Podcast Optimization (Optimize for on-air listening)
- Simple Combats take < 25 minutes
- Mass battles take < 40 minutes
- Minimize on-air game mechanics and focus on story while remaining a satisfying game to players
- <= 15 Minute CharGen
- Minimal bookkeeping. Maybe have powers be ‘once per scene’ versus using Power Points.
- Fast game prep due to tie-in to adventure location cards and background cards
- Quickly create stat blocks by treating everything like a characters (doors, characters, vehicles, starcraft, etc.)
- Avoid different rules subsystems. Have starships rules follow character rules.
- Seamlessly move between narrative (theater-of-the-mind) and tactical (minis-with-grid) combat
- Seamlessly move between character scale and wargame scale combat
- Support all top genres: Pulp, Fantasy, Sci Fi, Cyberpunk, Supers, and Horror
- Seamless wargame variant. Ability to use system for a miniatures game (like Savage Worlds ‘Savage Worlds Showdown’ PDF).
- Use any types of miniatures, or none at all (use a Grid, hex, 15mm Rulers, 28mm Rulers, or Zones)
- Family friendly content and artwork
- Inexpensive core rulebook to increase adoption.
- Generous fan and pro licensing (like Savage Worlds)
- Digital versions (PDF, maybe Roll20).
- Eventual ADA accessibility
- A Rules Reference not a How-To-Play-RPGs (see Mike Mearls twitter posts on how people learn games).
- 80/20 rule — 80% of types of characters and rules are represented by 20% of possible content. Use only this 20% and ignore edge cases.
- Concise rules — 96 to 250 pages, 6×9” or so format
- Basic Character Sheet Could Fit on a Playing Card, and all the rules for your powers could fit on a single page of paper.
Three areas for optimization
- Skill checks
- Optimize to Avoid Time These Sinks When Possible
- Dice selection (picking out your d12 and d8, etc.)
- Math (adding modifiers, calculating raises, etc.)
- Initiative (dealing cards each round, setting up order etc.)
- HP Grind (having 5+ combat rounds to whittle down enemy’s HP)
- Rules Lookups (because of unclear rules or unknown rules)
- Reaction Rolls (this can be good (defender gets to roll) but can take time)
- Defender Stat Lookups (asking for AC, etc., reaction roll can take the place of this while increasing player participation)
- Tactical Moves (dodge, go prone)
- Character Sheet Analysis Paralysis (studying characters options while its your turn)
- Stunt interactions (adjudicating stunts or rules interactions that require discussion and GM ruling)
- Writing Down Aspects (in games like Fate or Cortex Prime)
- Placing Minis on a battlemat
- Drawing a Battlegrid
- GM Skill Selection (GM taking time to determine correct skill to use on a skill check)
- Stat Block Lookups (GM looking up stat blocks)
*Mystique Core Rules Phase I*
— Start with Mongoose Traveller 2e core rules
— Replace Traveller 6 characteristics (strength, dexterity, endurance, intelligence, education, and social standing) with D&D Attributes (
Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma)
— Point buy rules from Mongoose Traveller 1e
— Potentially use Fate or Rarescape skill list (may need to adjust point buy math if the skill list is shorter)
— Venture City Powers (mods)
— Zone rules from Fate
— Maybe Death & Dying (Death saving throws) from D&D?
*Mystique Core Rules Phase II*
— Extensive gear and weapons list from Rarescape
— Flesh out the Gadgeteering rules
— Add in a few additional Magic powers and maybe Cantrips
— Vehicle / Starship rules from Rarescape
— Bestiary and NPCs list
— Use John’s setting fiction and John’s gear and weapons list, statted out for Traveller
Other rules to consider:
— Mob/minion rules (from Fate or Barbarians of Lemuria)
— Chase rules from Call of Cthulhu
— Scale rules from Battlestar Galactica and/or Traveller 2e
I’ve actually got nice mob rules adapted from 13th Age in Dungeonesque, so I’ll add those in (essentially what you did Mason in Traveller — blob of HP, and an enemy goes down every X hit point).
Another thought — I think the Characteristics+Skill math adds an extra layer of unneeded complexity, so I’ll try out using a Fate style Skills-only system, and move to using Standard hit points (though derived similarly to Traveller and Fate where you start with a base and get a bump for high Physique/Con, etc. So maybe Beta Version 1 of Mystique would be Fate skills, Fate Venture City powers, Stress converted to HP, but no aspects, and essentially everything else (task resolution on a 2d6, weapons, etc.) be Traveller. Core mechanic is Skill Mod + DMs >= 8, with Effect and armor damage reduction just like Traveller. Weapons would have both ranged values and a Zone value so you could do grid or zone combat, GMs choice.
Another approach would be my 80s Things system where GM doesn’t roll, but I suspect our group would better appreciate a more traditional, tactical, but uber-fast game based on Traveller.
Mini6, OpenQuest, Legend, d100 Revolution, Venture City