I’ve been working on my own RPG for a while, and after at just a decade, think that WaRP is a good base. I think about role-playing systems a lot, reading through everything I can get my hands on and critiquing each asked for how well it fulfills it’s purpose in making the game fun.
I’ve been trying to strike a balance between crunchiness and fluidity for a while. Mostly I err on the side of simulation, but since the setting in working with is a dreamscape, that ends up being less than appropriate.
There are three systems I think I can munge together to create what I’ve been after, those being WaRP, Don’t Rest Your Head, and Mythic. Each of these is used to create a particular feel for their games, but alone don’t fit for mine.
Don’t Rest Your Head
This game, published by Evil Hat, pictures you as a super-insomniac that through your exhaustion has learned that there is a reality behind this one, and it’s not a nice place. Now that you know about it, you’re a target.
The feature I’m most interested in with this one is the use of the dice system to create side-effects in the scene. There are 4 kinds of dice, and if during a challenge one of these groups is responsible for the highest individual die roll, there can be thematic repercussions to your character and/or the scene as a result.
I always had the idea of having multiple forces that act on characters in the setting to make them miserable or to act as a dangerous source of power, so this method speaks to me.
Being a GM and being in control of the situation is great, but when you’re running a game completely off-the-cuff, it helps to be able to have some assistance when eyeballing it. Enter Mythic and it’s interesting “GM Emulator” system.
Long story short, the emulator gives you a table of probabilities, and a reasonably straightforward process by which you can arrange and mutate scenes as the story progresses. The core of this is the asking of yes/no questions and using the table and a d100 roll to answer them.
I’m not sure how much of that I’d want to throw into the game, but having a way to answer questions during a scene about details that you may not have worked out beforehand is great, and at the very least, another tool at the GM’s disposal.
Each character gets a small set of reasonably broad traits, and can use this to overcome challenges by rolling a number of dice equal to the trait, adding bonus dice if applicable, and choosing a number of dice to actually use in the final result equal to their trait value.
It gets way more complicated of course, but the essence of “kept” and “unkept” dice gives you a decent probability curve, and allows you to throw on all sorts of bonuses without changing the maximum result. That being said, exploding rolls is one of the features, and that should provide any necessary lucky breaks the characters might need.
I love tinkering with systems, but eventually I’ll need to battle test this all together against some real players.
Of course, I could always use the Mythic emulator to emulate players as well…