ICRPG Character Creation, Zones vs Range


Hi all, I don’t post much but I do check New and Unread posts. Apologies in advance if this is a question that has been answered before.

Two-part post:

One thing about D&D vs ICRPG character creation, you get points to add as bonuses in each category, but it assumes a character is average in all traits to begin with. So, there really isn’t the possibility to have a character that is lower than average in anything - they are average at worst. This seems like a gap to me, or have I missed or overlooked something? I’ve considered letting characters take “disadvantages” in one stat and add to another, but this opens the door to min-maxing IMO.


I just got 5EH. Love the concept of Zones. But, I also love the ICRPG concept of close-near-far. Anyone using both? tips, ideas? My idea is anyone in the same Zone = Close, adjacent zones = near, moving thru a zone to gat to another zone on the “other side” = far. Feedback?



The lack of a “Trouble” or “Weakness” option at character creation bugged me too when I first started playing ICRPG. But then I realized how over and over the dice show what a PC is bad at. And because this happens at the table, it is far more valuable than anything dreamed up pre-game.

When those character defining in-game flops happen, and the players bond over that flop as much as they do the victories, THEN you give it a “____ rolls are NEVER EASY” mechanic or something to commemorate and operationalize it.

My strongly held (and frequently validated) opinion is that the most satisfying, entertaining, and memorable experiences come when GM and PCs all share this focus: As much as possible needs to happen at table or at least in a shared collaborative space.

Re: Zones—
I’m having a hard time seeing what changes in your description, mechanically, from ICRPG standard. I think to merge the HC5E Zones and ICRPG ways, I’d do something to simplify ICRPG into Zones rather than complexify Zones into ICRPG.

The only downside is maybe losing some rules objectivity and reducing the “crunch factor” fun had by more tactically focused players (while becoming more narrativist and relative).

Now outside of game mechanics, the Zones concept for GMs prep and descriptions is top notch. I wouldn’t change a thing.


lower than average stats are negative stats (like -1 to STR for a weakling PC)… allowing the player to reallocate negatives to another stat is what I have seen recommended, but this should be limited to -1 or -2 to any one stat total…

As for Zones: CLOSE, NEAR, and FAR and “zones”… play them like that… just like you suggested. There have been others who use it the same as you suggested, yours truly included…

Game On!


ICRPG is a very DIY game, thus add whatever gives you the feel you want…I’ve used zones, close/near/Far, 5’ squares, and spot light circle (each ring acting as close near far AKA Ultimate Terrain.) and Theater of the Mind.

I prefer Theater of the Mind and with a table that is comfortable and knows each other, it works 90% of the time, as the players know what to ask the GM cause they know what the GM forgets to describe.

That said, I’ve used all of them in the same adventure series as well, but I found mixing them up in a session can go badly.

Over time, you get what you are comfortable with, and recognize when you as a GM need more detail for your players.

As to negative traits…don’t see the point after playing a lot, give them more points to play with at creation…keep the math straight forward is my recommendation.

Or offer a set of negative trates, as tags, for a plus one at build.

“Bad limp” = dex checks involving legs are always hard.

“Butter fingers” = dex checks involving hands are always hard.

“Bad aim” dex action for ranged attacks are always hard.

“Sickly” con checks are always hard.
“Weak” Str actions are always hard.
“Savant” int for any other topic are hard, on that one topic are easy.
“Oblivious” wis checks for spotting, hearing, or noticing are always hard.

Ultimately make it however you want. But it hits the mechanics you want for unique characters. Just don’t make any that affect the party, for example:
“Clumsy” stealth checks are always hard.
“Unfocused” wisdom spells are always hard.

For a one shot I wouldn’t bother, for something longer mod it however you wish.
I personally don’t like incompetent heroes.