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System V


System V is a radical departure from my System-4.  Many players have really enjoyed System-4 for its generality, but working full time I do not have time to spend the hours making characters and updating experience as I'm sure you've all noticed!  The fact is, I came to realize after years of playtesting that the system I was using in my head to GM was far simpler and more straigthforward than the system I had on paper, and I said to myself "You're needlessly complicating things." Also, various comments over the years from astute and adult gamers who couldn't fully comprehend it told me I needed to simplify, so V is precisely that.  V is built on all the rigorous mathematics of 4 but simple, smooth and easy to play and GM.  It's an adult RPG system, adult in the sense of how much time adults have to game.

System V is far from finished, but I've put together a minimal subset to be able to test it out on I2D.  It's premature, but I just can't cope with -4 anymore.

Basic Rules

System-V is based basically on a system of dice.  I like dice, so although I cculd have gone diceless, I kept them in.  In V, each attribute or skill is based on a rating of 1D to 5D.   The dice V uses roll from 0-10, so if you have any old d20s, these will do nicely.  Mark one 10 as 0, the other as 10 and you're all set.

Dice rolls are a simple addition.  If you want to jump a fence, you make a roll for Agility.  The GM says your rating is 2D, so you roll two dice and add them up.  Basic challenges, difficulties and so on are based on the following tables.
1D 0-10
2D 0-20
3D 0-30
4D 0-40
5D 0-50
Difficulty Task
0 routine
5 tricky
10 difficult
15 very hard
20+ impossible
Margin Success
0 barely
5 partial
10 adequate
15 complete
20 impressive
25+ phenomenal

Designing a Character

Characters in V amount to words, not numbers.  Take your character-concept or what you have played so far and put your old 4 sheet aside.  I'm gonna get irate if I see [4] terms spewed back at me, though not as irate as if I saw White Wolf terms.  Print out the following sheet, and print on it your char-description.

The way to do it is to split it up.  There are no right or wrong keywords to put on the sheet, though specific game terms from 4 are frowned upon.  Just keywords as long as we know what they mean will do.  Here are a couple of ways to organize your thoughts:

Examples: Next, organize the keywords into categories.  Talents, Powers, Other Stuff, and Depth. I'm available to advise on how to qualify your character.. If you don't have a solid conception, I might.


Alas, V has numbers!  But not cp costs or skill levels.  At the bottom of your sheet you will see four boxes, Player Rating, Concept Burn Max, Concept and Concept Max.  Everybody starts with Concept 500 and concept Max 500.  The exposition box leave blank, that fills in during play,  To know these numbers each player has to be rated according to the following table:
Rating Player-Type Concept
Burn Max
Our Players
1D Novice, GM' Girlfriend "Can I play?" 25 Mikal,Toho
2D Average gamer 20 Skan, Janlop, Apollo
3D experienced gamer 15 Eg, Selene, Mordiken, Selenin, Janlop, Alex, Rak
4D game designer, familiar with V 10
5D pain in the ass powergamer, rules lawyer 5

You're better off being at a lower rating, cause you get to burn more concept.  These are my guesses.  Some of them may move around during play or as you progress.


Combat in V is simple, too.  You make a combat-skill roll and according to how well you rolled you do a certain amount of damage based on your damage-level.  In H2H combat, your damage is determined by how strong you are.  How much damage you actually take is determined by your body-type rating, too.   These tables explain a bit more:
Roll Damage
0-1 Miss
2-9 Half
10+ Normal
20+ Double
30+ x5
40+ x10
wound effect
Out for a few turns
Minor Wound; limp away
Major Wound
50 Critical
Strength Damage
Weak 10
Normal 20
Strong 30
Body-Type Rating
Puny 1D
Average 2D
Solid 3D

Here's an example.  Let's say Franky who is Strong hits Talbain who is Average.  Franky rolls on 2D and rolls 8.  So Franky does HALF of 30 or 15.  Talbain is Average, so his body-rating is 2D.  15 divided by 2D is 7, so Talbain is only Winded.


When your character uses abilities-- powers or skills-- they must get a number of dice to roll for their action, and they pay concept for those dice.  The price of the ability is determined by its rating AND how established this ability is for the character.  Here are the tables, filled out mainly to capture things that will occur in I2D:
Ability: Rating
Mundane Skills; Contact 1D
Useful Skills; Flight; Snare; Reach; Shrink; Telepathy; Empathy; Weapon; Wealthy; Psychic; Life Support 2D
Basic Attribution: Strength, Agility, etc.; Shape Change; Invisibility; Venom; Storage; Illusion; Dream Walk; Blast; Ghostly; Density; Martial Arts; Teleport; Mind Control 3D
Another Form; Creation; Transformation; Regeneation; Immortality 4D
Shape Shift; Summoning 5D

Establishment Rating
Never used it before; first time 5D
Used it before 4D
In common use by the character 3D
Well-established as part of the character 2D
The character's always using this ability 1D

Example:    Let's take the simple example where Eg is trying to out-fly the angel Bendigo.  She wants to roll 3D for her aerobatics and he also wants to roll as much as he can.  Each D of Fly costs her 3 cp. (3D for "in common use") so its 9cp for 3D.


Depth are things put on your sheet which are occasionally useful, interesting to roleplay, and often make life difficult for your character, like enemies or personality quirks.  When you role-play a drawback, you get xp according to how well-established this drawback is in your role-playing style, and how inconvenient the drawback was to you, which depends a lot on how you role-play it.
Drawback Rating
A mild annoyance 1D
inconvenient 2D
Makes life difficult 3D
Causes hazard 4D
Crippling or actually damaging 5D
Establishment Rating
Well-established and consistent 5D
Commonly known 4D
Known but sporadic 3D
Has been seen before 2D
First time it is seen 1D

I'm runnin out of cpteam.. What do I do now? (Concept and Exposition)

You will be spending cp all the way through the game in order to do cool stuff..  And as it keeps going down you might wonder.. when does it go up?  Throughout the game you will be awarded xp, for role-playing drawbacks and for doing interesting scenes and things.  Keep a running total of the xp you are awarded.  At the start of the next game, these xp become new cp for you to playing with.

There are a number of rules around that:

  1. All xp you scored at the end of last session become cp at the beginning of the next session
  2. If you are about to start with fewer cp than your Concept Max, reduce your concept max by 1 and gain your Concept Max in cp.
  3. If you are about to start with more than twice your concept max, you can convert that many into one permanent concept (increasing your concept max.)
When you run out of concept, your character gets awful boring, so try not to run out.  If, however, it's a real interesting session and you've been hogging the spotlight and want to continue to do so, you may ask your GM to convert your xp now.  He can do that, but it will mean you start the next session with less.

Special Note: In our first session with V I won't be able to award xp during play.  You will receive a lump sum of xp after the session, which to you all will seem identical to -4.  It is, at first.  In future sessions you will be awarded things on the fly.

I2D Changes

While I'm at it, I want to reorganize our monster-mythos.  But I'll publish this page right away so you can get cracking, and finish up this section later.