Skyraiders of the Floating Realms in a Nutshell

Currently funded as part of D101’s ZineQuest2 Two for One Zine Kickstarter along with Grogzilla issue 1. It is a zine sized RPG, which is the first pass of about 40-50 A5 pages tidied up, so it is playable. It’s a Zero Edition, with the full first edition coming this summer as a fully kickstarted game.

It comes in two blended-bits :

  • A colourful and action-packed setting, The Floating Realms.
  • A concise d100 system.

The Floating Realms

I wanted a setting that is immediate, easy to explain and sucks the players in. I know the idea of adventurers travelling from one sky island to the next in a post-apocalyptic setting, in search of adventure and loot gets me going. It has done since I came across Skyrealms of Jorune. There’s lots of weird fun fantasy game juice packed into even the Zero Edition. Peter Frain has pretty much nailed the spirit of the game in his front cover of two adventurers at the prow of a Sky Ship, with the New Sun and the Dead Moon in the background.

The D101-System

At the beginning of the year, I sat down and over two days wrote a 20-page concise D100 system. It’s written from the ground up, not from a SRD, because I wanted to get my idea of what I wanted from a D100 across. If you are familiar with OpenQuest it’s a continuation of many of the ideas I introduced in that game.

Characteristics are still the familiar building blocks, except for Size which I’ve dropped,  randomly rolled. I’ve dropped Size from the usual D100 list of characteristics because I never use in my games. Characteristics as well as being the basis of Hit Points (now Constitution) and being used to work out Bonus Damage, characteristics determine the starting values of skills, usually two relevant characteristics for each skill.

Characters have a previous career, which sets them up for play with a set of skills and three magic spells since everyone on the Floating Realms knows a bit of magic, and a default set of starting equipment. They are then individualised with by allocation of small number points to skills they haven’t already advanced with their career, and players get to pick an additional spell. They advance in free form manner, earning Improvement points that the player can spend on the skills and magic they want, as well as gaining contacts, skills and magic through completing missions for their organisations.

There’s one Skill test system. The skills list is short and concise, even compared to OpenQuest, and the system of simple difficulty modifiers is even more aggressively applied. In any given situation only one difficulty modifier applies from a set range (-40%, -20% , +20%, +40%).  And modifiers from magic trumps mundane situational ones.

Opposed skill tests are now so that only player rolls their skill, which is modified up or down if their opponent is more or less skilled than them. I realised I’ve been doing this instinctively for years since it gives similar results to both sides rolling and takes the pressure off me as Referee.

It has one magic system, one list of spells, and no magic points. Instead, you roll against Magic skill to see if the spell is successful and if you fumble the character can not use it again this gaming session. There’s a shortlist of straightforward and powerful spells in this version of the game.

Combat is straightforward, with characters acting in the order of the skill they are using, from highest to lowest, so characters who are more skilled get act first. There’s still attack rolls, followed by defensive reactions to prevent. Armour has a dice armour value, and weapons do damage ranging from 1d4 to 1d12. There are no hit locations.

I’ve moved the system away from resource management and ditched a lot of fiddly numbers. There are no equipment lists and counting of coins and the magic pointless magic system is another example of this.  If it’s necessary to know the outcome, a simple skill test is applied to resolve the situation. So, for equipment acquisition the Referee either says yes to reasonable requests and moves on or makes the player perform a successful Trade skill test, modified for availability in the character’s current location, to gain the item they are after.

Overall this is a heavily modified version of OpenQuest, to the point that it’s become its own thing. Its been written from the ground up, and I won’t be releasing it under the OGL. If I had to give the system a name, I’d call it the D101-System 😊