Other d100 games tend to separate-out a character’s physical condition (typically quantified by Hit Points or similar) from their magical resources (e.g. Power Points or Magic Points). The 3rd Edition of RuneQuest even introduces a third resource, Fatigue Points, that quantifies how tired a character is. In Hack100, we will streamline all of these aspects into a single parameter – Health.
The twelve core Attributes described in the previous blog are designed to cover most of the common situations that a character is likely to face whilst adventuring. However, with only twelve Attributes, there is a risk that characters end up seeming quite similar, with little to differentiate one from the next.
In the last blog, we looked at some established percentile-based role-playing games and saw how they typically define their characters by two sets of numbers:
- Characteristics that are typically rolled randomly during character generation, e.g. 3d6 for Strength, etc.
- Skills, representing various specific competencies, e.g. Climb, Dodge, etc. The initial values for each skill are often derived from, or influenced by, the relevant characteristics.
As described in the previous blog, one of the aims of this project is to develop a d100 system with a small number of character attributes and skills. To put this objective into a proper context, I thought I’d take a look at where some existing d100 games stand in this regard.
Below, I’ve summarised the number of characteristics and skills employed by several d100 systems. The list is not intended to be comprehensive. It simply represents some of the percentile-based games that I own.
Before we get into the specifics of Hack100’s mechanics, I thought it would be helpful to outline some of the high-level objectives of the project. Therefore, here are my design aims, in approximate order of importance.
As a regular feature on the excellent The Grognard Files podcast, host Dirk the Dice invites guests to talk about “Their First”, “Their Last” and “Their “Everything” role-playing game. It’s a neat format for understanding someone’s gaming tastes and influences.
My “First” was the 1981 edition of Basic Dungeons & Dragons by Tom Moldvay. At the time, I had no idea what I was buying, nor any concept of what a role-playing game was. I bought it on the strength of the name alone – “dungeons” and “dragons” – what’s not to like?
I’ve always liked percentile-based (d100) systems for role-playing games. The early editions of RuneQuest, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and Call of Cthulhu were the staples of my formative adventuring back in the 1980s. In terms of game mechanics, d100 systems provide an unmatched clarity over the likelihood of an action’s success or failure. They also tend to be more flexible, avoiding rigid character classes and levels.