Descent

Descent RPG

Table of Contents

Basic Mechanics

Roll 2d10 vs a TN of 15 for basic challenges, in combat the TN may be your opponent's relevant defense instead. Pre-roll you may spend Stamina or Adrenaline as appropriate for a bonus on a 1 to 1 basis, post-roll you may spend Stamina or Adrenaline as appropriate for a bonus on a 2 to 1 basis(i.e. spend 2 Stamina, gain +1 to the result). Class and species may also provide bonuses.

Basic challenges will have ~20% chance of success without expending Adrenaline/Stamina or gaining bonuses from other sources.

Generally only extreme situations should provide something higher than a TN of 15, like trying to pick a lock while someone's trying to put an axe through your head, brewing a potion on the deck of a storm-tossed ship or attempting to convince a dragon to surrender his hoard in exchange for your collection of beanie babies.

When a battle ends, all Adrenaline is reduced to 0 unless otherwise noted. Stamina is regained to full whenever the party makes camp or otherwise takes a breather(a good meal at a roadside inn, dipping their road-weary feet in a stream, etc.) for long enough that it delays their journey/expedition. When outside of combat, any character can spend Stamina at a ratio of 2 to 1 to regain Health, or trade Stamina to another character at a ratio of 2 to 1(fluffed as offering to carry their pack, giving them a pep talk, etc.). Characters reduced to 0 health continue to be at 0 health unless they recover, but no characters die unless the entire party is reduced to 0 health.

Characters who are reduced to 0 health may gain Wounds(temporary penalties that will heal with sufficient rests and will eventually become Scars).

Stamina Recovery

Resting does not by itself penalize the party, but any time the party rests, the GM should advance the "tension" counter(see example tables later on this page). In the Buried City, it means the undead and monstrous locals becoming aware of the intruders, rising difficulty of encounters and eventually the geography of the Buried City itself shifting as the Celestial spirits start to awaken. Outside of the Buried City, it represents more conventional dangers, such as the assassins you're chasing down arriving before you, friendly NPC's you're trying to track down perhaps leaving town, shifting seasons providing obstacles(if you take long enough or travel at the wrong time of year) and generally more chances for things to go wrong. GM's are encouraged to make their own, appropriate tables or to adjust existing ones to better fit their players' situation.

Resting also requires Rations. Every member of the party who doesn't consume any Rations, only recovers half their Maximum Stamina, no matter how much they rest. Hirelings, henchmen, pack animals, etc. will also consume Rations. If no Rations are available, every Rest without Rations will double the Hireling's pay.

Chargen

Pick a species, pick a class, note your starting HP, starting defense and starting skills. Spend your two starting skill points and choose your starting equipment. Write a brief biography, name your character. You're ready to play.

Combat Mechanics

All participants roll 1d6 to determine their starting initiative, with lower rolls starting first(a simple way to visualize it is that everyone starts on the same tick, then takes a "joining battle" action with a speed rating equal to their roll). In case of a tie, players always win initative vs NPC's, this includes initiative ties that come up during the fight. If two players have an initiative tie and can't decide who gets to go first, roll a D6 until one of them has the higher number and then that person goes first.

Whenever a participant's turn comes up, they must spend Stamina equal to the number of actions taken so far plus one(i.e. 1 on their first turn, 2 on their second, 3 on their third, etc.) and gain twice as much adrenaline(2, 4, 6, and so on upwards). Each action has a speed rating which advances the user that many steps down the initiative track, thus actions and items with higher speed ratings incur a longer delay until your next action. At combat's start, all characters and enemies choose which range band they start in, though some events(ambushes, limited space, etc.) may limit options or force certain range bands.

Prior to any combat roll you may spend Adrenaline for a bonus on a 1 to 1 basis, post-roll you may spend Adrenaline for a bonus on a 2 to 1 basis(i.e. spend 2 Adrenaline, gain +1 to the result).

Most effects aimed at enemies will require a roll to hit, which is 2d10+(appropriate modifiers) vs the target's Defense. If the action does any damage, the damage will be reduced by the target's armor unless otherwise specified(though, again, unless specified, the damage from any attack that actually hits can only be reduced to 1 at minimum). The remaining damage is subtracted from a character's health and any characters reduced to zero health are considered to be unconscious or otherwise able to participate for the rest of the fight, but will be back on their feet(though without recovering any health) afterwards.

Any character reduced to zero health will also roll on the Wound table, Wounds are negative effects that will persist with the character until the end of the current expedition, or until some item or effect specifies that it removes a Wound.

All characters and creatures involved in a fight are considered to be within one of the following ranges from an ongoing fight: Distant, Far, Close, Near or Melee. Moving one range band is an action that can be taken alongside any other at the cost of 1 Adrenaline and increasing the speed rating of the accompanying action by 1. Except for Melee, every range band is assumed to have a mirrored version for allies and enemies. I.e. a player in Near range isn't standing in the same spot as an enemy at Near range, rather, there's a range difference of 2.

Most attacks will have a specific range or use the range of an equipped weapon. A weapon can attack at either its intended range or below. For every increment below the intended range, the attack suffers a -1 to hit(so a range 3 attack used at range 0, i.e. against someone or something within the same range band, would have a -3 to hit).

Setting

The World

The world floats in the shapeless void, where the fickle celestial spirits forever seek to enter it. Above, it is guarded by the three moons, the three sisters of the faithful Earth who left the world forever behind to shield it against the predations of the sky spirits. Below their eternal vigil, the soil is warmed by the eternal Sun and nourished by the capricious Sea.

