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Very Different Places RPG

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Current Version: 0.5

What is the System?

The Scene Resolution System is used to resolve conflict while telling the stories of Very Different Places. Like most tabletop roleplaying games, a system of rules and dice exists to arbitrate the success and failure of characters' actions, encouraging them to experience setbacks and challenges.

Characters and the Game Master

Like in most tabletop roleplaying games, one player is responsible for the environment, minor characters, antagonists, and overarching story. This player is known as the GM, in this rule sheet. The other players typically each are responsible for their own character(s) (usually one per player, but there are exceptions), which we will call Player Characters (PCs)

Anatomy of a Character

A character in VDP is a relatively simple entity. Characters have Attributes, which represent their innate composition - how strong, smart, tough, or charismatic they are. They also have Skills, which represent their training. Finally, they have Traits, Proficiencies, and Flaws - these indicate their unique quirks.

A template for generating a character is provided. You may print it, or copy it and use this wiki to store your character.


The core of any VDP ga5me are the characters. A character is made up of a number of characteristics, defining their nature, knowledge, and experience. These are represented in Attributes, Skills, and Quirks.

Attributes are the core of what you are. How strong are you, how tough are you, how charismatic are you? These are your attributes.

A character has three classes of attibutes (Physical, Mental, and Emotional) of two types (Ability and Resilience).

Ability represents how much a character can give - strength, speed, intellect, charisma, all of these are example uses of Ability. When a character is doing something, they're using Ability. Ability is used in the form of pools of bonus dice that you can use on skill checks in a scene.

Resilience represents how much a character can take - toughness, focus, willpower, all of these are example uses of Resilience. A character may receive damage to a given attribute equal to their Resilience in that attribute, before being removed from the scene. It is up to the GM to determine in what precise way they are removed from the scene. Maybe they're knocked out by a physical blow, or they've just lost their wits in a debate and are forced to withdraw.

Each type of attribute has three classes - Physical, Mental, and Emotional. This all together makes 6 attributes.

The Scale of Attributes is a value from 1 to 6. For example: 1 is inept, 2 is unremarkable, 3 is exceptional, 4 is outstanding, 5 is heroic, 6 is supernatural. In special cases, attributes can go over 6, but this is only at the GM's discretion and may break things.

Damage to Attributes

Physical damage represents fatigue or accumulating injury - not yet a serious wound - and loss of physical resilience represents a character being injured beyond participating in the scene. When it reaches 0 they may be knocked unconscious, incapacitated by a wound, or even killed outright if the GM deems it appropriate.

Mental damage represents a loss of sanity or mental faculties, and when reaching 0 eliminates a character from the scene usually through a loss of control, or complete catatonia. Like with physical damage, the exact nature of this consequence is up to the GM, the characters, and the nature of the scene.

Emotional damage represents a character running out of will to continue, and upon reaching 0, simply giving up on their goal in the scene, effectively eliminating them. Like with physical damage, the exact nature of this consequence is up to the GM, the characters, and the nature of the scene. If a character imported from CLASEW has a Stress Explosion listed, they should act upon it.


Combat and skill challenges make up the core of the game mechanics for Very Different Places. It is expected that these rules be used to fill in the blanks when storytelling, when a situation is uncertain. Risk is a party of any adventure, and danger a part of a good story - the GM should call for skill checks, or use combat rules, whenever failure is possible with any meaningful consequence. Skills are detailed in their own sections; each setting may have setting-specific skills that complement the base skills for this system.

0 means untrained, 1-2 means knowing the rudiments, 3-4 means amateur level, 5-6 means professional, 7-8 means elite training or a lifetime of practice, 9-10 means heroic, 11+ means supernatural.

Design Note: a flat bonus of +3 roughly equates to one die, whose average is 3.5. A scale of 1-10 is fairly good for keeping dice meaningful.

Quirks: Traits, Proficiencies, and Flaws

Traits are innate, while Proficiencies and Flaws are acquired - perhaps over the course of an adventure, or perhaps as part of a character's backstory. Together, these are all called "Quirks".

