The Round 10 Role-playing Game system is published by the eponymous Round 10, It is created, designed and written by Nicholas Kory. The reviewer received a review copy at his request. Round 10 provides a generic universal RPG with streamlined roll under percentile mechanics with a few twists, and a detailed ‘phased’ initiative system from which it derives it name. The system provides a serviceable fast to use system with an interesting mix of crunch and lightness. It is much more pared down feeling than say BRP, and could serve as a good fit for people looking for a relatively light system with optional crunch. It would make a good introductory RPG for newer players, with a veteran at the helm. Even still, new players should be able to puzzle it out.
The PDF is 215 pg. with back and front covers and a 1 pg. Table of Contents. It features a roomy two column layout, and is set in a clean serif font with pleasing amount of whitespace. I found it easy to read. The PDF features no index however, which can be an impediment for finding rules your looking for. The art is fairly sparse, it features some chapter pieces done in a smudgy oil-painted style, with pieces ranging from good to decent. It also features some black and white sketch pieces, that although are pretty solid, look like they were scanned straight from someone’s notebook. Finally, there is some stock character pieces here and there. Overall a hodgepodge that provides no strong aesthetic. Not surprising from a small publisher. It doesn’t greatly detract from the game though, being that it is generic.
From the text “Round 10 is a game system that strives to provide easy to grasp rules for TRPG.” It is written in a conversational style directed at reader (you). I noticed some typos and poor formatting here and there. With Some homonyms and poor word choice. For instance, calling ‘extended tests’ extensive tests. It could use better section and chapter indications & transitions, for easier reference as well. The core mechanics are smack flush with the basic character creation info, so it is kind of jarring and would make referencing difficult. Reminds me of palladium’s mixing of important rules in with more reference stuff and lists.
The introduction section stressed that it doesn’t require system mastery to play, that the game aims to provide a streamlined system yet layered and varied enough to keep interest of more crunch inclined players. It also strives to not require a lot of in-game referencing. I found it interesting for its inclusion of a ‘how to be a good player’ section along with standard what is an RPG introduction. I did find the author’s discussion of an actual d100 as the default a bit odd, considering the massive prevalence of 2d10 percentile dice. I don’t have one, and I have pounds of dice. Speaking of which, the game only needs a d100/set of percentile dice and six-sided die to play.
Lets dive into some details.
The game features a straightforward roll under % system, with the addition of @dvantage die. (yes its spelled with an @) Which is d6 rolled along with the d100 and is and for generating quality of success/effort. It is also used for ‘ticks’ for improvement. On a rolled 6, you get improvement option like in Runequest/BRP. Finally it used for hit location. Though some may balk at taking a hit to the noggin 17% of the time. There is also big emphasis on ‘Flourishes’ which is basically a special result of 10% of your roll, rounding down. It is Also used as figured value in many instances, Defense gives ‘Flourish’ value as penalty against attacks. Flourishes also allow special actions to be done in combat.
One of the less streamlined elements of the game is the use of an ‘energy’ used system for actions. Which is expended and regained during combat ‘blocks’. 10 second rounds during which character can move on certain ‘phases’. It is a bit like Hero System’s 12 second phased turn, but seems like it would run faster, and with interesting difference between speeds.
Overall it is low-medium crunch system. The very basic system reminds me of old star frontiers mechanics, and are very quick and easy to understand. The system has a (very) basic and advanced divide. With the advanced rules being more medium crunchy than heavy. The system doesn’t really feel heavy even though it is a nominally rules heavy rulebook.
As mentioned earlier, the system features a detailed action/initiative system, the system’s namesake round 10. It Uses a 10 second turn with actions broken into phases by speed. With various speeds in a phase thanks to .5 values. Speed is based on standard for characters with small modifications for advantages & large mods for gear. Heavy armor in particular slowing you down. Character’s can attempt one standard movement action and perform a hostile action during their phase.They can also hold actions, and do ‘useful’ actions, which are combat-related tasks that aren’t attacks. Making a defense is eschewed in the basic rules, with character’s only having a small penalty against their attackers roll based on their stats. Defense actions are free under as reactions, but only reduce damage a point.
To-hit rolls are a straightforward roll under attribute system, with very few modifiers. The defense rules under ‘advanced’ combat rules are kind of odd, in that successful defense only lowers damage by 1 point. Even a ‘dodge’. Which many may find annoying. While it makes sense for the ‘resist’ action, it counter-intuitive for a ‘dodge’ to just reduce damage a point, rather than avoid it all together. It is more ‘rolling with the punch’. . It is meant to streamline combat and make things deadly. As mentioned earlier, the advantage die is also used as hit location.
There are five types of damage, non-lethal, lethal, crushing, which is basically lethal from big impacts, which armor can’t mitigate. There is also attribute and will damage. The damage stacking reads a bit strange in that non-lethal damage isn’t overwritten by Lethal damage. Instead it is last in determining if a character dies, from my reading. Which seems off
In addition to the basics, there are sections on special rules (surprise, visibility, etc.), and an extensive section on grappling and boxing.
It also includes rules for vehicular, naval and mass combat which are high-level and generic but serviceable..
Overall the rules are serviceable and very streamlined. Combined with the limited amount of damage PC’s can take, should make for fast combats.
Character creation in Round 10 is fairly detailed, with character’s having attributes, skills, abilities (advantages), and penalties (disadvantages) as well as powers. There are 4 main attributes, Power, Agility, Accuracy, and Mind. There several derived stats/secondary stats, with the most important being speed. Lower speeds are better as you move on your first speed, and then multiple of that in each block.
The creation is ‘experience’ based character creation which is your basic point based cc. Abilities follow a D&D feat like progression in some instances, being I/II/III versions, and having various pre-requisites otherwise there more GURPS/HERO like advantages. Powers section features mostly design for cause based specific powers, with powers being limited to power origin types (arcane, cosmic, super, etc.). The powers can be bought at diff ranks & different enhancements for most of them. All have energy cost to use and most require a activation roll. . An advanced skill option is that in addition to raw rating on skills, can pay for skill ranks, expert, master, grand master. With the skill ranks, you Gain bonus @1 for each level., as well as being able to mitigate more penalties. I like that little bit of complication, as it adds more depth to what otherwise is just a high roll.
Overall it is fairly detailed system, but feels loose and is easy for GM’s to add too.
There are chapters/sections on Environmental rules, dealing with hazards, falling, disease etc. Game mastering info. An extensive bestiary whose stat blocks I found entertaining and made me want to mess with the system. it is easy for GM’s to make their own creatures as well. The book finishes with a gear and equipment chapter, filled with the standard stuff you’d expect of most use in many genres.
Overall I think there is a solid system here in Round 10. The streamlined nature of the basic rules and the expansive character design makes for lots of room for players to get engaged, and there are some additional rules and systems to make things more detailed. As it stands the book has poor organization and could use some reorganization and rewriting. But there is a good system here. It reminds me of my early games of star frontiers and thus should appeal to newbies with a veteran GM at the help. and I look forward to a revised edition that addresses these issues.