Rules Summary

General Gameplay

  • No takebacks. If you say you do something, it happens.
  • Doing anything useful is an action, including moving. You get two actions a turn.
  • If you want to do something that requires a skill check, I tell you the DC, you roll 3d6 and add your skill bonus.
  • Some weapons, tools, and special abilities will have things trigger on certain die rolls like triples, doubles, straights, or all low numbers. If you have a thing that does that, make a note for yourself.
  • One die is a different color, if you succeed AND that die is highest, draw a card and what it says happens.
  • If you don’t like what the card says, you can spend a RiPP to ignore it.
  • If I don’t like what the card says, I can give you all a RiPP to ignore it.


  • Whoever says what they’re doing first goes first (pairs nicely with the “no takebacks” rule).
  • When that’s done, whoever says what they’re doing next goes next.
  • If no player is saying what they want to do, the enemy goes.
  • Surprise/ambushes can make the enemy go first.


  • Metagame currency. You’ll get plenty.
  • Gained either by me paying you to ignore cards, or you doing/saying something that builds particularly well with what another player did. You may get a couple at the end of the session by default.
  • Can be used to redo a roll.
  • Can be used to ignore cards.
  • Can be used to make a grunt take a hit instead of you. If there is a grunt with you when you’re hit: spend a RiPP, write down the Grunt’s name, race, and a three-fact bio on an index card. Or pick one you’ve already written. Then I flip a coin. Heads, your grunt lives and gains skill points in case of a promotion. Tails, your grunt dies and I rip up the index card.
  • Can increase skills. When you successfully use a skill during a session (for real, not to meta this rule), make a note. At the end of the session you can spend ? RiPPs to increase that skill by +1.

Death and Promotions

  • Expect to have your characters die. Plot armor for player characters is much weaker than in other RPGs.
  • This is the story of the party, and the party in this case is a mercenary company larger than the characters you’re actively playing.
  • When you die, one of the grunts you have an index card for gets a field promotion. Spend any skill points the grunt has earned through soaking attacks for your PC, choose his background (definitely) and officer type (maybe) and start playing your new character.

The Company as a Character

  • Your mercenary company has its own stats: reputation, wealth, etc. As part of company those stats affect how people perceive you, what equipment you can afford, etc.
  • The better you do on your missions, the better the company does, and thus the more goodies you get.
  • Your ship is the center of your company. Try not to blow it up. You can take turns playing as the AI that flies it in ship-to-ship battles, so having it intact is helpful.

Rules Summary

Zap Guns for Hire ADP ADP