Tiny #TTRPG ruleset I just came up with because I was too lazy to brush up on Mothership for a one-shot …

Player characters have several Attributes & a few Stress tracks.

Tonight characters had Fear, Injury, and Insanity tracks of Stress, because horror.

Attributes can be anything:

+ Former research biologist
+ Big & strong
+ Magic sword
+ Sharp sense of smell

I ran it with 10 Attributes each, allowing characters a few open slots for players to fill during gameplay, but that may be a few too many.

To do a hard Thing, roll against the Difficulty of the Thing:

+ # of helpful attributes
- # of troublesome attributes
- # of relevant Stress ✓

5 - easy
10 - tricky
15 - tough

A tough character may have “free” stress boxes on a track which soak stress without compromising roles. A vulnerable character may start with Stress ✓s.

This sample character has PTSD:

Tuff Joe

+ Grizzled vet
+ Tough
+ Big knife

Fear ☐
Insanity ✓

Fancy rules …

The GM may allow characters to forgo adding Stress ✓s from misfortune by roleplaying an inconvenient reaction.

For example, instead of taking 2 ✓ of Fear from seeing a monster, spend 2 rounds motionless and screaming.

Exceeding a certain amount of Stress on a track, or having enough Stress that it modifies a roll below 0, takes a character out.

If a character does something inconvenient for them because of an Attribute, they pocket a re-roll they can use later.

Different characters may have different thresholds at which Stress takes them out on different tracks

In conflicts, I prefer to keep the GM from rolling dice if I can help it.

A threat just has a difficulty rating like anything else. Players roll to DEFEND, whether from an assassin's bullet, a rival's insult at the King's court, or a hacker trying to disable your phone.

This Stress rule inspires caution when characters are banged up. Back off and live to fight another day.


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