The rules used for the "Immortal Tales" game were nominally those of Theatrix, by Backstage Press. However, perhaps as is natural for a near-freeform game, there were many differences. The following rules were agreements made in play, not pre-written mechanics.
These are what I was thinking of as a basic set of traits. I would think it is better to err on the side of having more traits than less traits. In addition to the ones listed, people can make up their own traits or supernatural abilities. You can list obvious personality traits it you think that helps.
Strength: how much force you can exert Endurance: resistance to fatigue, healing speed, etc. Toughness: how much damage you can take Dexterity: manual dexterity ? Agility: gross motor skills, balance, running, etc. Reaction: speed of reaction for fast-draw, surprise, etc. Perception: Intelligence: IQ-test-type reasoning ability Willpower:
For some traits, we should probably put a number from 1-10 on them, in case of contests - in particular, Strength, Toughness, and Reaction seem prone to this. I don't see any reason to put down numbers for other traits, but you can if you want, I suppose. Below I am listing a rough scale for Strength/Toughness.
Strength/Toughness 1 3 Average 5 7 9 World-class 25 Horse, tiger, bear ?? Elephant
I have some trouble thinking of what "average" means for most skills, so I am suggesting an alternative progression to what Mark used. The skill levels I am thinking of are:
Professional Language Combat ------------ -------- ------ 0 Untrained 1 Familiar Apprentice Basic Phrases Basics 3 Fair Journeyman Conversational Trained 5 Good Professional Near-Native Veteran 7 Expert Master Well Educated Famed 9 World-class
Given that exact skills may change over time, I think it may be useful to put down aptitudes in general skill areas. If you should reasonably have some experience with a given skill, then you can use your general skill aptitude instead. Thus, if you have never tried a chariot, say, then you have no skill. But if you have lived in a culture which used chariots for some time, then you should have your athletic aptitude in the chariot-riding skill.
Artistic Crafts Wilderness Languages Social Mechanical Scholastic Athletic Combative
These were never formally adopted, but were rather my suggestions for how to deal with certain situations in play.
RULE 1) The Rule of History
It is my opinion that keeping with history should be a cooperative venture. Obviously the GM should try to set things up so that history is not broken - but unexpected things often happen. We can obviously break history up to a significant point. If it gets out of control, then I think that the GM should inform the players of what history is - and all four of us should try to think of excuses to keep history.
I think that this sort of method is in keeping with the general troupe style. We should decide _together_ how close to history we want to keep, what sort of fudges we should introduce to keep history whole, and so forth. It should not be a matter of the GM telling players "You can't do that" but rather four players saying among themselves "How should we handle this". In fact, we haven't established much about what the world is like in modern day - so at some point we might even want to establish us as being in an alternate timeline! (Just something to think about.)
RULE 2) The Rule of Time
What to do if the session starts to run over time...
Sometimes, I think it is more appropriate to just leave off a session with events and endings unresolved. Heck, most of history is unresolved for us, and yet we're skipping around a fair bit. I think it is very appropriate to say something like, "After that, Lemminkainen and I went out after the leaders of the assassins?" "What happened?" "Well, that's a whole other story..."
What really happened need not be resolved in the next session, and in fact serves as a fine hook for various later complication and plot hooks.