Cover of the EABA core rule book
|Publisher(s)||Blacksburg Tactical Research Center|
The End All Be All game system, commonly known as EABA and pronounced "ee-buh", is a role-playing game system designed to adapt to any imaginary gaming environment. It was created by Greg Porter in 2003. The game cites the Hero System, GURPS, and Call of Cthulhu as influences in its development.
Prior RPG History
Role-playing games (RPGs) of the 1970s and early 1980s were environment specific, and incompatible with one another. For example, TSR published its Dungeons & Dragons game specifically for a fantasy environment. Another game from the same company, Star Frontiers, was developed for science fiction-based role-playing. TSR produced other games for other environments, such as Gamma World, Top Secret, Gangbusters, Boot Hill, and more. Each of these games was set with its own self-contained rules system, and the rules for playing each game differed greatly from one game to the next.
This changed with the publication of GURPS, or Generic Universal Role Playing System, by Steve Jackson Games in 1988, the first commercially successful, all-encompassing, "universal" role-playing system. The concept of a generic basic game system, expanded as needed into various settings, became the dominant subject in RPG design. TSR converted its flagship D&D system into a generic system with the release of the Third Edition of Dungeons & Dragons and the creation of the Open Gaming License (OGL) and the d20 System in 2000.
In 1987, BTRC published its first game, TimeLords, in which players played characters based upon themselves in a time travel setting. As a time travel/science fiction based game crossing many possible settings, much of the groundwork was already laid for converting the base system into a truly universal RPG, and in fact some players were already using it as a generic game system. Much of the TimeLords system would later be converted into EABA.
In the late 1990s, BTRC made its first generic RPG system, the Complete Omniversal Role Playing System, or CORPS. The system was loosely based on the TimeLords system, but traded realism for simplicity and speed. The rules were previously published in 1990 under the same name, as a modern conspiracy role-playing game. Thus, it was not a true universal system, and focused solely on humans and human-based settings.
A character in EABA is built based on attributes, skills, and traits. These are purchased in a points based system, using Attribute Points (AP) to purchase attributes, and Skill Points (SP) to purchase skills. Traits are purchased using either type of points, depending on what trait is purchased; negative traits can also be chosen which give a character additional AP or SP.
The total number of points available to spend depends on the setting and players. A gritty post-holocaust survival game may only start with 80AP and SP, while a superhero based game could start with 400AP and SP. In principle a Gamemaster can balance the power of foes to the abilities of the player characters by comparing their relative point values.
Characters in EABA have six basic attributes:
- Strength — A measure of the character’s physical power and bulk, ability to lift, carry, and do damage
- Agility — A measure of the character’s physical agility, coordination, and manual dexterity
- Awareness — A measure of the character’s mental capacity, intelligence and perception
- Will — A measure of the character's force of personality, and ability to endure pain
- Health — A measure of the character’s physical stamina, ability to resist disease, and speed
- Fate — A measure of the character's luck and paranormal abilities.
Attribute scores progress exponentially, rather than linearly as is typical of many games. Increasing an ability score by 3 is an approximate doubling of the Attribute. For example, a Strength score of 9 could lift approximately 100 kg, while a score of 12 would double that to 200 kg.
A score of 5-9 is considered average for any human attribute, 13 is the upper limit of human ability, and anything over 15 considered legendary.
Skills are purchased using skill points in a similar manner to attributes. Each skill has an associated attribute; Firearms is based on Agility, Programming based on Awareness, etc. A character without any ability in a particular skill can use the base attribute with a penalty to determine the success of an action. Spending points on a skill will eliminate the penalty and spending more points will grant bonus dice.
The basic game system provides an extensive list of possible skills and specializations to them, and each setting comes with listings of additional setting-specific skills. Players are encouraged to create more skills as needed to cover whatever game setting or style they might want.
Traits are additional things about a character, positive or negative, that help flesh them out. Traits are purchased using either AP or SP, depending on which trait is wanted. Some negative traits give the player additional AP or SP to spend.
An example is the character's age. Most characters are considered to start at between 16–20 years old (for humans). An older character would lose Attribute Points, as an aging person would generally get physically weaker; but gain Skill Points, as they generally have learned more skills in their longer life.
Characters could also be more (or less) wealthy than average, or have a special ability like exceptional luck or the ability to use magic (depending on the game setting). Various game setting include rules for many additional traits, and players are encouraged to create more as they see fit.
EABA is a d6-based dice pool system. A higher ability or skill level will allow a player to roll more dice to determine success or failure of an action, but only a limited number of dice - usually three, although there is a Trait that permits four or more under certain conditions - may be chosen from the total number of dice rolled. If there are more than three dice in the pool, one of them may be converted to a +2. So an action with a difficulty of 1 will always succeed, but an action with a difficulty higher than 20 will always fail, as 20 is the highest possible roll on 3d6+2. Additional factors may make an action more or less difficult, thus increasing or decreasing the number needed for success.
Combat in EABA is handled either by opposing rolls (mêlée) or against a set difficulty (ranged), both of which might be modified by things like target size, movement, visibility and so on. There are also numerous optional rules, such as explosions, called shots, hit locations and their specific damage effects, automatic fire, parrying etc.
Damage and defenses
Improving the characters is done with experience points, which are either accumulated for general use by adventuring, or for specific skills by training.
- Fires of Heaven - science fiction setting
- Ythrek - a low tech / fantasy setting
- Colonies - science fiction setting
- NeoTerra - cyberpunk / virtual reality setting
- TimeLords - time travel setting
- SpaceTime - science fiction / cyberpunk
- Dark Millennium - alternate history, zombies in 11th century Earth
- Age of Ruin - post-apocalypse setting
- Code:Black - modern day horror setting
- WarpWorld - fantasy / psionic / modern setting
- EABAlarp - a live action role-playing version of the rules
- EABAanywhere - a highly trimmed version of the rules, focusing on portability and playability
- McClung, Ron (January 2006). "EABA Role Playing Game System v1.1 (Review)". GamingReport.com. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
- Blacksburg Tactical Research Center web site
- EABA lite, a free version of EABA
- A large review of EABA on rpg.net