Dozens and Dragons

Shoes in the Dark

a postcard-sized ttrpg



  1. Background
  2. Shoes in the Dark
  3. Resources


A bunch of friends have been talking for quite some time about playing a ttrpg game together. But scheduling is hard because of timezones and kids and stuff. So we finally decided to do play-by-post, and I fired off an email to the listserv to kick off the game.

Then I got to spend some time thinking about what system I want to use to run this.

I decided to go with Roll for Shoes because it’s dead simple, and there’s no startup time whatsoever. No character creation. Not mechanically at least. You can (and should) still name your character and describe them and stuff. But the mechanics don’t care.

Its only resolution tool though is an opposed roll, which I don’t want to deal with because it doubles the number of emails needed to accomplish anything. (One from the player saying what they want to do, and rolling; and another from me, rolling and telling them whether they succeed.) And that can dramatically slow down the game.

So I got rid of that and introduced the system from Blades in the Dark so that the player can roll and determine degree of success on their own!

It will at the very least eliminate any time spent between declaring action and determining success. There will likely still be time spent deciding consequences.

Anyway, that’s Shoes in the Dark! An instant-start, no-prep, postcard-sized tabletop role-playing game hacked together from Roll for Shoes and Blades in the Dark!

Shoes in the Dark


  1. Say you do something

  2. It happens!


If you are attempting something risky or if the outcome is uncertain, you’ll need to roll some dice.

Everybody starts out with one skill: “Do Anything 1”

So to do anything, roll 1 six-sided die.

roll outcome
1 - 3 It goes poorly. Gain 1 xp
4 - 5 Success at cost
6 Full success!

(When rolling multiple dice, read only your single highest roll.)

Whenever you roll all sixes, you gain a new +1 skill that must be a subset of the skill you just used.


Player attempts to kick down a door and rolls 1d6 for Do Anything 1. They roll a six, and gain a new skill: Kicking 2. Later they try to roundhouse kick a villain in the teeth and roll 2d6 for Kicking 2. They roll all sixes, and gain Feet of Fury 3.

Every time you fail a roll, gain 1 xp. You can spend xp to turn any die into a 6 for the purpose of advancement.


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