Seeking Feedback - ENI RPG

Hi folks, I made a thing and I’m struggling to get feedback. It might just be too simple, not worth your time, or plain boring. I’m ok with hearing that but feel a bit lost not getting any feedback.

ENI is a rules-light, one-page, role-playing game system for new players who just want to jump into any setting. I use ENI with a group of six 8-10-year-olds every week, as well as with my 8-year-old son on the drive to school. I tried to find the simplest and most meaningful set of rules that went just beyond roll a die and succeed on a 4 or higher.

In ENI, each player character starts with a name, an adjective, an item, and 6 dice that represent their stamina and health, and will get more dice within the first few sessions. Players choose which one of their ready dice to exert when faced with a challenge. Challenges succeed at 4 or higher, with varying degrees of success.

Players who get into the story get a one-time +1 that they can add to a die roll. There are loose rules for combat, turn order in combat, resting, and companions. There is also a table for great successes. The story, special abilities, upgrades, gear, loot, etc are left to the player’s and game master’s imagination.

That’s mostly it! ENI is only a system, it does not have any content written for it yet. Please check it out here: https://ex1st.itch.io/eni I will thank you for your time and effort.

Note: I already submitted ENI to a previous One-Page RPG Game Jam, but I have improved it a bit since.

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It’s simple and it works. You need adventures as you said, to manage resistance.

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Thank you for the feedback. Job done then :smiley:
I will probably revisit it a year from now.

Who’s your target audience? If it’s children, then perhaps words like “polyhedral” are too hard to understand.

Is this supposed to be a stand alone system? Because you’re using things like NPC without describing what an NPC is.

About a third of your system is about dying.

The NPC generator seems a bit random. A dragon can have d4 and a goblin child a d20 die.

have a set of six polyhedral dice

I have no idea which ones, but I assume it’s a d4-d20.

I have no idea what the crossed out d10 means in the image above.

When you do this well, you can ask for a one-time +1 to any die result you wish to improve

I don’t understand when “well” is good enough, especially when every roll can give a special bonus anyways.

I assume the +1 is after the roll is made.

You must roll any one of your PC’s “ready” die

When reading this, I had no idea what a “readied” die is.

When attacked, a character that has not already taken a turn may react before taking damage (to possibly avoid it)

Taking damage makes you give up a die, but taking a turn makes you give up a die.

I don’t understand the companion rules at all. It doesn’t give you anything as a player, so it’s complex without actually giving something.


Other than that, it looks alright.

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This is what I’m talking about!!

Thank you. Every point was noted and I will be working on it today.

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Oh… I had not noticed. I think death is important, but I would say 25%. Let me check and see if I improve something in this regard. Thanks.

The players can choose the die or roll to see if the shadow lurking in the cave is a dragon or a goblin.

Fixed.

This term is vague, and I should cap it just in case. Thanks.

Fixed.

Thank you. The main benefit is that they don’t spend their die. But since that is what NPCs do, I should just explain it that way. Thanks again.

This part seems broken. Or rather, you might as well roll that D4 to see if you avoid it.

Thanks again. I’ve uploaded a new version to itch, see the opening post.

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Is there a way to edit the Opening Post at this point in time?
Is it only editable shortly after it’s posted?

I was thinking of updating the image with the new wording.

Rewards and the Great Success table raise a lot of questions for me.

Rewards:

  • What do items do? Nothing mechanically? What makes the PC’s Special Item special then?
  • What do skills do?

Great Success:

  • I don’t know how to use most of these mechanically. You detailed the gold coin mechanism - I feel like I need that for the others. It seems like they kinda group into categories, so it likely would not mean a ton more text. (And replacing the coin with “Gain a reroll option” might condense that?)
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Hi Jeremy

Thanks for the feedback.

It depends on the item. The items are either chosen by the game master, or players.

I updated the REWARDS text in the 2022.06.26 version of the rules (now online) as follows:

  1. REWARDS
    At an appropriate time during the adventure (See 2), a character may gain an item, ability, or companion. Items may be common, functional, special, clues, important parts of the story, etc. Abilities allow the PC to do cool stuff once between every good rest. Companions are OCs (See 6) that are assigned to a PC.

*OCs meaning “other characters” (aka NPC).

The same as above. In my group, players seem to stay true to their character’s specialization letting those who have that skill (hacking a computer) do it.

Thank you. Good point. I wanted fuzzy rules here. It’s mainly thematic, a way to give the players permission to try something, and lean into if they fail a roll.

This section has also been updated. I see what you mean. “Become Fast” is just a way to say that if a situation called for speed you either automatically succeed or get a +1 or whatever the game master/players deem appropriate.

“See the future” would be… a made-up scenario, like everyone succeeding, or a bridge being crossed, or someone betraying someone… then it becomes part of the story and may become true, may be avoided, may be forgotten.

“Learn a secret” same as above.

Both would be only known/communicated to that player or shared openly, and mad eup on the spot, propelling the story one way or another, foreshadowing stuff to come.

“Deal double damage” One successful hit would take a OC down twice or outright defeating a D6.

“Improve a skill” if you use a skill/ability you would get a +1 on the die result. So a +1 but for a specific action. Note: Skill are just abilites, no diference. I will phase out skills.

Thanks to your feedback, I’ve fixed a few things already.

Do I need to spell out the mechanical effect of the buff, or can I leave it up to the players to decide?

I trust them.

Back for more improvements here…

The Great Success rewards are a weak part of the rules. Here is what I have in mind for now.

