The first Petal Throne RPG is very close to 0th edition D&D. One of the ability scores is renamed, and they are expressed as percentiles, but there are no rules as written-type skills for them to be applied to*. Take, for instance, how we handle grappling:
Players often ask about the possibilities of physically capturing a surprised opponent (rather than striking him). This, like many tasks requiring arduous physical or mental action, cannot be legislated easily by the rules... the character's strength, intelligence, and dexterity are added together and averaged... percentile dice are rolled, and if the score is less than the averaged figure, the action is successful.
So it similar to the roll at or under ability score that most D&D players were starting to resort to in order to figure out what happens when failure needs to be adjudicated.
Later in the book, we get a play example, which further shows us how Barker would run games at the time he wrote the first Tekumel game.
Player: We listen at the door.
Ref: (rolling die) You hear nothing.
So it seems that Barker probably did the x in 6 method of listening at doors. Maybe an x in ten since he was so fond of percentiles though? BTW, in his book, d20s are actually numbered 1-10 twice and he feels the need to tell people how to use them to generate 1 to 20 numbers. He treats random number generation as a thing that people just weren't used to at the time, giving us lots of parenthetical advice and procedures that modern roll players ain't got no time for.
Player: We have three men trying to open the door.
Ref: (rolling dice) The door opens.
So now I see dice plural, and that tells me either he isn't consistent with the singular die vs plural dice--but I think he is because he uses "die" a couple lines down when getting into surprise rules-- or he went with percentile chance to open a door with three dudes. Maybe he has their strength scores written down and does some mental math. I dunno.
Player: Our strongest warrior... is lying flat on his stomach and prodding the hasp [of a treasure box] with the point of his spear.
Ref: (Mentally giving the warrior a 20 percent chance of being hit by the tiny poisoned projectiles hidden in the hasp, rolling a die and finding that the spines missed...) A handful of little spines go zipping over the head of your warrior. He's not injured. The chest comes open.
So we see here that PC skill had nothing to do with avoiding a trap, it was all up to the description the players gave of their approach, as well as a little luck. Very old school.
Player: We're searching the chest for secret compartments.
Ref: You find none. That's all there is.
Once again, the players describe something, and the Ref just decides the results. No spot or search or INT checks are rolled. Let's see what happens when they encounter an obvious trap in an idol surrounded by coins:
Player: He pushes just one coin off the altar toward himself. What happens?
Ref: (Laughing fiendishly) That's all it takes to set off the trap. A great metal cage falls clanging down over all of you. I believe you were all up near the altar--nobody specified leaving any of the party behind to guard the door, and thus I assume you were all within the 20 foot square area covered by the cage. (Rolling percentile dice, giving the party a 20 percent chance to have had one or more stragglers outside the cage area...)
So it seems he was a fan of 20% chances maybe. Well, that's about all I have, but if you run across other examples of Barker's play style, I'd love to hear them.
*raw skills seem more like backgrounds. Barker seems to have a common sense approach to them. If you have the skill, you know how to do certain things. No dice involved in doing them.
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