The populations of the world see it in many different ways, but the soldiers, engineers, sorcerers, priests and common citizens of the Eternal Empire see it thus, as a narrow corner of the universe, only habitable to sentient creatures by the mercy of the lords and ladies of the Earth, that it's their duty to see rigidly ordered, guarded and advanced. Others, like the merfolk and the lizards, and other human nations, tend to regard them carefully, as barely-restrained fanatics.

The Lichgate Plague

Thus it passed that for centuries the Eternal Empire, under the leadership of its Senators, the protection of its Legions, the wisdom of its priests of the Earth and with the arcane power of its Sorcerers, gradually expanded across the continent it was first founded on, and looked likely to earn its name. Until the Lichgate Plague, which killed an estimated eighty percent of the citizens of the Empire and saw them raised as undead when the Sorcerers of the Empire desperately tried to save themselves and their colleges. The survivors fled into the polar reaches, across the western mountains and were in their desperation even the first to cross the eastern sea.

For two decades, as they heard dark stories of the now undead Empire and its merciless encroachment on other lands, they confronted new challenges, made new allies and, eventually, returned to reclaim their Empire. In the end they were successful, but at a great cost. The loss of almost the entirety of the Empire's culture and learning, the razing of its great cities, and eventually, in an act of divine wrath from the Lords of the Earth, the sinking of its greatest city, and the center of its colleges(sorcerous and otherwise), into the solid Earth below, to forever bury the blasphemies born within it during the plague.

The Buried City

But though its name was struck forever from all records, it was not to stay forgotten. Half a century later, as the Empire struggles to regain what it knew of construction, warfare and sorcery, eyes turn towards the buried city and the knowledge and riches that were buried with it.

Religion

Classes

Denier

Ascetic monks that refuse the world itself and, slowly, become released from it. They tend to favour unarmed combat, as held weapons tend to slip from their grasp(or through their hands) if they forget to focus on them. High-ranking monks of the Order of Denial are capable of shattering shields with an open palm blow, walking through walls and ignoring the needs of the flesh as a distant memory. The Buried City calls to them, tempting them to challenge a place where the very ground and air are poisoned by the celestial spirits.

Skill trees: Refusal, Unarmed, Void Whispers

Starting HP: 18
Base HP Per Level: 6
Base Defense: 15
Base Stamina: 20

Earth Cleric

For ages the Clerics of Earth have been known as staunch defenders of the Eternal Empire(and, if you believe them, the entire world). Their speeches have inspired armies, their entreaties to the divine has seen enemies swallowed by the soil and friends rendered as unwoundable as stone and when neither has sufficed, they have taken to the battlefield with plate and shield, ready to put their lives on the line for what they believe in.

Skill trees: Defender, Lithomancy, Oratory

Starting HP: 18
Base HP Per Level: 6
Base Defense: 15
Base Stamina: 20

Mercenary

After the death of most of the Empire's legions during the early stages and final battles of the Lichgate Plague, most of the survivors now guard high-ranking Senators and vital places in the Empire, leaving everyone else to rely on mercenaries if they want something killed or protected. These hardened men and women learn everything from stealth, through surviving a stand-up fight and even the vital negotiating strategies necessary to earn their wages.

Skill trees: Merchant, Rogue, Warrior

Starting HP: 24
Base HP Per Level: 8
Base Defense: 15
Base Stamina: 20

Sorcerer

The surviving Imperial Sorcerers are a strange lot. There's the occasional master or apprentice who found shelter during the darkest days of the Plague or escaped with the refugees, there are the self-taught who found ancient grimoires and, lastly, there are the undead. The former are regarded as cowards, the second as dangerous meddlers and the last as a grim reminder of the horrors of the Plague. But none of this is mentioned when their powers are needed to turn the tide of a battle or assist a mercenary company in exploring a new corner of the Buried City before the celestial spirits catch up with them.

Skill trees: Alchemy, Elementalist, Photomancy

Starting HP: 12
Base HP Per Level: 4
Base Defense: 15
Base Stamina: 20

Species

Human

You're probably one, you know what they're about. Humans gain a -2 modifier to all initiative rolls(the one case where you want a -, to make the math easier on everyone).

Merfolk

Pale humans with webbed hands and feet, as well as gill slits along their neck that they must keep moistened. Can breathe under water. Merfolk gain +6 Maximum Stamina.

Lizard

Shorter than humans, amphibious with armoured skin and a natural resistance to poisons and diseases. Lizards can breathe fresh water with no discomfort, but have trouble with salt water. Lizards gain +1 to their Base Defense no matter what class they are, due to their smaller stature making them more difficult to hit.

Undead

Most are skeletal by this point, unless they were carefully mummified. While there are many types of undead in the world, the ones that are playable are those who were forcibly(or accidentally) buried in the ground during the final stages of the Plague. While it was intended as a punishment worse than death, it turned out that, once the first few decades of sanity-wrenching loneliness had passed, the whispers of the celestials were mostly drowned out, and the desire to destroy the world generally abated to the point where they were able to rejoin society.

Few people like being around them, but by Imperial decree, any undead who's been sanctioned by the Clerics of the Earth as no longer a pawn of the celestial spirits, is as much as citizen as any living human, merfolk or lizard.

Undead characters gain a natural +1 to Armor.

