05 July 2021

Meet Your Calamity

To my knowledge — and I shall correct myself if I am mistaken — the first role-playing game to employ a wild die was Ghostbusters: A Frightfully Cheerful Roleplaying Game. Referred to as the "Ghost Die," it was included in every dice pool and bore the Ghostbusters insignia in place of the 6. Whenever a Ghost was rolled, something disadvantageous happened to the player character affected, regardless of whether the roll indicated success or failure and regardless of whether the roll was made by a player or the Ghostmaster. Other role-playing games would adapt this idea, referring to it as a Wild Die, Drama Die, etc. Some would assign the negative effect to the 1 instead of the 6; some would even add a positive effect to the 6. Some would include the wild die in the dice pool; others would make the wild die something to be rolled in addition to the dice pool. Many game systems have utilized the wild die in different and interesting ways, and the Awfully Cheerful Engine!, inspired as it is by Ghostbusters, has introduced its own innovations. Please meet the Calamity Die.

As with most other dice pool games, the Awfully Cheerful Engine! has assigned the negative effect (the "Calamity") to the 1 rather than the 6. Unlike Ghostbusters, the negative effect only takes effect if the roll is a failure, and it only effects the player character who rolled it. (I think this is a splendid decision.) The other difference here is that it is one's fellow players who dictate the nature of one's Calamity. Hopefully, this leads to hilarious or at least entertaining results befitting a comedy role-playing game, but if the players are reticent, I'm sure the Director (GM) can rise to the occasion.

Learn more about the Awfully Cheerful Engine! from EN Publishing.

09 June 2021

Awfully Cheerful Engine! Online Character Builder

My favorite role-playing games have quick and fun character creation rules. I prefer the process itself to be as enjoyable as possible, because in my opinion you have already started playing as soon you think about your character. Awfully Cheerful Engine! meets these criteria, and you can see how quick and fun it is with the Build a Hero! online character builder. Create a character from scratch with the tools provided or generate it randomly, then download your own ACE ID card. Free and easy.

The Awfully Cheerful Engine! Kickstarter project ends 18 June 2021.

29 May 2021

Awfully Cheerful Engine! Compatibility License

Returning to more cheerful news, one of the aspects of Awfully Cheerful Engine! I am excited about is its free compatibility license. Its terms are very generous, and it just might persuade me to publish my Ghostbusters adventures (with a few tweaks and name changes, of course). The license opens the door to many other possibilities as well. It's dizzying, really. It must be a revolving door.

You, too, can back the Awfully Cheerful Engine! on Kickstarter now until 18 June 2021.

23 May 2021

News at 6-Sided: Awfully Cheerful Engine! on Kickstarter

The Awfully Cheerful Engine: A Roleplaying Game of Action Comedy! (a.k.a. ACE!) is currently seeking backers on Kickstarter. Inspired by Ghostbusters: A Frightfully Cheerful Roleplaying Game, it retains (and refines) the world's first dice pool-driven role-playing system and maintains its light-hearted, comedic approach. In addition to the main rulebook, there are four adventure books (each of a different genre), with more being unlocked as stretch goals are reached.

The Awfully Cheerful Engine! Kickstarter project ends 18 June 2021.

08 May 2021

Star Trek and The D6 System

Of all the systems I can imagine using as the foundation of a Star Trek role-playing game, The D6 System (or something like it) is probably the best fit. It would be easy to adapt (perhaps using some of the streamlined rules of Zorro: The Roleplaying Game combined with the 1st edition Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game) and it would be easy to play. The system knows when to step in and when to step out, which is a pretty fundamental standard for my style of role-playing.

It is said West End Games was working on a Star Trek RPG before they ceased to exist. In the long history of official and unofficial Star Trek RPG adaptations, I'm confident it would have been the best. Instead of mourning what could have been, though, I think I'll work on my own D6 adaptation. And this time, I'll finish it and run it.

10 April 2021

Random Ghost Die Result Generator

According to the rules of Ghostbusters: A Frightfully Cheerful Roleplaying Game, something bad should always happen whenever a Ghost is rolled on the Ghost Die. The nature of this bad thing is left to the Ghostmaster's diabolical devices, and this is usually not difficult to do when it's the antagonist who rolls the Ghost. The Ghostmaster merely increases the effectiveness of whatever the antagonist was attempting or tosses another complication into the situation. But what happens when a Ghostbuster rolls a Ghost and the Ghostmaster can't be bothered to come up with another critical goof-up on the fly? I'm glad you asked, because there are two tables for just such an eventuality — one for successful rolls and one for failed rolls. And here they are!

If You Succeed and You Roll a Ghost...

Roll 1D6

1. You do the thing, but then you take a pratfall.
2. You do the thing, but then you drop something you need.
3. You do the thing, but then you forget what you were doing for one round.
4. You do the thing, but then make too big a deal about it, reducing your Cool to 1 until you succeed at something without rolling a Ghost.
5. You do the thing, but then you break it, jam it, weaken it, or otherwise render it useless.
6. You do the thing, but must immediately make another roll to make the success stick.

If You Fail and You Roll a Ghost...

Roll 1D6

1. You also slip and fall. Spectacularly.
2. You also somehow manage to drop everything you are carrying.
3. You wander aimlessly, talking to yourself, until someone or something snaps you out of it.
4. You apologize excessively, reducing everyone's Cool by 1 until you succeed at something without rolling a Ghost.
5. You also render it (whatever "it" is) useless. Try something else next time.
6. You very loudly curse your failure, which attracts everyone's (and everything's) attention, blowing your cover completely. Everyone in your group is stunned by this display for 1 round.

Another method of addressing the pickle that is narrating the result of the Ghost Die is described in The Discretionary Ghost Die. Use with discretion.

28 March 2021

Zorro: The Roleplaying Game via Esoteric Podcast

Until I have time to read and run a session of Zorro: The Roleplaying Game (and I'll probably post something pre- and post-game), I have been listening to episodes of The Esoteric Order of Roleplayers podcast on the subject. The links below take you on an introductory tour of the game by a GM and two players who are experiencing the game for the first time.

[This article is cross-posted in Theoretical Swashbuckling.]

21 February 2021

Coming Cross-Post Attractions

After much deliberation and second-guessing owing to the scarcity of reviews on the subject, I ordered Zorro: The Roleplaying Game yesterday. Published by Gallant Knight Games, it uses the D6 System (of West End Games fame) with some new innovations that look promising. It's a swashbuckling game, so I will be cross-posting anything I write about it on Theoretical Swashbuckling. Stay tuned.