BAPA LARP system: A LARP system idea
Some time ago, I was involved in helping a designer develop a LARP system called EABAnywhere LARP system – END ALL BE ALL ANYWHERE. I can’t say that this is the End ALL Be ALL but it’s inspired by it. We call it this system the Be Anything, Play Anyway system – BAPA 🙂
In the core system, there are 4 basic attributes – Strength, Dexterity, Willpower, Intelligence. Each range from 1 to 5, where 1 is basic novice level to 5 being legendarily powerful.
Strength acts as the catch-all for physical strength and stamina
Dexterity is the characters deftness in movement, hand-eye coordination and speed of reflexes.
Willpower is the characters spirit, will and measure of ones soul, all wrapped up into one.
Intelligence is the characters smarts, wisdom, and overall education.
Starting characters have 5 points to distribute throughout these attributes. Attributes are raised by Character Points, which are experience as well as points that can be spent in game. The cost in Characters Points to raise an Attribute the next level is the targeted level in Characters Points. If you want to raise your Strength of 2 to 3, it costs 3 points. If that attribute is your class attribute, then it costs one less.
LEVELS OF EXPERIENCE
The level of experience of a character (or simply level) is measured by the total of one’s Attributes.
5 points = Novice
8 Points = Seasoned
11 Points = Veteran
14 Points = Heroic
17 Points = Super Heroic
20 Points = Epic
The characters Hit Points are equal to total of the character’s Attributes. Damage points are taken from that total. Once it equals zero, the character is incapacitated until revived.
There is a class that keys off each attribute. Warrior -> Strength. Rogue -> Dexterity. Scholar -> Intelligence. Acolyte -> Willpower. Each one is better at that particular attribute. That attribute is cheaper to raise for that particular class than the others.
Class abilities are bonuses that one class has over the others. All Warriors gain a +1 when performing a Strength Test. All Rogues gain a +1 when performing a Dexterity Test. And so on.
The character will have skills, talents and abilities that help out in situations. These are single words or short phrases that describe these abilities. Marksman says the character has experience in firearms. Expert Marksman says the same thing. Degree adjectives to not matter. All these Traits do is add an extra point to a test of they apply.
Starting characters have 2 Traits they can make up, with at least one related to the characters class in some way. Each Level of Experience gained, the character gains two more, with at least one related to the characters class. As the character gains in levels, once can add degree adjectives. A Marksman can no gain Expert Marksman or Good Marksmen. And so on.
Core to the system is a test. Any test can be performed using this system. It is accomplished by performing three rock-paper-scissors (R-P-S) successively (or more if the challenged players wins all three and chooses to continue.)
Who is testing and how many successes the challenged player is making is based on the attributes and traits in question. Each player must go through the following steps to determine the their individual Test value
- Pick the applicable Attribute. For example, melee fighting is either Strength vs. Strength of both sides are full offensive, or Strength vs. Dexterity of one side is defensive.
- Add Class abilities, if it applies.
- If any one Trait applies, the character gains a +1 (GM’s discretion or an agreement by the players)
The total above is the individual characters Test Value. The character with the highest value is the challenger and the character with the lowest value is the challenged character. In the case of a tie, it even-up and the winner of the test is determined by best out of three R-P-S test.
If the values are not equal, subtract the higher from the lower. This usually produces a range of 1 to 5. This is the Difficulty of the Test. This represents the number of successes the challenged character must reach to win the test, otherwise the challenger wins. In the case of a 1 or 2, it must be treated as Even-Up and a best out of three still must be made.
If the value is 3 or more, the challenged character may use Character Points to reduce the value, on a 1 to 1 basis. Up to 3 can be used for this purpose. Additionally, the character can Sacrifice a Trait for the session to do the same. This Trait is not lost, it is just temporarily unavailable for the session. Up to 3 Traits can be used for this purpose. Conversely, the challenging character can do all the same for bonuses to the test.
If in the end, the value is less than or equal to 3, then the Test can take place. However, if it is more than 3, the challenged character does not have enough skill or resources to win. If in combat, only a Damage test needs to be made (see below).
As said above, if the difficulty is 1, the challenged player must still make 2 R-P-S successes to succeed at the test. However, if he does gain only one success, the results are not entirely a failure. This may mean that the players is only Fatigued instead of taking damage. Or they tricked the other player but he’s still suspicious. This is a GM call.
If number of successes equal or are greater than the Difficulty, the test is successful. However, if the challenged players makes 3 successes in a row, this is called a Critical Success. That player may choose to keep testing to add to the success. In combat, this adds to the base damage of the weapon. For every success after the first three, the player gains a +1 Effect bonus. Additionally, if the challenger player gains 3 successive successes, he too can choose to keep going to gain more Effect bonuses and apply them appropriately.
There are times when a test involves a group vs group or an individual vs. group. Instead of having everyone test vs everyone in one big group, the GM can declare a group test and if all agree, then perform a much faster and easier means of resolving the test.
Each group involved elects one person as the Representative tester. The rest can add to it.
The Representative from each group (or Representative vs individual) performs the test as normal (Best of 3 verses Difficulty). The side that wins that Test is the Victor. In the case of Combat, a Group Damage must be performed.
If needed, additional Effect bonuses can be obtained by other members of each group one by one, testing against the Representative in one round of R-P-S. For every success against that, the test gains a Bonus. Both sides of a group can do this. Only the Representative can have a Critical Success, however. Once all success are counted up, highest total wins and the difference between the two is the Group Effect.