A character will, in addition to attributes and skills, have some traits or abilities. Traits represent things that have been acquired passively over time, or at birth; things like phobias, allergies, or natural advantages such as a bird-man's wings and talons are traits. Proficiencies are things that are learned consciously, such as the ability to use magical spells, or make an instinctive map while you walk. Traits and Proficiencies are also how Special Attributes can be raised or lowered; a trait might make a character's timing more precise, raising Timing by 1. Flaws are just Proficiencies or Traits that work negatively.

Scenes - The Action

Definition of a Scene

A scene is something that would be identified as a chapter in a book, or the use of a single set in a movie; for roleplaying purposes a scene can be an escape or infiltration sequence, a high-society banquet with several instances of social combat and possibly an attempted poisoning or two, and so on. Most tension and extended mechanics last for one scene.


Skill Checks - The Dice Pool

A character may take actions in a scene at any time, but actions with a risk of failure will often have the GM request a skill check. A skill check involves allocating your standard pool of 4 dice, and choosing whether or not to allocate any bonus dice to either Success, Caution, or both.

The standard character pool is 4 dice. A player can allocate dice however they wish, from 4 to Success and 0 to Caution, to 0 to Success and 0 to Caution.

For example, tying up a prisoner would require a skill check, so you take your pool of 4 dice. Split these 4 dice between the two goals of Success and Caution. A skill check has two target numbers: a Success target, and a Caution target. The Success target represents how difficult it is to accomplish the task, and is compared to the Success dice. If the Success dice score equal or higher, the task succeeds. If they score lower, the task fails.

The Caution target is compared to the Caution dice. If the Caution dice equal or succeed the risk target, regardless of the result, no ill effects occur. If the Caution dice come up lower than the Risk target, then whatever negative consequence the risky check was needed for happens to the character making the check. In many cases, a skill check may pass, but the Caution dice will fail, invoking some negative consequence.

Success met?Caution met?Narrative
NONOThe attempt fails and the negative consequences of trying apply.
NOYESThe attempt fails, but there are no negative consequences.
YESNOThe attempt succeeds, but the negative consequences of trying apply.
YESYESThe attempt succeeds, and there are no negative consequences.

When there is no other more obvious failure case for caution, a failed caution roll inflicts 1 point of damage to the relevant attribute. For example, failing the caution roll to study for an exam inflicts 1 point of mental damage. Running out of mental resilience in this situation would represent being worn out and forced to sleep.

Example: Jara wants to cast a Flame Tongue spell against a marauding barbarian. The spell was designed by the GM and Jara's player to require a Spellcasting check, difficulty 8, risk 4. She allocates 3 dice to Success, with a Spellcasting score of 2, and 1 die to Caution. She rolls a 10 on the 3 dice, so the spell is cast successfully at her foe (10+2=12), but only rolls a 1 on her single Caution die (1+2=3). The spell works, but she herself is singed by the roaring flames!

Example: Lost in the wasteland, Jack needs to fix his jeep in a hurry, with very limited supplies. The GM calls for a Mechanics check, with the consequence of wasting his supplies. He succeeds on the Success check, but his Caution check fails. He gets the jeep running, but he burns through most of his scrap bits and parts.

Opposed Checks

An Opposed check is like a skill check, but with two characters acting directly against each other. In this case both characters split their dice pool into Success (attack) and Caution (defense). Much like attacking and defending in combat, each character's Success check must beat the opposing character's Resist check in order to complete the task. Note that it is possible for both characters to succeed or fail! For example, during a sword duel, both characters investing in Caution would result in the duel continuing with much clanging of swords but no blood spilled, and both characters investing in Success would result in a double lunge that leaves both wounded.

Extended Checks

Sometimes, a character must perform an extended action that requires their full attention for a longer period of time. In this case, there are two possible failure modes; the character has botched the job thoroughly (for example, a repair attempt made the problem worse in such a way that field repairs are now impossible) or the character has reached exhaustion before the job was finished (for example, operating a manual bilge pump on a leaking boat has proven harder than expected, and the character is too tired to continue).

An extended check requires at least two "points" to complete (three or four is common). Meeting the Succcess target awards one point. Failing to meet the Success target twice in a row means that the task has failed. Failing to meet the Caution target twice in a row means that the character is too physically, mentally, or emotionally exhausted to continue trying; depending on the situation, a different character may take over.

