Born into the world back when 4th edition was announced. Jay and I said "We don't want to pay for another D&D" With that our group set out on making our own system. I have written the story of Phase on this blog more than once.
I have also called it "The best game no one has ever played."
To further the point I have called it "My favorite out of the games I have written."
I stand by those statements. The PDF as written has a couple mistakes in it (I'll fix them.) Some of the design choices may seem a bit contrived now that a few years have passed, but at least I know it works because our group has played an awful lot of it.
Phase Abandon is available at drive through RPG for the low price of $0.00 USD.
Phase abandon is at it's heart a DM'less game. It was designed so I could play a character as well as share the G.M. duties. At the time Phase was written I was doing most of the game mastering in our group it seemed like a fun idea. Over the years however we have had ideas that work better with a G.M. then they might have in a G.M-less game so we have run the game several times with a G.M.
The Key to Phase is getting everyone on board with the setting. Setting the tone of the game right out of the gate. There needs to be a session zero where the setting is created by the group,or whomever wants to run the game comes to the group with a clear idea of what the setting is. I suppose this can be said for every game. Phase with it's custom skills, goals, and character motivations needs a well defined setting to hold everything together.
If setting up a setting a game mastered phase game up start by creating five or so skills that are representative of the setting to be run. Let each player choose one or more of these skills when creating their characters.
The most basic skill format is
- Skill name/ description
- What happens on success
- What happens when 1's are rolled.
A very simple weapon skill might look like:
- I attack with my sword.
- I do a number of damage equal to the number off successes rolled.
- I take an amount of damage equal to the number of "1's" rolled.
For a setting like Shards of Thimbral which was to be set in a world of land masses floating in the sky I may well design a skill such as.
- Sky ship pilot. I have served on a sky ship and trained in their operation., I know how to fly this thing.
- Rolled when making difficult maneuvers or in combat. In combat when an evasive maneuver is attempted roll this skill if successful the number of success can be subtracted from the success of pursuer, or enemy combatants next roll.
- When the roll is a failure any 1's rolled automatically damage your vessel.
Another tenant of Shards of Thimbral is that magic is a dangerous but sought after physical resource. I could parley that into a skill such as.
- Harvester: I know how to handle Shards without harming myself or others.
- Rolled when harvesting magical shards each success on a successful roll represents an extra level of shard quality.
- On a failed roll each failed die degrades the quality of the shard by 1 and each "1" rolled gives the harvester a point of magical Blight. (defined in game)
SoT was to be about exploration as well as resource exploitation. A skill like the following might be usefull.
- "Skytographer" I have dedicated my self to cataloging and plotting lost sky islands.
- On a successful roll the character may plot a course to any island he or she has already visited (keep a list) and cut time off the travel equal to the number of successes rolled.
- On a failed roll: Each failed die represents an extra day of wasted travel. any "1's" rolled send the ship farther off course into unknown territory. (AKA the GM decides where the party will end up.)
And so on.
Decide on the points which are going to define the setting. Build skills that reinforce those points then allow the players to choose those skills when creating characters.
Using this method with "Phase" will allow a GM to inject the setting with the flavor they are looking to create without limiting the free form system that makes phase different.
Thank you for reading