System tends to emerge from character creation for me. I'm going to start aggregating my thoughts for Empire of the Flaming Moon here, and at some point it should be possible to look over these entries and create a character. Then I'll run a game and we'll see how it goes. Basically, I am moving on from the one-off posts about it in the past and starting to really build the structure and system.
A few setting notes: this is the Asia of myth and legend. Magic is not common among PCs, but magical creatures are known to exist and often come into conflict with humans. This is generally "Medieval" Asia, although I know that's a problematic word to use in this context and I'll go into more detail later. The campaign will begin focused on a fantastical Japan, "The Empire of the Flaming Moon", although PCs may be from "The Dragon Lands" - China - or elsewhere.
Step 1: Roll 3d6 7 times. This is your
STRength - Melee to hit and damage modifier. Ability check to knock down doors, grapple, lift stuff...
CONstitution - HP modifier. Ability check to resist poison and disease, endure discomfort, carry stuff...
DEXterity - AC and ranged to hit modifier. Ability check for fine motor manipulations, catch things...
INTelligence - Number of languages acquired, Katas learned, literacy, checks to research and understand written things...
WISdom - Modifies Katas and some magical effects, checks to notice and intuit things...
CHArisma - Modifies reaction rolls, checks to manipulate or charm, affects Honor and Notoriety...
and starting cash. Switch one score if you like. Modifiers:
9-12: no modifier
Step 2: POWer
Power is your ability to enact your will upon the world, interact with kami and other spirits (Shinto), or tap into the unifying spirit in which all things are one (Buddhism).
Power is one's ability to do magic. Most people start with a negative POW score and do not practice magic.
Add your INT or WIS to your CHA or CON. Is your character learned, or intuitive? Charming, or tough? Which two scores determine your POW is determined at character creation and does not change. (You may use INT+CHA, INT+CON, WIS+CHA, WIS+CON, but not INT+WIS or CHA+CON).
To get your POW score, add the two abilities you have chosen and subtract 28. This is your beginning POW. It can increase if one of the originating abilities increases, through templates, or through level progression, discussed later.
Think about your character. Are you an Ainu tribesman whose family passed down knowledge of how to channel elemental magic through your body? Then INT and CON might be appropriate.
Are you a wandering monk, influencing those around you through mystic chants or instrument-playing, clever words, and mischievous pranks? Perhaps WIS and CHA are appropriate to determine your POW. The uses of POWer are detailed later under Magic.
Step 3: Skills and Starting Template.
Skills are as in LotFP - that is, everyone starts off succeeding at noncombat actions which require a die roll on a roll of 1 on 1d6. New Skills may be proposed to the GM by players, or invented by the GM at any time.
Starting Template is what you're good at - the function classes have in DnD.
Templates - pick 2 at character creation, or the same one more than once. Pick one more each time a level is gained.
Accuracy: +1 to hit.
Savagery: +1 to damage.
Master of Secrets: +1 to POWer. Subtract POWer score from HP, to a minimum of 2.
Two-Souled: You have a second POWer score, determined using the other two ability scores you did not use the first time. Subtract POWer score from HP, to a minimum of 2.
Training: 2 points to distribute among Skills as Player sees fit.
Step 4: Race
Human - Advantages on the Birth charts. 1d6 HP.
Level - XP needed
1 - 1500 XP + 100 XP per point of POW
2 - 3000 XP
3 - 6000 XP
4 - 12,000 XP (5 - 24,000 &etc)
Hengeyokai - can turn into a small animal or back 1/day/level. Feared and hunted by the Emperor and his agents. 1d4 HP.
1 - 2000 XP
2 - 4000 XP
3 - 8000 XP (& etc)
Oni - +2 STR -2 CHA, worst on Birth Charts. Ogres who live in bogs. 1d8 HP.
1 - 2500 XP (& etc)
Other races exist in the land, but generally existing PCs must befriend them before they are available as Player Characters.
To Do list:
-Backgrounds (Family Social Class, Economic Standing, Are you a Samurai?, Are you in a Ninja Clan?, are you Yakuza?, Are you Noble?)
-Magic (Shinto, Buddhist, Elemental, and Sorcerous magic)
-Katas, Honor, Notoriety
-Special Attack Forms and resolution system
-Weapons, equipment generally, starting packages, how they are affected by the above
-Flora, fauna, other setting stuff
1. Anyone who has played an OSR game or D&D doesn't have to learn too much to play or run
2. Evokes a low power world of Samurai, peasants, ninja, monks, yakuza, and weird mythological creatures
3. Has a unique flavor that frontloads at character creation and D&D heads won't have to look up too much while playing