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The EPIC System for PbP RPGs

PonyPony Registered User regular
edited May 2008 in Critical Failures
The EPIC System

Introduction
The EPIC System is a Roleplaying Game system designed for forum-based, Play-by-Post (PbP) gaming. It is designed to provide an alternative method to playing co-operative multiplayer roleplaying games in an online environment. While there are many kinds of RPG systems, most are designed to be played in a tabletop environment, with live players sitting around a table in person, rolling dice and talking in real-time with each other. These sorts of systems, while enjoyable in the medium they were designed for, are often poorly suited to PbP gaming.

Simplified Resolution
A key problem with using a tabletop RPG in a PbP environment is task resolution. Combat, skill checks, and all the other familiar concepts of tabletop RPGs are designed for a real-time gaming experience, with a group of players meeting at a regular time for an arranged period, whereas PbP games tend to be slower affairs with people posting as they are able to do so.

As a result, combat and other dice-based task resolutions tend to take an extremely long period of time. The actual act of narrative roleplaying might go quickly, but as soon as combat starts or skill checks need to be rolled, the game slows down to a trickle as varying complexities of turn-and-round based tabletop RPG combat finds itself moving at an almost glacial pace.

The EPIC System is designed to facilitate that task resolution, to speed up the game and make combat and other skill-based challenges of the game mechanics go faster and simpler. A key element of this design is the Challenge System, a system designed to replicate all sorts of game mechanics-based task resolutions in a speedy manner that assists, rather than detracts from, the narrative of a PbP RPG.

Narrative Gameplay
The EPIC System is designed first and foremost for narrative-based games. Games which are "hack and slash" or light on actual roleplaying will find this system unfulfilling, as it's simplified mechanics do not enable a great deal of optimization or tweaking and there is a distinct lack of the back-and-forth turns and rounds excitement of a tabletop game.

While other game systems may emphasize character builds and "twinking", the EPIC System is designed solely to facilitate the narrative, and that should always be kept in mind as the game mechanics are explored and used.

Gameplay

Challenge System
The EPIC System is based around the Challenge System. Not every encounter, conversation, or event in a PbP RPG is a Challenge. Challenges are events over the course of the game that require the assistence of the game mechanics, calling upon the Player Characters' skills, resources, or abilities to overcome difficulty.
Any time the GM has to arbitrate a test of the capabilities of the PCs, that's a Challenge.

The 4 Challenges
There are 4 kinds of Challenges in the EPIC System: Expertise, Prowess, Influence, and Combat. It is these four types of Challenges that make up the acronym EPIC, which is where the system's name is derived from.
These 4 Challenges make up the most common types of encounters that RPG characters face, and nearly any type of task resolution can be summed up in one of the four types.

Expertise Challenges are tests of wits and mental ability. The character's knowledge and skills are what is used here, relying on training, intelligence, and resources to resolve a task oriented around figuring out the solution. Examples: Diffusing a bomb, deciphering an arcane tome, picking a lock, or hacking a computer database.

Prowess Challenges are tests of physical capability and reflexive skill. The character's strength, agility, and quick reflexes are what's needed here. Examples: A car chase, a gauntlet of mechanical death-traps, breaking out of restraints, or lifting an extremely heavy object.

Influence Challenges are tests of social interaction. The character's charisma, charm, and ability to exert command over others is key. Examples: Interrogating a prisoner, charming your way past some guards, applying political pressure to a rival, or using the importance of your position to your advantage.

Combat Challenges are violent conflicts, the most common sort of Challenge in most RPGs. The character's offensive and defensive capabilities are important here. Examples: Bar brawls, arena fights, aerial dogfighting, and outright war.

Nearly any kind of dramatic and dangerous scenario you can think of in a RPG (or fiction in general) can be summed up as one of these four kinds of Challenges.

Challenge Resolution
Once you've established what kind of Challenge you are facing, you have to resolve it. Challenges are resolved through a straight-forward process.

Taking your Move
In a Challenge, each involved PC makes a post which is called their Move. A PC can only take one Move per Challenge (although they can revise their Moves through Stunts, explained later). This "1 Move per Challenge" rule is the key to keeping a speedy narrative in the EPIC System, and is an important part of the rules.
When you make your Move, you are not making your narrative post writing prose of what your character is doing. A Move is "game-mechanics only", and contains only the necessary text to establish what your Move actually is and how you are acting in this Challenge.

The first step of making a Move is rolling your Effort.

Rolling Effort
Each PC has a limited capacity of things they are capable of in a Challenge. While you may have many abilities, resources, and skills, you only have so much you can call upon and utilize in a single Challenge. To establish this, and to establish the general success of a character in a Challenge, when you begin your Move you roll up your Effort.

Your Effort is a pool of points you use to "activate" and use your Attributes and other abilities your character has. Your Effort is rolled up each Challenge, and is used up as it is spent. Effort cannot be carried over from one Challenge to the next, so any unspent Effort after your Move is forfeited.

The amount of Effort you roll up depends on the Character Level (CL) of your character. The GM establishes what your CL is during character creation, and how to create your characters within your CL is established later in the Character Creation section.

For now, all you need to know is that to establish your Effort in a Challenge, you roll a number of ten-sided dice equal to half your Character Level, rounding down, to a minimum of 1d10. So, a CL 10 character rolls 5d10 of Effort, a CL 7 character rolls 3d10, and so on.

