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Fools Rules

The Simplified System of Totania

Fools Rules is a simplified version of the DND 5e system, with emphasis on character and narrative above combat. In Fools Rules, there are no DCs or ACs. It is a game of rolls, from both the players and the GM.  

Introduction

The essence of Fools Rules begins at the character sheet, which is similar to the standard 5e sheet. There are some things to note that will be left empty or omitted entirely on a Fools Rules sheet.   The first of these is armor class. Armor class does not exist in Fools Rules. Instead, dexterity or constitution are rolled to dodge/tank an attack.

Classes

Another change to take note of is that of standard classes. It is not that there are not classes, there are definitely still classes, yet they are very simplified into more broad categories to allow for more freedom in storytelling and in imagination:
  • Mage- The basic Magic-using class. Includes many variations to the class, such as druids and priests.
  • Bard- Musicians and performers are at home in the bard class. Bards are people with a magical connection that comes from outside of the brain, most often in the voice.
  • Wielder- Wielders are those that hold the otherworldly power of the Divine Trifecta. A Wielder can either be a Paladin of a God, a Demon-possessed, or an Area Devil. Wielders use a type of magic that does not originate on Totania, but instead from another realm.
  • Warrior- The basic fighters of Totania, these people wield all sorts of weapons and fight in many different styles. The only consistency for all warriors is their emphasis on physical/ranged fighting over that of magical combat.
  • Assassin- The stealthiest people in Totania, assassins can range from the trained killers of the Dwarven Yellow Hornets army to the people on the streets pickpocketing anyone they can.
Most play styles should fit into these five classes, but there is room for addition in the case that something does not fit.
The most important difference among classes is their HP and play styles. Mages and Bards gain an extra d6 HP per level-up, Wielders and Assassins gain d8s, and Warriors gain d10-d12s depending on their style. A more frontline attacker would be gaining d12s, while a ranged attacker or finesse fighter would gain d10s.
Mages also, normally, will gain new spells upon level-ups. These are not set spells, but instead ones that the GM creates unique to the affinity and character of the Player. A mage generally knows, from these spells, what their further capabilities with their magic are, and what their boundaries for creativity are. This applies to Bards and Wielders, as well as Warriors and Assassins who may use magic secondarily.   Magic is not limited to any class, the classes simply determine how one can wield magic and if it is the primary or secondary focus of the character. One should not limit themselves to just what is seen in the classes above. One should use the classes as guidelines if one is struggling to create a character concept, and wants something to help them narrow it down.  

Affinity

When creating a character, if you intend to use magic in any form, you should determine their affinity. This is the type of magic that the character is able to use. The affinities are as follows.
  • Fire
  • Ice
  • Water
  • Wind
  • Earth
  • Lightning
  • Light
  • Dark
There is an extra affinity among these known as aces, who can use all of the affinities. However, there should not be more than one, or at most two, aces per party. Aces are incredibly rare, and there is normally only 10 aces in a generation.
There are also other magics that can be wielded, such as impossible magic and item magic, as well as Stands. To learn more about these, check out the magic article. Just be aware, only one of each item exists in the world, and an Item Mage can only use one item.
Magic
Physical / Metaphysical Law | Aug 25, 2021
  Items are immensely powerful, and sometimes have reality warping properties. A GM should determine whether they believe it best for a Player to start of with this, as it can allow for good growth opportunities, yet can also start a Player at a level higher than the GM may want.
Consider instead using these types of magic, Item and Impossible, as Power-Ups.  

Power-Ups

In the case of a long-term campaign, or even a shorter one if the GM feels it necessary or fitting, a Player Character can be given a Power-Up. Power-Ups are entirely determined by the GM to fit the character they are given to. They introduce a unique mechanic in combat for the Player Character that generally includes a new form of roll or an ability that activates under certain conditions.   These Power-Ups can be many things. Transformations, new spells, new weapons, special abilities, and special mechanics specific to a character (such as the addition of wild magic). A Power-Up can also consist of the strengthening of an already existing thing the character can do, such as a stronger version of a spell, a buff to a stat, or unlocking a latent ability.   An example of how the Power-Up system works can be explained through the use of Item Magic, more specifically the dice item that grants Luck Magic.
  Luck Magic grants the user the ability to use intelligence (their casting stat) to dodge instead of dexterity. This allows luck to take hold and keep them safe. It also grants advantage in these rolls against projectiles. This is a Power-Up that is gained from a new ability.
  Then, it can be further strengthened through new additions to said ability. When the user gets further in and develops more as a fighter and as a character, they can gain something like what the Luck Mage would get later, where the ability can be used to attack as well, rolling a flat d20 to determine what the attack is. Then, the luck of the user causes something in the area to create an attack against their target.
1 Something catastrophic happens to the user
2-5 A mediocre lucky event that benefits the user/harms the target
6-10 A standard attack that harms the target
11-15 A stronger attack that harms the target
16-19 A very strong attack that harms the target
20 Something catastrophic happens to the target

Rolls

Rolls are the most important thing in Fools Rules aside from the roleplaying itself. Not only does one roll when performing an action, but also in the case of what would normally be checks. Instead of there being a certain number that must be beat, such as DC (difficulty class) or AC (armor class), you simply roll against. This includes not only the players, but also the GM.  

