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At every hour of every day on Sixaura, the soldiers of each empire are killed and reborn in an endless loop. Their dead bodies derezz, the bonds between their nanos dissolving—just in time for them to be reassembled elsewhere, fresh with the memory of death and ready to kill once again. These clone commandos do not die, do not rest, and do not age. They are duplicated forever, frozen in the same unchanging body, save a few occasional gene-edits from the top brass in order to optimize their killing potential. This is the only life they know. It is a meatgrinder without meat—a bloodbath without blood. And it is also, soldier, your life.

PLANET FIST is a Powered by the Apocalypse narrative wargame of satirical scifi skirmish storytelling and a hack of CLAYMORE's FIST, and winner of the SUBSTANCE award in the FIST: Ultra Jam. It's a 60 8.5"x11"-page total conversion—you don't need the FIST book to play!

Read about it on Dicebreaker, Gnome Stew, or Cannibal Halfling, or watch this video about it from dragonkid11. If you're enjoying Helldivers 2, check out this article instead!

Set on the isolated planet of Sixaura, you are soldiers of one of the planet's three ruling empires: the corporate libertarian New Committee, the orthodox fascist Tyrat Council, and the techno-supremacist Velian Ascendancy. These ruling bodies fight an unending—in truth, unwinnable—war for control of their new forever-home. This endless march of murder and death is sustained by "nanos", microscopic robots that can be assembled into flesh itself.

Through nanocloning, the empires of Sixaura have done away with the need for medical care, reproduction, and yes, even death. There is no longer any need for children, parents, homes, funerals, hospitals. There is only work. There is only war

WHAT IS PLANET FIST?

PLANET FIST is inspired by Starship Troopers (1997), Battlefield: Bad Company, and most of all, by Planetside 2. Three principles guide it:

  • DEATH IS LIFE: Don’t fear death, soldier. Pain is temporary, but war is forever. When the enemy blows your nanoassembled body to bits, you simply "derezz", dissolving into dust cloud of spent nanos. The pain of death still fresh in your mind, you're printed once again at a nearby reassembly tank and thrown back into the field. In PLANET FIST, 0 HP is only an inconvenience. That stupid idea that would either get your character killed or be really fucking cool? Do it, every time.
  • SHOOTOUTS ARE STORIES: This is a combat heavy game, but that doesn’t mean it’s just a turn-based combat wargame with some wordbuilding as set dressing. For Sixauran soldiers, not even sleep comes to relieve them. They live on the battlefield, and must learn to make a life out of it. Chat, hang out, make someone laugh, care about people, get revenge. Show your crush that no one can operate a jetpack like you. Pass a joint to your best friend while you hold the objective, waiting for that inevitable enemy charge. Live life as fully as you can manage—just do it with a gun in your hand.
  • FICTION FIRST: Don’t let the rules fool you: the story precedes them. The rules help ensure your game is balanced and consistent enough to be fun, but you’re not playing a video game with a list of preset actions—if you want to do that, just go play Planetside 2 or XCOM. Express the fullest extent of what your character would want, and the referee will fit it to the game’s mechanics. You miss 100% of the trickshots you don’t take.
TESTIMONIALS
"PLANET FIST is a quick-to-learn and quick-to-play system for characters thrown into FPS-style deathmatches on a world that knows nothing but war. It's a game of high-emotion, low-consequence combat, for when you're wondering what the infinite Master Chiefs are thinking during Halo multiplayer. PLANET FIST is 'war never changes' said with the same inflection as 'it's all made up and the points don't matter.'"

- Caleb Zane Huett, designer of Triangle Agency

"An absolute blast—and then another, and then another, and then another, each leaving remains splattered on a wall. Gleeful, and tactical, and winkingly tongue-in-cheek; a masterful game from top to bottom."

- Jeff Stormer, host of the Party of One actual play podcast

FEATURES

PLANET FIST has is a 60 8.x5"x11" page rulebook that includes:

  • A unique system of death and reassembly, allowing you to throw your character into the grinder, and catapult them back to the battlefield next turn
  • A narratively flexible combat system that reserves room for storytelling and does not require rulers or a grid
  • 18 FACTION TRAITS, 12 CHARACTER TRAITS, and 12 ROLES all with unique flavor, skills, equipment, and other perks that you can choose from or roll randomly
  • 12 BONDS to choose or roll randomly, connecting your characters and building lived-in relationships from the very beginning
  • Rules for customizable VEHICLES, tactical ASSETS like the feared ORBITAL BEAM, dozens of ITEMS, and more
  • PRINTABLE PLAY AIDS, like flowcharts & summary sheets
  • DIGITAL PLAY AIDS, like an automated spreadsheet with rulebook content integrated
  • A FIELD ASSIGNMENT minigame to assign open officer roles to reluctant grunts
  • Did I mention the combat system doesn't require a ruler?

