on a galactic scale
This article is a part of Project RPG.
The success of a skill is determined in two ways: either by a difficulty roll or by a roll against another character. The skill or the circumstances will determine how success is determined. If you are trying to advance a skill, succeeding in using the skill is one way of doing so, albeit one of the slowest ways.
To determine the success of a skill by difficulty roll means the character must roll against the Game Master. These are successes that do not necessarily have to do with the skill of another character, but rather in how hard the task is to do itself. In addition to the standard difficulty roll, the GM can modify many of these skills depending on the circumstance.
Skill difficulty rolls are a character's skill with bonuses compared to a GM's roll with a difficulty bonus. Difficulty bonuses are determined by how many Faculties or skills make up the prerequisite of that skill. For each prerequisite or Faculty of a skill the difficulty ranges by ten. For example, if a skill has 3 Faculties affecting it then the difficult range is from 1 to 30. The GM chooses a value within this range to add to his or her d10 roll. The value the GM chooses depends on the difficulty of the situation.
Frank wants to use his Resist Damage skill after he was struck. Since this is his ability to take the damage, it cannot be compared to another character, so a difficulty roll is in order. Since Endurance is the only Faculty or skill that supports this skill, the difficulty range is between 1 and 10. Frank was punched in the face, so compared to other kinds of damage, it is fairly easy to resist.
The GM chooses the value 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 for difficulty and adds that to his d10 roll. Frank rolls his skill by added all his bonuses to a d10 roll. If he beats the GM's roll then his damage is reduced by half. If Frank was using Demolitions (Targeting), the difficulty scale would be on a scale of 1 to 20, so a value of 2 would have been inconsequential.
A GM will find suggested difficulty values for various tasks in further descriptions of items, equipment, and vehicles. Ultimately, however, the difficulty value is entirely up to the GM, based on circumstances. Additionally a GM may choose to lower the bonus of the character based on circumstances. For instance, if a character was just slugged in the head with an iron bar he would likely not be able to figure out algebra as well as before.
Character versus Character
It is a little more straight forward if a character is performing a skill against another character's skill. Certain skills can be countered by pretty much anything, depending on the circumstance, however other skills must be countered by specific skills.
If, for instance, a character is striking another character with a weapon, he or she can do any number of things to stop the blow whether it be parry, dodge, strike back, distract the person or jump away. It is entirely up to a player on how a character responds to another character's action. If two contrary skills are done at the same time, the one who succeeds performs the skill before the other can. In other cases, however, a character must react by using a specific skill or the opposing skill will take affect. For example, to avoid a strike on a vehicle, you must use that vehicles operate skill. These two principles make combat fairly simple to conduct.
In a situation involving many people using many skills at once, such as a gunfight, every person gets an offense move. Everyone always receives a defensive move if a skill is used against him or her. Additionally, a person can avoid being offensive and use an additional defense move to the ones automatically given. It is not possible for a person to have an offensive move against more than two people unless he or she is "strafing", throwing explosives, or in some way affecting multiple people with a specialized skill.
Once everyone has an offensive and defensive move they can all go again, if necessary. For ease of communicating, everyone can take turns describing their moves, but order makes no difference as all moves happen either simultaneously or in reaction to primary moves.
To be clear, the only difference between an offensive move and a defensive move is that offensive moves are proactive and not in response to another person whereas defensive moves are not. In a combat situation it is perfectly permissible to use an attacking skill as your defensive move as long as it is against someone who first used a skill against you
On weapon or melee skills a strike means you are going for the person as a whole. If the person you are shooting at takes coverage, you receive a deduction based on what part of their body is visible. If the following is only visible, then subtract the percentage from your total skill bonus:
- Head: -70%
- Torso: -20%
- Arm: -90%
- Leg: -90%
If a character wants to stop and take careful aim before they strike, they take a deduction to their skill's bonus based on where they are trying to aim, using the same table as a person who has cover. If you are under cover or hidden and want to make an offensive move you lose your cover and are now susceptible to being hit. If you want to attack someone who is fully under cover or hidden, you can choose to wait for them to make an offensive move to make your offensive move.
