A downloadable RPG system

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What's GUTS+?

We can't all be super-powered demigods on an epic quest to save the universe. Most of us are just normal people dealing with weird challenges or tricky situations. When you don't have access to supernatural abilities, it takes GUTS to work through them!

The GUTS+ System is a role-playing game system that allows you to live out wild adventures without straying too far from your own abilities in the real world while still leaving plenty of room to explore what's possible with tremendous growth! Improve your character's qualities to excel at certain activities and overcome more and more incredible tasks! Work with your Game Master and your fellow players to solve big problems together!

Interaction with the game world and all the characters in it is at the forefront of the GUTS+ System, and its generalized mechanics allow for nearly infinite settings and scenarios. The GM decides what's possible and what's available in the game world, and you can help sway their decisions. There's even a unique magic system to explore if you're looking to add a little bit more of the mystical to spice up your game world!

It's not always gonna be easy, but now you've got the GUTS to do what it takes!

Why GUTS+?

The GUTS+ System aims to give you as much freedom as possible:
It lays out a full set of rules without a specific setting or storyline so you can build your own or modify one you like. The goal is to provide easy-to-remember rules that let the Game Master build the world and decide the outcomes so players can focus more on collaborative storytelling, interpersonal relations, and free-form play.

GUTS+ stands apart with its "quality" system:
Rather than having set skills, GUTS+ focuses on individual, customizable qualities giving your character the ability to do things, and if they don't have one specific to the action, their success at performing tasks is dependent upon their base qualities:
Gumption, Utility, Thought, and Slyness.

Plus a unique conflict resolution system using only six-sided dice:
Roll one die for each level your quality has, and each die is interpreted individually to determine the outcome. So if your quality is level 4, roll 4 dice, and the GM interprets the roll rather than taking a total or average.

RPG System?

Yep, this is an assembly-required tabletop role-playing game system with no stories or settings built in. Think of it like a game engine, but for tabletop role-playing—you can use it however you want with whatever story you want! Ultimate freedom!

That does mean that you need to provide your own plot and ideas, though. The Game Master chapter covers how you can build your own world, but you can also use existing stories and worlds to play however you want with the simplified rules system.

If that's too much for you, SKATER+ was released as an expansion to the GUTS+ System with special rules for skating like in the Tony Hawk Pro Skater video games. It's the first official setting for the GUTS+ System, and it's a lot of radical fun! SKATER+ is free, so whether you use the settings and rules itself or simply look at them for inspiration, you'll hopefully be able to find a use for GUTS+!


This core rule book contains all of the information you need to learn how to use the GUTS+ system, how to use its unique optional magic system, and a full one-off adventure scenario to help you get started building your own games. All of the information in this book is freely available on the official GUTS+ website, but this provides a nice, printable format with custom images throughout.

You can also buy this book through DriveThru RPG, if you prefer keeping your RPG collection in that library instead! After this version is released, a sleek physical version of this book will be available on DriveThru RPG for $10 black and white softcover or $20 color hardcover, so check back once that's available!

Purchase

Buy Now$4.99 USD or more

In order to download this RPG system you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $4.99 USD. You will get access to the following files:

The GUTS+ System Rule Book 18 MB
GUTS+ Editable Character Sheet 558 kB
The GUTS+ System Rule Book (Compressed Images) 7 MB

Development log

Comments

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(+2)

Hello Alamantus! I found your rulebook super interesting. As a person who has subjected their friends to too many overly-complicated RPG systems, I can certainly appreciate the simplicity (and yet robustness) of your design. 

One thing about the GUTS qualities though, is that I would personally appreciate if you gave more examples of "traditional" skills in games for each of the characteristics, as for some unique qualities I feel like I do not really know where to place them. Also, perhaps a table of exemplary unique qualities would also be helpful? When discussing the system with some of my friends, they sometimes really did not know what quality to choose that complimented their backstory or the strengths in their qualities. 

Also, like you said in the end of the book, I also think doubles is a super good tool for the game! I think I am going to implement a homebrew rule that double 6s is particularly special because that would be really cool :) I really love assisting mechanics, so I am glad it was introduced -- I have found explicit helping mechanics lends itself to character synergies, which is what I live for! I also love that they are based on both of the characters' qualities instead of a flat bonus because it simply makes sense. 

