To the reader:
Please be aware of the in-development status of this document. I’ve made it available primarily out of request, rather than out of an insistence it be played. That’s a burden I can only foist on my poor players. (You know who you are.)
I am aware of much jankiness. Many mechanics/procedures put a lot of weight on the GM. Some are purposefully strange, others have accidental holes. Formatting is odd. Term-bloat is real. Near-nothing is alphabetized. Combat is deadly, but death is ill-defined. Crunch-factor is much higher than your average RPG heartbreaker.
Also, most everyone has commenting privileges. Use them, if you wish.
Enjoy, and proceed at risk.
Please note: Changelog exists not for purposes of version control, but for informing players of changes.
Current changelog tracking began ‘The Pit’ campaign, starting late Dec. 2018.
New versions usually occur directly before a major playtesting session.
V.002, PLAYTEST SESSION 2
V.003, PLAYTEST SESSION 3
V.004, PLAYTEST SESSION 4
Character Sheet Changes
V.005, PLAYTEST SESSION 5
V.006, PLAYTEST SESSION 6
Characters are defined by their skills. All have six core skills. For a human, these are: Agility, Fortitude, Intellect, Might, Perception, and Subtlety.
Skills beyond these are possessed only by some. These are acquired skills.
All skills, be they base or acquired, range in level from zero to twelve. Level 0 represents a lack of skill, while level 12 denotes a masterful degree of ability.
If ever a character attempts an action where success is not clearly in view, they must roll a d12. If the roll shows double digits (10, 11, or 12) the character succeeds in their action. If not, they fail.
If a character has skill in the action they are attempting, they may total it into their d12 roll, thereby increasing their chance of double digits and success.
WHEN TO ROLL
The gamemaster shall call for a test when there is a chance of failure or when something is at stake. Tests are also required when two characters oppose each other. As a result, combat is a series of tests.
Outstanding modifiers may modify a roll. Positive modifiers are bonuses. Negative ones are maluses. These are added or subtracted from the roll total once a relevant skill is added.
Modifiers may be applicable to a single roll, an entire skill or skills, or be global. Global bonuses and maluses are applied to all rolls a character makes.
Some skills, such as languages or melee proficiencies, may be had more than once. These are topical skills.
Not exhaustive. Skills marked with * are topical. Skills with † are base skills.
Archetypes for playable characters. Each bestows skills and additional starting possessions. Others give traits. Many have prerequisites.
Base: Human - Prerequisite: Might 4, Frontier
A human of simple means and deliberate action. Once, you went into the woods with a pup and an intent to fell wood. Ten years later, you emerged with a dog and a child. Why, none can say. Perhaps you seek a lost love. Perhaps you simply seek more trunks to fell.
Base: Human child
You are a child of small stature and outsized ambition. Self-trained by wooden swords, storybooks, and stick-bows in the skills relevant to your ideations of high adventure.
Base: Human or Mouse - Prerequisite: Subtlety and Agility 3, Intellect 2
A duplicitous rogue. One possessed of fine limbs, nimble manners, and a predilection for intrusion within homes and minds.
Base: Human - Prerequisite: Intellect 2, Subtlety 3
You are a crosser of forbidden thresholds. A tomb cracker inspired not so much by burgled gold, but by a perverse urge to trespass ancient grounds.
Base: Child, Mouse Pup, or Ragling - Prerequisite: Subtlety 4
You are a young huddler in hollow logs and dark alleys. A pickpocket and a risker. Perhaps an orphan, perhaps a victim of society. Most definitely a scamp.
Base: Human, Ragman - Prerequisite: Might 6
You are a conveyor of burdens. A back grown broad and steady neath uncounted crushing loads. Perhaps a dockworker, a farmer, or a bearer of sacred oils. Now, a
For the purpose of figuring burden, your Might is doubled.
Additionally, with the aid of lug straps or similar gear, you may use containers double, triple, or even greater the size of a normal backpack as your pack. Doing so zeroes the container's burden.
Base: Human - Prerequisite: Might 5, Frontier
You have been selected to perform the rare and awful honor of ferrying a young bumblequeen to her prospective kingdom. Perhaps you were commissioned to fulfill this errand by a lovely bee queen, or maybe you were press-ganged by the workers who escort you. Failing that, perhaps you are simply lacking in sense.
Regardless, you must strive to ferry your liege to her new kingdom. She is fat and flightless with the genetic material of a nation, and requires you ensconce her in a land of good sun and many flowers. If not, you will surely die, or be stung, trying.
Base: Human, Ragman - Prerequisite: Intellect 3
Your calling is to fuel cutter, soldier, lumberjack, and sailor alike. Pancakes, fatted prunes, potatoes and hash; slung from greased griddles and burbling pans of fat: All oil for the mechanism of the working body.
When you use Butchery to Harvest a carcass, you gain fats equal to your Butchery level in addition to any meat acquired.
Base: Human, Ragman - Prerequisite: Intellect 3
You are a kind of merchant refugee. A brewer and a peddler of rude spirits fled from Belvirine, where such products are prohibited.
Base: Human - Prerequisite: Fortitude 2, Perception 3
Yours is a role ancient and integral to martial tradition. No company nor mercenary band is complete without such a culinary quartermaster. A keeper, preparer, and distributor of the stewpot’s precious contents.
Base: Human, Human Child - Prerequisite: Perception 4, Frontier
You are a lonesome guardian of fragile charges. Of fleeces: Rickety, bleating puffs kept for their wool and sour squirts of milk. Herd beasts made inadvertently dumb and demanding by centuries of breeding. They require constant, attentive herding to satisfy their appetites and prevent predation both mundane and monstrous.
Your fortune lies in a small flock of these needy creatures. Their appetites are great, their lives tenuous, grazed as they are on wilderland soil.
Base: Human - Prerequisite: Might 4, Intellect 2
You hail from County Black, from Firlund’s smog-choked heart of industry. A land of blackened heather and great belching stacks for trees. This dominion is the height of humanity’s arts, and the Other’s most hated enemy.
