Digging things up from ages ago, here is an overview of Reign (specifically the Enchiridion) by Greg Stolze. Now that Ive actually run a ton of differnt systems over the past four years I would like to revisit this at somepoint with 'lessons learned' since that time.
The Enchiridion is the 'setting neutral' version of the fantasy rules found in the RPG Reign by Greg Stolze.
The Enchiridion provides the usual tools needed to run a typical sword & sorcery or high fantasy campaign, but it is VERY well suited for play as the 'movers and shakers' of the world... Why just be the humble Paladin when you can run an entire Knightly Order?
Mechanically, the system uses a die-pool of d10s, at its most simple, you roll the appropriate number of dice, and look for sets: width indicates speed, height indicates quality.
What this means in play is that EVERYONE rolls once for an action, and that roll determines degree of success/failure as well as who goes first which is probably why they call it the 'One Roll Engine'
Character generation has both a point buy option and a 'One Roll' option (The latter of which I personally think is the better choice as you end up with plot hooks right off the bat.)
To demonstrate the system, I will roll a character and take him through a few rounds of combat... As a note I didn't actually fudge any of these rolls, so had to improvise a bit.
(Also note that the descriptions of results are paraphrased, so please don't blame the game's author for my painful grammar.)
His name will be Jaern Jensen I roll 11d10
The Matched Sets
2x1 Lowly Beggar:
3x5 Weathered Tar (Seaman)
+2 Student of Sailing
Now to match the 'Loose Dice', alternating between 'Unusual Experience Charts'
2 & 8 will be from Chart A
6 & 10 will be from Chart B
7 will be from Chart C
2: Robbed! Someone has stolen pretty much every cent you have in the world. +1 SENSE as it has made you wary, if you have any wealth levels you lose them all and replace them with advantages of your choice.
8: Kidnapped by Barbarians: +1 Ride, +1 Endurance, +1 Plead, +2 Language of you Kidnappers
6: vengeance Quest: They murdered someone, and you have spent years honing yourself into an engine of Vengeance: +2 Sword, First two techniques of a MArtial
Path. Path must related to sword dodge or parry.
10: Diplomatic Incident: You managed to create a tremendous antagonism between two powers. Patron (5 Points) Problem: Enemy
7: Unlikely Education: At some point you gained a great deal of knowledge about something outside your normal background. +5 in a Student skill you don't
already possess (Student: Scribe in this case)
So without using any specific world background, he is how I would assemble Jaern's backstory based on the above items:
Jaern was a young court scribe with a family who made two terrible mistakes: the first mistake was that of diligence, as he unwittingly uncovered the collusion of a noble family with an enemy of the kingdom. His second mistake was reporting it.
He was celebrated by the king as a hero, and the (known) traitors in the noble house were hanged. However in the ensuing chaos of the war that followed, the surviving members of the noble house took it upon themselves to destroy Jaern, succeeding in killing his family and destroying him professionally.
Jaern found himself destitute, scraping out a living on the streets. One drunken night he wandered a bit too close to the docks and found himself pressed into service on board a piratefrigate. Years of sailing and plundering have given Jaern the skills to one day return home and exact vengeance on the nobles that destroyed his former life.
Mission: Avenge my family's murder.
Duty: Always keep my word.
Craving: Drink whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Body: 2 (Run +1, Fight +1, Athletics +1, Endurance +2, Vigor +2)
Sense: 4 (Sight +1)
Charm: 2 (Plead +3)
Coordination: 3 (Dodge +1, Climb +1, Ridge +1, Sword +2)
Knowledge: 2 (Student of Sailing +2, Native Language MD, Pirate Language +2, Student of Scribe +5)
Martial Path: Path of the Razor Heart
1: Pure Commencement: You can draw and attack in the same round with no penalty.
2: Single Intent: If you make an attack and hit, you do one point of additional shock damage to the torso that ignores armor. Can be used with Pure Commencement.
Jaern has wealth 0 which is typically bad... Given he is a pirate and he has a sword based marital path, we let him have a cutlass to start with
Cutlass: Width+1 Killing
Hit Locations: 10:Head 4, 7-9:Torso 10, 5-6:Rt Arm 5, 3-4: Lt Arm 5, 2:Rt Leg 5, 1: Lt Leg 5
Jaern decides that while his time with the pirates has been valuable, it is time for him to move on to activities that will result in the death of his enemies... Unfortunately Captain Braeburn is waiting for him on the dock as he tries to sneak off the ship:
Captain Braeburn (Combat Relevant Skills)
Body:2 (FIght 2, Parry 2)
Command: 3 (Intimidate 2, Inspire 1)
Hit Locations: 10:Head 4, 7-9:Torso 10, 5-6:Rt Arm 5, 3-4: Lt Arm 5, 2:Rt Leg 5, 1: Lt Leg 5
Jaern also has a leather vest to provide AR 1 to his torso.
Were he facing a band of the usual riff-raff pirates that he is accustomed to brow-beating on a regular basis, Braeburn might hope to use his formidable intimidation skill, but Jaern is not an 'Unworthy Combatant'.