For the referee (GM) PLANET FIST provides:

  • A prewritten example MISSION for use by the referee
  • An original BATTLEMAP for that example mission
  • 12 THREATS, premade enemy squads, each with their own stat blocks and unique abilities
  • Systems for PROCEDURALLY GENERATED MISSIONS & MISSION REWARDS, bringing in friendly and enemy reinforcements, and more!
  • Random TABLES for partial success results, mission objectives, enemy deployment options, accessories, music, and more!
CONTRIBUTORS
REVIEWERS, PODCASTERS, and STREAMERS

If you would like the review PLANET FIST or play it on your actual play podcast or stream, simply contact me and I will send you a complete press kit with every asset and information you could need.

HEAR IT PLAYED

You can watch PLANET FIST be played on the VOD of the Plus One Exp livestream refereed by creator Jess Levine, and including special guests such as Caleb Zane Huett of Triangle Agency, PLANET FIST contributor satah, and more!

Purchase

Buy Now$10.00 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $10 USD. You will get access to the following files:

PLANET FIST v1.0 - Singles.pdf 9.1 MB
PLANET FIST v1.0 - Spreads.pdf 9.1 MB
PLANET FIST v1.0 - Reference Sheets.pdf 1,023 kB
PLANET FIST - Positronix Weapons Lab Key.png 101 kB
PLANET FIST - Positronix Weapons Lab Facility.png 559 kB

Exclusive content

Support this game at or above a special price point to receive something exclusive.

Community Copy Donation

By purchasing at $5 over the base cost, you will add one free community copy to the pool to be claimed by someone who can't afford to purchase the game. Every additional $5 will add another community copy!

Community Copy Bundle

Purchasing at this level includes:

  • 5 community copies added to the pool

That's over double the community copies per dollar!

Community Copy

If you can't afford to pay for this game, feel free to take a community copy. For every $5 someone pays over the minimum price, this adds a community copy to the pool. If you claim a community copy & play the game, it would be much appreciated & very helpful if you could take the time to leave a star review on itch!

Download demo

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PLANET FIST v1.0 - Print Character Sheet v1.0.pdf 157 kB
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PLANET FIST - Tokens.zip 7.7 kB

Development log

Comments

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(1 edit)

Hi, thanks for this amazing game! I have a question about the damage received when a roll fails. For instance, let's say that a player character is in the same room than 2 enemies, the player character tries to shoot them but he/she fails with a roll of 6 or less, so, let's say that the enemies shoot to the player character, how much damage should he/she receive? Is it the sum of damages of both enemies? Or the higher damage of both? Thanks in advance!

I'm so glad you think it's amazing, thank you for saying so!

1. One enemy squad typically deals a single instance of DAMAGE, regardless of how many members there are in the squad—think of individual squad members as almost like "HP"/"health bar stages" of the squad (which sometimes has other mechanical consequences) rather than discrete actors. So basically: you pick an item in their inventory and deal that DAMAGE to the player.

2. If there are multiple enemy squads, I generally pick one that I think is more fun/interesting/narratively logical and apply that squad's DAMAGE.

3. Field rulings always trump all of this! If you think it's more fun/interesting/fair to have all the enemy squads apply DAMAGE, go for it, as long as players feel adequately warned & you have a clear reason for doing so. The new Faithless Edition coming later this year will have more guidance/a new system for "warning" players do that consequences feel fair—if you want to playtest it, feel free to contact me here for a draft copy. I will say: most instances of DAMAGE (not all) are enough to kill a player who isn't using ASSAULT'S NANOMESH or who isn't in a vehicle, so at that point, it becomes more about flavor. If the PC is ASSAULT, in a vehicle, or otherwise stand a chance of surviving a hit, field ruling that multiple enemy squads deal DAMAGE is going to affect balance more, and you should weigh that when making the ruling.

