Archive for the ‘Relics & Ruins’ Category

Relics & Ruins – Skills

May 16, 2013

Skills are percentile based.  Roll d100 equal to or under the appropriate skill rating.  The only modifier is for ‘hardcore’ (i.e. difficult) actions, which are at 1/2 rating (rounded down).

A skill’s base rating is determined by adding together two related ability scores.  For example, the Shooting skill uses Dexterity and Perception.  If a character’s Dexterity is 11 and Perception is 13, then base Shooting is 24.

Every player can also select one ‘pip’ skill (well, pure humans get 2 pip skills, and certain mutations may allow a character to pick additional pip skills as well).  Once a pip skill is chosen, it can’t be changed.  Simply add 30 points to the pip skill’s base rating.  In the example above, if Shooting were chosen as the character’s pip skill, then the rating would be 54.  In addition, each skill grants a special ‘pip’ bonus, available only to characters taking them as pip skills.

My guiding philosophy is simpler is better, so I’m going with a smaller list of broad skills rather than a kitchen-sink list of narrowly defined skills.  I think this’ll lend more flexibility and versatility to the game.  So with that in mind, here’s a tentative list of skills:


Shooting (Dex + Per) = All ranged/missile attacks.  Pip: +1 damage to all ranged/missile attacks

Fighting (Str + Dex) = All melee/hand-to-hand attacks; Fighting can also be a stand-in for dodging (i.e. Reflex type saves).  Pip: +1 damage to all melee/unarmed attacks.

Psychic (Per + Will) = Used to resist psychic mutations; perhaps also a stand-in as a general social skill.  Pip: Character gets a free psychic ability; only mutants can take this as a pip skill.

Tech (Dex + Int) = Using and repairing technological devices.  Pip: Character gains +1 Maximum Item Complexity.

Scavenging (Int + Per) = Finding salvageable technology, and stands-in as a general searching and awareness skill.  Pip: Character starts with 10 additional pieces of salvage.

Survival (Con + Will) = Knowledge of land navigation, tracking, wasteland hazards and finding water, food and shelter in the wastelands.  Pip:  +5 hit points.

Stealth (Dex + Will) = Sneaking, hiding and general thieving skill.  Pip:  ? (not sure yet)


Resilience (Str + Con) = Resistance to physical hazards, such as radiation, disease, toxins, and a general athletics skill (swimming, climbing, etc.).  Pip: Movement bonus maybe?  Not sure on this one yet, either.

Well, you get the idea.  I may add one or two additional skills.  When adding new skills, the skill rating should be based on the scores of two different abilities, rather than multiplying a single ability by 2.  This gives a less swingy distribution.

As there are no character levels in Relics & Ruins, skills improve by use.  Specifically, by failing skill checks, on the theory that we learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes.  Only problem is, in the world of Relics & Ruins, failure may kill you. 🙂  Every time a skill attempt is made during an adventure, or for an action with meaningful consequences for failure, if the skill check fails the skill’s base rating improves by 1 point.  It’s important that GM’s don’t allow players to ‘grind’ up skills during down-time when they don’t face meaningful consequences for failure – no risk, no reward, period.

I think I’ll cover mutations next, but that may take a while to put together.  Cheers.

<< 2) Primary & Derived Attributes

Relics & Ruins – Primary and Derived Abilities

May 8, 2013

Primary Abilities

Simply roll 3d6 for each primary ability, in order.  Naturally, GM’s could house-rule other, more forgiving, methods of generating ability scores, but they won’t be part of the ‘official’ rules.

So, the six primary abilities:

Strength – Modifies melee damage, and how much stuff you can carry.

Constitution – Determines hit points.

Dexterity – Mainly used for skills; optionally, modifies initiative rolls.

Intelligence – Modifies a character’s Maximum Item Complexity; also modifies logic reaction rolls.

Perception – Mainly used for skills; optionally, modifies surprise rolls.

Willpower – Determines hit points; modifies social reaction rolls.

As you can see, Perception is substituted for Wisdom, and Willpower for Charisma, from the standard D&D abilities.  They just seemed a better fit to me for a post-apocalyptic game.

Score        Modifier

1-6                 -1

7-14                0

15+               +1


Derived Abilities

Armor – Characters have base armor 0, unless they have a mutation that gives them some form of natural armor.  Armor is acquired by junk rigging pieces of salvage (more on this later).  Armor reduces the amount of damage taken from physical attacks.

Hit Points (HP) = Constitution score + Willpower score; characters reduced to 0 (or fewer) HP typically die, though should they manage to survive the experience their hit points permanently increase by 1.

