Heat RPG - ICRPG Variant [early draft - what comes before alpha]



Hi Everybody!

I made this is a ICRPG variant inspired by the action scene in Heat (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL9fnVtz_lc) to increase table pace in actions scenes. Love to hear any/all thoughts and comments. Going to run it next week with a couple long time campaigners used to the ICRPG core. It is a super early draft that I have no plans for other than to play with friends but am always interested to improve so would love feedback on the mechanisms, especially in light of this week’s podcast!

As I mention inside the docs, it features simultaneous roll resolution, no ­damage or hit points, and a beat ­based pacing framework. It is heavy in that it has granular attribute differentiation (but the same ICRPG point system) and allows for significant skill, gear, and terrain customization but light in that it has no hit points, no separate damage rolls, and a single scene related target for action and combat (familiar?). It utilizes the beat framework to control total time spent on a particular action scene while still allowing PC autonomy. It also forgoes any meta­narrative rules that pull gamers out of the in-­game world space.

The meat is on page 7(all the rules on a single page), the rest explains a bit but assumes knowledge of ICRPG core.


I’ve been recently pondering how to satisfactorily render the rhythm and swiftness of martial arts conflicts. I was unable to find a link to your documentation in your post, but I’m definitely interested in it!

Could you provide that link, or draw my attention to where it is in your post? Thanks!


Heya Jinky!

The pdfs weren’t playing nice I guess. Added links to google docs.

Love to here what you think!


I’m about to take a look at your docs but had to first say that you had me at Heat. That film is a masterpiece and the direction of action in that scene is so spot on good.


Can you give an example of play? I’m quite interested in the simultaneous time idea.

I used simultaneous time for a single turn in my last game when players had to handle a hostage situation (bad guy holding knife to hostage neck). Each player had to decide their actions and tell me the DM but not the other players. I then revealed everyone’s actions, they rolled, and I adjudicated the result. If they rolled well and their actions worked well together, that would succeed. (yes they saved the hostage, with a combination of throwing a metal food tray, a whip attack to trap the knife hand, and then grappling the bad guy iirc).


Right! And still looks good. Ol’school.

I just never forgot that feeling of cold blooded professionalism when Kilmer goes from walking toward the car almost happy to firing. No pause, no emotion, pure action.


Hey Jeremy - Here’s a go - sorry for typos. If you’d like we could skype/discord and run a scene and discuss. I have a few different scenarios worked up.

Starting arbitrarily, GM has already described the crowded downtown street scene and is thinking (beats: get to the car, head toward blockade, pinned or not, if pinned, on foot and break to left or right…)

GM: Don has the engine running. As Mike and Neil slip into the front and rear passenger seats, military duffles still on their shoulders, Chris looks across the street and notices two plainclothed officers, heavily armed, rifles coming to the ready. What do you do:
Chris(character name): “I lift my automatic carbine and fire without hesitation to suppress then scan the area.”
Don: I shift into gear but stay on the break. If I see anyone ahead, I pull out my pistol and fire through the window.
Neil: I look through the back window, down the street.
Mike: I ready my weapon and scan the street.

GM: Alright. The street explodes into war. The sound of gun fire from the single automatic weapon is already deafening with muzzle fair causing strange flickers of light in and outside the car as signs, building walls and cars explode with shrapnel. Neil, you see Lt. Hanna running toward you between pedestrians, weapon raised, and street vendors with two other officers at his heels. Don and Mike, you see a police barricade forming across the street down the hill near an underpass. There is two blocks between you and it but police are streaming your way and are about a block away. What do you do?

Neil: Start firing toward Hanna and yell at Chris to get in the car
Chris: I fire a suppressive burst toward Hanna then jump into the back seat
Mike: I open fire through the front windshield.
Don: As soon as Chris is in the car, I drive, aiming for the cross street prior to the barricade.

GM: Alright, Hanna and his crack team each will have gotten off a round at you Chris, Hanna aiming for you, the other two aiming to suppress, otherwise you have the jump. Neil - dex+marksman skill-Hard through a window. Chris - same but easy since you’ve started firing and are aiming for suppression. Mike - same as neil. Don roll for dex + defensive driving - 3(Hard) to make it to the turn in the hail of fire. Target 24. O.k. Everyone roll.

Each player rolls 2D20 and the GM rolls 3D20 for his individual NPCs. He also has a single plain-clothes NPC card that will represent the rest of the cops that are not yet engaged.

Neil: 2 + 17 = 19 (base number)
Chris: 14 + 13 =
Mike: etc.
Don: etc.
GM: 20+16 = 36 & 2+7 = 9 & 18+8 = 16. Rolls location die for Hanna’s shot (leg)

GM: o.k. Chris (editor’s note: we just went off book). You get hit by Hanna. Grazes your leg which sears in pain as you fall into the car. You’ll be moving hobbled for a couple rounds. The other two open fire wildly causing panic near them. Neil, the rear window explodes as you open fire. Mike you can’t see much as Don peels out into the road, immediately swiping the car in the center lane and careening down the road…



Hey SM - any thoughts on this?


I dig the intent to speed things up and make action more actiony, but I don’t understand the 2d20. Why is 1d20 not enough? Is it because of adding in the skill points? I think the skills complicate things… I’d think using standard attributes plus character tags and/or item bonuses would make it faster. But, I’ve but I’ve not played this and am not too sure I understand.

With everyone rolling simultaneously, Player 1 could kill NPC 1 and NPC 1 could also kill Player 1 in the same roll because it all happens at same time. I’m i getting it?


2D20 is just to create a more normal distribution in the probably (fewer super high and super low rolls). 1D20 is completely random. 2D20 has a pretty high chance to get middle values. Good for a bit more realism. Totally optional. Targets are double to match (i.e. 12 on the 1D20 of ICRPG is 24 with 2D20). I also just like rolling two dice more than one and since I got rid of all the other dice…

Skills are so folks can get good at german or karate and not simply be good at everything that requires a dex roll. But you are right I think character tags feel easier. Something like have skill tag get easy roll. I’ll have to see if my desire in include practice-to-improve with skills wins out over clean design :wink:

As far as kills: If it is a face off with both PC and NPC attacking (shooting for example), somebody wins and gets the hit unless their totals are the same. If same, then either both go down or neither go down, GM’s call (I’ll clarify that). If PC is shooting and the NPC is trying to break down a door, then they both just do normal rolls (combat for PC, skill for NPC) and both either get what they want or not.

Thanks for the feedback!


To gain the tag, consider earning it to be 1 Heart of effort. They can only roll for it every X days/weeks/whatever