GAME : Greatly Abbreviated Mechanics, Etc.

Copyright 1992 by E. Chris Garrison (

The idea of GAME is to provide an ultra-compact, flexible system that can be fit onto a single 8.5" x 11" piece of paper, front and back. GAME serves only as the barest guideline for roleplaying and leaves all details to the GM's judgement, and is meant to ease on-the-fly additions.

A character consists of Attributes, Skills and Abilities. There are three Basic Attributes (Strength, Will and Dexterity) with three Calculated Attributes (Body, Stun, Power) which define a character's natural qualities. Skills are learned expertise, and are based on one of the Basic Attributes. Abilities are extra-normal capabilities such as magic, super-powers, cyber- netic enhancements, mutations, alien powers and so on. Abilities are modeled as Skills with Power levels that reflect the influence the powers have on other characters and the game world. Attributes, Skills and abilities all cost points, which are assigned by the GM before a character is created, and added as experience is gained.

Skills: The cost for a base 10 or less on a 3d6 roll is as follows:
Combat: 5, Non-Combat: 3, Color: 1

Where Combat is any skill whose purpose is solely for combat, Non-Combat is any useful (scientific, professional, language, etc) skill not for combat, and Color is any background skill that is not likely to actually affect the game, except as a quirk or curiosity.

Skill Levels: Every skill is based on a Basic Attribute, and each +1 is bought at the base cost for the skill. So if a character takes Acrobatics, the GM could determine that it is a Dex based skill, and if the character has a 3 Dex, he or she gains that Skill at base 3. If the character spends enough points to gain a +1, the skill is said to be Dex+1, or 4. So, if the character makes an Acrobatics Skill Roll, he or she would add the Skill Level to the 10 base to roll under to succeed.

Skills have a Difficulty Rating (DR) based on: Simple=0, Easy=-2, Average=-4, Challenging=-6, Difficult=-8, Daunting=-10, Near Impossible=-12, Extra Time=+2, Frequent task=+2, ...

Near skills no charge, but follow penalties as follows: Related Skill -2, Familiar Skill -4, Unfamiliar -6.

Skill vs. Skill: If two characters pit their skills against each other, the "winner" is determined by whoever makes his or her skill roll by the greatest number. If any one character fails his or her skill roll, then the other character is said to have "won". If both characters fail, the result is a draw. (See "Combat" for a practical example).

Abilities: As Skills, with added trait of Power Rating (PR), which must be less than character's Will, using PR Power. PRs cost N points per level, where N is a variable defined by the GM, taking into account such things as area of effect, range, interchangeability, and so on. The GM does make the PR up arbitrarily, based on how powerful he or she thinks the ability is, and how much it will affect the game. Skills are zero-power Abilities. Remember, Skill Rolls must be made for Abilities like Skills unless a higher cost is assigned in exchange by the GM. Examples of Abilities might include Flight, Invisibility, Force Fields and the like, things which are beyond normal abilities and skills. Sample Abilities and Ability Frameworks will appear in GAME supplements.

Combat: Combat is handled like any other skill, though there is no one "combat" skill. Any character in a combat-oriented game is assumed to be able to treat combat as a "Familiar Skill". Any character who buys a specific combat skill (Swordsmanship, Laser Gun, Brawling, you get the idea...) can treat any other non-purchased combat skill as a "Related Skill".

Combat Skills are applied for attempts to hit another character, and to avoid being hit. Unless a special Ability is bought, only one Combat Skill may be used in a round of combat. Any character may attempt to dodge a single attack, but he or she must declare this before the attack is rolled, and must forfeit any attacks for that round.

A combat round lasts as for an interval of time the GM defines. The GM may rule that combat rounds take but a second, or that they last as long as a minute, the GAME mechanics do not attempt to impose realism: realism is up to the GM to add (or not). During a combat round, however, the following things occur:

Disclaimer: The GAME is obviously only a bare skeleton of mechanics, and leaves most of the fleshing out to the GM and players. It is meant to be a tool to be used for improvisation and impromptu gaming. More detail may evolve, but it is not meant to be provided here.

Copying: These rules may be copied electronically or photostatically freely, so long as the author is given credit, but may not be sold or used for profit by anyone but the author.