Thinking More About ICRPG

Yes, things have been way too busy IRL but that doesn’t meant I haven’t had a chance to catch my breath and sit back and ponder a few things. I grabbed up my copy of Index Card RPG Master Edition and did some deep thinking.

I am brainstorming on my next campaign (more about that later) and I want to add a few of the bells and whistles from ICRPG. I’m already using some like no derivative stats (3 to 18), timer dice, and “Don’t Die On Me, Man!”. So my players are already used to some of the core mechanics. But there’s a couple I want to slip in there for our next go around.

Room/Encounter/Scene Target Number: At first, this one may look bland. Set a Target Number for the scene and run with it. Attack a monster, cast a spell, sneak. No matter what you do, it’s basically the same number. Yes, there’s the EASY and HARD modifiers for specific tasks that adds a bit. Well, I’ve been keeping track a bit during the current campaign. Guess what? Looking at the math, I’ve been basically doing it that way without gaining and the additional efficiency benefits. It just works. We’re already using a roll-to-cast system for the spell casters. So the players are used to it but they still often raise the “What do I need to roll?’ question. Plus it bakes in the monster’s saving throw. All in one tiddy mechanic. Since we’re geographically challenged and playing via VTT anything to make play more efficient is welcome plus this mechanic really won’t throw a monkey wrench in play style and it will let the players really know (if they ignored all my other clues) if they are heading into a really tough situation.

Effort: OK, this one I’m still really debating but I am leaning towards it. If you haven’t read through any edition of ICRPG, Effort is basically damage. A characters ability score don’t affect damage. Points they put towards Effort and gear do. And it’s not just for combat. It can be used for other tasks that there’s a dramatic time limit on like being locked in a room that’s filling up with poison gas or figuring out the arcane runes before the evil cultists summon Big Bad Tentacle Daddy. Effort does make gear easy to use and provides a meaningful and unified mechanic when needed. Those are the good things. The only possible problem I foresee is the Fighter saying, “What do you mean I don’t add my Strength to damage?” This is one obstacle that can be pretty easy to overcome once the players get that while Effort is basically damage, it’s also an indication of skill. I think once they get used to it, they might like it. Also, I’ve some crazy ideas to use Effort and hack the Magic system but that’s a crazy rant for a later post. Most importantly, I think Effort is something that I’ll need to clearly explain to the players and make sure they understand the concepts. But overall, I think it will like so many other things make play more efficient. And that means more stuff can happen during a game session.

So yeah. These two things are probably going to get added to my next campaign. The group is still discussing exactly what they want to play so stayed tuned and hang on. I got the feeling this is going to be a fun one.

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