Dick Tracy - The Roleplaying Game Rulebook is presented in five chapters: Introduction, Characters, The Drama System, Narrating, and Mug Shots and Profiles. There is also an Appendix. The game attempts to adapt the Dick Tracy comic strip to a roleplaying game.
Characters are defined by an initial Concept, upon which are added Attributes, Skills, Negative Traits, and Positive Traits. The Concept is a narrative element. Attributes are Mental (Intelligence, Perception, Willpower, Charm) or Physical (Strength, Health, Ability, Appearance). Every character has every Attribute but their score (1-5) in each will vary. Scores are generated randomly by using 3d6 on a table that yields an array of values. Skills are learned abilities and also are ranked with score (1-5). Skill points are purchased from a pool that is derived from Attributes and Age.
Characters also get 6 Base Option Points which may be spent to customize the character even further. Characters must purchase any Positive Traits with these Option Points, but Negative Traits, when selected, give the character Option Points. Once created, characters are equipped.
When characters attempt difficult tasks, the GM will assign a Target Number for the task (7, 9, 13, 16, 22). The character then selects a relevant Attribute and any Skill that may help. The Attribute is added to the Skill and 2d6 are added, yielding a result of 3 - 22. If the result exceeds the Target Number the character is successful. Opposed actions, such as combat, have a Target Number that is determined by the opponent's Attributes and Skills.
The remaining rules clarify a wide variety of situations and give much advice on how to run a campaign, an adventure, and an encounter. A final chapter presents numerous NPCs. The rules are surprisingly well-developed, balanced, and complete for a freely-distributed RPG.