The default game mechanics lend themselves to a lightweight pulp style of gameplay, which can be enhanced or altered by using the following extra rules to add details when desired.
If character progression is desired for a campaign, characters should mark any skill failures in order to have a chance at improving those skills at a later time.
During extended downtime, a character’s player may choose to advance, possibly improving their character’s skill ratings. They roll a d100 as an improvement check, and can increase all skills marked with failure that are rated at or below the improvement check result. Unmark the skills’ failures and increase the ratings by 1%. A skill rating can never exceed its related attribute's maximum rating.
The pilot of a space cruiser, exhausted after an extended and surprisingly dangerous mission, docks at a local spaceport and is finally able to relax. As they rest for the night, they reflect on what they witnessed: their player rolls a d100 for an improvement check (33). The pilot has two failed skills that are rated 33% or below: Athletics 20% and Social 15%. Their player increases each (to Athletics 21%, Social 16%).
A character can spend time actively practicing, studying, or training to improve a skill, instead of solely relying on hands-on learning. A dedicated training session—typically a work day’s worth of focus (about 8 hours)—allows the character to increase that skill by 1%, avoiding the need to make an improvement check.
The pilot wakes and spends half a cycle (about 8 hours) of downtime at the spaceport reviewing procedures and documentation in flight manuals, attempting to improve their Control skill. They come across a couple tips that they’d overlooked or forgotten along the way, and end the study session by increasing their Control skill by 1%.
Characters are able to eventually learn new talents over time. After 20 total training sessions focusing on a specific skill, the player may make a talent check by rolling d100 and comparing the updated skill rating: on success, a new related talent is gained. If failed, the character can attempt another talent check after the next training session. Once a talent is gained, the 20-session count is reset.
The pilot has spent many cycles at the spaceport, waiting for the next ideal mission to present itself. In between meetings and maintenance tasks, they’ve managed to focus 20 training sessions on their Control skill. The skill rating itself has been maxed out at their Will max rating for a few sessions, but the continued studying allows the pilot to attempt a talent check. The player rolls an 83, a failure that means at least another session is required to check again.
Interacting with particularly harmful sources can result in a character suffering corruption, a semi-permanent reduction in one or more attributes. If a source of damage is noted as corrupting, its damage reduces both the current and maximum rating for the affected attribute. Typically, healing this type of damage requires supernatural intervention: a ritual, powerful artifact, or otherworldly task.
Once an attribute’s value is corrupted down to zero, the character is permanently lost to the corruption, and there is no coming back.
Crafting professions are talents tied to the most relevant skill. Craftable items have a complexity rating that determines how much effort must be put into creating it. Complexity is tied to specific qualities of the resulting item, usually rated up to 100. Larger or much more complicated crafting projects can have correspondingly higher complexity, or the project can be broken into multiple crafted items.
Each contributing action is a skill roll, taking a set amount of time to perform. Work attempts are independent and can generally be separated by time. A successful skill roll increases the progress made by the result, until the total meets or exceeds the complexity rating. A critical doubles the progress result, and a fumble reduces the progress by the result amount.
Particularly high quality crafting gear can make related crafting rolls easy; similarly poor equipment (or lack thereof) can make them hard. Some crafts can also be performed more carefully, making it easy but taking relatively longer.
A chef prepares to cook a meal for their party at a campsite. They want to make a large cauldron of chili, with a complexity of 50. They make an initial Finesse (Cooking) roll, succeeding with a 35: the first hour spent cooking thus yields 35/50 progress. They spend another hour to try to finish the meal, succeeding again with a 16: this completes the meal (51/50 progress), and the party settles down to enjoy their chili.
An amateur gunsmith is hired to craft a custom weapon, a design with a complexity of 100. Their first hour of work on the item is successful, yielding 15/100 progress. During their second hour of work, they roll just higher than their skill target, and fail. No progress is made on the item. A third hour is spent crafting, but the gunsmith unfortunately rolls an 80: a fumble that causes their progress up to this point to be reduced to 0. The frustrated smith scraps the project and has to start anew.
