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Open Game License v 1.0 Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
System Reference Document, Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc., Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.
Modern System Reference Document Copyright 2002-2004, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Bill Slavicsek, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman, Charles Ryan, Eric Cagle, David Noonan, Stan!, Christopher Perkins, Rodney Thompson, and JD Wiker, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Richard Baker, Peter Adkison, Bruce R. Cordell, John Tynes, Andy Collins, and JD Wiker.
Advanced Player's Guide, Copyright 2004, White Wolf Publishing, Inc. Blue Rose, Copyright 2005, Green Ronin Publishing; Authors Jeremy Crawford, Dawn Elliot, Steve Kenson, and John Snead.
Creatures of Freeport, Copyright 2004, Green Ronin Publishing, LLC; Authors Graeme Davis and Keith Baker.
Mutants & Masterminds, Copyright 2002, Green Ronin Publishing; Author Steve Kenson.
True20 Adventure Roleplaying, Copyright 2005, Green Ronin Publishing; Author Steve Kenson.
Perfect20 Roleplaying System, Copyright 2005, Levi Kornelson.

The total contents of the Perfect 20 SRD are designated as Open Game Content.



Perfect 20 is extremely streamlined, and has eliminated many elements of standard d20-based system rules. Here are a few of the changes that make Perfect 20 different:


This is a roleplaying game. All roleplaying games are about pretending to be someone you are not (a character) in a structured setting. The structure of game is provided by these rules, the setting, and your GM. No board or playing site is necessary for Tabletop play. Instead, the game is played verbally. Tabletop play is modeled on action and reaction through play.

     Despite the amount of information given in this section, which is enough to get going, there are many things which no part of this book can ever do. You can learn how a given mode of play works from these pages, but you can't learn how to do it perfectly. To learn such a thing, you must actually do it. Once you've tried out the different ways of using this book, you'll learn what comes easily, what you need to work on, and what you'd rather just avoid. But in the end, once you know the territory, this book becomes secondary.


Tabletop play normally takes place at the home of a player or the GM, often around a table (hence the name), with from 3 to 7 players, including the GM. Some groups play at friendly coffee shops, in college club rooms, or wherever. Whenever playing outside of home, avoid any kind of action that will distress the residents or passers-by.


Tabletop games tend to be played once a week, once every two weeks, or once a month. Any more often than once a week tends to lead to severe scheduling problems for players (even once a week can be too often for some). Any less than once a month, and players and GM all begin to lose track of details, and the game world can slowly lose coherency for the group.


As GM, you begin the session by describing a scene or situation. The players react by describing the actions they wish to take. You react to their descriptions by deciding and announcing the outcomes of those actions. The players then react to the outcomes with new actions, and you react with still more outcomes. This process continues through the session and the entire length of the game. When necessary, systems are used to deal with those situations that require it.


Since the action of tabletop takes place in the minds of the GM and of the players, description is one of the most important skills to master in this mode of play. Giving accurate and interesting descriptions is an important part of each person's job for a number of reasons, most of them obvious.


STEP 1: Decide on a Concept:
Concepts don't require rules, but they do require an understanding of both setting and of some rules. To choose a concept, flip through these rules and the setting you're using, and get an idea of what you'd like to play.

STEP 2: Divide 6 points among Ability Scores:
You have six ability scores, and six points to distribute, though you can make the process a little more complex if you want your character to be very finely-tuned.

STEP 3: Choose 3 Origin Traits:
There are a great many different origin traits - innate talents your character may have. Choose up to 3, or forego 1 or more for other benefits. If there are nonhuman races in your setting, and you wish to be part of one, then you will often need to spend all of your origin traits in order to play a member of that race.

STEP 4: Raise 10 Advancement Traits:
Choose your character's advancement; these choices will determine many factors of how your character will develop over time. There are a total of nine "advancement traits" to choose from, each can be raised up to twice, and you have ten raises to spend.

STEP 5: Note your Fixed And Figured Traits:
Fixed and figured traits are either automatic, or are determined by means of the choices you've already made. You'll want to be familiar with all of these traits, as well as with Health, which is described in the same place.

STEP 6: Choose Proficiencies and Feats:
Depending on your earlier choices, you will have the ability to choose a number of proficiencies and feats for your character; each of these three has a chapter dedicated to it alone.

STEP 7: Get Your Gear:
Chapter Four describes all manner of gear that your character might possess, and describes the process of buying this gear and managing your wealth. This section mainly assumes the role of a "creation system" for equipment, though it also lists some sample equipment. For specific, fully defined items that match your setting, consult your setting.

STEP 8: Last Touches:
Set these things as desired, so long as your choices are reasonable:



You have 6 points to divide among your hero's abilities, which all start at 0, neither a bonus nor a penalty. Each point put into a score raises by 1. You cannot put more than 5 points in a single ability score, even with bonus points, though scores can go higher than +5 through other factors. If you choose to have a negative value in an ability, you gain bonus points to assign to your other ability scores. For example, if you give your hero Strength -1, you have 1 more point to assign to another ability (such as Intelligence). If your hero has Strength -2, you have 2 bonus points, and so on. Heroes cannot have abilities lower than -2. A character has six Ability Scores, each of which is a "modifier"; a bonus or penalty that normally ranges from -2 (very bad) to +5 (incredibly good). Larger bonuses and penalties are possible, but this is the range for a 'regular' human being.

     Your ability score is added to or subtracted from die rolls when you do something related to that ability, and sometimes your score is used to calculate another value, such as your speed. Descriptions of the six scores, and some notes on things they are added to, are listed below on this page.

STRENGTH measures brute force. It is important to anyone that expects to get up close to their foes, who intends to throw things around, or who wants carry more than minimal equipment and armor. A hero with a high strength might be described as athletic, brawny, powerful, or wiry.

DEXTERITY measures speed and agility, as well as coordination. It is important to anyone who wishes to dodge away from effects, to gain abilities based on speed, and for anyone using ranged weapons. A hero with high dexterity might be described as quick, nimble, or agile.

CONSTITUTION measures a character's 'grit' and general health. The higher this score, the harder one is to knock out, kill, and the less likely to suffer from poison, disease, or fatigue. A hero with a high constitution score might be described as robust, tough, or indefatigable.

INTELLIGENCE measures a character's learning speed, knowledge, and memory. It is important to any character that intends to gain multiple skills at notable levels. A hero of high intelligence score might be described as knowledgeable, smart, or intellectual.

WISDOM measures how centered a character is, as well as how alert they are in general. It is important for noticing things quickly, and for resisting mental domination. A hero with a high wisdom score might be described as determined, grounded, alert, or cagey.

CHARISMA measures a character's looks, social graces, and force of personality. It is important for anyone wishing to get along well in social situations. A hero with a high charisma score might be described as witty, charming, good- looking, magnetic, or stylish.

All the characters in this system are human, or close enough that they can pass for a variation on humanity. Many of the 'standard' fantastic races can be simulated with these traits.

You may choose up to three of these traits. You may choose to forego choosing as many as you wish, though. For each origin trait you give up, you may choose two additional Proficiencies or one added Feat; however, you cannot gain more than one added Feat in this way.



At all times, regardless of what else you may be doing, you are treating as being engaged in actively searching your environment. Whenever something that has a difficulty to be found of (5+ Your Wisdom Modifier + Your Awareness Ranks) or less, you notice it automatically.


Older characters, while well established and often quite skillful, also suffer serious drawbacks. This trait can be taken up to twice; for each copy of this taken, the character gains +1 to their Reputation, Wealth, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma, and one bonus proficiency. However, they also suffer -1 to Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution.


Your frame is ideal, for whatever reason, for carrying large amounts of weight without concern. Most characters with this trait are comparatively wider than an average human, and many are shorter than average as well. Though the maximum weights you are able to carry and move do not change, so long as you are able to carry a given load, your encumbrance level is treated as one 'Step' closer to 'no Encumbrance'.


The effects of this origin very wildly by setting; it has been placed here as a reminder to both GM and player that in many settings, it is impossible to ever develop unusual, magical, or other special abilities without some form of inherent talent which the character must possess directly from their origins, bloodline, birth, or childhood. Ask your GM or consult your setting and any other optional rules being used in your game to determine if this is the case in your game.


You are well-known in your community -- not just your name and face, but your general demeanor, deeds, and overall attitude. You have a permanent increase of 2 points to your reputation, and any attempt at altering your reputation or what it entails is made against a difficulty 10 higher than normal. Finally, you gain a +3 bonus when you are making a reputation check in order to recognize someone else. This trait can be taken, and the effects stack.


You can instantly determine how one person feels about another, simply by observing one interaction between them. Whenever you interact with someone, or watch two other personas interact, you learn immediately what their actual attitude is to you, or the attitude that each of the two persons observed has toward the other. The feat False Front can block this ability.


By whatever accident of birth or publicity, you are already extremely well-known to those around you. Your reputation score is permanently increased by 4 points.


