Engine

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

This is a game about people. People are made of stories.

Stories have weight.

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

The rules of the game are simple. At the core they are “Play along or make a Move.”

This engine is an abridged version of the rules in The Quick playbook.

The playbook is available for digital purchase at http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/245906/The-Quick

PLAY ALONG

For the most part, the gameplay is a conversation about what the characters (played by their players) say, and do in the game fiction, and how the world (played by the GM) or other characters (played by their players) react to what was said or done. Your character opens the door to the kitchen, and the kitchen door indeed opens. Your character says an insult to another player’s character, and that player tells you how their character reacts to that.

You are building a story together, and it is important that you stay on the same page with what’s happening. So when having the conversation that is the game, you sometimes need clarifications.

It is always ok to ask “How?” when someone in the game does something. If your character is opening a locked door: how they will get the door open? If the explanation satisfies everyone, the play continues. If not, you figure out a solution that everyone can agree on by talking it out. Be ready to accept, that your character might not be able to do it, just because it’s cool.If the conversation ends up going nowhere, the GM has the final say as an arbiter.

The exception to this practice is when something in the game triggers a Move. Together the two form the core principle of playing The Quick: Play along or make a Move.

OR MAKE A MOVE

Moves are small rules – triggered by set actions in the game fiction. They intend to steer the game towards genre and Scenario goals.

The Move’s trigger tells you when you make that Move. You can’t make the Move if the trigger condition isn’t met, and you always should make the Move if it is. For example, if you have a Move that triggers when a character investigates a crime scene, your character has to investigate the crime scene for you to play the Move. And vice versa, if your character is investigating a scene, the Move triggers and you follow the rules for the Move.

To make a Move you tell the playgroup which Move is triggered and then follow the rules set by the Move. When a Move tells you to roll the dice, you gather and roll the dice as follows:

For each roll, you get 1-4 Advantage die. One for each of the following that applies to the Move: Chance (you always get this), the characters Concept, the characters Background and the characters Specialities.

You can also add Aspect dice to the roll – one from each of the following that would help the character in their task: Flaw, Motivation, and one from any other helpful Aspects in play. The maximum number of Aspect dice in a single roll is four.

Anyone at the table can ask for you to explain how a particular trait is helpful. If everyone agrees it is useful, you get the Advantage (or Aspect) die. As a rule, you should try not to disagree with someone’s explanation unless it severely violates the mood or realism of the game.

When rolling Advantage or Aspect dice, any roll of 4 or higher counts as a success, and each one rolled on an Aspect dice eats away one of these successes.

Your roll also gains a Calamity die for each Harm your character has marked on their sheet, and one Calamity die or more from every Threat Track in play. Any roll of 4 or higher from a Calamity die counts as a peril.

By default, one or more successes on the roll counts as an As planned result, while no successes is an Only result for the Move. If you get more perils than successes, you also get the And result. Follow the rules presented by the Move for each of the results you get.

If a Move tells you to do something differently, the Move text takes priority.

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 Calamity dice for the character.
If the character has 5 Harms for good, they are ousted.

Player Moves

The playbook contains 5 additional Moves for the player: Commit to Violence, Take the Low Road, Tap a Power, Grounding, and Close the gate.

TRY

Play when another player – or the GM – asks you to Try it. And there are no Moves that cover better what your character is Trying to do.

The Try Move is triggered when the fiction has moved to a place where the character’s success or failure both can lead to interesting turns in the story. Or when the character is pushing the limits of what they can or cannot do.

Before making the roll, the player should consult with the play group what the scope of the action will be and what will they gain when they succeed, or succeed partially. The player can, after this discussion, decide to back away and not to Try it after all. It is a good idea to talk about what the potential Harm for “Only” result is – before the roll is made – so that the player is making an informed decision.

AS PLANNED

Get 1 or more successes with your Advantage or Aspect dice.

Whatever the character was Trying to do, happens. If they were trying to affect another player’s (or GM’s) character, they should get a say in what it looks like for them when the character Trying gets what they want, but no-one can change the decided outcome of the action.

ONLY..

Get no successes with your Advantage or Aspect dice.

