Basic Lite is a setting-agnostic, percentile dice based RPG system, with lightweight mechanics and a versatile set of core rules. Here's a summary:
- Roll d100 equal to or under target (attribute or skill rating).
- Result ending with 0: critical on success, fumble on failure.
- Easy or hard tasks use the better/worse inverted result.
- PCs have 3 attributes, with 4 related skills each.
- Points from related attribute can be spent to succeed on skill rolls.
- Talents are freeform skill specializations that increase target ratings.
- The GM doesn’t roll. NPCs have strengths/weaknesses that affect difficulty.
- Conflicts: Popcorn order, one minor action and one major action per turn.
- Damage reduces attributes; resistance prevents damage.
- Attributes recover naturally, and can be healed with actions.
Read on for full details.
Characters have three attributes: Body, Mind, and Will. Each attribute is a pool of points that is reduced by a relevant type of harm. The “current” rating is used for checks. Characters making certain actions use the attribute values directly for target numbers.
Body represents a character’s physicality: strength, toughness, dexterity, and general health. Its current value is targeted when a character exerts themselves, is checked for strength and endurance, and is reduced by physical damage. When it reaches zero, the character falls unconscious.
Mind represents how well a character processes and retains information. As a measure of intellect, its value is targeted when the character makes logical assertions, is checked directly for sanity, and is reduced when mentally strained. When it reaches zero, the character is incapable of acting in a normal, sane manner.
Will represents a character’s social compass and mental focus. Its value is targeted when navigating interpersonal situations or when making focused gut checks, and is checked for fear or surprise. It’s reduced when under stress or when their spirit is broken. When it reaches zero, the character is completely panicked, and unable to act in a coherent manner.
Each attribute has four skills associated with it. Skills' ratings are targeted when performing actions related to that skill.
Body skills include:
- Athletics: practiced physical activities, sports, etc.
- Combat: martial arts or melee weapons fighting
- Finesse: fine manipulation using hands and/or digits; arts and crafts
- Presence: ability to assert oneself physically, by stature, body language, or looks
Mind skills include:
- Engineering: applied scientific fields that involve designing and building systems
- Knowledge: knowledge of various studied fields; natural, social, and formal sciences
- Medicine: understanding and application of medical knowledge
- Sense: ability to reliably detect and parse information through the senses
Will skills include:
- Ballistics: proficiency with ranged weapons
- Control: ability to control external things; handle animals, vehicles, machinery, systems
- Social: ability to interact with others emotionally and personally
- Subterfuge: actions utilizing deception, stealthiness, and subtlety
Characters also have more specific bonuses called talents that improve a skill check when applicable, by increasing the target rating by 20%. Each talent is linked to a skill, and is a free-form specialization or expertise. Talents are denoted in parentheses after the base skill name.
- Athletics (Running)
- Combat (Karate)
- Finesse (Woodworking)
- Presence (Cosmetics)
- Engineering (Electronics)
- Knowledge (Ancient Languages)
- Medicine (First Aid)
- Sense (Reading Lips)
- Ballistics (Archery)
- Control (Riding)
- Social (Lying)
- Subterfuge (Pickpocketing)
- Attributes: Distribute 150 points into the three attributes.
- Base Skills: Distribute 400 points into skills. Skills cannot exceed their related attribute.
- Talents: Describe two talents, and your specific expertise in the related skills(s).
- Details: Name your character and briefly describe them.
Alex is playing in a modern horror setting, and wants to be a quick-witted rookie police detective. They start by assigning 150 points into the character’s attributes: 40 Body, 50 Mind, and 60 Will.
Next they choose base skills, and distribute a total of 400 points.
- 120 points into the Body skills (max 40): Athletics 40%, Combat 30%, Finesse 20%, and Presence 30%.
- 160 points into the Mind skills (max 50): Engineering 10%, Knowledge 50%, Medicine 50%, and Sense 50%.
- And 120 points for the Will skills (max 60): Ballistics 60%, Control 10%, Social 30%, and Subterfuge 20%.
For talents, Alex decides the character is a crack shot with handguns (using Ballistics), and pretty skilled at patching themselves up (using Medicine). They end up with: Ballistics (Handguns) and Medicine (First Aid).
Finally, Alex names the character Dave, and briefly describes Dave’s tall, lean, and gaunt appearance.
When a character performs a difficult action or endures an effect, the player rolls d100 (as 1–100) and compares the result against the appropriate target rating.
- If the result is less than or equal to the target rating, the character succeeds.
- If the result is higher than the target rating, the character fails.