The EPIC System is designed for forum-based play, so a dice-rolling site or utility will be required to determine the amount of Effort each character has in a Challenge. Alternately, the GM could roll up the Effort for each PC at the beginning of the Challenge.

Regardless of how it is rolled, once you have determined how much Effort you have, it is time to assign it.

Assigning Effort
Once you have established how much Effort you have, you need to assign it to your Attributes. Your Attributes, and how they are designed, is explained further in the character creation section, so you may want to take a moment to familiarize yourself with that section before continuing.

You can assign Effort to an Attribute on a 1:1 basis, up to the Rank of the Attribute. So, if you had a Rank 5 Attribute, you could spend 5 Effort on it to bring it up to its full Rank. Assigning Effort to an Attribute can exceed the Rank of the Attribute, but it costs twice as much Effort for each Rank beyond the Attribute's normal Rank. For example, if you wanted a Rank 5 Attribute to be used at Rank 7, it would cost you 9 Effort (5 at 1:1, and then 4 at 2:1). Spending beyond your Rank on an Attribute is called Extreme Effort, and represents pushing your abilities beyond their normal capacity.

You can also spend Effort to utilize the Flaws or Complications of any opponents in the Challenge. This is spent just as if you are spending the Effort on your own Attributes, with the normal limitations. Flaws and Complications are explained in greater detail in the Character Creation section.

Stunt Points
Stunt Points (SP) are a special type of Effort. SP are not rolled up when you start a Challenge. You can only gain SP in two ways: As a Reward for overcoming previous Challenges (as granted to you by the GM) or as a result of your opponent using your Complications against you in a Challenge.
SP can be spent like Effort to utilize your Attributes, and are subject to the normal rules for doing so (including the rules for Extreme Effort). However, Stunt Points can also be used to use your Stunts, which cannot normally be used by spending Effort.
Stunt Points can be spent on Stunts to activate them up to their Rank. Spending SP on a Stunt beyond its Rank costs twice as much, just as if it was Extreme Effort.
If you acquire Stunt Points after you have already taken your Move (for example if your opponent uses your Complications against you), you can then edit your Move to include spending your Stunt Points. You cannot revise how you chose to spend your Effort, but you can add or use your Stunt Points on top of that.

Calculating Score
Once you have spent your Effort and Stunt Points, add up the Active Ranks of all the Attributes of the relevant Challenge Type that you have spent Effort on. The Active Rank of an Attribute is the Rank you have brought it to by spending Effort/SP. This may be less than the Attribute's normal Rank, or more (in the case of Extreme Effort).
Once you have added all the relevenat Active Ranks together, you are left with a Score. In most Challenges, the only Score tha matters is the Score of the Challenge's type (ie in a Combat Challenge, usually only your Combat Score matters).
However, calculate all your Scores anyway, because there may be special Tasks or other dynamic sub-Challenges involved in the Challenge that the GM has added. For example, in a Combat Challenge, the GM may also call for a certain Expertise Score, to ascertain your foes weaknesses (possibly granting Stunt Points or some other kind of reward).

In most Challenges, the side with the highest Score wins. In an Opposed Challenge (where you are taking on a specific opponent or being directly opposed by an external force) you need to get a higher Score than your opponents. In a Task Challenge (where your character's Attributes are put to the test by a non-direct difficulty), there are benchmarks and degrees of success determined by the GM based on what your Score is.

Narrative
The EPIC System is designed to facilitate the narrative flow of a game. Once all the PCs and the GM have made their Moves, and all the Scores have been calculated, it is time to write out the narration of what actually took place in the Challenge. How the GM decides to resolve that issue is up to each individual GM. Some GMs prefer to write the narration for the entire Challenge, while others prefer to allow each player to narrate their own actions and write their own prose. How to determine these narrative control issues is beyond the scope of the system's rules and is up to each individual GM.

Pony on

Posts

  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Character Creation
    The EPIC System's character creation system is designed intentionally to be both free and non-specific. It is not concerned with accurately simulating all of the statistical capabilities of each character, only those which are important to the resolution of different sorts of Challenges.
    This section will guide you through creating a character, or creating a NPC if you are the GM.

    Character Level
    The first step to creating a character is to find out their Character Level (CL). The Character Level is determined by the GM at the outset of the campaign, so in creating any character consult with your GM as to what the CL should be.
    Your Character Level determines your general power and importance within the scope of the campaign setting. By default, the EPIC System is designed with a 1-20 scale system in mind, with most heroic, extraordinary individuals typical of RPG and fictional heroes sitting at the middle of the scale, at CL 10. However, the GM can freely adjust this scale to suit their campaign's needs.

    Character Points
    Once you've determined your CL, you determine your Character Points (CP). Your CP is equal to your CLx5. A CL 10 character has 50 CP, a CL 4 character has 20 CP, and so on. Your CP is spent to create your Attributes. You can gain more CP than your starting amount, by taking Flaws and by being granted extra CP by the GM.

    Attributes
    There are four basic kinds of Attributes. These four types correspond to the four Challenge types (Expertise, Prowess, Influence, and Combat).

    Expertise Attributes are skills and knowledge your character possesses which allow you to overcome Expertise Challenges. Examples: Lockpicking, Computer Hacking, Occult Knowledge, and Cybernetics Design.

