A downloadable musing

There's nothing to download, I'm just pondering stuff about the basic 2d6 RPG system.

This stuff might actually be more about Quantum Engine than it is Cepheus Engine or Traveller.  None of this is endorsed by the creators or publishers of that stuff, and you might need to understand them to get whatever it is I'm doing here.

character creation phases for Quantum Engine

In Quantum Engine, if you miss using "terms" for making your character's backstory and figuring stats, bring it back. 

Start by determining what your upbringing and education were like, and add one to a relevant skill. Then go through a number of phases (Terms. Whatever.) until you the right number of skill modifiers; since QE games typically have five skill "adds," this means one upbringing and four additional phases. For each phase, figure out (broadly) what your character was doing during that time; add 1 to a relevant skill.  

Each phase doesn't have to be defined by a  job - you could have been on the lam or have other major events being addressed. You may not add to the same skill in sequential phases, even if you're doing basically the same thing. Figure out how long each phase was to determine your age, if it matters; if you don't have a specific timeline in mind, roll a die for each phase to determine how many years it lasted.

action skills

It just feels more active to use verbs instead of nouns for the skills, so instead of QE's Combat, Technical, Knowledge, Physical, Social, and Stealth, we've got Fight, Tinker, Understand, Maneuver, Persuade, and Sneak. Change 'em up for the genre: Influence, Move, Banter, Socialize, Craft, Grok...

As a near counterpoint, name the skills for the role who would use them, as long as they're discrete and clearly defined. For a team of covert operatives, you could have the Heavy, Face, Sneak, Hacker, or Handler, or you can use the traditional character classes from that other game.

narrative-based experience

Rather than collecting points to spend on advancement: at the end of a session, each player identifies a single incident that was significant for their character and writes down a single line about it on the back of their character sheet. In future sessions, these lines may be recalled in a relevant situation to grant a bonus die, or maybe a reroll? Each incident may be recalled once per session.

There should probably be a way to spend those lines to permanently increase skills. Hrm.

small modifiers

I used to think having a cap of +3 at character creation doesn't seem like much when you're rolling 2d6, but if you have a standard target number of 8+, it's similar odds of success as rolling under 17 on a d20. On the other end, an unskilled penalty of -2  is similar to rolling under 3 on a d20, which seems a bit harsh. Perhaps -1 is a significant enough penalty, being around 6 on a d20? I mean, having no modifier at all puts it at around 8 on a d20, which brings us around to how Quantum Engine handles it.

quicker damage

This is the bit that probably takes things furthest from its source.

There are too many dice being rolled for damage, and too much subtraction. I mean, it can be fun, but it can also get cumbersome. Roll just one die for most weapons' damage. Add one if it's "heavy," subtract one if it's "light," relative to whatever a standard weapon is for the game. 

Instead of subtracting from a trait, the harm is added together as it accumulates.  The victim is defeated when their harm exceeds a static number - say, 10, modified by a relevant trait or talents or advantages. 

But what about one-shotting or wounding? Any damage roll of 6+ is lethal. The victim might not die immediately, but they will if they don't get treatment, and soon.  Any damage roll of 4+ is a serious wound that will give penalties to whatever actions it makes sense for. Lower rolls might cause issues, but not enough to make specific notes of while in action. Again, that can be adjusted by talents or edges or traits or whatever.

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