[Playtest Copy] Backfire: Street Racing TTRPG Mini-Game or Supplement (Ver 0.3)

Backfire: Street Racing TTRPG Mini-Game or Supplement

By Brendan Hanson, 2020

Why, hello there!  Thank you for taking a look at this first attempt of mine to make a game system.  You rock.

Backfire is a fairly simple street racing game that only requires pen, paper, a d6, and maybe some HotWheels if you feel like it to play.  It can be used as a game on its own, or used alongside another TTRPG, should the setting permit.

I love cars and racing, and I also love D&D.  I desperately search for ways to bridge the gap between my various interests, and when I couldn’t quite find something that tickled my fancy for this particular case, I settled on making it myself.  I hope that it provides a fun and easy window for people who aren’t totally obsessed with cars or racing, as well as be appealing to those who might be.

Currently, there is no specific world or setting for Backfire.  While making the rules, I thought it would be fun to create a sort of urban fantasy world with some lightweight lore.  As of yet, nothing particular has been hammered out.  Feel free to do whatever!

Character and Car Creation

Player Species (optional)

While I thought to make the “official” Backfire setting an urban fantasy world, this is purely optional.  These are a few races found in that world, so you can use these for characters, or totally ignore them.  Just make sure everyone playing is in agreement.

  • Humans: Normies.  +1 to Speed and -1 to Corner.

  • Fae: Careful and observant.  -2 to Corner checks.

  • Emberkin: Ballsy and fearless.  +2 to Speed checks.

  • Gnome: Ingenious tinkerers and total crackpots.  +1 Upgrade Slot.

Car Customization

What embodies a racer more than their own car?  Each car comes from a certain time and place.  Choose a Style for your car and an Era from which it hails.

Style

  • Street: You begin a race with one Nitrous point, and automatically gain one point at the end of each round.

  • Sport: +2 Handling

  • Muscle: +2 Power

  • Super: +1 Power, Handling and Grip, -1 upgrade slot

Era

  • Classic (More than 40 years old): Power 1, Handling 1, Weight 1, Grip 1, 3 upgrade slots

  • Retro (20-40 years old): Power 2, Handling 2, Weight 2, Grip 2, 2 upgrade slots

  • Modern (Less than 20 years old): Power 3, Handling 3, Weight 3, Grip 3, 1 upgrade slot

Stats

These are the statistics that measure a car’s performance:

Grip: How well your car clings to the road

Power: How much speed your engine (or other power unit) can produce

Handling: How responsive your car is and how quickly it can round corners

Weight: How heavy your car is

Parts

These are the upgrades racers can choose to outfit their cars with.  You can fit as many parts to your car as it has upgrade slots.  You cannot take any upgrade more than once.

  • Slick Tires (incompatible with Grip Tires): +1 Handling

  • Aggressive Tires (incompatible with Slick Tires): +1 Grip

  • Weight reduction: -1 Weight

  • Lowering Kit: +1 Handling

  • Performance Exhaust: +2 Power, +1 Weight

  • Performance Air Intake: +1 Power

  • Performance Engine Block: +2 Power, +1 Weight

  • Rear Spoiler: +2 Handling, +1 Weight

  • Wider Track Width: +1 Grip

  • Performance Gearbox: +1 Speed, -1 Corner, +1 Weight

  • Performance Clutch: +1 Speed, -1 Corner, +1 Weight

  • Performance Brakes: +2 Handling, +1 Weight

Playing the Game

Racing

A race consists of subsequent checks.  The result of checks can cause racers to either gain or lose ground, depending on the outcome of their rolls.  All rolls are made using one six-sided die (d6), all players roll at once, and the outcome of all players’ rolls occurs at the same time.

Let’s say racer A rolls a total of 5 for a Speed check, causing them to move ahead 5 units.  This can be laid out on a grid for a visual, or progress can just be tracked mathematically.  At the same time, racer B rolls 4, so they are behind racer A.  In the next check, racer A rolls 2, so their position is now 7.  Racer B rolls 4 again, so their position becomes 8, causing them to take the lead!  As long as position is tracked properly, it doesn’t really matter how you handle it.

Sometimes, you might roll a negative number due to your build.  This happens.  Your car didn’t go backwards, you just spun out or handled a corner badly.  Even though the position track might not show it, the racers are always moving forward through the race.

Launch

The first check in a race is the Launch check.  Racers line their vehicles up at the starting line, rev their engines, and hit the gas when it’s time to go!  The higher you roll for a corner check, the better off you are, as you get just the right amount of traction and tire spin, adding the result to your position track.  A Launch check is calculated by:

1d6 + Grip

After the initial Launch check, the meat of the race begins.  One Round of a race is one Speed check and a Corner check.

