Game Theory I am considering running another campaign. I don't want to go into details about it here, yet, but focus on some rules issues. I've pretty decided to eschew normal systems and run this from scratch. So I've been thinking about things I want to do with the rules. 1. I want to empower the players to do interesting things. I don't want to make certain things too easy, or other things too difficult. 2. I want surprises and some randomness in the game, but I don't want it to dominate play or result in bizarre consequences. 3. I want combat to more of a threat and less of a reality. When a guy shows up with a gun, or knife, that should typically be the end of a dispute not the beginning. However, it should be possible to have a fight. 4. I want simplicity so that knowledge of the system doesn't become more important than good roleplaying. Okay. Those are very Metagaming. In this particular game, I foresee the characters as being basically humans. Using the model of Start Trek, Firefly, CSI and other ensemble stories, I see the PCs just making decisions, doing things and dealing with the consequences, not so much with their spacial abilities, but their general wits and wills. That said I want people to get some benefit from their particularities... Like ensemble pieces, the main characters are fairly interchangeable most of the time, but one or two is called for when their particular talents are needed. Strong man is called in to lift the heavy thing. Combat gal is relied on to take care of the guards. Sneaky guy sneaks, etc.. In most ensemble stories these sort of specialist maneuvers are pretty rare. Everyone can fight when called on to fight, everyone can run the ship, find the evidence, talk to the people, etc.. No one is the specialist all the time (even shows highlighting the particular skill sets like the A-Team are this way.) So my thought is that a "character" sheet consists of a background story or background facts, with a pretty clear limit. The background can be filled out, but should be seen in a fairly general light. A doctor is pretty good at all medical stuff, a scientist is pretty good at all science stuff. But each might have a specialty in which they are are really good. Here is my hypothetical rule.. Each scene a character can employ their background ONE time to enhance their odds at doing something difficult (or bypass a challenge directly if appropriately trivial). So if I am an ex-army sniper. I can take one shot during the combat in which I apply my background bonus. Once the fray begins, our abilities become less relevant, and each person is effectively equal. Effects: Characters will get a moment in the sun, but it will be only a moment, not enough to depend on. Good or Bad? The hope would be that this would avoid a character by attrition (over a long campaign, so in so is demonstrated to be the X) Dangers: If the Strong Suit play is too good, it might end the scene. If it isn't strong enough, no one will feel it is useful or important.