So, a friend of mine is hosting a party this weekend and he asked if I could turn it into an "adventuring party"! I now have the task of coming up with a game that can be played by a group of 10 or so people who haven't played before and do it in under a few hours. Now that's a challenge!
Well, I'm not one to back down so...we'll start with my favorite light RPG: the PDQ system and let's start trimming. That's right, I'm making PDQ even lighter! So...let's begin.
Part 1: Character Creation
Trying to make this a very simple process, so we'll follow the rule of threes. No more than three steps.
- Step 1: Core Qualities Everyone gets two Core Qualities at Good [+2] Rank. The nature of the Core Qualities varies depending on the setting and nature of the game. For example, in a generic dungeon-fantasy game it might be your Race and your Profession. In a game of Ninja Burger it might be your Ninja Quality and your Job.
- Step 2: Weakness Everyone has a Poor [-2] Weakness.
- Step 3: Extra Qualities: Everyone gets 4 Quality Ranks to purchase additional Qualities (starting at Good [+2]) or increase an existing Quality by one Rank, up to Master [+6].
Part 2: Playing the Game
At the start of play all characters are given 5 Tokens (these might go by different names depending on play, for now they're just Tokens). We'll go over how they're used later.
The system will use the same basic rules for difficulty and Simple/Complex situations and Conflicts as the core PDQ system. There are two main differences:
- When faced with a situation that requires a roll all characters choose the highest, relevant Quality and roll 2d6 + MOD against the TN set by the GM (or an opposing character's roll).
- In Conflicts there are no Damage Ranks anymore, instead if an attacker beats the defender's roll then they inflict 1 point of Damage for every 2 full points by which they win (so half the difference in rolls, rounded down). Each point of damage subtracts a Token. If the attacker beats the defender's roll but does not manage to inflict damage (ie a tie or a success by 1) then they've still succeeded on the attack but not enough to inflict damage (although it may have some other effects depending on context). if you have none left then you Zero Out.
Part 3: The Tokens
As illustrated above your Tokens are your lifeline and you depend on them to keep you going during play. However there's more to them than that.
Recovery: When you lose a Token to damage (or otherwise, see below) then there are two ways to recover. Fast Recovery is suitable for high-action or high-silliness games where no one is keeping careful track of what happened. You recover one Token at the end of every Conflict automatically and recover all tokens at the end of a session. Slow Recovery is for games that involve some hint of realism or continuing consequences. Tokens can only be recovered quickly through a night's rest or plot devices such as magic potions, healing spells or first aid kits (this usually allows a character to recover one Token). Full recovery only happens during downtime between adventures.
Digging Deep: You can also spend Tokens in order to dig deep and perform amazing feats. When making a roll (either before or after) you can spend a Token to roll an additional d6 and add it to the roll's total. There's no limit to how often you can do this...but remember that the Tokens are your life.
NPC Tokens: A character's importance is based on how many tokens they have. Minor NPCs (Minions, townsfolk, stray dogs, etc) have 1 Token. Significant foes (An orcish commander, a deadly white ninja) have 3. Powerful opponents (giant ogres, pirate captains, combat cyborgs) have 5. Boss level opponents have 7 and Final Bosses have 10.
And...I think that's more or less it. In the end it should be possible to easily fit your character onto an index card.
EDIT: like so: