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Adrian Thoen

A member registered Jul 06, 2017 · View creator page →

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Hi lunarsignals!

I'm glad your group is enjoying Impulse Drive! Combat in Impulse Drive is a mixture of the freeform Roleplaying>Moves>Outcomes style of play you find throughout normal play, but has its own ecosystem of moves that play off each other to give you a scifi action feel similar to shows like Farscape or Killjoys or games like Masseffect 2.

You don't necessarily enter combat formally with a roll for initiative but flow in and out of action as the stakes change through play. In the game, I refer to a group of moves as "action & combat" because an action scene isn't always about shooting space guns or waving around laser swords, and can also be running, scooting behind cover, a vehicle chase, or any number of dangerous or exciting scenarios.

The biggest thing to keep in mind as to whether you're in an "action & combat" situation is how much immediate pressure or danger is preventing characters from taking their time or acting casually. If a player wants to recover some harm or gather their wits, is it dangerous to stop and do so or are they out of immediate danger?

If there's no immediate pressure & the character(s) have a chance to catch their breath or regroup, you've probably left "action & combat" situations & can regroup - either have small scenes of character licking their wounds or regrouping for the next ordeal. If there is immediate pressure or danger, players roll the Recover Move to give their character a moment to get into cover & prepare to continue the engagement.

I also recommend that you have NPCs treat dangerous situations as their character suggests. When does the cost of violence become too high? When are the NPCs likely to give up, surrender, or leave? What will the NPCs demand if they have the upper hand? What might force the NPCs to fight to the bitter end?

My final piece of advice is to treat the determination of when the situation is dangerous or not as a part of the conversation. Discuss it as a group, and find a consensus you can all agree on.

If you'd like to see Impulse Drive in action, you can watch this game I ran for some awesome folks over at The Gauntlet a few years back:

thanks for the question! 2 hits means it can take 2 points of Damage before being destroyed.

Hi David! If you're after a printed copy of the book, you can pick up a print on demand copy in softcover or hardcover over at DrivethruRPG

The hardcover is really nice, but I definitely find the softcover version easier to flip through if you want to look something up real quick.

You can also check out the cards, which are a nifty way to track the status of gear & cooldown-based Moves. The shipping for the cards outside of the US can be pretty pricy though!

Hi, thanks for the question!

Blood & Honor's various components tend to be either exactly the same or slightly changed from the core set, but they're both starting points. There is definitely room for other playsets (written by myself or anyone else) to stretch beyond these descriptions to fit theme or scale.

Here's a list of ideas I had for playsets but haven't yet created. The Fueding Philosophers one, in the style of Plato & Diogenes & Plato is something that I think is a really fun idea.

Pistol/Rapier Duelists.
Feuding Philosophers.
Rap Battle/Street Dance artists vying for renown.
Warring Nations squabble over border lines.
Influential families with a generations long grudge.
Criminal organizations competing for limited territory.
Mecha pilots with a shared past, in opposing forces.
Opposing spies in decades long a cold war conflict.
Giant monsters on a destructive rampage for dominance/

Great question!

You don't so much as "win" a duel, as the Defending player Concedes the Duel, & tries for a Reprisal.

 If the cost of the reprisal is too high, the Victor's victory may be a Pyrrhic one especially if the Spoils aren't what they hoped for. The tension in the game is how long do you hold out for victory in a Duel, how many cards do you hold on to vying for a Reprisal, or do you try to push the other Player to fold before you?

please add my ttrpgs to this bundle!

Impulse Drive

The Pioneer - A Ship playbook for Impulse Drive

The Outpost - A Ship playbook for Impulse Drive

A Duet of Steel

Building Home

I Walk Alone

Lands of the Dead - a Dungeon World supplement

The Giant - A Dungeon World Playbook

The Fool - A Dungeon World Playbook

The Sorcerer - a Dungeon World playbook

The Fae - A Dungeon World Playbook

The Spellslinger - A Dungeon World Playbook

Your existence is worthwhile!

Your efforts are recognized!

These look great!

I love the design of this game, and the awesome graffiti graphic look. There's so much to love here!

Oh I like that! Perhaps the Glitch dice are actually a different size of dice? Component dice are D6s, minor glitch dice are D3s or 4s, and major glitch dice are D8s or 10s?

I think this has a great opportunity for a comedic game, the dungeon crawling is the backdrop for the absurd justifications for all of the knock-offs - I could see a "I'll save you!" mechanic where players can have their character take the blow for another players so the other player's concept may survive, but you get to create a new jokey knock-off.

The first draft is done for A Duet of Steel is ready! 

Check out the rules and playsheet here!

A Duet of Steel is a game about Duelists caught in an ongoing conflict engaging in Duels where they affect each others effectiveness until one party decides to lose their only hitpoint & forfeit the Duel. 

