Saturday, June 28, 2014

Tiny Epic Roleplaying

At LibertyCon, I was in a game of the Tiny Epic RPG, run by its creator Todd Lyles. It's designed for fast character generation while still giving some flavor. You draw three Avatar cards, such as Steam Dwarf, High Elf, or Half Giant, and select one. Then draw three cards and keep one for your Profession, such as Spy, or Gladiator. Finally, choose one of three Legends, which set you apart from ordinary folk; for instance, your Half Giant Gladiator might choose "I'm Not Left-handed", which lets you add your Strength and Agility together (instead of using just one) for your attack modifer. Put these three cards together and you have your character, including his stats (Strength, Agility, Intellect, Charisma), special abilities, and even suggestions on what gear he's carrying and how he knows the other party members.

The mechanics are pretty straightforward. Roll a number of d6s based on the appropriate stat for the task, with 4, 5, and 6's being successes. If you're fighting someone, a 6 also lowers his Defense, so even if you can't hurt him at first, you can still wear him down if you can survive and keep attacking long enough. This wasn't a problem in my case, though; my Gnome Sorceror Prince of Thieves had a Psychic Blast based on his 10 INT, which meant I was killing my targets even when I wasn't really trying.

What you buy is the deck of cards for character generation. The Player's Guide, GM's Guide and some scenarios are available for free from the website. Note that the game is intended for one-shot convention scenarios, where you teach people the rules, play for four hours, and you're done. There's no guide on loot or character advancement, and there aren't complex tactical rules. Just deal the cards, grabs some d6s, and you're on the way.

The scenario we played was an attack on a pirate base, where our team of four had go ashore and eliminate the pirate gun batteries around the island before the fleet arrived. For one battery, we got the pirates to brawl each other. For the next, our Chronomancer and I zapped half of them; then our Kitsune (legend: "Fairest of Them All") stripped naked and beguiled the rest of the men. We used the beguiled pirates as cannon fodder to attack the tower; once inside, I located the powder magazine, our tinker put together a fuse, and we pulled back and watched the tower go boom. A quick, successful scenario and we got it done in about two hours of play.

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