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Tricube Tales

Tricube Tales

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$1.00
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$4.95
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$5.95

Download the full PDF for free by clicking on the Publisher Preview!

If you’d like to support the product by paying a dollar, you’ll also receive the tablet version (4:3 aspect ratio—this also looks good on laptops and desktop computers when using “Two Page View” in Acrobat Reader) and a Word document version (convenient if you want to copy the text for your own products), as well as 45 form-fillable character cards and a Scribus template for designing your own. The printed version of this book uses the same layout as the Phone PDF, but enlarged to fit a 5"x8" book (the font size is around 13).

What is Tricube Tales?

This product started out as a simple set of guidelines I created to run short games for my five-year-old son. However, I found the rules worked really well for adults as well, so I decided to expand them into a full game.

  • Versatile: Tricube Tales is a rules-light roleplaying system capable of handling a wide variety of genres and settings.
  • Portable: Games require little preparation or bookkeeping, and the PDF is designed for reading on a 16:9 aspect ratio smartphone screen, so you’ll always have the rules at hand.
  • Free: You can download the full Phone PDF for free by clicking on the Publisher Preview, and the entire text has been released under the CC BY 3.0 license, meaning you can also use it for your own commercial publications.

Character Creation

The player makes up an archetype, a perk, and a quirk. An archetype consists of a trait (agile, brawny or crafty) followed by a concept (usually a profession or calling), a perk typically represents a special ability or item, and quirk describes a foible or drawback. The entire character can be summarized in a single sentence, such as “an agile masked vigilante who is skilled with a rapier and loves to humiliate his foes, or “a brawny cyborg cop who has a cybernetic exoskeleton and is programmed to uphold the law, or even “crafty professor with telepathic superpowers who requires a wheelchair.

Resolution System

To overcome a challenge, players roll 1-3 six-sided dice (depending on their archetype) against a difficulty of 4-6 (depending on the situation), and need to succeed with at least one die. Perks can be used to reduce the difficulty, while quirks can increase it, but both are controlled by the player using karma tokens—they spend karma on perks, and recover it from quirks. This core mechanic is used for everything, including combat, and all rolls are made by the players.

Micro-Settings

If youre looking for some scenario ideas to get started, check out these free standalone micro-settings (and grab the solo rules too while youre at it):

  • Firefighters: Brave firefighters respond to emergencies, protecting lives and property.
  • Goblin Gangsters: Ambitious “made goblins” of the Redfang family undertake daring missions for the Gobfather.
  • Horrible Henchmen: Serve your dark master and help them carry out their dastardly plans.
  • Metahuman Uprising: Superheroes don their masks and capes, and face off against supervillains.
  • Rotten Odds: Survivors of a zombie apocalypse attempt to overcome the odds and escape the city.
  • Samhain Slaughter: Paranormal high-schoolers defend their town against monsters and cultists.
  • Welcome to Drakonheim: An introductory scenario for the dark fantasy setting “Drakonheim: City of Bones”.

There is also The Fools Who FollowDeep Trouble in Oldport BayHalfling Hustlers, and Guardians of the Shadow Frontier, but you’ll need to Google for those!

* Note that Interstellar Troopers includes a Scribus template for designing and publishing your own micro-settings.

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Actual Play

If you want to see an Actual Play using the Tricube Tales system, check out “Tellers of Tales by Eli Kurtz and Drew Mierzejewski (note that the second episode delves more into system mastery):


 
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Reviews (5)
Discussions (14)
Customer avatar
Josh R June 13, 2021 6:14 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi Richard, Really like the look of this system. I’m a GM coming from savage worlds system so I’ve seen and used lots of your great resources.
Things I like about Tricube is that it seems to differentiate characters based on what they’re good at, rolling 3d6 vs 1d6 much bigger difference than d4+d6 vs d8+d6 or d20-2 vs d20+2. I think it may allow players to focus on context and narrative decisions more than mechanical bonuses and min-maxing. Also, I like how quirks are a conscious decision to activate, to actually make your life more difficult, and (probably) fail with style/meaning but get rewarded.

I just had a few questions to see if I’m on the right track:
There’s many references to Complications, but its not clear exactly how they manifest mechanically. What would you typically use? additional skill rolls? extra effort tokens?

I think i’m beginning to understand the difference between perks and concept of archetype, for example a journalist would be expected...See more
Customer avatar
Richard W June 13, 2021 7:43 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Josh! Complications cover any sort of situational drawback or negative consequence (roughly comparable with critical failures or chase/DT complications in Savage Worlds). It's up to the GM to decide the precise effect, but I'd recommend making them story-based -- a couple of examples mentioned in Tricube Tales are overlooking a major clue, or insulting the wrong person. Other examples might include breaking or dropping your weapon, blowing a tire in a chase, friendly fire or hitting an innocent bystander in a shootout, attracting unwanted attention from the authorities or an old enemy, etc.

