The Archetype System is built around two fundamental concepts: the Two-of-Two mechanic for all challenge, contest, and conflict resolutions; and the character Archetype that encapsulates the essence of a character in one sentence. The combination of these two concepts creates a rather robust and flexible gaming system that is both deep in possibilities and quick in execution.
Each character is initially defined by a group of words—a sentence—that combined is the character Archetype. This sentence encapsulates the character idea. Though there is a game mechanic attached to a character’s Archetype, it is mostly a way to develop a character idea, or focus on a specific idea, during character creation. Though, in its simplest form, an Archetype has no mandated structure—in order to provide a high level of flexibility to Players and Guides, if pertinent to a particular setting or story a structure of nouns, verbs, and adjectives could be overlaid—in order to provide guidance to Players, introduce additional abilities, or better define a Guide’s desired genre or tone.
The Two-of-Two Mechanic
For every challenge, contest, or conflict that a character must overcome, a player simply rolls two sets of two six-sided dice—four dice in total. The sum of the first set of six-sided dice is a positive bonus while the sum of the second set of six-sided dice is a negative bonus. The negative bonus is subtracted from the positive bonus to determine the outcome of the roll. In shorthand, the Two-of-Two mechanic is represented as 2d6-2d6.
The roll result has a numerical range from negative ten (-10) to positive ten (+10) with a mean of zero (0). The likelihood of a roll result between negative two (-2) and positive two (+2) is very high with the probability curve falling off severely. A roll result, positive or negative, between four (4) and six (6) is unlikely and a roll result of eight (8) or more is highly improbable.
During any challenge, contest, or conflict, a Guide may choose to modify the roll result by granting Advantage or Disadvantage.
Advantage and Disadvantage
At the discretion of the Guide, either Advantage or Disadvantage may be applied to any Two-of-Two roll. With Advantage, the higher of the two negative bonus six-sided dice is ignored. With Disadvantage, the lower of the two positive bonus six-sided dice is ignored. Though this may seem complex on paper, in practice it is quite simple and can be resolved quickly.
The roll result range for a challenge, contest, or conflict with Advantage is negative four (-4) to positive eleven (+11) with a mean result of positive five (+5). The result range for a roll with Disadvantage is negative eleven (-11) to positive four (+4) with a mean result of negative two (-2).
Earning and Using Adrenaline
At the discretion of the Guide, an Adrenaline point may be granted to a character for his involvement in a memorable moment. Players may spend their character’s Adrenaline in order to apply Advantage to one of their rolls or Disadvantage to one of an opponent’s. The use of Adrenaline must be declared prior to a roll.
All resolutions in the game, whether a challenge, contest, or conflict, are resolved in the same manner. The Guide determines a Base Bonus that is then resolved against either: a set difficulty, an apposed Base Bonus, or a Quality. In the case of a conflict resolution, a target Quality may be assigned for damage.
A Base Bonus is simply the sum of a given character’s chosen Trait bonus and a chosen Talent bonus. In shorthand, a Base Bonus is represented as Trait + Talent.
When resolving a challenge—usually a task or other activity undertaken by a character, a set difficulty is typically used. A set difficulty is simply a number ranging from one (1) to twenty (20) that the Player must roll equal to or above in order to succeed at the challenge. A difficulty of one (1) is a fairly easy task even for the most novice of characters, while a difficulty of twenty (20) is virtually impossible even for the most seasoned character. In shorthand, a challenge resolution is represented as Trait + Talent vs. Difficulty.
When resolving a contest—usually between two characters or a character and a creature, a second Base Bonus is used. Whichever character achieved the higher result bests the other at the contest. In shorthand, a contest resolution is represented as Trait + Talent vs. Trait + Talent.
When resolving a conflict—typically an attack against another character or creature, a Base Bonus is used against one of an opponent’s Qualities, and damage—if any—is also applied to either the same or another one of an opponent’s Qualities: the target Quality. In shorthand, a conflict resolution is represented as Trait + Talent vs. Quality (Target Quality).
Succeeding and Failing With Style
For any challenge, contest, and conflict in which a player rolls a result five (5) or more points above the difficulty, the character succeeds with style. For any challenge, contest, and conflict in which a player rolls a result five (5) or more below the difficulty, the character fails with style. In either case, the character’s actions create a memorable moment.
As an example, a character is trying to hack a security camera with a severely damaged hand-held computer. The Guide decides that this puts the character at a Disadvantage and the player must ignore the lower of the two positive bonus dice. If, for the sake of the example, the character has a Base Bonus of six (6) and the difficulty of the task is seven (7), then the player would need to roll a result of one (1) to succeed. With Disadvantage, this otherwise fairly likely result becomes much less likely. The player rolls a -2, -4, +3, and +5 and ignores the +3 giving a result of -1. The character is unsuccessful. Without Disadvantage, the result would have been +2 and the character would have been successful. With Advantage, the result would have been +6 and the character would have succeeded with style.