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The Combo 20 System

GrendelForx

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Validated User
I once upon a time in what seems another life now was toying with a mechanic that seemed fun for me and some of my circle of friends but quickly got trampled underfoot by a trend that seems in no way as if it will die in the near future. This being the d20 system(s X infinity).
I credit a lot of this from the original RPGs that made good use of the d20 and still pretty much define the standard today whether directly or through any number of their bastard offspring. But I digress.
In the throws (pun intended) of messing with d20 dice instead of the single d10 I previously worked with, I came up with a combo system that might be fairly interesting.

The idea is much like a standard d20 system rolling a d20 and then success or not...but in this system, I envision rolling 1-5 d20 (depending on the trait or skill score you have). Each success adds a combo. Thusly:
2 successes = 1 combo
3 successes = 2 combo
4 successes = 3 combo
5 successes = 4 combo

Each combo would then add something extraordinary to the roll depending on what you are rolling to do. It also means in challenges that require times X successes, you can roll for them in one fell swoop as opposed to each turn.
When you bring powers into the mix, which every game I make has whether is magical spells, masterful weapon techniques or so forth - you get various effects depending on the combo.
This does require having multiple d20s on hand which, really, is no worse than having multiple d10s on hand (consider White Wolf games).

As a more direct example, I am working with a skill only game (no traits just skills) in which each Skill has a value 1-5.
If you have a melee skill of 4, you roll 4 d20s and say the difficulty in this case is 8, if you roll 2 successes that is a combo. 3 successes is 2 combo, and 4 successes would be 3 combo.
Then perhaps, the special "power" of the character has the results of the combos.

Thoughts? Musings?
 

CWalck93

Doom Priest of Peace and Happiness
Validated User
I don't think that's a problem at all. Other systems have done it with various other ways of handling the 'combo' idea. Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition with their Momentum mechanic. Going back into the vault, Brave New World has the extra success mechanic where any time your check is 5 or more above the target number, you gain a success. Those successes allow you to do tricks etc.

But like I said, at the core there is nothing wrong with what you've come up with here.
 

macul

Registered User
Validated User
I don't see any issues with it off-hand, other than rolling a handful of d20s. They tend to be larger than most other dice requiring more room to settle on a number. But shouldn't be a deal breaker.
 

SMHWorlds

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Validated User
What good is 1 success? It means you succeed, but do not achieve a "Combo"? If that is true, then is there any use for 1 success at all? Or is 2 success = 2 Successes + Combo? So the 2 successes matter independently of the Combo? How many successes = success or resolution? Is that variable? Could be 1 or could be 5? Do Combos go off even if there are not enough successes?

The system sounds interesting, I am just curious about the details and how combos and successes interact, if indeed they do interact.
 

GrendelForx

Registered User
Validated User
Well to use a standard d20 example, a single success would be like making a successful attack, an ordinary attack with ordinary success = dmg and done.. A combo would add another effect, if done a standard attack it would create a full damage effect or similar. A 2 Combo would then stack the damage and so on.
Say the challenge is more social and you are using a charm power. A standard success might make the crowd stop and listen to you for X minutes. A combo though would mean you, say, get people to listen and sway a person to follow you, whereas a 2 Combo would persuade more people to your side.
If you are using magic, a standard success might make a successful spell and done, a combo would add a spell effect, a 2 combo might actually combine spells, and so on.

The first game I am considering using this for use a set of spirit possessed powers. Instead of having to "level" the power for different effects, different combos would cause different effects.

In short a standard success is still a standard success.. We keep the one success because in a world where everyone is a combo then no one would be a combo :)
 

Paul DuPont

Chronic RPG Creator
Validated User
For clarity and simplicity, sounds like you could describe your combos as success levels. Or, perhaps more accurately, I have trouble thinking of the word 'combo' applying to non-combat successes.
 

CWalck93

Doom Priest of Peace and Happiness
Validated User
For clarity and simplicity, sounds like you could describe your combos as success levels. Or, perhaps more accurately, I have trouble thinking of the word 'combo' applying to non-combat successes.
I think you could do it both ways. Call them success levels for out of combat situations and state, "Hey. When we mean combos for combat, its the same idea as success levels." Or put a chart at the beginning of that particular section explaining what you're talking about.
 
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