d12 Setting, Dyson Sphere

I’ve finally got a definite idea for the campaign world using d12 rules. It’s going to be about exploration of recently rediscovered Dyson sphere, more specifically Dyson shell. I’ve stated that the game is going to be space opera (among other things) so hard science can take back seat and I can do cool stuff based on concept.

Basic idea is that The Guild has discovered a lost Dyson sphere world and has invited all different factions to participate in its exploration. The Guild is of course interested solely in profit and control of interstellar flight and trade while other factions have their own motivations.

The Dyson sphere was built to be a paradise world and giant lab by the previous human civilization that was lost in wars long forgotten with enemies unknown. This of course means that there is lots of strange stuff waiting for someone to find it.

Enter greedy, ambitious, trigger happy explorers (i.e. player characters) supported by various factions and the game should roll with its own weight.

d12 Quick Character Creation

I got an idea of how to make characters quickly for my d12 rules. My original idea was to provide ready templates that listed bunch of skills the character gets after rolling attributes but this is simpler alternative that requires no effort on GMs part to create the templates.

First, we remove the untrained skills rule, meaning that all characters effective have all skills at rank 0. No rolling with penalty dice if you don’t know the skill.

Then roll your character’s attributes, 2d6 in order to Fighting, Tech, Operator, Education, Willpower, Empathy, Wits, Agility, Stamina and Strength. Pick name, equipment and fill other details you want and your character is ready to play. Everything you do with your character is simple attribute roll and you can purchase skills later with experience.

This is useful if the game is more like old school dungeon crawl were PC death count is high and new characters are needed regularly. It is faster than for example Pathfinder RPG character creation, of course in Pathfinder your not expected to change characters like socks.

This kind of play starts with just few stats on paper and simple idea who the character is (like soldier, merchant, scholar). The player discovers through play and his actions who and what his character is exactly. I like this kind of organic character growth. Another theory is that the character must prove his worth by staying alive before he can get access to advanced game mechanics.

3:16 Carnage among the Troopers

Today I was playing 3:16 in my regular haunt, university’s RPG club. We started the night with 11 players. The start was bit chaotic with everyone shouting over each other and some of the more experienced players helping first time players with their characters. Situation improved bit by bit as people started to die and some left the game early.

Most of the dead players were executed by their fellow troopers. I’m not sure if it was the very crowded small room or people just getting fed up with the slow pace because the player of the major (first casualty) was giving conflicting orders to his squad. Also, I’m not sure if the conflicting orders were because he was messing with us or because he was drunk or both. Anyways, the major was executed by his sergeant. The other sergeant was promoted to major and and that triggered another trooper vs. trooper conflict when the new major clashed with his corporal. The corporal was trying to pull rank on him because the first major had put him in charge of the first squad… The corporal was executed by the new major and his lackeys.

Anyways… after these two episodes the player count had dropped to 6 and things started to move forward again. We actually managed to complete some of our mission objectives, saving friendly forces from lifeforms. Rest of the mission was actually quite good. All the usual 3:16 mission silliness ensued, our drop ship getting shot down just when we were supposed to go pick up last group of survivors, troopers almost dying to grenades and people using strengths and weaknesses to kill lifeforms or save their asses instead of executing their COs

d12 Combat, Initiative

Basic mechanics have been covered time to move on to crunchy bits, combat rules. I want action in this game so the combat rules will be fairly detailed from the start. Another thing I want to do with the combat rules is show various ways degrees of success can be used so they other mini rule systems can be derived on them mid game if need arises. Continue reading

d12 Skills

d12 has skills in addition to attributes. What follows is the skill list commonly available to all characters. What is not included are skills related to using various psychic/magical powers, they’ll be detailed with rest of the rules for those powers.

Skills are never rolled alone, they are always used in addition to attributes when rolling to see if character succeeds in a task. Attributes can be rolled on their own but if a skill would apply in the situation and the character doesn’t have it he rolls his attribute with 2 penalty dice (untrained skill roll). In some cases, unless the character has skill at rank 0 or higher, he can’t even try the action. Continue reading

d12 Attributes

d12 rules will use attributes common to all characters supplemented by skills the character has. It looks pretty much like 2nd edition Warhammer Fantasy RPG or Warhammer 40k RPGs, attributes are important but skills help as well, especially since skills will be cheaper (in XP) to increase when your attributes get to higher levels.. More about improving characters with XP later.

Attributes are following:

  • Fighting – Covers all sorts of personal fighting done with or without weapons.
  • Tech – Fixing and modifying tech, all repair and building skills go under this attribute.
  • Operator – Using all sorts of tech, repairing a spaceship after it has been shot is Tech attribute roll, flying the spaceship is Operator attribute roll.
  • Education – All book smart subjects go under this like history, sciences and languages.
  • Willpower – Willpower is mental toughness, it doesn’t have many skills for mundane characters. It is important for all sorts of mystic power users. One important skill is Combat Experience (more on it later).
  • Empathy – All social skills go under this one. Not exactly sure if it is necessary, I could go completely old school and remove social skills entirely but I’ve been thinking of a faction system where player character rule their own faction/kingdoms/planets etc. which would need them.
  • Wits – Quick thinking and perception, not that many skills or different uses but definitely important.
  • Agility – Whole body coordination like acrobatics, climbing and such that rpg action heroes tend to do a lot.
  • Stamina – Physical toughness, you want lot of this if plan on doing fighting and receive lots of blows and live to tell the tale.
  • Strength – Raw physical ability like carrying and lifting stuff and melee damage.

Ordinary humans have attributes at average of 6. This means that ordinary humans have ~80% chance to make difficulty 15 (normal) rolls but have to get lucky to make difficulty 20 (professional ability) rolls, ~54% chance. See statistics from AnyDice (set Data to “At Least”). That sound about right, starting PCs can do ordinary stuff easily but have to work on getting favorable conditions, help or plain luck to do really extraordinary stuff.

Player characters start as ordinary humans so attributes can be randomly generated by rolling 1d4+4 in order for the attributes listed above.