Aesthetics, Kao, and Piety

The following Extension in designed for a feudal Japan setting and introduces a new primary attribute (KAO) and a new derived attribute (Honor). The new attribute KAO (pronounced "cow," like the bovine) can be added by itself or as part of a new attribute group (e.g., the Spiritual Group, consisting of Kao or "face" (KAO), Piety (PIE) and Aesthetics (AES). Piety and Aesthetics are explained in another Extension.


Aesthetics (abbreviated AES) represents the character's sense of style, appreciation of beauty, and sense of harmony with nature. AES may be used in place of TECH when designing or creating works of art; not from the technical standpoint of making an object, but from the artistic standpoint of creating a work that reflects natural beauty.


Piety (abbreviated PIE) or shinkô is a measure of the character's religious conviction. Whereas everyone in Japan believes in the existence of the kami and Buddhas, PIE measures the strength of the character's belief. PIE is used to call upon the spirits to intervene on behalf of a mortal and to allow a character to take advantage of divine magic (such as heavenly-created magic items and some spells). PIE also plays a role in the mystical abilities of Shintô and Buddhist priests. A character's PIE score reflects how strong his beliefs are for his chosen religion.


All people in Japan wear a face; not the literal meaning of a person's features, but rather the "face" of honor that is seen by others. Japan is a shame-based culture, in that loss of face, not guilt, is the primary factor that influences behavior in Japanese society.

A person with much honor has "great face" in the eyes of his peers, whereas a character who is shamed in some way is said to "lose face." The shamed character "has no face." Shame is gained (and honor lost) by characters who fail to live up to their various obligations and duties.

KAO represents the character's personal honor or face, as seen by others, and may be used in place of PRE for skill rolls made by the character in social situations, at the GM's discretion.

Honor (Derived Attribute)

In a feudal Japanese setting, characters maintain Honor points. A character may have a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 100 Honor points. For every 10 full points of Honor a character has, he gains 1 point of KAO; thus, characters start play with a KAO score equal to 10x their Honor. If a character's Honor points drop below a 10-point threshold the character instantly loses 1 KAO.

For example, a character with 20 Honor has a KAO score of 2. A character with 29 Honor points also has a Kao score of 2. A character with 30 Honor points, however, has a Kao of 3.

Honor may be increased at a cost of 1 CP for each 1 point increase over the base score.

Losing Honor

All Honor loss penalties are expressed as -mX. "X" represents the character's KAO (K), Membership Rank (MR), Skill Level (SL) or a combination (e.g. -2K/ML). Whenever a combination is listed, the penalty is based on the larger of the two numbers.

The base number is then modified by a "severity multiplier" (the "n" in the formula). The larger the multiplier, the more grievous the offense and more significant the loss of Honor. The multiplier will range from 1 (minor embarrassing error) to 5 (major offense). The more important the event or task, and the more witnesses there are, the higher the multiplier will be for failure. A table is provided below for guidelines in assigning Honor loss to the characters.

When Honor is Lost

The gain and loss of Honor points can only come from actions that are publicly known; those that are observed by or known to two or more people other than the character committing the act. Acts known only to the character himself do not qualify, per sé. While the secret commission of a wrongful act may gnaw at the character's soul and torment him, it will not be something that will cause him to lose face (i.e., lose Honor points).

For example: if a character becomes drunk and assaults a young woman, he risks losing Honor if she tells anyone else (like reporting it to her family or the authorities). If she doesn't tell anyone (for fear of losing Honor herself ) or if he kills the girl, then he will not lose any Honor points until such time as someone else becomes aware of the act. The act becomes a secret that the character will likely guard very closely. Note that if he kills her to keep his shameful act a secret, while he will not lose Honor (because no one besides him is aware of is deed), it may well affect his Karma.

Note that even if one is publicly accused of a bad act they did not commit, the accused character will lose Honor unless steps are immediately taken to avenge or correct the insult or otherwise change the public perception of him (inaction is typically associated with guilt).

A KAO score of 0 is possible, and most embarrassing. KAO may not drop below 0, however. A person without Honor and Kao is the lowest kind of person. Measuring below 0 is therefore pointless.

Sample Honor Loss

Situation involves: Lost Honor equals
Use of a skill SL of the skill involved
Intentional insult MR of subject insulted
Unintentional insult K of offender
Failure to meet obligation K/MR (whichever is higher)
Failure to respond to an insult K/MR (whichever is higher)
Situation involves: Multiplier
Incident w/one or no witnesses N/A
Minor embarrassment; one witness x1
Minor social gaffe; few witnesses x2
Serious breach of etiquette; dozens of witnesses x3
Severe breach of protocol; hundreds of witnesses x4
Extreme insult; witnesses very influential x5

Example of Honor/Kao Loss

Jirô has 32 Honor points (for a Kao of 3) and a Membership Level of 2 in his samurai clan. Matashirô has a Membership Level of 1 in his clan, and 14 Honor points (his Kao equals 1). Jirô challenges Matashirô to a duel. They agree to meet at the gate of the Kitobara-ji at noon on the next day.

That next day, Matashirô does not show up at the shrine at the appointed place and time. Initially, Jirô is the only other person aware of Matashirô's deed, so Matashirô loses no Honor. But Jirô posts a sign in the town for all to see: "Matashirô avoided an honorable challenge and is a coward!" Now that Matashirô's actions are known by two or more people (in this case a whole town!), he immediately suffers -5K/ML Honor points, or the larger of 5x his Kao (5) or 5x his ML (also 5). Losing 5 Honor brings his total Honor to 9, which reduces his Kao to 0! The only way for Matashirô to regain face (i.e., to regain his lost Honor points and raise his Kao) now is to have the duel with Jirô. If he doesn't, the Honor loss stays.

Creating Items

Characters with the appropriate art, craft, or smith skill can create items. These include works of art, tools, ceramics, clothing, or any of a number of different kinds of items, including weapons.

What's Needed

Creating an item requires the appropriate skill, time, and raw materials.


Characters with the appropriate skill may create items, equipment, or artistic creations.

For example, characters with the Smith (Blacksmith) skill can create tools and simple metal items; those with Art (Calligraphy) can create fine artistic written works; those with Smith (Swordsmith) can create katana, wakizashi and no-dachi, and so on.


The time it takes to create an item varies, depending on the type of item being created. As a rule of thumb, the GM can assume it takes one full day to create simple items (small artistic works, small articles of clothing or furniture, tools, most weapons, and the like). It takes one week to create items of moderate complexity (pottery, man-sized furniture or artistic works, large items of clothing, swords, and so on). Ultimately, the GM determines the time it takes to create an item.

Raw Materials

Raw materials must also be acquired by the artisan or craftsman. The cost of the raw materials equal one-tenth the listed cost for the item being created. The cost of the materials is based on the listed cost of an average quality item.

For example, a simple wooden bucket has a listed cost of 2 monme-ite (2 silver coins). The cost of the raw materials required to create a bucket equals one tenth of a monme-ita, or about 17 zeni (17 copper coins).

A character may spend two-and-one-half times this amount (or one quarter the listed cost of the item to be created) to receive a +2 to his skill roll when creating the item (or to the total if using the Routine Quality rules, below).

Routine Quality RULE

Artisans and craftsmen can create items of a given quality without requiring a skill check. It isn't realistic to assume that a craftsman with a skill level of 5 has an equal chance of creating an item of Poor, Average or Master quality. In other words, characters shouldn't have to rely on a random roll of the dice to create something that, for their character, should be a routine task. An artisan or craftsman of a given skill level should be able to count on creating items of a quality reflecting their skill level. This section addresses that issue.

The quality of item that a character can routinely create is based on the artist or craftsman's skill level. Use the following formula to determine the quality of item that the character can routinely create, without the need of a skill roll: (2x skill level) + 10. Then compare the total with the Level of Quality Table (see the Quality of Items Extension).

For example, Toshi has a Lacquer skill of 6. To determine the quality of item he can routinely create without requiring a die roll, he uses the formula above. Two times his skill level is 12, plus 10 gives a total of 22. Checking the Routine Quality Table, we see that Toshi can routinely create items of Above Average quality without requiring a skill check to do so.

Creating Items of Higher Than Routine Quality

Characters attempting to create items of a quality higher than their indicated "routine quality" must take extra time and then make a die roll. By moving down the Time Chart one step, the character may make a skill check using their Stat + Skill + 3d6 as normal, using the low number from the range of numbers for the desired quality of item from the Levels of Quality Table.

For example, if Toshi, who can routinely create items of Above Average quality, wished to try to create a Master quality item he will need to spend additional time (i.e., move one step down the Time Chart) and make a skill check with a DN of 27.

Success: If the skill roll is successful then the item is created and of the higher quality.

Failure: A failed roll indicates that the item is created, but is only of the character's routine quality; the quality of the item is not enhanced.

Critical Failure: If a roll fails by 6 or more (i.e., if the EN is -6 or lower) the item is created, but of one step lower quality.

