# Thread: FIVE: The Fastest RPG In the World

1. ## FIVE: The Fastest RPG In the World

I have a group of friends (5 of us, actually), who happen to have those random spurts of suddenly thinking of brilliant things. One person will suddenly have a hankering to play a gritty game of survival horror. So, we find a system, spend a few hours creating characters, and... yeah. At this point, it's a week after that hankering first showed up, and we've only now got every one in line, ready to play, and with workable characters.
Half of Ten.
Nuh-uh. That don't fly. So, I was thinking. Is there a system that is so simple that it can be played within 5 minutes? So that random hankerings or spurts of genius can actually end up getting played?
The Square Root of 25.
Well, this is the homebrew board. OF COURSE IT CAN!
FIVE.
Thus, I present to you Five, a game that was thought up 25 minutes, takes 5 minutes to set up, and, with a good DM and great group, should be pretty fun.
5.
Challenge Mechanic
It's simple: each player describes his action, and the DM decides based on the description and the character making the action whether or not it can be done. He assigns a target of 1-5, and then the player rolls a single 6-sided die, or 1d6. If he exceeds the target number (TN), then he has succeeded at the check, and the results play out as before.
Twice 2 and a half.
Now, this system results in a very interesting situation. Compare it to a lawyer presenting a case before a court. Based on the evidence, and what his arguments are, the judge decides the results. Only here, the evidence presented is who the character is, and what traits he has. The arguments are the actions, and the way they're described. And, of course, the judge as a DM only sets the difficulty of the action, based on this evidence (Traits) and arguments (Descriptions).
Square root of the square root of 125.
Character Generation
Now, we come to the second part of a character. We know how they operate in the game world, but who are they? Simple: they are built of a number of traits. What number? You guessed it! 5.
The Number of Sides on a Pentagon.
Each player chooses 5 words to describe their character. These words convey no *technical* numeric bonuses. However, these Traits do tell the GM what a player is better at. Words could be things like: Strong, Fast, Nimble, Clumsy, Breakable, Likeable, Funny, Courteous, Smart, Well-Read, Widely-Traveled, Scarred, Empathic, Pitiable, Warrior, Savant, or any number of other words. These words, when put together, show who your character is in an instant. Between the central mechanic of 1d6 against a DC of 1-5, we have a game!
Running out of 5-related things to say!
The Twist
But, if that weren't enough, we will add one final rule: when you start the game, you may choose some Twists, which are additional rules to add to your game. Each of these twists is a way to gain an advantage or do something different. You may choose as many Twists as you like, as long as all players and the GM agree upon them. It is recommended, however, that you have no more than 5, and considerably less if you desire ease of play. Here are a few example Twists, though many more can be made:
Yeah... I'll just give up now. You get the idea. Five is cool. This game is subliminal.
Special Talents:
Spoiler

In addition to your traits, each person may select one "talent" that they have, which can vary as wide as parties and caring for animals, to more specific jobs such as lawyer, guard, or social mage.

This twist works well with Inherent Magic.

Heroic Surge:
Spoiler

Once per day, on a single roll, you may declare a Heroic Surge. Doing so gives you a +1 to the roll (or rolls, if using Legendary Actions). If using Legendary Actions, you need to succeed at one less dice.

Heroic Surges may be regained whenever you take an extremely dangerous, sacrificial, or otherwise awesome action. If all the players agree that an action was especially awesome, they may award a single Heroic Surge to any one character once per session. The DM may also give out Heroic Surges as he sees fit.

Inherent Magic:
Spoiler

Every character may choose to have one of their Traits be a Magical Ability. This could be something like "Shapeshift into a specific entity," or "Manipulate people into liking you more," or "Levitation," "Heat up objects to firey tempratures" or anything similar. The basic idea is to replicate one general, useful ability. This ability may be used twice per in-game day.

Idealism:
Spoiler

You gain a single Keyword, which explains how you view life. It is a thing that your character values greatly.

Whenever you would do an action that upholds that value, you gain a +1 on the roll.

Legendary Actions
Spoiler

You may attempt to do something that is outside the realm of the possible. Examples include: playing a masterpiece of music from memory (Beethoven), surviving in an impossibly hostile environment (Sinbad), and so on.

In order to do so, your DM decides the difficulty of the action, on a scale of 1 (if the music was particularly memorable, etc) to 5 (You'd only heard it once). This is the number of dice you must roll in order to succeed. The DC for success is entirely different from this multiplied dice: You could have a DC of 2, because of how skilled you are at music.

However, in order to succeed, you must roll every dice correctly. So, for Beethoven to accomplish his childhood feat of memory (remembering the choir music of the Sistine Chapel after hearing it once), he might have a DC of 1, but must succeed at 5 straight rolls. Thankfully for all of us, he did.

