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Friction Engine - A Pocket-Sized RPG System • 2017rpg

David Melhart • http://davidmelhart.com

>Character Sheet<

Name:____________________________________________________
Power*:[Melee] [Marksmanship] [Sorcery] [Technology]..___
Influence*:[Deception] [Persuasion] [Intimidation]....___
Resource**:...........................................___

*choose one from each, then divide 6 between Power and Influence.
**start with 1 Resource.


>Creating an Adventure<
 
Each Adventure has a level of Struggle, which is calculated by adding d6+Power for each player. 

The GM divides the Struggle number between Scenes. This is the Weight of the Scene. The GM describes the Scenes and NPCs.


>Solving Scenes<
 
Players must explain their actions then roll as many d6 as either their Power or Influence based on their individual approach.
6 and 5 count as a success.
The Weight of the Scene determines how many successes the players need collectively to have their way.

Weight + 1 = Critical Success
Weight     = Success
Weight - 1 = Minor Success
Weight - 2 = Failure

Players can spend a Resource point to gain an additional success.


>Resource Management<
 
Players can freely acquire as many additional Resource points before and between Scenes as they wish, but doing so increases the overall Struggle, which the GM can use against them.

Players can also gain a Resource point if they purposefully hinder the group by lowering the number of collective successes for that Scene.

Author Comments

Design Considerations<

This is a quick and dirty roleplaying system that allows a super quick setup, however, the game is not designed to be easy.

The heart of the system is the conflict between the long term struggle of the group to beat the module and the temptation of short term gain of the individual players that hinders the group effort.

The game is deliberately designed to push players towards social conflicts, as having high social skills is not punished by the system. However, coming up with a social way to beat a group of orc riders is a challenge on its own.

The philosophy behind the design is to keep players and characters separate. To foster creativity, players never have to actually convince the GM or other players, they always roll to see the outcome of each situation (both combat and social). However, nobody can roll without roleplaying first. A roll does not substitute an action, just determines its outcome. This way, the players are free to come up with theatrical or goofy solutions as they like.

To help the players stay in character, they can only use their specific Power or Influence in rolls. This helps players not to “chicken out” from their roles and ensures that an intimidating warrior will always try to strike fear into the enemies’ hearts.

Additional Rules and Advice<

  1. Players can roll against each other to decide a quarrel (both physical and social). The higher number of success wins.

  2. Never say never. An unexpected turn is the best option for a failure. When evaluating “failed” Scenes, always think “No, but…” and introduce a new Scene.

  3. You can build different Scenes with different Weights to give the story a rhythm. A first encounter with a few thugs with Weight 3 can be beaten easily, while a Weight 10 boss-fight for the last encounter gives players an extreme challenge.

  4. You can easily adapt the system for any type of roleplay setting by choosing different Powers and Influence skills than listed.


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