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The Odyssey System -- Stripped-down Hot Rod d20 rules

GMSkarka

First Post
Adamant Entertainment is planning on releasing our own d20 OGL "house system" in 2008 -- The Odyssey System, which will debut in a stand-alone version of our pulp line: Thrilling Tales, 2nd Edition..

Basically, I really like the steps taken by Saga Edition, but in my opinion, it doesn't go far enough. So I'm coming up with an even faster, stripped-down hot-rod. d20-based rules with fast creation and faster play in mind.

In this thread, I'm asking you guys what you'd like to see. What things, as a GM or as a Player, are things that you think need stripping down?

So far, the ideas we're already working with:

  • No Character Classes: Everybody is a single "class" -- Occupations give you your basic skill packages, and all of the old class abilities are found in Talent Trees which allow players to mix-and-match to their heart's content. (For example, in THRILLING TALES, there will be a "Mad Scientist" talent tree, and a "Man of Mystery" talent tree, etc. and players can pick and choose as they wish, to customize their characters)

  • No class-based Saving Throws: All saves are simple characteristic checks, plus half the character level. (Reflex = Dex, Willpower = Wisdom, etc.)

  • No Hit Points: Damage handled through a combination of M&M-style "Toughness" save (CON check), with results playing out on a SWSE-style condition chart.

  • Perception as an Ability Score: Replacing skills like Spot and Listen -- instead of a skill, something that everyone has.

  • Stripped-down skill list, plus Training: Similar to SWSE -- no skill points. Everyone has a default in all skills, but "trained skills" (from Occupation or Talents) give you a bonus (based on character level).

  • SC2.0-style NPC creation -- as per our FOE FACTORY release.


As I said, this system will first be used in a stand-alone 2nd Edition THRILLING TALES rulebook, and from there, possibly in a licensed RPG (the license will be announced soon). Close enough to the core of d20 that it should be easily adaptable for those playing other games, but cool and fast enough that they'll be tempted to just switch!

...and yes, it will be released as a free SRD as well.

So, that's a start. Let's hear what you'd like to see.
 
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SirKerry

Explorer
I like the sound of everything but the "Stripped-down skill list, plus Training" bit. Nothing wrong with consolidating skills like in RPGObject's Modern20, but I really hate way SWSE does skills.

Kerry
 


jonrog1

First Post
Some people do prefer the variability of assigning skill points at will. Personally I'd say go with SAGA but have a sidebar with a skill point conversion.
 

SirKerry

Explorer
GMSkarka said:
Care to elaborate? I'm curious as to your reasons.

I just hate the way SWSE ties skills to level. Just because a character is 5th level doesn't mean that all of their 'trained' skills should be of the same compentency level, IMO. I don't mind level limiting max skill compentency (other then the fact that I don't like levels period, other then M&M's Power Level system). I like the fact that skill compentencies have a wide range - it makes for more unique and interesting characters and game.

Kerry
 

Committed Hero

Explorer
I think the ultimate in stripped down d20 is to have all skills replaced by descriptive ratings that outline a character's history: Seal Training +5, Archaeology Professor +10, et c. This encourages character development and deals neatly with the skill/knowledge dichotomy (using the above, the archaeologist could make a roll for any field of knowledge that seems reasonable to the troupe). In the absence of an applicable description, an ability check would have to suffice.
 

SirKerry

Explorer
Committed Hero said:
I think the ultimate in stripped down d20 is to have all skills replaced by descriptive ratings that outline a character's history: Seal Training +5, Archaeology Professor +10, et c. This encourages character development and deals neatly with the skill/knowledge dichotomy (using the above, the archaeologist could make a roll for any field of knowledge that seems reasonable to the troupe). In the absence of an applicable description, an ability check would have to suffice.

Hmm, that would be interesting to try, has a real PDQ System vibe to it.

Kerry
 

jonrog1

First Post
SirKerry said:
I just hate the way SWSE ties skills to level. Just because a character is 5th level doesn't mean that all of their 'trained' skills should be of the same compentency level, IMO. I don't mind level limiting max skill compentency (other then the fact that I don't like levels period, other then M&M's Power Level system). I like the fact that skill compentencies have a wide range - it makes for more unique and interesting characters and game.

Kerry

Well, D&D pretty much ties skills to level by allowing you max ranks, which 99% of players do on their primary skills. SWSE has untrained skills, trained skills, Skill Focus, and feats and abiliites which allow rerolls on specific skills, meaning an effective range of +10 or so not even taking into account ability mods.

I understand your problems with the system, but having shaken it out a bit, there's no feeling of cookie-cutter ability ranges when in play.
 

jaerdaph

#BlackLivesMatter
Hi Gareth,

I've been thinking about this. Honestly, even though I'm sure you'll do one hell of a design job like you always do, I'm not sure what the market needs is yet another d20 variant rule system (well, I know I don't need another one personally). I know things are a little up in the air as the 3e era comes to an end and WotC's plans for their other product lines like d20 Modern aren't really on the table yet. I also know publishers are trying to fill voids in gaming (and their income) in the interim, and I admit these new experiments with d20 are cool to see. But I'm not sure further fracturing of the d20 fanbase is the answer. There are other viable options out there now that might be a better choice.

For example, have you considered a standalone True20 version of Thrilling Tales? I know you have begun to dual stat Thrilling Tales for d20 Modern and FATE. Imperial Age, as it continues to grow, is another option for True20 conversion. There is a large, existing True20 fanbase out there eager for more product. Perhaps this is a safer road, as the Grim Tales and Modern20s are the exceptions, not the rule, when it comes to d20 variants.

