Spirit of the Century is award-winning tabletop RPG that combines the FATE RPG system with a 1920's pulp hero action setting. It has a cinematic feel, as if one were part of an action adventure film. I had the pleasure of playing Spirit of the Century at the last Strategicon tabletop game convention in Los Angeles. I played the role of a time-traveling British agent who was an expert on Martian technology.
Spirit of the Century has many features that make it different from traditional tabletop RPGs. Here are three innovations that got my attention:
Fudge Dice: four six-sided dice are used with these six facings, [+], [+], [ ], [ ], [-], [-]. Plus represents a +1, and minus represents a -1 and blank represents a 0. In effect, Fudge Dice are are three-sided dice. Fudge Dice were created by the Fudge RPG designer, Steffan O'Sullivan, who wanted a more average, bell curve-like results from dice rolls. FATE RPG is derived from Fudge RPG, hence Spirit of the Century also uses Fudge Dice. Using FUDGE Dice ensure that average rolls are made and that randomness still exists but is better controlled.
Versus Rolls: when a difficult task needs to be accomplished, a versus roll is made. Four Fudge Dice are rolled and added to your skill level, then comparde to your opponent's skill or task difficulty; the higher result wins. For instance my character used his scientific skills to identify the tripod landwalkers -— my Superb (5) science skill versus Great (4) difficulty. I rolled [+], [+], [ ], and [ ]; that sums to +2. the GM rolled [ ], [ ], [-], [-]; that sums to -2. Thus my character's Superb (5) science skill was upped +2 to Fantastic (7), while the task difficulty was downgraded -2 to Average (1), and thus I was able to determine that the walkers were of Martian technology, and where on Mars they were from.
Player Narration: The system is designed so that the players give input and share in narrating the story with the gamemaster. For instance, my character successfully identified that the landwalkers were Martian technology and I then was then able to add to the story that the landwarkers were filled with methane gas and it was made by a robot factory in a Martian valley. My input made the final showdown occur at the Martian robot factory.
Spirit of the Century is released under the Open Gaming License and thus the entire book is available as a free System Reference Document without the copyrighted pictures; as a commercial PDF with pictures; and as a bound book. If you cannot find Fudge Dice you can make your own - here is how. (Or just roll 1 or 2 = +, 3 or 4 = nothing, 5 or 6 = minus.)
2006 Indie RPG Award, Independent Game of the Year
2007 Silver ENnie Award for Best Rules