Routine Chores
Spoiler

If your DM determines that a task is excessively easy for your character, he may give you multiple dice to roll with it. If any of these dice succeed, you succeed.

Balance of Fate:
Spoiler

Fate balances itself out: those who are born blind often become great musicians, and even those who are poor and destitute may become great man.

If you take a Trait which is negative and does not provide any bonuses, you may take one additional positive Trait.

Specific Benefit:
Spoiler

Every Trait or keyword that you possess may give a single +1 bonus on a roll. The trick is to figure out a way in which your keywords apply. You may not attempt to apply more than two Traits to a single action without either DM Permission, or if it is a Routine Chore, as the Twist.

In addition, if you spend longer than 5 minutes trying to discuss a single action, your character is paralyzed with indecision, and you do nothing.

This Twist works well with the Legendary Action Twist.

Speed:
Spoiler

Taking an action may not take longer than 125 seconds, rounded down to 2 minutes for ease. If you do not take your action within that time, you are considered to be paralyzed in indecision for a few seconds.

This Twist is recommended for all games, and almost mandatory for any group which enjoys conversation a bit too much.

Partial Success:
Spoiler

If you are equal with the Target Number, but do not exceed it, then you gain a partial success. Technically, you perform the action you intended to, but you do not gain the full results. In addition, you gain some disadvantage like torn clothes, fatigue, loss of something you were holding, or so on.

If you are using the Legendary Action Twist, a partial success counts as a full one for the purposes of finishing the action, though you still take the disadvantage. In addition, you may succeed with one less dice roll achieved. Doing so, however, makes it a partial success, and subjects you to a serious disadvantage. This could be something like broken legs, magical backlash, societal rejection, or similar.

This Twist works well in all games.

2. ## Re: FIVE: The Fastest RPG In the World

You, sir, may have just out-simplified Wushu.

Well done.

3. ## Re: FIVE: The Fastest RPG In the World

I've got to say, I've never seen an RPG quite like this... I love it! The character generation mechanic is brilliant, as a bit of a creative writer in my spare time, I have a thing for words, and I would run wild with this!
I have only two questions:
First, is there any sort of compensation from choosing adjectives with negative connotations? Is five just the base number, and you can gain additional positive words by tacking on negative ones, or is it simply a roleplaying decision to play a character who is less powerful than he could be for the sake of enjoying the game?
Second, as much as I love the simplicity here, I think there needs to at least be some sort of quantifiable mechanic for determining success/failure. What if the DM assigned the difficulty of a task, but you got a +1 bonus to your roll for every adjective you have that the DM considers relevant. Possibly a +2 bonus if it was specialized to that precise task, I.E. The word Engineer grants a +2 bonus to build things. You could put a roof on this to stop it from devolving into a kind of game show where players try to break the game in five minutes, maybe limit it so that you can only have two separate bonuses adding into a single roll at once. The main reason I think this needs to happen is just to speed up gameplay so that you don't have to have a Pheonix Wright case to decide what you have to roll. Since the whole point of this game is speed and easy playability, I thought it might be better to try to limit potential arguments over dice rolls.
Anyway, I love what I see. Keep it up!

4. ## Re: FIVE: The Fastest RPG In the World

Indeed. A cool idea, but I think having to argue back and forth about every DC will slow things down too much. I like OutsiderOpinion's suggestion about having applicable adjectives provide bonuses to the roll, though.

Perhaps the DC to accomplish a task is 5. Players roll a d5 (d10/2), and get +1 for every applicable adjective. Get a total of 5 or more, and you win! To make tasks harder, require multiple die rolls, each with the same bonuses, but require success on all of them for the action to succeed. Likewise, to make a task easier, roll multiple times, and if any of them succeed, so do you. The maximum number of rolls would be... wait for it... wait for it... 3! And by 3 I mean 5, of course.

5. ## Re: FIVE: The Fastest RPG In the World

I, uh, get the 1-5 thing as far as the name goes, but that means that no task can ever be harder then a "5" difficulty, which isn't all that difficult to accomplish. I think 1-8 might be better, with 7 and 8 being virtually impossible (since they can't be accomplished w/o modifiers).

That being said, this is otherwise brilliant. If you want, I'd like to gather 5 players together and run a playtest

6. ## Re: FIVE: The Fastest RPG In the World

This reminds, I think, of FATE and its aspects. Here, I'll quote from its Wikipedia article:

Originally Posted by Wikipedia article on FATE
For example, a player may choose to give their character an aspect of "Brawny" (or "Muscle Man" or "Wiry Strength"); during play, the player may invoke those aspects to gain a temporary bonus in a relevant situation.
FATE also uses Fudge dice, which has a seven-step numeric scale based on adjectives. Quote:

Originally Posted by Wikipedia article on Fudge
In Fudge, character Traits such as Attributes and Skills, are rated on a seven-level, ascending adjective scale: Terrible, Poor, Mediocre, Fair, Good, Great, and Superb.

