The S3 Simple System

Table of Contents:
  1. System
    1. Overview
    2. Proficiencies
    3. Deficiencies
    4. Boons
    5. Notes
    6. Optional Rules
      1. Experience
  2. Examples
    1. Example 1: Rolling
    2. Example 2: Proficiencies
    3. Example 3: Proficiencies
  3. Proficiencies
  4. Deficiencies
  5. Boons
  6. Character Sheet

The S3 System was designed from the ground up to be a system that is very simple to learn and play. S3 is based around the 10 sided die. High rolls (6,7,8,9,0) are considered successes and low rolls (1,2,3,4,5) are considered failures. The higher the number, the more significant the success. Lower failures may (at the GM's option) mean more spectacular failures. Any time an action has a reasonable chance for failure (a character does something that she doesn't know how to do, someone attacks something, etc.), the character should roll to determine how successful they are.
Example 1

Steve is repelling down the side of a building. He has only ever seen such things done on TV but is being talked through it by a competent instructor. His player rolls a die and it comes up 6. The GM decided that this means that he is making progress, but has to go slowly and he'll need another roll. The player rolls again and this time rolls a 2. The GM considers for a moment then explains that as Steve is nearing the ground, he loses his grip and falls. He is winded and will take a few minutes to recover, but is otherwise unhurt.

Everyone character has some things that they are particularly good at and some that they are rather bad at. To that end, every character starts out with a set number of proficiencies (3 for a normal person, 6 for a highly compitent person, perhaps even more for an extrodinary person). These proficiencies represent a relative level of competence in various areas and each should be interpreted as representing an approximately equivalent level of skill. In terms of game mechanics, if you succeed at an roll in which you have the appropriate skill, it is as if you succeeded with a roll 2 higher than what you actually rolled.
Example 2

Sharon is skilled at carving. Feeling the need to create, she decides to carve a wooden elephant. Sharon's player rolls and gets an eight. Since she is proficient at carving, this counts as a 10. After spending time doing the actual work, she is left with a very nice piece of artwork.

Example 3

Now lets consider Sharon again. She is trying to create a wooden elephant, but this time rather than rolling an eight, she rolls a 10. Following the convention, this is considered a 12. Once she has completed the elephant, rather than merely having a nice elephant she has an elephant that is better than any elephant that an untrained person could make. Perhaps it is carved such that it has another smaller elephant carved out of its hollow center. Regardless, it is quite well crafted.
If there is a proficiencies that you think your character needs but that isn't listed, talk to the GM. As long as it is reasonable, she may choose to accept it. As always, this is at the GM's discretion.

With strengths, come weaknesses. In order to round out your character and to enhance his abilities, you can take deficiencies.

In the world of S3, most items of minor value characters can get for free (assuming they can find them). Some items can have a significant effect on gameplay. Weapons, vehicles, large sums of money, houses and many other things all fall into this category and are called "Boons." Every character starts with a set amount of boons (for normal people 2 boons, for the well-off 3 or 4 or higher as weath and plot demand).

Some GMs believe that players live and die by the dice rolls. Although this is acceptable, GMs are strongly encouraged not to punish players for rolling badly, but instead to punish them for making poor choices. A player should have an incentive to talk her way through a situation rather than being compelled to fight and use her die rolls to force her way through an encounter.

Optional Rules

These rules are not necessary to play a game in the S3 system but they may enhance your enjoyment of the game. Deciding whether or not to use these should be a decision that is made between players and GMs, but ultimately the GM will decide if she wants to use any of them.


Since players tend to like the possiblity of advancement and people tend to change over time, it maye be desirable to have some system of leveling. Toward that end, there are two systems of advancement in S3.

The first is a traditional system: character gain experience points by doing useful things. As they accrue experience points, they can spend them to purchase additional Proficiencies or to improve old ones. The rate of gain and the effects of improving proficiencies are (for now) an exercise left to the GM.

The second system is skill based syste: as the character has more experience doing something, she slowly improves at it. The speed of the learning should be based on the regularity with which the player practices and the rate at which the GM desired the characters to advance.

A GM may choose to use either, both or neither of the experience systems (or she may invent her own). She should certainly discuss the system being used (or not being used) with the players before play begins.