By your command of iron, where you construct a forge, the Other’s influence is reduced threefold.
Base: Human - Prerequisite: Perception 4, Fortitude 2
From the holy crags of Mount Rubitus, you are far removed, bound on a drear errand to aid cutters in the wilderlands. Though they are rude and mostly faithless, their task, to drive out the wild, the Otherly, and the devilsome, is one you count as a great service to humanity. For this, they are supremely holy. You will join them in their ventures, however bloody they may be.
Ordained of Aveth
The Lord of Humanity has given you the resolve to guide her kin.
You have two faith points. Once per session, you may spend one or more of them to add +1 to any roll made by you or another character.
Additionally, you roll for nightmares at -2.
To maintain these benefits, you must take care to pray nightly and observe Aveth’s dictates.
Your faith may be tested. Adhere to the dictates of Aveth to hold true.
This trait replaces Avethan, if present.
Base: Human, Ragman - Prerequisite: Agility 3
You are a rogue from the rough port-cities of Maples. There, on thin brick-walks and canal-street gangplanks, you learned to wield the liccasapone: The long soap-knife so well known for anointing duelists with arcing, saponated scars. With a fist of rope and a long blade, you will bestow many more.
With four yards of cord, you may craft a defensive gauntlet of knots and coils. Its block value is equal to your Knots skill (maximum 6.) Your dexterity is unimpeded by the gauntlet.
Base: Human - Prerequisite: Agility 2, Subtlety 3, Perception 2
A stalker and a predator. A bounty hunter and a thief. It is your way to creep upon that which you desire, in the secret and the dark, and take it at your leisure.
Base: Human, Mouse - Prerequisite: Intellect 3
You are a cutter of scruff and a mender of the broken. A rare ally in dirty and painful times.
Base: Human - Prerequisite: Fortitude 3
You are a numb, castaway human. A person reduced and distorted as much by prejudice as by your gnawing disease.
By these woes, though, you will not be weakened. You can only be inured, hardened. Numbed, until the nearing day you die.
You are infected by the blight. It affects two of your body areas (one limb and a trunk area.) These take the form of weeping, grey-black, spongey lesions. They are hard and quite numb.
These areas are stage I blight (resist one pain level.) They may worsen, stiffen, and spread. They are highly contagious unless bandaged and medicated with grey salt.
Base: Human - Prerequisite: Subtlety 3, Might 3
You are a medical misappropriator. A thief of the honored dead for sale on the black market, or for your own dissection and harvest.
Base: Human, Ragman - Prerequisite: Might 3
You are a member of the Mason’s Guild, a coalition of itinerants who will put a quality brick in whatever wall, fireplace, or offending face their employer desires.
Base: Human child, Mouse pup, Ragling - Prerequisite: Agility 3, Intellect under 3
You are a wretched pup. A catcher and a gobbler of anything small and slow enough to find itself in your grubby paws. Perhaps you have potential. Perhaps you will always be like this.
Base: Human - Prerequisite: Fortitude 6
Alone, surrounded by the picked, rotted remains of foe and ally alike, you have awoken. Bloodied, forgotten, half-buried. Struck down by a mortal blow, yet still alive. To those you once knew, you are dead. How you remain, you will never know.
Death takes up not so easily within these limbs. You resist level 3 wounds at +2.
Base: Human - Prerequisite: Intellect 3
You are, or were, valet to some officer or commissioner. By whatever vagary, you have been separated, left aimless with half your gear and a pair of officer’s boots.
Base: Ragman - Prerequisite: Intellect under 4, Subtlety 5
You are a lurker and an encroacher. A latent loiterer in dank hovels and dug-out hollows. Your goals and wants are rude, but distinct.
Once per session, when you find or establish a suitable hole in which to squat, you gain +2XP each for having smoked, boozed, or gobbled food therein.
Base: Mouse - Prerequisite: Scurry 4, Subtlety 2
Yours is a role deemed integral to Emperoussin high service: The dust-mouse, a charger of clocks and a cleaner in unreachable places. A servant often present, but rarely seen.
Base: Ragman, Ragling - Prerequisite: Intellect under 2, Agility 3
An unusual furrier. Your arts go unappreciated by the civil and the human. For you, though, this is no concern. Such folk are less often patrons, but hirsute hides waiting to be dressed.
Up to five times per session, when you gain the scalp of a human, you gain 2XP.
Base: Human, Ragman- Prerequisite: Intellect 3, Might 4
A bender and a binder of stout housings. A tradesman, converted by popular demand from a crafter of kegs and wine barrels to a outfitter of cutter’s buckets and body-plates.
Base: Human, Ragman- Prerequisite: Might 3, Subtlety 4
When, since the old days of sailing, a flogging is set to be dispensed, it is the bighter, the hand best at knots, who ties and swings the biting lash.
You are a jailer, a scourge, a torturer. Whether at sea or on land, rough folk still abide your woeful art: The humbling touch of rope.
If, while wielding an improvised weapon made of rope, you land a blow with a roll of 12, any wounds you inflict apply bonus pain equal to your Knots level minus 3.
Base: Human, Ragman- Prerequisite: Intellect 6, Fortitude under 3
You are a twiddler of thumbs. A leaner and a smoker in doorframes and shaded corners. A listener and a thinker. Not an actor, but an observer. Not a layabout, but an incipient learner.
If, once per session, when you have Practice in no skills, you may gain Practice in one skill when you witness another character do so, even if you have no levels in the skill they practiced.
Base: Human, Ragman - Prerequisite: Intellect 5
You are a traveling prognosticant.
Sorts are constructed on bases. These are most often used to define the nature of a character's age and species.
Unexceptional, for they comprise the majority of Coastal folk. A people defined by faith and domineering ambition.
2. HUMAN CHILD
A human entailed in middle childhood, likely 6-12 years of age. Physically weak, but rife with potential.
A child’s Might and Fortitude are capped at level 3. After choosing a sort with Base: Child, curtail your character’s skills appropriately. For this reason, children are easily burdened and often lag behind.