Spending Ability Dice

Example: Jacob and Mark are facing each other in a battle of guitar solos. Mark puts all of his dice into Success, rocking out to the best of his talents in his own style. Jacob, on the other hand, splits his dice 1 Success/3 Caution, trying to outshine Mark's performance by going second, and trying to play a more showy solo in the same style. Mark subtracts the results of Jacob's 3 dice from his 1, while Jacob will roll his 1 success die and subtract nothing, as Mark is not doing anything to impede Jacob from winning. Mark rolls 4 dice, and spends his Emotional Ability dice as well, for 2 more, adding his Guitar skill (2). He gets a 22 in total. Jacob then rolls his 1 die, adding his Guitar Skill (2) and gets a 7. He still has his 3 Resist dice, however, to reduce that 22 down to a 7 or lower, and chooses to throw in his 2 bonus dice from Emotional Ability. The GM says because of how he is Resisting he uses his Guitar skill again, and he totals a 16, leaving Mark with a final 6. Jacob's gambit paid off, and the judges award him a pitcher of beer.

Advantage and Disadvantage

In some situations, a character will have an edge above another, or above the norm, or be handicapped by poor circumstances. Racing on ice with skates against someone on foot, for example, or shooting pool with a crooked cue. In these cases, characters will get Advantage or Disadvantage dice. In story situations, the GM should give a character 1 or more Advantage dice when they do something clever to gain leverage in a situation, or set themselves up with favourable odds. They would get 1 or more Disadvantage dice when they do something dumb, or are stuck in a bad way. Many combat rules will also call for Advantage or Disadvantage dice. A character may not have both advantage and disadvantage; an advantage die negates a disadvantage die and vice versa, until only one type remains.

Advantage or Disadvantage only applies to a single skill check or combat roll unless the rules state otherwise. When making a roll with Advantage or Disadvantage dice, roll the normal number of dice chosen from the pool, plus the extra advantage or disadvantage dice together. Then, if the character has an Advantage, remove the lowest dice until the dice pool is back to its normal size. If the character has Disadvantage, remove the highest dice instead, again back to the normal size.

Example: Jack is escaping a secret desert prison, and is trying to climb a fence. He has a big steel shackle on his leg, and the GM says this gives him 2 Disadvantage dice to climb, and and makes it a risky check vs injury. Jack knows if he gets over the fence, he is free to escape, so throws caution to the wind and declares 4 dice towards Accomplish. He then adds 2 more dice for Disadvantage, and rolls 5, 4, 2, 2, 6, 1. Because of the disadvantage, he discards the 5 and 6, and scores a total of 9. He adds his Physical Power (2) and Athletics skill (2), coming up with a 13. The GM tells him the target number was 10, and he clears the fence - but hurts his leg on the way down. Jack limps to relative safety in the desert night, sure to face more challenges in the morning.

Dice Pools

In general, a character has a pool of 4 dice to be allocated in combat between Attack and Defence in combat, or Success and Caution in general. These pools are chosen whenever an action is taken that would require either pool; until then uncertainty is allowed. This will be explained further under Combat Resolution.

In addition your Physical, Mental, and Emotional Ability attributes represent resource pools of bonus dice that may be spent once per scene. A scene ends and dice pools refresh when the GM deems it appropriate - generally when all immediate conflict is resolved and the characters can catch their breath. Any number of bonus dice may be used at a time, and they may be used on both parts of a skill check or combat roll. For example, if you have Physical Ability 4 and are in the last round of a boxing match going to a losing decision, you can throw everything you've got left into a last ditch haymaker - spending 4 bonus dice on Success for an attack, hoping to land that knockout punch before the bell.


Tension is a resource held by characters that comes from facing difficulty in skill challenges or combat. A character gains a point of Tension whenever a skill check result is exactly equal to the target number. A character also builds Tension as a result of different conditions being met in combat, as described below. A character may spend Tension to gain one advantage die per point on the next combat action or skill check, or negate one disadvantage die. Tension is also often spent on Abilities for special actions.

Building Tension

The normal way to build Tension occurs when an attack or skill check exactly matches its opponent's defense or its target number. This causes the actor to gain 1 point of Tension. In addition, when there is an opposed check, the winning character gains 1 point of Tension that must be spent IMMEDIATELY. For every doubling of his opponent's check result, the winning character gains another point of immediate Tension.

