Flip Through: Threadbare Stitchpunk RPG

Sarah Darkmagic - Posted on 06 July 2018

Last Gen Con I also picked up a copy of Threadbare: Stitchpunk RPG. In it, you play "in a broken world populated by broken toys."

Threadbare is Powered by the Apocalypse which means it's underlying system revolves around 2d6 +/- bonus or penalty. The result then fits into 1 of three categories:

10 or more
You not only succeed but you succeed in the way you wanted.
You succeed but a cost or complication gets added.
6 or less
You do not succeed. Parts are damaged. You gain a hold that can be spent later.

It's not always clear from the description but there is a tilt towards failure in this system. Here's an image with the possible results ranging from a -2 penalty to a +2 bonus.

(If it's too hard to see or my color choices present a problem, you can view the spreadsheet here. I changed the spreadsheet to use different font choices in addition to color to help differentiate the groupings.)

With 2d6, there are 36 possible combinations of roles. Without any penalties or bonuses, you are expected to get 10 or more 6 out of 36 times. With a -2 penalty, you are expected to get a 10 or more just 1 out of 36 times and with a +2 bonus, you would still would likely only get it 15 out of 36 times. For the 6 or less category, those numbers are 15, 26, and 6, respectively.

I don't point this out to make a comment on whether it's good or bad, most of that depends on you, your group, and what type of play they want. But it does mean that how the game feels to an individual can depend on how risk averse they are and also how much control over their own story they want. While most games don't give complete control to a player, since there is failure, in powered by the Apocalypse games, success isn't binary and the mid-tier explicitly provides an opportunity for the game master to provide more input through the cost/complication element. Just know what you like and what you're getting into.

In addition to the game mechanics and game master tips, the book provides not only some adventure starters but also tutorials on how to build your own "broken toy." This part I particularly love, especially since some of the tutorials involves getting out your toolbox.

Overall, it looks like a fun game and I'm looking forward to exploring it more.

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