7. ## Re: FIVE: The Fastest RPG In the World

This is quite the interesting simple system. What would the limitations of Traits and Twists be?

8. ## Re: FIVE: The Fastest RPG In the World

Originally Posted by Frathe
This reminds, I think, of FATE and its aspects.
I suppose it is a little similar. THe point of this, however, is to be able to go, "I want to make a game about x," and then actually playing it. When I tried making a character in FATE/FUDGE, it took me about an hour.

Originally Posted by Empedocles
I, uh, get the 1-5 thing as far as the name goes, but that means that no task can ever be harder then a "5" difficulty, which isn't all that difficult to accomplish. I think 1-8 might be better, with 7 and 8 being virtually impossible (since they can't be accomplished w/o modifiers).

That being said, this is otherwise brilliant. If you want, I'd like to gather 5 players together and run a playtest
I think I'll add a scaling difficulty as one of the "twists", probably along the lines of what Grod the Giant said.

Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant
Indeed. A cool idea, but I think having to argue back and forth about every DC will slow things down too much. I like OutsiderOpinion's suggestion about having applicable adjectives provide bonuses to the roll, though.

Perhaps the DC to accomplish a task is 5. Players roll a d5 (d10/2), and get +1 for every applicable adjective. Get a total of 5 or more, and you win! To make tasks harder, require multiple die rolls, each with the same bonuses, but require success on all of them for the action to succeed. Likewise, to make a task easier, roll multiple times, and if any of them succeed, so do you. The maximum number of rolls would be... wait for it... wait for it... 3! And by 3 I mean 5, of course.
Well, part of the game is the idea of tabletalk. Perhaps there could be a limit that you cannot spend more than a certain amount of minutes (Guess the number...) arguing. If you do, your character is paralyzed by indecision.

Hmmmm.... I'll add the following Extra Rules:

Legendary Actions
Spoiler

You may attempt to do something that is outside the realm of the possible. Examples include: playing a masterpiece of music from memory (Beethoven), surviving in an impossibly hostile environment (Sinbad), and so on.

In order to do so, your DM decides the difficulty of the action, on a scale of 1 (if the music was particularly memorable, etc) to 5 (You'd only heard it once). This is the number of dice you must roll in order to succeed. The DC for success is entirely different from this multiplied dice: You could have a DC of 2, because of how skilled you are at music.

However, in order to succeed, you must roll every dice correctly. So, for Beethoven to accomplish his childhood feat of memory (remembering the choir music of the Sistine Chapel after hearing it once), he might have a DC of 1, but must succeed at 5 straight rolls. Thankfully for all of us, he did.

and:

Routine Chores
Spoiler

If your DM determines that a task is excessively easy for your character, he may give you multiple dice to roll with it. If any of these dice succeed, you succeed.

Originally Posted by OutsiderOpinion
I've got to say, I've never seen an RPG quite like this... I love it! The character generation mechanic is brilliant, as a bit of a creative writer in my spare time, I have a thing for words, and I would run wild with this!
I have only two questions:
First, is there any sort of compensation from choosing adjectives with negative connotations? Is five just the base number, and you can gain additional positive words by tacking on negative ones, or is it simply a roleplaying decision to play a character who is less powerful than he could be for the sake of enjoying the game?
I like this idea, but I will point out that it's possible to find a use for it. For example, if you are [Crippled], you could get large bonuses on a roll made to invoke pity from your audiences. Or, you could blend into a crowd well, or look harmless better, so on/so forth. Nevertheless, I offer the following Twist:

Balance of Fate:
Spoiler

Fate balances itself out: those who are born blind often become great musicians, and even those who are poor and destitute may become great man.

If you take a Trait which is negative and does not provide any bonuses, you may take one additional positive Trait.

