Fickle RPG v0.6 and the road forward

Today is a great day, as it’s release day! Specifically a new version of Fickle RPG. In theory I have finalized all the decisions from playtesting and brainstorming. Which means this v0.6 set of rules could become v1.0, with an art replacement and final read over for typos or mistakes.

So first of all grab the Fickle RPG v0.6 PDF and take a look!

What changed? Lots! If you’ve been following the development you know I’ve had a few ideas around player elimination on defeat, the idea of Karma/Luck/Fortune dice, renaming some elements (like Fate Coin), etc. After much playtesting and consideration I have locked down a lot of those elements with solutions I’m quite happy with.

Changes

  1. Art!: Yep, art is in, some of which you can see scattered around this post. Thanks to 4-5 hours of looking through http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/ that task is finally done. In addition I removed the zombie-specific tentacle images and went with a more generic “leaf” look to the pages and sheet.
  2. Luck Dice: Each person gets a Luck Dice when assembling their dice pool, and it’s normally a different size or color to distinguish. The Luck Dice can be allocated as normal to Fickle or Flat, and provide a more powerful version of either effect. If Fickle the Difficulty of just that Luck Dice is reduced by 1 (ie: Hard to Normal). If Flat it counts as 2 Successes instead of just 1.
    What this means is another great, meaningful, interesting decision has been added to the act of resolution. And because the overall dice pool sizes were reduced by 1 to accommodate (for example starting Attribute is now 3 instead of 4), a few annoying rules could be streamlined, such as total Stamina now being Attr+Attr instead of the awkward Attr+Attr-2. In addition NOT getting your Luck Dice makes a great punishment for players who are starting to be Defeated. All in all a fun, polished idea of the Karma Dice shared/common pool idea.
  3. Broken/Crushed/Defeated: Previously if a player was reduced to 0 Stamina in any Category they were Defeated and couldn’t participate. This wasn’t a ton of fun if it happened early on in a scene. So now there are 3 “stages” to Defeat: Broken, Crushed, Defeated. There are also cool new “Stamina Cards” to track and remember these stages per player. How it works is when a single Category is reduced to 0 Stamina, the player is Broken. They cannot use their Luck Dice, and cannot apply effects when Reacting (such as reducing enemy Stamina). BUT they can still otherwise act. And if everyone in the party is Broken, then the party wipes and loses the scene. Otherwise if a player gets 0 Stamina in TWO Categories they become Crushed. They suffer the cumulative effects of Broken, and also either lose the benefit of a Skill OR take a new -1 Skill (as an injury) for the rest of the session. And finally if they have 0 Stamina in all 3 Categories they are Defeated and only THEN can’t act. Stamina recovery after a scene is different too now, as you only recover 1 Stamina if you were Defeated, otherwise you don’t get any back.
  4. Skill Weakness: Now as part of generation you have to take a -1 Skill weakness, which should add even more flavor to characters.
  5. Game Session Example: Lengthy excerpt demonstrating a bit of a high fantasy session, which is nicely formatted and gives a good idea of the gameplay.
  6. Roll Testing: I wrote a simple software application to do every combination of Fickle/Flat/Luck to ensure there wasn’t a best path or approach to allocating. Some interesting results, and I’m quite happy with the spread.
  7. Defensive Reactions: I had an a-ha moment around these. The idea is if you wanted to React defensively, where you don’t try to do Stamina damage back, you don’t really get an advantage from that. When really the rules already covered that case, just no explicitly. Because the Difficulty of a check is based on the number of effects you apply, and since defensive Reactions are applying NOTHING, that means they should be 1 Difficulty easier, aka Easy 4+. So I didn’t even need to make a special corner case rule, I just had to state that fact. So happy with how easy that was.
  8. Exploit Coin: I renamed the Fate Coin to “Exploit Coin”, which makes for the also fun rename of “Tempt Fate” to “Exploiting”. I like the double meaning of heroic style exploit, and also the idea of exploiting the rules or a loophole. This was done to avoid the Fickle/Flat/Fate alliteration. But let me tell you I almost went the other way and committed fully to silly naming with Fickle/Flat/Fate/Fortune (instead of Luck Dice).

What’s Next?

Now I’m gonna post the rules a few places online to get feedback (hello to anyone who reached this post from a website!) Then I have a Star Wars mini-campaign to wrap up, a few one-offs to run (maybe Fallout, maybe Mass Effect). Then I want to get a non-placeholder piece of art for the game overview, basically of a game in progress at my home table. Then if I’m happy with everything I’m going to make the character sheet PDF a fillable form. I’m also going to add the game to https://rpggeek.com/ and maybe a few other places (like darkshire.net, and maybe DriveThruRPG). Then if I’m happy with everything I’ll make the game v1.0 in a month or two. Which means all in all Fickle RPG will have taken less than a year from the first rule I wrote for the game. Not a bad turn around! After that I’ll likely take a break, let the creative juices bubble, and come back to one of my many other projects (maybe Echo Death).

In the meantime enjoy the new version, I know I have been!

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