The F-Zero RPG is a homebrew system designed specifically for conducting high-speed hovercar races. You can download it here.
So, what's all the fuss about?
It's 26th century. Mankind successfully left our tiny planet, our star system and now across the entire universe there is roaring of engines, cheers of the crowd and, sometimes, a horrible metallic screech, followed by more cheers as slightly charred racer gets out of the wreck that once was his car. Heroes are born, villains are booed, fortunes are won and lost every hour. F-zero has become more than just sport- it's the way of life! Of course, even outside of the track there's much to do - most racers have jobs on the side, be it space trucking, bounty hunting or even piracy - but not in the system you race in, folks! Bad for business. Other systems are fair game - who likes these assholes anyway?. But first F-Zero:the RPG is about racing - dangerous high-speed racing with rivalries, famous heroes and all that pro-wrestling stuff. Only on cars that regularly break sound barrier.
There are two types of sessions ("episodes") in F-zero: Vehicle scale and Character scale. Vehicle scale episodes are usually races, but can be everything outside: pursuits, delivery missions, supersonic safari across the surface of Borneo Prime (beware of dragonoids!)... Character scale episodes are what your characters usually do outside of races. Here rules are even more light, boiling down to a few skill checks here and here and liberal application of Rule#0.
Creating a character and his car is really easy and can be done in under 10 minutes.
- 1.Character concept, portrait, name, background...
all the delicious fluffy stuff. Feel free to go wild - the universe is endless and full of weirdest things!
- 2.Aim, Nerve, Brain and Flair.
Now that you have impression what your character does, let's see HOW he does it. In F-Zero:the RPG main pilot stats are: Aim, Nerve, Brain and Flair.
Aim: very important stat for F-zero pilot, it must have stat rating over C for pilot to compete in F-zero tournament. Aim governs your coordination, balance and driving skill. Aim has 4 skills:
- -Piloting- obviously a very important skill for F-zero pilot. Used when driving through a section of a track, piloting a spaceship, etc.
- -Passing- this is how you get to the first place (in most cases). Used mostly in races.
- -Balance- a lot of stuff from simple jumping to complex acrobatics. Used mostly in CS.
- -Shooting- used in CS and some races. Important skill for those, who mix f-zero racing with bounty hunting or other activities like that.
Nerve: not explicitly a physical fitness, more like "the will to power". Used in conflict situations. Nerve skills:
- -Ramming- this is how you get to the first place if you don't mind leaving a couple of smoldering piles of metal behind. While not explicitly legal, ramming penalty is really more of a slap on a wrist, than a hindrance. Can be used in CS, of course. Just find a car or push enemy with your body. Generally in race you need to move to your opponent's car first - you cannot ram if your opponent is 50 km/h faster.
- -Blocking- used to stop people passing you in race. Or to block bullets/lazer beams in CS. Quite a useful skill.
- -Striking- punching, kicking, stabbing, piledriving, falcon punching your opponents in CS. Or cars in vehicle scale, but I doubt it'll do much (unless you are Captain Falcon or Boris Makarov)
- -Lying- where a mighty punch fails, some bullshit will find its way. Generally used in CS along with influence.
Brain: In futuristic world of racing, gray stuff matters too. And it is used sparingly - inside or outside the races. Brain skills:
- -Sideswiping- using track hazards to your advantage. You won't believe where your opponent could end up after a simple gentle nudge. It's even not rules-prohibited and restricted by speed! It would have been the perfect attack stat if not a single problem - it is risky. If you fail sideswipe you fall victim to your own attack and your opponent is free to laugh at your clumsy attempt.
- -Mechanics- a very useful stat when tampering with computers, cars or any other technical stuff. You could get upgrades much earlier, get a lot more information about that alien device or just overclock your car pre-race so it goes faster! (last with Announcer's discretion)
- -Larceny- all the fun illegal stuff you can do. Tamper with opponent's car? Open a lock with a lockpick? Steal candy from a child (you horrible, horrible villain)? Larceny is your stat!
- -Savvy- this last stat is unique. Savvy not only allows you to know your opponent (protecting you from lying or larceny), it also serves as a re-roll. If you are not satisfied with your roll, you can roll your brain dice ant take the new result, whether it's better or worse. Taking points in savvy doesn't increase the roll, it increases the number of times you can use it per episode. Also savvy is all the magical or mystical stuff, provided you know the mumbo-jumbo.
