Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Geeking Out: The Accelerant Ruleset

I had a serious geek out moment yesterday. I was speaking with the author of another larp blog about a game system and he pointed me in the direction of the online ruleset. I read over it and found that it was amazing, easily the best boffer larp set that I have ever seen. The core rules and effects fit neatly into 28 pages of text. The math is simple and the flavor potential is huge. I love the Accelerant rules set. I am going to go ahead and post the link and then I will look at a few of the things that make it so great.

The first thing I must dispense with is the question I will get, why is the book 179 pages long when you said the rules fit into 28 pages? The answer is that all of the core effects and combat mechanics fit into 28 pages, the rest of the book is fluff specific to the system that I linked. The limited number of effects might seem to some NERO lags as a detriment, I am here to tell you it is not. Having as many takedowns and durations as NERO is a mistake. It heightens the learning curve of the game for vitually identical effects. In the Accelerant system, you can be Drained by fire, or drained by law, these are both drain effects with different roleplay. The fact that the effect and the cure remains the same but the flavor can change even more than in NERO is probably my favorite part about this system.

Low math is probably one of the greatest concepts that has come about ins some recent boffer larp systems. In the past the math for combat has always been fairly high, characters in NERO regularly swing 10s or 20s. In a low math game all swings are for 1s except for special attacks. The Accelerant system is low math, vitality stays fairly low even in more powerful characters, which serves to make combat more dynamic. People are up and down more, more of the combat is decided by special skill use and many of the skills that are used are refreshable after combat. This type of system has several benefits, the lower math makes it far easier to keep track of health and conditions. 5 vitality and 4 armor is far easier to keep track of than 50 body and 40 armor. The refreshable skills allows for a different sort of scaling, a damage over time scaling rather than a total effect scaling. Because a character does not have a hard limit on healing and curative effects, the limiting factor for plot becomes how often players are attacked rather than how many takedowns the NPCs have. This allows for a more action packed game and a simpler feel, faster respawsn and more frequent battles = harder.

This system is very customizable, as you can see from the Madrigal ruleset a great number of classes and spells can be created using the effect,flavor system laid out. These classes can be similar but have a totally different feel based on the flavor of the effects that they use. The same is true of both NPCs and traps. NERO and the other big larp systems tend to have a fairly large number of effects but a small degree of flavor, in this system the reverse is true.

With the combination of simple math, limited effects, a simpler scaling system and great flavor, I believe this ruleset would lend itself to running amazing games. Oh and the best part, apparently the cost is significantly lower than the royalty based cost of NERO international. If I were going to start a new campaign or convert an old campaign to new rules, this would be on my shortlist of rule systems to consider.

Please read through the rules, let me know what you think!

Edit: Tim posted a link to the Madrigal Ruleset, which includes the Accelerant rules as well as their own stuff. To view just the Accelerant rules, follow this link.


  1. Tim, this game looks excellent. I have two thoughts:
    1) It might get confusing remembering which effects are tied to which attributes (as curative abilities can affect either one status across all attributes, or all statuses tied to a single attribute).
    2) I like the idea of doubling effects on a single packet (as in "slow and paralyze by poison") but it seems like that could bog things down. I don't know, maybe it works really well in this game and I'm just looking at it from a NERO perspective.

    I love the three hits and back rule! I think it would help avoid the blanket beat of big monsters, help eliminate charging, and make combat a lot more fun. I don't know if we'll ever get a chance to play it, but we should try to grab some people for a one day thing, just to see how it works.

    Also, there's a skill called "I Question Your Bearing". This is too awesome for words.

  2. Yea I thought about that to with the attribute status thing but then I looked through the skills and it doesn't seem like they use that a lot. Odds are you may have to clarify a couple of effects until people got used to the system. The chained effects thing is probably fine, all of the calls are simpler and the effects are very limited so it shouldn't bog things down to much. The three hit thing is awesome. I am probably going to run another dreaming esque game in november at my house with this ruleset to see what it looks like.

  3. The one thing I didn't see was a leveling mechanic. Is it in there and I just missed it? I'd be curious to know how quickly characters gain experience.

    Also, I'd be totally amped to try the game out. Let me know.

  4. It works lot like exiles. You get character points for every even that you attend and extra for helping out. You start with 30 I believe in a standard campaign though for a one shot I would probably start everyone with 100.

  5. Keep in mind that things like "Skill X uses Attribute Y" are also game specific and not integral to the Accelerant core rules. For example, Rob's (guy who owns Accelerant) other game that just debuted, Mirror Mirror, only has one attribute and then various per battle or per event limitations.

    The Core Rules are really all about effects and delivery mechanisms, how PCs gain access to those effects is up to an individual game.

    The other, probably bigger paradigm shift for Accelerant is the 100% in game philosophy. The reason a lot of stuff has been designed the way it has is to prevent any break in game play. Any. It's a great experience that I highly recommend all staff members of any LARP try out. It opens your eyes to new ways of doing things. I remember working on the rules for 9th and having debates about certain changes that ended the second the person I was debating with played Madrigal and suddenly was like "Oh! I get it now!" ;)

    And yeah, if anyone is interested in running an Accelerent game, I recommend it as a system and Rob is a chill guy to work with.