You possess a single item of great value, which might be inherited, a gift, or simply the focus of your life's ambition in some way. Choose a single item with a purchase value of up to 14. You begin play with this item. If your setting has added rules for magical or unusual items that can be upgraded and improved over time, then this item should generally be such an item; otherwise, the value of this trait will slowly fade over time.


You are an emotional rock, and difficulty to sway with words or appeals to emotion, whether natural, chemical, or supernatural. Whenever you are subjected to any effect that would alter your emotional state or feelings towards anyone, or which uses a charisma-based check to incur a penalty on you, you always get a will save (difficulty 20, if no difficulty is listed). If you would normally receive a saving throw other than will, you receive that saving throw, and a will save in addition to that one. On all will saves to resist such effects, you roll 2d20 and take the higher roll.


You are related, whether through lineage, ritual practice, or other means, to a specific race or species of creature that reacts well to "it's kin". When you take this trait, choose a creature type from those your GM considers available as targets for this feat. Members of that group have a +10 bonus to reputation checks to recognize you as a member of their kinship group. If the creature type you are kin to does not normally make checks of this type, they may make such checks specifically to recognize you as their kin.


You are able to see in low-light conditions more easily. You treat all "dim light" conditions as "good lighting", and also treat all "total darkness" as "dim light" so long as there is a light source at least as bright as a candle within 100 feet of the spot that you are looking at.


You heal abnormally fast. For you, one "day" of bed rest is a mere eight hours, and you benefit fully from term care in that period. It is possible for you to incur the benefits of a full day of natural healing three times over the course of twenty-four hours, if you are well-tended in that period.


You are from a higher-class or wealthier background than most heroes. This trait may be taken repeatedly; each copy adds 2 points each to starting reputation and wealth, and ensures that those who recognize you will recognize you as a high-status individual.


Because you are well-balanced, you can move across broken or slippery ground without suffering any movement penalty or risking falling. In addition, you gain a bonus equal to your character level to resist all attempts to trip you or pull or push you about, because of your improved grip, and you reduce the falling distance of any fall by ten feet so long as you have deliberately jumped into the fall.


You are especially tough of body, because of a somewhat scaly skin, an iron regimen of exercise, or for whatever other reason. Your base toughness, to which bonuses are added, is 6 rather than the normal 5.


You are less bothered by more extreme temperatures than others. You treat all hot or cold climates as one 'Step' closer to 'normal'. This trait does not protect you from hot and cold energy damage.


Depending on the scenario and the setting, the GM may wish to assign ability score modifiers to one or more of the kinship groups in their game. The "standard" set of changes is to add 1 to a single specified ability score and subtract one from a different score, as permanent changes, or to add two points to one score and subtract one each from two other scores. Determining what changes to ability scores are appropriate to the setting is best left for the GM and the setting to determine.

     In the case of kinship groups that don't generally recognize one another positively and treat each other better than they treat others, being part of such a group (including any relevant ability modifiers) may not require that origin trait to be taken, but will likely require that the character have at least two other specific origin traits.


These traits determine how your character will progress as they grow as a hero. Unless they are altered (at fairly notable cost), they remain unchanged and dictate to some degree how your character will grow.

     There are nine advancement traits, and you have ten "raises" to spend on these traits. Each trait starts at a specific base level, and up to two raises may be spent to improve it from that level. In very basic terms, an advancement trait that is not raised will be considered very weak as the game progresses; a trait raised once will be something that the character is moderately good at, and a trait raised twice will be something that the character will excel at as they progress throughout their career.


Almost all advancement traits include fractions. For purposes of making selections and the like, these fractions are entirely ignored; however, they must be recorded on your sheet, as they will be increased to full points as your character advances in level.


After you have decided on where you raises will be spent, look at the master table at the bottom of this page. Find each item, and the level you possess it at (Base, one raise, two raise). There you'll find one number before the parentheses - that number is placed one the front of your character sheet in the appropriate place or places. You'll also find one number that is in parentheses; this number is recorded on the back or second page of your sheet, at the very bottom.


For players having any difficulty interpreting these numbers, think of a trait with no raises put into it as "poor", a trait with one raise as being "good", and a trait with two raises as being "very good" - remember that these traits dictate the future of the character more than their present.


Your attack bonus is added to all attack rolls that you make; as you progress in level, it becomes a more and more important factor in determining whether or not you can make attacks successfully. Muscle-powered melee weapons typically use Strength as an additional bonus on attack rolls, and ranged weapons typically use Dexterity, as follows:


Defense represents how hard it is for opponents to land a blow on a character (or object). It's the attack roll result that an opponent needs to achieve to hit a target. The average, unarmored civilian has a Defense of 10. Your Defense is equal to:


Your Toughness score represents how hard it is for others to hurt you. Like Defense, it is a number that your attacker must meet or beat in order to hurt you. However, Toughness tends to be a lower number than Defense, and the amount by which they beat your Toughness on a 'roll to wound' is important. On a successful hit, the attacker then rolls "to wound". If the to-wound roll is made exactly, or by 1-4 points, it deals one wound, if it succeeds by 5-9 points, it deals two wounds; if the to-wound roll succeeds by 10-14 points, it deals three wounds; and so on. As a time-saving device, it is possible for the attacker to simply roll two different-colored dice for their roll, designating them ahead of time (for example, "The blue die is attack, and the red on is for damage").


This table shows the level one bonuses and totals (with advancements each level after level one shown in parentheses), for all ten of the advancement traits, at base level, with one raise, and with two raises.

-- Attack Defense Tough. Fort. Ref. Will. Repute Prof. Feats
Base +1/2 (+1/2) +1/2 (+1/2) +1/2 (+1/4) +3/4 (+1/4) +3/4 (+1/4) +3/4 (+1/4) +1 (+1/2) 21/2 (+1/4) 2 (+1/2)
One Raise +3/4 (+3/4) +3/4 (+3/4) +1 (+1/2) +11/2 (+1/2) +11/2 (+1/2) +11/2 (+1/2) +11/2 (+3/4) 5 (+1/2) 3 (+3/4)
Two Raises +1 (+1) +1 (+1) +11/2 (+3/4) +21/4 (+3/4) +21/4 (+3/4) +21/4 (+3/4) +2 (+1) 71/2 (+3/4) 4 (+1)


Generally, when a hero is subject to an unusual or magical attack, he or she gets a saving throw to avoid or reduce the effect. The Difficulty Class for a save is determined by the attack. Like an attack roll, a saving throw is a 1d20 roll plus a bonus based on the hero's class and level (the hero's base save bonus) and an ability modifier. A natural 1 (the d20 comes up 1) on a saving throw is always a failure. A natural 20 (the d20 comes up 20) is always a success. The three different kinds of saving throws are:


Reputation is used to determine whether a GM character recognizes you. Those who recognize and approve of you are more likely to help you or do what you ask, provided your reputation is positive to the character who recognizes you. The higher the bonus, the more likely recognition is. However, a high Reputation bonus also makes it difficult for you to mask your identity. The GM decides when your reputation is relevant. At the moment it becomes relevant, the GM makes a Reputation check for each GM character who might be influenced due to your fame or notoriety.


Proficiency points are spent, and once spent, cannot be recovered. However, as a character progresses through their career, they will gain more proficiency points to spend as they wish. Each proficiency point may be used to purchase one of the following:


Feats are individual, special abilities that often grant your character the ability to perform extraordinary actions, or which improve on their abilities to do other things to a significant degree. Each 'point' of feats allows you to choose one feat - once chosen, they cannot be removed, but your character will continue to gain additional feats as they progress through their career.



Wealth is covered in detail in the chapter on money and gear. A character may enter play with as many items as desired that have a purchase value equal to or less than their wealth score, unless the GM views their choices to be unreasonable in nature or in quantity. The goods available to your character will likely vary wildly according to the setting your character is in. At creation, your starting Wealth bonus is:


Initiative is not, in and itself, a figured trait, but does deserve mentioning at this point. When a combat begins, all combatants will normally be required to "roll Initiative" to determine who acts at what point in the combat round. This roll is:


A character can move faster the higher their Dexterity is; this number indicates how many feet they move in one action (about half of a combat round). A character that spends a full round running will move four times this speed, unless augmented or hampered. On many maps, distances are divided into 'squares' of five feet across, and most of the combat rules assume measurement in five-foot increments. Your starting speed is:


A character can only carry so much without difficulty. Weight in this game is measured in "Bulk"; many items don't counts as having any notable weight, though large collections of such items do. Listed below are the various different categories of encumbrance used in this game. If a character qualifies as being in more than one of them, use the most severe. Each has amount; a character carrying bulk within that amount qualifies as being in that category. Each also names a penalty that the character faces; this penalty is applied to all skills that have the notation (Enc), and all attack rolls (though not to damage rolls). Finally, each notes any adjustments to the character's speed.


Every character sheet has a health track showing twelve boxes, divided into four rows of three boxes each:

HEALTH: Becoming Stable

Each hour after receiving their "thirteenth wound", a character makes a Fortitude save (DC 20) to become stable. If successful, their countdown to death halts, but is noted, and they may begin to work towards regaining consciousness. Until the character heals at least one wound however, a single point of injury restarts their countdown to death at the point where it left off, and each point beyond he first has the normal effect upon this remaining amount of time.