Skill Trees

Skill Format is as follows: Name(Skill Tier, Prerequisite(s), Speed)

Skills whose Speed Rating is prefaced by a + are used in conjunction with the user's weapon and modifies their weapon speed accordingly. Skills with Passive have a constant effect or are automatically active under certain circumstances. Non-Combat skills are usable outside of battles and usually consume Stamina when used. Reaction skills can be activated at any time, but usually only make sense to activate in response to someone else's action.

Skill Tier is the cost in skill points to learn. If Speed is a +X, that means it adds X to the character's weapon speed to determine the actual speed.

Alchemy

Grenade(Starting Skill, Speed: 3)

Grenade is a range 3 attack which targets every character in a given range band(i.e. it includes allies if targeted at Melee range), making a single attack and damage roll that applies to all characters affected. The damage dealt is 1d6(+1 per level of the Sorcerer). Cost: 0 Adrenaline.

Caustic Mixture(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Grenade, Speed 3)

Caustic Mixture is a range 3 attack which targets every character in a given range band(i.e. it includes allies if targeted at Melee range), making a single attack and damage roll that applies to all characters affected. The damage dealt is 1d4. Affected targets lose one point of armor per level of the Sorcerer. Cost: 2 Adrenaline.

Smoke Bomb(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Grenade, Speed 3)

Smoke Bomb targets any range band and covers it with thick, choking smoke. The smoke does no damage, but any attack aimed in of, out of, or across the range band is made at a -3, affecting both allies and enemies.

Strong Throwing Arm(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Grenade, Passive)

Adds +1 range to any Alchemy skill or to any thrown weapon.

Throwing Expertise(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Grenade, Passive)

Adds +2 to the attack roll of any Alchemy skill or any thrown weapon.

Caustic Vial(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Caustic Mixture, Non-Combat)

Allows the Sorcerer a +5 to disabling mechanisms/traps and picking locks via the use of vials of powerful, acidic liquids. If the attempt fails, however, it will almost certainly trigger the mechanism disastrously, fuse the lock together, etc.

Defender

Guardian(Starting Skill, Passive)

The Earth Cleric can choose to take half the damage that any ally in his range band would take, splitting the damage before armor is applied. Using this ability costs 2 Adrenaline.

Shield Expertise(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Guardian, Passive)

The Earth Cleric increases the armor value of any shield he's using by +1, and adds a +2 modifier to hit any time he has a shield in hand.

Shield Bash(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Guardian, Speed +3)

For this attack, add twice your shield's armor value(modified, not base) as bonus damage if it hits. Cost: 2 Adrenaline.

Shield Throw(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Shield Bash), Speed: 3)

A range 4 attack with a +2 accuracy modifier, does damage equal to four times your shield's modified armor value. Cost: 2 Adrenaline

Shield Mastery(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Shield Expertise, Passive)

THIS SKILL REPLACES THE EFFECTS OF SHIELD EXPERTISE RATHER THAN BEING CUMULATIVE

The Earth Cleric increases the armor value of any shield he's using by +2, and adds a +3 modifier to hit any time he has a shield in hand. Additionally, the Earth Cleric gains a +3 to any out-of-combat action where he can reasonably describe that he's using his shield to aid him(a stealth roll aided by hiding behind his shield, rolling to escape pursuers by surfing his shield down a snowy slope, etc. the GM is encouraged to accept any sufficiently creative application.).

Elementalist

Elemental Spark(Starting Skill, Speed: 3)

Elemental Spark is a range 3 attack that targets a single enemy with a spark of unfocused elemental energy. This attack is made with a +2 to hit and does 1d6(+1 per level of the Sorcerer) damage. Cost: 0 Adrenaline

Burning Touch(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Elemental Spark, Speed 3)

Burning Touch is a range 0 attack that lights the Sorcerer's hands on fire and allows him to strike all enemies in the targeted range band with it. The attack does 1d6(+1 per level of the sorcerer) damage. Cost: 2 Adrenaline.

Fireball(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Burning Touch, Speed 5)

Fireball is a range 5 attack that lights the Sorcerer's hands on fire and allows him to strike all enemies in the targeted range ban with it. The attack does 1d6(+1 per level of the sorcerer) damage. Cost: 4 Adrenaline.

Ice Shard(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Elemental Spark, Speed 3)

Ice Shard is a range 3 attack that targets a single enemy with a sharp and heavy lump of ice. The attack does 1d4(+1 per level of the sorcerer) damage. If the attack hits, the target is forced back one range band. Cost: 2 Adrenaline.

Frost Wall(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Ice Shard, Speed 5)

Frost Wall creates a wall in the targeted range band. All attacks that bypass the Wall(i.e. any attack that crosses that range band or starts in it and isn't Range 0) are at a -3 to hit. The wall lasts until destroyed, and is automatically hit by any attack made at it. The wall has 12 Health and 2 Armor.

Lightning Bolt(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Elemental Spark, Speed 3)

Lightning Bolt is a range 6 attack that targets a single enemy with a blast of lightning. The attack has a +2 to hit. The attack does 1d6(+1 per level of the sorcerer) damage. Cost: 4 Adrenaline.

Speed of Lightning(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Lightning Bolt, Speed 5)

Speed of Lightning affects an ally for the remainder of the battle. While affected, the ally move up to two Range Bands every action they take for free and all their actions have a -1 speed modifier(to a minimum of 1, actions cannot be reduced to speed 0 or negative speed).

