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



That’s a great point and both systems use the tags in similar ways, so it’s a natural fit.

I think for me, adding the “partial success” into the outcomes, rather than a flat pass/fail, has made a massive difference to our gameplay, couple that with the narrative first approach.

Take combat in 5E it’s roll to hit, roll damage, enemy roll to hit, they roll damage, rinse and repeat, not terribly exciting. But adding the PbtA partial success you can resolve combat much easier, less rolls and never left with a flat result, so in the case of Dungeon World, combat could look like this Hack & Slash move…

1-10 miss PC takes damage or something bad happens.
11-15 partial hit Enemy takes damage and PC takes damage or PC suffers some complication.
16-20 full hit Enemy takes damage and PC avoids damage, or they choose to accept damage and inflict additional damage to the enemy.

Also the Hack & Slash move implies that both combatants are engaged in combat, if both aren’t, maybe in the case of a backstab, then there’s no need to roll, PC just deals damage. Couple this with the Defy Danger move and combat encounters are so much more dynamic and cinematic.

I’m just regurgitating the PbtA rules now, so go watch Hank’s video on Dungeon World mechanics and incorporate them into your ICRPG game. It’s been a dream combination at our table.


I’d consider 10-15 just because that’s still only 30%. DW’s bell curve has Partial Success at over 40%. But I guess this is a “play and find how it feels” kind of thing.

So disadvantage = Success is always partial? I like the simplicity, and for those moments when you fail the roll for an action that seem impossible to fail - such immersion breakers!
Although I’m not sure if it would give PCs too much predictability if they can always succeed (even with consequence) based on having a tag, regardless of actually making things situationally easier. That said you could interpret the icrpg EASY tag as “+3 (to archer actions)”, and still use this dis/advantage mechanic to reflect the situation.
The archer takes the high ground like a pro, and is an expert archer (tag), so fail is partial AND +15% of pure success.

Also it doesn’t sit right with me for characters to have no chance of pure success with HARD attempts. But that’s just me, maybe it isn’t an issue in practice? And it might make the narrative feel a bit more “realistic”. Still I like the elegance of the mechanic you’ve described, will think more on it.

@CrowGoblin on Hack n Slash
Oh I hadn’t though about this before, glad you mentioned it. Having the player automatically take damage on a fail/partial success attack feels quite punishing. With +5 stat you’d still take damage back 50% of the time. And icrpg damage to health is intense (which I wouldn’t want to change!). I suppose that’s what the armour is for, but what about the ninjas? :smiley:

I originally was thinking they would do a defensive action (ie. defy danger) but now you’ve mentioned this I’m wondering if it would lead to a loop, or at least take twice as long to resolve most the time.

  • You attack, roll 7. Foe dodges and attacks back!
  • You try to parry, roll 12. You parry the blow but it stuns your arm, -1 str debility.

Hmm thoughts?

Backstab ruling is great, I like. :ok_hand:t3:


I’m super bussy atm, but I wanted to replay to this for days!

Your approach to the GM Moves is perfect! I kept looking at mine and thinking “man this is bloated a f lol.” I haven’t been to time-free these days but as soon as I can I’ll re-write them in that style, trying to distill it down properly.

About EASY/HARD, for simplicity’s sake I think I’ll either translate it to 5e style adv/disadv or just use the Boons&Banes mechanic I’ve been using forever now haha


I toyed briefly with the idea of keeping movable targets, but then I discarded it because the way DW and PbtA in general handles “difficulty” is not tied to the TN really. The key is having in mind the “fiction first” part of the game.

This is why Dungeon World’s dragons have only 16hp and there is no “to hit AC” nor +/- difficulty adjustments on its system.

“Hitting” the dragon and dealing damage is not a matter of dice rolls or mathematical simulation of odds, but rather a matter of fictional positioning. Getting to hack&slash a flying giant beast that can instantly crush you with their claws is something that requires a lot of fictional badassery, you can’t just stand at 5ft of the dragon and roll dice, something that gives you an oppening needs to happen in the fiction so Hack&Slash (or just dealing damage) triggers.

So, when you describe your move and you say “I HIT THE DRAGON WITH MY SWORD!”, the GM will not let you roll dice, and not because it’s not a risky move to make, but rather because that triggers a golden opportunity for “revealing an unwelcome truth”, describing how the dragon’s scales makes him virtually inmune to your tiny sword. Here the GM is “adjusting” the difficulty in a fictional way, rather than using the TN. This is cool, we want this to happen!

