za3k > games > tower of choices

Tower of Choices is a game for two players: a DM and a player.

This a simple RPG system inspired very vaguely by the towers from "Sufficiently Advanced Magic", and some of the princples from "Index Card RPG".

written 2023-11-17 by zachary "za3k" vance

Character Creation

  1. Pick 3 starting skills. Add 2 of each to your character deck.
  2. Choose one special ability
  3. Equipment. You have 3 coins to spend. Buy up the 3 starting items with them.


The Skill Deck

As the player, you have a "skill deck". The deck represents everything your character is good at. Each time you meet an obstacle, you will pick an approach corresponding to a skill. For example, you might pick "Melee offense".

A standard obstacle is "DRAW 2, TARGET 1". You DRAW 2 cards. If you get at least your TARGET of 1 "Melee offense" card, you have succeeded at the check, and describe how your character beats down the opponent in melee. If you do not hit the TARGET number, your character fails and is set back in some way.

You may get bonuses to DRAW, if you have equipment that grants them, or the DM decides an approach is especially clever, funny, or likely to work. Rarely, equipment can decrease the TARGET instead. Conversely, difficult obstacles or poor-fit approaches may increase the TARGET number.

As you draw cards, they are not returned to your deck, but placed in a discard pile of spent skills. If your draw pile is ever empty, you are exhausted and unable to do anything. To conserve energy, before you start drawing you can choose to draw less cards than you the DRAW number.

Once your character takes a rest, you discard pile is restored. Shuffle it (together with any undrawn cards) and place them face-down as your replenished skill deck.

Challenge Cards

There is one special kind of card, called a CHALLENGE card. When shuffling your discard pile to restore it, you can voluntarily add CHALLENGE cards. This is the only way they are added to your deck, and each card is only played once. Drawing challenge cards count against the target number--if you drew one challenge card, you would need to draw two matching skills to beat TARGET 1. Overcoming the extra challenge is how your character grows.

Instead of discarding a CHALLENGE card, cross off the word CHALLENGE, and write the name of one of the other skill cards from that draw. It goes into the discard pile normally.

Available Skills


Choose 1 starting ability.


In addition to the skill deck, you can carry up to 10 items with you at a time. Keep track of them on an index card.

You have 3 coins to spend. Buy up the 3 starting items with them.

Equipment: ITEM (coin cost)