Torg Eternity Preview #1 – Updating a Classic
Welcome to the first of a series of previews highlighting changes in Torg Eternity from the original Torg RPG (as well as some things we specifically didn’t change). These previews will discuss changes to the rules and the lore in order to give the game a streamlined and modern treatment.
First up, we don’t expect folks to like everything that we’ve changed or left as-is. What we hope though, is that you’ll find enough to like. Some of the rules changes may at first seem odd, but hopefully once you see them in play, you’ll see why we did things this way.
Updating the Rules
We had four core principles with regards to updating the rules.
- The rules must be easily identifiable as being Torg.
- The resolution of actions must be fast and easy
- Reduce the number of sub-systems while keeping the Torg flavor.
- Changes must provide benefits. No changes for the sake of change.
Balancing these principles was not easy. We experimented with different ideas, different systems, and eventually hammered out a rules set we think meets each of those goals.
Some things we knew for sure we needed to keep, in order to keep it feeling like Torg.
- An ‘Eternity shard’ d20 core die (That’s right! It’s coming back!)
- The Drama Deck.
- The logarithmic scale.
- Interaction Attacks and Approved Actions.
- The Core Mechanic
The core mechanic for Torg Eternity is the same as it originally was: roll a d20, re-roll and add on 10s and 20s, then compare the result to a bonus chart. We did investigate eliminating the bonus chart, but the knots we tied ourselves into trying to keep the rest of the rules looking like Torg were too much. Getting rid of the bonus chart (while keeping the d20) would have made the game completely different.
We now standardize rolls of 1 (and occasionally larger ranges) as a Mishap, with result in various effects such as disconnection and weapons malfunctions.
There is no action total and effect total, just the total, which you compare to a Difficulty Number (DN). You don’t have to remember what bonus you rolled as you resolve your action. There are only three success levels: Standard (equal to the DN), Good (DN+5), and Outstanding (DN+10). The exact amount you succeed by doesn’t matter, only those ranges. It’s quick and easy to determine how well you succeeded in an action.
Many actions, spells, miracles, and psionic powers have more powerful effects on Good or Outstanding results. If you get a Good result when attacking, you get to roll a bonus die (two on an outstanding hit).
The Bonus Die
The bonus die is a d6, and gives a bonus to damage equal to the roll, and this die explodes too! On a roll of 6 (or the eternity symbol on the custom ‘Eternity shard’ d6), it counts as a 5 and you roll again and add, continuing until the die no longer explodes.
We realize that this will likely be the main controversial new mechanic, but we’ve found that it’s quick and it works. Plus, exploding dice are fun!
It’s the combination of the quick and easy resolution of actions via only three success levels combined with the bonus die that allows us to keep the bonus chart and not have it too unwieldly.