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DoubleZero: There’s No Reason to Wait

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There’s No Reason to Wait

If you’ve been holding off on downloading the DoubleZero Core Book or any of the sourcebooks, there’s no more reason to wait. The system has multiple 5-star ratings at DriveThruRPG and good reviews. It’s a mere handful of copies away from earning a Gold best seller medallion. At $4.99 for a core book it’s a bargain, and the bundle takes the price down from there. We’ve even addressed the one major criticism, the high difficulty for characters, with a simple new optional rule.

Introducing DoubleZero Easy Mode

Since the release of the DoubleZero Core Book, people have been asking for a mode that’s less gritty. Sometimes you just want to play something a bit more lighthearted and freewheeling, where the characters crack jokes as they succeed at tasks that defy physics. Easy Mode is meant to be used with that style of play, and more cinematic sorts of campaigns and settings.

Easy Mode is also covered by the Open Game License, so you can use Easy Mode for your own creations!

The Easy Mode PDF has been added to the Core Book files. If you’ve already purchased the Core Book, it can be downloaded from your Library.

Save 20% with the DoubleZero Bundle

The Core Book and current sourcebooks are all included in the DoubleZero Bundle. As with all bundles at DriveThruRPG, you only pay for the titles you haven’t previously purchased. That means that if you already have the Core Book and just want to pick up the sourcebooks for 20% off, you only pay for the discounted sourcebooks.

Honestly, that’s one of my favorite features of DriveThruRPG. It’s a great way to complete collections on the cheap.

Almost a Gold Best Seller

In looking at sales figures, the DoubleZero Core Book is already an Electrum best seller and is a handful of copies away from making Gold. Since I’m currently ill (not that, thankfully, but I am back in quarantine because I’m vulnerable) and probably won’t be releasing anything new for a couple of more weeks, I would LOVE to see a second wave of DoubleZero sales. It would warm my heart to see MOLOCH and Spectres of Mars hit Silver, and they’re both close to that benchmark.

Be Safe, Stay Healthy

If you’re strapped for cash right now and can’t buy anything, I get it. These are trying times for all. One of the reasons I promote the Black Box Movement and Lo-Fi Publishing (see our website for more information) is because it keeps costs low and makes tabletop roleplaying more affordable for the masses. We’re surviving right now because folks that can’t afford to drop $30 and up for a new hardcover can still scrape up $5 or less for a useful and entertaining read.

What’s most important to me is that everyone is okay. Stay safe, follow the guidelines, and we’ll all get through this as quickly as possible. I want all of you to still be here when the world can finally reopen safely.

No Reason to Wait

Dancing Lights Press is a lo-fi publisher of tabletop roleplaying systems and system-agnostic creative aids, including the best selling Building series, the DoubleZero action thriller system, and Hippogryph, a fantasy story game system with traditional  roots. Our products embrace a minimalist aesthetic in design and presentation because roleplaying is an activity, not a collection of expensive rulebooks.

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DoubleZero Easy Mode Now Available

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Since the release of the DoubleZero Core Book, people have been asking for a mode that’s less gritty. Sometimes you just want to play something a bit more lighthearted and freewheeling, where the characters crack jokes as they succeed at tasks that defy physics. Easy Mode is meant to be used with that style of play, and more cinematic sorts of campaigns and settings.

The Easy Mode PDF is available for free in our Shop. If you purchased it at DriveThrRPG, it has been added to the Core Book files and can be downloaded from your Library.

About DoubleZero

DoubleZero is a percentile based, skill-driven tabletop roleplaying system. It is designed to emulate the action thriller genre, things like the Die Hard movies, Jack Ryan books and films, and the grittier entries in the James Bond franchise. It can be used for any sort of “realistic” modern setting that doesn’t lean into magic, the supernatural, or superpowers.

 

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DoubleZero: Action Thriller Emulation

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Okay, I’ve already addressed this question once publicly and about a dozen times privately. I’m going to do it one more time here. On my list of potential future projects I’ve penciled in a DoubleZero Guide Manual, which will include essays along these lines as well as tips on running adventures. There is one key design decision behind the system used in DoubleZero: action thriller emulation.

