Sunday, 25 February 2018

Cavegirl's Really Simple D&D&D

Cavegirl’s Really Simple D, D & D
(D,D&D stands for Dice, Delves & Dangers, for copyright reasons).

SO I WROTE WP&WS, and that’s me taking my idea of basic D&D and making it stone-aged. And I’m making one that’s the same engine but for world-of-darkness style urban fantasy with vampires and druggie witches and shit. Here’s the engine stripped of all the fluffy bits and made generic, so you can hack it for your own games set in wherever. It’s like 6 pages of a4, so even the thickest of players can read it and play.
Maybe I’ll put this in a dirt-simple PDF so you can print it out for your lazy-ass players. You should maybe chuck me a couple of bucks when you do, ‘cos I’m poor. Hey, it’s 4AM and I’m slightly drunk and writing D&D&D (it’s even D&Dier because of the extra D), so don’t expect concrete plans from me.

Character Creation

You start at level 1, with 0 XP. Note this down. Hopefully, both those numbers will go up.

Roll 3d6 6 times in order for your base attributes. These give you your six stats; strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom, charisma.

If your stats are shit, you can invert them. Flip them so that a 3 becomes an 18, etc. You can flip all your stats or none.
Record your modifiers. These depend on the stat’s value.
If it’s 3 (or less), it has a -3 mod.
If it’s 4 or 5, the mod is -2.
If it’s 6, 7 or 8, the mod is -1.
If it’s between 9 and 12, there’s no mod.
If it’s 13, 14, or 15, the mod is +1.
If it’s 16 or 17, the mod is +2.
If it’s 18 or more, the mod is +3.
If the attribute changes, so does the modifier, and everything that mod has adjusted.
Wisdom is basically for perception, but I’m calling it wisdom still for compatibility purposes.

Now pick a class. There are 4 classes: Fighter, Skill Expert, Survivor and Spellcaster. Fighters kill things, Skill Experts are good at non-combat stuff, survivors are hard to kill, and spellcasters get magic, which is powerful but can only solve some problems some of the time.

Next up is hit-points. These come in flesh (your meat-points), and grit (your plot-armour). You get a dice of each. Which dice depends on your class. It’s a d4 for spellcasters, a d6 for experts, a d8 for fighters, and a d10 for survivors. Roll a dice of each and add your constitution modifier.
When you take damage, you lose grit first, and then extra damage means you lose flesh. With no flesh left, you die.
When you gain a level, you gain a new Grit dice, and so more grit points.
Flesh and Grit is like my pet houserule, I fucking love it. 

After this, your saving throw. This is 16+ for most characters. For survivors, it is instead 11+. Apply your Constitution modifier backwards to this number (so, with +2 constitution, you get a 14+ save instead of 16+).

Then, your skills. 
Skills start out with a base 1-in-6 chance. If you have a modifier for the relevant skill, apply it to that chance. The chance can’t go above 6-in-6 or below 0-in-6.

The skills that exist are:
Alertness (wisdom modifier applies)
Athletics (strength modifier applies)
Charm (charisma modifier applies)
Medicine (intelligence modifier applies)
Stealth (dexterity modifier applies)
Technology (intelligence modifier applies)
Translation (intelligence modifier applies)
If you are a survivor, improve one of your skills by 2. If you’re a spellcaster, improve either your Charm or Translation by 1. If you’re an expert, you have 6 points to spend; each one improves a skill by 1.

Record your to-hit bonus. This is your dexterity modifier (for ranged attacks) or your strength modifier (for melee attacks). If you are a fighter, you add your level to this. You add your strength to all damage rolls.

If you are a fighter of a survivor, you get to fight defensively or aggressively without taking the penalty.

