Core Rules

The referee presents the world and the players interact with it. When something is in doubt, the player character (PC) must make a saving throw.

Saving Throw

When attempting an action that has a chance of failure, the referee will call for a saving throw. The PC rolls 1d20 under or equal to their relevant save ability.

Whenever there are two or more characters (whether PCs or NPCs) that may make a save, the one who is taking the most risk makes the save.

Saves are only made when there is a risk. Certain actions may automatically succeed or fail based on the fiction.

Occasionally difficulty floors are added that a PC must roll over while also rolling under or equal to their ability score.

Impact (Advantages and Disadvantages)

Based on fictional positioning and approaches to a risky situation, PCs may have advantages and disadvantages applied to their saves. Rather than modifying the dice, determine the impact based on the fiction of the situation.

  • When risking something under advantageous circumstances, the consequence is subdued and the success is enhanced.
  • When risking something under disadvantageous circumstances, the consequence is worse than usual and the success is mixed.

Saving Throw Procedure

  1. PC declares action with potential for meaningful failure.
  2. Referee sets attribute for the Save.
  3. Referee communicates position and consequences of failure.
  4. PC rolls d20 Save, attempting to roll under or equal to Ability Score.
  5. Referee describes the outcome of the Save.

Time

  • Rounds: The amount of time it takes to attack once and move around in combat. ~10 to 15 seconds.
  • Turns: The amount of time it takes to move carefully through a few rooms or explore one in great detail. ~10 to 60 minutes.
  • Watches: The amount of time it takes to explore acres or travel several leagues. ~6 to 10 hours.
  • Cycle: The amount of time it takes to progress a project or recover from an injury. ~1 to 4 weeks.

Range and Distance

  • Close: Within arm’s reach.
  • Nearby: Paces away. You can get there in a round and still do something.
  • Far: A bowshot away. You can see the whites of someone’s eyes. You can get there in a round but you can’t do anything else.

Any other distance is out of range.

Travel distance is measured in 2 ways: objectively and subjectively.

  • Hecksleague: An objective unit, about 12 miles or 4 leagues.
  • Farsa: A subjective unit equal to how far a person can walk in about 8 hours, a measure that fluctuates based on terrain, weather, and other environmental factors. In ideal conditions (on a flat road, on foot), a farsa and hecksleague are equal. Based on the parasang.

Die of Fate

To represent the randomness of the game world, roll 1d6. Higher results (typically 4-6) favor the PCs while lower results do not.

Player Roles

To even out the distribution of labor between the players and referee, the following roles and associated responsibilities can be taken on by the players:

  • Caller: Mediates within the party during decision making. Relays the final decision regarding party actions to the referee.
  • Mapper: Notes world details and draws diagrams of locations when necessary.
  • Note Taker: Records events of a game session, names of important characters, and locations, etc.
  • Quartermaster: Tracks shared and individual party equipment such as rations, light sources, and so on. Ensures all burdens are accurate.
  • Timekeeper: Keeps track of elapsed time and rolls for events.

Inspiration

Inspiration is a d6 that is granted to the player to use to modify any roll. They can be accumulated over time; however, when rolling inspiration all of the dice must be rolled at once, with the player choosing one only one of them to have an effect.

Inspiration dice are earned by writing a recap and maintaining the map the overworld map during the session.

Outside the Rules

This SRD provides a light framework of rules for running a game. When anything may ambiguous or a procedure is unclear or just can’t be remembered at the moment, remember the principles.

For consequences, threats, and disincentives, use fiction first, but also consider imposing mechanical penalties like Panic, Deprivation, Fatigue, Wounds, and suffering Direct Damage to ability scores.

Attributes and Abilities

Ability Scores

Saves can be reduced as low as 0 and increased as high as 18. Saves represent how a character performs actions under pressure and do not define the character’s innate physical or mental qualities.

  • Strength (STR): Power, endurance, physicality
  • Dexterity (DEX): Reflex, finesse, flow state
  • Control (CTRL): Concentration, mental resilience, presence

PCs and NPCs can suffer damage to their saving throw abilities. This damage is usually temporary and may be healed over time.

  • At zero STR, a PC is dead.
  • At zero DEX, a PC is paralyzed.
  • At zero CTRL, a PC is delirious.

Guard

Guard (GD) represents near misses, stunning blows, stamina depletion, scratches and bruises, and so on, while a PC is on guard and in combat. It is damage avoidance before damage deducts from STR (representing real wounds to the body).

  • Only used in combat since it represents a PC on guard against attacks.
  • Direct damage bypasses GD.
  • PC is reduced to 0 GD when all 10 burden slots are filled or when carrying cumbersome items (like a couch or a dresser) in 2 hands.
  • Maximum of 18.
  • Fully restored after a turn of rest outside of combat.

Burden

A PC’s inventory is slot-based.

  • 10 slots total.
  • Each weighs around 2 and 10 pounds.
  • Items typically take up 1 slot.

Beasts of burden and vehicles can also carry items.

Encumbrance Tags

  • Petty: Item takes up 0 slots. Carrying a massive amount of petty items may take up a full slot, per referee’s judgment.
  • Bulky: Item takes up 2 slots.
  • Bundle: 3 items to a slot. For example, “rations 3/3”.
  • Stack: 10 items to a slot. For example, “quiver of arrows 10/10”.
  • Udx: Usage die, an abstract way to measure uses. For example “bag of marbles, Ud8” means when a character uses the bag of marbles they roll 1d8. On a 1, they step down the die size to a d6 for the next time it is used.

Unless they are magical, worn things like clothing, footwear, jewelry, and backpacks do not take up slots (though armor does) and may be considered petty. If a PC carries an additional set of clothing, that may take up a slot, however. Petty items may also be small things that could conceivably fit in someone’s pockets.

Currency

500 coins take up 1 slot. The first 500 coins can be considered as petty (does not take up a slot).

Other Burdens

Burden slots can also be occupied by Wounds, Fatigue, Spellburn, Symbiotic Fungi, or other permanent and semi-permanent things.

Skills

A PC’s background and kindred may imply skillsets, and explicit skills may also be laid out.

To perform a task, a PC must have skill, time, and tools. There may be situations where environmental factors or opportunities substitute for tools or skills.

  • If they have one or none, the attempt cannot be made. It automatically fails.
  • If they have two, they roll 1d6 with a base 2-in-6 (5+) chance of success (with better or worse odds depending on individual skill, environmental factors, and any reasonable help like by adding an extra PC or hireling to the test).
  • If they have all three, they automatically succeed.

The referee should make clear the consequences of failure, which could include

  • Damaging a tool
  • Endangering a party member
  • Time lost and a new complication introduced
  • Suffering damage or Fatigue

The impact of success or failure may also have nuance based on the skill level of the PC.

Always err on the side of fiction first and consider what the consequences of failure are and if they are even interesting enough to require rolling.

