Just some random thoughts about a simple solo rpg ruleset inspired by the Apocalypse World engine of 2d6+modifiers and the Four Against Darkness (4AD) method of basing everything on your level as a single stat.
I got the idea to throw these two together after reading a review of 4AD and because I am testing AW at the moment and really like the task resolution.
So, here goes nothing:
- Pick a name, race and concept. This is mainly to give yourself or others a mental image and an idea of your character. It as no rules effect. You start at level 1. The maximum character level is level 5.
- Pick three skills from a list of skills appropriate to the setting and provided by your GM. Skills are the main element by which characters are defined and different from each other. There are no classes. A skill gives a +1 bonus to relevant task resolution rolls. If you advance a level, you get to pick an additional skill, so a character can have a maximum of seven skills at level 5 (3 starting skills + 1 skill per level at level 2, 3, 4 and 5). There are no combat skills for character combat: Attacks and defenses are determined by your level. This is different for vehicle combat since it is assumed that everybody is somewhat proficient with personal combat but to operate a vehicle in combat requires special training, so therefore attacks or actions with a vehicle in combat can benefit from a vehicle skill.
- Calculate hitpoints: 12 + 2 per level including first level, so 14 hp for 1st level characters.
- Example character: Han Solo at the end of A New Hope: Daring, fast-talking correlian smuggler, level 3, 18 hp, no armor, skills (used skill list from Star Wars Saga Edition): Gather Information, Deception, Pilot, Mechanics, Use Computer
All actions are resolved by rolling 2d6 and adding your level as well as other modifiers. Other modifiers can come from a skill, equipment used or the environment as well as personal health level etc. This is called a check.
So it is:
2d6 + level + 1 if you have a relevant skill + other modifiers
So if Han Solo from above would try to con someone it would be a roll of 2d6+4 (3 for his level and +1 because he has the Deception skill).
If he would try to convince an imperial officer that he is actually an imperial officer working on an undercover assignment this might incur a -2 penalty because it is so far from the truth so the check would be a roll of 2d6+2.
The success of your action depends on your check result and follows the AW scale with a little extra:
An unmodified roll of 2 (called natural 2 or “snake eyes”): A criticil failure: The action fails no matter what. No positive modifiers will save you. The (emulated) GM gets to make a hard move against you. In combat you will take damage from the enemy.
6 or less: A failure. You don’t get what you want. In combat you take damage from the enemy. In AW terms: The (emulated) GM gets to make a hard move against you.
7-9: A partial success. You get what you want but at a price: In combat you hit the enemy and deal damage but the enemy also hits you (if the enemy has the appropriate weapons and is in range) or the GM or you as solo player set-up a dangerous situation. A soft move in AW terms.
10+: A success: You get what you want and don’t suffer any drawbacks. You hit the enemy but the enemy misses you etc.
An unmodified roll of 12 (natural 12): A success as above, in addition you get to make an advancement roll (see below).
As you gain experience and survive adventures you become more competent overall. In game terms, your level increases.
When you roll a natural 12 you get to make an advancement roll: You roll 1d6 and you have to roll over your current level. So at level 1 you have to roll at least a 2.
If your advancement roll succeeds, you gain a level. If you gain a level you get +2 hitpoints and you get to pick another skill of your choice.
However, you are limited to one advancement roll per character and session, no matter how many natural 12s you roll and even if your advancement roll fails. You get one chance per session maximum to advance.
Combat and NPCs:
Combat is resolved just like any other task. There is no turn order or round structure. You just describe what you do and roll the dice. The outcome of the check dictates the course of the battle, you describe the situation, set-up an action and roll again.
Depending on your check result and action you might take damage or not or hit or miss or succeed at your desired task or not.
All rolls are made by the player, the GM never rolls for his characters, except when they deal damage. If an NPC is particulary special it can be figured in by imposing a penalty to the check.
If your hero hits you roll damage for the weapon, subtract the enemy’s armor value if it has one and subtract the remaining damage from the enemy’s hitpoints.
An NPC combat statblock example:
Stormtrooper: hp 1, stormtrooper armor (armor 2), blaster rifle (1d6+1 damage)
Or to keep it cinematic:
Stormtrooper Squad (acts as a single character): hp 12, armor 2, blaster rifle (1d6+1 damage), squad fire (if your check total is a critical failure you take 1d6+6 damage instead of 1d6+1)
An example for a main villain:
Darth Vader, Lord of the Sith: hp 20, life supporting armor (armor 1), lightsaber (1d6+1 damage, a 6 on the damage die is added and the die is rolled again), force choke (1d6 damage, ignores armor value), dark force powers (checks for actions against Vader suffer a -2 penalty)
Equipment and gear other than weapons or armor is handled in two ways:
A: It allows you to perform an action that you wouldn’t be able to do without the equipment. Examples: Without a toolkit you can’t perform repairs. Without a computer you can’t hack into networks. Without a digital camera you can’t take digital high res pictures etc.
B: It makes a task easier, providing a +1 bonus to relevant checks. Example: A camo poncho to hide in a forest. A knotted rope to climb a tree.
If your setting includes supernatural abilities they are accessed by choosing an appropriate skill. Examples: Spellcraft, Psionics, The Force, Miracles etc.
If you have a supernatural ability it allows you to do things in a narrative way that characters without the ability couldn’t do. If you use a supernatural ability to deal damage, the damage is 1d6+x where x equals your level.
A Star Wars Jedi – Lia Siwan, young and idealistic Jedi Knight, 14 Hitpoints, no armor, Level 1, Skills: Use the Force, Acrobatics, Diplomacy, Gear: datapad, comlink, medpac, credchip, utility belt, lightsaber (1d6+1 damage, if damage die shows a 6 add and roll again)
-Lia walks through the streets of Mos Eisley as the encounters a stormtrooper patrol that orders her to stop. Lia doesn’t want to draw attention to herself so she stops and attempts a Jedi mind trick on the lead trooper. Roll 2d6+2 (level 1 + 1 for Use the Force skill). The check succeeds and they let her go. Without the Use the Force skill, Lia wouldn’t be able to attempt a mind trick.
So that is basically it. Try it out and let me know how it works for you.