Mechanics

Test System

In RIP, most situations should be handled based on character skill and/or attribute levels. Can character ride this thing? Can he open the locked door? Which one will win a simple wresting match? All these should be based by comparing or checking suitable skills and/or attributes of the characters involved.

However, sometimes a luck can enter the picture. For those situations, the basic system is that there is no pre-defined test and GM must use his own judgment to make all decisions, and may roll one or more die to help in the decision. A simple general rule is a good one:

Thus, if checking if a guard will see a PC, GM may choose to roll two d6, and if they are very low, maybe the guard notices the player character. The dice roll can be made by the player or the gamemaster, but it is the gamemaster who always calls the dice rolls. For situations on which everyone can succeed or fail but attributes and/or skills should have meaningful effect, the GM can use the standard stress test, explained later on.

In general, common judgment is the most important factor. Always reference situation to similar thing or situation in real-life or in book or movie. Not all decisions must be completely realistic and equal, the most important thing is flexible, fast and smooth gaming. This is a game where no common things are tested. If the character is skilled in lock-picking, he should succeed in that unless the situation is a very special one.

Comparison levels: Althought RIP does not have highly defined tests and rolls are free-form or use the standard stress test, it does have skill and attribute levels. These levels are used to give the gamemaster and players some values to compare. Thus, if some character has horse riding 1 (skilled) and the other 2 (expert), you know that the later one is better in horse riding. Similarily, if the character has that horse riding skill you know that he can ride a horse at some degree. And in even hand-to-hand combat, the character with higher melee skill is going to win unless the other character somehow succeeds to surprise the opponent. Of course if the combat is not even (the other character has longer reach, better equipment, is much stronger or faster etc.) then the situation is completely different.

But how well does a skilled horse rider ride? Can he make the horse leap over obstacles and keep on saddle? Can he shoot while the horse is galloping? These things are a bit hard to pre-determine in the game system, as it is also dependant on what the character has learned while taking horse riding lessons. The skills in RIP are so broad that they cannot handle each tiny subsection of the skill - maybe the other rider has concentrated on making the horse jump while the other can do tricks while on the saddle. When questions like this arise, players are encouraged to add specializations and training notes to skills (see characters).

Thus, there is no exact way to determine if the character stays in the saddle. The task of the gamemaster is to tell the player the odds (not real numbers but like 'you are almost sure you can do that' or 'maybe you succeed but then you are lucky') and the player can then tell if the character tries the trick. Then some dice can be rolled, like a d6 roll and a roll 1 is a failure if the trick is quite easy but there is possibility to fail - the gamemaster or the player rolls the die and then the gamemaster interprets the result. Naturally this means that if the same feat is repeated later on, the exact roll might be different. But it is very rare that the situation would be exactly the same, either. The GM can also use the standard stress test in situations like this.

Now you can think that it is unfair that the exact system is not known. But how many of us can tell the exact probablities to succeed in something if you try that in the real life? In similar way, why should the players know the exact probablities in the game.

Bad luck die: Althought dice rolls are not encouraged to all kind of common tasks, like skilled character doing something he is skilled at, most of the time some suspension is needed and especially when the situation is a stressful one, the character can fail, despite all the training. One way to handle this is to roll one single d6 each time something very crucial is tried. If the die ends up as 1, it means that not everything went well and a new die is rolled to see how bad it went. This does not mean that characters should fumble 1/6 of the time, but instead a roll of 1 can mean like some extra time or perhaps call for some kind of Willpower test. A fumble could be something like three or more subsequent 1's rolled.

This bad luck dice can be something not even tied to skill levels of the character! For example, the character is picking a lock in an empty hallway. The gamemaster rolls a d6 and 1 is rolled - now something unexpected happens and the gamemaster rerolls the die to see how bad is that. A 5 is rolled, so the gamemaster decides that the character hears footsteps closing.. now the player must decide does the character keep on trying to pick the lock (with possible Willpower test to keep the concentration despite the closing footsteps) or do some other action.

Standard Stress Test

If the GM sees that a test is needed, and the situation is something that everyone can try, everyone can fail then a standard stress test might be in order. In this test, 2 same dice are rolled, plus any extra dice from the skill and/or attribute levels. The highest rolled die is picked as a result. If number of dice is reduced to zero or below, throw 2 dice and pick the lower one.

Example: a ledge on which characters stand collapses. GM calls for a standard stress test (with d6s) for all characters to see can they grab something or fall, based on agility. The first character with +1 agility rolls 3 dice and picks the highest, while character with -2 agility due to injuries rolls 2 dice and picks the lowest.

When skill is used as possible bonus, having no suitable skill can end in -1 or even -2 dice based on task, based by decision by GM. For example, trying to stay horseback without riding skill when the horse is suddenly startled might call for -2 dice.

Challenges

When two or more creatures challenge against each other, a skill or attribute level difference usually tells the results, unless someone somehow changes the situation. The GM may roll die or two for some odd random events, or use standard stress test to help to determine the outcome.

