To make a skill roll, a character rolls a number of d10 equal to the
appropriate stat for that skill. To try to hit someone with a rock,
the stat is Precision of Body. To try to remember the appropriate
physics constants to retune a warp drive, that's Education (To
deduce them from scratch, that's Precision of Mind; to do so while
being shot at might instead be Strength of Mind).
The average reasonably simple roll is shooting for a target number of
7, so anything 7 and over is a success. Points in the appropriate
skill can be added to anything that isn't a 1 to try and bring it up
to the target number. If you have absolutely no experience in what
you're doing, we may make the target number higher, though this is not
a hard-and-fast rule of "things you have no skill in are 9s" like in
Harder tasks may require higher target numbers, and the number of
successes will generally correlate to the amount of success the
Difficulty cannot be lowered below 5 unless a karma point is used.
Skill v. Skills
In some cases, more than one skill will be applicable to a roll, in
which case you may be able to add both. The general rule of thumb is
that if you're doing two things at once, you'll need to make two
rolls, but if you're only doing one thing which falls into two
categories, you can add both skills to one roll.
For example, if you're trying to talk someone into helping you
politically, ``persuasion'' and ``politics'' may both be added to your
roll. If you're trying to eavesdrop while hiding under a table, you
have to make your ``listen'' and ``hide'' rolls separately.
Note that with the exception of certain skills designed to be used in
concert (targeting skills and the things they target), only one Psi
skill can be in use at a time. This effect is on a die by die basis,
so if you have a continuous psi skill (something that will keep having
an effect without needed to make further rolls) powered, the number of
successes you rolled on that skill when powering it subtract from the
number of dice you have available for that psi
with other psi skills (That is, Strength of Psi and
Precision of Psi track separately.) Instant psi skills, things that
make an instantaneous change to the environment, but are no longer
needed to maintain that change are not continuous in this sense. (IE
If you use a blast to damage someone (an instant effect), then use
those dice to fly away (a continuous effect), they stay damaged. If
you first use your dice to fly however, and then use them to blast
someone, you plummet out of the sky, or your blast doesn't go off, at
your option.) Note that you may choose to only set aside some portion
of your successes, and take a lesser effect; you are not obliged to
use them all.
If you end up holding down more psi successes than you have dice in
that substate, let the GMs know - it can cause strange side effects.
Combat takes place in turns
, which are divided into 10
each. Each character gets a number of phases
in which to act, determined by his speed
. Rolling his speed
dice determines which segments these phases will occur in.
At the beginning of each turn, a character chooses his speed by
picking one of his three stats to use as speed. In general, choose
the base stat of what you expect to be doing that turn; if you're
going to be doing body-type things (like fighting), it's usually
sensible to choose body as your speed. If you're doing psi, choose
psi as your speed (unless your psi is zero). If you're using mind
(``Shut down all the trash compactors! Shut them *all* down!''),
choose mind as your speed.
Once a character has chosen a speed, he rolls one d10 for each point
of speed. Each number he rolls is a segment in which he can act. For
example, if he rolls 4d10, which come up 2,5,5,8, then he goes in 2,
in 5, and in 8. The two 5s don't give him two actions. The only
exception to this is rolling a ``yahtzee'' (all the same number), in
which case the numbers can be changed to whatever the roller wants (``1
2 3 4'' is a popular choice for a yahtzee of four). If you're only
rolling one die, that's not a yahtzee of one.
A character may trade in two later phases to go in the current
segment. If a character wants to make a die roll for a dicey action
which is not covered by his speed stat, he must use up both the action
in his current phase and some later phase.
A character may trade in his next phase to dodge an incoming
attack (Defensive actions like dodging are an exception to the
two-later-for-one-now rule. To dodge two incoming attacks does
require two later phases to be used, though).
In his phase, a character can take one ``diceless'' action and then
one ``dicey'' action. In general, a diceless action doesn't require a
die roll, and a dicey action requires a die roll. Diceless actions
include moving up to your movement in hexes, looking around, and
performing simple tasks like drawing a weapon. Dicey actions include
anything that requires a particular number of succeses, such as
rolling your Precision of Body to attack, your Strength of Psi to mind
control, or your StrBody to gain extra movement (2 hexes per success).
Note that the diceless action always comes before the dicey action.
In some cases, you may be asked to make a roll in your diceless action
(``I look around'' ``Okay, make a perception roll with Strength of
Mind''), in which case it's okay if you use dice that weren't your
speed. In other cases, you'll be told that the thing you want to do
extends into your dicey action (``I look around'' ``Everything is really
chaotic. To figure out where the six invisible guys are, you can
spend your dicey action making a perception roll with Strength of
Mind'') and in this case, the rules about dice which aren't part of
your speed apply.
In any given segments, the good guys go, and then the bad guys go, and
then the good guys who didn't go at the beginning of the segment go.
Actions taken during any of these sub-segments are assumed to take
place approximately simultaneously, and players should not worry too
hard about ordering.
Good guys may react during the bad guys' phase only as a defensive
reaction (such as dodging) or if they have specifically planned a
reaction (such as setting up an ambush).
If you want to take two dicey actions in the
same phase, you can split your dice pool. If the two actions are
based off of different substats, then use the smaller stat to generate
the number of dice, and then divide them up into different actions.
For each action, you may use all applicable skill. Unless you have a
shtick telling you otherwise, you may not split your dice against the
same target (i.e. You may not split your dice to dodge the same attack
twice, or hit the same guy twice). You may not split your dice pool
more than two ways without a shtick for it.
