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New Gaming System: Eternal Life

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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 6:58 am    Post subject: New Gaming System: Eternal Life Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Okay. Here's the system I have so far for Eternal Life, which will be a fantasy/superhero game when I get through with it.

I stole a lot of FrankTrollman's design notes for this, most notable the damage/save thing and the balanced stats system. Sorry, Frank. If you don't want me to use it just say so, but if this ever gets published I will definitely put you in the credits.

This guide frequently refers to cards. Check out this thread of you want to understand what I am talking about: The final system will look different than what I proposed to on the thread, but that is the basic idea.


Red - Strength: Adds to physical damage and soak. Combination of the Strength and Constitution stat in D&D.
Green - Dexterity: Adds to physical to-hit and AC. Same stat as in D&D.
Blue - Mind: Adds to mental to-hit and AC. Combination of the Intelligence and Charisma stat in D&D.
Yellow - Soul: Adds to mental damage and soak. Wisdom stat in D&D.

Every class in this game has a primary. For example, Wizard is Blue, Rogue is Green, Fighter is Red, etc.



Every class level you gain, add +1 to skills supported by the stat of your class, +.5 to opposed skills, +.75 to others.

Skills: There are four categories of skills, each category corresponding to each stat. At character creation, designate a primary skill set of focus. You gain a +2 to all skills in this focus. Designate a secondary skill set of focus. You gain a +1 to all skills in this focus. In addition, choose one skill per skill set. You gain a +2 to all checks with this skill.

Basic skill checks: 1d20 + Ranks In Skill + 1/2 relevant stat

Skill Categories:

Surge- Designates your ability to gain a sudden burst of power to affect physical objects. Use this stat for breaking chains, busting down doors, pushing over stacks of crates, etc.
Athleticism- Your athletic ability. Use this when doing non-combat sports, climbing, running, swimming, etc.
Endurance- Your ability to withstand pain and physical hardship. Use this ability to determine how long you can withstand torture, non-combat poisons and diseases, resisting exhaustion, etc.


Stealth- Designates your ability to act without being detected. Moving yourself and other objects silently, taking objects from other things, etc. Opposed by Alertness.
Acrobatics- Ability to move expertly in conditions that would slip other people up. Balance, tumbling, etc.
Drive- Ability to make creatures or objects move the way you want. Steering chariots, ships, horses, etc.


Utilize Device- Ability to use and manipulate objects unfamiliar to most people. Catch-all category for machines, magical artifacts, traps, etc.
Knowledge- Knowledge of things that can be known without personally experiencing them.
Diplomacy- Ability to affect other peoples' opinions. Bluffing, intimidation, etc. Opposes sense motive.


Alertness- Ability to notice things around you that can be observed with the five senses. Used for spot, search, and listen checks, high enough skill can allow you to smell and detect secrets. Used to oppose other peoples' stealth.
Survival/Profession- Ability to expertly perform common habits required by the situation. Self-explanatory.
Sense Motive- Ability to notice things around you that cannot be observed with the five senses, also your general sense of intuition. Used to resist other peoples' diplomacy.

Character Creation: There are no such things as races in this game, as far as the mechanics are concerned. While the DM can suggest a certain stat and class array common to members of the class, PCs all start out their careers exactly alike.

All stats in this game start out at 0. Every additional point gives a +1 bonus.

There are two kinds of creatures in this game. NPCs and Beasts. NPCs represent any sort of intelligent creature. Beasts represent everything else. NPCs in this game start with 4s in all of their stats and can add two points however they please; if they subtract a point from another stat, they can get an additional point raise. Beasts start with 2s in all of their stats and can add 10 however they please, except to Mind. Beasts have the option of raising

their mind stat in later levels, though there usually is little reason to.

PCs on the other hand, represent the elite. All PCs start with 6s in all of their stats. They also get 5 extra stat points to delegate however they please. However, at character creation, they may only add up to 3 points to any one stat and do not have the option of moving one stat to another.

Stats represent potential, not necessarily their value. While it behooves characters to operate at their maximum potential, occasionally there will be instances where a character is not operating at their maximum power--for example, a stupid, illiterate barbarian who inexplicably has most of his points in mind. It is not recommended to operate at lower than your maximum power except for roleplaying purposes.

Every 3 levels, characters gains a +1 to every single stat. Every level they may raise one stat by +1; a character cannot raise the same stat for a new level that was raised the last level. Stat raises have no connection to the combination of classes.


