“This is a terrible idea.”
“Nonsense! I’ve never felt better!”—the hero reborn
- Level & Life & Hero Dice
- Rest & Recovery
- Powers: Oldtech & Fantascience
When you try something risky, roll d20 + ability + skill and try to beat a target number.
19 Very hard
If you roll on target, sacrifice something to succeed.
Some numbers on the icosahedron are special.
1 — Fail and equipment notched.
Mark. Mark again, it is broken.
13 — One ammo or power left.
Mark. Can only be used one more time.
20 — Always succeed. Double effect or additional stunt (trip, trick, trap), then roll a second time.
Yea, the d20 always explodes.
Bonus & Penalty
The Ref assigns a bonus [+] or penalty [-] when circumstances favor or hinder you.
+1/-1 a tiny bonus or penalty
+6/-6 a rather large bonus or penalty
+1d6/-1d6 a pretty random bonus or penalty
roll 2 dice … and take the better or worse
Traits, items, events, burdens and more also give [+] or [-]. Common sense is a dictator sometimes ignored.
When a group endeavors together, a random one rolls.
“I rolled last time, now it’s your turn,” mutters the daemon and passes the fateful die to another. For the first shall be last, and the last shall be first, and none shall know who is coming and going.
When you ask truths of the dice, roll d20 + ability.
3 or less — Nay and woe!
4 to 7 — Nay
8 to 13 — Perhaps, for a price
14 to 19 — Yea
20+ — Yea and more!
Your Ref shall season to taste with [+] and [-].
2. Level & Life & Hero Dice
An abstract measure of power.
You start at level 1 and go to level 9. Monsters and the unplayables (the NPCs) stretch from level 0 to level 17.
Hylospheric persistence, hit points, embodiment, ha. Your narrative resilience. At 0 life, you are in trouble.
Dice six-sided to adjust your rolls and regain life. You gain 1 per session and another every couple of hours. Here, in your heart, there is a space to store as many HD as you have levels.
What’s a session? Is life not a running stream, unbottled?
The function of your form is measured for the pleasure and understanding of the gentle daemon there beyond.
Active abilities: doing things
Charisma: drive, fortune, will to dominate mind.
Strength: vigor, energy, force to dominate matter.
Dynamic abilities: changing things
Thought: intellect, speed, wit to adapt mind.
Agility: dexterity, speed, flexibility to adapt matter.
Static abilities: Resisting things
Aura: spirit, courage, resolve to bear mind.
Endurance: grit, pep, stamina to bear matter.
Human Ability Range
Those who are inhuman may diverge, you are not, do not.
Your learning, training, and downloaded skill packages let you exceed the function of your form. Now, it is your trait. Wait … how do you remember that?
Skilled +3 bonus to rolls
Expert +6 bonus to rolls
Master +9 bonus to rolls
What is a skill? Any trait can be a skill. A job, profession, hobby, background, sport, practice, or upbringing. That which is known. That which requires practice. That which makes sense. A mutant doghead with gills may be skilled at breathing and moving and being under water. One raised among the slow-fishers of the Cyan Sea may be skilled in those tides and fish and customs.
One Would Learn
Skill becomes expertise, expertise becomes mastery. One hopes to progress, but hopes are not promises.
You gain a level and so choose.
Find a source or mentor or install a skill-pak. Roll to learn therefrom. Repeat thrice, to become skilled. Repeat more to become an expert, a master.
When nothing but blind luck will save you,
roll d20 + ability over 13 to save.
Under 13 — Doom. What was, will be. No save.
13 — Sacrifice. Lose a precious to save.
Over 13 — Save. Disaster averted, fortune appeased.
Endurance may save your body in the poison desert of disease, aura may save your psychic integrity in the wormway under the void.
“Or not,” whispers an echoing Omino.
When you are a target, defend lest you are … destroyed.
7 + ability (agility) + bonus (if skill applies) + armor
Could there be other defenses? Spiritual, perhaps, when your soul travels like a butterfly between the dreams of the divers cosmic lords?
“A fair wizard’s skull as ward, a mind fortified as ability,” mutters the daemon. Again the daemon.
Then words had had their day.