HEALTH: Regaining Consciousness

Each hour after being knocked out, a character makes a Fortitude save (DC 20) to regain consciousness. If successful, they become conscious but remain just as hurt as before. A character cannot attempt this save if they have taken a "thirteenth wound" and are not stable.

HEALTH: Natural Healing

A character recovers one point of health each day. Complete bed rest (24 hours) restores 2 points per day. A character that is being tended by someone who possesses the heal skill may recover faster than this.


The GM will inform you when your character has gained a level - or when they are eligible to train towards their next level. When this occurs, each of your advancement traits will improve by an amount equal to the corresponding fraction you've bought with your raises, and your skills will generally improve naturally as well.


In very general terms, assuming that gameplay was fully productive, and that the characters are meeting and overcoming significant challenges (of whatever sorts) during play itself, leveling up tends to take place somewhere between once per six to twenty hours of gameplay.


This system is largely balanced around combat effectiveness. For this reason, it is active, dangerous challenges which matter towards level-based advancement. For players that are spending their time meeting and dealing with the world in other ways, other rewards less covered by mechanics, such as added allies, equipment, and the like are generally more appropriate than additional levels.


Depending on the style of play taking place, the GM may simply tell the players to level up their characters, or they may expect the characters to put in training time. In a highly-cinematic, training time takes about as many days as the new level that the characters are about to reach. In a more realistic game, this time amount may be stretched out to weeks or even months of slow improvement, creating natural breaks of "downtime" between adventures. At level 6 and beyond, even in highly cinematic games, when new skills are acquired or improved, it is recommended that the improved rank bonus appear slowly, requiring at least one day of regular use (whether in formal training or not) per point of improvement.


Starting at level 4, and each four levels thereafter (8, 12, 16, 20, 24, and so on), a character may choose and permanently increase one of their ability modifiers. However, a character cannot increase any of their ability score to a benefit more than 7 points higher than any of their other scores in this way - for example, if your character possesses one ability modifier at +5, and one or more ability modifier at -2 or worse, then they cannot improve their +5 ability score until both the other scores have been improved to -1 or better.


Note: This rule typically has no effect until Level 15, at the earliest, and often not until level 20. All of the different advancement bonuses have upper limits to their base value, and the lowest advancement trait also has a lower limit. When you gain a new level, if increases to the bonus that you gain from advancement would exceed this number - in the case of feats and proficiencies, count your total and apply the limit to that; feats and proficiencies gained by trading in origin traits are not counted. In the case of skills, this is if your rank bonus would go past this limit - then it is instead raised to the level of the limit, and stops. In the case of 1/4 advancement, which has a lower limit, if the bonus isn't sufficient to raise that trait to the lower limit, it is raised to that level automatically.


Many d20 systems spend a fair amount of time computing and figuring experience points under complex systems of advancement. This system doesn't concern itself with such things; instead, dramatic necessity and actual progress over challenges as determined and monitored by the GM is used instead. So, to answer the question as directly as possible: There aren't any.


All skills are used by means of skill checks, as listed below. Skills can be used even if the character has no ranks in the skill (+0), unless stated otherwise by the description.


ATHLETICS measures the total capacity of a character to focus their strength on highly mobile physical activity.

     Athletics difficulties are modified by the conditions of the environment quite regularly, often by as much as ten points. Slippery surfaces, high winds, stormy waters, and many other factors can contribute to raising or lowering the difficulty of Athletics checks.

     Besides the three uses listed here, Athletics can also be used as the appropriate skill for any physical activity where strength is, overall, more important than agility and dexterity, though these added uses, as always, are left in the hands of the GM to create and build sensible rules.

Task Difficulty Time
Climb a slope 10 Move Action
Climb a wall 20 Move Action
Long Jump 2 per foot. Move Action
High Jump 5 per foot. Move Action
Swimming 5 Move Action


AWARENESS measures the total perceptive abilities of the character, and is used both reactively (to spot things when they move or make noise) and actively (when searching an area or attempting to determine distances and the like.

     As well as the uses listed here, Awareness may also be used as the general skill to use for detecting and perceiving

     The GM will often modify Awareness results based on distance, lighting, ambient noise, and on other environmental conditions, often by as much as ten points in either direction - in extreme situations (trying to find the proverbial needle in the haystack, or trying to hear a pin drop in a crowded room), difficulties may even be altered by twenty points or more.

Task Difficulty Time
Listen Opposed (Stealth) Reactive
Spot movement Opposed (Stealth) Reactive
Defeat Disguise Opposed (Stealth) Reactive
Thorough Search 10+ 1 Minute
Sense Enchantment 25 Reactive


BEASTKEEPING measures the ability of the character to deal with animals. Given time, it can be used to change a wild animal under the control of the character into a domestic one, by "gentling" the animal in question. It can also be used (though with far greater difficulty) as "diplomacy for wild animals".

     The main uses of Beastkeeping, though, are to teach tricks to animals, and to be able to get an animal to perform those tricks (see "known trick"in the table) on command. When dealing with an animal that is gentled and is physically capable of performing a trick, but doesn't know it, this skill can also be used to "push" the animal into performing the trick, though this is somewhat harder.

Task Difficulty Time
Wild Diplomacy As Diplomacy +10 As listed
Gentle an Animal Opposed (Will) 25 Hours
"Push" Trick Listed +5 Full-Round
Known Trick As listed Move action
Teach a Trick As listed 100 Hours
An animal can learn up to (Intelligence + 3) tricks. Tricks include, but are not limited to, the following.


COMMERCE indicates an aptitude with professional activities, with marketplaces, and with practical economics.

     In addition to the two main uses listed here, commerce could be used to navigate the marketplace more easily, determine if items are being sold for a reduced price at any locations, avoid merchants which are overpricing goods in general, manage a business or workplace, and perform all of the other tasks involved in general business.

     Your commerce skill can receive bonuses or penalties when dealing in market structures that are foreign to you or when you are dealing with or selling goods that are foreign to the marketplace, as well as when commissioning or selling unique or extremely rare items of various sorts; the GM will assign these as if appropriate.

Task Difficulty Time
Appraise 10 + Value 10 Minutes
Haggling Opposed (Commerce) 5 Minutes


This skill enables the character to create, repair, forge, and sabotage various items. You must choose one specialization - a kind of item that you can work with. Your ranks apply only to these items, though by spending one further proficiency, you may cause all your rank in crafts to apply to an additional specialization of your choosing. Specializations include, but are not limited to, the following. The GM decides what is and is not an appropriate specialization, and may modify this list:

Task Difficulty Time
Repair an item. 15 + Value 1 Hr / Health
Sabotage machines 25 - Value 10 Min
Craft Item 10 + (Value x2) Varies
Craft Spurious Item 10 + Value Varies

Repairing and sabotaging items are, mechanically, very simple issues, and other than the difficulty and time listing given, are left to GM discretion. Crafting items, however, needs some fairly intensive rules. To make an item, follow these steps:

  1. You must purchase raw materials; these have a purchase value equal to the value of the item, minus four (minimum 1).
  2. Put in a full day's worth of work (eight hours), and then make a craft check; the difficulty of this check is 10+ (double the purchase value of the item to be built). When creating items with a value of seven or more, gaining assistance from others and possession of special tools are generally a necessity.
  3. If the check succeeds, you have created one point of the item's value. Additionally, for each full five points that your check result beats the difficulty, you have built one more point of value. When the created value matches the actual value of the item, then the item is completed.


DECEIT is used to lie convincingly, and otherwise give false or misleading information. In very general terms, when lying to a target that might not believe you, you contest your Deceit against the subject's Awareness to convince them. Success indicates that the target believes something that you want them to. Generally, a failure makes the target too suspicious try again in the same circumstances.

Task Difficulty Time
Bluffing Opposed (Aware) Varies
Feint Opposed (Aware) Move Action
Innuendo 10 Move Action
Disguise Other 10 10 Minutes
Disguise Other 15 20 Minutes
Modifiers for general Deceit Modifier
The subject want to believe you. +5
The subject doesn't care if you're lying. +0
The subject has reason to disbelieve you -10


DIPLOMACY allows the user to deal well with other people. In general terms, this almost always means changing the attitude of those people, as described to the right.

     In many cases, the GM will wish to "abridge" the work a character does with diplomacy. For example, spending an evening at the bar buying drinks and trying to quietly get people to tell you what they know about a local figure would entail a great many checks working to change neutral attitudes into friendly ones. This could be summed up by the GM into a single roll, the results of which are used by the GM to determine how much the character finds out.

Starting Attitude . . NEW ATTITUDE . .
- Hostile Rough Neutral Friendly Helpful
Hostile 1 20 25* 35* 50*
Rough 0 1 15 25* 40*
Neutral - 0 1 15 30*
Friendly - - 0 1 20
Helpful - - - 0 1

*: You must have the feat Silver Tongue in order to change the attitude of a person more than one step towards helpful.


