Day 9: Percentage
The primary reason I enjoy role playing games is the opportunity to participate in a story with a bunch of friends. I’m certain that if I asked the reason why most gamers participate in RPGs the answers would be very similar to this one. However there is a secondary reason I enjoy role playing games, especially those based off of an Intellectual Property. It provides me with a system that I can use to compare two different things within the scope of the game. A really good example has been the discussion held in geek circles about how two characters/items can stack up to each other. Would a Klingon have an advantage over a Moclan in combat? Which starfighter would be better in combat, the X-Wing or the Starfury? How would Mr. Spock and Yoda do in a chess match with each other? While there hasn’t been an official multi-IP role playing game, fans have homebrewed stats for popular characters, ships and races for their favorite RPG systems. There have also been enough official publications for generic systems (such as D20 for both Star Wars and Starfleet Battles’ Prime Directive) that you could start to put together an educated guess.
While the above mentioned D20 system is very useful for ease of game play, I feel like it lacks on the comparison side. I believe that both Klingons and Moclans would end up with a +2 to their Strength attributes and doesn’t help with the debate. This is why I thought the FASA entry into the Star Trek role playing license was perfect. It was based off of a percentage system for both attributes and skills.
For example: I remember trying to create the FASA stats for the character of Will Decker, the Captain demoted to Commander in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In a D20 system, he would have looked pretty similar to other command grade Starfleet officers. But in the percentage system of FASA, he becomes a little more unique. Sure sometimes the difference may only be a few percentage points, but on paper he is different. I brought my Decker stats to a few of my fellow FASA players and we had a debate on the numbers I had brought in. One friend thought I had Decker’s luck too high (since he lost his ship and his captaincy in a sucky situation). I was really hoping to find my notes from that discussion, but it’s been years since I’ve seen them. Knowing my luck, they will turn up in a box that I’ll be cleaning out of the garage. If I find them, I’ll post them here.
Now I’m not saying that the FASA system is superior to other IP based RPGs. But it is one that I’ve enjoyed a lot more because of the way that they used percentages in the game. I’m aware of other gaming systems that use percentages, but I’ve never had a chance to try them out or look them over.
I’m not certain what to think of all the other suggestions for this date. “Medium” is mostly a size (unless you count the magical medium). I could have done a blog about the different “Role” methods used to generated D&D stats. “Emotion” didn’t elicit any emotion from me. Yea I’ll see myself out for that last one.