View Full Version : Help me with my new RPG engine! Version 0.3 is GO!

2006-08-12, 11:39 PM
RPGs tend to be of three flavors:

1. D20. It's a bit repetitive, and extremely linear.
2. Shadowrun: It's a good system, but hoorendously complex, and requires headache-inducingly large amounts of rolls.
3. Ninja Burger. Simple, fun, and somewhat limited.

I personally like the SR system of dice rolling with seperate target numbers and numbers of dice. (They abandoned it in SR4).

After being stranded in a local gaming shop, I wrote up a set of rules based around a similar mechanic using D10's for a Men in Black setting. However, it's well suited to all sorts of cinematic RPGs, and I'm thinking about a His Dark Materials conversion as soon as I get it working right.
The idea is simple: By changing the number needed for a "success" on each die, you can affect the situational difficulty of the task; the number of dice represents skill, and the number of "sucesses" required shows how hard the task is.

This system is designed to reflect both skill and natural ability with a single roll of the dice. A character with a high bonus (and hence a low "target number" for each die) is more likely than a skilled character with higher target numbers to breeze through a simple task, but a complex or extremely difficult task is only possible by the more skilled character.

Anyway, I present the WildCard gaming system. This is an exceedingly rough draft, but I'd like to get your opinions. I'm currently working on the combat system; I'd like to simplify it to a single dice roll. Opposed rolls are definitely going to be needed for the hand-to-hand combat section. (And I still need to calculate initiative).

Further note:
I intend on maybe publishing this eventually.

And, without further ado:
WC System Core v.03
Joseph Shaul

This document is copyright Joseph Shaul. It may be used freely for non-commercial use, so long as the author is given recognition. This document may not be distributed (freely or otherwise) without written consent of the author.

Game Terms:

This section covers the basic rules that make the WildCard system work.
WC is a system based around d10's. The number of dice rolled in a particular situation depends on your skill or raw ability in a given area. Of these dice rolled, those over a certain number, the “target number”, are considered “successes”. If you have enough successes, you succeed; if not, you fail.
In addition, one die must always be of a different color or differentiated from the rest of the dice. This is the Odd Die. It determines many other things related to a given task, in addition to acting normally as a die. When a test is rolled, this die is always considered the “first die”; if you're rolling only one die, this would be it.
The number of successes is based on the intrinsic difficulty of a task. For example, fixing a toaster might only require two successes; fixing an advanced alien energy weapon might take four or five. This number is the same for everyone, regardless of their familiarity with the device.
Here's a rough table giving examples of difficulty:

1-Extremely easy. This would be checking a pulse with a stethoscope, or changing oil.
2-Not too hard. This is slightly less common stuff; examples include giving stitches to a patient, or identifying a rare Horsankiian moss.
3-Hard. This is the kind of stuff an expert does. This would include most surgery, repairing a helicopter, or calming down a bunch of thugs who don't speak your language.
4-Really Hard. This would include open-heart surgery, sniping from a kilometer away, and that kind of stuff.
5-All but impossible. Think along the lines of speaking in a language you don't know, or holding on to the side of a bullet train with your bare hands.

In addition, if one less success is rolled than required (a minimmum of one success), it's a “partial success”. The exact terms of each partial success depend on the exact circumstances, but they may range from only partially staunching the bleeding from a wound to temporarily patching up an air conditioner; the result is good enough, but only barely.
Going on the example of the toaster above, a character may only roll one success, one less than is needed. In this case, it's a “partial fix”. A partial fix works, although it may do so with a penalty. Another possibility would be that every time a “partially fixed” machine is used, the Odd Die's result is compared to the total number of uses of the machine since the repair. If a number less than or equal to that number is rolled, the device stops working; a roll of 1 means that it fails in a spectacular manner, like jamming, suddenly reversing direction, or blowing up.
The target number of a test is equal to the situational difficulty. Being exceptionally coordinated makes running much easier, and you hence gain a bonus to your target number. The target number of all tests has a starting point of 5, and is modified by the linked attribute and any other relevant attributes. -1 is a minor distraction, -2 is a serious problem, and -3 makes the task extremly difficult. Remember, these stack.

