Index Card World PbtA Hack Teaser? (Not an actual thing... yet!)



No, I’m TOTALLY not doing this rn… For real lol

BUT, would you guys be interested? More importantly, has anyone tried this and succeeded? I’m neck deep into Dungeon World (and PbtA in general) stuff right now and I feel like this is a match made in heaven with the effort + partial success mechanics (maybe ditch moves like World of Dungeons does). Also TAGs everywhere! Mounting a more narrative based set of rules over the sturdy ICRPG core mechanics just sounds so juice-flowing-mind-freeing awesome haha

Art made by awesome-a-f AXEBANE


Help me brainstorm some ideas for a Star Wars game!

I have, and it works. The biggest influences for me were Simple World (direct link to PDF) and the Dungeon World SRD, specifically the line that says, “A 6 or lower is trouble, but you also get to mark XP.”

Basically, you have the Target. If you fail your Target by 3, I get a soft move (7-9). If you fail your Target by greater than 3, I get a hard move (6-). However, you may very well still succeed even by failing to beat the Target; I just happen to involve Bad Things as a result.

Simple World bypasses the concept of a playbook by having an Archetype or Class or What-have-you and three “specialties.” At character creation, you build three moves on one or more of those specialties. That sounds an awful lot like Starter Gear and Tags. So, instead of forcing a particular list of Starter Gear, there’s a list of recommendations. A player, however, can choose a more appropriate piece of Gear that suits their specialty. For example, MY idea of a Ranger could be different from yours. Maybe I’m more about the archery, and you’re more into pets. Stuff like that.

As an example, a 5E Warlock, to me, has the following three specialties that define what it means to be a Warlock from my point of view : an infernal grimoire, dark pacts and eldritch invocations. My Starter Gear and Tags would involve those three specialties. Another player may focus on, say, a Hexblade and decide the pact weapon is much more interesting to look at.

Edit : And the Forthright RPG had some assistance with their d20 based PbtA inspired results chart.

Edit the 2nd : And I would likely streamline future character creation by borrowing from Simple World by having the stats already sorted, say : +3, +2, +1, +1, +0, -1 using the ICRPG 2E Quickstart values, for example. Effort would maybe be : +2, +1, +1, +0. Faster method of jumping into the game without thinking to hard on point distribution.


Have you checked out Vagabonds of Dyfed? It is quite good combining OSR with PbtA and using Tags instead of Attributes.

Food for thought or perhaps another game to enjoy.


I think it works! I actually have made the math on the Dungeon World chances to d20 rolls… I’ll see if I can find it.

Also, I’d just like to point out what I call “parallel evolution” lol


Nice, I played Forthright once! I’m sure I can draw some inspiration from it thx


For myself, I think DW has a lot more to offer the GM than the PC. I couldn’t figure out how to play DW, but stuff like Fronts and the principles are PURE GOLD for the GM letting a campaign develop organically.

My own little passion project I’ve been fiddling around with leans harder into Fate Accelerated style approaches/modes as stats and mechanizing aspects ie tags, but without the descent into nebulous abstraction the Fate mechanics themselves always seem to be slouching toward, the longer a game or campaign goes on.


Yeah I know vagabonds and I must say I wasn’t very impressed with how it turned out. But definitively a good source for the research train!


Paulo! Sup dude! I’ve been doing some math research too, but DW obviously can’t be translated well into a d20 because you loose that cool bell shaped probability distribution. I think something closer to Forthright will work ok tho.

Also, I just threw that image randomly from my CC/free stock library and I find it hilarious that you used the same for your project haha. It’s kind of the best suited one for a cover in that pack I think. It’s like the icons from, once you know then you start seeing them everywhere lol

Btw, is that a dwarf thing rpg? homebrew project? I’m intrigued!!


That’s funny, I always describe ICRPG as a “If D&D was made like FATE” haha I think it is super natural to integrate aspects and such into ICRPG mechanics.

About DW, tho I agree GM advice is supberb, I also think the juice actually comes from the way the game flows during play, pushing fiction first and giving you a clear framework of play that demands little prep time and effort to propel the game forward. Hankerin has a couple of super cool vids about DW in the channel. And I think it is a curse we all veteran RPers have to not be able to understand DW’s gameplay easily because it just feels so alien to the way we are used to think about tabletop. It took me literall years to finally click with the game tbh.

Also about PCs in DW, I think that the whole collaborative aspect it provides helps a lot to free some shy players into a more “active” role that brings more input into the game. It’s all about that conversation haha

btw, I always appretiate your inputs Lon. You manage to make my gears turn with your POV :heart:


I do that with d20 styles of systems such as ICRPG and 5e. There’s actually an optional rule in the 5e DMG where ability scores replace skills, a la Approaches. So it works rather well. Basically, things like Forceful, you can substitute Strength. Sneaky or Careful can use Dexterity. Things like that. That way D&D players don’t feel too out of sorts with learning new terminology.