Remember, if you choose to make an offensive move, anyone in that round can now attack you with given coverage penalties. To remain protected by your cover, you must pass on offensive moves and only make defensive ones. If the character does not aim, the GM determines where the character is hit randomly.
- Head: 01-10%
- Torso: 11-60%
- Right Arm: 61-70%
- Left Arm: 71-80%
- Right Leg: 81-90%
- Left Leg: 91-00%
If a person takes more than half damage on any body part he or she is in shock and knocked down, they can no longer have any offensive moves, and all skill bonuses are reduced by half. Additionally that area loses another damage point per minute.
Another character can stabilize them with a successful Medicine (Basic) check or successes with other healing skills. Once stabilized they can continue to function at half their bonuses, but can now make offensive moves and are not losing damage.
If a person takes more than half damage to his or her head, then that person is unconscious. Stabilizing him or her means he or she regains consciousness. Losing all damage to the abdomen, torso or head, means the character is dead.
(Note that the skills used in this case study were created for the purpose of illustrating skill use in BRPG. The actual skills vary basd on genre, game setting, or GM needs).
Roger, Sheila, and Terry are in a hotel room with Phoebe, Doris, and Joe. The room is 100 square feet with two twin beds taking up most of the distance between the two groups. There is a window on Roger, Shelia and Terry's side and a bathroom and exit on Phoebe, Doris, and Joe's side. No weapons are drawn, but almost everyone knows they are about to be. A suitcase of money is open on the bed and both groups want it.
Phoebe thinks the conversation is over, so she pulls her gun. Doris shouts "No!", so she lowers the weapon, but now Roger, Sheila and Terry are all pulling out their guns. Combat has begun, because everyone is about to use a skill against everyone else. Just like in the real world, once a decision is made it happens and the target must react, never mind how he or she feels about it. Doris didn't want Phoebe to pull out her gun ... but she did, now they have to deal with the consequences.
Seeing the event that is about to happen, Doris dives into the bathroom. This requires no skill, so she is technically out of the picture, unless someone wants to use a skill on her with an offense move. Phoebe is a bit shaken from Doris' exclamation so doesn't do anything - meaning she can defend against two skills. Joe isn't so patient and fires at Roger.
Roger shoots his gun at Doris, despite the fact she is jumping into the bathroom. Shelia fires at Doris and so does Terry. One shouldn't draw attention to one's self by jumping into a bathroom.
Everyone's offensives are declared, so now everyone must use defensive skills.
Here is the line up:
- Joe's Offense: Pistol (Basic) against Roger
- Phoebe takes no Offense
- Doris takes no Offense
- Roger's Offense: Pistol (Basic) against Doris
- Sheila's Offense: Pistol (Basic) against Doris
- Terry's Offense: Pistol (Basic) against Doris
Joe rolls d10 plus his Pistol (Basic) Skill, which is 10. Doris rolls her Firearms Evade with is d10 plus 10. Joe rolls a total of 11 and Doris rolls a total of 16. She successfully avoided that blast.
Roger rolls a 16 and Doris rolls a 14. The GM determines she is shot in the leg.
Sheila rolls an 11 and Doris decides to return fire on Shelia as her defensive move and rolls 12. Sheila is hit in the abdomen.
Terry rolls a 20 and Doris rolls an 11 trying to return fire. She is hit in the chest. Doris has an extra move now, since she took no Offense. She fires at Terry again. Terry gets a 20 and Doris a 17, so she misses.
That was one round. Since Phoebe took no offense and no one used a skill against her, she remained still for that four-second period (on average it is a second per offensive move).
Doris and Sheila are down and since their Damage Points deduction was over half (typical for gun shots), they get no offensive moves and must be stabilized or they will lose more damage.
Joe goes for the Terry, the biggest threat and so does Phoebe. Terry takes aim to fire at Joe's head and Roger fires at Phoebe.
