Design Journal 5: System and So On (Rough)

Three: System

The Basics

As mentioned previously, Parsec uses a system wherein six-sided dice are rolled in groups against a target number, where every number showing equal to or higher than the target number is counted as a “success”. The shorthand for writing the number of dice to roll is a number followed by “d”; for example, “5d” means “five six-sided dice.” To represent the target number, we use “@” followed by the target number, written after the number of dice. So, for example, “5d@3” is shorthand for “five six-sided dice against a target number of 3”. In that situation, you would roll five dice, and 3s, 4s, 5s and 6s would all count as successes.

So, all you need to know is how many dice you’re rolling and what the target number is. Your Skill will determine the target number, as described in the Skill section, so most of the rules are focused on figuring out how many dice you roll.

You always start with the Attribute in question, whether it is a character’s Attribute or a ships’ Attribute. This Attribute gives you your base dice-pool, or the starting number of dice you have. This total is then modified by a few different things – dice are either added to the total or subtracted from it.

If your character is doing something and no one is trying to stop her, then the only important thing is the number of successes you roll – the more successes come up, the better you do. If someone is trying to stop your character, however, then you compare your successes to theirs, and the one with the higher number wins. Ties go to no-one – neither character succeeds in what they are intending to do.

There are three categories of things that modify the number of dice you roll. The first are your Traits. No more than one positive Trait can modify a given roll, but both positive and negative Traits all modify rolls – otherwise, there isn’t much reason to mention them as far as game rules go.

The second thing that modifies the number of dice you roll is your Equipment. There aren’t many things you can do without the right tools, so in many cases there will be a penalty for not having the right Equipment. There are special items, however, which are very well-suited to what they do, or are very high-quality, which will give bonuses to Skill rolls when they are used. Like Traits, these modifiers don’t generally change, so they are easy to keep track of. In item descriptions, any bonuses or penalties associated with the item will be listed.

The third thing that modifies the number of dice you roll is the Situation. Unlike Traits and Equipment, the Situation modifier changes constantly. In most cases, it is the Director’s job to keep track of Situation modifiers – it is also the Director’s job to make those clear, unless there is a reason the PCs wouldn’t know about them.


Terrestrial Combat
(range, cover, tactics, melee, movement, weapons and armor, grenades, firearm types)

Space Combat


Four: Setting




Space Travel

Five: Advice




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