Yield

Whenever a skill test has a yield (harvesting, hunting, brewing, curing meat, cooking) and the test is a success, use a dice chain to determine the quantity.

The more skill, time, and tools the PC had to perform the task, the higher their yield.

  • Having two, the yield is d4.
  • Having all three, the yield is d6.

Environmental circumstances, superior tools and training, and getting help can increment the yield die by 1 step up to a maximum of d12.

Skill Test Procedure

  1. PC declares a task with potential for meaningful failure.
  2. Referee and PC determine what skills, times, and tools are needed and what of those the PC has.
  3. With 0 or 1, the test fails. With 3, the test succeeds.
  4. With 2, the PC has a 2-in-6 (5+) chance to succeed (5+), with situational bonuses and penalties added.
  5. Referee describes the outcome of the test.
  6. If there is a yield, it also depends on skill, time, and tools: With 2, the yield is d4. With 3, the yield is d6. Situational bonuses can increase the yield die to max of d12.

Lockpicking Minigame

To pick a lock, the character requires lockpicks and choosing the correct lockpicking actions in the correct order. The actions are:

  • Tap (T)
  • Probe (P)
  • Rake (R)
  1. Each lock has three tumblers, each of which require an action. No two sequential tumblers require the same action.
  2. Each lock type requires the same set of actions once it is solved. When a lock is solved, every other lock of that type is solved in the same manner. In this manner, the PC gains expertise in lockpicking.
  3. If the wrong action is chosen, the lock becomes stiff until unlocked. If a wrong action is chosen on a stiff lock, the lock becomes jammed and cannot be unlocked.

Every full attempt at picking the lock counts as 1 exploration turn. The PC may also spend an additional full turn studying the lock per the Skill Test Procedure to learn the next lockpicking action.

A failure on a stiff lock results in the lock becoming jammed. It must be broken off or otherwise destroyed (loud, messy, obvious).

Creating Locks

For the referee, to create a lock, roll 1d12 per column below (3d12).

d12 Lock Type (DV) Sequence Complication
1 Crude (0) TPT  
2 Pin (1) TPR  
3 Bolt (2) TRT  
4 Screw (3) TRP Alarmed
5 Cylinder (4) PTP Cracked
6 Anchor (5) PTR Worn
7 Warding (6) PRT Worn
8 Holy (7) PRP Reinforced
9 Mystical (8) RTP Reinforced
10 Alien (9) RTR Delicate
11 Ancient (10) RPT Delicate
12 Eldritch (10) RPR Trapped

Once a lock type has a sequence assigned to it, that association is permanent. That is, if a screw lock results in the sequence RPR, that is always the sequence to unlock all future screw locks.

When rolling for a lock, randomize the type of lock (within reason, i.e. an Alien lock probably wouldn’t be found in a fire safe in someone’s home). You may also want to include complications like those below:

Complication Effect
Cracked Any action works on the first tumbler
Worn First jam is ignored
Reinforced Takes two attacks to break it off
Delicate First mistake jams the lock
Trapped Every mistake triggers a trap (needle, spray, etc) inflicting STR or DEX damage
Alarmed First mistake sounds an alarm which summons guardians

Information Gathering

Knowledge Checks

Rely on the fiction to determine whether a PC knows something.

  • If it is common knowledge, they just know it, unless there is a good reason they would not.
  • If it is specialized knowledge but related to their background or skills, they may know it. Roll a die of fate to determine the outcome.
  • If it is esoteric knowledge whether related to their background or skills or not, they must seek out an expert or do heavy research to learn more. Research may be considered a skill test.

Perception Checks

There are no perception checks. Consider whether in the fiction something can be perceived and must be interacted with.

  • What is easily perceived? The PCs see it unless there is a good reason they do not.
  • What is partially obscured or difficult to perceive? The PCs have vague impressions of it.
  • What is hidden? The PCs may only gain information if they interact with or investigate the person, place, or thing.

Social Interaction

Players should not feel as though NPC reactions are arbitrary. NPCs should behave with some internal consistency.

Motivation

NPC motivations should be determined by the fiction or randomized.

d10 Want Description
1 Aid Medical attention, sustenance
2 Money Toll, tax, shake-down, extortion, hostages
3 Territory Territorial: May want you to leave or prove why you belong there
4 Food Hungry, thirsty
5 Info They want to know about a nearby NPC, faction, landmark, or location, or they are trying to protect a secret.
6 Trade Random equipment for sale, or looking to trade for relics, treasures, or information. 1-in-6 chance of having something rare. If unsure, roll on spell scroll list.
7 Help Help with killing something big, clearing out an area, furthering a big project, retrieving something.
8 Mission Furthering a faction goal.
9 Entertainment A bet, game of skill, fight, song, poem.
10 Directions Lost and need directions, or an escort to where they are going.

The NPCs’ motivations should also be understandable by the players, even if they are alien to them.

Disposition

For the NPC’s disposition roll 2d6 or depend on the fictional positioning.

2d6 Disposition
2 Attacks
3-5 Hostile, suspicious, unfriendly (may attack)
6-8 Curious, uncertain, uninterested
9-11 Indifferent (may negotiate)
12 Friendly, eager, kind, polite, helpful

This disposition should be telegraphed by the NPCs’ actions, behaviors, words, and rumors and reputation. This includes untrustworthy, honorable, traitorous, law-abiding, or cowardly natures. An otherwise trustworthy NPC suddenly betraying the party often feels unfair without sufficient clues provided by the referee.

Influence

The PCs may influence the NPC’s disposition in order to get something they want. Interactions in role play, such as bribes, arguments, appeasements, or flattery (which need not be fully acted out) can increase or decrease the NPC’s disposition by a level (for example, from indifferent to friendly).

When there is any doubt that a PC’s strategy might fail, use a skill test with base odds of 2-in-6 (5+). Other situational factors like revealed information or leverage can increase or decrease the odds.

Reactions

The characters reach a new status quo (whether that is a new situation or the original disposition).

If an approach does not work, it can be assumed that it will never work on the NPC in order to avoid retreading the same approach.

If the party and the NPCs reach an impasse, violence is an option but also consider alternatives, such as changing demands, a truce, or the NPCs retreating with a threat to return with back-up.

Social Check Procedure

  1. The PC’s declare what they want from the NPC(s)
  2. Referee determines the target’s motivation and disposition.
  3. The PC and NPC interact. If there is any doubt a tactic will work, the PC has a 2-in-6 (5+) chance to succeed, with situational bonuses and penalties added.
  4. Resolve interaction. If unresolved, start from the beginning, but PCs must use new tactics.

Magic

Spells always count as petty. They exist in two forms:

  • Scrolls, which are single-use but can be copied into a Grimoire
  • Entries in a Grimoire

Scrolls

Scrolls can be written on things other than actual paper scrolls, such as pieces of bark, stone tablet, a long ribbon, or a floorboard.