Combat

Combat is simple in Fools Rules. What the Player believes their character is able to do in a situation, within reason, is what they can try and do. The GM has the power to veto this, but as long as it isn't gamebreaking or unbelievable, it is allowed.   Players roll for initiative, and the order stays true for the remainder of combat. That is, unless a player higher in the initiative order wishes to perform a combo attack. In that case, they can forfeit their place in the initiative order in favor of a lower spot next to someone they wish to combo with. In this case, players can either both do a standard attack at the same time, giving advantage on attack, or can use a combined attack, which does more damage.  
Group Combat
There are also instances of group combat, where a Player or group of Players comes in contact with a group of at least 10 enemies. In this scenario, it can always be inferred that these enemies are goons of a much lower skill level than the Player Characters. For this, Players finish these enemies off in a single hit (lethally or not).
However, it isn't simply attacking one enemy. In this case, once the roll to hit is rolled, Players roll a die (d8, d10, or at most a d20) to see how many of the enemies they hit. All enemies that are hit are defeated. These groups only attack once, but they deal 1 damage for every one of them that remains each turn.  

Death

Death saving throws do not exist. It is up to the GM and the Player's discretion whether they believe it is the right time for a character to die. This does not generally happen unless the Player is done with a character and feels there is not much they can do with them, or it is nearing the end of a campaign and the GM is wrapping up a characters arc and believes it the most fitting way.
A GM should always consult a player on whether death is what they also have in mind. Asking how comfortable the Player is with the death of their character is a necessary step, even if its early on before the GM is even planning said death.   Instead of rolling death saves, a character is simply knocked out when their HP goes to 0 or lower.  

Rules are for Fools

But the major thing about Fools Rules isn't the combat. It really isn't even the rules. That's why it is Fools Rules, because the rules aren't important. Rules can be pesky, and those that stick purely to rules can be pesky as well in impeding process. Fools Rules allows for anyone to play. They can have as much knowledge of the rules as they want, or as little. The lack of emphasis on the rules allows for everyone to enjoy it equally.   What is important in Fools Rules is two things: the GM's narrative, and the Players' creativity. The GM can add or remove whatever they feel is necessary for telling their story, and ensuring their players enjoy the game. Arbitrary rules can allow for those that understand them well to exploit and monopolize them, and for those that don't understand them to get lost and disinterested.   Combat is very much a game of tug of war, between the GM's story and the imagination of the Players. The GM fights with what is necessary, but also what is fun. They know ultimately what they need/want to happen, but they must allow for freedom for their players to do so as well.
The Players, meanwhile, are allowed the utmost freedom. There is a sense of trust a GM must have with their players, to not exploit this freedom, but instead use it in a responsible manner as suited by their character. Spells, for instance, can be given out by the GM as befits a characters magical affinity. However, a Player is not limited to just spells that are given by a GM. If they can come up with a spell for their affinity, then they are free to use it within reason.
Of course, this does not mean players are allowed to do whatever they want. If a player is trying to do something that is out of the limits of their character, a GM can veto the idea, and can even suggest it be shelved for further into the campaign, perhaps after a Power-Up.   This is a system best suited to a group that has familiarity with each other, at least between the GM and their Players. Enough familiarity for trust to be developed with this free, creative system of combat. It is very welcoming to new players who want something simple or don't want to learn too many rules, but there are rules that can be used to make even veteran TTRPG Players able to enjoy the combat and be happy with the system.
  Those that enjoy many rules may not be suited for a system like this. But as long as the Players and the GM have an open mind, and are willing to use their imaginations beyond just the written rules, then Fools Rules is the system for them.  
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Comments

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4 Apr, 2021 17:23

The similarities between this system and the one I use on my own roleplay board for my world is strikingly similar. Well done, I love the use of narrative over math. Sleek and simplistic is my favorite kind of system.

I'd love to see your own opinions on my main world, Xardia, and it's Free D&D 5e Module!
4 Apr, 2021 23:27

Thank you! I agree, the more simple a system is, the easier it is to hop in and enjoy it rather than get bogged down in the details.

Come and take a look around my world, Totania!
Thicc Shrek
Thicc Shrek
6 Apr, 2021 13:35

Nice.