ZERO-9

WHAT IS THE ZERO-9 GAMING SYSTEM?

The TAINTED rpg utilizes the ZERO-9 gaming system as its core mechanic. This system requires the use of two ten sided dice (2d10) to resolve actions. Each die is numbered 0-9 with zeros counting as zeros rather than tens.

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HOW DOES IT WORK?

For any action your character wishes to perform that might have a questionable outcome, your Game Master (GM) will have you roll two ten sided dice together against a specific target and a specific magnitude. The target number represents your skill at a given task regardless of what obstacles you might face and as such will always be a known number. In fact that number will live right on your character sheet. Before you even decide on an action you will know what the target number will be.

For example, if you want your character to attempt to pick a lock, your target number would be noted next to Mechanisms under his Infiltration skills. No matter how difficult a lock it may be, your target number will always be whatever your character sheet says it is.

The difficulty of the lock comes into play under Magnitude. A level 3 lock will have a magnitude of 3; a level 5 lock will have a magnitude of 5, etc.

So if your Mechanisms Target Number is 7 and the lock magnitude is 3 then you need to roll a 7 or higher on one die and a 3 or higher on the other to succeed. You do not have to say which die is which before you roll. The 7 represents the successful use of your skill. The 3 represents how much effort your character needs to put into the task.

Rolling higher than 7 against your target number does not confer any additional benefits beyond successfully using your skill. Rolling higher than the required 3 on magnitude, however, indicates that you have done the task better or faster than you otherwise might have.

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WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Other factors come into play on a case by case basis; stat modifiers that you can add to your magnitude die, critical success and failure rolls, and spending bonus dice to roll for important actions (taking the best two numbers that come up). All of these are outlined in the Game Rules section.

Nevertheless, one more aspect of this system should be touched upon before we proceed further and that is that the ZERO-9 gaming system puts all of the consequences in the hands of the players. Using the system properly, the GM doesn’t roll any dice. For anything. So there is no room for fudging – for the players or against them. When your character attacks something he roll against his target number and the stated magnitude and succeeds or fails based on that roll. And when it is time for that something to attack back, instead of rolling dice to attack your character, the GM will tell you the magnitude you need to roll (along with your Defense target number) to successfully defend against its attack.

This same mechanic is used in all situations. The GM doesn’t get to roll to see if his back alley cutpurse can successfully bluff your character with false information. Rather, you roll to see if your character successfully navigates between the lies and the truth spilling from the dirty wretch’s lips.

No secret rolls. No GM screen. Everything is out in the open. The GM can’t secretly cheat you behind his screen…nor can he secretly save you from yourself.

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Comments on: "ZERO-9" (2)

  1. Silverwave said:

    Hi! I’ve wandered around the site, intrigued by your game. I’ve designed few things and I know how much feedback is precious so I’ll post few things that came to my mind while browsing around.

    First of all kudos for the character sheet. It is what brought me here in the first place (I’ve clicked the character sheet direct link through your rpg.net sig). It’s neat and the art is very appealing!
    One thing, though. I’m not sure about the setting; you mentioned “fantasy”, I guess it’s “medieval fantasy”. You also mentioned guns but I believe it is more like primitive firearms in the like of blunderbuss, arquebuse and musquets? The character sheet icon is a modern firearm. While it does the job well (it’s easily recognizable), maybe an older gun model icon could fit the genre better? Oh, yeah, also, this greek helmet background faded icon for Combat & Weapons Stats, I think it’s missing it’s eye, hehe. Also, the Gateways and Tongues icons are much alike but it’s a minor thing. The others are perfect, though!

    Now, there’s not much about the system beside the basic dice mechanic but I do like the short skill list. I hate redundant skills and I appreciate a short skill list that merges similar skills. From a quick look, and I may be really wrong about it, my first guess would be that Forgery and Espace would be less usefull than the average other skill. Then again, you need to keep 7 skills to keep the look and the simmetry of the character sheet. Otherwide, we don’t have skill description yet but I couldn’t figure instinctively the difference between Warcraft and Tactics.

