Values and Measures
At the heart of the Torg system is the concept of values and measures. A value refers to a quantity measured in a way which can be used in the game, such as a weight value of time value of distance value of 4 and so on. A measure is a measurement from the real world, such as , one minute, six meters and so on. Values and measures can be converted back and forth so that real world values can be expressed in game terms and so that players will know what a particular value in the game means in terms they can easily understand. Most game systems use either a consistent scale for their attributes—each point of an attribute represents a specific amount of real-world measure—or they have no scale at all. The problem with such systems is that while they work fine in a limited setting (fantasy, horror, etc.) they either fall apart when bigger things are introduced, or they require huge numbers to represent the top end of the scale. For example, if a dagger does “one die of damage,” how many dice do you roll for the main cannon of the Death Star? Torg solves this problem by the use of a logarithmic scale. A logarithmic scale is one like the Richter scale, or the Decibel scale, where each point represents a greater proportional amount than the point before. For example, a level four earthquake is far more than twice as powerful as a level two earthquake, because each point on the Richter scale is 10 times as large as the point before.
Alternate Scale Descriptions
In the first edition of the Torg rulebook, the Difficulty Number Scale used some different labels to describe the various difficulty levels. Since some products published for Torg use those labels, their equivalents in this rulebook are provided here:
DIFFICULTY NUMBER SCALE
Description Difficulty Odds Modifier
Very Easy 3 80% -5
Easy 5 75% -3
Average 8 50% 0
Complicated 10 30% +2
Difficult 12 20% +4
Hard 13 15% +5
Very Hard 15 5% +7
Extremely Hard 18 — +10
Incredible 22 — +14
Nearly Impossible 25 — +17
The Richter scale works that way because earthquakes can range so greatly in size. Torg’s scale is not “each point is a factor of like the Richter scale; instead, every five points is a factor of 10. This allows finer resolution at the low end (so all humans don’t look exactly alike) but still keeps the top end from being impossible to handle. The Torg scale is consistent from one type of measurement to another, so that a given value always has the same real-world measure, whether it’s expressed as time (in seconds), distance (in meters per round), or weight (in kilograms). The Torg Value Chart shows how values and measures are related. A value of 10 for example is always a measure of 100, regardless of whether we’re measuring seconds, meters, kilograms or any other type of measurement. The accompanying Benchmark Chart provides a number of examples for the value of several different real world objects and measurements. These can be used to make a quick estimate for the game value of something when an exact measure isn’t known but its relationship to something on the Benchmark Chart is known or can be guessed. For example, the Benchmark Chart says that a brown bear has a weight value of 12. The weight value of an animal described as being twice as large as a brown bear could then be estimated without ever having to know how many kilograms a brown bear or the larger animal actually weighs.
The Torg Value Chart uses seconds, kilograms and meters as its default units. But what if you need to find the value of something in a different set of units, such as minutes, pounds or miles? Fortunately you don’t have to do a lot of math to convert those measures. That work has already been done for you with the Measure Conversion Chart. To use the Measure Conversion Chart, simply find the value of the measure you have, regardless of what units it’s in. Then, add the listed modifier to convert it to the appropriate game value (which automatically converts the measure into seconds, meters, or kilograms.) Remember, adding a negative number is like subtracting.
When trying to find the value of measures that fall in between the cracks on the Value Chart, the listed measure is the upper bound for that value. For instance, a value of 10 has a measure of 100, while a value of 11 has a measure of 150. All measures greater than 100 and less than or equal to 150 have a value of 11.
TORG VALUE CHART
Value Measure Value Measure Value Measure Value Measure
0 1 26 150,000 52 25 billion 78 4 quadrillion
1 1.5 27 250,000 53 40 billion 79 6 quadrillion
2 2.5 28 400,000 54 60 billion 80 10 quadrillion
3 4 29 600,000 55 100 billion 81 15 quadrillion
4 6 30 1 million 56 150 billion 82 25 quadrillion
5 10 31 1.5 million 57 250 billion 83 40 quadrillion
6 15 32 2.5 million 58 400 billion 84 60 quadrillion
7 25 33 4 million 59 600 billion 85 100 quadrillion
8 40 34 6 million 60 1 trillion 86 150 quadrillion
9 60 35 10 million 61 1.5 trillion 87 250 quadrillion
10 100 36 15 million 62 2.5 trillion 88 400 quadrillion
11 150 37 25 million 63 4 trillion 89 600 quadrillion
12 250 38 40 million 64 6 trillion 90 1 quintillion
13 400 39 60 million 65 10 trillion 90 1.5 quintillion
14 600 40 100 million 66 15 trillion 92 2.5 quintillion
15 1,000 41 150 million 67 25 trillion 93 4 quintillion
16 1,500 42 250 million 68 40 trillion 94 6 quintillion
17 2,500 43 400 million 69 60 trillion 95 10 quintillion
18 4,000 44 600 million 70 100 trillion 96 15 quintillion
19 6,000 45 1 billion 71 150 trillion 97 25 quintillion
20 10,000 46 1.5 billion 72 250 trillion 98 40 quintillion
21 15,000 47 2.5 billion 73 400 trillion 99 60 quintillion
22 25,000 48 4 billion 74 600 trillion 100 100 quintillion
23 40,000 49 6 billion 75 1 quadrillion
24 60,000 50 10 billion 76 1.5 quadrillion
25 100,000 51 15 billion 77 2.5 quadrillion
Example: A gamemaster is writing up a magic spell. He wants the spell to have duration of 25 minutes. What is the value of 25 minutes? On the Value Chart, a measure of 25 has a value of 7, and the “minutes” modifier on the Conversion Chart is +9; 7 plus 9 gives us a value of 16. So the duration value of the spell is 16.
Example: A character is trying to lift a couch, which the gamemaster says weights about . On the Value Chart, a measure of 160 equals a value of 12. “Pounds” have a -2 modifier, so the game value of the couch is (12 - 2) 10. If the character can lift a weight value of 10, she can lift the couch.
If instead you want to convert a game value into one of these other units, the modifier on the Measure Conversion Chart is subtracted from the game value. Remember, subtracting a negative number is like adding. If the result is a negative number, it means that the value is less than one of whatever unit you’re converting to.
The Value and Conversion charts can also be used as a sort of mini-calculator to transfer between measures, say to find out approximately how many seconds there are in six days or how many pounds there are in .
Example: How many seconds in six days? 6 has a value of 4 and “days” is a +25 modifier, which is a value of 29. The measure of 29 is 600,000 so there are approximately 600,000 seconds in six days. (The actual number of seconds in six days is 518.400, which is pretty close to the result of using the Value Chart.)
Converting from kilograms to pounds is just as easy since like seconds, kilogram is a basic unit of the Value Chart. is a value of 14. The modifier for “pounds” is -2 which when we subtract gives us (14 - (-2) = 14 + 2) 16, which is a measure of 1500. (The actual conversion is .)
If you need to know the Toughness of an object, a good starting point is its weight. Find the game value of the weight, modifying downward if the object is delicate, upward if it is armored or particularly tough to damage. Humans, for example, are quite variable, so their average Toughness could be anywhere between
of their weight value.
MEASURE CONVERSION CHART
Measure is in units of Value Modifier
Meters per round 0
TORG BENCHMARK CHART Edit
|0||1 Second||1 Kilogram||1 Meter|
|3||Human Baby||Tallest Giant|
|9||1 Minute||Human Female|
|10||Human Male||Football Field|
|30||Destroyer||Length of Great Britan|
|32||Month||Six Flat Building||Paris to Moscow|
|33||Fully Loaded Train||NY to LA|
|34||NY to London|
|35||NY to Tokyo|
|38||Year||Circumference of the Earth|
|45||Loaded Oil Tanker|
For many actions, as long as the action total equals or exceeds the difficulty number the action is successful. But there are times where the result points of the action are important in gauging success. Combat and character interactions (charm, persuasion, trick, etc.) in particular regularly involve the use of result points. For all tasks involving the use of result points, there are three tables provided which explain the outcome of successful actions. The Interaction Results Table covers the use of charm, persuasion, test, trick, taunt, intimidation and the maneuver skills. The Combat Results Table is used to determine the amount of damage inflicted in combat. And the third table, the General and Push Results Table, covers everything else that might make use of result points. In each of the three tables, the S in the Result Points columns means “same”, as in the action or effect total was the same as the difficulty number. Another way to think of it is that it means the same thing as zero result points.
General Results Table
The General Results Table is used by a large number of skills. The quality of a success, also known as a success level, is noted by a descriptive word: Minimal, Average, Good, Superior or Spectacular. Minimal implies that the character just barely succeeded, avoiding failure by the skin of his teeth. Average is, well, average; no extra description is warranted. Good success sometimes merits a more detailed description, particularly if the character faced difficult odds. A success deserves special emphasis; the task was performed faster, better or with more precision than expected. For a Spectacular success, things go so fabulously well that the gamemaster should give the character some kind of fringe benefits for his amazing performance. The Speed and Power columns of the table are used whenever a character attempts to exceed one of their limit values, as listed in Chapter One, with a push. Some other game mechanics, such as spell design, also make use of the columns but they are primarily used for pushes.
