Dnd 5e and Icrpg


So I love both games. But I lean a little kore towards Icrpg. The players at my table in the other hand do not. They are dnd 5e snobs. In a good way. They just have ZERO desire to try another hame. Another genre or another anything that isn’t fantasy dnd 5e.

That’s fine. I’m ok with that. I’m playing a hame I love.

But the issue.
I find myself as of late having a Harder and harder time planning sessions and campaigns. I wanna lean to the one page style everyone does here in there tomes and run straight from that. But I find it hard to have a decent continuation campaign that way.

I guess I’m looking for ways to adapt more Icrpg into dnd 5e which Can help the players see it in action subtly, but also me with prepping for my games.

I don’t have a lot of free time to actually prep so I wanna run good fun game’s but also give it that campaign feel as a continuing story.


There is a page in ICRPG on how to adapt some rules into other system. In addition, you could perhaps look up D&D 5e Hardcore from Hank and look up some rules to mix in with all that! Godspeed! :vulcan_salute:


Oh man… oh boy…

THIS actually ended up killing one of the best campaigns I’ve ever GMed. My players loved 5e, while I as a DM started to HATE prep time because some much time of it I had to spend doing mandatory stuff the system needs to do (like reading convoluted stat blocks and setting up CR and all of that crap) In the end, we ended up playing a hybrid that was just not meant to be and the campaign died.

My advice? Integrate mechanics like timers and global DC, even hearts for monsters can work to some extent. But don’t try to push “player” mechanics like loot progression onto your snobs, because 5e will start to fall apart FAST. Use ICRPG as a way to make room design, hell, go watch hank’s vids on key mechanics and room design.

If you REALLY want to run 1 page sessions, I advice you to take a look at Dungeon World. I always keep the GM moves list at hand so I can improv like a boss.

Everything in ICRPG CORE’s Game Mastery section can be translated easily to 5e, because it is mostly encounter design philosophy .


Not to crap on your friends, but if they aren’t even willing to TRY other games, it ain’t a good way, y’know?

Use the plugins, even if you don’t advertise, and create your own monsters without all the detailing of 5e so you get to run the game smoothly at least (DMing 5e is one of my least favorite experiences). If they won’t use it, doesn’t mean you can’t. If they complain about you “not following the rules”, I mean, I don’t even know how to be polite with this.


If they complain about you “not following the rules”, I mean, I don’t even know how to be polite with this.

This so much. The sad part is that I REALLY see it a lot. Just last month a player complained on a game I was running because I “cheated” making a “homebrew goblin” have more actions for a goblin boss monster. Like, why? lol

Not to crap on your friends, but if they aren’t even willing to TRY other games, it ain’t a good way, y’know?

Also this. It’s like someone who likes ONLY spaghetti and will not try any other pasta because spaghetti is the only thing they like. ¯\ (ツ)


I’ve run two 5e campaigns with ICRPG mechanics on the DM side and normal 5e rules on the player side. On the DM side, I used a single target number; made all of the monsters have hit points in groups of 10 and a single bonus for all rolls; used timers; and began presenting content in discrete spaces or “rooms,” except for an occasional dungeon crawl. I slowly introduced concepts like Effort: “Give me a d6 of effort to pick that lock,” which is no different than doing 10 damage to chop down a door (illustrated in the DMG). For enemies, I just made up their abilities and made players making saving throws against “powerful spells,” which they are used to seeing in 5e anyway (saving throws against spells). I also used the ICRPG loot tables. Again, totally compatible, and no one was the wiser. On the player facing side, they all just leveled up as normal. It was honestly super easy with no major changes required, and it made my life waaaaay easier.


Short term answer: Get Hardcore 5E and incorporate Zones, at bare minimum. And there’s a lot more there you can mirror in terms of prep.

Long term answer: maybe back down from 5e sessions gradually. Maybe set up a separate night for ICRPG in a different genre as a kind of “backdoor pilot” one shot that can become a campaign or even just recurring character doing Monster of the Week style games (in the X-files sense, not the actual game—but that’s cool too.).

Bottom line though: If it feels like a chore, you’re doing RPGs wrong. (About the only gatekeeping I’m good with in gaming.) Three things I have learned well in this life:

  1. Leave while you’re still welcome
  2. Leave it better than you found it.
  3. Resistance to Growth and Change doesn’t stop growth and change. It just makes them a lot more uncomfortable suffering than they had to be.