Grimoires

Spell scrolls may be copied into the Grimoire.

  • Spend a full watch copying the spell.
  • Use magical inks (costs 50-70 silver).
  • The scroll is destroyed in the process.

To create a Grimoire, you will need

  • 4 uses of magical inks
  • A spell scroll (as the first spell of the Grimoire, sacrificed in the process)
  • A blank book
  • A full watch, after which you are deprived

Spell Casting Procedure

  1. PC holds a Grimoire or Spell Scroll, and chooses a spell. Make note of durations and ranges.
  2. Available Magic Dice (d6) are equal to your available burden slots, up to a maximum of 4. Choose how many to invest. Some spells may note [dice] for the number of invested Magic Dice and/or their [sum]. Some magic items grant additional Magic Dice.
  3. Roll. For each magic die that resulted in 4, 5, or 6, add a Fatigue to a burden slot. On a 1, 2, or 3, the magic die does not inflict a Fatigue.
  4. On doubles, you suffer a mishap. On triples, you suffer a doom. Some spells have special mishaps and dooms.

Mishaps and Dooms

Spellcasting is dangerous. Mishaps and Dooms are the result of over-channeling magical power.

  • If the caster rolls doubles on their magic dice, a magical mishap occurs with the spell behaving as written. If multiple doubles are rolled, the highest number takes precedence.
  • If the caster rolls triples on their magic dice, they receive 1 doom. The spell behaves as written. If multiple triples are rolled, all dooms are counted.

A mishap and a doom can occur on the same roll, but this is rare (5 dice would have to be invested).

Mishaps

d6 Mishap
1 For the next 24 hours, you receive Fatigue on 3-6 of the Magic Dice when casting spells.
2 A splitting headache strikes you. Suffer 1d6 CTRL damage.
3 You suffer terrible magic burns. Adds a Spellburn (Wound) to your inventory. Must be healed.
4 Your nerves tingle. You are deprived.
5 You cannot cast spells for 6 hours.
6 The spell has a chain reaction, determined by the referee. Take an additional Fatigue.

Dooms

Dooms are progressive and can be removed with quests.

Count Dooms
1st Lose the ability to cast spells for 24 hours.
2nd Lose the ability to cast spells for 3 days.
3rd Lose the ability to cast spells permanently.

Probability

#d6 Mishap chance (%) Doom chance (%)
1 0 0
2 17 0
3 44 3
4 72 10
5 96 19
6 99 32
7 100 47
8 100 63
9 100 78
10 100 93
11 100 98
12 100 99
13 100 100

Advancement

Training, missions, environmental effects, divine boons, radiation, magic, monster abilities, and other strange effects may transform your PC over time. Training requires a goal, time, and a teacher.

For ideas on diegetic growth, refer to the following resources:

Boasts

When a PC has an audience, they may make a declare a goal to accomplish. The referee may work with the PC to solidify this goal into a Boast.

Once the boast is made, the PC immediately gains

  • +1 to a relevant ability score
  • +1 to their Guard.

Only 1 Boast may be pending at a time.

Once a PC has achieved their goal, their fame may spread throughout the land. They may now make another boast. If the PC shirks their boast, they lose the bonus gained and may never boast again.

A friend or rival may up the stakes of the Boast.

  • For each complicating factor, another +1 to Guard or +1 to an ability score may be added, with referee agreement.
  • If the new Boast is refused, the challenger must take up the new Boast, with the specified complication.

Boasts after 15 no longer increase a PC’s ability scores or Guard.

Damage, Conditions, and Effects

Most conditions will be specific to a monster and the monster’s description should indicate what is to happen. Sometimes it is obvious, such as deafening, muting, or blinding.

For stunning and paralyzing effects, alternative rules follow:

  • Agony: A PC may choose to suffer 1d6 dmg in order to act normally that round, or remain stunned/paralyzed.
  • Enervation: A PC may choose to permanently reduce their maximum GD by 1 in order to act normally that round, or remain stunned/paralyzed.

Environmental Damage

Damage from an environmental effect is measured in d6 and bypasses GD, hitting a relevant ability.

Examples include:

  • Non-magical fire, 1d6 STR damage
  • On fire, 1d6 STR damage per round
  • Lava, instant death
  • Acid, 1d6 STR damage
  • Drowning, 1d6 STR damage
  • Freezing water, 0 GD, 1d6 STR damage
  • Non-magical lightning, 3d6 STR damage
  • Falling, 1d6 STR or DEX damage per story
  • Rocks falling, 3d6 STR or DEX damage
  • Poison, damage amount depends on the poison

Panic

A PC must make a CTRL save against panicking under any of the following conditions:

  • surrounded by enemies
  • in complete darkness, unable to see
  • facing one of their greatest fears
  • suffering damage to CTRL

When panicking, a PC has 0 GD and all of their attacks are impaired.

Deprivation

When a PC cannot get a crucial need, such as food, water, or sleep, they are Deprived. Deprived characters cannot recover Guard or damage to Ability Scores. Other environmental effects may also cause deprivation.

Anyone Deprived for more than a day adds Fatigue to their burden, one for each day.

Fatigue

  • Fatigue may be taken to perform special abilities or from spellcasting.
  • Fatigue occupies 1 burden slot.
  • Fatigue lasts until the PC is able to recuperate (such as a full night’s rest in a safe spot).
  • All Fatigue is removed after a full night’s rest.
  • If a character has no free slots and must take a Fatigue, they must first drop an item.

Wounds

Some enemies may also inflict Wounds to a PC’s burden, which are not removed like Fatigue and require healing of some kind or are removed in a special way. Some Wounds may be major, inflicting a -1 to a relevant save. Some major Wounds may be permanent.

Wounds may have different names depending on the source, like spellburn, worryseeds, blight, mind-parasite, etc, but the commonality is that they occupy a burden slot and cannot be removed like Fatigue.

Critical Damage

When combat damage takes a target below 0 Guard, they suffer damage to STR. They must then make a STR save (using their new reduced STR) against suffering Critical Damage.

N.B. Critical Damage saves only need to be made for combat damage. Trap and other environmental damage to Strength does not require a Critical Damage save.

When a target suffers Critical Damage, they are out of the action, grasping for life. If given aid and rest, they will stabilize. If left untreated, they die within the hour.

Some enemies may have special abilities triggered by failing a Critical Damage STR save. These effects can be instantly fatal.

Scars

When a PC suffers damage that takes them to 0 GD exactly (after Armor), the PC takes a scar. Compare the amount of damage taken against the numbered item in the scar list below.

N.B. This is the damage taken, not the damage rolled. For example, you have 2 Armor and 5 Guard. The enemy rolls a 7 on their damage die. Your Armor absorbs 2 damage. The remaining 5 is applied to the Guard, leaving you with 0 Guard and inflicting a scar. Since you suffered 5 damage, you refer to item 4-6 from the scar list.

