A downloadable SRD

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What is this?

The Total//Effect SRD is a set of rules, procedures, design thoughts, options, subsystems, worked examples, and ramblings surrounding a novel rules engine.

You can also view it on my site: https://binarystar.games/docs/total-effect/


  • A quick, versatile mechanic with several noted ways to use it.
  • 4 character subsystems and 5 other subsystems that can be combined into anything.
  • Points noted for configurability and options within each subsystem.

Total//Effect RPGs

...do not exist so far! But if you read it, you'll see a LOT of implementation notes for three planned sample games:

  • Valiant Horizon: Heroic protagonists perform great deeds as they make a name for themselves. (Touchpoints: The dragon game you're almost certainly thinking of but mostly its 4th edition, JRPGs but especially Tales and Xenoblade.) This is about magitech-ish high fantasy adventure with a few framing devices: the people you befriend along the way, the creation of your legend, and large threats looming on the horizon.
  • Liminal Void: Regular people in space in the 23rd Century are thrust outside of normal society and must find a way to first survive, then thrive with their newly-acquired skills and spaceship. (Touchpoints: The Expanse, FTL, Alien/s, System Shock, Cowboy Bebop. Anything that has that kind of used-future in our solar system thing going on with a kind of survival-horror vibe to it.) This is a game that is very much about survival rather than being powerful: combat in the sense of being in a fair fight is generally a bad idea, equipment and resource management is extremely important.
  • Machinations of Court and Frame: Exceptional mecha pilots with mixed loyalties are thrust into proxy wars and byzantine power struggles between noble Houses. (Touchpoints: The mecha things I didn't rip off in APOCALYPSE FRAME but especially assorted Gundam/Battletech stuff. Thinking about Tactics Ogre/Final Fantasy Tactics/similar vibes too.) This is about dramatic mecha duels, shifting loyalties, and the actions of powerful individuals and leaders.

A Level 0 style quickstart for Liminal Void will be out soon.

Is this anywhere near done?

Almost certainly not. I'm going to be updating it as I make those three and any future projects. If I come up with any other subsystems I'll add those too. Consider this a living document.

https://binarystar.games/docs/total-effect/ will always have the most updated version.


This is released under CC BY 4.0. As such, you can use this to make games/etc with if you give the proper credit:

This work is based on the Total//Effect SRD by Binary Star Games (https://binarystar.games) and licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

CategoryPhysical game
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(7 total ratings)
AuthorBinary Star Games


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

total_effect.pdf 288 kB

Development log

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