One gripe I have with certain tabletop games is that they entirely neglect any sense of the complexity of certain actions, or they make actually rolling for things impossible from the very start. I’m trying to avoid that entirely with 1-800 Regime Change, with a tree-based attribute/skill/specialization system. This allows me to make, say, assembling a gun different than sewing a ballistic plate into a vest, but have a shared skill so that it is not impossible to have some synergy.
And now we’re leaving that behind so it doesn’t sound like I’m pitching a business plan. My system is simple. Ten dice, tops. Some can explode, but that doesn’t mean more dice at the table, you just re-roll ones that come up six (for those who aren’t familiar with the term, it’s relatively common practice), so at most you have two or three rolls for an average action and you can stop early as you likely will if you have a lot of exploding dice and you’ve beaten the threshold. This doesn’t apply to, say, combat, because of how damage is applied, so you will want to roll all those explosions, but for fixing a car or jumping a fence you will be fine.
Each attribute feeds into about four skills, and there are six attributes. The current attributes and skills (subject to redefinition and renaming) are, with skills in italics and attributes in standard text:
- Weapon Damage
- Carry Weight
- Melee Combat
- Ranged Weapons
- Damage Threshold
This system allows for me to have stacked dice (sub-skills are not shown since they are certainly not, as they are defined right now, final) to equal ten dice, four for the attribute, six divided between skills and sub-skills. Skills, like those in Toughness or some of those in Strength, that feed directly into a derived statistic instead of ever being rolled are still treated in the same way by the game’s system-six points between the skills and sub-skills, four to the attribute.
This leads, naturally, into specializations. Dice in 1-800 Regime Change are not normally exploding, they explode when the appropriate subskills, skills, or attributes are specialized in. Specializations move upward; if an attribute is specialized but a skill is not, no dice are rolled, but if a subskill or a skill without subskill are specialized dice rolled on them will explode regardless of whether or not the appropriate skill or attribute above it is considered specialized by the mercenaries.
This allows me to keep everything concise; I’m a little bit obsessive when it comes to typesetting, and I am already plotting out the game’s finished character record sheets. The trees fit nicely on a 8.5″x11″ sheet in my sprawling, sloppy handwriting even when I write largely enough to be legible, but I’ll probably put them in a table with skills and subskills moved a little to the right for the sake of record keeping.
I’m going to make a quick note about classes; there are only ten levels to be gained in any skill/attribute combination, but classes determine how quickly they can be gained by affecting the cost of purchasing, upgrading, and specializing a skill or attribute, as well as determining a character’s starting skills and attributes. Classes are not pre-defined, they are created by the player by selecting favored skills and attributes (and subskills, for favored skills that have subskills), and from this they also choose a trait and they receive higher levels and specializations of favored skills/attributes at a decreased price.
*Toughness has fewer skills than the rest because all of its “skills” affect derived statistics rather than being rolled, and as such it would have incredibly greater power than the other attributes were it to be given something such as Healing Rate as a skill.