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Author Topic: Q&D (Quick and Dirty) - 2nd Edition Revised  (Read 9759 times)
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« on: October 19, 2012, 07:08:35 PM »

Quick & Dirty - 2nd Edition Revised

Note: The Quickest and Dirtiest yet

Once again, I have made some comprehensive revisions to Q&D to address some issues the second edition had, most notably the complaint that it is sometimes not all that quick, and more dirty than it's worth. Major work done on the merits and flaws system was the biggest change. As before, though, it should still (hopefully) be recognizably Q&D, though.
The "Quick & Dirty System" was originally something I hastily threw together for a couple of games. It has since grown, thrived, and expanded, and I was pretty pleased with the result, which was Q&D1. I then made Q&D2 in an attempt to fix some of the issues, and while it was a partial success and did see some play, ultimately I felt there was still room for improvement. This revised edition of Q&D was thus born. Special thanks to Seraphine_Harmonium and the rest of our Cad Goleor group, Hoers, and SA for testing and suggestions for prior iterations of Q&D.

For those unfamiliar with Q&D, it is designed to be a fast, simple, rules-light system. Q&D's inspirations are the fast and simple approach of OD&D, adding in elements from Fate, Wushu, Apocalypse World, and other games that focus much more on creating a fun story and game together than worrying excessively much about crunchy details.

The principles behind Q&D are:
Simple and Fast
These rules do not attempt to be "simulationist" or accurately model anything. Simplicity is generally valued over ensuring absolute consistency. This is by design. Everyone is sitting around trying to tell a good story and have fun, and the main purpose for these rules is to allow for random elements (and the random whims of players) to take that story in fun and interesting directions that nobody thought of previously. As such, the "rule of cool" is very much in play, as well.

Transparent mechanics
Players and the GM should be familiar with Q&D's rules: there aren't many, so hopefully it's not too difficult. Q&D does have a decent number of tables, but, don't worry, this isn't Rolemaster, so they're pretty simple, too. The point of all this is to help keep the game "rules light" but avoid too much reliance on pure GM fiat for adjudicating outcomes.

Players act, NPCs react
What this means is, players are the ones instigating actions and throwing dice. Actions are resolved from their perspective; the complication system is rather PC-centric, and the idea is that whatever happens, the game system is designed to model what happens to them. For NPC-on-NPC encounters, the GM can try to roll and figure something out, but the best thing to do is just go with whatever is expedient for the story. For that matter, let players spend an AP to temporarily hijack an NPC, and they're then in charge of what happens.

Get to the point already. How does it work?
Task resolution in Q&D is based around the roll of a d20, plus a number of d6's. The d6's are called skill dice, and vary depending on a character's number of levels in a given skill.

The difficulty is then subtracted from this roll. Difficulty might be a static number, or it might be an opposed roll; situational bonuses and penalties will also affect the difficulty, of course. If the roll is opposed, use the opponent's skill dice. It helps to have two different colors of dice, so the entire thing can be resolved with a single throw of a handful of dice. Throwing around handfuls of dice is fun.


Skills
They can be whatever you want, really, but here's a good starting point:

Athletics - Physical tasks. Moving quickly, dodging ranged attacks, lifting, and so on.
Melee - Fighting physically, whether it's fists or swords, or defending against the same.
Ranged - Making attacks from a distance, whether it is guns, thrown weapons, or whatever.
Perception - Knowing what's going on. Spotting things that are amiss.
Charm - Talking to and getting to know people in a generally agreeable fashion.
Persuasion - Being a bit less agreeable. Presence, leadership or outright intimidation.
Deceit - Lying, cheating, and stealing. Also covers hiding and sneaking.
Knowledge - Science, lore, or whatever the character is good at.
Occult - Having a sense of that which is beyond. Useful to resist (and maybe cast) magic.
Willpower - Enduring and surviving, and otherwise dealing with hardship.
Vehicle - Operating a car, driving a carriage, or anything else involving a steering wheel.

Feel free to add more or less depending on what kind of game you want.

With this suggested skill list, around 20 points worth of skills makes a pretty competent character, 25 points starts getting into badass territory, and 30 points is for players who just want to be awesome at everything-- but who doesn't? You'll need to vary the points if you make big changes to the skill list.

