The Agama RPG is a fast-moving easy-to-play table-top role playing game system. Although it is using the Fantasy Toolbox game world for its examples, which may impart a familiar quasi-medieval heroic fantasy feel, it can be rigged to support nearly anything. Space Opera. Espionage. Weird Western. Ancient Mythology. Science Fantasy. If you can imagine it, the Agama can play it.
What You Need
People Make the Game.
An average group is made of 2 to 4 Players and 1 Game Master. Players control Characters who are the stars of the show. When the two come together they become an entity known as a Player Character or PC which is a little of both at the same time.
The Game Master or GM controls the world the adventure takes place in, describing all that the player characters encounter. The GM runs characters called Creatures. What's the difference? Not much, as far as the rules are considered the terms Character and Creature may be used interchangeably.
This is the Rulebook. It has been divided into two sections. The first part is for players and will tell you everything you need to know to run a character. The second is for game masters and is all about running a game. Two other types of books you should know about are Character and World Books. Character Books are for players and will give you what you need to create a character for a specific world. World Books are for the Game Master's eyes only. They contain information about the world itself, mostly secrets for the GM to know and the PCs to find out.
A Big Bag-o-Dice.
Or at least one set of polyhedrals containing a d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20 and d00. The d stands for die and the number is the number of sides on the die, so a d6 is a common six sided die. Having three sets of dice is best. The d30 is sold separately yet highly recommended. You will only ever need one d30 and one d00.
For a truly perfect set of dice, go to your friendly local gaming store and seek out their bin of assorted dice. Choose three of each in matching colors. For a flame job choose black d4's, purple d6's, red d8's orange d10's, yellow d12's, white d20's and a crystal clear d30.
Most die rolls made during the game are done using the same kind of die, so color coding your dice makes it easier to pick them out of the pile.
If you have never rolled a 1d100. Roll the d00 and the d10 simultaneously. The d00 provides the tens digit. The d10 is the ones digit. Roll 70 and 6 and you have rolled 76. Roll 00 and 0 and you have rolled 00, aka a 100.
To roll a 1d1000, roll the d00 die twice. The first roll provides the hundreds digit so a roll of 30, 40, 2 equals 342. A roll of 00, 00, 1 is a roll of 1. Roll 00, 00, 0 and you have just rolled 1,000.
Paper & Pencils.
This game is not played with a computer, although admittedly you may want one for printing out character sheets. Any paper will do but the better the stock the longer your sheets will last. Good pencils with decent erasers are a must.
You have friends coming over! Or possibly you are going over to see your friends. Be sure to bring something for everyone to snack on, or at least be ready to chip in for pizza.
Basic Math Skills.
The math is not complex, mostly adding and subtracting with a some simple multiplication. However, should you ever find yourself with a decimal point be sure to round down to the nearest digit. Anywhere from a 3.01 to a 3.99 rounds down to a 3.
What's a Game Like?
In many ways the Agama is a tribute to the golden age of table top role playing games. It has much of the look and feel of a late 70's / early 80's role playing game. Many of the same terms are used for familiarity's sake, but times have changed and improvements have been made, so read closely. Not all is what it seems.
Before the Game.
Your experience may vary depending on who you game with but here is the jist of it. Characters are created outside of the game and occasionally discussed online. Time spent together is always short so the more you can do away from the game table the better the game will be.
Usually the Game Master decides where and when the game will take place and circulate a one page start to the adventure called a Scenario. Once again, it is best to read this before the game begins. It will tell you the start of the adventure and give your characters a push in the right direction to get things rolling.
The Game Begins.
Everybody gathers around the table. The GM sits at the head of it. She may refresh your memory of the scenario or what happened the last time you all got together. And we dive right in.
The Agama specializes in what is known as Omniscient or third-person role playing games. Often you don't run just one character but a small team of characters. You call their shots. You speak on their behalf. Occasionally you become that character, speak as the character and then switch to someone else. You do not have to stick with just one character the whole time - not unless you want to.
During the game we mostly remain ourselves, we use our natural born names and talk of our characters as if they were in the room with us. If Zitto is one of your characters you might say, "Alright, Zitto hides behind the overturned table and casts an illusion on the wall, an illusion of him opening a door and running through it, hoping to get the castle guards to slam into it after him."
The Dice Are Rolled.
Most of the time you tell the GM what your character is doing and she will tell you how it all plays out. If the action seems challenging - such as with Zitto's spell cast - the GM may ask you to check an attribute by rolling the dice to prove your character can do it.
Yes, that is what the dice do. They prove your character can do what you are trying to get them to do.
You always want to roll as high as possible. Rolling a 2 is a failure. Rolling a 1 is a critical fail and best avoided. With Zitto's spell cast he rolls a 6 which is a normal success. The GM sees this and says, "Well, it's not the best of all illusions but in the heat of the moment it fools the guards. The captain sees it, shouts Get 'Em! And as a group they charge into the stone wall, bowling themselves over backwards in a loud raucous clatter of platemail. The first two guards have been knocked out cold and the rest are stumbling to get up."
To this you might add, "Yeah! Zitto pumps his little piglet fist in the air and bolts off down the hall."
The Adventure Continues.
It moves on like this until the game runs out of time. Typically a gaming session will last anywhere from one to three hours. If you have to leave early hand your characters off to the other players so the game doesn't have to deal with their sudden disappearance.
When the game actually ends all character sheets go back to the GM who will hold onto them until next time the group meets. This is done so the group can pick up where they last left off and not have to worry if somebody cannot make it. While your name may be on the back of the character sheet, all characters belong to the adventure until it is over.
Traditionally table-top gaming is Immersive Gaming. Each player at the table gets one character and while seated at the table they become that character. They use the character's name. They talk the way the character talks. Sometimes they even act the way the character acts. There is nothing wrong with this and much which is right about it, except we are no longer living in the 1970's. For most of us, time is short and life is hectic. The people you gamed with last week may not be the same people you game with next week, so with omniscient gaming we sever the ties which so stiffly bind players to characters.
Realm of Influence.
Instead, your role in the game is more akin to a Greek god looking down from Mt. Olympus, watching events unfold in the mortal world and changing them through the actions of your favorite heroes. Characters are your avatars, your presence, your Realm of Influence. They say what you want them to say, do what you want them to do. You roll the dice on their behalf. Sometimes you even use your mojo to bend reality in their favor.
While it is recommended that you never run more than five characters at a time, you can have characters come and go as you please. You can retire one character, move onto a different character and then have an older character return to make a cameo appearance. You may even do the unthinkable and split the party, just so long as every player at the table has someone to play in this new group who is now heading out on their own.
When switching between characters it helps to mention them by name. If your characters are Zitto, Jouicelle and Ralph, instead of saying, "I walk up to the Barkeep and ask him if he has seen any Knights of the Black Skull riding through town," start with the name of the character who is speaking. Say, "Ralph goes up to the Bartender and is like, Hey, any Knights of the Black Skull been riding through town?" After identifying the character then you can then make the switch and start talking as that character.
While you can talk to your friends sitting around the table as yourself, it is good to remember that this is not the same as your characters talking to each other. Character communication needs to be spoken aloud as that character.
If Eric is another player you shouldn't say, "Eric, have Jouicelle watch that window while Ralph tries to pick the lock on the chest." Instead, tell the table, "Okay, Ralph kneels down to pick the lock. He turns his head and says to Jouicelle, 'hey beanpole watch dat window while I pick this lock, alright?'"
Kudos to you if you try to make your voice sound the way you imagine the character sounding. Ralph has a rough and gravelly voice. It is not the easiest thing to do for long periods of time but this is another great thing about omniscient gaming - you don't have to be Ralph for the entire length of the game.
In many ways, omniscient gaming is more about narrating a character rather than acting as that character. Feel free to mention things that normally wouldn't occur to an immersive gamer, such as the beads of sweat running down Ralph's forehead or his fingers trembling as he tries to pick the lock.
You cannot step outside of your realm of influence and say something like "he hears the tromping of boots in the hall" because that would be like you summoning up a troop of guards out of thin air. That's the GM's job. But when it comes to inconsequential things such as the look and feel of the place, the ambiance of the situation, most GMs will grant you a significant amount of liberty in describing what you want to see.
The Cardinal Rules
One of the strangest ironies of role playing games is that for something so notorious for hatching encyclopedia-sized sets of rules, you do not need to know them to play the game. You just need a basic understanding of how the system works and a willingness to look stuff up when needed. Everything is flexible. Everything is optional. At base there are only five rules which need to be known and cannot be changed or over-ruled in any way. These we call The Cardinal Rules.
Reality Beats Rules.
Reality is a big and beautiful thing, to capture it in all of its glorious detail with every single oddity and conundrum and contradiction perfectly set in place would require the building of a system as vast as the universe itself. As it is we have a small fast-moving game that runs on pencils, paper, dice and imagination.
These rules are not reality.
The game is a collection of guidelines for creating something that feels real. Should the rules ever conflict with what you believe should be happening then go with your gut and follow your imagination. The same goes for an absence in the rules. How long does a torch burn? It burns as long as you think it might burn.
What seems real is real.
The Game Master is Always Right.
Even when dead wrong. Deciding what is realistic about spaceships, magic and elementals is not an easy job, so no matter how off-center, irrational or glaringly bad a GM's decision may be - the game master is always right - the GM has final say.
This is not because we believe your GM to be infallible but because games only suffer when time is wasted by people arguing over the rules. The GM always has a good valid reason for doing what she does and - no - she does not need to share it with you.
No Do Overs.
Everyone slips up now and then. We forget we had this, that or some other thing. We realize that our character had an advantage that should have applied but was overlooked. Can't we go back and do it again?
Sorry, time only flows forward. This is the trade-off for being able to ignore the rules when the need arises. You can change the game around, but you cannot do it over and over until you get it right. Just try to be more vigilant next time.
Only Players at the Table.
Nothing is quite so distracting or draining as having someone at the table who is not playing the game. The Agama is not rocket science. It is exceedingly easy to play. Anyone sitting at the table should be given a character sheet and invited to join in or go elsewhere.
Always Play to Win.
There are no winners or losers in role playing games. This sage-old advice is utter nonsense. These games can be won and they can be lost but not in the way you might think.
You will know you are losing when people begin to get bored. When conversations stray from the adventure at hand. When people start to play with their cellphones rather than their dice.
You will know you are winning when the air crackles with laughter and excitement. When eyes widen and people find themselves wishing the adventure would never end.
That is winning.
Winning is the responsibility of everyone at the table. We all win or we all lose.
Always play to win!
ACTIONS & CHECKS
What Can My Characters Do?
Pretty much anything. If you can see it in your head then your characters can do it in the game. However, as a character's actions grow increasingly outlandish you may be called on to prove you can do it by checking an attribute.
Attributes come with a die roll attached to them. Agility 2d6, Ranger 3d8 and Spirit 1d10 are all attributes. The die roll is what you roll for the check. The die itself is known as the attribute's Rank and gives us a general idea of how awesome it is.
d20 = Amazing
d12 = Fantastic
d10 = Incredible
d8 = Great
d6 = Average
d4 = Pathetic
The number before the rank is the number of dice to roll. For a 2d6 you roll two six-sided dice and use the greatest number rolled as the Strength of your check. This determines the success of your action or lack thereof.
