Sunday, June 10, 2012

WaRPed D&D

Getting ready for this afternoon's Weird Adventures game using the WaRP system (the OGL rules set derived from Over the Edge, just in case you haven't heard) got me to thinking about how WaRP and D&D could be hybridized, at least partially. Why would anyone want to? Well, because they're there.  More seriously, because I wonder if D&D with a more freeform style character creation system would still work pretty much like D&D?

And I saw somebody do it with Tunnels & Trolls, which gave me the initial idea.

Anyway, characters in WaRP are defined by three traits and a flaw.One of these traits is a central trait (i.e.more central to the character concept), and the other two are side traits. These are freeform and player-defined with GM input. These traits are all related to dice pools, where their rating is the number of dice used.

You could adapt this to D&D by having the central trait be character class (or race/class, if you like). You could do these strictly D&D , so player's just choose from a list, or freeform (within reason) defining new classes would be relatively easy, so long as their abilities could be analogized to old classes. Now, instead of dice pools, for D&D you would just use bonuses.  Maybe the central trait isn't associated with a bonus, or maybe it gives a +1 to abilities related to your class (to hit for fighter, spell slot for magic-users, rolling for some thief-y thing for thieves--whatever).

The side traits could handle special character defining abilities, but could also take the place of ability scores. Ability scoreless D&D has been discussed before since they don't do much in OD&D besides (at best) provide a bonus for a limited number of specific situations. You could define these two side traits as one for "physical" and one for "psychic/social." So a player could be "strong" or "quick" for the former and "learned" or "natural leader" for the latter with an associated bonus (+1, +2, or whatever depending on the edition of D&D your working with). Of course, they could stay completely open too. Any ability coming into play where one didn't have a bonus from a trait would just be the equivalent of an average, bonusless "10."

Flaws would work like the side trait except in reverse: "clumsy"or "frail," for instance.  Or, it could be a freeform trait.

Random generation of characters is part of what a lot of people enjoy about D&D, but you could do that here, too.  Just make a chart of side traits with appropriate bonuses, and flaws with appropriate penalties, and have the players' role.


Shane Mangus said...

I have been mulling over the WaRP SRD myself, and a lot of what you have covered occurred to me as well. Over the Edge was a very cool game, and way ahead of its time. The system is so lite and free form that it can handle D&D easily, as long as everyone is on board with setting some of their preconceived notions aside and allow themselves to go with the flow. Here is an interesting read that could help along these lines:

Thundarr the Barbarian hacked with OtE!

Trey said...

Yeah, Under A Broken Moon is really cool. It could certainly handle D&D pretty easy (though exactly emulating D&D style magic might require some though).

Those preconceived notions is what got me thinking about just grafting WaRP-style character creation on the D&D chassis, though I know ditching ability scores would be slaying a sacred cow for a lot of folks.

Tim Shorts said...

I'll have to check it out. Don't think I've ever run into it before. It sounds interesting. Curious to see how much could be adapted into a current game.

Anathemata said...

You know I dig this idea. I think it might be interesting to come up with ways to 'assign' different kinds of dice to different traits, so that you can use all of your polyhedrals more often. I wrote about a system kinda like that just now, though I haven't had a chance to test it yet. It would be imperative to keep the d20 roll for combat, I think, to still call it D&D. Also, imagine how cool monsters would be! You just write down three or so traits for each one (and HP and whatnot) and you're done! Super flexible, and encourages weirdness to be distinctive.

Trey said...

@Anathemata - That is interesting. Using the different polyhedrals would definitely give it an old school feel. I agree about the monsters. The GM task tends to be what attracts me to rules light systems.

Gibbering Mouther said...

I can see this working better for a detective style or other more role-playing heavy game. Someone like Mike Hammer having stats of "Harboiled", "Easily underestimated", "Detective" as traits and "Hedonist" as a flaw.

I have a little trouble seeing it work for a dungeon crawl, as it appears to demand immediate character building and the emotional investment that goes with it. Inglorious near instant death by poison needle, goblin spear or giant rat that is central to the OD&D experience appears to run counter to this.

Of course I don't run my own game quite that lethal, but some demand it. Maybe to get around the character identification only the central trait and flaw need be picked first with the other advantages emerging with play?

garrisonjames said...

You may be onto something with this WaRP/OD&D mash-up thing. We started kicking around some ideas for a slightly different approach/direction, based on our previous emails. WaRPed stuff is going to be fun to try out.

Trey said...

@gibbering mouther: Well, my suggestion was to traits instead of attributes, so I can't imagine them creating a greater attachment than Dexterity and Constitution scores do.

But in any case, I don't see why giving character's traits would create intolerable attachment. People that that might be a problem for should probably just not name their characters, lest they start down a slippery slope.

@Garrisonjames - Thanks. I look forward to seeing what direction you go in.

Gibbering Mouther said...

Well when you put it that way I'm just being alarmist!

Human sacrifice, dogs and stats living together... mass hysteria!

I will look into this WARP system.

Risus Monkey said...

You know, just a small step from WaRP to Ridus. :)

Anyway, looking forward to hearing our your WaRP/D&D game turned out.

Risus Monkey said...

RISUS! Stupid iPhone ;p