Small Number RPGs

My main experience with small number RPGs is D&D 5e (I‘m sure much of what I’m about to say applies to other editions as well as other TTRPG systems, but I‘ve never played any, so I won’t be talkin about em). Despite D&D‘s reputation as a math-heavy, impenetrable wall of rules, 5e is impressively legible. First, its math is dead simple. If you can add, subtract and halve numbers up to 50, you’re set. There are no formulas, no charts, no calculators needed. The game is designed to be lightweight and quick, and also to be easily improvised.

With a decent understanding of the game's systems, the DM can essentially create any rule they want. You don't need to look in a rulebook to understand how difficult it is to do something; you can just think something along the lines of: it's pretty difficult, they'll need like an 18. The Skills system means that climbing a wall is the same as picking a lock is the same as lying to the cops. The facilitation of improvisation is what I find so fascinating about 5e, and those small numbers certainly help.

Aside from the small numbers stuff, I also love the design language of its spells and abilities, but that's maybe a bit beyond my understanding, lol. I just know it makes it trivially easy to homebrew your own stuff, which is one of my favorite parts of running the game.

I‘ve been really enjoying Dicey Dungeons lately because of its usually small numbers. The largest integer you’re ever dealing with in the immediate is a six. Makes it relatively simple and satisfying to make longer term calculations once you're juggling several dice and value augmenting cards later in a run.

The feeling of every number (all *6* of them) actually having some significance in every encounter is wonderful and has had me wondering about what other small number RPGs I might be missing out on, so I was happy to see this thread:+)


@“tapevulture”#p47061 have you played stoneshard?

Immediate candidate for the [Rain Jerks thread]( with the perhaps obvious statement that _stone's hard_

via Nintendo Life:

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Big news for the IC and Small Numbers RPG fans out there

@“Gaagaagiins”#p93917 it‘s fun that they said "what’s known as" when I pretty much got that name from here.


@“exodus”#p93939 it’s fun that they said “what’s known as” when I pretty much got that name from here.

It's a great term, because, just like the videogame framework it's used to describe, its hyper-legibility kind of effortlessly explains itself. As long as you know what an RPG is, a Small Numbers RPG _is_ what that's known as, as soon as you hear the term.