Thunderclap(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Lightning Bolt, Speed 5)

Thunderclap targets a Range Band, all enemies and allies are pushed two squares away from the target Band. Anyone in the band chooses the direction in which they are pushed. Cost: 2 Adrenaline.

Lithomancy

Unsteady Ground(Starting Skill, Speed 5)

All enemies in the target range band are dealt armor-ignoring damage equal to their armor value(up to a maximum of 10 damage), as the ground heaves and buckles below them, throwing them to their feet. They're also moved one tick farther down the initiative scale. Cost: 4 Adrenaline.

Stone Prison(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Unsteady Ground, Speed 5)

Erects tone barriers that prevents any enemies or allies from moving in or out of the target range band. Anyone who wishes to resist the effect is subject to an attack at a +2 modifier which deals 1d6 damage. If they avoid the attack, they may move one range band up or down(unless they're already as near or close as they can be). If they're hit by the attack, the remain constrained to their range band. The effect lasts five ticks. Cost: 4 Adrenaline.

Hurl Boulder(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Unsteady Ground, Speed 5)

The Earth Cleric propels a football-sized stone at the target in an attempt to pulp them. This is considered an attack with a +3 modifier to hit, and deals 1d6(+1 per level of the Earth Cleric) damage. If the attack hits, the target is forced back 2 range bands. Cost: 4 Adrenaline.

Magma Flow(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Stone Prison, Speed 5)

The Earth Cleric begins a Magma Flow which starts, by his choosing, at either the allied or enemy Distant Range Band. Every three ticks, the Magma Flow moves one Range Band towards the opposite Distant Range Band. When it eventually reaches that Range Band, the effect ends. Anyone present in a Range Band when the Magma Flow arrives takes 1d6 armor-ignoring damage. Cost: 4 Adrenaline

Stonecrafter(Tier 1, Prerequisites(s): Hurl Boulder, Passive)

The Earth Cleric becomes familiar with mining, geology, stonework and associated crafts, gaining +3 to any rolls involving performing these tasks or knowledge related to them.

Flesh to Stone(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Hurl Boulder, Speed 5)

The Earth Cleric chooses a target and, for the remainder of the combat, they are turned partially to stone. This halves the effectiveness of any range band changes they make(round down) and adds +1 to all their speed ratings, but also increases their armor by 4. The Earth Cleric can voluntarily end this effect at any time. Cost: 4 Adrenaline

Merchant

Negotiator(Starting skill, Passive)

Any time the Mercenary is negotiating for something(defining as making an offer to exchange one thing for another, or for the payout for providing a service. Figurative offers like "i'll pay you in not having a broken nose if you get off my damn lawn" don't count) he receives a +3 modifier to his roll.

Keen Eye(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Negotiator, Passive)

The Mercenary gets a +3 modifier to any rolls that might turn up valuables, as he's learned to keep an eye out for anything that can increase his payday. Anything obviously valuable applies: Works of art, gemstones, gilded platemail, items of excellent craftsmanship, etc. but a powerful elixir contained within a dusty, anonymous bottle wouldn't count.

Distraction(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Negotiator, Speed 3)

The Mercenary tosses something from his pack into the fray as a distraction and changes his range band by 1 in either direction. If he actually chooses to abandon something valuable from his pack(i.e. money over 10 coins in value or a piece of equipment with utility), he can change his range band by 2 instead. The item is assumed to be lost(snatched up by a rat, dropped into a crack in the ground, broke on impact, etc.). Cost: 0 Adrenaline

Swift Escape(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Distraction, Speed 1)

The Mercenary instantly moves to the Distant Range Band. Cost: 4 Adrenaline.

Golden Eye(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Keen Eye, Passive)

The Mercenary finds the valuables that others miss. Any time the party finds money(emphasis on FINDS and MONEY. Payments for services rendered aren't included, nor are other valuables), the Mercenary manages to dig up an extra 20%(rounded up), representing coins that rolled into corners, between cracks in the pavestones, were covered in dust, etc.

Enduring Stone(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Negotiator, Speed 2)

Until the Mercenary has taken five actions, the Enduring Stone combat stance will have the following effects: Stamina expenditure per action is reduced to 1, Adrenaline gain per action is reduced to 2, Armor can reduce damage from attacks to 0, Armor is increased by 2. Enduring Stone cannot be active at the same time as Eroding Water or Flowing Fire.

Orator

Inspiring Song(Starting skill, Speed 3)

Every allied character spends Stamina and gains Adrenaline as though they'd just taken an action, also counts as an action for the purpose of calculating Stamina expenditure and Adrenaline gain on the next action. Cost: 2 Adrenaline.

Calming Speech(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Inspiring Song, Speed 3)

Resets every allied character's Stamina expenditure and Adrenaline gain as though their next action was their first for the encounter. Character can choose to not be affected by this at no cost. Cost: 0 Adrenaline.

Legend Lore(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Inspiring Song, Passive)

The Earth Cleric gains a +3 to any checks involving historical knowledge, myths or identifying an artifact that may have stories about it or attached to it, or legendary/historical creatures.

Victorious Cheer(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Inspiring Song, Speed 3)

For every enemy that flees, is knocked out or killed within the next 10 ticks, all allies regain 5 Health and 5 Adrenaline. Cost: 3 Adrenaline

Shields Up!(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Inspiring Song, Speed 3)

For the next 10 ticks, all allies gain +3 armor against attacks of Range 2 or greater(only applies to attacks that actually USE that range. A range 4 attack used to attack an ally at range 1 wouldn't count). Cost: 2 Adrenaline

Photomancy

Illuminate(Starting Skill, Speed 3)

Conjures up a flare of blinding light. All attacks aimed at the chosen range band gain a +2 to hit for the next five ticks. Cost: 2 Adrenaline.