29 to 30 = Mind-Blowing Success.
21 to 28 = Astounding Success.
19 to 20 = Stellar Success.
13 to 18 = Amazing Success.
11 to 12 = Fantastic Success.
9 to 10 = Incredible Success.
7 to 8 = Great Success.
5 to 6 = Normal Success.
3 to 4 = Little Success.
2 = Average Fail.
1 = Critical Fail.
Ralph flings his shoulder against a door, trying to bust it down. The GM asks him for a Muscle check. Ralph has Muscle 2d8, so he rolls two eight-sided dice. A 2 and 4 turn up. The result is a strength of 4 and a little success. The GM sees this and tells the table, "Whomp! Crack! The door jumps in its frame and you think you hear something break inside it or possibly Ralph's shoulder, but the door refuses to budge."
Ralph tries again. This time he rolls 4 and 6. The 6 is a normal success. The GM tells the table, "Wham! The door flies open and Ralph stumbles out into the hall."
Hard & Easy.
What if the door had been a big heavy iron-shod castle door made of six-inch thick oak? What if the GM had asked Ralph for a hard muscle check?
When a check is described as Hard or Easy it changes the number of dice you roll. A hard check removes a die. It turns 2d8 into 1d8. An easy check adds a die. It turns 2d8 into 3d8. On paper these modifiers are often written down as numbers with the letter d behind them, such as -1d or +1d. Sometimes they are doubled or tripled to emphasize their impact.
Quadruple Easy = +4d
Triple Easy = +3d
Double Easy = +2d
Easy = +1d
Hard = -1d
Double Hard = -2d
Triple Hard = -3d
Quadruple Hard = -4d
The Dice Tree. But what if Ralph needed to make a Triple Hard check? How do you remove three dice from a 2d8? For that we turn to the dice tree which arranges all possible rolls from the most miserable 0d0 to the stellar and nigh-unobtainable 1d30.
It is called a tree because when you modify your roll you climb it as if moving between branches. Each +1d will move you up a branch. Each -1d takes you down a branch.
A triple hard check of Muscle 2d8 begins at 2d8, climbs down to 1d8, again to 3d6 and once more to stop on 2d6. If the check were triple easy you would climb upwards from 2d8 to 3d8 to 1d10 to 2d10.
Hint! If you don't have a dice tree on hand, it pays to remember that every three dice is a change in rank. A triple hard check of a 2d8 turns the d8 into a d6. To take a -4d on a 2d8 you would use three dice to move down to 2d6 and subtract one more die to finish up at 1d6.
Alpha & Omega.
The tree tops out at 1d30. No attribute ever begins there. This is a roll that can only be reached during the game. Attempting to climb above 1d30 always ends with a roll of 1d30. At the root of the tree sits a die so low it doesn't actually exist. For 0d0 we roll the d00 die. The result is never good.
90 or 00 = strength 3, little success.
50 to 80 = strength 2, failure.
10 to 40 = strength 1, critical fail.
Any time a single die rolls the best it can roll that is a Top Roll. Roll more than one and it adds a +1 to your strength. If you roll 8 8 8 on a 3d8 then the first sets your strength at 8, the second adds a +1 and the third adds another +1 to create a strength of 10.
If all you have is one set of dice you can still play the game. Actions just takes a little bit longer. To roll 3d6 roll the six sided die three times in a row, keeping track of the greatest number you have rolled. If you roll a 6 and then roll another 6 bump that strength up to 7.
Trying Hard. Characters are always trying to get things done, but rarely is it the best they can do. When you tell the table your charater is Trying Hard to do something you spend a pow point and get to add your Try modifier to the check roll.
Playing It Safe.
Any time you find yourself rolling a check with just one die you may voluntarily take a -1d and drop to a safer roll of lesser dice. Your roll of 1d8 becomes a 3d6. You may not succeed as stupendously as you could, but your chance of avoiding failure greatly increases. And there are times when avoiding failure means more than succeeding.
Saving Throws. A saving throw is a check you make in response to something happening to your character. They often come with the phrase Save Vs stuck onto them. Struck by a poison dart? That's going to require a Save Vs Poison. Fell from a roof top? A Save Vs Gravity determines how much damage will be taken.
The GM will tell you what attribute to check and whether or not a modifier is involved. Poisons often come with a penalty showing just how dangerous they can be. While a Spoiled Carton of Milk -1d may not kill you, a quart of Stychnine -9d probably will. Unlike a normal check, when you succeed with a saving throw often nothing happens. Fail and all hell breaks loose.
A defensive roll is one you make in response to an action being made against you by another character. It comes in two flavors: Match and Beat. With a match roll you need to match the strength of the action to stop it from happening. With a beat roll you need to beat it by at least one point.
Typically, Match rolls are defensive ones. All you are trying to do is stop something from happening and a stalemate of equal strengths will do it. Beat rolls are more offensive in nature. You win by out-performing your opponent. In truth, Match and Beat are often two ways of looking at the same thing.
Ralph and Grudge are the party dwarves. They are always trying to outdo one another. Tonight they decide to lock fists and arm-wrestle to see who is the strongest. The GM calls for three muscle checks.
Grudge has Muscle 3d8. Ralph has Muscle 2d8. Grudge does have an advantage over Ralph but that doesn't necessarily mean he is going to win.
On the first roll, Grudge rolls 2 3 6, Ralph rolls 1 and 6. With both dwarves having matching strengths of 6 so they stalemate. Nobody wins. Their fists hover and shake in the air.
On the second roll, Grudge rolls 2 2 4. Ralph rolls a 5 and 3. Five vs four? Ralph wins! He edges Grudge's fist closer to the table.
On the third roll, Grudge decides to try harder. He spends a pow point and gains a +2d try bonus raising his Muscle up to 2d10. He rolls 5 and 5. Ralph rolls a 2 and 6. Six vs five? Ralph wins again!
Ralph slams Grudge's fist to the oaken slabs of the table, jumps up and pounds a flagon of ale in victory. Grudge curses a bit while massaging his wrist and demands a rematch.
All Other Rolls.
It is good to keep in mind that only check rolls work in this way (using strengths, successes, top-rolling, etc). All other die rolls work as you might expect them to work.
If you find yourself rolling 2d6+3 for damage and the dice roll a 3 and 4, you do not have a strength of 4. The two combine to do 7 points of damage. Add in the +3 and you now do 10 points of damage.
KNOW YOUR CHARACTER
The Character Sheet
A character sheet is not the whole of your character. It is what you need to interact with the game. Like an iceberg it will show you the most outstanding parts, but there will always be far more to every character than what is on the page.
Name & Nutshell
At the top of the sheet is your character's Name and Nutshell. The nutshell is a line comprised of the character's intensity level, race and callings. It is short-hand for the core of your character but is not anything you actually use during the game. As for intensity, this describes a general level of your character's power as well as the type of adventure the character is suited for.
1 to 3 = Mortal
4 to 6 = Explorer
7 to 9 = Adventurer
10 to 12 = Hero
13 to 15 = Champion
16 to 20 = Paragon
21 to 25 = Demigod
26 to 30 = Deity
Inclination & Traits.
Just off to the left are the character's Inclination and Traits. Inclination gives us an idea of how the character tends to react to any given situation. There are nine inclinations identified by a two letter combination.
VG = Violent Good
VN = Violent Neutral
VE = Violent Evil
NG = Neutral Good
TN = True Neutral
NE = Neutral Evil
PG = Peaceful Good
PN = Peaceful Neutral
PE = Peaceful Evil
Some characters will have two inclinations separated by a slash. The first is the character's Social Inclination. This is the face they show the world. It is how they want to be known. The second is the character's Private Inclination. This is who they actually are, the face they rarely show anyone. Characters with just one inclination are generally the same person inside and out.
Traits are three personality traits which loom large with the character. They don't do anything. They just sit there at the top of the sheet to help remind you who the character is
The Abilities are eight broadly defined attributes that encompass the whole of your character's being.
Vitality is best known as your level of physical energy, your youthful vigor, your stamina. It is also your health and constitution. If you have a high vitality, not only will you be a bundle of energy but you will also be more resistant to disease and toxins.
Muscle is sheer physical strength. It is your ability to push stuff around and keep from being pushed around. Muscle also represents the sturdiness of your frame, the strength of the bones beneath the brawn.
Reflex is your ability to move with grace, speed and precision. Sometimes this means your whole body. Other times it is just your hands performing some fine or delicate operation.
Sense is about perception. It is both the keeness of your senses in percieveing the world as well as your ability to take it all in and quickly make some sense of it.
Spirit is willpower, your relentless drive, your ability to put your mind to something and not stop until you have accomplished it. It also doubles as your sanity, your courage, your ability to look fear in the face and not fall to pieces.
Intellect is the muscle of your mind. It is your ability to think long and hard about complex problems, as well as your ability to haul about hefty amounts of information and accurately recall it when you need it.
Charisma is often associated with the ability to speak eloquently and be convincing, but it is actually the speed and flexibility of your mind. Those who have that mental swiftness simply tend to be more charismatic than others.
Luck is an ability which often steps in to cover those checks where nothing else seems to fit, or when your character's pure dumb luck is being put to the test. Consider it a favorite for making saving throws.
Did you notice the parallels? Eight abilities may seem a bit much but another way to think of them are as two sets of four. One set for the physical side of your character, the other for the mental.
Vitality and Spirit are sources of energy.
Muscle and Intellect provide you with force.
Reflex and Charisma are all about flexibility.
Sense and Luck are the products of your intuition.
Agility & Attack
These two attributes are most often used during combat encounters. They come from your abilities, so while they may often seem like abilities they are not exactly the same thing.
This roll is found below the AC shield. It is your Vitality, Muscle, and Reflexes working together to help you get around. When you want to slip through a crowd, vault over a chasm, or power slide between a creature's legs, Agility makes it happen.
This is what you roll to make a combat attack. While you may add in different feats and advantages and other modifiers, the Attack roll itself doesn't care how it is used. Whether you are firing a crossbow, swinging a sword or bashing an orc over the head with a bar stool - Attack is what you use.
Callings & Feats
A Calling is just what it sounds like, it is what your character feels called to do in life. Unlike other games, a calling is also an attribute and can be used to check anything you might expect a follower of the calling to be able to do. Warriors can use their calling to tell you all about weapons and armor and battle tactics. Wizards can use their calling to read cryptic runes, recall arcane lore, or tell you what that strange bubbling blue potion is supposed to do. Possibly.
These are special actions your character has learned though a calling. On your sheet, They are listed with their Difficulty beneath the calling that provides them. When you want to use a feat you modify the calling's die roll by its difficulty. However, this may vary depending on the feat. Those used to make combat attacks will often play off of your Attack roll rather than the calling that provides them.
Deqqie has Warlock 3d6. From it she gets the feat Magic Missile with a difficulty of -1d. Although it is a combat-orientated spell it is still magic and will play off of her calling rather than her attack roll to make it work. To cast Magic Missile she rolls a 2d6.