You can change the attitude of any person or creature you are interacting with. The difficulties given in the accompanying table show what it takes to change someone's attitude with the use of the Diplomacy. The character doesn't declare a specific outcome he or she is trying for; instead, make the check and compare the result to the table. Generally, retries don't work. If the initial check succeeds, the other character can only be persuaded so far, and a retry may do more harm than good. If the initial check fails, the other character is more firmly committed to his position, and a retry is futile. The five most general attitudes are:


EDUCATION is used any time it is questionable whether or not a character knows a specific fact. You must choose one specialization - something you know about. Your ranks apply only to this knowledge, though by spending one further proficiency, you may cause all your rank in the skill to apply to an additional specialization of your choice. Specializations include, but are not limited to, the following list:

Information is... Diff. Time
Known by 1 person in 10. 10 Free Action
Known by 1 person in 100. 15 Free Action
Known by 1 person in 1,000. 20 Free Action
Known by 1 person in 10,000. 25 Free Action
Known by 1 person in 100,000. 30 Free Action


HEAL is a fairly simple skill in terms of use; a character with this skill can treat illnesses and injuries. The uses listed here are supplemented by the medical feat group.

     Uses of this skill that do not require feats may also be expanded upon, at the discretion of the GM, but the GM should be careful not to add further uses that overlap with those feats.

     Modifiers to skill and difficulty are typically based on the rarity of the condition - while a healer in ancient Egypt might know how to heal a disease caught from certain rare scarabs, a modern-day character living in America would very likely be baffled by the increased difficulty of the task.

Task Difficulty Time
Stabilize Other 15 Full-Round
Revive Other 15 Full-Round
Term Care 15 1 Hour
Treat Poison (Save Difficulty) 1 Minute
Treat Disease (Save Difficulty) 1 Hour


LEGERDEMAIN is the defining skill of thieves, rogues, and charlatans. A character with ranks in this skill is flexible of body and quick of hand, with all benefits that entails.

     Beyond the uses listed here, Legerdemain might also be used to squeeze through or into tight spaces, "plant" items on others, poison a cup without onlookers noticing, and similar such tricks of body and hand.

     Legerdemain might easily be given added bonuses or penalties based on the environment, including lighting, condition, shape, and size of items it is used on, time pressure, and other such details. The GM will assess these bonuses and penalties as they see fit.

Task Difficulty Time
"Palm" an object. 10 & Opposed Move Action
Pick a pocket 20 & Opposed Move Action
Pick a lock 10, 20, or 30. Full-round
Escape Bonds Opposed (Crafts+10) Full-Round
Holdout Opposed (Awareness) Full-Round


PERFORM is used to gauge how entertainingly your character can perform. You must choose one specialization - something you know about. Your ranks apply only to this knowledge, though by spending one further proficiency, you may cause all your rank in the skill to apply to an additional specialization of your choice. Specializations include, but are not limited to, the following list. In truly realistic genres or settings, you may be required to choose a specialization that is even more specific than those listed here:

Task Difficulty Time
Busking Special 2 Hours
Full Performance Special 1 Hour


You have learned to capably use one or more modes of transport. You must choose one specialization - something you know about. Your ranks apply only to this knowledge, though by spending a further proficiency, you may cause all your rank in the skill to apply to an additional specialization of your choice. Specializations include, but are not limited to, the following list:

Task Difficulty Time
Basic Tasks Varies Move Action
Mounted Reflex Varies Reaction
Fast Mount 20 Free Action
Chases Opposed (R&P) Varies
For this skill, general terms such as "mounting" may also be interpreted as "boarding" and the like.


STEALTH is the learned capacity to avoid notice and detection. Among many other uses, it is often used to scout possibly hostile areas before entering in force. Many uses of stealth will find the Scouting feat group to contain items that work well with their abilities.

     The GM may find that adding further uses to this skill will be helpful, but is warned to be careful not to cheapen or invalidate any feats being used as viable selections by doing so.

     Environment, lighting, and the like are all very important to uses of stealth. Possibly even more important, however, are ambient sounds and movements - it's harder to notice someone move quietly and out of sight if there is a great deal of other motion or sound around you. Users of stealth can expect regular bonuses and penalties from such conditions.

Task Difficulty Time
Move Silently Opposed (Aware) Free
Hide Opposed (Aware) Move
Tailing Opposed (Aware) Ongoing


SURVIVAL is used to live or travel in wilderness as comfortably as possible; it is also used for hunting and is essential to any journey into the deep wilds.

     In addition to the listed uses, survival could also be used to find good natural campsites, to forage for cooking ingredients or herbs, and similar such activities. Skill checks may be modified by extreme conditions or weather, but some degree of inclement weather is assumed, so such bonuses and penalties tend to be small.

     Characters with survival will often find the wilderness feat group to be useful and to work well with the capabilities granted by use of this skill. The tracking feat, in particular, notes a use of survival that any character can use to some extent, but which the feat allows full use of.

Task Difficulty Time
Travel the Wild 15 Daily
Hunt & Forage 10 6 Hours
Scan the Sky 10 1 Minute
Predict Weather Varies 1 Minute


TUMBLE measures the acrobatic skills of the character - their ability to roll, flip, balance, and similar such abilities. Beyond the listed uses, tumble is the general skill to use whenever the character is performing intensive physical activ- ity governed more strongly by their agility than by their strength.

Task Difficulty Time
Shorten Fall 15 Reaction
Evasive Tumble 15 Move Action
Balance See Below Reaction
Some Balance Difficulties Difficulty
Ledge 7 - 12 inches wide 10
Ledge 2 - 6 inches wide 15
Ledge less than 2 inches wide 20
Uneven / angled 10 (or +5)
Slippery 10 (or +5)
Rolling log, barrel, or similar Current speed.


Feats are special abilities that your character gains as they advance in levels; you either have a feat or you do not (though some Feats can be taken more than once). Some Feats grant your character entirely new abilities, but most of them enhance the things your character can already do, or remove penalties for doing things that are difficult without training. Feats are gained from Advancement or by trading in Origin traits.


Each Feat group contains one of more "Trees". These are groups of feats organized showing a flow-chart like sequencing. The first feats in any tree are prerequisites for all other feats later on in the "tree" unless stated otherwise. Those in the same group, but outside the tree, require only the prerequisites listed in their description, if any. In very basic terms, if a feat doesn't have an arrow pointing to it, it has no prerequisites except those in it's description. If it has one or more arrows pointing to it from other feats, those feats must be taken before the one being pointed to.


THESE FEATS affect the way that a character is generally defended from and resists attacks made upon them.

Capable Defense ---> Fratricide
|-------> Roll With Blows
|-------> Resist Pain
+-------> Stolid


All of these feats require that the character taking them first take the feat Capable Defense.


THESE FEATS affect the way that a character uses skills that they possess. When you gain a focus feat, you must specify a single skill. All focus feats can be taken repeatedly, specifying a different skill each time they are taken.

  • Focus Skill: The chosen skill, which must be a skill that the character already has as a specialty skill, is increased in rank by three points, and continues to develop ranks at this increased level (+6, or Level +3, whichever is better) for as long as the character continues to advance.
  • Focus Skill ---> Sure Skill
    |-------> Inspired Skill
    |-------> Double-Skill
    +-------> Team Skill


    All of these feats require that the character taking them first take the feat Focus Skill. When you take one of these feats, you must specify a skill that is a Focus Skill for your character.


    THESE FEATS affect the way that a character interacts with others, most notable by means of charisma checks and the diplomacy skill.

    Silver Tongue ---> Fascinate
    |-------> Insult
    |-------> Inspire
    +-------> Repute


    These feats require the user to have the feat Silver Tongue. Use of any of these feats requires that the user select a target, which must be a character that can hear and understand them, use a move action, and make a Diplomacy check (difficulty 15). Targets can resist these feats with a will save (difficulty of the users check result). Each of these feats may only be used against a target once per encounter.


    THESE FEATS affect the way that a character makes use of the checks listed for the heal skill. Possession of that skill, while not a prerequisite, is extremely useful.

    Spot Stitching ---> Dull Pain
    |-------> Practical Advice
    |-------> Fast Medic
    +-------> Surgery


    These feats require the user to have the feat Spot Stitching. Each of them expands the medical skills of the holder in new ways.


    THESE FEATS affect the way that a character moves about, and grants them special abilities related to movement.

    Sprint ---> Diving Step
    |-------> Slow Fall
    |-------> Rising Step
    +-------> Striking Step


    All of these feats require that the character taking them first take the feat Sprint.


    THESE FEATS affect the way that a character sees the world around them, and their knowledge of the tasks that are set before them.

    Analytic Eye ---> Blind-Fight
    |-------> Combat Analysis
    |-------> Capable Strike
    +-------> Seize The Edge


    All of these feats require that the character taking them first take the feat Analytic Eye. Each of them expands on the perceptiveness of the holder especially in combat situations.


    THESE FEATS affect the way that a character makes use of projectile weapons (whether thrown or ranged).

