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Man What RPG, 7th Edition

A Multi-Genre RPG; this is inspired by a collaborative effort of some years ago which crashed and burned. This edition is simply intended as a gonzo multi-genre game, with a goal of being weird but playable.


There are six Attributes:

1 dot is incompetence; 2 is normal. 5 is peak real world human. Anything beyond that is supernatural. Every PC has at least one pip in all six.

You have Four Derived Attributes; these are all basically health pools.

Character Creation

Draw five cards from a deck; you can discard up to three and redraw. Then shuffle your hand and lay it out in order. Jokers may be used as any card you like.

You should also note down your Speed. This is what kind of hand you ended up with, with the high card noted. Speed determines Initiative and sometimes other things. Each card in your Speed is a Hole Card. Certain Prestidigitations allow you to do things where this is relevant.

The Fiction vs. the Game Mechanical Consequences

In ManWhat?, there is a strong difference between 'The Fiction' and 'Game Mechanical Consequences'. All Pcs and important NPCs are part of the Frame of Adventure and one of the powers gained from this is that an attack may appear to be spectacularly powerful while having only minor game-mechanical consequences. This is how DBZ characters can hit each other with attacks that could blow up the moon and they end up only lightly soiled. Powers may have spectacular effects on minor NPCs and the landscape but do little to those who live in the Frame of Adventure.

The Mundanity Collective considers this an invitation to abuse of power and they're probably right, which is why they fight to keep everything connected to the Frame of Adventure off the Prime Plane. Unfortunately, this is rather like trying to stop the sea with a sieve.

Doing Things

You can do anything without rolling until another player or the Conductor challenges what you are doing. You must justify what you are doing by reference to some Skill or other ability which would allow you to do it. Then the Conductor sets a difficulty if the rules don't already set one, and you have to roll.

Roll a number of d6s equal to your Attribute ratings, or equal to your Penchant rating. Your dice size may be boosted by other factors. Each 4 or higher is a success. If you equal or exceed the difficulty of the action, you Succeed. Otherwise, you Fail. If you have no successes, roll a ManWhat? Die (a d6); on a 1, you Botch, otherwise you Hard Fail.

Various abilities may modify this process, such as Puissances.


Natasha is playing Selesia, a heroic warrior woman from a fantasy world. Selesia is chasing two thieves across the roofs of Minas Lankhawk. She has to jump a gap between two buildings. The difficulty is 2, but she has a Bellicosity of 5. She rolls 5d6, getting 6, 6, 2, 1, 4. 3 Successes! She easily makes the leap.

They jump into a passing wagon and she jumps after them; to her surprise, the Conductor does not challenge this... instead, he requires a Perspicacity test to avoid jumping into the trap the two thieves had pre-rigged in the wagon, which is driven by their allies! Her Perspicacity is a mighty... 2. She rolls a 1 and a 3 and ends up snared and flung out of the wagon! Ooops!

Adversity and Fortune Dice

Circumstances may impose these dice on your pool; you or a challenger may be able to add them yourself due to a Peculiarity you have. Fortune dice add a success on a 4. Adversity dice subtract a success on a 1.

Fortune Dice are D4s. On a 3 or 4, they add a Bennie, a side benefit to your action, chosen by you if you succeed and by your challenger if you fail. Example: Shun's character Shinobu is shooting at ninjas with a handgun. Shun rolls four Fortune dice and gets 2 successes on them. He also succeeded in his action. So he decides to burn them both on creating a Condition, Bleeding Wound, with a rating of 2.

Fortune Dice can only impose a Condition if you succeed. They can also add 3 points of damage to an appropriate pool even if you Botch. You can also burn them to cause minor Acts of Fate, which only affect the Fiction. Example: Shun's character Shinobu is shooting at ninjas with a handgun. Shun rolls four Fortune dice and gets 2 successes on them, but he failed at his action, so he uses them to make the ninjas drop their swords as they jump for cover, in an Act of Fate.

Adversity Dice are D4s. On a 1 or 2, they add a Slap, a side bad consequence to your action, chosen by the Conductor. Example: Kasumi's Character Nabiki jumps off a rooftop; she makes her roll but scores 2 Slaps from her 4 Adversity Dice. Midori, the Conductor, rules that Nabiki suffers a loss of six Health points, 3 for each Slap, but can walk away from it without any Conditions. (She could have imposed a Twisted Ankle with a level of 2 if Nabiki had Failed, Hard Failed, or Botched.)

Adversity Dice can only impose a Condition on you if you Fail, Hard Fail, or Botch. But they can inflict 3 points of appropriate pool damage per Slap to you and the Conductor can spend them on negative Acts of Fate on you, like you being disarmed, or rain pouring down to obscure your vision, etc, etc. Example: Kasumi's Character Nabiki is trying to run on wet ground. She succeeds at her roll, but scores 3 Slaps; she slips and basically slides on the ground to her destination, ending up prone and wet.

Note: Bennies cannot enable you to succeed if you failed at the main action roll. Slaps cannot totally negate a success, though they may complicate it. If you are trying to sneak past someone, slaps cannot make them notice you but you may hurt yourself in the process, get a cramp, or fail to notice something important, like the alarm on the door you just snuck through.


Gained during character creation or advancement, these abilities modify the Game-Mechanical Consequences of your actions. Example: The Puissance Leg-Breaker imposes a Physical Condition equal to your Bellicosity on a foe who you inflict Physical Damage on, reducing their die pool for physical actions by the Condition. However, you must burn a number of points of your own Health equal to the Condition level imposed. Example 2: The Puissance Healing Hands lets you burn a point of Reputation to heal a number of points of Health equal to your Synergy rating. Example 3: The Puissance Get Off on Pain means that your Brainmeat Pool heals a number of points equal to the level of any Physical Conditions imposed on you, at the moment of imposition.


Penchants are special abilities; they justify actions within their ambit and provide a dice pool when challenged. Penchants may be Personal, in which case only you can use them, Gear Penchants where anyone with the right gear can use them, or World Penchants, where anyone in a given universe can use them.


These can be invoked by you or by a challenger to add Fortune or Adversity dice to your pool. They are a trait of some kind which provides a bennie in some situations and a slap in others. Example: The Peculiarity Pick-Up Artist gives you Fortune Dice equal to your Bellicosity whenever you are lifting an object. It gives you Adversity Dice to social actions when people confuse you with a Player for some strange reason. Example 2: The Peculiarity Short Fuse gives you Fortune Dice equal to your Bellicosity when you act out of rage, but Adversity Dice when you need to act calmly. Example 3: The Peculiarity Cheapskate gives you Fortune Dice equal to your Normalcy when you pinch pennies, but Adversity Dice when you are trying to impress people who aren't also Cheapskates.


These allow you to manipulate cards in Tests of Fate.