Manifest Destiny is based on a D12 system of my own design. Created to use common sense and reduce the amount of rules necessary to play the game. It looks to simplify a clutter of different systems into one common framework. Elements like melee combat, ranged combat, and magical combat that once had different systems. Are now placed together under one core set of rules. So if you can hit some one with a sword....you can hit them with a spell with the same numbers.
Below you will some brief descriptions of the MD12 system as it currently stands, enjoy.
All character have attributes, in MD these are; Body, Strength, Quickness, Perception, Intelligence, and Willpower. These attributes represent the characters base knowledge and physical prowess. And their values determine the number of dice that the character roles then they make a skill test.
What some may notice is that Charisma, a staple of RPG's, is now no longer on the list. After examining the roll of Charisma it was my opinion that it had become both a throw away attribute and a crutch. Where charisma could be used, so could any other attribute. This meant it was a useless value and so was replaced by the far more useful Perception attribute.
The last key thing about attributes is that unlike most systems, there is no zero. The character will always have at least 1D12 on hand. Instead of a zero, character receive an attribute penalty based on the type of attribute damage they have taken. This represents their deterioration and allows the character to receive help. And example of this would be a character with chronic depression. Their willpower would have a value of 1D12 - 3, showing the character is just giving up.
Like attributes, all characters have four dice pools at their disposal; Physical, Mental, Control, and Mana. The first three pools represent reserve energy that the character can use to get them selves out of tough situations. Each of these pools refreshes a portion of dice each round, so instead of having the whole thing return...you get about one quarter of the pool back.
The Mana Pool is a little more complex. This pool provides the dice needed to cast spells. So instead of using intelligence dice, the player can grab as many mana dice as they please from the pool for the casting of the spell. This allows a player to add as many or as few dice as they deem necessary. Making magic more adaptive and fluid.
The mana pool is also used to power magical items and physical enhancements. Characters who get Golemware (Cyberware) use mana as the source of power. This removes those dice from the mana pool for as long as the character uses the device. The same applies to magical items, the items are powered off of the character and so use her as a battery. This makes the Mana pool the most used pools in the game.
Skills are the bread and butter of Manifest Destiny. A skill will apply bonuses to the character roll based on its current rank. So a character with a very high skill will have a better chance of succeeding at a test then one with a lower skill.
Skills are also broken into three tiers; General, Specialization, and Familiarity. General skills are that core knowledge that you learn. Healing, Swords, Armor Use, these are general skills. Specializations are more advanced and build upon general skills. Surgery, Short Swords, Light armor, these are specializations.
Familiarities are special skill locked to an item. They are that implicit knowledge tat you game from the use of an item over months and years. And if that item were to be lost, so to is the skill that grew with it. This is expressed as "My Short Sword" or "My Light Armor". This skill is the literal representation of knowing every nick, scratch, and catch on a given item. So holding onto an item can be a very good thing even when something better is available.
MD treats spells on the same grounds as skills. In fact to the system, spells are skills. This has two effects. First all characters can cast spells. There is nothing baring them from learning the skill and being able to channel their mana into a spell. Second, Spells get better the more a character invests experience into it.
Spells and magic are a representation of pure imagination. The ability to make something happen that would be impossible. Why then should magic be limited? In this system, not only will a character get bonuses to casting a spell with each skill rank. They will be able to manipulate the spell to do other things.
An example is that your casting a fireball. This spell has an AoE effect based on the amount of mana you pump in to it. But your allies are in the area of the blast. With enough skill, you can alter the fireball on the fly to be a Friend or Foe spell. Allowing you to wipe out the enemy, but leave your allies unhurt. Magic...it has some power now!
In many games, magical items have been shackled to the same type of thinking as spells. They were immutable, static, never changing. But in MD this would fail with how skills and item familiarities work. In this game, the item and magic are separate pieces: the Conduit and the Focus.
Conduits are items that allow the character to channel her mana into a focus. The conduit does not have any powers of its own, instead it is just a path for the energy. All conduit items have at least one focus slot for the next component.
The focus is what shapes and alters the mana the conduit can channel. Elemental damage, force fields, attribute enhancements, and more. These are all examples of what a focus can do.
Together items gain powers that can alter how a fight can play out, and if the character knows something and plans ahead. They will be able to slot a new focus and change the effects that item has with out loosing her familiarity bonus.
But there is a cost for this variety. The character needs to pay mana into the item to power the effect and retain the conduits bond. Each power has a different cost in mana to use. So the character must have enough dice in her mana pool to activate the power. And while it is active, those dice are gone. So in the end, your getting what you pay for.
There is far more that I could ramble on about. But I need something to talk about in the main blog of this site and it is posted everything here...well I would be giving my book away. Needless to say thought, there is allot more under the hood of Manifest Destiny then what I have chosen to write about right here. This of this as a MD primer. Thanks for reading this far and may you have an excellent day!