A rough table of examples:
Unfamiliarity: +1-+4. This is stuff that you've never seen before. A Huey pilot would have trouble in a Sikorsky-Bell, but far more trouble in a Cessna.
Slippery Terrain: +2. Ever tried running on ball bearings?
Low Light/ Darkness: +1-+3. Shooting in the dark is hard.
Rain: +1-+3. Not being able to see is no fun, either.
One Hand: -2. If you need a second hand, only having one hand open is a problem.
Running During Action: -1. Running and doing anything is hard.
Target Running: -1. Two words: Moving target.
Target moving erratically: -1. This stacks with Running in the case of an enemy jumping around a great deal.

The GM should feel free to adjust bonuses and penalties as he sees fit. Remember, an alien medic would have a much lower TN than a human medic when working on his spiecies of alien, and vice versa.
Sometimes, a character must try to do something he has no skill in; for example, a caveman trying to drive a truck. In this case, unfamiliarity penalties apply, and he or she would roll a single die + the linked attribute bonus in place of a skill.


Attributes cover the innate physical and mental advantages and deficiencies of your character. Attributes are determined by rolling three four-sided dice and subtracting two, giving attributes of 1-10.
An attribute of 1 has a penalty of -3, two -2, and three -1. An attribute of 6-7 is a +1 bonus, 8-9 a +2 advantage, and 10 a +3 advantage. Attributes of 11 or more require Gifts.

Physical Attributes:

Endurance: This is how much punishment you can take, how tough you are, and so on. A long-distance runner and professional bodyguard both have high endurance, but the runner will get tired more slowly because he has a higher Coordination.

How much your PC can bench press. This is useful for smashing things, and not too much else; however, it can be handy in hand-to-hand combat.

Coordination: This is how “physically aware” the character is: for example, the ability to run, swing from one's ankles, or pirouette is linked to coordination.

Reflexes: This is how fast the character reacts and can deal with new information. A video-gamer might be uncoordinated, but his fast reflexes allow him to deal with a ballchinnian suddenly jumping in his face.

Mental Attributes:

This covers “wisdom”, the ability to remember things, and other stuff. This is often linked to Alien (pretty much everything) tests, and may be used to recall things that the PC has seen.

This covers how quickly the characters can think, and how good they are at solving problems. This is linked to build/repair and similar skills.

This is how good the PC is at asserting himself. This is a good social skill to have, as it allows the PC to assert his or her self as a leader, and to make others follow his demands. It's also useful against the rare mind-affecting ability.


Gifts are abilities that are far away above and beyond those of a normal person. Some are simple human prowess such as a Lance Armstrong-like super-endurance, exceptionally good hearing, or plain old dumb luck.
Gifts come in two flavors: “Normal” gifts, which are based off of simple character attributes and may be applied to anyone, and “special” gifts, which are more unusual than, say, good eyesight. Either way, GM approval is required for taking a gift.

An individual with the Athletic gift is faster and more physically adept than an average human. Although within the bounds of human performance, he's able to deal with stuff that a normal human cannot.
An athletic individual's Endurance and Coordination must be at least six before modification. This Gift raises both scores by 2. Stacking with this is a 50% reduction in falling damage, and a reduction of 2 to all exhaustion penalties.
With all the running about this character does, he or she does'nt spend much time dealing with books. Knowledge skills and technical skills cost points as if they were one level higher.

A techno-wiz is able to grok machines better than your average person. Wether through study, background, or supernatural means, he or she is a prodidgy when it comes to dealing with things that beep, whirr, or click. He does'nt need the manual; he IS the manual.
An alien technologist reduces all penalties for the use of unfamiliar technology by 2, or unfamiliar weapons by 1. In addition, the character has a -2 bonus to all technology-related tests; technology just comes naturally to them.
Too much time in front of a computer screen or buried in a mass of crankshafts has left them without a lot of other experience. Non-technical skills cost points as if they were one level higher than they actually are.

