Basic Roleplay Game Rules
for use with
Murphys World, including Bob, Lord of Evil,
or any setting where fast action resolution and
unlimited possibilities are desired
Playing Murphys World
If you've never played a roleplay game before and you would like a basic introduction for both Character and Gamemaster players, click HERE!
Simple Rules for Lighthearted Adventures
Roleplay games have three main elements: Character Creation, Action Resolution (which includes the use of Known Skills and Abilities, including combat, opposed actions, and supernatural talents), and Character Improvement.
Character Creation Anything Goes!
To participate in a roleplay game each player needs at least one Player Character (PC). GMs should let each player create the PC they want within any parameters they wish to establish based on the intended adventure (e.g., all Characters are escaped prisoners...) but no other limits. Character creation can be simplified by simply permitting each player to create the Character they desire all they need do is describe their Character in detail to the other players. PCs generated for other RPGs can be brought to Murphy's World, so Character Creation might even be unnecessary. Pre-generated Characters can also be used as PCs and GMCs or creatures.
When using this simple method of Character Generation the other players can request any changes desired for game balance with the GM having the final say overall. When reviewing each player's Character before granting final approval, GMs should only discount things that they think will reduce the playability and enjoyment of the adventure for all concerned.
Get a free color Murphys World Character Sheet in PDF format , click HERE!
Action Resolution Fast & Loose
Characters function in a roleplay game through 'Actions'. A player will state that they want their Character to perform some specific Action; the GM will then resolve the outcome (i.e., success or failure, and any resulting events). Action Resolution takes into account three charactersistics: Attributes (mental and physical), Abilities (natural talents) and Skills (learned capabilities). Typically these are expressed as a number that is referenced by both the GM and players during Action Resolution. The simpler the rule mechanics, the greater the opportunity for social interaction.
In a serious roleplay game it is important for the player to have a clear understanding of what their Player Character can do and how they may perceive and influence the world around them. Their Character's life may depend on it. Indeed, the need to dispel the sense that the GM has arbitrary control over the fate of a character is the primary reason for elaborate rules in a 'serious' setting.
While serious dilemmas are certain to confront a Character while on Murphy's World, the overall feel of adventures there are neither serious nor seriously life-threatening. In fact, while a Gamemaster (GM) may permit a Character to suffer wounds and embarrassments due to their failed action attempts and mishaps, we recommend that they only permit a Character to die if he or she really, really deserves it.
Once players realize that their Character is relatively safe from the day-to-day things which would typically sever the career of a Character in a more serious setting, they'll begin to allow their Character to take chances that they would never attempt in another game. "I'll cross that tightrope carrying the wounded Ogre princess!" "I'll jump from my flying mount to the bag of the airborne blimp below!" "I'll see if the monster is civilized and is moaning simply because it has a toothache!"
A GM should endeavor to be as flexible and accommodating as possible in permitting Characters to attempt any action deemed within their possible potential naturally, the outcome of such action attempts will depend upon the capabilities of the Character and the circumstances confronting them.
Naturally, disaster can strike. But the chances the Character has taken should provide you as Gamemaster with fodder for some interesting dilemmas resulting from their failed action attempts. To continue the examples from above, a) have the tightrope bounce the couple into the nest of a giant bird... b) they miss the blimp and land on the back of a dragon flying below... c) while the monster is civilized, and does have a toothache, he'll eat any intruders who can't assist him with his dentistry.... There are lots of possibilities.
Just think of something extreme but still plausible (with a stretch) and then see how the Characters deal with their new situation. If applicable, apply a little wounding, or knock them out for a while just to let them know that they can still get hurt and that death is still possible.
Option 1: Diceless Action Resolution
In keeping with the spirit of a fast-moving, light-hearted, chaotic setting, we invite the Gamemaster (GM) to make the radical move of throwing away the rules that burden many RPGs and wing-it! Diceless Action Resolution is ideal when the players desire smooth-flowing gameplay and possess a willingness to stretch plausible reality for the sake of a good story. It can also be used in circumstances when a Character wants to perform an Action not covered by a Known Skill or Ability (e.g., catching a rope to swing across a chasm).
