Weirdways Universal System

Weirdways Universal is an FKRish rule set aimed at freedom through simplicity. It relies less on precise rules and rather on rulings based on shared perceptions and interpretations of the fiction. I have found it super easy to run and use with many diverse scenarios. Use and change it as you will.

Aspects: Aspects are elements of your character that show what you are good at and what you can do. They are given to your in character creation and you can gain more as you advance.

Characters typically start with 3 Aspects based on the Set. Sets are the ruleset and setting you are using, here are some Sets that I created earlier: WeirdwaysElectric Samsara,  and  Sailors on a Psychic Sea.

Main mechanic: Roll 2d6, adding a modifier between -2 and +3 as determined by your GM based on your Aspects.
  • Snake eyes (Double 1s) are always a failure and something bad happens. 
  • 6 or less: Failure and something bad happens.
  • 7-9: You succeed but at some cost or must make a hard choice.
  • 10+: You succeed with no drawbacks!
  • Double 6s is always a maximum success with flair!
Harm: Each time a character would experience physical harm, they take 1 Harm outside of extreme exceptions. 

Harm Tracks differentiate based on your Set and how powerful characters are in the setting therein.

Some Harm Tracks have Injuries. When you take an Injury, the GM should give you an appropriate Aspect based on the Injury. This Aspect is temporary but it must be treated with medical care and might result in death unless done so quickly.

Here are a few Harm Tracks:

For characters meant to be approximately "normal" in terms of their power level:

            A character dies at 4 Harm. At 3 Harm, they take an Injury.

For characters meant to be powerful combatants:

            A character dies at 6 Harm. At 4 Harm, they take a Minor Injury (A slash across the arm, a scrape across the leg). At 5 Harm, they take a Major Injury (A broken bone, a concussion, a bullet in a limb).

General Aspects: The following questions are meant to be useful for many different genres and settings. The answer to these questions are your Aspects and should be answered in just a couple of words.
  1. What is your general character concept? (Archer Elf, Saucerfreak Goblin, Goth Psychonaut, Pyromancer Anarchist)
  2. What is something cool about you? (Commands Plants, Rubber Bones, Martial Artist)
  3. What's a fictional or historical person kind of like you? "Kind of like ______" is your third Aspect. (If your character is combat-focused, are they more like Jackie Chan or more like John Wick or someone else? If your character is magical, are they more Gandalf or Harry Dresden or someone else?)
Inventory: You can pick two items that are essential to your character: Hellboy's Six Shooter, Dresden's Hockeystick Staff, a Wizards Spellbook, a Knight's Blessed Blade, ect...

You can also pull up to 6 items out of your pocket or pack during the course of play so long as they make sense for your character and ok with your GM. Small flavor items are at no cost. You can carry as many items on your person as would reasonably fit on your person or in a backpack.