This version has the players construct their own setting and do more of the interpretation & creative heavy lifting. The next step is to get at least one specific setting completed for the Jam.

Perhaps each time you stress a component, you add a die to that components pool then roll the pool. Over a certain total value breaks or exhausts the component. This could also be an action roll, where the number of X+ results on dies count towards success? Sort of a risk VS reward decision. I can have extra effect, but risk overheating my mech's systems?

You can run your motivators at 2 dice to avoid a barrage, and have a low chance of rolling 12+ and overheating. 1 success you do it and everything's fine. You avoid the attack. For every success above 1, your heat builds up, and you add an extra die to your motivators pool for the next roll. As heat builds up, you run at a higher effectiveness but flirt with rolling a total of 12+ (or whatever your motivators overheat value is) and suffering a system overload unless you can dissipate the heat.

Very true! That little note of fictional context makes the choices much more impactful feeling. Like when videogame devs change only the sound a gun makes, and players start saying it's overpowered even though it's not doing any extra damage.

I'm still debating whether Duet of Steel is going to have a more solid setting, or be the premise of a conflict made of several confrontations over a period of time in different contexts created by the players. I love the idea of duelling mechs, or pistols/swords at dawn, or two rival immortals pitting their wits over centuries and milennia, or two crabby old philosophers with a public feud in the style of Diogenes & Plato.

One option is multiple playsets with custom fictional context that helps establish these settings. It all depends on how much writing I want to do.

One Hit Point community · Created a new topic One Hit Duel

Welcome back Another question podcast! 

I love the idea of 1 HP RPGs, and want to take it a step further. Instead of having 1 HP each, what if those involved in a conflict share 1 hitpoint? I've been experimenting with using standard playing cards as a resolution system lately and listening to the HP episode of AQ on my way to work got some ideas sparking. I have the bare bones of the core mechanic drafted out, with some concepts for peripheral systems that aren't about conflicts.

There's no skill tests, only duels. I don't have the fictional framing yet, either 1 on 1 duels in robots, or dance battles, or swords or guns or debates or rap battles. Whatever the setting, these conflicts play out over time, where individual stakes have fictional impact and consequences accumulate over time. The key tension is deciding when to forfeit, and how much of a cost you can claim from the victor. When does the chance of victory become too expensive VS the reward? Do you abandon this battle to make your opponent weaker for the war?


Players set the stakes for the Duel, discard any cards in their hands they don’t want  and draws up to a hand of [5] cards.

Stakes are things like:

  • A moral or rhetorical victory
  • Social status or renown
  • Physical wellbeing
  • the affections of someone they both court
  • a ransom or valuable trinket
  • territory
  • military supremacy

    Players flip a card each from the deck, the player with the highest card chooses who goes first. If it’s a tie draw again until one player has a higher card.

    Players take turns to attack each other.

    The Attacker  plays a card face down, and describes their attack – what they say, how they strike, what they are aiming for.

    The Defender then chooses 1 of the following:

    • Block: The Defender plays a card from their hand face down and describes how they attempt to block, evade, or nullify  the attack.
      • Both players flip their cards, the highest value wins. Defender wins ties.
      • If the Attacker wins, the Defender’s [Concession] of the matching Suit is eliminated.
      • If the Defender wins, their [Concession] is not eliminated.
    • Endure: The Defender does not play a card, but instead describes how they weather the storm of the attack and accepts to have one of their [Concessions] eliminated.
      • The Attacker flips their card, and the Defender’s [Concession] of the matching suit is eliminated.
    • Concede: The defender yields to the attacker, forfeiting the conflict. The Attacker wins the stakes, but may need to make a [Concession] to the defender.
      • The Defender holds out their remaining Hand, and the attacker randomly selects 1 card.
      • If the selected card matches one of the defender’s [Concession]s that have not been Eliminated, the Attacker suffers that penalty.
      • All cards are discarded, and play resumes until another conflict arises
    • If the Conflict is not over, the flipped cards are discarded and the Defender becomes the attacker & the process starts again.

    [Concession]s cause permanent harm to a character, reducing their hand size or meaning they never take the first turn as Attacker, or permanently eliminate a [Concession] Characters don’t improve over time, they get injured and become less effective.

    There's still lots of work to do but i'd love to hear folks' thoughts about the sort of setting they'd like to see this in, or any mechanical holes they can spot.

    Yes, this is the new home - although if folks post on the PWYW version's forums I'll be answering questions  there as well.

    Here's a few great ones!

    The Merely Roleplay crew did a 3 act, multiple part game in their series Parallax. My favourite part is their backstage episodes where thet talk character creation, player motivation, and mechanics.

    I got to run Impulse drive for some of the amazing Gauntlet crew at last year's Gauntlecon!

