The Storyteller system is a skill based RPG published by White Wolf.

Very Simplified Guide to the Storyteller System

Characters are created by spending points (no dice rolling). The core stats (strength, dexterity etc.) run from 1 (bad) to 5 (very good). A Character also spends points on key abilities/skills such as Melee, Science, Athletics and the all important Dodge.

To test a skill the Storyteller (the DM/GM/Referee) states the dificulty of the action from usually from 6 (tricky) to 10 (virtualy imposible). The player adds his core stat (eg. Dexterity) to the relevant ability (eg. Athletics) and rolls that many ten sided dice (d10). Every d10 equal to or over the dificulty counts as a success. The more successes the better the action was achived. A d10 turning up a 1 is bad and deducts a success

Note: In some versions dificulty is set at a specific number (eg. 7 or 8). In this case Storytellers request minimum numbers of successes eg. 2 (very easy) 7 (very difficult)

There are no Hit Points. Instead pretty much everything has 7 Health Levels. Armour and your Stamina (Constitution) allow you to roll to 'soak' damage (prevent it reducing your health levels).

Storyteller Settings

At the time of writing there are a number of settings published for the system:

  • World of Darkness: By far the most popular Storyteller setting. This is based in the modern world. Players can take on the role of anything from Joe Blogs the mortal, through members of a globe spanning conspiracy (the Technocracy) to the reality warping Mages and ancient Vampires or even have a go at being dead.

  • Abberant: A superhero genre setting with a strong SF base. The X-men-esque premise is that certain sections of humanity are begining to develop staggering powers. Some of these mutants are going mad as their powers increase. The PCs are good mutants. Can they save the world from the bad ones?

  • Aeon/Trinity: This is a rich and complex SF setting in which the Abberants, now all mad, were forced to leave the planet (long story). After a long time the Aberants returned, now twisted and warped. After destroying an orbital city and dropping it on Paris they were faced down by a hither-to secret society of Psionicists. Now Earth and the Aberants are in a stalemate. The PCs by default take the role of members of the now public Psionicist organisation. This setting includes Post Holocaust, Cyberpunk and Deep Space settings, you can even get your hands on Battlemechs (under a different name of (c)ourse).

  • Exalted: A new setting due out in 2001. Looks like an interesting fantasy setting a la Earthdawn+Michael Moorcock

  • A roleplaying game rules system developed by the White Wolf Game Studio for use in its games, such as Vampire: The Masquerade and Aberrant.

    The most salient feature of the Storyteller system is its simplicity. The outcome of events that are governed by skill and chance, such as trying to hit an opponent, is decided by rolling a number of ten-sided dice (also known as d10s). Typically, the number of dice rolled is determined by pairing a character's rating in an Attribute--the physical, mental, and social characteristics common to all people--with his rating in an appropriate Ability, a reflection of the talents, skills, or knowledges possessed by the character. If a certain amount of dice come up higher than a previously given difficulty, the action is considered successful.

    A type of roleplaying game put out by White Wolf Studios.

    Storyteller games are so called because the Game Master is dubbed a Storyteller and her primary role is to tell a story rather than primarily to act as Judge.

    In storyteller games, experience is awarded based on the quality of one's roleplaying, one's ability to get into character and to do interesting and engaging things once there, rather than on killing monsters.

    Games in the storyteller system work from a Dice System that employs exclusively d10s. During Character Creation, one divides points among a number of Attributes, physical, mental, and social characteristics of the character, and more points among Skills -- what was learned. All of these range between a rating of 1, which is very poor, to 5, which is human perfection. When performing an action, one selects the appropriate Skill and the appropriate Attribute -- for example, to evaluate someone's fighting technique, you could roll Perception + Melee. When trying to get your little sister to tell you what Mom and Dad were talking about would be a Manipulation + Intimidate roll, possibly a Manipulation + Socialize if you're being subtle, or Charisma + Presence if you're relying on her high opinion of you.

    When one rolls dice in a Storyteller Game, one rolls a certain number of them in an attempt to hit or exceed a Target Number, for example, say, seven -- a typical difficulty (indeed, in Exalted it is the ONLY difficulty). Thus if, say, you had Strength four and Athletics 3, you would roll seven dice to break a door. The number of dice that meet or exceed your Target Number determines your degree of success. In World of Darkness games, ones that you roll subtract from your total number of successes, thus even if you rolled a success, if you rolled a one as well, the action would still be considered unsuccessful. In these games, if your net successes is negative, that is if you have rolled more 1's than successes, you botch -- a failure that is more than simply failure. You might shoot the hostage instead of the terrorist, or you may break your hand trying to punch down said door. In Exalted, 1s do not subtract successes, but a 1 present on a failure is still considered a botch.

    Storyteller Games also have Willpower, which stands seperate from these two categories. Willpower is unique in that it MAYbe rolled to test one's will as in many other games, but you also have a number of points of Temporary Willpower equal to your Permanent Willpower -- thus if your character has Six permanent Willpower (Willpower ranges from one to ten), he has six points of Temporary Willpower. These may be spent to gain a success automatically on a roll. They do not come back easily, however.

    All characters in Storyteller Games have a Nature, a conception of self that represents WHO THEY ARE. Each nature has some set of action that is paradigmatic of that Nature and when this action is performed, the character regains a dot of temporary willpower, ensuring the ease of staying in character. For example, a Martyr would gain a Temporary Willpower point every time she sacrificed something for the greater good.

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