I want a game where the players create a simple character that is mostly used as a reference. Most of the game would be freeform. Major plot actions would be the only ones that used any rolling. When a roll is needed. The story teller will announce the situation and ask players for their actions. The story teller then makes rolls in private and depending on the point in the story describe the results or PM the player with the information so they may narrate their own post.
The idea behind this system is that everything is standardized and simplified, while being completely open for players being able to freely create characters in any way they want. You may notice some influences from WRM.
The entire game is largely defined by three types of stats. Abilities, bonuses and specials.
An ability is what we might think of as a base stat. It is a single stat that numerous rolls might be used from. In DND, this would be STR, CON, DEX, INT, WIS, CHA. In WRM its warrior, rogue and mage.
Mike's Simple system has a set of 6 basic abilities, but gives players the freedom to make new abilities to fit their own concept. Flight, leadership, attractiveness, etc. Not listing an ability doesn't mean the character doesn't have it, just that the character can't use it for any contested rolls. IE you can be cute without having the attractive ability, you just can't use your "cuteness" to effect the game.
A Bonus is anything that improves a more specific use of an ability. Bonus's are permanent, but not always represented by an innate power. It could also be equipment that is designed for only the character concept (such as spider man's web shooters). This could range from specialized training in auto-mechanics that gives a bonus when repairing cars to an unusual knowledge of anatomy allowing for better melee combat rolls.
Specials are what might be thought of as feats. They are unique aspects of the character that allow them to do unusual things. This ranges from the ability to use the ranged ability for melee attacks, to having super sences and using awareness to detect things others can't..
Material bonus's (bonus's that are temporary, can be lost/stolen/bought). This includes minions, equipment that can be taken from the character or bought by the character and temporary spells placed on the character.
The system also has optional rules for weaknesses (developed as I am looking to run this for a super hero themed game)
On a final note, this is a no-damage system. Players can be hit a number of times equal to their body stat before falling unconscious.
Rolls are only meant to be used for critical tasks. Your players are heroes after all
Rolls are done by DM not players. Rolls are either against a set DC or an opposed roll for special events. Its up to the DM, but I plan on setting dc's for all the non-bigbad encounters.
Almost all rolls are an ability + bonuses
Ability (typically melee or ranged) + bonuses.
Bob the puncher wants to hit an enemy. He has Melee 4 and has boxing training as a bonus giving him a +2. He attacks by rolling a d6 and adding 6.
Ability (typically agility) + bonuses.
Bob the puncher is trying to punch his evil twin. Evil Bob rolls a d6 + agility.
Resolve combat as an opposed check with the tie to the defender.
The system relies on the player to decide what ability he/she wants to use and the dm to decide (if a roll is even needed) what counter ability to use or what DC
The dm can assign modifiers as needed.
Characters can roll anywhere from a 1 to 12 or even up to 16/18 (more if dm allows)
1 - Easy task anyone can do
6 - Task that requires a decent amount of effort or training
10 - Task that requires extreme effort, training or knowledge
14 - Nearly impossible but for the best trained humans at the peek of performance
Walking - 1
Jogging for an hour - 6
Running a marathon - 10
Winning a marathon - 14
Punching a wall - 1
Punching a person who isn't blocking or dodging - 6
Punching a small flying object - 10
Punching a ninja - 14
Realize that your car isn't moving - 1
Realize that it is out of gas - 4
Realize that the spark plug may be off and should be easy to replace - 10
Jury rig the car to run long enough to get you to the store - 14
Bob the flying puncher
Concept: A guy that flies and hits things with his fists
------ Bob is good in melee, resist damage and can fly well. He is ridiculously attractive. He isn't very agile, only somewhat aware and not bright. He never fights at range because he likes punching.-------
+2 Punching: Boxing training
+2 resist blunt force: Bob has been punched a lot and resists blunt force damage
+4 Ladies man: Few women can resist the baby blue eyes and 6 pack stomach
Sonic Boom: Bob can punch so hard that he breaks the sound barrier, creating a localized blast of force that can him his melee rank in enemies
Disguise glasses: While wearing his special nerd glasses, no one can tell that Bob is actually Bob, all they see is nerdy reporter Bob.
