Simplest Multi-Level Success System

Paul DuPont

Chronic RPG Creator
Validated User
I'm putting together a mini RPG game design. Cards will be used to determine things like race and class. The goal is to make it playable in as little as 20 minute sessions where a single scene can be played out and be fun in and of itself. However, I'm looking for a very simple and quick way to have players use dice to generate multiple levels of success from just a few dice. Combat won't be a separate mechanic either, though the stakes in combat include your life.

Though I haven't played it, what I've read of the 2D20 System seems to be on the right track. Roll two dice, compare to multiple stats. Roll lower than one stat, get a success, roll lower than both stats get multiple successes. And the momentum mechanic appears to simplify lots of fiddly modifiers into one smooth mechanic. Another approach could simply use a dice pool(with small pools) and use the value of the chosen die as a description of how well you did. For instance, d6 could have 6 different results that have a descriptive story element. Challenge would modify the dice pool rather than require a better roll.

I've got lots more ideas running through my head, but most systems I work with are too complex for this format. I welcome all suggestions.
 

Knaight

Registered User
Validated User
You're describing things pretty close to a few different systems. Most notably there's the various select-highest dice pool systems where the highest has different results (e.g. Spire) and multiple dice interpreted individually (e.g. Save the Universe).

I'd consider having an explicit Gain die and an explicit Loss die. If you succeed at the Gain die, you get what you were trying to do. If you succeed at the Loss die you don't suffer negative consequences in the process. This sets up four distinct results for each roll, it's pretty quick, and it should work well for the amount of time you have.
 

Paul DuPont

Chronic RPG Creator
Validated User
I really like your suggestion. I'm not sure how to make that work with a system where stats are derived from traits found on multiple cards (each being part of your character sheet, essentially). Where multiple traits help, then I suppose they would add together. Hmmmm... will have to think on that.
 

DeathbyDoughnut

a.k.a. Mr. Meat Popcicle
Validated User
Reminds me of a card supplement for Fate Accelerated called It's Not My Fault!

I put together a portable deck box rpg when I was traveling a lot. It has the It's Not My Fault! Cards for quick character creation, situation creation, Fate Accelerated quick reference, and I got bought some blank dry erase cards. The box I got is a metal mtg box with dice tray/token insert. I stuck a set of Fudge dice inside and found a small dry erase marker that can fit inside the box next to the cards.

Basically with It's Not My Fault! you put together three character cards to make your character. Each character gets a + in the three Fate approaches listed, and each character card comes with a stunt. I've also run it using two cards per character for less keeping track of cards. Combine bonuses for a total in those approaches.

The GM deals out one card from each of the other decks to generate an adventure then you can just roleplay out from there. The game of course is based on Fate Accelerated so task difficulty is the standard Fate ladder.

I tossed the blank dry erase cards in there so I could create NPCs, draw maps, etc.

My desire for a portable card based rpg came from lots of traveling for work. I spent hours and hours just sitting in airports with nothing to do waiting for flights, with groups of coworkers and other people in the eaxct same situation. So I was excited when I found the card supplement for a super rules light game for Fate Accelerated. Gathered everything together and off to the races I went.

I'd still be very interested in a portable card based rpg especially if it was possible to contain everything in one small easily portable container. I've often noodled with a way to do characters, and resolution with the same set of cards.

Something like face cards are your character types. King, Queen, and Jack being specific character archetypes like brute, face, expert (skill monkey), and the suit of those cards determine the nature of the character types. Clubs violence, diamonds wealth, spades courage/resolve, hearts social. Maybe draw a face card and pick a face card to create a cool character. A king of clubs plus jack of diamonds. Your character is a money master: bribing the right people, swindling the rest, but when push comes to shove this character can lay an absolute beat down leaving bloody noses and broken jaws.

One through Tens card draws could be the resolution method, either counter draws, or GM sets a difficulty and player draws. Maybe if there is an affinity between the character nature and the task of the first draw they get an extra draw during resolution and use the higher of the two.
 

DeathbyDoughnut

a.k.a. Mr. Meat Popcicle
Validated User
I bought everything from Amazon, except the It's Not My Fault game which I linked above.

I searched "dry erase cards". Make sure to get poker card size because they also have index card sized that won't fit.

The deck boxes are called "nesting deck vault" from ultra pro. There are a bunch of styles I have a few of them they all work the same.

Honestly markers that fit inside the box with the cards were hardest to find. Mini dry erase markers they have to be the right shape and size.
 
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