Example!

For example, if Mr. Billingsley is attempting to punch Ugly Lucy, he would roll a d20 plus 3d6, because his Melee skill is 3. Ugly Lucy would roll 2d6 to oppose, because her Melee skill is 2. Thus, the roll would be d20 + 3d6 - 2d6. If he was instead trying to smash through a brick wall with his bare hands, no opposing skill dice would be rolled; instead, the difficulty would be... 20 or so, probably.

Results
Results are adjudicated as follows:
- 1 or less = Epic fail. Possibly embarrassing, and other bad things might happen, too.
- 2 to 7 = A regular and mundane (yet total) failure.
- 8 to 9  = Narrow failure. An AP can make it into a success.
- 10 to 13 = Success with a negative complication. (See below)
- 14 to 19 = Full success.
- 20 and up = A total success, with added bonus awesomeness. (See below)

Example, continued!

So if Mr. Billingsley rolls a 10 on the d20 and an 8 on his 3d6 and Lucy's 2d6 come up 9, the total is (10 + 8 - 9 =) 9. A narrow failure! He can spend an AP or just accept that he's not very good at punching women.



So what's this AP stuff?
Awesome Points, usually known as AP, have a lot of uses.
Players can...
Spend 1 AP to "buy off" a negative complication, as long as you can narrate how.
Spend 1 AP to make a declaration about the current situation that is relevant to what your character is doing.
Spend 1 AP to get an extra action when time is of the essence.
Spend 1 AP to refuse a hard compel.
Spend 1 AP to compel an NPC. (The GM can veto anything too bizarre or out of character)
Spend 1 AP during some downtime to uncheck three merits.
Get 1 AP for reaching a significant milestone or otherwise advancing the plot.
Get 1 AP for accepting a compel.
Get 1 AP for roleplaying in a way that is like imposing a compel on yourself.
Get 1 AP when rolling a 6 on "bonus awesomeness."

Characters start the adventure with 3 AP. They then carry over from session to session.
You can only have a maximum of 10 AP, so use them or lose them!

What is a Compel?
A compel is a situation where the character carries out an action that is not in his or her best interest, but it's quite reasonably what that character would do. A character's flaws are, of course, a great place to start, and many of a character's compels should be based on flaws. However, a character's merits may also provide inspiration, as they don't always necessarily lead to good things. Once the group is more familiar with everyone's characters, situations where they may act in ways that cause themselves trouble start becoming more and more apparent, and compels can become more freeform, as everyone gets a sense of what a certain character would do. Mechanically, a compel should have about as much impact as a negative complication, a list of which is given below.

There are two types of compels, hard and soft.
- Hard compels can be accepted for an AP, and the player must pay an AP to refuse. These are for situations where a character's own nature suggests a certain course of action, or there is a tough decision to be made.
- Soft compels can be accepted for an AP, but it costs nothing to refuse them. These are for when the GM wants to dangle a tempting option in front of a player but make it a purely optional course of action.

But what if you have 0 AP and you want to refuse a hard compel? You still can. Players in Q&D should never be forced by the GM to act in a certain way. However, you'll be at negative AP, and you can't actively spend AP until you're back above 0. The GM can (and is encouraged to) give enemies a +5 bonus at an inconvenient time in order to "pay for" this negative AP. Each time an enemy gets this bonus against a character, one of that character's negative APs disappears.

Negative Complications and Bonus Awesomeness
If the GM has a good idea for what to do (or the players suggest one!) just do that instead of rolling, otherwise consult these tables.

Negative Complications:
(1) Less than expected = It's still a success, but it's not really the success that you hoped for. It's still not a total failure, though. Half damage, lackluster success, or whatever.
(2) Unfavorable circumstances = This success messed something else up. Your next roll (or the next one that seems appropriate) has a -5 penalty; another character can volunteer to take this penalty if it seems fitting.
(3) Extra problems = You succeed, but the GM introduces some additional bad stuff.
(4) Do it again = You have to make an additional simple roll, usually with a different skill. If you fail that one, you totally fail at whatever it is.
(5) Hard bargain = You can succeed, but it's going to cost something else. Spend resources, take damage, or whatever... or you fail.
(6) Tough choice = You can either fail, or succeed but have to do something you probably didn't want to do. Treat it sort of like a compel.