Concepts are a sort of broad catch-all for skills. If I were to use a very rough Savage Worlds comparison, concepts are like skills, traits are like attributes, perks are like Edges, and quirks are like Hindrances. But of course that's an oversimplification, and Tricube Tales is also a much lighter and less granular system.

Another way of looking at perks is as a narrative filter for spending karma...See more
Customer avatar
Josh R June 13, 2021 8:42 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks for the quick yet detailed reply, some helpful guidance there. I like the quick encounter type challenges and fights but i also like physical maps, scenery and miniatures to set the scene. It's difficult to get that compromise where its not all summed up with a single roll but theres some spacial and tactical consideration. I'm more interested in the narrative than the number crunch so this seems a great solution!
Customer avatar
Andrea T June 10, 2021 7:26 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hi Richard. I just released a free setting for Tricube Tales. I have not found a way to contact you privately to let you know in advance but I hope you will like it anyway. https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/360093/SteamPulpTriCube
Customer avatar
Richard W June 10, 2021 9:58 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Andrea, that looks great! I was about to share it on my Discord server but someone already beat me to it!

I'm ZadmarGames on both Twitter and Gmail.
Customer avatar
Jeff M May 17, 2021 10:05 pm UTC
PURCHASER
thanks for the character cards, i figured out the three icons on the left bellow Karma (melee, ranged, mental / magic) but the three icons on the other side with the spinning head, i don't recognize them, is it complications marker or mental health ones ?
Customer avatar
Richard W May 17, 2021 10:09 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Jeff, the icons with the dizzy heads are used to track the number of afflictions you've suffered (the GM should note down what the afflictions represent, as they'll be activating them). You can hover over the icons or text fields with your mouse and it'll give you some information about what each represents.
Customer avatar
Jeff M May 17, 2021 10:19 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks a lot, i should have try to over the mouse cursor when i was exploring the cards.

penciled that down in case i forget.
Customer avatar
Richard W May 17, 2021 10:20 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
It's also written at the top of the cards, but I'm afraid the text is rather small!
Customer avatar
Jeff M May 17, 2021 10:26 pm UTC
PURCHASER
i ll put the blame on me for being in hurry to check out the new contents.
Customer avatar
Steve W May 14, 2021 8:18 pm UTC
Is there a way to make some little character sheet cards like the ones in Tales of the Goblin Horde for multi-genre use?
Customer avatar
Richard W May 17, 2021 9:54 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
I've uploaded some character cards for fantasy, modern, and science fiction, along with the Scribus template for creating your own.
Customer avatar
Andrea T May 03, 2021 4:08 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi! I need an explanation. The only way to recover a Resolve is to use a Quirk?
Customer avatar
Richard W May 03, 2021 5:22 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Andrea! Resolve can be recovered during play through the use of quirks (activated by the player) and afflictions (activated by the GM). If a PC runs out of resolve, they gain an affliction and recover all resolve tokens.
Customer avatar
Andrea T May 04, 2021 8:09 am UTC
PURCHASER
Ah, ok, page 23. Thanks for the quick reply but maybe it should be clarified a little; maybe something such as: "are treated exactly as (temporary) quirks".
Customer avatar
Maarten B November 18, 2020 6:43 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Just to be sure, if a player fails their defense roll against an enemy, does that mean they drop one resolve token?
I'm planning on playing this system for a while to lessen my mental capacity of handling lots of rules, yet still be able to tell stories with each other.
Customer avatar
Richard W November 18, 2020 10:33 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Technically it's up to the GM what occurs on a failure. For defense rolls, I would usually remove one resolve token on a normal failure and two on a critical failure. However, in some situations, I might decide to introduce a complication instead (e.g., if the attack involves throwing a net over the PC, or pushing them over a ledge, or disarming them, etc).
Customer avatar
Maarten B November 19, 2020 10:59 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks for the information! It's a really neat system you made!
Customer avatar
Richard W November 19, 2020 12:33 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Glad you like it! Don't forget to check out the micro-settings as well, if you haven't already. I'm planning to release more of them in the future :)
Customer avatar
Maarten B November 24, 2020 1:13 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Will do! I already saw your Cyberpunk micro setting and will use that since I already was planning on recreating a homebrew cyberpunk from another system into this system. But I had another question. In terms of balance vs the players, do I read it correctly that I can set up 3 opponents per player if they're of basic difficulty? Because I saw in the examples you could kill multiple opponents if you had multiple successes on the dice
Customer avatar
Richard W November 24, 2020 2:18 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
As mentioned on page 20, "Some challenges require extra effort to overcome. This is represented using effort tokens; each die to equal or beat the difficulty removes a token, and the challenge is defeated once all the tokens are gone."

Combat is a good example of such a challenge. If you look at the example on page 8, fighting the two skeletons is really just a standard challenge that requires two effort tokens to beat -- the mage rolled two successes, so they eliminated both effort tokens, and described how their fireball fried both skeletons.

