Thursday, May 28, 2020

Percentile Systems

For the record, I loathe the Zocchihedron.


I'm not sure if the first time I encountered a Percentile system was FASA's Star Trek or Call of Cthulhu. I do know that when I saw how clear my odds of success were I was kind of gobsmacked (I was equally transformed upon learning Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0.'s mechanics). No probabilities to work out on a d20, 2d6, or 3d6 -- just a flat percentage.

Sadly, for many years, I avoided them because I felt many Percentile systems had a fairly low chance of success even though analysis of other games like D&D shared similar probabilities that were merely camouflaged. Additionally, you shouldn't have to roll your Drive of 40% skill whenever your character gets behind the wheel, but you have to learn that as a player and game master.

I will say that Chaosium's Magic World and Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition's option of assigning a certain number of percentages to skills in a similar fashion to FATE's skill pyramid helped me look past that flaw. I'd always enjoyed assigning points to skills but I often would only assign a 40 or 50% chance of success in my most important skills so I literally ignored the probabilities even as naked as they were.

Over the last few years, I've also been working out my own twist to Percentage systems. Its basically a riff on the D20 system in that the GM assigns a Difficulty (generally 30, 50, or 70%) and the Character's skill (say between +10 & +30%) alters the Difficulty. E.G. Earl wants to climb a wall at night to get past some armed sentries to steal some important data for ESCHELON. Earl's Climb is +15% and the GM sets the difficulty at 40% so Earl has an adjusted Difficulty of 55%.

I'd like to do something with this but so far haven't mustered the gumption to get it done.

If my group needs a One-Shot in the next few months, I'm thinking about running the Storm Trooper game with this system.

I've often been torn over wether I like a game system with some neat dice tricks like 13th Age, Unknown Armies, and Fantas AGE or ones that just get out of the way like D20, Unisystem, or Basic Role Play. My answer changes depending on the hour, but I find myself looking for simpler options as I get older. Additionally, with such a large number of newer and younger players in my stores I feel that teaching a Percentile system is pretty straightforward and can let you get into the action fairly quickly. Especially, if you play around with a

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