A socialite generally gets along well with people. These characters come in two flavors: Those who command, and those who talk; both work equally well.
Any penalties, due to unfamiliar circumstances or a lack of the knowledge of a language, are reduced by one. A -2 bonus to all social skill checks is also gained.
A socialite generally is able to talk his or her way out of situations, and has, as a result, a slightly limited knowledge of actually doing things. All non-social skills cost an additional point to take the first level of.

Medical Marvel:
A medical marvel character is very familiar with what makes living things tick. He or she gains a -2 bonus to all checks related to physiology or medical skills, and a -1 bonus to Biology tests. This stacks with the knowledge repository bonus.

Character Generation:
Character attributes are randomly generated by rolling 3d4-2 for each of the 7 attributes. Subtract the total of the attributes from anywhere between 60 and 100 depending on the level of power in the game; this leaves the total character build point total.

Optional Rule:
Many Gms allow players to spend the remaining points on attributes. A trade-in ratio of two or three points per point of attribute increase is reccomended; GM discretion is advised to prevent characters from becoming overpowered.

Primarily, points can be spent on skills. The number of points required to increase a skill is equal to its rank; increasing a skill from 4 to 5 would be 5 points. At chargen, the number of points required is equal to (x!), with X being the level of the skill. In addition, specializations may be taken.
In addition, many Gifts require character points. A cybernetic body might require a large number of CP s, while a cybernetic toe might require a very small number of CP s.
CP s are also used to acquire gear. The ratio of character points to money varies by the campagin; check with your GM to check price listings and conversion ratios.

Skill categories:

This skill is linked to Coordination. It applies to running, jumping, bicycling, swimming, The target number equal to the difficulty, with the base running speed being equal to Coordination. The number of successes is added to the Base Running Speed, then modified by the appropriate situational modifier. Move speed is measured in meters for running, double the number for bicycling, and half the number for swimming.

Shooting: This skill relates to pointing at things and shooting them with hand-held and most turret weapons. This has a special ruleset.

This is related to hitting, cutting, or smashing things hand-to-hand. This has a special ruleset.

Knowledge: These are skills that relate to knowing things, be they biology, 13th century painters, or sausage recipies. Each of these skills is effectively a seperate skill group, but they may be substituted for a related skill as if they were one level lower, or a semi-related skill as if they were two levels lower.
For example, a biology expert might need to know something about drug use. Although he or she might not be familiar with drug use, they could easily recognize telltale signs or related diseases. However, knowledge about making the drugs themselves would be only semi-related.

Medic is knowing how to patch things up. Tools, ranging from sticks and a kinfe to state-of-the-art facilities, give bonus or penalty to this check. A -3 penalty is incurred on Biology: Anything alien tests, unless the character is unusually familiar with that particular race; this penalty is lessened to -2 with a DIB database link or similar repository. It's linked to Thinking, although Biology is what is necessary to allow the problem to be diagnosed, or even to identify the patient.

The Technology skill group covers a character's ability to make stuff work, take it apart, and whatever. It's linked to Thinking, although Recollection is what determines if the character can remember any details about the item.

This skill govern's a character's ability to deal with other beings. This skill is linked to Ego. A -3 penalty is incurred on Social: Alien tests, unless the character is unusually familiar with that particular race.

This covers things that are'nt really related to anything else, like painting, cooking, or lumberjacking. Each of these skills are effectively their own skill group, but the number of successes required is generally much lower for these skills than many others. (Cutting down a tree is routine for a lumberjack, and making merengue is easy for a chef. However, most people would find them quite difficult.)

Characters may specialize in a skill that they have at least two points in. Further points are gained as if the skill was two levels lower; a 3rd (specialized) point is only one point, a 4th is two more points, et cetera. However, this only applies to one situation, such as Bicycling for Athletics, Deatomizers for Shooting, and Plasma Thingamabobs for Technology.