Bonus Awesomeness:
(1) Critical success! = Whatever you were trying to do, you do it completely awesomely. Roll an extra damage die, benefit from resoundingly successful skill use, or whatever.
(2) Favorable circumstances! = This success also made something else easier. Your next roll (or the next one that seems appropriate) gains a +5 bonus; you can also "pass" this bonus to an ally if it seems fitting.
(3) Extra goodies! = Something else unexpectedly good happens in addition to your success.
(4) Bonus action! = You succeeded so fast you have time to spare. Immediately take another action.
(5) What happens now?! = You get to take over the narrative for a short bit, sort of like making a declaration, or you can choose any outcome on this table.
(6) Awesome Awesomeness! = You did something that adds to your character's overall awesomeness. Collect an AP.

The idea behind these tables is that all rolls should be made from the player's perspective, as the narrative (and the game) should revolve around them.

Merits
While skills represent core competencies, merits represent those little knacks for certain things that can aid a character. The exact names for merits are chosen by the player: these can represent a profession, a hobby, a talent, a strongly held belief, or any other detail that adds some color to a character and can add an edge to a given application of their skills. When a merit applies to a given roll, the character gets to roll a bonus d6.

A merit should have a short list of two or three skills or situations where it's applicable, with the number allowed dependent on how specific the merit is in general. Players have a lot of freedom to define their merits, but the GM gets the final say as to what is an acceptable merit. In an opposed action, only one character is allowed to get a merit bonus, and the more specific merit always gets the bonus. Using a merit can lead to nice benefits when a character acts in a way that suits his or her nature, but players must also be careful that their characters do not become overly predicable or act in situationally inappropriate ways-- both players and the GM should remember that the use of merits always colors the action somehow.

Characters start with three merits. The first time a player uses a merit, place a checkmark by it. The merit is then said to be "checked." To use a checked merit requires an additional drawback, which can be something situationally appropriate chosen by the GM, or rolled from the table below.


Meritorious Example!

Mr. Billingsley is once again attempting to punch Ugly Lucy. This time, though, he'll roll d20+3d6+d6, because, as before, his Melee skill is 3, but this time we're also considering his Brash Man of Action merit. However, if Ugly Lucy had an Expert Pugilist or other such merit explicitly related to hand-to-hand melee combat, it would be more specific: she'd get her bonus instead, and Mr. Billingsley would not be able to use his merit at all. In this case, Mr. Billingsley's merit is not checked, so he simply places a checkmark by it and calls it a day. Had it already been checked, he'd have to face an additional drawback: for example, perhaps the GM rolls a 1 on the Merit Effects table and decides that in order to get this benefit, Mr. Billingsley will have to live up to being a "brash man of action," and compels him to charge into combat without any regard for his own safety. He can collect an AP to accept or, since is a hard compel, he must pay an AP to refuse.

Flaws
Nobody is perfect, and characters generally also have flaws. These are essentially the opposite of merits. Much like merits, flaws are chosen by the player, only this time they reflect situations where the character has problems or may not be quite so competent. Like a merit, a flaw influences the action it affects, only it reduces the number of d6's rolled by one, or imposes a -4 penalty if no d6's are being rolled. Other characters may suffer this penalty if it seems situationally appropriate to the flaw. Each time you suffer the negative effects of a flaw (even if it's someone else's flaw) you may uncheck one merit. There is no side benefit if you have no merits checked, so make timely use of them; it should generally be permissible for player to use a fitting merit without checking it on the very next action, thus "saving" up the flaw's benefit, but, in general, this sort of bookkeeping legerdemain should be kept to a minimum and not devolve into a sort of secondary meta-points system.