Imagine a scenario where a PC is fleeing from a burning building. The GM rules that it's a standard brawny challenge, and the player has to beat 3 effort tokens to reach safety -- it will require multiple rolls, and each failure costs resolve. Now imagine a second scenario where a PC is fighting a group of 3 skeletons in melee combat, and each skeleton is represented by a single effort token. Now envision a third scenario where a PC is...See more
Customer avatar
Maarten B November 24, 2020 3:46 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Ah, thanks for that great insight. It's starting to make sense now for me! I have read the rules multiple times over but seeing these examples further root them in my mind on how I can create scenarios.
I just realized that because of how the rules are written, it supports lots of improv too! I try to be a low-prep GM, despite still being quite new, but seeing how easy it is to create challenges, I might wing a few as well if it seems interesting to run them! Thanks a lot!
Customer avatar
Jeff M February 08, 2020 10:22 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks for the 3rd Version :D
Customer avatar
Jeff M December 13, 2019 9:47 am UTC
PURCHASER
hello Richard, i have a silly question : Do you have any plan to make also a ePub or mobi version of the rules ?
thanks for your answer.
Customer avatar
Richard W December 13, 2019 1:28 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Jeff, I hadn't originally planned to create an ePub or mobi version, but it looks like it should be fairly straightforward to generate them from the Word document. I'll see what I can do!
Customer avatar
Jeff M December 13, 2019 4:29 pm UTC
PURCHASER
No it will be fine, don't worry, it was just in case the pdf phone version wouldn't work on monochrome ebook reader.
Customer avatar
Jeff M December 18, 2019 12:20 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hey there Richard, rather than making a new thread, i m posting in this one : the updated version is cool with the characters exemple.

If i can make a suggestion : for the genres at the end, could you show advanced characters ?
Customer avatar
Richard W December 18, 2019 6:18 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Jeff! Showing some advanced characters is a good idea, but I'd rather not add any more pages to the main PDF, because I'm worried it might start feeling bloated. However, I'm planning to upload separate "character set" PDFs based around certain genres (e.g., one for medieval fantasy, one for science fiction, etc) -- I will see if I can add advanced options for those.
Customer avatar
Jeff M December 18, 2019 10:39 am UTC
PURCHASER
That would be great, the example characters displayed as you did could give a good idea for beginners or people not familiar with a minimalist approach for a RPG.
Customer avatar
Micah T November 29, 2019 2:35 am UTC
This is a great rules-light system. I've run a good bit of Lasers & Feelings for friends when we don't have time/ability to pull off more complicated RPGs. That leaves a little bit to be desired though--I prefer some rules crunch to support the narratives we weave. Tricube Tales keeps the simple character creation while opening up the field to any genre and play style and providing structure for both me as the GM and players as characters.

I just ran a game where each player was a crazy cat lady's pet trying to obtain extra food. (Because TT really can support any narrative.) The perks and quirks each of the five players chose helped differentiate their colorful characters and pushed the narrative in hilarious directions. Three sessions in, I highly recommend this system for not only one shots, but serial narrative-driven games as well.
Customer avatar
Daniel D November 11, 2019 10:36 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Does a player get 1 Karma for a Complication caused by lack of Karma to support a Perk?

E.g. I can fly over the river (because of my Perk), but it costs a Karma. I don't want to spend it. So GM must provide some Complication (right?). Should I get a Karma for that?
Customer avatar
Richard W November 11, 2019 10:54 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
No, "If a perk allows you to overcome a challenge without a roll, it costs karma" but "you can accept a complication instead". So in effect, you gain karma for the complication, but then immediately spend it to use your perk.
Customer avatar
Daniel D November 11, 2019 10:12 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Pardon, I didn't get how many dice a player rolls?
It's 1-3d6 through out the text. But when it's 1, when it's 2 and when it's 3 exactly?
Customer avatar
Daniel D November 11, 2019 10:15 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Oh. It's on page 21!
I made that comment, when I have read page 20. Funny
Customer avatar
Michael H November 10, 2019 9:22 pm UTC
No preview at the moment
Customer avatar
Richard W November 10, 2019 9:25 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
You should be able to click on "Publisher Preview" directly below the cover image, or on one of the colored hyperlinks in the product description. Or just follow this link: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/download_preview.php?pid=294202
Customer avatar
Anderson Toshio Y February 24, 2021 9:50 am UTC
Customer avatar
Michael H November 10, 2019 9:21 pm UTC
Customer avatar
Jeff M November 10, 2019 3:45 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks for the free sample, I'll definitely purchase the 16:9 version.
Customer avatar
Richard W November 10, 2019 4:38 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
The free preview is the full game in 16:9, enjoy :)
Customer avatar
Jeff M November 10, 2019 7:22 pm UTC
PURCHASER
still planning to purchase it :)
Customer avatar
Richard W November 10, 2019 8:44 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Thanks for the support :)
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Product Information
Electrum seller
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Rule System(s)
Pages
59
File Size:
35.25 MB
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File Last Updated:
May 17, 2021
This title was added to our catalog on November 08, 2019.