Power of 12 Role-playing System – What is it?

Just put this on my randomencounters.net site.  Thought I’d share it in the blog.

The Power of 12 Role-playing System is a living creature as much as a game system.  It is designed to encourage role-play and fun.  It expands and contracts as you see fit.

The Power of 12 Role-playing System relies on four basic stats.  In each book I call them something different, something that relates to the genre: “Foci” for Of Gods and Relics, “Modus Operandi” for Deniable Asset.  Really, they are stats.

But I don’t call them stats.  “Stats” is a word that carries specific meaning in our hobby.  I did not want stats in my game.  I wanted empowering descriptors that, each time you looked at your character sheet, you saw an answer to the desperate situation at hand.

I also chose the 12-sided die for that reason.  No one else was using it.  It carried no history or bias with it.  It was free to be molded into something powerful.  Thus, the Power of 12.

Each Foci or Modus Operandi is itself a unique and empowering descriptor.  In Of Gods and Relics you have nine to choose from.  That’s right.  Your four stats don’t even have to be the same as the character next to you at the table.

Any given Focus has a value: 1 to 6.  That is how many D12s you roll.  7 or higher, is a success.  The enemy rolls against you.  If you are attacking and get more successes, your target takes damage.

Simple enough.

What if your “stats” were Courage, Honor, Ancestry, and Joy?  As a Vendai Warrior, your ability to defend your comrades and right the wrongs of the world is not based on your physical strength and sword skill.  It is based on your Courage.  As it should be.  Now you can play a muscle bound Conan-like character or a smallish man of meager beginnings.  Either way, your Courage is what you fight with.  Your Honor is what holds you up against the storm of evil.  Your Ancestry steadies you against the blows of your enemies.  Your Joy – or love of Joy, or hope for Joy – drives you to glory or treasure.

Words or weapons, it all works the same.

You can swing a sword with Courage easily enough.  But what about that dramatic moment where the hero, surrounded by armed men, stands tall and delivers that awesome line, “You may kill me, but I’ll be damned if I don’t take most of you with me.”

In other role playing games, that is hyperbole and completely beside the real action which is to swing your sword and hope you hit.

In the Power of 12 Role-playing System, that killer line IS your action.

You speak that line.

You roll your dice.

if you get more success than the enemy, HE takes damage.  He was struck by the power of your words.  We have all seen it.  Maximus, Conan, Gowron, William Wallace… they have all turned the tide of battle with words.  Now you can too.

Deniable Asset has Modus Operandi that are more fixed: Blunt Instrument, Investigator, Infiltrator, and Technician.  Those are your “stats.”  Those are the empowering descriptors that, each time you look at your character sheet, you see an answer to the desperate situation at hand.

And there is equipment: Relics and followers for fantasy, gear and support team members for espionage.  You collect them, use them, add them to your dice rolls.  They have Foci and Modus Operandi.  They have personality and meaning.  Describe how they help you, roll your dice, have your fun.

Empower yourself with 12-sided dice.

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Filed under Power of 12, Random Encounters

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