So, how do you go about throwing out the rules? It's not as difficult as you might imagine, and it's guaranteed to shift the focus of the game from roll-playing to role-playing. All gameplay is resolved through verbal interaction. Players describe their desired actions: the GM informs them of the outcome and fills them in on any complications arising from their success or failure. It requires that the players trust that their GM remains objective and that their PC's desired actions will be met with reasonable and consistent responses; the GM must not be out to kill or manipulate the Characters and be concerned entirely with achieving for everyone the most enjoyable roleplay experience possible. In most circumstances the GM should just let things happen as deemed reasonable and appropriate for the Character's current circumstances and what outcome will advance a plot that is interesting and fun for all.
If a random element is desired play 'pick a number': the GM imagines one or more numbers from 1 to 10 and has the player pick (the more numbers imagined, the greater their chance of success).
A final override for any conflicting situation could be a majority rules 'thumbs-up/thumbs-down' vote by all the players, including the GM.
Option 2: Die-Rolled 'Statless' Action Resolution
If you desire the random quality afforded by dice but still want a quick way to play, use the Action Resolution method below. It is great for gaming without reference to Attribute, Ability, or Skill values or where using rules and a Character wants to attempt something not covered by a Skill or existing rule -- or will take too long to resolve another way. This method is great for GMs who want to run a fast, free-flowing game (e.g., tournament play); it might become the only type of die roll you'll ever ask your players to make. Have the Active player roll 1d10 and apply the following results (the lower the result, 5 or below, the better the success -- the higher the result, 6 or above, the worse the failure):
1 rolled=Exceptional Success (have something great happen to the Character)
2 to 5 rolled=Action Successful
6 to 9 rolled=Action Fails
10 rolled=Disastrous Failure (have something nasty happen to the Character)
Option 3: Attributes & Skills 1d10 Action Resolution
This is a more traditional way to play a roleplay game. The following rules are a simplification of the Weapons & Wonder rules system copyright © 1982 to 2003 by Kevin Davies. The Weapons & Wonder system will be employed for all of the roleplay products released by Peregrine.
The rules provided below are a revised and limited version of the rules contained in the Murphy's World and Bob, Lord of Evil books -- enough to allow you to generate Characters and begin playing a roleplay adventure. You may use these rules for roleplay games in any genre or setting. For more detailed rules, explanations, options, modifiers, and setting descriptions, we invite you to purchase Murphy's World and Bob, Lord of Evil from your local game or hobby store or direct from Peregrine (click HERE for purchasing info).
Four types of characteristics define a Player Character (PC). Personal Characteristics define descriptive qualities not defined by numerical values. Attributes (also called Stats) define, via a numeric value purchased with Character Points (CP), the basic mental and physical aspects of a PC. Other numerically defined characteristics include: Known Skills (based on acquired knowledge and experience), and occasionally special Abilities (possessed due to race, or unusual circumstances).
1. Personal Characteristics (Player Choice)
Personal Characteristics are descriptive qualities that include: Race, Physical Characteristics, Traits (see Attributes, below), Personal Histories, Goals, and Possessions. The player can make up anything they want. It can be as detailed and creative as they like, as long as the PC remains playable, logical, consistent, and acceptable to you. Characters should be reasonably powerful with respect to other PCs and your campaign setting. If anything chosen is contentious the GM has the final say.
2. The Eight Primary Attributes (or Stats)
To create a new Murphy's World Character, roll 1d10 for each of the eight primary Character Attributes: Intelligence (INT), Willpower (WIL), Charisma (CHA), and Mystic (MYS), Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Fitness (FIT), Appearance (APP). Total the values rolled for all eight Attributes. Next, subtract that total rolled for all Attributes from 130 Character Points [CP] for heroic humanoid PCs (subtract 100 CP for average humanoid Characters).
Now modify CP totals with the acquisition of up to 10 (positive + negative) Character Traits. These may include physical and mental qualities, special powers and Abilities, personality quirks, attitudes, opinions, and outlooks. Traits can be humorous (e.g., Phobia: Fear of Fish) or serious (e.g., Disability: Blindness). Silly Traits go a long way in assisting a player in creating and roleplaying a humorous Character. The specific Trait chosen doesn't matter as much as what the player does with it when portraying their PC. Players can either suggest Traits for their own PCs and/or have them suggest a positive and negative Trait for each other PC.
The acquisition of Traits affects the number of Character Points available to define a PC's Attributes. Positive Traits impose a penalty, reducing CP; negative Traits grant a bonus, increasing CP. Each Trait when proposed by the player should be judged first, on a) whether it has a positive or negative impact on the PC, then on b) its Significance (Low +/1 to High +/10) as judged by the GM this will determine the amount of the CP increased or decreased due to the Trait.
