Play the Game: Actions and consequences

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Most of the time, you’ll use contests and conflict to resolve what the characters attempt to do unless success is guaranteed. Especially when the characters are involved in a contest of some kind you’ll want to avoid real-world numbers because they bog down the game. If a character chases a monster, for example, the appropriate resolution will be an agility contest (as described under Chases) rather than a calculation based on the varying Movement rates and tactics of the characters involved. You can look at these rules as examples of how to handle contests.

Actions and consequences: Aging

In a long-term campaign, characters might start getting old. Some players might choose to play an older character as well.

At age 40 plus endurance, and every year afterward (modified by endurance as a special contributor), a character will gain an unhealable injury point. The player (or Guide, for NPCs) can choose to trade an injury point for a two-point loss in an ability as long as that ability remains above one.

Ailments: sickness, disease, and poison

Most ailments characters encounter are poisons, but ailments also represent sickness, or the effects of recreational drugs such as alcohol.

Ailment strength

Each ailment has a strength. Players must make reaction rolls at a penalty of the ailment’s strength, or the ailment takes effect. Most poisons will have a strength of zero. Weak poisons can have negative strengths, generally to a -4, and strong poisons will range up to +4 strength.

If the character definitely imbibes, injects or otherwise accepts the ailment, there is a penalty of four to the reaction roll to contract the ailment, and the reaction is health. Otherwise, the reaction is perception (if the character can avoid the ailment by knowing it exists, such as drinking poisoned wine) or evasion (if someone else is attempting to do it to an unwilling victim, such as with a poisoned sword).

Ailment effects

Each ailment has an effect. This is what happens to a character if they succumb to the ailment. Unless the ailment is chronic, the effect happens once and then the ailment is gone. Poisons will usually have an effect of injuring the character by d2, d3, or d4 injury points, for example. The effects take place after the action time of the ailment. Poisons often have an action time of one round: they take effect at the end of the round in which they were contracted.

Ailments that affect concentration, abilities, or cause unconsciousness are usually temporary. Injury or other damaging effects are permanent, in that they remain even after the ailment is gone and only disappear through the normal healing process.

Some ailments are chronic. Once the character ails, the ailment continues to affect them until they can throw off the ailment. At each action time, the player makes a health roll. If they succeed, the ailment disappears as normal. If they fail, they take the effects again, adding to any previous effects of the ailment. For example, if a character has been affected by food poisoning and fails to throw it off three times beyond when it took effect, they’ll have 4 injuries and be at –4 concentration for d4 hours. The strength of chronic ailments fades over time: chronic ailment strength is reduced by one for each action time.

Some ailments are inescapable. The character can’t just succeed once, they need to keep succeeding for every action time of the ailment. Gasses in an enclosed space are often inescapable, for example. There is no roll to throw off an inescapable ailment: the roll per action time is only to see if the ailment affects the victim that round. The effects of inescapable ailments are cumulative as well. A character stuck in a sleep gas for five rounds, who fails three reaction rolls, will sleep for 6d10 minutes.

Some ailments are both chronic and inescapable. After a chronic inescapable ailment affects a character once it will affect them in all subsequent rounds, with no further roll necessary. The strength of chronic inescapable ailments increases by one for every successive action time. Once the character is removed from the area of the chronic inescapable ailment, so that it is no longer inescapable, the ailment’s strength immediately returns to normal, and begins fading as normal for a chronic ailment.

Example ailments

Ailment Type Strength Action Time Effects
Alcohol Chronic -1 20 min -1 agility, concentration, evasion, fortitude
Common Cold Chronic 1 1 day -1 concentration, evasion, fortitude
Food Poisoning Chronic 3 1 hour 1 injury
Black Widow 30 min d2 injuries
Giant Spider 4 1 round d4 minutes paralysis
Huge Spider 2 1 round d3 injuries
Large Spider 1 1 round d2 injuries
Shadow Spider 1 2 rounds d6 injuries
Sleep gas 1 round sleep 2d10 minutes

Actions and consequences: Chases

When one character attempts to chase or escape another character, this is an agility contest, with appropriate skills modifying the roll. A success by one character and a failure by the other means that the chase has concluded: the escaping character has escaped, or the pursuer has caught up with their quarry.