Advancement: There are two options for Advancing your character and you can use both if you'd like. The first option is diegetic Advancement. Add new Aspects or adjust current ones based on things they learn or train for in discussion with the player.
  • Karlos the Anarchist Pyromancer goes to a college library to learn how to build bombs. I, the GM, gives Karlos a choice, learn how to make a basic fire bomb or learn how to make explosive runes. Karlos picks the latter and so he gains the Aspect: Explosive Runes.
Or after big events or times where characters pull off awesome things, discuss appropriate Aspects with the player to add to their character. This is a great option to help players remember big moments in the campaign as the character sheet itself becomes a living history of the game.
  • After going through the horrors and delights of Unicorn Meat Jocko the Psychonaut Goblin Saucerhead is given a choice between Telekinetic Rainbow Bridges and Nightmare Manifestation, both that could help the player remember the grotesque whimsy of Sunny Smiles Unicorn Farm.
Combat: The procedures for Combat are not markedly different from the ordinary way the game functions:
  1. The GM sets the scene, outlines the challenges, and describes the enemies and whatever offensive action the enemies are taking against the PCs.
  2. The PCs can then respond. There is no set order. I like to give everyone a chance to take an action and just go around the table or go down the list on Discord. If your players like to be spontaneous and jump right in without anyone getting left out, you can be more free form.
  3. The GM has the world respond both after each PC's turn and at the beginning of each round as appropriate. Keeping combat dynamic means introducing new threats and twists as combat goes on. The GM ought to introduce these as appropriate and allow the PCs a chance to respond.
  4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until Combat is resolved. 
For example:
  • GM: So you land in what looks like a giant surgical tray. A giant menacing surgeon bearing a scalpel looms over you. There is a horrifying, beating, black heart in the tray with you that is like a steep hill compared to you. Out from it pours a bunch or horrible knee-high spiny demonic creatures. A portal back to the real world floats above the heart. As you get your bearings, the giant surgeon drops his scalpel so this massive blade is falling towards you. What do you do?
  • Issac the Demoniac: I want to call on my demonic strength to help me catch the huge scalpel.
  • GM: You are very strong, but this is a huge object from your perspective, roll just +2.
  • Issac: (Rolls 2d6+2) Double Sixes! So 14 total! Black veins shoot through my skin as I tense to catch the scalpel!
  • GM: Ok you do it with flying colors! I will give you and added affect right now for that crit! What do you want to do with the scalpel?
  • Issac: I chuck it at the surgeon! 
  • GM: So you hurl this thing at the surgeon! Roll again this time with +3.
  • Issac: 9.
  • GM: Ok mixed result. Do you want to have the surgeon to slam the tray which could hit both you and the little demon creatures or do you want to have spent some of your demonic power with that mighty throw and take -1 to your demon powers until you rest?
  • Issac: Let him hit the tray!
  • GM: Alright so now a giant hand is coming down on the middle of the tray that will hit all of you guys and the creatures. What do you do?
Another example:
  • GM: As you all enter the gas station, the sliding doors are stuck half closing and opening on a bunch of lemons that are scattered over the floor. To your right, at the counter, you see a pile of lemons that seems to be badly filling the uniform of an employee. Before you can think twice, eyes open up on the lemons and little limbs come out as they swarm you, what do you do, starting with Martin.
  • Martin Dillerman Ex-Paladin Cop: I want to turn these unholy creatures!
  • GM: Oooo yeah that's right in your wheelhouse! Awesome, roll +3.
  • Martin: I rolled an 8.
  • GM: Mixed success. So here is your choice. You can create a little bubble of safety around you and your friends but you won't be able to move or you can take -1 to your holy powers until you rest.
  • Martin: I'll stay stationary.
  • GM: So you all are safe right now, but the lemons are between you and escape. Also you hear rumbling in the distance like giant footsteps coming closer. Tim is up next.
  • Tim the Wolf-man Medical Student: Crap! Uhhh didn't we see a billboard a while back with a number to call in case we found things that are not lemons? I call that number!
  • GM: Ok you call the number. An automated voice answers, "Thank you for calling Alphamart Customer service, if you are experiencing the strangeness press 1..."
  • Tim: I press 1!
  • GM: "Thank you for reaching our hotline for those affected by the strangeness after consuming Hollow Cola...'
  • Tim: "Dang it!"
  • GM: As you all struggle to think of what to do, you see the grass giant that you went around earlier catching up to you, leaning to pick up your RV. Fl'y'ynn you are up next.
  • Fl'y'ynn the Wood Elf Druid: I want to summon a vine to grab his hand and stop him from picking up the RV!
  • GM: This is a tough one against a giant. Roll +0.
  • Fl'y'ynn: I got a 4...
  • GM: That's a Failure. Do you want the giant to pick up the RV or do you want to step out of the protective zone and get swarmed by not-lemons?
  • Ect...
And that is it for the Universal Ruleset! You don't need anything else to play. What follows is a Set that you could use in play:

Destinations Unknown

See the lovely cloud fields of Flangys Mesmer! Visit the scenic astral webs of Omega Station Zharnoplex! Take a ride on the many-legged Kabaral Crawler of the primordial forests of Pandendro! Set sail for Destinations Unknown! 

This Set uses Aspects and the Main Mechanic as usual and the "normal" Harm Track. 

You are playing tourists from our world that have won free vacations through the Destinations Unknown Travel Agency which is secretly a front for the Zhon Collaborative, a faction in the strange realm of Interspace, taking unknowing patsies from our world (Extraspace) and using them as expendable couriers and agents. If you want to get back home and see all the fabulous destinations on your "free vacation," you'll need to complete their missions and not get killed.