Aspertane: Deathly allergic to aspertane. -4 to all rolls when under the effects of aspertane
Thinks with his little head: Bob is easily fooled by sexy women. -6 to any roll to see though a womans lie or to resist a request.
There are 6 basic abilities that most character will have.
Melee: Rates how good the character is fighting in melee
Ranged: Rates how good the character is fighting at range
Body: Rates how much damage the character can resist.
Agility: Rates how good the character is at dodging, dexterous feats and fine manipulation
Awareness: Rates how good the character is at sensing things in others and environment
Mind: Rates how intelligent and capable of strenuous mental tasks.
Other stats: There are as many as the dm feels appropriate. Typically, something should only be an ability if it is not easily covered by another ability or very specific to character concept. IE knife fighting makes a poor ability and should be a bonus, however a character who never fights with anything but knives (and is helpless without them) might have it as an ability. I have included some samples here.
Magic: Rates the strength of magic (note the system has no spells, players describe what they are doing and the dm modifies as needed.
Flight: Rates how good the character is at flying
Charisma: Rates how charismatic the character is
Bonuses are nearly unlimited and always apply a +2 to rolls made. They should be somewhat specific to a specialized use. A character either has a bonus, or does not, and bonuses can stack when appropriate. (but the DM should be careful to allow bonuses that will always stack such as a a ring of stabbing and knife fighting training)
A bonus is something innate to the character, even if it is "equipment." If a player has an equipment bonus, it is effectively part of them and should not be taken unless the dm feels it is neccesary to remove a bonus. A good rule of thumb is if its something easy to drop or throw, its equipment. If its hard to remove (clothing, rings) its a bonus. Technically, it could be either, its up to player and dm.
Magic ring of eyes: +2 awareness rolls involving sight
Auto-mechanic: +2 mind rolls involving fixing automobiles
The big danger of bonuses is that they can stack quickley and this game is meant to be fun, not power gaming. Be careful when allowing clearly stacking bonuses. An example might be a a space pirate who has taken lazer pistol marksman, has a lazer blaster arm and then has an automated targeting system built into his eye. A +6 bonus on a D6 is huge bonus.
Powers are things that allow for extraordinary uses of an ability. It gives the player and the dm a way to make the character special. It is best to be used only when making up an ability or a bonus just won't do. It should give the character a special power and is up to dm discretion. Different powers might have different costs based on their usage, again depending on dm discretion.
Invulnerable: The character uses Body instead of agility to negate attacks
area of effect: The character can attack enemies in a group with one use of the power
Quick Builder: The character can create items using one bonus-type at incredible speeds
Wall climber: The character does not need hand holds to climb a surface
Equipment has the same effect as a bonus, but can be taken from the character. In fact, a rule of thumb is that if you do not plan to take the item from the character at least once every few sessions, then it is a bonus and not equipment. Equipment is cheaper and easier to get and easier to lose.
Optional rule. Weaknesses help define a character, make life harder, and give additional building points to make the character. A weakness are rated by how dangerous they are and how often they come up.
DM weaknesses are meant to be a big deal. Don't allow characters to abuse them
3 points: Multiple times per adventure/chapter/what not. It should come up often enough that its a regular issue. Sunlight, metal or need to wear an airtight suit
2 points: One per adventure. It should come up at some point. Examples include Fear of dogs, allergy to unusual substance
1 point: once every few adventures. Examples include allergy to very rare compounds, fear of rare things or so forth
3 points: Nearly lethal, character takes a -6 to all rolls while effected by substance and can't use any bonuses or equipment
2 points: Dangerous, character takes a -4 to all rolls and can only use half the bonus given by bonuses and equipment
1 point: annoying, character takes a -2 to all rolls.
An important note is that the campaign must be taken into account. A vampire who bursts into flame in sunlight is a severe weakness in a city campaign that takes place over a few months and has daylight situations. But not even a weakness in a campaign that takes place entirely in the underdark unless enemies can make sunlight (even then probably only worth a few points.)
Big work in progress.
My current plan is to assign 40 points.
Abilities: 2 points
Bonuses: 2 points
Powers: 2 points
Equipment: 1 point
Weakness: Bonus points depending