Spending Tension

Tension may be spent to add special effects to a skill check's result, that is relevant to the scene. The general rule of thumb to follow when spending Tension is "if X, then Y". The GM will then determine how much Tension must be spent, which is spent regardless of whether the condition happens or not. Spending Tension is always a gamble. In addition, spending Tension must not be directly related to the result of the check.

''Example: Jack is trying to sneak through a town nearby the prison, and he thinks he recognizes a prison guard shopping in the market. He absolutely must avoid being spotted, and if he's spotted, he can't afford to be recognized. However, he can't spend tension to say "If I'm spotted, he thinks I'm not sneaky enough to be the escapee" because that is directly related to the check. Instead, he says "if he spots me, he's distracted long enough that a passerby runs into him". The GM deems this mostly win-win for Jack, and makes him spend all 4 of his Tension. If he's not spotted, he loses the Tension for nothing!

Timing Order

Sometimes it matters outside of combat!~

Timing is now a skill; the result of the Accomplish roll of a Timing check gets you your Timing score for a turn. The result of your Caution roll on your Timing check gets you the timing score after which you will no longer be considered surprised. It is very possible to "jump the gun" in VDP, taking a turn while still being considered surprised, so be careful! It's possible to roll 0 dice for caution on Timing, but you'll be completely defenceless on the first round, and may miss critical details, automatically failing Alertness checks!

A surprised character automatically fails checks requiring attention or alertness, as well as treating any combat defence rolls as 0.

Combat Scenes

Not all combat scenes are actual combat. The GM might rule an action scene where the players have to navigate deadly traps as a combat scene, "attacking" to disarm the traps for their fellow adventurers, and defending to avoid them.

Actions in Combat

A character make take two actions on their turn - they may be any combination of MOVE, SPLITMOVE, ATTACK, USE SPECIAL. If a character does not take the MOVE action, they may take a single step at any time during their turn. This can be used to get into cover, etc.

  • MOVE: A character moves up to their move value. If using a square grid, diagonal moves cost 2.
  • SPLITMOVE: A character moves up to half their move value (round down). This leaves them able to take a step later, hence "split move".
  • SPECIAL: Take any kind of special action that is not an Attack, such as reloading a weapon, using an item, opening a door, etc.
  • ATTACK: A character makes an Attack action, against another character.

A few examples follow:

Action 1Action 2Step?Narrative
MOVEMOVEnoCharging forward, or "tactical retreat" aka run for your life
FIRERELOADyesSlowly march forward while laying down suppression fire
MOVEKICKnoStraight up charge at an enemy and hit them inna rocks
PUNCHMOVEnoHit and run, hopefully to avoid retaliation
RELOADUSE (Clip)noOut of ammo; reloading
RELOADUSE (Clip)yesOut of ammo; reloading while shuffling behind cover
SPLITMOVEFIREyesFire and maneuver, or get out of cover, shoot, and get back into cover
SPLITMOVESPLITMOVEyesDashing out of cover to look behind a corner
FIREFIREyesStep out of cover and fire both pistols.
PUNCHKICKyesBust. Your. Face. In.

Attacking and Defending

Attacking and defending in combat is a special form of opposed skill check. In combat, a character's dice pool is always split into Attack and Defence dice. A character chooses how to allocate his 4 dice the first time each combat turn he needs to use them - when attacking, or being attacked. During combat, any risky skill checks must use the same dice allocation; use the Attack pool for Accomplish, and the Defence pool for Caution.

Attacking begins with declaring an ATTACK action, or a SPECIAL action that involves attacking. A character makes an attack roll by rolling the allocated dice for Attack, and adding the relevant Attribute and Skill to the roll. Then, the target of the attack must DEFEND. Any relevant skill may be used to Attack or Defend, with the GM's permission, though using a skill not directly relevant may create a Disadvantage.

A DEFEND action is a free action in response to being attacked. If the defender has not allocated dice this round yet, the defender must immediately choose how many dice to defend with (the remainder going to attack for the rest of the round). Then, roll the defence dice, and add the relevant Attribute and Skill to the roll.

