File:Brio Logo.JPG Welcome to Brio, I will attempt to outline here the precepts and tenets which guided me In my attempt to create a system and setting which will result in the only real goal which is just to have fun!
Basic Mechanics Outline
A few points about the system:
- Class Based
- Medieval Technology Level-no real working guns
- Hybrid Level System
- School Based Magic System
- Variable Character Construction (roll built or point built)
- Low Power Progression
I have no doubt that this list could be expanded 10 fold if I spent the next 5 minutes thinking about it but that would defeat the purpose of a basic overview of the system.
There are about a dozen character races available, including the ubiquitous Humans, Dwarves, and Elves which are (along with the Durask, Altor, and the Gen) basic and balanced races which are all relatively equal in capability and thus require no handicap.
However for a point based cost there are also a number of other species which could be considered normally unbalanced.
It was my intent to create a system in which almost any intelligent species could be played with only internal mechanics, a basic point cost determined by the abilities of the individual race seemed most appropriate and has worked quite will for me in keeping overall game balance.
Similar in vein to the standard character classes of most systems, archetypes are a point cost selected group of abilities. They may or may not include reduced cost progression tables and are not mutually exclusive with any other abilities or with each other, as a general rule.
For example, it is quite possible to have a spell casting knight, or a sword wielding wizard. There is however a price to be paid for spreading out ones abilities. There is a great variety in the number of character archetypes available and there is no general restrictions on combining archetypes. There are some archetypes that may be restricted by, for example, race (such as Spiderguards) or Intelligence (such as Force Conjurers) but these are on a per case basis.
Although characters can select from any skill or trait (in general), those skills and/or traits best aligned with their archetypes are going to be the cheapest and thus characters that try to cross too many lines will find a cost for it.
I have tried to create as flexible a system as possible while still maintaining the feel of fairly classical lines and to prevent the excessive min-maxing that results in to many characters following a single path because of its eventual or obviously excessive power differential.
There are two distinct tiers of attributes. The primary tier consists of Mind, Body, and Soul. The secondary tier is divided into three sub attributes for each of these. For Mind there is Intelligence, Perception, and Acumen. For Body there is Strength, Agility, and Stamina. For Soul there is Willpower, Discipline, and Charisma.
When assigning attributes points are purchased or rolled in the primary tier and then distributed as averages in the secondary tier.
Attribute points in general are rated between 1 and 10 for normal humans.
I have tried to create realistic characters to an extent using this system, it has been my general observation in life that people who demonstrate extreme capabilities in one area (a specialty on the level of what one sub-attribute is meant to represent) rarely displays extreme capabilities in related areas (other sub attributes under the same attribute). For example, the strongest people in the world rarely display either extreme agility or stamina and the same is true of those that display extreme agility.
There are a number of characteristics which, while not attributes, and not determined using the same methodology, are very important to determining a character's overall capability. A characteristic may be determined using attribute values, character level, archetype, race, traits, and/or magic (and I am sure I have forgotten some).
A few of the basic characteristics and how they are determined:
Hit Points are determined by a combination of your Stamina, your archetype(s), your race, and traits. Normal starting Hit Points will range anywhere from 20 to 50. Hit Points(HPs) are related to wound levels and used in certain circumstances to determine the severity of an injury inflicted on your character.
Wound Levels are determined by your race, size, and traits. Wound Levels(WLs) are related to Hit Points and are used to determine the general health of your character.
Fatigue Points are determined by your characters race, archetype, traits, and stamina. FPs are representative of your characters energy level. FPs are used for everything from rock climbing to casting spells.
Movement Rate is determined by your race, agility, and traits. It is the measure of your ability to flat out run with minimal encumbrance.
Avoidance is determined by your race, size, and traits. It is a measure of your ability to detect and avoid injury threatening attacks or circumstances.
Fate is determined by your characters race, archetype, and traits. It is the measure of luck that your character possesses.
I created characteristics (as a group) because of the very basic differences between attributes and other types of statistics which define the abilities of a character.