    About the dice mechanic I would be curious to see an odd table to see how stats, target number, magnitude and dice interracts. Target number is easy math (7=30% success) but having to score two different successes of two different scale on two different dice sure decrease the odds though. Also, I guess it means the lower your stat, the better it is, which is kind of unintuitive but it’s not like its game breaking anyway.

    The website is also clean, elegant and simple. Nice and friendly!

    Well, that’s about it. I’ll bookmark the page and keep an eye on your game! It seems promising!

    Keep up your good work!

    • Sorry, I just deleted a huge reply to this comment. I’m going to go back through forum-style for a response (your comments in bold)

      I’m not sure about the setting; you mentioned “fantasy”, I guess it’s “medieval fantasy”. You also mentioned guns but I believe it is more like primitive firearms in the like of blunderbuss, arquebuse and musquets? The character sheet icon is a modern firearm. While it does the job well (it’s easily recognizable), maybe an older gun model icon could fit the genre better? Oh, yeah, also, this greek helmet background faded icon for Combat & Weapons Stats, I think it’s missing it’s eye, hehe. Also, the Gateways and Tongues icons are much alike but it’s a minor thing. The others are perfect, though!

      Setting is an island archipelago (slightly s-shaped) that is constantly rotating in the eye of a vast and constant storm that is drawing that archipelago across the surface of the planet. So north, south, east, and west are mostly useless designations (as the constant rotation of the islands fouls that up perception-wise). The inward curves of the isles (which are actually all one landmass beneath the surface) are high cliffs facing the sea, mountains facing the land. The cliffs act as *sails* for the winds, pushing and turning the isles. This direction is Windward. To the other side of the mountain range, erosion and drift over the millenia have built up to gentle hills and rolling plains. This direction is Leeward. The horns of the archipelago are called the Reaches (here be *Dragons* – elemental beasts of earth, fire, or sea). If Windward is to your right, you are facing Reachward. If Windward is to your left you are facing Centerward.

      The outermost isles are rocky, cold, grey, stormy, and generally devoid of greenery. Because the ends of the archipelago are closest to the storm itself, they experience the most violent weather. As you go inward however the isles are very green, with forested hills and mountains and lush plains and steppes, and though the wind remains a constant rain is intermittent. There are scattered human settlements here, but the Wildlings (think raiding half-men like satyrs, medusae, minotaurs, etc, but not in species-specific tribes – rather living intermingled) pretty much terrorize anything not under the trees. Trees eat people, sapping lifeforce and drawing out the blood of those that fall there. Nobody spends much time under the Trees.

      Wind is the constant driving force of the Broken Lands.

      The largest isles in the center of the archipelago are basically huge deserts. They flank a large harbor in the center known as the Inner Sea. In the center of the Inner Sea is a large Mediterranean style island-city build of limeslurry clay and stone – flat roofs, orange groves, high thick walls, etc. The outer ring of the city is all wharfs and piers. This is Rattown, poorest district. The next ring in is combination warehouse district and Merchant’s Rim (a giant bazaar and marketplace district) Beyond that is the Hammerwall, a giant seawall that protects the bulk of the city. Inside the Hammerwall is the Labyrinth, a clusterfuck district that houses the bulk of the people in the Citadel. There is no *new* room to build here so sometimes buildings get build over streets or in alleyways, other buildings might get torn down for materials and become new pass-throughs. Your route through the Labyrinth one week might completely change by the next.

      Beyond the Labyrinth is the Ironwall (not made of iron) which houses the city garrison with towers for food storage. Inside the Ironwall are the parklands and mansions of the city’s wealthy and the High Houses – the governing body of the citadel. There are seven High Houses and backstabby underhanded politicking is pretty much what keeps any one of them from totally taking over.

      So, not feudal medieval so much as an upscale Mediterranean port city that doesn’t have to worry about invasion from land or anyone else’s organized navy, but has a buttload of its own internal issues. I’m trying (with some success) to incorporate some of the feel of Thief World’s Sanctuary in my city.

