View Full Version : Simple RPG

mr. Tentacles
2010-05-04, 09:16 PM
Hello Playgrounders, quite a while since I posted here but I really wanted to share this. A friend of mine is going to run a game for the first time (Serenity), but he has always been the storytelling type, never caring too much about rules. He asked me to come up with some simple rules to streamline what would otherwise probably be a completely freeform game. This here is what I've come up with, and I must say I'm quite pleased. It isn't perfect ofcourse, and not everyone will like it, but I think it's a great system for short games with experienced roleplayers. Feel free to use it, change it and/or spread it. Thoughts on how to improve it, extra skills and different skill lists, spelling improvement (English isn't my native language, and even in my native language my spelling isn't that good) and other comments are very welcome too.

Without further delay, my system:

Simple RPG

This is Simple, a very basic RPG system for one-shot games or even whole campaigns. The rules given here are intended for a SF game (Serenity) but can be easily modified to be used in any kind of setting. All you need to play are these rules, a gamemaster and some players, pencil and paper, three six-sided dice per player and a bit of imagination for to create your character.

Simple only provides rules for the very basic attributes and skills of your characters, and as such it's very important to create a good background and personality for them.


Characters in EasyRPG have three attributes:

Physical resembles the character's physical strenght and durability.

Quickness resembles the character's agility and alertness.

Mental resembles the character's intellect and charisma.

When creating your character you have to give a value to each of his attributes. The values are average, low and high. You can either decide to make one attribute high, one average and one low, or to make all attributes average. The effects of this will be explained later on.


There are two types of skills in Simple, broad skills and speciality skills. Broad skills describe a type of scene or a broad area of expertise (for example combat or social). Speciality skills are part of a broad skill, always describing a specific item or action (for example guns or bluffing). A list of skills for Serenity will be added below, but feel free to make up your own skills, as long as your GM approves.

Every character starts with two broad skills and three speciality skills. The character should have one speciality skill related to each of his broad skills, and the third speciality skill to either of them. Alternatively he can select a third specialiy skills that isn't related to any broad skill.

Next the character selects a flaw from the list of broad skills, if you select combat as your flaw you can take a fourth speciality skill related to either of your broad skills or not related to any broad skill. You can select more than one flaw, for each extra flaw you take you get an additional speciality skill. These speciality skills don't have to be related to your broad skills, but can't be related to any of your flaws.


The basic mechanic is to roll Xd6, if any of these dice are equal to or above the target value the roll is a succes. The number of dice you roll is determined by the difficulty of the action. Most rolls should be of average difficulty, roll 2d6. If the conditions are bad or the action is just really difficult you should use the hard difficulty, roll 1d6. If an action is almost trivial you should use the easy difficulty, roll 3d6.

The target value is determined by how skilled you are in the action you're attempting. Look at your list of skills to see if any of them could be applicable, if you're not sure the GM decides.

Speciality skill: 3+
Broad skill: 4+
No skill: 5+
Flaw: 6+

Next, look at your atrributes and choose the one that best fits the action, again, if you're not sure the GM decides. The value of your attribute can give you a bonus or penalty to your roll (for every single dice, not just one).

High: +1
Average: +0
Low: -1

This means that when you attempt an action where both a flaw and a low attribute are used you can't succeed. In this case the character has to try a chance roll, roll 1d6 if the action is easy, 2d6 if the action is average and 3d6 if the action is hard. If all the dice turn up on '6' (without the attribute modifier) the character somehow managed to succeed, but if any of the dice turn up on '1' the character spectaculary fails, the GM decides exactly what happens, but it should be impressive and very bad for the character.


At the start of a combat encounter, after any surprises, everyone should roll initiative to determine the order of actions. Roll 3d6 and add your Quickness modifier. In case of a tie the highest Quickness modifier goes first, if it's still a tie only count the highest result, then the second highest, then the lowest. If the rolls are exactly the same reroll to end the tie (the new results only count to see who goes first, you still keep the old result compared to others).

Every combat round takes around three seconds and allows each character to take one action (attack, draw and ready weapon, reload, dodge etc.) and to move about ten meter. You can also move in a special way (run, climb, swim, zero-g etc.) but then you won't be able to take an action unless the GM allows it (possibly with a skill check for the movement).

An attack is made by rolling an appropriate skill check, the difficulty here is a little more strict than with normal skill checks.

Easy: The target is unaware of the attacker and there are no protective factors (armour, cover, range etc.).
Average: The target is aware of the attacker and there are no protective factors or the target is unaware of the attacker while there are protective factors.
Hard: The target is aware of the attacker and there are protective factors (in this case the target could also be dodging for example).

If you manage to hit your target you deal a set amount of damage based on the lethality of your weapon. Nonlethal weapons (fists, clubs) deal 1 damage, lethal weapons (guns, blades) deal 2 damage and very lethal weapons (long machine gun bursts, lasers) deal 4 damage. The GM may decide to vastly increase the damage of some attacks (a well-aimed sniper shot, grenade, flamethrower, or attack against an unconcious target for example).

Each character has hitpoints based on his Physical attribute. If it's low you have 2 hitpoints, average gives you 4 and high gives you 6. If the damage you receive is equal to or greater than your hitpoint total you go down. The GM decides how badly injured you are and what actions need to be taken to get you back up or even keep you alive, based on the kind of wounds you took, but atleast for the duration of this combat encounter you are down. The GM decides how long it takes to heal your wounds, but unless you barely survived an explosion or took a full clip of bullets a bit of medical help and a good night's rest should fix you up. If all your wounds were nonlethal you probably only need to sit down for a few minutes.

Skill list

Broad skills are in bold, related speciality skills are listed below them. Unrelated speciality skills are in a list at the bottom, some of these require you to have another skill in order to take them, in that case they are listed below the required skill with a dash in front of them.


Melee weapons


General knowledge
Core planets
Outer planets

Information gathering

Vehicle operation

-Medical theory
Sense motive
Sleight of hand