Flair: The ancient forbidden Art Of Swag. It's how well you talk, how do you act, how much you style on others. Flair skills:
- -Accolades- - acting on track, cool-looking stunts... Helps gaining new fans and raising some extra winnings from the race.
- -Cheating- - being a loveable rascal never was so easy! Jump from the jumpplate, cut the corner in the air, land a few places in front. Or scrape the guide rails, gaining speed necessary to pass that guy in front. Or cut the corner where there are no guide rails. But beware - if you fail you can land behind everyone (and become a laughingstock) or get disqualified.
- -Dodging- - all these people trying to ram, swipe, shoot you - if you are frequently targeted by some jackasses who consider your neon pink car a horrible eyesore on the track get this. You'll be able to stylishly reject all their unwanted advances.
- -Influence- silver tongue, lots of money, being the machiest man this side of Milky Way - Influence helps you get new friends, talk down your enemies and persuade sponsors/fans! Mostly used in CS, it can be quite useful nonetheless.
Now that we have rough understanding of each stat/skill, let's see how do we assign them. Your character has a certain stat spread that he can assign to different stats. F-zero RPG uses ABCDE rating system with A being d12 and E being d4.
First you must choose the stat spread. There are 7 of them:
then you assign letter to each stat. Now when you roll the skill check associated with this stat you roll corresponding dice plus numerical bonus from your skill (e.g. if you have B nerve, 2 ranks in "ramming" skill and you are ramming someone, roll 1d8+2). Also you get three skill points to put into three skills. You cannot get 2 points in one skill during character generation. Now when you get skill points you can put them in a new skill or improve skill that you already have, to a maximum of +4 (but each point put increases the cost by one - e.g. to get +3 in skill you first have to get +1 for 1 skill point, then +2 for 2 skill points, then +3 for 3 points). Generally each episode you get one skill point.
Your vehicle is an important part of a game - after all, you can't race on your feet (well, there were precedents). The stats of your car are:
- Body:Your car's structure, engine and all the armor you nailed on to it. Machines with high body stat tend to be fast, strong but accelerating with grace of a peg-legged turtle. They also have strong boost, but don't expect it to last long.
- Boost: How fast you gain speed. Covers acceleration, speed increase when you're boosting, but be careful - cars with high boost are not the shining paragons of handling and you may find yourself scraping rails quite often.
- Grip how well your car behaves on track. High grip increases car's max speed and handling.
As pilot, machine has A-E stats too, but this time they increase car's characteristics. Possible spreads:
AAE- extreme spread, used by more gimmicky machines.
ABD- less extreme, but still for cars with a single strong suit.
ACC- balanced spread with a single outstanding stat.
BBC- the most balanced stat with no clear strengths or weaknesses.
Primary spread dictates your secondary stats: Max speed, Boost max speed, Acceleration, Boost accel, Weight, Handling, Boost duration, Repair bonus.
- Max speed: calculated from Body and Grip ratings.
'''Body'''/'''Grip''' A +240 km/h B +230 km/h C +220 km/h D +210 km/h E +200 km/h
- Boost max speed: calculated from Body and Boost ratings:
'''Body''' '''Boost''' A +0 km/h +60 km/h B +10 km/h +50 km/h C +20 km/h +40 km/h D +30 km/h +30 km/h E +40 km/h +20 km/h
- Acceleration: calculated from Body and Boost ratings:
'''Body''' '''Boost''' A +10 km/h +50 km/h B +20 km/h +40 km/h C +30 km/h +30 km/h D +40 km/h +20 km/h E +50 km/h +10 km/h
- Boost acceleration: is your normal acceleration plus boost:
'''Boost''' A +60 km/h B +50 km/h C +40 km/h D +30 km/h E +20 km/h
- Weight: depends on your body rating. You also can fine-tune your car by adding 100kg(+20 max speed), leaving middle weight (+10 max speed/+10 accel) or making your machine 100 kg lighter (+20 accel).
Body '+20 accel' '+10accel/10max speed' '+20 max speed' A 1800 kg 1900 kg 2000 kg B 1600 kg 1700 kg 1800 kg C 1400 kg 1500 kg 1600 kg D 1200 kg 1300 kg 1400 kg E 1000 kg 1100 kg 1200 kg
- Handling: equal to your machine's Grip + Boost divided by 2 (round down) on the Handling table.
'''Grip''' '''Boost''' A +2 -2 B +1 -1 C +0 +0 D -1 +1 E -2 +2
- Boost duration: equal to your machine's Boost + Body divided by 2 (round down) on the Boost duration table.
