Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Action X

Action X is an idea I had for a mini-game based on a team of highly trained individuals (mercenaries, soldiers, spies) a'la Mission: Impossible, G.I. Joe (no, not the movie) or the A-Team being sent on a mission to do, well, something action-y and dangerous. Basically - modernized D-n-D built around TV and movie tropes.

My idea for characters is to use the basic notion of Rookie - Veteran - Old Timer as in Space Princess, but to base all character abilities on a set of skills.

Taking the veteran level as an example, he might have five trained skills, three mastered skills and one specialty skill. The idea here, a'la G.I. Joe's "primary speciality" or assembling an Impossible Mission team is that each character comes in with a specific expertise - the Electronics Expert, the Seduction Expert, the Intelligence Expert, the Demolitions Expert, etc.

The training level at which one takes a skill (ranging from acrobatics to electronics to the use of a specific weapon or martial art) corresponds with the bonus to use that skill/weapon: +3 for trained, +6 for mastered and +9 for specialty. The basic rules would be Target 10 (i.e. compare your ability to opponent's or general difficulty level to find your die modifier, roll 1d20 and try to get a '10' or higher).

Each time a skill is used during a mission, there is a 1 in 6 chance that the character gets a +1 boost to a trained ability, a 1 in 10 chance on a mastered ability and a 1 in 20 chance on their specialty. Maybe after one mission, Mr. X gets a bump to his acrobatics skill and we now classify it as Trained +1. Qualified abilities cannot be bumped beyond +5 and mastered abilities beyond +8. One's primary specialty has no limit to how far it can be bumped. Successful use of a skill/weapon the character is not trained in also carries a 1 in 20 chance of getting a boost (Untrained +1), with a max bonus there of +2.

Besides character creation and advancement, the major notion behind Action X would be random missions. I need to come up with a way the Ref could randomize the mission objective, the location, the key enemies and their abilities (there would have to be templates of stock villains), a complication for at least one of the characters and the place to be "invaded". Not sure where to go with that yet.

Still plenty of work to do on this idea, which I would probably stick in an issue of NOD in 2012.


  1. If you do it, make beginning characters actually good at their primary skill, and not near-useless like level 1 thieves.

  2. That's the idea. All characters would have a specialized skill with a +9 bonus (trust me, that's good). Rookies would have fewer trained and mastered skills but less luck points to spend - old farts would have more trained and mastered skills but no luck points to spend.

  3. Rattrap Games a like this, for the tabletop. Not D&D based, of course. Also, you might check out 7TV from Crooked Dice. Not sure how it works, but sounds similar.

  4. Sounds cool. Any possibility of turning this into a sci-fi game at some point (once Action X is finished that is)?

  5. It will have sections dedicated to gaming in different "eras", including a sci-fi era.


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