If one character has a significantly higher movement than the other character, that player gains a bonus to their roll of one for every difference of three in their movements.

Groups chasing an individual will often use the group effort rules.


Some spells, spirits, and psychic powers require concentration. While engaged in such an activity, a character may move at no more than half movement, and may not attack or initiate other actions (such as other spells) while concentrating. Their defense is at a penalty of 1.

Anyone engaged in an activity which requires concentration for more than a round, such as a sorceror, monk, or prophet, may break concentration if they are attacked. If successfully attacked, they must make an evasion roll or their concentration is broken.

When concentration is given a penalty, as with some ailments, this penalty applies to charisma, wisdom, and intelligence rolls.

Actions and consequences: Falling

Height Damage Time Evasion
0-9 feet d6 1 second Negates
10-19 feet 2d6 2 seconds Halves
20-39 feet 3d6 3 seconds No effect
40-79 feet 4d6 4 seconds
80-159 feet 5d6 5 seconds
160-319 feet 6d6 6 seconds
320-450 feet 7d6 7 seconds
+150 feet No Increase +1 second

Under normal circumstances, characters lose d6 survival for the first ten feet fallen, and another d6 for each increase in the obstacle size. Maximum damage is 7d6 damage, for falling 450 feet or more.

The character takes 1 second to fall for every die of damage up to 450 feet. Under normal circumstances, the character will fall an even fifty yards per second after 450 feet (150 yards, or 7 seconds), so that each extra 150 feet adds a second to the time aloft. These numbers may vary across worlds.

For falls of less than ten feet, a successful evasion roll will negate the damage. Less than twenty feet, a successful evasion roll will half the damage.

One point of damage for each die rolled goes to injuries (unless, for falls of twenty feet or less, the character makes their evasion roll).

Actions and consequences: Illusions

Illusions cause no damage unless there is a phantasmal component to the illusion. (See spells and psychic fields in Arcane Lore.) Mere light shows won’t cause victims to lose survival points. The illusion must dig into the victim’s mind and coerce it into damaging its own body and acting as if hurt.

While phantasmal damage isn’t real, it is real enough to the victim. Phantasmal damage has all the effects of real damage until the victim makes a successful reaction roll to recognize the illusion, or until the victim falls unconscious. Unconsciousness occurs as normal. On falling unconscious or on determining that the damage is illusory, the character will regain all but one tenth of the phantasmal damage (round up, so that there is a minimum of one point lost). It takes one full round to regain the lost survival or injury points.

Despite the increased survival points and decreased injury points, unconscious characters will not immediately regain consciousness; while their body is no longer actively hurting itself, it has still switched to a healing sleep, a normal deep sleep.

While phantasmal damage rarely kills, a character that fails their death roll will be in shock after being “killed” by an illusion. Their unconsciousness is severe, and cannot be cured except with a full night’s rest or magical healing.

Invisible damage, such as poison, will almost never take effect. If the character has no way of knowing such an effect is possible, there is no chance of them taking damage from it. Otherwise, a character’s reaction roll against such effects are at a bonus of 10.

Players will often want their characters to disbelieve things they think might be illusions. There are two ways of doing this. They can make a perception roll if the character is actively looking for flaws in the illusion. This is often not successful, because it is the character’s mind that is creating part of the illusion. More powerful phantasmal spells will provide penalties to the roll for this reason. Characters may not attack or concentrate on any other action while disbelieving in this way, but they may defend as normal, and are allowed any reaction rolls against possible effects. It takes one round to disbelieve an illusion in this manner.

The second way of disbelieving a possible illusion is through willpower. The character is so certain of the illusion that they are willing to stand and accept the illusion’s effects—because they believe there won’t be any. This is dangerous, because if the effect is not illusory, the character not only will take damage, but will accept the damage. The character is foregoing any reaction rolls to ameliorate the effects of the possible illusion, and is foregoing any attempts at dodging it. If it is an illusion, however, and the willpower roll is successful, the character not only disbelieves the illusion, but also grants a bonus of 2 to other characters’ attempts to disbelieve using their perception.

Penalties to disbelieving are usually halved for a willpower roll.

