Signature Role Playing Game

Signature Role Playing Game

From: 44 Productions

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Signature Role Playing Game is a new Role Playing Game Corebook PDF from 44 Productions.

Signature RPG is a generic set of role playing game rules written by independent Michael Mendoza. He apparently had a fire in his belly to write the ultimate RPG and this is the fruit of his labors.

From the website: “Signature started as my ‘Ultimate RPG’. While making it, I had a breakthrough in terms of mechanics.”

Contents: The contents of this PDF is what one would expect from a core rulebook. Starting with the obligatory “what is role playing” section, the book then flows into the character generation system. Before really getting to the meat of the character generation system, however, it defines a few key concepts of the system. In particular, the “Trait” is described as a generic value that describes a character and his abilities.

Following the general rules of character generation and game system, the chapter on Creating a Setting takes the reader in a very abstract way of defining a game world. The setting defines many aspects of the game including the number of Wild Points one can spend. Wild Points are discussed later.

There are three gaming philosophy terms thrown about in this game – Gamism, Narrativism, Simulationism. Through various aspects of the game, it attempts to satisfy these philosophies. It provides a character generation method suggestion for each and then game terms and simple mechanics that the author thought best fit those philosophies.

The book also includes a sample setting – Horus, a setting where the ancient Egyptian empire thrived much longer and expanded across the world. In the year 1200 AD, it faces its new enemies, the T’ang (China), the Inca Empire, the Aztec Empire, and Nippon (Japan).

System: The key concept to Signature is the Trait. Each character has a a Signature Trait that defines the overall character and several Aspect Traits. A trait has a value of 1 to 3 and is described negatively or positively by some specific adjective like good runner or bad runner. A character only needs to have Key Aspect traits listed and anything else is assumed to be average – 0. All traits are simply terms that the GM and the character can agree on. The rules say that “Each Aspect Trait has a default rating equal to the Signature Trait’s rating, modified down depending how closely it conforms with the Signature Trait.” Just how closely it conforms to the Signature Trait is judged by the GM.

Wild Points are another key aspect of Signature. How many points each character has available to them is defined by the setting. This defines how cinematic (vs. realistic) the setting is.

The system involves comparing opposing traits, adding in any modifiers, and spending Wild Points to raise the level of success. There are no dice. Any other rules are made by Social Contracts – agreements between the gamers on what can and can not happen.

From the website: “The result? One simple, fast mechanic for character generation, action resolution, setting control, and story control, that handles any level of power, and any level of detail.”

Layout: The PDF I was sent had many formatting problems. I would like to think that perhaps some of those problems were solved in new versions of the PDF. This included no page numbers on the pages.

In conclusion, this game is the epitome of what I would call a “hippy” game. It is very rules light. It is diceless. It boils the character down to whatever you want to make, which in itself is unattractive to me. I just about gave up reading the PDF about halfway through because I had lost interest in the game. Call me a traditionalist and not hip because I do not get these type of hippy-indie games, but this game did not sit well with me. This game was just short of sitting around a table and making up a story together. I prefer a little more “game” in my role playing game than this provided.

As for the three gaming philosophy terms – Gamism, Narrativism, Simulationism, I tend to be a mix of all three and lean one way or another depending on the game session, but no aspect of this game satisfied me, to be quite honest. The only thing that interested me was the setting but of course in its minimalist tradition, most of it is left up to the GM and players.

For more details on 44 Productions and their new Role Playing Game Corebook PDF “Signature Role Playing Game” check them out at their website

Signature Role Playing Game

From: 44 Productions

Type of Game: Role Playing Game Corebook PDF

Written by: Michael Mendoza

Game Design by: Michael Mendoza

Developed by: Michael Mendoza

Edited by: Alfredo Sendín Domínguez, Jennifer Reynolds, Moritz Bots

Cover Art by: Stef Machmillan

Additional Art by: Khionia Luminen, Tara Murphy,Gillian Sein Ying Ha, Gina Huizinga, Nick Alexejev, Rhiannon Clarke

Number of Pages: 72

Game Components Included: One Corebook PDF

Retail Price: $ 5.00 (US)



Reviewed by: Ron McClung