Finally, after taking into account any CP gained or lost through the acquisition of negative or positive Character Traits, divide the remaining CP as you like between the eight Attributes. When the allocation process is complete, each Attribute will have a value from a minimum of '1' to the maximum value allowed by the GM. Human Characters typically have Attribute Values ranging from 1 to 20. Other races have different ranges, but usually less than 40 in any category. However, it is possible to have super beings with specific Attribute Values up to 100 or more! (GM discretion).
3. Health Points (HP)
Health Points, a Secondary Attribute, determine the amount of physical or mental punishment a Character can take before passing into unconsciousness or dying. Every conscious Character must have at least 1 Health Point.
The initial number of Health Points that a Character has is calculated as follows:
HP = Fitness Value (FIT) + Willpower Value (WIL) +
Weight Modifier (WM) + Age Modifier (AM) +1d10
The Loss and Replenishment of Health Points
Weight Modifier: 1 HP per every 10 lbs less than or equal to 120 lbs; no HP modifier 121 to 199; +1HP per every 200 lbs greater than or equal to 200 lbs. This assumes that for a 'heroic' Character or GMC, weight is muscle mass, not fat
Age Modifier: 1 per 10 years of age of the Player Character, GMC, or Creature.
A Character falls unconscious when their HP total is reduced to zero (0).
Temporarily lost HP are regained when the PC 'rests' (i.e., non-action or sleep) at a rate of 1 HP/hour of gametime. HP acquired through rest may only replenish those lost and may not exceed the original HP total from which the points were initially reduced.
A Character dies when their HP value is reduced to a negative number equal to their normal positive HP total. (E.g., Roy the Ruthless, with 12 HPs, becomes unconscious when they are reduced to 0, and dies when they reach 12).
A Skill is any method of accomplishing a task which can be taught and learned through practice and experience. A Character begins with a minimum of 10 Known Skills plus 1 additional Skill for every 5 years of Character age at the start of gameplay. Skills may be selected from the listings of any RPG or made-up by the player and should reflect the background and experience of the Character (GM discretion). Each unarmed combat style or weapon type is considered a distinct Skill.
Determining BAV for Initial Known Skills
All Skills are rated numerically as a percentile (1 to 100). Skill expertise is defined as numeric percentage (called a Base Action Value [BAV]) representing the chance of using a Known Skill -- the higher the BAV number the better the Character's chance at successfully employing the Skill. To determine a specific Skill's initial BAV assign one of the Character's eight Attributes to each Known Skill (e.g., Persuasion = Charisma); choose the one that you think best reflects the physical or mental process your PC must employ to attempt the Skill (it does not matter if all players don't choose the same Attribute for a specific Skill, the choice must, however, be reasonable, GM discretion). Record the chosen Attribute on your Character Sheet.
Now, for each Known Skill, locate the numeric value for the assigned Attribute in the left column of the Attribute/BAV Table; the percentage number in the right column is the initial Base Action Value (percentage) for the new Known Skill (e.g., Skill: Longsword: DEX 16 = 42% BAV).
Apply a +1% bonus to the BAV of initial Known Skills for every (1) year of Character age at the start of gameplay (e.g., 24 years = 24% bonus). Record the final BAV for each Known Skill on your Character Sheet.
Acquiring New Known Skills
A PC can acquire a new Skill if they a) see it being used by someone else, b) experience a desperate circumstance where the skill would be a survival necessity (GM discretion), or c) experience a creative inspiration (appropriate circumstances and successful INT Roll required, GM discretion). The player names and defines the Skill (GM discretion), then determines its initial BAV as by assigning an appropriate Attribute (see above). There is no age bonus for new Skills.
Unopposed Action Resolution
When Characters are under stress and the stakes are high (e.g., they're being chased by the house guard of Lord Ire the Livid, having just run off with his best silverware), they may demand a more objective and accountable means of determining action success or failure.
The following steps are applied for all Action attempts; additional information is provided later for Opposed Actions (e.g., combat), see below. Before the game begins all players should agree on whether Action and Attack Modifiers will be used.