    Prowess Attributes are your physical capabilities and your ability to pilot, drive, or ride vehicles or mounts. Prowess Attributes can also represent any extraordinary abilities your character has to move in an unusual way, like flying or teleportation. Examples: Stunt Driver, Superhuman Strength, Flight, and Escape Artist

    Influence Attribtes are your ways of manipulating, coercing, or inspiring others. They are used in various kinds of social encounters. Examples: Charismatic, Charm Magic, Intimidation, and Noble Status.

    Combat Attributes are your offensive and defensive abilities, which you use in violent confrontation. They are not necessarily always weapons or direct force, and can sometimes be more subtle or defensive in origin. Examples: Swordsmanship, Dual Pistols, Healing Factor, and Armor Plating.

    Purchasing Attributes
    When you purchase an Attribute, choose its type from the four listed. If you have a more complex Attribute in mind that actually fits multiple categories, buy it as such, noting how it applies. For example, a character who is extremely rich has resources that give him a lot in terms of access to Expertise, and his wealth allows him to exert a lot of Influence, and he can even hire goons for Combat. As a result, being rich in and of itself might be many Attributes.

    Each Attribute is measured in Ranks. Ranks are used to determine how powerful an Attribute is potentially, and is used to in a Challenge to determine how much Effort you can spend normally on that Attribute. Attributes cost 1 CP for each Rank. There is no finite maximum to how many Ranks you can have in any single Attribute, or how many Attributes you can have. It is limited only by your CP.

    Don't worry about representing every skill and power the character has as an Attribute. Worry only about those capabilities that are important defining aspects of the character and will come up regularely in various Challenges.

    Flaws
    Flaws are a special aspect of the character. Acting as a sort of "anti-Attribute", Flaws have Ranks just like Attributes, and come in one of the four types like Attributes. However, instead of being used by your character in a Challenge, a Flaw can be used by your opponents against you, as if it was one of their Attributes.
    As a result, Flaws do not cost CP. Instead, each Flaw grants a number of CP equal to the Rank of each Flaw. For game balance reasons, you cannot generally gain more CP from taking Flaws than your CL. So, a CL 10 character can only gain 10 CP from taking Flaws, although he is not limited in the Ranks of Flaws he can have or how many he can have, if it is appropriate to the character.

    Expertise Flaws are serious shortcomings of a character in the face of intellectual or knowledge-based Challenges. Examples: Savage, Brutish, Impatient, Isolated

    Prowess Flaws are difficulties the character has with mobility or reflexive skill. Examples: Paralysis, Clumsy, Slow, Extreme Size

    Influence Flaws typically are social shortcomings, or negative social status which impacts a character's ability to interact with others. Examples: Crude, Lowborn, Cursed, Hideous Visage

    Combat Flaws represent ineptitude or weakness in a fight or other Combat Challenge, or the character being as much a danger to himself as his enemies. Examples: Cowardly, Weak, Blind, Trigger-Happy

    Flaws should be designed to represent serious drawbacks and incapabilities of the character which may come up frequently in relevant Challenges. If a drawback or weakness of the character comes up rarely or is very situational, it is more accurately represented as a Complication, as detailed below.

    Complications
    Complications are similar to Flaws, and operate similarly. As "anti-Attributes", Complications can be used against you in a Challenge by opponents. However, unlike Flaws, Complications do not grant extra Character Points. Instead, if they are utilized in a Challenge, Complications grant Stunt Points to you equal to the Active Rank of the Complication used by your opponents. You can only benefit from a Complication once per Challenge, no matter how many opponents use them against you, up to the highest Active Rank of each individual Complication.
    There is no limit to how many Complications you can have, or how many Ranks they are. Because they only come up periodically (and overloading your character with them quickly outweighs the Stunt Points you gain from having them used against you) they do not represent a serious game balance issue.

    Expertise Complications are usually periodic denial of access to the resources and skills the character needs to figure out a Challenge. Example: Slow-Learner, Limited Library, Updating Database, Capricious Mentor

    Prowess Complications are occasional difficulties a character may encounter when trying to out-maneuver opponents. Examples: Jetpack Malfunction, Limited Mobility, Binding Spell, Power Cell Exhaustion

    Influence Complications are more situational than Influence Flaws, and often only concern certain social circles or types of interaction. Examples: Wanted Criminal, Secret Identity, Known Philanderer, Highborn Ignorance

    Combat Complications are weaknesses that are only occasional, and when they do come up, could be as potentially dangerous to one's opponent as oneself. Examples: Berzerker Rage, Explosive Core, Flammable, Weakness to Magic

    Stunts
    Stunts are to Attributes what Complications are to Flaws. Stunts do not cost CP, but also cannot be used normally in a Challenge. Stunts cannot be activated via spending Effort like normal Attributes, and instead have to be activated with Stunt Points.
    Stunts often are things you character can't normally do, but can pull off in special circumstances.

