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Introduction

The Revolution D100 SRD is the basis for the next generation of Alephtar Games RPGs and supplements. This system takes inspiration from classic games like the D20 System or the RuneQuest/Legend SRD and adds many elements of its own.

Icon explanation

The following icons mark plug-in rules intended to be used with specific sub-systems, or hooks in the generic rules where you will insert the advanced sub-systems:

Optional and alternate rules
Going back to classic D100 rulesets
How to update your character sheet
Using tokens and visual props

Who describes the result of actions? (narrative authority)

Creating your own setting
Advanced Combat (Chapter 4a)
Localised Damage (Chapter 4a)
Melee or low-tech combat
Ranged or hi-tech combat
Creating your own equipment (Chapter 5a)
Supernatural Powers (Chapter 6)

What is this game?

A roleplaying game requires that two or more players gather to create a fictional story set in a fictional world. During the game, one of the players will take the role of the Narrator – or Game Master - and handle the game world and all the characters in it except the protagonists. The others will instead handle one of the protagonists, and we will refer to them simply as players. The conventional name for the protagonists of the storyis Player Characters and each player will interpret one of them as an actor plays the role of one of the characters in a movie or play.

The title of Narrator given to the game director does not prevent the other players from narrating those parts of the fiction that are under their direct control with as much detail as they like. Similarly, the fact that we do not call the Narrator a Player does not mean that he or she is not playing the game, either, or not going to have fun.

The Narrator in a roleplaying game is often also a judge and referee. In Revolution, the Narrator has the final saying in all disputes over rules – although we strongly recommend that he or she use this authority with care. There will be moments when the Narrator has to alter the rules in some way to prevent outcomes that the whole group could find unsatisfactory. However, unlike other roleplaying games, there are sections of the rules that the Narrator cannot override. We have clearly labelled them in boldface. The whole group must be in agreement with the Narrator before he or she can alter them.

Roles and Responsibilities

These are the responsibilities of the Narrator and the other players. Please note that the following duty lists are part of the rules.

The Narrator's duties are

・  Before the game starts, defining the environmental and cultural details of the game world.

・  Defining a backstory that is as detailed as he or she wishes. This can range from nothing more than an initial situation from which the group will extract an emergent story, to a pre-defined plot with one or more expected ending. However, defining a plot beforehand may lead to complications with very proactive players. See the last point.

・  During the game, narrating all the details of his or her own creation that are useful or interesting to the players as soon as they are able to learn them. This does not imply, however, that the Narrator should overwhelm the players with endless descriptions.

・  Checking that all the procedures described in the rules are followed accurately, and that all players get equal opportunities to make their characters act during play.

・  Rolling the dice openly, never in secret.

・  Deciding which optional parts of the rules to apply, and communicating this to the players beforehand.

・  Using his or her judgement wisely when a point of the rules says that the Narrator must make up a detail according to the situation.

・  Overriding those parts of the rules that yield a result that is either not realistic or not pleasant in the situation the group is facing. The Narrator should not use this option light-heartedly, and there are specific parts of the rules, usually marked in boldface, that the Narrator cannot override.

・  Being prepared, when the players decide they want a different direction for the story than he or she imagined, to persuade them in a sensible way to change their minds, or alternatively to accept the players' decisions and alter the plot. The latter option is usually the best choice a Narrator could make.

A player's duties are:

・  Using the rules to create a character that is fun to play and fun to interact with. Do not play a character that delights in damaging or annoying other players' heroes unless you are sure that this is ok for them.

・  Playing fairly and correctly, respecting the rules and avoiding to force the Narrator to enforce them coercively. Cheating on die rolls is a no-no.

・  Interpreting one's own character in a way that allows all players to enjoy themselves. If there is a plausible reason why a character should restrain from an action that would damage or disturb other players or their characters, then its player should exploit this reason and have the character act in a way that is enjoyable for everyone.

・  Narrating the parts of the fiction that are under his or her direct control with as much detail as the group will find interesting. Monologues, and stealing the scene too often, are not fun and each player should avoid them.

・  In a few words, having fun and letting everyone have fun.

 

Sharing narrative control

Unlike the archetypal D100 RPGs, Revolution provides a lot of options with which players can have their say in what goes on during a scene, sometimes even beyond the events that are supposed to be under their characters’ control. While these options are – well – optional, we strongly recommend that you agree beforehand to give players as much agency as your group is comfortable with.

However, there are some elements of the game that are supposed to remain firmly in the Narrator’s hands. The Narrator is the only one who can decide about setting details and background story – if a pre-arranged timeline exists. The game is not equipped to support the sharing of narration responsibilities at this level, and instead contains several mechanisms to ensure that the Narrator maintains control over them. This does not mean that the players cannot influence these elements of the game world through their character actions, just that how they do this is determined by the Narrator. In other words, if the players want to overthrow the Evil Tyrant at a moment when the Narrator is not planning this outcome, they must not take for granted that their plan will succeed. This game supports a style of play where such events can indeed take place, but only as carefully built, epic twists that the Narrator chooses to integrate in the story because the players have come up with a turn of events that sounds more intriguing than the planned timeline. For this reason, the many optional mechanics that give “agency” to the players work only at scene or adventure level, and are replaced with rules that enforce Narrator agency at background level.