Do I need a feat on the sheet in order to do something? That depends on the feat and what your GM will allow. The general rule is that if the feat has been marked as off-limits then you need to possess it in order to use it. Otherwise you may be able to perform the feat but you will probably need to make an Intellect or Luck check first and the GM decides the difficulty of the feat.
Collectively known as Vantages a character's Advantages and Disadvantages are helping attributes. You never use them directly. Instead you use them with other attributes to help you do better or possibly worse.
These are beneficial and always carry a bonus. Even when they do not modify an action, the modifier is there to tell you just how powerful the advantage is.
These always carry a penalty. Like an advantage, the penalty of a disadvantage may not effect a die roll but is there to tell us just how detrimental the disadvantage has become.
Certain advantages you will not find in the books. These are specializations and they represent time spent practicing and perfecting some area of interest.
Forgery +1d is just such a specialization. It doesn't do anything special and was made up on the fly, but the character bearing it definitely knows all about how to make and spot forged documents.
Forgery is also a feat. Occassionally feats and specializations overlap. If your character is a Rogue and has the feat Forgery at -5d then a +1d will be gained, boosting it to -4d. If the character does not have the Forgery feat then its default difficulty of -7d should be used which would then be boosted to -6d by the specialization.
If a feat has been listed as off-limits and the character has not acquired it then no amount of specialization will help the character perform it.
These vantages are not used during the play of the game. They mostly provide extra hit points and such. Because of this they are relegated to the back of the character sheet to save space on the front for those vantages which are used during a game.
To the right of your abilities is your armor class and point bars. These keep your character awake, alive and doing amazing things.
When your character takes damage the first thing it hits is your Armor Class or AC. This reduces the damage by however many points are in the shield. When hit for 10 points of damage with an AC of 9 only 1 point of damage slips through.
Sometimes the AC shield contains two values separated by a slash. The first is your Full Armor Class. The second is your Suck Armor Class. Full AC is what you want to use. Suck AC is what you end up using whenever your defenses start to suck.
Hit Points track the amount of wear damage a character can take before blacking out. The number in the circle is your Permanent Hit Point Count. It never changes. Hit point damage is recorded using roman hash marks. Once you have taken as much hit point damage as you have permanent hit points you go unconscious and won't wake up until the damage drops back below your permanent point count. Thankfully, hit point damage is easily recovered.
The number on the far right side of the hit point bar is the amount of damage it takes to stun you. If you have a Stun Point of 4 and take 4 or more hit points of damage then you lose your next action to keeping your feet. If you were doing something like casting a spell, reloading a weapon, or grappling a creature then the matter is shattered. If you were desperately clinging to something you suddenly let go.
If you take double your stun point or more in damage then you are not just stunned but also knocked off your feet. Now, flat on your back, you defend with your suck armor class. You lose one action to being stunned and will have to spend another action getting back up.
Wound Points track the amount of tear damage your character can take before becoming mortally wounded. Damage comes with a Damage Type which translates the force of a blow into wounds. The big four are....
Piercing = 1 wound per 1 hit point of damage.
Sharp = 1 wound per 2 hit points of damage.
Blunt = 1 wound per 4 hit points of damage.
Impact = 1 wound per 8 hit points of damage.
If 5 points of damage breach your armor then 5 wounds would be taken from Piercing damage, 2 wounds from Sharp damage, 1 wound from Blunt damage and no wounds from Impact damage. If no damage type is mentioned then no wound damage is taken.
Like hit points, wound points have a Permanent Wound Point Count which never changes. When your wound damage exceeds this count you become mortally wounded and will begin to take excess wound point damage in hit point damage minute after minute until your character blacks out and dies.
If your character has 10 permanent wound points and has taken 15 wounds of damage then at the end of each minute 5 hit points of damage will be lost until the character blacks out and is gone.
The number to the far right side of the wound point bar is your break point. This is the number of wounds it takes to saddle your character with an Injury -1d penalty. These accumulate and they will not go away until the wounds which caused them are healed.
If you have a break point of 3 then nothing happens with the first two wounds. At wound three you take an Injury -1d penalty. Wounds four and five do nothing but at wound six this increases to Injury -2d. This will happen again at wound nine and wound twelve and so on. Should the character be healed of all but four wounds of damage the injury penalty would drop back down to -1d.
So how does it all fit together? When damage hits your character it is like a flow of water washing across your sheet. The first thing it hits is your armor class. If strong enough to hold the damage back it stops right there. Otherwise, whatever spills over you record as hit point damage. You also compare the blow to your stun point to see if it was enough to rob you of your next action.
This same amount of damage you take to the wound bar and compare to the damage type to see how many wounds of damage it did. Last but not least, compare the total number of wounds you have to your break point to see if it has caused any injury penalties.
Oh No! Grudge just got walloped by a fire giant's war hammer for a whopping 30 points of Blunt damage. He has a Full AC of 12 so this will reduce it to 18 points of damage which Grudge's player hash marks onto his character sheet.
Grudge has exactly 18 permanent hit points so this blow will knock him unconscious. There he will remain until he can drop that damage back down to 17 or less.
Since Grudge is now unconscious we can skip on the whole matter of being stunned, but for the sake of example he has a stun point of 9. Eighteen points of damage would have both stunned him, stealing his next action, and knocked him off his feet. At this point it's a given.
For wounds, blunt damage does 1 wound for every 4 hit points of damage. Four goes into eighteen four times so he takes 4 wounds of damage. Grudge has a break point of 11 so while he may be bruised he hasn't been injured to the point where it will effect his actions. When he gets back up, however, he is definitely going to be hurting.
Pow Points may seem like hit points and wound points but they are completely different and more akin to willpower rather than endurance or the amount of damage your character can take. You do not damage pow points so much as drain them.
When you use a pow point mark it down with a roman hash mark. Once you have used as many pow points as you have permanent pow points then you simply run out. You are exhausted, frazzled, and unable to make your character do anything above and beyond the normal course of action.
Spent points will eventually need to be recovered. Each kind of point has its own method of regeneration.
These are the easiest to recover. Tell the table you are going to recover some points and that is your action for the round. No movement or attacking allowed, just drain a pow point, make a Vitality check, roll 1d6 and multiply it by the success of the check.
Little = points x 1.
Normal = points x 2.
Great = points x 3.
Incredible = points x 4.
Fantastic = points x 5.
Astounding = points x 6.
Stellar = points x 7.
Amazing = points x 9.
Mind-Blowing = points x 11.
This is the amount of hit point damage you get to erase from your sheet. If your character has been knocked unconscious this happens automatically, round after round, until you recover enough hit points to become conscious again. If you run out of pow points while doing it the recovery still happens but it slows to happening only once per minute.
From deep off in the darkness of his own mind, Grudge hears the distant metallic clash of conflict. Desperately, he tries to swim back to consciousness.
Gamewise, Grudge spends a pow point and rolls his Vitality 3d6. The result is a strength of 6 and a normal success. On the 1d6 he rolls a 4. The normal success doubles it to 8 and Grudge erases 8 hit points of damage from his sheet. This reduces his total damage to less than his 18 permanent hit points and so he wakes up.
Grudge suddenly sits up. His head is pounding and his body aching but he is awake. Grudge is still on the ground and will have to spend the next round standing back up, but the Orcslayer is back in the action!
These are harder to recover. You need to eat a decent meal and get a full night's sleep. When you wake in the morning all of your pow point damage will be gone. If you only get to eat or sleep but not both then you only recover half of your pow points. Get neither and you get nothing.
This is the hardest damage to heal. For every week spent taking it easy and trying to recuperate you get to make a Vitality check - just as you would for recovering hit point damage - except now you erase wound point damage. The regeneration roll is still 1d6, but it all happens so gradually that the pow drain is negligible.
If your character's body size is bigger than Medium it will change the way you heal both hit and wound points. Make your regeneration roll and multiply the points healed by your Size Index (the SI in the actions of your character sheet).
This kind of multiplication happens any time you do something to yourself which causes you to gain or lose hit points. For example, sprinting drains 1 hp per round. If your character is larger than medium-sized then that drain should be multiplied by your size index.
A gargantuan creature with a size index of 100 would lose 100 hit points for every round spent sprinting. This may sound like a lot but thanks to body size that creature is going to have 100 times more hit points than a medium-sized one. For this fast-moving mountain of a beast, losing 100 hp is like losing a single hit point.
On the character sheet this space is reserved for writing down Whole Modifiers during a game. A whole modifier effects the whole of your character, modifying everything you do. The big five are: Encumbrance, Injury, Delirium, Zeal and Angst.
Often abbreviated Enc, this is the most common whole modifier. It comes from hauling around too much stuff. Every 100 points of bulk will bring on an Encumbrance -1d.
Nobody likes adjusting their rolls for encumbrance, so when creating a character be sure to check out the universal advantage known as Grace Under Poundage. Every die of it will remove a -1d encumbrance penalty. Your Muscle ability also provides a Lift bonus which works in the same way.
This comes from the agony of trying to do something while injured. It comes from having too many wound points of damage and is explained in Break Point above.
Delirium is another way of saying drunk. Although it doesn't always come from alcohol, sickness can bring it on, magic too, but the effect is always the same. Delirium may be fun to feel but it makes it hard to do anything. Unless the source of the delirium says otherwise, it will wash out of your system at a rate of -1d every three hours.
This is the power of positive attitude. Where it comes from doesn't matter. The important thing is that it does not accumulate. It needs to be beaten to be replaced.
If a cleric casts the spell Bless on you five times in a row with each supplying a Zeal +2d bonus, this does not add up to a +10d bonus. It gives you a +2d bonus. If the cleric casts Bless again to create a Zeal +3d bonus, this would boost your zeal to +3d.
This is the opposite of zeal. It is always a penalty and like zeal it also does not accumulate. It will go low and stay low until something comes along to make matters worse. If you have Angst -2d it will stay at -2d until something hits you up for Angst -3d.
Although Angst and Zeal may seem connected they are not. You can have Zeal +3d and Angst -3d at the same time and the two will cancel each other out before being put into play.
How long do Zeal and Angst last? Unless you have a good reason to think otherwise, they naturally deflate by one die per day until +0d is reached.
This space holds your movement speeds, such as Walk 4, Swim 2 or Fly 15. Each is a form of locomotion as well as the number of steps your character can make per round while travelling that way. A Step is a measure of distance equal to three feet. A Round is a measure of time equal to two seconds. Combined you get Steps Per Round or SPR which is what speed is measured in. The eight most common forms of locomotions are....
Walk - move over land.
Swim - move through liquids.
Fly - move through the air.
Dig - tunnel through solids.
Climb - climb a vertical surface.
Cling - climb with the ability to move upside down.
Hop - move over land by bouncing.
Hover - move over land without touching the ground.
Speeds are most often used with miniatures, but not always. An interesting aspect of SPR is that it comes incredibly close to being MPH or Miles Per Hour. If you are trying to picture how fast your character is travelling, or how far the party can travel after a few hours of hiking? Think Miles Per Hour.
