Basic Mechanics

Basic Mechanics #

Dice and Rolling #

This game requires you to use several kinds of dice in various quantities. The kind of die is indicated by dX, where X is the number of sides and the die values go from 1 to X. If something is indicated by either YdX or 1dX x Y, roll a dX Y times and total the result of each die (so 3d6 and 1d6 x 3 would both indicate adding the results of 3 d6 rolls). The dice used in this game are typically d4s, d6s, d8s, d10s, and d12s, but the most common dice used are d6’s. If using physical dice, you will likely want at least 3 of each kind and at least 6 d6’s.

If required, a d2 is simply a d4 halved (round up) and a d3 is a d6 halved (round up). If more than one d2/d3 needs to be rolled for something, for the sake of time, you may roll the same number of d4’s/d6’s and halve the total result.

Standard Checks #

The vast majority of rolls in this game are governed by rolling 3d6 and adding a static value with the intention of surpassing a Difficulty determined by the type of action. These include Attacks and Skills.

Saves, Recharges, and Sustains #

Saves, Recharges, and Sustains are special kinds of checks, typically rolled in response to something. For each, you are always rolling 3d6 (occasionally with a bonus) to match or surpass one of three set numbers:

  • 9 for easy (75% chance with no bonus or penalty)
  • 11 for normal (50% chance)
  • 13 for hard (25% chance)

More information about Saves, Recharges, and Sustains and what they do can be found in Combat Rules.

Critical Hit and Miss #

A Critical Hit or Success (also noted as a Crit) can be rolled on any attack or skill check. It’s achieved by rolling a natural 17 or better on the dice before adding anything else. On an attack, this typically doubles all damage dealt. Some abilities add extra effects or an extra damage multiplier on a Crit. With a Skill, this should give some extra bonus or mitigate some downside to the approach chosen.

A Critical Miss or Failure (also noted as a Crit Fail) can be rolled on any attack or skill check. It’s achieved by rolling a natural 3 on the dice before adding anything else. On an attack, this negates all miss damage or effects. If the attack had no miss damage or effects, a Crit Fail should inflict some penalty (like a one-turn condition). With a Skill, this should create a Twist.

Advantage and Disadvantage #

Advantage is a bonus typically granted to a 3d6 roll under certain circumstances (such as from a Condition or from a Perk or Talent). When you have Advantage, in addition to the standard 3d6, roll a number of d6’s equal to the amount of Advantage you have. When determining the value of your roll, use the 3 dice you prefer (usually the highest 3, but you might want to pick and choose depending on effects that key off of certain Natural values). You may have up to 3 Advantage on a roll.

Disadvantage is a similar and opposite quality to Advantage. When you gain When you have Disadvantage on a roll, in addition to the standard 3d6, roll a number of d6’s equal to your Disadvantage. When determining the value of your roll, use the lowest 3 dice. Much like Advantage, you may have up to 3 Disadvantage on a roll.

Subtract Disadvantage from Advantage if a roll would have both. Set the cap of 3 Advantage and Disadvantage before subtracting (so if you would have 4 Advantage and 2 Disadvantage, this is 1 Advantage due to the cap of 3 Advantage).

Natural Values #

Many effects in the game will reference qualities like Natural Even, Natural Odd, Natural X+, or Natural X-. These refer to qualities on the 3 dice used for the check prior to adding other values:

  • Natural Even: The total value on the dice before any bonuses is an even number. This is true if 1 die is even and the others odd or all are even.

  • Natural Odd: The total value on the dice is an odd number. This is true if 1 die is odd and the others even or all are odd.

  • Natural X+: The total value on the dice is X or higher.

  • Natural X-: The total value on the dice is X or lower.

In many cases, this will be attached to Hit/Success or Miss/Failure. In this case, both conditions have to be met: for example, a Natural Even Hit has to both be even and surpass the Difficulty.

Anything that augments the natural value can trigger anything with the new result as if that had been the initial roll.

Die Size Changes #

Many effects indicate an increase or decrease in die size. This refers to the number of sides on the die: d3, d4, d6, d8, d10, d12. For example, if your damage dice are d8’s and an ability asks you to decrease your die size twice, your damage dice would now be d4’s. This bottoms out at d3 and tops out at d12, and any increases or decreases beyond these are discarded.

Attributes #

A character’s basic capabilities in combat are determined by a number of Attributes. These are defined mostly by your class but might be further augmented by Talent and Perk selections.