Next, the difference between the attacker's total and defender's total is compared. If the total for the defender is higher, or the totals are tied, the attack fails. If the total is higher for the attacker, but does not exceed the defender's Resilience for the attribute being attacked (often Physical but not always), then a glancing blow is struck, and the attacker banks 1 Tension. If the total is higher than the defender's Resilience (modified by any defensive Traits, etc, such as armor) the defender takes a point of damage. If the total is more than double, the defender takes 2 points of damage, more than triple 3 points of damage, etc.

AtkDefNarrative (melee)Narrative (ranged)
40All-out finishing blow, or desperation moveMore dakka dammit!, or sniper's focus
31Fencing style lungeStand up launcher blazing, or aimed shot
22Thrust and parryFire and take cover
13Close guard, or biding timeSnap shot
04Fighting defensivelyHunkering down

Building Tension in Combat

Instead of dealing damage, the attacker can choose to convert any number of damage points to Tension and spend them (and any stored Tension) immediately on an offensive effect. Tension gained this way cannot be stored, only spent. In every case, no single action can store more than 1 point of Tension.

If the defender's total is higher, the attack is blocked or guarded, and the defender gains a point of Tension, and can spend that tension on a defensive effect. If the defender's result scores more than double the attacker's, he gains 2 points of Tension instead. More than triple, the defender gains 3 Tension, and so on. If more than 1 point is generated, they can be spent on a defensive effect, or ONE point can be stored. You can never store more than one from a single action. There is no limit to how much tension can be stored.

Example: Jill, Jack's esteemed adventuring partner, is fed up with Jack getting into trouble and punches him. This is an ATTACK action, and she allocates 3 dice. She has a Brawling skill of 2. She rolls her dice, adding 2, getting a total of 14. Jack must now defend. He doesn't want to fight Jill, so allocates 4 dice to DEFEND. He uses his Athletics skill (4) to defend by dodging, getting a whopping 25. Jack easily sidesteps Jill's first punch, and gains one point of Tension.

Whenever a character's takes damage to any attribute exceeding their Resilience, the character is KOed and removed from the scene. This may not represent a literal knockout, but losing control of their mind, having an emotional outburst from stress, or choosing to just stay down in a fight. These results, however, are out of the player's control and the defeated character is at the mercy of the GM.

Spending Tension in Combat: Offensive and Defensive Effects

When you have Tension stored, you may spend it when making an action to modify the effects of that action. The table of modifiers you may apply to an action are below; the GM may offer you additional options. These modifiers may be combined together, to create many different narrative effects. A table of examples is below, as well.

EffectCostNarrative Example
Control Movement1Grapple, Shove, Trip
Control Action1Grapple, Trick, Taunt
Control Target1Taunt into attacking you, Grab enemy's gun mid burst
Modify Range1 per range bracket (melee, short, long, extreme)Throw your sword, Cut a rope to drop a chandelier
Add an Extra Target1Slash across a group of enemies, splash gasoline
Take as Extra Action2 + 2 per extra action already takenSurge of adrenaline+
Remove Dice Limit1Attack with adrenaline!
Remove Movement / Action / Target Restriction3Break free with everything you have, stroke of miraculous clarity
1 Point Extra Damage1Uppercut into the spiked ceiling
Change Damage Type1Cut a Z into their chest (Emotional Damage)
Immediate EffectDouble Positive ModifiersFollow up a successful strike
Require Check to End (GM determines skill, base difficulty 7)Double Positive Modifiers + 1 per increased check difficulty above 7A deep wound, or a demoralizing one
No Damage (may only be applied to actions that cause damage normally)-1Soft Ju-Jitsu

''Example: After a while of losing an argument with Jill's fists, a bruised Jack realizes he should probably defend himself. On his turn, he shifts his dice from 4 defence to a 2 Attack, 2 Defence split and declares ATTACK as his first action. He wants to restrain Jill, not harm her,so he spends his Tension to modify the effect of a Wrestling attack with No Damage (-1), Control Movement (1), Control Action (1). For the Control Action, he chooses to prevent her from taking ATTACK actions. He rolls his Wrestling skill (2) and gets a 9. Jill, having gone all-in on attack, has a Defense of 0, so Jack pins her against the wall. As a Defensive Effect, however, Jill decides to spend 2 tension to remove Control Movement and Control Action. Since Jack has a ton of Tension stored up, he chooses to go again, choosing Control Movement (1), Control Action (1), Immediate (Doubled Positive Costs), and No Damage (-1), spending 3 more. Jill does the same, spending 4 Tension to negate it; she has to do it as an Immediate effect as well, since she already used a Defensive Effect against this attack. This goes back and forth until finally Jill runs out of tension, and gets pinned against the wall, where Jack can more safely ask her to stop beating him up.''

