In celebration for Remembrance Day this year, I’m gonna play a game where there’s no roleplaying involved, just beating people up. This game is called ROLF, a rollplaying game. Yes, you’ve seen that correctly. A rollplaying game. Here is a definition of it on 1d4chan. The game is a simple, barebones fighting game. It’s so simple, even character generation is automated, something that can be compared to the Cactus Solo game I played a while back.
Already I have some bad memories. Hopefully, the rules make more sense this time. Let’s generate our patriotic face puncher. First step is to generate brawn with 2d20s.
Not good, considering how that’s how much he can take before he’s dead. Next up, we roll Body, which shows how handsome the person is. 2d10 for this one.
And finally we roll up brains. Now this is where I have to bring up that the RPG was made in good fun, a simple beer and pretzels sort of game that’s not meant to be taken seriously, as the way to determine Brain points depends on if your character’s a boy or girl. See, men get 2d4 to roll, while women have 2d6.
So we get three brainpower. Next we get equipment. We also roll for this as well.
Alright, so I get five items. I’ll get a Mace, which does five damage, leggings, gauntlets, chainmail and breastplate. Alright, my character is decked out for battle against Hitler. Yes. You heard right. We’re beating up Hitler.
See, in this splat book, which contains one of the silliest plots I have ever heard, we get stats for characters who partake in a massive battle. Among these are superhero parodies, fairies, a Shang Tsung parody who had set up said battle, a Rainbow Dragon, and some notorious people like Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Mohamed Morsi, and everyone’s favourite dictator forever ruined by gag subs of a movie depicting the last days of his life, Adolf Hitler.
And now, we get to fight him. So let’s beat up Hitler. Why are we fighting Hitler? Because! Where are we beating him up? Does it matter? Who are we? Do we care? This game’s meant to be played over beer and pretzels, not tea and crumpets.
Battle begins with whoever has the highest Body. Hitler has 14, I have 9. So he goes first, then me, then me, then Hitler. No, that’s what it says. We both have two moves, but I’m the one who has two in a row. Every round, you pick out a combat maneuver to use. Which ones you know is determined by the brains you have. I have three, so counting my Basic Attack, I get two extra maneuvers to add to my list. For this, I’ll do Disembowel and Deflect.
For the first round, we’ll just be doing basic attacks. Just to ease myself into the combat. Much like Cactus Solo, it’s a roll under system. But with 2d6’s instead of 3. Already more forgiving. However, here’s where I find things confusing. They say, to score a successful hit, you have to roll under your Brawn. Here’s the thing though: my Brawn is fifteen. Hitler’s is twenty. I’m… not sure how this works. So… does this mean we always hit?
I think we found the opposite of the Cactus Solo system. Whereas it’s always impossible to hit because of both how many dice you roll and how low you can start off with your to hit stat in that game, here you could very easily beat up a guy if your stat is beyond the threshold of the dice. I’m not entirely sure how this works, as I read the game cover to cover (it’s five pages long) and I can pretty much assume they want you to roll 2d6 underneath your freakishly high Brawn stat.
However, the game does say that this is how the battle works with an example battle. The stuff you do is automatically successful. With that in mind, I guess I’ll have the battle play out.
He easily hits me. Now to do damage. His luger is a gun, which is always powerful in fantasy settings like ROLF. While it does 2 damage, it ignores armor, meaning that despite me being armed to the teeth in protection, I’m still taking that two damage. Meaning that I have a ticking clock right now. Hitler has an average chance to hit me and his damage is always fixed. I have fifteen health, meaning it will take me seven rounds for me to drop right now.
Likewise, Hitler has about five rounds to drop me. My mace does five damage and he can only block one with his boots. Speaking of, it’s my turn to hit.
I succeed and I deal four damage to Hitler. Because of the round pacing (Hitler, Me, Me, Hitler), I hit him again.
And I hit him for 4. Now he’ll strike me.
He hits me for 2. Thus, the first round is over. I will now tally up the health.
[Health So Far: Me: 11, Hitler: 12]
So, as you can see, this game has potential to go for what I call Eskimo Nut Kicking, where two people just keep beating each other up until one’s left standing. This is made even more notable because this is automated. Luckily, there’s combat maneuvers. It’s Hitler’s turn again, so what maneuver will he do? Well, Hitler will try to distract me by discussing philosophy. I have to roll Brains to ensure I don’t get confused.
And I fail it. I am now confused by his navel gazing. I’m guessing it had to do with anti-Semitism. With that, I lose an action. My next action will be spent trying to deflect his bullet.
I succeed, so if Hitler’s next attack is a hit, I’ll deflect it. However, will he attack? It’s time for me to ask the simplest Engine of them all: The d2 system.
Yes, I’m gonna flip a coin. Heads he shoots, tails he doesn’t.
And he would have hit had I not deflected the bullet. The round ends with no one getting hurt. Next round! Hitler will now give me… THE STARE! … Wait, wrong show. It’s the Look. The Look is exclusive to the expansion that Hitler’s featured in. This requires a successful check on 3d10s.
He does it and I am unable to move for the rest of the round (I could make a Brains save, but I have to do it on 3d4s, which, as I rolled… is not gonna be enough to make me not be intimidated by his stare) so now he’ll attack.
He hits me and with that I lose not only two more health, but also a Body stat, as every 5 points of Brawn lost means a point of Body lost.
[Health So Far: Me: 9, Hitler: 12]
I gotta beat him soon. Thankfully, I took the Disembowel move. However, Hitler is going to seduce me.
I somehow gone more Gonzo with just one sentence. He has to roll 3d6 against his Body and Brains combined.
He makes it. But…
I don’t listen to his offer to propagate his race (that’s literally the description for Seduce, not making that up), and I decide to finally kick his ass once and for all!
DISEMBOWEL!!! He’s gonna take 11 damage. He can’t dodge this since he lacks that power.
And I believe I kicked his ass. I detracted about three points of Body from him so he’ll have to do one last Seduce attempt before he calls it quits (his Brawn is a 1, which is impossible to get on a 2d6, let alone under it).
And 12 does not do it. Hitler, seeing that he nearly got skewered to death by a mace, retreats to his bunker to rant about Fegelein. Europe is safe once more. And that’s basically it. ROLF is a simple fighting RPG. That’s it. Perhaps one day I’ll ensure that there’ll be roles to be played in this rollplaying game, but for now, I’ll leave it be.
My overall thoughts on it are… Well, it’s simple enough to play, crazy enough for a good night of drinking, and quick enough for a one-and-done session. With that, I’m done, bon voyage, gamers.