The ICRPG Trojan Horse
It's been 6 years of pure craziness as ICRPG has wiggled its way under the skin of thousands of players and GMs worldwide, becoming an all-time best seller and selling out everywhere even with the global distribution muscle of Modiphius. What began as a simple, time-saving method of a chaotic GM (me) has become a resilient part of the indie TTRPG scene.
The funny part is, a huge group of readers are ICRPG loyalists but "just recommend the GM section" or say "ICRPG is filled with great ideas, but I'll probably just stick with 5E" or the timeless classic "my players won't play anything but 5E, so..."
Recently, I asked Chris Birch, founder of Modiphius, how I could reach more of their huge readership, and push ICRPG into a second printing to reach even more FLGSs and players worldwide. He said "maybe write a blog post? We'll post it up all over." Welcome to the dire fruits of his notion.
As I was saying, despite ICRPG's incredible success, the death grip of 5th edition D&D continues to hold fast on players and GMs everywhere. Or does it? Speaking anecdotally, I think we're living in a vibrant, diverse era of the hobby. Don't believe the 'world's greatest' marketing blitz. There are players everywhere doing all the hackery and home brewing, in a spectrum of systems and worlds, that makes what we do so damn fun. That's where the Trojan Horse comes in.
Sure, 5E is dominating conversations here and there. Sure, many players think it's 'the' D&D. Sure, it leaves a lot to be desired as a body of work, overly fixated on grids and crippling rules like AOOs, even gimped by the limbic confusion of the advantage method, but the sunk cost of the community in its sheer momentum is hard to overstate. If you're part of this wave, or the quotes above sound familiar, it's time to bind some wicker with rope and conceal some Trojan soldiers. We're attacking the Troy of tabletop: system sanctity.
ICRPG is a system, but more so, it's a mindset. It's a mindset that our natural language at the table, as friends, is the ultimate pillar of great gameplay. It's a mindset that NOTHING is sacred as far rules, methods, or standards. Every detail of what we do can improve, or fit the moment better. This standard even reflects back on ICRPG itself: there is no implied statement of 'take this as a whole.'
This is the root of the Trojan Horse: to 'sneak' into a 5E table with tiny, incremental improvements that acknowledge even the most stalwart 5E player, but fundamentally improve the table flow. Play clockwise, plan one session at a time, simplify distance, simplify time, use dice timers, consolidate similar numbers into tiers, and so on.
ICRPG gets nitty-gritty for GMs... from stat tiers to spatial planning to encounter planning
This post isn't about the exact kernels in ICRPG that are hidden in the Trojan Horse (that's what the book is for!) It's a primer for newcomers and those-loyal-to-other-systems. Your system rocks! Your table rocks! ICRPG simply offers ideas to make it even more tasty.
If you're experiencing financial hardship, always feel free to email me directly for a free copy of ICRPG. We're all in this together. Now let's go make that next session a killer.