  • 1-3: Distressed. A lucky escape. Immediately suffer d6 damage to CTRL.
  • 4-6: Rattled. Describe how you refocus. Immediately add +1 to your Guard.
  • 7-9: Disfigured. Now you look tough after being scarred by the attack.
  • 10: Walloped. You are Deprived until you rest for a few hours. Afterwards, add 1d6 to your Guard.
  • 11: Out of action. You are Deprived and will die in an hour if you don’t get immediate attention. Upon recovery, roll 2d6. If the total is higher than your max Guard, take the new result. Otherwise, increase it by 1.
  • 12: Doomed. You should’ve died from that one. The next time you fail a Critical Damage save, you die horribly. If you pass, roll 3d6. If the total is higher than your max Guard, take the new result.

Healing

  • Resting for a turn (~10 to 60 minutes) restores lost Guard but risks exposing the party to danger.
  • Resting for a turn also stabilizes PCs suffering Critical Damage, allowing them to recover lost Guard (but not any damage to ability scores).
  • A good night’s rest will remove all Fatigue from your burden.
  • A full day’s rest will recover 1 point for any reduced ability score, up to its max. Ability restoration is faster when facilitated by someone with medical expertise or by supernatural means.

Recovering Wounds that occupy your burden requires medical expertise or supernatural help. Some Wounds can never heal.

Death

When a PC dies, have a funeral for them later. As soon as possible, have the player roll up a new character and introduce them immediately. If you have trouble coming up with a way of doing this, refer to d100 introductions for newly minted PCs.

Alternatively, a hireling or retainer may be played by the player until the next time a new character can be rolled up. Ideally, the player should take on the role of someone else’s hireling or retainer (not their own).

Blaze of Glory

When appropriate, a player character may go out in a blaze of glory, or take death as an opportunity to provide a benefit to the rest of the party. This could include

  • inflicting enhanced damage in your final struggle,
  • providing a distraction for your party to get away,
  • or inspiring grief-stricken rage in the party over your demise and granting them some boon.

A player character may also choose a party member and give them their final words. If the PC was eaten by a dragon or disintegrated or something similar, the party member can receive the message some other way, such as via a diary, an unsent letter, or an estate attorney.

  • Remember me: Give them a parting gift. It could be something from their inventory or something invented for the moment.
  • Make sure they get this: Give them an item to deliver. Depending on the difficulty, treat as a Boast.
  • Promise me you’ll keep them safe: Name an NPC (new or existing) and have the PC swear to protect them.
  • Avenge me: Name the thing that killed you, its master, or collaborator and have the PC swear revenge. Treat as a Boast.
  • Mysterious final words: Mumble something (maybe something you decide on later) and work with the referee and the witnessing PC to determine its meaning.

Returning from Death

Bringing a character back from death is big magic or a miracle, and ultimately the choice of the method is the responsibility of the rest of the party. While true resurrection is impossible, some options include:

  • Reanimation: Miracle-level interference. Invite an otherworldly entity to inhabit the body. Not the really same character.
  • Undeath: Big magic. Return as an undead creature, with all the baggage that entails.
  • Soul-trapping: Big magic. Grab the soul somehow and put it into a new body.
  • Reincarnation: Miracle-level interference. The party would need to either interfere in or gain knowledge of a reincarnation cycle for the target character. Takes a lot of patience. The character is reborn as baby.
  • Clone: Miracle-level interference. Put a body part (like a toe or something) into a cloning vat with alchemical reagents and grow it for a year in a safe place.

Most of these methods will likely involve re-rolling or reducing stats. If you somehow find a way to come back, you’ll come back weirder. Refer to d100 so you’ve been brought back from the dead. Work with the referee to figure this out.

Combat Rounds

Time spent in combat is measured in rounds. Each round represents the amount of time it takes to move several paces, move a few paces and swing a sword, shoot a bow, cast a spell, hide behind a barrel, leap over a chasm, or perform similar actions. A minute contains about 6 rounds.

Initiative and Surprise

A side’s actions all occur simultaneously. Determine which side acts first based on the fiction. When who acts first is in doubt, roll for initiative: Each PC who was not surprised by an ambush must make a DEX save above their Armor value or lose their turn.

For example, if you have 2 Armor and a 12 Dex, you would need to roll equal or under 12 but above 2 (between 3 and 12). Essentially, each point of armor reduces the odds to act first by 5%.

The turn order commences as follows, alternating until the fight is over:

  1. Any PCs who pass their initiative (DEX) save
  2. The enemy
  3. All PCs
  4. The enemy
  5. All PCs
  6. The enemy…

Remember that not all encounters may result in combat. Unless their disposition is clear, an NPC’s disposition may be determined by the Social Checks table.

Actions

On their turn a PC may make a movement and take up to one action. This may be

  • casting a spell
  • attacking
  • taking something out of your equipment
  • making a second movement
  • making a maneuver

Minor actions like picking up a small object, dismounting a horse, or calling out do not count as an action.

Players declare what actions they will take before rolling any dice. If they attempt something risky, the referee will call for a save from the appropriate party.

Then player actions are resolved. All actions, attacks, and movements are resolved roughly at the same time. This is followed by the enemies attacking.

Attacking

To attack, the attacker rolls their weapon die for the damage and the defender subtracts their Armor bonus, if any.

The rest of the damage hits the defender’s GD first. Any excess damage is dealt to the defender’s STR. They must then make a save versus Critical Damage using the new STR score.

Some attacks may directly affect STR, DEX, or CTRL. When this happens, there may be a save required to avoid some effect.

Impaired and Enhanced Attacks

  • When an attacker fights from a position of weakness (with bound hands or through cover), their attack is impaired. Impaired attacks inflict 1d4 damage.
  • When an attacker fights from a position of strength (with a daring maneuver or attacking a defenseless foe), their attack is enhanced. Enhanced attacks inflict 1d12 damage.

Unarmed attacks always do 1d4 damage.

Multiple Attackers

If multiple attackers target the same defender, all attackers roll their dice and only the single highest result is applied to the defender.

Dual Weapons

If attacking with two weapons at the same time, roll both damage dice and keep the single highest result.

Blast

Attacks with the blast quality affect all targets in the noted area, rolling separately for each affected character. Blast refers to anything from explosions to huge cleaving onslaughts. If unsure how many targets can be affected, roll the related damage die for a result.

Gambits

A weapon die roll of 4 or higher may be discarded to perform a gambit.

  • Bolster the attack by +1 damage
  • Move after the attack, even if you already moved or are unable to move
  • Repel an enemy away from you
  • Stop an enemy from moving next turn
  • Impair a weapon on their next turn
  • Other effect of similar impact

With a discarded 4 or higher, the target must make an appropriate saving throw if the target would be forced into an action or directly affected.

