System Basics

Copyright © 1998,2004 Ken St-Cyr. All rights reserved. This is a work in progress.

Dice Use

Three six-sided dice are used for most rolls, though a pair of ten-sided dice are also useful for generating percentiles. Most actions are resolved through tasks, which are represented by a difficulty rating. Performing a task involves rolling 3d6 open-ended with skew, applying negative or positive adjustments, and comparing the total with the task difficulty number. Success requires exceeding the target number.

[ ( 3d6 + skew ), open-ended, + skill + attribute mod. ] > target difficulty

Open-Ended Roll: Three dice produce a discrete approximation of a bell curve. However, This curve is truncated at either end. To allow for spectacular failures and successes that fall beyond either end, the open-ended roll is used.

To make an open-ended roll, throw 3d6:

Skew Dice: The curve produced by dice can be skewed left or right by using skew dice. These are extra dice rolled but then dropped in a manner to introduce the correct skew:

On the occasion that more than 3d6 need to kept, keep the number of dice according to the range required. For example, 5d6 (2 high) would mean rolling 7d6 and keeping the highest 5.

Skew applies only to the first roll of dice. Additional dice thrown for open-ended rolls do not include skew.

Luck: When a character is under the influence of luck, he receives skew dice. If the die is good luck, the player receives high skew. If the die is bad luck, he receives low skew. It can be handy to use colored dice to indicate whether the character is lucky or unlucky, If a character ever has both good luck dice and bad luck dice, then they annihilate each other on a one-to-one basis. Also, a character may be no more than thrice blessed or thrice cursed. That is, no more than six dice are ever rolled.


This game tries to stick to terms common to many role-playing games, rather than invent (or re-invent) many clever words to describe the same thing. Here is a glossary that highlights terms for new ideas in the game, or where the particular usage of a term may require clarification.

advanced skill: A skill that builds upon the theoretical foundation of a field of knowledge. A character must earn ranks in a field before learning an advanced skill.

attribute: A quality of a character representing general abilities in mental or physical feats.

basic skill: A skill that does not require a theoretical foundation to learn.

field: A broad area of knowledge.

field rank: An abstract measure of a character's experience in and knowledge of a field.

flurry: An indivisible but interruptible unit of action in combat.

initiative: The ability to act first. The person who acts first sets the pace others follow.

learning rate: An abstract measure of how much personal benefit a character receives from daily experience.

rote: A memorized procedure.

skill: A learned, practical application of a field.

skill level: An abstract measure of a character's level of practice with a skill.

task: A specific usage of a skill.

Last modified Mon, Jan 12, 2004
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