Which system(s) are going to end up in my game meatloaf for this pulp action heartbreaker I’m thinking about? I’ve been reading up on a lot of the newer-hotness games as well as some older favorites. If I can just drift an existing game rather than Frankensteining something new out of parts, that’d be great.
Push Your Luck: Year Zero Engine
The system used by Fria Ligan for games like Mutant: Year Zero/Genlab Alpha/Forbidden Lands/Coriolis/Tales From the Loop has a lot to recommend it. It’s fairly highly regarded (some variations more than others), but the thing that keeps me thinking about it is its push mechanic. You can reroll any dice that aren’t sixes or ones; any ones you roll on the pushed roll hurt you and generate the resources you need to power your cool stunts. I also like how damage generally comes right off your dice pools. It makes the mechanical game feel closer to the fictional things those dice pools represent.
Approaches: Fate Accelerated
I love approaches for pulp heroes. Most of the characters that come to mind are broadly competent, differing mainly in personality and style, which approaches model perfectly. My problem with Fate is that there’s too much input after the roll. The dice are a starting point and then it becomes resource management. That level of control can be fun in certain games but for this I’d prefer more uncertainty.
Polyhedrals and Open Arms: Cortex Prime
Cortex Prime’s a decent candidate, and as a toolkit it practically requires some hacking to get it to work. It’s dead simple to come up with approaches or approach-like traits to use, it uses the range of polyhedrals which I appreciate, and like Fate, it doesn’t come across as a combat simulator that someone’s wrapped in some character creation. I have reservations about handling time and whether I can crunch it up for chases and environmental peril, or whether I even should.