Scratchbrew (CinS Part 1) – The Maths of the RPG (Part 1)

When you do homebrew and challenge yourself to make something interesting… never expect it to survive the initial format.

I nearly killed off one of my players, instead he ended up with serious injury (I didn’t kill him off outright I just seriously injured him.

This was all down to one thing… MATHS… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

OK, may not sound fun but it can be the difference between life and death.  Look at any game and how the numbers work can change the way the whole system operates.

For this exercise I’m going to use three systems; Castle Falkenstein, FATE and the third (sigh)… Maid RPG.

This has a few tables… this may be one of the more BORING posts… and constantly been adjusted until the print out.

So why do I keep THAT in my library?

Maid RPG is a system that interested me ever since itmejp used it for his Christmas specials.  It wasn’t the theme that interesting me the most, it was the system and how the dice worked with the stats.

Firstly, so we can be all on the same page, here are the quick rules.

Creation

Creation is always done by dice roll in order top to bottom with 2d6 divided by 3 rounded down.  This means that you can have a 0 stat at the start of the game.  Your character can go higher BUT it costs.

Tests and Stats

In this RPG the Stat is multiplied by a single d6 die.  Either a series of static targets:

• 4+ Basic success
• 6+ easy for a pro
• 8+ pro can pull it off
• 10+ difficult even for a pro

Or an opposed check with two people rolling off.

Stress

A player takes Stress equal to the Victors total rolled divided by the Stat of the loser.  A player with 0 takes Stress equal to the total value.  After a certain amount of stress the character freaks out for an actual number of minutes in real time.

Auto-fail

This game has an auto-fail system I don’t just mean roll 1 and you fail… if you have a 1 or 0 for a stat you may be in a situation where you AUTOMATICALLY fail.  It’s assumed that if you roll a die then you have at least a chance and being forced to fail just because I rolled bad on the creation sheet.

Auto-Victory

Yes I’m not kidding, the stats can create an automatic situation where the player with a higher stat can lock out the other person out… OK it’s possible to do that with other systems.

But this one is more pronounced… look at the tables below… the player with the higher stat is on the left of each table.

Lets compare highest and lowest (excluding 0) earned on the creation rolls; on a standard d6+stat test a 5+ would make the stronger player impossible to defeat or tie.  But look at the 4 vs.1 table and the Lockout would be a 2+.  That is a difference of 3 in favour of the stronger player.

This is a game where the power gamer should be at home and would result in a serious case of table flipped in face.

Yet it works!

OK who’s watched an anime… don’t all raise your hands at once.

Look at any anime that doesn’t take itself seriously (comedy anime) and you notice one common pattern; when a character is good at something they are supernaturally good at it and if they are bad they are comically bad at it…

And if you add this to the mechanics and it does make sense; when you have a 0 you can’t do anything as 0 times anything is 0 and any attempt would be a disaster.

If you get a stat of 4 or higher then every point on the die makes them even more powerful.  The Pro Target is 10+, a stat of 4 means pro success on a natural 3 or higher and a natural 2 on a 5 or higher stat.

While this system feels like a power gamer’s paradise; the theme and the system actually does work together well and because there are 6 different stats the player can adapt to the situation and their skills.

And I chose this one first… don’t know if it makes me crazy or stupid.