Today I stumbled upon Jeff Moore’s blog Dreams and Dragons and (re)discovered his awesome rules-light RPG Five By Five. I think I have downloaded and leafed through it a while ago, but I forgot about it and failed to recognized its awesomeness.
With the free 22-paged PDF Jeff Moore provides us with a rules-light roleplaying game that can be used to run games in every genre. Characters are described by three player-defined traits, a weakness and health. Traits are ranked from Untrained to Legendary and come in two variants: action traits and intensity traits. The first kind comes into play when a character wants to perform actions related to said trait. The second kind gives bonuses to damage or damage resistance.
Action resolution is done by rolling two d5 (a d6 where the 6 is counted as 0) and multiplying them. The result must be lower than the action value of the trait in question to succeed. Damage rolls are done by a single d5. Weapon intensity modifiers are added to the die result.
The only drawback of the game is that it doesn’t come with any setting and only one example character. It would have great if Jeff had provided us with a few more examples how to use the game, but that’s just a minor quibble. While I am currently taking a break from GMing, this is definitely one of the games I’ll love to run in the future. Now I only need a cool setting!
By the way, Rob Lang has written a review of Five By Five, that you might want to check out.