Extended Distance Modifiers

Distance Modifier
1 meter 0
2-3 meters -1
4-5 meters -2
6-15 meters -3
16-25 meters -4
26-35 meters -5
36-50 meters -6
51-100 meters -7
101-150 meters -8
151-200 meters -9
201-300 meters -10
301-400 meters -11
401-600 meters -12
601-800 meters -13
801-1,000 meters -14
1.0-1.5 km -15
1.5-2.5 km -16
2.5-3.5 km -17
3.5-4.5 km -18
4.5-6.5 km -19
6.5-10 km -20
10-14 km -21
14-20 km -22
Distance Modifier
20-27 km -23
27-35 km -24
36-50 km -25
51-100 km -26
101-150 km -27
151-200 km -28
201-300 km -29
301-400 km -30
401-600 km -31
601-800 km -32
801-1,000 km -33
1,000-1,500 km -34
1,000-2,500 km -35
2,500-3,500 km -36
3,500-4,500 km -37
4,500-6,500 km -38
6,500-10,000 km -39
10,000-14,000 km -40
14,000-20,000 km -41
20,000-27,000 km -42
27,000-35,000 km -43
35,000-50,000 km -44

Extended STRength Table

Extended STR Table

Score Drag Dead Lift Carry Damage MG equiv. Example of Dead Lift Weight
0 0 0 0 0 0  
.1 20 g 10 g 5 g 1d3MS .01 STR MG (.352 oz./10.5 grams) Needle, match
.2 1 cg 50 g 25 g 1d6MS .02 STR MG (1.76 oz./52.8 grams) Mouse, small bird
.3 2 cg 1 cg 50 g 1d6+2MS .03 STR MG (3.52 oz.) Empty shot glass, paperback novel, rat
.4 .5 kg .25 kg 125 g 2d6MS .04 STR MG (.55 lbs./8.8 oz.) A pint of water, squirrel, small handgun
.5 1 kg .5 kg .25 kg 2d6+2MS .05 STR MG (1.1 lbs.) Large book, cup of water
.6 2 kg 1 kg .5 kg 3d6MS .06 STR MG (2.2 lbs.) Purse, notebook computer, medium handgun
.7 3 kg 1.5 kg .75 kg 3d6+2MS .07 STR MG (3.3 lbs.) Laptop computer
.8 4 kg 2 kg 1 kg 4d6MS .08 STR MG (4.4 lbs.) Car tire, cat, large handgun
.9 7 kg 3.5 kg 1.75 kg 4d6+2MS .09 STR MG (7.7 lbs.) M-16A2, book bag
1 10 kg 5 kg 2.5 kg 1d3 .1 STR MG Infant's weight, M1 Garand, shot-put
2 50 kg 25 kg 12.5 kg 1d6 .2 STR MG Child's weight, full suitcase, 27" TV set
3 100 kg 50 kg 25 kg 1d6+2 .3 STR MG Adolescent's weight
4 200 kg 100 kg 50 kg 2d6 .4 STR MG Average man's weight
5 300 kg 150 kg 75 kg 2d6+2 .5 STR MG Football lineman's weight
6 400 kg 200 kg 100 kg 3d6 .6 STR MG Sumo wrestler's weight, small piano, GBU-12 (500-lb bomb)
7 500 kg 250 kg 125 kg 3d6+2 .7 STR MG Large black bear, seal, large stag, small boulder
8 600 kg 300 kg 150 kg 4d6 .8 STR MG Grand piano, small nuclear warhead
9 700 kg 350 kg 175 kg 4d6+2 .9 STR MG 120mm mortar, large wooden canoe
10 800 kg 400 kg 200 kg 5d6 1 STR (1d3) MG Motorcycle, sailboat, female polar bear
11 1,200 kg 600 kg 300 kg 5d6+2 1.1 STR MG Male polar bear, camel
12 1,600 kg 800 kg 400 kg 6d6 1.2 STR MG Small trailer
13 2,400 kg 1,200 kg 600 kg 6d6+2 1.3 STR MG Economy car
14 3,200 kg 1,600 kg 800 kg 7d6 1.4 STR MG Mid-size pickup, mini-van
15 4,800 kg 2,400 kg 1,200 kg 7d6+2 1.5 STR MG Luxury car, van
16 6,400 kg 3,200 kg 1,600 kg 8d6 1.6 STR MG Truck
17 9,600 kg 4,800 kg 2,400 kg 8d6+2 1.7 STR MG Large ship's anchor
18 12.5 tons 6,400 kg 3,200 kg 9d6 1.8 STR M MG Armored limousine, Learjet, Tyrannosaurus rex
19 18.75 tons 9,600 kg 4,800 kg 9d6+2 1.9 STR MG Killer whale (male)
20 25 tons 12.5 tons 6,400 kg 10d6 2 STR (1d6) MG Subway car, male African elephant
21 37.5 tons 18.75 tons 9,600 kg 10d6+2 2.1 STR MG Fighter jet (unloaded), streetcar
22 50 tons 25 tons 12.5 tons 11d6 2.2 STR MG Fighter jet (loaded), Small rocket, reactor fuel container (truck)
23 75 tons 37.5 tons 18.75 tons 11d6+2 2.3 STR MG Gray/humpback whale, T-54/55 tank
24 100 tons 50 tons 25 tons 12d6 2.4 STR MG M60A1 tank, amphibious assault vehicle
25 150 tons 75 tons 37.5 tons 12d6+2 2.5 STR MG M1A1 tank, Bowhead whale, reactor fuel container (railroad)
26 200 tons 100 tons 50 tons 13d6 2.6 STR MG 757, space shuttle, blue whale, locomotive, Crusader howitzer & supply vehicle
27 300 tons 150 tons 75 tons 13d6+2 2.7 STR MG Cargo jet capacity, diesel locomotive, C-5A Galaxy (empty)
28 400 tons 200 tons 100 tons 14d6 2.8 STR MG 767, SRN4 hovercraft
29 600 tons 300 tons 150 tons 14d6+2 2.9 STR MG Galleon, C-5A Galaxy (fully loaded)
30 800 tons 400 tons 200 tons 15d6 3 STR (1d6+2) MG 747, trawler
31 1.2 ktons 600 tons 300 tons 15d6+2 3.1 STR MG  
32 1.6 kt 800 tons 400 tons 16d6 3.2 STR MG Drilling rig
33 2.4 kt 1.2 ktons 600 tons 16d6+2 3.3 STR MG  
34 3.2 kt 1.6 kt 800 tons 17d6 3.4 STR MG Small bridge
35 4.8 kt 2.4 kt 1.2 ktons 17d6+2 3.5 STR MG Hydroelectric generator
36 6.4 kt 3.2 kt 1.6 kt 18d6 3.6 STR MG Destroyer
37 9.6 kt 4.8 kt 2.4 kt 18d6+2 3.7 STR MG Freight train, lighthouse
38 12.5 kt 6.4 kt 3.2 kt 19d6 3.8 STR MG Nuclear submarine
39 18.75 kt 9.6 kt 4.8 kt 19d6+2 3.9 STR MG  
40 25 kt 12.5 kt 6.4 kt 20d6 4 STR (2d6) MG Freighter (empty)
41 37.5 kt 18.75 kt 9.6 kt 20d6+2 4.1 STR MG  
42 50 kt 25 kt 12.5 kt 21d6 4.2 STR MG Cruiser, freighter (full)
43 75 kt 37.5 kt 18.75 kt 21d6+2 4.3 STR MG Large ocean liner (cruise ship)
44 100 kt 50 kt 25 kt 22d6 4.4 STR MG Battleship
45 150 kt 75 kt 37.5 kt 22d6+2 4.5 STR MG  
46 200 kt 100 kt 50 kt 23d6 4.6 STR MG (100,000,000 kg) Large bridge
47 300 kt 150 kt 75 kt 23d6+2 4.7 STR MG  
48 400 kt 200 kt 100 kt 24d6 4.8 STR MG  
49 600 kt 300 kt 150 kt 24d6+2 4.9 STR MG  
50 800 kt 400 kt 200 kt 25d6 5 STR (2d6+2) MG  
51 1.2 mt 600 kt 300 kt 25d6+2 5.1 STR MG  
52 1.6 mt 800 kt 400 kt 26d6 5.2 STR MG  
53 2.4 mtons 1.2 megatons 600 kt 26d6+2 5.3 STR MG (1,200,000,000 kg)
54 3.2 mtons 1.6 mtons 800 kt 27d6 5.4 STR MG  
55 4.8 mtons 2.4 mtons 1.2 megatons 27d6+2 5.5 STR MG  
56 6.4 mtons 3.2 mtons 1.6 mtons 28d6 5.6 STR MG  
57 9.6 mtons 4.8 mtons 2.4 mtons 28d6+2 5.7 STR MG  
58 12.5 mtons 6.4 mtons 3.2 mtons 29d6 5.8 STR MG  
59 19.2 ktons 9.6 mtons 4.8 mtons 29d6+2 5.9 STR MG  
60 25 ktons 12.5 mtons 6.4 mtons 30d6 6 STR (3d6) MG (12,500,000,000 kg)
61 37.5 megatons 19.2 ktons 9.6 mtons 30d6+2 6.1 STR MG  
62 50 mtons 25 ktons 12.5 mtons 31d6 6.2 STR MG  
63 75 mtons 37.5 megatons 19.2 mtons 31d6+2 6.3 STR MG  
64 100 mtons 50 mtons 25 mtons 32d6 6.4 STR MG  
65 150 mtons 75 mtons 37.5 mtons 32d6+2 6.5 STR MG  
66 200 mtons 100 mtons 50 mtons 33d6 6.6 STR MG (100,000,000,000 kg)
67 300 mtons 150 mtons 75 mtons 33d6+2 6.7 STR MG  
68 400 mtons 200 mtons 100 mtons 34d6 6.8 STR MG  
69 600 mtons 300 mtons 150 mtons 34d6+2 6.9 STR MG  
70 800 mtons 400 mtons 200 mtons 35d6 7 STR (3d6+2) MG  
71 1.2 gigatons 600 mtons 300 mtons 35d6+2 7.1 STR MG  
72 1.6 gtons 800 mtons 400 mtons 36d6 7.2 STR MG  
73 2.4 gtons 1.2 gigatons 600 mtons 36d6+2 7.3 STR MG (1,200,000,000,000 kg)
74 3.2 gtons 1.6 gtons 800 mtons 37d6 7.4 STR MG  
75 4.8 gtons 2.4 gtons 1.2 gigatons 37d6+2 7.5 STR MG  
76 6.4 gtons 3.2 gtons 1.6 gtons 38d6 7.6 STR MG  
77 9.6 gtons 4.8 gtons 2.4 gtons 38d6+2 7.7 STR MG  
78 12.5 gtons 6.4 gtons 3.2 gtons 39d6 7.8 STR MG  
79 19.2 gtons 9.6 gtons 4.8 gtons 39d6+2 7.9 STR MG  
80 25 gtons 12.5 gtons 6.4 gtons 40d6 8 STR (4d6) MG (12,500,000,000,000 kg)
81 37.5 gtons 19.2 gtons 9.6 gtons 40d6+2 8.1 STR MG  
82 50 gtons 25 gtons 12.5 gtons 41d6 8.2 STR MG (25,000,000,000,000 kg)
83 75 gtons 37.5 gtons 19.2 gtons 41d6+2 8.3 STR MG  
84 100 gtons 50 gtons 25 gtons 42d6 8.4 STR MG  
85 150 gtons 75 gtons 37.5 gtons 42d6+2 8.5 STR MG  
86 200 gtons 100 gtons 50 gtons 43d6 8.6 STR MG (100,000,000,000,000 kg)
87 300 gtons 150 gtons 75 gtons 43d6+2 8.7 STR MG  
88 400 gtons 200 gtons 100 gtons 44d6 8.8 STR MG  
89 600 gtons 300 gtons 150 gtons 44d6+2 8.9 STR MG  
90 800 gtons 400 gtons 200 gtons 45d6 9 STR (4d6+2) MG (400,000,000,000,000 kg)
91 1.2 teratons 600 gtons 300 gtons 45d6+2 9.1 STR MG  
92 1.6 ttons 800 gtons 400 gtons 46d6 9.2 STR MG  
93 2.4 ttons 1.2 teratons 600 gtons 46d6+2 9.3 STR MG (1,200,000,000,000,000 kg)
94 3.2 ttons 1.6 ttons 800 gtons 47d6 9.4 STR MG  
95 4.8 ttons 2.4 ttons 1.2 teratons 47d6+2 9.5 STR MG  
96 6.4 ttons 3.2 ttons 1.6 ttons 48d6 9.6 STR MG  
97 9.6 ttons 4.8 ttons 2.4 ttons 48d6+2 9.7 STR MG  
98 12.5 ttons 6.4 ttons 3.2 ttons 49d6 9.8 STR MG (6,400,000,000,000,000 kg)
99 20.75 ttons 9.6 ttons 4.8 ttons 49d6+2 9.9 STR MG  
100 25 ttons 12.5 ttons 6.4 ttons 50d6 10 STR (5d6) MG (12,500,000,000,000,000 kg)
101 37.5 ttons 20.75 ttons 9.6 ttons 50d6+2 10.1 STR MG  
102 50 ttons 25 ttons 12.5 ttons 51d6 10.2 STR MG (25,000,000,000,000,000 kg)
103 75 ttons 37.5 ttons 20.75 ttons 51d6+2 10.3 STR MG  
104 100 ttons 50 ttons 25 ttons 52d6 10.4 STR MG  
105 150 ttons 75 ttons 37.5 ttons 52d6+2 10.5 STR MG  
106 200 ttons 100 ttons 50 ttons 53d6 10.6 STR MG (100,000,000,000,000,000 kg)
107 300 ttons 150 ttons 75 ttons 53d6+2 10.7 STR MG  
108 400 ttons 200 ttons 100 ttons 54d6 10.8 STR MG  
109 600 ttons 300 ttons 150 ttons 54d6+2 10.9 STR MG  
110 800 ttons 400 ttons 200 ttons 55d6 11 STR (5d6+2) MG (400,000,000,000,000,000 kg)
111 1200 ttons 600 gtons 300 ttons 55d6+2 11.1 STR MG  
112 1600 ttons 800 ttons 400 ttons 56d6 11.2 STR MG  
113 2400 ttons 1200 ttons 600 ttons 56d6+2 11.3 STR MG (1,200,000,000,000,000,000 kg)
114 3200 ttons 1600 ttons 800 ttons 57d6 11.4 STR MG  
115 4800 2400 ttons 1200 ttons 57d6+2 11.5 STR MG  
116 6400 ttons 3200 ttons 1600 ttons 58d6 11.6 STR MG  
117 9600 ttons 4800 ttons 2400 ttons 58d6+2 11.7 STR MG  
118 12500 ttons 6400 ttons 3200 ttons 59d6 11.8 STR MG (6,400,000,000,000,000,000 kg) the planet Earth
119 19200 ttons 9600 ttons 4800 ttons 59d6+2 11.9 STR MG  

