16 December 2011

Ninjas & Nerf Swords

I was browsing through /r/rpg and I came across this thread asking for a simple resolution system that uses Nerf weapons instead of dice or some other randomizer. The twist? The mechanic can't be to actually fight with the weapons.

The person asking the question also presented what they wanted in the way of character stats:
I'm thinking of three stats - Magic, Cunning, and Brawn. I'm not sure what the three stats actually do at this point, but I'm thinking characters get to assign a 3, a 2, and a 1 to the three stats, prioritizing however they want to. Then, for each point in their stat, they can throw in something like an aspect of fate. So it looks like this:

Sarkar Dark-Eater Elven Warlock Magic: 3 Summoning, Brain-Eating, Creepy Dark Eyes Cunning: 2 Lying, Insulting Brawn: 1 Gut-Tearing
Being the person that I am, I couldn't resist taking a stab at this challenge. I whipped up this simple game in about 20 minutes.

Ninjas & Nerf Swords

Character Creation

Characters are defined by 3 stats: Magic, Cunning, and Brawn. They have 6 character points to distribute among the 3 stats. For each point they have in a stat they can apply one Aspect related to it. They can tag these Aspects for bonuses during play.
Ex: If a character has 3 Brawn then their Aspects might be Bulging Muscles, Built like a Brick House and Ox-like.

Aspects as Powers

Players may choose to define one or more of their Aspects as powers. If they do so the Aspects may not be tagged as described later in these rules. Instead the player defines the nature of the power. This could be something like raising the dead or being a "totally bad-ass backhanded axe-cleave that beheads any monster". A player may activate each of their powers only once per scene (as defined by the GM).


Whenever there is need for resolution the GM decides on the difficulty. Based on the difficulty the GM selects an object to pitch at one of the players. The harder the difficulty the smaller the item and the crappier the pitch can be. The challenging player must hit the thrown object with their Nerf weapon. If a caster is using a Nerf gun place the target farther away from them. Players get a number of attempts to hit the target equal to the relevant stat. An assortment of different sized whiffle balls and stuffed animals would likely be best for this. You may also wish to play outside or in a large space free of things that could be broken.

Tagging Aspects

During any challenge that a player is involved in they may declare one of their Aspects relevant. This is called tagging. When they do so they can alter one thing about the difficulty of the challenge. For example, they may make the target bigger or demand that the GM pitch underhand. Alternatively, they can be granted 1 additional pitch/shot. Once an Aspect has been tagged it may not be tagged again until a new scene (as defined by the GM) has begun.

Character Health

Characters do not have health points. Instead, anytime they would take damage reduce one of their stats by 1. The reduced stat should reflect the kind of damage they took (Magical, Psychic/Emotional/Social, Physical). The player may avoid this damage by pounding back a beer (or some performing an embarrassing task if they are under age). If a stat would be reduced to 0 the character falls unconscious and may be revived by tagging a healing Aspect or a friendly NPC in a subsequent scene. If it falls below 0 the player should be ridiculed and forced to create a new character with a smaller, less fearsome weapon.

GM Challenge Rule

If the majority players believe that one of the GM's rulings is "bogus" they may select a champion to challenge the GM to a duel. The first to score 3 clean hits with a nerf weapon is declared the winner and a new rule is codified into the game. A player may not use a challenge to overturn an existing rule created in this manner.

The Anti-Power Rule

The GM may reduce the effectiveness of a power at any time for a single usage if it would cause narrative problems (such as gut-tearing the BBEG). When the GM does so they must give the affected player a +1 temporary stat bonus. This does not grant an additional Aspect. It is removed at the end of the scene. Players may challenge these rulings on an individual basis by challenging the GM (as above).

Sarkar Dark-Eater, Elven Warlock

Magic: 3
Cunning: 2
Brawn: 1

Tag Aspects: Creepy Dark Eyes, Lying, Insulting
Power Aspects:
  1. Summoning - Summons a 1/1/1 demonic familiar to aid him for the remainder of the scene.
  2. Brain-Eating - May consume the brain of a foe to restore 1 point in any stat. May learn one memory from the eaten brain.
  3. Gut-Tearing - May designate a single previous attack by either himself or his familiar as "Gut-Tearing". This retroactively kills the target.

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