There are 5,280 feet in a mile. That's 1,760 steps per minute when traveling at 60 MPH. Divide 1,760 by 60 seconds and it is 29.3 steps per second. With a two-second round that equals 58.6 SPR which is almost 60 MPH. This means SPR is a little bit slower than MPH but close enough for an RPG.
Does a round have to be exactly two seconds long? No. The round is a short yet flexible amount of time. However, when it comes to thinking about how much action can be jam packed into one, two seconds worth is what you should shoot for.
Modifiers & Movement.
When your whole modifiers (encumbrance, injury, etc) add up to a penalty, this may stunt your movement speeds. Every -1d causes you to lose 10% of your movement speed, rounded down.
If you have Encumberment -1d and Injury -2d this creates a -3d whole modifier and a 30% reduction in speed. If you have Walk 4, ten percent is 0.4. Three of these add up to 1.2 which rounds down to 1 step. Your movement slows to Walk 3.
Because it is somewhat boring, Modifiers & Movement is typically overlooked until it seems like it should matter. It is something to keep in mind, but do not feel as if you have to readjust your movement speeds every time your modifiers change.
Try, Mass & Snap
Off to the right of the speed bar are three values in circles: Try, Mass, and Snap.
This is what you get when you spend a pow point to Try Harder with an action. If it says +2d then you can spend a pow point and gain a +2d for any check.
Mass is the influence of body size on the strength of those checks which might benefit from it, particularly Muscle. When asked to make a Weight or Mass check make a Muscle check and ass your Mass influencer to its strength. Just think Muscle Mass whenever you see Mass.
An Influencer is a modifier which does not change the success of a check, just its strength. This is done for matters of comparison. It is also the reason why the modifier is followed by the letter i.
In a fit of rage, Grudge decides to grapple the fire giant. The GM declares that whoever makes the best Mass check wins. Grudge Orcslayer is a medium sized dwarf with Mass +0i. The fire giant is a big creature with Mass +6i.
Grudge rolls Muscle 3d8 to create a strength of 8. The fire giant rolls Muscle 3d6 and creates a strength of 2. Even though the fire giant failed, we still add in his mass of 6 to create a comparative strength of 8. Eight vs Eight?The grapple happens but neither side wins it.
On the next round Grudge rolls a strength of 5. The fire giant rolls a 6 which increases to 12. Five vs Twelve? The fire giant laughingly wins the grapple. He decides to pick Grudge up and throw him down.
For the throw the giant rolls Attack 1d8 to create a strength of 7 and a mass strength of 13. Grudge is given an agility check to defend himself with. He rolls a 6. Thirteen vs Six? No contest. The giant picks Grudge up, spins him around and slams him down.
The giant rolls 1d8 for damage and scores 5 points. The giant's body size triples this to 15. For the attack we ignore Mass and use the attack's original strength of 7 which is a great success. This again triples the damage to do a whopping 45 points of impact damage.
Grudge hits the stone pavers and goes out like a light. Lesson learned? If you are not a fire giant, do not wrestle with a fire giant.
Snap is similar to Mass, except it deals with reaction time rather than body mass. It is primarily used when two characters are trying to figure out who goes first.
Snap is an influencer and only there for comparison. It does not actually change the success of a check. You temporarily add it to the strength of the action and whoever produces the greatest snap strength goes first. When the strengths equal, all characters involved go at the exact same time.
Zitto stares down a Warlock at the end of the hall, both now with magic crackling at their fingertips. Simultaneously, they cast their spells.
The Warlock casts Magic Salvo to a strength of 8. The Warlock doesn't have a snap bonus so he is stuck with a snap strength of 8. Zitto casts Color Burst to a strength of 7. Zitto has Snap +2i. This gives him a snap strength of 9. Eight vs Nine? Zitto's spell may not have been the more powerful one but it was the quicker one. He hits the warlock with a blinding cavalcade of colored lights.
Normally, color burst causes temporary blindness which will impact a character's chance to hit, but since the Warlock has already rolled the dice the GM decides to bend the rules a bit. She tells the table that the warlock successfully cast his spell but was startled by the lights and let it fly wild. A burst of magic missiles strafes the wall behind Zitto's head, showering him with pebbles and dust.
If you ever find yourself having a particularly hard time hitting a fast moving opponent, you may speed up your snap by trading a -1d penalty for a +1i snap. This can be done as many times as you like until you bottom out at 0d0. Take a -3d penalty and gain +3i snap.
The Actions list is admittedly a dumping ground for whatever you have that can be used to thwart your opponents: weapons, feats, etc. How they are used and what all those aspects attached to them mean will be covered later on in Encounters. This section is mostly about the values at the top of the list.
Muscle Power is a damage modifier that applies to any attack powered by your muscles. If your mace does Blunt 1d8+1 for damage and you have MP +2 your mace now does 1d8+3. If you are a bit on the wimpy side and have have MP -2, two points are lost and it now does 1d8-1. Roll a 1 on a 1d8-1 and your lack of muscle will cause the hit to do no damage whatsoever.
Figuring out what is powered by muscle and what is not may take some thought. Bows are muscle powered and do gain this bonus. Crossbows require muscle to load but not to shoot. They do not gain the bonus.
Characters come in hundreds of different shapes and sizes but for gaming purposes there are only twelve different sizes. Each body size has a name and a pair of multipliers known as Size Index and Size Half or SI and SH respectively.
Body Size = SI / SH
Teeny = 0.10 / 0.4
Tiny = 0.25 / 0.6
Small = 0.5 / 0.8
Medium = 1 / 1
Large = 1.5 / 1.2
Extra = 2 / 1.5
Big = 3 / 2
Huge = 5 / 3
Massive = 10 / 4
Gigantic = 20 / 6
Titantic = 40 / 8
Gargantuan = 100 / 10
If your size is Medium then you can ignore matters of size altogether. Otherwise, size may have a profound effect on your character, most notably with the way it multiplies the damage your attacks do. If your character is big with a size index of 3 then an attack doing 10 hit points of damage now does 30 points of damage.
Size Half is not used as often as Size Index. At most it is used during character creation with movement and range. The Half part refers to it having less of an impact than Size Index.
The circles and squares along the left side of the character sheet are used to keep track of your character's effort dice. Each slant of three represents one intensity level.
When you gain an effort die slash it to the left. When you spend the die slash it to the right, effectively X-ing it out. More on effort dice will be explained in Character Creation.
Equipment is found on the back of the sheet in a box on the left side of the page. It contains all of the stuff your character is hauling about.
This is the going rate an item usually sells for when bought new. Keep in mind that very little of what a character possesses will ever be considered new or even in good condition. If you go to resell it, bargainers will offer you considerably less than what you have written here.
Bulk is a relative measure of just how heavy and unwieldy something is. For a medium-sized character every 10 points of bulk is the rough equivalent of 1 pound. Every 100 points of bulk will causes a -1d encumberment penalty.
At the very bottom of the equipment table is your lift modifier. This comes from your muscle ability and works to neutralize any encumberment penalty you might have.
FAC & SAC.
These are for figuring out your armor class. Most of the time their values come from helmet, shield or an actual suit of armor, but any piece of equipment that might help stop a blow may have something to add.
A pack is a special piece of equipment which represents all the random junk you have about your person. Typically this implies an actual pack of some sort, but it can also include what is in your pockets, a satchel, sack, purse or anything else you might be carrying stuff around in.
When you need something which isn't in your equipment list make a Luck check plus your pack modifier and if it succeeds then you were lucky enough to think ahead and bring it along. Fail and you don't have it. A little success usually means that you brought it along but what you have is broken or empty.
It should be noted that the pack check works primarily with small common things such as a compass, a small mirror or a flint & tinder kit. It would not work with a 25' ladder.
When you have a piece of equipment whose name is followed by a die bonus such as Long Sword +1d. That is a quality bonus. It effects any check you use the item with. You can only use one quality bonus per action so pick the best and forget the rest.
One notable exception is armor. With armor each +1d grants +2 FAC and +1 SAC. So your suit of Chainmail +3d will grant you +6 FAC and +3 SAC on top of the normal armor class bonus brought about by a suit of chainmail.
On the far side of the page is a boxed in space for your character profile. It has lines if you want to write something about the character. It may also contain an image of the character. The backside of the page is used so you can flip the page up and give other players at the table a visual clue as to the character you are running at the moment.
One thing you will not find on the character sheet are Mojos. These are the glittering gold coins often seen stacked up around the table or sitting in a bowl of spent coins off to one side. Mojos are a form of celestial currency that allow you - the player - as an unacknowledged god to use your divine presence to change reality in your characters' favor.
You Can't Take It With You.
The first rule of mojos is that you can't take them with you. Every game session begins with each player rolling 1d12 to see how many coins they start with. Every game session ends with all the coins going back to the GM. Use them before you lose them.
There are many ways to gain mojo, but perhaps the easiest way is through creative thinking, snappy dialog, good team work, amazing feats of heroic action, amazing feats of disastrous failure, and anything else which helps make a game great. Quite simply, after the hurrahs die down, someone besides yourself exclaims, "Mojo Roll!" and if the GM agrees you roll a 1d12. If the number rolled is greater than the number of mojos you currently have then this is your new number of mojos. Take what you need from the bowl of spent ones.
The following is a list of things mojos can be spent on. Don't be surprised if your GM adds or removes items from the list.
1 Mojo. A +1d is gained by a check. Drop ten mojos on Rise Above and gain a whopping +10d to any check of your choosing.
Shaking the Tree.
1 Mojo. Don't like the roll you just made? Spend a coin and roll it again.
Act of Fate.
3 Mojos. You change some small happenstance in a coincidental way. An enemy's blaster rifle starts spitting sparks just as the trigger is pulled, or possibly an old friend shows up to lend a hand.
Gift of the Gods.
5 Mojos. With the GM's permission you get to bestow upon a character an item or happening which they desperately need. Such as having a magic sword appear beside an abandoned statue of the character's patron deity.
Act of God.
7 Mojos. With an Act of God you change the world in some miraculous way. For believability's sake, it is good to stay within the realm of the possible. However, in the broad scheme of things, earthquakes, volcanic explosions, meteorite strikes and stock market crashes happen all the time.
A good adventure is like a good action movie. It is not wall to wall combat but it does have its moments which we call Encounters. Unlike the rest of the game, time matters during an encounter and we measure it in Rounds which are two to three seconds long and a loosely structured thing:
1. The Round Begins.
2. Mandatory things happen.
3. Everyone makes one action.
4. The Round Ends.
An encounter begins when a fight breaks out. There is no formal ringing of a bell or rolling of a dice to signal the start of an encounter. One character slugs another and the round begins.
A mandatory thing is anything which happens automatically once per round. For example, if a spell has been cast that damages everyone caught in it - round after round - that damage happens once when the spell is cast and then again at the start of every following round.
An action is a combination of movement and attack or whatever it is the character wants to accomplish during the round. There is no set order of play. Characters go when they want to, but they do not all go at once. Turns are taken and it is a bit like driving through an intersection with no traffic light. Who goes when depends on the game itself and who needs to go. Typically though, the player characters go first and the game master's creatures end out the round.