To be frank, if they have zero desire to try another game, why push the issue? You may inevitably be causing more trouble than it’s worth. That being said, adapting ICRPG to 5e is super easy:

  1. Use the Target. That’s the AC to hit and difficulty and everything else under the sun.
  2. Use Effort. Note, if they are 5e snobs, this’ll likely get pushback.
  3. Get rid of skills. Seriously. It’s actually in the DMG where you replace skills with your ability scores. Not only is that ICRPG, but it’s also 5e by the book.
  4. For GM prep : use bullet points, broad maps (think in terms of zones or encounters instead of rooms and corridors) and only plan one session at a time.


I’d just tell your group what you told us. Tell them how the game is becoming more of a chore for you, less enjoyable, and so on. Tell them you still want to DM and tell those stories with them, but the rules are getting in the way. Then follow with, how can we fix this so I have fun too?


@Nimlouth yeah, I understand. After playing with variant rules for a while we just stopped and I realised I was complaining way too much instead of acting on it.

@S.U.R.F.0605 another interesting add-on could be Five Torches Deep!

But, seriously, the way I fixed it was end the campaign then telling them I just couldn’t run it anymore, and now I’ll invite them to play ICRPG every week and see what happens. If it fails, I’ll start running games online instead, because @Lon made a very good point in his bullet list:“Leave while you’re still welcome.”
That’s a lesson I needed to learn hard.


Have you seen the 5E Hardcore Mode rules by these sweet, good baby, big shield bros at Runehammer Games? I’ve been running it and prep has become a breeze in combination with the Lazy GM books. It runs in the same lanes as Five Torches Deep and I think both would certainly help with prep lock.

However, the session prep and ideas for adventure generation in ICRPG can be very helpful for 5E prep, including rolling over ideas like making some failed tasks easier by letting a second attempt happen with Advantage.


I found myself in this same position and finally gave in to running 5e again. I know the game well enough to know DCs and such, but for me the worst part about it is all the monster stat blocks and trying to reference them in the flow of combat. It’s overwhelming to switch from block to block and see all the numbers blur together with no real weight behind the difference of a +3 or a +4, so I made a quick cheat sheet from resources in the DMG:

Now I can make a monster, write down a couple keywords for attacks, and assign a CR to reference this quick little sheet. DCs, monsters, and other things are the DM-facing elements at the table so I find if I’ve got those things quickly referenced the players will take care of the player side of things. It’s not much, but everyone else already said good ideas so this is all I’ve got to contribute that I haven’t seen, haha!

As far as prep for a game and using 1-sheets, here are some pics I just took (pardon the lighting/quality) of our game’s first session of the new campaign: players picked up a quest off a quest board to repair a bridge. Granted, as things get deeper and more complicated the 1-sheet will turn into a few-sheet, but they wanted some chill humble beginnings, so it happened to work out well. :slight_smile: Hope you dig and it helps you come up with a better idea!



Looking real good, there! I love this prep! I just got myself a bunch of index cards myself!


Small steps maybe. Print ICRPG cards, use them on the table. Show them different visual experience and narration based on cards. Associate DC with cards during session, they will see benefits. It will help to organize the session too. Then maybe ask if they like the stuff and maybe want more?
For me visual experience is the most important. It attracts players to the ICRPG.


There’s not much to add here that hasn’t already been said and more eloquently than I could manage. My advice on one-pagers is to try the 5 room dungeon idea. I just ran a Warp Shell adventure I threw together with this format and honestly it simplified prep, table management, and the overall story element and all on a single 6x9 piece of paper in my journal. I actually ran the whole adventure off an index card at table and since it was so short and simple I could remember pretty much everything about the space. Granted, we were using ICRPG, but the entire one-shot took maybe 90 min with 3 players from party introductions to resolution. I think they’d want to continue it actually.

Fortunately I have yet to encounter your resistance problem, but I think GM prep can be done outside the 5e restrictions without them noticing. Simple “house rules” from ICRPG can streamline your at table experience and drastically reduce the cognitive load. My philosophy is:

  1. if the Room (not including monsters, though it can be done) can’t be run off a single index card, it’s too complicated. Monsters should be run off and index card or they’re too complicated (bosses being the exception)

  2. If the evening (not necessarily the whole adventure) can’t fit on a single open spread in my notebook, it’s too complicated. I prefer to have the entire adventure there to know the whole space in case of improv needs.

  3. If I need to reference the rulebook for anything other than reference tables (Loot, for instance), then the system is too complicated.

