pix.gif (822 bytes) One Braincell Role-playing Rules

These rules are designed to be as quick and simple as possible.
The object is to allow play to proceed rapidly with the minimum of interference from the rules. Wherever possible the referee should attempt to resolve actions without using dice, but some situations, such as combat, benefit from a random element.
These rules have been used for many games, varying from a 1930's Lost World game to a modern Conspiracy game.

You are free to use them for any game you like. I only ask that, if you do use them, please let me know how the game went and what you think of the rules.

Note: She is used to denote the referee and He to denote the player.

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Character Generation

The player should define the following factors about the character:

Character Concept
Primary Ability
Secondary Abilities
Secondary Ability No. 1
Secondary Ability No. 2
Character Weakness
Character Secret
Character Goal

Factors should be defined as short phrases, the only limit upon choice being common sense and the referees agreement.

Here is an example from a 1930s Lost World game

Name Cpt. Jack Parnell
Character Concept Strong Jawed Hero
Primary Ability Ex Royal Navy Captain
Secondary Abilities
Secondary Ability No. 1 Good with his fists
Secondary Ability No. 2 Speaks Fluent Chinese (served in South China Sea)
Character Weakness Acts as 'An Officer and a Gentleman' at all times
Character Secret Has an illegitimate Chinese daughter in Britain
Character Goal To uphold the honour of the British Empire
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A player may use either special Outcome dice or ordinary d6, 4 should be enough.

Outcome Dice

These are six sided dice, with a tick mark on one face and a tick mark and “Roll Again” on another (see diagram below). All other faces are blank. These may be made by modifying ordinary dice, or marking special blank dice. Whilst not essential to the rules, they make success determination much quicker.

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The Dilemma Die

This is an optional rule and is more suited to action/adventure games. When used, the player also rolls a dilemma die. This may be a six-sided die of a different colour to those rolled for the action, or a special dilemma die may be used. This is a six sided dice with DILEMMA on one face, all the other faces are blank.

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Playing the Game

Task resolution

Whenever the referee decides that a player must roll to determine the outcome of an action, the player makes a task resolution. To do this he rolls a number of dice between 1 and 5. The number rolled is determined by the referee, depending upon how skilled he feels the character to be and whether there any other influences upon the action.
The player rolls the dice, determines the number of successes and, depending upon these and the difficulty of the task, the referee determines success or failure. For most tasks a single success should be sufficient, but for a particularly difficult task, or for one that will take some time to complete, the referee should decide how many successes are required.

Rolling the Dice.

When a player rolls the dice she must determine the number of successes. If using Outcome dice this is easy, as every tick mark indicates a success. If the die face also has “roll Again”, count this success along with any others and roll this die again, adding any further successes rolled. It is possible to reroll a die several times if “Roll Again” continues to be rolled. If using ordinary six-sided dice, a 5 counts as a success, and a 6 as a success with “Roll Again”.

Sample dice rolling application


If you are using the Dilemma rule and the dilemma die comes up 1 (or indicates Dilemma if using a special die), then something has gone wrong for the character. The characters action may have succeeded, depending upon what the outcome dice indicate. The dilemma is independent of success or failure, though if the character fails, a dilemma could make the outcome worse. Examples of dilemmas include:

guns running out of ammunition (if the action was successful then after firing).

Characters slipping or falling

Plot Points

Plot points allow players more control over the game, and may be used to rescue a character from a potentially fatal situation.
Players should be assigned a number of points at the start of a game or campaign.
Extra points may be earned for good role-playing etc.
The number of points assigned at the beginning of the game depends upon the type of game. In a heroic action game, more points will be required than in a realistic investigative game.

The referee may override the use of a plot point if she does not agree with its use, but, if this is done, the player keeps the plot point.

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Examples of Play

Example 1

Kato charges into the corridor, armed with his katana. He sees his arch enemy, Koroda, standing facing him.
Without pausing, Kato charges towards Koroda and slashes with his Katana. Kato is highly skilled with his sword, and the referee has him roll four dice. He gets 3 successes, two of which are roll again. He rolls again, getting two further successes, one of which is another roll again. Rolling this again he gets one further success, giving him six in total.
The referee decides that this is a fantastic outcome, but, unfortunately for Kato, the dilemma die came up dilemma.
The dilemma cannot affect the outcome of the die roll, so Kato's fantastic success still stands.
The referee decides that Kato slipped on the floor and lost his footing. As he fell he swing wildly with his Katana, taking Koroda's legs off at the knee. Kato has taken out his arch enemy, but had better hope there are none of Koroda's henchmen in the corridor!

Example 2

Jack Parnell has been ambushed by an unknown assailant in a litter strewn back alley of Paris. He looks up to see his attacker advancing upon him with a knife.
Jack is unarmed and, although good with his fists, does not fancy his chances against a knife. He decides to use a plot point.
"Reaching back, my hand closes on a length of wood hidden amongst the litter" he declares. At this point the referee has two choices.

If it is important that Jack is captured, the stick could be too long to use, or could be rotten. In this case Jack should have his Plot Point back.

Jack could be allowed to use the stick in the ensuing fight. The Plot Point is then used up.

Example 3

Jack is pressing a villain across the Paris rooftops, and has to jump the gap between two houses. The referee decides that, due to his background he must be fairly fit, and so she allows him to roll three dice.
He rolls the dice, getting no successes and a dilemma.
The referee decides that a failure indicates that Jack falls to the street below, possibly injuring himself badly.
Jack spends a plot point to avoid the fall and declares "I miss the roof and crash through an upstairs window of the house opposite".
The referee agrees to this, but there is still the dilemma. She decides that the window Jack crashed through was into a bathroom, and the bath is occupied. Jack will now have some rapid explaining to do!

Example 4

Jack has got himself into a sword fight with Otto Klenk, an old enemy of his. Otto is an experienced swordsman, so the referee gives him four dice, to Jack's three.
Otto makes a feint attack, rolling three successes. Jack gets two successes as he tries to defend himself. The referee decides that the feint was partially successful and penalised Jack 1 die on the next move.
Otto attacks again, this time trying to stab Jack in the chest. Otto gets only two successes.
Jack desperately tries to ward off Otto's attack. He gets three successes! (one on a roll again).
The referee decides that, because he got more successes, Jack may now attack Otto, which he does, lunging with all his strength. As he is making an all out attack, the referee assigns Jack an extra die, giving him four. He rolls, getting four successes ! But he also rolls a dilemma.
Otto tries to block the blow, but fails to get any successes. He goes down with Jack's blade buried deep in his chest. As he falls, Jack's blade snaps off (dilemma), leaving Jack without a weapon.

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If you have any questions, please contact me at webmaster@acwnaval.com.

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