With a discarded 8 or higher, the gambit automatically succeeds.

Weapon Feats

Weapon Mastery is achieved after inflicting Critical Damage on 5 foes in lethal combat. Once a PC achieves weapon mastery with a specific weapon, they may choose 1 Weapon Feat to gain. Each level of Weapon Mastery unlocks another Weapon Feat. So in order to train all 6 Weapon Feats for the katana, you will need 30 kills.

When picking up a different weapon with the same Weapon Feat (for example, a Sabre and a Scimitar both have Sweep), you’ll still need to gain Weapon Mastery for that weapon. Refer to Martial Gear for specific Weapon Feats and what weapons have which.

Maneuvers

Rather than making an attack, describe a maneuver and have the opponent make a relevant save. The attacker must also make a relevant save or suffer a Fatigue, regardless of whether the maneuver succeeded.

Maneuvers may include

  • tripping
  • disarming
  • grappling
  • knocking someone off a mount
  • climbing a massive monster
  • performing a weapon feat

Some targets are immune to certain maneuver effects.

Retreat

Escaping a doomed situation requires a successful DEX save and a safe destination in order to get away.

Morale

The enemy side must make a morale save (CTRL) to remain in combat when suffering major setbacks.

Lone foes must save when they’re reduced to 0 GD.

Groups of foes must save when

  • they take their first casualty
  • they lose half their number
  • they lose their leader

Some groups may use their leader’s CTRL in place of their own.

Some NPCs never make morale saves.

Ally NPCs also make morale saves. PCs never make morale saves.

Detachments

Large groups of similar combatants fighting together are treated as a single detachment. Use the same stat line as the individual version but add detachment and follow the below additions:

When a detachment suffers Critical Damage, it is routed or significantly weakened. When it reaches 0 STR, it is destroyed.

  • Attacks against detachments by individuals are impaired (excluding blast damage).
  • Attacks against individuals by detachments are enhanced and deal blast damage.

Some monsters (like dragons) are treated as detachments and are indicated as such.

Combat Round Procedure

  1. PCs make a DEX save to act first before enemies.
  2. Enemies make actions simultaneously.
  3. All PCs make actions simultaneously, followed again by the enemy, alternating rounds.
  4. One side is destroyed, surrenders, or flees.

Dueling Rules

Fighting in a potentially non-lethal setting (such as a one-on-one duel to first blood, a battle of wits, or a court case) using these dueling rules:

  1. Establish the stakes. What does victory and defeat mean in this situation?
  2. Determine the hit points. In physical duels, this is GD. In a non-physical duel, this can be equal to the combatants’ CTRL (but should not actually inflict CTRL damage).
  3. Choose (secretly) whether to
    1. attack: batter, accuse, intimidate
    2. defend: parry, cite, reason
    3. flourish: charm, taunt, feint
  4. Resolve round. Simultaneously reveal
    • Defend beats attack
    • Attack beats flourish
    • Flourish beats defend

The winner of the round inflicts 1d8 damage to the established hit points. The loser still inflicts 1d4.

If both combatants pick the same tactic, they both inflict 1d6 damage.

Mass Combat

Mass combat is handled by using detachment units and posing them against each other.

Naval vessels have the same set of stats as all other creatures:

  • Guard: Damage avoidance.
  • STR: Hull strength. At 0, vessel starts to sink.
  • DEX: Sails, oars, movement. The ship with the highest DEX moves first. At 0, vessel is immobile.
  • CTRL: Crew’s ability to hold it together. At 0, the crew will surrender or panic.
  • Burden: Split between the Hold (4 slots) and the Decks (6 slots).

Any of these parts of a vessel can be targeted. When the vessel takes Critical Damage to any of these ability scores, it may be boarded.

Damage to Guard is restored after resting at port or free from threat. Damage to ability scores is restored by repair. Employ workers to repair the vessel plus 5% of the cost of the vessel to repair 1 ability score point.

For ships and rules about ships, refer to Lilliputian, Wolves Upon the Coast, Book 1: Rules, and this list of Medieval ships.

Smaller vessels like boats and rafts can be treated as detachments, but those with crew sizes of 25 and higher are considered ships. Groups of ships are considered fleets.

Refer to this attack matrix below.

Scale vs Individual vs Detachment vs Ship vs Fleet
Individual   Impaired Ignored Ignored
Detachment Enhanced   Impaired Ignored
Ship Direct damage Enhanced   Impaired
Fleet Critical damage Direct damage Enhanced  

Exploration Turns

Time spent exploring a dungeon (or other similar adventure site) is measured in turns. Each turn represents the amount of time it takes to carefully go through a few rooms, thoroughly pick over a single room, or perform similarly long actions. An hour contains about 6 turns.

Exploration Actions

The party decides what action to take. Moving quickly through a dungeon is risky but can be more or less safely done if there is a clear, known path back to the surface. What counts as a full turn includes

  • Exploring a new room
  • Traveling through a long corridor
  • Moving quickly through 3 previously explored rooms
  • Listening at the door
  • Searching for something
  • Picking a lock
  • Disarming a trap
  • Resting

Site Clock

When entering a dungeon or other adventure site, the referee establishes a site clock which is set to 20. During the end of turn procedure, a PC rolls a die and the referee subtracts that amount from the clock.

  • If the clock drops below zero, the party has an encounter.
  • If the clock reaches 3, the party spots a clue or omen to the upcoming encounter first.
  • If the clock reaches exactly zero, it resets to 3 (triggering the clue/omen result).

The site’s die size starts at d6. If the party rests, the die size increases to a maximum of d12.

Random Encounter

If the encounter requires a distance or if the distance is unclear from the fiction, roll 1d6:

  • 1: Appears suddenly at nearby distance
  • 2-5: Appears at a far distance
  • 6: Appears just out of range, reaching the far band shortly.

Random Encounter Complications

Add complexity to a random encounter by giving the NPC something to do when they appear. A table like the one below may be used.

d12 Activity / Desire d10 Complication
1 Hunting / Looking for Prey 1 Hungry
2 Patrolling / Scouting 2 Sick / Young
3 Scavenging / Looting 3 Lost
4 Hiding 4 Arrested / Trapped
5 Resting / Sleeping 5 Disgruntled
6 Working / Task 6 Broken Gear / Injured
7 Meeting / Planning / Scheming 7 Fleeing
8 Ritual / Ceremony 8 Insane
9 Art / Performance 9 Dead
10 Setting Trap 10 Roll NPC
11 Celebrating    
12 Eating    

It may also be useful to develop a set of miens for different types of NPCs and monsters.

Light

Adventurers (both PCs and NPCs) can be assumed to carry flint and steel or some other spark-making device on them at all times, whenever it would be reasonable to have one.