Thanks a lot for your answer! Yes it is very clear, and using squads makes the game much faster, so only is needed to roll damage only once in most of the cases (specially when there is only one enemy squad in scene). Thanks a lot!

A couple of questions:

1) How much stuff would be missing if I used this system in another setting instead of the provided one? I may use this alongside Apocalypse Frame for a mercenary-themed Solo RPG game and it will not use the attached setting in favor of something else.

2) Considering this is a hack of FIST, how compatible is it with supplements/3rd party materials made for FIST?

1. The main issue you might run into while transposing settings is that you need some form of reassembly—it’s completely core to the game. Players could in theory come back as different characters (i.e. a new Helldiver being taken out of cryo each time the last one dies) but players need to be able to die and come back next round for the game’s systems work at all. Besides that, you’d need to draft up new FACTION TRAITS or tweak the existing ones to fit your narrative, and some CHARACTER TRAITS, BONDS, and ROLES/SHTICKS might need narrative adjustment, but I think a lot of them would transpose well to any dark-comedic military scifi. A lot of the items/weapons require a certain amount of scifi for their mechanics to make sense, but again, that probably isn’t a big deal. You may also need to tweak/add CLASS TRAITS if you want different primary combat archetypes, but again, I think they’ll transpose decently. If you want to discuss this further, I’d be happy to give more specific thoughts—and honestly would love to just hear how the process of adaptation goes/plays. You can email me here to get an invite to the PLANET FIST Discord server, where I’d be happy to talk it out! Lots of design discussion happens there.

2. At this point, it’s pretty distinctly its own thing, so it won’t necessarily be easy, but also, is definitely possible. It also really depends on what sort of materials you’re adapting. Maps & mission modules are on the tougher end, because PF’s reassembly system, map-based combat, etc. require some pretty specific mission parameters and geography to work well. Traits and items are on the easier end! PF traits are generally balanced a bit differently (they generally have a higher attribute bonus, approximately +1 net attributes & either a conditional +1 roll bonus or a WAR DIE, while their narrative powers are usually slightly weaker than some of the bonkers world-altering stuff FIST traits and items can have) but there are suggested qualitative attribute-to-attribute equivalences in the book and I don’t think it would be hard to use CHARACTER TRAITS, FACTION TRAITS, and items in the PF book as reference to tweak existing FIST trait/item supplements to fit in the PF balance. I’d love to hear about it if you give it a shot!

Late response but I'll see what I can take from planet Fist. The mercenary-themed solo rpg game (that may take inspiration from Armored Core, Escape from Tarkov, Ace Combat/Project Wingman and Gray Zone Warfare) will likely use Planet Fist, Fist, Apocalypse Frame, After\\Burner and Edge Zero Force. For the reassembly, I could say that its more grunts running into the fray.

Thanks for your response! Though I have one more question:


3) If there are other games that you recommend would compliment well with Planet Fist (and assuming using the same sort of systems as LUMEN/PBTA/FIST)in mechanics and perhaps theme, what would you recommend?
 

(+7)

Hey

we lived (briefly). we died (hilariously). we respawned to fight again. 10/10 would fist again

PLANET FIST is the best online shooter you've ever played with paper and pencil. The high-octane action, the teamwork, both the extreme silliness and extreme tension - all of it is in this game.

(+1)

I love this game. I played a two-year 3.5e D&D campaign with my high school buddies way back and i never found the game to be really fun, just hanging out with friends was. Planet FIST is my first TTRPG where I was genuinely excited for my next turn. Death becomes such a creative restriction that removing it lets me just run head-first into the first enemy i see and do something fun. i'm encouraged to be reckless, which i'm grateful for because i have the tactical grace of a clown in a bank robbery. if you played D&D and wished it was just kinda more than that, this game is perfect for you.

Is there a tier for a physical book or is it pdf only?

It is PDF only! (For now. If there is enough interest, I'd love to make a physical edition!)

(+2)

It feels so much like Planetside! As someone who has spent thousands of hours playing the MMO FPS, my brain has such a fun time constructing and playing out scenarios in a TTRPG setting. A compelling crossover that feels like it was meant to be created. I can feel the passion that the creators put into this game.