Characters should have to suffer the consequences of whatever flaws they choose, of course, but don't go overboard. Characters shouldn't have penalties continually heaped on them. Generally, the GM should only invoke a character's flaws once or twice per scene, and only in scenes where that character is doing a lot. In all cases, it should add color and challenge to the game, not just seem like a way to arbitrarily punish players for being clever and/or rolling well. The single exception to this rule is the (generally rare) circumstance where an enemy has a more specific merit that seems to directly oppose the flaw. In these cases, the enemy is assumed to have a special talent at exploiting that particular weakness, and can inflict a penalty every time it comes up, and the character does not get to uncheck any merits at all! (The GM should still not be too harsh; give more slack to a player who gets the hint and tries a new approach!)

Characters should start with two flaws. Characters can also choose to take one more flaw to get one more merit, starting with 4 merits and 3 flaws. Taking both merits and flaws related to the same thing is a good way to show a double-edged ability.

Flawed Example!

The GM points out Mr. Billingsley's flaw of Drunken Lout and states that since he's staggeringly around drunkenly, it results in him losing a d6 on his next Athletics roll. Alternatively, perhaps he accidentally shoves his ally, Madison James, giving her the penalty instead. As long as this chain of events is in effect, the GM won't punish Mr. Billingsley further for being a drunken lout (or cause Madison any further problems if she took the consequences) but other characters are still fair game, of course. Whoever got the penalty in the above situation would get to uncheck a merit, as well.

Damage, Stress and Harm
Characters in Q&D have two distinct ways of keeping track of bad things happening to them: Stress and Harm.

When characters take stress, it does not necessarily mean an attack has hit them, or at least hit them with full force. Stress damage represents fatigue, inconveniences, bumps, small pains, mental difficulty, and so on. On the other hand, when a character's stress allotment is used up, taking harm represents real physical (or serious psychological) harm. Most damage causes stress first, then inflicts harm. Characters recover all of their stress at the end of each fight or other scene, but harm heals more slowly, typically requiring medical attention or magical healing, or at least a good amount of rest. In terms of game time, harm should last an entire session of play, and contain at least one scene in which the harm negatively impacts the character. Harm also counts as a flaw and can (and should!) also be compelled, which will introduce further complications-- but also gives those characters another source of AP so that their wounds are not too crippling should they need to push onward.

In general, what exactly deals damage (and what kind) should be dependent on the tone of the adventure. Getting a pie in the face may count as a normal hit in a slapstick comedy adventure, but hardly mean anything in one based on gritty combat. Specifically nonlethal attacks may only ever deal stress damage, and inflict extra temporary flaws on characters who have no stress left. Anything else should just be handled with a normal roll and adjudicated appropriately.

Player characters can take (Willpower+10) stress and half as much (rounded up) harm before they are out of action. Enemies can just follow the 2:1 ratio without worrying about Willpower: moderately worthwhile enemies will have 8 stress/4 harm, while a boss enemy taking on an entire party might have 20 stress/10 harm. Other enemies need not even follow these ratios, like weak enemies with 5 stress/0 harm; these unimportant enemies could also simply be taken out by the first good hit.

Characters taking stress are not really affected by it in any game-relevant way, though players may occasionally roleplay a close call or a minor injury. It is ephemeral enough they are able to just shrug it off. On the other hand, any time a character takes harm, that character also suffers the equivalent of a negative complication for each two points of harm done. This is to reflect how the injuries suffered will negatively impact the character's performance. As mentioned above, a character that has taken harm also counts as having an additional flaw.

Characters that have taken all of their stress and harm are out of action and no longer participating in the scene. In the case of enemies, they are likely dead, or at least incapacitated. Most of the time, their fate isn't even important. As for player characters, they'll usually need some help getting back up. Should the group wish to involve the death of player characters, it is a good idea to talk things out beforehand and decide under what circumstances that will take place. (Don't wait until someone is on the ground before deciding what to do about character death in your game!)

Damage is dealt as follows:
d2 damage = Vermin and other nuisances.
d4 damage = NPC lackeys, improvised attacks, and other weak weapons.
d6 damage = A "standard" weapon used by a player or featured NPC.
d8 damage = A tough weapon, usually used by martially focused player or big monster.
d10 damage = A really strong weapon used by a boss enemy or huge monster.
d12 damage = An extremely dangerous attack, such as powerful magic or explosives or something like that.
(If there is need to increase a die above a d12, start adding dice: d12+d2, d12+d4, d12+d6, and so on.)