Pushing the Limits
The reason for having limit values is that real human beings are only capable of so much. Of course so are heroes, trolls, Giants Dragons. The problem comes with heroes who are human or close to human. We want the characters to be heroic, but at the same time we want the world to make sense, to seem real. This is a tall Order, and it requires a little bit of complication. If an attribute value is translated directly into a measure of time, distance or weight, we quickly run into problems with characters that can perform ridiculously powerful feats. For example, if a Strength attribute of 13 was directly translated into the weight value that character could lift, he would be lifting without even breaking a sweat! So the limit values represent the most that can be done by a character without significant effort. Instead of being able to lift , our Strength 13 character can only lift up to his limit value without strain. For a human, the lifting limit is 9, which is . If our strongman wants to try and lift more than , he’s got to put a little effort into it. To exceed a limit value is an action, called a push, with a base difficulty number of 8. When rolling for a push, any bonus number generated that is less than +1 is treated as +1. The acting value depends on the limit being pushed. The limit values and the associated attribute or skill used as the acting value are as follows:
Running: Dexterity or running skill
Swimming: Dexterity or swimming skill
Long Jumping: Dexterity or long jumping skill
Climbing: Strength or climbing skill
Lifting: Strength or lifting skill
Hold Breath: Toughness
Flying: Dexterity or flight skill
Lifting pushes use the Power Push column of the General Results Table. All other limit pushes use the Speed Push column. When a character attempts a push, the result points are read on the appropriate column to get a modifier that is added to the appropriate value. There will also be a number in parentheses. This is the amount of shock damage the character takes from overexerting herself. The damage is assessed at the end of the round, so a character can accomplish a superhuman feat, and then collapse. This type of damage, known as fatigue, is cumulative with shock damage taken in combat. Shock damage is covered later in this chapter under “Damage”.
Example: Terrill is running for his life from a horde of angry, heavily armed Vikings. Alan declares that Terrill is pushing his running speed this round. Terrill does not have the running skill so he uses his Dexterity of 9 and generates an action value of 12. The difficulty was 8, which means he has four result points. On the Speed column of the General Results Table this is a +1(3) result. The +1 is added to Terrill’s running speed value, which is 9, increasing it to a value of 10. Instead of covering (value 9) that round, Terrill puts on a burst of speed and covers (value 10) that round. However, the table indicates that Terrill takes three points of shock damage from the push; he’s tiring himself out by running at this speed. Nothing serious yet but he’ll need a little while to recover and catch his breath once he gets away from the Vikings. If he keeps pushing himself though he might exhaust himself and eventually collapse. If the character’s attribute or skill value exceeds the limit value, the full value is used to generate result points but the modifier is added to the limit value instead. In other words, attributes in excess of the limit value are still useful, but cannot allow a character to perform godlike feats.
Limit Values for Characters
The table above lists the limit values for humans involved in the Dark Ages Campaign. Limit values can be determined for other races by adding one to the category's that the character put their enhancement package in. For other creatures if they are not already provided in the creature’s description, use the table below, “Avg.” means the known average attribute for the creature in question; if this is not known, use human numbers or your best guess. In obvious problem circumstances (a sparrow’s running ability, for example), use your judgment.
Limited Activity Limit Value
Running Avg. Dexterity
Flying Avg. Dexterity
Swimming Avg. Dexterity -2
Long Jumping Avg. Dexterity -5
Climbing Avg. Strength -5
Lifting Avg. Strength +1
Hold Breath Avg. Toughness +2
Add +1 to the limit value of the creature’s primary mode of movement (the ways it travels most often). Example: The gamemaster assumes that a dolphin’s average Dexterity is 10; it therefore has a swimming limit value of 9 (Dexterity 10, -2 for swimming, +1 for primary mode.)
'GENERAL AND PUSH RESULTS TABLE'
Character interaction is very important in Torg - probably more important than in most other roleplaying games. There are specific ways each type of interaction can affect people, some of them quite powerful. Except for charm and persuasion, character interactions can be used during combat to give a character an advantage over an opponent. In adventure fiction, combat is never just two characters exchanging blows with each other. Insults are thrown to anger an opponent, quick moves are made to confuse them and smart fighters outwit their slower opponents. These are the kinds of things covered by the interaction skills that can be used in round play; maneuver, trick, test, taunt and intimidation. With the exception of maneuver, these skills can also be used out of combat, along with charm and persuasion, to influence the behavior of other characters. Use of the interaction skills is covered in their descriptions in Chapter Three. The results of their use are determined by reading the result points of the action on the Interaction Results Table.
Intimidate, Test, Taunt, Trick and Maneuver Results
The effects of stymied, unskilled, break, and up only last for one round. They are not cumulative; a character affected by two stymied results in the same round is still only stymied for one round, not two, and only loses her first reroll, not her first two rerolls. The duration of a setback or player’s call will depend on the exact effect used. Simple effects should only last for a round, but more complex effects may last longer. For example, if the player’s call on an intimidation was to cause the opponent to surrender, he will surrender; he won’t stop fighting for one round and then start fighting again the next round.
Near-miss is an optional rule. With a near-miss, there is a chance that a failed action could still succeed, even though things are still bad, or maybe even getting worse. A near-miss can occur when a character misses an important difficulty number by one or two points. If the situation is a completely clear cut yes or no, if there’s no way the action could continue, then a near-miss is a normal failure. But a near-miss can be a great dramatic tool in the right situations; Indiana Jones in the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark had a near-miss result when he leaped over the pit in the South American temple, and then had to haul himself up the seemingly endless vine. If that had been treated as a normal failure, he wouldn’t have been able to grab the vine and ultimately pull himself out, he would instead have fallen into the pit and probably died. Not exactly the best way to start a story! Near-misses can be great fun if they’re played right, certainly more fun than the alternative sometimes. While the gamemaster should not go out of her way to turn every action failed by one or two points into a near-miss, it should at least be considered for most life-and-death situations when one die roll decides everything.
INTERACTION RESULTS TABLE
Result Points Intimidate/ Test Taunt/ Trick Interrogate Charm/ Persuade Maneuver
S Stymied Stymied Enemy Loyal Fatigued
1 Stymied Stymied Enemy Friendly Fatigued
2 Stymied Stymied Enemy Friendly Fatigued
3 Stymied Stymied Hostile Neutral Fatigued
4 Stymied Stymied Hostile Neutral Fatigued
5 Unskilled Unskilled Hostile Neutral Stymied
6 Unskilled Unskilled Hostile Neutral Stymied
7 Unskilled Unskilled Neutral Hostile Stymied
8 Unskilled Unskilled Neutral Hostile Stymied
9 Unskilled Unskilled Neutral Hostile Stymied
10 Setback Setback Neutral Hostile Unskilled
11 Setback Setback Neutral Hostile Unskilled
12 Setback Setback Friendly Enemy Unskilled
13 Setback Setback Friendly Enemy Unskilled
14 Setback Setback Friendly Enemy +1 Unskilled
15 Break Up/ Setback Loyal Enemy +1 Setback/ Fatigued
+2 Player’s Call Player’s Call Loyal Enemy +1 Player’s Call
The damage from a fatigue result is normal damage and requires the normal amount of time to heal. See “Types of Damage” and “Healing” later in this chapter for more information about shock point damage.
Fatigued: A fatigue result inflicts two shock points of damage on the targeted character. (Note that some types of armor and equipment in Chapter Thirteen might increase the amount of shock damage caused by a fatigue result.) The damage from a fatigue represents the effects caused by the character wasting his energy responding to the motions and actions of the maneuvering character.
Stymied: The targeted character loses the first reroll she would otherwise normally get for any reason. If a character never has an opportunity for a reroll during her next action, stymied has no other effect. A stymied result will cancel out the benefits of an up result, and vice versa.
Unskilled: The targeted character cannot use any of his skill adds during his next action, all action totals and passive defense values will be based off of raw attribute values instead. Heroes and Villains lose their roll again on 20’s while unskilled and mooks lose their roll-again on 10’s while unskilled. Other unskilled use penalties are not applied; the character has not lost the skill, just the benefit of his adds.
Setback: Setbacks make life rougher for the targeted character. The most common setback is to cause the character to lose their next action. Setbacks are discussed in more detail in Chapter Five. The player’s call on the interaction can often be used as a guideline for determining a setback result.
Break: During a break, the targeted character will flee the battle or concede the conflict if she is unable to harm her opponent or in some other way improve her situation during her next action. Characters who break will flee or concede after failing to improve their position.
Up: The character who performed the interaction receives a free additional roll to add to their normal roll on their next action against the targeted character, like getting to reroll the die on any result instead of just on 10’s and 20’s. This reroll from an up condition cannot be countered with a Hero Point, though it can be canceled by a stymied result, and vice versa. A Hero Point may be spent normally to gain another roll on top of this reroll.
Player’s Call: As outlined in the skill descriptions, the player must state before rolling the die the exact effect he wants the interaction to have on the targeted character. With a player’s call result they get the effect they wanted.
Charm, Interrogate and Persuade Results
Charm is used to improve the target character’s attitude towards the interacting character, persuasion is used to convince the target character to do something for the interacting character and interrogation is a use of the intimidation skill to get information out of the target character. The results listed in these two columns deal with the attitude of the target character, either towards the interacting character or towards the information he’s being interrogated about.
Loyal: Loyal characters are strongly committed to the characters that have earned their loyalty. They go to considerable lengths to guarantee the safety and well being of the characters to which they are loyal and will do almost anything those characters ask of them. Although they are still motivated to keep themselves alive, some loyalties transcend even self preservation. Information about which they feel loyal to is just as fiercely guarded and protected.
Friendly: Characters with a friendly attitude have reason to believe the other to be worthwhile in some sense—they may share common goals or values, enjoy each other’s company, or believe that there is something intrinsically valuable about each other. Friends support each other in small ways— sometimes large ways if needed. Information about which they feel friendly is information they would normally only give to someone they like or trust.
Neutral: Neutral characters have no reason to like or dislike another. People who are neutral may seem friendly or standoffish but they have no actual emotional investment in the character toward which they are neutral. The flip side is that such characters aren’t out to exploit those toward whom they are neutral. “Live and let live” is a good motto for the neutral attitude. Neutral information is something they don’t have any particular reason to withhold from anyone.
Hostile: Characters with a hostile attitude toward someone have contempt for or feel threatened by that character. The character may be intensely jealous, or the two characters may belong to rival factions. The hostility may stem from long-held prejudice or recent events. Hostile information is something of little enough value that there’s no danger in it being known by someone the character does not like.