Regarding the "essence" mechanic, I do not feel it is vague (like, at all?). I think you define very well the limitations of the essence mechanic -- and the diagrams are extremely helpful in this regard -- and then you give a wide number of combat/utility options for each example. Relatedly, I really like it! And its differentiation in low/middle/high tiers allows for its implementation in low-magic fantasy games without making them /too/ gamebreaking. Something I am perhaps missing is a mechanic that represents two/more essences affecting the same character or object (but not in a contest; ie. two PCs attacking the same bad guy). After all, since they are metaphysical representations of our energy tied to ourselves, isn't something bound to happen if too many of them get mixed around? Perhaps contrasting auras (eg. fast/slow) could have detrimental effects if they interact. I know you leave it up to GMs discretion, but I just thought they could add something interesting. 

In regards to injuries, I must say I have not often played games with localized damage, so we will have to see how it goes. Always excited to try new stuff out. 

I like the emphasis on GM control, even if I understand why you would be hesitant at giving so much of it. I think it interacts very well with the simplicity of the game, because it lends itself to a more narrative-driven experience that I personally find really enjoyable. 

Oh, by the way, I love the status conditions table! I am /so/ bad at coming up with these types of descriptive adjectives (which are found in other games I have played) that I am probably going to use them there as well, haha. 

Anyway, wasn't that a long comment. I just had a lot of thoughts after reading your book and I wanted to share them :) And thank you so much for sharing your game! <3

Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to not only read through but also leave such detailed feedback! I can't express how much I appreciate it! And I'm so glad you like it, too!

One of the projects I had in mind was to write what I tentatively titled the "GUTS+: Tome of Helpful Examples" that would do exactly what you asked, but I haven't been able to dedicate time to it yet. A table of unique qualities would definitely be a good thing to include, though. It's typically just something about your character that doesn't necessarily always have a clear function.

Here are a couple examples for you in the meantime: one of my players is playing a handiman and two of his custom qualities are "Electrician" and "Woodworking". So far, he's used Woodworking to get additional dice for hacking through a wall and and Electrician to try and get any advantages possible on nearly anything with wires. Another character is an American football player fresh out of high school who has the quality "Big-Boned", which he's used to his advantage tackling people in combat. Yet another player's character is a ranch hand who's good with horses and is obsessed with the paranormal/cryptids, so his qualities are as vague as "Horses" and "Cryptozoology". I've allowed him to use Horses to try to interpret any animal interaction and played off any failure as "well this animal is nothing like a horse" and Cryptozoology has similarly enabled him to interact with things that aren't animals in a similar way or to see if he's heard of anything like the unknown creature before.

Thanks for your kind words! Yes, doubles came about to combat the inevitable bell curve that adding more dice to this particular system would cause. And thanks! I'm pretty happy with the Assistance system in that regard, too! It's not super reliable, but it rarely hurts to try it and when it does work, it can be pretty helpful! I'm personally a fan of when your players come up with excuses for which qualities could be helpful and how they're helpful lol.

I'm glad you found Essence well explained! I tried to do my best to make it understandable, so I'm glad it worked out. The thing about Essence as it currently exists is that Essences can't really combine or mix, but I do get what you mean about maybe there being some kind of interaction when they touch... I'll have to think about that! I'll at least add something to the GM chapter about considering what might happen if different Essence types interact. As for multiple Essences acting on a single object, as a GM I'd say it depends on what the action is. If 2 Essences are trying to Push the same object in opposite directions, then I would personally require a Contest roll using the Essence quality to decide who prevails, whereas 2 Essences trying to manipulate someone's memories or feelings would just compound. If those memories or feelings were conflicting, then the GM should describe what that conflict of "this happened and it didn't happen at the same time" would feel like in the unfortunate target's mind, or maybe one affects it slightly sooner than the other so it's a very quick sequential change?

Anyway, I've just written an equally long response! Thanks again for your kind words and for reading through the rule book at all! It really means a lot, and I appreciate it. I hope you have fun if you and your friends end up using it! :D

(+1)

Thank you for taking the time to reply! I loved reading your response a lot (yay for long comments!) The examples you put in there help a lot, actually. I am also a big fan of the player who decided that his quality was going to be "Horses". Honestly unbeatable. 

Thank you for the in-depth explanation of the Essence system as well! I feel like I understand better how to work it out now :) And I wish you the best in all future work, if it is as great as this one you have a bright future as a developer! <3