1. Action Description & Means
Whenever an active player wants their PC to attempt an Action, they must first describe their PC's intended Action(s), what they are attempting to accomplish, and how they intend to do it, to the GM (and any other players whose PCs can reasonably detect them). This means that not only must they describe their Action attempt within the context of the game environment but also what Known Skill, Ability, or Attribute they intend to use to attempt it. If applicable they can also include what their intentions are if their Action is successful or not.
Attribute Actions: Non-Skill Actions
When a Character desires to attempt an Action not governed by a Known Skill or an Ability, the player may choose an Attribute that reasonably reflects the type of Action they desire to attempt (e.g., for catching, if no Known Skill, default to Dexterity Attribute).
If not already expressed as a percentage (from 1 to 100) convert it using the Attribute/BAV Table (e.g., Charisma Value 14 = 38%).
Die rolls made using Attributes are often referred to by their Attribute name, e.g., Strength Roll, Intelligence Roll, etc., however, they're still just 1d100 Action Rolls (Action Modifiers may be applied before the die roll is made).
2. Routine Actions
In circumstances deemed 'routine usage' the GM may rule that the successful accomplishment of the desired task is automatic.
3. Stressful Circumstances or Inexperience
Under conditions of stress, or if inexperienced in the attempted task, an Action Roll (1d100) is required. Action Rolls apply to the attempted use of and resistance to Attributes, Skills (including Skill vs Skill Actions), and occasionally Abilities (depending upon the function of the special power or supernatural talent, GM discretion), to accomplish tasks.
4. Modified Actions & Combat Attacks
To increase the sense of realism by introducing the effect of environmental and situational influences on a Character's Action attempt, Action Modifiers can be used (during combat Action Modifiers are called Attack Modifiers; they're essentially the same thing).
If the players have decided not to use Action or Attack Modifiers, skip this step.
If Action Modifiers have agreed to be used, before an Action Roll is made, both positive (adding 1% or more to the BAV favorable situations, e.g., attacking from behind) and negative (decreasing the BAV by 1% or more for unfavorable conditions, e.g., uneven ground) modifiers are now considered. Their impact determines the final Action Value (AV). (Once all Action Modifiers are applied to a BAV it is then called the Action Value for that specific Action attempt.) How many positive or negative modifiers are used is at the discretion of the GM.
GM Designated Action (or Attack) Modifiers
To apply Action Modifiers to a Character's intended Action a GM will:
1. Consider the circumstances of the current game situation and describe any significant details that might result in the application of a positive or negative Action Modifier.
2. Consider the Action as described by the Active player and its relative degree of Difficulty or Significance relative to the current game circumstances.
3. Choose a positive or negative number for each applicable Action Modifier after considering the circumstances of the situation and the intended Action (choose as large or small a number as desired).
4. Apply any positive and negative Action Modifiers toward the BAV for the Skill, Ability, or Attribute being used by the active PC as they deem applicable to the situation and the resolved difficulty of the Action.
Other Action/Attack Modifier Considerations:
Reward entertaining descriptions of Action attempts or Attack maneuvers and creative strategies.
Skill use requires knowledge and often a tool or item. If an device intended to be used is similar to one the PC is familiar with but is of an unfamiliar design or construction (e.g., from a foreign culture or technology level), a negative Action Modifier should be applied.
Option: Player Designated Action Modifiers
The GM may permit the player with the Active PC to suggest positive Action (or Attack) Modifiers based on any immediate circumstance that they think provide an advantage for their Character. However, the other players may then offer suggestions for negative Action (or Attack) Modifiers to be imposed upon the Active PC. To be valid, a Modifier must be applicable to the current situation faced by the PC (e.g., it's raining, so the ground is slippery). Only the GM can designate the positive or negative numeric percentage value of an Action Modifier.
5. Making an Unopposed Action Roll
This is the most important phase of Action Resolution:
1. Note the Action Value: the player applies to their BAV for the Skill, Ability, or Attribute being used to attempt the current Action all applicable positive and negative Action Modifiers (if any) to establish a final Action (Attack) Value (a number from 1 to 100).
2. Make an Action Roll: roll 1d100 (two d10 dice rolled simultaneously one represents the 'tens' result and the other represents the 'ones'): if the number rolled is equal to or less than the Action Value, the Action attempt is successful; if the number rolled is greater than the Action Value, the Action Attempt is a failure.