Just my +2 Wealth bonus. Hope it's helpful. :)
 

Starglim

Explorer
GMSkarka said:
Perception as an Ability Score: Replacing skills like Spot and Listen -- instead of a skill, something that everyone has.

The potential difficulty I see here is that you're throwing the Perception score onto the scales with all the existing ability scores. Whether you're creating characters by point-buy, roll and distribute or any other method involving choice, players now have a seventh slot to allocate their scarce resource of ability score points, splitting what Wisdom did before. It may take considerable tinkering to get the balance right again.
 

jdrakeh

Adventurer
Starglim said:
The potential difficulty I see here is that you're throwing the Perception score onto the scales with all the existing ability scores. Whether you're creating characters by point-buy, roll and distribute or any other method involving choice, players now have a seventh slot to allocate their scarce resource of ability score points, splitting what Wisdom did before. It may take considerable tinkering to get the balance right again.

Actually, I don't see that as a problem at all (particularly if using a random roll method).

If using a random roll method, balance is automatically ensured by generating the ability score in the same manner as all others, as there is no other form of mechanical balance utilized in the random method. An extra ability score throws nothing out of whack here.

Now, if using point-buy, things are a bit more complex (but not much more so). If using point-buy, one needs to do some short division (breaking down the current point-buy values) and add an appropriate number of points to the attribute pool based on the findings.
 

jezter6

First Post
jaerdaph said:
Hi Gareth,

I've been thinking about this. Honestly, even though I'm sure you'll do one hell of a design job like you always do, I'm not sure what the market needs is yet another d20 variant rule system (well, I know I don't need another one personally). I know things are a little up in the air as the 3e era comes to an end and WotC's plans for their other product lines like d20 Modern aren't really on the table yet. I also know publishers are trying to fill voids in gaming (and their income) in the interim, and I admit these new experiments with d20 are cool to see. But I'm not sure further fracturing of the d20 fanbase is the answer. There are other viable options out there now that might be a better choice.

For example, have you considered a standalone True20 version of Thrilling Tales? I know you have begun to dual stat Thrilling Tales for d20 Modern and FATE. Imperial Age, as it continues to grow, is another option for True20 conversion. There is a large, existing True20 fanbase out there eager for more product. Perhaps this is a safer road, as the Grim Tales and Modern20s are the exceptions, not the rule, when it comes to d20 variants.

Just my +2 Wealth bonus. Hope it's helpful. :)

I agree. I love the TT and IA lines you have, but I can't see myself using yet another d20 SubSystem. I like Modern20, yet I will never use it because I already use d20 modern and True20. No need for something else.

And +1 to the idea of going True20. We're clamoring for more product, and since Chuck and RPGO are starting to support Modern20 - we need to fill that void, and you're just the company to do it.
 


SirKerry

Explorer
jezter6 said:
And +1 to the idea of going True20. We're clamoring for more product, and since Chuck and RPGO are starting to support Modern20 - we need to fill that void, and you're just the company to do it.

I'd love to see Adamant support Modern20 or True20, but if GMS wants to create his own vision of nextgen d20 system more power to him. I don't know if I'll like what he comes up with, but I'll certainly give it a try.

Kerry
 

GMSkarka

First Post
jaerdaph said:
But I'm not sure further fracturing of the d20 fanbase is the answer.

In my opinion, I really don't think these "fracture the fanbase" -- since they're all d20-based and therefore pretty easily adaptable.

jaerdaph said:
For example, have you considered a standalone True20 version of Thrilling Tales? [...] There is a large, existing True20 fanbase out there eager for more product.

I had briefly considered it, but honestly, I have doubts about the size of the True20 fanbase. There doesn't seem to be much demand reflected in market presence of the True20 stuff, either in online or real-world stores.

Plus, in my opinion, similar to my views of SWSE, True20 doesn't go far enough in stripping down the rules.
 

Walt C

Explorer
At present, there are no plans to migrate the Imperial Age line. All products currently in development use the d20 Modern rules.

Walt Ciechanowski
Imperial Age Line Developer
Adamant Entertainment
 

Bretbo

First Post
GMSkarka said:
In my opinion, I really don't think these "fracture the fanbase" -- since they're all d20-based and therefore pretty easily adaptable.

Plus I'm thinking that most folks will follow the support products (like Thrilling Tales) more than the system, at least at first.
 

Dragon-Slayer

First Post
GMSkarka said:
I had briefly considered it, but honestly, I have doubts about the size of the True20 fanbase. There doesn't seem to be much demand reflected in market presence of the True20 stuff, either in online or real-world stores.

Plus, in my opinion, similar to my views of SWSE, True20 doesn't go far enough in stripping down the rules.


Not to sound contradictory at all, but True 20 does seem to have a fairly strong fanbase; not only are the official forums active, but also I have Yahoogroups for both WFRP2 and True 20 and while the former has more members, the latter is growing faster at this point in time than the WFRP group, which lumbers along and adds members slowly. There could be several factors that cause this, including the heavy-handed GW attitude getting worse than it ever was. The True20 books at the local bookstore appear to sell fairly well, they had WFRP books once and never brought them back and will only special order them, D&D books move very slowly and now the D&D books are all $5 each and still not moving.
 

GMSkarka

First Post
Another point, re: any supposed fracturing --

Keep in mind, that unlike any of the other systems mentioned, we'll be releasing Odyssey as a free SRD. Not just making it Open Content, but making the core system free.
 

Angel Tarragon

Dawn Dragon
Conceptually very interesting. I am glad to hear there will be an SRD. Will this be exclusive for licensed developerrs or for everyone?

I'm a little less than thrilled with classless system. Even when I DM D20 Cthulhu, I use the WotC Cthulhu book and D20 Modern + the D20 Past stuff from the SRD.
 

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