Wasted Lands - a Completely Customizable RPG

Here we go, folks! The final blog before the Wasted Lands Kickstarter launches! Stay tuned for more behind the curtain looks as the campaign progresses, but this one completes the big lead-up! 

Previous blogs in this series:

For some time now we've been pushing "Your Game, Your Way" as a slogan for Powered by O.G.R.E.S. games, and many wonder what kind of meaning that carries. After all, everyone claims that their game is the one you've been looking for, and the concept of a universal game system has been around almost as long as RPGs themselves. Even the earliest versions of D&D had sci-fi elements and the first edition DMG discussed melding the system with a range of genres. 

So what do we mean exactly when we talk about O.G.R.E.S. as a customizable system? Does it even have a system or is it just a mess of suggestions? 

Not to fret: O.G.R.E.S. is a system and uses the mechanics we have discussed in prior blogs - the class abilities mechanics, the d20 "roll over" attribute check mechanic, and the Rule of 2. 

So what does it mean to customize the game? 

The answer is in the nuance and the options we present through the various appendices of the game. 

Wasted Lands Gazetteer and Campaign Guide

Attributes

The first step in creating the character is to generate attributes. The game provides several options for accomplishing this - rolling dice, point buy, or standard array. You choose the method that best works for your game, with each roughly balanced against the others (though completely random rolls tend to generate a wider range of divergent power levels than point buy or standard spread). 

You then choose tiers for your attributes. Your character class (see below) provides an Aspect, or tier 1 ability, with which you are measurably better than others so far as checks go. You then choose two Normal, or tier 2 abilities, which put you at average or just above. The remaining three abilities are Disadvantaged, or tier 3. These are your areas of general weakness (though if your attributes are high enough you won't truly be weak in any area. 

Your tiers provide a progression of bonuses that you add to all your die rolls with those attributes as you go up in level: your Aspect will advance faster than your Normals, which will advance faster than your Disadvantaged. 

Character Creation

The default method of character creation is the classic (CLASS-ic?) class-and-level setup. You pick a character class which gives you a selection of abilities, and as you gain experience, you "level up," improving existing abilities and gaining new ones. This is certainly the most straightforward method of play, and it is a time-tested, time-honored method of character creation and advancement. Quite simply: it works. 

Nonhuman Species

As discussed in an earlier blog, nonhuman species ranging from elves and dwarves to werewolves and vampires, angels, demons, and beyond, are represented by what essentially amounts to a single-level character class that you pick up when you create the character. 

Point Buy Characters

There are those, however, who prefer a more freeform style of play, which allows them to customize their character abilities and create a completely unique character distinct from what everyone else can do. Character classes certainly carry the weakness of being somewhat archetypal (though your tiered attributes will certainly make a difference). 

In the optional rules appendix, we provide guidelines for a completely point-buy method of character generation and advancement. You get a pool of points to spend and you buy the abilities and advancement progressions you want, building your character from the ground up. Such an approach requires careful collaboration with the GM, to ensure game balance is maintained, but the option is there, and characters created in this fashion will have the same character sheet and same statistics and those created through class and levels. 

In the point buy system, you can simply spend your character creation points on a nonhuman species, making it part of your character. Because of the range of abilities nonhuman species gain, selecting one may cost the lion's share of your initial points. 

Thereafter, you will spend your experience points to purchase more abilities or improve existing ones. A separate experience system is offered for this purpose. 

Odin vs. the Old One

Customizing Core Mechanics

Finally, you can even completely customize the core mechanics of your game. As discussed before, and above, the core O.G.R.E.S. system consists of three key mechanics. Many folks, of course, would prefer a unified mechanic. We have you covered there as well. And again, regardless of what approach you take, there is no need to alter the statistics on your character sheet in any way whatsoever. 

The first option for core mechanic customization is presented in Wasted Lands: Chapter 5, which is called Powered by O.R.C.S. This system is that which powered our original Spellcraft & Swordplay RPG. It makes use of a 2d6, roll over unified mechanic, wherein you throw 2d6, add applicable bonuses, and attempt to get a 14 or better. 

For those who were fans of S&S, this brings O.R.C.S. back to the table in a full game format, and also presents some important revisions to the system which will be used in any future O.R.C.S. games moving forward. 

Beyond this, and again, in the Optional Rules appendix, we present three other options for unified task resolution in your O.G.R.E.S. games. The first is a straight d20 roll-over system. This converts all class abilities to the "d20 + bonuses > 20 mechanic used in our ability check method. 

Next up, we present rules for converting the entire game to a percentile system, converting the attribute checks to function on the same mechanic as class abilities. 

Finally, we present guidelines to convert the entire game to a dice pool system, allowing you to roll a dice pool and count successes, similar to our own Cd8 system. 

We believe these to be the most common and popular methods of task resolution across the board, and now you can play Wasted Lands or Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars with any resolution method your table prefers. Best of all, you can take your characters that use a dice pool method and still use them in a percentile, d20, standard O.G.R.E.S., or O.R.C.S. game - no changes are necessary! 

So there you have it. When we say that Powered by O.G.R.E.S. means your game, your way. we really mean it! 

Stay tuned for more behind the curtain looks at O.G.R.E.S. as we go on, and be sure to hit up the Kickstarter, back, and share everywhere you can! We need your support as we move forward into a new era for RPGs. 



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