Core Mechanics: Table of Contents


  • Skill Ranks

      • Natural Talents

      • Level of Skills

  • Proficiency Ranks

  • Skill Tests

      • Scoring & Target Number

      • Exploits

      • Contested Rolls

      • Skill Difficulty

      • Botching

      • Critical Successes


  • Combat Basics

      • Initiative Points

      • Turn Order

      • Held Actions

  • Combat Actions

      • Supplemental Actions

      • Held Actions

      • Defensive Actions

      • Offensive Actions

      • Stunts

  • Common Combat Advantages

  • Common Combat Disadvantages

Magic System

  • Chambers

      • Committed Chambers

  • Spellcasting

      • Activation Types

      • Activation Costs

      • Experience Ladder

  • Casting Types

      • Wizardry

      • Sorcery


  • Experience Costs

  • Ending a Session


Skills are used to determine how effective a character is at the tasks they perform. Each skill has proficiency categories within it, which allow characters to specialize in their abilities.

  • Endurance (Long Distance, Jog, Run, Swim)
  • Fortitude (Pain Tolerance, Resist Poison & Toxins, Toughness)
  • Gymnastics (Acrobatics, Balance, Climbing, Contortion, Tumble)
  • Ride (Cavalry Fighting, Horse Riding)
  • Reaction (Speed, Initiative, Join Combat, Quick Reflexes)
  • Strength (Applied Force, Carried Weight)
  • Bureaucracy (Leadership, Management)
  • Composure (Bravery, Mental Fortitude, Resist Influence, Temperance)
  • Manipulate (Bluff, Conceal Truth, Misdirect)
  • Performing Arts (Act, Dance, Play Music, Sing)
  • Persuade (Comfort, Haggle, Interrogate, Influence, Seduce)
  • Socialize (Appearance, Confidence, Etiquette, Poise)
  • Defense (Dodge, Parry, Block, Shield Use, Evade, Flee)
  • Martial Arts (Brawling, Wrestling, Gambits)
  • Melee (Melee Weapons, Armor Use, Mounted Fighting)
  • Blacksmithing (Armor, Iron & Steel, Weapons)
  • Construction (Architecture, Carpentry, Landscaping, Masonry)
  • Engineering (Locksmithing, Mechanical, Siege Equipment)
  • Handicraft (Cobbling, Fletching, Furring, Leatherwork, Tailor)
  • Hardware (Modern Electronics & Vehicles, Robotics)
  • Visual Arts (Design, Drawing, Sculpting, Forgeries)
  • Infiltrate (Bypass Traps, Crack Safes, Pick Locks)
  • Sleight of Hand (Cheat, Filch, Pickpocket)
  • Stealth (Conceal, Hide, Smuggle, Silence, Shadow Target)
  • Disguise (Inconspicuous, Blend In, Mimic)
  • Awareness (Alert, Notice, Perception)
  • Investigate (Search)
  • Sense Motive (Body Language, Read Expression)
  • Archery (Bow, Crossbow)
  • Firearms (Pistols, Shotguns, Rifles)
  • Thrown Weapons (Poles, Nets, Knives, Projectiles, Casting)
  • Siege Weaponry
  • Academics (Culture, History, Law, Mythology, Theology)
  • Demolitions (Explosives, Structural Integrity)
  • Medicine (Anatomy, Diagnosis, First Aid, Surgery, Torture)
  • Occult Lore (Chasms, Dimensions, Energy, Magic, Thaumaturgy)
  • Science (Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Math, Physics)
  • Software (Data Mining, Hacking, Programming)
  • Animal Ken (Animal Lore, Handling, Training)
  • Logic (Ciphers, Puzzles, Riddles)
  • Pilot (Mechs, Planes, Subs, Tanks, Cars)
  • Streetwise (Criminal Lore, Cultural Insights, Contacts)
  • Survival (Agriculture, Cooking, Hunting, Navigation, Tracking, Vegetation)
  • Tactics (War Strategy, Command, Training Units)

Skill Ranks

Skill Ranks indicate the character's effectiveness in broad area of experience, such as Combat or Athletics (refer to Skill List). Rank 2 is considered average; the character is adequately familiarized and competent. Rank 5 is the highest Skill Rank that can be purchased. However, Natural Talents and Proficiencies can influence Skill Tests.