  1. GREAT SUCCESS
    When you roll the die’s highest value during a challenge, you succeed and may re-roll that die and consult the following table:

1 Become charming
2 Become wise
3 Become fast
4 Become strong
5 Enemies fear you
6 Deal double damage
7 See the future
8 Learn a secret
9 Gain a silver coin*
10 Gain a gold coin**
11 Recover 1 dice
12 Recover 2 dice
13 Recover 3 dice
14 Gain a D4, spent
15 Gain a D6, spent
16 Gain a D8, spent
17 Gain a D10, spent
18 Gain a D12, spent
19 Gain a D20, spent
20 Choose any reward

1-6 last until rest. 1-4 adds a maximum of +1 to an appropriate challenge.* Tossing a silver coin lets you add +1 to any die.
** Tossing a gold coin lets you re-roll any die.
result after it is rolled, even to your friend’s die.

Since you never totally exhaust your D4, so you could go on rolling it for everything and get a bunch of buffs, so I capped it a bit.

I like this a bit more.

Is it better for you?

Thank you for your help.

I think the system suffers somewhat from having no clear focus (this is a common issue in “generic” or “universal” rpgs, which are never really universal). Just going from what is on the page, the rules are almost all about fighting or dying, with no sense that anyone has any motivations or reasons for acting. So is that all the game is about, just fighting without any coherent story or motivation?

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That is a fair point. Much appreciated.

As an analogy, if this game was “a car”, it shows you how to drive but does not tell you where to go. And yes, some points of interest, purpose, and a few plot points would be nice. I know it sounds a bit lame, but the players decide who they are, what they are, and why they are. Also, I would say that not dying is one of the motivations.

I think the resolution system would gain a lot if you didn’t think of “combat” as a separate thing in comparison to other rolls. Some suggestions to slim the system down:

Always roll a d4
Let it stand for “the character’s name” or something. Then the player may add any one of the readied dice (d6-d20) to that roll, taking the highest result of those two.

You don’t need to spend text to explain special rules.

This will skew the probabilities a bit, raising the success rate by 25% while also generate more great successes.

Change “Combat” to “Dangers” that create conditions
Let some challenges be extra dangerous, which will cause conditions, like “cursed”, “sick”, “exhausted” or “hurt” on a failed roll. The same condition can be applied multiple times. A player may remove a condition during recovery by choosing not to recover the highest die. If the number of conditions exceeds the number of readied dice the character dies.

Handling combat like this will make it more like a conflict resolution system, where you roll one roll for the entire combat. Otherwise, it seems like combat will just devour the dice (too) quickly.

A possible idea would be that a 1 on a die creates a condition, so that the player wants to roll two dice.

Group challenges should be the standard
Let all players, that have characters present, roll for a challenge if they want to, suggesting they are helping each other to succeed (seems nice to teach kids to cooperate). Sometimes, a challenge will create a condition unless a successful roll is made, so everyone wants to roll anyways.

Again this will skew the probability. Four players rolling d4s will have a 70% success rate.

Advantages gives an extra d4
A player can spend an advantage to get to roll an extra d4, when advantage is applicable.

You then don’t need to explain that result 1-6 on the reward table will end until the next rest.

I would make result 1-8 to advantages, describing each result as “Advantage: become charming” and “Advantage: learn a secret”.

You don’t really explain what “becoming fast” actually does for the game, but with advantages, you will.

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This is really good feedback Rickard, thank you so much.
This is what I want ENI to be… good for ANYthing, not just the typical frame of reference.
I really appreciate this feedback. Great stuff!

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Hi, I made some changes and I’m re-reading your feedback.

Yes, thank you! Right for the start, combat was no different from any other roll. I added combat stuff to explain and structure turn order. It used to be everyone takes a turn, then we do it all again. Now, I’ve removed turn order structure, I don’t need Combat or Danger. Win Win.

This is like giving players an extra life, I like it. I wonder how 5 conditions would affect a character’s performance during any kind of challenge. It might be a downward spiral. So I think I will simplify the rules here and soften the recovery to just 1 die (highest).

By the way, my players have 12 dice each now. I think they leveled up from “novice” to “pro” a bit too quick, but let’s see how it plays out.

Dice getting used up too quickly has been a concern, but so far players have been cautious about it, knowing when to run away. Which I think is also a good thing to learn. But having 1 die resolve a scene as the norm would abstract the sense of being there and interacting with the world in detail. That said…

Having one die roll resolve the challenge is possible… like the first blow (from an intimidating PC) shakes down the thug and turns him into a coward. This is down to the game master and how the players weave the story. The threat level can always be raised if the players are rolling high, but it’s hard to turn it down once the bad guys have spawned in.

And roll two 1s. Just kidding :smiley:

This is quite nice. I will add something like this at the end. I think that players won’t see the statistical advantage for a while, and will be cautious about using up dice. Thank you.

I was avoiding it. Imagine a jail cell door, for example, you can’t escape unless you were insanely strong… being strong would be the queue to allow you to roll for it, but you could still fail.

New version now uploaded and ready to be disected. Thank you very much.

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Wow, great improvement. Would be nice if you followed up later with thoughts after doing some playtesting.

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I sure will. That will take a while. Not a single die was rolled in our last session. We just wrapped up the last dangerous encounter, resurected the hero we rescued, and discussed our plans moving forwards.

Well, things got out of hand quicker than I expected. ENI has been fashioned into a zine and will be on Kickstarter on August 6th. Get notified and please support this little project.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ex1stgames/eni-a-simple-framework-for-any-role-playing-game

Thank you for your help thus far. I’m committed to making a good product so your help, feedback, criticism, and praise are all welcome.

Here we go!

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Here is a sample of the layout and style. I’m very happy with it but need to polish up this puppy. The last 10% takes 90% of the time.

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