Rules System

Character Creation

Basic Attributes

First off, put this system down. Now work out what character you’re going to play. Then pick this up again and fill in the name, age, gender and race. Your character is now almost finished, now we just need to worry about stats.

There are three starting levels for characters: Mundane (average human) Heroic (Conan, Neo, Spiderman) and Angelic (you are the uber-beast of flange). Each will have different numbers of points to spend, denoted by M,H, and A. The GM will tell you which points to use.

A character has nine attributes. These are rated 5 to 10 (X). This number is the base target number the player will need to roll equal to or greater than on a d10 to succeed in an action using this attribute. All atts. start at X. Human average is 8. Players can cross off an additional [M: 21, H: 25, A: 29] boxes from their attributes (counting down, obviously) to further reduce the target numbers. E.g. Peter Player is generating a Mundane level character and decides he wants to be ‘Joe Average who goes to the gym a bit’. He crosses two boxes off all his attributes, reducing all his target numbers to 8, and crosses an extra one off Strength, Athleticism and Constitution, reducing their target numbers to 7. (Note: This becomes a lot clearer on the character sheet, but I haven’t found a way to turn that into a Facebook doc).

Stat Definitions

Character Name, Player Name, Game, Race, Gender: Duh!
Strength: How good you are at lifting big triangular weights.
Athleticism: How good you are at break-dancing.
Constitution: How good you are at being hit with a 2-by-4.
Perception: How good you are at finding Wally.
Dexterity: How good you are at Buckaroo.
Appearance: How good you are at wearing designer underpants and pouting.
Personality: How good you are at staying on a soapbox.
Subtlety: How good you are at gilding bullshit.
Intellect: How good you are at being a smartarse

Skills and Dice Rolls

Skills represent the specific aptitudes/knowledges/vocations of the character. They are rated between 1 and 5, denoted by the number of dots next to the skill. This is the number of dice the player will roll when making a test using this skill. The target number will be that of the att. The GM deems appropriate for the roll. If any of the dice are equal or greater than the target number, the roll has succeeded. The more successes rolled, the better they did. If none of the dice are successes, something has gone wrong.

E.g. Mr. Tims has Surgery 2, Perception 6, Dexterity 9. He attempts to identify the source of the infection in Miss Smits’ pus-filled gouge. He is told to roll Surgery on Perception, and rolls two d10, getting a 6 and an 8. He tells the GM he has scored two successes, and is told the infection is coming from a piece of contaminated polystyrene lodged against Miss Smits’ pancreas. He then attempts to remove it with a convenient spork. He is told he needs to roll on Surgery on Dexterity, and does so, again rolling a 6 and an 8. He informs the GM he has failed, and is then given a graphic description of how he accidentally yanked out her left kidney.

Modifiers

If the GM feels that the task requires an exceptionally high/low level of the skill, they may choose to reduce/increase the number of dice allowed for the roll. Similarly, if the GM feels that the task needs a particularly high/low level of natural ability, they may increase or decrease the attribute target number. If the target number ever goes above 10, or the number of dice below one, then (unless the GM decides it’s just plain impossible) the player only gets one dice, and will only succeed on a 10.

Criticals

If a player fails a dice roll, and rolls a 1 on one or more of the dice, they have critically failed and shit will hit. They should inform the GM of the number of 1s they rolled, and start praying.

If a player rolls a 10 on more than one dice, they may add 1 to the score of any other dice rolled for each 10 after the first. Note: Only natural 10s count for this, not 10s created by adding this bonus to lower dice. If all the dice are already successes, they may roll an extra dice for each additional ten they rolled that has not already been ‘used’ to add to another dice.

E.g. Mr Tims is getting a bit flustered and wants to check if he has done much damage by ripping out that kidney. The GM tells him to roll Surgery on Perception again. There is a lot of blood in the wound now, so his Perception target number is increased by 1. However, it’s pretty obvious to any surgeon that ripping out a kidney ain’t good, so he is given an extra dice to add to his roll, giving him three dice. He rolls a 9 and two 10s. Since he has all successes, he does not need to add 1 to anything and so gains a fourth dice from the second 10. He rolls this and gets an 8. He proudly informs the GM that he has four successes who tells him that yep, he’s shagged Miss Smits’ innards good and proper and she’s gonna be dead pretty soon. Mr Tims decides to uses some handy superglue to re-attach the kidney. He rolls Surgery on Dexterity again. However, as this is ludicrously tricky, his dice pool is reduced by two. As this leaves him with zero dice, he rolls 1d10, hoping for a 10. He gets a 1. Mr Tims has critically failed, Miss Smit is dead from the trauma, and Mr Tims is now glued to her small intestine…

No. Successes:Result

1:Marginal success (Bare minimum)
2:Ready Salted Success (Just what they wanted)
3:Good success (With a cherry on top)
4:Excellent Job (Above and beyond the call of duty)
5+:Blimey! (Everything on it, with extra cool)

Attributes only

If the character wants to do something that doesn’t require a specific skill (e.g. lifting big triangular weights) then the GM may tell them to roll on their attribute. The player rolls 3d10, and their target number is the number for that attribute.

