So, while I wait in the hospital for my baby to be born, I thought I could make a quick discussion of what I have meant in the past when I have said “SaSS:R is a d20-ified Unisystem with greater emphasis on Skills than on native ability,” (I paraphrase myself because a phone is not, for me, a good blogging tool.) By this, I don’t mean it is a great deal like All Flesh Must be Eaten–everything is significantly different, to the point that if I did not tell you my inspirations, you probably couldn’t guess. Anyway, I thought I’d quote from the manual’s first description of the primary gameplay mechanics:
Gameplay in SaSS:R centers around one die—the twenty-sided die, also known as the d20. Every obstacle and Conflict starts with an unmodified d20 Basic Roll. The result of this, from 1-20, is then added to a character’s Attributes, their raw physical and mental limits; their Skills, the learned and practiced abilities of a character’s life and experiences; any applicable Traits; and any Equipment that might fit the situation. Complications involving the Context, or situation, are then subtracted out.
This looks like:
The goal is always to get to 18! Higher can be better, with rules (provided in the Gameplay Section) for higher results to yield increasingly better results, but in basic things, so long as it is 18 or higher, you succeed!
In the above example, the character failed—the character was doing something they are pretty good at, but flubbed it anyway. For this character, in this skill area, under these circumstances, only rolling a 6 or worse could result in a failure—being skilled, with the right tools, makes a big difference!
The primary exception is Direct Contests. In these, the character’s Basic Roll is competing against another character, either run by another player or by the Game Referee. These are discussed in more detail later.
In this abstracted form, SaSS:R isn’t a great deal different from any of a number of tabletop roleplaying games, including The Most Popular Fantasy RPG (which shall not be named, because it is a lame game that I am all too familiar with.) Where I think SaSS:R shines is the vaguely Traveller-esque random-ish character generation is coupled with Cortex-inspired point spending, fused on to a tried-and-true Ability/Skill/Roll combat system, with Skills being the main element of the ‘fixed’ components
Anyway, questions or comments, heck, even criticisms are welcome. Want to know more about what character creation is like in SaSS:R? I would be more than happy to explain, so just ask away! Want to know more about Traits, or Context, or anything else? Ask away!