A "weapon" doesn't have to be a physical weapon. A kung fu master's fists are a perfectly acceptable "weapon," for example.

Characters also get bonuses for skill and luck. All of these bonuses stack.
- If the skill used in the attack is 3 dice or above, the attack does +1 damage.
- An attack that used a merit and/or targeted an enemy's flaw adds +1 damage.
- An attack that benefits from a previous combat maneuver adds +1 damage.
- In addition, an attack that hits at 17 or 18 does +1 damage. At 19 or higher, this increases to +2.
(Against player characters, that's a missed dodge 3 or 4 for +1 damage, and at 2 or less for +2 damage)

Stressful and Harmful Example!

Mr. Billingsley fails to dodge a shark attack, rolling low enough to suffer +1 extra damage. Worse yet, his enemy took advantage of one of his flaws and has a Melee skill of 4, adding two more damage. This means he'll be taking d4+3 damage, and, as his luck would have it, he rolls a 7 total. He's already been taking a beating in this fight, so he's down to only 3/12 stress. He loses that, and he'll also have to take 4 harm. He suffers two negative complications on future actions for this hit, as well being considered to have an extra flaw related to his injuries. He's in pretty bad shape with 0/12 stress and 2/6 harm, but he just got attacked by a shark, so he ought to be in bad shape.

Combat Maneuvers
Instead of attacking, a character can opt to perform a combat maneuver instead. Decide what you want to do, and pick an effect from the Combat Maneuvers table (an adapted version of "Bonus Awesomeness") that seems to suit it. Alternatively, describe a fun and audacious combat stunt and roll then a d6 and let the whims of fate decide. Either way, roll an appropriate skill (Melee, Ranged, Athletics, Deceit, etc.) against an appropriate defense (Melee, Athletics, Willpower, Perception, etc.), and apply the effect on a success. Any of those bonuses can be used for yourself, or "passed" to an ally who has a turn coming up.

(1) Expose a Vulnerability = One future successful attack made on the target will do +5 damage. It does not have to be next attack, but should be soon. This already includes the bonus for using a combat maneuver, but not any other damage bonuses.
(2) Get the Advantage = One future roll made against the target will get a +2d6 bonus, or the target will get a -2d6 penalty. It does not have to be next roll, but should be soon.
(3) Create Confusion = The player that created confusion specifies what the target does, as a sort of limited compel it must accept. The GM can veto anything too ridiculous.
(4) Stand Guard = Prevent the target from doing anything at all, or prevent all enemies from attacking a given ally or location. This lasts until the guarding player's next turn.
(5) Dirty Trick = Do something situational that gives you an advantage in combat. It should be similar in scope to the other effects listed here.
(6) Aid Awesomeness = Do something for free that would normally require spending an AP, or help an ally do the same. It still requires a turn if it otherwise would, though.

Special Abilities
In addition to their skills, merits, and flaws, characters in Q&D can get certain special abilities. These abilities are essentially Q&D's version of class features, feats, advantages, or whatever. A list of some possible choices is provided, but groups are encouraged to vary the available special abilities depending on the theme of the game, and players and GMs might even want to try making up their own once they have a feel for the approximate power level given by a special ability.

Starting Q&D characters normally get two special abilities, but special abilities depend heavily on the game, so this may vary.

« Last Edit: July 12, 2015, 05:20:15 PM by sparkletwist » Logged


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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2012, 01:48:46 PM »

Love it! I've been mulling over the idea of the PCs always actively rolling against passive NPC/environmental difficulty ratings myself, but I think you've implemented it far more elegantly than I would have, and the Negative Complications/Bonus Awesomeness tables are great smile
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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2012, 03:02:02 PM »

I like it a great deal.  Seems like it would breed Fiasco style games with more randomness from the dice, but that might just be the example combat interfering with my idea of the game.

The only point of curiosity and/or worry I have about it is the skill system.  I feel like having a variable number of existent skills in conjunction with a static number of points to spend could lead to problems of a character creating someone useless, although I guess that could be solved via communication about the style of game to be played.
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2012, 03:11:13 PM »

Thanks guys for the feedback. smile

Kindling

I've been mulling over the idea of the PCs always actively rolling against passive NPC/environmental difficulty ratings myself
I think it makes the players feel more involved, and kind of suits a game like this. I'm not sure how it would work in other games.

