Tarsia XI Fantasy RPG
Game events, especially combats, are often divided into rounds, periods of about 6 seconds where a flurry of activity takes place. To bring some order to the chaos, characters take turns acting throughout the round, based on their Initiative. At the beginning of Combat, have everyone roll Initiative. This is a roll of Agility, Insight, & Luck. The character with the highest number of Successes goes first, and so on down the line. (For simplicity’s sake, GMs may group enemy characters together and roll one Initiative for all for them). To break ties, see whose Agility is higher; if they are the same, see whose Insight is higher; if they are the same, have both characters roll their Luck until the tie is broken. When you get to the end of the list, the round ends. Begin a new round with the top of the list. Penalties and bonuses to initiative that take effect in the middle of the round, such as from Rallying, can move you up or down the list. When your turn comes up in a round, you can take two actions. Typical actions include attacking someone in reach, moving your speed, readying a crossbow, retrieving a scroll, drinking a potion, and casting a spell. Certain things take no actions, such as speaking a short phrase or using a passive skill. Defending yourself against an attacker also does not normally take an action. You can take the same action twice if you want, moving twice your speed or drawing two different weapons, for example. The only two things you cannot do twice in the same round are attack someone or cast a spell. Some things, such as magical rituals, require more than a round and should not be attempted in combat.
Readying an Action
Readying is a way to prepare for something someone else is likely to do. Set a particular trigger, and explain what you are going to do when the trigger goes off. The most common use of a Readied action is to interrupt someone else. Readying an action moves your place in the initiative order down to right before the initiative of the thing that triggered your action.
To attack an enemy, roll the appropriate Stat and Skill for the weapon or spell you are attacking them with. The enemy defends appropriately; a melee attack can be parried or dodged, but a ranged attack can only be dodged, and the defenses available against magical attacks depend on the spell. Compare the number of Successes. If the attacker has more, he hits. If the defender has more, or if the rolls are tied, the attacker misses.
Roll Agility, Dodge, and any shield dice you may have vs. your opponent’s attack. If you win, you are not hit. If you lose, you are hit and may take damage. You may dodge as many times as you need to.
Roll Agility, Shield Skill, and any shield dice you may have vs. your opponent’s attack. If you win, they do not hit you. If you lose, you are hit and may take damage. You can only block once for each shield you carry.
You must be wielding a sword, axe, bludgeon, or polearm; you cannot parry with flexible weapons, bows, or thrown weapons. You can parry Hand-to-Hand attacks with Hand-to-Hand, but only those unless you have the Artist’s Arms Benefit. Roll Agility, the appropriate weapon skill, and any shield dice you may have vs. your opponent’s attack. If you win, they do not hit you. If you lose, you are hit and may take damage. You can parry once per round per weapon you are holding.
Use Reactive Magic
You must be trained in an appropriate magical art and be able to cast a Reactive spell. See the individual spells for details on the roll. You can use Reactive magic once per round.
In dire straits, sacrifice one action on your next turn to include your Acrobatics dice with your dodge. You can only do this twice per round (sacrificing both your actions next turn). You can decide to do this after you roll your normal dodge and find that it is not enough.
At any time it becomes necessary, you can choose to focus on defending yourself if you want. Lose both your actions next turn. You may include Acrobatics with all your dodges, you may parry twice per weapon you hold, twice with any shield, and add +2 to all defenses. You cannot decide to do this if you have already sacrificed one action in the following round. The bonuses last until the next turn you actually get to act in; you can continue to use Full Defense round after round, taking no actions at all, if you want.
When you stand behind something, like a bush, tree, door, or wall, that protects you from harm, you get a bonus to defense. Partial cover like bushes, trees, or low walls give you a +2 to Dodge; big cover like walls and doors give you a +4. These bonuses are in addition to any others you may be receiving. Cover rules assume that you are peeking around the wall or the door to engage in the battle. If you are completely hidden behind a wall or door, attacking you is probably not possible.
Hiding in shadows or behind curtains, where your opponent can hit you but may have trouble seeing you, gives your opponent a penalty to hit you. If you are partially visible, they take a -1; if you are not visible but they know which square meter you are in, they take a -3. Do not combine concealment and cover; cover supersedes concealment in all cases – except that if you are not visible, you do not provoke opportunistic attacks when you move. If you merely have cover, you do.
