Floriks Fantastereien

Procedure: One Action per Pip

One Action per Pip (1APP) is a procedure, a way of structuring play, for GM-driven, high trust roleplaying games. It builds on my resolution mechanic Cheating the devil, though this time around, the actual resolution is left to the referee.

These rules assume an ongoing story, mission or adventure, run by a referee as free play interspersed with occasional conflicts, for a group of at least two players. They could of course be supplemented with a simple resolution mechanic, like tossing a coin.


Each player picks up two white and one red six-sided dice.

The referee describes a scene with a conflict at its core. They also set the timeframe accordingly. Is it the exploration of a trapped dungeon room (10 min)? A melee probably decided within half an hour? A car chase around the city? A legal battle expected to last weeks and months?

They go on to announce the Danger Level (DL) of the scene, 1 being straightforward, 2 average, 3 dangerous, 4 lethal. Finally, they will answer any immediate player questions and thus clarify the situation.


Each player rolls their three dice. They now have a choice between the following two options:

Whenever a player performs an action (see below), they lower or remove one die. Thus, the dice in front of them always show the remaining number of actions.

Possible actions may include, but are not limited to:

Order of play

  1. NPC Actions: The referee narrates up to DL dangers (monsters, NPCs, but also traps) performing one action each.
  2. Player Actions: Going clockwise around the table, players perform one action each, reducing one of their white dice by one or removing a die.
  3. Judgement Phase: After players have acted, the referee describes any changes in the game state. Did the players get new information, find treasure? Did anyone get hurt or condemned? Monster and NPC actions not countered will usually be successful. Player actions will not be countered and are usually successful; however, the referee decides on the degree of success. Not every problem can be resolved in one action.
  4. Go to 1 except if the players have spent all their actions or the Referee says otherwise, especially if no danger remains.

Depending on the outcome, the referee will wrap up the session or continue free play, possibly offering players choices (will you follow the corridor where you heard the music or the dusty one? will you hire a new attorney or give up your suit?) and resolving actions with no obvious obstacles or danger.

As soon as danger is on the horizon, the referee introduces a new scene. Go to Preparations.

Things to consider

Some possible scenes

DL and suggested dangers are in brackets.

Take and adapt as needed. If you need a license, this text is under CC BY 4.0, written by Florian Kalenda.