If you are a spellcaster, you get to cast spells. Pick the source of your power; faith, the occult, or inner power.
Your spells are chosen randomly. If your magic comes from inner power, you roll 1, if it comes from faith, you roll 2, if it comes from the occult, you roll 3. See the bit later on about magic for more.
1.       Cure Wounds. Heals d6 damage, +1 per level.
2.       Magic Attack. Deals d6 damage, +1 per level, no save allowed. When you get this spell, pick what type of damage it is (fire, electricity, aging, poison, mutilation, etc)
3.       Invisibility. Something becomes invisible for 1 turn per level. Violence/other dramatic acts end the spell early.
4.       Unseen Servant. Lasts 1 turn per level. An invisible force moves things about for you.
5.       Animate dead. Turns a corpse into a zombie (a 1HD undead monster). You can have 1 such zombie per level.
6.       Dispel magic. Ends a magical effect.
7.       Fortune Telling. Ask the GM a single question, get a yes-or-no-or-N/A answer. 1-in-10 chance the answer is actually inaccurate.
8.       New Ability. Gives the subject creature a new ability, for the duration of the spell, which is 1 turn per level. Pick one when you roll this spell, abilities include breathing water, being immune to fire, walking on walls, being able to see in the dark perfectly. Or ask the GM for something odder.
9.       Cure Sickness. Cures a disease/poison and all related symptoms, instantly.
10.    Command. Make a 2-word command. Victim makes a saving throw, and if they fail obeys.
11.    Illusions. Creates illusions that do whatever you want. Look, sound, smell real, but no physical presence. If disbelieved, instantly vanish. Illusion lasts 1 turn per level.
12.    Sleep. 1 Victim/level. Save or fall asleep.
Other spells exist. You might find them in play.
Fluff your spells however makes sense for the type of character you want to be.

Lastly, pick equipment. You can have up to 5 items. A Skill Expert gets 6 instead.
Carrying more than five items (+strength mod) makes you encumbered. -1 on a d6 or -3 on a d20 to rolls when being weighed down hurts you, and you move at half speed. A fighter can carry a base of 6 items instead of 5.
Equipment’s kept generic. Fluff this shit how you want, it might matter later on (maxes hurt skelingtons better, and werewolves are immune to normal bullets) and it gives people an idea of your character. Items available are:
·         Light Weapon. (IE knife, blackjack). Doesn’t count towards encumbrance. Does d6 damage.
·         Hand Weapon. (IE sword, mace). Does d8 damage.
·         Two-handed weapon. (IE greataxe). Does d10 damage. Needs both hands.
·         Polearm. Does d8 damage. Uses two hands. Can attack from a second rank.
·         Thrown weapon. Does d6 damage, ranged. You get 5.
·         Heavy ranged weapon. (IE crossbows, guns). Does d10 damage. Requires ammunition. Does not use strength mod for damage. Takes a turn to reload.
·         Simple ranged weapon. (IE bows, slings). Does d8 damage. Requires ammunition. DOES use strength for damage.
·         10 units of ammunition.
·         Light armour (IE leather). Base AC 12. Does not count towards encumbrance.
·         Medium armour. Base AC 14.
·         Heavy Armour. Base AC 16. Counts twice towards encumbrance.
·         Shield. Uses a hand. +1 AC
·         Light source. Uses a hand.
·         Rope. Uses a hand.
·         Holy Symbol.
·         Pitons (10).
·         Poison. Save, or does 10 damage. 5 doses.
·         Craftsmans tools. +1 to technology rolls.
·         Healing kit. +1 to medicine rolls.
·         Camouflage. +1 to stealth rolls.
·         Oil. Does d6 damage when it sets stuff on fire (save avoids).
·         Fire-source (IE matches). Does not count towards encumbrance.
·         Writing tools. Does not count towards encumbrance.
·         10 foot pole. You can tell it’s OSR by the ten-foot-poles.
·         Nice clothes and stuff. Doesn’t encumber you. Useless, except for impressing people.
·         Other shit. Ask your GM if you want something weird or cool that’s not on the list.

At this point, you’re basically done. Your AC (armour class) is a base of 10 if unarmoured, or else set by your armour.  Modify this by your dexterity modifier. Come up with a name. Come up with some basics. Why are you adventuring? Where do your spells come from if you’re a spellcaster? Etc etc.
You’re a level 1 character with no XP, so you’ve not done anything badass yet, nor are you important. You don’t really have a backstory. Badass stuff, backstory and importance will come when you gain some levels.
Your race is entirely a fiction thing, and has no rules attached. You can pick your species, but if your GM thinks your species is stupid, you’re human instead.


An exploration turn is 10 minutes. An exploration turn lets you explore a room, go down a corridor, etc. A combat round is 10 seconds, long enough to attack once. THESE ARE DIFFERENT. JEEZ PEOPLE.
You all know how long a day is.                                                                 

Bad shit.
You die if you hit 0 flesh.

You die if an attribute hits 0.
You die if the GM says so, although they should probably give you a save. They don’t have to, though, maybe if you git gud this won’t happen to you.
Stuff might break if the GM thinks you’ve been misusing it (you drop your torch in water, use your sword to jam a big door open, or whatever). Roll a d6. On a 1, it breaks and is useless. On a 2 or 3, it’s damaged; -1 to all rolls in future.
Use the breaking system to see if you run out of supplies, maybe? And to see if your light goes out.
Poison is make a saving throw or a bad thing happens.
Diseases and parasites are make a saving throw every so often, and a bad thing happens if you fail. You recover if you pass twice in a row.

