The core rules are focused on minimizing GM preparations, letting the game move along quickly and smoothly. Included here are more details and options for running the game.
Normally in a conflict, characters act in order the players determine: the acting character’s player chooses the next character to act throughout a round. This greatly simplifies and speeds up conflicts, but players might prefer a more tactical system.
For a skill-based initiative approach, each round the characters make a skill check based on their involvement. Characters that succeed act before the NPCs, and those that fail act after; characters with criticals act first, and fumbles act last. Players can wait to act later in the round if they’d like.
Sometimes you might not have a number of dice available to make certain damage rolls involving potentially many d10s within a single roll, especially if playing a physical game. Or maybe you simply don’t want to add a bunch of d10s together to get a final result.
As an alternative to summing numerous dice, you can roll a single d10 and multiply by the noted number. For example, 5d10 would mean 5×d10 (five times the result of a d10).
Roll a d10 to determine a general location on the body.
- 1. Left leg
- 2. Right leg
- 3. Left arm
- 4. Right arm
- 5–9. Torso
- 10. Head
It’s possible that a campaign or session can be delayed or otherwise impacted negatively if finding clues and useful information relies completely on a successful skill check (e.g., a failed Sense roll to search for a certain item in a cabinet just results in nothing found).
To prevent this, it’s suggested that a character investigating something for important plot information (assuming they’re reasonably capable of finding the information) automatically find some relevant clue upon action. The character still makes the skill check, but the level of success determines the amount of complication they encounter while doing so. In these cases, the check is used purely for how well they investigated.
- Critical: the character finds the clue and all related details available
- Success: the character finds the clue, and gains a situational bonus
- Failure: the character manages to find the clue, but suffers a situational setback
- Fumble: the character finds the bare minimum for the clue to be useful, and the situation is quickly complicated against them
To make combat with certain types of weapons more deadly, you can treat criticals (or fumbles defensively) in situations with particularly damaging weaponry (e.g., guns at close range, sneak attacks with a bladed weapon) as lethal—the target's Body (or other affected attribute) is immediately reduced to zero, and they fall unconscious.
Non-player characters have the same three core attributes as player characters: Body, Mind, and Will. The rating of each determines an NPC’s resilience in that area, and operates the same as player characters’ ratings (checks, damage, etc.).
Most NPCs will have ranges of attributes similar to player characters, but some especially tough opponents can have higher ratings. Having a current attribute rating over 100 means that the NPC cannot be broken, shaken, etc. until it’s reduced below 100.
Skills are a special case for NPCs: they do not have percentile ratings, but instead have skills denoted as strengths (with ↑) and weaknesses (with ↓). Action checks against strengths are hard, and checks against weaknesses are easy.
NPCs can also have abilities, enhancements (like inherent armor or other resistances), or equipment.
NPCs can be divided into relative “levels”, with corresponding attribute totals and skills. Coming up with attributes on the spot can be tedious, so sticking to some basic formulas can be helpful (common values: 10, 25, 50, 75, 90). The following categories give simple formulas for quick characters.
- Low: nameless entities, fill scenes to give the PCs an obstacle
- Less than 50 total attribute points, one primary; formula: 25, 10, 10
- Simple actions, minimal damage attacks (1d10), have one weakness
- Average: common named entities, supporting or background characters
- Less than 100 total attribute points; formula: 50, 25, 10
- Diverse actions, low damage attacks (2d10), one strength and one weakness
- High: characters central to ongoing plots, may be important
- Up to 150 total attribute points; formula: 75, 50, 25
- Specialized actions, medium damage attacks (3d10 or 4d10), two strengths and a weakness
- Elite: entities crucial to plots, focus of storyline, looming threats, etc.
- Up to 200 total attribute points; formula: 90, 75, 50
- Unique and severe actions, persistent higher damage attacks (5d10 and higher), three strengths highlighting their threat, and a weakness or two
See the NPC Generator tool for randomly generating NPCs.
Whenever questions or situations come up that involve unknown answers—whether you as the GM aren’t sure, or if you are playing solo—an oracle can be used to decide for you. Choose a likelihood of a positive answer from below, determining the target value, and roll d100.
- 90%: Definitely
- 75%: Likely
- 50%: Unknown (default)
- 25%: Unlikely
- 10%: Infeasible
Just like other rolls, a result under or equal to the target is a success—usually a “yes” answer to the question. Analogous to criticals/fumbles, if the result ends with a 0, an unexpected twist also occurs.
See the Oracle tool for web-based tracking.
Additionally, you can inject an aspect of chaotic adjustments by tracking an offset number. If an unexpected twist occurs, this offset can affect following likelihood checks by 10% in the opposite direction: a successful critical makes oracle checks less likely (-10%), while a failed fumble makes oracle checks more likely (+10%). In this way, you’ll adjust the current chaos offset as you roll more unexpected results.
You might also consider constraining chances between 10% and 90% in order to always allow special cases and keep results surprising and interesting.
By default, the GM does not roll dice: all rolls are made by players, with difficulty (easy/hard) determining modifications to their rolls. Affected players roll when taking damage from NPCs.
Alternatively, you can get involved with rolling as well using opposed rolls. This adds an additional element of variability, and can be used for anything the players are facing: just decide a difficulty/likelihood as a percentage and roll opposition. For NPCs, the default target is 50%. With a strength, target 75%; with a weakness target 25%.
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