Borrowing from 5e, I incorporate Ideals, Bonds and Flaws in place of Aspects. I use those in games like ICRPG as Hero Point generators similar to Compels. If you’ve got a Flaw I want to Compel, or you play according to Ideal or Bond, you get a Hero Point. It’s also less open than Fate, and I think the constraint feeds character building. Instead of “Pick a Trouble,” I ask for a Flaw or two. Instead of a High Concept, we have your Archetype or Ideal.


Oh I track all of that. Mentally, and I guess philosophically, I have held on to Fate “fractal” and how everything can be an aspect.

I use Fate outcomes to inform my narration of consequence. Effectively, every success creates an advantage or overcomes an obstacle or attacks something with intent to put it out of the scene, or defends against bad stuff up to and including being put out of the scene. Sometimes the dice or the PC’s creativity point to the need for a boost (ie the mechanic that goes along with a small temporary narrative advantage, for non-Faters) or even a “success with style.” Etc etc. the thing is, when they fail, approach and intention matter almost more than when they succeed.

On a fail when trying to sneakily (approach) open the fridge at night (intent), you gotta use narrative sense when interpreting those rolls. The approach is easy—avoid notice/detection—but what is my intent? Am I trying to create the advantage aspect of “extra snacks to befriend stray dog with” ? Or am I sneaking those leftovers out of the fridge to overcome the obstacle aspect of “too hungry to get a good nights rest”?

It makes a huge difference in adjudicating dice outcomes. Did I fail because I attracted attention (failed approach), or did I fail because the fridge was empty once I got it to it (frustrated intent #1) Or did I fail because the food I found in the fridge filled me up, but also was loaded with hidden caffeine?

There’s no way or sense in trying to plan all those intents and approaches and possible outcomes in advance of the session. I mean, a lot of sessions, I wouldn’t find out there was a fridge in play until it made sense to be there, or a dice roll said there’d likely be one.

But if you ask some clear questions before the dice roll, and have an idea of a few “aspects” or really just facts with mechanical benefit (i.e. since Evil Foster Fam live in a “Ratty Little House In a Ratty Little Suburb” it makes sense they’d have certain standard of living, the fridge is a given practically. But as to the question of whether there’s be any worthwhile leftovers at all, you could make a dice roll that reflected… oh I dunno, like it’s likely/Easy they’ll have something worth the effort in that fridge (+3), and between the above aspect and some other game truths, you can justify a (+2) for the default Aspect’s “stat” …yadayadayada.

This is the value of thinking about the game reality story mechanics in Fate but rolling in ICRPG. To me anyway.

I guess the root of this ramble is that Fate Accelerated is hella easy shorthand for session prep and tracking details over a campaign. And in the moment of GM improv, applying its two most basic tenets of how everything the PCs do boils down to using one of a handful of approaches to accomplish 1 of 4 basic intents… and every “game object” from my hunger to leftovers to the Evil Foster Rottweiler to the Ratty Suburb is an aspect and every aspect has a game mechanic attached to it… . It just frees up a lot of mental overhead.

Once you grok the principle, anyway.


This is how we’ve been playing for a while, because we love DungeonWorld narrative first focus, rather than stats & feats approach of 5E. But we’ve been playing it still using a d20, yes you don’t get the bell curve and higher probability of rolling mid scores, so a d20 is more a flat probability rate, but just like d&d.

Lose the room target from ICRPG, it’s still a fixed target so players always know what they need to roll to success in a task.

1-10 Miss/fail (DM narrates outcome)
11-15 partial success usually with a complication (PC narrates success outcome / DM narrates complication)
16-20 full success (PC narrates outcome)

It has the same fail/success percentage, as you have with DW using 2d6, as said just with a flat probability, because you’ve got the same 5% chance to roll any number on a d20.

Love DW for resolution particularly in combat, whereas 5E a fight would last round after round, roll to hit, roll damage, enemy rolls to hit etc., but DW handles all that in one roll and narratively better,

In 5e the DM would narrate like 90% of the story and players react, but in DW it’s much more 50/50 cooperative storytelling, which is how it should be.


…For people who prefer that.

I’m with you on this one insofar as I definitely share your preference for DW’s emphasis on “GM and PCs Collaboratively Create”. And I wholly agree that D&D flavored rule systems mostly tend toward fostering a “GM Creates, Player Experiences” dynamic.

