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Monday, October 01, 2007

LAME-O (2nd Edition)

Update: This post is no longer canon for LAME-O, but since it tells some of the history of development I'll leave it up. I have revised the rules and changed the name of the game to Pulp in a Cup.

Note: A couple of friends actually took an interest in this game, so I finally got to playtest

LAME-O, the Ludicrously Attenuated 'Magination Engine Optator!

Based on that experience, I am suggesting the following revisions. One concepts that LAME-O seems to work well with is movie franchises like Peter Jackson's "LOTR", the X-men movies, the Matrix movies, etc, since everyone who has seen them has a common idea of the world and characters already in mind. This fits nicely with the "beer & pretzels pick up" quality of the game. The link in the post title takes you to the original LAME-O game.

LAME-O ("2nd ed.")

  • Rule 1: All players creatively conceive and communicate their characters and their specific actions in the game narrative and the Game Master conceives and communicates the world setting and specific situations in enough detail such that the resolution of player actions is clearly indicated by the logic of the story.

  • Rule 2: If there is no clear outcome even after detailed exposition, this means that the opposing forces in the story are fairly evenly matched. If so, use the following die mechanic. Every time it comes down to a dice role, the roll is either a standard roll or an attack roll.
  • With a standard roll, the player rolls 1d20 and 3d6. The 3d6 represents the difficulty of the task and the d20 represents the degree of success. Then the GM adapts the narrative of the action (with the players' input) to justify the results of the roll. Also the d20 roll is open ended. If the d20 results in "20", roll the d20 again, treating another result of "20" as zero, and add it to 20 as a total result. If the d20 results in "1", roll the d20 again, treating another result of "20" as zero, and subtract it from 1 as a total result. By this means results are possible from -18 to +39. Compare the d20 result with the 3d6 result. The difference (d20 - 3d6) determines the degree of success based on the following scale (Example: deactivating a time bomb);
  1. (+11 or more)----"Divine intervention", "Terrorists give up and turn themselves in."
  2. (+8 - +10)------- Spectacular success (substantial collateral benefits), "Bomb deactivated and source for terrorist technology discovered."
  3. (+5 - +7) --------Great success (marginal collateral benefits), "Bomb deactivated and components salvaged."
  4. (+2 - +4) --------Sufficient success (no collateral benefits), "Bomb deactivated."
  5. (-1 - +1) ---------Partial, insufficient success (may roll again), "Bomb still active but timer pauses."
  6. (-4 - -2) ---------Sufficient failure (no collateral costs), "Bomb still active. Run away."
  7. (-7 - -5) ---------Great failure (marginal collateral costs), "Bomb active and timer speeds up."
  8. (-10 - -8) --------Spectacular failure (substantial collateral costs), "Ka-boom! The player's character is dead."
  9. (-11 or less) ------"Divine retribution", "Player's character dead, family loses NSA pension, and her favorite candidate loses re-election."
  • An attack roll works just like a standard roll except that the attacking character rolls the d20 and the defending character rolls the 3d6. The roll is made by whoever controls the attacker or defender (the GM rolls for non-player characters). If the roll is a success for the attacker, the degree of success determines the amount of damage which is handled narratively. If the role is a great failure or more there may be self-inflicted damage. (Other possible penalties could include losing place in the initiative order (the original initiative order in a combat situation can be established by having each character roll 1d6, rolling off tie results, and having everyone go from highest result to lowest), losing the next attack, or the defender getting a free attack on the attacker.) It is up to the GM whether an attack roll or a standard roll is used. Attack rolls are expected for combat situations but some contests of skill can be resolved by by attack rolls also (like trying to sneak up on a very perceptive guard). Other competitions between characters can be resolved by comparing the degree of success of the results of two standard rolls (like a footrace). Also surprise attacks and attacks of opportunity could be resolved as a standard roll.