This is an extremely lightweight D&D-esque system designed to provide extremely fast-paced character creation and combat. It’s intended to replicate a lot of classic dungeon crawl-style play: characters become less disposable and more interesting over time (but are easy to replace at low level) and players might alternate PCs as some of their “stable” are unavailable for particular adventures.

All character detail is handled with cards that can be reduced to a packet after play (but unlike some card systems, many of the cards expect players to personalize them). At the beginning of each session, players arrange their cards into several “sheets” of up to 3 x 3 cards (card binder sleeves are probably helpful) which can actually alter the way the character plays each session (by rearranging skills and their bonuses and weapon combos).

I only got the character cards done before I got distracted; I’ll hopefully get back around to adding the other cards later.

Core System

  • Roll dice + skill bonus
    • 2d6 for Cautious action
    • 1d12 for Aggressive action
    • Cautious vs. Aggressive only matters for description of action (player basically trades higher average and minimum for less chance at high numbers)
  • Difficulty:
    • Against Opponent: 6 + Opponent skill
    • Against Environment: 6-18
    • Tie goes to defender
  • Margin of success matters

Character Creation

  • Take one race card
  • Take one +4/+4 character card (or a second race card if the first race was Human and the player wants to be a half-X)
  • Take one +1 attack
  • Take a 1 point, 2 point, and 3 point Defense card (or larger if the GM wants a lower-lethality game)
  • Take one piece of basic gear.

Character Cards

Outside of character creation, cards have a cost equal to highest bonus x 10 (most cards are 8 points divided between two skills, min 1, so a +4/+4 costs 40 points and a +7/+1 costs 70). A player can only have one race card (two if a half-human), and only one of each other category of card.

Each card has a place for the player to write a name, focus, or description; a special ability; two skill bonuses; and two skills. The bonuses are on right and bottom, skills are on left and top. When you place a card adjacent to another horizontally or vertically, the sides combine to form a bonus (ignore any skills or numbers on sides that are not adjacent). Players can arrange their cards as desired at the start of each session but must have one card in the center and can only build one card out from that card (to a max of 9 x 9). Many of the skills are deliberately vague, and the player should be allowed to use any skill that could remotely make sense for a situation, within the GM’s tolerance.

The cards are here.

Until you’ve purchased a card, you do not have whatever the cards represent: no name, no title, no class, no backstory. For example, a player that chooses Human and Elf to start is just “The half-elf” until he buys a class and becomes “The half-elf Fighter.” He may eventually purchase name and backstory elements as well, but until the card is purchased, it’s a mystery to everyone.

Attack/Action Cards

Each card costs the innate bonus of the attack x 10. You have to buy cards in pyramid (e.g., 2 at +1 to buy a +2, 3 at +1 and 2 at +2 to buy a +3, etc.). Some require a class card as a prerequisite for purchase (e.g., Fighter attacks).

Each has a combo bonus on the bottom and right. Higher bonuses come from cards that are harder to use. If you use the attack successfully, if your next action is the attack to the right or the bottom, you get the bonus. Like character cards, attack cards can be arranged as desired each session, but must have one in the middle.

Each has an attack with a base attack bonus involved and an effect.

The difficulty of an attack is usually equal to 9 unless otherwise modified.

Defense Cards

Each card costs the number on the card x 10.

Each card has a rating 1-9. These cards aren’t arranged, but just kept in a stack. When the character is hit by an attack, he or she must discard defense cards with a total rating at least equal to the margin of success (e.g., roll of 11 vs. difficulty of 9 must discard 2 points of cards; that could be two 1 cards, or a 2 or better card). A player may have to discard a large card if there are no smaller cards that exactly total the damage.

Each card has a special effect. The player can tap a defense card to gain the effects of the card. The card can’t be used again until untapped (including to expend for soaking damage). A long rest untaps the cards.

A player can only use defense cards equal to total usable character and attack cards (i.e., three for a starting character and up to 18 for a character with two full 3 x 3 grids of cards). A player with more defense cards must select which ones to bring on the adventure.

The character is Incapacitated at 0 cards (even if some cards are just tapped). This may or may not mean death, depending on the situation, but usually means the character is just unconscious if any cards are tapped rather than expended.

Healing can restore 1 card (equal or less than the value of the healing effect). If you’ve been healed, you can’t be healed again until you’re damaged again. Otherwise, defense cards return due to natural healing (at slow rate based on speed GM wants characters to be out of play between adventures).

Gear and Spell Cards

Gear/Spells grant a special ability (generally used by tapping the card). Gear and spells are acquired from adventuring (casters also get magic attacks that represent more commonly usable spells; spell cards are generally more powerful). A character can only equip a number of gear + spell cards equal to lowest card total of any other group (e.g., a character with 2 character cards, 1 attack, and 3 defense cards can only equip one piece of gear or spell). Any piece of gear or spell that hasn’t been tapped can be swapped between encounters with another piece of gear or spell the character owns and could be carrying.

Like defenses, gear and spell cards are untapped after a long rest.

Enemies

Enemies have a HD type, an attack bonus, and anything else is a special ability. Roll one HD for each creature in the fight when it begins and eliminate them like defense cards. For example, a four pack of d6 goblins rolls 2, 3, 5, and 6. A hit on goblins of 5 MoS might take out both the 2 and 3 or the 5. Enemies can use their attack bonus as a skill bonus for things they should be great at, half their bonus (rounded down) for things they might be competent at, and +0 for everything else. Beefy enemies might have multiple HD each: group them into clusters for each enemy after rolling and the enemy is incapacitated when all of its dice are gone.

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