The Schtick Dice TRS

a way of detailing how cool your Joe is…

Character Creation


First pick your Type. Come up with a Joe from your howeworld based on picking from the provided list of ten example Joes, or make one up on your own. Each Joe starts with 10 points in his Stats, and Five Schticks related to his Type (a Joe Cowboy will end up with Schticks related to Sixguns, Lassos, Riding Horses, Getting Shot, and Drinking Whiskey, for example)

If another player in game manages to guess your Schtick based on how you play your Joe, you both get one Hero Point. This can happen only once, (so whoever guesses first gets it) and must be almost exactly what you have chosen [Guessing "Cowboy" when you're a "Old Country Cowboy" is fine. Guessing "Ninja" when you're an "Urban Martial Artist" is not.] GM discretion is advised here.


Each Joe starts with a 2 in all his Stats. He is allowed to bump up one Stat to a Three by reducing a different Stat to One. Use these Stats to describe your Joe on a generic level…

There are 5 Stats in TMNJ:
  • Prowess - a measure of your natural physical abilities, dexterity, strength, agility, speed, coordination…
    • Used in descriptions about physical attacks (offense)
  • Endurance - a measure of your innate ability to resist fatigue, pain, extensive labor, or wounds…
    • Used in descriptions about physical resistance (defensive)
  • Rapport - a measure of your personality, subterfuge, empathy, and cunning…
    • Used in descriptions about social interaction (offensive/defensive)
  • Acuity - a measure of the speed of your thought, reflexes, and mental capacity…
    • Used in descriptions of solving problems, making observations, casting spells, or outmoving something (offensive)
  • Willpower - a measure of your mental fortitude, dedication, and strength of will…
    • Used in descriptions about resisting mental attacts, dealing with pain or trauma, and suffering


Schticks generally add one or more Dice to a roll, increasing the players Dice Pool for a given task. The more dice the better, because you can roll higher numbers more reliably. Some Schticks do not add straight dice, however. Sometimes they simply add a straight number to the end roll, or they might simply give the character an ability they did not have before. In some cases a Schtick might have it's own rules set to go with it.

There are unlimited Schticks in TMNJ. Each Joe starts with five. Pick from the list or create your own:
  • Style Schticks - Schticks related to a particular proficiency or training.
  • Lifestyle Schticks - Schticks related to a particular way of life, culture, or .
  • MetaSchticks - Schticks related to superhuman powers or abilities.


Every Joe comes with his own Issue, which is what you'll be dealing with primarily in this game. Each Issue provides a bonus to one Stat and a weakness in another. The bonus is one extra dice. The weakness is calculated by dividing in half whatever roll is affected by this Issue. You cannot find your way home at the end of the game without buying off your Issue. An Issue is canceled out by Three Hero Points. Only once you have ZERO ISSUES and at least ONE HERO POINT you cannot face the UnMaker and win your way back home. If you still have an Issue, and even if you have zero Hero Points, you can still face and destroy the UnMaker, but your world will be destroyed before you can save it, leaving you with nowhere to return to.

Example Issues
  • Addict - You are addicted to a substance that makes you a bit more steady, or likeable, or confident, but also makes you sensless or self-destructive
    • rules - Gain +1 to Rapport or Prowess when on the substance, Divide Acuity or Willpower rolls related to avoiding damage/resisting self-destruction.
  • Lost Love - You are tormented by the loss of someone close to you. This makes you willing to sacrifice far beyond what others might consider, but it also makes you tremendously unhappy
    • rules - Gain +1 Will to facing off against evil, but half all rolls related to someone trying to gain your affection.
  • Cocky - You are pretty impressed with yourself
    • rules - Gain +1 Rapport and Acuity, but after every two successes on one of those rolls, you must half the following roll related to that Stat.
  • Uncertain - You can't believe you're actually supposed to be here, doing anything worthwhile to help in such a dire situation
    • rules - Gain +1 Acuity, half all Willpower rolls


Whenever a Joe makes an allegiance with another Joe they both become stronger and better for it. For a Joe to trust another so much means a lot, and with that trust the following exchanges are made: They tell each other their True Names. They both speak to each other of their place in their homeworld. And they both reveal their Issue in some way. Sometimes this means one Joe will just tell the other what is bothering him. Other times one Joe will call another Joe out, labeling their Issue for them. In either case, once they both know their Name, Homeworld, and Issue, they have created an Allegiance.

Benefits of an Allegiance

Whenever a Joe fails a roll in combat the result can immediatly affect Non-Player Joes or other Cast members in the game. But once a Joe has an Allegiance, the Cast around them does not suffer for their failing. Instead a Joe among their Allegiance is picked to take a single wound instead.


Every Joe has Five Wound Boxes. These mark five times the Minions of the UnMaker can attack him, succeed, and Land a Blow. If all of the Boxes a Joe has are marked out they are not dead, but are taken out of the fight (knocked out, wounded to the point of inaction, or perhaps taken prisoner or thrown into a pit they can't get out of). Each time the Minions Land a Blow, the resulting Wound Box is marked and consequently the Joe's highest available Wager is lowered (don't worry about what a Wager is, we're getting to that). At full Health the Joe can Wager up to 10. At the next lowest level 8, at the next 6, at the next 4, at the next 2 and at the last wound box he can wager nothing because he's out cold.

Rolling the Dice

basic rules for attempting task resolution in TMNJ:


Initiative is the order in which the players are allowed to describe what their character is doing.

