True20 System Updates

         The True20 System was first introduced with Blue Rose, but it has been released with a number of revisions since then as part of releasing True20 as a generic core rulebook. Many of the changes are part of changing the system into a generic system and may not be appropriate for using in a Blue Rose campaign. However, some of the changes might be of interest. Below I include summaries of the major changes. For reference, the four releases of the rules were:

  • Feb 2005 - PDF release of Blue Rose: The Roleplaying Game of Romantic Fantasy
    The PDF release was followed in March with the print release of the same book.
  • Jun 2005 - first PDF release of True20 Adventure Roleplaying
    This is referred to as "version 1.0". It had a number of changes from Blue Rose, primarily aimed at making it a more generic system.
  • Sep 2005 - revised PDF release of True20 Adventure Roleplaying
    This is referred to as "version 1.1" and had only minor changes from the original release.
  • Mar 2006 - print release of True20 Adventure Roleplaying
    This is referred to as "version 2.0", and added over 100 pages of new material including a number of sample settings and significantly revised rules.


Changes Between Blue Rose and True20 1.1

Summary of the Big Changes:

  • ABILITIES: Strength now adds to melee and thrown weapon damage and parrying or blocking rolls (not to melee attack rolls). Dexterity now adds to all attack rolls, plus damage when blocking.
  • SKILLS: Removed the Favored skill designation. Skills are either known or unknown.
  • CALLING & NATURE: Calling and Alignment are eliminated. The tarot-based options for Light Nature and Shadow Nature are replaced by picking one freeform virtue and one freeform vice. The set of virtue and vice are now called "Nature".
  • COMBAT BONUS: Combat bonus replaces Attack bonus. Combat bonus also adds to Defence. Combat bonus is not a dodge bonus. Defence bonus is otherwise removed. Defence adds to Attack Rolls not Strength.
  • FEATS: Weapon Finesse and Power Attack are removed including from any feat prerequisites. The Weapon Specialisation, Greater Weapon Specialisation and the Surprise Attack Feats grant a +1 bonus to Damage.
  • CRITICAL HITS: A x2 Critical is replaced with a +3 to Damage. A x3 Critical is replaced with a +4 to Damage. A x4 Critical is replaced with a +5 to Damage.
  • TOUGHNESS: Toughness bonus equals Constitution plus Size plus Armour bonus. Toughness Save is removed.
  • ARMOUR: Armour bonus adds to Toughness bonus, it does not add to Defence. Touch attacks ignore Armour bonus to Toughness. A shield's armour bonus adds to Defence not Toughness. Armour in True 20 limits Dodge bonus rather than Dex bonus. However, the Combat bonus to defence is no longer a dodge bonus (as in BR) so the effect is similar.


Changes Between True20 1.1 and Print

The following is an overview of differences between the initial release of the True20 core rulebook (in June 2005) and the print version released in March 2006. It was compiled by Johnny Bowtie (from his True20 boards post "Changes Between True20 1.1 and Print").

Summary of the big changes:

  • Skill challenges have been added.
  • All roles have a core ability and more skill points.
  • You gain skill ranks as you rise in level.
  • Experts only get one good save.
  • Rules for creating creatures.
  • Many more feats/powers; notably teleport-style powers.
  • Equipment lists overhauled and many weapons/armour dropped.
  • Reverted multiple wounds/dazed (back to one).

Detailed analysis


  • Taking 5 added
  • Skill challenges added
  • Power checks called out
  • Damage now mentioned in intro

Chapter 1: Hero Creation

  • Sidebar on varying ability points
  • Halflings have Evasion instead of Beginner's Luck
  • Core abilities added; get only the one from your first role.
  • Adepts increase from 2 to 4 skills
  • Experts increase from 6 to 8 skills
  • Experts now only have 1 good save (used to have 2)
  • Experts no longer start with Armour Training(light)
  • Warriors increase from 2 to 4 skills
  • Warriors no longer start with Armour Training; they can choose between Weapon Training and Firearm Training
  • Level up mentions that adepts can choose a power instead of a feat
  • Sidebar added on tying Conviction to CHA
  • New uses for Conviction: activate core ability, challenge
  • Sidebar detailing optional reputation feats

