Saturday, August 8, 2009
The following is my implementation of an Edgar Rice Burroughs type Mars setting based on the Chaosium Prince Valiant Game by Greg Stafford (which is sadly out of print, but it shouldn't be too hard to track down a used copy). This is a brilliant little game that I highly recommend picking up if you're looking for something really rules lite and which does a good job of creating the feeling of old style adventures like Hal Foster's Prince Valiant, Flash Gordon, or even Burrough's Mars novels. The system is ideal for introducing new players to the idea of roleplaying. It is also notable for being influential on many later designs but was relatively unsuccessful when it came out. I've substituted dice for the coins the game uses, and I've created a set of careers and skills specific to Mars. For a fuller explantion of these notes see the Prince Valiant rulebook.
Maybe I'll try to write up some of the characters from the Burroughs books in the next few days.
PRINCE VALIANT ON MARS
Characters are rated from 1-6 in just two attributes. These are BRAWN and PRESENCE. The rating indicates the number of D6s they may roll when making an attribute check. Attribute checks roll ONLY on the attribute.
Skills are rated from 1-6 and also indicate the number of D6s they may roll when making a skill check. However, unlike attribute checks, skill checks combine the skill and the attribute to get a total dice pool.
For example: If you were rolling on your Horsemanship skill and your Horsemanship was 3 and your Brawn was 2 you would combine these for a total dice pool of 5D6.
Any roll of 4 or higher is considered a success. Any character that rolls successes for ALL of the dice in his current dice pool has attained a COMPLETE SUCCESS. Any character who rolls a complete success may add 1 additional success to his roll.
If the action you take next round is related to the action you took this round (such as a continued opposed contest like a fencing duel between two characters)then the character may BANK his/her successes for the following round if they so desire (Note: this banking may only be done ONCE).
1 Successes: Very Easy
2 Successes: Easy
3 Successes: Normal
4 Successes: Difficult
5 or more Successes: Very Difficult
Skill contests (like combat) involve rolling your dice pool and comparing the number of successes with your opponent. The one with the most successes is the winner.
A tie indicates the contest was a draw.
Beginning character have 7 points to divide up between their attributes. Each attribute must have at least 1 point in it and no attribute may have more than 6.
Next, divide 9 points among 6 skills, with at least 1 point to each. No skill may be rated higher than 6.
Must have Arms and Piloting.
Must have Arms and Stealth.
Must have Courtesy and Telepathy.
Must have Money-Handling and Charm.
Prince / Princess
Must have Arms and Courtesy.
Must have Hunting and Riding.
Must have Brawling and Charm.
Must have Courtesy and Dexterity or Agility (Choose one)
Must have Arms and Firearms.
Must have Riding and Firearms.
Must have Piloting and Stealth
A character may use a single Storyteller point in order to invoke a Special Effect at an appropriately dramatic moment. This effectively allows the player to temporarily take control of the narrative and automatically declare that a particular event happens.
Here is a listing of the Special Effects that can be invoked:
SAVE IN COMBAT
FIND ESCAPE ROUTE
FIND SOMETHING HIDDEN
KILL A FOE IN COMBAT
KNOCK AN OPPONENT SENSELESS
INSPIRE INDIVIDUAL TO GREATNESS
AROUSE PASSIONS OF CROWD
Mounted vs. opponent on foot +1
Superior Position +1
Superior Numbers +1
Surrounding Opponent +3
Attack from Behind +3
Normal Weapons +1
Target Behind Cover -1 to -3
Draw and Attack -1
Positive: Love, Loyalty +1 or +2
Negative: Fear, Panic -1 or -2
Character has 1000 Honor or more than opponent: +1
Character has 10000 Honor or more than opponent: +2
RANGED WEAPON DIFFICULTIES
1 Success: Point Blank Range
2 Successes: Short Range
3 Successes: Medium Range (Default)
4 or more Successes: Long Range
ADVANCEMENT AND HONOR
(Awards per Session)
Minimum Award 100
Standard Award 200
Significant Award 300
Maximum Award 500
100 Known among circle
500 Famous in Home Town
1000 On the Road to Real Fame
10000 A Famous Adventurer
50000 Famous throughout the Country (and the World)
1 Skill increases 1 point at the 1000 Honor mark (and every subsequent 1000 mark).
1 Attribute increases 1 point at the 5000 Honor mark.
Skills may also be increased if a complete success is rolled. The character should then roll an unmodified skill roll (with no attribute combined) and if that roll also comes up all successes then the character may add an additional point to that skill.