In this game, you can do absolutely anything you want. Anything! It’s anarchy! The only limit is your imagination and the ever-present tyranny of “reality” symbolized by the 20-sided dice (d20). You wanna break that window, yeah, but what if your rock misses? Roll the d20 to find out. You wanna rob a bank, but what if a guard tries to draw on you? Roll the d20. You wanna stab a cop in the face and drink his blood. Well, no, that sounds like more of a black metal thing. You can do anything you want because it’s a story-telling game, and stories don’t have rules. But it has to be punk rock. Because that’s the first rule of anarchy.
Punching The Game Master
This game requires a Game Master (GM). He is referred to in the masculine pronoun because odds are he’s a straight, white, male who thinks he’s God. Right? What a dork. The GM is the announcer, referee, tour guide, and band leader, yes, but every time he claims to be God all the players get to punch him in the stomach. The GM’s job is to be the voice of reality by assigning Reality Checks, but other than that, the only power he has is the power you give him. This also applies to real life.
Whenever your character wants to do something that has a chance of failure, the GM will assign a Reality Check. You must pass the Check to succeed at the action by rolling the d20 and getting a high enough number. Before you roll, the GM assigns a Difficulty (DIF) rating that describes your chance of success. The DIF is a number between 1 and 30. Check out this chart:
The DIF is the number you’re trying to get with d20, but you may add or subtract modifiers to the number you roll. You must always apply one Attribute Modifier from your Attribute most relevant to the action being attempted. If you have an appropriate skill, you may add the skill level. Also, the GM may assign other modifiers that logically apply to the specific situation and context.
You need a complete set of nerd dice to play this game. The word “dice” is both singular and plural, and each dice is called by the number of sides it has, so the “d12” is the dice with twelve sides, etc. The number before the “d” tells you how many of the dice to roll and add up, so “3d6” means roll three six-sided dice and total them. Also, there are two imaginary nerd dice called “d2” and “d3” which you can simulate with a d6. For d2, rolling 1 to 3 is a 1, and 4 to 6 is a 2. Or you could flip a coin. For d3, rolling 1 to 2 is a 1, 3 to 4 is a 2, and 5 to 6 is a 3. Figure it out, nerd.
Your character’s abilities are represented by the five Character Attributes: Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Intelligence (INT), Charisma (CHA), and Hardcore (HXC). Each Reality Check is based on one of these Attributes. Here are some example actions organized by their most relevant Attribute:
Strength: Punching poseurs, smashing shit, doing damage, breaking down doors, bending bars and lifting gates, carrying amps, arm wrestling
Dexterity: Aiming slingshots, running from cops, jumping over fences, driving, skating, biking, not falling down
Intelligence: Remembering stuff, reading good, noticing clues, hotwiring cars, fixing speakers, picking locks, talking smart
Charisma: Looking good, persuading and convincing, rousing a crowd, lying to cops, being popular, seducing lovers
Hardcore: Moshing in the pit, resisting pain and filth, not puking or passing out, not dying or giving up, being punk
Reality Checks are named after their most relevant Attribute. So, a Charisma Check means you roll d20 and apply your CHA Modifier. A Hardcore Check means roll d20 and apply HXC Modifier, etc.
For example, you say, “I punch the poseur in the face.” The GM says “Make a Strength Check, Difficulty 11.” That means you roll d20 and apply your STR Modifier. If the total is 11 or higher, you have successfully punched the poseur in the face. Good job, asshole.
Each Attribute (ATT) has a score from 1 to 20, and each score has a corresponding Modifier (Mod) that is applied to d20 rolls. If an ATT score changes, so does the corresponding Mod.
Attribute 1: Modifier -5
Attribute 2: Modifier -4
Attribute 3: Modifier -3
Attribute 4-5: Modifier -2
Attribute: 6-8: Modifier -1
Attribute 9-12: Modifier +0
Attribute 13-15: Modifier +1
Attribute 16-17: Modifier +2
Attribute 18: Modifier +3
Attribute 19: Modifier +4
Attribute 20: Modifier +5
How To Do Anything
To recap, you can do anything you want by announcing your intention to the GM so he can assign a DIF and most relevant ATT.
- Roll d20 and add/subtract the most relevant Attribute Modifier
- Add one Skill modifier, if applicable
- Add/subtract any other modifiers that logically apply
If your total is more than or equal to the DIF, you have succeeded. If not, not.
Rolling an unmodified “20” is a Critical Hit and has double effect. Rolling an unmodified “1” is a Critical Miss and has the opposite of the intended effect. Critical Rolls are subject to house rules, so whatever.