A new RPG system

Core Mechanics

Game Dice

This game uses Ten Sided dice (also known as d10’s) for all rolls.  You can find these dice in-game, hobby, and bookstores. The d10’s in this game are referred to using the conventions Xd, where X is the number of dice to roll.  For example 4d means roll 4 ten sided dice.  Also, the rules may refer to +Xd, which means add X dice to an existing pool.  For example, “When flanking an opponent, the character flanking gains +1d to attacks made against the flanked opponent”.

Making an Ability Check

Determining the outcomes of actions in Living Myth revolves almost exclusively around the Ability Check.  Each character has a set of Abilities which denote how capable they are at a specific thing.  When that character performs an action, or an action is performed against them, they do the following.

Roll the dice

Roll the number of dice in the Characters dice pool.  Sum up every dice that is a 10 (often denoted [0] on the dice), sum those numbers and add the next highest number. To illustrate, the following rolls with pools ranging from the least (0) to the most (10) dice are shown:  

[2] = 2

[0][6] = 16

[3][8][5] = 8

[8][7][9][2] = 9

[6][3][5][3][3] = 6

[1][6][1][7][8][4] = 8

[0][4][6][9][3][1][3] = 19

[8][5][2][7][2][5][2][0] = 18

[1][1][6][9][1][6][0][6][9] = 19

[7][8][0][2][2][3][6][0][7][0] = 38

Add the Characters Ability

You’ve rolled the dice, now add the Ability as discussed above to the result.  For example if you had a 14 Stealth Ability and the following roll You would have 14 + [10] + [8], which is 14 + 18, which is 32.

Compare to the Opposition

Your opposition is whatever stands in your way.  It doesn’t matter if it is a lock, a pit, or another character.  In the rules we’ll refer to the Ability of non-character challenges as Difficulties but mechanically it works the same.  The opposition rolls an appropriate number of dice, and adds its ability exactly as described above.  Now, compare the two sides, the higher of them is the winner.   Suppose an Expert (Ability=14) at Stealth with 4 Die is trying to sneak past a Professional (Ability=6) Guard with 2 Die.  The contest could be: 1
4+[9][0][2][3] vs 6+[3][7]
which is
14+19 vs 6+7
which is
33 vs 13  – or a success of 20 for the Expert  

Alternatively, if the dice came out differently, the contest could go as follows
14+[1][3][4][4] vs 6+[0][6]
which is
14+4 vs 6+16
which is
18 vs 22  – or a success of 4 for the Professional

Determine Degree of Success

Usually how much a character succeeds by is relevant to play.  In Living Myth we count each +10 over the opposition as a Degree of Success.  Exactly how that applies to play is described in more detail in a later section.

Dice Probability

The following table give the percent chance of getting at least a particular number with a Dice pool.  

Difficulty

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

2

90

99

99.9

99.19

100

100

100

100

100

100

6

50

75

87.5

93.75

96.87

98.44

99.22

99.61

99.8

99.9

10

10

19

27.1

34.39

40.95

46.86

52.17

56.95

61.26

65.13

14

0

13

24.4

33.31

40.55

46.71

52.12

56.94

61.25

65.13

18

0

5

12.4

20.67

28.95

36.77

43.93

50.36

56.07

61.1

22

0

0

2.5

5.17

8.14

11.43

14.97

18.69

22.52

26.39

26

0

0

1.3

3.73

6.9

10.49

14.31

18.25

22.23

26.21

30

0

0

0.1

0.37

0.86

1.59

2.57

3.81

5.3

7.02

34

0

0

0

0.25

0.77

1.53

2.54

3.8

5.29

7.02

42

0

0

0

0

0.04

0.13

0.27

0.5

0.83

1.28

 

Advantaged, Disadvantaged, and Stakes

Through the preceding sections we have talked about the dice pool, but not described how that changes.  It primarily changes by circumstance or by character traits.

Advantages

When a circumstance or trait benefits one side of the opposition, we refer to that side as Advantaged +Xd.  For example, we might say “The fact that you are full of Divine Awe means you’re Advantaged for +2d”. It is important to note.  Advantaged is not just about giving a bonus, it is primarily about raising the stakes for the opposition.  A side is considered Advantaged when they increase the Threat face by the opposition, or improve their chances of doing incredible things.  Consistency only comes from ability; advantage exists always with an element of risk.

Things That Provide Advantage

Numerous things in the game can provide advantage. As a rule if you can say to yourself “This player has an advantage because…” and finish that sentence with something believable, then it is appropriate to give that side +d advantage. Advantages gained through the course of play should almost always be +1d, with +2d reserved for very strong advantage, and +3 for extreme advantage.  Remember, advantages from various sources stack, and +10d is the maximum possible advantage a Character can have.  The rules in various sections will call out specific things that can provide advantage, but the following are provided as general guidelines.