Enemy: An enemy is a character who seeks to destroy the other character. The destruction need not be physical and immediate, but each misery and defeat an enemy can inflict on his opponent fulfills a personal goal. The difference between hostile and enemy is that a hostile character will usually avoid the undesirable character while an enemy will go out of her way to antagonize the person she hates. Enemy information is something so inconsequential or obvious that there’s no reason not to tell it to anyone.
Enemy+1: This result is not an actual attitude. Some uses of charm and persuasion require getting a result higher than the target character’s attitude so this result provides a level above enemy
The difficulty number for a charm attempt is the willpower value of the target. If the target does not have willpower, use the target’s Mind instead. The other factors involved are the target’s attitude toward the charmer, and the charmer’s attitude toward the target (which are not necessarily the same). Players may choose the attitude they want their character to adopt toward the target, announcing their choice to the gamemaster. Once they choose an attitude, they need to roleplay it appropriately. For instance, if the player declares that her character is friendly, but acts in a truly selfish or manipulative manner, the gamemaster should point out that this is hostile behavior. If the player amends her action, there is no penalty. If she does not, the gamemaster should ignore the player’s stated attitude and treat her as hostile towards the other character. The base attitude of nonplayer characters is determined by the gamemaster according to the character and situation. A successful charm temporarily increases a character’s attitude by one level, although his base attitude (the original attitude of the character) remains the same. Any subsequent charm attempts still use the base attitude to determine the level of success needed. To continue charming a character in a single scene (another charm attempt may always be made in a future scene), the charmer must receive a result which is at least one level higher than the base attitude of the target. This is a continuing success.
Persuasion is used to get another character or creature to agree to do a certain thing or accept a certain course of action. The difficulty number for persuading someone is their willpower or Mind value.
Only one persuasion attempt may be made on a character about any one issue or suggestion, unless the gamemaster decides there is a good story-related reason to allow another attempt.
Example: At a small refugee camp, a Viking takes offense at an imagined insult and decides to mop the floor with Quin. Quin doesn’t really want to fight the guy, nor does he want to get smashed by him. Becky describes the Viking smashing things, throwing insults at Quin and waving his spear around, with Quin dodging in and out amid the tents while trying to persuade the tribesman not to skin him alive. She gives Quin three chances at persuasion, with a round or two between each attempt, in Order to make the scene interesting.
Pressing the Issue
When a character fails a charm, or only gets the minimal level of success necessary, no further charm attempts may normally be made in that scene without pressing the issue. This means trying to charm one more time in the face of a potentially negative reaction from the target character. If this extra charm roll is successful (at any level) the target’s temporary attitude improves by one more step, and no further charm attempts may be made in that scene, nor may the issue be pressed any further. The danger is in failure. If a character fails while pressing the issue, the target’s base attitude worsens by one step and the temporary attitude changes to the new base attitude.
Persuasion takes into account the target’s attitude, much as charm does. As with charm, the persuading character needs to get a result equal to or greater than the target character’s attitude to be successful. The difference is that persuasion goes against the target character’s temporary attitude rather than their base attitude, so using charm before persuasion can makes it easier to persuade someone to do something.
If the persuader gets a success level equal to the target’s temporary attitude, the target agrees to the persuader’s request in exchange for something of roughly equal value. The payoff must be immediate unless the reward is great and the target has genuine reason to believe he will receive the reward.
If the persuader gets a success level one step higher than the target’s temporary attitude, the target character agrees to the proposition as stated by the persuader, with no strings attached. This result is only possible if the outcome of the proposition has some value to the target; that is, the target must believe there is some self interest to be served by going along with the persuader’s suggestion – if not right now, then soon. The self interest can be anything from direct monetary reward, to recognition, to knowledge that he is doing the right thing (as he sees it.) If this is not possible, the result is treated as described above for getting a result equal to the target’s attitude. If the persuader gets a success level two steps higher than the target’s temporary attitude, the persuaded character will follow through on the suggestion with all possible effort and speed if the target character agrees with the fundamental aim of the course of action suggested by the persuader. Target characters with an attitude of hostile are usually unlikely to agree with the persuader, in which case the result should be treated as a result one level above the target’s attitude. Note that it is not possible to get two steps higher than enemy on the Interaction Results Table.
Example: Quin is trying to convince the Viking to stop threatening him. The Viking’s base and temporary attitude towards Quin are both hostile since Quin doesn’t have time to try and charm the Viking before attempting to persuade him. If Quin gets a result of enemy+1 on the Persuade Column, two steps higher, the Viking will immediately stop attacking Quin if there’s any reason he might agree to stop. Perhaps he is only attacking because honor demands it for an insult, but he doesn’t really believe that Quin meant to insult him. On the other hand, if he has no real reason to stop attacking Quin, it should be treated as described next.
If Quin gets a result of enemy on the Persuade Column, one step higher, the Viking might stop attacking if he feels that he’s getting something in exchange for stopping. If Quin’s persuasion attempt included an apology for causing offense, that might be sufficient to satisfy the Viking’s need for compensation. Or maybe
Quin offers to buy the Viking a drink or has something else that he offers in exchange for the Viking halting his attack. If the Viking doesn’t see anything of value though, it should be treated as described next. If Quin gets a hostile result on the Persuade column, the same level as the Viking’s attitude, the Viking will stop attacking Quin if he offers up something valuable in exchange; something the Viking feels is a suitable payment for the insult he thinks Quin paid him. Maybe Quin has to offer up something expensive, like a new battle-axe to replace the Viking’s old axe. Or perhaps he has to let the Viking humiliate him publicly the same way the Viking thinks Quin insulted him. If Quin doesn’t offer up something suitable in exchange, or didn’t even get a hostile result on his persuasion attempt, the Viking refuses to stop attacking him. It is not possible to persuade a character to do something that is completely against her nature or ethical principles. One of the prime tricks of evil characters is to misrepresent a situation and the choices so that persuasion is possible, i.e. producing false evidence against a hero as part of a persuasion attempt to make a target take harmful action against the hero. Even in situations where persuasion is possible, the gamemaster may wish to apply modifiers to the difficulty based on what is being asked of the target character. Moderate risk, such as the chance of losing considerable money or prestige or there being a real chance of physical danger, should be worth at least a +3 modifier. If the situation involves high risk, such as a guaranteed chance of physical harm to oneself or loved ones, the difficulty should be increased by at least +5.
Haggling is a special back-and-forth use of persuasion where each person participating in the interaction is trying to convince the other of something. It is most often used when a character wishes to sell or purchase something and the price needs to be negotiated rather than being a predetermined amount. Not every purchase that can be haggled has to use these rules; haggling can often be done purely by roleplaying out the exchange between the characters. But in cases where a character may be better (or worse) than the player when it comes to swinging a deal these
BASE PRICE/ATTITUDE CHART
A “bargain” is a price that is much less than the item’s actual worth or an offer that is much more than the item’s worth. “+/- is a price or offer within one point on the Value Chart, “+/- is within two points and “+/- is within three points.
Example: Terrill is in a town when a dagger in a nearby stall catches his eye. The normal price of a dagger (as given in Chapter Thirteen) is $50, which is a value of 9. The merchant, noticing Terrill’s interest, tells him that the dagger is “only “$200. Two hundred is a value of 12, three above the dagger’s normal cost value, which means Terrill’s attitude is enemy towards this offer. Terrill counters with an offer of $40, which is a value of 8. This is one below the dagger’s normal cost so the merchant is neutral to Terrill’s offer.
Haggling is conducted in round play. Each character attempts to persuade the other into accepting their offer or price on whatever is being sold. This requires getting a success level one step higher than the target character’s attitude. If during a round neither character succeeds in persuading the other, both must adjust their offers to be one point closer on the Value Chart to the other person’s offer. In most cases this will improve each character’s attitude by one step, increasing the likelihood of someone being successfully persuaded in the next round. If during a round one character successfully persuades the other, the other character will accept the character’s offer or price. If both characters successfully persuade each other, they agree to split the difference. Both character may choose at any time to stop haggling and either meet the other person’s offer or call off the deal and stop negotiating.
Example: Terrill tries to persuade the merchant to take his offer of $40 for the dagger while the merchant wants Terrill to pay $200 for it. Terrill has a willpower skill of 12 and a persuasion skill of 10 and is enemy towards the merchant’s offer. The merchant has a willpower skill of 11 and a persuasion skill of 14 and is neutral to Terrill’s offer. Becky announces that Terrill has the initiative in the first round and gets to go first.
Alan rolls on Terrill’s persuasion skill and generates a 14. That is only three result points, which is a neutral result on the Persuade Column. He needed to get better than the merchant’s attitude so he is not successful this round. Becky then rolls for the merchant and gets a persuasion total of 16. This is four result points, also a neutral result. This is below Terrill’s attitude so the merchant also fails this round. Since both failed, Terrill must raise his offer and the merchant must lower his offer. Terrill raises his offer to $60 and the merchant drops his price to $150. Terrill’s new offer is a value of 9, still within one point of the item’s actual cost so the merchant remains neutral. The merchant’s new price is a value of 11, two value points higher than the cost, which lowers Terrill’s attitude to hostile. In the second round, Becky says that the merchant has the initiative and gets to go first. She generates a persuasion total of 18, another neutral result, and again fails to persuade Terrill. Alan generates a total of 17 for Terrill, also another neutral result and another failure.
Both sides must improve their offers again. Terrill goes up to $70, a value of 10. This is high enough for the merchant to see it as a “bargain” so his attitude becomes friendly. The merchant drops his price to $100, also a value of 10, which improves Terrill’s attitude to neutral. Becky announces that Terrill has the initiative.