Chapter 2: Skills

  • Now allocate ranks when gaining levels
  • Many skills now have skill challenges (Only noted here when a pre-existing skill use)
  • Balance (Accelerated movement renamed accelerated acrobatics; accelerated movement now a skill challenge)
  • Climb (Accelerated climb is now a skill challenge)
  • Concentration (Now includes a note about powers)
  • Craft (Masterwork is now a skill challenge)
  • Heal is now called Medicine (Self-treatment is now a skill challenge)
  • Knowledge (Uses the topic list from the Modern appendix)
    Engineering->physical sciences
    Geography->earth sciences
    Local->current events or streetwise
    Nature->life sciences
    Religion->theology + philosophy

chapter 3: Feats

  • Lucky now has prequisite of +1 CHA
  • Dropped Feats (completely removed)
    • Mounted Combat (folded into "Vehicular Combat" feat)
    • Wild Talent
    • Beginner's Luck
    • Mounted Archery
    • Ride-by Attack
    • Power
    • Trance
  • New Feats:
    • Attractive
    • Benefit
    • Challenge
    • Chokehold (Warrior)
    • Critical Strike (Warrior)
    • Elusive Target (Expert)
    • Firearms Training
    • Grappling Finesse (Warrior)
    • Leadership
    • Light Sleeper
    • Low Profile
    • Mind over Body (Adept)
    • Redirect (Expert)
    • Startle
    • Tireless
    • Vehicular Combat
  • Renamed Feats:
    • Aggressive Attack -> All-out Attack
    • Great Toughness -> Tough
    • Dodge -> Dodge Focus
    • Improved Dodge -> Improved Defense
    • On the Run -> Move-by Action
    • Suggest -> Suggestion
    • Surprise Attack->Sneak Attack (yes, that's a reversion)
    • Trample -> Overrun
    • Trackless Step -> Trackless
    • Wildwalk -> Trailblazer
    • Weapon Focus -> Attack Focus
    • Weapon Specialisation -> Attack Specialisation
  • Feats changed to Powers
    • Elemental Resistance
    • Supernatural Speed
    • Supernatural Strike

Chapter 4: Powers

  • Moved save Difficulty calculation to first section
  • New sidebar: What are Powers?
  • If power requires Concentration, you can make a Conc. check to reduce the time from a standard action to a move action
  • Dropped Powers:
    • Purifying Light
  • New Powers:
    • Apport
    • Blink
    • Elemental Aura
    • Elemental Weapon
    • Ghost Touch
    • Phase
    • Plane Shift
    • Psychic Reflection
    • Psychic Trap
    • Self-shaping
    • Severance
    • Supernatural weapon
    • Teleport
    • Wind Walk
  • Renamed Powers
    • Cyberkinesis -> Computer Link
    • Electrokinesis -> Energy Shaping
    • Elemental strike- > Elemental Blast
    • Enhance Self -> Enhance Ability
  • Cold Shaping now requires maintenance
  • Imbue Life now has prequisite of Cure 12 ranks

Chapter 5: Equipment

  • Added an advice section on equipping your hero
  • Sidebar on high-level characters starting with 5 + Charisma + level base Wealth
  • Notes on restricted, masterwork, and concealed items
  • Armor Toughness Bonus is now scaled from +1 to +6 (Formerly +1 to +8)
  • Armors no longer have a "Maximum Dodge Bonus to Defense"
  • Actual equipment lists completely overhauled, including modern-day items and removing most fantasy items
  • Weight is no longer listed with items. Strangely, the section on carrying remains is still there listing encumbrance based on weight carried.
  • Section on vehicles added

chapter 6: Playing the Game

  • Multiple dazes/wounds are removed.
  • Refocus action dropped.
  • Recover explicitly called out.
  • Startle action added.
  • Ability drained condition added.


  • Aggressive/Defensive stances called out
  • Area Attack added
  • Autofire Attack added

Chapter 7: no changes

Chapter 8: Advesaries

  • "Ordinaries" (ie commoners) added
  • Sidebar: quick narrator characters
  • Rules on level,role, creature type/subtype
  • Extensive new list of feats/traits for creatures
  • New creatures
    • bear-shark
    • blood pudding
    • caliban
    • cockroach
    • crypt wight
    • deer
    • magic deer
    • mountain dragon
    • kamodon
    • mosquito
    • killer bee swarm

Appendix: d20 Conversion

  • Removed examples
  • Removed last step in creature conversions


  • Caliphate Nights
    • social status
    • framing + weaving
    • djinni creatures types
    • wishes
  • Mech vs Kaiju
    • Mecha Subsystem
    • Kaiju creature types
    • stats for "Godzilla" and "Mothra"
  • Borrowed Time
    • New temporal feats


J. Hanju Kim <hanjujkim-at-gmail-dot-com>
Last modified: Wed Sep 13 14:16:45 2006