A new tabletop RPG coming to Kickstarter next year is borrowing from the world of comic books for a quick, easy to play experience.
The Awfully Cheery Engine - or ACE!, specifically with the exclamation mark - is designed as a rules-light roleplaying system that allows players to freely hop into any setting or world they like.
Designer Russell Morrissey’s RPG is powered by six-sided dice, with players controlling a single hero and one person taking the place of the typical game master as Director.
Character creation is said to take just five minutes, with all the information required for a player character fitting onto a credit-card-sized ‘ID card’ character sheet. There are only four main stats in the game - smarts, moves, style and brawn - with players able to specialise their character by choosing one focus for each stat, such as history for smarts or toughness for brawn. Each character can also equip gear and choose a unique trait, which can’t be the same as any other member of the party. Simple stats for health and defence are used to resolve combat and other events.
Awfully Cheery Engine will release with a comic book-sized core rulebook that will be a mere 30 pages long and include the necessary rules for playing. Sticking with the comic book inspiration, publisher EN Publishing said ACE! #1 will be followed by further ‘issues’ that each include a standalone adventure which can be used as a single one-shot or as a short campaign. An image of the game’s second issue shows artwork for Ghostbusters-like adventure The Spirit of Manhattan.
Both the adventures released as part of the series and those players can create themselves as custom scenarios can be of any setting, with ACE! described as a “multi-genre” RPG. “One week you might be fighting ghosts on the streets of Manhattan, and the next you might be exploring the frontiers of space in your trusty starship,” the game’s website says of potential future adventures, with sci-fi, horror, fantasy and western settings all mentioned as possible in the system.
Awfully Cheery Engine will launch on Kickstarter in 2021, with a price and release date for the first issue yet to be announced.