How to Play
In which I teach you how to roleplay the game, with successes and failures.
The core rule
If you do something that is non-trivial (aka walking down the stairs), you roll a d10 and add any relevant modifiers to determine success or failure.
If you climb a wall, roll the dice. If you’re eating breakfast, don’t roll the dice idiot. Your breakfast (probably) won’t kill you.
The modifiers of a dice roll modifies it. Repetitive choice of words, I know, but it aptly sums up what modifiers do.
There are 4 commonly used modifiers: All of which are relevant in different scenarios, for different reasons.
No matter what, the Attribute modifier is used for all rolls, including saving throws. Add your entire Attribute score as the modifier.
The Background modifier is used for all non-combat rolls. Basically, if you aren’t smacking someone with a piece of metal or throwing a magic bolt of energy around, use this. Add a relevant Background score to your roll, and only one.
The Class modifier is for when you are throwing magic or swing metal. Add half of your total Class levels to all your attack rolls, saving throws and target rolls.
Finally, flat bonuses are a numerical +1, +2 etc. ‘Nuff said, easy-peasy.
Now, with the crunch out of the way…
You roll against a target number, which can either be fluid or static. If the number you roll is equal to or above the number, you succeed; otherwise, you fail. It’s (hopefully) as simple as that.
Static difficulties are for actions without another sentient party. So when you roll to climb a wall, you go for a static difficulty, or a fixed number.
You decide what the number is, but here is a very, very general chart for how hard an action is. Note that this chart is tailored to character difficulty, not commoner difficulty.
On the other hand, fluid difficulties are slightly harder. You roll against another sentient party, and whoever has the higher number succeeds. If the result is a draw, roll again.
Both of these rolling methods are used during combat and outside of it.
Now we have the basics of the core rule out of the way, we can talk about other general guidelines to the game.
Specific beats general
If there is an exception to a more general rule, follow the exception. For example, if you’re a Ruffian, who can deal Backstab damage with all weapons, you can deal Backstab damage with all weapons. This is not a mistake, and you should follow that rule if you are a Ruffian. The standard rules to Backstab would not apply in that scenario.
It’s you game, not mine
This is not the most important part of this section, but it is a very, very important part of most if not all TTRPGs. Ignore, bend or rewrite the rules as you see fit.
For example, if you don’t like the Damage reduction rule, you can ignore it entirely, or make it so that the damage reduced is a non-static number. It’s your game, not mine.
The Dicekeeper has the final say
If someone is the Dicekeeper, they’re running the game for you to play. It’s a tough job being the Dicekeeper, so cut them some slack. If they say you can’t do something or another, accept it unless it’s unreasonable. Then, confront them and get a compromise.
Still want to play?
Good! Now get this book, a few friends and a Dicekeeper. You can technically play on your own, but where’s the fun in that?
Alternate rules in ‘How to Play’
Amplified Modifier disparity
This makes it so that a character with a much higher modifier will trounce the other person. Only applicable with fluid rolls.
Recommendation level: Highly recommended
When your modifier is higher than the other party in a fluid roll by 3 or more, you gain advantage. This makes it implausible (but still possible) for someone objectively worse than you by a significant margin to succeed at a roll.
Now you’ve actually decided on playing, it’s time to make a character. Here are the steps to making one.
(Note that Dicekeepers don’t get to make a character. But you make essentially everything else.)
Step 1: Calculating Resources
The first bit is calculating your Saves, Attributes and Resources. Your Resources are Hit Points and potentially one or two more, depending on your playbook.
Your Hit Points are calculated as (Base Hit Points)+5*Vitality. Your Base Hit Points are determined by your Playbook and Heritage; while your other Resource(s) are stuff you need to look up in tables (sorry). Your other Resources are also determined by your Playbook.
While your Attributes are rolled or calculated by a point buy system/decided by an array. These include:
Strength(S). This is used for acts of physical might. In combat, this affects Melee Weapons to-hit/damage, Propulsive Ranged Weapons to-hit/damage and Fortitude saves.
Dexterity(D). This is used to dodge, evade and for fine motor skills. In combat, this affects Ranged Weapons to-hit/damage, Finesse Melee Weapons to-hit/damage, Damage Negation(DN) and Agility saves.
Vitality(V). This is the only Attribute which can’t be added to a roll. If your Dicekeeper/GM tells you to make a Vitality roll, get this section of the book out and tell them not to. Instead, go for a Fortitude save or roll initiative like a true barbarian. XD
In combat, this affects you Hit Points, Damage Reduction(DR) and Fortitude saves.
Intellect(I). When there is anything to do with knowledge, this is your friend. In combat, used for Intellect casters’ spell to-hit/damage as well as both Agility and Willpower saves.
Charisma(C). To smooth-talk, command and threaten. In combat, used for Charisma casters’ spell to-hit/damage, and Willpower saves.
After such a long slog, it’s time to actually talk about how to generate Attributes. The three ways are mentioned here:
Roll 1d4-2, repeat 5 times. Assign the Attributes freely.
This is more randomized, but not by much.
Assign scores of 2, 1, 1, 1, 0 freely.
This is completely fixed and you can’t change anything.
Follow the point buy and generate a score using 5 points.
Ironically compared to most other systems, point buy actually gives you the most diverse options.
Finally, Saves are used to defend against combat abilities (and occasionally non-combat rolls, in the case of Fortitude).
Agility saves is the higher of your Dexterity and Intellect saves, minus 1. It defends against mostly area-of-effect (AOE) damage and missiles.
Fortitude saves is the higher or your Strength and Fortitude saves, minus 1. It defends against curses, poisons and the occasional heavy object trying to squash you.
Willpower saves are used to defend against mental effects. It’s the higher of your Intellect and Charisma saves, minus 1.
Step 2: Getting your Playbook and Heritage
Freely select one of each, so long as you meet the Requirements. (Heritages have no Requirements)
Both your Playbook and Heritage will add to your Attributes, so the ones you just generated isn’t your character’s ‘final form’ yet! ;P
Information about the two will be in Heritages and Playbooks, respectively.
Step 3: Give it some quirks!
Your character has quirks, flaws and ideals just like a normal person. They have no mechanical impact, but it is strongly recommended you roleplay them out, or act with those in consideration.
Your character’s backstory will have an impact in gameplay, and it will probably influence their decisions.
Step 4: Backgrounds and Gear
All characters have an amount of Background points determined by your Playbook. Put them into different Backgrounds as needed. Whenever you do something directly related to one of your Backgrounds, add the corresponding Background score to your character.