Most actions are resolved by rolling a six-sided die (or d6) and determining what modifiers should apply to the roll. Modifiers may come from Aptitudes (only up to 3 Basic Aptitudes may apply to any action) or equipment and can increase or decrease roll results. After determining the roll, it needs to be compared to a pre-determined threshold, determined situationally. Success is achieved by rolling a number (plus modifiers) equal to or greater than the threshold. When an action requires a roll, it ‘calls’ the roll.
Any action can only be rolled by each character once unless circumstances have changed. For example, if a character searches a hallway and finds nothing, they cannot search the hallway again unless something about the hallway changes or the character has new information.
It may be a little confusing to determine which aptitudes would affect what actions a PC may take. For the sake of understanding, some examples are listed below with the aptitudes that would modify the roll on such an action in parentheses. Players should generally not be rolling these against other players, so there is no need for having a threshold derived for character stats to resist those that have a target. The threshold for these actions when done against NPCs should be determined on a case-by-case basis.
- Search (Perception, Vision, and Logic): the PC is searching for something by looking around.
- Listen (Perception, Hearing, and Logic): the PC is listening closely to people whispering or behind a closed door.
- Taste (Perception, Smell, and Logic): the PC is trying to determine what was used to make a given food or if food is poisoned.
- Sneak (Steadiness, Coordination, Flexibility): the PC is trying to move around undetected or out of sight. Gains a bonus when sneaking in an Area that is obscured, shrouded, or dark (these do not stack). If an Area is bright and clear, this is made with a penalty of 1 and a bright and shrouded Area offers no bonus or penalty.
- Intimidate (Charisma, Might, Willpower): the PC is attempting to persuade someone by appealing to their sense of fear.
- Persuade (Charisma, Empathy, Willpower): the PC is attempting to persuade someone by appealing to their sense of compassion.
- Climb (Coordination, Might, Speed, Vision): the PC is attempting to move across a wall (up, down, or sideways) safely without a ladder. When climbing down, PCs should incur a penalty of 1, when climbing something with the aid of a harness of some sort, PCs should incur a bonus of 1. GMs are free to set their own thresholds, but recommended thresholds are listed in the table below. Failures should incur at least one Injury from falling, unless they can be caught by a harness.
- Safe Fall (Constitution, Coordination, Might): the PC is attempting to jump off a ledge without taking damage. This may only be used if they can only incur one injury. The recommended threshold for this is 5. For more information on falling and fall damage, see “Areas” below.
- Pick Lock/Pocket (Dexterity, Steadiness, Willpower): the PC is attempting to take something from someone’s pocket without being noticed or trying to pick a lock (requires the necessary tools). The threshold for picking pockets should be 4 + any aptitudes the target may have related to Search (above). The recommended threshold for picking locks is 5, but should be increased for particularly old/rusty or high-security locks.
|Knotted Rope, Proper Handholds||3|
|Rough Wall (cracked bricks, etc.), Slippery Ladder||5|
|Rope Alone, Smooth Wall (rock face, etc.)||7|
|Sheer Wall (flush bricks, etc.)||9|
Combat is split into rounds, which are split into turns. During a combat round, every character involved gets their own turn. On their turn, they can take 2 actions (unless otherwise noted due to various circumstances), which can be something defined by the player and GM (including most of the actions listed in the above “Example Actions” list), from the below “Combat Actions” list, or moving between Areas (defined in the section “Areas” below). Turns consist of players declaring their character’s actions, resolving them with the roll of the die, and the GM describing the result in as much detail as the group wishes.
As for turn order, begin with the player sitting to the left of the GM and work clockwise (assuming you’re sitting around a circular table – if you’re online, determine turn order at the beginning of the play session). The GM will then take turns for NPCs, controlling different factions together, beginning with those aligned with the player party. E.g.: If the PCs are involved in a battle where it is them, a group of villagers they’re protecting, and two rival goblin clans raiding the village, the GM should determine the actions of the villagers first, then one goblin clan, then the other. As well, if there is an action between 2 NPCs and there is no PC involved (such as a goblin attacking one of the villagers in the previous example), the GM should not roll to resolve the action – instead, they should determine themselves the outcome (perhaps basing it on how well the PCs did in their own quarrels, Greek Epic style).
Under normal circumstances, attacking an enemy character in the same Area as the PC causes the PC to lock with that character in combat. When this happens, both the PC and the GM make rolls based on their Melee or Ranged modifier (see “Combat Actions” below), depending on their weapon of choice. Whichever rolls higher Injures or Fatigues the other; in the case of a tie, nothing happens. The locked character cannot then act on the GM’s turn. A PC cannot attack an enemy character in the same Area as them that is already locked unless there are no unlocked targets in that same Area.