At the start of every session, a child character receives 5 bonus XP.
Additionally, every month after the age of 12, a child character has a 1 in 4 chance of becoming an adolescent. This changes their sort to Human, removing the traits of Child.
A small, furry personage.
After choosing a sort with Base: Mouse, replace your character’s Might with Scurry.
Mice are nimble. They may jump five times their height. They may squeeze wherever their skulls can fit. With quick paws and a prehensile tail, they may swim and climb with a speed and familiarity unknown to average humans.
Most mice never achieve such deft feats. They have a propensity to become comfortably fat.
If at any point a mouse loses their tail (or a portion thereof) they will suffer a malus to Scurry rolls befitting the lost extremity. (-1 for lost tip, -3 for lost half, -5 for severed entirely.) A mouse may adapt to this loss in time.
Like humans’ Might, Scurry determines how much burden a mouse can carry. A mouse may carry a number of burden points equal to their scurry level.
Mice may only use Tiny or Small melee weapons. They may fire loaded ranged weapons, but may not use bows meant for humans.
Mice are minute. They rarely surpass .6 meters in height. A fit mouse will weigh just under ten kilos. A fat one may reach fifteen. Due to this reduced size, mouse characters are easier to maim. Their wound thresholds are half the usual (e.g., 1/4/6.)
Mice may only use melee weapons of range Short and under. They are unable to use weapons with a Might requirement.
Mice see poorly at distance, compared to larger Littorans. They suffer a malus of 2 to Perception for the purpose of seeing anything at distance.
Despite this, mice may navigate in the dark with some success, due to their sense of smell. A mouse may effectively “see” two steps ahead of them in the dark.
4. MOUSE PUP
A quivering, puny youngster with bug eyes, an over-large head, and a fresh, tenuous grasp on life.
A pup is subject to all the traits of Sort: Mouse.
A pup’s scurry is capped at level 4 and their fortitude is capped at level 2. After choosing this sort, curtail your character’s skills appropriately. Pups are springy, but apt to perish.
Additionally, every month, a pup character has a 1 in 4 chance of becoming grown. This changes their sort to Mouse, removing the traits of Pup.
A mouse pup may carry only one point of burden.
At the start of every session, a pup character receives 5 bonus XP
Additionally, every month, a pup character has a 1 in 4 chance of becoming an adolescent. This changes their sort to Mouse, removing the traits of Pup.
A queer creature swathed in rags. Sunlight-intolerant.
Your starting clothes are replaced with dull trappings, your second, textile skin.
Additionally, you gain the skill Weaving at level 2. This, along with available textiles, determines the art and quality of your trappings.
It takes 30 meters of inch-width material to craft trappings for one limb.
Unless swathed in trappings, your skin burns in sunlight as if exposed to an intensity-1 flame.
Also, your eyes are inflamed by the sun. While in sunlight, you experience a pain malus of 1 so long as your eyes are open and unshaded.
In day, your pupils are pinpricks. In darkness, they expand, allowing you to see with the acuity and reflective gaze of a cat.
If you eat a full meal of fresh eggs, fish, or exotic meat, you become Well Fed.
Mistakable for a large, red-eyed ragdoll.
You have all the traits of Base: Human Child, save for Human.
You have all the traits of Base: Ragman.
Exceptionality and peculiarity alike. A character may have no more than 4 traits of a kind.
Some traits have a session prerequisite. In order to gain such a trait, a character must have survived for at least the quantity of sessions listed by the trait.
Cost: 10, Prerequisite: Human, Starter OR Be taught the Lord’s truth by a priest this session
The Lord Aveth gives you resolve and guards your mind against evil.
You have one faith point. Once per session, you may spend it to add a bonus of 1 to any roll. Additionally, you roll for nightmares at -1.
To maintain these benefits, you must take care to pray nightly and observe Aveth’s dictates.
Cost: 20, Prerequisite: Awnish
Your Northern heritage makes you immune to the first level of Cold.
Cost: 20, Prerequisite: Doze with hounds
Dogs and behaviourally-similar creatures are especially fond of you.
Your hair and skin are oily and musty like a dog’s coat.
Cost: 30, Prerequisite: Starter
You can hear beyond the usual range for your species, but are immune to lower registers.
Additionally, you are immune to the fear-inducing effect of sirens.
Your burden allowance is 3 + Might, rather than 2 + Might.
Cost: 30, Prerequisite: Starter OR Experience Irrational Rage last session
When Horrified, any roll of 12-7 triggers Irrational Rage.
Cost: 20, Prerequisite: Starter, Mouse
Your perceive odiferous items and creatures at a bonus of 2.
Additionally, you gain a commensurate bonus to surprise against such smelly things.
Cost: 40, Starter
Roll for Horror with a bonus of 2.
Cost: 20, Starter
Perception penalty while sleeping reduced from malus of 5 to 2.
Cost: 20, Prerequisite: Starter, Session 3
Gain 1XP per wound level, per wound.
Cost: 20, Prerequisite: Mouse
Soft spaces no larger than twice your body volume are considered superior accommodations for the purpose of becoming Well Rested.
Cost: 40, Prerequisite: Starter, Mouse
You may use your tail as a sort of non-dexterous hand. It may hold reasonably large items and even bear your body weight.
Cost: 40, Prerequisite: Starter OR Have never rolled 12+ on a Nightmares roll
Whenever you roll for Nightmares, do so at -2.
Cost: 30, Prerequisite: Intellect 3, Starter OR Session 3
Once per session, the character's player may ask the GM for advice based on what they know. The advice will be correct.
Cost: 30, Prerequisite: Starter, not child
Despite any veneer of grime, grit, and gore, this character rarely fails to elicit a favorable gaze.
Cost: 20, Starter, Damage tongue
You may eat foul food as if it were normal. Conversely, spices and seasonings give you no benefit.
Cost: 30, Prerequisite: Mouse, Starter OR have consumed double required food and gained a stitch last session
If you become redundantly Well Fed thrice in a session, you enter a brief hibernation lasting 24 hours. During this time, you are unable to gain consciousness. You also roll Fortitude at +4 and may check for Stitches thrice at the end of your sleep.
