I recently got to officially DM a one shot with our group this past weekend. This was a great experience and the process of it has turned me to a new RPG system. Enter Index Card RPG or ICRPG for short. I stumbled upon this via YouTube when I was looking for tips on how to craft encounters.
As it turns out this little system was put together by one guy who was mainly playing D&D 5e. Most of the concepts in the book you can find scattered across his YouTube channel.Let’s talk about one of the mechanics I plugged into my 5e one shot this past weekend, Targets.
Any given encounter / room / boss battle has a single target number. That’s the number players must beat when making a check. Let’s say the target is 12. Player wants to jump over a wall? Beat a 12. Player tries to hit a zombie? Beat a 12. Player needs a dexterity saving throw to escape a fireball? Beat a 12.
This simple idea of having one encounter or room level DC makes your life as a DM much easier. No longer do you need to track multiple DC’s. I halfway used this method in my one shot. Making the first few encounters low difficulty, then ramping them up in the boss fight. It worked well for me because I knew what everyone had to beat.
Now you may be thinking, this detracts from the unique nature of monsters and different challenges. I thought so too. But I attribute this to general environment that the players are in. If you’re in a foggy dungeon and the chaos of battle looms ever present, the difficulty to complete anything is going to be hindered. Maybe just slightly compared to being out in the woods. The world is a dangerous place, and the environment acts as sort of an equalizer for everyone. Making trivial tasks more difficult when in tense situations.
Taking this a step farther, display the current target to the players. It speeds up gameplay. This is something I didn’t do for my one shot, but it would’ve helped move things along. Players can tell you immediately if they succeed. They don’t need to wait 5 seconds for you to respond and you cut out a lot of time.
Wait, players know the target they must beat? Heresy! Doesn’t that take away from the suspense of the unknown? No, it has the opposite effect. Besides speeding up gameplay this adds to the suspense. Players can see just how difficult an encounter is, and when things get rough and you increase the target they are going to moan. Again, characters have a general sense of an area. They are under physical and emotional pressure and they should be able to sense the general difficulty or despair a location has to it.
ICRPG is simplistic and streamlined. By being simplistic it doesn’t seem to lose much depth. There is a lot of room to expand on the ideas in this book. Many of the systems of ICRPG can be adopted and plugged into your existing game.
Thanks for reading,