Heya! Instead of constantly spamming ideas on the Facebook page for the group, I thought I might just make a topic here instead. This way everything's in one place and I don't have to dig through my Activity Log to find several posts of fragmented ideas. =p Consider this something like DVD commentary and insight on the game design process meets Inside the Actors' Studio.
I'll be posting various thoughts about rules, species, classes, and lore here in this thread. Everyone's welcome to comment, question, toss ideas at me, tell me what does/doesn't work!
The Core Mechanics
The core mechanic is still the same as you know in most other Microlite20 games. Whenever you want to do anything that entails any kind of risk or has an uncertain outcome, roll 1d20 and add your most relevant ability score modifier and training bonus (if any.) If you meet or exceed the Difficulty Class (DC) of that task, you succeed.
|0||Trivial (why roll dice?)||Walking on solid ground, eating prepared and unspoiled food, opening an unlocked door|
|5||Very Easy||Climbing a knotted rope|
|10||Easy||(example easy things)|
|15||Average||Most tasks an adventurer can be expected to perform. This is the "default" DC if you need one.|
|20||Hard||(example hard things)|
|25||Very Hard||(example very hard things)|
|30||"You want to do what?!"||(example nigh-impossible things)|
By default, Microlite20's skill training bonuses are equal to your level, +3 if your class is trained in a skill, +1 if you are a human. Microlite20 5e, which I believe was created by Chris Sakkas according to the Microlite20 Compendium (and please feel free to correct me) opts for the standard Fifth Edition D&D proficiency bonus, starting at +2 and increasing every four levels after first level.
Instead of using either of these, I wanted to crib a mechanic from the recently-released Pathfinder: Second Edition. That game uses several tiers of training, but I'm going to trim those down a bit. Training in... ...whatever I'm going to call this game... gives you the following bonuses.
|Trained||+2 + your character level|
|Specialized||+4 + your character level|
On the one hand, you'll have a nice hefty bonus to skill rolls. On the other hand, this will probably make most skill rolls trivial at later levels; ability score 20 (with a +5 modifier) plus specialized in a skill at tenth level gives you a total +19 to a d20 roll.
Huh. Now that I have that typed out, that makes me realize that even in that best case scenario, you still have a 50/50 chance of getting a DC 30 skill check.
Your training bonus applies to your skills, saving throws, and attack rolls. I am highly tempted to have this apply to your Defense score wearing various armor types (and giving armor reduced bonuses a la Pathfinder 2e), mostly so your Defense score can actually keep up against monsters with better accuracy.
Strength is all about how hard you hit, how well you can swing a sword, physical conditioning, and whenever you need to rely on sheer horsepower to get things done.
Dexterity is what you need to use ranged weapons and avoid harm.
Intelligence is what you know; it's intuition, insight, education, lateral thought, perception, and alertness. Striking change, inspired by the World of Darkness systems and Pathfinder 2e, Intelligence determines your Initiative in combat. So, if you don't want Fighter McFighterface to constantly go dead last (emphasis on "DEAD") you might want to crack open some books.
(And yes, I know it's Wisdom that affects Initiative in Pathfinder, but m20 doesn't have a Wisdom stat...)
Charisma is getting people to pay attention to you. Whether it's getting them to listen to reason, telling them what they want to hear, telling them what you want them to hear, threatening to have them ripped in half, or just completely bullshitting someone, this is your stat du jour.
Ability scores and their modifiers work just like they do in Fifth Edition, so I won't necessarily repeat them here. Just like in 5e, ability scores are capped at 20 unless you have a magic item or class ability that breaks that rule, and even then, you are absolutely hard-capped at 30 (+10).
Physical is what you need in order to, well, be physical. Climbing, balancing, jumping, bending bars and lifting gates, squeezing through narrow gaps, swimming, and enduring forced marches are hallmarks of this skill. This is most often rolled with Strength or Dexterity.
Knowledge is equally self-explanatory. What you learned in your background, bits of folklore, or simply remembering "hey, white dragons are resistant to cold damage, Marrish found that out last time we tried to kill one of these" apply here. Most of the time, this is rolled with Intelligence.
Communication is the fine art of... err, communication. Deceit, persuasion, intimidation, bargaining, and passing off hidden messages are the usual uses for Communication. Most of the time, this is rolled with Charisma, but tasks like intimidation would be Strength-based, while passing coded messages might be Dexterity- or Intelligence-based, depending on whether it's verbal or nonverbal.
Skulduggery is simple sleight of hand... and not-so-simple breaking and entering, lockpicking, trapbusting, pickpocketing, flimflammery, forgery, and other fun things that will get you either in a holding cell or a hangman's noose. This usually gets rolled with Dexterity; Intelligence might be used when you need to notice traps.
Survival is probably going to keep you alive if you're out in the middle of nowhere and separated from your backpack. This gets you food, water, shelter, and can help you find where you are. Most of the time, this is Intelligence-based.
Sailing is the fine art of using a boat, whether a simple dugout canoe or a four-masted square-rigged galleon. Whether getting a boat where you want it to go, or making sure it's ship-shape, you'll be making a Sailing check. This could be any ability score, but most of the time this is Dexterity or Intelligence.
There is no Perception skill. The above six skills are used to perceive things in various ways. If you say to the GM, "I'm gonna take a look and see what's going on," your GM could give you the general situation and ask if you want more specific information. A Sailing perception check would allow you to appraise a boat's condition, read Oceanan nautical signals, or identify weak spots in boats, while a Physical perception check would tell you about weak spots in a rock wall you're about to climb.
That's all for the core mechanic post! Next time, I'll post about the various races of Oceana and possibly talk character generation!