Basic rules

The following chapters will detail the rules of the game, and there are many of them, particularly if you want to run combat scenes with all the optional rules. It is a good idea, however, to state the two or three basic principles that inspire the game and make a story proceed towards a satisfactory – or at least heroic – ending.

  • The Narrator starts a session of the game by framing a scene or narrating the beginning of a plot that is about to take place. The players – and the Narrator – then take turns narrating how the player characters react to the plot initiated by the Narrator, and the story advances as the result of the interactions between the Narrator’s initial setup and the player characters’ actions.
  • How much control the players have on the outcome of the story depends on the group tastes. Some players prefer that the Narrator remains in control of the plot, while others wish their characters to be the driving force of the story and demand that the Narrator improvises the plot according to their actions. It is up to you to adopt one of these play styles or find your own compromise among the two.
  • During the flow of the game players take turns to describe events and actions that take place. At any given moment, the group must know the Time Scale at which the events narrated take place. There are four different time scales, and each of them dictates how much time passes in the game world, approximately, whenever all of the players have had the opportunity to describe an event or action. This measure is called a Time Unit. The Time Scale in use dictates what kind of events a player can narrate at his or her turn while keeping the story plausible, from throwing a stone to a round trip to another star system.
  • When a player narrates something that happens automatically once his or her character wishes so, or when everyone else agrees that it happens without problems, the narration just becomes part of the story and the game moves on. If on the contrary someone – usually the Narrator – thinks that the characters might have trouble in doing what their players have just described, then the group must determine together what actually happened. This usually happens through the execution of a Conflict between one or more Player Characters and an Opposition, which might be other fictional characters or an abstract force representing obstacles, or an adverse situation the group is facing.
  • In a Conflict, the players use one or more of their Characteristics as the measure of the resources they can spend or wage to overcome the Opposition. Once these resources are over for one of the opposing sides, the conflict ends in victory for the other side. To exhaust enemy resources, each side rolls a die against one of their Skills: the side that made the best roll forces the other one to lose resources.
  • It is important to stress the difference between the roles that Characteristics and Skills have in a Conflict: Characteristics determine the resources you have available, while Skills determine the chances you have to score a partial result. These are fixed roles, as this rule constitutes the very core of the game.
  • If you use the Motivation and Fate rules, the following general rules also apply:
    • Both players and the Narrator can make things happen without resorting to conflicts and die rolls: the Narrator can use Cutscenes, and players can use Motivation Activations or Plot Twists. These scenes just happen when their initiator states so and the other players cannot prevent them from taking place, although they may have a say in their outcome.
    • Motivations and Cutscenes give Fate Points to the players, who will eventually use them to advance the story in the direction that theylike the best and that is – ideally – related to the Motivation or the scene that produced the Fate Points. Mechanically, this happens by spending the Fate Points in a conflict to boost the effects of Skills or alter the amount of Resources spent. This expenditure marks those elements of the story that are important for a given character, the challenges that he or she cannot afford to fail, and tells the Narrator what is really important for a player character.
    • While Motivations and Cutscenes allow players and the Narrator to make things happen against the will of others, there are ways for the latter to give feedback about their appreciation of the scene that has been “imposed” over the story. All players, and particularly the Narrator, should consider this feedback and check that they are not leading the story in a direction that is unpleasant for others. Remember the core principle of “having fun and letting everyone have fun”.

In a few words, and to stress the elements that will make your story exciting and your game a success, we can summarize all the above with the following short description.

 The Narrator uses obstacles, Conflicts and Cutscenes to put what the Player Characters hold dear at a stake, to make their lives difficult (and the game interesting) and to threaten an Unhappy Ending for the story. The players then leverage their Skills and Motivations to overcome everything the Narrator throws at their characters and ensure a Happy Ending for them. The trouble the player characters have to endure for this might be quite high and their victory will often be partial or come at a price.

 

Materials

Like most Roleplaying Games, you can play Revolution with just pencils, a few photocopies of the character sheet and a set of numbered dice with, respectively, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 20 faces. However, we recommend that you also use the following extra materials:

 ・ Extra dice and a set of percentile dice (couples of ten-sided dice in which one die is clearly marked as the “tens” die)

・ A set of coloured beads or small poker chits, preferably of different colours.

・ Time Scale Marker: a big d4 or a tetrahedral wooden block with the four Time Scales marked on it, or a similar form of marker.

・ A paper or plastic sheet with empty boxes where the Narrator will place the bonus bead pools referring to the Narrator characters in a non-violent conflict.

・ Counters or miniatures to represent both player characters and Narrator characters. Paper or plastic counters are enough, but you will have more fun using hand-painted lead or plastic miniatures.

・ Paper clips to keep track of Resolution Points, Strike Rank and Life Points during conflicts and combat.

・ A set of extra D20s to keep track of Strike Rank for Narrator characters in Advanced Combat.

・ (Optional) A tactical map of the areas where adventures and violent encounters take place. Some groups prefer to use maps; some dislike them: make the best choice according to your taste.

 

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