Readying a Weapon
With the exception of Hand-to-Hand weapons, staves, and carried shields, which are always considered ready, weapons must be drawn or readied before they can be used. This requires an action, unless you have the Quick Draw Benefit. This includes arrows, bolts, and sling stones, which must be drawn and nocked every time you intend to fire the weapon. Pulling the bow off your back or the crossbow off your belt also requires an action. If the GM allows it, you may have your weapons readied before a battle, but then the appropriate number of hands are full and cannot be used for doing other things.
The basic attack uses the rolls described above. You can only attack someone adjacent to you, unless you have a weapon with Reach or Range.
Move up to your Speed and attack, but take a -2 to defenses until the start of your next turn. You can do this twice in one round if you like, but the penalties stack, for a total of -4 to defenses, and charging away from an enemy usually provokes an opportunistic attack.
Attack your enemy with your shield. Roll Strength & Shield Skill to-hit. If you hit, you do your Strength + the shield’s damage dice in bludgeoning damage, and you may have a chance to knock your opponent down. See Knockdown for more details.
You can use one weapon in each hand, if you like. To determine what you can wield this way, add the Strengths required by the weapons together; that is the Strength required to wield those two weapons at the same time. For example, if you wish to wield a gladius in one hand and a longsword in the other, you must have a Strength of 4. The weapon in your main hand does damage normally; the weapon in your off-hand does -1 die of damage. Attacking with a shield and a melee weapon uses these rules but do not combine the required Strength for determining what weapons you can wield with which shields.
You may attack with both weapons in the same action, if you like, but take a -1 penalty to hit with the weapon in your main hand, and -3 to hit with the weapon in your off-hand. You may attack with the first weapon in one action and the second in another, if you like, with no penalties to hit. You may parry twice, once with each weapon, in a round.
You can use one hand for Hand-to-Hand and one hand for another weapon, or a shield. If you do this, your ability to snare with Hand-to-Hand is greatly decreased. If you wish to snare an opponent with one hand using Hand-to-Hand skill, you cannot choose to do damage, and you cannot add your Strength dice to the snare; roll only Hand-to-Hand and Agility.
Some weapons require two hands. You cannot use these weapons with two-weapon fighting.
You can wield any weapon requiring 2 Strength or more in two hands, if you like. You get no bonus for rolls to hit, but add +2 to your damage. Some melee weapons require two hands to wield – the damage bonus is included in the tables above. Bows and crossbows require two hands to wield, and get no bonus damage, since the damage is based on the springiness of the weapon, not the hands that wield it.
Alternately, you may use a weapon in two hands that you normally cannot wield. Lower the required strength by 1, but do not get the bonus damage. You cannot use Two-handed Fighting in this way to wield a weapon like a polearm or bow that requires two hands.
If you have an attack that has Snare dice, it has a chance to ensnare your target. Roll the appropriate Skill and Stat for the attack (for example, a throwing net would use Agility and Flexible Weapons) and the Snare dice. Your target rolls Agility & Dodge or Acrobatics (whichever is better). If you win, you ensnare your target. The target cannot move, although he can defend and attack normally. In order to break free, your opponent must take an action and roll Agility and Acrobatics or the Skill for the weapon you snared him with (whichever is better). This is an extended roll, and his goal is to accumulate a number of Successes greater than or equal to the number of Successes you beat him by. Alternately, if the weapon is one you still hold, your target may use an action to attempt to yank it out of your hands, rolling Strength and weapon Skill vs. your Strength and weapon Skill. If the target Succeeds, he has your weapon. He is still ensnared, but need only take one action to disentangle himself. Attackers cannot normally end a snare voluntarily, though they can let go of weapons like the chain or the whip, but they can choose not to snare in the first place. If they have snared an opponent with a weapon they hold, they can use their passive Strength + Flexible Weapons skill to move their opponent around forcibly (1 square per success), or they can merely hold on. They can defend normally and attack others normally (if they have another weapon). Attackers using Hand-to-Hand to snare can end the snare at any time. Maintaining a snare with Hand-to-Hand can be interesting. There are three choices.
First, the attacker can use an action to maintain the snare, but choose not to roll; the defender must roll the normal number of successes to break out.
Second, the attacker can use an action to maintain the snare, and choose to roll Strength, Agility, and Hand-to-Hand against the defender again, seeking to better his grip. If the attacker beats the defender, add the number of successes he won by to the number the defender needs to break the snare. If the defender wins, subtract the number of successes he won by from the number he needs to break the snare.
Last, the attacker can choose not to use an action to maintain the snare. In this case, the defender need only roll successes equal to the attacker’s passive Hand-to-Hand & Strength.
