FKR at its finest.
…Perfected, my one-page design of Professor MAR Barker’s much, much older (40+ years) FKR game, is in its tenth year… TEN YEARS!
Funny how time flies when you’re having fun…
I offered this game for about a year or so on my (now defunct) Patreon.
Now, I redesigned it and published it on my itch channel.
What is it about?
…and it’s so, so good.
Michael Raston has created the perfect FKR hack of Games Workshop’s behemoth: Ref determines success chances, freeform gaming. Read about Michael’s ideas here.
This is the Krieghammer rulebook: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1N0bPVfRajlHXQI-N_EM0h0UnujLLz_ckrGHsh870exk/edit?usp=sharing
The fun thing is: You can start playing in minutes, and you can create your personal army lists with minimal effort (and maximum fun).
So, without further ado: two army lists we’ll use for our next Acid Death Fantasy session next week.
The Gundabad Sultanate
3 Points: Palace Guards
Good armor, sabers and other long bladed weapons, good melee fighters, strictly loyal to the Sultan
3 Points: Former Gladiators
Hardened veterans in typical gladiator gear, nets, spears, short swords, experts in armed combat, will flee if the odds are against them
3 Points: Armbruster
Experienced and precise Crossbowmen, no armor, no infight or melee experience
4 Points: Coated Men («Plasticmen»)
Living near the Plastic Sea, covered in a layer of hardened plastic that will kill them eventually; dangerous fighters with net and spear or churkas (bladed whips)
0.5 Points: Courtiers of the Sultanate
No armor, daggers or knives, no melee experience whatsoever, cannon-fodder (but don’t tell that to their face)
The Mitsumbahad Emirate
4 Points: Guerilla Droids
Tireless droids with aggressive programming; laserpistols and/or lazguns, steel bodies, specialists for planting explosive traps
1 Point: Soldiers of the Emirate
Light armor (hardened leather, sometimes plate), long bladed weapons, fanatically loyal to the Emir
3 Points: Giant Scorpion
Thick chitinous hide, deadly poison, controlled by a rider that sits atop of them in a steel cage. The scorpion is controlled with an implant that is attuned to its rider; as long as the rider is alive, the scorpion will continue its attacks
48 pages. A complete adventure game.
This game is based on the fantastic Dungeon World rpg, but instead of complicating the rules, it gets rid of them… and arrives at something we call ‘free kriegsspiel’.
FKR games allow you to play almost instantly. No complex rules, no rulebooks. Yes, this type of roleplaying game requires trust. Trust between the players among themselves, and trust that the referee is there to have a good time with all the other players. But then again, this is the way we played as children, and the way our children are playing now.
Maybe that’s the reason why FKR gaming is so liberating: It’s a journey back to instinctive gaming, and it’s a journey forward into the realms of imagination. ‘Play worlds, not rules’, is our motto, so you won’t find pages upon pages of rules in Bound for Glory. You will find lots of things that inspire you, though.
Learn the secret of true Hong Kong action roleplaying. For thousands of years, it was guarded by hardened monks in the Chinese Himalayas. Now, for the FIRST TIME IN HISTORY, you can play as the Old Masters did. Easier than Dorkquest – more effective than boxing – uniquely devastating!
Jim started it, and I think it’s really, really awesome. The Free Kriegsspiel Revolution is, at its heart, a play style that hands over the mechanical side of things completely to the referee: “The referee is the rules”, as Yori says.
And FKR is freeform, navigated by both the players and the referee. ‘High-trust traditional gaming’ is the nomenclature (thanks S. John Ross). But the number one reason why I can’t, as in ‘I am not able to’, play anything other than FKR-style games any more is the creative freedom. The freedom to create whatever, whomever and however I want, without rules, without, as it were, a care in the world.
FKR is roleplaying the way we played as kids (or teenagers, after hearing about that strange game with the dungeons and the dragons, but without having seen the rules).
And that’s why Jim’s design challenge is so good: It’s NOT challenging, it’s LIBERATING.
The rules of the challenge?
- Pick a genre, setting, or time period
- Write one or two paragraphs on context
- Produce one page of random tables
- Give advice on tropes and how to use them
Y’all can write rpgs. Because what matters is not the page count, and not the pretty pictures. What matters is that it’s written by you. That it comes from your heart. That’s what matters, and that, my friends, that is FKR.
Games written for the challenge so far:
We just wrapped up our first session of the Flux.
The player characters got sucked into the great warping mystery that is The Flux — and their Shadowrun world of 2050 fluxed into another world and/or time… the world of Acid Death Fantasy. In my book, that world is a crazy jambalaya of Dune, stoner rock, the Heavy Metal movies and Zardoz.
When the echoing sounds of horns faded and they were able to see again… they found themselves in the middle of a desert. A short while later, someone on a six-legged camel showed up and greeted them: he obviously knew them, and he talked about old times when they were kids…. so the world changed, but the people didn’t notice. The only ones who noticed are the player characters…
Nothing. I started with the characters I had prepared for my players. Those Acid Death Fantasy characters are very rough in-world equivalents to their Shadowrun characters (the former troll headhunter became a huge Sultanless Guard, the private eye and wolf shaman became a Dosed Prophet with six disciples, and the newbie decker turned into a Companion Droid with technical skills).
I used the “First Session” chapter of Apocalypse World 2nd edition to kickstart tonight’s game: I simply offered my players to follow their characters around for a day. And I asked questions. Loaded questions. Like, “And’aam, what happened to your Lady? Aren’t you supposed to be a good companion droid and be with her?”, or “Tib el Hiri, what happened to your job? A sultanless guard? Why did you get kicked?”, and so on.
And boy. Oh boy. The answers I got were pure gold… and established many interesting details of our game world. Like, companion droids come in two versions: the old ones, with synthskin and chemical receptors that enable them to feel the effects of drugs. Those droids have a built-in perception filter and don’t know they’re robots. This is hardwired. The new ones know they’re machines….
Or, in the last four moons, there were several attempts on the sultan’s life — all of them by droids whose circuits were tampered with and who recognized what they really are. Or, the sultanless guard was kicked because he impregnated the sultan’s main concubine… And, the companion droid lost his client because the old lady fell to death in a tragic accident… but her son claims the droid had pushed her down the stairs…
And so, in only two and a half hours, we had co-created a rich tapestry of the world, and old enemies and threats.
Those go on the Apocalypse World threat map, a tool that I can’t recommend highly enough. Once you have filled out the map, it becomes clear what will happen next. The opponents become real persons with real motivations and desires.
Wallah, what a beautiful game night it was!