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

GMSkarka

Explorer
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

Adventurer
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

#UkraineStrong
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.
 

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