Call Shadows(Starting Skill, Speed 3)

Clouds an area in darkness. All attacks aimed at the chosen range band are penalized by a -2 to hit for the next five ticks. Cost: 2 Adrenaline

Illusion(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Illuminate, Non-Combat)

Allows the Sorcerer to call up audible and visible illusions(they won't affect any other senses besides sight and sound, though), with a +3 to his rolls to make them believable. This will only determine whether the Sorcerer makes them look real, though, people may still be able to reason that there probably isn't actually a kraken inside the outhouse, and ignore the giant thrashing tentacles. Cost: 2 Stamina to use.

Invisibility(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Call Shadows, Non-Combat)

Allows the Sorcerer to cloak someone's presence from the senses of sight and sound, giving a +5 to any attempts they make to remain unseen and unheard. If they attack anyone, whether the target is killed or not, the disguise is broken, though they can otherwise speak and interact with objects without giving themselves away. The effect lasts for a few minutes(i.e. as long as is dramatically appropriate). Cost: 2 Stamina per hidden target.

Shield of Light(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Illusion, Speed 5)

Surrounds the target in confusing illusionary shapes and auras, making them difficult to hit. For the next 10 Ticks, their Base Defense is increased by 2. Cost: 2 Adrenaline

Call Shadows(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Invisibility, Speed 5)

The Sorcerer pulls deep shadows out of every dark nook and cranny, infusing them with magical power to make them pseudo-real. For the next 20 Ticks, the Sorcerer is accompanied by two Shadows which occupy the same Range Band as him. They act on the same Tick he does without costing any further Adrenaline or affecting his Speed. Enemies will not target the Shadows, but they can be hit by attacks that hit the Sorcerer's entire Range Band, and have a Base Defense of 15 and a Health of 10. On the Sorcerer's tick, they can either make an Accuracy +2, Range 0, 1d6 Damage attack OR an Accuracy +2, Range 3, 1d6 damage attack. Damage done by the Shadows ignore all Armor. Cost: 6 Adrenaline

Refusal

Mind Over Matter(Starting skill, Passive)

The Denier gains a +1 damage bonus per level to all his attacks with Unarmed weapons.

Dismissal(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Mind Over Matter, Passive)

The Denier gains a +1 armor bonus per level as long as he's neither carrying a shield or wearing any armor.

Deny Injury(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Mind Over Matter, Speed 5/Non-Combat)

In combat, allows the Denier to undo his own wounds, healing 1 point of health per 2 Adrenaline spent. Outside of combat, allows the Denier to heal his own wounds at a cost of 1 Stamina per point of health.

Defy Matter(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Mind Over Matter, Speed +3)

The Denier makes an attack as ordinary but the damage dealt is armor-ignoring if it hits as the Denier simply refuses to believe in his opponent's defenses. Cost: 4 Adrenaline.

Ignore Gravity(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Dismissal, Non-Combat)

With this ability the Denier is able to briefly ignore gravity, essentially moving as though he's walking or running along a flat, solid surface in any direction, no matter whether there's actually a surface there or not. He could, for instance, walk straight up in the air or scale a cliffside simply by pretending it's the ground and it's everyone else who's wrong about gravity. The effect is temporary and requires considerable effort, however. For every minute the Denier uses the ability, he spends 2 Stamina.

Rogue

Mechanist(Starting skill, Passive)

The Mercenary gets a +3 modifier to any attempts to disarm mechanical traps or mechanisms, pick locks or otherwise open doors.

Ranged Expertise(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Mechanist, Passive)

Any attack with a weapon of range 3 or greater gains a +3 modifier to hit.

Hamstring(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Mechanist, Speed +3)

Does normal weapon damage. For the remainder of the fight, any effects that change the target's range band(willingly or forced) deal +4 damage.

Always Prepared(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Mechanist, Non-Combat)

If the Mercenary is missing any sort of conventional tool(rope, grappling hook, lockpicks, a wrench, a dozen screws, a soup bone, a bag of flour, etc.) for something he wants to do, he conveniently finds that he remembered to pack it after all. The item is lost or expended in use and cannot be re-used. Costs 1 Stamina to use.

Lightning Reflexes(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Ranged Expertise, Reaction)

When being targeted by an attack, the Mercenary can spend Adrenaline at a ratio of 2:1 to improve his Defense only for the purposes of resisting this attack if he uses this ability prior to the attack being rolled. After the attack is rolled, he can still increase his Defense but now at a cost of 3:1. The change to Defense expires as soon as the attack is resolved.

Eroding Water(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Ranged Expertise, Speed 2)

Until the Mercenary has taken five actions, the Eroding Water combat stance will have the following effects: All damage done is halved(round up), all enemy armor is ignored, the speed of all actions is increased by 1. Eroding Water cannot be active at the same time as Enduring Stone or Flowing Fire.

Unarmed

Unarmed Expertise(Starting skill, Passive)

The Denier gets a +3 to hit with any unarmed attacks. Some weapons, like heavy gauntlets, brass knuckles and punch daggers are considered "Unarmed," they'll be noted as such in the equipment section.

