You will need 2d6 or to draw 8 cards from the deck and do not look at these and turn them over in.
If using the card method use the following, jack is 11, queen is 12, king is 13, and ace is 14.


The core element of PDQ is the concept of a prose, descriptive, do-it-yourself, wide-ranging Quality standing in as attribute, advantage, merit, flaw, skill, or incapability. Other subsystems within a game like DI’s Virtue &Vice System and MNPR: RPG’s Mojo Powers — can affect this core, or operate independently, but in either case, should be represented in character generation somehow.


Qualities help further describe your character’s particular talents, skills, and flaw(s). They also provide game mechanics for how those abilities or disabilities work in play (see below, Task Resolution). Qualities should grow out of the character concept and game setting.

Qualities represent a broad skill or field of knowledge; if a particular Quality is relevant at all to an action or topic, the character may apply that Quality when attempting that action or understanding that topic. This is called the penumbra (or “shadow”) of the Quality. Therefore, a player shouldn’t choose Qualities that are too narrow or its penumbra will cast too narrow a shadow; too broad, and identifying the sorts of things that should fall under the penumbra becomes pointless. The parameters for what’s “too broad” or “too narrow” are up to the individual GM.

For example, consider a character who has the Quality of “Teacher.” For some PDQ games, that will be perfectly fine; for others, too broad. The GM might ask the player to refine the Quality, to give a better idea of the sorts of things that will fall under the Teacher Quality’s penumbra. So: “Teacher” could become “College History Prof,” “High School Chemistry Teacher,” or “Grade School Teacher.”
While all would cover the basic concept of education, each individual choice will bring different skills under the Quality penumbra – not just their fields of interest, but also supplementary knowledge: the College History Prof would have more experience with (academic) politics, the High School Chemistry Teacher would know more about adolescent fads, and the Grade School Teacher would be better at dealing with kids on a sugar high. Take another example: “Gunplay.” This Quality would be useful not just in shooting at things, but also in cleaning and repairing guns, discovering the location of nearby gun dealers and shooting ranges, knowing the history of firearms, and so forth. If the player had instead selected a Quality of “.44 Magnum,” the Quality would only be useful in shooting that individual model of gun, and involve knowledge surrounding .44 Magnums exclusively.



IMPORTANT NOTE – If a PC wants to be particularly better at some Quality that might normally fall under the penumbra of another Quality (for example, taking “Soldier” and “Rifle” separately), it’s perfectly okay to do so, provided that the player realizes that in exchange for a benefit up-front, their character generation choice will affect future Improvement (see below, Improvement).

Players should have several options when designingthe Qualities of their character. They may choosebetween having more Qualities at a lower level ofcompetency, or having fewer Qualities at a higherlevel of competency.

It’s a good idea to first determine how many ranks of Strengths and Weaknesses you wish characters to have, and then to lay the possibilities out simply for the players. For example, DI characters have 10 Ranks of Strengths and 2 Ranks of Weakness, which breaksdown this way:

A. 5 Good 2] Strengths and 1 Poor [-2]Weakness.
B. 1 Expert [
4] Strength, 3 Good 2] Strengths, and 1 Poor [-2]Weakness.
C. 2 Expert [
4] Strengths, 1 Good 2] and 1 Poor [-2]Weakness.
D. 1 Master [
6] Strength, 2 Good 2] Strength,and 1 Poor [-2]Weakness.
E. 1 Master [
6] Strength, 1 Expert [+4] Strength, and 1 Poor [-2] Weakness.

This can also be broken down as +10 to be distributed among your qualities and a -2. The -2 can be negated by using 2 points of your +10.

This does not include the +0 for your Nationality and the +0 for your Trainer Forte. These may be enhanced with the +8 from above as well.

Never fear: if after play begins, a particular Qualitysees no use and doesn’t really add to the characterization of a PC, a player should feel free tochange it to something that fits better – but onlyafter talking to the GM first.

Conflict situations involve active resistance by another to a character’s attempts to perform a task: trying to punch a guy in the face, out-thinking a chess player, running a race, or convincing a cop that, you weren’t really speeding. Conflict situations in PDQ include more than just the immediate success or failure of an attempted action; here, conflict includes the back and forth of an activecontest, out-maneuvering the competition, andwearing down an opponent’s resistance. Examplesof conflict situations include combat, seduction, haggling, debating, and so forth. (Note that somegroups won’t necessarily want to use the conflictsituation mechanics to resolve social interactions,and will want to rely on pure roleplaying instead; this is fine – the rules structure is there if a groupwishes to use it.)

In conflict situations, the characters involvedcompare the results of 2d6 plus Modifier rolls; thehighest successful result wins. However, there are a few refinements of conflict requiring closerattention. These are Initiative, Moment of Truth, andDamage.

The other method is to use decks of cards, in which you have 8 cards in your hands and do not look at them just turn them over randomly.


First, figure out who goes first – that is, who has Initiative. Most of the time, the flow of the situation will indicate who acts first, but in some cases, thisorder may need to be determined. Here’s how to do it:

1. If a character attacks without warning taking the victim by surprise the attacker automatically goes first. (At the GM’s discretion, he might even get a free turn, ifthe target is caught totally unawares.)

