Jazz 3e EN

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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 descriptors (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 descriptors 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 use whatever descriptor seems most appropriate; if your character does not have an appropriate descriptor at all, you can almost always roll one die.

The rest is pretty much optional. Use it if you like. Ignore it if you don't.

The rules of the game


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

Genre modules provide genre conventions, typical descriptors, 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.

Nothing to see here: move along...

What does Jazz sound like?

If you want to know what Jazz sounds like, it sounds like this and this.

Copyright and license

Jazz 3e © 1997-2016 Brandon Blackmoor, Lloyd Montgomery. Reference to other copyrighted material in no way constitutes a challenge to the respective copyright holders of that material.

The text of this work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.