Cost: 50, Prerequisite: Session 3, Have acquired and never slain a nightmare of yours
For every nightmare that follows you, you gain +5XP at session’s end.
+20, Prerequisite: Ragman, Dine repeatedly on manflesh
If a ragman character chooses this trait at creation, they become a monstrous ragwretch. They gain spindly horns, elongated teeth, and enhanced night vision. Ragwretches are bogeymen; shunned at best and most often hunted. Eating manflesh makes you Well Fed.
+20, Starter OR Spend an entire session at over 200% burden
You may not exceed 200% burden. If you do, you immediately suffer a level 1 muscle spasm. This may be triggered by creatures leaping on you.
When you witness blood in excess of Bleed 3 or 2, depending on the XP bonus at which you bought this trait, roll Fortitude to resist passing out.
You cannot be Horrified.
+20, Prerequisite: Starter OR Openly mock the Other
The Other is out to get you. Up to once per session, powers of the Otherworld will attempt to make your life miserable.
+20, Starter OR Attain pepperelle addiction
You are addicted to pepperelle. The GM will inform you when you crave a smoke. If you do not smoke, you begin to Yearn. Whilst Yearning for pepperelle, you receive a malus of 1 to all rolls. The GM has permission to cause you to Yearn at a minorly disadvantageous time once a session.
Additionally, flittering, dusty doxbells swarm your person; namely in and around your ears. If given sufficient time, they will generate into a topple.
+30, Starter OR Have not eaten last session
You require two portions in order to become Fed or Well Fed.
+10, Starter OR repeatedly fail Intellect rolls to gain skill in which you become incompetent
You are unable to gain any levels in the specified acquired skill. You may not take this trait if you already have levels in said skill.
+10 or +20, depending on commonness of allergen, Starter
When exposed to an allergen (of your choice) you suffer a 1 malus to all rolls.
+30-40, Starter OR Brain damage
When exposed to sudden lights or flashes, you immediately suffer a level 3 or Mortal Seizure, depending on the XP level at which you buy this trait.
+20, Starter OR have never succeeded a Perception roll for initiative
When rolling Perception for initiative purposes, you do so at -2.
You must opt into Horror when the GM describes something as sudden, alarming, abrupt, unexpected, or some other synonym.
You must always opt into Horror. The GM will remind you to, if you do not.
Whenever you are allowed to regain blood, you do so at one point lower than described.
Additionally, you are oddly pale. Creatures of the Other are more likely to approach you or single you out.
+10, Prerequisite: Too many night watches
The character has no desire to sleep at night, and they will become sleep deprived if they do not sleep in the day.
+10, Prerequisite: Exposure to dark
The character may become horrified in darkness and automatically becomes horrified if suddenly plunged into darkness.
+20-40, Prerequisite: Starter OR Experience a Restless night within the last session.
When making Nightmare rolls, you add +2 or +4 to your roll, depending on the severity of your restlessness.
+20 or +30, depending on commonness of allergen
When exposed to an allergen (of your choice) you suffer a Mortal allergic reaction.
+40, Prerequisite: Starter OR Openly mock the Other
The Other desires to end you. Up to once per session, powers of the Otherworld will attempt to subtly end your miserable life.
+40, Prerequisite: Human, Starter
You are immune to the antibiotic effects of grisodate. Highly-developed plague riddles the blackened sponge of your marrow and lungs. Though none could guess, pathogenesis stirs ready within your tissues. You are but a few hours of death away from becoming a grue.
You gain no antibiotic benefit from grisodate. Additionally, you rapidly re-infect humans around you with latent plague, included those medicated with grisodate. You become a grue shortly after death.
Act with speed and ease.
When defending against an attack, you may roll Agility to dodge. Dodging requires an action. If you succeed, the damage of the incoming attack is reduced by an amount equal to your agility level.
When you dodge, must choose to either retreat a step or fall prone. To dodge without retreating, apply a malus of 2 to your dodge roll.
Rare circumstances, those in which you must cover a lot of ground to dodge successfully (such as explosions or falling debris,) may apply a malus to your roll.
In quick-time, Agility determines your rate of movement. Your speed is equal to 1 + your Agility level.
An action may be used to stand up if you are prone.
A character may take the Block action a number of times per round equal to to their Agility level.
Break down fleshly creatures.
Collect additional meats from a carcass equal to your Butchery x2.
Once per session, roll Butchery to attack a creature whom you have already impaled. Should this attack hit, its damage it boosted by a value equal to your Butchery level.
Prepare fuel for the hungry.
A meal is successfully prepared via a Cooking test. Ingredients may require different Cooking skills to properly prepare. Certain items provide bonuses to Cooking tests.
A successful test creates a proper meal. A failure destroys all ingredients.
Spices, provided they compliment ingredients, may provide up to +3. Certain ingredients may inflict a malus on the cooking test, due to consistency or flavor. Spices may counteract this malus.
Meals require a minimum of three ingredients. Water does not count. One portion of each ingredient is required per creature to be fed. Additional ingredients upgrade the quality of the meal by one point.
To prepare a meal, the cook must have an appropriate container or containers (pot, skillet, pan, spit) large enough to hold all portions. Any food cooked that doesn’t fit in or has no container applies -3 to the roll.
Additionally, hot meals will ease or stave off the effects of cold.
Bind wood and iron into multifarious casks.
MAKE CASK ARMOR
You may convert kegs and buckets into a cumbersome, yet effective, brand of body armor.
To do so, obtain requisite materials (bucket/keg/barrel and straps,) tools (saw, drawknife, and drill,) and roll Cooperage. Each relevant tool adds +1 to your roll.
Success yields a cask helm, cask body, or barrel shield. Failure destroys the keg/bucket/barrel. The quality of said armor is determined by your cooperage level:
Create earthy fortifications, shelters, and literal trenches alike.
