Monday, June 7, 2021


You don't know what year it is, and perhaps nobody does. Your life has been one of countless hardship, and to be drafted into the Army of the Eternal Saviour is just one more blow. Beside you, in the dank hold of the dropship, sit your "comrades". Perhaps you even know some of their names. Equipment clanks. Unintelligible messages pass back and forth. The Front approaches, and in the grim darkness of the eternal present, there is only war.

SNAFU is about ordinary soldiers, drafted into an endless, pointless war in space. It's a gory meatgrinder, aiming for fast character creation and chaotic battles. Bring spares.

"For the Saviour!"
(kindly ignore that the enemy troops are also yelling "For the Saviour!", they are all heretics and traitors)

Creating Characters

Every soldier needs a name.

Four stats:
DISCIPLINED (spotting things, training, knowledge, precision)
CUNNING (sneaking around, making things, springing ambushes)
BRUTAL (fighting)
RELENTLESS (taking hits, lifting, marching)

Roll 1d6 for each stat, 6s count as 1s.

  • The standard Blaster is a two-handed weapon with six rounds in the clip, semi- and full-auto firing modes, decent at close and medium ranges, and takes a full round to load. It's not particularly accurate, but direct hits go right through standard armour. 1-in-6 soldiers has a instead
  • Six clips
  • A piece of
  • A
Each soldier also has a that needs answering.

Recommended Rules

Roll a d6 per shot. 6s are a hit, and roll the d6 again for the hit location:
  1. Equipment
  2. Leg
  3. Arm
  4. Torso
  5. Torso
  6. Head
If the area hit is behind cover, then that shot does nothing. Whatever gets hit is unusable and probably destroyed: severed, shredded, pulped, mashed, blasted, or perhaps hanging on by a thread.

The shot resolution above is the default, it assumes that the soldier is on the run, firing at any targets they can see, and hoping for the best. There are several ways to improve the odds of landing a hit, including standing still, taking time to aim, firing off just a single shot, or firing on an unprepared enemy. Depending on the situation, enough of these methods may result in an automatic hit to a specific body part.

Likewise, various penalties can apply to firing blind, in a panic, at something you can't quite see, one handed, out of range, or too close range. Including, but not limited to: Shots are wasted and aren't rolled, the first hit doesn't count, 1s ricochet, hits have 50% chance to miss anyway. As a general tip, try and avoid having multiple "dice tricks" going on at the same time.

A shot is just a generic term, knives, accidents, explosions, and crashes are all measured in shots.

Weapon ranges are Melee, Close, Medium, Far. Firing modes include semi-auto (one shot per pull, more accurate), full-auto (multiple shots while trigger held, faster) and multi-shot (X shots per pull, more dangerous and ammo-hungry).

Doing Stuff
When you're reacting to something quickly (especially in combat), roll d6+stat, and compare:
6 or less, Worst Case
7 or more, Best Case

When you've got time to plan (even for a few moments) before acting (likely just before or after combat), or the task will take a long time, figure out which pair of stats makes the most sense. Roll d6+stat for each, 7 or more is a success:
Both fail, Worst Case
One success, Middling Case
Both succeed, Best Case

Best Case doesn't always mean you succeed, and Worst Case doesn't automatically mean you fail. The Cases depend on the character, the situation, the tools at hand, the plan, and player ingenuity.

If you step on something and it goes click, roll Disciplined to freeze.
If you leap into a hiding spot as a patrol comes round the corner, roll Cunning to stay unnoticed.
If you punch an enemy combatant in the face, roll Brutal.
If you are trying to lift fallen rubble off of your comrade, roll Relentless.

If you're trying to repair a broken communicator, roll Disciplined and Cunning. If you succeed on only one, you might need to cannibalise other equipment.
If you're springing an ambush, roll Brutal and Cunning, if you fail both, you weren't springing it, you were sprung.
If you're squaring up to box, roll Brutal and Cunning to see who gets the upper hand. If you're just pummelling each other with no finesse, roll Brutal twice.
If you're marching through the night until dawn, roll Relentless and Disciplined. If you're fleeing into the night, just roll Relentless.

Stats are not used to resolve normal gunfire, or preventing shots from landing. However, combat is rarely normal. Tactics, ambushes, hand-to-hand combat, reaction times etc. can be determined with Disciplined and Cunning. Likewise, pulling through after getting hit can be determined with Relentless, as can last stands and coping with pain. And of course, if you just want to punch them in the face, roll Brutal!