In some cases, a poorly designed illusion will allow an immediate perception roll to disbelieve. Most of the time, however, players must request a reaction roll to be allowed one. Their characters may receive a bonus to the roll to disbelieve more obvious illusions.

Item reactions

Material Fire Bludgeon Acid Bonus
Glass +8 +16 quarter inch
Ice +8 half inch
Metal +6 +5 quarter inch
Paper -2 +6 +8 half inch
Stone +8 +10 inch
Wood +3 +5 inch

Under normal circumstances, items do not have to worry about reaction rolls: items don’t react. When the character survives an attack, items that the character carries also survived.

If items are not carried, are carried by an unconscious individual, or are carried by an individual who gains injuries as a result of the attack, and the attack might damage the item (a Great Ball of Fire for iron or paper, or a fall for glass), make a reaction roll. The reaction is against four, with bonuses or penalties depending on the material and the attack form. If the reaction fails, the item takes damage. Items have survival points equal to their weight in pounds, though characters and attacks can focus on a specific area of an item so as not to have to destroy all survival points in order to, for example, break an item in half or punch a hole through an item.

Items also gain a bonus depending on their thickness. Beyond the bonus thickness, they gain a bonus of 1; for each doubling, add another +1. Glass will gain a bonus of 1 at a quarter inch, a bonus of 2 at a half inch, a bonus of 3 at an inch, a bonus of 4 at two inches thick, etc.

Actions and consequences: Jumping

Jumping up is normally a snap: an agility roll, with strength as a major contributor, and a bonus of 8 to the roll. Each foot beyond one foot provides a penalty that doubles. Failure means that the character jumps short: they jump as high as they could have with that roll.

to 1 foot
to 2 feet -1
to 3 feet -2
to 4 feet -4
to 5 feet -8
to 6 feet -16
to 7 feet -32

Large creatures jump double the distance; huge creatures jump four times the distance; gigantic eight times, and titanic sixteen times. Small creatures jump ¾ the distance; tiny creatures jump ⅓; and fine creatures jump ⅙.

Leaping across is just like jumping up, but feet become yards. Moving characters add their current running movement to the roll to increase how far they leap.

Actions and consequences: Movement

Characters move according to their Movement. In combat, a character can move this many feet along with attacking. A character can also dash up to this many yards during combat, in place of attacking or performing any other maneuver.

Inside of combat, characters may only move at combat speed or at a dash. Outside of combat (if there are no combatants within reach) characters may explore, walk, jog, run, or sprint. There are bonuses to attack such characters.

Speed yards per minute feet per round time base reactions attack
Semi-conscious movement half movement endurance rounds - -
Combat twice movement movement endurance minutes
Dash 6 times movement 3 times movement endurance minutes -1 4
Explore 4 times movement twice movement endurance times 10 min
Walk 10 times movement 5 times movement endurance times 30 minutes -2 2
Jog 20 times movement 10 times movement endurance times 5 minutes -4 4
Run 30 times movement 15 times movement endurance minutes -8 8
Sprint 50 times movement 25 times movement endurance rounds -16 16

The reaction listed is the penalty the character has to reaction rolls while moving at that speed. The attack listed is the bonus opponents have on their attack rolls when attacking an opponent who is moving at that speed.

At normal exploration speed, such as in a dank cave or moving through an abandoned castle, characters walk very slowly, observing their surroundings carefully for concealed, hidden, or secret things, as well as performing simple mapping. Characters who move at normal walking speeds or faster are subject to the reactions penalty to avoid traps or find hidden items.

Outdoors, outside of ruins, dungeons, caves, combat, and similarly dangerous places, the penalties are shifted up one. A person can walk on a road without penalty, for example, and jog with the same penalty they would have for walking in a dungeon.

Spells and spirits

When sorcerors are casting a spell, their movement is reduced by the casting time of the spell. If the casting time is greater than their movement, or if the spell’s casting time is a round or more, the sorceror cannot move while casting the spell. When prophets are calling a spirit, their movement is reduced by the calling time of the spirit manifestation. If the calling time is greater than their movement, or if the manifestation has a calling time of one round or longer, the prophet cannot move while calling forth the manifestation.

