Role-playing design notes

Random notes on the design of Gods & Monsters, and maybe even Men & Supermen if I can remember what I was drinking when I wrote it.

Gods & Monsters Fantasy Role-Playing

Beyond here lie dragons

Fifth 2005 Update

Jerry Stratton, January 5, 2007

This is coming close to the end. The next version of Gods & Monsters will have most, if not all of the following changes:


Weapons have somehow avoided being classified as one-handed or two-handed. A new column has been added to the weapon list to note whether the weapon requires one or two hands. The battle axe is a two-handed weapon; in the combat example, Toromeen no longer uses a shield.


Backstory questions have been clarified and expanded. Players are now asked to answer:

  • Who raised you?
  • How do you know the other characters?
  • How did you get here?

Sample Characters

The description of how Tony Barlow created Toromeen has been clarified, outlined, and expanded. As part of this, I also discovered that Toromeen’s weight was wrong (this affected his Carry and Lift), and Charlotte Kordé’s Charisma modifier was listed incorrectly.


Each action is a single roll. No matter how long an obstacle is, overcoming it is a single roll. Whether a player’s thief scales a 20-foot wall or a 200-foot wall, only one roll is required to complete the climb, as long as completing the climb is one action. If, for example, the character climbs a hundred feet, has an encounter, and then climbs another hundred feet, there will be two climbing rolls. The size of the obstacle may affect the difficulty of the roll. Climbing a 200-foot wall will have more penalties than climbing a 20-foot wall, for example.

Difficulty Adjustments

If an obstacle’s size will affect the difficulty of an action, apply larger penalties for larger obstacles. Usually, penalties will increase as obstacle size doubles.. For example, climbing a 20-foot wall would have a penalty of 1. Climbing a 40-foot wall would have a penalty of 2. If the wall is at least 80 feet, the penalty is 3, and so on.


Often it will be easiest to consider difficulties using a common-sense term such as “easy” or “difficult”.

Easy2Very Difficult2
Very Easy4Extremely Difficult4
A Snap8Nearly Impossible8
Incredibly Easy16Practically Impossible16

This replaces the similar table in the Adventure Guide’s Handbook.


Semi-conscious counts as unconscious for Death rolls.

Adventure Guide’s Handbook

I added something Callan Sweet wrote on the Forge: “rearranging your character’s activities for a better story is a skill”. Not all players have it.


The animal form specialty had a confusing first sentence, and it’s been modified, too. Characters start with the ability to change once per day, and may change to a reptile, bird, or mammal.

An aquatic animal form specialty has been added. Characters with this specialty may change into an amphibian or fish.


The helpful hemp spirit manifestation was missing the numeric effects of the rope knowing where it needs to go. Attempts to loop the rope over a stationary object are at a bonus of twice level. Attempts to use the rope as a lasso are at a bonus of half level, and attempts to evade the lasso are at a penalty of half level.


The lingering effects of carrion worm poison has been more clearly stated: it halves movement and causes a penalty to initiative, attack, and defense.

  1. <- Fourth 2005 Update
  2. Cover Images ->