If you have an attack that has Knockback dice, it has a chance to knock your opponent backwards. After you hit, roll Strength, weapon skill, and Knockback dice vs. your opponent’s Strength or Agility & Acrobatics or Resolve, whichever combination is best. If you lose or tie, there is no effect. For every Success you beat your opponent by, you push him backwards 1 meter. If this would cause him to fall off a ledge, he can roll Agility & Acrobatics vs. the number of meters he was pushed to fall prone instead.
If you have an attack that has Knockdown dice, it has a chance to knock your opponent prone. After you hit, roll Strength, weapon skill, and the Knockdown dice vs. your opponent’s Strength or Agility & Acrobatics or Resolve, whichever combination is best. If you beat your opponent, they are knocked prone. (See Prone, below.) If you lose, there is no effect. If you tie, your opponent is forced to his knees and suffers a -1 penalty to Speed during his next turn.
Attacking a Hex
Sometimes, as with some thrown weapons, you may want to attack a hex rather than a person. The base difficulty for hitting the hex you want is 1, adjusted for range as appropriate.
You have four tiers of hits you can take. The first two tiers are 3 + your Endurance; the last two tiers are 3 boxes. The easiest way to represent this is three rows of boxes on your character sheet. If you have an Endurance of 2, you have 5 boxes in the first and second tiers, and 3 in the third and fourth. When you take hits, put Xs or tokens over the boxes starting with the first tier and working down.
While your first tier fills, you take no penalties. If the hits you take push you into the second tier, you are Bruised. You start taking -1 penalties to all your rolls.
If the hits you take push you into the third tier, you are Bloodied, and two things happen. First, you start taking -2 to all rolls (including the one you are about to have to make). Second, roll your Courage & Resolve vs. 5 minus the number of hits you have left. (So if you have 2 hits left to take, the difficulty is 3). If you fail, you are Nervous. If you were already Nervous, you are now Scared. If you were already Scared, you are now Terrified. If you were already Terrified, you fall Unconscious in fright.
If you take all the hits in your third tier, you fall Unconscious. If you take all the hits in your fourth and final tier, you are dead. If you are healed from Unconsciousness, you become conscious, but if the healing was not enough to take you back into at least your second tier, you must roll Courage & Resolve as above; if you fail, you are Nervous.
Once you hit, you get to roll for damage. With melee weapons or thrown weapons, roll your Strength and the weapon’s damage dice. With bows and crossbows, only roll the damage dice of the weapon and the ammunition. Your opponent rolls armor and Endurance dice; this is the damage absorption roll. Each Success you beat your opponent by is a Hit. Ranged weapons tend to do less damage than melee weapons; that’s the price you pay for being far away and not having to worry about Parry defenses.
To prevent inflation of damage types, and to allow players to prepare for the possible types of damage they may encounter (so that they can gather or create armor and shields with the appropriate specialties), we provide a list of damage types. All damage types will fall into one of these categories.
Gravity is a cruel mistress. You can fall 1 meter with no damage. For every meter beyond that you fall, you take +1 damage, so if you fall 4 meters, you take +3 damage. The type of damage depends on the surface you fall onto, and is usually Bludgeoning damage.
Falling objects can also cause damage, usually Bludgeoning. Falling objects or people cause +1 damage for every meter past the first that they fall, and an extra +1 per meter for every 50 kg of weight (so an object under 50 kg causes +1 damage for every meter past the first; an object between 50 and 100 kg causes +2 damage for every meter past the first, and so on). They also take damage as above.
If you choose to drop a throwing object rather than throw it, or if more than 50% of its movement will be downward, the object does falling damage as above, rather than the normal Strength + weapon damage. (Acidbombs and firebombs are an exception; they still do the fire or acid damage.)
If you are underwater and you cannot breathe water, first hold your breath as long as you can (see the Resolve skill). After this point, you start taking Suffocation damage – +5 damage per round, and normal armor does not help against this damage, though armor or trinkets with Specialties against Suffocation damage can include their Specialty. This damage ends if you can pull your head above water, but if you have taken any damage you are Dazed, Slowed, and Diseased, and your encumbrance goes up by 5 kg. Taking 5 minutes to catch your breath removes the Diseased condition; you must get into dry clothes to remove the Dazed and Slowed conditions and the encumbrance.