Movement: Contests

These movement rates are used only for tactical movement (such as characters maneuvering for position in combat) or for uncontested distances. In any case where a character is trying to chase or capture another character, ability rolls or reaction rolls are more appropriate.

Movement: Rest

Characters will usually want to rest for ten minutes following the appropriate time base for their movement speed. If they wish to force themselves to continue moving with no rest, the player must make a health roll. There is a bonus of two on this roll for each reduction of their Movement (for the entire period) by 1. There is a penalty of two on this roll for each previous movement health roll since last resting. The health roll may also be penalized for not drinking enough water or salt, by up to four. (At jogging speeds, the character should be drinking about two quarts of water per hour.)

If the health roll fails, the character gains an injury point.

For reference, walking speed is approximately a third of Movement miles per hour, and characters should rest for ten minutes following half endurance hours.

Movement: Darkness

At night, if there is no full moon, movement is reduced by half unless the character has special vision or a light source. In total darkness, such as underground, movement is reduced again by half (to a quarter movement) unless the character(s) have some way of seeing.

Daily movement

Under perfect circumstances, a character can walk twice their Movement in miles per day. Forests and hills can easily halve that (to Movement in miles per day), and bogs and thick undergrowth slow it to a quarter of that (half Movement in miles per day). Characters should rest for a day following half endurance days of such walking, but may push themselves forward as above.

Characters can increase a day’s movement by 50%, but this will incur a health roll. On a failure, the character gains one injury point.

Movement: Flying

Flying creatures can move more easily than walkers: long-distance movement for fliers is movement miles per hour rather than miles per day, which lets them move eight times further in a day than a walker of the same movement could go.

Actions and consequences: Searching

Searching is generally a matter of making a perception roll, with penalties appropriate to the difficulty of finding the hidden item. Searching often takes time, about two minutes for a 10-foot by 10-foot area.


A semi-conscious character is vaguely aware of their surroundings. They may not use any agility bonus to defend against attacks (agility penalties apply as normal) but are not at any bonus to be hit as unconscious characters are. They move and think very slowly.

A semi-conscious character may not initiate any action except movement. If directed to do something, the semi-conscious character may choose to follow that direction; if asked a question, they may choose to answer. In either case, the player must make a willpower roll or take d4 rounds to react or reply.

Semi-conscious counts as unconscious for Death rolls.


Characters without a useful air supply will eventually suffocate. If the character is prepared (is able to take a deep breath) they have a suffocation buffer of endurance rounds. Otherwise, they have a suffocation buffer of d4 rounds, modified by endurance as a minor contributor. For characters with low endurance, it is possible to have no buffer.

During the buffer period, the character may act as normal. After the buffer period, the player must make a health roll or their character gains one injury. For each additional minute (six rounds), make another health roll with a cumulative penalty of one each time.

These times can be doubled if the character remains completely inactive and at rest.

Actions and consequences: Tracking

Tracking is much like searching, but it takes place over a space of time and distance. There is a penalty of one to the perception roll for every day that has passed since the creature or creatures passed, and usually a bonus according to the size of the group that is being tracked (use the group size on the group effort chart). The successful tracker will generally also know incidentals such as how long ago the creatures passed, how many there were, and what kind of creatures, if familiar to the tracker, they are.

Characters may also attempt to cover their own tracks. This is also a perception roll. Successfully covering their own tracks gives a penalty to the perception rolls of those trying to track them, of the amount the player made their perception roll by. Covering your own tracks also reduces the character’s movement by half.

Obstacle size for tracking is a quarter mile outside in natural surroundings, and 100 yards in an urban or man-made area.

Upkeep and living expenses

General, basic living expenses can be covered by a single silver coin every day. Poorer living expenses can be covered by as little as a silver coin every week, but this is not how adventurers normally prefer to live.

More extravagant living expenses can run ten or even a hundred silver coins per day.

Weapons and armor must be maintained in good condition. Maintenance on weapons is 10% of the weapon’s cost every year. Maintenance on armor is 5% of the armor’s cost every month.

Animals have upkeep as well. Riding animals have an upkeep of 10% of their cost every month. Other animals have an upkeep of 5% of their cost every month.

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  1. Mojo
  2. Play the Game
  3. Spells and spirit manifestations