Jupiter & Callisto

I know a lot of you folks are running around doing the Nanowrimo thing. You have my deepest respect and best wishes. If you want some really good advice that will make milk shoot out of your nose, go here. You’ll need to be drinking milk for it to shoot out, of course, milk won’t spontaneously appear in your sinuses.

Anyway, last week I tackled some of the background for this game I’m working on, and today I wanted to do a similar brain-dump as related to the system.


People do things in their lives. A lot of the things they do require training. It’s a very rare person that can shoot a gun, drive a car or hold an intense negotiation without having some schooling, and even then the natural talents a person might have won’t quite compare to a long life of expertise. So skills should be taken into consideration first.


Skills, however, also require natural ability. Train someone all you like in the use of a firearm, the art of forensic medicine or holding a conversation with a member of the opposite sex, they might still fail if their natural attributes – agility, perception, etc – are sub-par. The amount of aptitude one has in an area of their body or mind backs up or augments their training, so in my mind, attributes should be factored in after skills.


On top of skills and attributes, some folks have perks that add to the outcome of an endeavor. Specialized snipers are going to have an easier time picking off a target at range than your average thug. Likewise, there are penalties that sometimes need to be applied, say for example the fact that the target is moving. After skills and attributes come perks & penalties.


Skills, attributes and perks & penalties = SAP. Take the amount you have in a skill out of a possible 99, add the amount of the associated attribute (scale of 1 to 9) and factor in any appropriate perks or penalties. Once SAP is completed for a particular task, the player rolls percentile dice to determine success. 1 is an astounding success, and double 0 is a complete failure. There will be a chart for this to determine degrees of success or failure. But for the most part, the player should be able to determine everything they need from their character sheet without having to look anything up.


This system can be used for both combat and non-combat. However, combat can be a bit more complex, and some additional math might be involved. Basically, you begin with your weapon, whatever type of Munition you’re using. Factor against that the Armor (if any) of the target. Consider the Range, then apply SAP. Munition, Armor, Range & SAP = MARS.


I hope this made sense and if you have any feedback about it, let me know. I’ll cover some character creation tidbits next time. My notion is to make all this number-crunching as smooth as possible, and keep combat and non-combat encounters from feeling disjointed or disparate. A kind word, after all, can alter a situation just as much as a gun.