Second, as much as I love the simplicity here, I think there needs to at least be some sort of quantifiable mechanic for determining success/failure. What if the DM assigned the difficulty of a task, but you got a +1 bonus to your roll for every adjective you have that the DM considers relevant. Possibly a +2 bonus if it was specialized to that precise task, I.E. The word Engineer grants a +2 bonus to build things. You could put a roof on this to stop it from devolving into a kind of game show where players try to break the game in five minutes, maybe limit it so that you can only have two separate bonuses adding into a single roll at once. The main reason I think this needs to happen is just to speed up gameplay so that you don't have to have a Pheonix Wright case to decide what you have to roll. Since the whole point of this game is speed and easy playability, I thought it might be better to try to limit potential arguments over dice rolls.
Hmmmm... I suppose that could work. I'll include it as a Twist. The point is that the game is mostly between friends, and only works with a good group and a great DM. However, I give you this:

Specific Benefit:
Spoiler

Every Trait or keyword that you possess may give a single +1 bonus on a roll. The trick is to figure out a way in which your keywords apply. You may not attempt to apply more than two Traits to a single action without either DM Permission, or if it is a Routine Chore, as the Twist.

In addition, if you spend longer than 5 minutes trying to discuss a single action, your character is paralyzed with indecision, and you do nothing.

This Twist works well with the Legendary Action Twist.

9. ## Re: FIVE: The Fastest RPG In the World

Originally Posted by SamBurke
Well, part of the game is the idea of tabletalk. Perhaps there could be a limit that you cannot spend more than a certain amount of minutes (Guess the number...) arguing. If you do, your character is paralyzed by indecision.
I get that, but I have a sneaking suspicion that arguing about the DC every time you want to roll any check will get old fast. Obviously, you'd have to try it out to be sure, but... 5 minutes is a really long time for each roll. Part of the fun and virtue of rules-light systems like this is that they're fast to play, which this... does not seem likely. Even with friends.

10. ## Re: FIVE: The Fastest RPG In the World

Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant
I get that, but I have a sneaking suspicion that arguing about the DC every time you want to roll any check will get old fast. Obviously, you'd have to try it out to be sure, but... 5 minutes is a really long time for each roll. Part of the fun and virtue of rules-light systems like this is that they're fast to play, which this... does not seem likely. Even with friends.
Alright. I'll change it to... 125 seconds. (Rounded down to 2 minutes). That should keep things feeling lightning-fast.

Originally Posted by Starsign
This is quite the interesting simple system. What would the limitations of Traits and Twists be?
Well, everyone gets 5 Traits. As to Twists, I recommend not more than 5, and preferably less.

11. ## Re: FIVE: The Fastest RPG In the World

Originally Posted by SamBurke
Well, everyone gets 5 Traits. As to Twists, I recommend not more than 5, and preferably less.
I more meant how versatile can Traits and Twists be in terms of usability, not in numbers.

12. ## Re: FIVE: The Fastest RPG In the World

Originally Posted by Starsign
I more meant how versatile can Traits and Twists be in terms of usability, not in numbers.
Aaaaaaaaah. I see what you're saying. Well, I figure they can be pretty much whatever the group allows. The idea is to be as flexible as possible. It's an RPG that can be put on a business card.

13. ## Re: FIVE: The Fastest RPG In the World

-Easy to understand.
-Easy and quick to set up.

-There's no mechanism to have partial successes (e.g. you survive the fight but take damage).
-It's puts a lot of decision-making and judgement calls on the DM, almost as much as freeform RP. This means more stress for the DM, and a higher minimum quality for the DM.

The first disadvantage can probably be dealt with (and you probably should); the second is intrinsic, so this will end up as a sort of hybrid position between a normal RPG and freeform RP.

14. ## Re: FIVE: The Fastest RPG In the World

Originally Posted by Yitzi
-Easy to understand.
-Easy and quick to set up.

-There's no mechanism to have partial successes (e.g. you survive the fight but take damage).
-It's puts a lot of decision-making and judgement calls on the DM, almost as much as freeform RP. This means more stress for the DM, and a higher minimum quality for the DM.

The first disadvantage can probably be dealt with (and you probably should); the second is intrinsic, so this will end up as a sort of hybrid position between a normal RPG and freeform RP.
Thanks! That pegs down precisely what this game does. I'll be honest here: I am a HUGE fan of free-form, and almost all of my DM experience is on Freeforming. That said, I will fix the partial success with an aptly named Twist.

Partial Success:
Spoiler

If you are equal with the Target Number, but do not exceed it, then you gain a partial success. Technically, you perform the action you intended to, but you do not gain the full results. In addition, you gain some disadvantage like torn clothes, fatigue, loss of something you were holding, or so on.

If you are using the Legendary Action Twist, a partial success counts as a full one for the purposes of finishing the action, though you still take the disadvantage. In addition, you may succeed with one less dice roll achieved. Doing so, however, makes it a partial success, and subjects you to a serious disadvantage. This could be something like broken legs, magical backlash, societal rejection, or similar.

15. ## Re: FIVE: The Fastest RPG In the World

So, I see that some people wanted to do a playtest. Would you guys like to DM that, or be players, or how woulud you set it up?

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