Skills are the same as in pretty much every other RPG, statistics which determine the level of your characters training in any particular area. It should be noted that there are several different categories of skills however. There are in particular Three different skill types that should be taken note of: Knowledge, Magic, and Combat.
General Skill Notes
Skills are each rated by the number of character points that is required to advance a level in them. For example the skill Doctor(5/-2) means that to purchase the first level of the skill doctor requires a character point investment of 5 (the first number in brackets). It also means that to raise a skill it requires an expenditure of the skills current level plus its base cost. For example to raise Doctor(5/-2) from level 1 to level 2 would require an additional expenditure of 6 Character Points (current level(1) + Base Cost(5) for a total of 11 Character Points to achieve level two in doctor.
Each skill is also related to one or more attribute(s) which is added to the skill level to determine the ability level at which the skill is used. Some skills provide a modifier to this initial attribute starting level, for example Doctor(5/-2) means that the initial skill level of a doctor is actually equal to there related attribute -2 (the second number in the brackets).
Different combat skills represent different techniques for combat, they can combine any number of different principles of fighting from stance to a particular methodology of defense or include any number of specific principles. For example, Kung-Fu(4/0) is a skill which will provide a character with distinct advantages and disadvantages when compared to Pugilism(4/0). These skills are different then most because they usually entail gaining certain other abilities called maneuvers at distinct levels of ability.
Knowledge skills are different then active skills in that they are based on pure academics, they are a test of innate knowledge which cannot be learned from experience. For example the ability to read an ancient language is for the purposes of most games impossible without some type of key. Either you know the language or you don't, and if you don't you can spend what is for all practical purposes forever staring at the writings and you probably won't be able to decipher it in any kind of practical time frame.
Magic skills are representative of different methods of creating magical effects. For example one of the most common magical skills is the skill of Casting(4/-1), which is the skill related to creating magical effects using a combination of hand motions, a spoken component, and/or basic material components. Some other common magical skills are Circles(4/-2), Wards(4/-1), Runes(4/-1), Ritual(4/-3), and Artificing(4/-4). There are others but those represent the majority of the magic practiced in/on Brio.
Although I began with skills being very generic the development of the more specific skill types was a surrender to practicality that I made later after much game play.
Traits are an all encompassing group of abilities which cover (for all intents and purposes) any abilities that a character might have that isn't covered in some other way. For example, the trait:
Natural Aptitude[10-40cp] is representative of a character having a level of natural talent in a skill well above and beyond the norm. Whenever a character rolls a success test in a skill which they have a natural aptitude in they roll a third die and replace either of the initial 2 dice they wish.
The Magic system used in this game is very undefined intentionally. It is based on schools of magic which are each representative of a different way in which magic can be created, some represent a different magical language others represent a different source of power, or any of a thousand different potential differences.
Each magic school possesses a few common elements, a group of basic common spells which anyone who is an initiate of the school knows, a/several power source(s) from which the magical energy that is used is drawn (most commonly a characters own FP), and a methodology for customizing spells.
Custom spells are spells which the character has tailored for themselves. They have different (better) statistics then the basic spells which they are based on but are specific to that caster and can't be used by anyone else. One of the principle reasons that these customized spells are better is because a character skilled in the use of a particular school of magic is able to use specific elements that are particular to them personally such as the ability to vocalize sounds that not everyone can make or the ability to create more complex hand gestures. There is also a difference in the flow of energy for each person and casters become intimately familiar with there own (and on rare occasions another’s) energy flow. Each caster is different and a skilled caster learns to take advantage of their own abilities while minimizing their weaknesses.
The reason I left magic (in its way) so nebulous is so that magic maintains its mystery, characters never know what they will encounter and they can only guess at the relative power level of any particular spell in the hands of any particular caster even if they are familiar with the caster's school.
I believe that those are the basic game elements with which someone using the system will have to contend. There are of course setting issues and equipment issues but those are left largely to the Appendices which will most likely find their way in last since they will be a monstrous undertaking. --Yaro 17:11, 29 May 2005 (PDT)