For a recent one-shot, I was co-GM and we wanted to provide a 1920s setting. The idea was always going to be gangsters against cops in America during the prohibition on selling alcohol. There was a twist, however. What if a new gang was active in town, one that had grander plans…
This was the challenge we set ourselves. So I came up with a system inspired by other one-shots I had watched, including Dungeon World, Impulse Drive and the one page roleplays created by Grant Howitt.
The idea behind the system was to keep the structure simple. I structured it around two types of dice. A d12 for carrying out an action, and an additional d6 if the player has a Skill they can apply to that action. Each player has a Life Force score, representing the number of hits or attacks a character can take. Then there are five Core Stats that are added to any action, depending on how mentally strong, knowledgeable, charming, agile or physically strong the character is.
The players made their characters beforehand and quickly learned their way around the system, asking to apply skills and rolling their actions in turn. This enabled them to carry out their teams objectives whilst investigating the new gang. The final twist took them by surprise however. They tied a cult leader to the fiancé of a nouveau riche gentleman and made their way to his mansion. The chemical effects of the spiked drinks and the tragic history of the building brought into being the summoning of an otherworldly monster who tore at all in his path. They managed to send the alien beast back to the furthest planes from which it came from, but not before it could drag one of the gangsters with it.
The system proved successful, being both easy to use and working with the theme; that of 1920s America. As for a sequel, it’s difficult to follow that plotline and I think we’ll pick a different story and a different theme for next time.
If interested, Story-Noir is available to use on a ‘Pay What You Want’ amount. If you do play, please let me know what you think.