Thursday, February 15, 2018

OneDice World War One: RPG Review

OneDice WWI
Welcome to an RPG review of OneDice World War One. This review concerns the portable document format (PDF). Those familiar with some of my reviews know I’ve reviewed a couple of other of Cakebread and Walton’s RPGs and the OneDice game system covers a number of other settings such as steampunk, fantasy, pulp and rather recently space fantasy.

(Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support.)

OneDice World War One is available in both print (black & white interiors) PDF at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow. If you want to choose the route of frugality, or take a look before you decide, Cakebread and Walton have you covered with a Pay What You Want Quickstart version; here. It’s essentially free, so you have few reasons to not check it out and if you’re looking for a clean and very simple RPG system…

Spoiler Alert: I recommend to give it a read and a run a one shot.

As you might guess, the OneDice system requires the use of one dice. In this case it is a six sided dice (D6). For the most part all conflicts and skill rolls are determined by rolling a D6 against a Target Number (TN) determined by the Game Keeper (GK or Game Master/Narrator etc. in other systems). If the player character exceeds the TN they succeed. If they don’t exceed the TN, the player character might be able to spend some Stunt Points to change the outcome more to their liking. Each player starts the game session with six Stunt Points which cannot be accumulated beyond the session. Stunt Points can be applied a number of different ways to mitigate or change the outcome of specific actions at the cost of one or two points. How Stunt Points can be applied and spent is aptly defined in the ruleset.

Modifiers or bonuses the character might receive in a task roll are calculated on a straight one to one basis. If the Game Keeper determines the task being attempted requires strength and the character has 2 points in the Ability: Strong; those 2 points are added to whatever is rolled on the D6. Most task rolls will be modified by either Abilities (or attributes in other systems) or the amount of skill points the character has, in the relevant skill.

Consistent with everything about this product is that making an adventurer (or character) is quick and simply laid out. Adventurers in OneDice World War One have three abilities: Strong, Clever and Quick and players have six points to distribute among the abilities. Adventurers also have three derivative abilities Health, Defense and Move. For instance Health is calculated as your Strength multiplied times three and the other derivative abilities are similar. Players must then choose one of three, Social Status’ for their Adventurer: Wealthy, Middle Class or Poor which will assist in defining the adventurer's Job Skill Set. This is more of the career that each character starts with giving them two skills to start. Players then receive four more skill points which they can distribute how they see fit and in line with the game and the concept of how they want their character. Skills are numerous (around 30-ish, but described with one sentence or two) and simply laid out, but just in case there are even rules to create new skills.

Beyond creating an adventurer OneDice World War does a good job of defining the setting, as well as provides the GK with a succinct set of rules. Everything presented in Appendices and Game Keeper Section is well presented and should assist in running (if the GK would like) a historical game; the RPG also has some options for including horror or an occult themed skin. The Appendices section has a Timeline which outlines the significant events of World War One as well as an excellent general overview in regards to who was involved and why; and the strengths of the world powers. The Gamekeeper section gives a basic shading of World War One in terms of converting it to a roleplaying experience.

Though I’d liked to have seen a bit more as far as adventure seeds, the setting material does a really excellent job of defining itself to the point where you get a ton of ideas reading through it. About the only criticism I have is a lack of maps in the product itself, but then again the fact that the game is based on real history and being in the day and age of Google means that maps are only a couple of mouse clicks away… Still no Maps!?

Cover to back the PDF of OneDice World War One is 108 pages. Like all products in the OneDice line, it’s a quick read and very easy to get the gist of. Characters can be rolled up in less than 20 minutes (for certain). Art is minimal, but decent.

(This review is property of Kenzer and Company. Republished here with permission)

Overall, OneDice World War One is an excellent product. I’ve been looking for an opportunity to slip in a quick session, or perhaps one of those nights when one of two of my players cancels with my regular D&D Basic game. I did get the opportunity to run OneDice Supers last summer, and it worked pretty well. With how simple OneDice (any system I’ve read so far) is, it makes for an excellent fill-in RPG. Whether it hits your table, I'll leave you to it.