Technical Rules regarding Penalties and Modifiers.
Since ORPGS is a Target Number based system, there is a more specific definition of how penalties and modifiers work. Basically all circumstances that affect how hard or easy an action is affects the Target Number aka Difficulty. Something easier has a lower difficulty, while something harder makes the difficulty greater.
ex. readying a weapon, that needs a minor assistance of the second hand forced to be done one handed - the action is requires a roll against difficulty 10 to be achieved in quick action.
While, the only factor that affects Roll modifiers are the Specifics Employed. This is where the system shows its focus to specifics and creativity; when the action is more specific, taking advantages of narrow specialties and maximizing the details gained from good questions, imagination and visualization nets a modifier to the success.
ex. The same act in the previous example, but the character has in his/her background specific training or familiarty with this method (part of character detailing), and the player points out that the back-slung scabbard has been specially prepared to allow for a better one handed draw despite the length of the weapon.When a player makes careful and specific note of little details like this, the character gets a small bonus, +1 to +2, in the task rolls. These bonuses can become permanent, part of the character's rich detail and the players careful preparation. Not all creative and observant specifics are permanent, many are one time - taking advantage of the circumstance.
A GM can dispense +1 for good and well thought out ideas, when a player does his due-dilligence. Ideas that are unique and impressive can be a +2, while Ideas that make a game memorable can be +3.
Disadvantages and Advantages are worth no points.
There are some metrics though, like the hours cost in conditioning or training for an advantage. Since I'll be making tables that allow for various "traits" to be rolled, these are inherent and needs money, equipment, training/conditioning/therapy to overcome, keep under control or minimized.
Certain "Advantages/Disadvantages" are merely extensions of the Basic Ability Scores. Some conditions are in play given certain duration, prerequisites or circumstances.
Ex.I've pretty much discussed this in the Card as tools of organization; conditions being something that may or may not be "in-effect".
All the negative physical effects like Wounded or Exhausted are conditions, they are in play until the character gets a chance to heal, be treated, and/or rest.
As there are many negative conditions, there are many positive conditions. Unfortunately, these conditions have a cost (a Lifestyle cost). There are "maintenance/lifestyle" cost for each character. 30.5 days a month x 24 hours, the character determines how they spend this. These positive conditions have a cost, typically in 30, 60 hours, 90, 120, 180 and 240 hours a month.
Ex. Strength Training of 30 hours gives a +1 bonus to Strength, 60 hours is +1 STR and +1 Con, 120 hours +2 Str and +1 Con. Beyond 120 hours, no more bonus. There is a Dex version, replacing Str with Dex. Only Endurance Training has +1 Con 30hours, +2 Con 60 hours, +3 Con for 120 hours.Many what would be "advantages" require lifestyle cost. Adventuring, especially the kind that draws on the Training, allows the character to ignore the maintenance for a few months. I haven't finalized ho those rules work (about a check in the start of the second month where the character will notice that there is some decline in his abilities unless they make up the hours).
Note that typically characters can only juggle so much training while trying to be productive and self-sufficient. Skills require maintenance, and its up to the GM and the players to determine which skills are maintained by certain activities.
Some Conditions negate disadvantageous traits.
Focus of the Game.
The focus of my GMing and System Building is Problem Solving. Characters try to solve problems and get better and better asking questions/gathering information, creating solutions, going-through the scientific method or problem solving process, and improvising when implementing plans. The system hopes to create a mental framework to view the world, in an easy to follow mechanics that cultivate scientific/problem solving thinking.
Story telling and Socializing is not secondary, its built in if the system is entertaining its target audience - people who like solving problems in a social environment. The narrative/story telling part is built into the exercise because good problem solving mindset tends to have a built in narrative to track sources and timeline of information.