It does not go as planned. Whatever the character was trying to accomplish fails, unless the player decides for the character to suffer one Harm. If they do, the character successfully does what they were Trying to do, just not as smoothly as they were planning.

What this means depends on situation and is usually tied to the Harm they just received, but it should not negate the character’s earned success.

AND..

Get more perils with your Calamity dice than successes with your Advantage and Aspect dice.

The GM gets a Free Move. Regardless of what happens with the character Trying, the story is moving forward.

DIG DEEPER

Play when your character is investigating or researching something.

Much of what the Quick do is investigate what goes on one way or the other. From digging through trash bins to analyzing a murder scene, the Dig Deeper Move triggers when a character tries to uncover the clues that are there but not immediately apparent.

When a character Digs Deeper, they always find something relevant to what the characters are investigating if there is something to be found. And if not, the GM should inform the player that the Move doesn’t trigger, signaling that there is nothing to be found here.

Each character can Dig Deeper only once per Scene. If for some reason there are still vital clues undiscovered in the Scene after the last character present has resolved their Dig Deeper, the GM should straight out reveal the ones that the group didn’t find. The characters have spent long enough and risked much looking into this one thing to discover all that is important there and have earned to find whatever there is to find here. This reveal applies only to clues that are the bare minimum that’s needed to push the story forward.

Digging Deeper doesn’t use the Calamity dice, and it does not have a result with a GM Move. It can still be a dangerous Move as the very things the characters investigate create Golden Opportunities for the GM to Explore or Foreshadow a Threat. For example, “It would appear the killer took their time torturing the victim before killing them” counts as a Foreshadow as it tells the players exactly what the killer is capable of. And a group of Quick spending too much time in a Scene is a Golden Opportunity for the GM to hit them with another Move.

AS PLANNED

Get 1 or more successes with your Advantage or Aspect dice.

The character Digging Deeper finds out something relevant to the case from whatever it was they were searching. What exactly this “something relevant” is, is up to the GM who knows the mystery and what information the characters need to solve it. It should be as vital as a definite clue to the identity of the murderer or letting the character know that while no-one should have been here since the 50s, the Karuselli Ottoman sitting in the corner started production in the mid-60s, putting the whole timeline in a new perspective.

As with all revelations, the GM might be able to use the clue discovered as a Golden Opportunity to Explore a Threat Track or even Foreshadow one.

ONLY.. I REALLY HAD TO KNOW

Get no successes with your Advantage or Aspect dice.

The character Digging Deeper finds out that the information they seek will come with a price. When this result comes up, the GM names the price the character has to pay for their discovery. If it is reasonable — the GM should either consult the player on the price, or present a couple of options, and let the player choose which their character opts for. “Yeah, you realize that to get to the end of this, you’ll need to call your ex-husband, you still have feelings for.. or break into the police database. Both have their cost, but it’s up to you to choose which one is worse”. The price can even cause Harm to the character if the player sees that fits the cost of discovery.

COST OF DISCOVERY

In Nordic Noir stories, the main protagonist doesn’t stop digging because it puts them in a bad place. Thus the cost of discovery is not optional, but a natural part of the process.

Sometimes the cost is purely narrative and stems from the circumstances. “Ok, you realize the hole is a lot deeper than you thought, and getting up from there will take effort. But you know there’s something down there, so you climb down anyway.” or “You sneak closer to get a better view of the room, which puts you in the field of the guard’s vision, who calls to you.”

In other cases the price is not something that stems fluidly from the presented set-up, and in these cases, a Harm is a simple option for a price. Like a social Harm from asking the department run an off the record analysis. Or a physical Harm, “broken rib” from a fall or “twisted ankle” from getting a clue from a hard-to-reach location.

GM Moves

Game master has a Threat track with a row for each Threat in the game.

First four moves in a track are for story hooks or color. After a threat track is activated, it adds one to three Calamity dice  to all rolls.

The GM can only play moves related to the phase of the Track:

  • Explore, on first phase
  • Foreshadow, on second phase
  • Reveal, on last 2 phases
  • Counter, on any phase

Last two moves are plot twists or end games of the plot line. These both add the second and third Calamity dice to all rolls.

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