Sunday, August 29, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 Day 29 System

RPGaDAY2021 Day 29

We can see the end from here!

Day 29 System

I feel today is going to be a lot about what sort of game system people prefer. Things like "d20" or "BRP" or a favorite of mine, "Unisystem."

Those are all good choices.  But today I want to talk about one that might not yet be yours or anyone's favorite. Not yet anyway.

Today I am going to talk about O.G.R.E.S. and a little bit about O.R.C.S.

The "S" in both stands for "System," so it is redundant to say "O.G.R.E.S. System" or "O.R.C.S. System" just O.G.R.E.S. and O.R.C.S. is fine. 


O.G.R.E.S. stands for Oldschool Generic Roleplaying Engine System.  It is the system that powers NIGHT SHIFT.  It sits somewhere between the "rulings not rules" freeform of OD&D and the simple mechanics of d20.  The end result is something that feels very familiar and new at the same time.  

O.G.R.E.S. features three main subsystems as described by my co-author and designer Jason Vey. They are:

  • Percentile checks
  • d20 checks
  • The Rule of 2

The first two are likely self-explanatory, but here is Jason explaining all three in detail.

Percentile checks are used to check anything that requires a straight probability. Some class abilities use percentile checks (thief skills, for example, and the ranger's tracking). Other class abilities (the druid's nature lore ability) simply work. For the most part, however, any class ability requiring a check will use percentile dice. Also, just about every table in the game (with a few exceptions) uses a percentile roll.

d20 checks are used for anything combat-related. To hit rolls, saving throws, and turning undead are rolled on a d20.

The rule of 2: this is my name for a sub-system in D&D that has never been precisely codified, but is buried deep in the bones of the game. Any time a situation needs to be adjudicated in D&D for which there is not another system, throw a die, and on a result of 1 or 2, it happens. Listening at a door (and not a thief)? You hear noise on a 1 or 2. Looking to notice a secret door (and not a dwarf or elf)? Roll a d6 and you find it on a 1 or 2. Surprise? 1 or 2. The only thing that changes, for the most part, is the type of die--rangers, for example, use a d8 surprise die--and some character types may adjust the probability (elves noticing a secret door without searching is a 1 on a d6).

Three very simple subsystems.  Of course, all of these can be reduced to d% rolls.  But really it is all simple.  That is the point. In a game like NIGHT SHIFT action can happen very fast and you don't want a system of dice rolling to get in the way.

There is a hierarchy here of sorts.  Most things will be a d%, followed by combat-related actions with a  d20, and finally the Rule of 2. For everything else.

The Night Companion will expand on this and give you more options for play.


O.R.C.S., or Optimized Roleplaying Core System, is the new version of the system that powers Spellcraft & Swordplay.  This system is heavily inspired by OD&D and other old-school play styles.

The core of O.R.C.S. is the 2d6 task resolution.  Much like the earliest form of D&D BEFORE the d20 was introduced.

Everyone talks about how Swords & Wizardry is the closest thing to OD&D, but they obviously have never played Spellcraft & Swordplay!

I am hoping we will see a lot more of O.G.R.E.S. and O.R.C.S. in the future.

Don't forget NIGHT SHIFT The Night Companion is nearing its last few days.  Give us some support. If we hit the stretch goal I will give a new Night World and this will keep me out of trouble for a while.


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