3. GM Interpretation: The GM will interpret the outcome, noting any Critical Successes or Failures, and describe the resulting impact on the PC, for good or ill. The lower the number rolled, the more successful the interpretation should be of their result; the higher the number rolled above the Action Value, the greater the interpretation of their failure.
6. Critical Results
Each time a player makes an Action Roll (or any d100 roll), if their roll is successful, and the number rolled ends in a zero (0), they have rolled a 'Critical Success' and achieve the following effects:
Double Effect: double the normal effect of their efforts (numerical impact or GM interpretation as applicable).
Damage Bonus: if the PC is engaged in combat and their Attack strikes armor or any other object, the object has its DRV reduced by half (until repaired by an armorsmith or other craftsperson as applicable for the object).
Action Bonus: the Character receives a +1d10 bonus toward the Action Value of their next Action attempt.
Triple Effect: Should the player roll one (01), they are granted a Critical Success worth triple the normal effect. Plus, any armor struck has its DRV reduced to zero (repair is impossible). Also, the Character receives a +2d10 bonus toward the Action Value of their next Action attempt.
If a player rolls exactly the number they need to achieve a successful Action, while their intended Action is successful, something should not quite go their way. The PC should be left in a 'disadvantaged' position or compromised situation. Feel free to have some fun here. Perhaps they've successfully climbed up the wall of the Tower of Doom, and just as they reach the top, one of their shoes falls off; or a sorcerer teleports his body, but his clothes and possessions remain behind.
Critical Failure (Blunder)
Each time a player makes an Action Roll (or any d100 roll), if their roll results in a failure of the attempted action, and the number rolled ends in a zero (0), they have rolled a 'Critical Failure' (i.e., bad luck occurs) and something 'bad' happens (GM discretion take advantage of the current circumstances).
Something Physically or Mentally 'Bad': This is a great opportunity to interject a humorous calamity or an unlikely circumstance; it may include the Character tripping, slipping, falling, bashing their head on something, dropping what they're holding, losing their train of thought, stubbing their toe, getting sand in their eye, breaking a weapon, shield, or if fighting bare-handed, a limb, etc. (Consult the Random Mishap Table in Murphy's World for more examples).
Action Penalty: the Character receives a 1d10 penalty toward the Action Value of their next Action attempt.
Combat Penalty: During Combat, if a player rolls a Critical Failure, have them roll for their PC on the Combat Critical Failure Table.
Something Really 'Bad': Should they roll '100' (00), the effects should be especially unfortunate. Also, the Character receives a 2d10 penalty toward the Action Value of their next Action attempt, and if applicable, a very severe Combat Critical Failure penalty.
Opposed Action Resolution:
Skill vs Skill or Combat
If the intended Action of the active Character is opposed by one or more individuals it is called an Opposed Action (e.g., combat, physical or mental challenges any Action taken against the desires of another individual). While we encourage you to permit situations where thinking players can have their PCs talk and schmooze their way out of life-threatening situations, occasionally it comes down to the comparative use of an applicable Known Skill (or if not available, an Attribute Roll). The following rules apply to any Opposed Action.
While Opposed Actions may involve the use of Skills or Attributes to achieve non-violent results (e.g., debating contests or spelling bees), since combat is the most critical Opposed Action, all further description will use combat as its subject; keep in mind that the same rules apply to any Opposed Action. All rules and definitions presented here should be considered in addition and to compliment those described earlier for Unopposed Actions.
1. BAVs for Combat Skills
Combat is the ultimate Opposed Action. On Murphy's World, combat is simply the application of a Known Skill (e.g., Longsword Skill) to eviscerate those who can't seem to appreciate your finer qualities. It should be melodramatic and thrilling with a touch of the slapstick and silly where appropriate but not necessarily 'real' (think Three Musketeers). It is the 'heroic' tradition to suffer great wounds (or embarrassments) and still be able to act.
Each distinct weapon type or unarmed combat style is considered a Skill that can be learned by a Character. Each newly acquired Weapon Skill or Unarmed Combat Skill is just like any other Skill with a Base Action Value based on an applicable Attribute Value possessed by the Character; most hand-held mobile weapons (e.g., Rapier) will use Dexterity for their BAV, however, some crushing and cleaving weapons (e.g., 2-Hand Axe) may use Strength. Ultimately it is the player's choice, but once made, it can't be changed. Prior to engaging in combat, the player should record on their Character Sheet a separate BAV for each Weapon or Unarmed Combat Skill possessed by their PC for quick reference.