For an active action, a skill’s rating is used as the target. A relevant talent adds 20% to the target rating. For a passive or resistant check, the current value of the potentially-affected attribute is used.
A result ending with a 0 is special: a critical (on success) or a fumble (on failure). These greatly amplify the outcome’s effect.
Dave is waiting inside his parked car, on an otherwise boring assignment to observe a section of street. He fights the urge to fall asleep as the sun sets.
Dave needs to stay mentally alert in order to catch anything strange happening outside, and needs to pass a general Will check to stay awake. His current Will rating is at his max 50%, and Alex successfully rolls a 37.
Dave stays awake and focused enough to witness a suspicious figure walking in a strange, inhuman way, along the sidewalk. He starts his car and begins slowly pursuing it, but the figure notices and begins running.
To avoid the obstacles in traffic, Dave needs to make a Control check to drive carefully without losing the figure. Alex rolls a 4, an impressive and successful result compared to Dave’s lackluster Control 10% rating.
Some actions will be more or less difficult than others, denoted as easy or hard. In these cases, the player compares the inverted result’s digits (swap the tens and ones dice; 100 is always a fumble), and uses either the better (for easy) or worse (for hard) result.
Actions and circumstances can often affect difficulty, determined by the GM. An attribute pool being low, for instance, can typically lead to related skill checks becoming hard.
Dave dodges traffic and keeps up with the odd figure as it starts running on all four limbs. The figure, picking up speed, ducks into a crowded alleyway. Dave decides to follow it.
With a change in circumstances, Alex needs to check Dave’s ability to control the car again. Now the narrow alleyway makes the skill check hard: they roll a 7 (as “07”), but inverted that’s a 70, which Alex has to take. That’s way above Dave’s Control 10% skill, and it ends with a 0, so it’s a fumble.
Dave whips his car into the narrow alleyway, awkwardly dodges the first few trash cans, then slides and slams into the brick wall lining the side of the alley. Brought to a halt after a horrible crunching sound, Dave watches through a plume of smoke as the figure deftly escapes the scene.
When a skill roll goes poorly, a character can push themselves and exert effort to improve their rolled result. They can spend points from the related attribute’s pool to adjust their result. This adjustment should take place after the roll has been made and any difficulty adjustments have affected the result.
Attribute checks and fumbles cannot be adjusted in this way, and adjusted checks cannot result in a critical: exerting effort with an attribute results in the roll becoming a simple success. The narrative outcome of the action should reflect this increased effort from the character, and describe the attribute reduction.
Dave reluctantly reports the alley incident to his captain, trying to convince them that it’s worthwhile to expend more department resources towards investigating the creature. They’ll need some convincing.
Alex rolls a 42 for Dave’s Social 30%, an unfortunate failure. Alex decides that Dave goes out of his way to butter up the captain, and chooses to spend 12 points from his Will (the related attribute of the Social skill) to improve the rolled result to a passing 30 (not a critical after the effort is made).
Dave jumps through social hoops, stretching his words thin to just barely convince the captain of his cause. He hangs up the phone, feeling the stress of the conversation linger.
Typically, only players (non-GMs) roll against other PCs. NPCs have attributes, strengths (hard against), and weaknesses (easy against).
Characters oppose actions by making a skill check as normal, granting the other character a “defensive” check, then comparing the outcomes. Whoever rolls a higher result without failing their skill check wins the struggle. A critical beats a normal success. If both characters fail, neither gains the upper hand, but additional complications can be triggered.
If the character’s involvement is appropriately active in the situation, they can additionally expend effort like any other action roll. Their result is similarly a basic success.
Another player in the group wants to keep their character’s secret unknown to the other characters.
Dave is hanging out in the local bar, chatting with his associate over some drinks. Dave brings up a topic that the associate doesn’t want to discuss, so they attempt to steer the conversation away.
The other player rolls a 17 for their Subterfuge 60% to deceptively avoid the topic. Alex rolls a 35 for Dave's Social 30% to see if he notices. In this case, Alex’s roll fails, and the other player’s roll succeeds. Dave isn’t actively paranoid about the exchange, so Dave can’t expend effort, and he remains in the dark.
Nearly about to answer, Dave’s associate casually notes the time, and instead makes an excuse that they have to be somewhere else. It’s convincing enough for Dave to believe. On the way out the door, the associate attempts to drop an important item into Dave’s pocket for him to find later.
Being a more publicly visible action, the GM deems this hard for the associate. The other player rolls a 23 for their Finesse 40%, a hard success of 32 (inverted). But Alex rolls a 20 for Dave’s Sense 50%, a critical.