- Joe's Offense: Pistol (Basic) against Terry
- Phoebe's Offense: Pistol (Basic) against Terry
- Doris is unstable.
- Roger's Offense: Pistol (Basic) against Phoebe
- Sheila is unstable.
- Terry's Offense: Pistol (Basic) against Joe.
Joe gets a 14 against Terry who is returning fire, but aiming for Joe's head. Joe shoots him in the arm. Remember, however, that all of the offensive moves happen somewhat at once, so Terry only gets hit after he makes his shot.
Phoebe rolled an 18 against Terry's Firearms Evade of 16.
Roger rolls a 12 against Phoebe's countershot of 19. Roger is down with a blast to his chest.
Terry's roll? He got a 14 against Joe's countershot 13. His gamble worked - Joe is shot in the head and immediately knocked unconscious. In only a couple minutes he'll be dead. The blast was immediately followed to a bullet in his arm. The damage is enough that he falls into shock.
Joe is unconscious and dying, so clearly has no offensive move. Phoebe is the only one up and standing with an offensive move. She opts to help her friends out of the room instead of using her offensive move, so the combat round is over.
Guns are serious business in this system. In 8 seconds nearly everyone in the room was wiped out.
Damage Capacity and Dying
This system follows the train of thought that if you are hit, it is likely bad news. The best thing a character can do is to avoid being hit altogether. All it takes is a single blade, or a bullet and it can be incapacitating and sometimes deadly. Likely, if someone is hit with a blade or bullet, he or she is going to go into shock. This system reflects a harsh combative reality where players will have to think more and shoot less. One mistake can be fatal.
Damage Capacity is categorized by location. The damage centers are Head, Torso, Right Arm, Left Arm, Abdomen, Right Leg, and Left Leg. Damage Capacity always starts at 100% and reduced from there. The only time Damage Capacity can be more than 100% is if a character is wearing armor or protection. Certain injuries can result in handicaps permanently lowering damage points.
If a character ever loses half or more of his or her Damage Capacity in any location, then that person goes into shock. For every minute that passes, he or she loses another 10% Damage Capacity until the location's pool is depleted. That person also cannot make offensive moves and all of his her skill bonuses are at half. If a person loses half or more to his or her head specifically, then he or she is unconscious. States of unconsciousness or shock can only be relieved if that person is stabilized with medical attention. Medical or healing skills that can be used to stabilize a person.
If a location takes 100% or more of their Damage Capacity, then that location is damaged beyond recovery. In the case of arms and legs that means the body part is either gone or beyond healing and will need to be removed or completely reconstructed. If a person loses 100% or more of their Damage Capacity in either their torso or head then he or she is dead. If the Damage Capacity loss was within 5% of his or her limit, then he or she can be recovered through Medical or healing skills. If recovered or if depleted to exactly 0%, than that person is considered "critical" and cannot move or function until fully recovered.
If a person manages to get away from a situation like this, he or she will need regular medical attention to heal completely. With daily use of Modern Medicine or Traditional Medicine, a person can heal per day. If he or she was critical then the difficulty for healing a person is much harder and that person could end up with handicaps or permanently reduced Damage Capacity.
Following is difficulty information for healing:
Stabilizing a Person in Shock (using basic skills as an example):
- First Aid: Depending on the severity of the wound and the circumstances in which the First Aid is being administered there is a difficulty bonus of 1-10. A success means the person is no longer in shock and increases lost Damage Capacity at 10% a day.
- Emergency Medicine: Depending on the severity of the wound and the circumstances in which the Emergency Medicine is being administered there is a difficulty bonus of 1-30. A success means the person is no longer in shock and increases lost Damage Capacity at the rate of 30% a day.
- Modern Medicine or Traditional Medicine: Depending on the severity of the wound and the circumstances in which the Medicine is being administered there is a difficulty of 1-50. A success means the person is longer in shock and increases lost Damage Capacity at the rate of 50% a day.