I mentioned last week that I stumbled upon ye olde Roadside Picnic Roleplay, good old fashioned none virtual D&D esque stuff.
For the less hardcore of us out there, or the one’s with girlfriends, Dungeons & Dragons is what is called a Pen & Paper Roleplay. You assume the role of a character, and it is 9/10 class based. You and your fellow adventurers are set quests and presented scenes and scenarios which you have to roleplay your way out. The game hinges around attribute points, Rogue Trader uses a D100 system, or percentage. If you walk through the streets unwary of the ambush ahead of you, the Gamemaster might role against your Perception attributes in secret and individually. You have a perception of 40, but lets say it’s night time, and these guys are well hidden. That’s -10 for each, meaning your Perception is now 20. This means you need a score less than or equal to 20 to see the guy who’s leg is sticking out, and realize the ambush is ahead you. You roll a 4, not only do you pass but you pass with startling success! You manage to see not only the poorly hidden guy, but the guys sneaking up behind you and the guy over head. Alerting your companions by a pre-agreed signal, such as a hair flick, you draw your weapon and fire – leading to a ballistics skill check…
And so on. The great thing about system’s like this is randomness, this is were the tension really draws from. However the critical flaw to this is what I like to call “Metagaming.” – The failure of the player to separate the player from the character. They will not only Roleplay characters that are exactly like them, but also roll them leaning on rules, likelihoods, and basing the final character around his attributes and stats – not his character. This is also called Min/Maxing, sacrificing a lot of other stats to boost a single stat. This makes for very boring Roleplays as the players play it like a game, the whole point of P&P Roleplays is flexibility. You aren’t limited to not punching kids, attempting to sexually abuse the Guardsmen, or boozing it up with the local Minotaurs. It’s all fair game.
What Stalker The Roleplaying Sci Fi seeks to do is to take out this flaw, and put some power back in the GM’s hands. There are no such things as powers, traits, talents, stats, or perks. You don’t need “Tackle” to tackle the guy to the ground. It’s also completely diceless, how does this work? FLOW is the answer. FLOW seeks to reward players for roleplaying, not just playing and by gum is it on the right track. The system scales a problem in intervals of 5 between 5-30, anyone can perform a 0-5 task with a fair chance of success – a professional or hobbyist this is a walk in the park. 10 is the limit for the hobbyist, routine for the professional. At 15 the hobbyist starts praying, and this is a daily challenge for the professional. At 20 the hobbyist is sacrificing lambs, – and professionals start failing here. 25 is Theoretically possible, but do not count on it. 30 is practically impossible. Wait, how do I score against it? Your score is from 2-25 – the product of Idea and Roleplaying.
“How do I max my Idea stat without losing out on my Roleplaying stat too heavily?” You mix maxers ask – let me answer. This game takes a hefty chunk of chance out, and divvies the power back to the players and the GM. You solve problems and get out of situations by presenting an Idea, how sound the idea is, how comprehensive, and if it includes your team or not all tally up to give you a score out of 4. A similar rule applies to Roleplay, if it suits your character’s history and actions to date can tally up to a total of 4 points. Having the right ability (very broad, such as Machinery) gives you the final point for each. This means with a stupid idea that has a bit of team work, and barely fits in with roleplay – you can even pass the most menial of tasks. The idea is the numerical values are all kept in the GM’s head, and no one else knows the exact details – just what happens next. It’s very much an outcome based system, but it certainly beats the living shit out of beating the living shit out of something for 20 turns to finally hear it explode.
Yet to give it a go, anyone out there played this yet?
Yes yes, Rushing/Russian, I know. I’m funny.