Gained Advantage

When a Character performs an action that puts that character at an Advantage, then clearly gaining advantage is appropriate.  This could be anything, but obvious things like gaining higher ground, flanking, utilizing the environment in clever ways; any of these things could gain advantage for the character.  The idea here is that the Player has engaged the scene in a clever way that provides the character some sort of advantage.

Partial Success

When a Character performs an action and gained any kind of success, they are considered to be advantaged against that thing.  Usually if it is a full success, the challenge is no longer relevant and so the advantage no longer applies.  However if the task requires multiple successes, or if the degree of success was a partial success; the defending side describes the advantage gained against them.  For example, if a character is trying to pick a lock and gains a partial success, the GM might say “You get a tumbler in place, gaining advantage, but the door is not yet unlocked”.

Taking Bold Actions

When a Player describes their character as engaging in an action that is above and beyond the expectation of behavior, engaging in something particularly hard or risky, that character at least gains one benefit.  While the Action itself may be harder than some other option, the Character nonetheless gains advantage, because it increases the possibility for extreme success even if not the likelihood.  For example the Character grabs the hostage in an airplane and jumps without a parachute.  Obviously the difficulty of surviving this is very high, but the Character nonetheless gains Advantage for the bold actions.

Emotional Intensity

When Players roleplay their character as being appropriately overtaken by emotion that character should have advantage for however long that intensity persists.  For example, if a Character’s Father was just killed, and the player has an appropriately hysterical reaction then that character is Advantaged for those things which reflect the emotional intensity.

Disadvantaged

Less frequently, one side in a conflict experiences a penalty that lowers risk to the opposition.  In this case that side referred to as Disadvantaged -Xd.  Here you subtracts dice from that sides dice pool.  For example “You are exhausted, making you less effective, that means you’re Disadvantaged for -1d bringing your pool down to 3d”

Things That Provide Advantage

Again, there are a number of things that can provide disadvantage, however disadvantaged should only apply when it actually, and obviously, lowers one sides risk.  Disadvantages should not be applied because the Character is at higher risk, that would be Advantage for the opposition instead.  The following outlines some common ways it can arise.

Impediments

Sometimes things happen in a game that constrain a Character, slow her down, or otherwise impede her.  These are disadvantages; they reduce the risk for her opposition because they do not allow, for example, a wild swing to suddenly take someone down. To illustrate the difference, consider someone chasing you.  Closing a latched door, going over rough terrain, or casting a spell to fill an area with brambles could all be impediments that provide disadvantage.  However, going over mud, throwing marbles on the ground, or casting a spell to cover an area with Ice – these are advantages against movement.

Calm

While emotional intensity can provide advantage, absolute calm in spite of chaos could provide disadvantage.  Is the character depressed?  It’s hard to be effective when your heart isn’t into something.

Careful Planning

Characters can spend time coming up with a plan for how to tackle a situation; imagine for example a planning montage in a heist.  When this happens, and the characters can all stick to the plan, all actions of the opponent are disadvantaged.  However, when something unexpected comes up, the disadvantage the opposition has from the characters careful planning is lost. Of note, the Game Master is free to take advantage of this as well.

Stakes

Sometimes things happen that don’t actually advantage one side, but nonetheless change the dynamics.  Whenever things get more intense for both sides, they are both considered “Advantaged”.  This is referred to as Raising the Stakes + Xd.  For example “While fighting the house has caught on fire, I’m Raising the stakes by 1d”. Sometimes things can happen that lower the stakes.  In this case it counts as Disadvantage for both side and is referred to as Lowering the Stake -Xd. Of note, it is always easier to Raise the Stakes in a given situation than to lower the stakes.  If there is doubt preference giving Advantages versus giving Disadvantages, and Raise the stakes instead of lowering the stakes.

Things That Can Change the Stakes

There are all kinds of things that can change the stakes.  The stakes go up whenever something happen that increases the risk for everyone involved, and the stakes go down whenever something reduces the risk for everyone involved.

Environment

Changes to the environment are the most likely way to  change the stakes.  If someone turns out the lights, it’s harder to hit and to defend… sounds like the stakes just went up.  Maybe the fight moved to a frozen lake, sounds like the stakes just went up.