Areas of excessive cold gnaw away at the senses and can eventually cause damage. Excessive cold has a difficulty to resist equal to 1 x the number of minutes you have been in its clutches, rounded down; roll once a minute to see if it affects you. You defend against its effects with Endurance, and any Specialties you might get from clothing or armor. If you fail the roll, you are Numb. If you fail the roll by 3 or more, you are Sickened and Numb. If you fail the roll by 5 or more, you are Numb, Sickened, and take a hit. Once you have felt the effects of excessive cold, you must be in a warm place for 10 minutes to fully recover. If you have gone Unconscious because of excessive cold, you must be in a warm place for an hour to fully recover.
Areas of excessive heat are exhausting and can lead to dehydration. Excessive heat has a difficulty to resist equal to 1 x the number of minutes you have been in its clutches, rounded down; roll once a minute to see if it affects you. You defend against its effects with Endurance and any Specialties you might get from clothing or armor. If you fail the roll, you are Weak; if you fail the roll by 3 or more, you are Weak and Sickened. If you fail the roll by 5 or more, you are Weak, Sickened, and take a hit. Once you have felt the effects of excessive heat, you must be in a cool place for 10 minutes to fully recover. If you have gone Unconscious because of excessive heat, you must be a in a cool place for 30 minutes and drink at least half a liter of water to fully recover.
Precipitation water-logs your clothes and slows you down. The difficulty to resist precipitation depends on the strength of the precipitation (see table below). Roll once a minute (or once a round, if submerged) to see if the precipitation affects you. You defend against its effects with Specialties you might get from clothing or armor. Endurance does not help you. Once you have felt the effects of precipitation, you must get into dry clothes in order to fully recover.
|Type of Precipitation||Difficulty||Fail||Fail by 3||Fail by 5|
|Drizzle||+1 every 10 minutes.||Encumbrance goes up by 1 kg||Encumbrance goes up by 3 kg, Dazed||Encumbrance goes up by 5 kg, Dazed, Slowed|
|Light rain||+2 every 10 minutes||Encumbrance goes up by 1 kg||Encumbrance goes up by 3 kg, Dazed||Encumbrance goes up by 5 kg, Dazed, Slowed|
|Rain||+2 every 5 minutes||Encumbrance goes up by 1 kg||Encumbrance goes up by 3 kg, Dazed||Encumbrance goes up by 5 kg, Dazed, Slowed|
|Heavy rain||+3 every 5 minutes||Encumbrance goes up by 1 kg||Encumbrance goes up by 3 kg, Dazed||Encumbrance goes up by 5 kg, Dazed, Slowed|
|Squall||+3 every minute||Encumbrance goes up by 1 kg||Encumbrance goes up by 3 kg, Dazed||Encumbrance goes up by 5 kg, Dazed, Slowed|
|Downpour||+5 every minute||Encumbrance goes up by 1 kg||Encumbrance goes up by 3 kg, Dazed||Encumbrance goes up by 5 kg, Dazed, Slowed|
|Submerged||+5 every round||Encumbrance goes up by 1 kg||Encumbrance goes up by 3 kg, Dazed||Encumbrance goes up by 5 kg, Dazed, Slowed|
|Submerged in frigid water||+5 every round||Encumbrance goes up by 1 kg||Encumbrance goes up by 3 kg, excessive cold sets in, Dazed||Encumbrance goes up by 5 kg, excessive cold sets in, Dazed, Slowed|
|Sleet||+3 every minute||Encumbrance goes up by 1 kg||Encumbrance goes up by 3 kg, excessive cold sets in, Dazed||Encumbrance goes up by 5 kg, excessive cold sets in, Dazed, Slowed|
|Snow flurries||+1 every hour||Encumbrance goes up by 1 kg||Encumbrance goes up by 3 kg, excessive cold sets in||Encumbrance goes up by 5 kg, excessive cold sets in, Dazed|
|Snow||+1 every 30 minutes||Encumbrance goes up by 1 kg||Encumbrance goes up by 3 kg, excessive cold sets in||Encumbrance goes up by 5 kg, excessive cold sets in, Dazed|
|Blizzard||+1 every 10 minutes||Encumbrance goes up by 1 kg||Encumbrance goes up by 3 kg, excessive cold sets in||Encumbrance goes up by 5 kg, excessive cold sets in, Dazed|
Movement in Combat
Your speed is equal to 3 + your Agility (modified by armor and carried weight, as appropriate). This is the number of meters you can move in an action. To move further than this, use the Running skill. Four-legged creatures get their Speed doubled.
Normally, you can only attack characters you are adjacent to. If you have a weapon with reach, you can attack characters adjacent to you or those one meter away.
