Skip to main content

The Kid's Game: Chargen 2

Roll 3d6, assign as you wish.
3-7:      -1
8-14:     0
15-17: +1
18:      +2

STRENGTH: How strong you are. Useful for fighting, climbing, and carrying treasure.
                +/- to melee attack and damage
DEXTERITY: How fast you are and how accurate your aim is.
                +/- to ranged attack and Armor Class.
CONSTITUTION: How healthy you are.
                +/- to Hit Points
INTELLIGENCE: How much you know, and how good you are at figuring things out.
                +/- to Spells learned with leveling as a spell-caster
WISDOM: How aware you are of the world around you, including the spirit world.
                +/- 10% XP
CHARISMA: How good a leader you are, and how well you can get along with people and animals.
                +/- Pet

Add up all your attributes to determine how many Luck Points you have.
Total               Luck
78 or more        0
66-77                1
54-65                2
48-53                3
42-47                4
30-41                6
18-29                8

You can spend a Luck Point to automatically succeed at a roll. Luck points are refreshed between adventures. Success from spending a Luck point should be narrated as fortuitous happenstance that comes out of character incompetence,  à la Inspector Clouseau.

I use attribute checks when playing with the kid, even though I'm becoming pretty disenchanted by them in my regular games. It's a straight-forward, flexible mechanic that use the most prominent numbers on the character sheet—ideal for the Kid's Game.

I had developed a very simple skill system for the Kid's Game, but I think I'm going to ditch it in favor of just using attributes. If you want to sneak, it's a DEX check, not a separate skill. But, this means that if there are opportunities for skill advancement, this will be done by improving attributes numbers, which is a pretty big departure from the game I'm trying to scaffold.

It is fascinating watching the kid recreate so much of the history of old school rule-hackery. He pointed out the possibility of an Ascending Armor Class the first time he saw the attack matrix (although, proto-grognard that he is, he then insisted on using Descending), and has been reinventing a lot of the old familiar schemes for getting better character stats: roll 3d6 seven times, drop lowest; roll four characters, keep best; etc.

I'd much rather add a mechanic that grants utility to characters with low stats than reconjigger chargen to produce higher stats, like 4d6-drop-lowest. Weaknesses lead to more interesting characters, more interesting play, and better teamwork.

The Luck mechanic is my solution, but it needs more playtesting. It's obviously something that would be considered game-wrecking in the regular game, but young kids need some get-out-of-jail free cards.

Or, at least, my kid does. Holy Geez, it is terrifying to discover just how unhinged my kid's problem-solving skills are. A typical example: To stop a run-away wagon, he rides his horse up and leaps onto the wagon. But, instead of grabbing the reins of the bolting horses, he takes his bow and shots his sword at a tree, hoping to chop it down and block the wagon's path.

It was pretty amazing, actually.


Popular posts from this blog

Reviewing Rules for Play-by-Post Optimization

I’ve played a lot of PbP games: all your favorite flavors of OD&D, AD&D, and their retroclones, Call of Cthulhu, Marvel Superheroes, Traveller, Dungeon World, etc. ad nauseam. In almost every instance, I forgot what ruleset we were using at some point. Which is a good thing. Once chargen is over, you spend a lot more time describing your characters actions and poring over the GM’s descriptions than you spend interacting with rules. When you do roll, it’s usually a combat to-hit roll, which you’ve probably programmed into the online dice-roller as a macro. Pretty much any game will work for PbP. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t points of possible optimization. Point 1: Resolution. Anything that can keep the action moving is a boon to PbP. A game that requires a back-and-forth exchange of information to resolve an action is going to progress very slowly. A good rule of thumb is that it’ll take 2 or 3 days to get a response from any given player. At that pace, an exch

Maze Rats by Post

In my previous post , I reviewed a bunch of my favorite rulesets for optimization for Play-by-Post. It occurred to me almost immediately that I hadn't really thought about Maze Rats enough. In fact, I'd mis-remembered and mischaracterized it. Upon reflection, one of the mechanics I took issue with is actually a big strength. Re-reading the rules, it seems like just a few very simple hacks could make it a highly-optimized PbP game. As follows: Danger Rolls are rolled by the GM. Danger rolls usually fail, so it is in the player’s interest to describe their actions plausibly and mitigate as many risks as they can, in the hopes that they don’t trigger a danger roll. 2d6 + ability bonus ≥ 10 If you have taken enough precautions to have a distinct advantage in an action, but not enough to have eliminated the distinct possibility of danger, the GM will give you a roll with advantage. 3d6 keep 2 + ability bonus ≥ 10 Because each character only has 3 ability scores (S

An Exaltation of Rockets

I've been toying off-and-on with a rockets-and rayguns campaign/ruleset based heavily on the original Buck Rogers strips. I started working it up as a Black Hack, but I've since switched over to Maze Rats, which has become my ruleset of choice for Play-by-Post. I don't have a good name for it. I want something that conveys the baroque majesty of science fiction in the 20s and 30s. "Planetary Romance" is an accurate description of the genre, but needs about 20% more pulp. Pseudo-pulp magazine names seem like a good way to go, but that's such an easy well to dip into that the results can sound pretty generic. Request for feedback #1:  On this particular morning, I'm enamored of "An Exaltation of Rockets," but it may not carry the right resonances. I'd be eager to hear from you what your first impression was when you saw that as the post's title. What sort of imagery did it conjure up? What sort of world does it belong to? The prem