In pitch darkness, if you fail a roll, something hilariously bad happens: you fall off something, hit your ally by mistake, break something.
Going Mad probably fucks with how you gain XP and levels, or maybe you just roleplay some shit. Your GM will tell you what sort of crazy you are.

Skill rolls.
Roll X or less on a d6 to succeed, where X is your chance in 6. So, if you’ve got 2-in-6 chance, roll a 1 or 2 to succeed.
If you’ve got 0-in-6, roll 2d6, and pass if both are 1s.
If you’ve got 6-in=6, roll 2d6. Fail if both are 6s, otherwise pick 1.

Roll that much or more on a d20, or bad shit happens to you. Some books give this an entire page of its own, can you believe it?

XP and Levels.
When you recover treasure, get as many XP as its value in cash. (IE a crown you sell for 200 gold is worth 200 XP)
When your XP total is high enough, you gain a level. You get level 2 when you have 200 XP. The amount doubles for each level after that Level 3 is 400 XP, level 4 is 800, level 4 is 1600, then 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600, 51200). You don’t gain levels after level 10.
When you gain a level:
·         You get an extra dice of grit.
·         Your save improves by 1.
·         You get +1 to hit, if you’re a fighter.
·         You learn a new random spell, if you’re a spellcaster. Random, or the GM picks based on what you’ve been doing. It might be a spell not on the starting list.
·         You get 2 more skill points, if you’re a skill expert.
·         A survivor improves that skill they put a point in at level 3, 6 and 9.
When you hit level 10, maybe you get a castle or a cult or something.

Grit comes back when you rest for  turn. All of it.
You heal 1 flesh when you sleep at night. +1 flesh if you slept somewhere nice, like an inn.
You can be treated if you’ve lost flesh. They roll their Medicine Skill. If they succeed, then you heal them by the amount on the dice; the healing kicks in when you next sleep. If you fail, then you take 1 more damage immediately. This takes a turn to do. You can do it as much as you want.

The party picks a leader. Use their skill rolls for everything. It’s just a rules thing, they aren’t in charge, we just care about their stats more.

Both sides roll Alertness. If both sides pass, then they see each other a way away and approach. If both fail, they blunder into each other suddenly. If only one side passes, that side catches the other by surprise. They can get into position and then get a free round’s worth of actions.

Roll Charm. If you pass, they’ll talk, if you fail they’re hostile.
Flip a coin. First everybody on one side goes, then everybody on the other.

Roll d20 + attack mod. You hit if you get the victim’s AC or better. Roll damage based on weapon type. They lose this much from grit, then flesh. A 20 to hit deals damage straight to flesh. An attack from ambush deal damage straight to flesh.

Unarmed attacks deal d4 damage.

Combat actions:
·         Attack. Roll to hit and damage.
·         Move and attack.
·         Draw/drop an item and attack.
·         Fight defensively. +2 AC, -2 to hit.
·         Fight recklessly. +2 to hit, -2 AC.
·         Aim. Do nothing this turn. Next turn, +4 to hit.
·         Sneak attack. Roll Stealth. Your next attack goes straight to flesh.
·         Cast a spell. See the magic section.
·         Wrestle. You roll d20+strength mod. They roll d20+something. If you win, you get to grab them, take something they’re holding, make an attack vs them damage them if you’re already wrestling (regardless of who’s winning) or pin them if they were already grabbed.

If the enemy might run a way, roll charm. If you pass, they flee, otherwise they don’t. Roll to check only when shit’s going REALLY bad for them.

You both roll athletics. If both pass or fail, then the chase continues for another round. If the run-away-er passes and the chaser fails, the run-away-er gets away. If the chaser passes and the run-away-er fails, the chaser catches up and gets a free attack.

Tracking sneaky enemies works the same. The tracker rolls alertness, the sneaker rolls stealth. This takes a turn.

How you cast spells varies. Like I said in CGen, you get to pick Faith (for clerics and mystics and stuff), The Occult (for brainy types using spellbooks) or Inner Power (for psychics, supernatural creatures like vampires and elves who get magic without trying and so on.
Magic should be weird and a bit scary. Not mundane and easily quantified. It also, however, shouldn’t devolve into a giant fractal nightmare of random tables every time you cast. So most spellcasters can safely cast spells most of the time, but if they push their luck it gets riskier. This is a TRAP and you SHOULDN’T DO IT but whenever I play a caster I always do because frankly my head exploding when I try to cast Cure is hilarious.