You can dig a meter-stretch of defensive trench suitable to your size in a number of hours equal to 13 minus your Entrenching level. You can dig a grave in similar time.
You can make dugout shelters in a manner befitting your people. Each Entrenching level and hour committed to construction increases the quality of your burrow.
Bring low the large and the wooden.
Fell trunks in an hour equal to your Felling level. Certain tree species may apply a malus. Individual trees of special hardiness may require a roll.
An axe or saw is required. Exceptional tools may increase your effective level.
You may use your Felling skill to attack creatures substantially larger than you.
Withstand hardship, injury, and death.
Characters have a quantity of blood equal to 10 + Fortitude. If they lose this quantity, they lose consciousness. At 20+Fortitude, they die of exsanguination.
When you sustain a wound, roll Fortitude to avoid its Resist effects.
Fortitude is rolled after 8 hours of marching and again after each additional hour. Each hour accrues an additional +1 difficulty modifier. Failure bestows the Exhausted condition.
Given time to breath normally before submersion, a character may hold their breath for two minutes underwater.
If, by the end of this time, the character is still submerged, quicktime activates. A Fortitude check must be made every round thereafter. Each subsequent test accrues a +1 difficulty modifier. A failed test results in the Drowning wound. ‘Drowning” may occur in spaces devoid of oxygen, as well as under water.
Characters who are submerged (in water, quicksand, etc.) without time to catch their breath enter quicktime and begin making tests against drowning after one round.
Play and bluff through games and life alike.
Once per day, roll Gambling before another skill roll. If you succeed, your roll gains a 3 bonus. If you fail, gain a 3 malus.
Nurture flames to life.
Roll Matchsmithy to generate a fire. A Matchsmithy roll, successful or otherwise, takes fifteen minutes. To make the roll, a character must have both a fire starting tool and a unit of tinder. Certain items provide bonuses to this roll.
Certain environmental conditions may provide maluses:
Regardless of result, the tinder is consumed, along with whatever tool was used alongside it, if applicable.
If you succeed, the resulting fire requires 1 unit of wood immediately and then every fifteen minutes in order to remain alive.
Once per session, when you set a person or building alight, you set a number of contiguous extra body or construction areas alight equal to your Matchsmithy level.
Heal the wounded.
Requires two hands. Roll Medicine. A point of malus is applied for every point of bleeding in effect. Bandages apply a bonus of 2. A tourniquet applies a bonus of 4, but causes a limb to become unusable. If the check fails, the bandages are made useless.
Wounds which have been stopped may reopen and resume bleeding if they are struck. In such a case, Fortitude is rolled to determine wound integrity.
One or more hands may be devoted to applying pressure to a bleeding wound. One hand reduces bleeding by 1, and two hands reduce it by 2. If at any point the hands are removed, the wound begins to bleed immediately.
Staunch bleeding must be interrupted in order to Stop Bleeding on a wound in question.
REMOVE IMPALING OBJECT
Characters may remove impaling objects with Might, as well. Removing an object via a Might check results in blood loss automatically.
Certain projectiles inflict a malus on the Surgery test. For instance, broadheads test at -2. Specially barbed points, -3. Armor piercing bodkins have no modifier. Flechettes usually have no modifier
Closed wounds promote healing and scarless closure. An Medicine roll may be used to bind a wound with bandages. (Notably, this is separate from stopping bleeding. It requires an additional bandage.) Medicine: Surgery may be used to apply sutures. The manor by which a wound is closed gives a variable bonus to Stitching Tests.
Share your own skill with many others.
For every level of Instruction you possess, you may Teach one additional character during an opportunity to Learn skills.
Efficiently process your experiences and surroundings.
When you perform an action related to a skill which you do not have, roll Intellect. If you succeed, you gain Practice in that skill and may improve it when next you have an opportunity to Learn.
When Learning topical skills, you gain an XP discount per level gained equal to your Intellect level.
To get somewhere, one must know where they are going.
When setting out, the party’s pace must be determined. Pace influences navigation and wariness.
To begin traveling with any hope of not getting lost, a route must be determined. Directions may be ascertained by local knowledge or maps (assuming they are correct.) If a road or river is present, characters may simply follow its route in lieu of plotting their own.
To plot a route, some mode of direction must be present. Such modes (provided they provide correct information) give a bonus to the eventual Navigation check.
Navigation is passively tested at the end of a trek. If successful, the test indicates the party has traveled the desired way. If failed, they become lost. The party may determine if they are lost or on-trail only by a combination of clues and their own reason.
Work rope and cord.
Loads and captured creatures attempting to escape binds you create roll with a malus equal to your Knots.
Withstand hardship, injury, and pain.
Climbing simple surfaces (a short bookshelf) requires no effort. However, scaling something more difficult (a rough stone wall, a cliff, vines) requires a Might roll.
At level 6 might and above, you deal 1 bonus damage when attacking with weapons that act as a lever.
Speak and write with skill or otherwise.
Each topic in Language which you possess is a language which you may speak.
At level 4, you may read and write in a given language.
At level 6, your skill with language impresses those with whom you speak who also know it. When reading or hearing your words, characters’ reactions to you are increased favorably by one level.
Attack and defend with naught but your body. A unique topic within Melee.
Add Melee: Unarmed to your attack roll when you make an unarmed attack.
You may attack with Unarmed to wrestle an opponent.
To grapple, roll to attack and add your Might. Melee roll modifiers apply. If they are able, your opponent may block or dodge.
While being grappled:
You may attack with Unarmed in an attempt to seize and immobilize an opponent’s limb or weapon. To do so, roll Melee: Unarmed. Your opponent may Dodge or Block, as usual.
Whilst Locked, neither the seized limb nor the limb you used to grab may be used. The Locked character may attempt to regain control of their limb/weapon by rolling Melee or Unarmed (depending on whether their limb or weapon is locked) or by releasing the locked weapon. When attempting to escape, they roll with a malus equal to your Might.
A character Locking a bladed weapon may sustain injury when the owner of the weapon attempts to break free.
Attack and defend with close-combat weapons.
