Clash of the Titans + long drive means that I started putting together an RPG system expressly tuned to run high-action games set in mythic Greece. As it currently exists, it’s something of a combination of Exalted and Warhammer.
- Athletics: Body mass, physical strength, and general health; used to determine base damage resistance and to make feats of strength
- Agility: Dexterity, speed, and finesse; used to determine base defense and movement rate
- Passion: Outgoing expressiveness and charm; used for many aggressive social actions and resistance to social attacks
- Presence: Ability to emote and conceal emotions; used for many passive social actions and social defense
- Intellect: Logical mental prowess and raw intelligence; used to make deductions and resist mental attacks
- Intuition: Perception and ability to make mental leaps; used to make inductions and defend against mental attacks
In most cases, characters may roll the higher of the two attributes in a category unless the situation specifically calls for one or the other. The result is narrated according to the attribute used (e.g., an attack with Athletics is forceful and direct, while an attack with Agility is quick and precise).
Characters have three major traits that parallel the attributes. These are used as skills for many rolls and represent both actual competence and perceived competence in the setting. Most careers are gated by a certain prerequisite number in one or more tempers.
- Glory: The character’s history of battle, used for martial prowess
- Devotion: The character’s history of loyalty to liege and gods, used for social prowess
- Prudence: The character’s history of rhetorical acuity, used for mental prowess
Most rolls are a number of d10s equal to the applicable attribute. The player keeps the highest die roll and then adds an appropriate Temper score (e.g., an attack by a character with 5 Athletics and 6 Glory would be the highest of 5d10 + 6).
Initiative and Actions
Each round, players roll 1d10 for initiative. Heavy armor imposes a penalty and certain weapons and traits might impose a bonus or penalty. If the player rolls 10+, he or she may take an extra action at the end of the round. If the character is wielding an offhand weapon, this roll must only be 5+, but in that case the extra action must be an attack with the offhand weapon.
In initiative order, each character takes two actions on his or her initiative mark. Possible actions are:
- Move: Move spaces equal to Agility (if not engaged in melee)
- Escape: Move one space away from an adjacent enemy
- Feat of Strength: Do something like climb, jump, or move an object using Athletics
- Build up: Wind up a mighty attack
- Momentum Attack: Make a melee attack roll at +2 after a Move or Build Up action (same round)
- Attack: Make an attack roll
- Defend: Add weapon or shield’s Block rating to Defense until your first action next round (can double up for extra defense)
- Draw: Remove ammunition from a bag or quiver (knocking a bow or loading a sling does not take an action if the character has a helper or the ammo placed in quick reach, such as planted in the ground in front)
If multiple individuals are attacking the same target, each subsequent attacker in the round gets +1 to hit. If the target is flanked, each flanking attacker gets +1 to hit.
A character’s Defense is equal to 5 + Agility. Many shields impose a small bonus to Defense, and characters taking the Defend action raise their Defense even further.
Armor is rated 1-10 (or even higher) based on its type: soft leather at 1, bronze plate at 10. If the armor rating is higher than the character’s Athletics attribute, the armor is treated as Heavy and imposes a -2 penalty to Initiative. If the armor rating is higher than the character’s Agility attribute, the armor is treated as Rigid and imposes a -2 penalty to Defense.
The character’s total Armor rating is equal to Athletics + Armor. This amount is deducted from the damage of all attacks that hit.
Weapons are rated 1-10 (or even higher) based on type: Knife at 1, Greataxe at 10.
Some weapons, including most blunt and slashing instruments, are Standard and deal damage based on greater weight and impact. Standard weapons are considered Unbalanced if the rating is higher than the character’s Athletics attribute; the character takes a -2 penalty to attack. Any character wielding a Standard weapon with two hands treats Athletics as 2 higher for purposes of the weapon being Unbalanced.
Some weapons, including most spears, sharp blades, and ranged weapons, are Precise and deal damage based on hitting targets in vital locations. Precise weapons are considered Clumsy if the rating is higher than the character’s Agility attribute; the character takes a -2 penalty to initiative.
Some weapons might have special, additional traits such as range or reach.
When a character makes an attack, make an attack roll as noted above ([Attribute]d10 + Glory), including any modifiers from the situation or talents. If the attack total exceeds the target’s Defense, it hits.
If an attack hits, add the amount it exceeded the target’s Defense to the base weapon rating. Compare this value to the target’s Armor and deal the overage as damage to the target.
(Hit point system to be determined)
For example, a character with Athletics 4, Glory 4, and a 4 point weapon attacks a target with Athletics 4, Agility 4 and 4 point armor. Neither has any other applicable bonuses or penalties. The attacker rolls 4d10 + 4 and rolls a 7 for a total of 11 attack. This exceeds the target’s Defense 9 (5 + Agility). The attack exceeded the target’s Defense by 2, so the attacker adds the base weapon damage of 4 to that 2 for a total of 6. Unfortunately, the target’s Armor rating is currently 8 (4 Athletics + 4 Armor), so the attack clangs harmlessly off. The attacker will most likely need to roll higher or avail himself of attack bonuses to harm this target.
Other than combat, characters might engage in several types of challenges during a quest:
- Athletic competition: Based on physical attributes, the character attempts to win a race, wrestling match, or other Olympic sport
- Courtly Drama: Based on social attributes, the character grandstands in front of a court, striving to win the favor of lord or peers in an argument with a rival
- Performance: Based on social attributes, the character gives a dramatic or musical performance to the assembly, trying to prove competence and change the mood of the room
- Debate: Based on mental attributes, the character engages foes in a rhetorical contest to prove the best solution to a situation; use of Ethos, Pathos, or Logos establishes whether the character uses Glory, Devotion, or Prudence as a skill
- Craft: Based on mental attributes, the character attempts to create a great work of art or engineering, either to prove the more skilled at embedding themes or the more skilled at making a practical creation