A Role-Playing system built from first principles
Have you ever wondered why most role-playing games devolve into the march of the murder-hobos? Why is combat the only choice to pick up the pace and turn on the action? Why do hints and clues fail at the table? Why do add-on rules seem to give more choices, but end up just creating a rabbit warren of sub-optimal dead-end options? Can't we have a system that doesn't break under the weight of its own expansion? Can't we have a system that is easily modified; changing its tone, setting, magic, and nature? Can't we have a system that works for the gamer who wants to play tactically? Can't we have a system that works for the player who wants to tell a story? We can. We do.
Some people point to their pet system and say "look it works" after they have a few good games in a few narrow and similar situations. Even then that experience soon becomes elusive and the GM fights to get it back... repeating old paradigms, trying to dip their toes back into a river that has moved on. You're not broken. Your set of rules is. I've run campaigns that have lasted more than thirty years with sprawling story arcs. I know the work that it takes to prop up a broken system. We just don't need to anymore.
Mach One Games
Fast and Simple
Get a trigger, declare a response, then resolve. It is simple, fast, and natural.
Strategies confront tactics as situations change the moment.
Resolving any check requires adding two numbers together. There is no tedious arithmetic or book-keeping.
Games with rounds and turns confuse sequential and concurrent action. Turns are slow to manage and unnatural. The amount of time that passes changes based on the number of combatants.
We have solved the problem of "time-chunking" with our action engine, a tool used by the GM to sequence multiple actions, multiple characters, and multiple events. Short-round games like GURPS suffer from an inability to differentiate speeds, while the d20 family has the longer round and more action paralysis. We can make a character who runs at 12 miles an hour feel and play just a bit differently than someone who runs at 14 miles an hour... six-sevenths differently in fact.
Why does it matter that the only time you know what a "hit point" means is when you are all out of them? Why does it matter that your character is paralyzed when it isn't their "turn?" Why does it matter that armor doesn't reduce harm, but makes you harder to hit? All of those problems in other systems compound to impede translating the game into the story and the story into the game. By solving these problems of abstraction and granularity we combine all three perspectives at once so that if you take a story-first approach, a character-first approach, or a game-first approach, your play experience makes sense. A game that makes sense is more immersive. We have boiled away the old ways of doing things and are building on strong foundations. Now we understand that you can't have a game without some abstraction, heck, you can't even form a sentence without some. But here's the rub, you need to be able to zoom in and out, inspect an event happening in a second and one happening over days, with a single set of rules that adapts to the task or action you are examining.
Mach One Games
We don't use statistics to create facile adjustments to actions. We go straight to the source and give your character a set of talents... that you can customize.
This example of our translatable design pillar ensuring that every aspect of the rules works in both game and story.
Set aside HP, AC, Levels, and see that even their statistics are overly abstract and reduce player options. Why can't you make a stupid wizard who is effective?
We are not the first game to eschew hit-points. When you get hurt, you get an injury condition. Conditions can be as simple or as complicated as your group wants them to be. Every condition in the game works the same way: it alters the number of dice that you roll when you make a check. Which checks? Well, that depends on the condition. Every game term like "scope" or "condition" means something in the narrative world too. The game is the story. The story is the game.
The third pillar of our mandate makes the game extensible and collapsible. This means that you can expand the game and make it more complicated and compress the game and make it more simple. You are in control of the action and the flow of time and the level of detail. The game is based upon a single paradigm -- the task resolution mechanism which only requires five concepts: talents, tools, conditions, actions, and effects. We have a core set of talents, a basic set of tools, a simple list of conditions, and some common actions and effects. When we add complexity it expands our definition of one of these five concepts, adds an item to one of their lists, or differentiates one of the items on that list into sub-categories.
We have an action sequence -- a specific variant of the task resolution mechanism. This action sequence works for chases, hunts, survival, athletic contests, stealth and subterfuge, and of course combat. So does the basic task sequence, just in less detail. Get it? This type of design allows you to add a fatigue module, or add a magic system, as one unit into your game. The core of the game is light enough to make any "rules-light" advocate happy yet can be expanded into a detailed simulation without changing any of the core principles. it is built to grow.
Every check in the game is reversible so that you can roll to lift a rock, or the rock can roll to stay put. A check may be made with dice or without.
Characters can do things that players can't and players can do things that characters can't. So when it comes to making choices -- the war of role and roll -- who gets to decide?
With reversible checks, the game moderator is able to control the focus of the action and solve the problem of the competence gap. Players change the tools and difficulties by the actions they declare and the dice resolve the execution based on the character's score. A simple but powerful unification.
So, if you have been paying attention all the way down to the end of this list, it should be clear that I've made something that allows you to adjust the rules to fit your setting. There are things like the "dice-cap" and the "star-cap" that adjust the physics of your world -- changing the level of realism and grittiness in a flash. Because of the way that it is built, you can drop whole sections into an out of the rules. There isn't one way to engage with a role-playing game, but there can be one system. When you adhere to the pillars of design above ruthlessly (and I mean re-write thousands of pages, rebuilding over and over again, until you have a system that grows, shrinks, turns, and solves) you can give the community a game that can be tailored without being warped.
After the launch of the core package, we'll create a tool for your to self-publish and print-on-demand your custom ruleset with your custom world. God willing.