    Expertise Stunts are moments of brilliance or inspiration that allow a character special insight in the face of a task. Examples: Stroke of Brilliance, Divine Inspiration, Sudden Innovation, Hunch

    Prowess Stunts are daredevil moves and incredible feats of strength or speed that allow a character to escape in the nick of time. Examples: Wall-Run, Supersonic Speed, Adrenaline Rush, Hastening Magic

    Influence Stunts are quick-witted phrases, saying just the right thing, or having an intuitive understanding of someone else. Examples: Confusing Riddle, Furious Objection, Inspiring Speech, Foolproof Lie

    Combat Stunts are used when a character goes beyond his normal capabilities to inflict serious destruction or attain some kind of incredible defensive power. Examples: Destructive Fury, Nova Blast, Thousand Blade Hurricane, Invincible Shield

    Creating Balanced Characters
    While the EPIC System's character creation process is intended to be as free and open as possible, it is still important to try to make a character that suits the sort of campaign your GM is running. Creating a character who spends 3/4 of their CP on Combat Attributes, for example, will be ill-suited to a campaign set in a medievel fantasy land focusing on courtly intrigue and politics, where Influence and Expertise Challenges will be more commonplace.
    Most RPG settings tend to feature every kind of Challenge at some point or another, but you should always consult with your GM if the campaign has a particular focus.
    Additionally, within the scope of any other PCs that might be in your "party", you might want to specialize in an area that they have as a shortcoming.
    Example: The typical adventuring party in a fantasy setting often consists of the Warrior, the Mage, the Priest, and the Thief. While all the characters have a good amount of Combat Attributes, the Warrior will focus on that aspect of the campaign more than the others. The Mage, scholarly and wise, might focus instead on improving his Expertise Attributes, while the Priest will use his religious standing and charismatic bearing to have high Influence. Finally, the Thief, wily and agile, might focus on Prowess Attributes, being able to overcome traps and escape from tight situations.

    Pony on
  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Gamemastering the EPIC System
    The EPIC Sysem is designed to be fast and easy to play, with a focus on the narrative. It is also designed to be less complicated for the GM, and to save him a lot of time and hassle in running the game.

    This section is designed to help the GM run the game itself.

    Setting
    First and foremost, when creating a game using the EPIC System, a GM has to decide what setting the game will be in. By it's nature, the EPIC System can be used for any setting in any genre, including pre-existing settings you may be adopting from another RPG or from another medium, like television or comic books.
    When choosing a setting, think carefully about what the balance of different kinds of Challenges will be. Is the setting going to feature an even mix of the 4 Challenges, or will it favor one of them? A game of political intrigue and espionage might heavily rely on Influence and Expertise Challenges, finding itself very light on Combat. If that is the case, you should instruct your players accordingly with creating their characters.

    Choosing Character Level
    Once you've decided on a setting, it's time to decide on a Character Level that the PCs will be starting at. It is suggested that in the EPIC System, most campaigns start at CL 10. This gives a fairly broad range in either direction for the characters to be both significantly better than the common man (who is likely to place somewhere CL 1-4) but also below the upper echelons of power. It gives the PCs perspective that they are important, but also room to aspire to greater heights of power and influence in the setting.
    However, you may decide that a lower or higher starting CL better suits your campaign. Ultimately, the actual "scale" from 1-20 is relative, and what is CL 15 in one campaign may mean something completely different from CL 15 in another.

    Choosing CL will heavily influence how you design the Challenges for your PCs.

    Challenge Design
    The 4 types of Challenges in the EPIC System have been discussed earlier, but they are elaborated more here for the sake of helping the GM run the game.
    Each of the 4 types of Challenges additionally break-down into 2 categories of Challenges: Opposed Challenges, and Task Challenges.

    Opposed Challenges are Challenges where the PCs are directly opposed by an external force. That might be actual opponents, or it might be something complex they have to interact with. PCs defeat Opposed Challenges by getting a better Score than their opponents in the relative type of Challenge.
    Opposed Challenges are sometimes (but not always) based on NPCs who are as well-rounded and powerful as the PCs might be, in which case they are built just like a PC (see the character creation section).

    Usually, when designing an Opposed Challenge, all you need to decide is how difficult it is intended to be for the PCs.
    Don't worry about trying to create the opponents like they were PCs. Just make sure that they are capable of the correct amount of Attribute Ranks, and roll the correct amount of Effort Dice for them as a group. Use all the opponents to the PCs in a single Move.

    The opponents can have Flaws, Complications, and Stunts just like PCs do. If you give them Flaws, make sure to adjust the amount of Ranks they should have accordingly. For game balance reasons, when assign Flaws to opponents they should increase the same kind of Rank as their Flaw. So, a Combat Flaw should only affect the Combat Ranks of the opponents.
    For opponents with Complications and Stunts, fee free to add as many Complications and Stunts as you feel appropriate. Keep in mind that just like PCs, opponents only get the benefit of Stunt Points being used against them once per Complication, even if each PC uses it against the same opponent.

    The number of Ranks the opponents have in the relevant Attribute type to the Challenge they offer the PCs is noted below, as is the number of Effort dice you should roll for the opponents. It also is indicated below what the maximum Rank of any single Attribute should be on the opponents.

    Don't worry about treating the opponents like individual entities or trying to adhere to specific point-spending structures. Just make sure they follow the guidelines below.

    Easy Challenge
    Ranks: 1/4 Average CL of the PCs x 5 x the number of PCs in the party.
    Max Attribute Rank: 1/2 Average CL of the PCs.
    Effort Dice: 1/4 Average CL of the PCs x the number of PCs in the Party.

    Average Challenge
    Ranks: 1/2 Average CL of the PCs x 5 x the number of PCs in the party.
    Max Attribute Rank: Average CL of the PCs.
    Effort Dice: 1/2 Average CL of the PCs x the number of PCs in the party

    Hard Challenge
    Ranks: Average CL of the PCs x 5 x the number of PCs in the party
    Max Attribute Rank: Average CL of the PCs x 1.5
    Effort Dice: Average CL of the PCs x the number of PCs in the party.