2. The character with the highest Rank in a “speed” or “reaction time” Quality relevantto the situation (Fastest Gun in the East,Jumpy, and Quick Wits) goes first, followed inorder by those with relevant Qualities oflower Ranks.

3. The character with the highest Rank in a Quality not relevant to the situation goes next, followed by those of lower Ranks.

Ties can be broken by either: Stating that tied characters resolve their actions simultaneously; or

Rolling a die, with the highest number winning Initiative. Once Initiative is determined, conflict resolution can proceed. Characters with a higher Initiative may“hold their actions” for as long as they want, butafter the last character has done something, they need to take that held action or lose it. After everyone involved in the conflict situation has taken an action (or chosen not to), the characters can act again, in the same order. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The character whose turn it is will be called the attacker; the character who is the target of the attacker’s action is called the defender. The attacker explains what his attempted action is, and the defender explains how he’d try to counter thataction. Then, the attacker rolls 2d6 for his relevant
Quality and adds the appropriate Modifier forQuality Rank. The defender does the same. Thecharacter with the higher total wins.


Damage (be it physical, mental, emotional, or social)is the loss of capability. As a character takes damage,he is less likely to be able to perform at peakefficiency. This is shown by a temporary Downshift applied to the character’s listed Qualities called either a Failure Rank or a Damage Rank, depending upon the nature of the conflict. In mental, social, and some physical conflicts, loss of capability is usually temporary, and is representedby Failure Ranks. Examples include a chess match, witty repartee, or running a race.
In many physical conflicts (and even some physicalcomplicated situations), loss of capability is moreenduring, and is represented by Damage Ranks. Examples here include combat, running through fire, or falling off of a wall.

Dishing It Out

In a successful attack, the difference between the attacking and defending rolls determines how manyFailure or Damage Ranks are done to the defender. If the attacker has any Upshifts or Downshifts on their successful attack, that shift will carry through to damage resolution. If the roll results are tied, both characters take a single Downshift.

NOTE – Qualities Upshifted above Master Rank provide an additional Rank of Damage to beapplied.

Example: Following on the first example under Moment of Truth, on Jimbo’s action, the difference between his roll and Salty Dave’s was 2, so hedoes 2 Damage Ranks to the Pirate. On Salty Dave’s action, he did a whopping 5Damage Ranks to Jimbo.

Recovering from Damage

Once a Scene ends, the injured character will beginto recover lost Ranks. How many he gets backdepends upon whether he was in momentary dangeror is still in continuing danger.

Momentary Danger.

If nothing else is goingon, and the character is otherwise safe, relaxed, and lacking any time constraints.Examples of momentary danger includeplaying Go Fish with a six year old, a carchase (though some Environmental Damage could happen.), or a seduction attempt. At the end of the Scene, all Failure or DamageRanks are removed, restoring Qualities to their appropriate levels.

Continuing Danger.

Danger is continuing ifthe overarching situation that the conflict happened in is risky, stressful, or under deadline. An example of continuing dangerwould be playing poker in a seedy dive bar with three Mafiosi. Characters will recover 1d6 lost Ranks of Quality at the end of the conflict Scene. The player selects which Qualities’ Ranks are restored. However, the character will not recover any more Ranksuntil the GM tells them to roll again.

NOTE – A Strength like “Quick Healer” should allow the character to gain back the standard 1d6 roll, plustheir Modifier. A Weakness like “Slow Healer” would mean that the character rolls 1d6-2 (the Modifier forPoor), with a minimum of zero Ranks regained.

Example: Jefferson’s been beaten up and stuffed in agarbage can by a Zombi. At the end of the conflict, all of his Qualities were Downshifted to Poor, except for Biker Dude, which he had zeroed. Since this happened in a bad part of Zombitown, he’s still incontinuing danger. He rolls for damage recovery and gets a 3. He puts 1 Rank into bringing Biker Dude toPoor [-2] (now he’s conscious), and uses theremaining 2 to get Toughness back to Good [+2], sincehe figures it’ll be the most useful if someone elsejumps him.


If the game provides them, characters can use their Experience Points for Improvement, reflecting the gaining of skill and experience. To Improve aQuality, a character must spend 4 Experience Pointsper Rank improved. When a character reachesMaster Rank in a Quality, it cannot be improved further.

Thus, to turn a Weakness into a powerful Strength:
Raising Poor [-2] Rank Sailor to Average 0Rank Sailor costs 4 Experience Points

Raising Poor [-2] Rank Sailor to Good [+2] Rank Sailor costs 8 Experience Points (4 forPoor to Average and 4 for Average to Good).

Raising Poor [-2] Rank Sailor to Expert [+4]Rank Sailor costs 12 Experience Points (4 forPoor to Average, 4 for Average to Good, and4 for Good to Expert).

Raising Poor [-2] Rank Sailor to Master [+6]Rank Sailor costs 16 Experience Points (4 forPoor to Average, 4 for Average to Good, and4 for Good to Expert, and 4 for Expert to Master).

NOTE – If a character wishes to gain a totally new Quality, they need to spend 4 Experience Points to gain it at Good [+2] Rank


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