Flurry of Strikes(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Unarmed Expertise, Speed +3)

For every 3 Adrenaline paid, the Denier can make an extra attack of any kind during this action, at any target within range.

Sweeping Kick(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Unarmed Expertise, Speed +3)

Dealing normal damage, the Denier's attack targets two enemies in the same range band. Only one attack roll is made and applied to both, the same goes for damage. Cost: 2 Adrenaline.

Headbutt(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Flurry of Strikes, Speed 5)

The Denier makes an attack doing normal Unarmed damage, with no accuracy modifier. If the attack hits, he takes half as much damage as the target(prior to reduction by armor, but the Denier's own armor applies) and knocks the target down the Initiative track a number of Ticks equal to the amount of damage done post-armor. Cost: 6 Adrenaline.

Dirty Fighting(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Sweeping Kick, Speed +3)

The Denier makes a normal attack, which gains a +2 accuracy if it's the first time he uses it in a battle. If the attack hits, the target has all their speed ratings penalized by +2 for their next five actions. Cost: 3 Adrenaline.

Void Whispers

Body Without Mind(Starting skill, Passive)

The Denier gains a +3 to doing anything that requires raw physical strength or adrenaline and little to no thought, as he decouples his mind and his body, allowing him to perfectly ignore straining muscles and the aches of exhaustion. Only works outside of combat as it requires a brief period of meditation that it's hard to find the peace for when someone's trying to beat your head in with a hammer.

Pierce Illusion(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Body Without Mind, Passive)

The Denier gains a +3 to seeing through falsehoods as the whispers of the Celestial spirits reveal the truth of the world to him. This includes magical illusions, discerning lies, seeing through disguises and noticing the carpet that someone's put over the spiked pit on the floor.

Terrifying Aura(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Body Without Mind, Speed 2)

All combatants are moved one range band away from the Denier as they try to avoid his sudden, terrifying aura. Combatants in the same range band as the Denier may choose whether to move up or down a range band, unless they're already at the limit of how far up or down they can go. Cost: 2 Adrenaline.

Void Transformation(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Terrifying Aura, Speed 2)

For the Denier's next five actions, his Hands & Feet weapon is replaced with the following two:

Name Damage Range Speed Type Cost Encumbrance
Flaying Tentacle 1d4+2 2 3 Unarmed 0 0
Caustic Vomit 1d4+2 6 3 Unarmed 0 0

Costs 4 Adrenaline to use.

Incorporeality(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Pierce Illusion, Speed 2)

For the Denier's next five actions, all damage taken and dealt are halved(round up for damage done, and down for damage taken, to a minimum of 0) and he can freely relocate to any range band in his turn. Cost: 2 Adrenaline.

Soul-Sealing Strike(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Pierce Illusion, Non-Combat)

Punches a Wound off of an ally, but instantly replaces it with one of the following Scars(roll 1d6 to determine which):

1-2: Lost Corporeality. +1 Armor, -1 to all damage done(to a minimum of 1).
3-4: Nightmares. -4 Maximum Stamina, +1 Defense.
5-6: Void Mutation. -1 to all non-intimidation social interaction, recovers 75% Stamina when resting without Rations(this effect doesn't stack on repeated gains of this Scar), +1 damage to unarmed combat attacks.

Costs 2 Stamina to use.

Warrior

Charge!(Starting skill, Speed 3)

Any time the Melee band is empty of enemies, the Warrior can expend 2 Adrenaline to move all enemies one range band closer to Melee(or into Melee if they're already in Near)

Melee Expertise(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Charge!, Passive)

Any attack with a weapon of range 1 or 2 gains a +3 modifier to hit.

Heavy Strike(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Charge!, Speed +3)

Does +4 damage and knocks the target back 1 range band. Uses the character's weapon range and requires a melee weapon.

Endurance(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Melee Expertise, Passive)

Leadership(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Melee Expertise, Passive)

+3 to any rolls involving inspiring or coordinating others. Also halves the starting pay of followers and the costs of maintaining pack animals.

Wind Blade(Tier 1, Prerequisite(s): Heavy Strike, Speed +3)

Flowing Fire(Tier 2, Prerequisite(s): Melee Expertise, Speed 2)

Until the Mercenary has taken five actions, the Flowing Fire combat stance will have the following effects: Every turn the Mercenary expends as much Health as he does Stamina, every turn the Mercenary gains twice as much Adrenaline as he normally would, if the Mercenary lacks enough Stamina to spend, the remainder is taken out of his Health instead, the speed of all actions is reduced by 1. Flowing Fire cannot be active at the same time as Enduring Stone or Eroding Water.

Equipment

Characters start with 50 Imperial Coins to equip themselves for their career with.

Weapons

Name Damage Range Speed Type Cost Encumbrance
Hands & Feet 1d4 0 3 Unarmed 0 0
Brass Knuckles 1d4+1 0 3 Unarmed 5 5
Punch Daggers 1d6+1 0 3 Unarmed 10 5
Dagger 1d6 0 3 Melee 5 5
Polearm 1d8 1 6 Melee 15 10
Sword 1d8 0 5 Melee 10 10
Two-handed Sword 1d8+2 0 5 Melee 20 15
Thrown Rock 1d4 3 3 Thrown 0 0
Throwing Knife 1d6 3 3 Thrown 5 5
Javelin 1d6+1 4 3 Thrown 20 10
Short Bow 1d6 5 5 Ranged 15 10
Long Bow 1d6+1 8 6 Ranged 15 10
Crossbow 1d8 5 8 Ranged 30 15
Rifle 1d8+2 8 8 Ranged 50 15