    Task Challenges are different from Opposed Challenges. Instead of a direct opposition, the PCs have a difficult in front of them that is more specific, and instead of having to directly compete with an opponent who has their own Attributes and can use a PC's Flaws and Complications against them, a Task Challenge merely involves the PCs hitting a certain Score in a specific type of Attribute.
    Task Challenges tend to be less difficult than Opposed Challenges, but they can also be potentially more dangerous: if you fail to disarm the crushing room trap in time, you aren't just "defeated", you are crushed to death!
    Task Challenges are designed differently than Opposed Challenges. They do not roll Effort, nor do they have Attributes or Ranks. Task Challenges are flat values that the PCs need to achieve with the relevant Score. The guidelines for creating those target values are:

    Easy Challenge: 1/2 Average CL of the PCs x number of PCs.
    Average Challenge: Average CL of the PCs x the number of PCs.
    Hard Challenge: Average CL of the PCs x 1.5 x the number of PCs.

    Dynamic Challenge Design
    It is also possible to design "Dynamic" Challenges. A Dynamic Challenge is a Challenge where more than 1 type of Score is relevant to success. For example, having an Expertise Challenge as part of a Combat Challenge, to figure out an enemy's weakpoint. These sorts of challenges should be rare, and important. As a general guideline, a Dynamic Challenge should be a mix of Opposed and Task Challenges, with one being 1 step easier than the other (Mixing an Average Opposed Combat Challenge with an Easy Expertise Task Challenge, for example)

    Focused Challenge
    A Focused Challenge is a Challenge where one character in particular is designed to excel. Other PCs involved in the Challenge might be helping or contributing, but for this scenario, it's one PC who is the star. In those instances, design the Challenge as if there was only 1 PC in the party, and count each PC who can actively help and contribute as "half" a PC.

    Character Advancement
    When the PCs overcome Challenges, they will generally want some kind of tangible reward for doing so. There has to be a point to a RPG beyond just advancing the story. That's where Character Advancement comes in. There are several ways to advance characters, and they are listed below.

    Character Points
    The simplest and easiest form of advancement to apply is to simply increase the number of CP each PC has to build their character, and allowing them to increase the Ranks of their Attributes or add new Attributes accordingly.
    This should be done sparingly in most instances. It is the recommendation of this system that 1 CP should be awarded to each character after an Average difficulty Challenge, and 2 to each character after a Hard difficulty Challenge. Easy Challenges should not generally award CP.
    For every 5 CP a character earns, their Character Level should advance by 1, increasing the amount of Effort they can roll and increasing the difficulty of the Challenges they face.
    The GM can modify how often these CPs are issued. They should not generally be issued after each Challenge, otherwise you will have the PCs levelling up every 5 Challenges. Decide how often and how quickly you want the PCs to level, and award CP based on that rate.

    Stunt Points
    An alternative to simply issuing Character Points is to issue Stunt Points. Stunt Points are temporary, and only last until they are used. PCs can use these Stunt Points as Effort in a Challenge, or use them to activate their Stunts. Stunt Points make a good way to reward the PCs without dramatically increasing their CL over time. It is recommended that you alternate rewards on Challenges between Stunt Points and Character Points, while also including Rewards (as listed below).
    Generally speaking, PCs should be awarded a number of SP equal to half their CL on an Average difficulty Challenge, and equal to their CL on a Hard difficuly Challenge. You can also grant Stunt Points on an Easy Challenge, equal to 1/4 of the PC's CL, rounding down.

    Reward System
    Another way of giving something to your players after a Challenge is through Rewards. Rewards are essentially temporary Attributes and Stunts that are removed from the character as they are used. Rewards have a type and Rank, just like an Attribute or Stunt, and each time they are used their Rank decreases by the amount they are used by. So, a Rank 7 Combat Reward Attribute can be used up to Rank 7, being broken up into increments over time or used all at once.
    As a guideline, when issuing a Reward Attribute, use half the PC's CL to determine the Rank of the Reward Attribute as a Reward for an Average Challenge, and use the full CL of the PCs when creating Reward Attributes for a Hard Challenge. You can optionally choose to give Reward Attributes on an Easy Challenge, using 1/4 of the PCs' CL to set the Rank of the Attribute.
    For Reward Stunts, use the PC's CL for the Rank of the Stunt for an Average Challenge, and 1.5 times the PC's CL for the Rank of the Stunt for a Hard Challenge. If you decide to give the PCs a Reward Stunt for an Easy Challenge, use 1/2 the PC's level for the Rank.

    Pony on
  • GumpyGumpy There is always a greater powerRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    This looks quite swell

    If a game is being run sometime, I'd be up for it

    Gumpy on
  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Updated with GMing section.

    Going to add Example PCs, Challenges, and Rewards later.

    Pony on
  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    To clarify, I don't intend to run something using this system anytime soon. I am hoping other people run something with it to test how effective it is in different genres and stuff.

    For forum-based RPGs, the options people have right now are: something designed for tabletop, or Phalla. Phalla is popular because it sidesteps all the problems that face using a tabletop RPG on a forum. I don't think it's the only way to do things, and I think this system more accurately lends itself towards narrative roleplaying than Phalla (which was never really designed as a narrative roleplaying game in the first place).