Alan generates a persuasion total of 14 for Terrill, a neutral result. Since the merchant is now friendly this is a success! But the merchant still gets to make his persuasion attempt. Becky generates an action value of 15 for a neutral result, which is not successful since it’s not higher than Terrill’s attitude. The merchant accepts Terrill’s offer of $70. If Becky had generated an action value of 19 or higher the merchant would have a hostile result on the Persuade Column and also been successful in that round. If that had happened, Terrill and the merchant would have split the difference between the two offers and Terrill would have paid $85 for the dagger.
Clearing the Mind
Player characters and other possibility-rated characters are generally tougher to dazzle and confuse than Mooks because of their superior attributes and skills, but they are not immune to the effects of charm and persuasion. Fortunately, there is a way for characters to shake off the effects of charm and persuasion, a chance to clear their minds.
To do this, the player (or gamemaster for non-player characters) makes a Perception check for the character; the difficulty number is the character’s own Mind. If the result points are equal to or greater than the result points of the latest charm or persuasion attempt against him, the charm or persuasion is negated. If an enemy character made the suggestion, add +3 to the bonus number for clearing the mind. If a character clears his mind, he is safe from the effects of charm and persuasion by that opponent for the rest of that act.
Interrogation is handled much like a persuasion attempt except that the character uses her intimidation skill and the attitude levels apply to how the target feels about the information the interrogator wants, not how the target feels about the interrogator. The better the target’s attitude towards the information, the harder it is to get them to reveal it. Personal information and closely guarded secrets might be something the target feels loyal or friendly about, while information about a casual acquaintance or an event that didn’t involve the character personally might be something they would tell to most people (neutral) or even to people they don’t necessarily like (hostile or enemy). The goal of the interrogator is the break the target’s resistance and force him into revealing information he wouldn’t normally give the interrogating character.
Combat in Torg is the combat of adventure fiction. Arrows fly, providing danger - but far less frequently do they provide death, at least for the heroes. The chance of death, however, is always present in combat, and probably more frequently than in fiction, where the author has complete control the outcome of events. Combat occurs in round play with each round representing 10 seconds of “game time.” Resolving everything that happens in a combat round takes longer than 10 seconds of real time do, but for the characters only 10 seconds pass. During combat there are nine general types of actions that characters can perform, which are described in the following section.
An attack is taken in order to damage a target. An attack action always requires generating an action total. A defense action is the use of a defensive skill such as dodge or melee weapons. Most defensive actions are passive and do not require generating an action total. Characters can elect to perform an active defense though, in which case an action total is generated. On an active defense, if the bonus number is less than +1 it is considered to be a +1 bonus. A simple action is an easy task that usually doesn’t require any kind of skill check to perform. Shouting a command, flipping a switch, reloading a clip-fed weapon and moving a short distance are examples of simple actions. A movement action involves any movement that covers more than a short distance or requires the use of a skill, such as climbing, jumping and running. All speed push attempts are movement actions. Maneuver is an aggressive movement designed to tire an opponent or throw her off balance and is covered by use of the maneuver skill and the Interaction Results Table.
Trick, Test, Taunt, and Intimidation are uses of the skills with the same names designed to unsettle and throw off an opponent, giving the character a tactical advantage. In general, a character may only roll the die for one type of action in a round. Passive defense and simple actions do not require die rolls so they may be performed in conjunction with an action that does involve a die roll. Generally there is no limit on the number of passive defense actions a character can perform; they can always passively defend against every attack directed at them in a round. The number of simple actions a character can perform in one round is generally limited to what makes sense within the ten-second period of time represented by a round. Characters can attempt to perform more than one action that requires a die roll in a round by performing a multi-action. The rules for multi-actions are described later in this chapter.
Initiative, which side gets to go first during the round, is determined by the Drama Deck and is explained in Chapter Five. Everyone involved in a combat is divided into two factions, the Heroes and Villains. One side will get to go first in a round and when everyone on that side has finished taking their actions the other side gets to take their actions. Once both sides have finished taking their actions, the round is over and initiative is determined again for the next round. The order in which everyone on a side takes their actions is usually determined by the Dexterity attributes of everyone on that side. Characters act in Order from highest to lowest Dexterity. Gamemasters may also simply progress from one side of the table to the other instead of having characters go in Order of Dexterity if this seems easier than keeping track of when each character would go in Order of Dexterity.
Attack skills include Heavy weapons, unarmed combat, melee weapons, missile weapons and martial arts. Attacks made with magic spells, miracles or some other kind of special ability would use the associated skill as an attack skill. When using an attack skill, if the action total is equal to or higher than the difficulty number of the attack, the attack hits the target. The difficulty number is the opponent’s appropriate defensive skill, which may be passive or an active defense
Most of the attack skills also serve as their own defensive skill. The main exception is ranged combat where the dodge skill is used for defense instead of the skill used to make the ranged attack. Most defenses will be passive, using the base value of the skill, but characters can elect to make an active defense and increase the difficulty number for their opponent. When rolling a bonus for an active defense, treat all bonus numbers of less than +1 as +1. An active defense can never make a character easier to hit, only harder. A character does not need to have the initiative to perform an active defense; it can be taken during the opponent’s initiative. An active defense does have to be declared before the attacker rolls the die. Because an active defense requires a die roll, characters can only perform an active defense if they have not already taken a dice action that round.
Once a character is hit, the effect total (usually called the damage total) determines damage. The attacker’s damage value is his Strength, possibly modified by a melee or missile weapon, or the damage value of the weapon itself (for weapons that provide their own energy like a crossbow) Plus the skills used with the attack. The difficulty is the target’s Toughness (which might be modified by armor) plus the skill adds used in defense. The more the difficulty number is exceeded, the more the target is damaged. Remember that to get an effect total, you use the same bonus number that generated the action total. The result points determined by applying the damage total against the opponent’s Toughness or armor value are read on the Combat Results Table to determine the amount and type of damage done by the attack. There are two columns on the chart, one for Mooks and one for possibility-rated characters. By their nature, possibility rated characters (whether they are player characters or nonplayer characters) are better able to endure damage than Mooks.
Types of Damage
A character can suffer up to four types of damage when an attack successfully causes injury: shock, knockout condition and wounds are the three main kinds of damage. The fourth type, knockdown, is very temporary and is more of a condition than actual damage.
Shock damage is expressed as a number. When the total number of shock points taken equals or exceeds a character’s Toughness, he falls unconscious. Unconscious or resting characters recover shock damage at the rate of one point a minute if the character does not also have a KO condition. An unconscious character will wake up when his shock damage is reduced to an amount less than his Toughness.
Example: Quin’s Toughness is 11. If he takes 11 or more points of shock damage in a fight he passes out. He will remain unconscious until enough shock damage has been healed or removed to bring him to 10 or fewer points of shock damage. If Quin also has a KO condition he won’t heal any shock damage until the KO is gone.
Knockout conditions represent blows to vulnerable areas. The letters “K” and “O” mark knockout conditions. When a character takes a K, the player should record that on the character sheet. If a character with a K later takes an O, that’s a KO, which knocks the character unconscious.
COMBAT RESULTS TABLE
S 1 1
1 O 1 1
2 K 1 O 1
3 O 2 K 1
4 K 2 2
5 Knockdown O 3 O 2
6 Knockdown K 3 Knockdown K 2
7 Knockdown K/O 4 Knockdown O 3
8 Wnd KO 4 Knockdown K 3
9 Wnd K/O 5 Knockdown K/O 3
10 Wnd KO 5 Wnd K/O 4
11 2Wnd K/O 6 Wnd K/O 4
12 2Wnd KO 6 Wnd KO 4
13 3Wnd K/O 7 2Wnd K/O 5
14 3Wnd KO 7 2Wnd KO 5
15 4Wnd KO 8 3Wnd KO 5
+2 +1Wnd +1 shock +1Wnd +1 shock
A K condition lasts for half an hour, representing a serious jolt to the nervous system. If a character already has a K result and takes another K, the shock damage for that blow only is increased by three. Any Os taken before a K result last for only a round and then fade. If a character already has an O result and takes a K, that’s also a KO result and he is knocked unconscious. A K/O result means that if the character has no knockout condition already, he takes a K. If he already has a K, he takes an O instead. After five minutes, the O of a KO condition will fade, leaving the character with just a K result. The character will regain consciousness at this point (unless he’s also unconscious from shock damage, which won’t heal while a character has a KO result.)
Example: In the first round of a fight, Quin takes a K result in damage. In the next round, he takes another K and three points of shock damage. Since he already has a K result, the second K becomes three additional points of shock damage and he takes six points of shock that round. In the third round, he takes a K/O result. Since he already has a K, he takes an O, which gives him a KO, and he’s knocked unconscious. After five minutes he will wake up with just a K condition.
Knockdown causes a character to spend his next action getting up, although he is not completely helpless - he may take an active defense action while getting back up. Alternately, the character can remain on the ground and take an action from that position but at a penalty. The penalty will depend on the action the character attempts and the circumstances, but should be at least a +2 to the difficulty.
Example: Quin suffers a Knockdown during a fight. Instead of getting back up he decides to shoot at his opponent from the ground. Becky assigns a +2 penalty to the attempt. In the next round, instead of getting up Quin decides to intimidate his opponent. Becky decides that being laid out of the ground is not the best position for intimidating a standing opponent and assigns a +5 penalty this time. If a character suffers a Knockdown result while already under the effects of a Knockdown, or takes multiple Knockdown results at the same time, the extra Knockdowns further limit what the character can do while she is knocked down. A second Knockdown limits the character to only being able to perform simple actions during their next action (they can get back up, but they can’t actively defend while doing so since that is not a simple action.) Any further Knockdowns extend the number of rounds that the character can only perform simple actions.