    Rich from +1 Forward rand Impulse Drive set in Star Wars in a 4 part series

    Adam Koebel takes a first look at Impulse Drive

    Rich Rogers runs Impulse Drive for Jeff Stormer on Party of One podcast

    Hopefully this will get you started!

    The game is designed for the player to have 3 Hooks at any given time to inspire them into looking for trouble. A Hook taken from a Modification would replace another Hook if you took them Modification. This represents that the Modification seriously affects the character while they're getting used to their new body. But it's not permanent! As early as the end of the Episode, a player may change or refresh their Hooks to focus on what's interesting to them.

    Just like in a TV show where a character's challenges and flaws will swap in and out of focus between episodes, a player may have a roster of Hooks they change per episode depending on which locations, groups, & themes are the focus.

    Since 3 Hooks per player is a lot for the SM to keep track of, the game is designed to encourage a player to seek out opportunities to apply their Hooks, or a Hook of another player they're curious about.

    This is just the default position of the game, a starting point! If this standard style of play doesn't suit your group, the Drifting chapter discusses how groups may modify aspects of the game to suit their specific needs!

    Hi Invader Spaceman! 

    Currently this Itch community & the Impulse Drive fiscord are the only two official Impulse drive community locations, but both are rather quiet. Hopefully things will become a little more active when the final version is released - which is getting very close, I hope to announce some good news this month!

    Hi Sully, thank you for the kind words! I'm really glad Impulse Drive is scratching that itch for you. This is definitely a great place to discuss Impulse Drive and its rules and I'm glad you asked that question.

    By default, players are assumed to only be able take Moves from their own playbook to protect fictional niches for other players characters. Moves from other classes or new custom archetype Moves is one of the first places folks start drifting - so much so, there's a Move in Drifting that addresses this exact idea!


    Atypical Archetypes is just my spin on taking Moves from other playbooks though. Your group may play it differently! For instance - a fictional change for a character may result in them getting a Move from another playbook.

     There's also a rule that each player should have a different playbook, but the folks over at the Merely Roleplayers podcast had a season where 2 players played Mystics at the same time and that was a lot of fun seeing the difference between them. 

    great question, and I certainly understand where your groups confusion came from! There are a couple of paths I could see your group taking depending on the situation and the players'  intent.

    First of all, your group's solution to the problem is totally valid! It's one that I would certainly have presented to the group. As players, your are the most important resources for finding a way forward in these edge cases - especially in the moment of play. Expert was definitely triggered, and I applaud your Intellect players instinct to enhance the Infiltrator's action, not supersede it.

    The confusion comes from how some Moves are named, the criteria for more than one trigger being met simultaneously.  Expert of course, as you have mentioned, and Share Expertise - but the Intellect player's intent also points to Lean on Me being triggered. 

    I usually approach these sorts of situations by looking at the player's intended outcome, fictionally and mechanically. Your group did this by having the discussion, and saying they wanted to give the Infiltrator Advantage. Expert clearly does that - if you can trigger a Move. Share Expertise interacting with Expert can do this. The Intellect shares what they know about programming or this particular program as the resolution to the Share Expertise roll, then as Expert interacts with it, they choose to give the Infiltrator Advantage.

    The other way I could see this playing out is with Lean On Me. If the Intellect player really wants to play on the angle of helping the Intellect & their relationship as the point of tension, the Intellect could roll Lean On Me, with the intent to use it to help the Infiltrator - probably by giving them Advantage. Expert would influence this roll by allowing the Intellect to choose 1 more or less option from the list in Lean On Me.

    Hi Spacediceman

    The character roles in Impulse Drive are generally expressed through two different aspects. The first is the most obvious, and is expressed as what they do for their crew as a part of the team - a pilot or face, a detective or tracker, a scientist or doctor, a space wizard, a hardened warrior, etc.

    The other aspect is how they interact with the crew - A stoic tough guy, a volatile hothead with a heart of glass, a charming liar, A naive outsider, a shadowy manipulator, a wise figure dispensing advice.

    A lot of what made it into an archetype is based on the archetypes we see in popular media. The Scoundrel has a lot of Han Solo in them. 

    Hi SpaceDiceMan!

    Firefly was one of the inspirations when I wrote the game, so you will find elements that feel familiar.

    Impulse Drive doesn't have any pre-written setting directly, but there are a few assumptions in the basic moves and archetypes moves which do say something about what the PCs can do and how their situation will respond to them.

    If you used the Smuggler ship playbook and sat down with your group to set expectations, you could play a game that felt like firefly in a lot of ways while taking your own spin on it and ruling out some gear or character modifications that don't fit your setting.

    While there aren't any videos of Impulse Drive, there are two podcasts of Rich Rogers talking about and running the game.

    Party of one:

    +1 Forward: