Before you close it for being about an MMO and this is not arqade, I am looking specifically for a system that can be used IN a MMO using its chat and roll systems. So effectively this is a "Play By Chat" game.


  • The game in question is Star Wars: The Old Republic so it has to be able to handle The Force, Lightsabers, Blaster, and explosives (its an Imperial group that I am running this for but that shouldn't affect anything)
  • I want something more than just two people roll and high number wins
  • I want character skill to have relevance so I want some super basic character sheet, but I want character creation to be simple (since they already have their in-game characters)
  • I want to ignore the In-game level/stats of the character but be able to support their In-game abilities if they choose to use them (EDIT: By this I mean, the system should not restrict to a small subset of available actions that will make it difficult for them to say they are doing something their character can do using the default mechanics of the game). In other words, in D&D you can't do something unless you have an ability/spell/feat that says you can do something.
  • Ideally I would have them only roll one number. The engine in SW:TOR can roll any range of (I think) positive numbers or numbers of the format XdY (it outputs both the individual results as well as a sum)
  • Player vs. Player interactions should be handled with the same mechanics as Player vs DM (Environment/NPC)
  • There should not be a lot of bookkeeping as unlike a normal Play-by-chat game, the game is (in general) played in full-screen mode so anything not accessible in-game is difficult to get.
  • The system should be easy to explain to new members (goes along with easy character creation)
  • Advancement (as in gaining additional power) is not required and I think undesirable (but we could always ignore those rules of a system that has them).
  • The system should be quick and be able to handle a lot of players (we don't have a lot of active players now but it shouldn't completely break down if we expand)

I looked at FAE and I think taking just the Approaches could work but, trying to do the -4 to +4 with one roll with the correct probabilities is confusing at best, difficult at worst. (Now that I realized that the system supports multiple dice, this is an option, using the d6-d6 method but I don't know which rules I should include since arguing over and keeping track of tapping aspects and fate points seems difficult)

EDIT 2: As to why we are using the chat of an MMO instead of a system designed for (as a response to @MrJinPengyou: This is for a role playing guild inside the game that meet through in-game role play. It seems odd to then take the connections from the game and then run them through something out of game in a separate environment. This concept of RPing in game is fairly common in the bigger MMOs but most of the time people just /roll and see who gets higher which ignores all character skill (a person is just as likely to slice that computer as they are to force lift that guy) or just forgo rolls all together (which leads to people god-gaming that they never miss and never get hit). I am trying to find a well developed system that is simple and easy to learn that will serve as a guideline for the role play instead of trying to come up with something myself.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I was going to say Fudge (because a large text-based MMO uses it successfully) until you mentioned FAE and why it doesn't seem to suit. Though, there are some possibly-workable alternatives, such as d6-d6, that approximate the 4dF curve. See this question for Fudge dice alternatives, if you want to re-evaluate FAE for this purpose. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 3, 2014 at 18:15
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Have you tried with /random? The following page says that you should be able to roll 2d6: swtor.com/patchnotes/1.1.5/362012 \$\endgroup\$ Mar 7, 2014 at 21:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ As this is a game-recommendation question, please adhere to both the FAQ and the rules for subjective questions as outlined in Good Subjective, Bad Subjective and on our Meta. In particular, all responses should be based on actual experience or cited references to others' experiences. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 13, 2014 at 20:50

3 Answers 3


RISUS is perfect for your needs

RISUS is system-neutral, so you can use it in any setting at all. I've used it to run fantasy one-shots, a modern crime game, and a futuristic robot-fighting campaign.

Interactions are resolved by rolling a d6 per level you have in the skill you're using. In combat, you use opposed rolls and the loser's skill drops by one (temporarily - after a rest, you're back to normal). When the skill reaches 0, they're down for the count. However, you can change which skill (officially called a 'cliché') half-way through if you want. There are a handful of other tricks you can use too. Outside of combat, it's a flat roll against a difficulty assigned by the GM.

Each character consists of 10 dice worth of clichés, and a description of their appearance and general attitude. It can be done in under thirty seconds by experienced players, and shouldn't take more than a minute per person in any circumstance. An example character is "Steve the Space Pirate. With a fearsome beard and a love of plunder, he roams the star lanes searching for (other people's) treasures. Pilot 3, Navigator 2, Smuggler 2, Fast-Talking 1, Blaster Monkey 2".

You can use the in-game abilities of the players' characters as a reroll for a relevant check or to avoid damage in combat. This is the one thing you'll have to work out for yourself.

All rolls are just Xd6, where X is the cliché level of the player or NPC. This is the same for the players and DM, except the DM can set a target number instead of rolling dice when the players interact with the environment.

All you need is the character sheet (which fits on a post-it note) and the ability to roll d6 (and talk to the other players, of course!), so you shouldn't have issues being in full-screen mode.

It's easy to teach, and the PDF - including pictures and some optional rules - is 6 pages long, so it's easy to pick up off the manual too.

Advancement is an option in RISUS, but not necessary at all. Basically, whenever you finish a session, you roll all the dice you have in a cliché (that was used at some point during that session) once. If all results are even, it 'levels up' and gains 1 point, up to a cap of 6. Do this for each cliché, and you're done. If you ignore it, it doesn't really affect gameplay at all.

RISUS is very fast indeed, and works very well with big groups. You shouldn't have trouble with expanding if you want to.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I like this system as it satisfy almost all of my requirements. The only hesitation I have about accepting this as the answer is that the roller in SW:TOR doesn't handle multiple dice well (it will clog up the chat) I could roll 1-6, 2-12, 3-18, and 4-24 but that doesn't have the bell-curve that multiple d6's have so the probabilities will be slightly off. I am placing a bounty on this question to see if there are any other systems that might fit better. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 7, 2014 at 17:14

I would suggest you try Star Wars World, a hack of Apocalypse World.

You can download the rules from here, though discussion is held on the story games site in the link above.

In general, the Apocalypse World engine satisfies a lot of the need to have it in an interactive environment not meant for RPGs, i.e.

  1. It uses 2d6 for resolution, with 6- meaning a fail, 7-9 being a success with cost, and 10+ being an unmitigated success.
  2. Character creation is super easy, consisting of taking a template that matches closely the class in the MMO and making a few tweaks.
  3. Rolls are made only when a relevant move is triggered, making it very much a story based game, excellent for chat.
  4. It's pretty much a zero prep game, and goes along with the players' actions, so easily follows their play in game.

The addition of the hack makes it that much more suited, i.e.

  1. It's already tweaked to the Star Wars universe.
  2. Changing out open your brain to the maelstrom with open yourself to the force is all kinds of awesome in practice, and lets the hack be more than the sum of just a re-skin of Apocalypse World.

There are a few downsides:

  1. The playbooks don't exactly jive with the classes in SWTOR.
  2. The abilities, while wide in their application, don't exactly jive with SWTOR.
  3. Its pretty deadly, so if you're doing combat in it, it won't match the survivability of SWTOR.
  4. It's not fully playtested. I've used it for some light sessions and it's pretty awesome, which is why I suggest it. But I haven't used it long term, so I'm not sure how it really develops over time.

It would take a bit of tweaking, but I think the idea is awesome, and I'm probably going to do it myself in-game.


For planetside adventures, I recommend "Star Worlds - The Streets of Mos Eisley". This is a hack powered by the Apocalypse engine. It has the most faithful character classes to the Star Wars movies, plus hirelings, adversaries, vehicles and spacecraft, and a great keyed map of the infamous spaceport.

When you take those vessels into space, I recommend using "Star World" which has a good set of space combat rules and Ship Playbooks!

PS - alternate playbooks for: Jedi and Smuggler

Notes per your requirements:

  • The Force, Lightsabers, Blaster, and explosives (+) all present
  • more than just high number (+) roll 2d6 +mods to determine Fail, Problem, Success or Crit
  • character skills have relevance (+) having the skill = not failing, but anyone can roll
  • super basic character sheet (+) PC sheet is 1/2 page
  • character creation is very simple (+) 6 stats can be assigned or rolled, choose skills, done
  • skill system is loose and descriptive (+) as is the entire game :-)
  • only one roll required for action resolution (+) 2d6, see above
  • PvP interactions handled same as PvDM (+) all rolls are handled the same way
  • not a lot of bookkeeping (+) for xp or hp, you just fill in a little circle
  • easy to explain to new members (+) rules are 20 pages and half of that is art
  • advancement is not required (+) hero points can be used for deeds, not just levels
  • system is quick and able to handle many players (+) check

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