    Aim ---> Bypassing Shot
    |-------> Precise Shot
    |-------> Disruptive Shot
    +-------> Salvo


    All of these feats require that the character taking them first take the feat Aim. They allow the user to deal:


    THESE FEATS allow a character to act as a front-line scout for a group, whether it is in combative situations or in certain kinds of espionage and social interaction.

    Infiltrate ---> Sneak Attack
    |-------> Lowbrow
    |-------> Hide in the Open
    +-------> False Front


    All of these feats require that the character taking them first take the feat Infiltrate.


    THESE FEATS affect the ability of a character to fight without weapons of any sort, both offensively and defensively.

    Hard Hands ---> Deflect Attack
    |-------> Stunning Blow
    |-------> Knockdown
    +-------> Shattering blow


    All of these feats require that the character taking them first take the feat Focus Skill. When you take one of these feats, you must specify a skill that is a Focus Skill for your character.


    THESE FEATS affect the way that a character makes use of fighting equipment, and help define the character's general fighting style.

    Martial Training ---> Accurate Strike
    |-------> Power Strike
    |-------> Follow-Up
    +-------> Rapid Strike


    All of these feats require that the character taking them first take the feat Martial Training.


    THESE FEATS affect the way that a character moves and acts in the wilderness.

    Tracking ---> Guide
    |-------> Trackless Step
    |-------> Mimicry
    +-------> Wildwalk


    All of these feats require that the character taking them first take the feat Tracking.

    4. GEAR


    Heroes have a Wealth score, a trait reflecting their buying power, a composite of available cash, credit, and income. The Wealth score serves as the basis for Wealth checks, used to purchase goods and services. A hero's starting Wealth score is 2, plus the hero's Charisma score, plus any benefits from their Origin. Over the course of play, the hero's Wealth score may decrease as the hero purchases expensive items and increase as the hero gains levels. A hero's Wealth score can never fall below +0, but there is no limit to how high the Wealth score can increase. Since Wealth is an abstract concept, it's sometimes difficult to determine how financially well off a character is.

    +0 Impoverished
    +1 to +4 Struggling
    +5 to +10 Middle Class
    +11 to+15 Affluent
    +16 to +20 Wealthy
    +21 to +30 Rich
    +31 or more Very Rich


    Wealth checks are used to determine what you can afford and what goods and services you reasonably have access to. Wealth score reflects a hero's buying power. Every item has a purchase Difficulty, also called its cost. To purchase an item, make a Wealth check against the item's cost. A Wealth check is a d20 roll plus your current Wealth score. If your check result equals or exceeds the cost of an item, you successfully purchase it. If you fail, you can't afford it at this time. If your current Wealth score is equal to or greater than an item's cost, you automatically succeed. The cost is negligible for someone of your wealth. If your Wealth score is +0, you don't have the buying power to purchase anything with a cost of 10 or higher, and you can't take 10 or take 20 on Wealth checks because your cash flow is too unreliable. If you successfully purchase something with a cost greater than your current Wealth score, your Wealth score decreases.


    Any time you purchase something with a cost greater than your current Wealth score or something with a cost of 15 or higher, your Wealth score decreases. How much the Wealth score is reduced depends on how expensive it is. Your Wealth score only goes down if you successfully buy something.

    15 or more. 1
    1-10 More than your score 1
    11-15 More than your score 2
    16+ more than your score 3


    A hero typically gains Wealth either through working between episodes of action, or by sale of valuable items. A character who is working and whose wealth bonus is lower than whatever the GM determines to be the main skill of the job has that wealth bonus increase by one each week until it matches their.

         To sell something, determine its sale value. If it is undamaged and in working order, the sale value is equal to the item's purchase cost (bought new) minus 3. This increases your Wealth by the same amount as the Wealth loss you would experience if you purchased an object with a cost equal to the sale value. Regardless of your current Wealth score, your Wealth increases by 1 whenever you sell an object with a sale value of 15 or more. If you sell something with a sale value less than or equal to your current Wealth score, and the sale value is 14 or lower, you gain nothing. This takes a number of hours equal to the normal cost of the item.


    The following descriptive lists are used to generate items. Some fully-defined sample items are found later in this chapter, all of which were generated according to these rules for figuring value.

    Weaponry follows somewhat more complex rules for creation; those rules are given next page. A number of fully-defined weapons are also described later in this chapter, in the items lists.

    ARMOR (Base Cost 2, Bulk 2)

    Basic armor grants a +1 bonus to Toughness, and a +1 bonus to Defense, but limits the wearer's Dexterity, reducing it to +1 at most. It can be increased as shown to the right. Each increase to Toughness or Defense also raises Bulk by one point. When raising Toughness and Defense bonuses, the Toughness bonus can't be more than double the Defense bonus, and vice versa. Bulk can never be decreased below half of Toughness or Defense (whichever is higher).
    Armor Value
    Per +2 Max Dex +1
    Per +1 Toughness +2
    Per +1 Defense +2
    Per -1 Bulk +2

    CLOTHING (Base Cost 1, Bulk 1)

    Basic clothing is relatively simple, but a number of alterations can be made to a set of clothes. Most common is social display. Cold weather protection grants the wearer a +5 circumstance bonus to Fortitude saving throws against exposure to cold weather. Professional outfits grant +10 to reputation checks, but only for purposes of recognizing the wearer as a member of a specific profession.

    Clothing Value
    Cold Weather +2
    Professional +2

    LIFESTYLE (Base Cost 1, Bulk --)

    Lifestyle includes housing, food, and so on, in "normal" life, and is purchased once per week. Just staying alive has a purchase value of 1. Security appropriate to your social class (whether simply locks on the doors or armed guards, as appropriate) modifies the price just as social display does. A healthy lifestyle is required to benefit from the medical feat Practical Advice.

    Lifestyle Value
    Basic 1
    Security Display
    Healthy +2

    SHIELDS (Base Cost 1, Bulk 1)

    A shield grants a bonus to defense - a basic shield grants +1 - but any attack that would hit you if you were not defended by a shield hits your shield instead - thus, if you are defended by a shield that grants +3 defense, and an attack misses you by one, two, or three points, it hits your shield and may damage it. A basic shield has a toughness of 15, and 3 points of damage make it useless. Each increase of three to the toughness of a shield also increases bulk by one, and each increase of defense also increases bulk by one.
    Shield Value
    Defense +1 +2
    Toughness +3 +1
    Bulk -1 +2

    TOOLKITS (Base Cost 2, Bulk 2)

    It's possible to obtain "toolkits" for any skill. A basic toolkit allows the user to make any checks that the GM decides tools are required for. More advanced toolkits grant a bonus to the skill itself; however, each +1 bonus to skill also incurs a +1 to bulk, as the toolkit grows larger, unless this bulk is bought back down to represent high-quality, light, or miniaturized equipment.
    Tools Value
    Basic 1
    Per +1 Skill +2
    Per -1 Bulk +2

    TRADE GOODS (Base Cost 1, Any Bulk)

    Trade goods can be purchased at any value, with any Bulk rating. These purchases represent compact forms of wealth that can be transferred with relative ease, and have no effect except as a form of generic currency. Packages of trade goods at differing levels are also often used as a representation of "general stuff" the heroes find if they loot a location for goods; a group of pirates stealing bales of cotton might have each bale described as "a Trade Good of Value 5, and Bulk 7".


    It's possible to make purchases partly for their 'display' value, and some items are instantly recognizable as such simply due to their cost. If a character is clothed in and using mainly items that display a social class that is higher than that of a person they are interacting with, they my gain a +1 bonus to all interactions for each class better than the other person that they appear to have. If the character appears to be of a lower social class, this bonus becomes a penalty instead. In some cases, where it is known, a character's lodgings and lifestyle will also need to "fit" the image in order to gain a bonus or avoid a penalty.
    Social Class Cost Increase
    Impoverished Free items have this quality.
    Struggling +0; Automatic with value 1 or more.
    Middle Class +1; Automatic with value 5 or more.
    Affluent +2; Automatic with value 11 or more.
    Wealthy +4; Automatic with value 16 or more.
    Rich +6; Automatic with value 21 or more.
    Very Rich +8; Automatic with value 31 or more.


    WEAPONS (Base Cost 0, Bulk 0)

    A basic, improvised weapon (a small club) has a value of 0, a bulk of 0, and a damage bonus of +0. To increase damage by 1, the user must also either increase bulk and value by 1 each, or must increase bulk by two instead. Creating a lighter weapon increases value. After these items are set, features may then be added. To complete a weapon, apply any drawbacks that must apply. Every wielder determines handedness personally.
    Weapon Value
    Per +2 Damage, +1 Bulk +1
    Per +1 Damage, +1 Bulk +0
    Per -1 Bulk +2
    Features Varies


    These features may only be applied to melee weapons.


    A melee weapon may be thrown, but a weapon with the 'ranged' feature cannot have any melee features except for the feature paired.


    These two drawbacks are automatically applied where a weapon is built that requires them.


    Bulky weapons, naturally, are harder to wield. The greater the bulk of a weapon, the harder it is to use, as follows. The chart below shows Bulk values for the five different degrees a weapon may fall into for 'handedness'.

