Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Adventurer update, new rules for characteristics and modifiers

Yes, the initial impetus for this blog, Adventurer, the traveller pastiche of D&D is still progressing. Its been undergoing playtesting and a serious reedit and reorganization  which I'm now adding to the main ms -which will eventually be available for download.

For now,I'd appreciate  comments on once particular change I've decided on:  modifiers for characteristics.  They are very genre appropriate, but often come to dominate chargen and task resolution.  Specifically, Traveller, (and I) seem to be predicated on the concept that while your basic makeup is important, what one learns is more important.  The classic example is this: would you rather have  heart surgery by another character with average stats and Medical -1, or an unskilled character with a +4 dex modifier (assuming Dex is what should be used, substitute whatever works for you) ?   How about an average character with Medic  4 vs the high dexterity  medic 0  ? Both have the exact same chance of success, but should they ?  In other words, a high Stat modifier allows a character access to lots more skills by balancing out the unskilled penalty.

Yet, genre conventions of Swords and Sorcery are full of the characters superior makeup (mighty thews, catlike grace, pantherish speed and all that ) being of notable importance.  So, here's how I'm hoping to address it in adventurer.

Traveller (and by extension Adventurer) is based on the premise that what a character knows and learns is more important than what abilities they were born with. While it is important not to let the characteristics become more important than the skills, the genre is full of examples where a protagonists raw makeup, be it strength, endurance or intelligence, makes the difference, particularly in a contest of equals.   Accordingly, extreme scores provide a modifier to unskilled task attempt (discussed in the section on skills).
Stat     Mod
0-2       -2
3-4       -1
5-9        0
10-11  +1
12+     +2

For opposed skilled task rolls, the characteristic effects the contest by providing a +1 to the character with the highest relevant characteristic.

For simple unopposed tasks rolls, no characteristic modifier should be used. It is assumed that the characters native trait is included in the skill level.

Hows that sound ? 


GerallKahla said...

I like the relative effect the bonus has when both contestants have skill. At first, I thought your description was going to cap the bonus granted by Attributes to the level of skill you have... Say having a Sword-1 and a +2 from Strength would let you have a +1 from the Attribute.

But then I finished reading.

I'd like to hear how this works out in playtest. Your method would result in less elevation of the 2d6 curve, and would probably be more appropriate for Adventurer. (It's all about getting over the derivative curve in the d20 system.)

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Funny, I was just rereading your v1 of Adventurer, and comparing it to Mercator. I like Mercator, though it is more sword and sandal and less sword and sorcery.

Matt Finch said...

Great stuff!

btw, added you to the bloglist at the Swords & Wizardry blog, too. Sorry for the delay on that.

Doc Grognard said...

Thanks ! Yeah, the d20 vs 2d6 is a big difference, far more than is apparent.

Mercator really really rocks, rules and generally is great.

Well, Matt, its that exact kind of shoddy inattention to important tasks involving my feelings that has made me so negative about your rules. First morale, now this.