An Introduction to the Mason Rules System

Miguel Guzmán Miranda (Aglanor)

Historically RPGs have been designed to be used around a table, with oddly shaped dice rolling around and players noting down the progresses of their characters with a pencil in a piece of paper. In that context, many useful simplifications were made in order to make the rules manageable.

When RPGs were ported to the world of computer games these systems were kept, because of familiarity with them, easyness and above all to avoid creating a new system from the ground. Thus, the simplifications of the pen & paper games were carried to the world of computer calculations where they were not necessarily needed.

In the Mason Rules System we will propose a model that avoids those over-simplifications and deploys a mathematical simulation of the characters' behavior much more realistic. The system will avoid unneeded abstractions where possible, like levels or character classes, and will try to present a model as realistic as possible while allowing parametrisation for those game admins who want to tweak the world (for instance, to make a heroic game where characters become very powerful).

This is be no means the only possible rules system that can be used in worldforge. Other systems should be allowed to plug to the core servers and integrate seamlessly with the rest of the technology.

By providing a realistic model we think we are covering the wider range of tastes. All abstractions, simplifications and unrealistic approaches done in order to increase the playability value of the game are a matter of taste, and thus can be liked by some people but not by others. That's why we'll model the realistic case and let the game admins parametrize it to their liking to widen the range of possible systems: simple, heroic, etc.

The Rules System will be based on Bryce's Harrington Circe, and evolved from there to include all the design goals listed above. It will be modular, so that parts of it can be used separately and game admins can tweak each according to their tastes. The components will be similar to the following scheme:

The Character System will control every information related to the character. Within it, the Attribute System will manage the basic statistics of a character, like the measurements of its raw strength or intelligence. The Skill System determines all the knowledge the character has acquired and manages the learning of new abilities. The State System will control the state of the character and will keep track of such things as lack of sleep, wounds and tiredness. The Inventory System will manage the items that the character carries with him.

The Action System will control the actions that are performed in the world. It will communicate with the Character System which will provide the Action System with the necessary data to effectively measure the capability of a character to perform an action. The Action System will use statistical calculations to add the randomness needed in a roleplaying game while giving realistic results.