The associate deftly drops the gold lighter into Dave’s pocket as he takes a drink, but Dave feels the slightest impact. He decides not to react immediately, in order to work out what his associate is up to. The associate is pretty sure they’ve gotten away with it as they tell Dave goodbye and leave.
In any conflict (a fight, chase, argument, competition, etc.) the participants act in turns that make the most narrative sense. The GM selects the first character to act, based on the situation, then their player chooses the next, and so on. Each character gets to act before the end of a round.
The timescale for a turn is variable, and depends on the scope of the conflict. In general, characters can make one minor action (simple or quick, doesn’t require skill check) and one major action (focused act or skill, involves a roll).
Dave stakes out the alley late into the night. He eventually spots another figure standing near the entrance and sneaks over on foot. It seems to be the same inhuman creature from earlier, so he draws his pistol and attempts to surprise it.
Alex rolls for Dave’s attempt to sneak up on the creature, potentially letting him get the jump on it. They roll a 53 for Dave’s Subterfuge 20%: a failure. Dave isn’t stealthy enough to surprise the creature, and it responds accordingly. Combat begins, and the GM determines the creature acts first.
The creature hears a misstep from Dave and immediately reacts: it emits a low clicking sound, distinctly insectoid in nature, jumps into range of Dave (minor action), and slashes its spiny claws towards him (major action). Dave moves to dodge the claws.
In response to the attack, Alex rolls a 22 for Dave’s Athletics 40%. The creature’s claws narrowly miss Dave’s torso as he maneuvers out of the way. It’s Dave’s turn now.
Dave isn’t taking any chances: he aims his pistol (minor action) at the creature and pulls the trigger (major action).
The creature has Athletics as a strength, so it’s a hard check for Dave. But, his minor action spent aiming evens out the difficulty. Dave has a talent, Ballistics (Handguns), that applies here, raising his target rating from Ballistics 60% to 80. Alex fortunately rolls a 62.
Dave’s aimed shot hits the creature directly, and it screeches in pain…
Once a harmful action succeeds against a target, the type of harm determines which of the target’s attributes is reduced (e.g., physical harm vs. Body, stress vs. Will), by an amount measured in number of d10. A critical can have different effects, depending on how the action has caused harm; by default, damage is increased by 1d10.
Defensive items can have resistance ratings as a reduction of inbound damage, typically in flat numbers for a specific attribute type (e.g., 10 Body for armor).
Dave’s bullet finds its target, hitting the creature firmly where he aimed.
Alex rolls the damage rating for the pistol, 3d10: 20 Body damage. The creature seems to have an exoskeleton, a natural armor with 5 Body resistance. After its armor absorption, the creature suffers the remaining 15 loss to its Body rating.
Fluorescent magenta blood splatters on the ground as the creature stumbles back. Dave grins, realizing this thing before him is indeed mortal.
Unconsciousness and Death
When a character's Body attribute is reduced to zero, they fall unconscious. Until they regain consciousness or are treated, they are considered dying and must periodically make a Body check against their maximum Body rating:
- Critical: they regain consciousness at 1 Body.
- Success: they stay alive but unconscious.
- Failure: they stay unconscious but worsen; after 3 failures they die.
- Fumble: they die.
When a character's Mind attribute is reduced to zero, they have gone temporarily insane, acting out in dramatic and uncharacteristic ways. When Will is reduced to zero, the character will flee all situations in a hysterical panic. In both of these cases, periodic checks against the attribute's max rating must be made:
- Critical: they regain their normal mental state, with 1 point in the affected attribute.
- Success: they pass out, safely unconscious.
- Failure: they continue their extreme, abnormal behavior.
- Fumble: they injure themselves, taking d10 Body damage, and continue their state.
Damage is recovered with a successful related skill check. The amount healed is equal to the roll result, to the character’s natural maximum. A critical maxes out the possible recovery, to the skill rating being used.
Natural recovery occurs very gradually over time. During extended rest, a character regains 1d10 points to each damaged attribute.
Back at his apartment, Dave stumbles into his bathroom. He eventually managed to down the strange creature, but took some nasty scrapes along the way. He pulls off his claw-marked jacket and opens his first aid kit.
Dave’s Body rating has been reduced to 25 from his full 40. Alex wants to spend a few minutes healing him. Alex rolls an 11, well under Dave’s Medicine (First Aid) 70% talent. Dave’s Body rating is restored by 11, back up to 36.
Dave eventually heads to bed for a well-earned night’s sleep.
Alex rolls a 2 as Dave automatically restores 1d10 to his damaged Body attribute, bringing his total upon awakening to 38. He is definitely still feeling the effects of the encounter the day before.