In any case, the most determining factor is the description given by the players of their characters' actions. This can be a bit unfair to players who cannot picture the situation nor have any experience in such events, and thus in most cases the skill levels of the character should be sufficient.

In melee combat, main factors come from weapons used, skill of the combatants and locations in the combat. Thus, the participant with better position (upper ground, familiar location, better sight etc.), longer reach or just faster has extra advantage. Or if the melee becomes a brawl, the stronger and heavier one is going to rule, even if the other one is a bit better at boxing, for example.

In ranged combat, use the situation. In most cases, it is quite hard to hit someone which is moving, especially if that move is irregular. Similarily, trying to hit something while not aiming or while moving makes things very hard if not impossible. The standard stress test can be often substituted.


Damage

RIP is a cinematic RPG system. That does not mean that you must expand it too much to damage system nor that creatures cannot die... they do, very easily. Here are some guidelines to handle damage, quite realistically.

Penetration and Ballistic Protection

If an attack is concentrated on a very small area, it has penetration to represents its ability to pass through objects like armor before hitting its target.

Likewise, an armor or other object may have ballistic protection, shortly as BP. This value tells how concentrated hits the armor can still stop by expanding the force around larger area.

Attack Strength and Padding

Each attack has some strength behind it. This strength determines how extensive the damage is. If attack is concentrated on very small area, and possible armor is penetrated, damage is usually very dangerous. Otherwise, the damage is spread and causes broken bones, internal bleed and similar things. This kind of damage is usually called concussion damage.

Against concussion damage, armor or creature may have padding. This padding is directly reduced from the general attack strength, unless the armor is penetrated.


Damage Effects

Here is details of typical attacks and their effects, depending if the armor was penetrated or not.

Bullets

Bullet penetration and damage is dependent on two things: If the bullet fails to penetrate armor, some bruises or broken ribs may result, especially from more powerful shots. Use attack strength (see below), reduced by the armor padding.

If the attack penetrates the armor, a shock wave and expanding bullet usually do massive damage, causing severe blood loss. A limb hit becomes easily defunctional, a hit to torso causes dangerous internal bleed fatal in hour or some days, and head hit is usually immediately fatal or at least causes unconsciousness and death within day in hospital. Even if the bullet does not expand (armor piercing), it may penetrate vital organs and cause death in minutes or hours from internal bleed.

Cutting Attacks

Small power cuts cause long painful strokes and some bleed, unless protected with some resistant cloth or armor. More powerful strikes cause concussion damage, if cannot penetrate armor. If able, deep cuts cause similar damage to bullets (in long terms), and may more easily cause complete loss of limb or even head.

Concussion

Blast waves, attacks that do not penetrate armor and punches cause concussion damage. At least it causes simply disorientation, stun or numbness, but more powerful hits may cause broken bones and internal bleed, which may prove fatal.

No armor penetration is ever tested with simple concussion attacks. Just reduce possible padding from attack strength, and determine effects of the final damage. 2 or more points may snap little bones or cause internal bleed, while 5 or more points usually do very extensive damage.

Stabbing, Sharpnels

Stabbing and sharpnel attacks are like bullets, but they do not expand upon contact, and are thus not so dangerous. Use similar rules than with AP ammunition.

Burning

Heat and fire cause painful burns in exposed areas. Flesh protected by cloth is usually quite protected, unless the cloth ignites. Immense heat causes boiling and similar things even behind armor.

Armor

Armor has three uses:
  1. It simply covers locations from burning damage and small scratches. This applies to almost all clothing.
  2. It might have ballistic protection which is meant to stop fast-moving objects (like bullets) by expanding the impact into larger area. See above for rules.
  3. It may also have padding, which represents the general padding and impact reducing factor.
Armor values are given as bp/padding. For example, a 2/0 armor has 2 points of ballistic protection (stops all pistol caliber guns, even armor piercing) but no padding.

Bleed

In addition to structure and tissue damage, wounds cause bleed, which results in black-outs, unconsciousness and eventually, death. These values are only approximations. Characters in good health (endurance) may have a little higher values, and at least survive longer or avoid blackout a bit better. The blood volume is restored in one day, if nutrition is available, but lost erythrocytes (red blood corpuscles) require about 2 months. Thus, blood transfers, drugs or similar methods are recommended for those who have lost much blood and live dangerous life.

Non-human races might have completely different rules.

Healing

Natural healing is quite slow for more extensive damage, and even impossible for most severe damage. Even small wounds can prove fatal unless well treated.

A week or two is required for small cuts to fully close and little breaks to heal. A month or two is required for more severe breaks. Good rest and nutrition is essential for healing.

Lost limbs or organs do not regenerate.

These rules are for humans, non-human races might have complete different healing metabolism. Similarily any healing magic, advanced drugs and medical systems can modify these rules.


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