I’m a simple man with a simple brain. Games should be fun, and I personally find simpler to be more enjoyable.

Good luck!


I’ve played a ton of different RPG systems and after a while you start to realize that what’s important for everyone at the table is the fun factor. Keep an air of mystery about what you’re doing and don’t give away your tricks. With that being said, I started to really enjoy preparing my games when I just completely gave up on stat blocks. I use them only as inspiration. However, I just think of a couple cool moves for each monster, throw in the AC, HP, and a general target number to hit and I’m good. I just improvise any other stat as needed and you may want to jot it down if you think your players are going to game that a bit and hold you to it.

There is no reason you shouldn’t be able to use the DM facing side of ICRPG with the player side of 5E. In fact, I find myself blending ICRPG, 5E, Dungeon World, Blades in the Dark, and a myriad of other things I’ve learned on the DM side. My players just see me rolling dice and narrating. Keep it fair, keep it fun, and I doubt you’ll have anyone questioning you. Unless of course you’ve got the player who’s mad at you for changing the stat block in the Monster Manual… they got something to learn about TTRPGs though.

I love the advice from others to check out 5 Room Dungeons. Some other essential reading to help you get into a different mindset (apart from ICRPG) are The Lazy Dungeon Master and definitely read some Angry GM to really get at the heart of what’s important. Once you’ve got that figured out you can stop wasting time filling out worthless stat blocks. In the end, no matter what system you’re using, you should be moving towards one-page prep. It’s the type of planning that will keep your nose out of your notes and in the game when everyone is at the table. Good luck!


Another thing that occurred to me is that there are many, many ways to streamline prep. As mentioned previously, 5 Room Dungeons are a great start (I use them all the time). Another source that I borrow from was the 3.5 DMG2(?) that had suggestions for a dungeon deck. I’ve used that frequently, then I realized that I could just use CCGs. A 1/1 Elf? That’s a 1HD creature. This one can tap to deal 1 damage? It has a ranged attack of some sort in addition to a basic melee attack. It’s one of the reasons I like ICRPG - the visual is fine; the suggestion is better (to me, of course).

As far as continued campaign play, I work it like this at my table : I plan one session. Sometimes, it’s completely impromptu, and other times, it’s written on a page in my composition book. My “campaign” is just the aftermath of what happened the previous session. It, quite literally, revolves around the players and their actions. You interfered with The Mighty Grog? Grog raids your town. You stop Grog? Grog’s boss steeples his fingers and looks at the party. When Grog’s arc is complete, look at who might have taken a gander at the PCs and their actions. SOMEONE must have noticed a gaggle of people mucking with other people. Maybe, and this may sound insidious, it’s the local ruler who realizes just how convenient it would be to have such a party at his disposal…


Well done!! Really enjoy seeing people’s work.


Solid advice as always Alex. I never thought to make it that simple. I was trying to keep to much of 5e and add in Icrpg. Simplify my end so I know what’s going on and they think they are playing 5e.

Great advice as always. Thank you brotha.


All the advice on this thread has been awesome!
GMing and Playing a single character are two different worlds.

No reason to not have different rules, ICRPG is easy to incorporate 90% of any d20 based game, you can just keep the player facing portions less ICRPG. Use a GM screen, have whatever books that might have monsters around, keep a couple of D6 to determine if at 20 points the Monster dies or more accurately 20 with a + or - 6.

Have the room DC for yourself, but have advantage, disadvantage and very hard (+5 or 7) in mind. Around level 9 things get weird a bit…lots of magic, weird effects from the PCs you need to track…but fudge it to your thinking.

Do not!!! Translate the games into each other…that road leads to tears and frustration.

The loss of effort is the only downside, just add complexity to locks, traps, and other weirdness…door has 2 locks! Trap has a anti tampering system built in…so on and so forth. Incorporating that with a hard or very hard target number will even put the number of actions.

Spells…let it flow, and be dastardly!!! From time to time, focus fire on a particular magic user…don’t hesitate.
In your head “I choose the healer today” retcon a reason that the players later discover each time.

The incense he was carrying is valuable to them, the symbol of his god is hated by them, the color of his eyes is a prophecy of the herald of their destroyer…

But my biggest lesson I learned this year…don’t add personal drama to your fun hobbies.

A really good group of players is worth keeping happy. They break up, don’t be the cause.
Prepping for an inefficient game, sucks, and will add resentment into your GMing…don’t be the cause of a good group breaking up!!!