Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Building a Lost RPG using PACE Rules System by Fred Hicks

So I posted two weeks ago about how I would make up a set of rules for Lost to role-play with. I think I came up with a balanced idea on what exactly I would come up with as far as rules go for a more complex game. I had a decent conflict resolution system with the World of Darkness rules, I accounted for the isolation of the island and the survivor's situation by calling upon the Dread rules and their GM advice, and I used 3:16: Carnage Amongst the Stars and their system of using flashbacks to expose character strengths or weaknesses as a part of the narrative structure versus the character creation process. I liked my rules I came up with, but it occurred to me that there are a lot of Lost fans out there, and while they must all by definition be referred to as "geeks," I would imagine the vast majority of them are not tabletop role-players. Because of this, we must look to a little bit less complexity to pull in new players or people afraid to be labeled an "ultra nerd-geek" because they start tabletop playing.

My thought at this point is another recent post of mine where I reviewed PACE, an experimental, free download of a game by Fred Hicks over at Evil Hat Productions would be a great inspiration for a game in the Lost universe. If you think about it, (honestly) most of the characters on Lost are only two dimensional. With very few exceptions (I'd say Ben and Sawyer being two of the main ones) I believe this to be true. This matches up perfectly with the character creation process in PACE. You simply pick two or three descriptors, divide 7 points amongst them, and whammo, you have your character. There's no dice involved but rather counters, which could include poker chips to bring a familiar feel to the gaming table, and the number crunching in general is very low.

From here it shouldn't be too difficult to not only make up NPC's for the island but also your own couple of survivors (maybe there were more tailies we never knew about? Wouldn't it be nice to get some more tailie action since last seeing any of them alive in season 3?). Jack could be Bull-Headed (3) Doctor (4). Sayid could be Honorable (3) Veteran (2) Communications Technician (2). Kate could be Crazy-Assed (4) Bitch (3), you get the idea. These numbers indicate how above and beyond a character is able to perform anything you can relate back to the particular descriptor. Let me give you can example.

Kate, who has Crazy-Assed (4) is attempting to track the Smoke Creature (Smoke Creature's stats would be Mysterious (8) Freaky (8) - he's super powerful so he gets 16 to spread instead of 7). Tracking the smoke creature is most-assuredly crazy-assed, so this descriptor applies. The task is attempting to find tracks of the Smoke Creature. Every task that isn't contested (i.e. the Smoke Creature isn't actively working against Kate to hide its tracks) and tied to a descriptor is automatically considered a success at a score of 1. Kate succeeds, but she only finds a crater she believes to be caused by the Smoke Creature. Sure she was successful, but it doesn't give her much to go on. This is where pips come in! Pips are the currency players use to impact the story and are what can be represented by poker chips as noted above. Kate can spend up to 3 pips to push her success of 1 up to a 4, which is the max her Crazy-Assed (4) descriptor can support. If she chooses to spend pips, the higher the number, the more successful she is. Maybe she spends 2 pips to push her success up to a 3, a success with some real weight! Kate not only finds the crater but notices, after running in circles around it for a while like the Crazy-Ass she is, that she looks up and can see a clear path of leaves and branches above broken headed East. Good job Kate!

For more details on the rules, you should check my previous post that I linked above to learn how to run a game of PACE (Hint: it's super easy). Also, Ben in this system could be: Prepared (3) Island (4) Leader (3). Again, Ben is awesome and would get more points to spread out, but would only be playable as an NPC by the GM. Enjoy the show tonight everyone!

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