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Can someone suggest a fun RPG system

5 replies [Last post]
Joined: 04/14/2012

Can someone suggest a fun RPG system that I can incorporate into my card game design? In particular, I'm looking at how skill checks/tests are done, as that makes up a key portion of my design. Right now, I'm looking at White Wolf's storytelling adventure system. I'm also not limiting myself to just RPGs. If you know of any board games or card games that have some really intriguing mechanics, then either steer me to where I can have a look at the rules and how the mechanics work, or to a place where I can get more information and possibly buy said product(s) if need be. I'm not looking to simply port the entire system over, although I may if the system meshes with my theme - just looking to get some ideas in an effort to create a coherent and (hopefully) playable ruleset. More and more, I'm steering myself towards an RPG system for my game rather than just a card game system. I'm still not sure whether or not I want to go with predominantly cards, or incorporate some kind of board into my design. The recent Kickstarter game Agents of Smersh is probably the game that's the closest to my design vision. I'm probably going to get it when it comes out this fall, but in the meantime, at least I have some sort of benchmark to work with.

MarkKreitler's picture
Joined: 11/12/2008
Maybe these will help

Palindrome wrote:
Can someone suggest a fun RPG system that I can incorporate into my card game design?

This blows my mind a little, because most RPGs I can think of use dice, and mixing cards and dice can get odd. With that disclaimer out of the way, I'd suggest the Hero system. You can find an intro to the game system here:

Caveat Emptor: I couldn't find anything before 5th edition, and I stopped playing at 4th edition, after which the game went through some changes. I'm not sure what you'll find.

There is also the Amber Role Playing System: If you scroll down a bit, you can find a link to a PDF of the rules.

Hope you find what you're looking for!

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
What are you going for?

I think our suggestions to your question will be better if we know what kind of feel you want from the skill check resolutions. For instance:

If you want a system where stacking abilities, skill, and gear lead to a linear power curve then just go with most Any RPG that gives bonuses for such things to a single die roll to beat a target number. The feel here I'd say iis good for a game where "leveling" and looting new gear is a key element of the game, since players will quickly progress up the power scale and advantages of new skills/items (namely a +2 to such-and-such) is clear and mechanical.

Or maybe you want a still mechanical feel where players need to be clever or cooperative like chaining together skills/abilities that have rule-bending effects instead of straight bonuses. In this case, focus on the class-powers from DND 4th and similar games (others here would know more examples of these systems, I'd wager).

Perhaps you want a more organic feel where abilities and skills have a value that simply increases your odds (read: rolling additional dice) and are applied in as many situations as you can justify their use and can afford based on some meta-game economy to govern sub things. For this I highly recommend a game like Spirt of the Century (whose system reference is available free online. Use google for Spirit of the Century SRD).

That said, could you detail what it is you want from this skill resolution system?
Otherwise, good hunting -

Crensh3000ad's picture
Joined: 03/06/2012
Hmmm, several CCGs from the


several CCGs from the 90s have tried to include the skill check system. Some of them were heavily steered by the notion of narrative roleplaying mostly ignored by card games of that time.

These dead CCGs come to my mind (there might be more, if you start digging):

-Arcadia: The Wyld Hunt (also from White Wolf)
You pick a character and go on a quest. Here, your skills are tested (strength,dexterity, humanity, etc.).

Players venture on a quest which is told by a GM via cards and use their skills to perform any kind of checks required.

This one used skill requirements (streetwise, piloting, explosives, decking, firearms) to pass a certain challenge, even though use of dice came in later during combat, if the aforementioned skill checks were failed)

Scully and Mulder had a huge list of skills, something between 5 or 12 categories like subterfuge, paranormal investigation, medical, computers, etc. No dice were implied, the agents traveled to a site, the opposing player played some hindrances and hoped to remove the agents from the field. After the smoke cleared up the agents still standing could go for the required skill check: criminal investigation 4+ ;
Agent A: Criminal Investigation value -2 ,
Agent B: Criminal Investigation value -2
= skill check successful

-Star Trek CCG by Decipher - the most popular of the aforementioned bunch
This was the game that went crazy with skill checks, your ship crew had to perform. I have never played this one but the amount of rules cramped into the 1st edition is legendary. As a result, your character cards were overloaded with all kinds of info, similar to the aforementioned X-Files, but also using a lot of cryptic icons.

You can read a lot about these games on BGG.

The way I see it, a RPG system worthy of use in a card game might be based any variations of FUDGE and Savage Worlds or any other light and quick system (mostly underlining on fluffy, cinematic gameplay).
Bear in mind that it is very difficult to set up an RPG-similiar combat procedure in a card game - except you are talking about a combat-game only (Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter). The usual RPG roundabout - initiative, hitting/shooting (adding/substracting such aspects as ammo used/lighting/cover/moving targets), damage, armor/soak rolls, hit points reduction, reanimation rolls, - is just too long for a card game. It is possible to include some abilities or special powers-keywords on cards but I am unsure whether one would accept a usual RPG-info-loaded-character sheet of primary attributes, secondary attributes, skills, special abilities, advantages/disadvantages, equipment, dodge/parry/attack etc. as your basic info for a character card.

Joined: 06/20/2012
I know your story all too

I know your story all too well I have been working on a card/dice system myself for about a month. I come form a background of playing both system styles D&D, and magic, and a few other games of similar mechanics. the problem is that you are trying to get a round peg to fit in a square hole. I luckily started working the game mechanics for my game while on vacation so I had a lot of time to dump into a checks and balances system. you may want to consider using a percentage die system i.e. (if"X" is 35%, "Y" must roll 35%^ for success).


Joined: 04/14/2012
Been away for a while

Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions. Recently, I've come back to my game design, but have learned from past mistakes and probably won't talk much about my game until I get further along on my development and have something more concrete to show.

I've decided to work around the Mythic system so that events can more or less be automated by the "system" itself. Ironically, Arcadia the Wyld Hunt was one of the games I was thinking about shortly after I posted my original thread but I had completely forgotten about it until now. I want to use some sort of percentile system to track personality and how NPCs will react to player moves, while the skill check system will use a difficulty number to exceed that most RPGs use. I'm not sure whether or not I want to include multiple successes (like exceeding a roll of 7+) to indicate a more difficult task or succeeding emphatically.

Right now, I'm more concerned about my theme and working on how the game feels overall. The mechanics will be worked on in detail later. A few days ago, I completely altered my design, by going from a game board to a modular hex map system. Still not sure if I made the right decision, but it'll help me when designing a modular build of modern day Tokyo and all the sites that a dating/life sim entails.

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