Mood

A sudden change in mood is an appropriate time to raise the stakes as well.  If two people are talking pleasantly, and someone suddenly pulls out a gun, it is absolutely appropriate to raise the stakes in that scenario. Conversely, while fighting someone has a realization and puts their sword away and puts their hand up to express an end to the fighting.  Even if fighting continues, clearly the mood has shifted, and the stakes have gone down. Though this doesn’t have to limit itself to the realm of violence.  Sudden changes in the narrative that provoke sadness could for example raise the stakes.  Comedy relief nearly always lowers the stakes.  You should be able to ‘feel’ it as a change in the level of tension.

Getting Real

Some of the best times in a game happen when players experience that “Oh hell!” moment.  Perhaps they jumped over a pit in a dungeon corridor then noticed a dark figure at the end of it.  Something about it lets them know that “Things just got real”.  In this case the stakes go up, and they can probably get back over that pit just as easily, but now there is more risk.

One Trick Ponies

Players might find something works once and try and do it over and over again.  For example, they might try to “swing off the chandelier hitting the opponent on the down swing” every round of every combat. This should not be allowed.  It’s completely uninteresting, and it arguably doesn’t make any sense. The Advantage gained by such actions are arguably based in part on surprise, so they can do it, it’s just not going to buy them anything.

Challenges

Sometimes during play a task is more dramatically represented by having a task need to accumulate a certain amount of success.  We call this a challenge. To create a challenge, you set the difficulty as normal, but instead of a success simply meaning that the problem has been overcome, you define a set of accumulated successes that are needed.  In the rules they will be shown as follows:

Task: difficult X, [a]…

Where X is the difficulty that is required to fill any boxes, and the boxes are the tasks ‘soak’.

For example, a character might be trying to pick a lock, and that could be modelled as a straight difficulty of 5, or you could set the difficulty to 5, and have each tumbler in the lock be a box, in which case you could model it like so:

Pick Lock: difficulty 5, [5][5][5][5][5]  

What this means is that a 5 is required to get any success, and each box of 5 represents a tumbler getting thrown. Any amount of success (at least 1) means a box is check off.  If the Character in question rolled a 30, then the lock would be picked immediately.  However if the character rolled a 13, the task would ebe changed as follows:

Pick Lock: difficulty 5, [X][X][5][5][5]  

When a Challenge has check boxes ticked off, those provide advantage to any further tests against the challenge.  So, in this example the character picking the lock would have Advantage +2 to the next check against the lock.   Furthermore, the boxes do not all have to have the same value. You could for example have a challenge for gathering information at a party, with escalating boxes representing more difficult pieces of information to gather.  Like so:

Gather Information: difficulty 5, [2][5][10]  

Suppose in this case a player rolls an 11, the GM could either mark off the 10 box or mark off the 2 and the 5 box.  Which boxes are marked off is determined by the player controlling the challenge (usually the GM), and can will have different results.  On the one hand each box marked off provides advantage to further checks against the challenge, on the other hand the 10 box is the hardest to hit.  In this case the most advantageous is to mark off the 10 box, because any success would hit it the following round, but with larger challenges the risk reward ratio might become relevant.  

Challenges are good ways to extend an action over a period of time when it’s dramatically interesting.  If, for example, a character needs to pick a lock during combat, it could significantly add to the drama.  However, don’t bring them into play needlessly – there is nothing more boring than rolling the dice over and over to try and break a challenge.  Furthermore, always describe something narratively interesting to reflect gains made in the challenge, the challenge should feel dramatic and there should be something at stake.

Action Scenes

Sometimes during play the exact order and timing of things is paramount.  When this happens it’s time to start an Action Scene.  The most obvious example of this is Combat, but it could come up in a chase; during a rescue from a burning building; or disarming a bomb while terrorists are threatening to kill hostages.  Whatever the reason to have an Action scene, it always uses the same steps.

Roll Initiative

To roll Initiative, take your Reflex Attribute and roll that many dice.  For example if you have a reflex of 5, you roll 5 dice.  Take any 10’s and the highest non-10 dice.  These will be your actions.  Sum all those dice, and this is your initiative. For example, if you roll five dice, and they come up as: [3][8][6][6][0] Then you have 2 actions ( [8] and [0] ) and an 18 initiative.

Determine Who Acts

The Character with the highest Initiative Roll acts.  If two people have the same Initiative, the character with the highest Reflex goes first, if they are still the same Player Characters go before Non-Player Characters.  FInally if two players are matching, they agree who goes.

Spend Dice For Actions

Now take one of your 10’s (if you have any) or your other dice.  And toss it.  By tossing this you have taken an action.  You declare what your character is doing, you make any appropriate tests, and determine the ramifications of your test. There are four special kinds of actions that are relevant here.