  • How to Roll Initiative: Everyone roll one D10 and add the number that marks your Acuity to the roll. Ties are broken by whoever says "Me First" before the others. Further ties are broken by staring contest and swearing. Highest in initiative gets to begin describing what happens first.

When every player, including the GM, has described what their character is doing, then that is a Round. The rounds in some other games are linked to a specific set of actions you can perform, or a set time limit of 'in-game' time passing. The rounds in TMNJ are just a series of descriptions that can take any amount of time the Gamers at the table are willing to cover in one roll.

The gist is simple: Whoever gets the Initiative to go first begins describing what they are doing. If what they are doing takes a long time, then the other Players can do whatever they want, so long as it takes less time than what the first player established for the round.

_Player 1 gets the Initiative and says "I'm going to punch the evil bat several times."
_Whoever goes after that (including the Bat) must describe their action taking place in as much time as it takes Player 1's character to "Punch the evil bat several times." How long that is, exactly, is up to the group as a whole. Don't argue. Just have fun with it.

If the Player who starts the round describes doing something that will take quite a while, the GM might tell the other players to narrate what they are doing in that time, and leave the first player to his task. Until someone interrupts the first player, the round will be determined by what the next player in the Initiative order describes that their character is doing.

_Player 1 gets the Initiative and says "I'm going to start diffusing the bomb."
_The GM says, "Okay, that's going to take a while, so unless someone attacks you, at the top of each round we'll check to see if you've diffused it yet. Meanwhile, what are you guys doing?"
_That's when Player 2 says, "I'm going to punch the evil bat several times."
_Everyone after that, including Player 1 at the top of next round, describes what they are doing according to how long they have. Which is the time it takes Player 2 to "punch the evil bat several times."
_If the GM says, "Whoa, punching it several times? Yeah, that bomb is easy, Player 1. By the time Player 2 is done punching that bat you'll have it diffused," then Player 1 is done doing what he needs to, and back to describing what he's doing.

So, in turn, each round is variable in time. If you want, you can even have rounds last for several minutes at a time. The gist is simple: Whoever gets the Initiative sets up how long the round is going to last.

Description - When you describe what you're going to do it's associated with one of two difficulty ratings. A difficulty rating, or DR, is the number you must roll HIGHER THAN to successfully do what you're trying to do. Rolling below your DR is a failure, meaning you did not achieve what you were attempting to do, and must narrate how your character fails his action for the turn.

Action/Reaction - When facing a Minion, the Joe does not roll against a DR, but instead rolls his Dice Pool against it's Dice Rating (which, unfortunately, is also abbreviated DR). When in an Action Scene with Minions everyone gets a turn, including the Minions. With each attack made the person or Minion being attacked gets to roll their 'reaction,' providing the DR for that attack. A reactions Stat/Schtick combo is based on the players description, just as with actions above.

Dice Mechanic

Whenever you roll to achieve something you're going to couple a Stat with a Schtick to determine how many dice you roll. For each roll you'll need to make a wager.

Dice Pool - Whatever number you have in a Stat is how many D10's you'll roll to attempt something you've described. Most Schticks will add on to this Dice Pool.
Wager System - For every roll you make a Wager. To do this simply declare a number. When you roll, every dice that rolls higher than that number is worth that many points. Every dice that rolls below that number is worth nothing.

  • This means that the minimum Wager for points is One; you must roll 2 or higher to get one point per dice.
  • If you Wager Zero you get Zero points for every dice you roll (because each number is higher than zero, since the "0" counts for "Ten").
  • The Average Wager is 2 for Safe Rolls (equaling double your Dice Pool in Points) and 4 for Hard Rolls (meriting you four times your Dice Pool in Points).
  • On rare occasions players have been known to Wager something as high as 9, and not have it mess things up.

Every DR the GM will give you is based on 2s:

2 - Trivial
4 - Easy
6 - Average
8 - Hard
10 - Real Hard
12 - Look out…


The GM creates Minions that are slaves or servants to the UnMaker. These could be any kind of villainy, from Traps, Monsters, or Armies. They are, however, pretty much useless against a Joe. In the Action Scene Joes face off against Minions that threaten to harm them or others they have now allied themselves with. All Joes are pretty much goodguys, and will work together to make people safe. So the threat from a Minion is not to a Joe's life (that cannot happen) but, rather, to a friend of the Joe.

However: if a Joe is dropped in battle, due to Minions Landing a Blow enough to cut down all his Wound Boxes, then all the numbers associated with his lowest Issue are increased by ONE.

Minions get one action per round just like all the Players do. On their turn they can attempt to harm a Joe. If they roll higher than the Joe does on a contested roll (no DR, just straight attack vs. defense) then the Minion has two options: Land a Blow (causing a Wound that could accumulate to the Joe being taken out of the fight) or Harm the Goodguys (which means the GM narrates that one of the Cast Members with the rest of the Players is now dead or severely wounded).

Each Minion has a Dice Rating. A strong Minion has a Dice Rating of 3-6, and rolls 3-6 D10s that the GM wagers on. A weak Minion is worth 1 or 2 Dice, rolling the same. Every Minion can have a Dice Rating of 1-3 for free. Each additional Dice Rating makes their defeat worth a Hero Point, one point awarded for each point over 3. [i.e. a DR 4 Monster is worth 1 HP, a DR 7 Swarm of Bees is worth 4 HP]

Minions that are Traps or Swarms or any form of a plural threat can attack all the Joes on their turn, and defend against all the Joes on their own turns, but cost two additional HP.