Opportunistic Attacks and Zone of Control
Each combatant is considered to threaten the hexes directly adjacent at all times, because you can always try to punch somebody in the face or trip them as they run past. Gargantuan and Colossal creatures are considered to threaten the squares in a 2 m radius from themselves. Tiny and smaller creatures do not normally threaten squares other than their own. Leaving a threatened square normally provokes an opportunistic attack; for purposes of positional modifiers like cover, the attack takes place against the square the target is leaving. The attacker uses her Passive Skill to attack; the defender usually uses their active Skill to defend. If the defender is tumbling using the Acrobatics Skill, they can include that Skill with their defense. Normally, an attacker can only make one opportunistic attack per round per target that triggers one.
Control the Zone
Spend two actions to set up a zone of control around yourself. Until the start of your next turn, you may roll your opportunistic attacks instead of using your Passive Skill, and you may attack as many times as the opportunity presents itself. If you have a reach weapon, you threaten extends one meter further than you otherwise would.
Since this game uses hexes instead of squares, sizing is a little different than it is in some other games, but the basic principle is the same. Medium creatures are like humans; they take up a volume 1 m x 1 m x 2 m. Each size category larger means a -1 to defenses, to-hit, and Stealth rolls, and doubles the amount of food and water you need each day. Each size category smaller means a +1 to defenses, to-hit, and Stealth rolls, and halves the amount of food and water you need each day.
|Category||Volume||Example||# of hexes||Bonus/Penalty||Daily Provisions|
|Gargantuan||3 m wide x 3 m long x 2 m tall||Siege Engine||9||-4||16|
|Colossal||2 m wide x 3 m long x 2 m tall||Elephant||6||-3||8|
|Huge||2 m wide x 2 m long x 2 m tall||Ox||4||-2||4|
|Large||1 m wide x 2 m long x 2 m tall||Horse||2||-1||2|
|Medium||1 m wide x 1 m long x 2 m tall||Human||1||+0||1|
|Small||1 m wide x 1 m long x 1 m tall||Dog||1||+1||½|
|Tiny||1/3 m wide x 1 m long x 1/3 m tall||Beaver||2 per square||+2||¼|
|Fine||1/3 m wide x 1/3 m long x 1/3 m tall||Cat||3 per square||+3||1/8|
|Swarming||1/6 m wide x 1/6 m long x 1/6 m tall||Large insect||12 per square||+4||1/16|
If a creature is forced into a space smaller than the volume listed above, it is Squeezed. It suffers -1 to all rolls involving Strength or Agility.
Use an action to move 1 meter without provoking an opportunistic attack.
Targets that are well-lit are easy to see. There are no penalties or bonuses associated with being well-lit.
Dimly-lit targets are not easy to see. Ranged attacks against them are at a -2 penalty.
Targets in pitch darkness are nearly impossible to see. They are considered Invisible. They are also, for all intents and purposes, Blind – though they can see light sources in the distance, if there are any.
Light sources illuminate some area around them well, and some dimly. Importantly, if it is dark generally, they are visible from a very long way away. If it is dark where you are, and you have line-of-sight to a light source, you can see it.
Candles illuminate the hex they are in, but only dimly. Three candles together will light their own hex well, and the adjacent hexes dimly. You can make 10 candles that will burn for 1 hour each out of 1 kg of wax and some twine.
Torches illuminate the hex they are in and surrounding hexes well, and one more row of hexes out from that is dimly lit. You can make two torches with 1 kg of wood, some cloth, and some oil.
Campfires illuminate the hex they are in and 2 hexes surrounding them well; two more rows of hexes out are dimly lit. A campfire requires 4 kg of wood to burn for 1 hour; for every extra kg after that, it will burn for another hour.
Bonfires illuminate the hex they are in and 4 hexes surrounding them well; four more rows of hexes out are dimly lit. Bonfires require 15 kg of wood to burn for 1 hour; for every extra 5 kg after that, they will burn for another hour.
See the spell descriptions for details. They will typically light a particular radius well; you can consider them to dimly light double that distance (so if they light a 4m radius well, they will light the next 4m dimly).
Sun, Moon, and Star
The sun illuminates things very well. Areas touched by sunlight are considered well-lit. The world is well-lit even when it is cloudy or overcast. Deep twilight, right before the sun rises or right after it sets, is considered dimly lit. If the moon is visible at night, the world is considered dimly lit. Even during a new moon, the world at night is typically dimly lit by Star. In order for you to be in pitch darkness, you must usually be indoors, under deep cover, or surrounded by a Shadow spell.