Eternal Life is split into 3 campaigns, or tiers. They represent what's commonly known as the low, mid, and high levels, except that the contrast between tiers is much sharper. Tier 1 contains levels 0-6, Tier 2 contains levels 7-13, Tier 3 contains levels 14-20. All characters, including gods, ancient dragons, outer horrors, etc. in this game have a maximum level of 20. Nothing is immune to not getting killed in this game. Advancing to a tier may or may not have a special in-game requirement, but they are not constrained by mechanics.

The main bonuses for advancing to the next tier is a much greater selection of abilities, extra actions, the ability to change your card sets quicker, and exclusive cards. Advancing a tier also affects how your actions are represented in the game world. For example, a mighty psychic in the first tier who could levitate weapons and furniture now finds that he can fling elephants and boulders with ease. These are just represented in situations where die rolls are not used.

Combat- Combat is familiar with that of d20, with a few notable exceptions.

Initiative- Characters roll 1d20 + dexterity modifier, as normal, although characters also have the option of using their mind stat.

HP- All characters in this game have 15 hit points. Losing hit points or getting a high stun rating will impose penalties to your action. To resist losing all of your hit points, characters have a soak rating against mental-sourced and physical-sourced attacks, which will cause you to lose hit points.


A character, until he advances tiers, has a combination of free actions, non-actions, 2 move-equivalent actions, and a standard action.

Move equivalent actions have a much greater use than in D&D. Aside from switching out cards, they are also going to be used to present a range of all-new actions to the game. When I write the rules.

Standard, free, and non-actions work just like in D&D.

I don't know whether to add Attacks of Opportunity or not. I want combat to be simple and fast once the players figure out things ahead of time, and the card system already threatens to overtake things.

When in range, you make a roll against a character to attack them, like in regular d20. For mental attacks, the to-hit is 1d20 + Mind Stat. With Mental attacks, you roll against the target's CONCENTRATION stat (10 + Mind). With Physical attacks, you roll against the target's ARMOR CLASS stat (10 + Dexterity) Physical attacks, the to-hit is 1d20 + Dexterity Stat. Your damage rating for either has a base DC of 10 + strength/soul (depending on whether its a mental or physical attack). The defender makes a FORTITUDE save against physical stats (10 + Strength) and a WILL ssave against mental attacks (10 + Soul).

Characters have the various combat modifiers found in d20. I'll probably have to write up some new base manuevers (disable, which used to be sunder and disarm, trip, etc.).

The biggest thing of note about combat in Eternal Life is the card system. Level 0 characters (regular animals and NPCs) do not gain cards. PCs gain cards when they take their first class level.

When selecting their action for the round, characters assign cards to three slots. Attack (Gold), Defense (Silver), and Support (Copper). All characters start out with one slot for an attack and a defense card and two for support cards. Characters gain more cards and slots as they advance levels.

Attack slots represent a specific sort of attack that can be used. Attack slots have base attack cards and attack support cards in them. The number of cards that you put into each slot is limited by level. If a character only has support cards, then it is added to the basic attack (a single melee attack against one opponent) of their choosing. Base cards can give additional kinds of base attacks, such as Wall, Ranged, Area, etc.

All characters who know your characters presence know what attack card and what combination you are using.

To switch which cards go into attack slots takes a move-equivalent action. Advancing tiers can make you switch one or more slots as a free action.

Defense cards work in much the same way, although switching out a defense card is a free action done once per turn, and enemies do not see your defense card until you activate it. You can choose not to activate a defense card if you wish, though there usually is little reason to. All individual defense cards have two sides, like that of attack cards.

Support cards are also known as independent cards. They give bonuses and options to various parameters independent of attack and defense, though they can certainly apply to either. For example, a character might have a support card that grants them an additional attack when they drop an enemy, a support card that gives them a +20 to base speed, a support card that lets them see what cards the enemy has, a support card that gives them an extra save once per combat, etc.. There are modifiers for support cards, although they are much less lucid than that for attack and defense cards.

There are two additional kinds of cards in the game. White Cards (Story) and Black Cards (World). Story Cards basically give you various nonnumerical, noncombat or unique abilities in the game (such as the ability not to need to sleep, having an entourage of servants at your beck and call, having a large trust fund from your parents, etc.). There are no hard and fast rules for story cards, but the DM is reminded to take them into account when determining which direction the game should go.

World Cards work just like the system in Torg. Blarg.

There we go. I still need to add some more rules in there, specifically for Beast advancement, PC and NPC advancement, a section on classes, rules on the environment, on general campaign details, and--by far the largest--a ginormous set of cards used in the game.

Man, I think I'm onto something here. I'm stoked.
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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 8:30 am    Post subject: Re: New Gaming System: Eternal Life Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

How exactly do you choose your cards? Are they randomly drawn from a deck when you level up or what?
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