If you picked Faith, each time you try to cast, make a Charm roll to see if your god listens. On a success, cast successfully. On a fail, roll d4:

1.       Your god demands a sacrifice (GM choses what). You can’t cast spells until you provide that sacrifice.
2.       The spell fails. Your god places a restriction on you (GM choses something). No spells can be cast for the rest of the day if you break that restriction, and you take d6 damage.
3.       The spell just fails.
4.       The spells succeeds. A Magical Fuckup happens, roll for it.

If you picked the Occult, you have a spellbook. Your spellbook has all your spells in it. With your spellbook you can either cast a spell (taking a turn to do it), or memorize the spell: this takes a turn, and ‘hangs’ the spell almost complete. You can have 1 spell memorized at a time, per level. You can finish casting a spell that you memorized instantly.
You can put new spells in your spellbook if you can study them. Doing this requires a translation roll and a magical ingredient (the GM picks one). If the translation roll is failed, a Magical Fuckup happens.

If you picked Inner Power, you can cast as much as you want. Each time you do, it deals 1 damage to your flesh, that only heals by sleeping.

Most other games give spells ‘levels’. Ignore ‘em. Some spells are better than others, and the GM just doesn’t put spells in the game they don’t want.

Any spellcaster can cast experimental magic. This lets them make a spell do something it wouldn’t normally: it’s effect is inverted, applied to a different target, condensed, stretched out or used for something weird. The spell can’t just be made better at what it already does.
When you do experimental magic, make a Saving throw. If the roll is failed, the spell is wasted, and a Magical Fuckup happens.

Magical fuckups (roll here or pick a more fun table).
1.       Something minor and spooky.
2.       The Caster takes d6 damage. Magic Is Bad For Your Health.
3.       Everybody takes d6 damage. KABOOM.
4.       The caster is mutated somehow.
5.       Everybody is mutated somehow, saving throw resists.
6.       The environment is made dangerous (on fire, reverse gravity, angry trees).
7.       The caster goes a bit crazy. Magic will open your mind.
8.       Everybody goes a bit crazy, saving throw resists. I CAN SEE FOREVER.
9.       Some sort of horrible monster shows up, it’s your fault.
10.    Something REALLY FUCKING BAD happens. You FUCKED UP. GM, make this one nasty as hell.

Optional Rules!

Multiclass characters.

Pick two classes. Get the better saves and HP from the class you picked, and all the benefits of both. It costs you double to level up.

Bleeding out.
When you hit 0 flesh, you pass out, and bleed for some rounds, and THEN die.  You bleed for as many rounds as your level, modified by constitution. A successful medicine roll can slow the bleeding to turns. Or it can give you 1 flesh back, if you’re on 0. Or if you’re bleeding in turns, it stops it entirely. Or it wakes you up again.
You might start bleeding even if you’re not on 0 hits if, say, a vampire bites you.

Horrible Wounds.
If you hit 0 flesh, make a Save. On a failure, you die. On a success, the hit fucks you up in some way (GM’s choice). You might lose an eye, be made ugly by scars, have a leg chopped off, lose fingers, get brain damage, or something else.

Switching Class.
You can do this only if there’s a really good fucking reason. (A faith-based spellcaster might be rejected by their god and become a fighter, or a previously pacifist survivor might go kill-crazy and become a fighter, or a skill expert might make a pact with something eldritch and become a spellcaster). You go down a level when you do this.

More Complex Saves.
Apply Strength against Paralysis/webs/restraints. Apply Dexterity vs Dragon Breath/explosions/lightning bolts/lazers. Apply Constitution vs Poison/sickness/inexplicable death. Apply Intelligence vs Magic Items/traps/machinery. Apply wisdom vs Spells/magic effects/psychic monsters. Apply Charisma vs Mind Control/temptation/looking like an idiot.

Spells Having Levels.
I guess you can put this in. I CBA to do the maths, though.  Use another game’s system.


  1. This is good. I particularly like the medicine rule, and fleeing and tracking.
    Do you rule that Grit can be regained by resting if you have lost flesh? Or do you have to regain all flesh before getting your grit back?

    1. the former, but I tend to be more picky about how good your rest needs to be the worse your injuries to flesh are.

  2. Some really cool basic ideas here. Very nice foundation to build on.

    I do really like the Flesh/Grit system. I've seen and used a couple of similar mechanics, but this seems like the cleanest of them.

  3. So many good ideas here! Thanks for sharing.