Armour

Name Armor Speed Penalty Cost Encumbrance
Padded Armor 2 +1 15 5
Leather Armor 3 +1 30 5
Chain Mail 4 +2 50 10
Breastplate 5 +2 100 10
Full Plate Mail 7 +3 300 20
Small Shield 2 +1 15 5
Kite Shield 3 +1 50 5
Tower Shield 4 +2 100 10

Miscellaneous Gear

Name Cost Encumbrance Notes
Rations 2 2 Food & camping supplies
Backpack 10 -15 Helps you carry stuff
Pack Animal 200 -100 Eats rations on rest
Crowbar 5 5 +1 to prying open doors and containers

Character Advancement

Rather than gathering experience points to level up, characters gather valuables. However, the gathering of valuables and money are, in themselves, not enough to level-up. Instead, it only counts when you spend it. Doesn't matter what you spent it on, whether it's services, generous donations to a religious movement, bribes for a politician, prostitutes, drugs, a bigger sword, property or giving it all to beggars. It just doesn't count until it's spent.

Levels

Refer to your class for the specific effects of a level-up.

Level 1: You start here.
Level 2: 500 Imperials
Level 3: 1000 Imperials
Level 4: 2000 Imperials.

It just doubles every level, really.

NPC's

Generally, enemies will not be statted out like players, nor will they be using Stamina and Adrenaline, simply for the purpose of cutting down on bookkeeping during combat. It's possible to stat them out like a player, and possibly something you want to do with a major villain, but generally it should be avoided. For the same reasons of limited bookkeeping, large groups of weak enemies should be represented as a single "swarm" or "horde." Unless they have specific abilities that offer other mobility, assume that a given enemy can move up or down one range band accompanying each action.

Instead, enemies will have a health pool, an armor value and a defense value like player characters. However, their actions in combat will be governed by a list of abilities(again, similar to players, but they won't necessarily be the same) given by tier. Generally an enemy shouldn't use a given ability until they've taken actions equal to its tier level, and the ability should have that many turns of cooldown before being used again(so a tough enemy has some powerful attacks to bust out, but doesn't just spam them). If you want to add some randomness to what enemies do, you can list their abilities as a random table. For instance, if they have six different abilities number them 1 to 6, and roll for what they do if you're unsure what would make the most sense.

Following are some example enemies.

Level 1

Skeletal Archer

Health: 8
Armor: 0
Defense: 14

Tier 1 Abilities

Arrow(Speed 4): The monster fires an arrow at a character with a range 6 attack that has a +4 modifier to hit and deals 1d6 damage.
Claw(Speed 3): The monster claws at a character with a range 0 attack that has a +4 modifier to hit and deals 1d4 damage.

Tier 2 Abilities

Tactical Retreat(Speed 1): The monster retreats 3 range bands and fires at a character with a range 6 attack that has a +4 modifier to hit and deals 1d6 damage. Cannot be used if the monster is already at maximum range.

Tier 3 Abilities

Enervating Howl(Speed 5): The monster spends its action gibbering and howling as the Celestial spirits drive it more insane than usual. This display drains 2 Adrenaline from all enemies within 3 range.
Step Up(Speed 5): If no players are in the Melee range band, this action can be used to draw all player characters two range bands closer to Melee or into Melee.

Skeletal Undead

Health: 8
Armor: 0
Defense: 14

Tier 1 Abilities

Claw(Speed 3): The monster claws at a character with a range 0 attack that has a +4 modifier to hit and deals 1d4 damage.
Throw Rock(Speed 3): The monster throws a rock or other piece of debris as a range 3 attack that has a +2 modifier to hit and deals 1d4 damage.

Tier 2 Abilities

Furious Charge(Speed 1): The monster moves into Melee range and claws at a character with a range 0 attack that has a +4 modifier to hit and deals 1d6 damage. Cannot be used if the monster is already in Melee range.

Tier 3 Abilities

Enervating Howl(Speed 5): The monster spends its action gibbering and howling as the Celestial spirits drive it more insane than usual. This display drains 2 Adrenaline from all enemies within 3 range.
Step Up(Speed 5): If no players are in the Melee range band, this action can be used to draw all player characters two range bands closer to Melee or into Melee.

Vermin Swarm

Health: 12
Armor: 0
Defense: 12

Tier 1 Abilities

Claw(Speed 3): The monster claws at a character with a range 0 attack that has a +4 modifier to hit and deals 1d4 damage.

Tier 2 Abilities

Furious Charge(Speed 1): The monster moves into Melee range and claws at a character with a range 0 attack that has a +4 modifier to hit and deals 1d6 damage. Cannot be used if the monster is already in Melee range.

Tier 3 Abilities

Gibbering Swarm(Speed 5): Like a wave crashing against the beach, the swarm surges forward 3 range bands(or into Melee range if it's already within 3 range bands of melee), making a range 3 attack with a +4 modifier to hit that deals 1d6 damage.
Step Up(Speed 5): If no players are in the Melee range band, this action can be used to draw all player characters two range bands closer to Melee or into Melee.