Light can be tracked using a die or on paper. Every time the site die is rolled, mark time on the light source(s) used.

Torches illuminate nearby objects and close details. Torches last 6 turns (1 hour).

Candles illuminate close objects and details. Blows out when the light-bearer moves at a fast speed. Candles last 6 turns (1 hour).

Lanterns illuminate nearby objects and details. They can be modified to illuminate a straight line rather than a radius. They cannot be blown out. Takes oil (10 uses) as fuel. Can also carry a candle to prevent it from blowing out. Lanterns last 24 turns or half a watch (4 hours).

Darkvision is not perfect: Monochrome outlines of moving shapes in darkness. Dim light is moonlight. Anything for which fine eyesight is required will be difficult even with darkvision.

Optional Rule: The Darkness Consumes You

When the party runs out of light sources deep within the dungeon, far from any known exits, characters must make a save against Panic.

Alternatively, the referee may ask each player what their character would give up in exchange for escaping the dungeon. If they cannot give an answer, if the referee needs inspiration for offers, or if the referee prefers to use the random table rather than giving the players the opportunity to escape freely, refer to the table below.

1d10 Fate
1-4 You are dead.
5 You are transformed into a monster. You are added to the encounter table for this dungeon and may be re-encountered.
6 You are lost. You are added to the encounter table for this dungeon and may be re-encountered.
7 You are captured by a monster or faction. If captured by a faction, you may be held ransom.
8 You escape but are traumatized by your experience, never speaking of it again, and quitting adventuring life. You surrender your character sheet and become an NPC
9 You escape but have lost all of your gear.
10 You escape but suffer a scar. Roll 1d12 and compare to the Scars list.

If the party is close to a known exit, they may choose to escape safely.

N.B. The results of lights going out may seem harsh; however, this should be highlighted so that the players know to be prepared when delving into the dungeon.

Exploration Turn Procedure

  1. Party declares their actions.
  2. Referee describes what happens.
  3. 1 PC rolls the Site Die and referee decrements Site Clock by that amount.
  4. PCs mark usage on light sources.

Optional Rule: Escaping the Dungeon

Sometimes there is insufficient time to escape a dungeon to a safe location during a session. When it is necessary that a party be back in a safe place or back at a camp, as may be during an open table campaign, the party may roll to return to a safe camp.

N.B. The results of failure may seem harsh; however, this is should only be used if the players do not have time or do not wish to play out their escape from the dungeon. It should be used as motivation to bookend the session in a safe location rather than as punishment. If a session must be ended due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, do not use this method. When in doubt, don’t be mean about it.

Each PC should choose their best saving throw and describe how they make their way to the surface using that ability.

Before the player makes the saving throw, the referee establishes a difficulty value (DV) using the table below. The PC must roll under or equal to their save but above the set DV. If the DV would be negative, it is instead zero.

Situation DV mod
You don’t know where you are +4
You are hindered in your path +4
You are in a lair -1
You are in a small complex -2
You discard an item from your inventory -1 / item

On a success, the PC escapes. On a failure, the PC must roll on the failed escapes table:

1d8 Result
1 You escape unharmed.
2 You escape but have lost 1d6 pieces of equipment. Roll d12 per piece lost to determine what was lost.
3 You are captured by a monster or faction. If captured by a faction, you may be held ransom.
4 You are lost. You are added to the encounter table for this dungeon and may be re-encountered.
5 You are transformed into a monster. You are added to the encounter table for this dungeon and may be re-encountered.
6 You are dead. Roll the check again: On a success, the party can recover your body. On a failure, your body was destroyed.
7 You may betray a comrade. You may either reroll on the failed escapes table or betray a comrade who is escaping. They must roll on the failed escape table. If betraying a comrade, roll 1d6. On a 1-4, you escape. On a 5-6, you both suffer the fate they roll.
8 You escape, but suffer a scar. Roll 1d12 and compare to the Scars list.

Wilderness Watches

Time spent traversing and exploring the wilderness is measured in watches. Each watch represents the amount of time it takes to travel leagues, explore acres, cook an elaborate meal, hunt or forage for food, harvest monster parts, or perform similar activities. A day contains 3 watches, representing day, evening, and night.

Weather

Weather is dependent on the season and climate. Results on the weather hex-flower will generate the results.

Wilderness Actions

The party declares an action or set of actions together.

  • Travel
  • Explore
  • Supply
  • Lookout
  • Make Camp

Since there are 3 watches per day, the last watch of the day is usually spent making camp and resting while the first and second can be used for travel or exploration.

Travel

The entire party takes the travel action together.

  • A navigator may be named who makes a skill test to see if they get lost. Path difficulty, maps, party skills, weather, terrain, and guides may increase, decrease, or eliminate the odds of getting lost. Sometimes a navigation check is not necessary.
  • At the end of the turn, the party reaches the next point along the route, unless they get lost. Getting lost requires an additional travel action.
  • Traveling every watch in a day results in a PC becoming Deprived and adding a Fatigue to their burden.
  • Mounts, guides, and maps can improve travel speed or negate certain penalties. Mounts pulling wagons or other vehicles add no bonus or penalty.
  • Injured party members, bad terrain, darkness, or weather conditions can add penalties as well or make travel impossible. Wagons and other vehicles can only travel on roads or very flat terrain.

Night Travel

  • Traveling at night increases travel time by 1 watch along a path.
  • During winter, only the first watch has sunlight (8 hours of day, 16 hours of night).
  • For a full watch, PCs will need around 8 hours of light, meaning either 2 uses of an oil can for a lantern or 8 torches or candles.

Travel Duration Calculation

Travel duration is the amount of time it takes to travel between 2 points. It is calculated by the referee ahead of time for a given path using distance, path quality, and terrain.

For traveling by water, use the surrounding terrain to determine the difficulty. For travel in the open seas without land in sight, add up to +2 watches as a penalty.

Variables such as weather, mounts, vehicles, darkness, guides, and maps will also impact duration on the fly. Results on the weather hex flower will indicate the weather travel penalties for that watch.

Path Type Penalty Navigation Penalty
Roads None None
Trails +1 Watch -1
Wilderness +2 Watches -2
Path Distance Penalty
Short (~4 leagues) +1 Watch
Medium (~8 leagues) +2 Watches
Long (~12 leagues) +3 Watches
Difficulty Terrain Penalty Factors
Easy Plains, plateaus, valleys none Safe areas for rest, fellow travelers, good visibility
Tough Forests, deserts, hills +1 Watch Wild animals, flooding, broken equipment, falling rocks, unsafe shelters, hunter’s traps
Perilous Mountains, jungles, swamp +2 Watches Quicksand, sucking mud, choking vines, unclean water, poisonous plants and animals, poor navigation

Explore

  • One or more PCs can search a large area for hidden features, scout ahead, or tread carefully.
  • A location like a shelter, village, or cave, is discovered, or an obvious landmark, like a cliff, geyser, or shipwreck.
  • Note: Taking this action does not count as traveling through an area. The travel action must still be taken to leave an area.