Hit Locations

When your character strikes an opponent in combat you may want to know precisely where the attack lands. To determine the "hit location," you simply roll dice and refer to the Hit Location Table, below. The exact combination of dice rolled depends on the kind of weapon used in the attack, if any. Consult the list below.

Attack made with... Roll
Hands, foot/leg, or Short weapon 2d6+1
Medium or Long weapon 3d6

Random Hit Location Table

Roll Location Effect
3-4 Head 2x damage**
5 Neck 1½x damage**
6 Hand* ½ damage**
7-8 Shoulder* ½ damage**
9 Arm* ½ damage**
10-11 Chest/torso  
12 Stomach(lower back)  
13 Vital organ 1½x damage**
14-15 Thigh* ½ damage**
16-17 Calf/lower leg* ½ damage**
18 Foot* ½ damage**

* Roll 1d6; 1-3 = left, 4-6 = right.

** After subtracting points for any armor

Targeting Specific Locations

If your character wants to attack a specific part of the opponent, you can use one of the two optional rules below.

Option 1: Aimed Shot Modifiers

Ignore the Random Hit Location Table, above. Apply the listed TN modifier to the TN for the attack roll. If the attack is successful, the character automatically hits the intended location; roll the damage for the attack as normal.

Targeted location Modifier Effect
Head -4 2x damage
Neck -6 1½x damage
Shoulder/arm -2 ½ damage
Hand -3 ½ damage
Chest/torso -1  
Stomach (lower back) -4  
Vital organ -6 1½x damage
Thigh -2 ½ damage
Calf/lower leg -4 ½ damage
Foot -3 ½ damage

Option 2: Adjusting the Location

Once hit location is determined using the Random Hit Location Table, the character may still "move" the location. For every 2 points of effect number, the player may move the hit location up or down one location on the table (player's choice).

Fred is playing in a Wild West game. His character, Little Ironfinger, fires his bow at a U.S. Army soldier who is attacking his village. Fred must make a Simple Missile Weapons (Bows) skill roll against a TN 18. Fred rolls the dice and gets a total of 23, an effect number of 5. Fred rolls 3d6 for the hit location and gets a 14 -- thigh. Because his effect number is 5, Fred can adjust the hit location by two levels. Fred could move the hit location down two steps to "Foot," but he doesn't think this is a good idea. So Fred decides to move the hit location up two levels to "Stomach." His character, Little Ironfinger, has hit the soldier in the stomach with an arrow. Fred then rolls the damage for the attack.

Improving Membership Rank: Feudal Japan

Characters may improve their Membership Rank (i.e., their standing within their group) one of two ways. The first is by an instant reward from their master or group head. The second is by making a merit check at the end of each full year of game time (at the end of each campaign year). In both cases, once the increase has been approved by the GM, the character must still spend the Experience Points necessary for the increase.

