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There's lots of crunch in CRAM, but where's the fluff?

CRAM is nearly all "crunch" (rules and mechanics). This is due to the length requirements and the goal of a truly universal system. There is very little room for "fluff", so the GM and players will have to supply it themselves.

The rules could be expanded to include stereotypical monsters and items from the various RPG genres, but anyone who has seen movies or read genre fiction will already be familiar with the tropes. Therefore it is more useful to provide the GM building blocks with which to construct what is in his or her imagination than to waste space with common references for "Green Dragon" and "Vorpal Blade".

Why is there no magic in CRAM?

There were rules for magic spells in versions 1 and 2, but with each iteration of the system the rules were either inadequate for players to use or so vague as to make house rules obligatory. A common pitfall of fantasy RPGs is to attempt to scientifically codify magic into a set of rules or a long list of premade spells. The result is 50% of the rulebook is devoted to magic when 25% of the characters are magic users.

In the end magic was removed from CRAM, but the skill system should be sufficient for GMs and players to invent wizards and mages in their fantasy RPGs.

In the future there will be an article describing possible magic systems that still embrace CRAM's design.

Well then, why are there psionics in CRAM?

The definition of psychic powers is well understood, common knowledge. Given that the definition of telekinesis is "the power to move objects at a distance by nonphysical means," it is not unreasonable to assume that the GM could assign levels of difficulty to feats of telekinesis. For example, flipping a light switch on is trivial in comparison to moving a parked vehicle.

Assuming that the GM and players all agree upon the definition of telekinesis then the only factor not explicitly stated in the rules are the limits on the skill. Can the players lift massive objects? Can they be thrown? Et. cetera. This is a stark contrast to magic where even common tropes in fantasy are vastly different between authors.

Can I play as an Elf?

Ask your GM.

My character is an Elf. What kind of bonuses does he get?

In the strictest definition of CRAM, there are no special rules for playing as a type of character. A CRAM character is made up of four attributes and two or more skills. The combination of attributes and skills do not necessarily mean your character is an Elven Archer or a Martian Scientist, that's part of the persona you create.

Your GM could create any number of additional rules around races or classes in the game, but that is part of the world he or she has created, not the CRAM system.

When does my character get stronger/faster/smarter/whatever?

That's up to your GM. Probably after you have rescued the damsel in distress, solved the murder mystery, stopped the atmosphere leak in the space station, or whatever it is you are doing in the game.

This could mean that your character's attributes change, or he/she learns a new skill, or something else.

The four attributes - Physical, Mental, Vitality, and Luck - isn't very descriptive. Why doesn't CRAM have any sub attributes?

A single number or small collection of numbers can not model all of the nuances of a person, but the combination of the four base attributes does create a certain level of uniqueness to each character.

Furthermore, CRAM is by design not intended to be a system for detailed and realistic simulations; adding derived attributes that are computed from the four base attributes would be contrary to CRAM's design.

In the end it boils down to how the player roleplays his or her character.

Why only use six-sided dice?

Availability. Six-sided dice are a common household item whereas polyhedral dice, strictly speaking, are not.

Can I use my polyhedral dice anyway?

Of course you can! (Especially if you are the GM.) There's no reason to not have some 4, 8, 10, 12, 20, 30, etc. -sided dice on hand for generating random numbers.

What is the significance of 7 and 13 dice for ability checks?

The intention of the resolution mechanic is to represent natural talent (in the form of attribute scores) and formal training (in the form of possessed skills). Characters with a high degree of natural talent will tend to be good at all related tasks, regardless of formal training. For a character to be an expert however, they must have a high ability score and formal training.

The numbers 7 and 13 were selected because of the probabilities associated with them: when rolling 7 dice there is approximately an 80% chance for success (the limit for talented amateurs), and when rolling 13 dice there is approximately a 95% chance for success (even experts can make mistakes). The graph below shows each discrete probability.