Lookout

  • Can be done during alongside any of the other actions.
  • The character acts as a lookout and can spot potential threats as a skill test.
  • Three lookout shifts are required while in a camp to ensure everyone gets rest.

Supply

  • PCs can hunt, fish, or forage for food as a skill test. Refer to Yield for how to determine the activity’s yield. Environmental conditions such as weather, access to water, and availability of plants and animals may impact the yield up or down.
  • The party may also encounter homes and small villages, spending silver to resupply.

Harvesting Monster Parts

In coordination with the referee, given appropriate skill, time, and tools, PCs may harvest monster parts, like venom, horns, teeth, digestive acids, and so on. Treat as a skill test. Failure may include destroying the parts, suffering harm from the poor handling of the monster, and/or becoming forever changed

For ideas on monster harvesting, refer to d100 monster parts for magical reagents and d100 uses for a dead dragon

Example Foraged Components

A list of sample components are below. The PC should indicate what specifically they are foraging for before doing so.

Herb, Fungus Appearance and properties
Salt Salt. Cures meat
Warynettle Spiky seed. Sleep inducing
Heartsbane (fungus) Red powdery fungus. Blood coagulant, toxic
Sightleaf Leafy green herb. Heightens sight
Sarnis hip Pink and orange arcing petals, flower. Anti-inflammatory
Lionspaw Leafy green herb. Anti-inflammatory
Feverfew White petal flower. Reduces fever
Honeyfoil Broad green leafy herb, orange pistils. Expectorant
Devilsgrace (fungus) Purple mushroom cap, secreting black liquid. Sleep-inducing, toxic
Starcomb Brown conical seed. Heightens all senses
Quick weed Black and green leafy plant. Heartening, heightens senses
Flint moss Dry stringy moss. Flammable

Make Camp

  • The PCs make camp. All party members (and their mounts) consume a Ration. Mounts require a full slot of rations (3 rations, or animal feed which takes up 1 slot) or may be able to graze.
  • Party members that were able to rest remove all of Fatigue from their burden. Any party members unable to sleep become Deprived and add a Fatigue to their burden instead.
  • PCs may also perform 1 additional activity besides resting, such as curing game for rations, singing, cooking, darning socks, crafting medicinals, performing rituals, or keeping watch as a lookout.
  • A lookout rotation is set so that the party can sleep undisturbed. At least 3 rotations are necessary to ensure that all party members can rest. A smaller party may need to risk sleeping unguarded, or switch off sleeping over multiple days.

Camp Quality

During winter or inclement conditions, fire, proper bedding, tents, and other amenities are required for a comfortable rest. Players should be warned ahead of time whether a campsite will not provide the right conditions for a rest.

Some weather will also make it difficult to start a fire.

Cooking

Treat cooking as a skill test.

  • Cooked meats of any kind remove 1 Fatigue.
  • Foraged food only counts as a meal, and does not remove Fatigue.
  • Cooked meats combined with foraged food makes a Balanced Meal, which removes all Fatigue.

Wilderness Event Check

The referee rolls 1d6. On a 4-6, nothing happens. On a 1-3:

  1. A random encounter. Add complications and disposition.
  2. A threat to the party’s resources.
  3. A local disaster, if relevant to the location.

If the encounter requires a distance or if the distance is unclear from the fiction, roll 1d6:

  • 1: Appears suddenly at nearby distance
  • 2-5: Appears at a far distance
  • 6: Appears just out of range, reaching the far band shortly.

Random Encounter Complications

Add complexity to a random encounter by giving the NPC something to do when they appear. A table like the one below may be used.

d12 Activity / Desire d10 Complication
1 Hunting / Looking for Prey 1 Hungry
2 Patrolling / Scouting 2 Sick / Young
3 Scavenging / Looting 3 Lost
4 Hiding 4 Arrested / Trapped
5 Resting / Sleeping 5 Disgruntled
6 Working / Task 6 Broken Gear / Injured
7 Meeting / Planning / Scheming 7 Fleeing
8 Ritual / Ceremony 8 Insane
9 Art / Performance 9 Dead
10 Setting Trap 10 Roll NPC
11 Celebrating    
12 Eating    

It may also be useful to develop a set of miens for different types of NPCs and monsters.

Threats to Resources

When not spending an extra watch or taking on Fatigue, party members may expend resources or tools to avoid threats, or make skill tests to avoid them.

Terrain type Threat
Any Bridge or road out
Forest Snakebite
Hills Steep ridge
Wetlands Boggy water
Any Flooded road
Forest Brambles
Plains, mountains Tar pits
Forest, mountains Dense fog
Mountains, hills Steep slope
Plains, valleys Sinkhole
Any Parasites, ticks, fire ants, leeches
Any Loose snowbanks
Any Deep mud, clay or soil
Mountains, hills Hairpin turns
Mountains, hills Loose rocks
Mountains, hills Jagged terrain
Forest Fallen logs
Plains Razor sharp tall grass
River Rapids

Disasters

Sudden disasters should be unique to an area. Instead of shifting the weather, a sudden natural disaster may impede the journey. For example, mudslide, landslide, flooding, earthquake, or tornadoes. Rely on the fiction or on a pre-determined natural disaster table for these events.

Wilderness Watch Procedure

  1. Referee determines weather.
  2. Party selects wilderness actions.
  3. Referee describes what happens.
  4. Light sources are ticked off, if needed.
  5. Wilderness Event die is rolled.

Downtime Cycles

Time spent doing downtime activities is measured in cycles. Each cycle represents the amount of time it takes to convalesce, do research, brew potions, train an animal, train in combat, make connections, or perform other long-term activities. A season contains about 6 cycles.

Upkeep

At the beginning of the downtime cycle, all PCs should spend money on upkeep.

Lifestyle Coins per Cycle Tags During Downtime Cycle
Meager 5 Sleeping rough or crashing somewhere, no baths, malnourished, threadbare clothing
Comfortable 25 Short-term housing or crashing somewhere, 1-2 baths, fed enough, respectable clothing
Luxurious 125 Short-term housing or inn, unlimited bath access, well-fed, fashionable clothing

Upkeep includes room and board, but also things like keeping your armor and weaponry clean, mending your socks, feeding your mounts and pets, feeding yourself, maintaining your vehicles, etc. Lifestyle tags may impact certain interactions in the fiction of the downtime cycle. If a PC cannot afford upkeep, they may incur debt, take on an odd job, or commit petty crimes.

Odd Jobs

Rather than spend any silver, PCs may also take on odd jobs to maintain a meager lifestyle for the duration of the downtime cycle. This may impede their ability to make progress on their Downtime Actions or make those actions more difficult.