2. Action Initiative (AI): Who Goes First?
For any Opposed Action (including combat), or where PCs are acting independently of each other, players must determine their Action Initiative (AI) the order that each may attempt a desired Action. Action Initiative is a Secondary Attribute and is determined by adding a Character's Willpower + Dexterity values; record the Action Initiative value on your Character Sheet. This need only be done once for any Character unless their Willpower or Dexterity Attributes are somehow altered during the course of gameplay, in which case a new calculation is required to reflect the change.
Using AI to Establish Character Turn Order
When a Character wants to initiate an Opposed Action (e.g., combat), all participating Characters will compare their Action Initiative values to establish a gameplay 'turn' order from the largest AI number (acting first) to the smallest (acting last). This order continues for the duration of the combat, or other opposed interaction (e.g., battle of wits).
When a Character's AI number comes up in the turn order the player can choose to take their turn or pass to a lower number jumping in after any Character with a lower AI has finished their turn. Highest AI number always has the option of going first.
The Character taking a turn is called an Active Character. During their turn an Active PC may attempt one (1) Action or to choose to "continue current Action."
Intended Action Description
At the start of their turn, an Active Character will describe in detail what Action (or Attack) they intend their PC to attempt. Use this as an opportunity for some fun. The player is encouraged to come up with a colorful and possibly outrageous description of their Active PC's combat maneuvers. Descriptions should be brief, compliment the PC's current Attack Mode (see below), personality, and circumstances. The area of the opponent's body where the Attack is aimed should compliment any defensive maneuvers described; to enable an opponent to visualize and target an opening in their defenses.
Gametime & (Combat) Rounds
Gametime is a way of allowing the GM to expand and contract time for the purpose of gameplay so that events can be sped up and omitted (e.g., who needs to roleplay going to the toilet), or slowed down (e.g., like slow-motion action in a movie). For Murphy's World, we recommend that you only concern yourself with the precise measurement of gametime during periods of intense action such as combat, when each instant counts.
Opposed Actions (or combat) is structured as a series of consecutive 'rounds' of gameplay. During each round, each Character is permitted one 'turn' (i.e., one Action attempt). A round concludes when the last player has completed their Action for that turn.
For most Actions and situations consider a round a 1 to 3 seconds of time (you may instead designate a round to equal whatever you are familiar with from your regular RPG.) This is a long enough period for a Character to complete one full Action in any typical fast-paced activity. It promotes a cinematic, free-flowing style of action and keeps the action moving.
Where matters of life and death are concerned (or any other series of events requiring more detail), we suggest that you slow the pace down so that each round is equal to 1 second. Keep in mind, however, if you choose to have a round equal to 1 second, it may take several seconds (rounds) to perform even simple actions (e.g., bringing a weapon to bear).
3. Combat Action Modifiers (Optional)
As with Unopposed Actions, if the players have decided to use Action Modifiers for their game they must be applied prior to the Active player making an Attack Roll (see Making an Opposed Action (Attack) Roll, above). Provided below are some optional Opposed Action Modifiers that may be applied at the discretion of the GM.
Option: Morale Action Modifiers
Each PC's capture, maiming, or death reduces the morale of their allies, requiring each to make a Morale Check (WIL Roll): success results in no effect; failure results in a 1d10 Action Modifier for their next 1d10 turns or until the current situation (melee) is over (GM discretion). Critical Failure results in retreat or surrender depending upon the situation (GM discretion).
Option: Action (Attack) Modes: Action Modifiers
Action Modes are a simplified way of taking into account how boldly or cautiously a player describes their Character's intended Opposed Action or Attack. The Action Mode selected by an active player provides an Action Modifier to both opposing Characters.
There are three Action (Attack) Modes: Heroic, Cautious, and Cowardly; they can be applied to any Opposed Actions.
Heroic: the Heroic PC applies +1d6 positive Action Modifier increasing their Action (Attack) Value. The PC is not concerned about their safety (or defense); opposing Characters also gain a +1d6 positive Action Modifier increasing their Action (Attack) Value for their next Action against them.
Cautious: Cautious behavior conveys no special Action (Attack) Modifier to the Active PC (however, a Modifier may still be applied due to an opponent's Action Mode). Opposing Characters apply a 1d6 negative Action Modifier decreasing their Action (Attack) Value for their next Action against them.
