System Reference Document


The DicePunk System is a free roleplaying game system. I think you probably already know what an RPG is if you’re here, so I don’t want to spend too much time on telling you stuff you already know. In case you really don’t know, here’s a short and excessively quirky primer:

Did you ever play Cops and Robbers as a kid? Or Cowboys and Indians? Knights and Dragons? Well, roleplaying games provides you with rules to play any of the above or almost anything else you can think of. It’s Cops and Robbers, for grownups. All you need to play any RPG is the rules, some dice, some pencils and paper, some friends, and some beer. Actually, the beer is technically optional.

One of those friends will take on the role of the GM (game master), interpreting the rules and lovingly handcrafting the nightmare that the other players must endure.

While there’s dice, and sometimes even miniatures and a mat, roleplaying is all about storytelling – closer to an exercise in improvised acting than a traditional, monopoly-style board game. It’s about immersing yourself in your imagination and pretending that you’re someone else.

Some people use roleplaying in order to better understand other people, as well as themselves. Others use roleplaying in order to watch their nomadic murder-hobos blow things up and steal in a relatively consequence-free environment – a shared imaginary space. For most people, the fun of roleplaying falls somewhere right in between these two poles.

What kind of RPG is the DicePunk system? Great question! I love to describe it as “rules lite” compared to most traditional RPGs, but if you’re coming here from something like Fiasco or Dungeon World, well, it’s certainly a wee bit crunchier and heftier than those. So, I think I’m going to go with “rules medium”. It’s definitely not like Dungeons & Dragons or Shadowrun where you might spend precious hours just micro-managing your character’s starting gear selection. However, it’s also not a “story game” that feels more like telling a collaborative story than playing a game.

Your character will have stats, and those stats will totes matter.

The main strengths of the DicePunk System:

What types of stories does the DicePunk System excel at telling? Or, in other words, what exactly do we mean byCinematic Roleplaying In The Now?

Well, I’ll be honest off the bat. If your roleplaying jones is to delve into dungeons in search of a dragon to slay, or to crew a spaceship headed out into the stars, then you’ll want to look elsewhere.

However, the DicePunk System has you covered if any/all of the following apply: 

On its own, the DicePunk System gives you all the tools you need to run everything from 80’s action blockbusters toHard Boiled to Fargo to Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction. The two DicePunk System games already published expand on this.

Phantasm (2010) includes the DicePunk System and adds in everything you need to run games that feel like Evil Dead,From Dusk Till Dawn, or Versus.

Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution is an RPG that bundles the heart of the DicePunk System with loads of extra material that will add FirestarterScanners, and Akira to your repertoire of roleplaying games.

The Dicepunk System is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 International License.