Exciting play mechanics
Pitfalls and Penguins is optimized for fun rather than simulation, and several core mechanics of the game veer hilariously away from the Open Gaming Licensed SRD content we’ve built upon. There's a few of those below:
Wishes are funniest when granted literally.
When a 1 is rolled on a d20, the character achieves his goal literally, but with undesirable collateral damage and consequences.
For example, if you rolled a 1 on an attempt to hot-wire a car, you might start the car easily, but soon learn that the mob had sabotaged the car in hopes of killing the owner.
If you were trying to force open a door and rolled a 1, you might find the door opened easily when unlocked from the other side by a security patrol.
A six-level system
Past continental destruction has left Pao with a legacy of caution toward powerful individuals, so it is relatively low-powered compared to other fantasy settings.
Our six-level system is based on the OGL E6 rules by Ryan Stoughton, where character growth beyond the sixth level is achieved through the selection of additional feats.
In practical terms, if you play a Pitfalls and Penguins campaign for a long time, your characters will grow more powerful, but not uninterestingly godlike.
On Pao, confidence is everything, and over-confidence is hilariously effective.
Your Imaginary Modifier represents how much better you think your character thinks he is at something than he actually is. In addition to rolling three dice to determine each of your Ability Scores at character creation, you will also use a fourth die to determine your Imaginary Modifier.
You won’t die
Pitfalls and Penguins is a collaborative improv game. Players should try things because they are awesome and hilarious, even at great risk to themselves.
In this game, if a Playable Character’s health drops below 0, that character is considered unconscious. If the entire party is rendered unconscious, the Pitfall Master should simply time-skip to the party waking up, possibly in prison or about to be sacrificed to an ancient god.
Players may elect to allow their characters to die for role-playing reasons, such as sacrificing themselves for the good of the party.