Homebrew: Slight Tweaks and a Character Sheet



So, I was putting together a DIY rpg for my players and we talked. They wanted something a bit more freeform and simple than I had going. I think they need a real palate cleanser after our last campaign (a run through Curse of Strahd that took us through the pandemic). As simple as 5E is, they are working folks who don’t need a mess of options and rules cruft. Still, they wanted a bit more mechanical joojoo than ICRPG and wanted to see things like skills and the like.

I always aim to please; so, I went back to the ole drawing board and came up with the following (recently revised):

  • Its basically ICRPG (more or less). So, timers, tricks, treats, always in turns, cast to roll, etc.
  • I let players choose which type of effort gets the d10, d8, or d6 (I have three that are higher than d4, weapons, tools and magic; basic is there but its locked at d4).
  • Players get just two effort points to add to their characters at the start since they can shift around effort die values.
  • I only have 4 stats: strength, agility, presence and intellect. None can be above 4 (you start with just 6 points to allocate). These core stats cannot be modified though I would allow players to shift these values a bit after an adventure.
  • You mix base stats to get some derived stats. Strength and Agility gives Attack (attacking with weapons). Intellect and Presence gives Cast (casting spells). Agility and Intellect gives Evade (basically Reflex). Strength and Presence gives Resist (Combo of Fort and Will). This supports plenty of archetypes I think. These derived stats can’t be modified.
  • Each base stat also has a bunch of associated actions (Sneak, Notice, Convince, etc etc). These are more or less skills. Each character type gets a set +2 bonuses to four of these. Like stats, I may let players shift these selections around as they play but they may only ever have 4.
  • The lowest between Cast and Attack is added as a bonus to base DEF. This makes it so you can min max Attack or Cast but at a cost.
  • Only 4 DEF can be gained from loot. The rest comes from their base value (see above). Players roll defense to avoid enemy attacks (against the room TN). Most loot that confers DEF just gives a +1 bonus.
  • The d12 is only used for Hero Coin use and crits, basically.
  • When they roll to recover (using Resist) and succeed, characters roll basic effort to see how much hp they get back (instead of 1+some stat).
  • Loot is limited to 8 carried and 8 equipped.
  • Characters are limited to 4 abilities. They start with 1 and can gain more with play. If they gain a fifth, they have to override one they learned before.

This should be compatible with most stuff in the ICRPG rulebook too.

So, fairly light weight and pretty easy to grok. I started with what I wanted to see in the character sheet and backed into the rules. My players gave me the thumbs up so we are a go.

Here is the sheet. Totally form fillable, auto-calcing and all that jazz. LINK

Edit: Sheet updated. Numerous changes. Able to click on the skills to “underline” what the character has proficiency in.

Repository: Character Sheets

This is so cool. I love your idea for derived stats! I’ve kicked around that idea a bit myself, but it seemed like it would get overwhelming. By reducing the base stats to just four, you opened up the field so that the derived stats have room to work.

I feel like you really struck a balance by simplifying first, and then adding in complexity where it actually means something. I love Attack and Evade being stats instead of base STR/DEX/CON/DEF trying to cover everything.

One thing you could consider is instead of a +2 proficiency to a couple of those skills, allowing players to add a d4 to the attempt roll. My DM does proficiency that way. I think it’s an optional 5e rule that he picked up from Professor Dungeon Master.

I’m slowly getting closer and closer to just running ICRPG as written, but I’m always trying to hack things in the back of my head and this is truly inspiring.



I tried that d4 thing in my diy rpg (linked above) but I decided to go more basic after talking to my players. This basically makes everything top out at +6. That makes it easy to balance.

I figure I will make stat allocation pretty simple too. Something like, place a 4 in the stat you are amazing at and a 2 in the stat you are ok in. You get four skill selections.

That should allow for plenty of meaningful variance. Also, after stat allocation, I can help them land on what character type they are aiming for and then give them an appropriate starting ability. I figure I can use the types in the book as a guide to help players realize concepts without predefined classes.


That sounds super cool. It sounds like your players are really engaged in the design process which is awesome. I love your thinking here and if I ever get a chance I’d love to run this rule set.


Alright, sheet updated. Some major changes.

  • You can now click on the “skills” the character has proficiency in. This underlines them on the sheet.
  • The number of equipped and carried items is reduced to 8. It was alot at 10 even in 2e when you didn’t get milestone abilities.
  • Abilities and milestones are reduced to a total of 4. This should be enough to flesh out a character without being too noodly. Dunno about everyone else, but my players lose track of things if they have too many options in front of them.


I did something very similar. I used ICME as the chassis and engine, but added some 4e style powers and some 5e bits instead of so much loot (it’s really clunky to track so much gear). Sometime soon I’ll share it.


I’m doing something very vaguely similar with making every attempt a combination of 2 stats, but so far I’ve been letting the context of the action inform the stats involved, for instance attacking with a small cannon might require STR+CON to keep it steady, while trying to close the distance on a pikeman with your dagger might call for DEX+INT.