Sunday, April 22, 2012

T&T hacks - Over The Edge

 Since Over The Edge showed up in 1992, designers Jonathan Tweet and Robin D Laws have designed more games, and all are very much talked about. I don't know if it started with OTE, but it has been a very influential design. Let's take a look at why.

The setting of the game is very surreal. It's a game where every oddball tabloid conspiracy is out there, fighting over reality. It makes my head spin every time I read it. It is also the only have I have played where That Guy(tm), don't even stand out, he is just like the rest. Yes, it's that odd. But, I don't think it's why the game is so highly regarded, it's the rules.

To make a character, you pick one defining trait, a few supporting ones and assign them some dice. Easy enough, eh? The really interesting thing is that those traits are not picked from a list, or even limited very much at all. Basically, you can take any descriptive phrase at all, and make it your defining ability. In one game I made a character that had the trait Playboy. I used it for seducing, gambling, shopping and intelligence gathering. On the other hand, you could make it quite narrow, and then you get some more dice to assign to it. More dice are good when you roll them, add and try to beat a target number. But, I guess you see how that is the least exiting part of this. No two characters will look alike, and you have lot of freedom to define the characteristics of your character. Now let's see how we can take this system and put it into the guts of T&T.

In this hack, you have one trait called the Expert trait. This defines what your character is all about. Write down whatever you feel define your character, and roll 2d6+6 for that trait. Now, write down two more Good traits. These are the abilities that you feel gives you some breadth and is important, but not as defining. Roll 4d6 and pick any three for both those traits. Lastly, everyone has a Flaw, the ability that always gets you into troubles. Roll 2d6 for that trait. For any other trait you feel you need, roll 3d6.

Now, in order to be able to use as much as possible of the standard T&T rules we need to think of combat adds, combat hits and magic. Designate one of these traits as your Health trait. It can be your Flaw or your Expert trait. This is going to work just like CON usually does in T&T. You also need to define three traits that is level defining, and contribute to combat adds. Pick any three. Lastly, pick your Mystic trait, which works like INT and WIZ does in T&T.

Got that? Let's summarize.

The traits
  • One Expert trait - 2d6+6
  • Two Good traits - 4d6, pick any three
  • Flaw - 2d6
  • Other traits - 3d6

Their usage
  • one Health trait - works like CON
  • three combat and level traits - works like STR,DX,SPD and LK in T&T
  • one Mystic trait - works like a combination of INT and WIZ
This replace the regular T&T character generation, but after that you play as usual, with SR on the traits in place of stats, and roll weapon dice plus adds just like usual in combat.

Since this is very different from the usual fare, expect the games you play be very different. Tweak those numbers a bit and roll some different dice, but keep the distinction of one one trait higher than the rest, two above average and one sub par.
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