Frankenspiel!

Let's cobble together an RPG from the cast off parts of dead games.

The main rule: you can only suggest a discrete subsystem from a game or system that is no longer in print.

Secondary rules: only one suggestion per post. No spamming a whole game. The idea is to collectively build a PLAYABLE monstrosity.

I'll open with:

The "hand" mechanic from the Saga system (used in Dragonlance: The Fifth Age and Marvel). That was a card game but you could use it with a dice pool too. Basically you have your pool of RNG results and you have to use them all, even the failures or bad results, before you refill your "hand."

Go!
 

Ulfgeir

Explorer
Hmm, the word PLAYABLE makes it more difficult. I would have had the perfect candidate for the UNPLAYABLE version...

For the playabale version: I would say add the Lifeboard from Operation: Fallen Reich, as character creation. (It does need to be setting-specific though). The setting in the game is WWII, and secret agents. Think Jeeves & Wooster meets Cthulhu during WWII.

The Lifeboard was, you drew 4 character-cards then choose 1 as your occupation. That would give your starting skills-values, and where on the Lifeboard you started. You used the other 3 cards for their personality-description. Then you rolled a D6, and walked in a direction on the board of your choosing. Where you landed would give some modifications to 1 or 2 skills. If you rolled a 6 or stopped on certain spots, then you got to draw a "development-card". This would give larger modifications, good or bad. The square you landed on would be colour-coded gen/red, to show the severity of the modification. And rolls/cards could send you off to vastly different places on the board. You continued until you had accumulated a total of 20 cards (including the original 4). The after that you checked how much XP you had accumulated on each skill, and then calculated your actual skill-value.

The board was laid out a bit like a world map, and various different types of activities were grouped together. So you had for example entertainment-stuff in the US, and then you had criminal stuff somewhere else, and military. Adventure stuff was in Asia if I remember correctly. Making characters was very fun.
 
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Another subsystem I really like is the way Brave New World handled success. In that system, which used a die mechanic reminiscent of Savage Worlds but only using D6s, you decided your action and then rolled your check as normal, but if you got "extra successes" you could use them to enhance that success. It eliminated the penalty for trying to be cool and instead rewarded you with being cool for rolling well. There were generic "tricks" that anyone could use (extra damage or whatever) but also one specific to the character or the ability used. Since BNW was a low level supers game there were lots of fun options, but you could easily apply it to magic or tech or whatever.
 

John Dallman

Explorer
The basic attributes system from Paranoia XP. There are no attributes like Strength, Health, Dexterity or Intelligence.

There are four basic types of action, which sort of play the part of attributes, (they're setting-dependent, for the peculiar environment of Alpha Complex), each of which is divided into a set of skills. You get a point budget to buy your scores in the types of action. You then get to have "skill specialisations". Specialising in a skill makes your score in it the maximum, but requires you to reduce another skill in the same kind of action to the minimum. Using less than the maximum number of specialisations can make sense.
 

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