Encumbrance – R&R uses what is in effect an ‘inventory slot’ system.  Characters have a number of encumbrance slots equal to their Strength score.  This limit assumes the use of backpacks, satchels, bags, pouches and the like.  Each slot holds one item, though several smaller, similar, items can be grouped into a slot (for example, a bunch of grenades).

The first three encumbrance slots are referred to as ‘Ready Slots’ (denoted with an ‘R’).  These are items you keep close at hand and can be drawn immediately, without having to take time search for them.  You’ll want to keep weapons, emergency medical supplies and other items that you might need to access quickly in your ready slots.

Encumbrance slots are hard limited, and for two reasons:  1) PC resource management and 2) to encourage players to use junk-rigging to combine their salvage into more complex items.  Naturally, players can hire porters or acquire pack-animals, wagons, vehicles to haul more junk around.  But that will cost them salvage, slow them down and make big targets for raiders.

Maximum Item Complexity (MIC) – Max Item Complexity is used in junk rigging to limit the number of pieces of salvage that can be combined into a single item.  All characters have a base MIC of 2, modified by their Intelligence.  Pure Humans gain +1 MIC, and characters that take Tech as a ‘pip’ skill gain an additional +1 MIC.  MIC will max out at around 5.

Next up, Skills.  Cheers.

<< 1) Relics & Ruins – Races               3) Relics & Ruins – Skills >>

Relics & Ruins – A Post-Apocalyptic Game Project

May 6, 2013

A few years ago I wrote a post-apocalyptic RPG called Relics & Ruins.  It was my first attempt at an ‘old school’ type game, based on Microlite74/Microlite20.  On the Microlite20 site it had close to 400 downloads, though I have no evidence that anyone ever actually played the game.  Ah well.

As I am in need of blog fodder, I decided to write v2 of the game as an ongoing project, though it will end up being quite different from the M74 version.  And even though the game will be significantly different, I’m recycling the Relics & Ruins title because 1) I’ve always liked it and 2) I suck at coming up with decent names for stuff.

So here’s what I know about it so far:

  • The game will nominally be based on Swords & Wizardry Whitebox, though the final output will vary significantly
  • It’ll still be post-apocalypse, on the gonzo side
  • It’ll be percentile, skill-oriented; no classes or levels
  • It’ll be a fairly lethal game by design (one reason I didn’t want to incorporate character levels)

Things may change as I come up with new (hopefully better) ideas.


R&R – ‘Races’

So, to kick this off I’ll start with the ‘races’ (for lack of a better term).  Note that some concepts presented herein will be clarified and expanded upon in later posts.  Sorry for that, but it’s the nature of the project.

Pure Human

A pure, un-mutated survivor of the apocalypse, probably living in a sealed bunker or vault (until recently, that is).

  • Pure humans are better educated; they start with 2 ‘pip’ skills
  • Humans have a better grasp of ancient technology; +1 to maximum item complexity (note, this builds on a previous post about junk-rigging for post-apocalypse games)
  • Humans are often idealized, and ancient machines were (usually) designed to interact positively with humans; therefore, they receive +1 to social and logic (machine) reaction rolls


It wouldn’t be the apocalypse without mutants, and it wouldn’t be any fun if you couldn’t play a mutant.  For the purposes of Relics & Ruins, I’m assuming mutant humanoids, though if the GM wants anthropomorphic mutant animals or plants, feel free to pump up the gonzo.

  • Roll four random mutations; they could be good or bad (the tables will be weighted about 75% in favor of beneficial mutations and 25-ish% defects)

Currently I’m leaning towards less gonzo-style mutations (no laser eyebeams), but may create an optional ‘gonzo’ mutation table.


Cyborgs are relics of Ancient wars, or perhaps created by insane A.I. or a mad scientist hiding out in a bunker somewhere.  They’re essentially half-human/half-machine, with many vital organs replaced by mechanical parts (though not the heart or brain).  These cyborgs look hard, with obvious mechanical implants, not sleek and sexy like something out of Shadowrun.

  • Cyborgs require half the food, water and sleep as normal humans, though they do require nominal amounts of power for their machine parts
  • Anything that affects a machine (like EMP) has 1/2 effect on a cyborg (so, for example, cyborgs take 1/2 damage from EMP weapons)
  • Cyborgs can restore hit points either from normal healing or from mechanical repair
  • At the player’s option, some (or all) of their starting salvage may be incorporated into the character’s body as cybernetic components; these items cannot be lost, dropped or stolen and are always considered ‘readied’


Robots are a work in progress.  I’ll likely do a separate post for robots later when/if I get something I like.  However, I will say that R&R robots are clunky, like something out of Fallout or Star Wars droids, rather than near-human androids or replicants.

Next up are primary and secondary abilities.  Cheers!

2) R&R – Primary and Derived Abilities >>

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