Instant Rewards

Instant rewards are given at the discretion of the GM for actions "above and beyond the call of duty," that is, for acts beyond what is normally expected for that character given his caste and profession. (Instant rewards to a character's MR are in addition to any Honor Points that may be forthcoming.) This can be a serious test, indeed, for those characters in a profession whose demands are already high, like samurai. Instant rewards to a character's MR should not be for exemplary behavior alone, but rather for extreme cases of heroism, acts of great loyalty or sacrifice and so on.

For example, a samurai might be instantly promoted in status by saving his lord's life against great odds, giving his lord his own sword after his lord lost his in an earthquake, or making some other suitably impressive personal sacrifice for his lord.

Instant rewards should not exceed an increase of one level of MR, unless, of course, the GM feels it is particularly appropriate or it suits the story.

Merit Awards

Merit awards are slightly more complicated. To receive an increase in MR due to merit, the character must achieve a certain number of goals throughout the preceding year (measured in game time, not in real time). The minimum number of goals required to be eligible for a merit increase is equal to the character's current MR +1. Thus, if a character has a current MR 4, he must achieve a minimum of 5 goals to even be considered for a merit increase.

A character may only increase his MR by one point per game year using this method. In addition, the character must pay the appropriate number of Experience Points (EP) once the conditions are met in order to receive the promotion within the group and the accompanying increase to his MR.

Each profession should have an associated list of goals, created by the GM. Some of the goals listed should be mandatory for all members of that group, while other goals are left optional. This affords the player some discretion as to which goals he wishes his character to try to attain. The suggested goals for various groups in a feudal Japanese setting are given below. The GM is free to generate new goals that he feels are appropriate to his campaign and add them to the list.

Using Merit Awards

Merit awards should be encouraged by the GM. They are designed to promote roleplaying of the cultural and political aspects of Japanese society during the Sengoku-jidai (Period of Civil War). These should be taken as roleplaying opportunities as well as possible plot hooks. For instance, simply being invited to and attending an official clan court function seems simple enough, but what if the character is only of MR2? His chances of being invited out of the blue are pretty slim. Perhaps he can use that Contact with a clan councilor to get an invitation. Or maybe the character decides to try to impress his lord by entering the clan's yabusame (mounted archery) competition and winning first place.

Communicate Your Character's Goals

Players should provide the GM with a list of his character's goals for the coming year. The GM should use the character's declared goals as jumping-off points for roleplaying scenes, providing some "spotlight" for each character, or even as ideas for full-fledged adventures, involving the other characters in scenarios designed to achieve goals by one or more members of their party.

Goals by Profession or Group Type

Samurai Goals

Ryû (School) Student Goals

Buddhist Priest Goals

Yamabushi / Shugenja Goals

Shintô Priestly Goals

Shinobi (Ninja) Goals


This Extension was written primarily for a feudal Japanese setting, though it can be adapted to any setting in which the rule makes sense, from a philosophical or social standpoint.

Karma is a concept borrowed from the Asian continent (China and India), not something that was a part of the earlier pure Japanese/Shintô philosophy. Ultimately, it refers to one's spiritual bank account. Good deeds build good karma; bad deeds build bad karma (or neutralize stores of good karma). Although it is often said that a person who suffers in this life must be enduring some bad karma earned in a previous life, this oversimplifies the concept somewhat.

Good Karma

One of the PC's goals is to get and have a store of good karma (or "Karma points"). Each new character starts with 0 Karma Points. Exception: Players may buy Good Karma points (an advantage, providing 1 point of Good Karma per level of the trait) during character creation.

Good Karma can be gained by spectacular events, such as extreme suffering (such as nearly dying in combat, being tortured, losing  of his family, losing samurai status, etc.) or particularly notable good deeds.

Anything that qualifies as a "serious loss" in the story qualifies one for a point of karma. Note that characters may voluntarily submit to suffering and still gain karma (e.g., jumping in front of a comrade to take an arrow meant for him). This does not mean a player can willingly submit his PC to senseless torture just to gain karma, however; there must be discretion on the part of the player and the GM.

The maximum number of Karma Points that can be accumulated is 10.

Some examples of acts that would cause good karma are shown below:

Bad Karma

Characters start with 0 bad Karma; players may take some bad Karma as a Complication during character creation. Each new character starts with 0 Bad Karma Points. Exception: Players may take Bad Karma points (a disadvantage, providing 1 point of Bad Karma per level of the trait) during character creation.

In a like manner to gaining a store of good karma, characters can accumulate "bad" or "negative karma" by inflicting needless suffering on another. The key word is "needless." Any suffering which is considered justified (GM's discretion) does not cause a loss of karma. Cutting off a friend's badly mangled limb, for example, doesn't inflict bad karma.

A general who has committed his soldiers to war doesn't suffer bad karma from the deaths of his men. If you choose, however, a general callously throwing his army into the face of certain death with no thought to their wasted lives may suffer bad karma. A general marching his army into a small town, slaughtering everyone and burning it to the ground would definitely be visited with bad Karma, for causing so much suffering to innocent people.

It is important to weigh an act not by Western standards, however, but by the standards of feudal Japan and Buddhist and philosophy.

Some examples of acts that would cause bad karma include:

Bad karma has the effect of not only negating good karma, but also of bringing about unfortunate circumstances upon the "holder" of the bad karma.

Using Karma in the Game

It's up to the GM whether or not the PCs shall reap any benefits for their goodly and heroic deeds during "this lifetime" or have to wait until the next one; in other words, it's up to the GM whether or not to use this optional rule.

Karma points may be spent during the game. Only one point may be spent at a time, and any karma spent during a game is gone; it does not "recharge" like ki. Positive karma can be obtained again, to be sure, but this would be the addition of a new point for a new action or suffering, not the replacement of one "temporarily exercised."

Note that one can't voluntarily take on a Bad Karma point to do this; if there is no positive karma (i.e., if the PC's Karma points are at zero) then he can't burn anything.

Benefits of Karma

How does one "use" karma? A single point of karma can be spent during a game session to allow the PC to either maximize or minimize one dice roll of the player's choosing. Instead of counting the numbers rolled on the dice, the player can opt to treat the roll as if the dice rolled a total of 3 or 18 (player's choice).

The player can apply a Karma point in this manner to one of his own die rolls or someone else's. If the player is affecting his own die roll, then no die roll is need actually be made; it automatically counts as the highest or lowest natural roll possible (player's choice), though without the added bonus of a critical success.

For example, a player may spend a point of his PC's Karma to maximize the character's own damage roll in combat, or to minimize an opponent's "to hit" roll. In this instance, special modifiers, such as the use of Action Points to boost a roll, do not count; the die roll is just "naturally" the highest or lowest, with no secondary results taking effect.

Players may also spend a point of Good Karma to remove a point of Bad Karma, but this requires the GM's permission.

One must remember that the character does not actually know he is "spending karma"; this is solely a decision by the player.

The spending of karma in this manner, and the manner in which it is accumulated, represents the great cosmic balance that characters are subject to; kind deeds beget good things, and evil deeds beget bad things for the character.

Suffering from Bad Karma

Any bad karma accumulated by the character should be recorded on the character sheet. At any time during the game, the GM may invoke the character's bad karma. Likewise, a player may invoke his character's bad Karma (with the GM's permission). In either case, the Bad Karma point is gone -- it is "used up."

Negative karma that characters accumulate are controlled by the GM. The GM is free to "invoke" a character's negative Karma point, using it in the same manner described above, but in this case modifying some die roll against the character. Players may not use a point of Good Karma to offset a point of bad Karma being so used by the GM. Characters must deal with the "fruits" of their despicable deeds. Karma is karma, neh?

Negative Karma should only be used to enhance a dramatic point of an adventure, however, and ideally in a way that relates to the reason for the gaining of the negative karma. Negative karma should never be used by the GM to "get back at" players; it is a story-telling aid revolving around the characters.

Shirato, a bandit, robbed an elderly woman on the highway, gaining a Bad Karma point. A short time later he runs into a local samurai. Shirato nods to the samurai as they pass each other, but the samurai feels he has not been paid proper respect, and a fight breaks out. As Shirato swings against his opponent, the GM decides to invoke the Bad Karma that Shirato gained for robbing the woman, and automatically makes Shirato's attack roll a 3 -- the lowest he could roll.

Optional Wealth Rules

The cost or value for Wealth depends on the level a character takes (see the table below). The default level is 4 for starting characters. Characters may purchase additional levels using the costs listed in the table below. Some suggested annual income levels (as well as alternate costs/values for those levels) are listed below. GMs are encouraged to determine the "average income" for their own campaign.

Characters may substitute their Wealth level for an attribute or skill in appropriate situations, at the GM's discretion. Such skill rolls could include those in social situations where the character's wealth is likely to influence the outcome or the opposing character's attitude or decision.