When attacking an enemy character that is already locked or that is in a different Area, the attack threshold is determined by the target’s Defense score. Defense for a Medium character with human-like skin is 3 by default but can be increased by various means.
Weapons can cause Injuries, Fatigue, or both, as listed in the weapon’s description. Unarmed Strikes are treated as having +0 FTM unless the character has certain aptitudes.
If a weapon causes Injuries (it has an ITM), then, upon being hit, players must make a roll that can be modified by Constitution. The threshold for this roll is 1 + ITM + the number of Injuries that the PC has. If this roll succeeds, their Injuries are incremented by 1. On a failure, they die.
If a weapon causes fatigue (it has an FTM), then, upon being hit, players must make a Resilience roll, which can be modified by Constitution, Endurance, and Willpower. The threshold for this roll is 0 + FTM + the Fatigue level of the PC. If this roll succeeds, their Fatigue is incremented by 1. On a failure, they are knocked unconscious.
All actions listed below are made against a target’s Defense threshold. Only three of the factors listed in parentheses may be applied.
- Melee Attack (Coordination, Might, Weapon/Brawling)
- Throwing Attack (Might, Vision, Coordination, Weapon)
- Ranged Attack (Steadiness, Vision, Weapon)
- Disarm (Coordination, Might, Weapon): The PC is trying to disarm a target.
- Grapple (Might, Speed, Brawling): The PC grabs a target, stopping them from moving or attacking anyone other than the grappler. Grapples can be broken by making the same roll (or reversed by making the same roll with a penalty of 2)
- Knockdown (Might, Coordination, Weapon/Brawling): The PC sweeps an opponents legs out from beneath them or shoves them, knocking them to the ground. They must use their action to get up. They can choose to stay on the ground, but incur a -2 modifier to all actions except knockdown. Anyone attacking a knocked down target gets a +1 for melee and ranged attacks from the same area, and a -1 ranged modifier for each area away from the target.
- Tackle (Might, Coordination, Speed, Brawling): Effectively grapple and knockdown together – both the tackler and the tacklee count as being knocked down, though they incur no negative modifier for actions against each other. Only the tacklee counts as grappled.
- Push or Pull (Might, Coordination, Brawling): The PC forcefully moves an opponent or ally to or from an adjacent Area or an obstacle (such as a fire pit) in the same Area.
Downtime and Resting
Within their lives, characters generally do not spend 100% of their time exploring, doing odd jobs, or getting to the bottom of some political conspiracy. Inevitably there will be a lull in their work and they will either want – or need – to take a rest, or just spend some time training. This when downtime and resting come in – a necessary activity to heal after a dangerous mission or rest after two days of staying up all night watching the mayor sit in his house doing nothing.
For the sake of simplicity, a given 24-hour period is split into 8 timeframes that can be assumed to be ~3 hours long each. These are dawn, morning, noon, afternoon, dusk, evening, midnight, and odark. In order to remain properly alert and awake, a character must sleep for at least 2 of these timeframes in an 8 timeframe period. If a character goes more than 6 timeframes without sleeping, they must make a Resilience roll, treated as being attacked with a weapon that has an FMT of +0.
For each additional timeframe in a day slept through beyond the necessary 2, a character loses 1 Fatigue – any given character can only lose 4 Fatigue per day in this way. Characters lose 1 injury every 8 timeframes and lose an additional injury if they sleep for 4 timeframes – any given character can only lose 2 Injuries per day.
Each day, a character must eat at least one full meal. If they go more than three days without eating a full meal, they take a penalty of -1 to any rolls where Constitution may apply. This effect is removed after eating for three days in a row.
The combat arena is divided into ‘Areas’ – spaces that are up to a cube of 5 meters on each side (so a 10-meter long hallway that’s 2 meters wide and 2 meters tall would be two different areas, while a room that is a perfect cube of 5 meters per side is one area). During one combat round, a character can be assumed to be capable of moving sufficiently through the Area they currently occupy and, unless they have Runner, they can move up to 1 Area away in a given turn (as an Action). Any Area can hold an equivalent of up to 16 Medium creatures (or the added size of all creatures in a given Area can be up to 16). The size of a given creature is defined in the table below. Also listed is the default defense of a creature with the given size and human-like skin.