There’s no getting around the concept that game rules and mechanics can encourage certain “norms, expectations, and playstyles” by making them easier or more rewarding or simply by leaving out any discussion of alternatives. (Now if only humanity at large could convince itself of the same principle…)

It sounds like you’ve got a satisfying balance going on there with when you lean DW and when you lean D20.

For me, I’d be leery of losing The ICRPG keystone of Targets as a movable (and Player-modifiable) point. For one thing, I like the way a GM can reflect global difficulties quickly by adjusting the Target—without having to keep a billion little temporary situational rules and exemptions to those rules straight. I do that in my board games more than enough to get the crunchy itch scratched just plenty. The more of those minutiae explaining moments and administrivia checks occur at a table, the more that table is pulled out of a loose, fun, joyfully creative freedom headspace and plunged into a headspace more suited for math homework and solving engineering puzzles with their “rules brain” distracted by all the pretty meta and minmax flavored buzzkills.

ETA: The other big thing is that a fixed Target can contribute to the proliferation of subtraction events for the whole table, which may not seem like it would do anything, but it definitely eats up more working memory (cognitive load) and when the “losses” are given significant thought emphasis enough times, it contributes to a reduction of dopamine and production off cortisol. Meaning less sense of freedom and wanting to continue doing an enjoyable thing and more stress and urges to hoard, avoid loss, and focus on self preservation more than heroics (Oversimplifying here, but the principle holds.)


Hey man
I think it works, but I don’t know Forthright to compare. But to be fair I haven’t tested this either…

Dungeon World Results
2d6 vs % vs D20
6- (41,67%) 1-9 total on d20
7-9 (41,67%) 10-17 total on d20
10+ (16,67%) 18-20 total on d20…
For this kind of roll I’d use only raw modifiers.

It’s my own OSR rules set, influenced by lots of games I love. It’s a joke by now that everyone writes their own OSR rule set, right? :stuck_out_tongue: It should be ready in a couple of months and then I’ll share it (it’ll completely free of course).


Hey Everyone,

I was trying to come up with Dungeon World “something happens on every roll” and non-binary roll results in ICRPG as well. The one thing I find weird about the DW partial success probability is that even at a +3 (which is the max) you still have about a 33% chance of getting a partial success. If my character has the highest bonus allowed, aren’t they the strongest, fastest, toughest, etc, around? Wouldn’t they be competent enough to have partial successes a lot less than 33% of the time?

Anyway, my thought on trying to add the Dungeon World mechanics would a result 3 or less below the target is partial success. That is a 15% chance of a partial success pretty much all the time. In combat, a miss means the character would take damage (like DW). I thought about changing the Defense stat to damage reduction, but it seems like the Defense Stat can get quite high (5+) so damage reduction may not work very well. . Maybe Defense works like damage reduction except the character takes a minimum of 1 damage.


Regarding the partial success, somewhere on the internet, and my search-fu has failed me so far, someone made the astute observation that Han Solo was basically a walking partial success. I would actually put forward that just about the whole of the original trilogy is built on a constant barrage of partial successes. Everything from Darth Vader’s opening and the plans escaping to Luke searching for R2 and losing his family to Obi-Wan mind tricking Stormtroopers, but the party is still discovered regardless. Even the destruction of the first Death Star really ended up bringing everyone to Cloud City, Han getting trapped in carbonite, Luke losing his hand, and the revelation that, ultimately, there’s a second Death Star.


I can see where you’re coming from. I felt like it was a huge brain drag in Fate Accellerated trying to constantly come up with the Cost part of Success at a Cost as often as that system liked to have them happen.

The way I handle what DW calls Partial Success and Fate called Success at a Cost in a mostly ICRPG game is like this:

If the PC’s modified roll comes out exactly 1 below the Target, that’s when I offer a Costly Success. Whew! It’s a touch and go situation! You are so close to making that shot/ noticing something worthwhile/ avoiding Gerblin Hemorraghic Fever /whatever… but it’ll cost you… being so stunned you hit that you can only take half a turn next round/ making a lifelong enemy of the person you’re interrogating/ permanent loss of usefulness of any one piece of gear that got contaminated/ etc.

It has become a fun little tradition at my table for one of the players to always say either:

“Your Filthy Devil’s Bargain—“ [Long pause before continuing with either] “You can keep it!” or “I’ll take it!”


I’d say to halve it. Armor +1 or +2 is Soak 1, +3 or +4 is Soak 2 and so on. I play with Defense Rolls vs. Target (GM doesn’t roll attacks) and Soak and it’s been working great with Armor/2 = Soak.


Hey urfaes,

Yes! All those twists are great for the story: that’s why I want to add them to ICRPG.


Hey Lon,

Actually, I like the 1 below target. Very simple. The choice is a good idea too. I think I’ll adopt this.