Example: While he’s still on the ground from a previous Knockdown result, two of Quin’s opponents run up and start kicking him. Each one manages to hit and each gets a Knockdown result as part of their damage on Quin. Because he’s already under the effects of one Knockdown, these two additional Knockdowns mean that Quin can only perform simple actions for the next two rounds. Even if Quin stands up during the next round, he will still be too dazed to do anything but simple actions in the next round as well.
Wound damage is serious injuries that linger and hinder a character’s ability to act. There are four levels of wounds: wounded, heavily wounded, mortally wounded, and dead (more than four wounds also counts as dead.) The number of wound levels taken from an attack precedes the abbreviation “Wnd” on the Combat Results Table.
Wounds are cumulative: a heavily wounded character that takes another wound is now mortally wounded, and so forth. When a character reaches the mortally wounded level, he will soon die unless he receives medical attention. Whenever a character takes any level of wound damage in combat he also suffers an automatic Knockdown result (see above). While wounded, a character suffers a penalty on any action she attempts because of the pain caused by the injury. The resist pain and willpower skill can be used to temporarily ignore these penalties. Certain painkilling drugs, magic spells and other effects may also allow a character to ignore the penalties caused by injuries. The penalty is equal to the character’s wound level: wounded characters have a +1 penalty, heavily wounded characters have a +2 penalty and mortally wounded characters have a +3 penalty. Dead characters of course can’t do anything (the ultimate penalty).
Additionally, when a character is at mortally wounded, he takes one shock point of damage a round until one of two things occurs:
- He receives medical
attention (first aid or medicine skill) to stop the accumulation of shock damage
shock damage equals his Toughness, at which point his wound level increases to dead and he dies. When a character dies at four wounds, immediate emergency medical attention (first aid or medicine skills) can be used to improve her condition to mortally wounded if applied within one round of the character taking the fourth wound. Characters who have taken five or more wounds cannot be saved. Characters who go from mortally wounded to dead due to accumulated shock damage can have their condition reversed back to mortally wounded with successful medical treatment. A second medical treatment must be made immediately in the next round to stabilize the character or their condition will worsen to dead again and this time it cannot be reversed.
Each type of damage (except Knockdowns) takes a different amount of time from which to recover. Knockdowns are recovered simply by standing up. Shock damage is removed at a rate of one point per minute. An O by itself is removed after one round. A K requires a half an hour to go away. The O portion of a KO is removed in five minutes. A character will not recover any shock damage while suffering from a KO result. Once the KO has faded to a K result then the character will start recovering shock points.
Wound damage takes much longer to heal and isn’t automatic. In Order to heal a wound, the character makes a healing check. The player generates a Toughness total for her character against a difficulty number based on the character’s total wound level. Another character can use the medicine skill to try and help out the recovering character. The amount of time a character has to wait before making the first healing check depends on his total wound level. Once that first healing check has been made, if any further checks are needed they can be made on a daily basis until the character has fully recovered. A successful healing check will improve a character’s wound condition by one level. A failed check does not make the character’s condition any worse.
Wound Level Difficulty Time
Wounded 8 one day
Heavily Wounded 12 three days
Mortally Wounded 15 seven days
Movement in Combat
In combat, characters may move short distances as a simple action, but what constitutes a short distance? For most characters this will involve walking or running since other types of movement like jumping, swimming and climbing require the character to make a skill check, so they cannot be a simple action.
Walking distance, though it can also be applied to the distance that a vehicle or mount can be driven or piloted without problem, is determined by subtracting four from a character’s running limit value. The measure of this value indicates the distance the character can move as a simple action without it interfering with any dice actions she takes that round.
Example: A character with a running limit value of 8 has a walking value of 4, which is six meters. During a round the character can move up to six meters and it won’t interfere with anything else she does that round.
For a vehicle or a mount, subtract four from either the vehicle’s speed value or the skill value of the driver, whichever is less, to determine how far the vehicle can be driven in a round without difficulty.
Combat Options and
Combat is rarely as simple as just making attack totals and applying damage. There are different types of attacks, different types of weapons used, and all kinds of situational modifiers that might come into play and even dangers poised by the surroundings themselves.
Melee Weapon Damage
When a character attacks another character unarmed, the damage value is the attacker’s Strength value plus their unarmed skill adds. When the attacker uses a melee or strength-powered missile weapon, the weapon’s adds are added to the character’s Strength and skill adds to determine the base damage value. For example, a character with Strength 8 using a STR+6 sword and 3 adds in Melee weapons has a base damage value of 17. The maximum damage value listed for a weapon (as listed in Chapter Thirteen and in equipment lists in other Torg products) is the maximum base damage value possible for the weapon before skill adds are added in. It is not a limit on the damage total that can be caused with the weapon.
Example: Grod, an ogre with a Strength of 17, picks up a normal human broadsword. The broadsword does STR+6 damage and its maximum damage value is 20. Grod’s base damage value with the broadsword is thus 20, not (17 + 6) combat, his bonus numbers and skill adds are added to the base damage value of 20 normally, the limit does not apply to his damage total with the weapon.
Using Two Weapons
Adventure fiction is full of characters that fight with two weapons at the same time. Characters in Torg are no exception. When a character fights with two melee weapons, he has the option of using one for defense against other melee weapons or hand-to-hand attacks. Usually the smaller of the two weapons is used for this purpose. A character fighting this way receives the same benefits as if he were using a buckler shield (see Chapter Thirteen.) Attacks made with the other weapon are conducted normally with no modifiers. Normally characters using two ranged weapons will not want to use them to parry or block melee or hand-to-hand attacks. But if they do try it, the gamemaster will need to determine if the weapon is large enough to be of any use and also determine what might happen to the weapon if an attack hits it. If the character chooses to attack with both of his weapons he may choose to attack a single opponent with both weapons or split his attacks on two or more opponents. If he attacks a single opponent with both weapons, the attack is conducted normally. Damage is determined by using the weapon with the highest base damage value and receives a +2 bonus. This applies to both melee and ranged weapon use. If the character chooses to attack more than one opponent with his two weapons, this is considered a multi-action and uses the “Quick Multi-Attacks” rules found later in this chapter. His damage total will again be based on the weapon with the highest base damage value and receives a +2 bonus. The same damage total is applied against all of the opponents successfully hit. This also applies to both melee and ranged weapons use.
Non-lethal damage is caused by attacks intended or designed to injure and incapacitate rather than kill. Attacks made with unarmed combat are almost always non-lethal damage. Some weapons may also cause non-lethal damage, such as clubs. Some weapons may also be used in non-conventional ways to do non-lethal damage, such as striking with the flat of a blade instead of the sharp edge or slamming the hilt of the weapon into the target. Non-lethal attacks do shock, Knockdown and KO damage like regular attacks; however, they do not wound as frequently or severely. They can still wound and kill though. When determining damage from a non-lethal attack, if no wound damage is caused then the damage is applied normally. If wound damage does occur, the wound level is reduced by one step and the character suffers an extra K result.
Keeping exact track of every bullet, arrow and laser beam fired in combat is a bookkeeping chore we do not recommend, which is why ammunition is listed here as a combat options instead of being a normal rule. It may be accurate, but we don’t think it’s that much fun. But the decision on whether to count ammunition or not is left up to each gaming group, some may like doing it while others may not. If your gaming group is willing to play fast and loose with ammunition rules, let ammunition be a rare problem Characters can happily blast away without a care until it’s dramatically appropriate for them to be low on ammunition.
If a setback occurs, for example, it may indicate that the character loses some of the arrows from his quiver, and they have to start keeping track of their ammo usage from that point. Running short on ammunition should work as a dramatic element of the story, not as an exercise in bookkeeping. If your group wants to keep track of ammunition, the weapon write-ups in Chapter Thirteen and in other Torg products list the number of combat rounds of ammunition a weapon has when fully loaded. This is not necessarily the same thing as the number of crossbow bolts the character has in their quiver. Instead it indicates the number of times the weapon may be fired at its normal rate of fire before it has to be reloaded. A crossbow for example has an ammo rating of 1; it has to be reloaded every time it’s fired. Reloading most weapons counts as a simple action, though complicated and/or very large weapons may take several rounds to reload and may require a skill check as well. Each round that a character fires a weapon uses up one combat round’s worth of ammunition. If the character is firing at more than one target, he uses up a number of combat rounds equal to the number of shots taken; if the character uses the Single Fire as Multi combat option, that counts as three combat rounds worth of ammo. If firing a burst-fire weapon at full automatic, chalk off seven rounds worth of ammo. If the Burst Fire as Single-Shot combat option is used, mark off one combat round of ammo for every three shots taken.
A knockdown attack is an attempt to knock an opponent off its feet, forcing to waste its next action standing back up. Knockdown attacks can be done with almost any kind of normal attack. Often the only thing that has to be done is to direct the attack at the target’s legs and knock them out from underneath it. A knockdown attack applies a -2 penalty to the bonus number of the attack. If the action value achieves a Good success level or better, the attack causes an automatic Knockdown result instead of any normal damage from the attack. If the action value only achieves a Minimal or Average success, only normal damage is applied.
Example: Magoth is fighting another giant and needs a moment to get some distance between him and his opponent so that he can start using his magic. Roger declares that Magoth is going to try a knockdown attack, he’s going to swing his sword at his opponent’s legs and hope it’ll make him fall. Then while the other giant is spending the next round getting up Magoth will have time to move away and start casting a spell.
Roger rolls a 10 and then a die total of 15 is a +3 bonus. Because he’s doing a knockdown attack this is modified by -2 for a final bonus of +1. This gives Magoth an action total of 11 with his melee weapons skill. His opponent’s melee weapons skill is 10 so he only has one result point, only an Average success, and does not get the automatic Knockdown result. His damage from the attack is figured normally using his modified bonus of +1. Roger tries again in the next round. This time he rolls a19 a +6 bonus, which gives him an action total of 14 after applying the modifier for a knockdown attack. Four result points is a Good success so he automatically scores a Knockdown result on his opponent in addition to the regular damage from his attack.