ExampleSkill UsedTension Effects UsedTotal Cost
GrappleMeleeControl Movement, Control Action, No Damage1
Snap ThrowMeleeControl Movement, Immediate2
ShoveMeleeControl Movement, Immediate (on enemy), No Damage2
Kick Into Vat of AcidMeleeControl Movement, 3 Points Extra Damage, Immediate (on enemy)8
Terrifying AmbushManipulationControl Movement, Control Action, Require Check to End, No Damage3
Cut / Shoot a Rope, Dropping a Chandelier on the VillainMultiple OptionsControl Movement, Control Action, 1 Extra Damage, Require Check to End, possibly Modify Range6 or 8

Reminder that tension is lost when the scene ends. Use it or lose it!

Other Types of Combat !!

These combat rules can just as easily be used with other skills, such as debate (damage becoming influence on the judge you are trying to convince) or bargaining (trying to raise/reduce prices). The narrative should always be the focus of these kind of scenes, but when warranted, these rules can be applied.


Design Note: This should be its own page prolly

Equipment has tags, enabling certain types of actions. Can't fix a flat tire without a jack (or a lot of cleverness and improvised tools).

Examples of Equipment:

  • sword: allows melee, can be used to parry
  • knife+buckler: allows melee, can be used to parry
  • terry pratchett's meteoric iron sword: allows melee, can be used to parry, -99 advantage to angelic or demonic magic attacks (not a good sword per se but has a special power)
  • fuck-you longsword of heaviness and badassosity: allows melee, allows parry, -1 to move, allows all-in (4-0)
  • halberd: allows melee, allows parry, has reach
  • crossbow: allows short range and melee; reload after attack
  • revolver: allows short range, burst fire, and melee; reload after 6 attacks or burst fire
  • gyrojet pistol: allows short range but not melee; reload every attack; gives movespeed 2 in space
  • gyrojet rifle: allows short and long range but not melee; reload after every attack; gives movespeed 2 in space
  • shotgun: allows short range and melee; reload after 2 attacks; gives 1 disadvantage to enemy defense
  • RPG: allows attack from long range and short range; single use only; must go all-in (4-0) when firing; everyone in the zone or a radius gets hit; primary target gets hit twice
  • hunting rifle: allows attack from short range and long range; reload after 3 attacks. add a bayonet to allow melee.
  • sniper rifle: allows attack from short range, long range, and backline, but not melee; reload after every attack.
  • SMG: allows short range range, melee, burst fire, and suppression; reload after 20 attacks, 2 burst fires, or suppression.

Higher quality equipment can give advantage dice; extremely fancy equipment can give entire extra dice.

Dangerous Terrain

A Dangerous Location (Dangerous Area) is a square or group of squares that contains something hazardous. Whether that is grinding gears, a grid of deadly lasers (or the regular alarm-tripping kind), molten lava, or a hail of bullets, it is generally unsafe to enter one of these squares. A character entering or ending its turn in a Dangerous Area must defend against the Area Difficulty value, as if it was an attack.

A character entering multiple Dangerous squares of the same type in a turn increases the Difficulty of the defense roll and Power of the square's damage by 1. Similarly, if multiple Dangerous Areas of the same type overlap, increase the Difficulty and Power by 1.

''Example: Jack, renowned adventurer, is running down a wooded trail from a Cascadian militia convinced he has stolen a sack of money that has mysteriously appeared on his person. Jack decides to cut off the trail and into the woods, without realizing he's run right into a patch of razor vines! Upon feeling the first sting on his skin he realizes he's in trouble. The GM tells Jack's player it is a Dangerous Area, with a base difficulty of 5 and power of 1. Jack is running through 5 squares, increasing that to 10 and 6, respectively. Thankfully Jack does not need to use his Athletics to move through the razor vines - they are light and don't threaten to trip him - so he can afford to spend 4 dice on defense and not slow down. He rolls 4 dice, plus his Athletics of 4, with 1 disadvantage die for being surprised. He gets a total of 15, and easily weaves his way through the sharp grass. Moving this fast could have been extremely painful if Jack failed his roll!