    Strength Light Dominant 2-Handed Braced Useless
    -3 -- 0-1 2-3 4-5 6+
    -2 -- 1-2 3-4 5-6 7+
    -1 0-1 2-3 4-5 6-7 8+
    +0 0-2 3-4 5-6 7-8 9+
    +1 0-3 4-5 6-7 8-9 10+
    +2 0-4 5-6 7-8 9-10 11+
    +3 0-5 6-7 8-9 10-11 12+
    +4 0-6 7-8 9-10 11-12 13+
    +5 0-7 8-9 10-11 12-13 14+
    +6 0-8 9-10 11-12 13-14 15+
    +7 0-9 10-11 12-13 14-15 16+
    +8 0-10 11-12 13-14 15-16 17+
    +9 0-11 12-13 14-15 16-17 18+
    Melee Features Value
    +5 Ft Reach, +1 Bulk +1
    +10 Ft Reach, +3 Bulk +2
    Double Weapon, +1 Bulk +3
    Finesse or Paired +2 ea.
    Ranged Features Value
    Throw +1
    Range 30 Ft +2
    Range 60 Ft +3
    Range 90 Ft +4
    ARMOR Value Bulk Tough Bonus Defense Bonus Max Dex Display
    Basic 2 2 +1 +1 +1 Struggle
    Hides 4 3 +2 +1 +1 Struggle
    Leathers 5 1 +1 +1 +3 Middle
    Plated Leather 7 2 +2 +2 +2 Middle
    Chain Shirt 8 4 +3 +2 +2 Middle
    Chain Swathing 9 5 +4 +2 +3 Middle
    Scalemail 14 7 +3 +4 +5 Affluent
    Breastplate 15 9 +4 +4 +3 Affluent
    Platemail 18 10 +5 +5 +1 Wealthy
    Kingly 29 5 +5 +5 +3 Rich
    CLOTHING Value Bulk Display Special Notes
    Travelling 3 1 Struggle Cold Weather
    Professional 3 1 Struggle --
    "Sunday Best" 5 1 Wealthy --
    LIFESTYLE Value Security Display Special Notes
    Struggling 3 Struggle Struggle --
    Middle Class 5 Middle Middle --
    Affluent 9 Affluent Affluent --
    Wealthy 13 Wealthy Wealthy --
    Rich 17 Rich Rich --
    SHIELDS Value Bulk Defense Bonus Toughness Health Display
    Basic 1 1 +1 15 3 Struggle
    Steel 5 5 +3 21 3 Middle
    Tower 8 8 +8 15 3 Middle
    TOOLKITS Value Bulk Bonus Display
    Basic 2 2 +0 Struggle
    Compressed 6 0 +0 Middle
    Professional 6 4 +2 Middle
    Elite Workshop 14 8 +6 Affluent
    FANTASY / MEDIEVAL Weapons Value Bulk Damage Display Special
    Unarmed -- -- -1 -- If both hands are empty, unarmed attacks count as Paired.
    Club 1 3 +4 Struggle --
    Sap 1 1 +1 Struggle --
    Sling 1 1 +0 Struggle Ranged 60 Ft, Move action to Reload.
    Quarterstaff 2 4 +4 Struggle Double
    Javelin 2 3 +4 Struggle Thrown
    Dart/Shuriken 2 1/5 ea. +1 Struggle Thrown
    Hand Crossbow 2 2 +2 Struggle Ranged 60 ft; Move Action to reload.
    Nunchaku / Light Flail 3 3 +4 Middle --
    Short Spear 3 4 +6 Middle --
    Heavy Staff 3 6 +6 Struggle Double
    Shortbow 4 2 +3 Struggle Ranged 60 Ft, Two hands Required.
    Dirk 4 1 +4 Struggle --
    Greatclub 4 5 +7 Struggle --
    Pick 4 3 +6 Struggle --
    Longspear 4 6 +8 Middle Reach +5 Ft.
    Axe / Sledge / Mace 5 8 +13 Middle --
    Throwing Axe / Hammer 5 2 +4 Middle Thrown
    Lance 6 8 +12 Affluent Reach +5 Ft
    Broadsword 7 4 +10 Middle --
    Scimitar / Cutlass 7 5 +12 Middle --
    Great-Axe 9 9 +18 Middle --
    Scythe 9 11 +22 Middle --
    Bastard Sword / Katana 9 8 +19 Middle --
    Longbow 9 3 +7 Middle Ranged 90 ft, Two hands required.
    Great-Sword 12 10 +21 Affluent --
    Rapier 14 4 +12 Affluent Paired, Finesse
    Steel Razor-Whip 18 5 +10 Wealthy Double, Reach +10

    5. COMBAT

    Combat is often the main vehicle for providing action and excitement in a game, and this is no exception. The clash of heroes and their foes is one of the central points of most games that use these rules. The rules given in this chapter detail the basic options and activities that are used in a combat, but many skills, feats, items, and rules relate to combat in some way, meaning that a great deal of information on options a character has in combat can be found throughout this book, in the descriptions of the character's various abilities. To fully understand all the options your character possesses in combat, a player will need to read this chapter, and then review all of their capabilities to think about how they can be used in combat situations. Below, the three basic stages of running a combat encounter are listed. Once they are understood, the Fundamentals of combat, must be mastered. It is recommended that each player read this chapter at least once, to get a firm idea of how combat works.
    1 PREPARATION: The GM will set up the scene, the heroes, their foes, and any other characters or things of note will be described. Also in this stage, checks may be made to determine awareness of the combat situation. Finally, initiative numbers will be generated, which will be used to determine the order in which characters act as combat plays out.
    2 COMBAT ROUNDS: Starting with the character who has the highest initiative number, and progressing from there to the character with the lowest number, each character acts. On their turn to act, a character may perform one Attack action and one Move action, or two Move actions, or one Full-round actions. They may also be able to take a number of 'free' actions. Every character that is aware has the chance to do something. Once all characters have acted, the order starts over.
    3 CLEANUP: After combat ends, there's always healing to be done, as well as occasional looting or the like, depending on the setting and the style of play. In general, narrative play resumes when a combat ends, unless the end of the combat is merely a breathless pause before more of the same ensues.



    An attack roll represents a character's attempts to strike an opponent on the character's turn in a round. When a character makes an attack roll, they roll 1d20 and adds his or her attack bonus. If the result equals or beats the target's Defense, the character hits and deals damage. A natural 1 (the d20 comes up 1) on the attack roll is always a miss. Some notes on attack bonus and it's components:


    When a character hits with a weapon, he or she deals damage, marked off on the target's health track.


    A character's Defense shows how hard it is for opponents to land a solid, damaging blow on the character. It's the attack roll result that an opponent needs to achieve to hit the character. An average civilian has a Defense of 10.


    Any attack that is designated as a Touch attack ignores the target's bonus to defense from armor (though not necessarily for shields).


    These rules assume that a grid is used to represent character movement and positioning. The standard scale equates 1 square's width (often, a 1 inch square on a combat map) to 5 feet in the game world. On such a grid, a human-sized being (medium-sized) occupies one square. If two creatures are in touching squares (or diagonally touching), they are treated as being five feet apart; this is normal melee range.


    When a combat starts, if a character was not aware of his or her enemies and they were aware of the character, that character is surprised. Likewise, a character can surprise his or her enemies if the character knows about them before they're aware of the character. Whether a character is aware or not, if it is in question, is usually determined with checks on the Awareness skill.


    Every round, each combatant gets to do something. At the beginning of the first round in which a character may act, that character rolls Initiative (1d20 + Wis modifier + Any special Initiative bonuses). The combatants' initiative checks, from highest to lowest, determine the order in which they act, from first to last. At the start of a battle, each combatant makes a single initiative check. An initiative check is a Dexterity check. Each character applies his or her Dexterity modifier to the roll, and applies any relevant bonuses to the check. The GM finds out what order characters are acting in, counting down from highest result to lowest, and each character acts in turn. On all following rounds, the characters act in the same order (unless a character takes an action that results in his or her initiative changing). If two or more combatants have the same initiative check result, the combatants who are tied go in order of total initiative modifier (Wis modifier and other bonuses, if applicable). If there is still a tie, roll a die.


    Each round represents about 6 seconds in the game world. A round is an opportunity for each character involved in a combat to take an action. Anything a person could do in 6 seconds, a character can do in 1 round. Each round's activity begins with the character with the highest initiative result and then counts down from there. Each round uses the same initiative order. When a character's turn comes up, they perform their entire round's worth of actions (there are a few Free actions that are exceptions). A round can be a segment of game time starting with the first character to act and ending with the last, but it usually means a span of time from a certain round to the same initiative in the next round. Effects that last a set number of rounds end just before the same initiative count that they began on.


    The four types of actions are attack actions, move actions, full-round actions, and free actions. In a normal round, a character can perform an attack action and a move action (or two move actions; a character can always take a move action in place of an attack action), or a character can perform a full-round action. A character can also perform as many free actions as the GM allows. In some situations, a character may be limited to taking only a single action.


    These two special conditions allow a character to alter the way that they take their actions, splitting them up or waiting to take them at a different point in the initiative order.