Braeburn smiles and tells Jaern that his skipping ship is quite convenient as he had recently taken on a contract from the very same nobles who had killed Jaern's family to finish the job by killing Jaern himself.
Combat in this system is basically broken into a declaration and an execution phase, since Jaern has a higher sense score, Braeburn declares his action which is to attack Jaern. Jaern declares that he is going to disarm Braeburn, utilizing Single Intent.
During the execution phase, EVERYONE rolls and looks for sets, the width determines speed + damage, the height location & quality.
Braeburn rolls his fight + body dice at a -1d penalty as he needs to draw his cutlass and gets:
Matches: [6, 6] Loose dice: 8
Jaern rolls Sword + Coordination + 1D as he is directly fulfilling a passion, in this case working to 'Avenge my family's murder'. He takes NO penalty for drawing and attacking due to his Pure Commencement step on the Razor Heart martial path. To disarm you take a called shot you lose one dice, and set one dice to the location you want, in this case he is aiming for location 5, so his dice pool is effectively 4d + one dice at location 5.
Matches: [8, 8] Loose dice: 3 10
Unfortunately for Jaern he has no dice to match the called shot, but he does have a 2x8 which would be a solid hit to Braeburn's torso. Given both widths were the same, the height of the roll acts as the tie breaker.
Jaern swings for Braeburn's sword arm, but slips too low, catching Captain Braeburn in the torso for (Width + 1 Minus Armor=2k) in the torso. Any hit, regardless of damage getting through also drops a dice from your enemy's set, so Braeburn's 2x6 roll becomes 1x6 and amounts to nothing.
Additionally, since Jaern is using Single Intent, Braeburn suffers an additional point of shock to his torso.
Braeburn snarls and lunges at Jaern
Jaern will perform a feint on Braeburn.
Matches: Loose dice: 1 2 3 9
Jaern rolls: (Normal dice pool + 1d for passion)
Matches: [1, 1][10, 10] Loose dice: 2 7
Braeburn can do nothing, Jaern rolled two sets, but only had one declared action, so can only use one set. (The other set would be useful as if Braeburn had hit him, he would still have a set.)
Typically a feint does two things, it removes a dice from an opponent's set, and it give the fighter a +1d vs that opponent next round. Braeburn had no sets to break, but Jaern still gets the bonus next round.
Braeburn is visibly off his game, he yells for help and chooses to parry Jaern's attacks.
Jaern sneers and attempts a disfiguring strike.
Matches: [1, 1] Loose dice: 4 7
Jaern rolls: (5d + 1d for passion + 1d for his succesful feint - 1d for the called shot, so he will roll 5 dice, and have an additional one set to location 10)
Matches: [8, 8][10, 10] Loose dice: 3
Braeburn does roll a set, but a 2x1 is too slow to block anything, and Jaern effectively has a 3x10 set which goes off before Braeburn can raise his weapon to stop it.
A 3x 'Expert' success on a disfiguring strike does only 1 point of killing damage, but gives Captain Braeburn the 'Gruesome' problem as his face his carved apart.
Braeburn , weeping loudly, attempts to run away, fortunately for him six of his pirate crew have arrived in response to his yelling.
The pirates will spend this round closing on Jaern.
Jaern grins like a maniac and shouts "You see your captain? I will make each of you mongrels just as 'beautiful'!" (Threaten)
Since Jaern is not stopping Braeburn, there is no need for him to roll and he flees.
The pirates are closing and do not need to roll either.
Jaern rolls his Intimidate pool, which is COmmand stat + Intimidation skill... In his case he has a die pool of 2.
Matches: Loose dice: 3 8
The pirates are non-plused by Jaern's threats and move to attack.
The pirates are 'Unworthy Opponents'... basically mooks. These mooks are Threat 2, meaning you need to roll a set with a height of two to take one out, and are armed with cutlasses.
The pirates will attempt to overwhelm Jaern and swarm in for the attack.
Jaern will perform two attacks, which gives him a -1d penalty, and since he let the captain go, I'm not giving him a passion bonus as he is obviously no longer seeking revenge.
Matches: Loose dice: 1 2 4 5 6 8
Matches: [2, 2] Loose dice: 4 10
Although they weren't impressed by Jaern's words, Jaern's cutlass quickly cuts down one of their number.
The five remaining pirates are angered by the loss of their comrade... and they do what mooks do: ATTACK!
Jaern in the meantime realizes that he is more likely to take them down one at a time, so only performs a single strike.
Matches: [6, 6][8, 8] Loose dice: 7
Matches: [9, 9] Loose dice: 2 8 10
Jaern's cutlass cleaves another pirate, (destroying the 2x6 set they had), but as one pirate slips to the ground another manages to land a solid blow
inflicting 3 points of killing damage to Jairn's torso.
As the pirates assess their diminishing tactical advantage, a voice calls out from the darkness: "Jaern Jensen is a friend to the King, if you are his enemy
you shall have the whole might of the Kingdom come crashing down upon you!"
Hearing this, the remaining pirates turn tail and run after their Captain.
Jaern turns to face his would-be rescuer with some trepidation... As history has proven, the only thing that can kill you faster then being the enemy of a king is being the 'friend' of one..."