The Plays the Thing

If you have listened to last Friday’s “Roleplay Domain” podcast, I am looking to work on, and perhaps eventually self-publish, one of my old roleplaying games. I developed multiple tabletop roleplaying games back in the early 1990’s, but haven’t really done anything with them in the last 25+ years.

That’s about to change… but I need to determine which game I should update, if any.

You see, while I had some good ideas back in the day, I have an even better idea now. I plan to take the multigenre game I had built around using playing cards for conflict resolution, and am taking it completely free of anything for such.

No dice. No cards. No tokens. No coin-flips. Nothing.

What I have in mind is this: The better the players roleplay, the more karma their characters can build up. When they come to a point of conflict, they may spend a point of this saved karma, to ‘win’ the conflict, be it a fight, hacking a computer, whatever. More importantly, they will get to choose what happens, when they spend a point to win such a conflict.

The point being, a player may roleplay their way out of a conflict, or they can spend a point – which will be sparingly given – to effectively take over as Game-Master for a brief moment, and describe what happens. This seems fair.

Now I plan to give each character a base amount of Karma for each adventure, depending upon how ‘flawed’ they are. During character creation, the player will be able to choose a variety of character quirks and flaws, which will each add points to the character’s starting Karma score, as long as the player actually roleplays them. If they tend to ignore some of these flaws, the flaw – and the Karma points they provided – will be revoked.

That all said, consistent good roleplaying will grant characters boons, positive traits that allow them greater leeway during roleplay sessions. For example, if a character earns a Trait like “Greatest Swordsman in the Kingdom!”, when facing an opponent in swordplay¬†in said Kingdom, the character will win said fight, unless they choose not to. Why might they choose to lose, though? To earn extra Karma for a later date!

Anyway, I still need to flesh out my ideas here, as well as to take the one Worldbook I had written, and convert it to this new system. I don’t expect the system book to be very big, maybe a hundred pages, so I am thinking of including it with each Setting book, but that all depends on how it goes. I might instead give away the Core rulebook for free, then sell the Worldbooks for a small amount on DrivethruRPG or some other service. We’ll just have to see how it all goes.

Anyway, I’m pretty excited about this project, and can’t wait to really dig into it!

… and yes, you can bet your ass that I’ll be running this on “Knights of the Tabletop”, once it is ready to go!

I'm the editor, publisher, and primary "talent" here at

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