    By choosing to delay, the character takes no action and then acts normally at whatever point in the initiative count the character decides to act. When a character delays, he or she voluntarily reduces his or her own initiative result for the rest of the combat. When the character's new, lower initiative count comes up later in the same round, the character can act normally. The character can specify this new initiative result or just wait until some time later in the round and act then, thus fixing the character's new initiative count at that point. A character cannot interrupt anyone's action with a delayed action (as a character can with a readied action; see below). The longest a character can delay before taking an action is until after everyone else has acted in the round. At that point, the delaying character must act or else forfeit any action in that round. If multiple characters are delaying, the one with the highest initiative modifier decides who goes first.


    The ready action lets a character prepare to take an action later, to interrupt another character. Essentially, the character splits his or her action, taking the move action on the character's initiative count and the standard action, or a second move action, at a later point. On the character's turn, he or she prepares to take an action later, if a specific trigger is met. The character specifies the action he or she will take and the conditions under which the character will take it. Then, any time before the character's next action, the character may take the readied attack action in response to those conditions. The readied action occurs just before the event that triggers it. If the trigger is part of another character's actions, the readied action interrupts the other character. The other character continues his or her actions once the readied action is completed. Readying itself does not provoke an attack of opportunity, though the action readied may. A character who readies an action has their initiative count changed. For the rest of the encounter, it is the count on which the character took the readied action, and the character acts immediately ahead of the character whose action triggered the readied action. If the character comes to his or her next action and has not yet performed the readied action, the character doesn't get to take the readied action (though they can ready the same action again). If the character takes their readied action in the next round, before their regular turn comes up, the character's initiative count rises to that new point in the order of battle, and they do not get their regular action that round. are be move actions or full-round actions.


    With the exception of specific movement-related skills, most move actions don't require a check.


    Where can a character move, how long it takes to get there, and whether he or she is vulnerable to attacks of opportunity while moving are key questions in combat.


    In most cases, moving or manipulating an object is a move action. This includes drawing or holstering a weapon, retrieving or putting away a stored object, picking up an object, moving a heavy object, and opening a door. If the character has a base attack bonus of +1 or higher, he or she can draw a weapon as part of his or her normal movement.


    Standing up from a prone position requires a move action. It provokes an attack of opportunity from opponents who threaten the character.


    This action lets a character start undertaking a full-round action at the end of his or her turn, or complete one at the beginning of their turn in the following round. If the character starts a full-round action at the end of his or her turn, the next action that character takes must be to complete the full-round action.


    Most common standard actions are described below. Standard actions generally include anything that a character must devote significant attention to doing, but which leave enough attention free for simple activities (move actions).


    In combat, a character can help an ally by interfering with an opponent. If the character is in position to attack an opponent with which an ally is engaged in melee combat, the character can attempt to aid the friend as an attack action. They make an attack roll against Defense 10. If successful, they don't actually damage the opponent -- but the ally gains either a +2 circumstance bonus to attack that opponent or a +2 circumstance bonus to Defense against that opponent (ally's choice) on the ally's next turn.


    With a normal melee weapon, a character can strike any enemy within 5 feet; this is a normal melee attack roll, as described earlier. A character capable of making more than one melee attack per round must a Full-Round Actions in order to make more than one attack.


    With a ranged weapon, a character can shoot or throw at any target that is within the ranged weapon's maximum range and in line of sight. The maximum range is five range increments (shown in the weapon's description). A character capable of making more than one ranged attack per round must use the full attack action to do so.


    Instead of attacking, a character can use his or her attack action simply to defend. This is called a total defense action. The character doesn't get to attack or perform any other activity, but does get a +4 dodge bonus to his or her Defense for 1 round.


    A character can try to trip an opponent, or otherwise knock him or her down, as an unarmed melee attack. A character can't trip a foe more than twice their own size. To do so, they make an unarmed melee touch attack against the target. If the attack succeeds, make a Strength check opposed by the target's Dexterity check or Strength check (whichever has the higher modifier). If the character and the target are different sizes, the larger combatant gets a bonus on the Strength check of +4 per difference in size category. Whichever of the two loses this opposed roll falls prone.


    A full-round action requires an entire round to complete. Many of these action can be combined with a 5-foot step.


    Charging is a special full-round action that allows a character to move up to twice their speed and attack at the end of the action. However, there are very specific rules on how and when a character can charge.


    If a character gets more than one attack in a round, for whatever reason, the character must use the full attack action to get his or her additional attacks. The character does not need to specify the targets of their attacks ahead of time; they can see how earlier attacks turn out before assigning later ones. The only movement a character can take during a full attack is a 5-foot step, but the step may be taken before, after, or between attacks.


    A character can spend the entire round moving. This is usually for one of three reasons - to cover distance swiftly, to withdraw from combat entirely, or to trample over a foe.



    Adverse conditions affect the way a character operates, as shown here. If more than one condition affects a character, apply both if possible. If not, apply the most severe.


    These conditions indicate advantages or disadvantages incurred based on a character's placement and position in relation to others around them.


    Heroes may encounter any number of dangerous environments and hazards in their travels -- adventures often lead to terrifying places and lead to confrontations with beasts and monstrous creatures of many sorts. This section looks at these hazards and how to handle them in game terms. Hazards are covered first, followed by a "quick and dirty" system for generating creature statistics.


    An unprotected character in cold weather must make a Fortitude save (Difficulty 15, + 1 per previous check) or receive a level of fatigue. Additional failed saves cause further levels of fatigue. Once a character is unconscious, failed saves cause the character to become disabled, then dying. Characters may make Survival checks to receive a bonus on this saving throw (see the skill's description). Characters in cold weather (below 40° F) make a Fortitude save each hour. In conditions of severe cold or exposure (below 0° F), an unprotected character must make a Fortitude save once every 10 minutes. Characters in severe cold conditions wearing winter clothing only need check once per hour for cold damage. Extreme cold (below -20° F) deals +2 lethal damage per minute in addition to requiring a Fortitude save every minute. Winter clothing makes the damage non-lethal and reduces the Fortitude save to every 10 minutes.


    When heroes come into contact with a disease, they must make a Fortitude saving throw against a Difficulty of 10 + the disease's virulence rank to avoid becoming infected. The method of infection depends on the disease. Some are airborne, while others require physical contact. If a hero becomes infected, there is a period of anywhere from a few hours to a week or more during which the disease lies dormant. Then the disease takes effect. The initial effect is typically a point or two of ability damage (usually Strength or Constitution or perhaps a point of each). After that, the victim makes another Fortitude save against the same Difficulty each day to fight off the disease. If that save fails, the character suffers the disease's effects again. If it succeeds, there is no effect that day. Two successful Fortitude saves in a row indicate the character has fought off the disease. In low-technology settings, any injury that is not tended to immediately is likely to expose the character to disease if exposed to any kind of dirty environment - what defines a 'dirty' environment is left to GM discretion, as there are some setting where any injury ought to lead to a check against infection, and other settings where such checks should be rare in the extreme.


    Characters with normal vision can be rendered completely blind by putting out the lights. For purposes of the following points, a blinded creature is one who simply can't see through the surrounding darkness. See blinded in the summary of conditions. In dim light, everything is treated as having 1/4 concealment, granting it a miss chance - additionally, tasks requiring good light (such as reading small lettering) are impossible or extremely slowed.


    The basic rule for falling damaging is simple: +2 damage per 10 feet fallen, to a maximum of +40 (at 200 feet). If a character deliberately jumps instead of merely slipping or falling, the damage roll has a =2 penalty. A Difficulty 15 tumble or athletics check incurs an added -2 on the damage roll. Falls onto yielding surfaces (soft ground, mud) do 2 points less damage. This reduction is cumulative with Toughness save bonuses from deliberate falls and skill checks. Falls into water do 4 points less damage. Characters who deliberately dive into water take no damage on a successful Difficulty 15 Acrobatics or Swim check, so long as the water is at least 10 feet deep for every 30 feet fallen. However, the Difficulty of the check increases by 5 for every 50 feet of the dive. A failed check results in normal falling damage.


    Just as characters take damage when they fall more than 10 feet, they also take damage when hit by falling objects. Objects that fall upon characters deal damage based on their weight and the distance they have fallen. For each 100 pounds of an object's weight, the object deals +1 damage, provided it falls at least 10 feet. Distance also comes into play, adding an additional +2 damage for every 10-foot increment it falls beyond the first (to a maximum of +40 damage). Objects smaller than 100 pounds also deal damage when dropped, but they must fall farther to deal the same damage. For every halving of weight, the object must fall for an additional 10 feet to cause +1 damage. So a 25 lb. object must fall 30 feet to inflict damage. Objects weighing less than 1 pound do not deal damage to those they land upon, no matter how far they have fallen.


    An unprotected character in hot weather must make a Fortitude save (Difficulty 15, + 1 per previous check) or receive a level of damage. Additional failed saves cause further levels of damage. In very hot conditions (above 90° F), the save is once per hour. In severe heat (above 110° F), a character must make a Fortitude save once every 10 minutes. Breathing air in these temperatures deals +2 lethal damage per minute. In addition, a character must make a Fortitude save against heat every 5 minutes. Boiling water deals +2 scalding damage, unless the character is immersed, in which case it deals +20 damage per round.