Natural Talents

Natural Talents are acquired during Character Creation through Merits. They permanently modify a Skill Rank by +1 each, but they do NOT count toward experience purchases.

For example, if "Charisma" is at Skill Rank 4 and the character has two Natural Talents that apply to Charisma, it would be treated as an effective Skill Rank of 6. This is written as "Charisma 4 (+2)" to indicate that there are two Natural Talents affecting the Rank. Charisma would be upgraded as though it were still Rank 4.

Level of Skills

1Below Average33%
6Master1 in 1,000
7Savant1 in 1 million
8+Supernatural1 in 1 billion

Proficiency Ranks

Proficiencies indicate the character's effectiveness in a specialized areas of expertise, such as Martial Arts or Engineering (refer to Skill List). When specialized with a proficiency, the character becomes more adept with those skills (see "Skill Tests").

Proficiencies also allow the character to make Skill Tests that require specialized training. For example, a character with a Rank 1 "Medicine" proficiency could attempt to perform surgery; which is something a normal character could not.

It is difficult and time consuming to master a proficiency. However, true masters of a proficiency are nearly impossible to compete with when all other variables are equal.

Skill Tests

When a character performs an action, they make a Skill Test to see how well they performed. The more "hits" scored in a Skill Test, the better the character performs. To make a Skill Test, the player rolls a number of d10's equal to their Skill Rank + their related Proficiency Rank (if applicable).

Charlotte attempts to wall-jump to a roof, which uses the Athletics skill. Charlotte's Athletics Rank is 3 (+1), and her Gymnastic Rank is 1, so she rolls 5 dice (5d10).

Scoring & Target Number

The Target Number indicates the lowest value that a d10 must roll to score a "hit." Rolling 10's and 1's also affect the score, as shown in the chart below:

ScoreDie Roll
+2 Hits10
+1 Hit>= Target Number
 < Target Number
-1 Hit1

By default, the Target Number is 8. It can be modified with "exploits," as described later.

Jared tries to solve a difficult riddle with a Wits of 4. He rolls 10, 8, 3, and 2. The "10" scores 2 hits and the "8" scores 1 hit for a total of 3 hits.


Exploits are circumstantial modifiers that can influence the difficulty of a Skill Test by reducing the Target Number. Every exploit reduces the Target Number by 1. Before making a Skill Test, players describe any exploits they feel should apply to their test.

Exploits can be advantages that the character has (such as flanking an opponent or taking the time to aim), or disadvantages that an opposing character faces (being prone or encumbered). The GM must approve all exploits.

Korvin is attacking an enemy from behind, so he declares "Flanking" as an exploit. The enemy is also tangled in some vines, so he declares "Hindered" as an exploit. The GM approves both exploits, so Korvin's Target Number is modified by -2, down to 6.

When Korvin rolls, 6's and higher will now also count as a hit.
Common ExploitsSummary
No RushThe character spends additional time on the task to do it carefully; e.g. willing to spend an additional ten minutes attempting to pick a lock.
Exceptional ToolsThe character has exceptional tools for a particular challenge that relies upon them; e.g. using a mastersmith lock pick set.
Previous KnowledgeThe character had previously gained specialized knowledge pertaining to this specific task; e.g. had already picked the lock several days before, or had helped design it.
Tangential BonusThe character is an expert in a supplementary skill; e.g. years as a locksmith has strengthened their ability to pick locks.
Acceptible LossesThe character is not concerned about chaotic and hazardous outcomes as a result of their interaction; e.g. willing to force the lock hard enough that it might break tools (or the lock) while being picked.

Contested Rolls

Contested Rolls happen when a Skill Test is actively contested by another character, such as an attacker against a defender. Both characters make their appropriate Skill Test after declaring any exploits they can make against their opponent. The highest score wins the test. Ties are won by the defender. If there is no "defender" in the contest, the GM declares a result that one could expect from a tie.

Skill Difficulty

For an action to succeed, the score must match or beat the difficulty set by the GM. The higher the score, the better the results.

0EasyShoot a giant, immobile object. Typically wouldn't require a roll.
1CompetentShoot a non-moving human-sized target.
2SkilledShoot a stationary small game animal (e.g. racoon).
3ChallengingShoot a small pumpkin as it rolls.
4ComplexHit a bullseye from a medium range.
5ComplexSplit an arrow.
6MasterfulSplit an arrow while running.
7EpicSplit an arrow while back-flipping.
8LegendarySplit an arrow while back-flipping and blindfolded.
10SupernaturalShoot two arrows while back-flipping and blindfolded. The first hits a tiny bullseye at 100 meters, and the second arrow splits the first.


If Skill Test scores a -1 or worse, their character botches the action. The GM has discretion on what negative consequences will result from botching.

Critical Successes

If a Skill Tests scores 3 higher (or more) than the difficulty, the GM can declare that the character critically succeeds at the action. The GM may decide on positive consequences that would naturally result as a consequence of doing exceptionally well at the action.


Combat Basics

Initiative Points

IP, or Initiative Points, are an abstraction of the character's ability to multitask and react during combat. Characters with high Perception, Wits, and Athletics will have strong Initiative and be more adaptive to chaotic battle scenes. IP is spent each round to perform actions, such as aiming, attacking, stunting, or improving one's defense.

Every round, all participating characters gain IP equal to their Initiative Rank. Initiative Rank is tracked on character sheets and is equal to half the total value (rounded down) of: Wits->Tactics + Perception->Awareness + Athletics->Reaction. Characters can retain up to two IP from the previous round (it does not stack each round cumulatively).

Rando's Initiative Rank is 5, so he starts every combat round with 5 Initiative Points. On his third round, Rando decides to end his turn with 3 IP remaining. Two of those IP are transferred, granting him 7 IP on his forth round. If he doesn't act the next round either, he would still only have 7 IP (2 IP kept, plus his normal 5 IP).

Turn Order

When combat begins, turn order is based on character's IP, ordered from highest to lowest. If there are ties, players go before NPCs. Additional ties can be settled between players or at the GM's discretion.

The character with the lowest turn order cannot hold their action. Once their turn is over, the turn order reverses. During "reversed turn order" characters must declare actions until they are out of IP or end their turn; holding action is no longer possible.

When all characters have run out of IP or have ended their turn, the next combat round begins and the turn order is reset.

Rando (5 IP), Cheryl (4 IP), and Jim (3 IP) begin combat in that order. Rando spends 1 IP to use "Watch Target: Cheryl," which holds his action and allows him to interupt if Cheryl acts. Cheryl holds action. Jim is now forced to make an action because he is the last in the turn order. He flees.

Cheryl is now forced to act because the turn order reversed. She declares an attack against Jim. Rando interrupts Cheryl's action to attack her first, moving between her and Jim. Regardless of how the attack is resolved, the GM decides this will give Jim an advantage to fleeing.

Surprise Rounds

During an ambush, all characters that were not surprised gain twice their standard IP on the first round of combat. This is a unique round that will alter the turn order for that round only.

Rando's Initiative Rank is 5, so he starts the round with 5 Initiative Points. Cheryl normally starts with 4 IP, but she ambushed Rando, so she instead starts with 8. Cheryl acts first.

Held Actions

Held actions can play an important strategy, and some held actions allow characters to "Interrupt" other combatants. See "Combat Actions" for more details.

When a character holds their action, initiative moves to the character that is next in the turn order.

Combat Actions

Supplemental Actions

Free Action0Vocal commands, unsheathing weapons, observing the scene, quick gestures, and other trivial actions.
Half Move0The character's total movement for the round averaged no faster than jogging.
Full Move1The character's total movement for the round required running.
Aim2The character gains the "Aim" advantage toward a single action this round.