Entities (NPCs, non-human creatures, monsters, special items, etc.) can have tags associated with them to describe abilities and special aspects. Entity tags include:
- Armored (X): natural armor with X Body resistance
- Eldritch (X): otherworldly and terrifying; causes immediate corrupting Xd10 Mind loss, and triggers a sanity check on each interaction, corrupting further Xd10 Mind on failure
- Flying: close-range actions on them are hard, while in the air
- Immortal: cannot be killed; enters a fugue state or vanishes upon zero attribute(s)
- Scary (X): shocking to witness; triggers a fear check on encounter, reduces Xd10 Will on failure
- Spectral: incorporeal and ghostly; Sense rolls against them are hard, only takes Body damage from Weird weapons
- Uncanny: disconcerting and unnatural; hard Will skills against/near/within them
- Undead: triggers a Will check on encounter, failure results in panic and 1d10 Will loss
- Vulnerable (Type): takes double damage from all sources of Type damage
- Weird (X): wildly offputting, infused with magick; triggers a sanity check on encounter, reduces Xd10 Mind on failure
Instead of skill ratings and talents, NPCs have skills noted as strengths (with ↑) or weaknesses (with ↓). Action checks against strengths are hard, and checks against weaknesses are easy.
Many artifacts, relics, books, and tomes exist that contain or describe supernatural energy or knowledge not meant for humans. Most of these items are either Weird or Eldritch, with the distinction being whether they’re simply infused with chaotic energy (Weird) or directly contain some inherent chaos or deeper cosmic truths (Eldritch).
Alligator or Crocodile
↓Athletics, ↑Subterfuge, Scaly Hide: Armored (5), Bite (3d10)
↑Combat, ↑Sense, Thick Hide: Armored (3), Bite (2d10 Cutting), Claws (3d10 Cutting)
↑Athletics, ↑Sense, ↑Subterfuge, Tough Hide: Armored (2), Bite (3d10 Cutting), Claw (2d10 Cutting)
↑Athletics, ↑Sense, ↑Subterfuge, Tough Hide: Armored (2), Bite (2d10 Cutting), Claw (3d10 Cutting)
↑Athletics, ↑Sense, Thick Fur: Armored (2), Bite (2d10 Cutting)
Examples: Fantasy Creatures
↑Sense, Flying, Thick Scales: Armored (12), Breathe Flame (3d10 Burning), Bite (5d10), Claw (4d10 Cutting), Tail (2d10)
↑Presence, Tough Skin: Armored (20), Huge Club (5d10)
↑Combat, Hide: Armored (5), Great Axe (4d10 Cutting)
↑Combat, ↓Sense, Hide Armor: Armored (10), One of: Scimitar (2d10 Cutting), Composite Bow (3d10 Piercing), Short Spear (2d10 Piercing)
Tough Skin: Armored (3), Tree Trunk Club (3d10), Claw (2d10 Cutting), Regenerate: Heals 1d10 every half hour
Examples: Supernatural Creatures
Scary (2), Spectral
Scary (3), ↑Subterfuge, Claw (2d10 Cutting), Bite (2d10 Toxic), Howl: Scary (2)
Scary (2), ↑Knowledge (Ancient Language), ↑Sense, Desiccated: Vulnerable (Burning)
Scary (2), Broadsword (2d10 Cutting), Bow (1d10 Piercing)
↓Athletics, Scary (2), Bite (1d10 Cutting), Claw (1d10 Cutting)
Equipment can have tags that denote some quality or detail important to their use. Equipment tags include:
- Fragile: critical Body damage tears this material, reducing its protection.
- Heavy: hard movement checks when carried.
Armor has a protection rating (for Body resistance), and weapon damage has a type that describes how critical hits cause additional damage:
- (Default): add 1d10 to damage.
- Blasting: double damage.
- Piercing: maximum damage (e.g., 40 for 4d10).
- Periodic (Burning, Cutting, Toxic, etc.): deals occasional related damage until dealt with effectively.
Example: Modern Equipment
|1920s Protective Vest||10|
|1940s Flak Jacket||15|
|Modern Ballistic Vest||20|
Drugs and chemicals offer a range of temporary effects for characters. Availability and legality are highly dependent on a chemical’s effect and local authorities.
When a character consumes a substance, they make a Body check. If their current Body rating is higher than the potency, the roll is easy. On success, only beneficial side-effects occur; on failure, both beneficial and harmful; on a fumble, they suffer only the harmful effects.
Becoming dependent on an addictive substance is possible: all action checks are hard until they pass a Body check (normal difficulty, attempted daily), or the character consumes the substance again (doesn’t clear the dependent status).
Some example substances (at average single doses) include:
|Substance||Potency||Duration||Beneficial Effects||Harmful Effects|
|Cannabis||30%||1–3 hours||+5 Mind Resistance||-1d10 Will|
|Liquor||50%||1–3 hours||+5 Body Resistance||-1d10 Mind|
|Opioid||80%||1–4 hours||+2d10 Body,
+10 Body Resistance
|Poison||90%||2–4 hours||—||-2d10 Body per hour|
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