145 – Weird RPG Mechanics

The Mythcreant Podcast

Some roleplaying games are good, some are bad, and some are just weird. This week Jonathan returns to the podcast to chat with us about the strangest RPG mechanics we’ve ever encountered. From self-sealing stomachs to lethal Perform checks, we talk about rules that leave us scratching our heads, wondering what the designers were thinking.

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Opening and closing theme: The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coulton. Used with permission.

Show Notes:

3.5 D&D


Sound Striker 

Old Call of Cthulhu

Everything is Dolphins

Riddle of Steel

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  1. The Kerrins

    Some more weird mechanics from Shadowrun 2nd ed. And it also makes sense of all artwork they have on the early editions with the mage flying. the Cannon Companion as I remember and a couple of rules in the back one of which is if you are falling your init is 30 (which as I remember gives you about 4 actions a round and is generally at the very fast end of the fast.) so what you do is have a levitation spell spell locked to you that will kick in when you are at about 1′ above the ground and cut out when you are 2′ or similar and you have the best initiative in the party
    Another is that you take distance fallen (in meters) L damage so if you are a low body character you can kill yourself tripping over
    And with grenades as they only do serious damage and are an area effect weapon you cannot stage them up so you end up being able to survive a grenade dropped right next to you in an enclosed room

  2. warpstar

    Shadowrun 4th edition had an interesting item called barrier foam that is suppose to be used to make a small wall for cover. I had a player who had the bright idea to use on people to make instant coffins. That character ended up becoming a serial killer

    • Oren Ashkenazi

      That really reminds me of the instant keep in 5E DND. 10d10 to anyone in it’s area when you summon it, and you get a cool tower to hide in.

  3. Sean D. Daily

    So those Perform checks turn you into the People’s Poet? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnZnnkJxoC8

  4. Deana

    The rules I don’t get are the carrying capacity of the characters in every game system I’ve ever played. This spills over to the standard equipment builds which are usually heavier than the character.

    A 140 lb character who can carry 255 lbs. (without a bag of holding, a horse, cart, or automobile, etc.), really?

    Max in the real world is around 50% to 60% of your body weight (and that is for trained SF soldiers and other mega-athletes, not normal people). That would require severe disadvantages to speed, stamina, and dexterity.

    A more reasonable maximum would be 1/3 your body weight, but even then you’re going to be beat. So my 140 lb example should be carrying less than 45 pounds.

  5. Mark Smith

    Carrying capacity is even worse- above a certain size 110 pounds or 50 kg who can carry 25 kg maybe the bigger you are the less you can carry.

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