Tuesday, August 25, 2015

RPG-A-DAY 2015 Day 25: Favorite Revolutionary Game Mechanic...Pacesetter Action Table


There have been a lot of revolutionary game mechanics introduced to RPGs over the years: dice pools, player-directed narrative, THAC0, etc. But my favorite revolutionary game mechanic would have to be this little table:

When I first began playing Pacesetter's Timemaster and Chill back in the 1980s, I thought the Action Table was amazing. Rather than thumbing through a rulebook for every situation, everything you could do in the game could be determined by using one all-encompassing table. Skill checks, hand-to-hand melee, ranged combat, fear checks, ability checks, everything was determined using the Action Table. And since all Pacesetter games used the same Action Table, every game they produced was inter-compatible. So you could have space rebels from Star Ace time-travelling with Time Corps agents from Timemaster to fight The Unknown from Chill. (It was GURPS before GURPS.) I'm also fairly certain other table-based RPGs (TSR's Marvel Superheroes, for example) were inspired by the original Pacesetter Action Table system as well. And with new Pacesetter RPGs like Rotworld, Majus, and Cryptworld, the Action Table continues to run many of my games to this day.


  1. I Agree. And I even like more these days than I did back in the 1985 when Chill came to Sweden (as "Chock").

  2. I thought the TSR Marvel FASERIP table came first.

    1. Well, Marvel, Chill, and Star Ace all came out in 1984, so let's say it was a tie. ;)