Group Damage is adding up all the base damage of the attacks or weapons from each side. The Victor side gains any extra Bonuses from a Representative Critical Success and the bonuses from the Group Effect Bonuses. The non-Victor side only applies base weapons damage from the group plus half the Group Effect damage (round down).
The damage is applied evenly through out the group. If the result is less then one, the opposing Representative decides who takes the damage and who doesn’t. If there is some fraction left, again, the Representative decides where the damage lands. They must be distributed 1 point at a time before a before someone takes additional points of damage.
For instance, there are two groups of 5 in a melee bar fight. The Victors have 3 knives (6 points), 1 Critical Success, and 2 Effect Bonuses after all testing is done. The non-Victors have 2 knives (4 points). All on the non-Victor side take 1 point of damage and the Victor representative decides where 4 other points is applied. The non-Victor Representative must decide where their 4 points go.
A damage test is only needed if there is no way the Challenged Player (who is a target of the attack) can reduce or otherwise beat a Challenger’s attack. In this case, one R-P-S is performed (this is a Critical Hit test). If the Challenger wins, continue with successive R-P-S attempts until the Challenger loses. For each successive win after the first, add additional +1 point of damage.
Combat Rounds and Turns
A Turn is one set of actions by a single player in a combat round. A combat round is the collective actions of all involved.
Who goes first?
The individual with the highest Dexterity goes first. In the case of ties, then who ever has the highest Strength. If those are tied, then highest Willpower. And so on. Traits can be applied by they can not be used for something else that round. If there is still a tie, perform a R-P-S until you have an order.
Conversely, if dealing with large groups, a Representative can be elected and initiative is determine that way.
Surprise can occur if one group is unaware of the other in combat. If there is a question, perform a Test to determine if there is surprise.
Combat is a test usually Strength or Dexterity vs Strength or Dexterity. Which Attribute depends on (1) the type of combat and (2) the Stance of the characters.
- Melee – fighting unarmed or armed with the intent to cause damage.
- Ranged – throwing or shooting someone from a long distance.
- Attacker – This is the designated attacker in this round.
- Defender – This is the target for this round
- Aggressive Defender (Melee only) – This is a target who is defensively trying to cause damage to an attacker in Melee only.
Combat Tests Vs. Types and Stance
- Attacker – Strength
- Defender – Dexterity
- Aggressive Defender (Melee only) – Strength
- Attacker – Dexterity
- Defender – Dexterity
Other factors in combat is the Weapon’s Accuracy (Ranged Only. +1,0,-1), Range (Short +1, Medium 0, Long -1) and Traits. Accuracy is determined by the type of weapons and Traits of the devices like Scope or Laser Sight (Traits add +1 cumulative up to +3). The Range is determined by the situation, usually set by the GM.
Weapons do a base damage. For instance, a knife does 1 + Strength points of damage. A .45 pistol does 6 points of damage. However, if the Effect bonuses can increase that damage. Melee weapons do Strength + Base damage. Damage is taken from Hit points. Every 3 hits is a -1 to all actions until the hit points are healed. If a character takes at least one Hit Point of Damage, they also must take a Major Fatigue. If the character is saved from taking damage by Armor, they still take a Minor Fatigue.
Other than Hit Points, there are two other types of damage that one can take – Minor and Major Fatigue. Each apply a -1 penalty, however, Minor applies to one Attribute and Major applies to ALL Attributes. When a person takes any kind of damage to Hit Points, he also takes a Major Fatigue.
Difficulty 1 in Combat
Because Difficulty 1 tasks only completely succeed at the Best 2 or of 3, there is a little adjustment that needs to be made to account for making one success our of three. It’s enough to beat the Difficulty but not enough to be completely successful. This is called a Minimal success. In non-combat situations, it is up the the GM (or group decision by the players) to determine what happened – minimal information obtained, minimal effect of a skill use, or something along those lines. However, in combat, there needs to be something a little more concrete.
If the attacker has a Difficulty 1 and only obtains once success, then he’s obtained a Minimal Hit. He may do one of two things:
- Spend a Character Point to earn an additional success.
- Cause a Minor Fatigue to the target. If the target already has Minor Fatigue, he takes a Major Fatigue.
If the defender has a Difficulty 1 and only obtains once success, then he’s obtained a Minimal Defense. He may do one of two things:
- Spend a Character Point to earn an additional success.
- Reduce one point of damage received to a Minor Fatigue. If the target already has Minor Fatigue, he takes a Major Fatigue.
Armor usually has a value of 1 to 3 (Some high tech armor has higher). Armor absorbs damage after damage has been calculated.
Character Points can be spent to develop a character as experience as well as during game play.
- Raise an attribute to the next level. Cost = next level in Character Points.
In Game Play
- Gain Successes. Cost = Up to 3 Character Points
- Counter Spend an Opponent Spend: 1 to 1 for every Character Point spent by the Opponent
- Reduce Damage: Cost = 1 Character Point per point of damage. Up to 3 can be spent for this purpose.
- Reduce a Major Fatigue to a Minor Fatigue. Reduce a Minor Fatigue to no damage.
BATTLE OF TRAITS
In a situation where the challenged player can not get enough bonuses or penalties to get at least a Difficulty 3, he may choose to engage in a war of words to gain more bonuses. Starting with the challenged player, he may use a Trait in a short sentence – a Trait that has not been applied to this situation yet – to describe how it may help or escalate the situation. For instance, in combat, the player may have Deft as a Trait. As an attacker, Deft may not have applied as it is primarily a Dexerity based Trait and thus defensive. However, if entering a Battle Of Traits, the player may say – I deftly find a weak spot in your fighting techniques. This Trait has been used for this round (Thus he can not use it for the next combat round)