Held Actions

Interrupt--Interrupts are only possible under certain circumstances, but allow the character to intervene with a designated target. The target will have attempted to complete their action, often resulting in movement, but will not have completed it. Interrupts can cost the target their intended action, even in some cases when the target successfully defends.
Held Action0A standard held action; just waiting to see what else happens in combat before making an action. If initiative passes back to the character, they must make an action.
Watch Target1A held action, plus the character watches a specific target: an enemy, an ally, or a specific location (such as a doorway). When that target acts or is acted upon, the character can "Interrupt" if possible to do so (movement + IP).
Overwatch3A held action, plus the character observes the entire scene, waiting for an opportunity to interrupt. Upon any following action, the character can choose to "Interrupt" if possible to do so (movement + IP).
End Turn0The character ends their turn, no longer to make any actions other than defense. They can save up to 2 IP for the next round, but the rest is lost.

Defensive Actions

Passive Defense0The character defends with a standard defense Skill Test: Combat->Defense.
Active Defense1The character defends with the advantage "Active Defense."
Evasion3The character gains the "Evasion" advantage (which also grants "Active Defense") on all defensive actions for the remainder of the round. This can be used while fleeing.

Offensive Actions

Attack3An attack is a standard Combat or Ranged Skill Test intended to damage an opposing target. Only one attack can be made per round.
Two Attacks5Attack twice, either against the same target or on two targets within movement range. Attacker takes the "Distracted" disadvantage for the remainder of the round; including both attacks.
Three Attacks7Attack three times, either against the same target or on three targets within movement range. Attacker takes the "Distracted" disadvantage for the remainder of the round; including each attack.
Gambit4A gambit is an attack that attempts to grip or disarm the target. The attacker suffers from the "Gambit Attempt" disadvantage for the attack. A critical success will allow a weapon steal or a pin. A gambit against a target that is already gripped will also allow a weapon steal or a pin.
Called Shot4Called Shots are attacks to specific areas of the body (e.g. neck punch, face slap, etc) or attacks that are meant to disable (cripple legs, gouge eyes, knock out, etc). The attacker can now take the disadvantage "Bypass Armor" to bypass armors that do not cover the full body and/or the "Called Shot" disadvantage to cause special disadvantages against the target (with GM's approval).


Environment Stunt4Environment Stunts are performed on the battle environment to attempt to influence advantages or disadvantages (e.g. pouring oil across the ground).
Combat Stunt4Combat Stunts are stunts that involve attacking one or more opponents. They can also grant special advantages, such as tripping up opponents. Some may require multiple Skill Tests to perform.
Combo Stunt4The character declares the intention of a combo stunt, often with specific allies in mind. Allies can choose to engage in the stunt for 3 Initiative. Combo stunts then become Environment Stunts or Combat Stunts, but with additional allies.

Common Combat Advantages

AimThe character took aim on a chosen attack.
FlankingThe character is flanking an opponent. Usually requires the target to be engaging others.
SurroundingThe character and his allies have surrounded the opponent. Must be stacked with "Flanking."
Partial CoverThe character, if defending, has partial cover.
Strong CoverThe character, if defending, has a large amount of cover. Must be stacked with "Partial Cover."
ParryingThe character, if defending, has a parrying weapon that can counter the opponent's.
Active DefenseThe character is actively defending the attack.
EvasionThe character is actively trying to evade attacks. Must be stacked with "Active Defense."

