The L.I.F.E System was devised in 1999 as an answer to roleplaying games which didn't address stats seriously or left out crucial components. The system was playtested in various forms until 2000 when its' current incarnation was accepted. The L.I.F.E. System adopted the use of Rock, Paper, Scissors as a primary means of discovering the odds of success. The game relies on success, fail or ties to figure character success rather than using dice with numbers which some feel overcomplicates the system.
A reflection of the character's physical, social or mental capacities, Natures were inspired and adopted from various roleplaying games as well as video game RPGs which use similar stats. The Natures used in Wastelands of Damnation were directly inspired primarily by D&D, which uses nearly all of the same stats (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charima). Added were Perception which was integrated primarily from its' use in video games like Diablo and Baulder's Gate where a character's Perception was a field range and they could notice more things based on this range. Combining Manipulation and Charisma would give an extra Nature (Intimidation).
Inspired by D&D, Skills would be areas of expertise which allow the character to perform complex or educated actions ranging from Jumping to Lockpicking. All Skills are broken down between Primary and Secondary Skills. Primary Skills are basic skills which require little-to-no training to discover or build upon. Secondary Skills are Skills which require a certain number of Primary Skills to study, learn and perfect training in, reflecting a more realistic approach to Skills in an RPG.
Similar to D&D's Feats, Edges are abilities which are naturally occuring or acquired by training which gives the character a boost. Edges may sometimes grant a Point bonus during certain conditions or grant other advantages which may help the character in certain situations. For example, Natural Leader is an Edge which may help a character in situations where leadership comes into play.
Damage occurs within the L.I.F.E. System in four types: Bruising, Threatening, Aggravated and Devastating. In order to create a more realistic game damage was designed after the ailments which threaten a character's life using a mortal as the model. For instance, being struck with a blunt object will almost always inflict Bruising damage (0-3 Points). Anything capable of cutting the skin or stabbing and penetrating the skin but not muscle or tendon (up to a few inches deep) is Threatening damage (4-15 Points). Aggravated is any damage which cuts tendon, muscle or bone (16-64 Points) and finally Devastating damage is any damage capable of cleaving a limb (64 or greater).
Below are examples of the mechanics presented in the roleplaying books published under the L.I.F.E System. For more information, please see the section of your book pertaining to the system.
- Combat is simple and easy. As per the system rules, if a character cannot see something occuring (such as build up or use of a power or an assault) you DO NOT need to declare anything specific. A simple, "Give me a Physical Test" is all that is needed. Remember, any time a character is not paying attention, they may be surprised. In the event that a character is paying attention you may declare a specific action such as "Give me a dexterity Trial to attack" or you may declare, "I lengthen my nails and come at you, give me a dexterity test."
- Jumping and using Athletics is as easy as invoking the Skill. While in a scene, simply state out of character what your character is attempting and Throw Chops to see if you can accomplish your goal. If it doesn't affect anyone your Director may simply as for a Test to see if your character can do it and let you know how far/well you were able to do so.
- Using Dark Gifts on a target is even easier. Each description will let you know how the power works. Keep in mind there are charts for how the power works. A default rule is that a power covers your character's Empathy range unless stated otherwise. Check the Targeting Chart to see how you can target a single person/creature/object or how many targets you CAN affect. Typically using Dark Gifts is as easy as invoking them (for a clash of wills or instant affects). When instant-powers come into play, the target is affected without realizing it. When it comes to a power they will notice, they get to "test" to resist the effects with a particular Skill, Edge, power or willpower.