Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Vacation: The RPG

Awhile ago, there was a challenge for a "one-page RPG" leveled, with the assumption being about 1000 words or less. I went over the limit and had intended to go back and trim some, as well as write an adventure for this system. I plan on doing the latter, but I really think this needs more detail, not less, and I don't want to get rid of the flavor text. What do you think?

[edit: By removing formatting and putting the weapon and skill lists in one paragraph, I was able to fit this in one page in word. Also the page count is 1,042, so I wasn't that far off the mark.]

Introduction: You live in the distant future, blissfully freed from the constraints of hunger, want, employment, and education. You do not know cold, or fear. There is a certain degree of boredom. Dinosaur polo came and went, no-one is interested in five-dimensional racquetball anymore, and hyperchess takes too long to play. Clearly the answer to this is a vacation. You really need a vacation.

With the help of a Tour Guide (TG) you will inhabit a puppet, a biomechanical body which can travel into the distant past for the purposes of entertainment. The Tour Guide will choose a time and place that will be fun, exciting, and lethal. Nobody wants to end a vacation without dying.

Character creation:

Skills: As a citizen of the future, you naturally do not possess any skills. Therefore your puppet can be programmed with a selection of skills, including but not limited to
  • Ranged weapon
  • Melee weapon
  • Unarmed
  • Vehicle operation
  • Crafting
  • Healing magic (ask your Tour Guide if he is allowing magic)
  • Force manipulation magic (levitate, fly, throw things with your mind)
  • Energy projection magic
Consult your Tour Guide before taking a different skill, it may be included in one listed above

Your puppet can be loaded with twelve skill points, to a maximum of four in any given skill.

Equipment: Your puppet can be equipped with items, which will be made of the same biomechanical substance as the puppet. The exact form of these items will be determined by the venue your Tour Guide selects - a laser rifle would be inappropriate in ancient Chicago during the Capone age, and post-apocalyptic, Xag'hos-mutant infested Montana would be an odd place to carry a stone ax. Here are a few examples:
  • Ranged weapon, slow (combat bonus is points spent + 4, Initiative 4)
  • Ranged weapon, fast (combat bonus is points spent, Initiative 2)
  • Melee weapon, slow (combat bonus is points spent +2, initiative 3)
  • Melee weapon, fast(combat bonus is points spent -1, Initiative 1)
  • Combat armor (armor rating = points spent * 4. Initiative penalty of points spent /2, round down. This is in addition to the native armor rating of 4 for a puppet.
  • Hand-held explosive charge (combat bonus of points spent +4, initiative 2)
  • Security bypass devices
  • Climbing gear
  • Implement of healing (points spent *2 in charges, magical or ultra-tech)
You may select up to 10 points of equipment, with a maximum of 4 for each.

As a vacationer, you should be aware of your native talents, such as they are. Here are some possibilities:
  • Quick-witted (-1 to initiative)
  • Cheater (bring additional 3 points of equipment, may boost equipment to max of 6)
  • Skillful (select additional 4 points of skills, may boost skills to a max of 6)
  • Dumb luck (may retry any roll where failure would result in failure or death)
Please choose only one.

Basic mechanic: Vacationers will only need two six-sided dice, which they will roll concurrently and add together. To this number will be added relevant skill and equipment bonuses. The result of the roll is a simple pass-fail - if you rolled above the difficulty level of a task, you will succeed. If you do not, you will fail.

Vacationers can always try anything, but if they do not have a relevant skill, they will take a -2 penalty to the roll.

Example difficulties:
  • 6 Trivial (why are you rolling?) - hit a large target ten feet away
  • 10 Routine - hit the inner ring of a target fifteen feet away
  • 16 Challenging - hit the bullseye at at 30 feet
  • 20 Improbable - put a bullet through a metal ring to hit a target behind it at fourty feet
The Tour Guide should always ask how a vacationer is approaching a challenge. If they are attempting to leap over a small divide, and they are simply doing a standing jump, it will be higher difficulty than taking a running start and using a pole to vault the distance.

Combat: Vacationers will sometimes have to fight things, whether it is taking on a Sherman tank with a machete or firing a rocket launcher at a small dinosaur.

Combat is divided into rounds. In a given round, vacationers will determine their initiative by what weapon (if any) they are using. Unarmed puppets have an initiative of 1. In each initiative stage, characters move in order of lowest to highest, from 0 to 5. If a vacationer is tied with the Tour Guide, the Tour Guide goes first. If a vacationer is tied with a local, the local goes after.

During their turn, a vacationer may take two actions, which may include movement, attacking, or using an item. A slow melee or ranged weapon takes one action to move, but may only be used once per every two actions taken. A fast weapon may be used for every action, if desired.

The tour guide can choose to handle combat with miniatures (prefer 25mm scale), and if so should assume that five feet of movement is roughly one inch, whether horizontally or diagonally. A vacationer can move thirty feet during one action.

When a vacationer, Tour Guide, or local attacks, they roll the standard two six-sided dice, and add their weapon's combat bonus. If this meets or exceeds the armor rating of their target, they deal one wound. If this exceeds the total by four or more, an additional wound is dealt, and another wound if it is exceeded by 8.

If a vacationer's puppet suffers a total of five unhealed wounds, the puppet "dies", forcing the vacationer to return to his own time, his vacation is over. Other characters may have a higher or lower wound capacity.

Puppets are not subject to poisoning, bleeding to death, disease, or radiation. They are only wounded by physical trauma.