  1. What is your profession?
  2. What is a hobby that you have that might provide a useful skill?
  3. What is something cool about you that you probably keep a secret? Zhon doesn't just take anyone.
Inventory: Bear in mind anything you draw for your inventory would have to be able to fly on a plane from our world.

Sets will often come with questions to help players get into their character's headspace.

  1. Did you realize that anything was off about this free vacation that you won? Did you sign up for this or did it just end up in your mailbox? Were you suspicious? Did you have no idea? Why did you come on this trip if you knew something might be amiss?
  2. Are you hoping to find something or running from something? What might have made you want this reprieve from your current life? If you had the option to never come back, would you take it?
  3. You alone got this opportunity, so what is homelife like? What kind of people did you leave behind? Is there someone to miss you? How did they feel about you going on this trip alone? In all likelihood, Zhon did not grab people that would be missed.
  4. Where have you traveled to before? What does travel mean to you?
1d12 Things you might find in Interspace
  1. Sophonic technology that instantly transmits knowledge into your mind like a Learning Language Vending Machine where you learn a language by taking a pill.
  2. VHS tapes that store people's memories. Stacy's Sex Tapes is a stand where people can buy the memory of having sex with Stacy.
  3. A Double Stuffed Charupa with Extra Roogh: due to linguistic difficulties and the cheeky vendors who think such difficulties are funny every singly Double Stuffed Charupa with Extra Roogh is pretty wildly different. No one who isn't fluent in Kagra and Charupa making, which is most people, can ever order the same Charupa twice or even really know what they got the first time.
  4. A daily meditation over your Interlocutor Tablet: "Today's meditation: the Collaborative means you! You are all cogs in the fantastic machine that is us! A cog has belonging so long as a cog has purpose. So long as it fulfills its purpose, the cog has a place in the machine, otherwise, it is tossed out! In our machine, your purpose is to be your best self in collaboration with the whole! So meditate on purpose! Meditate on belonging! Meditate on Zhon!"
  5. A pair of veiled and cloaked people with weird rubber spikey things on their heads arguing in another language over a holographic interface showing a mind-bending image of the Parallax Curve.
  6. Little silver tubes that "unfold" into guns.
  7. Siibos Symbiotic Supplies: Siibos offers a wide supply of biologically volatile supplies mostly in the form of clippings of small chubby tendrils or injections of liquids taken from constantly moving and shifting gelatinous organisms like strange coral or immobile jellyfish all of which seem to pretty much instantly regenerate. These products cause beneficial mutations or get you high or both.
  8. Astro-Chews Paradox Bubble Poppers Vending Machine: Sells colorful little balls of candy with little designs on them. When chewed and spat, they explode into bright, colorful shapes that drift away on the wind.
  9. The Pandendro Tree: a single tree whose roots have grown more "trees" until they have grown into a whole jungle and even begun to spread into other Interspace Cells. The tree creates symbiotic relationships with all the organisms that live under its branches, creating an organic computer with astonishing predictive power if you know how to operate it.
  10. A field of floating rocks among which arachnid-like creatures have created astonishing gigantic webs.
  11. A marketplace established by the descendants of Chinese alchemists who have learned to use the strange creatures native to Interspace to create potions with fantastic effects.
  12. A lot of drugs. It is how the first people came to Interspace, after all and hallucinogenic drugs can still help you travel to the many different Cells of honeycombed Interspace.


  1. Lovely as always. For a long running campaigns do you think the number of aspects should be limited in some way?

    1. Thank you! I don't think you should limit aspects. What I might do is start modifying current aspects if you start getting more than you can manage. I can definitely imagine a situation where a PC has aspects they might combine together with no loss. I find, in general, that having a lot of aspects is not really too difficult for players to track. It is easier than all the feats and spells that 5e gives you just because you negotiated them out with your GM or they came from an event that is memorable to you. Plus, if you keep it simple, Aspects are just a few words. If a GM were to still find it difficult to manage player's aspects, then I would say, limit the PCs to 10 and just have them modify their aspects rather than getting new ones.

  2. I really like the way this system has shaped up, and especially in tandem with that theme park-esque Weirdways multiverse idea you were talking about the other day haha. But ya, this is a really solid framework.

    1. Yeah it does fit with what we were talking about. I would really love to make this a framework that others feel like they can use to make their own games


Post a Comment

Popular Posts