    Pony on
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'm very interested in what you've got to show here. Strikes me as being far more streamlined (and let's face it, better documented) than the Ex system.

    Just a hypothetical question- if someone was to GM an EPIC playtest/game at some point, would you be on hand to help said GM out with rules issues? :P

    (Nice acronym, by the way. Reminds me of SPECIAL.)

    Edcrab on
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  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Edcrab wrote: »
    I'm very interested in what you've got to show here. Strikes me as being far more streamlined (and let's face it, better documented) than the Ex system.

    Just a hypothetical question- if someone was to GM an EPIC playtest/game at some point, would you be on hand to help said GM out with rules issues? :P

    (Nice acronym, by the way. Reminds me of SPECIAL.)

    Yes, yes I would. I originally designed this system for a super-hero RPG I was going to run called Unified, but I don't know if that will ever happen. However, I think the system itself is good and can be used in any genre or setting, so I felt like putting it up for anyone to use.

    If you want to run a game using it, I'll certainly help out with any rules issues that come up. I haven't really subjected the system to a full playtest, so it will be interesting to see how it actually works.

    Also, the acronym was pure chance. I designed the Challenge names first, and then was looking for something to call the system, and originally I had the Challenge types listed alphabetically. Then I realized they formed the acronym EPIC, and the name was there.

    Pony on
  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    man it would be cool if you could get a web version of your rules that was indexed for looking stuff up easily.

    i like it, pony.

    Horseshoe on
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  • Me Too!Me Too! __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2008
    Unified, huh
    Sounds familiar

    Me Too! on
  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I would help playtest this.
    I wouldn't GMtest this though. Not ready.

    Tofystedeth on
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  • GumpyGumpy There is always a greater powerRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Wasn't unified the thing that had a couple of massive threads in SE++, was about super heroes, and looked totally awesome?

    What happened with that?

    Gumpy on
  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Gumpy wrote: »
    Wasn't unified the thing that had a couple of massive threads in SE++, was about super heroes, and looked totally awesome?

    What happened with that?

    Yes.

    Ultimately? Nothing. The reality of it is, my life changed around. When I originally started Unified I actually had the time to run it.

    I lived at home with my mom, I worked part-time, and I was single.

    However, that changed. I got a girlfriend, moved out, and got a full-time job. I don't know if I have the time right now to do a RPG on the scale of Unified.

    Regardless, the system was always an issue. I finally think I've designed a system that will work, though, so I posted it here.

    Pony on
  • Darkblade_1Darkblade_1 __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2008
    I feel compelled to munchkin this game.. and I'm normally not a munchkin at all.

    Darkblade_1 on
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    You're drawn to my eccentric Brawl Code: 4596 9143 4529
  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I feel compelled to munchkin this game.. and I'm normally not a munchkin at all.

    It's more or less munchkin proof.

    Even if you spent the entirety of your CP for your level on one kind of Attribute, say Combat, and took the full amount of Flaws you could of a different kind of Attribute to maximize your Combat Attributes, there is still an upper limit to how much Effort you can roll.

    Which is based strictly on your level and nothing else.

    The maximum CP you could spend on a CL 10 character, for example, is 60 CP. 50 by default, and then a bonus 10 from 10 ranks of Flaws.

    That would mean, at max, you could have 60 Ranks of Combat Attributes.

    A CL 10 character rolls 5d10 for Effort. The maximum you could possibly roll is 50, which is actually less than the amount of Ranks you have to use.

    So even if you totally focused on being the absolute king of a certain kind of Challenge, there's still a cap on how much you can pull in a single Challenge.

    Pony on
  • LegionnairedLegionnaired Registered User
    edited May 2008
    Horseshoe wrote: »
    man it would be cool if you could get a web version of your rules that was indexed for looking stuff up easily.

    i like it, pony.

    Ask, and you shall receive a 5-minute hack job.

    Legionnaired on
  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    So, I am thinking of running a game with this system myself to demonstrate it.

    Is there people interested in that? A setting you would be interested in playing that you think this would work with? It's pretty much adaptable to any setting, even settings from pre-existing RPGs.

    Pony on
  • Toxic ToysToxic Toys Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'm willing to play. If it's not going to cost me $1000 USD too. I miss RPG.

    I'm on a horror kick right now, so I might not be the best person to ask.

    Toxic Toys on
    3DS code: 2938-6074-2306, Nintendo Network ID: ToxicToys, PSN: zutto
  • FavlaudFavlaud just straight up awful Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Pony wrote: »
    So, I am thinking of running a game with this system myself to demonstrate it.

    Is there people interested in that? A setting you would be interested in playing that you think this would work with? It's pretty much adaptable to any setting, even settings from pre-existing RPGs.

    Hi

    Edit: A steampunk or a D20-Modern type setting would be pretty keen

    Favlaud on
  • GreenGreen Stick around. I'm full of bad ideas.Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'd love to see a resurrection (ha) of Dead Man's Road in RPG form

    Failing that, a dystopian sci-fi future world ala Blade Runner would be nice

    Green on
    3DS: 3007 8087 2767 | Nintendo ID: AngryFrog
  • FavlaudFavlaud just straight up awful Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Green wrote: »
    I'd love to see a resurrection (ha) of Dead Man's Road in RPG form

    Failing that, a dystopian sci-fi future world ala Blade Runner would be nice

    I endorse both of these ideas whole-heartedly

    Favlaud on
  • StraightziStraightzi Here we may reign secure, and in my choice, To reign is worth ambition though in HellRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Yes of course I am playing Pony come on

    Straightzi on
  • MarshmallowMarshmallow Swish SwishRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'd love to have some, any, form of RPG to be playing these days. I only recently found that my Uni has a gaming club but apparently no meetings until next semester, ridiculous.