GMs may also use a simple skill roll to determine a character's ability to purchase an item, treating the character's Wealth as a sort of "credit rating" or "financial resource meter," of sorts. To make the roll, use the character's Wealth level in place of the normal Attribute + Skill. The GM should set the difficulty of the roll based on the value or cost of the item being sought, using the following guideline.

Value (up to) Difficulty (TN) Example
$500 Average (12) Stereo, suit
$5,000 Tricky (15) Computer, furniture, wardrobe
$50,000 Challenging (18) Car, trailer home
$500,000 Difficult (21) Single-family home, small jet/yacht
$5,000,000 Demanding (24) Estate/manor, large jet/yacht
$50,000,000 Extreme (27) Small island, priceless artifact
$500 million + Legendary (30) Ocean liner, crown jewels

Jake Lockley is the majority shareholder of a multi-national corporation and has a Wealth level of 9. Jake's player tells the GM that Jake wants to buy a new small private jet. Using the guide above, the GM sets the difficulty of the roll at Difficult. Jake's player rolls 3d6 (he rolls 13) and adds Jake's Wealth of 9, for a total of 22. After a few phone calls and signing and faxing a few forms, Jake is the proud owner of a new jet, which will be delivered to his private hangar in a few days.

Wealth Table

Lvl Cost Description Annual Income* 2001 U.S. 1940s U.S. Roaring '20s Victorian Era Feudal Japan
1 -10 Destitute <1/10 average <$5,000 <$500 <$37.50 <£7.5 <1 koku
2 -5 Poor 1/5 average $10,000 $1,000 $150 £30 2 koku
3 -2 Below average ½ average $25,000 $2,500 $375 £75 5 koku
4 0 Middle class 1x average $50,000 $5,000 $750 £150 2.5 ryô (10 koku)
5 1 Above average 2x average $100,000 $10,000 $1,500 £300 5 ryô (20 koku)
6 2 Upper-middle 5x average $250,000 $25,000 $3,750 £750 7.5 ryô (30 koku)
7 4 Well to do 10x average $500,000 $50,000 $7,500 £1,500 25 ryô (100 koku)
8 6 Upper class 20x average $1 Million $100,000 $15,000 £3,000 50 ryô (200 koku)
9 8 Rich 100x average $10 Million $500,000 $75,000 £15,000 250 ryô (1,000 koku)
10 10 Filthy rich 1,000x average $100 Billion $5 Million $750,000 £150,000 2,500 ryô (10,000 koku)

Poison and Drugs

Poisons are described by their Mode of delivery, Speed (Spd), Damage Rating (DR), and Duration (Dur).


The mode is the manner in which a poison or drug is introduced to the victim. Whenever a poison is introduced to a person, the victim must make a HLT attribute roll using a target number based on the substance's mode (the TN for each mode is listed in parenthesis). This roll is made immediately upon successful introduction of the poison. If the roll is successful, then the poison's effects are halved. A failed roll means the poison is at full effect. This roll is made for poisons and drugs alike, including beneficial drugs; some substances just don't "take."

Topical (TN 15)

Topical poisons and drugs are introduced by contact with the victim's skin. They usually take the form of a cream or ointment. The poison is then absorbed into the victim's skin. Topical poisons are near useless in combat. Topical poisons can be mixed with makeup, perfume and even medicinal herbs. Topical poisons are generally the slowest type of poison.

Ingested (TN 24)

Ingested poisons must be eaten or drunk. They usually are in powder or liquid form. Ingested substances are usually mixed with food or drink, but may be introduced directly to the victim's mouth via water dropper, spit, blowpipe or any of a number of ingenious means. Ingested drugs and poisons are generally slow, though faster acting than topical ointments as a rule.

Inhaled (TN 21)

Inhaled poisons and drugs must be introduced to the lungs of the victim. This can be accomplished by use of a powder, vapors or smoke. Inhaled substances are generally faster acting than ingested ones, though not as fast as those introduced directly to the bloodstream.

Blood (TN 18)

Blood poisons and drugs must be introduced directly to the victim's bloodstream, through a cut or abrasion. Blood poisons may be put on a blade or needle, but such applications are only effective for one strike and the strike must penetrate any armor and deliver penetrating damage to the victim. Whether or not the strike delivers the poison, the dose of poison is "used up." Blood poisons are the fastest type of poison, as a rule.

Speed of Poisons and Drugs

Speed (abbreviated "Spd") measures how often the poison or drug's effects are applied. When a poison is introduced, it first takes affect as soon as an amount of time has passed, based on the poison's Speed. The poison's effect occurs again after each passing of this time.

A poison with a Speed rating of 10 minutes is introduced to a victim. After 10 minutes the victim will suffer the effects of the poison, and again after another 10 minutes have passed, and so on.

As a general rule of thumb, ingested poisons are faster than topical poisons, inhaled poisons are faster than ingested ones, and blood poisons are faster than inhaled poisons.


The Effect (abbreviated "Eff") represents the amount of damage or other effect caused by the substance. The effect is rolled once each time period (based on the Spd of the substance) for each dose that affects the victim. Being exposed to two doses of a substance doubles the Effect of that substance. All dice rolls for Effect are cumulative.

For harmful substances, this damage may be subtracted from a character's LIF or from an attribute, depending on the type of poison. A drug or poison need not be fatal; knock-out drugs also work by accumulation, with "damage" subtracted from different point pools depending on the type of effect.

For example, a sleeping drug rated at DR3 will cause 3d6 of stunning damage. Once the victim's LIF reaches zero, they are asleep.

Beneficial and medicinal drugs work by adding to an attribute or LIF.

For example, a stimulant rated at DR2 will add 2d6 to REF and LIF.

Duration of Poisons and Drugs

Duration (abbreviated "Dur") is the total amount of time that a poison can affect someone after it is introduced to the victim. The effect is applied to the victim (or patient, as the case may be) once each time period listed based on the drug or toxin's Spd, until the poison has either dissipated or "run its course," or (in extreme cases) until the affected person dies.

Chin-doku has Eff 2d6, a Spd rating of one minute and a Duration of 10 minutes. This means that the poison will cause 2d6 of effect every minute, for 10 consecutive minutes.

Treating Poison Victims

Characters suffering the effects of any poison may not heal, nor recover any lost LIF or attribute points, until the poison has run its course. They may recover LIF lost to stunning damage, unless the poison itself causes stunning damage, in which case the character doesn't recover any LIF points at all.

Once the poison has exceeded its duration, the character may begin to heal normally. Characters recover LIF and primary attribute points per the Core Rules (see Recovery in the Core Rules).

Torando was bitten by a sea snake and failed his HLT roll. Torando suffers 18 points of Sp/L damage and loses 3 points from REF. Luckily, Torando was quickly treated by a physician and survived the bite. Torando has a HLT of 7, and begins the healing process. Torando is in a Cinematic level campaign, so the recovery period is one day for lethal damage and one week for attribute points. Torando will recover 7 LIF per day and 1 point of REF per week.

Characters making a successful Physician (TN 21), First Aid or Herbalist (TN 18) skill roll can determine that a person has been poisoned. If the person treating the victim makes a second successful roll at -3, they will know which specific poison was used and how to counter it.

To stop a poison's progress, the victim must be given one dose of healing herbs or medicine, as prescribed by the attending doctor. This dose will immediately halt the progress of the poison; the person will suffer no additional damage. Any damage already suffered remains, but it may be healed normally, as the victim will begin the healing (i.e., Recovery) process.

Making Poisons

Characters with the appropriate skills can concoct healing and medicinal drugs.

To create a poison the character must first obtain one unit of the necessary raw materials. The materials and their weight will vary depending on the type of poison, but GMs can assume a basic weight of .1 kg of raw materials is needed to create one dose of poison. Some raw materials may be purchased in a market, while others will require the character to go to some effort to locate them. This could involve a trek into the mountains (possibly requiring a local guide), a quest or some other circumstances which can serve as the basis of an adventure itself.

Once the material components are gathered, the character must spend time preparing the materials, extracting the toxins and creating the final lethal product. The time it takes for this process is up to the GM, but should be no less than 1 hour for each dose of poison being created.

The final step is for the character to make a skill roll, with a target number determined by the GM, based on the skill being used. Recommended skills and target numbers are given below. Not all skills will be available in all settings.

Skill TN Setting
First Aid 18 Primitive
Herbalism 15 Fantasy/primitive
Chemistry 15 Fantasy/Primitive
Chemistry 18 Modern
Chemistry 15 Sci-fi
Pharmacology 12 Modern/sci-fi
Physician 21 Fantasy/primitive
Physician 18 Modern

 Success means that one dose of the desired poison is created. A critical success provides two doses or increases the Speed by one step up the time table (player's choice). A failed roll indicates that some mistake was made during the creation process, rendering the poison ineffective. A failure with an EN of -6 or more indicates the character has poisoned himself.