The round ends when everyone has had the chance to make their one action. The next round begins right afterwards.
With movement you tell the table where you are going and who you are attacking and if it doesn't sound too outlandish we go right to the attack. Otherwise the GM may ask you for an Agility check.
Grudge's player says, "Okay, ah, Grudge runs across the room vaults over the tavern table and plants his axe in a hobgoblin's head."
The GM says, "Alright, give me an Agility check for that table vault. Minus a die because you are running."
Grudge's player rolls a 1d8 and turns up a 2. Fail! The GM sees this and says, "Hmm, well, you run across the room, but when you go to vault up on the table you overlook the fact that it is full of food. Your boot comes down on a half-eaten turkey carcass and flies out from under you. You don't take any damage from the fall, but you do lose your attack and now are stuck flat on your back. A bunch of angry hobgoblins loom over you.
Did you catch the die that Grudge lost because he was running? Running and Sprinting are short-hand for pushing yourself to go faster. They can be used with any form of movement, walking, swimming, flying, etc.
Running doubles a character's movement speed. It causes a -1d penalty and will drain 1 hit point for every full minute spent running. Since encounters are only a few seconds long the hit point drain is often ignored.
Sprinting triples a character's movement speed. It causes a -2d penalty and will drain 1 hit point every round.
Because sometimes you just cannot run fast enough. For this there is the Super Sprint. Movement becomes your action for the round. You spend 1 pow point and make either a Spirit or a Vitality check which tells us how it effects your speed.
Check: Spirit or Vitality
Fantastic or Better: Speed x 7.
Incredible: Speed x 6.
Great: Speed x 5.
Normal: Speed x 4.
Little: Speed x 3.
Fail: Fall flat on your face.
Critical Fail: Fall and twist your ankle.
The Speed is your normal movement speed. If you have Walk 4 then a little success will leave you sprinting normally with a movement speed of 12. Normal increases it to 16. Great increases it to 20 and so on.
After making the super sprint check, you can continue to sprint at that speed round after round, but that is your action for each round. Every following round spent sprinting will also drain 1 hp from you.
Charging is a muscle power bonus created by the speed of a character. It doesn't matter how much distance has been covered. The character's movement speed controls the damage. It all boils down to +1 MP per 5 SPR after the first five steps of speed.
1 - 5 SPR: +0 MP bonus.
6 - 10 SPR: +1 MP bonus.
11 - 15 SPR: +2 MP bonus.
16 - 20 SPR: +3 MP bonus.
21 - 25 SPR: +4 MP bonus.
Above 25 SPR? Divide the speed by 5, round down and that's it. A character burning across the battlefield at 42 SPR will gain a whopping +8 MP bonus to an attack.
It's good to keep in mind that this bonus comes from the character's own inertia. It only applies to those attacks which are backed up by the heft of the character's own body. Even though the bow & arrow does gain a MP bonus, it would not gain charge bonus, however a spear, sword or lance would. If your character is riding a creature or vehicle then the speed of that mount would determine the charge bonus.
For a character, moving and attacking all happens simultaneously. At the game table, it is best to handle movement first and then finish with an attack. Characters only get to make one attack per action and while this may seem a bit stifling it is good to keep in mind that there are many feats such as Triple Combo and Hack-N-Slash which allow you to pack more than one blow into your attack.
Feats, Attacks & Assists.
In combat, feats come in two forms: those which are actual attacks (ex: Magic Missile, Leg Lock, Twirl & Hurl) and those which assist other attacks (ex: Triple Combo, Hack-N-Slash, Hook Punch). You will know the difference by the presence of a damage roll. Actual attacks have them, assists do not.
The general idea is that you can use an attack by itself or pair it with an assist to make it more interesting. If your attack is a Punch you can use the assist Hook Punch to make it do more damage. You could also combine it with the feat Piston Punch to turn it into a burst attack, hitting your opponent with a flurry of blows.
You could even combine all three to create a Piston Hook Punch which fires off a flurry of slow but heavy blows. The catch is that both hook punch and piston punch come with difficulties which will make the attack harder to hit with.
Shannah is not fooling around. She swings at a hobgoblin with her sword and decides to combine a Dodge-N-Attack with a Thunderstrike. Both of these are assist feats belonging to the Warrior calling. Each will bring a -2d penalty, reducing her attack roll from 3d6 to 2d4. That's not good.
Shannah spends a pow point and tells the table she is trying hard to make this to work. Her Try +2d raises the check to 1d6. Better, but still quite risky. She rolls a 6!
This will do a normal serving of damage. Because of Thunderstrike the damage roll will gain a +2 bonus. Because of Dodge-N-Attack, anyone trying to hit her for the rest of this round will need to beat a strength of 6 to do so.
The general rule of the game is that you never roll the dice unless the Game Master asks you to, the idea being that you automatically succeed when doing anything unimportant or lacking a challenge. During an attack - everything is important - everything is a challenge. Dice rolling is a given.
When it comes time to make your attack, declare what you are doing and roll the dice for it. If the check succeeds then you roll for damage and the success of your roll multiplies it.
Little = damage x 1.
Normal = damage x 2.
Great = damage x 3.
Incredible = damage x 4.
Fantastic = damage x 5.
Astounding = damage x 6.
Stellar = damage x 7.
Amazing = damage x 9.
Mind-Blowing = damage x 11.
Most of the time, you simply roll the damage dice and multiply the result. However, there is an underlying pattern to finding damage.
1.) Roll the damage dice
2.) Add any damage modifiers.
3.) Multiply by size index.
4.) Multiply by success.
Damage dice rolls are just normal dice rolls. There are no strengths involved. If your damage roll is Sharp 2d6 and you roll 6 and 3 then you do 9 points of damage.
Damage modifiers are just numbers. They have no letter following them. A +1 is a damage modifier, it adds a point to your damage roll. Your 9 points of damage becomes 10 points of damage.
Characters with a size other than medium need to multiply the damage by their size index. An attack doing 10 points of damage will do 5 points in the hands of a gnome (size index 0.5) or 15 points in the hands of a half-giant (size index 1.5). Size truly does matter! Just make sure that it matters after you add in any damage modifiers and before you consider the success of the attack.
Last but not least, the damage total is multiplied by the success of the attack. Ten points of damage will do 10 points with a little success, 20 for a normal success, 30 for a great success, and so on. The reason this step is saved for last is because there may be instances (such as Ranged and Area Attacks, see Aspects) which will change the success of the attack.
Damage is a measure of force. Damage Type is what turns that force deadly. As explained earlier, damage type controls the translation of hit point damage into wound point damage.
Piercing = 1 wound per 1 hit point.
Sharp = 1 wound per 2 hit points.
Blunt = 1 wound per 4 hit points.
Impact = 1 wound per 8 hit points.
Most attacks come with a set damage type but this can be changed depending on how the attack is used. Consider the sword. It was made for slashing attacks that do Sharp damage. It can also make a stabbing attack that does Piercing damage. You can hit with the flat of the blade to do Blunt damage. A blow from the pommel would do Impact damage. The catch is that using an attack to do a damage type other than what it was designed for will bring on a -1d penalty.
Of course, not all attacks fall so cleanly into one of these four categories. Shotguns and Morning Stars disperse there damage over a number of piercing points. It might be tempting to come up with another damage type just for them (Spikey?), but it is easier to pass it off as Sharp damage. Line up all of those points into a streak and you basically have an edge.
As always, in the end, it is best to go with whatever makes the most sense.
What seems real is real.
Unlike other games, your attack can be made without knowing anything about who it is being made against. The dice are rolled, damage is dealt, and it is left up to your opponent to figure out how to handle it. If your opponent has not acted in this round, they may choose to abandon their plans and defend against the attack. The big three defensive maneuvers are Dodge, Parry and Counter-Strike.
To dodge an attack, make an Agility check and compare Snap Strengths with the attack you are trying to dodge. If you match it then you dodge the attack. Not only that, but anyone trying to attack you for the rest of the round will also need to beat your dodge strength to land a blow.
Three hobgoblin spears fly across the room at Jericus who had been planning on drawing his sword and charging into the fray. Their attack strengths are 4, 5 and 5. When they hit they will do 7, 10 and 16 points of piercing damage.
Not wanting to take a whole mess of wound damage (his Full AC is 8), Jericus decides to dodge the attack. He also decides to drop a die turning his Agility 1d8 into a 3d6. He rolls a 1 3 5.
Whew! Niether he nor the hobgoblins have a Snap modifier so with a strength of 5 he matches their attacks and just narrowly manages to dive out of the way, rolling back to a stand as he lands. That dodge may have cost him his action, but at least he will live to see the next round.
As seen above, you can dodge a ranged attack as well as a melee attack. However, you do need to know the attack is coming in order to dodge it. There is no dodging a surprise attack.
With a parry you roll for damage like a normal attack and this provides you with a number of Parry Points which temporarily boosts your armor class. They disappear as they are used to defeat incoming attacks. Afterwards, if you are left with any extra points these may be used to defend against other attacks but they always disappear at the end of the round.
While parrying still has a lot to do with matching force with force, faster attacks generally parry better than slow ones. Gamewise, if you have a Snap Modifier this should be used like a damage modifier. If the attack does Sharp 1d6 for damage and you have Snap +1 you would roll a 1d6+1 to find your parry points.
A hobgoblin guard raises up his morning star to bash Ralph's head in. The guard rolls a strength of 8, a great success that will do 18 points of sharp damage.
Ralph thinks about dodging it but fears he can't match an 8. Instead, he decides to parry the blow with his broad sword. He drops a pow point and raises his attack roll to 2d8. He rolls 3 and 7 which is a great success!
For damage the sword does 1d8+3. Unfortunately, the sword itself has a Snap -1 modifier, so this reduces it to 1d8+2. Ralph rolls and does 7 points of damage. Tripled by his great success this creates 21 parry points. The parry blocks all 18 points of damage and will even leave Ralph with 3 extra parry points to use against any other attacks until the end of the round.
Your parry does need to make sense. Most unarmed attacks cannot parry armed attacks. Most armed attacks cannot parry ranged attacks. In both cases you would need a special feat such as Missile Parry to make it happen.
With a counter strike you try to hit your opponent before they hit you. Make your attack, compare Snap Strengths and whoever produces the greatest snap strength goes first. When snap strengths match you hit simultaneously, neither striking in time to stop the other attack from happening.
If the attack that hits first somehow incapacitates its opponent it will be as if the opponent's attack never happened. The most common method of incapacitation is a stunning blow. Normally a stunning blow robs you of your next action but in this case it steals away the attack that has just been counter-struck.
Grudge turns and swings his battle axe at a hobgoblin guard. He hits with a strength of 6 and ultimately delivers 20 points of sharp damage. Hoping he can beat the dwarf to the punch, the Hobgoblin counter-strikes with his mace and rolls a strength of 4. Grudge has Snap -2. The Hobgoblin has Snap -1.
With snap strengths of of 4 vs 3? Both blows are on the slow side but Grudge's was quicker. His 20 points of damage lands first. The hobgoblin's AC reduces it to 12. This is not enough to knock the hobgoblin out but the creature's stun point is 10. Stunned, the creature loses its attack on Grudge.
