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No Bones About It is a rad, skeleton street racing FIST hack.

My favourite hacks / jam submissions stay true to the original ideas behind the mechanics, but twist them in a new and exciting way. No Bones About It nails this.

Mechanically it sticks to the player driven, d6-only, 4-stat simplicity of FIST. The stats are not only relabelled, but adjusted to fit the vibe and how the player characters would make decisions within it. 'Death' is great - why shouldn't skeleton characters get a chance to straight up not die? There are a few twists here, most notably the addition of vehicles. Vehicles are designed as an extension of the characters themselves, directly enhancing their abilities on the character sheet.

Thematically the zine is on-point, the skeleton and car filled art, punchy writing pair well with the mechanics to bring the street-racing skeletons to life (or undeath?). The scenario is a good demonstration of all of these, with a strong narrative and twist.

The character sheet, contents and quick reference pages are all useful additions for running or playing the game.

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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“it is the 1980s and you are dead.”

Thus begins NO BONES ABOUT IT, Richard Kelly’s ode to speed, skeletons and family. Make no mistake, this is no simple set of chase rules – it’s a standalone game! In videogame terms, a total conversion. NO BONES is the DotA to FIST’s Warcraft III. (Though there are rules for exporting NO BONES characters back into FIST.)

The new stats are FAST, ANGRY, DEATH and FAMILY. That last one was a surprise, until I realized, of course, the Fast and the Furious influence is evident. Having people you care about isn’t optional, it’s a part of the character building process. FAST handles racing, ANGRY throwing a punch, FAMILY protects those you care about, and DEATH works a bit like a saving throw and reveals supernatural insight. Vehicles have a symbiotic relationship with PCs, adding their stats and sharing damage. While driving, if you’d be reduced to 0 HP, you can bail and let your ride die in your place. There are new powers, my favorite being RATTLEBONES, MURDER of CROWS, and CALCIUM RESERVES.

The writing is confident and sharp. I particularly enjoyed the in-character introduction: “Alright, fresh kill. Here’s some things you need to know about yourself. You’re a REVENANT.” It’s hard to pull off, but when you manage (like Richard does), it’s like the old days of Shadowrun come rushing back, with all its bravado and weird slang. That opening monologue sets the mood, the tone, and most importantly, actually puts you in a skeleton’s shoes. “Sensations are blunted,” and even a blow to the shoulder is numb buzz. But adrenaline – you feel that plenty.

I firmly believe every game should ship with a scenario. “The Better Part Of Valor” is a perfect example of what a skeleton racing game should look like. It’s about a meet hosed by BLACKBIRD, who may or may not be a Revenant himself. It doesn’t go where you’d expect it to, and by the end, there’s a “Where to Go From Here” (always appreciated). If I had one request, it’d be for an example of play, illustrating how a standard car race might play out. The included scenario is great, but I want more!

The layout is clean, single column. Typography is mostly Space Mono, a typewriter style font. That and the two-tone black and white clip art really makes this feel more like a truly authentic zine than a PDF. It’s the sort of thing that could have been photocopied in the back of a copy shop and hand-stapled before being passed around friends after school. Authentic, but still highly readable onscreen. Some of the art looks pulled from a 30s horror comic, and I’m especially partial to page 23’s “Death careening toward the viewer” and page 5’s “Spooky Lady Drives a Wacky Racers Twisted Metal Mobile.”

NO BONES ABOUT IT seems like a lot of fun. It takes what could have been a one or two page add-on for FIST, and expands the concept into a full game, brimming with ideas. Despite being all bones, this project has a lot of heart. <3


This is a really comprehensive review! Thank you!

Also, good point about examples of play! I tend to default to not including them, but this is an instinct I think I should reverse.

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"NO BONES ABOUT IT" builds an extremely evocative world of skeleton street racers. That concept alone makes it worth your attention.

Using F.I.S.T. as a launchpad, NO BONES ABOUT IT is very clearly its own beast. The rules are extremely clear and detailed, which makes it easy to recommend to veterans and beginners in the indie rpg space. More impressive is how the rules build upon the theme. It feels very cohesive.

Tackling vehicle rules in most RPGs can be daunting and tedious at best. Thankfully this is not the case with NO BONES. The vehicle mechanics  work seamlessly with your character sheet making high speed chases or demolition derbys as easy as shooting some other bone man. Additionally there are a lot of cool cars with pre-built stats to choose from, saving you and your group the heavy lifting.

It even includes a sample scenario that will help jumpstart your own creativity with this unique setting. 

If you are looking for ideas of how to use vehicles in F.I.S.T or any RPG, I would highly recommend giving this a look.


Whoah, thank you for the thorough review!