Melee is a topical skill. If a character acquires it, they gain proficiency with a category of weapon.
Add Melee to your roll when you attack with a member of the weapon category in which you hold proficiency.
Add Melee to your roll when you block with a member of the weapon or shield category in which you hold proficiency.
You may only attempt to block attacks which originate from your front.
Proficiency topics: Axe, Knife, Sword, Hammer, Polearm, Greatsword, etc.
Act silently and without notice.
When you choose to Stalk, characters apply your Subtlety level as a malus to their Perception roll.
Environmental factors may influence your Stalking. Doing so in the open, without intervening cover, applies a 2 malus. Good cover negates this malus. Heavy concealment applies a 2 bonus.
Roll Subtlety when you attack to do so silently.
In moments of peril, gameplay slows to a turn-based mode called quick-time.
Quick-time is organized into turns and rounds. Every participation character gets a turn in which to act. Once they all act, a round concludes. The order in which they act is dictated by individually rolling initiative.
The order in which characters act in a round is dictated by an initiative order. When quick time begins, all participants roll Perception.
Those who succeed act at the first half of the round. Their turns proceed starting with the character with the highest Agility level and ending with the lowest.
Those who fail act in the second half of the round. They also act in Agility level-order.
Initiative order, and thus quick-time, ends when peril no longer faces any of the involved characters.
On their turn, a character may take up to two actions. Typical actions include:
Actions may be held to trigger at a defined point later in the round. If the defined trigger never comes to pass, the action is wasted. For attacks, this is useful for warding against enemy approach.
Character declares attack against target in range, determines modifiers, and rolls to hit (using chosen combat skill, if able.)
If able, target rolls either Agility (to dodge) or a combat skill (to block or beat.)
If the attacker succeeded, apply weapon damage to the defender. If the attacker rolled a 12 on their attack roll, add 1 bonus damage.
Apply any damage reduction furnished by blocking or dodging.
If damage remains, apply it to a body area determined by rolling a d12 on the following table:
Apply any damage reduction provided by armor and hardness on that area. Check remaining damage against wound thresholds to determine if a wound occurs.
Wounds occur when damage applied to a body area exceeds a threshold. The human thresholds are as follows:
When a wound is applied, it causes some combination of adverse effects, namely bleeding, impalation, and stun:
Bleeding: Lose blood equal to value at end of turn. At 10+Fortitude lost, lose consciousness. At 20+Fortitude, death.
Stun: An amount of rounds during which stunned limb may not be used.
If body, character is dazed and unable to act for a number of actions equal to the stun value.
If leg/foot, roll Fortitude with malus equal to stun. I fail, fall prone.
If stun affects the head, roll Fortitude with malus equal to stun. If fail, unconsciousness immediately.
Impalation: A malus equal to the size of the impaling weapon or projectile (small = 1, medium = 2, large = 3.) Double malus for mice.
If limb, the malus only applies to actions taken with that limb.
If body, the malus applies to all actions.
If head, roll Fortitude with malus equal to impale. If fail, unconsciousness immediately.
If fail level 3, fatal headshot.
If you attack a character and impale them, your weapon sticks.
Pain: A malus, equal to the highest level of pain suffered, applied to all actions.
Severance: If a minor severance occurs and hits a small extremity (ear, finger, nose,) that extremity is severed. If a major severance occurs and hits a limb, that limb is severed (at the affected body area down.) If head, death.
Fracture: Forgot how fractures work. Indev.
For ease of reference and speed of play, wound tickets should be used to communicate and track the effects of a wound. Without these, combat may become slowed by dictating the effects of each wound.
When you receive a wound, roll Fortitude to resist it. If you succeed, you suffer reduced effects.
(Experimental.) Unconscious characters are easy to finish off.
Unconscious: You fall prone and may not take actions. Each turn, roll Fortitude with a malus equal to the stun value which knocked you unconscious. If you succeed, you regain consciousness. If an unconscious character is struck by a level 3 wound, they die.
Flesh takes time to stitch itself together.
To heal, a wound must be filled up with stitches. stitches occur as a result of rest and healing. Stitches are not sutures.
When an opportunity to apply a stitch arises, roll Fortitude. Success applies a stitch. Failure means healing has not yet progressed.
When a Stitch is applied, it reduces any pain caused by a wound by 1 level.
Opportunities for stitch rolls include:
Level 3 wounds may not heal more than 3 stitches without surgery. Surgery is handled via the Medicine skill. Medicine muay also be used to treat wounds, which expedites healing.
Certain conditions ease healing. They apply bonuses to stitch rolls:
Undue stress may cause a healing wound to unstitch. When a character’s wounded area is affected by a blow, make a Fortitude: Durability check. Success deems the wound remains intact. If failure, remove Stitches equal to half the damage applied and begin bleeding if the wound previously bled.
Mechanical procedures for exploration and unstructured time.
Flesh takes time to stitch itself together.
Lunch is an event with a variety of benefits. To enjoy a Lunch, a character must:
Lunch’s benefits include:
Characters may gain the benefit of a lunch twice per day, regardless of time. If in the event it occurs at night, it is called a supper. Cutters have little regard to standard meal nomenclature.
Food makes a character Fed. Especially good food makes them Well Fed.
All characters must become Fed at least twice a day in order to function properly. If they become Fed three times in a day, they are automatically Well Fed by the day’s end.
Well Fed: Gain +5XP at session’s end. Make next set of stitch rolls at +1.
Every missed meal bestows a level of Hungry. Each Hungry level applies a -1 to all rolls.
Sleep is essential for optimal function. A character needs eight hours every day in order to prevent levels of Drowsy. Each Drowsy level adds a malus of 1 to all rolls.
A character who sleeps but attains less than eight hours must roll Fortitude successfully or gain a level of Drowsy. This applies to characters made to stand watch at night. Said characters must also roll Perception at the start of their watch, or risk nodding off. If they do nod off, they gain sleep as usual.
Characters who get a night’s rest in superior accommodations become Well Rested.