Common Combat Disadvantages

HinderedThe character is slow, lacking agility, encumbered, or otherwise hindered.
DistractedThe character is distracted, frenzied, busy reloading, holding concentration elsewhere, etc.
DisorientedThe character is unaware, blinded, confused, dazed, etc. Must be stacked with "Distracted."
Easy TargetThe character is a large target or is otherwise easy to hit with the intended attack.
VulnerableThe character is in a weak position: prone, suffering low ground vs. high ground, etc.
Lightly BoundThe character is grappled, tangled in vines, etc.
Heavily BoundThe character is immobile, pinned, caught in a net, etc. Must be stacked with "Lightly Bound."
Weak vs. WeaponThe character is weak against the attacker's weapon, such as if unarmored.
Weak vs. GambitThe character is weak against gambits, such as with heavier armors.
DemoralizedThe character has low morale, is afraid, etc.
In MeleeApplies when a ranged character is engaged in melee.
Melee ShotApplies when a ranged character is firing into melee where allied characters are present. Enemies with allies nearby are treated as though they have the "Partial Cover" advantage against the attack. Botches result in hitting an allied player within that area of engagement.
Medium RangeApplies when a ranged character makes a "medium range" attack with the weapon.
Long RangeApplies when a ranged character makes a "long range" attack with the weapon. Must be stacked with "Medium Range."

Magic System

Magic is the act of influencing the classical sciences through the proper manipulation of the forth and fifth dimensions. It requires the user to possess inherent magical abilities (sorcery) or to understand the intricacies of how the underlying metaphysics work (wizardry).


Chambers are sources of essence within one's body that they can use to activate magic, cast spells, and attune to magical assets. A typical wizard may have two Major Chambers and three Minor Chambers, which they use for all of their spellcasting needs.

There are two types of chambers: Minor and Major. More powerful casting usually require the activation of a Major Chamber.

Once a chamber is spent it cannot be reused until it has regenerated. All chambers are regenerated once per day during the character's primary sleep period.

Hector has two Minor chambers and one Major chamber. Hector activates the spell "Float" using his Major Chamber. Now Hector only has two Minor Chambers available until he sleeps and regains his Major Chamber.

Major chambers can always be spent in place of Minor Chambers.

Committed Chambers

A chamber can be "committed" to certain forms of magic, such as spells that can be "sustained" or when attuning to a magical asset. Committed chambers don't regenerate during the character's primary sleep schedule. Instead, their energy remains bound to the magical connection they're sustaining.

Willard casts "Bind Weapon" – a sustained spell that allows him to summon his sword at any time. The spell requires a Minor Chamber, so Willard commits a Minor Chamber to sustain the spell. When Willard sleeps, that Minor Chamber does not regenerate. However, when he wakes up, the "Bind Weapon" spell is still active.

A month later, Willard releases the spell. When he sleeps that night, the Minor Chamber will finally regenerate.


Spells can be cast to perform magic. Spells have an Activation Type, an Activation Cost, and an Experience Ladder.

Activation Types

A spell's Activation Type indicates the behavior of the spell and certain nuances when casting it.

Each spell is marked with one of the following keywords: Action, Concentrate, or Enchantment.

ActionThe standard way of casting a spell, which is cast like a regular action.
ConcentrateThe spell is cast normally and lasts until the wizard is no longer concentrating on the spell's effect and purpose. If the wizard is significantly distracted from the spell's effect (such as if attacked), the spell's effect will be disrupted and end.
EnchantmentOnce purchased, this spell is permanently imbued into the wizard and always active. It can be imbued as a magical tattoo, a chakra alignment, or an aura and essence attunement. The enchantment is always active unless the wizard chooses to suppress the effects, and unlike spells it does not cost any chambers. Enchantments still require considerable effort and training by the wizard before they can use the abilities the enchantment offers.

Activation Costs

A spell's Activation Cost indicates the type of chamber that must be spent to cast it. Each spell is marked with a Major Chamber or Minor Chamber as an Activation Cost. It is possible for Activation Costs to be raised or reduced in special circumstances.

Activation CostTierDescription
Major Chamber2Costs a Major Chamber to activate the power.
Minor Chamber1Costs a Minor Chamber to activate the power.
No Activation Cost0This power can be activated for free.

Experience Ladder

A spell's Experience Ladder consists of one to two experience costs separated by a "/", such as: (4/6). The first value is the EXP cost to purchase the spell. The second value, if provided, indicates the experience required to reduce the Activation Cost by 1 Tier, from a Major Chamber to a Minor Chamber.