  • Volition (Vol): Your character’s aggression. Adds to hit rolls and many damage rolls. At Champion tier, you typically double the amount of Volition added when it’s added to damage rolls. At Epic Tier, you typically triple the amount.

  • Vitality (Vit): Your character’s ability to withstand attacks and bounce back. Add your Vitality to your HP based on your level and the amount recovered when you take a Recovery. At Champion tier, double the amount of Vitality added to recoveries. At Epic Tier, triple the amount.

  • Hit Points (HP): Derived from your class, Vitality, and Level. When these are at half of their maximum value or below, you are Staggered. When these are at 0, you are Dying. In general, you gain Hit Points at every level based on a multiplier of Base HP + Vitality.

  • Recovery Amount: Derived from your class, Vitality, and Level. This is generally one die per level (which die is dependent on your class, but usually it’s a d6, d8, or d10) plus your Vitality (multiplied by tier).

  • Recoveries: This is almost always 8, but some class features increase this number. These are primarily used to heal using a recovery, which means you subtract 1 recovery and heal HP equal to your Recovery Amount. Recoveries are restored to their maximum during a full rest.

  • Initiative (Init): Your character’s reaction speed and ability to act first. This indicates which Initiative band your character is in by default (Very Fast, Fast, Medium, Slow, or Very Slow).

  • Save Bonus: Your character’s bonus to all saves. You can also have a separate bonus to Death Saves which stacks with this.

  • Defenses: These act as the Difficulty against certain kinds of attacks. Like all Attributes, they’re set by class, but can sometimes be altered by wearing No Armor, Light Armor, or Heavy Armor depending on the class. Your character’s level is added to their Defenses. As such, the Base Defense values listed will always have 1 to 10 added to them.

    • Armor Class (AC): Your character’s defense against weapon or similar attacks.
    • Physical Defense (PD): Your character’s defense against non-weapon physical attacks, like elemental magic or toxic attacks.
    • Mental Defense (MD): Your character’s defense against more abstract attacks, such as invasive psychic, mental, or emotional assaults.

Skills #

Every character has a set of noncombat capabilities defined by their current role, their background, and their unique properties that define noncombat capabilities. These are Skills. By default, Skills are used as a Standard Check: if the skill would pertain to the action in question in some way, roll 3d6 + level + your Skill’s bonus against a set Difficulty. However, Skills have two built-in mechanics as well.

Pushing your Limits #

Sometimes a character wants to do attempt something beyond the boundaries of what a character of their Tier would normally be able to accomplish. In these cases, before you roll, declare that you’re Pushing your Limits and spend either 1 Recovery, 1 Relationship Die with a value of 5 or 6, or a Daily/Recharge 13+ Ability to add 2 Advantage to your roll. If you fail on the roll, you can spend 1 more from that list of resources to make it succeed anyway, but it generates a Twist. Spending a Relationship Die that would normally generate a Twist if used in a standard fashion generates a Twist in the same way when used for Pushing your Limits (including multiple Twists if used on a failure). Recharge 13+ abilities used in this manner can be rolled on a short rest as if they had been expended normally.

In addition to simply increasing the value of your roll to attempt a harder task, you can also generate an arbitrary effect based on the skill that’s being Pushed and/or the resource that’s being spent (like tapping inner strength if spending a Recovery, getting external help or using a unique Iconic feature if spending a Relationship Die, or generating a specific effect based on the ability if spending a Daily/Recharge). In this case, Push your Limits as above (including the 2 Advantage) against a difficulty of 21 for Adventurer Tier, 24 for Champion Tier, and 27 for Epic Tier. The scope for these will vary from campaign to campaign but some suggestions are below.

  • Adventurer: The arbitrary effect should be somewhat limited in scope. Examples of this are things like performing a feat of extreme strength, endurance, or swiftness just beyond what you’d expect a physical person would be able to accomplish or performing a minor ritual to accomplish some limited magical effect.
  • Champion: The arbitrary effect should be pretty noticeable. Examples of this are things like jumping so hard you nearly fly, blending in perfectly to a heavily guarded area, kicking down a vault door, coming out of a building collapse mostly unscathed, or performing a ritual to accomplish some greater magical effect.
  • Epic: The arbitrary effect should be very big and obvious. Examples of this are things like being so fleet-footed you walk on air or water, hitting a mountain so hard it cracks and creates a valley, moving faster than lightning, or performing a major ritual to accomplish some extreme magical effect.

Many classes that allow certain explicit uses of their class skill call out Pushing your Limits uses of them as well.

