The kickstarter campaign for the Awfully Cheerful Engine is live, fully funded, and through it's first stretch goal! In recent weeks, we've covered all of the current books that are available for this cheekily cheerful and irreverent tabletop RPG and also had a look to the future. We've also looked at character sheets previously, so it feels way past time we talked about the rules a little more. Stand by to be astounded at its simplicity!
Fully funded and through the first stretch goal!
ACE! is a pretty fast, light game. If you played 1986's Ghostbusters RPG, you'll see the influence immediately.
Stats! The AWFULLY CHEERFUL ENGINE! is a d6 dice pool system*. You have four Stats -- Smarts, Moves, Style, and Brawn. If you have a Moves score of 3, you roll three six-sided dice when you try to jump a motorcycle over a ravine. If you roll high enough, you succeed. It's pretty simple!
Focuses! For each Stat you also have a Focus. For Smarts it might be a science, or chess, or history. For Style it might be bluffing, singing, or fashion, and for Brawn it might be brawling or swimming. You can choose from plenty of focuses. Foci. Focuses. Whatever. Anyway, if the thing you're trying to do relates to a Focus, you get to roll an extra two dice.
Trait! You choose a trait, like Angry or Cheerful or Rebellious or Despondent. This, combined with your Role, makes you a Gullible Vampire, a Brave Turtle, or a Squeamish Scientist.
Role! (That's Role, not roll!) Your role, which could be your species or career, provides an extra special ability that you can readily rely on. Heroes in half shells, for instance, can always reduce damage they receive by 1, Chefs can cook amazing meals and deal extra damage with knives, and you vampires gain health when making unarmed melee attacks. Yep, you can play as all sorts of characters!
Karma! Finally, you have a bunch of Karma points. These can be spent for extra dice or to absorb damage from attacks, and they're recovered by using your trait.
Calamity Die! The Calamity Die is how you find out that your friends really aren't your friends. You see, when you make a roll, one of those dice is a different color, and is called the Calamity Die. And if your roll fails, and also the Calamity Die rolls a 1, your so-called 'friends' decide what happens to you. It won't kill you or anything, but...
*Fun fact -- did you know that 1986's Ghostbusters RPG, by Sandy Petersen, Lynn Willis and Greg Stafford, was the first ever dice pool RPG? Also Sandy Petersen has written an awesome foreword for the AWFULLY CHEERFUL ENGINE!
So to summarise, the Director (called a GM in lesser games) sets you a target number to beat. You check the relevant Stat and include an associated Focus if you can get away with with it, then use the final number to form a dice pool. Roll the dice, total the numbers and try to beat the target number. Oh, and definitely don't roll a 1 on the Calamity Die and fail the roll. That would be bad. Very, very bad. And it's really as simple as that! It's so straightforward, everyone can enjoy the story and focus on the highjinx without worrying about too much else.
If you like what you're reading, head on over to the kickstarter and pledge your support! We've already reeled in the first stretch goal, which is one of those future supplements we discussed last week, and are closing in on the next.