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Roll for shoes

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The system

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.


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

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.


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@fgysin fgysin commented Oct 29, 2020

I just read this description here notably the last section:

Note: When you gain a new skill from an action (bullet point 5), it won't necessarily have any relationship to the skill you used to perform that action.
For example: Alice uses Jump 3 to try to jump a wooden fence, but fails and instead just crashes through it. Alice spends XP to get Breaking Things Embarrassingly 4 because it's a subset of what happened to her in the action (even if it has nothing to do with jumping).
Bullet point 5 is often misread as saying the newer skill must be a specialisation of the previous skill, probably because we're prepared to see skill trees even when they're not there. This game doesn't have skill trees and is fine with weird new skills coming out of the blue.

Maybe worth an update? I think that clarification is quite useful.

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