Ranged Weapon Modifiers
Hitting a target at a distance becomes more difficult the farther away the target is from the attacker. Most ranged weapons also experience a drop in damage the farther they have to travel before hitting a target. Projectile weapons, for example, slow down as they travel the farther they go. Write-ups for ranged weapons, such as the ones in Chapter Thirteen, will provide the range values for the weapons.
A character may spend one round aiming. In the next round, the aiming character gets a +3 bonus to his action value. Aiming does not increase the damage value. Aiming may only be done with missile weapons, and requires the attacker to remain motionless and be undisturbed for that round while he tracks his target. The character can perform simple actions while aiming at the gamemaster’s discretion. Speaking briefly to another character might not interrupt his concentration, but walking through a doorway might. Because the character is remaining motionless and concentrating on his target, any attack made against an aiming character has the bonus number increased by +3, but he gets to use his normal passive defense. If the character is successfully damaged by an attack while aiming, his aim is ruined and he will not get the aiming bonus on his next action.
A vital blow is an attack aimed at a specific spot with the intent of causing extra damage, such as punching someone in the kidneys, shooting them in the head or sliding a blade between their ribs and into their heart or a lung. The modifiers for a vital blow depend on how much more difficult of an attack the character wishes to perform and/or how much more damage he wants to cause. The lowest level of a vital blow applies a -2 penalty to the action value of an attack while increasing the damage value by +1. Players can choose increasingly difficult or damaging vital blows by applying the -2/+1 modifier multiple times, up to a maximum of -8/+4.
Example: Yukitada needs to eliminate a Yakuza bodyguard fast so that he doesn’t have time to make any noise. Barbara declares that Yukitada will attempt a vital blow with a -6 to the action value and a +3 to the damage value. She describes the attack as a sharp blow to the front of the bodyguard’s neck. If the player provides a clear description of what their character is hoping to do with a vital blow, the gamemaster should reward a successful attack by taking into consideration what the player wanted and, if necessary, create additional benefits and results if the vital blow is successful. These, characters may make a vital blow attack but the gamemaster does not apply the damage modifier, since the attack is not really hitting anything vital.
The vital block is the opposite of a vital blow. Instead of an attacker attempting a more difficult shot in hopes of causing more damage, a vital block is when a defender sacrifices some of his defensive value in exchange for reducing the likelihood of an attack doing serious damage. In essence the character is focusing his attention on protecting only part of his body from attack, saving him from serious injury but not from minor attacks that might hit non-vital areas. For example, a boxer who curls his arms up in front of his face and chest is protecting his head and body from his opponent’s punches by taking them instead on his gloves and forearms. While his opponent may hit him more often this way, the blows will not be landing on anything vital so the defending character won’t take as much damage as he might have otherwise. The modifiers for the vital block depend on how much of his non-vital defense the character is willing to sacrifice for additional protection to vital areas. The lowest level of a vital block applies a -2 penalty to the character’s defense value while increasing the character’s armor value by +1. Characters can choose the amount by which they protect themselves by applying the -2/+1 modifier multiple times, up to a maximum of -8/+4.
Vital block may be combined with an active defense; the player declares how much of a vital block the character will perform before rolling the die to generate the active defense value.
Example: Magoth is in a sword fight with a powerful evil knight, who’s been repeatedly hitting Magoth hard enough to cause wound damage. Magoth realizes that he needs to keep the knight from causing any more wounds so he’s going to concentrate on protecting his vital areas. In the next round Roger declares that
Magoth is going to actively defend with his melee weapons skill and he’s going to vital block on top of that, with a -4/+2 modifier. Roger rolls the die and generates a +4 bonus number. Magoth’s defense value remains unchanged (the +4 bonus number and -4 vital block modifier cancel out) but he receives a +2 bonus to his Toughness (i.e., a +2 armor value) when resisting any damage the evil knight causes that round.
All-out attack, sometimes called a sacrifice attack, is a furious, berserk attack that sacrifices defense to increase the chance of hitting and causing damage. An all-out attack may only be done in hand-to-hand combat; it cannot be done with ranged attacks. An all-out attack can be combined with other attack options, such as a knockdown attack or a vital blow, but it cannot be combined with any defensive actions such as an active defense or a vital block. An all-out attack gives the attacker a +3 bonus to his action value and a +1 bonus to his damage value. But by going all-out, the character leaves himself vulnerable to counterattacks; all blows aimed at the character doing the all-out attack receive a +3 bonus to the bonus number of the attack until the character‘s next action in the next round.
A sweep attack is an attempt to hit a target without any real concern for how much damage is done. Sweep attacks can be made in most hand-to-hand situations, such as throwing a roundhouse punch or swinging a sword in a huge arc in front of the character. A sweep attack gives the character a +5 bonus to his action value but penalizes damage with a -5 modifier. The character is sacrificing accuracy (more damage) for effect (hitting the target).
Suppressive fire is a variant of the sweep attack used with ranged weapons, usually only those capable of burst and full auto fire but it can be done somewhat less effectively with single-shot weapons too. Unlike a sweep attack, the goal of suppressive fire is not to improve the chances of hitting a target by throwing a lot of ammo in the air. Instead, the “field of fire” established by the suppressive fire is meant to intimidate the target, to scare him into thinking that if he tries anything he’s going to be met by a hailstorm of missiles. The goal of suppressive fire might be to convince someone to surrender or to keep him “pinned down” and unable to move from his current location. The attacker generates her action and damage totals normally. Whichever value is higher is treated as an intimidation skill value that is applied to anyone within the area being blanketed by the suppressive fire. The effects are determined according to the usual rules for character interactions. Multiple attackers may combine their fields of fire to increase the effect of their suppressive fire using the rules for combining actions as described later in this chapter.
A character taking an opportunity attack is waiting for a target to present itself later in the round. In effect, the character holds her action when it is her turn and waits to take it when the other side takes their actions.
As each target presents itself, she must either decide to attack then or wait for another target. If she waits, any target characters “passed over” may act as they normally would. attacks have a -3 bonus modifier for action and effect, representing the delay caused by having to make a split-second decision to attack or to continue holding her action.
A location attack is like an opportunity attack in which a character holds his action until a target presents itself. The difference is that character doesn’t make a choice about whether to attack or continue waiting; the first target that presents itself at a location is the one that gets attacked. The character must specify a single location, such as a doorway, for a location attack. The location attack occurs as soon as any target presents itself. There is no penalty for a location attack.
Holding an Action
Players will occasionally want their characters to take their actions after another character’s action. For example, one player character may be waiting for another player character to move out of the way so he has a clear shot at a bad guy. Or perhaps a player character is waiting to see what a nonplayer character decides to do and then will react to that. When it’s a case of waiting for a character on the same initiative side to take an action, it simply means that the first player lets the other player go before him. There are no penalties for waiting to act after someone on your side. Waiting to take an action during the other side’s initiative though is always considered either a location attack or an opportunity attack depending on the nature of what the character is waiting for before acting. Most of the time it will probably be considered an opportunity attack.
A grappling attack is used to physically grasp a target. It can be used to take possession of an item someone else is holding, such as grabbing a weapon out of someone else’s hand, or it can be used to restrict the target’s ability to move, such as wrestling someone to the ground and pinning them so that they can’t escape. Grappling can be combined with a number of other combat options, such as with a vital blow (choking someone) or even with a sweep attack (a big “bearhug”.) While most grappling attacks will be forms of unarmed combat some weapons may be used for grappling attacks. A bullwhip for example can be used to wrap around a target and a net can be thrown on someone to bring them down. Grappling attacks impose a -4 modifier to the action total and a -2 modifier to the damage total. The result points of the action total are read on the General Success Table to determine if the character simply hits the target or successfully grapples with it. If the attacker gets at least a Good success level he has successfully grasped his target. If he only got a Minimal or Average success then he struck his target and will do damage, but fails to hold onto the target. If he was attempting to take an item away from another character, no damage will be done but gamemasters may want to consider if the attack instead disarms the opponent (see “Disarm”.)
A disarm is similar to using a grappling attack to take something out of another character’s hands except that the attacker isn’t trying to take possession of the item, she just wants to make the other person drop it. Unlike a grappling attack, a disarm can be attempted with almost any kind of attack or weapon since the goal is simply to strike the item itself or the target’s hand in such a way as to cause the target to lose his grip and drop the item. A disarm attack is made with a -2 modifier to the action total. If the attack is successful, the damage total is compared to the target’s Strength attribute to see if the disarm is successful. The result points are read on the General Success Table and on a Good or better success the target is disarmed. With a Minimal or Average result, the result points are instead read on the Combat Results Table and the damage is applied to the target.
A character attacking with either unarmed combat or melee weapons skill may use an aggressive defense. This is a particular type of multi-action where the character is making an attack while also actively defending. When using aggressive defense, the character rolls for an active defense, but she has a -2 modifier to her defense value. The minimum bonus on the active defense is still +1 though. The same roll is also used to generate an action and damage total for the attack, but has a -4 modifier to both. The attack does not get a minimum bonus number of +1 like the active defense.
Example: Yukitada is in a sword fight with a ronin. Yukitada decides to use an aggressive defense in hopes of improving her defensive value while continuing to press the attack. Yukitada can use her martial arts skill to fight with a sword so her base skill value is 16. Barbara rolls an bonus number of -2. For Yukitada’s active defense, a bonus number less than +1 is treated as +1 so her defense total goes up to 17. But then the -2 modifier for the aggressive defense is applied and she actually ends up with a 15. For Yukitada’s attack, she has to use the -2 bonus, the minimum +1 bonus only applies to the active defense. Combined with the -4 penalty for the aggressive defense, Yukitada ends up with only a 10 for her action total. An aggressive defense is a kind of last-ditch desperation maneuver since it only pays off if the player can generate a large bonus number. Many times the character will end up doing worse than if they had just attacked or just actively defended instead of trying to do both at the same time.
