Engine

The Quick is a character driven game of Nordic Noir Ghost Stories.

This is a game of people. Not pawns.

People come from somewhere. They are made of stories. Stories have gravitas.

A retired firefighter wakes to smoke in the house. An active student smuggles the party to the underground club. The exorcist senses a presence.

This engine is a playtest Ashcan of our playbook.

On shoulders of Giants:

Parts of the tech here — originating in story games and Powered by the Apocalypse movement — have been adapted for more organic and free playstyle to support character immersion and the themes of the game. This adaptation was made respecting the tech’s origins in Over the Edge, Polaris, Dogs in the Vineyard, and most notably the Apocalypse World.

Playing along …

The golden — or first — rule of The Quick is to “Play along, or make a move.” It applies to all players, including the GM. When a character does something, you say Yes, How, or Try. The try part is where we apply moves.

… Or making a move

Moves are small rules triggered by the player, with the intent of steering the game towards genre or scenario goals. You use them when another player or GM says you may try or when a player wants to dramatically change what would happen in the narrative with character’s actions.

To play a Move, you name the Move and tell what happens. For the Base Move, we roll 1 or more 6 sided dice to see what happens. Moves introduced later can resolve with a dice roll or as written.

You gain an Advantage dice for each of the following: Luck (always), Archetype/Concept, Background, Specialty; if they would give the character an advantage in the scene. You can also roll an Aspect dice for each of your aspects once per scenario. A result of 4+ rolled with either Advantage or Aspect dice is a success, and each 1 from an Aspect dice eats away one of these successes.

You gain a Challenge dice for the Harm the character has suffered and from the GM’s story track twists. Each challenge die adds a chance of a something awry in the form of a GM move.

A move with dice roll has three possible outcomes, with following defaults:

As planned:
Gain 1 or more successes with advantage or aspect dice

You alter the game narrative with the move and the actions of your character, as you intended.

...And another thing:
More 4+’:s with the challenge die than successes

Something turns up, and the GM has a free move.

Only if:
Gain no successes

The GM or the player whose narration you reacted to a with the move names a price for the move to succeed. You may choose to take a Harm for the character instead of paying the designated price. (It’s a good practice to name the price before roll so that players can withdraw)

The move has effect only if you accept the price or take a Harm to your character.

Cost/Harm

Each character can have five Harms. Each harm can be either for now or for good. Each time your character gains a Harm, you either add a new Harm to the character for now or upgrades a temporary Harm to a for good.

Each Harm (whether for now or for good) creates a Challenge dice for the character.
If the character has 5 Harms for good, they are ousted.

Extended moves

Instead of the Base move, following Extended moves are used when applicable. Scenarios, character concepts/archetypes, etc. can add new Moves, to be used when applicable.

Investigate

(roll)

The Investigate move triggers when a character or more are investigating a scene for clues. A failure in an Investigation move does not stop the investigation: instead, the character’s investigation continues with an added price, like needing to call in a favor from a dangerous antagonist, or leaving fingerprints to a murder scene.

As planned…
The Character finds out what they were looking for. It could be a definite clue to the murderer or an answer to a question like “how long has the victim been dead.”

This result can trigger a golden opportunity for GM move on the plot line the character is investigating.

Only if…
The Character finds out what they were looking for, just like in a successful roll. The findings, however, come with a plot related price (given by the GM). The price can create a Harm to the character.

The investigation move’s cost is dictated by the GM after you have rolled the dice.

…And another thing
The investigation reveals something dangerous, triggering a free GM move.

Research

(special)

Many horror games have rules or Moves for research and study of crime scenes and weird phenomena. In the Nordic Noir detective stories this sort of the investigation is often outsourced to a retainer or specialist support character. And when it’s not, it’s done between moments, with alcohol and sleep deprivation. The practice helps with the pacing of the story, as research can give context to a plot twist, but there is little drama in the actual work to be played out.

We follow this genre convention by omitting a character move for research. Whenever a character would need this sort of work done, it’s either done “off camera” or by a retainer and handled with an Investigation move.

Invoke power

(auto)

If a player wishes to invoke one of their character’s Powers and it applies to the what’s happening in the game, the player may invoke it.
Player chooses a harm to the character, or makes a Harm permanent, and narrates how the events play out.

The power invoked works as written, and bypasses all other powers or moves played before.

GM Moves

Game master has a story track with a row for each plot line/mystery.

Each time the players give the GM a golden opportunity, a player’s move results in a “..and”, and a scenario/session starts the GM makes a move.

First four moves in a track are for story hooks or color. After a plot line is activated, it adds a challenge die to all rolls.

Last two moves are plot twists or end games of the plot line. These both add a challenge die to all rolls.

There may be any number of open plot lines — but only the ones able to influence the characters and their actions count for the Challenge dice.