Doing nothing isn't an action but it is a defensive option. You know how many hit points of damage you are about to take so if your armor can absorb it then let it. Even if the blow does some minor damage, if it is not enough to stun or wound your character then you might want to simply suck it up. Afterall, this now leaves you with an action to make as well as an opponent who is a sitting duck.
Aspects are those small tags which follow an action on the character sheet. They are usually a word and a value such as Damage +1 or Snap -1. When the value is not there it means that the aspect has no use for it, such as with Acid or Fire.
Aspects are typically arranged in the order they would be used during an encounter with extra info shuffled to the back. Here we list them in alphabetical order for easy reference. As with other parts of the game, you do not have to know these by heart, but it doesn't hurt to read up on the ones your character will be using.
This tag marks an attack which needs two hands to make it work, such as weilding a two-handed sword. Trying to do it with just one hand will cause the attack to either do half damage (if muscle powered), suffer a -3d, or simply not work whatsoever. Aside from using ones teeth to draw back the string, a bow and arrow simply cannot be fired using just one hand.
Anything with the 2nd tag is light enough to be used in your secondary hand along with whatever is in your primary hand to make a single attack. Each weapon delivers a separate serving of damage but they both use the same action to determine their success.
Deqqie rushes at an ogre, striking with a short sword in each hand. Both swords have the 2nd tag so they can be used together without penalty.
She makes her attack roll and scores a normal success. A short sword does 1d6 for damage so Deqqie rolls 1d6 twice, once for each sword, and doubles the damage. Her two flashing swords do 4 and 10 points respectively. Against the ogre's AC of 4 the first sword does no damage and the second does 6 points of damage.
You can parry attacks in this fashion, or choose to have one weapon parry while the other attacks. This does not change anything. The parry points you create work as parry points do.
You can also do this with a weapon in your off-hand that does not have the 2nd tag. The catch is that doing so causes the entire attack to take a -1d penalty.
When it comes to Snap speed, the slower of the two weapons determines the snap strength of the entire attack. If one weapon has Snap +1i and the other Snap -2i then the attack will suffer a Snap -2i.
This attack uses a vitriolic fluid to do its damage. Once it hits it will continue to do the same amount of damage round after round, but it will also lose 2 hit points of damage per round until neutralized.
This attack uses ammo of some sort. It is the number of shots it may make before it needs to be reloaded.
Claws and Jaws commonly make use of ammo and it is the number of times the attack may be used per day. The organs that power it refill as the character sleeps so this ammo will reload as the character rests. It follows the same rules used for recovering lost Pow Points.
This floods an area with damage, possible from a torrent of dragon fire or a fireball going off. Damage is only rolled once and anyone caught inside the area will use their Suck AC against it.
Area attacks always come with a number known as its radius. This is the distance the blast may extend from the step it originates in before having to drop a level of success.
Deqqie casts the spell Flash of Flame, shooting forth from her hand a firey blast with the area aspect Cone 4. She scores a normal success.
Four is the radius and anyone standing in the first four steps before her will be hit for normal damage. Anyone in the next four steps beyond that point will also be hit but only for little damage. And that is where the torrent of fire ends.
Anyone straddling a point between successes should make a Luck check. If they succeed they take damage as if they were standing in the safer of the two regions.
In certain rare cases, an area attack may have a radius of zero. These small blasts will hit the step they occur in at full strength and lose a level of success for each step afterwards.
Shapes. An area tag by itself such as Area 4 is an explosion. When replaced by one of the following (such as Cone 4) this changes the shape of the blast.
Stream - the area is a 15 degree angle.
[image of shapes]
Cone - the area is a 45 degree angle.
Funnel - the area is a 90 degree angle.
Wall - the area is a 180 degree angle.
Pour - the area is a 270 degree angle.
Dome - it extends for one length of radius, forming a dome over the area.
Dome is not like the others. It reaches out for one length of radius and stops. Depending on what is filling the area, the core of the dome may be left untouched, or it may not. When cast against a surface a dome forms. When cast up in the air it creates a sphere.
When an Area tag is mixed with a Range tag, this indicates something that can be lobbed like a hand grenade. The range tag only determines how far the explosive can be thrown. If a grenade has Range 5 and a normal attack is made then the explosive can be lobbed up to 10 steps away. Range does not effect the damage done by the explosive! Once the grenade lands where it lands, it will go off and the area stretching out from that point of detonation will determine the damage done.
Area attacks which come from manufactured devices such as hand grenades and sticks of dynamite will always go off with a Normal Success no matter what the character hurling it may roll.
Every stick of dynamite will hit with a normal range of damage followed by a little range of damage. The attack roll does more to determine how far and how accurately a character can chuck it. Failure may mean that the stick was a dud. A Critical fail could mean that some butterfingers just dropped it at their feet.
When a character does have some control over the nature of the attack, such as with casting a fireball, a character can increase the blast radius to make it cover more ground. Unless something says otherwise, each extra step of radius will create a -1d action penalty.
Diving For Cover.
Most area attacks soak the area in damage, hence the reason why explosions cannot be dodged. However, you can dive for cover as your action for the round. For this an Agility or Luck check is made and it changes your protection against the blast.
Dive For Cover
Agility or Luck.
Incredible or Better
: Double Full AC.
Little to Great
: Full AC.
: Suck AC.
: No AC.
Yes, if you failed critically, you dove straight into the blast instead of away from it. Not a good thing to do. Snap will modify the strength of this check to compensate for a character's size.
Weapons which have the word Bastard attached to them, such as Bastard Sword or Bastard Mace, are basically one-handed weapons with an extra length of grip for occasional two-handed use. When used with two hands the weapon gains Damage +2.
Weapons which have the bastard tag but not the name are ones that can be used with one hand or two by design, such as the spear. Likewise, they gain Damage +2 when used with two-hands.
Without the bastard tag, a one-handed weapon being used with two hands will only gain Damage +1.
If something has this tag then whoever it is used against should be allowed to make a defensive roll using one of the attributes it mentions. If they beat the action's strength they stop it from happening.
To save space only the first three letters of an attribute is used, so Beat Int requires a Intellect check. Beat Agi Mas means that either an Agility or a Mass check may be used. This is a favorite for breaking out of wrestling holds.
This attack temporarily blinds those it hits. How long the blindness lasts depends on a Luck save. Blinded characters suffer a -3d on their checks, a -6d if it involves ranged attacks.
Save Vs Blind
Normal or Better
: no effect.
: Blind for 1d6 rounds.
: Blind for 3d6 rounds.
: Blind for 3d6 minutes.
A bolt attack is one that hits its target and streams around it to go on and attack other targets. Each time it hits a target it loses 2 hit points of damage from its total.
These attacks typically use a Reach aspect instead of Range, meaning distance will not effect its ability to hit but the attack can only strike out so far. This distance can be lengthened by the character creating it, trading a -1d for every extra 10 steps desired.
A burst attack lets loose with a machine-gun-like attack. The die roll following the tag is what you roll to figure out how many shots in the burst hit.
Each hit does a separate serving of the same damage. Separate is important since each hit will need to beat its target's AC to do any damage.
If your attack does 9 points of damage and has Burst 1d6 you would roll the die to see how many times it hit. If a 4 rolls up and your opponent has an AC of 8, that creature will be hit four times, but each hit will only be strong enough to do 1 point of damage a piece.
A burst attack can be spread out over a small area, strafing those who are in it. The game leaves it up to you to decide who is hit and how many times.
If the burst attack uses ammo then each burst will consume as many shots as there are sides on the burst die. If the attack uses Burst 1d8 then each burst will consume 8 shots of ammo, even if only 1 of them hits.
Because of this, the burst roll is often known as the attack's Maximum Burst. If you want to conserve ammo you can fire off a shorter burst of a lesser die (a 1d6 or a 1d4 with Burst 1d8). Most weapons will even let you skip the burst and fire a single shot when needed.
An attack that is cold enough to have this tag will hit its targets with a blast of freezing sleet, one able to freeze a character in place. If a character survives it a Mass check should be made to see if they can break free from the floor. Every 5 hit points of damage done to the ice around ones feet will grant a +1d bonus to this check.
This tag only appears with feats that assist other attacks. It is a damage roll modifier.
Damage Rolls begin with the type of damage done and are followed by the roll, ex: Sharp 1d8+1. If the damage type is listed as None then it does not do any wound damage.
If you find a letter tacked onto a damage roll, such as Impact 1d6t, this compounds the damage done by a certain amount. Here the t stands for tens and each point will do ten points of damage, ranging from 10 to 60.
Loaded Rolls are often encountered when dealing with vehicles and fortresses and other large structures. The letters you may encounter and what they stand for are...
t = 10
h = 100
k = 1,000
n = 10,000
r = 100,000
m = 1,000,000
Drain & Supply
Drain is used by devices which run on electricity or a similar source of power. No one is exactly sure what a charge is (a kilowatt?), but in the game it is the number of charges the device consumes every time it is used.
The opposite of drain is Supply. If the device is a battery then supply is the number of charges the device contains. If it is a generator then supply is the maximum number of charges it can generate while running.
Often truncated to Dur, this tag tells us how long the effect of something lasts, such as the invisibility granted by a spell. If it is just a number then it is a number of rounds.
Time is hard to track time past the matter of rounds so when it comes to minutes, hours and days we rely on a Luck check to see just how long a duration lasts. When it feels as if time might be running out, make a Luck check. If it succeeds the duration continues, otherwise it is gone.
Energy attacks are exceptionally shocking. Stun points drop by half when hit by one. They also have a nasty habit of spreading in unpredictable ways, especially through conductive material such as metal and water. This save protects against being accidentally shocked.
Save Vs Accidental Shock.
Normal or Better
: no effect.
: take quarter damage.
: take half damage.
: take full damage.
Flexible attacks, such as nunchucks and whips, are notoriously hard to parry and hard to parry with. In both cases it takes 2 parry points to stop 1 point of damage.
Anything bearing this tag is fragile and needs to be handled with care. Rough-housing with it may call for a Luck save to see if it hasn't been accidentally broken.
Anyone hit by a fire attack needs to make a Luck save to see if they have been set on fire. This may be effected by what the character is wearing, not a good time to deck yourself out in oily rags.
Save Vs Fire.
Normal or Better
: no effect.
: take tenth damage.
: take quarter damage.
: take half damage.
It is good to note that this damage is recurring. It will happen again and again at the start of every round until the flames are put out.
This attack has been designed to grapple or entangle an opponent. On a successful hit it will hold them fast and keep them from doing anything (within reason) until they have broken free.
This requires an Agility or Mass check to beat the strength of the grabbing attack. The breaking free check should be made once when the attack hits, and then again at the end of every round afterwards until the character does break free or is let go.
The entangled character does not have to try to break free every round. There is just little else they can do.
Like Bastard, this isn't a tag but a name extention given to show that a weapon has been super-sized into a two-handed version of itself. A Great Sword is essentially a Two-Handed Sword.