    EDIT: As for game types I'd be interested in, I think steampunk would be mighty rad, or maybe a non-zombie horror (not really picky though).

    Marshmallow on
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  • StraightziStraightzi Here we may reign secure, and in my choice, To reign is worth ambition though in HellRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    And I'm cool with whatever really. Everything mentioned thus far sounds fine to me.

    Straightzi on
  • GumpyGumpy There is always a greater powerRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Gumpy wrote: »
    This looks quite swell

    If a game is being run sometime, I'd be up for it

    Gumpy on
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Definitely count me in! Sounds like an experience either way.

    No requests for a playtest setting, but I like the sound of some of the suggestions being tossed around.

    Edcrab on
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  • Legoman05Legoman05 Registered User
    edited May 2008
    I'd like to give it a whirl, I can give it a couple posts a day.

    Legoman05 on
  • crimsoncoyotecrimsoncoyote Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I would like to see how this works out.

    crimsoncoyote on
  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I would help playtest this.
    I wouldn't GMtest this though. Not ready.

    I was second after Gumpy.
    Just sayin is all.

    Tofystedeth on
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  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Actually you could argue that I was second after Gumpy.
    Just sayin' is all.

    'Course I reckon after this a bunch of us could GM games in different settings- that is, assuming we get a feel for the mechanics after the first playtest :)

    Edcrab on
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  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I guess indeed you were. You phrased it kind of roundaboutly.

    Tofystedeth on
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  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    It's what I do.

    Wait no, I meant...

    I guess I could argue that I suppose it could possibly maybe be interpreted that that manner of phrasing is what I've sometimes occasionally been known to utilise.


    What I'm thinking, see, is that later down the line I'd GM an EPIC game in a setting vastly different to what Pony runs his initial playtest in. Makes sense to give a universal system a whirl in as many setting types as possible.

    Edcrab on
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  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Just a blatant bump to ask: have you had time to produce example characters yet, Pony? I've thrown together a couple of practise builds- in preparation for making an actual character for the test campaign- but I'm pretty sure I've missed obvious things out, and viewing a proper one would help a lot.

    Edcrab on
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  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Here are some example characters, and an example Opposed Challenge.

    First, there's our PCs. There are 5 of them, at CL 10 each. They are fantasy characters, representing you standard D&D-style stuff.

    Barthayus Sulmaster, Sword of the Mountain (Fighter)
    CL: 10
    CP: 60 (+10 from Flaws)

    Attributes
    Swordsmanship (Combat) - 10
    Heavily Armored (Combat) - 10
    Archery (Combat) - 5
    Tactics (Combat) - 10
    Intimidate (Influence) - 10
    Brute Strength (Prowess) - 10

    Flaws
    Crude (Influence) - 7
    Impatient (Expertise) - 3

    Complications
    Battle Fury (Combat) - 15

    Stunts
    Destructive Rage (Combat) - 15

    Kevyn Foxglove, Alley Cat of Gossamer City (Rogue)
    CL: 10
    CP: 60 (+10 from Flaws)

    Attributes
    Sniper Shot (Combat) - 5
    Sneak Attack (Combat) - 15
    Bluff (Influence) - 10
    Acrobatics (Prowess) - 5
    Stealth (Prowess) - 5
    Thievery (Expertise) - 5
    Thieves Guild Contacts (Influence) - 5
    Gather Information (Expertise) - 5
    Athletics (Prowess) - 5

    Flaws
    Dishonest (Influence) - 5
    Cowardly (Combat) - 5

    Complications
    Bad Reputation (Influence) - 5
    Rebellious Streak (Influence) - 5

    Stunts
    Impossible Dodge (Combat) - 10

    Pythosus the Azure, Mage of Mist Tower (Wizard)
    CL: 10
    CP: 60 (+10 from Flaws)

    Attributes
    Arcane Blast (Combat) - 10
    Beguiling Magic (Infleunce) - 5
    Arcane Loremaster (Expertise) - 10
    Invisibility (Prowess) - 5
    Lightning Bolt (Combat) - 10
    Fireball (Combat) - 10
    Historian (Expertise) - 10

    Flaws
    Weak (Combat) - 10

    Complications
    Upper-Class Arrogance (Influence) - 10

    Stunts
    Unchained Magic (Combat) - 15

    Theodonis Saul, Keeper of the Imperial Faith (Cleric)
    CL: 10
    CP: 5 (+5 from Flaws)

    Attributes
    Healing Magic (Combat) - 10
    Holy Wrath (Combat) - 5
    Charismatic Presence (Influence) - 15
    Religious Scholar (Expertise) - 10
    Calm Emotions (Influence) - 10
    Clergy Status (Influence) - 5

    Flaws
    Preachy (Influence) - 5

    Complications
    Overwhelming Sense of Honor (Combat) - 5

    Stunts
    Omen (Expertise) - 10
    Divine Guidance (Prowess) - 10
    Gift of Tongues (Influence) - 10
    Divine Intervention (Combat) - 15

    Martayn Greenstag, Protector of the Old Forest (Ranger)
    CL: 10
    CP: 55 (+5 from Flaws)