A Veteran character has a 12, the default difficulty is 3, so they only have a 36% chance of success. Yes. Affirmative. Correct. That is a true statement. It is not an error, it is not a flaw, it is an intentional design choice. If you read the whole thing, you will see that it is intended to be a grittier, more realistic game, DoubleZero was not created to play superheroes in God Mode. It goes back to those two words in the subtitle: action thrill.

Yes, there are action movies where the main character just runs amok and beats the hell out of everyone they meet. To me, that is not interesting to watch. There is no suspense, no feel that they might lose. It’s not particularly interesting for me to play, because the stakes are low and it just feels like icky wish-fulfillment fantasy. There have to be consequences to choosing a life of violence; that’s not so much a design choice as a reflection of my personal beliefs and values.

There are two things in the system that offset the difficulty: Hero Points, and the process of Character Death.

Hero Points

My first in-system response to this is Hero Points. Roughly 10% of the time, you will roll well and the character will earn one. Use them when you need them to survive. Bank them to use on the rolls that matter the most.

Watch one of those thriller movies where the character struggles through at least the first half. Nothing goes right. They get the crap kicked out of them, they crash the car, they make more enemies than they do allies. When they do succeed later, the victory will feel earned. It will be sweeter because they had to work for it. You will cheer for them.

In that big finale, they will be using the Hero Points they saved along the way. When they punch, it will do damage. The shots they fire will hit their target. Stunts during car chases will be executed smoothly. Because those are the beats of an action thriller adventure.

Character Death

I realize that people raised on a steady diet of murder hobo games equate failure with character death. If you’re read the rules, you’ll see how hard it is to actually kill a player character. Again, by design. You put the work into creating a character. The character has put in the effort to pursue the adventure goal, whatever it may be, and is willing to risk a lot to achieve it.

So they effectively get plot immunity, in the form of making it difficult to kill them. Other things will happen. They’ll suffer injuries, sure. Instead of dying they might get captured, or arrested, or they’ll have to do some time in the hospital. Milk that for drama. The cool part is when they get back up, not the fact that the mechanics allow them to get knocked down.

DoubleZero: Action Thriller Emulation

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Is DoubleZero Extremely Difficult?

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“I’ve bought DoubleZero and I am wondering about the difficulty of the game. If I’ve understood correctly, a character with 12 attributes, has only 36% chance of success on a “standard” difficulty. He will likely have a skill, which would increase his chance to succeed to 48%. For a secret agent with 5 attributes ranging from 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14, I find this extremely difficult. Did I miss something?”

Yes, it’s a difficult system by design.

First, it’s an action thriller. A lot of the suspense comes from the knowledge that characters can fail. There’s far less tension when a character can run though things like they’re in god mode. It makes the successes mean something.

Second, it’s ridiculously difficult to actually kill a character. Beat the living tar out of them, yes. Outright off them in normal combat or chase scenes? No. It makes the characters appear a lot tougher.

Finally, the difficulty is partially why the hero point mechanic is there. A character with a 12 attribute will gain a hero point 12% of the time, and can spend them to adjust outcomes. The system is difficult, but it puts more control into your hands so you can make success and failure more dramatic.

About Dancing Lights Press

Dancing Lights Press publishes creative aids and story games that embrace a minimalist aesthetic in design and presentation. The spotlight belongs on the creativity of the players as they converse and collaborate on plot, worldbuilding, and character development. Roleplaying is an activity, not a book. Our titles are merely part of the delivery system.

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DoubleZero has earned Silver Best Seller Medallion

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DoubleZero has earned a Silver Best Seller medallion. It actually happened yesterday, but I was trying to refrain from blatant self-promotion out of respect for #BlackOutTuesday. Based on total unit sales (like gold records in the music business), only about 15% of products on DriveThruRPG reach this level. It may not seem like a big deal to some people, but for a lo-fi publisher hitting this milestone in just a few days is huge. This means something.

About Dancing Lights Press

Dancing Lights Press publishes creative aids and story games that embrace a minimalist aesthetic in design and presentation. The spotlight belongs on the creativity of the players as they converse and collaborate on plot, worldbuilding, and character development. Roleplaying is an activity, not a book. Our titles are merely part of the delivery system.