(+1)

I also had the opportunity to playtest Planet FIST very recently. Character creation as a group was a breeze; intentionally linking the characters together set us up for a couple of good organic roleplaying moments in the gameplay. I rolled the Goofball trait and picked the Loved trait, becoming a lowest-of-the-low-ranks Private with a sense of humour he probably isn't cleared to have, took Jet Trooper as my first class and immediately rocketed off into the battlefield to crack jokes and drop blocks of C4, and get blown up by my character creation-established rival, to much enjoyment.

The setting is -- well, it's (legally distinct) Planetside! An eternal war that is as much satire of the military-industrial complex as it is a chance for tabletop players to intentionally participate in an unending science fiction murderfest (as opposed to many tabletop groups that become that accidentally or against the GM's wishes).

And the Planetside vibe has been nailed 100% in the gameplay mechanics - death is a temporary setback, or even an intentional choice, before you're pushed right back into the field, maybe closer to the objective if somebody managed to park the APC up close. So there isn't even time spent rerolling a new character for insertion; you just re-enter on the next combat round, maybe with a different class and equipment if you want.

The traits are toned down from FIST's supernatural content towards normal soldier specialisations, so combat turns are a flash affair of speed - movement, safe action and/or risky action, consequences, move on. A breath of fresh air in clunky wargaming.

All in all I think Planet FIST is a unique and well-designed entry into the indie tabletop industry. Could very well be my best experience in wargame-focused tabletop for sure.

(+1)

I recently had the opportunity to playtest Planet FIST, and while the session hasn't been finished (yet), I have a lot of good things to say about the game. First off, it strongly embodies the player freedom afforded to players in the base FIST game, and with a highly similar free-form combat system, it's a simple matter to pull off any number of daring trickshots or complicated maneuvers. Unlike FIST, though, the playing field itself is much more grounded, which makes it much easier to understand what's going on at any given moment- I would even say it's reminiscent of games like LANCER, even moreso given the sci-fi aspects. As for the aspects outside of combat, character creation was incredibly fun and I loved working with my teammates to create our squad members. It was so engaging, in fact, that I practically forgot about the mission part! All the traits add huge amounts of depth to each character, especially bonds that connect all the members of a squad together. I'd be hard pressed to find any real grievances I had with any aspect of the game. 

(+1)

I got to playtest Planet FIST just recently, and I came away quite impressed! Planet FIST is a hack of FIST: ULTRA edition that takes place in a combat-heavy Planetside 2 inspired sci-fi setting of endless warfare. Players act as endlessly respawning nanobot-infused soldiers for one of three monolithic factions with different theming and bonuses they can apply to their characters on creation. Character building was fun and more collaborative than the base game, with players creating a squad with unique roles and bonds as well as military ranks. This system quickly made for entertaining relationships between characters, like my ultra-beefy damage sponge HARDWARE not being anywhere near as effective as he (or his enemies!) thought he was, and needing to be constantly (and begrudgingly!) revived and healed by the team’s medic. 

When it comes to the gameplay, Planet FIST shows its strengths quickly. Unlike base FIST, this game makes use of maps and measurement to determine things like movement and weapon range. This leads to interesting tactical decision making that feels very grounded, as players are charged with positional objectives straight out of an FPS like capturing a Sync Plate to take over a facility and cut its respawn points off from enemies. Player characters usually die faster than they would in base game FIST, so clever thinking and resource management are essential in making sure you’ll get your job done without being sent back to your team’s APC for reassembly. But, should that happen, reassembling is comfortably videogamey as it lets you freely swap between five available character classes and several pieces of unlockable class equipment you earn by advancing. This means there’s always a good opportunity to take a breather and re-evaluate your strategy. With all these details in mind, I strongly recommend Planet FIST as an entertaining self-contained strategy game that’ll feel familiar to FIST fans, but distinct enough to tell new and interesting stories. 

(1 edit) (+2)

Planet FIST is a feature length ttrpg love letter to the MMO Planetside.

The PDF is 67 pages, with a clean, well organized layout and a selection of interior art that mirrors the core book. There's plenty of helpful graphics and maps as well, and a link to an online version is provided.

Content-wise, Planetside is a weird thing to convert into a narrative rpg. It's built around an endless cycle of getting fragged and respawning in a tech-assisted foreverwar, and this fits its MMO shooter gameplay. Going to a tabletop storygame without leaving this game loop creates an odd internal tension, and I feel like it might be stronger as a wargame, or if it sat in a narrative spot outside of Planetside's core gameplay.