Now the dragon is pissed and takes a deep breath preparing to blast you down to ashes. What do you do?

On the other hand, if you attack an ogre on its “weak spot” that you just discovered, that same GM could just let you roll damage/effort (safe move), and that would be adjusting the difficulty to be easier.

You can also always use Boons and Banes or Adv/Disadv if you really need situational mods (ICRPG CORE compatibility kind of demands such mechanic i.e)


You have to change your thinking around attack and defence, the Hack & Sack is both sides engaging in a round of combat delivering band dodging blows, hence a 1-10 the enemy has dodged or avoided blows and dealt damage to the PC, on a 11-15 both have hit each other and so on…

The Defy Danger roll in short is not a defence roll after the attack, it is used to avoid combat or literally danger in the first place, like you trigger a pit trap, defy danger with a Dex roll to leap aside. It can be used for all sorts of things, much like a saving throw in 5E, imagine being intimidated by a guardsman and you defy danger with a Cha roll to avoid the intimidation, or you’ve been poisoned so defy danger with a Con roll to resist the effects.

Now Defence is simply their armour value, including shields and any additional magic bonus hey may have which will soak the damage taken. You’ve also got a move like Defend to protect a PC or yourself from damage.

PbtA games use the narrative much more to gain advantage than relying on a mechanic bonus or dice roll. If the players describe how they will gain the upper hand the GM can reward that with some kind of advantage, again wether that is narratively or a +bonus to the roll to mitigate that Hard tag. But once the PC adds their Stat and any other bonus from Loot, it really isn’t a problem, this is no different to ICRPG core.

If you’re coming from a background of playing D&D for years, then it’s difficult to adjust your mindset away from stats & dice roll mechanics to rule everything that happens, but just let the narrative take over and run the game, it’s collaborative storytelling, then the dice step in if needed (or triggered) to resolve a situation.

This! @Ardon I’d encourage you to read this blog post by Sage LaTorra on why Dragons only have 16HP.


Yea I’ve got DW and read the 16hp dragon post before, cheers dude. I understand the moves lol (I swear unnecessarily explaining things from the top is a common trait amongst GMs :laughing:).

But the point is mixing icrpg and dw, right? Otherwise why not just play dw and be done with it?
For me, the benefit of mixing is to have dungeon world’s narrative flow with icrpg’s simple but satisfying and customisable crunchiness.

But I guess it’s just down to what kind of game every individual is looking for :slight_smile:

Still, I’ll think it over.


Lol sorry dude, yeah it’s like an occupational habit to unnecessarily explain things, my bad!


it’s all good, I think many of us tinkerers have that tendency :wink:

But it does raise a good point: Where do the two systems meet? Hack n Slash seems like a good focus point. I totally see the benefit of having “exchange of blows” decided in one roll. On the other hand, I really like that through ICRPG classes can be specialised to deal with fighting in different ways (not just armour). If hp is kept low, two failed “defence rolls” can still leave your character floored - which is cool and dramatic! Maybe this is a point where theory meets its limit and a play test is warranted (damn my studies/work :()

I think you’re both right and maybe I’m overthinking and “mathmaticising” easy/hard. If player’s have EASY from ability or item, give +3 bonus. If the situation calls for advantage/disadvantage, do the fail=partial/success=partial (Hell, maybe just give abilities/items Easy the same mechanic as @Nimlouth said). If it’s essentially impossible to fail (like backstab) just succeed. Or a situation is difficult because of the stakes (like the dragon mentioned) rather than penalising the rolls. This also feels like meeting theory’s limit and need for playtests.


Well we still do advantage/disadvantage the old fashion way with an extra dice, so we roll 2d20 then take the highest/lowest respectively. We felt no reason to change this.


This all sounds interesting. I’m still waiting on my order of ICRPG Core 2e and am getting intrigued now by Dungeon World. I calculated a little and if you look at the distribution of DW it looks like this
|mod|| fail || p.s. ||succs.|
| +0 ||41,7%||41,7%||16,7%|
| +1 ||27,8%||44,4%||27,8%|
| +2 ||16,7%||41,7%||41,7%|

if you use a d20 to simulate that, i kind of like the idea of using the range of 9-15 (because they are multiples of 3) for a partial success without modifiers, so you get
| fail | p.s. |succs.|
any +1 on any stat decreases the chance for fail by 5% and increases the chance for success by 5%

If those are your regular rolls, you could say easy rolls are partial successes for 6-12 and hard ones for 12-18. Maybe make very and extremely easy/hard checks to stack easy/hard effects and you get a table like this:
diff. |range| fail | p.s. |succs.|
e. e. | 0-6 | 5% |25%|70%|
v. e. | 3-9 |10%|35%|55%|
easy | 6-12|25%|35%|40%|
norm| 9-15|40%|35%|25%|
hard |12-18|55%|35%|10%|
v. h. |15-21|70%|25%|5%|
e. h. |18-24|85%|10%|5%|

range is the range for a partial success. Also, i counted nat1 as fail and nat20 as success anyway.