Roll 2d6 + cha to see how they, the others, behave.
Under 2 — They come at you, like raving agents of cosmic corruption.
2 — Aggressive, hostile.
They attack, given half a chance.
3–5 — Thanks, they hate you.
6–8 — Unsure, waffling, complicated, suspicious. Mediocre.
9–11 — Polite, understanding, sympathetic.
12 — Friendly, interested. They’ll help, given half a chance.
Over 12 — They insist on helping, even if you don’t need help. Rude to say no, but they will waste your … Oh, dear. Cup of tea?
Talk was ended and lances sang electric harmonies.
d6 + agility
Each side rolls initiative every round. A random character every round. High roll goes first. When there’s a tie, chaos reigns and everything happens at once.
Cinematic time enough to take an action.
You move and do. Be reasonable. Use common sense.
Your mode of destruction defines your approach. Overcome your target’s defense to succeed. Your skill, if applicable, provides a bonus also.
d20 + ability (strength) + bonus (if applicable)
d20 + ability (agility) + bonus (if applicable)
d20 + ability (thought) + bonus (if applicable)
Fantascience (also psychemagic)
d20 + ability (charisma) + bonus (if applicable)
Space is relative.
Here — Melee. The thick of things. Free attack if an enemy disengages carelessly.
There — Short range. Win initiative to run over and melee or keep opponents at range for the round.
O’er there — Long range.Takes two rounds to reach.
Off stage — Extreme range. Three+ rounds. More chase than conflict.
Victory makes untenable your foe’s existence. But … why would I have foes? What hell is this?
Damage Reduces Life
Though the dagger missed your flesh, it tore your plot armor and life’s thread attenuates.
dXX (item) + ability (if applicable) + bonus (if appl.)
When you are reduced to 0 life, roll for your defeat
(gaze left, overleaf).
Other targets become ex-targets at 0 life. Most sentient targets do not want to be ex-targets and flee before.
Damage Reduces Abilities
Some obnoxious attacks reduce your ability scores: strength, endurance, agility, charisma, aura, or thought.
When you cannot reduce your ability score, roll for your defeat overleaf as above (so below).
Of foes without abilities, what of them? Let the Ref’s brow furrow with worry as they reduce their levels and bonuses, and weaken them in many ways.
Damage Imposes Burdens
Burdensome effects and modifiers occupy inventory slots, reducing your options. Much may be a burden: broken leg, toothache, phobia, blindness, crippling anxiety, mad delusion, divine hubris.
By its fruits, you shall know its roots.
Damage broke through armor:
At 0 life roll 2d6 + endurance
Damage broke through wards:
At 0 life roll 2d6 + aura
1 or less — Destroyed utterly.
2–6 — Dead.
7 — KO. Burden (-1 thought).
8 — Winded or weakened. Burden (-1 strength).
Miss 1 round, regain 1 life.
9 — Strained or nauseated. Burden (-1 agility).
Miss 1 round, regain 1 life.
10 — Scarred or corrupted. Burden (-1 charisma).
Miss 1 round, regain 1 life.
11 — Stunned. Miss 1 round, regain 1 life.
12+ — All ok! Regain 1 life.
A burden takes up 1 inventory slot.
Defeat, like all disasters, comes first slow, then all at once.
A leader was defeated, a horror from beyond the void appeared, the angels were mowed down like sheaves of wheat, the levy’s spear beams glanced off the monster’s shimmery form like grains of millet.
To some, victory seemed impossible.
You have no morale score. The daemon Player from beyond the veil of the cosmos rides your mortal shell. Though you feel terror, they care not.
“My hero is fearless!” cackles the daemon Player.
You know better. Bitterly, better.
It goes to 11, no higher (yet, is it not more than 10?). The brave have more, the cowardly less; the Ref adjusts.
NPC morale = 3 + half their level
When morale is tested, 2d6 roll. The tumble of the dice decides: if the score it exceeds, the NPC does flee.
In a group, a random character is tested. Routs start with a single panicked flight.
12. Rest & Recovery
To rest again, to be free of the daemon.
To enjoy a comfortable bed, a day of ease, soothing circumstance, an end to toil.
