Wild Dawn: Quick Roleplay Rules

   This particular rules system got tossed together on the fly for a freeform game evening. Like most such it’s pretty simple – but it proved popular enough to justify actually typing out the notes on how it operated. The original game was a wild-west dinosaur-hunters episode, but we’ve used the system for a few other quick between-campaigns games since. There are quite a few systems tossed together for once-off games laying about on notepads, perhaps I’ll dig some of them out.

   The Attributes:

Smarts:

Intellectual Abilities

Guts:

Physical and Spiritual Toughness

Fightin:

Combat Abilities

Talent:

Psychic/Magical/Super Abilities

Spottin:

Alertness/Sensory Acuteness

Smooth:

Social Abilities

  • “Human” attributes range from 1-6 (1 Awful, 2-3 Average, 4 Good, 5 Excellent and 6 Incredible). Each attribute represents your dice pool for actions of the appropriate type. Characters can have a 0 Talent rating if they wish.
  • “Monster” – and “Super” attributes range from 0 to 10. Superheroes may take have one, and only one, super attribute. Exotic races may vary, see below.

   Task Rolls :

  • Any action requires an expenditure of dice from an appropriate pool. Each D6 – and only D6 are used in this game – is rolled independently and the result compared to the target number. Dice pools recover each turn.
  • Resisted checks, such as most attacks, allow an opponent to roll dice from his or her pools to try and cut down the number of successes obtained. In most cases this requires expending dice – although simply resisting damage with a Guts or Talent roll does not.
  • Bonus and Penalty Dice increase or decrease the number of dice in the relevant pool(s). Bonus dice are usually the result from the use of equipment and /or special circumstances. The most common reason for penalty dice are wounds. Each wound results in two penalty dice to an appropriate pool; when a pool is reduced to zero, the character cannot take such actions any longer. When all six dice pools are reduced to zero, the character is dead. Most are totally ineffectual long before then.
  • Anyone who rolls more “1’s” then successes on a task will suffer some sort of mishap; in dangerous tasks – such as most talent-related actions – this usually results in a wound.
  • Optional Rule; Characters may ignore all wound penalties on any one die pool for a turn by taking another wound, thus allowing heroic actions before collapsing.

   Base Target Numbers :

10

Impossible.

9

With world-class expertise maybe…

8

This is VERY expensive.

7

Impossible without training, tricky with.

6

Tricky, and likely to fail. Resisting injuries comes here.

5

Difficult, but the odds are good.

4

Ordinary. Basic attacks come here.

3

Easy for virtually anyone.

2

Almost impossible to fail at.

   Skills – and the lack thereof – can increase or decrease the base target number. Characters have a limited number of superior skills, but they can be endlessly incompetent. In general characters will find skills;

Type

Modifier

Skill Level Description

Alien

+3 TN

Skills the character has never heard of.

Outre’

+2 TN

Uncommon skills which don’t fit into the character’s background.

Exotic

+1 TN

Ordinary skills which don’t fit into the character’s background.

Competent

No Mod

Everything that fits your background story or the setting.

Skillful

-1 TN

Things you’re damned good at.

Expert

-2 TN

Things hardly anybody is better then you at.

Master

-3 TN

Things NOBODY is better at.

   Skill Notes:

  • Alien Skills depend on the setting – but things like “nerve-induction flying-saucer piloting” tend to fall into this category.
  • Outre’ Skills include complex sciences, talent- related skills, communicating in unknown languages and similar tasks.

   Success Levels:

Successes Rolled

Success Level

Combat Injury Inflicted

1

Minimal

Stunned One Round

2

Ordinary

2 Penalty Dice

3

Superior

4 Penalty Dice

4

Remarkable

6 Penalty Dice

5

Extraordinary

8 Penalty Dice

6

Unbelievable

10 Penalty Dice

7

Monstrous

12 Penalty Dice

8

Divine

14 Penalty Dice

   Character Generation:

   This is normally point-based, although PC’s may opt to roll up their attributes randomly if the GM chooses to allow this. In general;

Character Type

Total Attributes

Skill Ratings

Items

Flaws

Ordinary Folks

15

2x +1

1

Trained Types

18

3x +1

1

2

Notable Heroes

21

3x +1, 1x +2

2

3

Cinematic Heroes

24

3x +1, 2x +2

3

4

Superheroes

27

3x +1, 2x +2, 1x +3

5

6

  • Items cover exotic equipment – sniping rifles, pistols with clips of silver bullets, reputations, being of a strange race, really exotic backgrounds and superpowers. Basically if it’s a distinction and useful it’s “equipment”. Equipment usually adds 1-3 dice to the relevant pools when it applies or, for things like flight harnesses, powers, and secret identities, simply permit you to do the ordinarily impossible.
  • Flaws are enemies, weaknesses, odd compulsions, phobias, dependents, being subject to orders, your personal code of honor, and anything else that makes trouble for you or restricts your options. Every character should have the minimum number of flaws, many have more.

   Combat, Initiative, and Healing:

  • Characters act in order of the players seating about the table; the GM is encouraged to alternate directions occasionally. Henchmen go when their “bosses” do, other NPC’s go when the count reaches the GM.
  • Who goes first (PC’s/NPC’s) is up to the GM.
  • Characters normally recover a number of wounds per week equal to the results of a Guts check. The use of helpful skills (First Aid, Healing Powers and Meditation [For “Wounds” resulting from backlash]) will reduce the number of penalty dice a character is subject to by one per success. Such skills may only be applied once to any given set of penalties

   Experience Points:

  • Characters who survive gaming sessions improve. Being active during a game is worth 1 EP, actually being useful/clever/lucky is worth 2. Players who advance the plot/add to the fun get a bonus point, those who disrupt/hinder things take a -1 penalty.
  • Experience points may be spent to; add a title, bit of reputation or background story element (1), to add “+1” to an attribute (Cost = new value, the usual limits apply), to increase a skill level (-3 to -2; 6, -2 to -1; 4, -1 to -0; 2, 0 to +1; 3, +1 to +2; 6, +2 to +3; 12), or to add new “equipment” to the character’s personal repertoire (8).
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