If a character changes areas vertically, this will usually be by either climbing or falling. If a character falls, they should take a number of injuries equal to the number of times they changed Areas. Note that these should be rolled as separate injuries, not a single roll modified by the number of times they changed Areas.
|Miniscule||0||Too small for any other category||6|
|Diminutive||1/8||>1/8 meter tall or >1/16 meter wide (> a fist)||6|
|Tiny||1/4||>1/4 meter tall or >1/8 meter wide||5|
|Small||1/2||>1/2 meter tall or >1/4 meter wide||4|
|Medium||1||>1 meter tall or >1/2 meter wide||3|
|Large||2||>2 meters tall or >1 meter wide||2|
|Giant||4||>4 meters tall or >2 meters wide||1|
|Huge||8||>4 meters tall or >3 meters wide||0|
|Gargantuan||16||>5 meters tall or >4 meters wide||0|
|Titanic||32||>5 meters tall or >5 meters wide||0|
Every Area has 5 qualities to it. Under normal circumstances all of these qualities can be ignored, but, occasionally, they come into play. They are:
Brightness: How bright an area is. There are 3 values: dark, dim, and bright. When an Area is dark, targeting or trying to perceive anything or anyone standing inside the area incurs a penalty of 1. When an Area is dim (by the light of a fire or the moon), there is no modifier related to brightness. When an Area is bright (usually sunlight), targeting or trying to perceive anything or anyone standing inside that area incurs a bonus of 1.
Obscurity: How much an Area is shrouded by physical objects. An Area can be clear, shrouded, or obscured. When an Area is clear, there is no special bonuses or penalties. When an Area is shrouded (foliage, a lot of décor that can be hidden behind, etc.), any creature or target in that Area increases their Defense by 1. When are Area is obscured (such as by smoke, fog, etc.), attempting to interact with anything in that Area or from within that Area takes a penalty of 1. Note that an Area can be both shrouded and obscured at the same time (for instance, a dense forest with a thick fog would gain Shrouded from the foliage and Obscured from the fog).
Flammability: How capable an area is of burning. An Area with no flammability is made up of non-flammable material such as stone or metal and cannot be set on fire. An Area of flammability 0 contains relatively few flammable materials, such as a stone room with lots of wood and cloth décor. An Area of flammability 1 contains a relatively high amount of flammable material, such as grass and shrubbery. An Area of flammability 2 is made up of flammable material, such as a wooden structure or forested Area.
Wetness: How much water is in an area. An Area that is completely dry has no wetness and there is no special effect. A damp Area (wetness 0) has a minimal amount of water on surfaces in the area or the air is very humid. A damp Area’s flammability is effectively lowered by 1 (note that this makes an Area with 0 flammability -1, it does not remove the flammability of the Area). An Area with wetness higher than 0 determines how high the water level is in the Area and has no flammability (except in the presence of large amounts of oil). Wetness in an Area has similar values to the size of a character. When an area’s wetness is at or higher than half a character’s size, the number of actions they can take in the turn they start in that area is reduced by 1. When an area’s wetness is at or higher than a character’s size, they must take a combat round every 4 combat rounds to swim to the surface and take a breath. For every round after those 4, a character must make a Resilience roll. If a character is unconscious in an area with a wetness level higher than 0 for more than 1 combat round, they die.
Fire Level: How on fire an area is. When an Area has no fire level, there is no fire in the Area. When an Area has a fire level, it’s brightness is at least dim, increasing to bright when the fire level is at least 3. When an Area’s fire level is -3 to -1, there is a contained fire (-3 would be something like an oil fire contained in a lantern, -2 would be a fire in an established fire pit or fire place, such as in a tavern, and a -1 would be a campfire surrounded by stones). When an Area has a fire level of 0 there is a small, uncontained fire (such as a torch). Beyond that, a fire can have a level anywhere between 1 and 6. When an Area has a fire level, the fire has a chance to grow once per round (probably don’t make this roll just because you can; if the party is sitting in a tavern and calmly eating a meal, do not roll for the fire to spread or grow). To determine if a fire is going to grow, make a standard roll, modified by the area’s flammability and fire level. On a total roll of 7 or higher, the fire grows and the fire level of the area is increased to 0 (if it is less than 0) or increased by 1. It also has a chance to spread to nearby Areas when the fire level is at least 2. To determine if a fire spreads, make the same roll made when a fire is determined to be growing or not on any adjacent flammable Areas to the area currently with a fire in it. If a fire spreads to an Area, the fire level on that area becomes 0. When the fire level is at least 1, the flames are large and hot enough to burn anyone in the Area. Make a melee attack roll on any creatures in the area, with the hit roll modified by the fire level. If the fire hits, they must make a Constitution roll with a base threshold equal to the fire level.