A blindside attack comes from a direction which is unexpected or which the defender cannot protect well. Hitting a character from behind is a blindside attack. The target does not have to be unaware of the attack, he may know its coming but isn’t able to see it coming so he cannot react to it as well. A blindside attack normally requires surprise or that the target is unable to turn and face the attacker for some reason. When two characters are facing each other in combat, a character can get behind his opponent and launch a blindside attack in the next round if he gets a setback result on a maneuver skill check. Attacks made on fleeing opponents (with their backs to the attackers) are also blindside attacks. Blindside attacks give the attacker a +3 to his bonus number. The modifiers for a blindside are cumulative with any other modifiers, including any gained from surprising a target (see below.)
There are two types of surprise: “complete” and “partial.” Complete surprise is only possible when the target is unaware of the attacker’s presence and is not expecting any attack at all. Characters that routinely operate in dangerous environments where conflict is expected, such as soldiers on combat duty or a policeman patrolling a rough neighborhood, cannot be caught completely by surprise. Partial surprise occurs when the defenders may be expecting something to happen, but do not know when, where or what is going to happen. A security guard patrolling a perimeter for example is ready for action but doesn’t know when, or if, he might be faced with a dangerous situation. Surprised characters, whether partially or completely surprised, are not able to react as quickly or as intelligently as usual. Partially surprised characters are still able to react fairly quickly, they’re startled but not caught flat-footed. Completely surprised characters though are caught totally unprepared and off-guard. Partially surprised characters may perform an active defense or a simple action but cannot attack or take a movement action in the round that they are surprised. Player characters who are partially surprised may not play any cards (see Chapter Five) in the round that they are surprised though they may still use Possibility Points (see below). Attacks made on a partially surprised character, including any character interaction skills like trick or intimidation, receive a +2 bonus to both the action and effect totals. Completely surprised characters may take no actions in the round that they are surprised, not even an active defense. Player characters that are completely surprised may not play any cards in the round that they are surprised. Attacks made on a completely surprised character, including character interactions, receive a +4 bonus to both the action and effect totals. Characters may still use a Hero Point to negate damage while completely surprised. In the next round after being surprised, partially surprised characters are able to act normally without any restrictions. Completely surprised characters though suffer the effects of being partially surprised in that second round and are not able to act normally until the round after that, two rounds after they were completely surprised.
Concealment and Cover
When a character hides behind an object, he becomes harder to hit and may receive some additional protection from damage. Concealment refers to how much of the character’s body is concealed from the attacker by whatever the character is hiding behind. “Complete plus” means that not only is the character completely hidden from view but there’s a lot of extra area, so the attacker can’t be sure exactly where the character is behind the object. An attack that overcomes the characters defensive skill after being modified by the defense modifier granted for concealment will miss the concealment and hit the character for full damage. An attack that falls between the defensive skill of the character and the modified defensive with the concealment, will hit whatever is concealing the character and do damage to the concealment. Any attack which destroys the concealment by at least two wounds more than is required to destroy it, will do full damage to the character being targeted. Any blow that destroys the concealment by less then that will do no damage to the character.
Concealment is: Defense Modifier:
One-Quarter Hidden +2
One-Half Hidden +4
Three-Quarters Hidden +5
Completely Hidden +7
Complete Plus +10
COMBAT OPTION CHART
|Option||Action Modifier||Damage Modifier||Other Effects|
|Non-Lethal Attack||wound levels reduced|
|Knockout Attack||extra non-wound damage|
|Knockdown Attack||-2||-2||automatic Knockdown result|
|Point-Blank Range||minimum+1 bonus number|
|Aiming||+3||attack made on the aiming character are +3/+3|
|Vital Blow||-2||+1||Up to a maximum of -8/+4|
|Vital Block||reduces defense value but raises armor value|
|All-Out Attack||+3||+1||attack made on this character are +3/+3|
|Suppressive Fire||acts as an intimidation|
|Location Attack||Must attack first target that presents itself at location|
|-4||-2||target may be restrained|
|Disarm||-2||target may lose grip on item|
|Aggressive Defense||-4||-4||-2 to-active defense total|
|Partial Surprise||+2||+2 surprised||target limited in possible actions|
|Complete surprise||+4||+4 surprised||target cannot take any actions|
The Multi-Action Charts are used to sum action of many identical characters into a single die roll, or when a character is trying to have his roll apply to more than one action. There are two charts; the Many on One is used for combining a number of separate actions into one die roll and the One on Many is used to have one die roll apply to several separate actions.
Many on One
To resolve many characters’ actions with one roll, the characters must all have a skill or attribute value within one point of each other. If the values are too different, they must be rolled separately, though it could be broken down into smaller groups with similar values. For each group of similar characters, find the number of characters acting on the Many on One Chart under “Characters”. The corresponding modifier from the next column is added to the bonus number of the group’s attempt. The result points are then used with the third column, “Successes”, to determine how many of the involved characters are successful. If the result points fall between a value given on the chart, always round down. The maximum number of characters who can succeed is the number of characters involved, you can’t have more characters succeed than there are characters. In a situation requiring an effect total, use the modifier of the number of characters who actually succeeded as an effect modifier, not the modifier for the total number of characters involved. The final effect total represents a combined effect total for the efforts of all the successful characters, it is not applied separately for each successful character.
MANY ON ONE CHART
Characters Modifier Successes
1 — DN
2 +2 DN+2
3–4 +3 DN+4
5–6 +4 DN+6
7–10 +5 DN+8
11–15 +6 DN+10
One on Many
If a single character is trying several actions with different skill values and/or different difficulties, the player rolls the die once to get a bonus number, and adds that bonus number to each skill separately. Each total is then compared to the “modified difficulty” of that action. He may check in any Order he wishes if the actions are taken simultaneously. If an action depends on another action being performed first, the second action must follow the first but it doesn’t have to follow immediately. The difficulties are modified according to the “Modified Difficulty” column of the One on Many chart. The first action checked is at DN+2, the second at
ONE ON MANY CHART
Actions Modified Difficulty Toughness Increase
1 DN+2 -
2 DN+4 +2
3-4 DN+6 +3
5-6 DN+8 +4
7-10 DN+10 +5
11-15 DN+12 +6
If a character is attacking more than one opponent, each opponent’s Toughness is automatically increased by the amount listed under “Toughness Increase” for the total number of actions taken, even if the character hits fewer opponents than he attacked. Diverting his attention among multiple targets and spreading his attack lowers the damage of any successful attack.
If a character uses the same skill to attempt several actions, each of which has a difficulty number within one of all others, you can use a shorthand method to determine number of successes. This is most often used when attacking multiple opponents, each of whom has the same defensive skill. This method may not be used to attack the same opponent multiple times. Find the amount by which the skill total exceeded the difficulty of a single action on the “Modified Difficulty” column of the One on Many Chart, then look under the “Actions” column to find how many of the attacks successfully hit.
Example: Quin runs across two pirates who have come to investigate all the fighting noise. Quin decides he had better drop both at once so they cannot raise an alarm. If Quin beats the difficulty number by two he has hit one pirate, if he beats the difficulty number by four he hits both pirates at once. In either case, both of them receive a +2 bonus to their Toughness against Quin’s attack because he’s performing a multi-action against two targets. Unless dramatic circumstances dictate otherwise, player characters should always get the top end of the spread when determining number of successes; they’re heroes, they deserve a break every once in a while! Of course they can never get more successes than there are available opponents.
Summing Efforts for a
When multiple characters are combining their efforts to accomplish a single task, and when they must either succeed as a group or fail as a group, use the following procedure instead of the Many on One rules:
• A lead character is chosen; this is the character whose skill or attribute value is best suited (i.e., highest) for the task.
• All other characters whose appropriate skill or attribute is within five points of the lead character’s skill may add to the. Each aiding character makes a Perception check against the coordination difficulty of the task.
• The value of the number of characters who successfully add their effort, counting the lead character, becomes a bonus modifier for the lead character’s action total.
Example: Seven characters are trying to lift a huge boulder. One of the characters is appointed the lead character, the other six will be assisting her. Five of the six make their coordination checks; a measure of 6 (the leader plus the five who successfully coordinate) is a value of 4, so the lead character gets a +4 bonus to his action total.
The coordination difficulty for working together on a group effort depends on the complexity of the task and the amount of interaction required between everyone participating. The gamemaster should use the Difficulty Number Scale to set the coordination difficulty. Here are some examples:
• Very Easy- Task can be broken up into parts that can be worked on independently, such as digging a ditch, with minimal interaction between characters.
• Easy- Task requires basic coordination of activity, such as lifting a rock.
• Average- Task requires coordination and adjustment based on feedback, such as paddling a canoe in a flat lake or repairing a large wagon.
• Difficult - Task requires constant adjustment in a non-stable environment, such as repairing a vehicle during combat, or paddling a canoe in rapids
Efforts for a
What if 200 nonplayer characters are coordinating their efforts in a powerful mystic ritual? Instead of rolling 200 separate Perception checks, the following approximation can be used. It assumes that each participating character has a skill or attribute value within five of the lead character’s value. • Start with the value of the number of participants, including the lead character • Add their average Perception attribute value • Subtract the coordination difficulty • Subtract two • the result is the bonus modifier for the lead character.
Now that you know the rules, here’s how player characters and some nonplayer characters can bend them!
Hero Points and the Die Roll
When attempting an action, a player of a character can spend one of her character’s Hero Points and roll the die again, adding the number rolled to the final die roll. No more than one personal Hero point may be spent on any one action, though Points from outside sources (such as cards from the Drama Deck, see Chapter Five) may be used in addition to the one personal Hero Point.
