Luke's little thing and then some other stuff really got me itching to play me some dungeoncrawl. Benhimself ran a few games on #playnow
(in both of which my character got horribly mutilated and died!) with mini-systems he thought of in his sleep or during a shower or something. And then I steal said mini-systems and use them to run games, too!
The minisystem goes like this:
Say what you do and roll a number of d6s.
If the sum of your roll is higher than the opposing roll (either another player or the DM), the thing you wanted to happen, happens.
The number of the d6s you roll is determined by the level of skill you have.
At start, you have only one skill: Do anything 1.
If you roll all sixes on your roll, you can get new skill one level higher than the one you used for the action. The skill must be a subset of what happened to you in the action (Say, Athletics 2 if you were climbing a wall, or Teeth of Biting 2 if you were eating a cake).
For every roll you fail, you get 1 XP.
XP can be used to change a die into a 6 for advancement purposes but not for success purposes.
And that's it! This mini-system works beautifully for crafting characters on the go. Here are some example "charsheets" from the dungeoncrawl of Cakewalk
that I ran:
Krey the Heretic Monk of the Church of Pain : 0 XP Do anything 1, Fist O'Pain 2, Burning Fist O'Pain 3, Heretic 2, Teeth of Biting 2!
Ferret the Son of a Shoemaker: 2 XP Do Anything 1. Boots of Kicking 2. Feet of Feats 3. Supplier 2.
Ryu the Polymorphed Egglayer: 2 XP, Reptillian 2
Now, a wonderful effect of this system is that it pretty much drives you to always bite off more than you can chew and get into as many petty squabbles as you can. If you were running a regular, serious dungeoncrawl, that implication would suck... But if you're running a tongue-in-cheek game that only uses dungeoncrawl tropes as a starting touchpoint, you have a brilliantly funny game at your hands.
We had a battle in a kitchen with ghouls armed with a laddle, cleaver, and a pot. People kept punching or kicking them in the mouths, and they kept biting down on the appendages that got too close.
We had the monk try to heal
himself with a Church of Pain holy symbol with the effect of his now-angry god spitting on him from above.
We had one of the characters turned into a magnet by a three-mouthed demon sorcerer, and have all the cutlery in the kitchen start flying.
But my favorite moment was this:
I had asked the players if they were doing anything to prepare for the dungeon before leaving town. One of them said he's checking to see if "he has his heirloom shield" with him. He rolls and botches, and so I say: "Your father is a shoemaker. You are not sure why you ever thought you had anything even remotelly close to a shield." After a little while, this character and the would-be monk make it to the heavy doors of dungeon Cakewalk and have a little conversation regarding their preparedness. The monk says he's barefoot and happy to be so, 'cause, well, he's a monk! And then the shoemaker says "I check to see if I have shoes on!"... Which is beautiful, of course - we've already established he's the son of a shoemaker, so he definitelly has shoes on. So if he *does* win this roll, we know that he doesn't just have shoes on, he has awesome shoes on!
And then he rolls a 6 on that roll and gets Boots of Kicking 2.
And then he rolls a 3-6 roll for kicking down the dungeon door, and upgrades it into Feet of Feats 3.
One of those beautiful moments when you do something, and the dice then say "Fuck yes, you do this!". And when that happens in this game, you get not only the brief glory of that single moment, but also a skill that becomes a crucial part of your character... Instant running gag!
This little game was the most fun I've had gaming in a long while, so I thought I'd share!