“Smegma crazies to the left! The gate! Gayboy berserkers, to the gate!” (Humungus; Mad Max)
So far I’ve got a rudimentary task resolution system worked out with just the basic abilities listed in the previous post (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma, Fighting, Shooting). The basic mechanic of roll a d20, add an ability works for most things characters tend to do. Also, every character is assumed to have some experience with basic physical stuff (e.g. anything based off a physical ability), like fighting, shooting, driving, jumping, climbing, running, etc., so they can add their level to that roll. Now, I’m not a big fan of bloated skill lists, especially in anything class based, such as D&D, but this system of mine doesn’t have classes. So, in order to give the players some more character customization tools, I’ve put together a short list of knacks (well, skills really, but I like the word knacks more). There are twelve of these total, divided in three categories. Every player gets to choose two categories, from which he rolls a d4 to find out which knacks his character has. A character who has a specific knack can add his ability AND his level to the task at hand, just as if it was a physical task. Here’s the list of knacks:
1. Jury-Rig (Int) – You know, like MacGuyver.
2. Grease-Monkey (Int) – Anything to do with cars and engines.
3. Brainiac (Int) – Knows how to read and has been known to do so from time to time.
4. Doc (Int) – Patching up damaged mutants. Also, drugs and shit.
1. Sixth Sense (Wis) – Some guys seem to have eyes in the back of their head. Sometimes literally.
2. Bloodhound (Wis) – Tracking. By scent or otherwise.
3. Survivor (Wis) – Can you make a fire without matches and tell which way is north? Didn’t think so.
4. Scavenger (Wis) – People throw away some really good junk you could probably use or trade for something else.
1. Sarge in Charge (Cha) – The guy you’d follow to Hell and back.
2. Size Up (Cha) – He ain’t so tough, you could probably take him.
3. Barter (Cha) – Trading that good junk you found for some better junk.
4. Con Man (Cha) – These ain’t the mutants you’re looking for, sir.
So, your average level 1 mutant has about a +1 to most things he’s going to attempt. Assuming an average guy succeeds at a standard task about half the time, this sets the standard difficulty at 12 (hitting a mook on the head is difficulty 12, as is breaking down a jammed door). Modifiers to rolls and difficulties come in the form of advantages and complications. An advantage could be for instance a crowbar for breaking that door, whereas a complication could be the door being reinforced. These variables would modify the roll by a an even number ranging from 2 (minor advantage/complication) to 8 (massive advantage/complication). On a general principle, if a task is so easy pretty much anyone can do it and there’s no risk involved, there’s no point in rolling dice. Dice should only be rolled if the outcome of a task is in doubt and something is at stake. For instance, hot-wiring a car with proper tools, and all the time in the world is no big deal. Doing the same in the middle of the night, using only a hair pin, while a bunch of rabid cannibals are trying to force open the car doors is a whole another kettle of tea.
Regarding task difficulties: Do not scale difficulties to match a particular characters or groups level of expertise. That way lies challenge ratings, and trust me on this: We do not want to go there. Ever. Task difficulties should rarely go above 20. Yes, characters will eventually hit a point where they have a +20 on task rolls. This is not a problem. It merely describes a person who’s insanely competent at something. One more thing: Whenever a d20 task roll is rolled, a natural one is always a failure and a natural 20 is always success.
That’s pretty much the whole task resolution mechanic. What do you think?