Example Tension Tables

Buried City(Upper Levels)

Low Tension(0 to 2): Things are spooky but normal, so far no one's noticed you're here. You're only going to get into the fights you pick and the geography is reliable, when you leave a room and return, it still looks the same.
Mid Tension(3 to 4): You've stirred things up with your presence. Groups of mouldering undead shamble around the place, looking for you. Every time you re-enter a room or area, roll a d10. On a roll of 1, a pack of weak undead(Skeletal Undead, Skeletal Archers) of the same number as the players has entered the area and is searching for the players.
Mid Tension(5 to 6):
Mid Tension(7 to 8):
High Tension(9 to 10):

Buried City(Central Districts)

Buried City(Celestial Abyss)

Overland Travel

Roll Tension: 0-2 Tension: 3-4 Tension: 5-6 Tension: 7-8 Tension: 9-10
1 Bandit Ambush(Small) Bandit Ambush(Small) Bandit Ambush(Moderate) Bandit Ambush(Moderate) Bandit Ambush(Large)
2 Bandit Ambush(Small) Bandit Ambush(Small) Bandit Ambush(Small) Bandit Ambush(Small) Bandit Ambush(Moderate)
3 Terrain Obstacle(Minor) Terrain Obstacle(Minor) Terrain Obstacle(Minor) Terrain Obstacle(Noteworthy) Terrain Obstacle(Major)
4 Terrain Obstacle(Minor) Terrain Obstacle(Minor) Terrain Obstacle(Noteworthy) Weather Event Weather Event
5 Merchants Delay Consequence(Minor) Delay Consequence(Minor) Delay Consequence(Noteworthy) Delay Consequence(Major)
6 Merchants Merchants Delay Consequence(Noteworthy) Delay Consequence(Noteworthy) Delay Consequence(Noteworthy)

Bandit Ambush(Small): A number of human opponents of equal number to the party.
Bandit Ambush(Moderate): A number of human opponents of equal number to the party, but they've got the drop on the players, resulting in every PC starting in Melee range if they choose to fight.
Bandit Ambush(Large): A number of human opponents that outnumber the party by 2, and they've got the drop on the players, resulting in every PC starting in Melee range if they choose to fight.
Terrain Obstacle(Minor): The players briefly become lost in the forest, or a similar time-consuming event.
Terrain Obstacle(Noteworthy): A road or bridge have been washed out, leaving the players with an obstacle to surmount if they don't want to lose time.
Terrain Obstacle(Major): A forest fire, avalanche, landslide or other event that isn't just time-consuming and challenging to surpass, but actually dangerous.
Delay Consequence(Minor): The party's contact is annoyed with them, and may require a bribe, small favour or some sweet-talking before they'll cooperate.
Delay Consequence(Noteworthy): The party's contact didn't think they were going to show up, and has taken other employment in the meantime. They may need to be bribed, threatened or somehow released from their existing contract.
Delay Consequence(Major): The party's contact has been killed or kidnapped, or has outright left town. In his place is an ambush by a number of human opponents equal to the party.
Weather Event: The weather changes, usually to something inclement and annoying with tactical consequences(i.e. rainy weather that increases the speed of all range band changes, storm-strength winds that reduce the range of all ranged attacks, etc.)
Merchants: A merchant caravan, they'll regard the armed party of PC's with suspicion unless they engage in some trade or small-talk. Careless talk or actions could result in a tense stand-off until the misunderstanding is resolved.

Wounds and Scars

If a player is reduced to 0 health, they roll a d10 on the Wounds table to determine what happens. Some enemies may have specific Wound results that always happen when they reduce a player to 0 health. After three rests, or at the end of an adventure, all Wounds become Scars. It's possible to have the same Wound and Scar multiple times, no matter how implausible it might be that someone could really fit a 9th dramatic scar on his face or that someone's lost three eyes.

Wounds

1: Concussion. +1 to all speed ratings, -1 combat accuracy and any intellectual pursuits. Scar: Facial Scarring
2: Eye Injury. -2 to combat accuracy. Scar: Eyepatch
3: Crippled arm. -1 to combat accuracy, -1 to all weapon damage. Scar: Damaged Nerves
4: Crippled leg. Shifting range bands now costs 2 adrenaline and adds a +2 speed modifier. Scar: Confusing Limp
5: Bruised lung. -6 max Stamina. Scar:
6: Missing teeth. -2 to any social interaction rolls. Scar: Gold Teeth
7: Impaled.
8: Open Wound. All damage you take is increased by 2 prior to armor. Scar:
9: Infected Wound. Consumes double the normal amount of rations on resting. Scar:
10: Lucky break! No wound.

Scars

Confusing Limp

You've developed an odd limp that makes your movements harder to predict. Your Defense is increased by 1 and your max Stamina is reduced by 4.

Damaged Nerves

Your damaged nerves result in a loss of fine dexterity, but also means you feel less pain. -2 to lockpicking, trap disarming or anything else that can be argued to rely on fine dexterity and steady hands. +2 to anything that relies on raw strength or endurance, +1 to all damage dealt with range 0 or range 1 weapons and skills.

Eyepatch

On the downside, you've lost an eye. On the upside, now there's one less sensitive spot for enemies to hit! All attacks at range 2 or greater have a -1 penalty to hit, but you gain a +1 to armor.

Facial Scarring

Thanks to your obvious facial scars, you now look like a grizzled, dangerous badass: -2 to any rolls to peacefully negotiate with or persuade people, +2 to any social interaction where you intimidate or threaten people.

Gold Teeth

You've had your head knocked around enough times to lose some teeth and need them replaced. Gold seems the obvious answer. Doesn't change any characteristics, but you ended up with some gold left over from the work. Gain 50 Imperial Coins.

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