Well Rested: Gain +5XP at session’s end. Make next set of stitch rolls at +1. Stacks with Well Fed.
Additionally, during a Night’s Rest, a character may Learn.
Experience (written XP, for “experience points”) is the product of life. It may be spent by Learning to improve and earn skills and traits.
A character obtains XP at the end of every session. The amount of XP received by a character at session’s end is dictated by their accomplishments during that session.
Bonus XP sources, such as becoming Horrified or Well Rested, are added to the whole.
To improve or earn skills, a character must gain relevant Practice. Using a skill, usually by succeeding in a roll, causes it to become Practiced. Some skills are easier to practice, by their nature.
Practiced skills may be improved when an opportunity to Learn arises. Usually, having a Lunch or a Night’s Rest are a character’s primary opportunities in which to learn.
To improve a Practiced skill by one level, a character must expend XP equal to ten times the level they wish to attain in that skill. For instance, it takes 20XP to raise a skill from level 1 to level 2. A skill may only be increased one per Learning.
GAINING NEW SKILLS
To gain level 1 in a skill, a character must be Taught. To do so, they must have access to a knowledgeable repository of the skill they wish to learn. Doing so costs 10XP, as usual.
This may be a literal repository, such as a book, tablet, or scroll, or it may be a teacher already learned in the skill.
To teach another character a skill level, the teacher must forgo their own Learning opportunity during a lunch or night’s rest. A teacher may instruct only one other character at a time, at default.
GAINING NEW TRAITS
When Learning, a character may gain new traits. Every trait carries a cost or a benefit in XP as well as a prerequisite.
Only one trait may be purchased per session.
At character generation, most traits prerequisites are waived. These are denoted Starter traits.
Character progression and power is defined by the Sessions Survived box on their character record.
The speed at which a character moves is determined by their burden. Burden composes everything they carry (or, in the case of armor, wear.)
A character may carry a number of burden points equal to their burden capacity. For a human, this capacity equals Might level + 2. For a mouse, it is equal to their Scurry level.
Points in excess of capacity inflict maluses on speed and physical ability:
Every normal item a character carries is a point of burden. Large items may add more than one point. Worn clothing, containers, and backpacks add no burden unless specified. Stored clothing does. Armor may add one or more points per part, whether worn or not. Weapons are always burdensome, unless specified.
Individual small items are not burdensome. Collections of small items of a kind are stacked into one point of burden, especially if grouped within a container (a can of 20 flechettes, for instance.)
Small items either stack to 5, 10, or 20.
Yards of rope, ammunition, and spoons stack to 20.
Vegetables, bandages, large coins, and othersuch stack to 10.
Coins are not burdensome unless they are so numerous as to not fit in a pocket or purse (50.)
The majority of a character’s inventory is contained within a pack. Be it a proper backpack or some other container, a pack may hold up to 12 points of burden, so long as all items fit. Larger containers are usually too burdensome to be a pack.
A pack’s purpose is to handily contain and protect a character’s precious inventory. The quality of a pack protects its contents, providing resistance or immunity to blows, fire, water, and other maladies. Additionally, with an action, a character may drop their pack, instantly freeing them of burden (a maneuver handy in sudden danger.)
Items and weapons held within backpacks are not quickly accessible in quicktime. Strapped weapons are drawable with one action.
A good backpack, alongside a hardy pair of boots, is one of the integral makings of a successful cutter.
If something described as horrible, terrifying, or any synonym thereof is encountered, the encountering character may opt to give into Horror. They roll on the tables below.
A horrified character gains +5XP at session’s end. They may be horrified thrice in a session. Horror in excess gives no XP.
Certain monsters may give more XP when used as a horror trigger.
Horror may be remembered in Nightmares.
Regret; panic; foes who never die: All come to visit come the night.
Whenever a character takes a Night’s Rest, they must roll for Nightmares.
For every 5XP a character gained via Horror in the time before they went to sleep, add +1 to their Nightmare roll.
Circumstances other than Horror may influence the bonus applied to a Nightmare roll. Sleeping in especially unnerving areas may add up to +4. Consuming certain foods, drinks, or drugs may apply up to -3.
Being set alight is unfortunate.
When a character is set alight, one or more of their body areas begin burning at an Intensity level. Intensity is fire’s only stat. Most start at 6. Oil or gas fires start at 8.
Every turn after a character is set alight, the fire attached to each body area rolls Intensity. Success deems it applies a burn wound. If a burn wound is already present, the wound is upgraded to the next severity level. Areas burned beyond a mortal wound are destroyed or cause death.
A roll of 12 causes it to spread to an adjacent area.
A 1 causes it to go out.
Each turn, a character may spend their action to extinguish one burning area. This requires them to either drop prone and roll about or smother the area with an appropriate cloth/material/body of water.
The makings of a successful venture.
Bec de Corbin
8P AP 4
Boot sole, hard
Boot sole, hobnails
8P AP 2
3P AP 1
6P (AP 1)
6P (AP 2)
WEAPON RANGES: H: Hand to hand, S: Short, M: Medium, L: Long, EX: Extended
EX weapons may only attack two steps away.
Armor items apply reduction values to covered areas. When damage is applied to that area, it is reduced by that value.
If damage is below hardness, wound becomes a bruise. If equal to or higher, the armor is pierced.
Arrow, bodkin, 20
Arrow, broadhead, 20
Bodkin points, 20
220gr flechette, box of 12
250gr flechette, box of 12
330gr flechette, box of 12
440gr flechette, box of 12
550gr flechette, box of 12
Light coil (6 shots)
Munitions coil (6 shots)
Artillery coil (6 shots)
artillery coil x2
7P AP 6
OR Sling bullets
The SIZE column describes not projectile size, but weapon size.
CATEGORY describes the Ranged skill topic rolled to shoot the weapon.
A weapon must have all its RELOAD actions completed before it can shoot. Weapons with coils and/or magazines require reloading only when said coils, mags run out. A weapon with a LOAD, NOCK, or CYCLE reload must have these actions performed between shots in order to function
Require both a loaded magazine and a charged maincoil to shoot. They may shoot without pause, requiring one action per shot, so long as they do not require a Cycle reload action after depleting their mag or coil.