Quality of Items

The cost and function of the arms, armor and equipment described in this chapter are given for average specimens. Extremely well made (and poorly made) examples also exist. In fact, items may be graded as being one of several "levels" of quality.

Levels of Quality

There are six levels of quality used to describe items of all kinds, from weapons to works of art. The levels of quality correspond to the Difficulty Levels and Target Numbers (see the Core Rules). These levels are given below.

Level of Quality Table

Roll Total Quality of Item
0-5 Worthless
6-8 Poor
9-11 Below Average
12-17 Average
18-26 Above-average
27+ Master

Worthless Quality Items

Worthless items are completely non-functional and have no value whatsoever. Worthless items are incomplete, broken, or incorrectly assembled works, or otherwise have one or more obvious (and major) flaws.

Poor Quality Items

Extremely poor items function at a -3 (applied to any relevant skill rolls made when using the item). Each time a poor quality item is used in a stressful or physically demanding manner (such as a weapon used in combat), there is a one-in-six chance of the item breaking or suffering a catastrophic failure, rendering the item worthless (see Worthless Quality Items, above). Roll 1d6. If the result is a 1, at some point while the item is being used -- GM's discretion as to when -- the item will fail.

For example: A thief, Michinaga, has found a sword hidden in a treasure room. It is richly mounted, and he thinks it is therefore a good weapon. Unbeknownst to him, it is actually an extremely poor tachi in expensive furniture -- a dress piece. On his way out, he is challenged by two guards. He chooses to fight with the tachi, so the GM secretly rolls 1d6 and it comes out 2. The GM decides that the third time Michinaga strikes armor or parries with the weapon, it will snap at the guard. Michinaga scores a hit on the first guard's torso, protected by a hara ate, then parries a yari thrust. His third strike is parried by the guard, and the sword snaps. Michinaga is now unarmed and facing two armed opponents.

Below Average Quality Items

Below average items impose a -1 penalty to relevant skill rolls made when using the item.

Above Average Quality Items

Above average quality items provide a bonus of +1 to relevant skill rolls made when using the item. Above average quality armor may provide +1 AV and above average quality weapons may provide +1d6 damage in lieu of the +1 skill roll bonus.

Master Quality Items

Master quality items are those of the highest man-made quality. They are individual specimens of master quality workmanship. Master quality items fetch incredible prices on the open market, if they can be found for sale at all. In most cases, master quality items are handed down as heirlooms or given as gifts of incredible value. Such gifts are sometimes given to ensure the loyalty of the recipient to the giver.

Master quality items provide one of the following bonuses: +2 bonus to the skill roll with which the item is used; +2 to the AV (for armor); or +1d6 damage (for weapons). In the case of weapons, the bonus can be split between both the skill roll bonus and the extra damage done by the weapon. For example, a master quality sword could provide a +2 bonus to skill rolls, +1d6 damage, or both +1 to skill rolls and +2 points (1/2 d6) of damage.

Appraising Quality of Items

Characters with the skill required to create a similar item, the Appraisal skill or the appropriate Knowledge skill may attempt to appraise an item's quality. The character makes a skill roll using his INT + SKILL (TN 18). On a successful roll, the character determines the true quality of the item.

For example, to appraise a sword, a character could make a skill check using his INT + Swordsmith.


An Action! System Extension

By Mark Arsenault

All characters have a Derived Attribute called Sanity (SAN). Sanity scores range from 1 to 100. A character's starting score in Sanity is equal to (WIL x 10) + PRE. So, for example, a character with a PRE 5 and WIL 6 would have a starting SAN of 65.

Option: Starting SAN is reduced by 5 points for each Psychological Disadvantage (or other Disadvantage deemed appropriate by the GM) the character possesses at Hardship level and 10 points for each one possessed at Peril level.

SAN can be reduced by exposure to particularly gruesome, violent, disturbing or mind-shattering events. Any time a character is exposed to something that could conceivably affect his Sanity, the player makes a WIL + PRE attribute roll (3d6 + WIL + PRE) against a Target Number based on the severity of the event:

Difficulty Example TN SAN loss from failed roll Duration of Psych. Disad.
Average/Easy A good scare 12 Lose 1 point of SAN Minute
Tricky A graphically gory movie 15 Lose 2 points of SAN Hour
Challenging An indescribable horror 18 Lose 1d6 points of SAN Day
Difficult Witnessing an impossible event 21 Lose 3d6 points of SAN Week
Demanding Witnessing an inconceivable event 24 Lose 5d6 points of SAN Month
Extreme Witness a mind-altering event 27 Lose 1d6x10 points of SAN Year
Legendary See a Great Old One up close 30 Lose 2d6x10 points of SAN Decade

If the character fails the WIL roll. he loses the noted amount of Sanity.

The loss of 5 points of Sanity at one time indicates the character has acquired a Hardship-level Psychological Disadvantage relating to the experience, which last for 3d6 time periods with each "time period" indicated on the Difficulty Table). A loss of 10 or more points of Sanity at one time indicates the character has acquired a Peril-level Psychological Disadvantage relating to the experience, which last for 3d6 time periods.


At times you may wish to compare the relative scores of things that are vastly different in size. For example, how does a mouse's STR compare to the STR of an elephant? Is a mouse's LIF worth as much as the elephant's? Are small arms useless against battleships? What scale should we use for aerial combat?

Using these scaling rules, you can easily determine the relative scores of vastly different sized characters or objects.

The three basic scales used in the Core Rules are Micro Scale, Human Scale, and Mega Scale.

Human Scale is the default scale for the Core Rules. This is the scale that most games will use, whether the players realize it or not.

Annotating Scale

To indicate a score or statistic in Micro Scale, simply write "MS" after it, either in parenthesis or in superscript. To indicate a score or statistic in Mega Scale, simply write "MG" after it, either in parenthesis or in superscript.

For example, STR 5 (MS) or STR 5MS indicates a STR of 5 in Micro Scale. STR 5 (MG) or STR 5MG indicates a STR of 5 in Mega Scale


Attributes in Human Scale have a value ten times greater than those in Micro Scale, and attributes in Mega Scale have a value ten times greater than those in Human Scale.

Primary Attributes

In Action! System, it is assumed that all living creatures have the six primary attributes that make up the Body and Mind Attribute Groups. That is, all living things have STR, REF, HLT, PRE, INT and WIL. They may have a score of 0 in one or more of the attributes, but for purposes of describing them, all creatures can be written to include all six attributes.

Of the primary attributes, only STR is scaled. That is, the relative values of all of the other attributes are on the same relative scale, regardless of the size of the creature. An elephant with a REF of 4 is roughly equal to a mouse that also has a REF of 4. The difference between the two comes in terms of their physical size, which is reflected in a DEF bonus for the mouse and a DEF penalty for the elephant (see the Combat Modifiers table in the Core Rules).

Strength (STR): Strength, on the other hand, is handled differently. STR is scaled in multiples of 10. For example, a mouse with a STR score of 5 in Micro Scale would have the equivalent of a STR of .5 in Human Scale. A human with a STR of 5 would have the equivalent of a STR of 50 in Micro Scale or a STR of .5 in Mega Scale. The Extended STR Table provides information for STR values ranging from .1 (1MS) to 120 (12MG).

Derived Attributes

Like primary attributes, all living creatures are assumed to have all of the basic Derived Attributes presented in the Core Rules -- Defensive Target Number (DEF), Initiative (INI), Toughness (TGH), Life (LIF), and Move (MOV). Of these, TGH and LIF are the only attributes that are affected by scaling.

Defensive Target Number (DEF): Differences between the DEF scores of creatures of different scales is handled by applying the DEF Modifier to each creature, based on its size (see Combat Modifiers).

Initiative (INI): Initiative remains the same.

Toughness (TGH): Toughness (TGH) may be scaled as for attributes. When calculating the TGH of a creature that has Mega Scale STR, convert the STR score to Human Scale and then calculate the TGH score normally. The resulting TGH score is still measured in Human Scale, however. GMs wishing to use a simplified Mega Scale TGH can simply divide the score by 10.

Creatures with Micro Scale STR should calculate their TGH as follows: (STRMS + WIL) /2.  The resulting TGH score is measured in Micro Scale. GMs wishing to convert it to Human Scale TGH can simply divide the score by 10. In most cases the result will be less than 1. We recommend that you allow even Micro Scale characters a minimum Human Scale TGH score of 1; even Micro Scale characters are supposed to be heroes, after all.

Life (LIF): Because LIF is derived from HLT and WIL, which are not themselves affected by scaling, a character's LIF score should be scaled. Each step up in scale represents a tenfold decrease in the relative value of the attribute, rounding up. For example, a mouse with a LIF score of 25 in Micro Scale would have the equivalent of a LIF of 3 (2.5 rounded up) in Human Scale. A human with a LIF of 30 would have the equivalent of a LIF of 300 in Micro Scale or a LIF of 3 in Mega Scale.

