OK RPG Rules: The Environment

Dealing with NPCs

There is a school of GMing that insists that any time you attempt to inveigle, bamboozle, or suborn an NPC, the NPC should be assumed to hear exactly what you, the player say, including every instance of "Um er" and every pause to think of a good story. Although the goal, to prevent such interactions from being reduced to a roll of the dice lacking any roleplaying element, is laudable, the method has the unfortunate effect of preventing you from playing a character with quicker wits or a smoother tongue than yourself. Since playing someone better than yourself is what OK RPG Rules are all about, this method is not recommended.

It is recommended that the player produce some kind of story, or at least describe the character's approach, because otherwise it would be boring, but the GM shouldn't penalize the roll for hesitation or even implausibility unless the player is obviously not even trying. Cleverness should be rewarded by an extra half-rank or even full rank, however.

The susceptibility of a particular NPC to flimflammery can of course vary widely, depending on such factors as how cynical he is, whether he's been warned someone might try something, how much he appreciates the flimflammer's hair color, what else is on his mind, and many other subtle and important details of characterization. However, for incidental encounters with bit characters, the GM doesn't need to worry about much of this; it's all subsumed in the roll of the dice. Only the largest and most obvious modifiers (wearing black and white stripes while trying to fast-talk a prison guard) need to be taken into account. A recurring character should get at least a little characterization, probably based on how well the PCs did against him in his initial appearance. Major characters should get real personalities, of course.

Penalties on attempts to bamboozle are usually large: if you're standing over a dead body holding a gun, it's usually pretty difficult to persuade a police officer to let you walk off, no matter how much cleavage you show. Bonuses are harder to come by, at least in such quantity: even a good forged police badge probably won't get you out of that situation immediately.


As the saying has it, "Time be time, mon." For the most part, game time need not be kept careful track of; when you need to know the clock time, common sense and reasonable approximations will generally serve, but more often the unit of time used is the scene, which is just as elastic as in a movie.

Sometimes, though, elapsed time is important for the rules. The most obvious example is in combat, when action is broken down into rounds of about five seconds (because of the variable number of action points expended in a round, no consistent conversion between APs and clock time can be made). The other case is when something (eg, healing) is defined as happening over some period of time.

Both of those cases are fairly well-defined in the rules, but sometimes you'll need to know, for example, how much of your per-week healing you get in a day. Since pretty much any number produced by the rules will be on the rank chart, you can convert rates to a different time basis just by moving them up or down the chart.

Converting Between Half-
second round 4
round minute 6
second minute 10
minute hour 11
hour day 8
minute day 19
day week 5
week month 4
day month 9
month year 6
week year 10
day year 15
year decade 6
decade century 6

When converting a rate from the smaller unit to the larger, add the indicated number of half-ranks; vice versa, subtract them.

There are unfortunately a few anomolies due to the use of base-60 time measurements, which don't quite fit on the rank chart: a factor of 60 rounds down to 10 half-ranks, so converting from seconds to minutes to hours totals 20 half-ranks, but really there are 3600 seconds per hour, which is 21 half-ranks. Arbitrarily, the extra half-rank was assigned to the minutes-to-hours conversion. Darn those Babylonians anyway.



By a happy coincidence, a human of Average mass moving at Average running speed as much energy as an attack of Average power. Collision power goes as the rank of the relative velocity (+1 HR of power per +1 HR of speed), and as the halved rank of the size of the smaller of the two bodies. Being run over by a one-tonne car on the freeway thus has a basic attack power of about Heroic. A small kid (Def size) run over by a car on a formerly quiet residential street is squished by Gt+ power; her Avg size father will take Ext damage if he leaps in the way. Unless ramming spikes or some such are involved, this will be full-body damage (see above); it will be environmental damage for each party unless the other is deliberately trying to collide and do damage.

Falling 5 meters (a little more than a story) has a power of Gd (modified by the half-rank of your mass); this increases as the half-rank of the distance fallen, up to (under Earth-normal conditions) about 200m, at which point you will be moving at terminal velocity of about 70 m/s (power Ext+). It takes (again, under Earth-normal condition) about a round to fall this far; each successive round you fall another 300m or so, but damage does not increase. As with collisions, falling is normally full-body damage.

The usual minimum effective distance for a fall is about 2m (Avg+ damage) because even if you trip while standing still, your head falls about that far. If you can get your feet under you (a feat of Gd to Ext difficulty depending on conditions), you can subtract your horizontal leap distance from the effective distance fallen. This can help a lot for moderate falls, but isn't much good when you fall from the top floor of a skyscraper.

This file was last modified at 1105 on 06Jan00 by trip@idiom.com.