Fearful: when attempting any Opposed Action the Active PC applies 1d6 negative Action Modifier decreasing their Action (Attack) Value. Fearful PCs are doing everything they can to protect themselves, thus opposing Characters apply a 2d6 negative Action Modifier decreasing their Action (Attack) Value for their next Action against them.
4. Making an Opposed Action (Attack) Roll
The Active Character makes an Action Roll (also called an Attack Roll for combat); GMCs are rolled by the GM. If the result is greater than their Action Value they fail; if equal to or less than their Action Value, then the opposing Character(s) makes an Action Roll (also called an Action Resistance Roll, or for combat, a Dodge Roll) to neutralize the active Character's Action.
The opposing Character's Action Resistance Roll must be less than their own Action Value (based on an applicable Known Skill, Ability, or Attribute) and less than the number just rolled by the Active player, otherwise the Action occurs as desired by the Active player (e.g., the Active player's Character hits and the defender writhes in pain).
If the Opposed Action involves a Player Character (PC) vs Gamemaster Character (GMC), the player announces their roll, while the GM rolls for the GMC (humanoids, monsters, or creatures) secretly.
If it's Player Character (PC) vs Player Character (PC) both players roll openly in the presence of the GM.
If the Attack Was a Miss: The player with the next highest Action Initiative may now take their turn.
If the Attack Was a Hit: Apply Damage (see below).
Minimum 1 HP Damage: If successfully hit by an opponent, a PC always suffers a minimum of 1 HP Damage, regardless of any Damage Modi&Mac222;ers (it may be in the form of bruising).
5. Resolving the Effects of a Successful Attack
1. Attack Damage Unarmed & Weapons
There are many ways to account for the amount of pain and suffering sustained by the victim of an Attack. If you like sophisticated damage results, use the weapon Damage values from your existing RPG system as the base damage for a successful attack. Alternatively, if you want to try something simpler, see the Attack Damage Table (Murphy's World; e.g., Small: 1d10 ÷2 HP, Medium: 1d10 HP, Large: 1d10 + 1 to 5 HP, Very Large: 2d10 or more HP Damage); also consult the optional Wound Effects Table.
When successfully hit, the amount of Damage actually incurred by the flesh of the victim (i.e., not absorbed by protective armor) determines the seriousness of the blow and the wound effects.
2. Protective Garments: Armor & DRV
Any material that is worn on the body and/or comes between an attacking weapon and the flesh of its target is considered armor (this includes shields and other objects). Thus armor can be anything from a Kevlar vest, to a force-field, to a Grateful Dead t-shirt; the degree of protection varies. By coming between the target and the threat, armor effectively reduces the amount of Damage inflicted upon the target when hit. Anything designated as armor has a Damage Resistance Value (DRV) which represents the amount of Damage it absorbs (i.e., negates) per body area (see Damage Resistance Value Table, Murphy's World).
3. Bruise Damage
For every 5 HP inflicted on a given armored body area, 1 HP is applied to the PC, passing through the armor in the form of Bruise Damage; the rest is negated by the armor. (Example: a Character is struck on a shoulder covered by a chainmail byrnie [DRV: 40] by a weapon which inflicts a total of 17 points of Damage. 3 Damage points are passed through the garment and on to the PC in the form of Bruise Damage (i.e., 1 per every 5 inflicted fractions rounded down.) The remaining 14 are simply disregarded, having been 'absorbed' by the armor. By the way, a full suit of plate armor in a pre-industrial culture should be worth the equivalent of a personal jet airplane in a technological society.
4. Suffering Damage: Wound Effects
The following Wound Effects are possible from a successful attack: a) a description of the Attack and subsequent effects in gory detail, b) an immediate HP loss due to Attack Damage, c) an ongoing HP loss from the Attack, d) a Temporary Wound Effect (affecting an Attribute, a sense, body or mind health, etc.), e) a Permanent Wound Effect (affecting an Attribute, a sense, body or mind health, etc.).
On Murphy's World, try to avoid killing PCs unless the death will benefit the plot in a significant and dramatic way. Let them fall unconscious and embarrass them to no end, but accidental or meaningless death should be avoided it tends to spoil the fun.
The Wound Effects Table (Murphy's World) offers some suggestions for Wound Effects based on the amount of Damage inflicted upon a Character from one Attack; use these or make up your own.
