Author: horizoncarlo

Update to Party of Light damage system

Remember when I talked about changing the Party of Light damage system to use D4s? Well, I did that.

Grab the latest rules: Party of Light Rules v2 (PDF)

But I wanted to keep the original “flat 1 Stamina” approach too, so I basically made a “Basic v1” and “Advanced v2” of the rules. I could even see a v3, v4, etc. as I add more complexity, statistics, classes, and so on as my nieces grow up and want to play a more involved game.

So anyway the change is Success is now 5+ and the difficulty dice have changed to Hard = D6, Normal = D8, Easy = D12. This changes the odds a bit, in a beneficial way to be honest, and also frees up the D4 to become a Damage Dice.

Also for now the rules don’t specify anything about Critical Hits, but I do want to consider adding something like that eventually. I’m gonna play the game tonight and see how it works and how Crits would fit in well. Originally I considered just having max to-hit roll = crit, but that makes Easy much less likely to Crit than Hard. Hard would actually be a 50% to Crit if you hit, since you’re only hitting on a 5 or 6 on a D6 anyway. So maybe I need a different approach. I like the idea of having the D4s potentially explode, but that could be really swingy and time consuming, so maybe just 4 on the Damage Dice gives +1 damage or something.

Star Wars and Fallout for Fickle RPG

Two fun settings for Fickle RPG for you today! They both have a custom character sheet, and I think the Fallout one might be the best I’ve done so far. The fonts and Vault Boy imagery really pop.

Here’s how the sheets look:

Setting Downloads

As for the settings, I ran a 4-5 session mini-campaign for Star Wars. Lots of planet hopping, and a nice payoff in the end. For Fallout I’m mostly used to Fallout 1 & 2, and my friends are more familiar with Fallout 3 & 4, so we did sort of a mix. That setting was used for a one-off, which went really well and I think captured lots of Fallout-y things.

Also they had some of the better Luck Dice re-themes: Force Dice for Star Wars (naturally), and VATS Dice for Fallout.

Anyway here are the setting notes, including the custom character sheets:

I’ve also updated the main Fickle RPG page to keep these settings organized and make it a bit easier for new players to use existing materials and sheets.

Echo Death: playing with logos, sticky notes, and formatting

Oh hey remember this game? I do! It’s been at the back of my mind even when feverishly working on and playing Fickle RPG. Echo Death has been kicking around for almost two years, and after my initial brainstorm and playtest I shelved it and meant to come back. I’m excited for the theme, and I’m excited to try a diceless system. I need to rewrite the entire rulebook from the ground up, but in the mean time I’ve been dabbling with different fonts, spacing, logos, and the idea of “sticky notes”. Realistically I want the rules to look like an old computer manual that a cool, hip hacker has written notes in and handed down to his buddy.

Anyway, just something I wanted to share. I’m still going to wrap up Fickle RPG first before I move onto Echo Death, but besides maybe finalizing White Line Fever in the meantime I think this’ll be my next game. I have a monthly Android Netrunner game going at the moment so I think I could fit Echo Death in there for an easy playtest avenue.

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.


  1. Art!: Yep, art is in, some of which you can see scattered around this post. Thanks to 4-5 hours of looking through 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 and maybe a few other places (like, 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!