We’re still on our journey back through time, and our destination is to play as “naturally” and intuitively as possible. I’m tempted to call this style of rpg “natural gaming” – because we’d like to rely as little as possible on stats and numbers on the character sheet. One way of achieving this is to roll stats, but to keep only the really good and really bad ones.
Like this character creation example from one of my minimald6 games, a cyberpunk rpg called Futurepunk:
Roll 1d6 for strength, dexterity, health, courage, intelligence, tech
I roll 3,3,4,6,6,1 – I keep 6,6 and 1. So my character has balls of steel, is super intelligent, but abysmally bad with tech. This is exactly what I write on my character sheet.
Next: Personally, I love character classes because they offer quick orientation for players who have never played in a genre before. Old hands can still play with the concept and add wrinkles to it. A win-win.
I like character classes with a bare minimum of details: class, a list of skills, abilities, equipment and secrets to choose from. I roll for my character class and get a Cop. In my game, the character class Cop looks like this:
Cops (2): Big revolver, kevlar vest, shotgun, close-quarters combat and firearms training, authority, shady business on the side.
The (2) indicates that the player may choose two entries from the list. I pick “Authority” and “Shady Business on the side”. What do they mean? Obviously, they’re some kind of special skill and background, but what exactly do they mean? Well, here’s the thing: In my games, I don’t want to define these things. This is natural gaming, and so I want every group to find out what they mean to them, in their world, according to their preferences and their play style.
In my game, “Authority” is the skill to make a huge impression on people, even more so if they’re gullible. In your game, “Authority” might only work within the ranks of an organization. Your game, your call.
What about a quick dice system, something that can be included on one page in a supplement, for instance? My minimald6 system fits that bill perfectly.
You roll 2d6, +1d6 if your character has some advantage of some kind, -1d6 if your character has some disadvantage of some kind. You always roll at least 1d6, and 3d6, tops. Every 5 and 6 is a success. That’s it. That’s the system. You can add any house rule, for instance, adding hit points. Or rolling 1d20 with a DC of 1 0 (add +5 to your roll for advantage, subtract 5 from your roll for disadvantage) instead of rolling 2d6. Let the rules find you in play. Adjust, bend, twist, shake and stir them till they fit your style. Natural gaming in a nutshell.