Gamewise, great weapons gain Damage +3 and Reach +1 but suffer Snap -1. If the weapon originally had the 2nd tag this will be lost. Unlike a bastard weapon, a great weapon needs two-hands to work. Trying to wield one with just one hand will cause it to do half damage.
This is just like the tag Beat except to stop the action all you have to do is match the strength opposing it instead of beating it.
Necrotic wound damage will not heal by normal means. It requires magical assistance. When you mark these wounds on your character sheet, be sure to draw a horizontal line through the hash marks - turning them into small crosses - this will remind you that the damage is necrotic instead of normal.
This tag will always be followed by one or more of the following five letters. They tell us what the character creating the action needs to pull it off. It is most commonly used with magic-casting.
C = Command, freedom to speak.
G = Gesture, freedom to wave ones arms around.
D = Dance, freedom to move ones whole body about.
P = Pattern, the presence of a drawn pattern of some sort.
M = Material, the presence of some strange yet essential material component.
An action which has Needs CGDP will probably be one that will have the character chanting, waving ones arms about and dancing around a magic circle. When a material component is needed, the description of the action itself should tell you what it is.
This attack delivers a toxin of some sort. Whoever is hit by it will need to Save Vs Poison. Poisons often come with a penalty for this save. The greater the penalty the deadlier the poison.
Save Vs Poison
: Vitality or Mass
Incredible or Better
: No effect.
: Delirium -1d for the next hour.
: Delirium -3d for rest of day.
: Delirium -6d for rest of day.
: Thunk! Character passes out and will die in 1d10 hours.
: Thwap! Character siezes up and will die in 1d10 minutes.
Attacks which deliver a venom of some sort (fangs, blowguns, stingers, etc) first need to score a wound of damage to get around the protection of a character's armor.
Paralytic poisons will not kill a character but paralyze them. Every day afterwards the character should be allowed to make the check again with the poison weakened by -1d, providing they last that long.
Anything bearing this tag can make ranged attacks. The number following it is the number of steps it takes to reduce the attack's level of success by one.
When range matters, it is found right after the damage has been rolled but before the attack is modified by its success.
Hobgoblin reinforcements have just barged through a door and are flooding into the hall. Jouicelle raises her bow and fires off an arrow at one of them.
With the attack roll she scores a great success. For damage she rolls a 5. Her muscle power modifier increases it to 6. Jouicelle is a half-giant with a size index of 1.5 this increases it to 9.
Her short bow has a range of 20. Any hobgoblin standing between 1 and 20 steps away will be hit by a great success and take 27 points of damage.
Between 21 and 40 steps her success would drop to normal and do 18 points of damage.
Between 41 and 60 steps it would drop once again to little and do only 9 points of damage.
After 61 steps her attack would fail to hit. The arrow would clatter to the ground and do no damage.
The GM informs her that the door itself is less than 20 steps away. She hits a hobgoblin for 27 points of damage and the hobgoblin goes down.
Rate of Fire
Also known as Rof, rate of fire only appears with items which - no matter how good you happen to be with it - are limited in how quickly they can be used. A stone sling with Rof 1 can be loaded and fired all in one motion but doing so is slow, so slow it can only be done once per round. You could not use it to make a double combo attack. If the sling had Rof 2 or Rof 4 then you could.
Occasionally, a slash number is used, such as Rof 1/2. This means the attack can only be used once every other round. Rof 1/4 means it can only be used once every four rounds.
Rate of fire should not be confused with reload time. A sci-fi weapon such as a Plasma Cannon may have 8 shots of ammo but it takes time to build up a charge between uses and so it has Rof 1/4.
If no rate of fire is mentioned then there probably is a rate of fire but either it is quicker than the character using it or so obvious we don't bother mentioning it.
This is how far an attack reaches out from the step the character making it is in. You can either reach an opponent and hit them or you cannot. Typically speaking....
Reach 1: short attacks, such as a punch, throw, or the use of a dagger or knife.
Reach 2: medium attacks, such as with a sword or mace.
Reach 3: long attacks, such as a great sword, spear or trident.
Reach 4: extra long attacks, such as with halberds or a bill-guisarme.
Reach 5: very long attacks, such as with pikes or lances.
When not using miniatures, reach only matters when characters first engage in combat. The character with the longer reach strikes first and cannot be counter-struck. A parry or a dodge may happen, but not a counter-strike. After engagement the two fight normally.
This is the amount of time it takes to reload a weapon. If the value is just a number then it is measured in rounds.
Weapons and attacks which need to be reloaded but do not have the reload tag are Load & Fire weapons. Bows are a prime example. They reload so quickly that doing so is considered a part of the attack.
Anyone hit by this attack automatically defends against it using their Suck AC. A rare deviation of this is NAC and it stands for No AC, meaning armor class does nothing against it.
Stands for Single Effect Power. It can only be used once, such as with the spell Steel Skin. If you try to use this power on a character multiple times, the newest one replaces the older ones.
Not too surprisingly, anything with the shield tag is a shield of some sort. Shields are incredibly useful. They add to your AC, they can be used as a weapon to strike an opponent, and they can be used to parry incoming blows - which is where this tag comes into play.
Shields with this tag are large enough that they can be hidden behind. Gamewise, this means they parry ranged attacks as well as melee attacks.
A buckler is a shield about the size of a frisbee. By being so small it does not get the Shield tag. You would need a special feat to make it able to parry missile attacks. So not everything which is thought of as a shield will always work as a shield.
SL stands for Size Locked and marks an action that will not be effected by the size of the character making it. It will always be treated as if it were made by a medium-sized character.
Many offensive spells such as Magic Missile are size-locked. It doesn't matter if the caster is a giant or a pixie the same size missile will be conjured into being. The damage it does will not be effected by the caster's size.
This modifier makes an attack quicker (or slower) than usual. Its value is primarily used for counter-striking.
This is the amount of time that needs to be spent prepping for an action. The time must be uninterrupted and end with the action.
If a spell has Time 3 then three rounds must be spent by the character doing nothing but trying to bring that spell into existence. If the character is stunned during this time the spell cast will be lost.
Quills, spines and spiky coats tend to have this aspect. Anyone touching them, as in trying to grapple the creature, will be hit by them.
Such an attack uses the Luck of the creature wearing the untouchable armor for the attack. Suck AC defends against it.
Miniatures are small statues used to represent characters and creatures in a game. The base game does not use them. Occassionally, they may be used to create groups to help keep track of who is fighting who, but when it comes to matters of speed and distance we leave that up to the imagination. A normal encounter keeps track of time but not distance. With the Miniatures Rules we keep track of both of them.
To start the GM needs to define the area where the battle will take place. This is often done using dry-erase markers on a large vinyl mat that looks like a big sheet of graph paper. Each square or hex is a Step and approximately three feet long. Character movement speeds are measured in steps per round, so if you have Walk 4 on your sheet then you move 4 squares every round.
Movement begins right after mandatory things are handled. Characters who are running or sprinting need to make it known before they start moving. You cannot break into a run during the middle of a round. It is only two seconds, afterall.
Once moving, the game circles around the table, starting with the player sitting to the GM's left and ending with the GM's creatures. Everyone moves their minis one step per circle. If you decide not to move when given the chance then you lose that movement.
Attacks happen right after someone finishes their move for the circle and before the next person in line goes. We pause movement, roll the dice to resolve the action, and go right back where we left off.
The end effect is ultimately a bit like watching blips on a radar screen with everyone slowly moving to where they want to go as the wand washes over them.
Most things will move with a speed less than 5 SPR. When something moves faster than that we increase the number of steps they take per circle at a rate of 1 step per 5 SPR.
1 - 5 SPR: take 1 step per circle.
6 - 10 SPR: take 2 steps per circle.
11 - 15 SPR: take 3 steps per circle.
16 - 20 SPR: take 4 steps per circle.
21 - 25 SPR: take 5 steps per circle.
Basically, divide your speed by 5, round down and add 1. A creature which is whipping around the battlefield at a speed of 42 (42 / 5 = 8 + 1 = 9) would move 9 steps per circle for the first four circles and then 6 steps during the last one.
Coincedentally, the number of steps you take per circle is also 1 point higher what you get as a muscle powered charge bonus. If you are taking 2 steps per circle then your muscle powered attacks will gain a +1 on the damage roll.
Movement ends when everyone involved has had the chance to move as much as they can move. At that point, if everyone is done with their attacks the current round ends and the next one begins.
With miniatures it is good to keep track of where your character is facing. Any attack made against the back side of your character will be defended against using Suck AC. Because of this pivoting is important and limited by your form of movement. Attempting to do more than what is listed below will require an Agility check.
Normal: turn up to 90 degrees per step.
Running: turn up to 45 degrees per step.
Sprinting: turn up to 45 degrees per circle.
A flank attack happens when two or more characters attack an opponent from opposite directions. The flanked character will have to turn ones back to one of the attacks, if they cannot choose then Suck AC will be used against all of the attacks.
Flashlight & Measuring Tape.
Having these two on hand is highly recommended for gaming with miniatures, specifically a pocket measuring tape and a mini-maglight.
The measuring tape is for counting out ranges and reaches. Each inch equals one step. While you could count out a jagged line between two characters using the battle mat, it is far easier and more accurate to measure the distance. Start with the outer edge of the step the first character is standing in and end with the step the second character is standing in. Two characters standing in adjacent steps are standing 1 step apart. Put an empty step between them and they are now 2 steps apart.
The flashlight is for measuring areas. Hold the light over the center of the blast and move it upwards until the beam touches the outer edge of the blast radius. Anything caught inside the light will be hit. The mini-maglight is recommended because it has a head that can be spun to focus the beam and create a sharper edge. The light can also be turned on its side and adjusted to create cones and funnel shaped blasts.
To Sum It All Up
There are three basic ways to play the game. The first is Adventure Mode where you sit around talking about all that is going on and occassionally roll the dice as challenges arise. The second is Encounter Mode where we pay attention to time by breaking it into rounds but ignore matters of distance. The third is Miniatures Mode where we take both time and space into account.
They all have their benefits and short-comings, yet it is important to remember that no one mode of play is more valid than the others. If the one you are using is not working out, you cannot stop and redo the encounter in a different mode. There are no do-overs in the Agama. The game only goes forward.
Our intrepid adventurers are running through the warlock's castle, hobgoblin guards hot on their heels. They have just busted open a door to find themselves facing a room full of orcs. For this example there are three players. Jackie is the GM. Eric and Steve are the game's two players. Eric is running Jouicelle and Zitto. Steve is running Ralph Cabbagehammer and Grudge Orcslayer. Commentary on the mechanical side of the game is written in parenthesizes (like so). They are not using miniatures.
Ralph busts down the door to stumble in on a small feasting room. Inside eight orcs are greedily gobbling down some greasy mutton. Their gravy splattered hog snouts wiggle at a smell, something they don't like and that something is you.
Orcs! Gaaaaah! Zitto hides behind Jouicelle, clinging to one of her legs. Jouicelle draws back her bow.
Grudge seriously does not like the orcs, so Ralph jumps on him and tries to hold him back. He shouts out, "We don't want any trouble. We're just passing through."
