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Author Topic: Kayfabe - input and interest check (prowrestling promotion, scripted storylines)  (Read 497 times)

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Offline hamish1024Topic starter

Wrestling is fake! Embracing that idea opens up a different style of RP from the usual competitive fight cards. The writers’ room and backstage relationships become as important as the ring. It becomes more of a collaborative affair as your group of performers has to work together to put on the best show possible and increase the ‘heat’ of their promotion (don’t worry, you can still politick for personal glory and a fatter pay check instead). Your character has a ‘gimmick’ persona that they play in the ring, but could be completely different backstage.

I came across the tabletop RPG Kayfabe (sadly the current website does not offer a free version of the rules, though there are few reviews around which give a feel for the game) and I think with a bit of rules tweaking it could make a good forum game. Ideas for matches and show storylines would get discussed in the Writers Room thread, then you can play out the resultant match card in-character. You narrate an interview, skit, or section of match action, then roll D6s based on your character traits to see how popular it was. Matches are broken down into roughly minute-long segments and the player in control can narrate all the action in that period - along the lines of a collaborative story. So with a relatively engaged group it should be possible to progress well through several matches and storylines - and since you have sketched out the plot in advance, you should always have something cool to work towards.

Though there is a system I want to use, it is still at a tentative, rules-tweaking stage, so any and all input is welcome, just let me know if it sounds like something that might interest you or if you‘d like more info. Due to the scripted nature of the matches they should not require a heavy time involvement - two or three posts a week should be enough to progress storylines at a decent pace.

I am open on setting and style as well - I was envisaging an all-female wrestling roster, steering away from outright “sexfights” but welcoming erotic elements into the show, maybe in the manner of Prostyle Fantasies. However if that’s a deal-breaker for potential players then it can be changed - I’m just trying to work out what will play best at this point (what with me being a total forum newbie and all).   

Offline freeko

I would have interest in this. Though I think more information along the lines of character creation and the system being used are needed.

Even if you cut parts of the system out, I am looking more for a vasic set of guidelines than the full rules. How would a match play out for example?

Offline Riveda

I am not a wrestling fan, and I am not going to play in this game, but I wanted to say this: as a gamer, when I read the Kayfabe rules (back in the day, when it was free), I wished I knew more about wrestling so I could play this awesome game. If you like wrestling and you don't hate system games you should play this.

Offline hamish1024Topic starter

You don’t have to have a huge knowledge of wrestling - I’m no expert - a passing knowledge of clotheslines and irish whips is probably fine. My wrestling education comes mainly from N64 games. You would be creating a fresh federation from scratch, anyway, so not knowing current TV characters wouldn't be a problem.

I do have a PDF of  the basic Kayfabe rule set, from before the makers updated the rules and started charging for it. I wasn’t sure if sharing it on here would fall foul of copyright stuffs, though?

There is a good informative review here:

There is also a sample match narration PDF on the maker’s website which gives an idea of how it would play out.

There are some painfully complex wrestling RPGs out there... Kayfabe takes a completely different approach by placing the emphasis on narrative rather than stats and calcs. Hell, most of the in-ring action is informed by a single 'Wrestling' stat, which is simply a measure of how good a physical performer you are, so matches should play out pretty smoothly.

Offline freeko

Well, I was a referee in a local promotion for 13 years. I will not have much of a problem with the whole wrestling part of things.

I guess I would just need to see the rules on some level.

Offline Riveda

You don’t have to have a huge knowledge of wrestling - I’m no expert - a passing knowledge of clotheslines and irish whips is probably fine.

See, to me an Irish whip is what you put on top of an Irish coffee. What I know about wrestling, I mostly learned from reading the Kayfabe rules! So, thanks but I will not be joining you. I may watch the game, though.

Offline yuki92

I'm always interested in wrestling RP, but nothing takes off. It all stopped before it even started. So definitely going to watch this.

Offline hamish1024Topic starter

If you want me to email you a PDF of the rules to work from, please message me.

I’ll start setting out the basic character creation here:

A player can control multiple characters in the promotion, there won’t necessarily be a conflict of interest as matches are scripted rather than competitive (maybe think of it as a group of wrestlers that have the same agent, I.e. the player).


The game is basically based around accruing ‘Heat’ ie fan popularity, though your performance in shows.

Players get 1 experienced wrestler (18 points in character creation) and the rest rookies (12 points). Points used across the 4 skill areas as follows:

Wrestling - your physical skill in matches. After narrating a ‘move set’ (roughly a minute of match action), your character rolls a number of D6 equivalent to this skill, and the number of sixes rolled increases the ‘Heat’ of the match. 

Mic Work - communication / public speaking ability, used in interviews / promos / pre-match call outs to generate heat too.

Clout - industry reputation and behind the scenes connections. You can use this as currency to get your own way in storylines if you don’t like what the manager / GM has scripted following Writers Room discussion (or another example, intentionally injuring another wrestler in the ring would expend Clout).

Work Rate - Ring psychology and playing the crowd. In the tabletop game this is used to claim control of the narration if you don’t like your match partner’s control of the match (as well as generating match heat in a few specific situations e.g. a last-second pin escape). This is the trait I am considering changing for the online RPG as on-the-fly interruptions will not work as well over the forums. If we change it to a general ‘Playing the crowd’ trait, it can be used for ‘softer’ wrestling action / skits that don’t fit Wrestling or Mic Work e.g. cat fighting, mud wrestling, general eroticism etc.

All trait rolls are based on the D6 system - roll a number of D6 based on the trait level, at least one six indicates success.


As well as their actual background and personality, a wrestler will need an in-ring Gimmick - basically the character they have chosen to play for the crowd, e.g. a ditzy cheerleader type, a sadistic cheat, etc. etc… deciding whether they are a Face or a Heel (there should be an even number of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ wrestlers in the promotion).

As part of the Gimmick, wrestlers can have a couple of Trademark moves (+2D6 when used in a Move Set) and a Finisher (+5D6 when used).


These are traits which are linked to the actual character, not their in-ring Gimmick. Each created character needs at least one of each. They are open to discussion provided the GM feels their effects are balanced.

Sample Assets

High Flyer: skilled at aerial moves, +2D6 when a move set uses these moves.
Power Wrestler: +2D6 when a move-set includes heavy slams etc.
Eyecatching appearance: +5 starting heat in character creation
Industry Contacts: +1 Clout during creation
Well trained: +1 Wrestling
Acting Experience: +1 Mic Work
Owed a Favour: Can be used to automatically succeed a Clout Roll

Sample Flaws
Primadonna - likely to complain to Booker (GM) if scripted to lose / look foolish
Substance Problem - -2D6 if wrestling under influence of substance
Limited Availability - unable to appear in every show
Works Stiff - will attempt to injure opponent at least once every match