Once again, I am returning after a hiatus away from the blog to drop a bit of an update! Back in January, I mentioned that I was putting together a new Role-Playing Game, and it has greatly progressed since then. I was off work during the coronavirus shutdown and was able to get quite a bit of work done and even ran a few early playtests. Concerning genre, it is heavy inspired by Sword & Sorcery, Dark Fantasy, and Historical Fiction... I literally don't know exactly how to describe it just yet but the title is ...
I cannot claim to have created something that is entirely new and groundbreaking for RPGs, and that is not my intention. Instead, I have drawn inspiration from a number of games, old and new, and attempted to make a game whose rules feel familiar and are flexible enough to support the various genres mentioned above. So, in this introductory post I want to describe the basics of REAVER (at least as the current draft stands).
ORIGINS: Origins replace "races" and represent a character's culture, place of origin, and nationality. In the core rules, all Origins are humans and are inspired by historical and mythological peoples of Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. I've chosen to do this so that they might easily be adapted to other settings, fit into historical fantasy campaigns and many Sword and Sorcery settings, like Hyboria, and be familiar to most readers. I have mentioned in the rules bits my own campaign setting, largely in describing the Origins, but have not decided if I'll include an overview of the world in the rules...I should say that I have striven to present the Origins in a respectful, and even historical manner, while making them suitably fantastic for the genre.
ATTRIBUTES: The familiar six common to many other fantasy games. What's different? The Attribute Feat system from Eldritch Tales has been modified to operate on a Die Chain, so that every Attribute has an assigned Feat Die, ranging from d3 to d10, and used as the basis for various tests. Dexterity modifies movement. Instead of a "reaction modifier," Charisma dictates a Base Loyalty Die (also a die chain) which is assigned to Hirelings and can be modified later. (As an aside, NPC Morale works the same way.)
CHARACTER CLASSES: I'll be discussing these in future posts, but the core book will include at least the Barbarian, Berserker, Fighter, Priest, Rogue, Scout, and Sorcerer. Priests are each defined by their Faith (Druidism, Shamanism, or Theism) while Sorcerers select a Tradition (Hermeticism, Mysticism, or Witchery). Classes grant the character all of their base abilities and have a format similar to early versions of the "world's first RPG."
CAREERS and SKILLS: Every character selects a Career at first level and two more at later levels. Careers mimic the fiction trope common to Sword & Sorcery where protagonists dabble in multiple occupations throughout their careers. The best example of course is Conan - he is a Barbarian (class), but was a Thief, Mercenary, and Pirate (among other things). These are all Careers in REAVER and allow a player to personalize their PCs. Mechanically, Careers grant the character a Skill and a Feature.
REAVER includes a fairly short and easy Skill system with 18 unique Skills. Most characters start with 3 Skills and have no more than 5 Skills at the maximum level. Skills operate on the Attribute Feat system and grant a +1d on the Die Chain.
RESOLVE and PERIL: The general rules and combat system should be fairly familiar to most, however all characters have Resolve, a measure of their luck, fate, and sheer will to survive. Resolve is based off of the character's Prime Attribute and increases as characters advance in level. Resolve allows characters to do things like heal during combat, increase their damage, gain Advantage on a roll, and cheat death. Resolve can also activate Class abilities, like the Berserker's fury, and is expended to cast magic spells. However, when characters spend Resolve they empower their enemies with Peril, which operates basically as Resolve for the Referee.
SORCERY: Vancian magic is scrapped. Spellcasters use Resolve to cast spells and receive more Resolve than other classes. They must study or pray each day, but do not "prepare spells" and can rather cast any spell they know. Sorcery is dangerous, dark, and can lead to a character's ultimate downfall. I'll discuss Sorcery more in a later post.
OTHER RULES: I've adopted the Usage Die for equipment, ammunition, and some other things. On a recent episode of The Purple Worm Podcast, I heard Dave Aldridge mention applying the Usage Die to spell durations and thought that was a very interesting idea and I plan to explore that a bit. There are rules for Hirelings and Companions and characters might gather followers at any level. Seafaring, Travel, and Downtime will all be covered for the referee. Advantage/Disadvantage is used.
Right, so that's a shortish overview. In the next post I'll talk about some Character Classes!