[Let’s Study AMP: Year One] Part 4a: Basic Mechanics

Posted: August 7, 2014 by pointyman2000 in AMP: Year One, Articles, Let's Study, Roleplaying Games
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Today we’ll be taking a quick look at the mechanics that power AMP: Year One. We’ll be calling out what is of note and how everything comes together. Third Eye Games has always had interesting mechanics, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve come up this time for AMP: Year One.

Two Skills, No Attributes

The Basic skill check for the DGS-Combo System is done by rolling 1d20 and adding the Primary and Secondary Skill levels related to the task being performed.

Examples of skill combos are helpfully listed in the skill list of the character creation section. Here are a few to give you an idea of how it works:

  • Crafts + Technology: Assemble or Deconstruct Computers
  • Empathy + Intuition: Detect a lie
  • Marksmanship + Athletics: Thrown weapons

Sometimes though, the combinations can get a little harder to figure out:

  • Fortitude + Performance: Pretend not to be drunk
  • Intuition + Beast Handling: Thinking like how an animal would think
  • Fighting + Crafts: Use improvised weapons

I think that after a bit of time, and perhaps haggling between player and GM on what skill combo would work best for a situation, these confusing cases will melt away, but it wasn’t quite as intuitive to me when I was reading through this part.

In cases when a combination of skills do not apply, the player instead rolls 1d20 and adds the Primary Skill, and half the Primary Skill again.

I’m not too clear just yet on which cases a single-skill check would happen, and I think it would have been nice if the book included even one or two examples to help the GM along.

Difficulty

The Difficulty ratings for challenges in the DGS System start off with a difficulty of 10 to represent a simple challenge with minimal complications, and goes up in intervals of 10. 20 represents a moderate difficulty and is probably the standard difficulty that most checks will be. 30 represents very challenging tasks and 40 represents nearly impossible feats.

A roll is successful if it meets or exceeds this difficulty number.

Near Successes

That said, there’s a 5-point threshold of “failure” called a Near Success. If a roll doesn’t make it to the difficulty number, but is still within 5 points of meeting it, then the GM has the option to rule it as a Near Success. This is usually a success with complications.

Variants

Aside from the straight single check, other permutations of the basic system include the standard Opposed and Extended tasks.

Trying Again is also covered, as well as a short discussion of bonuses gained from Tools and Teamwork.

Boosting

For every 5 points by which a player rolls over the Difficulty, they gain an additional bonus effect to the result. This is called a Boost, and can take the form of Additional Targets, Bonus Damage, Bonus Info, Style, Streak Bonuses or Time Crunch.

Critical Successes and Failures

AMP’s system also features critical successes and failures, which occur on a Natural 1 or Natural 20. Critical successes automatically succeed regardless of the Difficulty and also receives 1 Juice for it. Critical failures on the other hand automatically fail, but also receive 1 Juice.

Overall it looks like the DGS-Combo system is a solid rules-medium implementation that makes for a good foundation for any RPG. The Skill-Combo mechanic is interesting, if a little obscure at times, but I think once I’ve got a few hours sunk into running or playing this, it will become a lot easier to figure out.

Tomorrow we continue our look into the mechanics by delving into the Combat mechanics for AMP: Year One.

For those who’d like to check it out, AMP: Year One is available on PDF in DriveThruRPG for $14.99 or roughly Php 645.00

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