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Learning the intricacies of various role playing systems is my favorite part of any RPG. From GURPS to SPECIAL, from D&D in Forgotten Realms to Jedi-D&D in Knights of the Old Republic. Now, in their developer blog, the folks behind No Truce With The Furies have unveiled a system of their own. They call it Metric and subtitle it as (arguably) the world's simplest role playing system.
The blog post describes this system that took fifteen years to fully flesh out. In the post itself you can find a more detailed explanation of how things work, but allow me to quote a short recap and also the twist that comes with each of the game's attributes:
In character creation you decide your Attributes. These 4 scores represent both your natural aptitude and learning cap in the 24 Skills that cover everything a human being needs to function. The rest of the game is spent fleshing out – and struggling against – these limitations. There are unexpected ways to overcome yourself. And inversely, being talented at something comes with a price.
For the real lowdown — instead of telling you how the Attributes help — let me tell you how they make things worse.
A high Intellect makes you overly confident – a cocksure intellectual. You’re vulnerable to flattery, and easily lose yourself in details. (The game becomes longer). While having a low Intellect makes you dim and superficial, prone to superstition and being plain wrong.
A high Psyche comes with emotional turmoil – an unstable psychophant. Great willpower clashing with wild imagination. You may even lose your mind. While a low Psyche makes you uninspiring, inept at influencing people. Unsavoury things come out of your mouth.
Okay, you’re strong but so is your death drive – a mad man and a psycho killer. A high Physique needs to be tested, needs addiction, sex and physical confrontation. You lose your shit over small things. While being un-physical means vulnerable, un-streetwise. Lacking in animal cool.
A Motoric character is too high strung – a bit of a cokehead. A quicksilver superdetective focusing fast and then reacting (too) sharply. While being low on Motoric means you’re locked into yourself. The world has trouble finding you. You’re clumsy and slow.
Additionally, about a week prior to this, the same developer blog had a shorter post that ties in well with the current one. It provides sketches of a number of skills tied to the Intellect attribute. You can get a nice feeling for the game's art style and read a bit about the design philosophy behind the game's iconography.