Looking At The Index Card RPG
  • Looking At The Index Card RPG


    The Index Card RPG is a 190 page RPG with two worlds, five adventures, and stand up mini art pages. Prop and location index sized cards are sold separately. The current rules cover fantasy and science fiction and one horror adventure. Created by Hankerin Ferinale of Drunkens & Dragons on YouTube, The Index Card RPG (or ICRPG) started as an experiment in using index card sized illustrations in place of square by square combats. I interviewed Hankerin at Gen Con to discuss how he became a full-time creator and his future plans. Included below are two not-yet-announced products he revealed to me.


    ICRPG builds on a stripped down d20 fantasy chassis. Character creation happens in four simple steps. There are no derived characteristics; stats are a bonus to add to a d20 roll. Classes provide recommended gear and milestone awards. Unique bioforms include hill folk (bear men) and xills (creatures that use a bio-generated micro gravity field to realign their chitinous body components).

    To overcome a challenge, an Attempt (a d20 roll plus bonuses versus a Target number) is made to accumulate enough Effort to overcome the hit points of the challenge. For example, a chest may have 1 Heart (10 hit points) and a Target of 13. PCs can try to pry it open using Basic Work, smash it using Weapons Damage, or cast a spell using a Magic Effect. A natural 20 adds 1d12 to the Effort. When 1 Heart or more of Effort are expended on opening the chest it pops open.

    All advancement is handled by finding special gear or magic items like the War Horn which gives an ally +3 on their next Attempt. Improving a character uses bonuses from gear, loot, and milestones.

    ICRPG includes GM advice that can be used in other systems. Timers, threats, and treats include the concepts of having a countdown to more danger using a d4, a looming immediate danger, and one thing to reward the PCs’ efforts. D.E.W. is the principle of including danger (not simply death but the consequences of failing), energy (a boisterous, enthusiastic, and engaged group), and wonder (colossal objects in space, dizzying pits in Hell, or scenes of abject terror writ large). 3D’s are dials turned up or down to control damage output, the disruptive effect of the environment, and how long an encounter lasts (shortening the length of time to accomplish a goal to make it more challenging to succeed).

    Upcoming supplements will include Worlds which expands on Alfheim and Warpshell and adds the new Ghost Mountain setting of western horror. Good will include hero stories, new equipment, high levels, and how to make good interesting. Evil will cover new monsters, anti-heroes, traps, and how to not let evil take over the world.

    Read ICRPG if you want tips and techniques to add to any traditional RPG. Play ICRPG if you
    want to quickly and easily create exciting memorable adventures.

    This article was contributed by Charles Dunwoody as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program. Please note that Charles is a participant in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to DriveThruRPG. We are always on the lookout for freelance columnists! If you have a pitch, please contact us!
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. Tiles's Avatar
      Tiles -
      I have watched many of his videos and brought several of his ideas to the table with great success. Worth checking out. Bring your own beer.
    1. JohnnyZemo's Avatar
      JohnnyZemo -
      "The Index Card RPG (or ICRPG) started as an experiment in using index card sized illustrations in place of square by square combats."

      I don't understand this sentence. How can an illustration take the place of a combat?
    1. Juomari Veren's Avatar
      Juomari Veren -
      Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyZemo View Post
      "The Index Card RPG (or ICRPG) started as an experiment in using index card sized illustrations in place of square by square combats."

      I don't understand this sentence. How can an illustration take the place of a combat?
      I think there's a bit of pack of context there. I imagine it's theater one the mind, but the index card itself contains relevant information on it as well as a picture. The players and monsters still have their own standees, but the battle scene illustration is meant to send as the backdrop instead of using a gets like D&D would. From the sounds of it, it's mostly theater of the mind combat. I believe FATE had a similar concept called encounter zones, where pastures can choose from a selection of environs that are distinct and provide both bending and drank based on logical conclusion of the area your on code to fight within. Imagine it like rooms in a house, where each one is connected but you can move between them and doing so will provide different ways to change the combat up
    1. Charles Dunwoody -
      Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyZemo View Post
      "The Index Card RPG (or ICRPG) started as an experiment in using index card sized illustrations in place of square by square combats."

      I don't understand this sentence. How can an illustration take the place of a combat?
      Juomari Veren answered this well. Hankerin always used grids and one night he doodled on some index cards some fantasy images. He started connecting the cards together in place of his grid. This game goes way beyond that concept, but that is where the ideas started and the reason for the name of the rpg.
    1. jmucchiello's Avatar
      jmucchiello -
      Yeah, for a game called Index Card RPG, the review only has one sentence about Index Cards. That seems a bit odd. Also, DTRPG says the core rulebook is 120 pages.
    1. Charles Dunwoody -
      Quote Originally Posted by jmucchiello View Post
      Yeah, for a game called Index Card RPG, the review only has one sentence about Index Cards. That seems a bit odd. Also, DTRPG says the core rulebook is 120 pages.
      The pdf has been updated with several adventures and other content. It is 191 pages including the cover.
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