This way, if the player have that table (maybe have it right on the character sheet), you say them that a task may be very hard, but some ability of theirs, which would make it easy, instead makes it a level easier, therefore hard. They roll, apply their stat bonus and can now determine how their check went.


From reading I would question why keep the d20? Having two dice behaves in the bell curve manner that is then odd/hard to re create in a d20. Does keeping the d20 give us something that 2d6 cant do?

What I would want from a mash up is;

  • Starting Stats from Dungeon World. Along with levelling up.
  • The 2d6 Fail/Evens/Pass mechanic
  • Add Easy/Advantage & Hard/Disadvantage terms into the narrative (Will explain below)
  • Take the ICRPG effort mechanic and thus time aspect with it.
  • Turns are a loose thing, doesn’t matter who goes but everyone must have a turn before you go again.
  • GM only takes moves when given opportunities (So doesn’t have a “Turn”)
  • Make monsters from ICRPG. This monster is 1H and rolls a d6+2 to hit. (Need to work out armour a bit better in my head)
  • Use abilities and paths from ICRPG as open options for levelling up.

Easy/Advantage & Hard/Disadvantage - I want this in the game as it comes up so often. It is also a way of rewarding the chosen class. Mechanically Easy/Advantage will mean the same thing. I just find when speaking it sometimes its an easy situation, and other times you have the advantage in this fight. Mechanically I would have players roll 3d6 for EASY/HARD Moves and then drop the Lowest/Highest.

Easy roll (+0)

Hard Roll (+0)


Just thinking, could get rid of the d4/d8/d12 effort die and use that Adv/Dis with d6s for effort instead.

You stand and decipher the runes. 1 heart effort with basic effort. Roll 3d6 Drop Highest.
Sword attack! 2d6!
Magic spell, 3d6 Drop Low
Ultimate? Roll again and add both results.?

1 Hart might need to be 20hp though…?

Not sure about this idea though. Again, referring my self to my original question. What does it solve/add? Might solve ‘disappointing dice’. “I cast magic so I can use my d8!! Oh, a one… Crap.” But it adds work in re balancing HP to effort Dice.

Then if I am trying to solve ‘disappointing dice’ could I rule that you always roll advantage with effort? 2d4 drop low, 2d6 drop low ect. Perhaps that could be a milestone reward?


From reading I would question why keep the d20? Having two dice behaves in the bell curve manner that is then odd/hard to re create in a d20. Does keeping the d20 give us something that 2d6 cant do?

A main concern for me is compatibility with ICRPG CORE. You should be able to read the hack, then grab CORE and start playing with minimal conversion. Because of this, keeping the d20 keeps the modifiers and so you don’t need to edit LOOT to compensate for the shorter modifier range that PbtA games usually rely on with the 2d6 dice rolls. I lament the loss of the precious partial-success oriented bell curve, but it’s not a big deal at least in paper.

  • Starting Stats from Dungeon World. Along with levelling up.

Leveling up is good! I’ve been personally using “7+lvl exp = lvl up!” for a long while and you can easily convert DW’s playbook moves into cool tiered LOOT!

  • Take the ICRPG effort mechanic and thus time aspect with it.

I’ve thought hard and deep about this, and in the end I realised that the core gameplay structure of a PbtA game relies too much on the “natural flow” of conversation which contradicts ICRPG’s phylosophy of “always go in turns”. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t have an initiative-like mechanic to keep such conversation in an ordered fashion. If I had to implement one, I would go with a popcorn approach: A die roll, the GM or players themselves determine who goes first and, after that player makes a move, decides who goes next until everyone has taken a “turn”. This is optional rule material haha

  • Make monsters from ICRPG. This monster is 1H and rolls a d6+2 to hit. (Need to work out armour a bit better in my head)

