2020-04-03 S.M.A.R.T. RPG and King Arthur Pendragon

I got a very nice voice mail by the Goblin Henchman in response to my latest Halberds and Helmets Podcast episode on Just Halberds, my simple 2d6 game. It talked about their own simple 1d6 game, the S.M.A.R.T. RPG. It basically boils everything down to the AD&D surprise system, of all things. I recommend reading up on it. 🙂

Characters have five attributes in the range of 1–6 and you roll 1d6: rolling your number or lower is a success, and the measure of your success is how high you rolled. Thus, trying to make an attack with an attribute at 1, you only succeed ⅙ of the time and if you do, you only do 1 point of damage (⅙×1=⅙ on average). With an attribute of 3, you succeed ½ of the time and if you do, you do 1–3 points of damage (½×1½=¾ on average).

It’s an interesting system and reminded me of the King Arthur Pendragon (KAP) system where skill tests are rolled on a d20 using the same idea: roll as close but still lower than your skill to succeed, roll your skill exactly for a critical success, and if you’re in a contest, both contestants make a skill check and you have to pass, and beat your opponent with the same roll. Thus, one person having a skill of 10 doesn’t just get a success on 1–10, their max result in a contest is also a 10. What I didn’t like about this is that it’s possible for both contestants to fail. What does that mean? Do you just roll again?

The really nice part about KAP is when you apply it to traits. All traits come in pairs that add up to twenty. So, if you’re chaste 12, then you’re lustful 8. If you try to be chaste, roll a d20 and try to get a 12 or lower. If you roll higher, your character automatically has to test for the opposite, even if you as their player don’t want that: characters have autonomy! So once you failed the chastity test, you need to make a lustful test: roll a d20 and now you try to roll higher than 8 because rolling an 8 or lower means your character succeeds at being lustful even though you wanted them to be chaste. Only if you fail both rolls does the player get to decide again.

It’s weird, and it’s interesting, and it makes players feels like their characters have a life of their own, and I like that. I don’t like the “fail twice and it’s up to the player to make a free choice again” aspect, though. I think I’d much prefer it if failing at being chaste automatically meant being lustful.

Related: 2013-08-05 Character talks about unbalanced Pendragon characters having to Roll whether their player likes it or not.



Hi Alex

I’ve update my S.M.A.R.T. RPG rule system to fit onto one page.

If that is of interest, it can be downloaded from here: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/310367/SMART-RPG


Goblin's Henchman 2020-04-20 09:09 UTC

Excellent. 🙂

– Alex Schroeder 2020-04-20 11:05 UTC

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