      There are no large animals for mounts or farm labor in the archipellago, so there have been no major technological advancements in land or air travel and with no kingdoms to fight each other and no reliable way to use cannon in the maelstrom, big guns also didn’t develop or catapults, etc. Personal firearms, however, are fairly advanced and characters might have access to anything from flintlocks to full automatics, though with no factory development, most guns and ammunition are a custom handcrafted affair.

      The downside of having an uberkewl graphics heavy character sheet is that the smallest rule change might result in having to revamp the graphics. But I will be taking your advice by adding a Handguns icon which will feature a pirate style flintlock pistol and then the current icon will represent Automatics.

      Also, the fact that the baddest of the baddies the PCs have to deal with are often non-corporeal or made up of raw elements, firearms aren’t often the solution du jour except when tackling other humans.

      Now, there’s not much about the system beside the basic dice mechanic but I do like the short skill list. I hate redundant skills and I appreciate a short skill list that merges similar skills. From a quick look, and I may be really wrong about it, my first guess would be that Forgery and Espace would be less usefull than the average other skill. Then again, you need to keep 7 skills to keep the look and the simmetry of the character sheet. Otherwide, we don’t have skill description yet but I couldn’t figure instinctively the difference between Warcraft and Tactics.

      Forgery comes into heavy use in Citadel campaigns with a high focus on political intrigue and assassination, but yeah, it’s the least used skill (but easy enough to neglect when allocating points). Escape covers everything from slipping knots to wriggling out of tight spaces to losing the city watch in a footrace through the city. Given all the trouble my current group of players get into they use it quite a bit.

      As for Warcraft and Tactics, I agree. Warcraft was mostly a war-history lore skill, but I’ve changed it to Heraldry – indicating recognizing flags, insignia, rank, and being able to instinctively know who, in a group of un-uniformed bandits or socialites, might be in charge. Heraldry and Tactics are both getting upgraded icons.

      About the dice mechanic I would be curious to see an odd table to see how stats, target number, magnitude and dice interracts. Target number is easy math (7=30% success) but having to score two different successes of two different scale on two different dice sure decrease the odds though. Also, I guess it means the lower your stat, the better it is, which is kind of unintuitive but it’s not like its game breaking anyway.

      I posted the basic probabilities for target numbers and then target numbers with magnitude numbers over at RPG.net – not horrible, not great, but when you add in the bonuses from Vital Stats it tilts in favor of the PCs who primarily use their Primary Profession Skills and it’s not bad for Secondary either. Being able to decide which die is which after the roll helps. Stats aren’t Lowest=Better. Vital Stats (Toughness, Reflexes, Instinct, and Savvy) are all ranked from 0-9 with 0 being no modifier, 9 being the best modifier. Beginning characters get 8 points to divide between the four and because of the rule that says no stat can be more than 3 higher than any other stat, no character starts higher than 4.

      Taint dice jam things even more in the PCs favor, but they only have X number of those to use each session (they refresh at 1d10 each in game morning, or 0-9 each morning, but can never be more than 9 total)

      If you are using a skill based on Reflexes and your Reflexes stat is 2, you get to add 2 to whichever dice you choose your magnitude number from. If it’s 4 you add 4. If it’s 0 you take what comes up on the dice, etc.

      The number next to each skill are not your rank in that skill but are your target number, so yeah, lower is better.

      I acknowledge that that could feel wonky, but I’d rather things feel wonky during character gen when the GM can help and no one is holding up game play, and then have the roll itself be high=goood. So that was just a choice I had to make since I mostly hate the straight roll+skill+stat mechanics.

      A note on genre – In the end the game has more of a Post Apocalyptic kind of feel (if that apocalypse was elementally/magically engineered rather than nuclear) but that term has too many connotations to be helpful when describing Tainted.

      Thanks for the comment and the ideas. Much appreciated.

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