    Attributes
    Master Archer (Combat) - 15
    Swordsmanship (Combat) - 5
    Animal Companion (Combat) - 10
    Expert Tracker (Expertise) - 10
    Wilderness Lore (Expertise) - 5
    Agile (Prowess) - 10

    Flaws
    Elven Arrogance (Influence) - 5

    Complications
    Cultural Ignorance (Influence) - 5

    Stunts
    Perfect Shot (Combat) - 15



    And here's an Opposed Challenge for them:

    Orc Warband (Combat Challenge)
    Medium Challenge for 5 CL 10 characters.
    Ranks: 175 Ranks of Combat Attributes
    Effort Dice: 25

    Attributes
    Orcish Ferocity (Combat) - 10 @ Rank 10
    Crude Weapons (Combat) - 10 @ Rank 10
    Mob Tactics (Combat) - 5 @ Rank 5

    Flaws
    Brutish and Simple (Combat) - 10 @ Rank 5

    Now, you might be asking yourself "What's with those @ symbols?"
    When it says "10 @ Rank 5" it means that in that Challenge, there are 10 instances of that Rank 5 Attribute, so when counting up the Ranks for spending Effort, they count as 10 seperate Rank 5 Attributes.

    So, there's an example. You may notice I altered the numbers for the opposed challenges. Upon some further testing, it was found my original estimates were too hard on the PCs, and so they were adjusted accordingly.

    Pony on
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Awesome. Challenge system certainly makes mobs easier.

    Just to check: am I right in thinking that attributes can stack, assuming they're appropriate to the situation, or would a player/NPC have to select just one to assign their effort to? I.e., I'm guessing Barthayus can use Swordsmanship (Combat) in the same instance as Brute Strength (Prowess).

    Edcrab on
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  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Edcrab wrote: »
    Awesome. Challenge system certainly makes mobs easier.

    Just to check: am I right in thinking that attributes can stack, assuming they're appropriate to the situation, or would a player/NPC have to select just one to assign their effort to? I.e., I'm guessing Barthayus can use Swordsmanship (Combat) in the same instance as Brute Strength (Prowess).

    Sure he could, but if it's a Combat Challenge, only his Swordsmanship ranks matter (Unless it's a Dynamic Challenge, and there's some Prowess target to hit too).

    However, if he spent Effort on say, Swordsmanship and Archery in the same Combat Challenge, those would stack for the purposes of determining his Combat Score.

    There are little mechanical quirks you may notice with each character. The Fighter, for example, has a Complication where he flies into a Rage if provoked. However, he also has a Stunt related to this, so yes, you can use his anger against him... but it will also cause him to use that rage against you.

    The Cleric, on the other hand, has a large amount of high-rank Stunts. These Stunts are far larger than he could ever acquire in Stunt Points from the single small Complication he has. However, if the player playing the Cleric acquired Stunt Points as rewards over time, he has a big bonus towards using them.

    This is designed to reflect the character; the Cleric has a lot of power, but that power comes from faith and prayer. His god moves in mysterious ways, but when he's there for him, he's there!

    By modifying how many Attributes you have of a single category, you specialize the kind of Challenges your character is good at.

    Pony on
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Ahh, I get you. Glad to see I wasn't completey off the mark... initially I thought, for a moment, that Complications could only be used with Stunts of the same challenge type. This allows for some really pretty clever stuff.

    Now I see what you meant about characters converting over well. The below is a converted Exigency build, and I honestly can't think of anything that EPIC doesn't allow for:

    VOLN
    CL 15 Homicidal Cyborg Maniac (75 CP + 17 from Flaws)

    Attributes:

    Technical Training (Expertise) - 10
    Augmented Strength (Prowess) - 20
    Intimidation (Influence) - 8
    Dangerous Reputation (Influence) - 7
    Specialised Bladed Weapon (Combat) - 20
    Psychic Defence (Combat) - 16
    Gunslinger (Combat) - 6
    Armour Plating (Combat) - 5


    Flaws:

    Unstable Mind (Expertise) - 7
    Large Build (Prowess) - 5
    Disturbing (Influence) - 5


    Complications:

    Inconsistent Mental Implants (Expertise) - 8
    Unreliable Skill Macros (Prowess) - 8
    Famous Bounty Hunter (Influence) - 6
    Electromagnetic Vulnerability (Combat) - 10
    Insane Rampage (Combat) - 10


    Stunts:

    Total Psychic Repulsion (Expertise) - 15
    Incredible Agility (Prowess) – 10
    Unbelievable Parry (Combat) - 15
    Attack Focus (Combat) - 20

    Edcrab on
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  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    See, there you go. It can be adapted to any genre, and any style of game.

    Pony on
  • nautilus_projectnautilus_project Registered User new member
    @ Pony. I realize I'm resurrecting this thread from beyond the grave, but any objections to me testing out the EPIC system on another PbP site I frequent? I found the system while doing a google search for dice pool PbP RPG. It brought me here, and I was pretty impressed with the way your system seems to work.

    Let me know what you think.

  • am0nam0n Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    Oops, I didn't realize this was a necro!

    @nautilus_project you need to put the @ and Pony next to one another, or it doesn't work. Also, if you need another player, let me know.

    am0n on
  • nautilus_projectnautilus_project Registered User new member
    Thanks am0n. I did also PM Pony for a response.

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