Embracing your Flaws #

Sometimes a character’s pre-defined character traits indicate that they should be worse at a task - such as a self-taught spellcaster not knowing formal magical classification or a cleric of a death god having difficulty consoling the grieving. You can declare in these cases before rolling that you’re Embracing your Flaws. You gain 2 Disadvantage when you make the Skill roll. On a success, you either regain 1 Recovery or roll 1 used Relationship Die as if starting a new day.

The GM can enforce a lesser form of this if they rule that a skill use is outside normal usage of that skill but still arguable. This lesser form only inflicts 1 Disadvantage instead of 2, but the player does not regain any resources if they succeed.

More information on how Skills are gained can be found in Character Creation.

Relationship Dice #

Every character in this game has been touched by at least one of the major powers in the setting. These powers can be Icons, powerful beings whose influence shapes the course of events, or Factions, widespread groups with a common goal. This manifests in Relationship Dice. Everyone gets some, but some classes can get more.

Relationship Dice are rolled at the beginning of a day (or whenever gained). You may use a Relationship Die to replace one die in any roll you make or any roll made against you, so long as you can explain how the specifics of that Icon or Faction’s affinity towards you could be a deciding factor. They may also be used in other ways.

Relationship Dice are either positive or negative.

Positive Relationship Dice #

The Icon or Faction has noticed you and has a personal or professional affinity towards you. If you use a 1 on a Positive Relationship Die to replace a die in a roll, it creates a Twist.

Negative Relationship Dice #

The Icon or Faction has noticed you and has an aversion towards you. However, their adversaries have also noticed you and approve of it. If you use a 6 on a Negative Relationship Die to replace a die in a roll, it creates a Twist.

More information on Relationships (the main means by which characters have Relationship Dice) can be found in Character Creation.

Level and Tier #

A character’s Level is an indication of their influence and place in the world and is one of the few constraints common to every game. A character’s level is between 1 and 10, and defines the kinds of environments and enemies that can challenge them.

Level influences many character qualities numerically as well as qualitatively: most of each character’s Attributes rise with increased levels, and every character can choose more Perks, Talents, and/or Powers with increasing levels.

A Tier is a subset of levels that describes the scope of a character’s influence on the world, reflected in the abilities the Character can select.

  • Adventurer Tier (Tier 1) is Level 1 through 4. At Adventurer Tier, characters can be expected to deal with threats to small villages, dive into small cities and into the main streets of large ones, and join factional conflicts as minor players.
  • Champion Tier (Tier 2) is Level 5 through 7. At Champion Tier, characters can be expected to frequent large cities, defeat threats in ancient ruins, and take prominent positions in factional conflicts.
  • Epic Tier (Tier 3) is Level 8 through 10. At Epic Tier, characters are famous (or infamous), and often deal face to face with Icons or heads of Factions and support or oppose them directly.

At Champion and Epic Tier levels, you get Champion or Epic perks, which allow you to further specialize. Many abilities also multiply the contributions of your Vitality and Volition to Recovery and Damage based on your Tier: at Champion tier they count as double, and at Epic tier they count as triple.

You can attempt Skill checks appropriate to your Tier or lower normally, and can stretch up to 1 Tier higher (or to Iconic levels at Epic Tier) by Pushing your Limits.

Advancement #

When you gain a level:

  • Your to-hit bonuses and defenses all increase by one.
  • Your skill roll bonuses all increase by one.
  • Your HP increases according to tier (1x, 2x, or 4x a listed HP per level).
  • You gain a perk appropriate to the new tier you’re leveling up to.
  • Depending on the class and level, you may get more abilities, gain access to higher-level abilities, or gain a talent.
  • If you attained level 5 or 8, you increase your Tier by one (which affects Volition and Vitality multipliers, as well as various abilities that reference Tier).

Incremental Advances #

At a full rest, a GM may award players an Incremental Advance. This is a partial award of the benefits of the next level, and includes one of:

  • The character receives next level’s HP advancement.
  • The character receives next level’s perk.
  • The character increase their effective level for skill rolls by 1.
  • If the character’s next level is even and the character has a list of abilities (spells, miracles, etc), the character may prepare one more of those.
  • If the character’s next level is odd and the character has a list of abilities (spells, miracles, etc), the character may prepare one from their next level.
  • If the character’s next level is 5 or 8 and they would get a Talent or new power at that level, they may select a Talent or new power.

If a character receives multiple Incremental Advances during a level, they can’t go towards the same benefit.