Lever-action weapons which must be cranked once in between shots. Some are single action, requiring a flechette to be loaded into the breach between shots. Others are magazine fed and do not shoot without a loaded mag.
Simple weapons which act as an extensions of the thrower’s arm. Slings may launch both scrounged rocks and bullets, but deal 1 less damage if they use the former. Bullets inflict piercing damage. Rocks, bludgeoning.
A sling must be loaded between launches, requiring one action. They may be spun for up to 3 Cycle actions. For each cycle action, the ensuing attack deals one more damage, up to 6.
lBandage tin (holds 5)
Resist F, R
Canteen, tin or leather
2 ¼ p/pinch
Matches, box of 20
Kerosene, small can
Spoon, wooden, +1
Rope, cotton, yard
Rope, hemp, yard
Rotisserie spit, long
Skillet, cast iron
Tonic, ounce ampoule
Butter, 10 pats
Brandy, bottle, good,
Cheese, hard, wheel of 10
Coffee, cheap, pound
Common dry spices, jar of 20 pinches
(pepper, clove, cinnamon, ginger, paprika)
Common dry herbs, jar of 20 pinches
(parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano)
Dirt vegetables, poor,, sack of 20
(corm, potato, turnip, rutabaga)
Dirt vegetables, good, sack of 20
(carrot, onion, beet, yam, radish)
1 ½ p
Flour, bag of 20
Fruits, dried, sack of 10 handfuls
(Figs, apricots, apples)
Sugar, bag of 10
Salt, pouch, 20 pinches
Tea, 20 teaspoons
Lard, jar of 20
Milk, bottle of 10
Molasses, jug of 20
1 ½ p
Whiskey, poor, bottle of
Whiskey, bottle, good
Wine, bottle of
Wine, pitcher of
Horse, field hunter
Horse, pack pony
1 ½ P
1 ½ P
Horse feed and boarding, inn
DRAFT: Huge, well-muscled, and slow. Typically over a ton in weight. Meant for heavy driving tasks. Calm, hardy, but extremely hungry.
FIELD HUNTER: Lean, brave steeds with thin legs and powerful haunches built for stamina and power. Capable of sharp leaps, sudden turns, and cross-country travel at pace. Originally the domain of Northern aristocrat hunters and gamesmen. Now the favored steed of cutters Coast-wide.
SADDLE: Light, high-stepping beasts trained and bred for riding. Obedient and adapted to serving multiple paces on-demand. The standard in riding horses, typical among officers and civilians of moderate means.
WORK: Sturdy, common beasts. Neither brave nor fast, but trained for driving, pack bearing, and moderate riding.
PACK: Small, stocky horses meant to carry burden. Used to working in trains, and well adjusted to ponying behind a lead. Used similarly to mules, but not as strong.
DESTRIER: Gigantic warhorses utilized as heavy cavalry and knight and officer’s mounts. Tall, typically jet black, with broad chests and great arching necks swathed in rippling manes. So effectively selected for bravery that they will gladly run down massed infantry on command.
Carriage, two-horse, chaise
Carriage, two-horse, coach
Carriage, one-horse, gig/cab
Carriage, four-horse, stage
Carriage, barouche, two-horse, luxury
Carriage, Landau, four-horse, convertible, luxury
Wagon, freight, covered
BAROUCHE: A semi-open, light, luxury carriage meant to be driven by two horses. Seats two to four.
GIG/CAB: A one-horse, one-axle vehicle. Open in the front and covered on top. Fast, and common to the streets of major cities, where they serve as cabs. Cab version have a driver’s stand on the back, whereas gigs are driven from the bench. Notably dangerous and prone to tipping when driven as high speed.
COACH: An enclosed, two-horse, “four-poster” carriage with moderate suspension. Fits four passengers facing each other within and a driver on the bench outside. Often well-upholstered and built with lamps.
CHAISE: Like a two-axle gig. More stable and capable of holding an additional two passengers.
LANDAU: Long, light, and fitted with a convertible bonnet to protect the open bed. Often ornate, expensively upholstered and furnished, and fitted with lamps. Fits four to six riders.
STAGE: A coach with heavy suspension meant for the long-distance carriage of folk, mail, or valuables. Meant to proceed nonstop, save for a change of horses at preset stations. Usually comes with lamps. Capable of holding six or seven people and a pile of luggage strapped on top. Meant to be driven by four to five horses, and not quickly.
FARM: An open bed, poorly-suspended wagon meant primarily for the transport of hay and grain. Usually driven by a pair of oxen.
COVERED: A boat-shaped wagon covered by canvass. Extremely heavy and capable of carrying up to six tons of goods. Meant to be driven by six mules, oxen, or draft horses. Built-in water barrels serve as ballast, and a handbrake and quick harness-release afford the driver some control over their titanic load.
MARKET: A one-axle hand wagon, the likes of which clutter the streets of any given town on market day, overflowing with goods.
Price reference. A Firlish pound is worth double the value of an american dollar in 1870. Handy for quick price conversion.
Take dollar amounts
Nothing lasts forever.
Weapons, or items used as weapons, may receive Wear.
When involved (attacking or blocking) in a roll resulting in 12 or 1, the weapon gains a level of Wear. It also makes a roll, adding its Wear as a modifier.
If the roll succeeds, the weapon breaks.
If it fails, the weapon remains intact.
The weapon’s Quality determines any modifiers to its Wear rolls:
Wear and breaks may be reversed by the skill of a character trained in an appropriate crafting skill. For melee arms, this is usually Metalworking. For ranged, Bowyery or Artifice
A character may attack another’s weapon in an attempt to add Wear levels to it. Said attack is made at a malus of 2, as it requires the attacker choose their target area. If the attack hits, the struck weapon receives Wear equal to the attacking weapon’s damage value minus the defender’s block value. This causes the struck weapon to roll Wear immediately.