The Basics

There are a lot of pages in this book but players don’t need to read all of them to play the game. The basic mechanics of the Torg game are not difficult and can be learn fairly quickly. This section briefly explains the essential concepts and mechanics of Torg; reading it first will make learning the material in the rest of this book much easier.

Attributes and Skills

All characters have the same attributes, though not in the same quantities. All characters have skills, but types and level of skills vary from character to character. Skills are rated by adds, which is the number added to the character’s base attribute to get the value for that skill. A character with a Dexterity attribute of 10 and three adds in the running skill would have a running skill value of 13.

The Die Roll

Torg uses a twenty-sided die. The player rolls the die each time the character tries to use a skill value or attribute value to accomplish a task. Whenever a player rolls a 10 or a 20 on the die she might get to roll the die again, adding the next roll to the first 10 or 20. The player may keep rolling and adding until a number that isn’t a 10 or 20 appears. She adds in this final number to obtain the final die roll. The open-ended nature of the die roll allows characters in Torg to perform amazing feats.

Generating a Total

Compare the final die roll to the bonus chart, which can be found on the character sheet provided in the back of this rulebook and also elsewhere in this book. Beneath each range of final die rolls is a corresponding bonus number. The sum of the skill value and the bonus number is called the action total.

Some tasks require two totals, the first to determine if a character succeeds at the action, the second to determine just how successful. The second total is determined by adding the same bonus (the die is not rolled again) to a different value if the action succeeds. This second total is called the effect total.

The Main Idea

Whenever a player wants his character to attempt something that doesn’t have an automatic chance of success, the player rolls a twenty-sided die and looks up the roll on the bonus chart. He takes the bonus number from the chart and adds it to an appropriate Attribute or Skill. This value is compared to a difficulty number determined by the gamemaster and if the character’s total is equal to or higher than the difficulty number, the character succeeds.

Beating a Difficulty Number

Some actions are harder than others. Whenever the gamemaster calls for an action total, he also sets a difficulty number for the task. The character succeeds if the action total is equal to or greater than the difficulty number. If the total is lower, the character fails.


A combat round represents 10 seconds of “game time.” In each round, one side gets to perform all its actions and then the other side performs its actions. Initiative is determined by flipping the top card of the drama deck. The side that has the initiative goes first.


When a character successfully hits in combat the effect total determines damage. The attacker’s damage value is her Strength, possibly modified by a melee or missile weapon, or the damage value of the weapon used (for weapons that provide their own energy like a crossbow). The difficulty is the target’s Toughness (or armor value). The more the effect total exceeds the difficulty number, the more damage is done to the target.

Values and Measures

Torg uses a unique system of “values” and “measures” to translate back and forth between the game and the real world. A value is a quantity measured in a way that can be used in the game, such as comparing a character’s Strength value to an object’s weight value to see if he can lift it. A measure is a measurement from the real world such as “.” Measures can be translated into values and vice versa to enable players and gamemasters to express real world measurements in game terms and the other way around.


Attributes and Skills

All characters have attributes. An attribute is defined as an ability that all living creatures have. One creature may have more of an attribute, such as strength, than another may, but all characters have a Strength attribute.

There are seven attributes in the game —

Dexterity, Strength, Toughness, Perception, Mind, Charisma and Spirit. These are sometimes abbreviated as DEX, STR, TOU, PER, MIN, CHA, and SPI. The first three are broad measures of physical ability, the next two gauge your character’s mental sharpness and intelligence, while the last two measure personality and presence. The number listed next to each on the templates 10 is the attribute value. An attribute of six is poor, eight is average for normal humans, an attribute of 10 is quite good, and 13 is the normal maximum for humans. Characters of other races may have different attribute maximums (they can be found

in Chapter Two.)


Value Relative Human Ability

13+ Superhuman

13 Exceptional — best a human can be; gold medal Olympic athlete; a natural genius; indomitable personality

11–12 Outstanding — very adept or extremely bright; in top physical shape; Nobel Prize winning scientist; very popular

9–10 High average —I   good shape; athletic; smart; amiable

7–8 Low average — normal; moderate physical conditioning; not overly intelligent; personable but unmemorable

6 Below average — poor physical shape; clumsy; unintelligent; dull or abrasive personality

5– Well below average — no physical ability; uncoMookinated; extremely stupid; weak-minded; lacking in personality

Skills are abilities that can vary from one creature to another and represent knowledge, learning, practice or a natural ability (such as an animal might have.) The character templates list the possible skills initially available toa character. One of the skills on every template already has a number (3) filled in on the template. This is that character’s primary skill, known as his tag skill. All characters based on the same template. Attributes and skills are described in more detail in Chapter Three.

A Brief Look at Action Values

In the stories you play in Torg, your character will be confronted with obstacles of all kinds, from primitive tribesmen with shamanistic powers to rickety rope-bridges suspended over dizzying chasms. The outcome of the story often hinges on how, or whether or not, your character overcomes such obstacles. Whenever your character confronts an obstacle, her action value will help determine success or failure. Action value is the collective term for both skill value (when you use a skill) and attribute value (when you use no skill, just your raw attribute). However, as we know, life is very variable, and what you can do easily one time may

be much more difficult the next time you try. If this weren’t true, for example, bowlers would always bowl perfect games! So, in Torg, when your character faces an obstacle, you roll the 20-sided die and consult the bonus chart on your character sheet, adding the bonus number there to your character’s skill or attribute

value to get an action total. Obviously, the higher your character’s values are, the better he is at performing certain tasks, and the better his chance for success. The bonus chart goes higher then 20 because players are often allowed to roll the die again and add it to the previous roll. The complete rules concerning action values can be found at the beginning of Chapter Three.

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