The spell "Illusion" has an Experience Ladder of (5/7) and an Activation Cost of "Major Chamber." Chester purchases the spell for 5 experience, and can now cast it with a Major Chamber. Chester upgrades the spell for an additional 7 experience, and can now activate the spell using a Minor Chamber.

Some spells also have upgrades available, indicated by a "+" sign. The "Illusion" spell has two upgrades available, including "+ Increased Size (3)" and "+ Mobile Illusion (5)". These upgrades can be purchased by spending the additional experience listed (3 and 5, respectively). Upgrading spells makes them more powerful, and represents the caster's superior training with that spell.

Casting Types

There are two ways to learn and use spells: Wizardry and Sorcery.

Sorcery has advantages over Wizardry, but Sorcery is something you're born with and can learn through practice. Wizardry can only be acquired by studying thaumaturgy and learning the spell through considerable effort.


Wizardry is the conscious application of thaumaturgy; the caster clearly understands the metaphysical mechanics behind their spells and is performing actions to manipulate them appropriatley.

Only mages that attend magical schooling, or who underwent significant practice with thaumaturgy, can learn new spells. This usually takes many years of extended training to achieve.

Standard Casting

Standard casting requires a verbal command (such as an incantation or thrown voice) and an elaborate set of gestures. The spell requires full concentration (no mental disruptions), stability (no physical disruptions), speech (cannot be gagged or restricted from natural speech), and full mobility (cannot be bound or restricted from gestures and movement).

If the spell is cast with a wand (or other channeling device) that the caster is familiar with, the spell can be cast in one action. Without a wand, the spell is cast in two actions.

Standard casting can be easily heard and seen, and can also be easily identified by anyone with the knowledge to identify spells. This makes it far easier to counter magic, or to understand what was cast. Everyone observing the spell being cast gains the advantage "Spell Observed" when attempting to react to it. Any mage trained in thaumaturgy will receive an additional advantage "Spell Identified" when reacting to it or attempting to counter it.

Stealth Casting

Stealth casting is similar to standard casting, but only requires a minimal gesture with the hands or arms; one that can be moderately concealed and made difficult to notice. Due to the gesture required, the caster cannot be bound or restricted from using their hands and arms.

The advantage of stealth casting is that observers will not gain the "Spell Observed" advantage unless they can perceive the subtle gestures necessary to cast it. Furthermore, no observers can gain "Spell Identified," thus preventing the magic from being countered (barring unusual circumstances, such as correctly guessing the spell type).

The major downside to stealth casting is that it requires three actions to complete instead of one, which much be performed without interruption. Thus, most mages will not use stealth casting for combat purposes.


Sorcery is the unconscious application of thaumaturgy. The caster does not need to understand the mechanics of a sorcery spell, as it is simply part of them. Their essence has evolved "Sorceros" (often due to a magical lineage) that allows them to access certain magic through willpower and instinct alone. There are no wands or channeling devices required, no components, no casting gestures, and no verbal commands. Most sorcerers will still naturally use minor casting gestures, such as to focus their magic toward a designated target.

Sorcery is considered an advantage over wizardry due to its simplicity and speed of casting. Characters only have a limited number of spells that can be assigned as sorcery powers, if any, which is determined by their magical inheritance.

Any spell that is assigned as a sorcery power can be activated instantly and instinctually, reducing the casting time by 1 IP and requiring no special actions of any kind. Observers cannot see or identify socery powers being activated until their effects occur, making them near-impossible to counter or react to.


Experience Costs

TraitExperience Cost
SkillsNext Rank x 6 EXP. Cannot exceed Rank 5.
SpellsRefer to Spell's Experience Ladder.
Spell UpgradesRefer to Spell's Upgrades, if any listed.
ProficienciesNext Rank x 8 EXP. Cannot exceed Rank 3.
Magical Language4 EXP
Magical Dialect4 EXP

Ending a Session

• +3 EXP to all PCs (for participation).

• +1 EXP to all PCs that did something cool or useful.

• +1 EXP to all PCs that coordinated well with the party.

• +2 EXP if the session was "epic" (GM discretion).