'''Boost''' '''Body''' A 5 1 B 4 2 C 3 3 D 2 4 E 1 5
- Repair bonus the lower the higher your body rating is.
'''Body''' A +0 E B +1 E C +2 E D +3 E E +4 E
Finally choose your car name, car picture and engine name (fluff) Very useful tool for creation of authenic car pictures. Though you'll have to use photoshop or something to recolor the result.
Tracks and Track creation
Anatomy of a track:
- In F-Zero:the RPG track consists of 3-5 sections.
- How section is made:
-Section type and required piloting roll (straightway, curves...) -Section features (gap jumps, boost plates, mines, damage zones...) and roll requie to hit this feature -Consequences for piloting roll failure (vary) -Optional: special rules for section
- Example of a section
SECTION 1: Straightway (piloting 2) Boost plate (5) Mines (3) Failure:Mines SPECIAL RULE:Gap jump - at the end of action phase all pilots make a piloting roll (4). Failure: -1 rank Those moving with speed over 400km/h pass automatically.
- Balancing your tracks' difficulty
The difficulty of a track is measured in stars.
- New pilots (0-1 in piloting) usually start from 1 and 2 - star tracks, with cup final being 3-star.
- Intermediate league races (majority of players have 1 or 2 in piloting) are held on 2 and 3 - star tracks with 4 or 5 - star track as final.
- Expert league (piloting 3 -4) consists of the scariest 4 and 5 - star tracks with something utterly terrifying for final.
- Of course you then may unleash the secret cup on them. For secret cup tracks... go wild.
- Make it possible to crsh on track because of ramming/swiping/repeated guiderail hugging
- Don't oversaturate tracks with boost/jump plates. This leads to people gaining top speed too easily.
- Don't use too many gimmicks. Usually one gimmick per track (or one gimmicky section, even) is enough.
Track section difficulty per stars:
having boost/jump plates makes accelerating easier and with exception of tracks that actively try to murder you (with a lot of mines, no rail sections...) make track easier (slightly or even costing track a star) 1 star - average section difficulty of 2-4, difficulty for jump cheating 5-6, pit zone , a couple of non-lethal obstacles like rough terrain 2 star - average section difficulty of 3-4, difficulty for jump cheating 5-6, pit zone , rough terrain, damaging zone/magnet, sparse or even heavy rough. 3 star - average section difficulty of 4-5, difficulty for jump cheating 6-7, pit zone that requires to meet a certain pilot roll, damaging and slowing obstacles 4 star - average section difficulty of 4-7, difficulty for jump cheating 8+, pit zone with fairly high (5-7) piloting requirement, various obstacles including no rails sections 5 star - average section difficulty of 7-8, difficulty for jump cheating 9+, pit zone with fairly high (6-8) piloting requirement, a couple of really dangerous places, heavy rough terrain, no rails sections, otherworldly gimmicks, gap jumps...
For more in-depth explanation on track's difficulty rating see rulebook.
Here be rule variants and gimmicks to spice your tracks.
- RULE VARIANT - Halved accel (tested, highly recommended)
As playtest have shown, cars reach maximum speed too fast and there is no need for multiple boost plates. The solution: full accel is applied to cars only on straightway sections. Any other section provides only half of accel, rounded up.
- RULE VARIANT - Other cars (untested)
Players aren't only people on track. This rule is used to simulate random events occuring on track. At the start of turn announcer rolls two dices: one for a rank which will be affected, other (1d6) for the effect. All effects are resolved after action phase. Only rank is affected, not car. Effects:
1 A dangerous situation! Machine either rolls dodge (guaranteed 4E damage on fail) or falls back 1 rank. 2 Machine in this rank is surrounded by multiple cars and either takes 2E damage or slows down by 60km/h. 3 Ramming attempt! Player can brake by 40km/h or roll dodge 4 A chance to get a killstar! In next section player may declare ram/swipe against 1d10 to get 1000 points 5 Another car bumps you - player accelerates by 20 km/h and gains +1 to piloting and passing next turn 6 Friendly help - accel by 40 km/h, all rolls in next section are increased by +1
- RULE VARIANT - Pit area shenanigans
Pit area's effects are calculated like mpact roll, in reverse. They restore 3+body roll energy. Some pit areas may apply their effect after actions phase.
- RULE VARIANT - Savvy use to negate one obstacle
Savvy could be used to negate one obstacle (mines, damage zone) on a section.
Warning: because a lot of people were making these tracks, formatting may be inconsistent.