Frankly, playing as a group of players playing Planetside could be really neat---you'd just need to add some light mechanics for doing stuff in your lives outside of your shared Planetside guild.

Still, the elements that Planet FIST pulls from Planetside *are* interesting. PCs can respawn rapidly after death. PCs can swap class Traits on respawning. Because everyone respawns constantly, taking and holding territory is more important than surviving engagements, and there are clocks that measure and track this.

Most rules are the same as in FIST Ultra, but Planet FIST makes a distinction between risky actions and safe actions in combat, and this is a great way of reframing 'attack actions' and 'move actions' in a game. If movement would be dangerous, it's a risky action. If an attack would be safe, it's a safe action. I'd love to see other games adopt this framing.

For players, there's a lot of customization options, and it's easy to respec or deploy different gear to adapt to changing battlefield conditions. There are also bonuses for supporting specific factions---and for having enough people in the party that one of them has to be an officer, There's even class advancement---although you're mostly expected to be rotating your class throughout play, so it's not excessively deep.

For GMs, there's a mission generator, maps, a bestiary, plenty of advice on how to run the game, and a few suggestions on ways to customize the experience. Some pre-game prep can be useful (you may want to use a battlemap or wargame table), but premade missions are also provided. Quick references are included at the back of the book for players and GMs alike.

Overall, this is definitely a strange game, but I think it's on to something. If you have nostalgia for Planetside, *definitely* check it out. And if you want a framework for playing an FPS MMO on tabletop, I think this is doubly worth your time. You might need to do some fussing with it if your goal with Planet FIST is to tell a particular story, but if you just want to sweat through some tactical engagements on a world of endless war, it 100% has you covered.


Minor Issues:

-Page 3, "many playtesters have never touched the it" no the

-Page 7, "when doing taking a risky action" no doing

-Page 35, "and that ever officer" every

(+1)

Why you should check this out: a high-quality, loving translation of the feeling of online FPS video games (especially Planetside) into a streamlined TTRPG.

Style:

  •  2-column landscape A4 makes the text easy to read while occasionally allowing for a full-page diagram to use the extra space.
  • The spartan black and white with patent-style spot art fits the vibe of FIST, while the headers and sub-headers give it its own clean identity

Structure: 

  • There is a lot here - over 60 A4 pages, but it is structured in a really smart way. Planet FIST is consistently explicit about it’s inspiration, politics and intent. From the first few pages you get a very clear idea about the vibe that the game is trying to create, which helps keeps you grounded through the mechanics that follow.
  • I love the inclusion of the warning triangle to highlight any specific differences from the base FIST ultra rules. It’s such a simple idea, but so effective at drawing attention to things that might otherwise be missed
  • Throughout, the ‘Admiral’s notes’ clearly indicate the why behind some of the mechanics and ways that tables could adjust them to suit their tastes
  • The flowcharts and reference pages at the end really help to bring all the mechanics together after a more detailed read-through

Content:

  • The game is thoroughly playtested - so even without playing it myself it’s clear that the mechanics will work well at a table. A lot of thought has gone into balancing the flow of more tactical / skirmish style elements and narrative moments.
  • The mixture of health and regenerating shields is a really clever use of a video game mechanic that I’ve not really seen before, but could see leading to interesting decisions. Death allowing you to adjust your class is also a really neat translation of a video game idea.
  • Little touches like giving the 3 factions colours, architectural styles and emphasising the absurdity of some of their motivations really brings the feeling of endless corporate warfare to life.
  • The writing is clear and strikes a good balance of flavour and concise mechanics. I really enjoyed reading the pdf.
  • I specifically loved how the character creation was presented - for a relatively complex process, the overview made it really clear to understand what each step would involve. It also cleverly allows them to be tackled one at a time as a group. I’m always a sucker for collaborative elements to characters - so the bonds and ranks are a great addition to the process, and well worth the extra time spent on them.

This looks really neat! can we get it in Pages format as well?

(1 edit)

Sadly, right now that's not possible, because I did the whole 67 spread/134 page layout in Google Docs as a 2-column landscape document and you can't export that as singles 😩

I might try to convert everything to actual layout software for the post-jam version!

Thanks for trying! 🖤🤓