EPICS game system

edited December 2009 in Story Games
I think it was Paul Czege who mentioned EPICS RPG in another thread. I went out and bought the PDF for $5 (off rpgnow.com) and it is full of wonderful things. This thread is for me to post my discoveries and for you to discuss them.


  • edited December 2009
    Survival Points

    Characters don't get experience points; they get survival points. This measures your investment in the character over time. The more you play the character, the more you and other people care about the character, and thus the harder it is to kill that character.

    One way you can earn survival points is by fleshing out the character. This is a "develop in play" type of game where you start with a loose concept and add facets to your character as you go. Any time you add a detail that develops your character, you get survival points for it. So instead of XP buying you skills, you can add skills to earn survival points.

    Even cooler, you can mention that you *don't have a skill* to get survival points. You've just given your character a limitation, added that detail, and you get a reward for it.

    You can make up shit about other people's characters, too, as long as they include their own character in there somehow (e.g., "We used to go hunting together"). The other person doesn't have to accept the new facet, but they're encouraged by the survival points.

    The game has something called "Into the Fire" awards. It's another survival point award you get when you make trouble for your character. The example given is that you roll badly when you're shooting a pistol at someone. You can narrate that your gun actually jammed and is now useless. You get survival points for that because it's a permanent fact about the character.
  • Sounds influenced by Universalis. A LOT. :)

    Mo', plz.
  • Posted By: David ArtmanSounds influenced by Universalis. A LOT. :)
    I can't imagine there's any genealogy. I bought an early print copy of EPICS in March of 2002. Universalis 1e wasn't published until Gen Con that July.

  • Sounds like it influenced Universalis a LOT.
  • Influence

    No, not like "EPICS influenced Universalis" or vice versa... the game has a PC stat called Influence.

    Influence measures a character's effectiveness in the game. Players purchase Influence with survival points. Increasing Influence by 1 point costs (current Influence squared) survival points, so if you have Influence 3 now, it'll cost you 9 survival points (but see below) to get to Influence 4, and another 16 survival points to get to Influence 5. And there's a minimum cost of 10 survival points, so those first 3 increases (1->2->3->4) costs you 10 survival points each.

    The take-away here is that you can be more effective in the game, but only at a cost of your character's survivability.

    Imagine you're playing D&D and the DM gives you hit points every time you describe something about your character, but whenever you want to level up, you have to spend those hit points to buy new powers. It's sorta like that.

    Cool, huh?
  • I'm only on page 9 of this game.
  • Interesting push and pull. NOW it reminds me of Sufficiently Advanced, in which your character can have higher "stats," but they reduce your character's "spotlight" or direct control over narrative.

    And what's the Universalis term for a Component with a lot of Facts (which provide dice--i.e. efficacy)? Importance? Yeah, that's it. And EPICS is a generic system, ya?

    Nah... nothing similar here at all. ;) :P

    But don't mind me--keep bringing the Cool Report. I just might pick it up--I'm a sucker for generic systems.
  • Power

    Okay, so this is strange. Characters have a Power rating, separate from Influence and Survival Points, that marks their ability to win combats.

    Power is essentially how easily you win combats, while Influence is how easily you succeed in all other conflicts.

    So you can have high Survival Points but a low Power rating. That'd mean you are hard to kill but you don't win combat very often.
    Low Survival Points but a high Power rating means that you defeat your combat opponents readily, but you might die very easily!
    A high Influence but low Power means you have a lot of control over the story, but you still don't win combats often.
    A low Influence but high Power means you lose in non-combat situations all the time, but you win the combats.
  • I really liked it, as you can see from my review. The main difficulty is for people who like applying known factors (character personality and skills) to partly-known situations.
  • edited December 2009
  • edited December 2009
    more wtf
  • Please keep going! This is cool stuff, and I love learning about new systems.
    (At $5 I might just buy my own copy, too.)
  • Somewhat off-topic, they've got a typo in their acronym — viz. the blurb on RPGNow:

    This is EPICS (the Easy, Player-Initiated Game System)!

    EPICS does sound much cooler than EPIGS, though :)
  • Conflict System?
  • edited December 2009
    The Easy, Player-initiated Character System


  • edited December 2009
    You'll have to be patient, as I'm reading bits and pieces of EPICS whenever my brain needs a think-break. So it gets my attention in five minute intervals every couple hours.

    ETA: I have no idea why S-G is REPEATEDLY putting my most recent posts up there in comment #9. Scroll up to read about Power, I guess.
  • edited December 2009
    I will intrude briefly to say that you should really check the free Destiny System, by the same author, which is a more polished and better developed (IMHO) evolution of the EPICS system. Lots of interesting ideas.
  • Posted By: The TweakerI will intrude briefly to say that you should really check the freeDestiny System, by the same author, which is a more polished and better developed (IMHO) evolution of the EPICS system. Lots of interesting ideas.
    If I may ask, why do you think Destiny System is an improvement?
  • Are you sure about that Destiny System pdf link? Doesn't work for me.

    I'm not sure what is so innovative about getting Survival Points and spending them on character improvement. Sounds a lot like, say, hero points in heroquest (which I don't like). Is there more to it?
  • Posted By: demiurgeastarothAre you sure about that Destiny System pdf link? Doesn't work for me.
    Worked a day ago, does not work now.
  • I'm swamped with work and another programming project and planning for TWO parties this weekend. I haven't abandoned this thread. Give me a week and I'll get back to it.
  • I'm still waiting for The Tweaker to get back to me, so okay.
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