Long Actions

Long actions are things that take longer to do than a standard action.  In order to do a long action, you must have two actions available, and you spend both of them to perform the action.

Quick Actions

Quick Actions are tiny actions that can be performed in addition to the normal action.  You may perform one quick action in addition to whatever action you perform.

Supplemental Actions

Supplemental Actions are like quick actions but they are difficult enough to make the primary action harder.  Whenever performing a supplemental action the primary action is at a Disadvantage.

Wait Actions

Wait actions do not spend you action.  Instead you put you action aside into the Wait pool.  Actions from the wait pool can be used to perform Long Actions later, to interrupt another characters action, or to help with your initiative in the next round.

Determine Who Goes Next

When the character with the highest initiative has gone, their initiative is reduced by the dice they spent to perform their action.  So whoever currently has the highest initiative acts, as described in the Determine Who Acts section.  For example, if there are two characters with the following initiatives:

Character 1: [0][6]

Character 2: [0][9]  

Character 2 would act first, spending her 10 dice to act. Character 2’s initiative is now 9 and Character 1’s initiative is 19, so Character 1 now acts.   It is possible for a Character to act multiple times in a row this way.  Consider the following: Character 1: [0][0][0][6] Character 2: [0][9]   Here Character 1 would go at 36, then again at 26, then Character 2 would go at 19, etc…

Roll Initiative Again

The preceding steps are continued until the Characters have spent all of their initiative dice.  At this point each Character rolls initiative again, and any character that has any remaining wait dice adds those dice to the Initiative roll.

The Ladders

Living Myth provides descriptive Ladders to express mechanical concepts.  These Ladders give a narrate anchor to the Players regarding the Character statistics.

The Ability Ladder

This ladder gives narrative description to a Character’s Ability.   In general a rank in the proficiency ladder is one standard deviation above the previous rank.  This means that one rank should be sufficient to provide reasonable assurance that the better will be the lesser when there is an Ability check.  It is described as follows:  

Proficiency Score Description
Abysmal -6 Struggles with the most basic tasks.
Poor -2 Below Average
Untrained 0 Average
Apprentice 2 Above Average
Professional 6 Someone that makes a living with this Ability
Journeyman 10 A Veteran in this field
Expert 14 Someone whose has attained great depth with the ability
Master 18 A Master in the field of endeavor
Grand Master 22 Someone who has attained the highest eschalons
Legend 26 The best a human could possibly achieve
Super Human 30 Beyond the scope of human achievement
Mythical 34 The stuff of fairtales
Godlike 42 Approaching the realm of the divine

 

The Difficulty Ladder

The Difficulty Ladder describes in very broad terms the general scope of a difficulty score.  Remember, a Difficulty is mechanically equivalent to an Ability.  However in this case, the difficulties described assume that the Character will have more Advantage than the Opposition.  

Difficulty Class Difficulty Score Description
Basic Tasks Less Than 0 Tasks one faces in day to day life
Skilled Tasks 0 to 9 Things a professional faces
Masterful Tasks 10 to 19 Things a master faces
Amazing Tasks 20 to 29 Things that would amaze a witness
Superhuman 30 to 39 Things that seem supernatural
Divine Above 40 Things that seem impossible

 

The Difficulty Matrix

To come up with specific difficulties, Living Myth provides the Difficulty Matrix.  To use this Matrix, one can think “This would be Difficult for a Master”, cross reference Difficult and Master on the table, and use that (in this case 33) as the difficulty for an action.  

Trivial Easy Challenging Difficult Formidable
Abysmal -14 -10 -6 -2 2
Poor -10 -6 -2 2 6
Untrained -8 -4 0 4 8
Apprentice -6 -2 2 6 10
Professional -2 2 6 10 14
Journeyman 2 6 10 14 18
Expert 6 10 14 18 22
Master 10 14 18 22 26
Grand Master 14 18 22 26 30
Legend 18 22 26 30 34
Super Human 22 26 30 34 38
Mythical 26 30 34 38 42
Godlike 34 38 42 46 50

 Color Coding Missing pending technological solution

The Success Ladder

Finally there is the Success Ladder.  This Ladder describes how much impact comes from a success roll.  

Success Type Ability Test Degree of Success Effect
Botch -20 or less -3 The Character Failed and something bad happened
Failure -10 to -19 -2 The Character Failed
Partial Failure -1 to -9 -1 The Opposition Gains Advantage +1
Raise 0 0 The Stakes have gone up
Partial Success 1 to 9 1 The Character Gains Advantage +1
Success 10 to 19 2 The Character Succeeded
Critical Success 20 or more 3 The Character Failed and theres a positive side effect
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s