What is Jazz?
Jazz is an attempt to create a roleplaying game system which is both flexible and easy to use. Jazz, like its namesake, is inspired by and incorporates concepts from many sources.
Jazz does assume a basic familiarity with principles of role-playing and the basics of making up a character. I haven't gone into great detail describing what a roleplaying game is, or defining what "Health" is, for example. These sparse spots may be filled in as time goes on, but feel free to use your best judgment if something doesn't make immediate sense to you. Jazz is intended for my personal use, but feedback and suggestions are welcome. If you think a section is unclear, or needs more elaborate explanation, do feel free to drop me an e-mail with your suggestion.
The Jazz philosophy
Jazz has no set attributes, and no set skill lists. In Jazz, a character's abilities are based on the character's description.
Jazz operates under a "rulings, not rules" mindset, much like that suggested by Matthew Finch in his Quick Primer for Old School Gaming. Rather than an exhaustive list of specific character skills (like "fishing") or physical attributes (like "strength"), Jazz uses broad aspects (like "barrel-chested science fiction author"). How do you know if your character has a specific skill? If it makes sense for someone with her aspects to have that skill, she does. What if your character is in a contest of brute strength, or must react faster than another gunslinger in a quick-draw contest? The GM then uses common sense to decide what happens, or asks the player to roll dice if there is some random element involved. If dice need to be rolled, you roll two six-sided dice and add the rank of whatever aspect seems most appropriate; if your character does not have an appropriate aspect at all, you can almost always roll two six-sided dice, but you may suffer a penalty.
The rest is pretty much optional. Use it if you like. Ignore it if you don't.
The rules of the game
This version of Jazz has one major difference from previous versions: rather than rolling a number of dice equal to a character's aspect rank (what is commonly called a "dice pool" in the wider world of tabletop roleplaying games), the player rolls two dice, and adds the character's aspect rank. So instead of a "Barrel-chested science fiction author (4)" rolling 4d6, they roll 2d6 and add 4. When converting from a previous version of Jazz, double the rank of the character's old descriptor to find their new aspect rank.
There are also a few changes in nomenclature. For example, "descriptor" is now "aspect", and a "fringe descriptor" is now called a "weird aspect".
JazzCore is the base rule set for Jazz. For games set in the "real" world, JazzCore should be sufficient. For more outlandish games, additional rules may be helpful (or you can just wing it).
Genre modules provide genre conventions, typical aspects, typical flaws, suitable equipment, and other optional rules for using Jazz to play a game in that particular genre. Genre modules are not mutually exclusive. For example, you might want to use JazzApocalypse and JazzSorcery together to run a Thundarr The Barbarian game.
Here are a few genre modules which were once planned for Jazz. None have been written, and none probably ever will be. So it goes.
Outside the box
If anyone ever writes any adventures or source material intended for use with Jazz, here is where it would be.
Clearly, no one has written any yet.
What does Jazz sound like?
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