The damage an attack does is calculated by multiplying the number of
successes (minus any successes the target has for dodging or cover) by
the damage multiple for a weapon, and adding either the base damage
for the weapon (ranged weapons) or the attacker's Strength of Body
Plasma Disruptor: x3
Common base damages:
Plasma Disruptor: 8
(Note that we include both blasters, which are the common variety
blaster gun, which pretty much anyone can aquire cheap, and plasma
disruptors, which are included as an example of a keen gun that, by
default, you've heard of and covet dearly but can't afford. If you
want to start with a Plasma Disruptor or its ilk, that's a shtick.)
Other Weapon Effects
: Target makes a Health check, and subtracts their
successes from your successes. They're stunned for that many actions
over two, and if that's more than their speed that round, they fall
over for a bit.
Neural Disruptors: The target loses N/2 Body:Pre dice,
recovering (generally) one per action.
It takes min[3 , distance to hex] successes to throw a grenade into a
hex. (So it takes no successes to drop it in your own hex, and one to
put it in the hex next to yours, but if you're throwing it a ways
away, it takes three successes, including range mods, if there are
When the grenade goes off, the GMs will roll the damage or sketch out
A standard anti-personnel grenade (cost 50 asters) will have 10 dice,
0 base damage, x5 multiplier, affecting everyone in the hex. Damage
done to people in surrounding hexes will generally fall off at one
success per hex.
A standard knockout gas grenade (cost 40 asters) will have 8 dice, no
damage, with successes falling off at a similar rate, and may have a
cumulative effect for several rounds before dissipating. If the
successes are larger than the health of the person in the effect, then
they'll (probably) fall over. If not, the person may
be somewhat impaired but still able to act.
A standard smoke grenade (cost 25 asters) makes it hard to see.
If you have taken more damage than your hit points, then you fall
down. (at 0 you're conscious, but probably worried). When you fall
down, or any time after you've fallen down that you take damage, roll
your Health dice, and multiply the successes by 5. If that total is
more than the amount of damage past your hit points, then you're
unconscious. If the total is less than the amount of damage past your
hit points, then you're also dying. The worse the difference, the faster
Surrendering and Other Enemy Interactions
Bonus phases for enemies: Any character may, as a free part of his
current action, offer an extra phase to character(s) who are on "the
other side". This is subject to GM interpretation, but usually it
breaks down to those who go in "good guys in X" and those who go in
"bad guys in X". If they accept the phase, they get to act normally
with it at the next opportunity, but can't hold it. This phase is in
addition to any other phases they have, but does not cause them to go
twice if they would have gone anyways.
Why might you want to do this? Some examples come to mind:
- Janzur goes in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Evil-lord goes in 8, 10.
Janzur in 1: Surrender and I won't kill you!
(Hey GMs, I offer that guy a bonus phase in bad 1's so
I don't blow 5 actions while waiting for him to decide.)
Evil-lord in 1: "Never! Feel the wrath of the folly-blast!" Zap!
- Well-guy goes in 1, 2, 3. Max goes in 8, 10.
Well-guy in 1: "Hey slave! Open this door."
GM: Max, you are being offered a phase now to comply.
Max: Um, I don't take it. I'm stalling.
Well-guy in 2: "Then die!" Zap!
- Crime-boss goes in 8. Ace is out of actions.
Crime-boss in 8: "Give me the film and I won't kill the girl."
[uses dice capturing girl]
GM: Ace, have a phase.
Ace in 9: "Throw in 1000 asters and you have a deal!"
(Hey GMs, I give him one back!)
Crime-boss in 9: "1000 Asters! You're mad!"
- Jim in 1,4. Jayla in 2. Rabid mob of people in 5.
Jim in 1: Blam! "Take that mob leader guy!"
Jayla in 2: "Stop fighting! I'm the real Hegemon!"
(GM, they can take a phase.)
Mob in 2: "You expect us to believe that when he shot us?"
Blam! 12 of them shoot Jim. The other 12 shoot Jayla!
Jim in 4: [already unconscious]
- Janzur in 1, 3, 5. Rabbit in 6, 8, 10
Janzur in 1: I give him a phase and prepare to dodge.
Rabbit in 1: "Die!" Whiff!
Janzur in 3: This is fun, I give him a phase and prepare to dodge.
Rabbit in 3: "Die!" Whiff!
Janzur in 5: I attack him. Smack! Then I give him a phase in contempt.
Rabbit in 5: "Die!" A tiny hit.
Rabbit in 6: "Gods of my ancestors, now that I have a drop
of my enemy's blood, strike him down!" [lightning!]
Rabbit in 8: "Again!" [lightning!]
Rabbit in 10: "Again!" [lightning!]
Note that the examples were written to highlight some failure modes,
in an attempt to show that we don't mean this to be a completely safe
thing, just a convenient thing that assists in re-phasing the combats
when the two sides are trying to interact with each other. But you
can hopefully see how they each could have been useful in the right
- You can try to teach NPCs skills that you have. This may or may
not be effective.
- If you have the "Teaching" skill (2 points) you can teach an NPC a
skill that you have, fairly easily, up to the square root of (your
level in teaching times your level in the skill).
- You can, with a serious training regimen, teach an NPC up to the
sum of your teaching skill plus your level in the skill.
2 is fast. 1 is wildy variable. 3 is less fast than 2.