Ah, you dream, to have a satisfied mind again.
Each week, one insult to your existential integrity is removed. This may be:
All missing life is restored
or one missing ability score is restored
or one burden is removed.
(Terms and conditions apply.)
Options for faster recovery exist if you can find them.
Death is not the end of your service to the daemon.
Body available: use an aspera casket to spin a new soul into your body. Time of death affects memories and modifies personality. Top up the aspera casket with fresh soul-source as required.
Head available: please use a suitable clone or golem body to restore mobility. An aspera jar may keep just the head alive, though psychological adjustment may be difficult.
Jewel available: error. Jewel not available. Please contact your canopic jewel service point to install a new synthetic personality backup matrix.
Your capacities limit how much you can bear.
Items: 7 + ability (strength)
Traits: 7 + ability (thought)
Every item or trait beyond your limit is a burden and imposes -1 to all rolls. Curses, disease, and other afflictions also occupy inventory slots. Pets and sidekicks serving the same daemon Player as yourself also occupy inventory slots. You are the dameon’s anchor in this existence. Non-humans may bear more or less.
Units of Matter
Items, things. You can carry a packed sack, even if your strength implies otherwise. One cash is what a median laborer earns in a day. How do you know this? Why?
1 sack = 10 stones = 100 soaps = 2,500 cash
Units of Mind
Ideas, background, mutations, spells, things that could be used as skills. Thankfully, even as your skill grows, it occupies no more space in your soul’s palace.
An item, trait, or other property (such as a steed) can be your hallmark. It is always with you and your daemon may invest xp to make it more powerful. You can bear a number of hallmarks equal to your level.
Variant: a separate, bonus inventory for hallmarks can provide a way to grow a character’s inventory in a balanced way.
14. Powers: Oldtech & Fantascience
There are secret sciences, indistinguishable from magic, that offer mastery over the worlds of matter and mind.
“All these spells, these powerful magics, my hero shall master!” gloats the daemon. Why must it threaten you with such corruption? Truly, knows it no mercy?
Life Fuels Powers
You pay for power with your life. ‘Ware! The alien fires of the incomprehensible may consume your body (ha), spirit (ka), and memories (ba).
1 power costs 1 life
All spells are of the first power, unless otherwise noted.
Powers & Spell Levels
What the Further-Fallen call spells and spell-levels are but technologies too arcane for their minds to grasp. (FAQ)
1 power — 0th level spell or cantrip or metacanticle.
2 power — 1st level spell, such as Tragic Missile.
4 power — 2nd level spell, such as Hlod Person [sic].
6 power — 3rd level spell, such as Pyreball.
2n power — nth level spell, such as Nihil Est!
Range. Target. Duration.
Your life is locked in the spell until it ends.
Doubling a spell’s power may modify effects. Multiple overcharges on one spell cast multiply multiple times:
×2, ×4, ×8, ×16 and so on. Basic mathemagic.
The daemon experiences the world vicariously. Through you. Stealing time and dreams and hopes.
The Daemon Player Earns Experience (pxp)
When they …
Send you exploring, braving danger to see something new: 1d6 x 10 xp.
Drive you flailing, blithering on some terrible quest: 1d6 x 100 xp per session of progress.
Please the Referee, as is tradition.
Attend a session: 500 xp for being a good egg.
Level Up: Character Experience (cxp)
You grow when the daemon Player invests in your growth. Earned pxp becomes invested cxp. Only thus may you, your sidekicks and your hallmarks level up.
“I am generous!” boasts the daemon. It is a lie, you know.
Every level, you, your sidekick, or pet …
Gain a new trait (be it skill, power, or mutation)
or improve a trait (skilled → expert → master)
or increase an ability score by 1.
Every level, your hallmark item gains +1 to saves vs destruction and …
+1 bonus to every damage die rolled
or +1 defense bonus
or a new trait, power or complication.
You wonder, must you track this currency “experience” for yourself and all your items and beasts of burdens e’en? Or will this daemon Player comfort thee? You wish that you were homeward bound?
“Nixi spettatei,” sighs the gentle machine.
Elaborations to come in the fullness of time. Wait upon the waxing of the pyschetropic moon.