What is APEX?

The “Adaptable Play Engine” System (APE for short) emerged from primordial goo in the late 90’s as an answer to our needs for the homebrew games that we use to play as teenagers. We had a lot of creative people around the table in those days, and each had their own ideas of what type of settings they’d like to tell stories. Some wanted to weave tales of epic battles between dragons and sorcerors. Some wanted to run military campaigns in war-torn 1940’s Europe. Others wanted to chart the stars, explore alien worlds, and dogfight in highspeed space combat. So, rather than choosing a single settings to stick with, we decided to give each a turn! 

The next task was to figure out what rules system to use. There were plenty of big production options out there for each of those themes, but we  needed a system that would be able to carry over from one setting to next, while doing it seemlessly. We weren’t impressed by the generic rule-sets that were available at the time, mostly due to the complexity, cost of books, and necessity for everyone to read hundreds of pages. We wanted something light-weight and easy to use, it needed to work with any setting we threw at it, and it needed to work well. So, after some debate, it was decided that we’d create our own system, and APE was born!

We used APE for dozens of games, in various imaginitive settings. As time went on, the rules we created evolved and got more streamlined. Each time we added more content, tweaked a major mechanic, or just rewrote the material, we assigned a new version number. The last version was APE-9, which we finished sometime in 2008.  There was a lull in activity for a few years, but now we’ve dusted off the notepads, pulled out the old character sheets, and started rolling some dice again. More than a decade since its inception and the Adaptable Play Engine is back in action! With the latest edition, “APE-10” or “APEX”, we’ve decided to go public so to speak, and release our homebrew rules as an official system for free to use to anyone interested!

The whole purpose of APE was to create something with a relatively small learning curve. As stated before, we’ve attempted to leave out as much bloat as possible. Much of the heavy-lifting is left to your imagination, without the need to cross-reference dozens of charts or make complex computations during the most exciting parts of the game. That said, if you prefer more detailed “simulationist” rules, APEX may not be for you. On the other hand, if you’re not too concerned about having a detailed rule system for each and every contingency, APEX may be right up your alley!


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