Numinous

Seems like it would breed Fiasco style games with more randomness from the dice, but that might just be the example combat interfering with my idea of the game.
The example combat is a bit zany, I admit. However, this game is designed to create a lighthearted, fun, cooperative game, so you might not be too far off the mark with that.

Numinous

The only point of curiosity and/or worry I have about it is the skill system.  I feel like having a variable number of existent skills in conjunction with a static number of points to spend could lead to problems of a character creating someone useless, although I guess that could be solved via communication about the style of game to be played.
That's a good point. I designed those numbers of points to be used with the provided skill list, or one very similar to it. If the skill list is drastically different, the points will have to be modified. I'll note that.
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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2012, 10:33:41 AM »

Not to mirror what other have said too closely, but I think this sounds like a fantastic system, especially for one-shot or xp-less games. The Awesome Points are definitely a nice touch, and they seem infinitely easier to use than a lot of similar mechanics (Cortex's Plot Points come to mind). Is there a way for players to earn APs other than getting an Awesomely Awesome result on a roll, or do you intend for the amount to be limited?
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« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 04:59:35 PM »

Bordermarcher

Not to mirror what other have said too closely, but I think this sounds like a fantastic system, especially for one-shot or xp-less games.
Thank you!

Bordermarcher

Is there a way for players to earn APs other than getting an Awesomely Awesome result on a roll, or do you intend for the amount to be limited?
Yes, this is listed above:

AP

Get 1 AP for playing out a character flaw
Get 1 AP for accepting a compel from the GM
Get 1 AP when rolling a 6 on "bonus awesomeness."
What this means is, essentially, that you get 1 AP whenever you do something that would be in character but ends up harming you. If you originate the action (and the GM approves) then it's playing a character flaw. A compel is when the GM asks you to do something-- probably because it'll enrich the plot and create interesting complications. This concept is borrowed quite heavily from FATE.
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« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2012, 07:24:21 PM »

I really like this too, actually.  I definitely always love degrees of success and failure.  So much more interesting than one number being generic "You succeed" and one below being "You fail" without any other input.

I also really like that players roll for dodge (or block or whatever) when it is relevant and that this is still accomplished with just one roll total, even if it does end up being a shit-ton of dice (which as you mentioned can be fun too).
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2012, 07:04:55 PM »

Added a very basic stress/damage system.
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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2012, 07:08:29 PM »

I want to live in whatever Bollywood-pulp universe your example takes place in.
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« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2012, 07:15:39 PM »

sparkletwist

Added a very basic stress/damage system.
And in so doing, addressed a question I was just going to ask.
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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2012, 07:29:12 PM »

I love this system! You should make a pdf version of this.
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« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2012, 08:09:21 PM »

Actually, another question: do you plan, or intend for character flaws to be handled in a structured (or semi-structured) way, ala Aspects in FATE?  Or just let it be "any roleplaying that causes problems at the moment earns an AP?"
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« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2012, 08:42:40 PM »

Thanks for the kind words. smile

Seraphine_Harmonium

Actually, another question: do you plan, or intend for character flaws to be handled in a structured (or semi-structured) way, ala Aspects in FATE?  Or just let it be "any roleplaying that causes problems at the moment earns an AP?"
The second, mostly. It is quicker that way!
I've noticed that FATE compels are often shoehorned into what aspect most fits whatever the GM and/or players want to do at that moment anyway. So for a light system like this one, there is no need for excess structure.
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« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2012, 12:52:03 PM »

Any plans for equipment rules?

Edit: Nevermind, just saw the bit about weapon dice that I'd missed the first time I read it.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 12:55:51 PM by Superbright » Logged


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« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2012, 12:58:33 PM »

I changed the stress rules from fixed at 10 to being more flexible. More in the spirit of Q&D, I think.

As for equipment, it's designed to be sort of freeform, just like the rest of the system. Even the weapon dice are based more on narrative significance than what the thing actually is.
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