Petty Crime

For larger crimes like heists, refer to exploration turns. Petty crimes like home invasions and pick-pocketing require

  • Time: If you want to perform a Downtime Action, you don’t get time for the Skill Test
  • Safety: Large enough populace to disappear, small or corrupt enough policing presence to get away with things
  • Skill Test: With 2 of skill, gear, and time, the PC succeeds on 5+ on a d6 roll, with situational bonuses and penalties added.

On a success, they fund their upkeep plus yield the appropriate yield die in silver.

On a failure, the PC may be presented with a difficult choice in order to succeed: Be captured and pay bail, leave witnesses, leave casualties, suffer direct damage, leave something behind, etc. They must still pay upkeep, and may incur debt in order to fund it.

The PC may also push their luck by adding an additional d6. On a 7+, they fail completely, suffering the consequences of the difficult choice posed.

Banks

Banks can safely hold onto your silver and important items. Certificates of deposit (petty) can be carried to cash out at other branches of the bank.

Bank Withdrawn From Withdrawal Fee
Same bank, same branch 1%, minimum 1 silver
Same bank, different branch 2%, minimum 1 silver
Different bank 5% or 20 silver, whichever is higher

Any unsecured caches of wealth will be targeted every downtime cycle by local thieves.

The De Sapo House is a Hopplander bank and merchant house that operates in Hoppland, Ambrine, Gewisse (including Brackenwold), and the Myrdoom kingdoms. It doesn’t operate in the city of Luden due to the dangers there.

Downtime Actions

Downtime actions are any major actions that a PC may undertake to improve themselves, learn more about the world or a situation, influence the world, or other similar major goals.

Downtime actions do not include small things like those described in upkeep and to be described in resupply, or other flavorful activities like having parties, visiting friends, carousing, or throwing parties and funerals for fallen party members.

Downtime actions cannot

  • endanger the PC
  • be done in unsafe conditions
  • be done while a PC is trying to recover ability scores or wounds. Refer to Healing

The referee will create a tracker and offer a cost. The tracker may have 1-5 milestones to achieve the goal. Examples of costs include:

  • Silver: Direct payment of silver from a character’s inventory.
  • Resources: Non-monetary costs such as material goods, specific common items, and so on.
  • Reputation: Betting on a character’s renown, personality, presence, social connections, etc.
  • Loss: Offering something specific and unique. A finger, a soul, a Relic, etc.

Some costs can be reduced or disregarded through character skills, connections, or force of will. For example, a PC may have already acquired the necessary reputation to gain access to a renowned institution, and thus the cost is abated. On the other hand, another character may not be so lucky, and must rely on their force of personality instead. In this case, the referee should state the risk (a permanent ban on entry, a loss of reputation, etc.). The PC then makes a CTRL save; on a success the cost is either reduced or eliminated entirely.

Some potential activities are listed below:

  • Training a skill
  • Taming or training an animal
  • Researching a location, item, or personage
  • Crafting
  • Making connections with factions or powerful people
  • Hunting down a specific rare item

Faction Activities

The referee will roll 1d6 for each faction in play. On a 4-5, mark 1 progress toward the faction’s active goal. On a 6, mark 2 progress.

Add any bonuses or penalties depending on

  • relevant resources
  • rivals to that goal

Once a goal is achieved, the faction may add a resource relevant to the completion of the goal. If the goal impacts another faction, that faction should have a resource removed or changed, or a progress toward a relevant goal reduced.

Player Interference

Factions may recruit or butt heads with the party. If the party hinders or helps the faction, remove or mark 1-3 progress tallies depending on the help or hindrance. The party may even manage to destroy a faction’s resource.

If the party would take action to interfere with a faction’s actions, the downtime cycle should be considered over and play within the settlement should commence.

Resupply

The party should do any resupply and bookkeeping quickly and present their actions to the referee as a group. This may also include hiring retainers or hirelings, or looking for any rumors.

Downtime Cycle Procedure

  1. Party resolves upkeep. Can take odd jobs for upkeep funds.
  2. Each PC selects a downtime action.
  3. The referee describes the outcome.
  4. The referee progresses Faction activities.
  5. The party resupplies, including hiring hirelings and retainers, buying pets or mounts, and looking for rumors.

Additional Downtime Activities

Find additional activities here:

Optional Rule: Settlement Hazards

When playing in a city campaign, city hazards may be useful for creating complications during play.

Settlement Hazard Die

Every cycle spent in a settlement, roll 1d6.

d6 Event
1 Encounter. The party encounters a random NPC who comes calling on them. Referee may have a table prepared for this.
2 Signs. A settlement shift is foreshadowed or a rumor is heard.
3 Shift. A settlement shift occurs, something unique to the settlement.
4 Condition. A dramatic upheaval impacts the settlement, inflicting a settlement condition.
5 Depletion. One or more settlement conditions end.
6 Advantage. Nothing happens.

Refer to d100 haven happenstances for potential occurrences.

Settlement Upheavals

d6 Upheaval Possible Conditions
1 Killings (assassinations, serial murders, faction violence) Insecurity
2 Siege, Insurrection Insecurity, Destruction, Food shortage
3 Pestilence, Plague, Famine, Drought Disease, Food shortage, Drought, Famine
4 Tornado, Dust Storm, Cyclone, Blizzard, Earthquake, Volcanic Eruption, Flood, Tsunami, Landslide, Meteor, Sinkhole Famine, Destruction, Disease
5 Ally dies  
6 Direct setback to party  

Settlement Conditions

  • Insecurity: People around town are antsy, untrusting, and suspicious.
  • Food shortage: Food and water are hard to come by.
  • Disease: People around town are quarantined and dying.
  • Famine: Widespread food shortages.
  • Drought: Widespread water shortages.
  • Destruction: Infrastructure is damaged and requires repairs.

Conditions are ongoing until the party intervenes (which may be impossible in certain situations) or until a downtime cycle where an alleviation is rolled.

For the party, these conditions will have impact on the fiction and the prices of buying things in town. Increased prices should be measured in d10 (2d10, 3d10, etc).

Settlement Shifts

Example shifts follow:

d6 Settlement Shift
1 Factions become allies
2 Religious or cultural event
3 Rivals appear or reappear
4 New faction emerges or old faction disappears
5 Scandal
6 News of a previously unknown place or technology

Rumors

A rumor table should be based on the nearby regional locations and factions. Each rumor should be actionable.

Rumors can take on various forms:

  1. Local color: General information or history
  2. Opportunities: These can take the form of bounties and rewards that can be monetary, favors, or otherwise
  3. Challenges: Threats that could lead to rewards
  4. Mysteries: Secrets or strange phenomenon

Bibliography

Basic rules are taken from and based on Cairn and Cairn 2e under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license. The list of inspirations below is non-exhaustive. Refer to Bibliography for additional inspirations.