The orcs don't answer you, but you do hear the shiiiing! of numerous broad swords being drawn from their scabbards. Benches rumble as they are pushed back across slate floors. The orcs stand up.
Then let slip the dogs of war. Ralph shakes his head and lets go of Grudge who charges into the fray, looking to plant his axe into the head of the first orc he can find.
Alright, give me a roll.
(Grudge has an attack roll of 3d8. He rolls 8 8 4) Strength of 9! (Damage on his Battle Axe is 1d8+1 Steve rolls a 5, plus +2 for his MP equals 7. A strength of 9 is an Incredible success which will multiply the damage by 4) That's 28 points of sharp damage.
GM: Jeeze-louise! (The orcs have 8 hp each. Jackie decides not to bother with wounds. When they are knocked out they are gone. The orc's Full AC of 8 reduces the damage to 20) The orc raises up his sword to parry the blow (She rolls Attack 3d6 to create a strength of 4, a little success. It is futile but she rolls 1d8+1 for the broad sword. The die rolls a 3 creating 4 parry points. A little success does not multiply it. This is enough to reduce the damage Grudge does to 16 points which will simply obliterate the orc). And you cleave right through his sword and hack the orc in half, slicing it down the middle. The two orcs standing to either side of him are aghast, but not so much that it keeps them from swinging their swords at you.
Bring it on!!!!
Before they do that, Jouicelle is going to shoot an arrow at one of them.
Whichever one looks like it's going to do the most damage.
(Jackie considers the size of the room, it is small enough that range should not matter. The big question now is who will hit first, the orc's attack or Jouicelle's bow? This is a counterstrike). Alright, make your attack and give me your snap strength.
(Jouicelle has Attack 1d8 with her bow. She rolls an 8). That's an 8. A great shot! She has Snap -1, so that's a snap strength of 7 (Eric actually forgot to mention the Snap -2 on the short bow, but it was an honest mistake and there is no going back).
(The orcs have Attack 3d6. Jackie rolls once for each orc creating strengths of 3 and 6. One misses and the other hits. Both are less than 7 so Jouicelle's attack will hit first). One of the orcs attacks Grudge and misses while the other will hit him with a normal success - providing you don't stop him first. Roll for damage.
(Jouicelle's short bow does Piercing 1d6 damage. Eric rolls a 3. Plus 1 for her MP makes 4. Because of her size this multiplies to 6. The great success triples it to 18). That's 18 piercing.
(Against an armor class of 8 the hit does just enough damage to wipe the orc out.) Right as he goes to bring his sword down on Grudge's shoulder, this javelin sized arrow flies in to thunk in his chest and flip him backwards over the table.
And Ralph rushes in to take out the other one with his sword.
Wait a minute. Didn't you just say you had your arms around Grudge and were trying to hold him back?
You never drew your sword.
Dammit. Alright, I draw my sword. Actually, no, wait, forget that. I reach in and grab the orc and throw him to the ground.
Awe man! You're grabbing an orc? You have no idea where it's been.
Can it bean pole. I make my attack (For Ralph, Steve rolls Attack 3d6 to a strength of 5). Eh... Strength of 5.
The orc defends with (Jackie rolls Muscle 3d6 for the orc's attempt to match Ralph's roll. She rolls a 4) a strength of 4. It's not the best throw in the world but you do hoist him up and slam him down.
Yeah! Um. What kind of damage does a throw do?
(Jackie doesn't know. Instead of stopping the game to look it up she takes a wild guess). Um. I think it's an Impact 1d8? (And she guessed correctly!)
Good enough for me. (Steve rolls 1d8 for damage and rolls a 1) Doh! (Plus Ralph's MP +2 makes +3. His normal success doubles it to 6) And that does a measly 6 points of damage, but it is against his Suck AC, I do remember that.
Even against Suck AC the orc only takes a single point of damage, but at least he's been knocked off his feet. He'll spend the next round trying to get back up.
Okay, there is one more orc up front who hasn't done anything. The four orcs who were seated on the far side of the table will be using this round to get around it.
That fourth orc sees Zitto and his eyes widen, slavering with a hungry gleam. He lunges in with his sword, seeking to slice open the little guy.
Really? Zitto casts Misdirection and uses the spell to dodge the attack (For Misdirection, Zitto has a 3d8. Eric rolls 1 3 7) Strength of 7, beat that.
(Jackie rolls 3d6 for the orc's attack and rolls 1 1 1) Oh my. Not only does he fail to beat that but he also rolls a critical fail. (Jackie thinks for a moment...)
Hmm. Okay, ah, get this, the orc lunges in, he thinks he sees Zitto shooting off to the left, swings his sword a little too hard and flips onto his back. His sword goes flying straight up out of his hand to stick in the wooden rafters of the ceiling. Thwang-wang-wang-wang! And it just hangs there, buried deep in the wood. He is also going to spend the next round trying to get back on his feet, and probably grab a chair to use it its place.
And that's everyone, so this round ends and another round begins with two dead orcs, two who are flat on their backs and four other orcs now scrambling around the table to get at you but also harboring some second thoughts about the whole matter.
So whaddya do?
BE A BETTER PLAYER
So far the book has been all about how to make the game work. This section is about how to make the game great by being a better player at the table.
Act First, Think Later.
The very last thing you should be thinking about is your character's retirement plan. Characters in adventure role playing games are interesting because they don't think long term. They act on impulse. They make terribly rash decisions. They do everything you and I (possibly, hopefully) are afraid to do because we want to live to see next week.
And that is what makes them wonderful.
If you are taking as much time with your character's decisions as you do with your 401k (possibly, hopefully) then you are thinking way too much about it. Act now! And think later.
You can play a game where all the characters do stupid things and nobody gives a rats ass about anything, but these adventures tend to burn out quickly. To get the most out of your games you need to get engrossed. You need to care about what is happening. You need to turn off all your thoughts about everything going on outside the game and get into it.
Don't just think about your characters. Think about where the game is heading and where you want it to go. Have your characters make plans and hatch schemes. Don't wait around for the GM to find something for you to do. Give in to your character's desires and go after them.
Don't Ask, Just Do.
Most people who do this do not even realize that they are doing it. They ask the GM for permission to do what their characters are about to do. They ask, "Can Ralph like, climb up the bookcase and reach out with the guard's spear to snag the candellabra?" To which the GM always seems to answer, "I don't know. Why don't you try it and find out?"
The player character would then say, "Okay, Ralph is going to carefully climb up the bookcase and see if he can't reach out with the guard's spear to snag that candellabra." Basically saying what should have been said without the Q&A session beforehand.
This may not seem like much, but time spent asking if a character can do something is time wasted. It can gang up on you to take a big bite out of the night. It is best to assume that if the GM doesn't stop you from doing something then you have her permission to do it. Whether you succeed or not depends on the dice.
Use the Power Word Like.
It's a small and easily overlooked word but - like - is one that opens gateways you just don't get when all you do is tell the table what your character says or does. When you say your character is like "We need to stop the lizard men from breeching that chasm!" not only are your words now your character's own, but so are your hand movements, facial gestures, and the sound of your voice. The word - like - allows you to easily step into character and then step right back out again.
Talk About the Game, Just Not During It.
You can be yourself while the game is rolling. You can sit at the table and have personal conversations with other players which have absolutely nothing to do with the game at hand. But. Whenever you do this it is like hitting pause on a movie the group is trying to watch. Everyone around you now needs to sit and wait until you are done rattling off at the mouth before the game can continue.
Such conversations are best kept to a minimum, especially when it revolves around discussions of strategy. While everyone wants the group to succeed, nobody wants to spend an hour fighting three kobolds in a pantry. Only the characters themselves should be able to talk about combat during combat. This means that if you want to discuss battle tactics you need to have one of your characters stop and yell advice to whatever character needs to hear it. You also have less than two seconds to say what needs to be said. If it takes too long to say it - that may end up being your action for the round.
If you haven't noticed already, the chance to cheat in a Agama game are boundless. You run your own characters and no one will be looking over your shoulder to make sure you haven't been skipping a few hit points of damage here or there or ignoring your disadvantages.
You are the umpire of your own stuff. However, this is not baseball. No scores are being kept. There are no teams to beat, no play-offs or pennants. There is only the experience at hand. If you cheat at the game you are only cheating yourself because cheating invalidates your claim to awesomeness.
If your friends discover that you have been cheating the whammy doubles. Not only does it invalidate your claim to awesomeness but it also tarnishes their own. Cheaters usually do come in first - no one would cheat if they didn't - but they never actually win. A cheater will never know the true taste of victory.
And Have Fun.
Fun is a mysterious concept. It changes from person to person, so you really need to know the people you game with. There is only one way to truly win this game and it doesn't always involve killing all the monsters, taking their treasure and ultimately saving the prince or princess. Sometimes yes, but not always. Figure out what you and your friends enjoy then go forth and do it.
Always play to win!
KNOW YOUR DICE
Dice in the Agama are more than just small plastic random number generators. They are the standing stones of Stonehenge, the Moai of Easter Island, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Monoliths from 2001 a Space Odyssey. They are all of these wondrous and fascinating things except a whole lot smaller and easier to roll. Unlike other games the dice in the Agama actually mean something....
D4 - The Caltrop of Pathos.
The most miserable despicable die you will ever roll is the foot-stabbing, hard-rolling, pathetic-sounding four-sider. It is shaped like a pyramid and that is the only cool thing about it. When making a roll with a d4 a little success is the best you can get and a critical fail is just a small flip away.
D6 - The Cube of the Every Day.
Most of the universe runs on d6's. It is the normal die, the average die. It is a white-bread bologne sandwich eaten in a compact car carrying suburban commuters to their lackluster jobs in beige office cubicles. When you roll a d6 the best you can hope for is a normal success and for most people that is good enough. Try not to yawn.
D8 - The Rhombus of Rock.
The eight-sider punches a defiant chain-wrapped fist through the walls of the cube and bursts out the other side with a screaming heavy metal guitar riff. The eight-sider shouts, Yeah! In your face! And you must listen. When rolling the d8 you may achieve great success, but honestly not too often.
D10 - The Diamond of Excellence.
When this die is rolled We Are The Champions plays in the concert halls of Valhalla. This is the die of the Olympians. To merely touch it is more than most mortals can hope for. When you roll a d10 the outcome of your actions can be incredible beyond belief.
D12 - The Avatar of Awesomeness.
This die does not touch the Earth. If the d10 is the die of the Olympians, the d12 is the die of the Olympian who took home all the medals. Angels sing as this die hits the table. Its successes can be so fantastic they often find themselves landing in the record books.
D20 - The Die of the Covenant.
This die is a super-massive black hole sitting at the center of a galaxy. It is the maker of worlds and the breaker of stars. When a d20 hits the table it might just melt your face off - so consider yourself warned - for there is no greater success than that which can come from a d20, with the possible exception of....
D30 - The Big Banger.
Use of the d30 during a game is the stuff of myth and legend. What is it made of? Dark Matter? Dark Energy? No one knows for sure, but old universes are obliterated and new universes arise like screaming phoenixes from the flaming ashes of other dice when this thirty sided crystal monolith rolls across your gaming table.