There are two variants of Combat: Shooting and Hand-To-Hand.
For Shooting combat, the attacker rolls his skill with a Target Number equal to the difficulty of hitting the target + appropriate modifiers. The number of successes, if over the number required to hit, is then adjusted by the target's Body + the Penetration Modifier of the weapon. If the number is Positive, this is added to the opponent's Damage.
In addition, if the Odd Die is a 1 or a 10, special things happen. On a roll of a 10, if the attack succeeds, the target must roll equal to or less than his or her body. If this fails, the attack does something spectacular; examples include double damage, extended effects, or more. This is done on GM discretion.
On the roll of a one, the character must roll Coordination or less on a d10. If he or she fails, the attack is considered a fumble. It automatically misses, and the weapon somehow fails; it may jam, fly out of his hand, or just go kerfoom.

Hand to Hand combat is very similar. However, instead of using a minimum number of successes, the target also rolls an unarmed combat test with a +1 penalty to TN. The numbers are compared; damage is done to whoever has the least successes. This is modified by the defender's body attribute.

If a being ever has Damage equal to or greater than his or her Health, then he or she is unconcious. Two above the Health rating is instant death, although this may be fixable via advanced medicine. Double the health rating is equal to permanent evisceration.

Human characters have a health of 10, and many aliens have more.


DIB, like other games the WC system is designed for, is a cinematic game. Characters sometimes have to pull off amazing stunts.

For every five Character Points a character recieves over his or her career, a Cinematic Point is also gained; these are not lost of the character point is spent.

Character points, if not “burned out”, refresh at the end of a “scene”-i.e., whenever the GM says so. However, some effects require “burning out” a point, eliminating it permanently.

1 CP effects:
A -2 bonus to the target number of any one test
Ignore damage from one minor source (e.g. Weak acid, short fall) for one turn
Ignore Fatigure for three turns

2 CP effects:
-Re-roll a failed test
-A -3 bonus to the TN of any test

Burnout effects. These can only be used with “fresh” Cinematic Points, not ones already used.
-Automatically succeed on a test.
-Hand of God: This covers prevention of character death via goofy circumstances. This requires GM approval; sometimes, you're just dead.

Character Advancement:

After each mission, a GM is free to give Character Points for individual achievements. Achievements may include, but are not limited to:
-A brilliant plan
-Completing a mission
-Clever use of a skill under pressure
-Successfully defeating an enemy through use of tactics
-Good roleplaying
-Good sportsmanship.
-Making everyone at the table laugh.

CP's should not be given for simply deafeating an enemy by gunning him down, or making a test; these are automatic and have little bearing on the character. However, sneaking into a fixed gun emplacement and defeating the enemy from behind is definitely consideration for character points.

In addition, for each five character points gained over time, a cinematic point is gained.

Character points may be spent on skills as during character creation, on stats, or on Alien Gifts. Improving an attribute requires DOUBLE the number of points required for the level attained; raising Thinking from 4 to 5 would require 10 points. In addition, each stat can only be increased by 2 points over a character's career. Gifts may be acquired at the discretion of the GM.

That's all, folks.

2006-08-12, 11:42 PM
Looks a little like WoD to me...

2006-08-12, 11:54 PM
Looks a little like WoD to me...

I've never actually played WoD. (I know that the skills are rated in dots from 1-5, and that's it.)

D'oh! I never knew that this forum existed!

2006-08-13, 10:32 PM
Now in version 0.2!

2006-08-14, 09:55 PM
Version 0.3 is go!

2006-08-15, 12:30 AM
What would an example of a 'special' gift be?

2006-08-15, 12:58 PM
What would an example of a 'special' gift be?

An example of a special gift from a MIB usage of this engine would be an alien enhancement or non-sentient symbiote. The end result could be anything from really good balance to immortality.

I'm also thinking about a His Dark Materials conversion for this engine; a "special gift" in this case would be being a Witch or Shaman. Being a Panserbjorn would also be considered a special gift, although it would have its own, seperate rules.

Oh, and by the way-
Thanks for looking!
(I really appreciate it.)

2006-08-18, 12:09 PM
C'mon...someone read this!

2006-08-18, 05:38 PM
How does the wild die figure into things?

2006-08-21, 01:50 PM
How does the wild die figure into things?

It's used to determine crits, or if other random things happen on a roll.

2006-08-22, 12:33 AM