleplaying, so thank you so much for making it, Grod. I'll be looking over the 5e rules tonight and running my first 5e campaign tomorrow. I'd really like to keep up with STaRS and I hope you find a way to distribute it to a wider audience. I think it has a lot of potential. I want to make it work simply with Roll20.net, but in that website's current state I think it'll be too in-depth. (sucks because I want to play with friends remotely)
    If you were interested, I could share my campaign materials to make a sort of campaign book for the system. That way you could link people to those and it would be even friendlier to newcomers, having a pre-made campaign and all.
    Glad to hear it! I'm actually intending to publish on RPGnet or something; I'm mostly waiting for a friend to finish cover art.
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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    This is good work, I'll probably give it a go soon.

    Although there are a couple of points I'd like to bring up (I don't think the answer is in the rules and I've missed it, but if so, my bad) :

    1- Out-of-combat damage. As written, damage can only be taken by failing a Defense check in combat. Granted, you encourage the Director to write damaging things/terrains as Co-stars, but sometimes it doesn't make sense. For example, in "How well did I do", your example for two fumbles while climbing up a cliff is "you were near the top and you fell". Okay, I fell, then what happens ? Damage doesn't matter at all since I just have to lie still for one minute to recover my Grace, and an Injury seems a bit punishing for one bad roll. (And okay, lying for one minute may work on a little cliff, but what if it's high ?) I guess that could be solved by going the punishing route, but having Script points in play...

    2- Either the rules or the Combat Cheatsheet are mistaken, because they don't say the same thing. (The Cheatsheet is probably wrong, because the rules make more sense and seem more balanced). Most notably : speed when sprinting is 20ft. per Speed point in the rules, 25 ft. per Speed point in the Cheatsheet. Also, I find the Attack and Defend sections on the Cheatsheet confusing. Being used to D&D, I have a hard time keeping in mind that Co-stars don't have an attack rote or a defense rote, they simply step you down. The Cheatsheet confuses me some more by talking about "if your attack is higher than the opponents defense" or the reverse. It does simply mean, "If your attack/defense is stepped up/down", right ?
    Also, if the difficulty scale has a lower cap at -2 and a higher cap at 4, it is impossible to be stepped down more than twice. If I'm Stepped up once and the enemy Steps me down once, I end up at Step 0, which means I'm neither stepped down nor stepped up. If my rote is normal, and my enemy steps me down four times, I still end up at -2. (and so the "if the attack is four/six steps higher than your Defense" never applies). It is, however, possible for the Stars to be stepped up four times, which makes the "enemy instantly taken out if attack four steps high" rule valid. Or isn't the Scale capped ? (which would mean multiple Complications/Anti-boosts renders the character incapable of the most simple things, and the enemy is better off inflicting them than dishing out damage)
    Lastly, just a question of balance : if your Health rote is stepped up twice, you take no damage. If your Defense is stepped up once (according to the cheatsheet) you take no damage. Given the low cost of Martial boosts, isn't it super-easy to become virtually immune to damage (or at least one kind of damage), barring super-strong enemies who would wipe the floor with your teammates to challenge you ?

    3- Never mind. I was going to talk about movement and speed, but I re-read the rules and I'd missed the relevant point
    Last edited by Seto; 2016-02-03 at 06:07 AM.
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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    Just looked at the pdf. I must say it is quite well made.

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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    Played my first session of this with my RPG group on Thursday night. Gotta say, I was blown away with how smoothly this worked. I had a mixed group of four players - one RPG veteran, two who have never played RPGs but have lots of tabletop gaming experience and one complete newbie. All of them absolutely loved the system, and it was so refreshing to not have to constantly be consulting a manual or guide for rule checks. I'm relatively new to being a GM, and it was great to have such confidence in the system I was running without being afraid that a rules lawyer was going to start giving me some lip. Did you roll a 10? Then you definitely failed, shut up and sit down!

    One thing that I was a little worried about going into it was the combat - I was afraid that because of its relative simplicity that it could get quite repetitive and boring, but I could not have been more wrong. Because it was so simple for players to grasp what was happening at any point and what they could do with their turn it meant that they were incredibly open to trying new ideas and looking at combat in interesting ways. On a few occasions I was genuinely floored by some of the stuff my players were doing, stuff that would have been incredibly complicated or difficult to work out in other systems but just flowed really naturally with this system. It made the combat encounters incredibly strategic, giving tons of freedom whilst still providing a solid framework for PCs to work with. By the same token the combat was really easy to balance, keeping encounters tense but without being overwhelming.

    My group is meeting again this coming week, and I can't wait to play this again. Great work man, cannot thank you enough!

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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    Quote Originally Posted by benmilesrocks View Post
    My group is meeting again this coming week, and I can't wait to play this again. Great work man, cannot thank you enough!


    Thanks! I'm glad it's working so well for you guys.
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    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness: A big book of player options for 5e. Second edition now released!
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e. New release!
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    It seems interesting.
    But it is like many other rpgs: it is quite abstract at first sight.
    I might try to get in one day.
    Last edited by noob; 2018-06-19 at 08:03 AM.

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    Default Re: STaRS: the Simple TAbletop Roleplaying System 5.0

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    It seems interesting.
    But it is like many other rpgs: it is quite abstract at first sight.
    I might try to get in one day.
    I mean, you're not wrong; light games have to abstract a fair deal to operate. But you're also (unless there are copies floating around there I don't know about) only looking at the short-and-sketchy rules; the actual book goes into more detail on how to apply everything, how to make NPCs and run different types of conflict. I can provide a copy I'd you'd like to see more?
    Hill Giant Games
    I make indie gaming books for you!

    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness: A big book of player options for 5e. Second edition now released!
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e. New release!
    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

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