NaBloPoMo 2014 – Entry 20 – d20s and Cypher

I’m trying to do the “No Shave November.” I’m trimming the chin and moustache to try to match length with the jowls, but I just don’t think it’s going to work out. I have a thin beard on the jowls, as well as some major bald spots, so I’m thinking this beard isn’t going to work out. *Sigh.*

So, my shower thinking was about the d20 post the other day. I have to admit I think the Cypher System is probably the best application of the d20 in any system. However, I took to time to find another d20 system I knew of that I wanted to examine.

After the post, I managed to hunt up my Traveller: The New Era, Game Design Workshop’s attempt to revitalize the Traveller system back in the ’90s, after MegaTraveller didn’t work out. That system runs off the same 2d6-1 rolled stats. Those stats are added straight to a skill rating to determine an “asset.” Assets determine the roll needed to succeed, rolling low being better. The asset is multiplied by 4 or 2 for easier tasks, while harder tasks are handled by division by the same numbers. For example, say I want to pick up an object. My Constitution is 6 (average) and my Climbing is 3, my Climbing Asset is 9. An Easy Climbing task is 36 or less on a d20 (guaranteed success), an Average task is 18 or less (a 90% chance), a Difficult task is 9 or less (45%), a Formidable task is 4 or less (20%), and Impossible tasks being a 2 or less (10%). A raw CON task would be 24/12/6/3/1. The game cautions GMs about how difficult a stat-only could be overwhelming for a party because of these number.

Looking at this, I thought it was a bit too easy for characters to succeed, but it is predictable and the numbers don’t look that crazy to me. The Easy number might make those rolls too easy, but I think it’s tolerable math.

The Cypher System works on a roll high system, but it is admittedly a simple, easy-to-use system. The GM sets a difficulty between 1 and 10. Skill training and other modifiers draw the difficulty down, as well as players using Effort (basically hit points). The final resulting Difficulty is multiplied by three and that’s the number that must be exceeded on a d20, with 18, 19, and 20 getting bonus results, and one on the die creating a “GM Intrusion,” an opportunity for the GM to mess with the characters, within reason. Yes, at Difficulty 10, the players must use Effort or have skill to have a real hope of affecting the target or beating the obstruction. In example videos, Difficulty 3 gets used, a lot (more, in my opinion, than necessary). This will give you pretty predictable results, both for the GM and the players.

I like the system, but I’m now finding the “special numbers” a throwback ruling, and I was simply feeling that creating the StarSea in the Cypher System was going to take more work than I want to put in, and not result in the more freeform feel to the game I think I can achieve by using Fate.

I really don’t have much else going on today, so I’m going to call it a post for tonight. Later.





About docryder

I'm an experienced table top gamer with an open mind to new game systems. I'm looking to explore ideas I've got. Some are pretty meta, some are pretty mundane. Welcome to my world.

Posted on November 21, 2014, in Metagaming, NaBloPoMo. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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