“To hit” is not something I would translate into this sort of PbtA structure. Remember DW’s Hack&Slash move. You fail to H&S the monster properly, you take damage! As a GM, you can easily do your monster’s damage (deal damage GM move) as a move if your player fails his “I slash him with my sword” risky move. Also about armor, “armor reduces damage taken in a 1 by 1 basis” to me fits perfectly. DW already does this and if you also add the “you always take at least 1 damage” extra bit, you can have ICRPG characters sporting that sweet sweet armor LOOT and stacking up to 10 but still having to stop and heal once in a while. It’s simple, it’s fast, it keeps CORE LOOT as it is. And I playtested it a lot at this point! haha

Also about monsters. I personally think that DW’s approach to monsters is perfect for this. They just have damage, armor, tags, instinct and moves. This means monsters are narrative and simple, and CORE monsters are also super easy to “convert” to that framework as their action structure is already built like monster moves from DW.

  • Use abilities and paths from ICRPG as open options for levelling up.

Yes! Also DW’s moves as LOOT!

Just thinking, could get rid of the d4/d8/d12 effort die and use that Adv/Dis with d6s for effort instead.

Yeah you can do that, but again, it makes ICRPG CORE less compatible. Also, the only advantage I see in using d6 only is accesibility (d6 are common dice), but this is a hack for 2 games that already use all of the funny dice so…

1 Hart might need to be 20hp though…?

You see why I praise compatibility so much? haha I want to keep using my ICRPG books with minimal work, but with a core gameplay hook that works like DW.

EDITS: Wording, typos, etc. English is hard lol


So in this case a D6 ICRPG with the PbtA 2D6 mechanic?

If so, then I would go like this:

  • basic = D3 (D6 halved) ;
  • tools / guns (or heavy weapons) / magic = D6;
  • ultimate = 2D6,
  • Points in basic, tools, guns, ultimate would give a +1 in that effort roll as normal

In this case, since all would be D6, efforts would follow a bit of the route of skills (disassociating weapons from tools) :thinking:


I just kind of like rolling a d20. But I haven’t actually tried playing any 2d6 system so far, so who knows?

Me personally, I rather like the low numbers, they are just easier to handle.

sounds great as a milestone!

The bell curve does not matter much I think, because in the end, whether you use a d20 or 2d6, there is each a percentage for fail, partial sucess and success. and with the d20 system you can change those margins with 5% increments.


Maybe you could go something like this:
d4 => 2d6 drop high
d6 => d6
d8 => 2d6 drop low
d10 => ???
d12 => 2d6


Like all I read Nimlouth!

About the flow, it might be a bit straining for the GM, but can’t we keep both? That is keep the fixed turn order so the spotlight is equally shared.


  • Player1 killed the last orc was fighting but is down to 1 HP.
  • Player2, the 2 Worgs you’re finding start sniffing, and feeling the scent of blood look to Player1, lick their tongs and start moving into that direction, what do you do
  • I try to put myself in front and block the path (limited sucess)
  • Ok you block them, but 1 more arrives and your surronded
  • Player 3, 1 is in a bad shape, but 2 really needs a hand… what do you do?


I thought about this too. It’s basically up to your table. Obviously if we want to make it a hack for icrpg, using the d20 is more intuitive. Also if we are using ICRPG stats bonuses, which can go up to +10 (in my game I’d say +5/6 nat), that wouldn’t work with 2d6 system, where +3 is the max. Just depends on what game you are making, no right or wrong I think. As you said, you can play with the partial success range to find a nice spot. You could always make an ICRPG hack for dungeon world :smiley:

Someone on the forums suggested a “centre of action” based turn order, which I think matches DW narrative style really nice (I use in ICRPG games too, feels better). I would still always make sure every other player has a turn before a player can have another turn. The only thing is that there is no regular “GM turn”, I’d try starting a timer from a player’s turn and using that as my timer marker.

Added thought: If you did keep a 2d6 attempt roll system, please have a gambler ability for rogue/bard class: If you roll a double, add 1 to result. :sunglasses:

Another thought!: @Nimlouth in terms of not using 2d6 to avoid having to change icrpg loot, most of the loot doesn’t add stats from what I remember. So can just modify or re-roll on the fly in the odd loot roll that gives stats, and it’s fine?


target + hearts difficulty

My suggestion would be to introduce hearts as a target modifier, resulting in the addition of degrees of success and the difficulty in hearts becomes the margin for partial success.


I can also recommend brand new system called Chimera

It seems to be combo of Pbta and OSR ( white hack ), very ICRPG like in concept.