Hair's Breadth
Any shots that miss by one are near misses, pinging off armour, swishing past heads, breaking equipment, leaving cuts and bruises, and generally being terrifying.

Too Close For Comfort
When shooting directly into a chaotic melee or hostage situation, 1s hit friendlies. While shooting at something that has a large target behind it that you would rather not hit, 1s hit it anyway.

A True Hero
If a soldier survives active combat and makes it back to safety at least once, they earn one of the following abilities:
  1. Sharpshooter - If you don't move this round, and fire just one shot, 4-6 is a hit
  2. Marauder - You can shoot a blaster with just one hand
  3. Berserker - Ignore pain and torso wounds until the end of battle
  4. Leader - You can elect for other people to take shots for you, so long as they have followed your other orders
  5. Guardian - You can spread incoming shots evenly amongst those that march beside you, rather than one target taking the brunt
  6. Steady Hand - You can shoot as well on the move as standing still
  7. Lead Rain - For every three shots you fire, fire an extra shot for free
  8. Bloodthirsty - If you've killed an enemy this round, load a single shot for free
  9. Partner - Choose another soldier. While you protect them, prevent the first hit against them, and vice versa
  10. Blessed by the Saviour - Cheat death, once
  11. Perfect Eye - So long as you keep aiming at a single target, your accuracy continually gets better
  12. Weapon Specialist - Pick a specific weapon type, gain a minor boon while using it
    - Blaster, clips contain an extra round
    - Rifle, bullets also hit anything behind the target
    - Shotgun, pellets ricochet wildly off hard surfaces
    - Flamer, headshots cause the target to explode like a grenade next round
    - Rocket Launcher, you are not damaged by your own rocket explosions
    - Minigun, shoot up to 12 rounds if you don't move this round
    - Laser, deals a bonus hit if shot rolled is even
    - Melee, you can somehow parry bullets if you roll well

Optional Rules

Suppressing Fire
If a soldier spends a whole round shooting at a target that is behind cover, they use up all their ammo by the end of it. If the target comes out from cover at any time this round, they are immediately fired upon.

One Step Up From Tinfoil
The rules listed assume that each character is wearing the usual infantry armour supplied, and that without it, the hit rate would be far higher and result in far more deaths than maiming. You can optionally make the armour much more effective, and have the second hit on each body part start tearing things to chunks.

In The Spotlight
Assume that the performance (and luck) of the soldiers controlled by the players is equivalent to that of the rest of the mission. If the players fail (or succeed) at whatever it is they are doing, then the mission as a whole follows suit.

Seven Strokes of Luck
Take turns along with the players to draw up the terrain and any infrastructure. Once the battlefield is prepared, determine randomly where each side attacks/defend from.

Role Reversal
After the mission is completed, put aside the surviving characters, if any. The players are now in control of the opposing forces, and must plan a counter-attack.

The Horror
No attempt has been made to create rules for the psychological impacts of warfare and bloodshed. If you wish to do so, do so with care, and be mindful of those you are with.



  1. Bonus points to anyone who can figure out what the stat system is based off of. It's... niche, but memorable

    1. Is it based on Three Sixteen

    2. It is not, but I have heard that this system is a little like it

    3. Is it based on kill puppies for Satan?

    4. Correct! Just the stats, and the way it is designed to gently crush the spirit of the players.

  2. I really like your use of alerts to show table content, and your practice of including a visual gallery, which is very comprehensive and high quality.

    1. Thank you! I think it's a neat way of displaying non-vital info, and I have cobbled together a rough python script to handle the image formatting, which made it a lot easier to put the gallery together

  3. Is there any way you can reduce the size of your images in the blogroll feed? I get this as part of the Old School RPG Planet blogroll and your images mess up the formatting for all the other blogs. Thank you!

    1. Huh really? I'll take a look, thanks for the heads up

    2. Thanks! They are expanding to full image size for some reason and since many are quite large, they break the formatting for the rest of the blog entries, causing their text to extend way past the right edge of the screen.

    3. Well, I think I've figured out how to fix it using lazy loading. Has that solved the problem?

  4. The alert doesn't seem to be displaying all the items in the tables, do you know why this might be?

    1. Bleh, you're right. I added a few more entries to several tables and went over the character limit for most browsers. I'll have to go back to a more standard output method. In the meantime, if you right click and check the source of the page you'll be able to see the entire lists.