Thursday, April 12, 2012
EABA is the End All Be All RPG system. In a nutshell, it specifically is a d6 dice pool (of sorts), roll over an assigned target number, settingless or generic system that is simple, yet detailed enough to get compared to GURPS quite a bit- as in every review I've seen.
EABA is published by Blacksburg Tactical Research Center which is Greg Porter. EABA's creation starts out with a game called TimeLords (not related to Doctor Who), A dirivitave of the TimeLords game system was used to power a game called CORPS, which was a conspiracy theory game. Many of the elements and lessons learned from making CORPS went into the making of EABA.
EABA v1.0 (EABAlite) is a free example version which set the hook in me. It's final version is EABA v1.1 which I've decided to bypass in favor of Version 2.0. 2.0 is currently and openly being developed and appears to be in the final stages. There is a lot of information about what 2.0 will be like- the beta files are available on the BTRC website. These rough cut rules are what I'm immersing myself into, anticipating the official release.
The die mechanics for EABA seem like an inverted GURPS (no wonder the frequent comparison)- 3d6, but here it is roll over to beat a target number instead of the roll under GURPS rules. So you still get the nice bell curve. It is also a dice pool system. When an attribute or skill level is greater than the 3d6, you roll that level in amount of dice, then you tally the best three. Very clever system.
Another brilliant system design is the Universal Scale. This is a unified abstraction for almost everything in the game all against one chart. This scale replaces the need to look up various rules for various reasons, most of the time. There are Levels (ranging from -12 to +34) which are cross referenced with primarily dice value and other things like damage, mass, distance, size, time, etc. All of it consistent.
A couple of details I really enjoyed when studying the EABAlite rules were how Aiming and a ranged weapon's Accuracy works in combat. The difficulty Target Number would be determined by the distance (referring to the Universal Scale- 500 meters would be at Level 21). A weapon with an Accuracy level of 6- spend one turn Aiming and the Target Number of 21 is reduced by the Accuracy level (6) for a new Target Number of 15. In a 3d6, pick the best three, that number is actually possible.
Another detail I had never come across in any RPG before was as a character takes more damage, the penalty on Attribute and Skill roles is added to the Defense modifier.
Taking damage reminded me of marking the boxes with either an X (for lethal damage) or a \ (for non-lethal damage) reminded me of the good old Top Secret/S.I. rules for taking damage, which was very similar if not just the same.
The design is very clean and clear. There is very little artwork. The PDFs are designed with using the document as a PDF in mind. There are features built in that will be useful on tablets and stuff like that.
There are a few settings already being developed for EABA v2.0 including an updated CORPS campaign.
EABA has so far proven to be quite worthy. A lot of RPG experience distilled into a efficient and logical presentation. I hope v2.0 sees release soon. I intend to use it.