Thinking Minimal

I’m (once again) thinking about writing another tabletop roleplaying game. Or, more to the point, reworking and rewriting the game I was working on, earlier this year.

You see, I’ve been inspired by two things: First, the “Powered by the Apocalypse” games. Second, the concept of rules-light, minimalistic RPGs in general. Basically, the more I’ve been looking into, and playing, these games, the more I want to rework what I had before into something a lot more simplified.

I have come to realize that bloated, detailed games are fine, but they can also be a huge hindrance to fun. So what I’m thinking of doing is writing up my core setting idea, and interweaving a simplified system that works on d6 rolls for all actions. This will actually be pretty similar to a system I worked on briefly back in the mid-1990’s, that tied skills/abilities to three Attributes. For each of those Attributes a character could have two Skills/Abilities, from which they could each choose two Specializations. So a character would end up with 12 Specializations, off of six Skills or Abilities, all of which were tied to these three Attributes.

Yeah, I agree. That’s way too convoluted! So I’m thinking, at least to start off with, we’ll just do this: Three core Attributes, for each of which you can choose one Specialization each. Any other Skill or Ability you might want to try that isn’t a chosen Specialization is a basic roll of 2d6, added to the relevant Attribute score. If you attempt to use a Specialization, though, you get to roll 3d6+Attribute. That’s it. No fuss, no muss.

I’m thinking of keeping with the Cinematic feel of the game, that I was going for previously. So that means the more the players get into things, roleplaying their butts off and taking interesting/fun actions, the GM could the group Cool Points. These could then be spent by players to try to re-roll botched rolls, or to make truly amazing feats by reducing the difficulty target number, as the group allows. But once they are out of these points, they have to get by on their own, until they earn more.

In the end, the point is to make the game feel epic and grandiose, but still simple to learn and play. Yes, I expect characters will be a bit overpowered, but that’s rather the point. They are supposed to be Epic Heroes™, able to beat regular foes with ease, only having issues if they face truly difficult monsters or foes. This would be simulated by scaling difficulty targets for their actions. For example, a normal mob might only require a Four to strike, while a Moderate threat might need an Eight, and a Major Enemy might require a 10 or more. These are just rough ideas so far, I’m only giving examples here.

The point being that, as long as players are getting into the spirit of the game and making the adventure fun, they should be able to roflstomp most basic monsters. If they roleplay a lot, or make the game fun (making the GM laugh is a good example), they can likely do the same to moderate foes, as well. But that’s all still to be determined, of course.

One thing I am planning to include is some Oracles, so that this game can be played either cooperatively with a group of players and no GM, or entirely solo. I’ve been having quite a bit of fun doing solo roleplaying of late, so I’m going to throw together some basic Oracle tables to cover basic Yes/No questions, as well as some more situational rolls. But that’s all to come, in time.

In the end, I want everything based off of six-sided dice, and I’d like to keep it at no more than three such dice being needed at all. I’m thinking for character growth of having characters earn experience that is then exchanged for upgrades to their Attributes, or to buy a new Specialization. That’s it. Again, no fuss, no muss.

Anyway, I’ll be looking into working all this out soon enough. Perhaps I will upload a playtest version on this website, once it is ready?


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