Move (MOV): This is perhaps the trickiest of attributes to deal with when it comes to scaling. Rather than assigning a straight conversion rule, we recommend using whichever scale is most convenient and dividing the score by the appropriate number. For example, in Human Scale, each hex on a map might represent 1 meter (the default measurement for a 1-inch scale map when using 25mm or 28mm figures). If you decide that during a scene in which the characters are participating in an aerial dogfight that each hex represents 100 meters, then you would simply divide the Human Scale MOV score by 100. So a human (let's say a superhero who can fly) with a flying MOV of 200 would have a scaled MOV of 2. Likewise, if in the same dogfight you decided that each hex on the map represents 200 meters, then an F-18 Hornet, which has a MOV of 1,800 in Human Scale, would have a scaled MOV of 9 when moving on the hex mat for the dogfight.

For the default (Human Scale) MOV values for various sample vehicles, see the Extended MOV Table below.

Extended MOV Table

M/Turn Kph Mph Example (based on max speeds)
1 1.2 0.7  
2 2.4 1.4 Leisurely walk
3 3.6 2.1  
4 4.8 2.8 Average walking speed
5 6.0 3.5 M113 APC (water speed)
6 7.2 4.2 Brisk walk
7 8.4 4.9 Power-walk
8 9.6 5.6 Jog
9 10.8 6.4 Running a 9-minute mile
10 12.0 7.1  
11 13.2 7.8  
12 14.4 8.5  
13 15.6 9.2  
14 16.8 9.9 Running a 6-minute mile
15 18.0 10.6  
16 19.2 11.3  
17 20.4 12.0 Running a 5-minute mile
18 21.6 12.7  
19 22.8 13.4  
20 24.0 14.1  
21 25.2 14.8  
22 26.4 15.5 Running a 4-minute mile
23 27.6 16.2  
24 28.8 16.9  
25 30.0 17.6  
26 31.2 18.4  
27 32.4 19.1  
28 33.6 19.8  
29 34.8 20.5  
30 36.0 21.2  
32 38.4 22.6  
34 40.8 24.0 Attack submarine
36 43.2 25.4  
38 45.6 26.8  
40 48.0 28.2 Fastest recorded human running
42 50.4 29.6  
44 52.8 31.1  
46 55.2 32.5 Trolley/cable-car
48 57.6 33.9 Cruiser (Ticonderoga class)
50 60 35.3 Aircraft carrier, Queen Mary
55 66 38.8 Destroyer, Ocean liner, M113 APC
60 72 42.4  
65 78 45.9 M1A1 Abrams (tank), M-2 Bradley AFV
70 84 49.4  
75 90 52.9 T-72 tank
80 96 56.5  
85 102 60.0 Highway driving speed
90 108 63.5  
95 114 67.1  
100 120 70.6 Max hwy. speed limit (U.S.)
105 126 74.1  
110 132 77.6  
115 138 81.2  
120 144 84.7 Economy car (max speed)
125 150 88.2 Passenger train
130 156 91.8 MLB fast-ball pitch
135 162 95.3  
140 168 98.8  
145 174 102  
150 180 106  
160 192 113  
170 204 120  
180 216 127 Police patrol car (max speed)
190 228 134  
200 240 141 Single-engine private plane
210 252 148  
220 264 155 Single-engine private plane (cruising speed)
230 276 162 AH64 Apache
240 288 169 F6F Hellcat cruise (max 380 mph)
250 300 177 CH-47 Chinook
260 312 184  
270 324 191  
280 336 198 Nascar Racing Car
290 348 205 A6M2 Zero (max 331mph)
300 360 212  
320 384 226  
340 408 240  
360 432 254  
380 456 268  
400 480 282  
450 540 318  
500 600 353  
600 720 424  
700 840 494 C-17 cargo jet, 757 (528 mph)
800 960 565 B-52
900 1,080 635  
1000 1,200 706 Sound barrier (approx. 742 mph)
1200 1,440 847 Land speed record
1400 1,680 988  
1600 1,920 1,129  
1800 2,160 1,270 F18 Hornet (1,318 max)
2000 2,400 1,412  
2200 2,640 1,553  
2400 2,880 1,694 F-15 Eagle (max)


Scaling damage is very simple. When converting randomly determined damage (i.e., when rolling damage dice), every 10 points of Micro Scale damage equals 1 point of Human Scale damage. Every 10 points of Human Scale damage equals 1 point of Mega Scale damage.

Be sure to apply damage to any TGH on the same scale. For example, if a tiny mouse warrior does 27 points of Micro Scale blunt damage to a human, be sure to convert that damage to Human Scale or convert the human's TGH to Micro Scale before subtracting the TGH from the damage.


All Armor Values for armor are given in Human Scale unless noted otherwise. Always convert armor to the same level as the damage that is applied to it, or vice versa.

Our tiny mouse warrior has 35 LIFMS (he's a stout little mouse!) and tree bark armor that affords him AV 10MS. But our brave mouse warrior has just been bitten by a dog for 4 points of Human Scale damage! Our hero's armor does not reduce the damage from the dog bite to 0. Instead, the bite is converted to Micro Scale damage (4 x 10 = 40 points!) and then the AV is subtracted from the damage. Our hero has taken 40 - 10 = 30 points of damage! Luckily he still has 5 LIF remaining, and an Action Point or two...


Skill scores are not scaled. A skill level of 4 for a Human Scale character has the same value as a skill level of 4 for a Mega Scale character.

Status In Feudal Japan

Status is important to everyone, but especially to the Japanese, for whom membership in a group might define their personality and attitudes.

Membership with a fire-fighting crew, or with a local builder's gang, define how others view one, as well. Is the group well thought of? Is it full of lazy ne'er do-wells? Is it known to be a hotbed of illegal activity? Within this group or organization, what is the position -- and hence the accountability -- of the person in question?

The same holds with samurai, of course. A low-ranking samurai of a powerful, wealthy clan is going to get a lot more respect than if he had the same rank in a no-name clan.

Invoking One's Status

In feudal Japan, one's status is typically determined by one's affiliation with a group. The more important an individual's group or group leader is, the more important one is in the social hierarchy. Status is determined by one's KAO (other's perception of his personal honor) and his Membership Rank (MR) within the group.

To attempt to influence someone with status, roll (KAO + MR + 3D6). The character you are trying to influence also rolls his own (KAO + MR + 3D6). The degree of success or failure determines the outcome of the attempt. Subtract the result of the subject's roll from the roll of the person making the attempt, resulting in the Effect Number (this number may be a negative) and consult the Status Effect Table (below).

When dealing with someone of a higher or lower caste, an adjustment is made to the roll. The person of the higher caste adds +5 for each "level" of difference in castes between the two characters (see Membership Ranks in Feudal Japan table below).

Membership Ranks in Feudal Japan

Cost/Level Importance Examples
1 Trivial Inferior/hinin caste groups (Franciscan order, small criminal gang, hinin village)
2 Minor Commoner/bonge caste groups (Society of Jesus/Jesuits, merchant house or guild, Shintô shrine, shinobi ryû (ninja clan), large criminal gang (or yakuza in Tokugawa era)
3 Moderate Small/lesser buke caste groups (small or medium-sized samurai clan, Buddhist sects)
4 Major Large/greater buke caste groups (large/powerful samurai clan, lesser kuge family)
5 Supreme Imperial kuge family

For example, suppose Kanta, a peasant farmer with a KAO of 3 and a MR of 2 in his village attempts to influence Morita, a high buke with a KAO of 3 and a MR of 4 in a major samurai clan. Kanta rolls KAO (3) + MR (2) + 3D6 (13), for a total of 18. Morita, however, rolls KAO (3) + MR (4) + 3D6 (10) plus he adds +10 to the roll because he is two levels higher in caste than poor Kanta, the farmer, making Morita's total 27. Morita is almost guaranteed to "win" such checks because he is a member of a higher caste.

As you can see, a character's Membership Level is nearly worthless when dealing with someone of a higher caste, and almost irrelevant when dealing with someone of a lower caste.

Nanbanjin are treated as one caste level lower than their Japanese counterpart for purposes of making Status rolls.

For example, a Spanish Jesuit priest of Portuguese soldier (i.e., warrior) would be treated the same as if he were of the bonge caste.

Status Effect Table

Outcome Result
-20 or more Refuses and draws weapon, claiming to be insulted; Hostile to asker
-15 to -19 Refuses, and calls for guards or defenders
-10 to -14 Becomes angry and shouts his refusal
-5 to -9 Refuses brusquely
-1 to -4 Refuses politely
0 to 4 Agrees but insists on never again asking such a thing
5 to 9 Agrees but insists on secrecy
10 to 14 Asks for some consideration in return (e.g., a favor or money)
15 to 19 Agrees in full, without conditions.
20+ Totally agreeable to this and any other suggestions; Provides more support than requested.

Modifiers to Status Roll

GM's desiring a bit more complexity (and historical accuracy) in their games may apply the following modifiers (as many as appropriate) to rolls involving attempts to influence others with status (Membership Level).