Speed:

A Speed check is the cars driving in a (mostly) straight line, trying to build as much speed as possible.  The higher you roll, the faster you drive your car, so the result is added to your position track.  A Speed check is calculated by:

1d6 + Power – Weight

*Players may choose to deliberately lower their Speed check as much as they like.

Corner:

Following every straight is a corner.  A Corner check is a corner, cars need to slow down in order to successfully make their way around it.  These checks may come off as a little unintuitive.  The result of your check reflects how much you need to slow your car down to make it through the turn, and the result is subtracted from your position track.  In other words, you want to roll low on Corner checks.  The faster you’re going when approaching a corner, the more you need to hit the brakes to take the turn, so you’ll need to roll against your own Speed check.  A corner check is calculated by: 

1d6 + the result of your previous Speed check + Weight – Handling

Final Stretch

The race lasts a certain number of rounds, chosen by the GM.  When the rounds are up, it’s time for the Final Stretch!  This is essentially one last Speed check for racers to pour the steam and take one last shot at claiming victory.  After the Final Stretch, whomever has the leading position track is the winner!

Nitrous

All cars are fitted with nitrous injection systems, because it wouldn’t be very street racer-ey without them, would it?  At the end of each Corner check, each racer gains a number of Nitrous points equal to the number of positions you are behind first place (2nd gains one, 3rd gains two, etc.).  The racer in first place does not gain any Nitrous points unless otherwise specified.  When a Straight check is made, a racer may choose to spend 5 Nitrous points to double the result of their Straight check, or 12 to triple it.

Events

Events are complications that can occur during the race.  At the beginning of a round, you may roll from a list, or you can plan for ones to occur at certain times.  An event shouldn’t happen every round, so be sure to have the possibility that nothing in particular happens.  Also, any given event shouldn’t usually happen more than once in a race.  I mean, unless you want it to.  You’re the GM.

  • Pedestrians: People in the road!  Everyone must roll a d6 + Handling.  On a 5 or lower, take -3 to your Speed check.  On a 6 or higher, nothing.

  • Equipment Failure: Something on your car breaks!  Everyone must roll a d6.  On a 3 or lower, one randomly chosen Upgrade no longer grants its bonus, but continues to impose its weight penalty.  On a 4 or higher, no effect.

  • Inclimate Weather: The weather takes a turn for the worse!  Everyone takes a -1 to Speed and +1 to Corner checks.  If you have Grip Tires, ignore this.  If the weather is already bad, no additional effect.

  • Clear Skies: The effects of bad weather are removed.  If the weather is already clear, no additional effect.

  • Ramp: There’s a ramp in the road!  For…some reason.  Players may choose to roll a d6.  On a 5 or higher, they move up five spaces at no additional cost.  On a 4 or lower, they move back three spaces.

  • Nitrous Leak: Your Nitrous tank is leaking!  All racers must roll a d6.  On a 2 or lower, they lose all Nitrous points.  On a 3 or higher, no effect.

  • Under Pressure: The stress of the race is getting to you.  Everyone must roll a d6.  On a 3 or lower, everyone takes a -1 penalty to Speed and +1 penalty to Corner.  On a 4 or higher, no effect.

Terrain

(WIP)

Burn Cards

Named such because I handed out literal cards to my players, but you can do whatever.  These are buffs or abilities which racers can choose to spend during a race.  Each racer receives two before the race begins.  They are given discreetly, so only the racer knows what cards they have, and they are kept to themselves until played.  They can be drawn randomly, or chosen by whatever method you feel is appropriate.  As long as no one knows what the other racers have, it’s fair game.  They can be played whenever a player pleases, unless specified in the card.  Once a card is used, it is spent for the rest of the race.  Or “burned,” so to speak.

  • Risky Shortcut: Make an additional Speed and Corner check.

  • Trade Paint: If you are tied with or one square behind another racer, you may take a -1 penalty to your Speed check to give them a -3 penalty to their Speed check.

  • Reliable Engineering: if you encounter the Equipment Failure event, ignore it.

  • Stroke of Luck: Reroll a check.

  • Inertia Dorifuto: -2 to one Corner check.

  • Extra Reserves: Instantly gain +2 Nitrous points.

  • Love Tap:  If you are tied with or one square behind another racer, you may take a +1 penalty to your Corner check to give them a +3 penalty to their Corner check.

  • Daredevil: If you encounter the Ramp event and choose to attempt it, you gain a +1 bonus to the roll.

  • Zero Distractions: If you encounter the Under Pressure event, ignore it.

  • Defensive Driving: If another Racer tries to use the Trade Paint or Love Tap burn card against you, ignore adverse effects to you.

Optional Rule

Play some eurobeat.

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