Magic and the Supernatural

Design Note: This should be its own page prolly

Some characters have the ability to "cheat" the laws of nature, using magic, psychic powers, or other supernatural abilities. Known magic generally works just like any other equipment, enabling the special action spell it describes. However, you can also often "wing it" to improvise magic based on a spell you already know, by using Tension as described above in Offensive and Defensive Effects.

Usually, casting a spell requires an Accomplish roll to generate the power of the spell's effect (or against a fixed number for it to do anything at all) and a Caution roll against a fixed number to prevent the exertion of casting the spell from dealing damage to you.

''Example: Godo has had enough of trying to use his fists to convince a group of gangsters to stop vandalizing the university. Some of them have drawn weapons on him, and he chooses a good old fashioned wizardly solution: conjuring a massive fireball. As Fireball is a known spell for him, with an Accomplish of Attack (meaning it is an attack) and a Caution difficulty of 9, he decides a 2-2 split. He rolls his Reification (5) skill, getting a total Accomplish of 13 and a Caution of 10; therefore, he does not have to spend any resource (a known spell requires no Tension) for casting the spell, and the group of gangsters all have to defend against an attack value of 13! The mooks get served up for BBQ.''

Some examples of what magic may be able to do in a given setting, include:

- Alter Attribute (transmuting, ability damage, heat metal, etc) - Alter State (healing, dealing damage) - Help Skill - Hinder Skill - Provoke Action (usually move, such as wind blowing someone around) - Prevent Action (Rooting targets to the ground, binding their hands, etc) - Create Entity (summoning) - Remove Entity (banishing, instant death)

I may be missing some but if we can put a baseline "how hard is it to do this", then players can add modifications to create a spell

Example: Godo's big gravity spell is just a mass Help Skill (Muscle), just flavoured as shifting gravity with all the appropriate storyline effects.

Abstract Map System

Design Note: This should be its own page prolly

This "abstract map system" makes it easier to describe combat without drawing a map of the surroundings. Environmental effects and positioning are handled via the Tension system. Effects that would move characters can only move them 1 zone, unless specifically a very long movement effect.

The combat area has 7 zones, divided into two sides, "red" and "blue". Each side has an Extreme Range, Long Range, and Short Range zone, and there is a middle, neutral "melee" zone. This melee zone is subdivided into multiple melee zones determined by who is actively fighting whom. Characters moving into melee may move into an existing melee zone (joining an ongoing fight) or create a new one, after which they can take a MOVE action to "assault" a character in a Short Range zone, which moves that enemy into their melee zone, with no Tension cost.

Each zone is associated with a range bracket (Melee or Short, Long, Extreme Range). Attacks being made from that zone to the same zone or closer on the enemy side are made in that range bracket (ie, Short to Short is a Short Range attack, Long to Long is a Long Range attack). Attacking into a farther zone uses that farther away zone's attack type (ie, Short into Long uses Long Range). In Melee, you may only make Melee actions against enemies in the same Melee sub-zone unless you have Melee Reach, which allows you to attack other Melee zones.

Moving between zones requires a MOVE action to move to one adjacent zone; Extreme to Long, Long to Short, Short to Melee. You may not move into an opposing side's zone, to bring them to melee you must assault them, which moves them into the Melee zone. It requires Tension to assault an enemy at Long or Extreme Range. You may also move an ally without spending tension, costing an extra action per move.

You may take cover without spending tension by instead spending an action; this grants you 1 Advantage die worth of cover per action spent taking cover. Until you are rooted out of that cover by making a MOVE action (such as by an enemy spending tension) or by making a Melee range attack, your cover bonus remains. Note that cover in melee is totally a thing, but it's hard to retain in the swirling chaos of a swordfight. A Reach Melee attack allows you to retain your cover bonus if you are attacking an enemy outside of your current Melee zone.


Design Note: This should be its own page prolly

Light vehicles (motorized armor, bike, rocket pod, etc) that are too simple to have components, are effectively armor or armor+weapon with a movespeed.

Other Vehicles: Riley wrote a bunch of stuff for Toad Wars for vehicles, move it here later for 0.5.1?

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Page last modified on July 04, 2023, at 03:43 PM