Status Roll Modifiers

Factor Add to roll of person attempting influence
Same clan/ryû +3
Strange clan/ryû -1
Rival clan/ryû -3
Hostile clan/ryû -5
Nanbanjin -7
Non-human (tengu, etc.) -7
From same town +3
Old friend* +3
Old rival/enemy* -3
Subject is much poorer -1
Subject is much richer -2
Previously influenced subject +1 per influence
Previously failed to influence subject -1 per previous failure
Request benefits requester more -3
Request benefits requestee more +3
Flattery used Complementary skill roll
Gifts +1 for bu equal to ML of target (cumulative)

* (Note: A person may be both at the same time)

Invoking a Superior's Status

PCs can invoke the name of their superior (e.g., samurai master, daimyô, a family or clan head, yoriki, or the head priest of a temple or sect) when the PC is performing official duties. In these situations the person acts with the full authority of their superior. The effective Membership Rank (MR) of the character becomes equal to their superior's MR -1 when invoking their master's name. This can be a significant jump if the superior's status is much higher than that of the character invoking his name. This is, in some ways, similar to intimidation, but in this context it is socially acceptable, if not expected, and can be quite effective.

Note that if of a higher caste than the person being cajoled, it is likely to result in abject kow-towing as the person on the receiving end trips over himself attempting to placate the speaker. If of a lower caste, it may gain the person making the attempt no advantage at all, but still conveys the "righteousness" of his actions. In game terms, this tactic is most advantageous when used with someone of the same caste.

Yoshii, a samurai with a KAO of 3 and a Membership Rank (MR) of 3, is guarding prisoners and has orders from his superior (MR 5) to allow no one inside the jail until the superior returns. Along comes Hondo, a samurai of the same clan with KAO 5 and MR 4, who asks to be allowed to enter the jail. Yoshii refuses to let Hondo in, apologizing and explaining that he is acting on orders from his superior. Hondo becomes angry and tries to throw his weight around, ordering Yoshii to let him in. Hondo rolls KAO (5) + MR (4) + 3d6 (8), for a total of 17. Yoshii rolls his KAO (3) and his superior's MR-1 (4) + 3d6 (11), for a total of 18. Yoshii stands his ground, despite Hondo's verbal assault. The only way Hondo will get into the stockade tonight is if he cuts Yoshii down.

Had Yoshii failed to beat Hondo's roll, Yoshii would have been convinced by Hondo's argument (or been sufficiently intimidated by it) to let Hondo enter.

This procedure is appropriate for role-playing situations between a PC and NPC(s). For situations in which a PC fails his roll, the GM should tell the player that his character is intimidated and must acquiesce, but that the decision of how the PC reacts is ultimately up to the player.

Characters may add both the +10 per level bonus for being of higher caste as well as the bonus for invoking a superior's status, creating a significant advantage. Of course, simply winning such a social contest doesn't necessarily exonerate one from wrongdoing, especially if the superior finds out about his name being invoked and doesn't like the reason it was invoked.

Instruction & Study

Finding a Teacher

This is the easiest way to learn. The teacher must be at least two levels higher than the character in the desired skill. In other words, a PC with a skill level of 5 in Swords must find a teacher with a Swords skill of at least 7.

There comes a point in studying where no more education will suffice, and one must simply practice, practice, practice, and do, do, do. This is why the level difference is required; at extremely high levels of skill (9 or higher) one cannot find more skilled teachers; one must become one's own master. In game terms, the character continues to study as normal, but he uses his INT alone to determine the length of study/training time required to improve a level.

A teacher must also have the time to teach and the student the time to learn, and even the most knowledgeable teachers may not be any good at transferring their knowledge. That's where the Instruction skill comes in. The teacher averages his score of the skill to be taught with his Instruction skill (skill being taught + Instruction, divided by 2); he may then teach the student up to that level of skill.

Study Hindrances

The simple gaining of ability (indicated by an increased skill level) from study is not automatic. There are several things that may make studying more difficult and may hinder the PC's ability to advance. Some of the hindrances are listed here, but the GM and players will have to decide what other matters might affect study. The problems are cumulative.

Study Benefits

There are a few issues that may bring benefits to study. Like hindrances, they are cumulative. The student gains the indicated bonus for that circumstance when calculating the required training time:

Study Time

Consult the chart below to determine the number of weeks of study needed to increase the character's skill level (SL). Cross reference the desired skill level (the horizontal, bold numbers) and the student's INT + the teacher's Instruction Level (abbreviated "IL"; the vertical numbers). The resulting number is the number of weeks required for the student to gain 1 level in the skill. The teacher's IL is equal to the average of his Instruction skill score and the score in the skill being taught.

The required time must be spent by the student or no increase in the skill is gained. In other words, time must be spent as well as Experience Points in order for characters to improve a skill. The formula for determining how long a student must study in order to achieve a new skill level is:

Time in weeks = ((2 x DL) + 10) - (INT + IL)

In other words, the time in weeks it takes to achieve a new level equals two times the desired skill level (DL) plus 10, minus the sum of the student's INT plus the teacher's TL. For example, a student with an INT of 5 desiring to achieve a skill level of 6 in Driving by studying with a teacher who has a Instruction Level of 8 would be: (12 + 10) - (5 +8) = 9 weeks.

If there is no teacher available, then use 0 for TL in the formula.

Required Time to Improve SL

Student's INT + IL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29
2 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28
3 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27
4 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26
5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25
6 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
7 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23
8 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22
9 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21
10 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
11 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19
12 1 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18
13 1 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17
14 1 1 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
15 1 1 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15
16 1 1 1 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
17 1 1 1 1 3 5 7 9 11 13
18 1 1 1 1 2 4 6 8 10 12
19 1 1 1 1 1 3 5 7 9 11
20 1 1 1 1 1 2 4 6 8 10
21+ 1 1 1 1 1 1 3 5 7 9

Tear Gas

Dmg: Special, Type: Special, Acc: -1, Rmod: -2, STR Min: 1, Max: 5, RoF: 1:5, Amm: 15, Wt: --, Notes: See Effects.


Description: Alphachloroacetaphenone gas, also know as "tear gas" or "CN", was widely used by law enforcement before pepper spray replaced it as the chemical weapon of choice. CN gas typically comes in a pressurized canister with a button "trigger" at the top of the canister. The CN itself is in crystalline form and is suspended in an inert liquid. When the trigger is depressed and the agent expelled from the canister, the crystals become exposed to air and they quickly vaporize. This vapor is an irritant to membrane tissues, causing stinging pain and tearing, but takes several seconds to become effective.

Effects: A successful hit causes the target to suffer a -3 penalty to both REF-based skill rolls and sight-based Awareness rolls. A hit in the face delays the effect for 1 Turn. Hit on chest delays effect for 2 Turns. Any other location results in no effect.


This material is Open Game Content, and is licensed for public use under the terms of the Open Game License v1.0a.

Permission to copy, modify and distribute this document is granted solely through the use of the Open Gaming License, Version 1.0a. This material is being released using the Open Gaming License Version 1.0a and you should read and understand the terms of that license before using this material. Instructions on using the License are provided within the License itself.

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Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

Action! System Core Rules version 1.1 copyright 2003 by Gold Rush Games; Authors Mark Arsenault, Patrick Sweeney, Ross Winn.

Aesthetics, Kao and Piety Extension copyright © 2003 by Gold Rush Games. Author Mark Arsenault.

Quality of Items Extension copyright © 2003 by Gold Rush Games. Author Mark Arsenault.

Creating Items Extension copyright © 2003 by Gold Rush Games. Author Mark Arsenault.

Extended Distance Modifiers Extension copyright © 2003 by Gold Rush Games. Author Mark Arsenault.

Extended Strength Table Extension copyright © 2003 by Gold Rush Games. Author Mark Arsenault.

Hit Locations Extension copyright © 2003 by Gold Rush Games. Author Mark Arsenault.

Improving Membership: Feudal Japan Rank Extension copyright © 2003 by Gold Rush Games. Author Mark Arsenault.

Karma Extension copyright © 2003 by Gold Rush Games. Author Mark Arsenault.

Optional Wealth Rules Variant copyright © 2003 by Gold Rush Games. Author Mark Arsenault.

Poisons and Drugs Extension copyright © 2003 by Gold Rush Games. Author Mark Arsenault.

Quality of Items Extension copyright © 2003 by Gold Rush Games. Author Mark Arsenault.

Sanity Extension copyright © 2003 by Gold Rush Games. Author Mark Arsenault.

Scaling Extension copyright © 2003 by Gold Rush Games. Author Mark Arsenault.

Status in Feudal Japan Extension copyright © 2003 by Gold Rush Games. Author Mark Arsenault.

Instruction and Study Extension copyright © 2003 by Gold Rush Games. Author Mark Arsenault.

Tear Gas Extension copyright © 2003 by Gold Rush Games. Author Mark Arsenault.