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

Nobility has its privileges

Jerry Stratton, April 26, 2006

Just a few minor changes. Most of these are already-existing changes. Character sheets, parenthetical remarks, and the other aid sheets sometimes reflect older rules until I catch them.

Warrior Combat Damage

The unarmed combat damage progression costs one combat bonus to move along, just as damage bonuses do. The parenthetical was leftover from previous rules where damage bonuses all cost two combat bonus points.

Thief Backstab

The thief has to have at least a bonus of 3 to backstab before it even becomes useful, and will get a bonus of four under most circumstances because the target is unaware of them. Backstab became nearly automatic under the new rules. So, the backstab roll is now agility minus 6 instead of just agility.

On the plus side for thieves, I’ve noted that backstab victims may be surprised by the backstab attack or attempt, and if they gained injury points the surprise roll will be at a penalty. This was always implied, but the rules now make it explicit.


Small pieces of metal will cost the same as bone carvings, plus the cost of the metal itself.

Character sheets and aid sheets

A line has been added for mojo on the front of the character sheet.

The character sheet listed the penalties of surprise as a penalty of two to attack and six to defense; this should have been the opposite: a penalty of six to attack and two to defense.

Also, there is no longer a bonus of three for having won initiative in the previous round.

The combat bonus uses of quickdraw and combat movement have been added to the warrior abilities sheet. The unarmed combat damage increases were all off by one.

The thief skill backstab has been put on the thief abilities sheet. The thief skill hide should have had charisma as its major ability.

Subdual (knockout) was still the old subdual rules on the Combat Maneuvers section of the Adventure Guide’s aid sheets.

Quickdraw was added to the Combat Maneuvers section of the Adventure Guide’s aid sheets.

Undead survival is d10 per level, not d8.


Rolls to avoid Death are archetypal rolls for all archetypes. Rolls to avoid unconsciousness due to injury points gained in combat are archetypal rolls for warriors


Initiative has been clarified slightly. Characters with a better initiative roll have the advantage over characters with worse initiative rolls. Any movement and visible actions are announced from the highest (worst) initiative roll to the lowest (best). Characters may choose to attack any opponent that either is currently in range or that has announced movement that will put it in range over the course of the round.

Characters who are in combat cannot choose to not defend to gain a bonus to initiative.

Characters who dash in combat are non-defending characters, but this is already covered by the movement attack bonus against them. They can’t attack or perform any other special combat maneuver.

Immobilization has been broken into paragraphs to make it easier to understand.

Surprised characters are no longer restricted from moving while surprised, though any movement beyond combat movement will incur penalties in addition to their surprise penalty.

Missile weapon modifiers have been broken into thrown weapons and propelled weapons to make the section easier to read.


The animal companion specialty has been more clearly described, and the number of companions is now one every four levels rather than every five. The animal will be any natural animal and will be above average in any abilities the animal has: intelligence, charisma, and survival points. For example, a warrior might have a warhorse of exceptional quality as one of their animal companions. The animal has one animal level beyond their normal level as an animal of that type. If an animal companion dies, the character will likely find another animal companion during the next level.

The assassination specialty has been renamed poisoner and has been updated to the mojo rules. Edit: No, now it has been updated to the mojo rules. Hat tip to Jeremy for noticing that it still referenced skill rolls where it should have referenced mojo costs.

Assassin has been added as a new specialty for thieves. If the thief has the assassin specialty, victims face the possibility of death on a backstab even if they have lots of survival points.

The contacts specialty only requires that the character have a 13 charisma. The other requirements (strength 10 and another charisma 12) were left over from when I copied the template from combat frenzy.

The nobility specialty has been made more useful. At second level and higher, the character can draw on a pool worth level times 50 monetary units. This pool is not available as money, but as things the character’s family owns and that the character may use. The pool may not be saved from level to level. It refreshes itself to the new higher amount whenever the character gains a new level. The character will generally need some means of picking the stuff up from the family or the family’s holdings.


The duration for invisibility has been dropped to only one hour per level.

Adventure Guide

A short section on player knowledge vs. character knowledge has been added, as well as a note that player characters should be the center of attention, and how this affects skill rolls.


Xolome are humanoid creatures. Their corrupt precious metals ability only affects ore.

A Bean-si’s song will cause a minimum of 1 injury point to all who hear it.

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