The player may spend a point after'seeing the first roll; it does not have to be declared before the player rolls the first time. Hero Points are very potent; if the extra roll is less than 10 it counts as a 10 (but it does not grant another re-roll like actually rolling a 10 would.) Additional re-rolls for 10s and 20s are allowed like normal.
Extending the Charts
If situations arise where modifiers for a number of actions or groups larger than 15 are needed, the Value Chart can be used. Find the value of the number in question. That value becomes the “Modifier” of a Many on One or the “Toughness Increase” of a One on Many.
Example: One hundred characters performing a Many on One would have a modifier of +10 (the value of 100). If a single character attacked 100 characters with a One on Many, their Toughness increase would be +10. Figuring the “Successes” or “Modified Difficulty” also uses the value of the number in question. For the “Successes” on the Many on One chart, subtract one and then double. For the “Modified Difficulty” on the One on Many chart, just double the value.
Example: For 100 combined actions on the Many on One chart, all will succeed with DN+18 (10 - 1 = 9, 9 x 2= 18). For 100 actions taken on the One on Many chart, all will succeed with DN+20 (10 x 2 = 20)
Countering Hero Points
Whenever a character spends a Hero Point to alter a die roll, another character may cancel that extra die roll by spending a Hero point himself. The Point must be countered at the moment the other character spends it, before the die is rolled. Both points are spent and there is no extra roll. Notice that this means the gamemaster must announce when a nonplayer character spends a Hero Point on a die roll in Order to allow the players the chance to counter it. Any character can counter another character’s Hero Point, they don’t have to be involved in the action, just aware of it.
Characters may spend Hero Points to reduce the amount of damage they take from an attack. The attack itself is not negated; the blow still strikes the character. It just doesn’t do as much damage as it might have done otherwise. No more than one personal Hero Point may be spent to negate damage but additional Points from outside sources may be used to further reduce the damage total. Hero Points spent to reduce damage cannot be countered. Each Hero Point used to negate damage may do three of the following, and each type may be done more than once:
1. Remove three points of shock damage.
2. Remove a K or O condition or reduce a KO to a K condition.
3. Remove a Knockdown result.
4. Remove one wound level.
Damage results that are modified by special attack forms, such as a Knockout Attack, have their modifications performed before the character gets to negate any damage.
Damage to Equipment
Normally characters are only able to use possibilities to negate damage that they take; any equipment they are carrying or operating takes damage normally. There is one exception to this rule - heroes who are associated with a particular piece of equipment, often seem to be able to keep the equipment operating sometimes through force of will alone. In game terms, a character that has a trademark specialization with a particular tool or piece of equipment can use possibilities to negate damage inflicted on that item. They can’t do it for similar items, only for their one trademarked item
Besides all the dangers that characters face in combat, there’s all kinds of natural hazards that characters may face during their adventures. Rules for dealing with some of the more commonly encountered ones are included here.
Perceiving someone or something is accomplished with a perception or find check. Environmental conditions like lighting, magical invisibility or concealment like fog can modify the check. Effects that completely impede vision of the target like full darkness or full invisibility will add +10 to the difficulty of the check unless the character making the check has some means to overcome the condition. Night time is not full darkness and adds +3 to the difficulty of observing the target. Concealment like fog will add a variable modifier as determined by either the spell/miracle description, or by the GM for natural fog. The modifier should vary from 1 for very light fog, to 10 for fog so thick you can't see your hand in front of your face.
Targeting a character with any effect that completely impedes vision, requires a roll to determine if the target can be located. For effects that partially impede vision, The target can be automatically located, unless the target is stealthing in which case a location roll opposed by the stealth character, modified by the observation difficulty is required. Regardless of whether the location roll is successful or not, a targeting difficulty modifier is still applied.
Targeting an un-located character incurs a +10 difficulty. Targeting a located character in an environmental effect that completely impedes vision incurs a +5 difficulty modifier. Targeting a character in a condition that partially impedes vision will incur a variable difficulty modifier as determined by the spell/miracle description, or the GM for natural effects. The modifier should vary from 1 to 5.
Creatures that rely completely on alternate senses are completely un-effected by conditions that impede vision. Creatures that have enhanced senses in addition to vision, may have the difficulty modifiers reduced as determined by the GM.
Whether it’s from a failed climbing skill check, being pushed off a cliff or fighting at the edge of a deep chasm, falling from a height and hitting the ground is a very common danger characters face. The amount of damage inflicted by a fall depends on the weight of the character and on the distance fallen, up to a point. The base damage value for a fall is equal to the character’s weight value plus the distance value of the fall. If the distance value is greater than 14, use 14 instead of the actual distance value. This is because 14 is the speed value of terminal velocity, and it’s actually the character’s velocity that determines the damage, not the distance they fall. With Torg’s value system, falling distance and velocity work out to have the same value up to terminal velocity, so we don’t have to calculate how fast a character is falling; we only need to know how far he falls. The gamemaster generates a bonus number and adds it to the base damage value. The bonus has a minimum of +1. If a character is wearing armor it will only provide a maximum protection of +2 against falling damage regardless of its actual armor value. (There is one exception: “kinetic armor” will provide its full armor value. See Chapter Thirteen for more information.) Characters with the acrobatics skill may attempt to reduce the amount of damage they take from a fall. See the skill description in Chapter Three for the details.
Fire is a natural consequence of many of the things characters might do during an adventure - explosions can set things ablaze, spilled oil get ignited, mages throwing fireball spells, rescuing people from burning buildings, and so on. Damage values for fire-based attacks, such as fireball spells are the damage value of the attack itself. Damage from fire is treated like any other attack, the only thing special about it is that it can set things ablaze and continue to do damage even after the attack is completed. Determining whether or not something catches fire is usually a judgment call by the gamemaster. A good rule of thumb is to only worry about it when the object is something that should almost certainly ignite (paper, pitch, oil, etc.) or when a fire would add to the dramatic tension of the scene. Damage values for natural, normal fires are based mostly on the size of the conflagration, the bigger the fire the more damage it can do because it can affect more of a character at once. If a character is unable to move away from a source of flame, such as being tied to a stake in the middle of a bonfire, the damage value should be bumped up somewhat to account for the unavoidable and prolonged exposure to the fire. Conversely, the damage value could be bumped down if the intensity of a large fire varies from one location to another. For example, in a burning building there might be areas close to but free from flames that characters can duck into and run between, avoiding the worst of the fire. For a small fire, something about the size of a campfire, the damage value would be about large bonfire might have a damage value around large, out of control fire like a burning building or a blazing gasoline slick might have a damage value around huge, blazing inferno like a forest fire might inflict a damage value of 22 on anything unfortunate enough to be caught in it. If the character itself catches fire (or its clothes catch fire), start with a damage value around 12 and adjust up or down depending on how much of the character is covered in flames, and for how long. Smoke inhalation is another danger of fires, though usually only large ones. In most cases the damage from breathing smoke and toxic fumes can be assumed to be part of the damage values given above. But in cases where a character might be protected from heat, such as with a fire protection spell, but not from the smoke, the gamemaster may wish to determine a separate damage value for smoke inhalation.
When a character fails a swimming skill check or has otherwise been placed in a situation where they’re cut off from breathable air (such as being tied to an anchor and thrown overboard by a villain), there’s the danger of drowning. If the character is taken by surprise and doesn’t have an opportunity to take a deep breath, the drowning rules take effect immediately or within a few rounds if the character has the opportunity to hold whatever breath he has before going under. Characters who have the opportunity to take a deep breath are able to hold it for a time value determined by making a speed push on their Hold Breath value. Shock damage from this push is ignored. Characters with the meditation skill who are able to enter a meditative trance may add their skill adds in meditation to the time value determined by the push, extending the amount of time their air supply will last for them.
If a character can reach breathable air before their time limit expires, they never actually drown and don’t take any damage. Gamemasters may wish to modify the amount of time a character can hold their breath based on the amount of physical exertion the character makes (using up his oxygen supply faster) or because of unusual circumstances (such as being punched in the gut by an enemy so that the character accidentally lets some of his air out.) When a character reaches the end of her time limit, she can’t hold it any longer and involuntarily tries to take a breath, inhaling water instead. She begins to drown.
The amount of time it takes a drowning character to die is generally six minutes, though the gamemaster may want to allow it to take longer depending on the situation. There are cases of people being successfully revived after 45 minutes of submersion in icy-cold waters! In general though, the drowning character will take one wound level of damage every one and a half minutes after passing out, reaching four wounds and death after six minutes. While underwater and holding their breath, any other actions a character takes are made at a +2 penalty to the difficulty number. Characters that begin to drown usually panic, making it very difficult for them to do anything to save themselves. Game masters may wish to allow drowning characters to make a willpower check to control their fear but the difficulty should be very high, a Very Hard task at least. Characters who have taken damage from drowning that are rescued before death occurs can be treated with the first aid skill. The difficulty is determined normally by the amount of wound damage, increased by +2 for unconscious victims since their lungs need to be cleared of water before they can start breathing again. While their lungs are still full of water they are considered to be drowning and will continue to take damage, possibly even dying.
The weather can cause all kinds of problems for characters. Some types may inflict damage, such as a blast of lightning or a pounding of hailstones, while other conditions like fog or snow may just make life more difficult. For weather effects that don’t cause damage, game masters can use the Difficulty Number Scale to determine appropriate penalties for any actions characters might take that would be affected by the weather. Rain, fog and snow can all affect how far a character can see, strong winds can make ranged weapons difficult to use and increase or decrease movement rates, slick surfaces might make travel treacherous and so on. Bad weather can cause damage in a number of different ways; hail, lightning, blowing sand, tornadoes and so on. Lightning can have damage values ranging from 16 to 25 while the various types
of wind-based damage values can range from a mild sandstorm at 13 to tornado or hurricane force winds that hit with damage values as high as 22.