Wound Descriptions by the Victim
Wound Effects (possibly based on the information provided via the Wound Effects Table) can be elaborated upon by both the GM and player of the victim PC using common sense and dramatic description to make them more specific to the area of the attack, type of wound, etc.
To add a greater sense of the ludicrous, encourage victims to describe their own wounds, providing elaborate and exaggerated graphic details beyond the actual extent of the Damage and any functional effects imposed on the PC by the Attack (e.g., blood is gushing from my PC's open chest wound, coating the floor and making it slippery for everyone...).
As an incentive for victims to play up their wound descriptions, reward exceptional melodrama with a bonus Modifier toward their next Action Roll. Ironically, this descriptive wound system may result in more realistic and complex sounding wounds than could be delivered via more detailed rules.
GMC Wound Descriptions by the GM
When Characters are fighting despicable foes, describe the foes' wounds as terrible and deep, causing blood and gore to spew forth in copious quantities blinding Characters, slickening surfaces, and generally providing a hideous spectacle. Victims of such wounds could respond in one of the following ways:
The victim initially shows little awareness of the severity of the terrible wounds received, other than to exclaim their increasing anger to their opponent. Then, after copious amounts of blood loss (and receiving a final and appropriately nasty blow), they display a look of extreme bewilderment, say something like "Right, well... I 'spose now you've done me," then keel over stone dead.
After each wound received the victim screams horribly at the top of their lungs, clutches at the assaulted area (as blood jets profusely through squeezing fingers), and staggers or runs about wildly making them harder to hit and soaking everything in slippery red gore.
Action Points (AP)
Everyone likes to be rewarded for a task well done. An Action Point (AP) is awarded at the discretion of the GM to any PC for outstanding play, creative ideas, problem solving, heroic deeds, significant contributions and achievements, and exceptional roleplaying -- whenever the PC successfully completes an Action which achieves a notable constructive and positive impact on the adventure. When awarding APs, you are encouraged to favor those players providing the best consistent characterizations and the most detailed and interesting descriptions of their actions and, where appropriate, the effects of their Actions or Actions affecting them (e.g., combat wounds).
Action Points are recorded (banked) by the player on their Character Sheet.
Spending Action Points to Avoid Failure
After making a failed Action Roll (or any die roll) a player may spend 1 Action Point to transform any failed Action into an instant success. However, the use of an Action Point will function as if the player rolled exactly their Action Value for that Action, no lower.
The maximum number of Action Points a Character can spend to avoid failure per 24 hours is less than or equal to their Mystic Value (e.g., MYS 9 = 9 AP maximum expenditure per day).
Action Points may also be spent to improve a Character's Attributes and Skills (see below).
If your Character is native to Murphy's World, or if you plan on staying any length of time (i.e., going native) here's how you can develop the characteristics of your PC.
a. Let the GM Take Care of It
You might wish to remove the complications of bookkeeping from the players by taking care of all the details of PC development yourself, behind the scenes. Thus, whenever you determine that a PC deserves to achieve a new or enhanced Known Skill or Attribute value, simply inform the player and let them revise the appropriate number(s) on their Character Sheet. This method of course requires a certain degree of trust between player and GM.
b. Use the Method From Your Favorite RPG
Due to the variety of methods used by RPG systems to determine the development and increased experience of PCs, you are welcome to employ the system of Character improvement expounded in your current game rules.
c. The Murphy Way to Character Improvement
Improving Known Skills with Action Points
To improve the current Base Action Value (BAV) of a specific Known Skill, a player must spend a number of Action Points equal to the current BAV of the Known Skill. Then, the player rolls 1d10 and adds the result to the Known Skill's current BAV. Example: Larry the Licentious has a Brewing skill of 40%. He pays 40 AP, then rolls a 5 on a 1d10. His BAV for Brewing is now 45%.
The player should keep track of their Known Skills and any BAV improvements on their Character Sheet.
Improving Attribute Values with Action Points
The current value of an Attribute can be improved by spending Action Points.
To increase the value of the 'physical' Attributes (STR, DEX, FIT, APP), the player must spend 50 AP per each point increased (note: HP increases with FIT).
To increase the value of the 'mental' Attributes (INT, WIL, CHA, MYS), the player must spend 100 AP per each point increased.
Each Attribute may only be increased up to a maximum of double its original value. The player should record their original Attribute values and any altered values on their Character Sheet.
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