Martial ArtsYou have had some training in hand to hand combat. If necessary, you could fend off an attack from an assailant who was unprepared.
ClubsYou've swung a bat a few times. Maybe you use a sledgehammer as part of your daily routine. Either way, you're experienced at using large blunt objects efficiently.
BladesYou might well survive a knife fight. You've done your bit slashing and stabbing and in the right conditions you can handle yourself. Select either short or long blades for this proficiency.
PistolsHandguns are familiar to you. You've shot your fair share on the pistol range and can handle using a small to medium caliber handgun.
RiflesYou're able to use rifles with some degree of effectiveness. You might be an occasional hunter or you just shoot for relaxation. Wehn selecting this feat, select either buckshot or slugs as your perfered round type.
Heavy WeaponsYou've spent time dealing with the big guns. You can handle weapons that are somewhat larger than your body such as chainguns or rocket launchers. You should have a good reason for having such experience.
ThrowingYou may have been the backup quarterback on your highschool football team. You're pretty good when it comes to throwing things. You usually make more baskets than you miss at basketball.
ArchaeologyYou're good at studying people based on the items they've left behind. When taking this, select either ancient or modern as your area of expertise.
AstronomyYou know a bit about the night sky. You can identify a fair number of constellations and can navigate by the stars if necessary.
ArchitectureYou are well versed in the common designs of buildings. You are able to design simple structures and predict general trends in building layout. Given structural plans/blueprints you can also detect flaws in construction.
BiologyYou know the basics of how higher lifeforms from your home planet work. You are more able than most to determine the weaknesses of biological creatures about which you have some knowledge.
ChemistryYou know about as much about chemistry as someone who has taken introductory level courses. You also remeber how to make various useful things from common chemicals. Given specific instructions, you can safely mix chemicals to create complex chemicals.
GeologyYou have a knowledge of rocks, soils and things earthen. You can tell the approximate age of something by determining the weathering on it.
MedicineYou're on par with a triage nurse in terms of medical knowledge. You can usually determine what injury or illness a person has given study and for common ailments know the standard treatments.
PhysicsYou remember most of your introductory physics courses. You can make decent predictions about how things move as long as they follow standard Newtonian mechanics.
PsychologyYou've done a bit of study into the human psyche. You're better at making guesses about what people will do than the average armchair psychologist.
Auto RepairYou're well versed on the basics of car mechanics and with time and proper equipment can fix most mechanical issues with automobiles.
Computer UseYou can use a computer rather well. You know the intricacies of your favorite operating system and a bit about some others. Given time and information, you can usually get data out of a machine you are physically using.
ConstructionYou've built buildings in the past. You can follow a set of blueprints and create reliable structures. You can also create simple structures from memory.
ElectronicsYou are handy with a soldering iron and can usually repair simple electronics. You are generally well versed in the design and implementation of sequential and combinatorial circuits.
Gun SmithingAlthough you may or may not be a good shot, you know how to repair and maintain firearms. Given time and equipment you can repair most weapons so long as they have not been fundamentally damaged.
Lock PickingYou know the basics of picking standard tumbler locks. So long as you have te tools, doors which use standard locks can be opened in a matter of time.
PlumbingYou've had work installing pipe (water and gas) and can do it again if necessary. With a bit of help, you could tackle large projects such as installing/maintaining plumbing systems for a large building
ResearchIf you have internet or library access, you can find information assuming that it is publicly avalible.
ActingYou are good at pretending to be other people and memorizing lines. You may have even had a lead role once
CarvingYou can make useful things from wood by cutting it. This may be artistic, but is not necessarily.
PaintingYour artwork is generally a good representation of what you were trying to paint. You're not a master, but you could pick up a few bucks doing charicatures in the park.
PerformanceYou have some sort of musical skill. Select an instrument or singing when you choose this proficiency.
SculptingWhen you sculpt, the outcome is generally successful. You are essentially profecient at carving in hard stone.
SewingYou can repair and make clothing and other garmets, bags, etc. from base textiles or by knitting.
SketchingYou can use your artistic sketching abilities both to produce simple works of art and also easy to undestand diagrams (such as those used in architecture or electronics).
WritingYou have a firm grasp of your language and can write with the proficiency of a college student. You usually do well on written papers.
BeautifulYou are better looking that the average of your species. People take notice of you
CharismaticWhen in a group people tend to follow you.
ManipulativeYou are good at convincing others that your way is the right way.
OrationYou are good at relaying information through vocal speech. This is the skill of teaching, preaching, and politicking.
AcrobaticsYou could make it onto a college gymnastics team if you put a bit more effort in it. You are experienced in tumbling, uneven bars, etc.
ClimbingYou have done some rock climbing in the past and are somewhat proficient at it. You could climb any structure which provides a decent surface. This proficiency also includes rapelling.
JoggingYou go jogging a couple of times a week and can keep a brisk pace for a few hours easily or longer if need be.
SkiingYou've done both cross-country and downhill skiing and could do it again given the equipment and situation.
Et cetera
Common SenseDon't worry, the GM will warn you before you do something incredibly stupid. He might even help you if you're having trouble deciding what to do.

AllergyYou are mildly allergic to something that will be common in the campaign. You may be allergic to some sort of airborne allergen and sneeze often. You might be allergic to bug bites and swell when bitten. Either way, you may need medication or to simply avoid situations where you would encounter such things.
BigotThere is a certain race, creed, religion, sex, age, or other group against which you have some negative predisposition. You think they are inferrior, stupid, or otherwise lacking. Unfortunately, if you interact with your disfavored group in front of other non-bigots you will likely draw the ire of more reasonable folk.
CrassYou act inappropriately in social situations. You may be rude, crude, vulgar, or simlpy not know the socially acceptable method of acting in every-day situations.
DeformedOne or more of your limbs is somehow unhelpful. It may be broken, missing, disfigured, or simply unusable. Regardless, you must go without it.
DrunkardWhen you have alcohol, you drink it even though it may not be beneficial to you.
HemophiliacIf you are cut, you will continue to bleed unless you have competent first aid applied. Don't get shot.
IrritantPeople don't like being around you. Even if your suggestions are the best course of action, people tend to ignore you.
NarcissistYou think you are better than other people. Your actions are always better than others and you're quick to take offense at those who disagree with you.
OverweightYou need to lose a few pounds (or kilograms). You are slightly slower than your peers.
Poor EyesightYou cannot function at full potential without glasses or contacts. You may be nearsighted, cross-eyed or have an astigmatism. Regardless, don't lose your visual aids.
Short Attention SpanYou have difficulty maintaining your attention for long periods of time on anything.
SmokerAt least a pack a day. Don't worry, you have a few years before cancer sets in. You need your fix and are difficult to deal with if you don't get it.

AutomobileYou have some sort of gasoline powered automobile. It might be sporty and fast, with poor gas mileage. It might be a school bus that can hold 40 people, or it might just be a sensable sedan.
FirearmYou have some sort of projectile based weapon.

Copyright 2005 Blade Libergnosis. All S3 Simple Systems documents are licensed under the Create Commons Share-alike with Attribution License. Suggestions for enhancement of the system are welcome and may be added to the documentation. Submission of suggestions implies consent to release them under the same license as the rest of S3.