    Characters touching a fire source might find their clothes, hair, or equipment on fire. Those at risk of catching fire are allowed a Difficulty 15 Reflex save to avoid this fate. If a character's clothes or hair catch fire, he takes +2 damage immediately. In each subsequent round, the burning character must make another Reflex saving throw. Failure means he takes another +2 damage that round. Success means the fire has gone out. A character on fire may automatically extinguish the flames by jumping into enough water to douse himself. If no body of water is at hand, rolling on the ground or smothering the fire with cloaks or the like permits the character another save with a +4 bonus. Those unlucky enough to have their clothes or equipment catch fire must make Difficulty 15 Reflex saves for each item, using the character's Reflex save bonus. Failing the save means the item takes the same amount of damage as the character.


    A character breathing heavy smoke must make a Fortitude save each round (Difficulty 15, +1 per previous check) or spend that round choking and coughing. A character who chokes for 2 consecutive rounds is winded. If accumulated fatigue renders the character unconscious, he may suffocate. Smoke obscures vision, giving concealment (20 percent miss chance) to characters in it.


    Characters might find themselves without food or water and with no means to obtain them. In normal climates, Medium characters need at least a gallon of fluids and about a pound of food per day to avoid starvation. (Small characters need half as much.) In very hot climates, characters need two or three times as much water to avoid dehydration. A character can go without water for 36 hours plus twice his Constitution score. After this time, the character must make a Constitution check each hour (Difficulty 10, +1 for each previous check) or receive a level of fatigue. Once unconscious from fatigue, the character is disabled if he fails another Constitution check, then dying. A character can go without food for 3 days, in growing discomfort. After this time, the character must make a Constitution check each day (Difficulty 10, +1 for each previous check) or become fatigued. Once unconscious from fatigue, the character is disabled if he fails another Constitution check, then dying. Fatigue from thirst or starvation cannot be recovered until the character gets food or water.


    A character with no air to breathe can hold her breath for 2 minutes (20 rounds), plus or minus a number of rounds equal to her Constitution score times 4. So a Constitution +2 character can hold her breath for 28 rounds, while a Constitution -2 character can only hold her breath for 12 rounds. After this period of time, the character must make a Difficulty 10 Constitution check in order to continue holding her breath. The check must be repeated each round, with the Difficulty increasing by +1 for each previous success. When the character fails one of these Constitution checks, she begins to suffocate. In the first round, she falls unconscious. In the following round, she is dying. In the third round, she suffocates and dies.


    Any character can wade in relatively calm water that isn't over his head, no check required. Swimming in calm water only requires skill checks with a Difficulty of 10. Trained swimmers can just take 10. (Remember, however, that armor or heavy gear makes any attempt at swimming much more difficult.) By contrast, fast-moving water is much more dangerous. On a successful Difficulty 15 Swim check, it deals +0 non-lethal damage per round. On a failed check, the character must make another check that round to avoid going under. Very deep water is not only generally pitch black, posing a navigational hazard, but worse, it deals +2 water pressure damage per minute for every 100 feet the character is below the surface. A successful Fortitude save (Difficulty 15, +1 for each previous check) means the diver takes no damage in that minute. Very cold water deals also deals cold damage. Air-breathers under water must hold their breath to avoid suffocation.


    As should be very likely, actual creatures, be they animals, monsters, or the like, are common adversaries and hazards in many forms of adventure.

         Creatures that are mostly or nearly human can generally be build exactly as if they were standard characters, though the GM may be obliged to create additional Origin Traits for such creatures. Creatures that are distinctly bestial or inhuman, however, are built according to the rules here.


    Unlike a normal character, creating a creature does not require attribute selection. Instead, to build a creature, fifteen Raises are used on the advancement chart. In addition to all the normal advancement traits, one additional trait has been included - this is the Size trait, which determines many of the faculties of a creature. A creature may also purchase Origin traits; each traits they possess costs them one Raise. The creature Traits shown in the next column are purchased in the same way.

         Readers are encouraged to note that this system is not intended as a perfect guideline to building creatures of "correct" combat worthiness, only as a simple and rough guide that allows for quick creature creation.

      Size Base Size Examples
    Base 1 (+1/8)  
    One Raise 4 (+1/4)  
    Three Raises 7 (+3/8 ) Wolverine
    Six Raises 10 (+1/2) Wolf
    Ten Raises 13 (+5/8) Horse


    The large set of charts shown next page contains a lot of information condensed very tightly. At the top is a duplicate of the advancement chart from character creation, placed for ease of reference, followed by the large size chart, which contains:



    1 (Diminutive) -8 +8 +0 -3 +3 -2 -- +0 -1 +0 +4 +12 1 x 1 1 0 10
    2 (Diminutive) -7 +7 +0 -3 +2 -2 -- +0 -1 +0 +4 +12 1 x 1 1 0 10
    3 (Diminutive) -6 +6 +0 -3 +2 -2 -- +1 -1 +1 +4 +12 1 x 1 2 0 10
    4 (Tiny) -5 +5 +0 -3 +2 -2 -- +1 +0 +1 +2 +8 2 x 2 4 0 15
    5 (Tiny) -4 +4 +0 -3 +2 -2 -1 +1 +0 +1 +2 +8 2 x 2 8 0 15
    6 (Tiny) -3 +3 +0 -3 +2 -2 -1 +2 +0 +2 +2 +8 2 x 2 15 0 15
    7 (Small) -2 +3 +0 -3 +2 -2 -1 +2 +1 +2 +1 +4 5 x 5 30 0 20
    8 (Small) -1 +3 +0 -3 +1 -2 +0 +2 +1 +2 +1 +4 5 x 5 60 5 20
    9 (Small) +1 +2 +0 -3 +1 -2 +0 +3 +1 +4 +1 +4 5 x 5 120 5 20
    10 (Medium) +1 +2 +1 -3 +1 -2 +0 +3 +2 +4 +0 +0 5 x 5 250 5 30
    11 (Medium) +2 +2 +1 -3 +1 -2 +1 +3 +2 +4 +0 +0 5 x 5 500 5 30
    12 (Medium) +3 +1 +2 -3 +1 -2 +1 +4 +2 +5 +0 +0 5 x 5 1 T 5 30
    13 (Large) +4 +1 +3 -3 +1 -2 +1 +4 +3 +5 -1 -4 10 x 10 2 T 5 45
    14 (Large) +5 +1 +3 -3 +0 -2 +2 +4 +3 +5 -1 -4 10 x 10 4 T 10 45
    15 (Large) +6 +0 +4 -3 +0 -2 +2 +5 +3 +6 -1 -4 10 x 10 8 T 10 45
    16 (Huge) +7 +0 +5 -3 +0 -2 +2 +5 +4 +6 -2 -8 15 x 15 15 T 10 60
    17 (Huge) +8 +0 +5 -3 +0 -2 +3 +5 +4 +6 -2 -8 15 x 15 30 T 10 60
    18 (Huge) +9 +0 +6 -3 +0 -2 +3 +6 +4 +7 -2 -8 15 x 15 60 T 10 60
    19 (Gigantic) +10 +0 +7 -3 +0 -2 +3 +6 +5 +7 -4 -12 20 x 20 120 T 10 75
    20 (Gigantic) +11 +0 +7 -3 +0 -2 +4 +6 +5 +7 -4 -12 20 x 20 250 T 15 75
    21 (Gigantic) +12 +0 +8 -3 +0 -2 +4 +7 +5 +8 -4 -12 20 x 20 500 T 15 75
    22 (Colossal) +13 +0 +9 -3 +0 -2 +4 +7 +6 +8 -8 -16 30 x 30 1 KT 15 90
    23 (Colossal) +14 +0 +9 -3 -1 -2 +5 +7 +6 +8 -8 -16 30 x 30 2 KT 20 90
    24 (Colossal) +15 -1 +10 -3 -1 -2 +5 +8 +6 +9 -8 -16 30 x 30 4 KT 20 90
    25 (Awesome) +16 -1 +11 -3 -1 -2 +5 +8 +7 +9 -12 -32 50 x 50 8 KT 20 105
    26 (Awesome) +17 -1 +12 -3 -1 -2 +6 +8 +7 +9 -12 -32 50 x 50 16 KT 25 105
    27 (Awesome) +18 -1 +12 -3 -1 -2 +7 +9 +7 +10 -12 -32 50 x 50 30 KT 25 105
    28 (Awesome+) +19 -1 +13 -3 -1 -2 +8 +9 +8 +10 -16 -64 80 x 80 60 KT 25 120
    29 (Awesome+) +20 -1 +13 -3 -1 -2 +9 +9 +9 +10 -16 -64 80 x 80 120 KT 30 120
    30 (Awesome+) +21 -1 +14 -3 -1 -2 +10 +10 +10 +11 -16 -64 90 x 90 250 KT 30 120