Buying Skills

Characters have [M:30 , H:50 , A:70 ] points to spend on skills. There are twenty-three skill headings listed below, each with some example skills bracketed beside it. The players should make up specific skills appropriate to their character, with one proviso: that they should be reasonably specific (i.e. ”Trumpet playing”, not “anything you blow down playing”). They should then assign each one to one of the skill headings. The GM has final say on skill names, and skill heading assignment.

It costs two points to put the first dot in a skill under each skill heading. Subsequent dots in any skills under that heading cost one point each. It is possible to buy generalization dots in skill headings for four points each. These work just like skill dots, except that they can be used for any skill check under that heading.

Combat: Brawl (Kung Fu, Boxing, Knee-ina-Fork)
Combat: Melee (Swords, Sticks, Knives)
Combat: Ranged (Bows, Thrown, Pistols)
Acrobatics (Climbing, contortion, escapology)
Deception (Lying, sleight of hand, disguise)
Etiquette (Street talk, courtly manners)
Academics (History, research, philosophy)
Science (Chemistry, marine biology, psychology of parapods)
Administration (Accounting, middle-management, mathematics)
Engineering (Electronics, blacksmithing, gun-maintenance)
Crafts (Sculpture, painting, cookery)
Performance (Trumpet, dance, nailing your Johnson to a plank)
Persuasion (rallying the masses, wooing, intimidation)
Languages (French, Spanish, Chav)
Insight (Empathy, interrogation, psycho-analysis)
Transport (Car, motorbike, boat)
Animal Handling (Dog Training, riding, toad breeding)
Security (Lock picking, patrol-organisation, home defence)
Stealth (sneaking, hiding, camouflage)
Outdoors (Hiking, foraging, desert living)
Technology (steam engines, computers, ug-make-fire)
Puzzling (cryptography, forensics, crosswords)
Medicine (First Aid, Surgery, pharmaceuticals)

Opposed Dice Rolls

If two characters are working against each other on the same task, they roll their skills as normal. They then compare the number of successes they rolled. The one with the most successes wins. If there is a draw, the highest single dice score wins, then the next highest and so on. If neither side roll any successes both lose.

Combat

Weapon Stats

Weapon
Attribute/Range/Damage

Sock of sand
Str/-/-3

36 Revolver
Ath/Short/●-1

Barret 50cal
Dex/Long/●●+2

A weapon has three stats: its base attribute, its range and its damage.

Its range is just a rough guide to how far away it can be used from: – (melee/brawl only) short (pistols, throwing weapons) medium (carbines, bows) long (sniper rifles).

Its base attribute is the one that skill checks for using it will usually be on. Note: There may be exceptional circumstances when the GM deems a different Attribute should be used, but generally it is simpler just to stick with the basics.

Its damage is the number of dice rolled to determine damage, along with any modifiers for the weapon.

Combat Sequence

Initiative

The opponents in the combat each rolls 1d10, and in the first round adds their perception and athleticism target numbers; in subsequent rounds they add their previous turn’s initiative instead (or rather they roll 1D10 and the GM does the maths). The winning player is the one with the lowest score and attacks first. Note: Skip this phase if one of the players has no opportunity to strike first e.g. they are being sniped/jumped from behind).

Attack roll

The attacker describes what they are attempting, and the defender declares whether they will Counterattack, Dodge or, if appropriate, Block. The attacker makes a skill check using their appropriate weapon skill, at a target number of the weapon’s base attribute. If they succeed, the attack is accurate. If the attacker declared that they would Counterattack in the previous round of combat, then they gain an extra dice, and may reduce their target number by 1.

If the defender opts to Counterattack, then they cannot offset the damage in any way (except the passive reduction from armour).

If the defender attempts to Dodge, they must make an Athleticism check. Each success they roll reduces the number of successes rolled by the attacker by one.

Damage roll

The damage roll for a weapon is made using a number of d10 equal to the dots in the damage box, plus one d10 for each success scored on the attack.

The damage inflicted by the attack is equal to the highest number on any of the dice rolled, plus or minus any modifiers given in the weapon’s damage box to a minimum of 1. Note: Critical successes and failures still apply in all combat dice rolls. However, since there is no point to rolling additional dice in a damage roll once the first 10 has been rolled, additional 10s should be used to increase the top scoring dice to 11 or greater.

If the defender declared they would block, then they must make an Athleticism check. If they succeed, then the damage from the attack is negated, unless they blocked with part of their body, in which case it is halved (rounding up). If they fail, then the damage is inflicted as normal, their initiative in the next round is increased by 1, and their target number for their next attack is increased by 1. The initiative penalty stacks (this is in order to ensure characters who try to hunker down and absorb punishment will have little opportunity to respond).

Once damage has been resolved, the second player gets to attack.

Once all characters have attacked, roll initiative again.

Health

A character has 18 health boxes minus their Constitution score. Each point of damage removes one health box. A loss of three or more health boxes at once constitutes a serious injury, determined by the GM (e.g. broken leg). When you are out of health boxes, you are dead.

Example combat: Don Smits has hunted down Mr Tims, slayer of his senorita. Mr Tims has a sockfull of sand skill of 2, a Perception of 6, Strength of 8, an Athleticism of 8 and a Constitution of 9, giving him 9 health boxes.

Don Smits has a 36 revolver skill of 3, a Perception of 8, an Athleticism of 7 and a Constitution of 6, giving him 12 health boxes.

They roll for initiative. Don Smits rolls 6 (+8+7)=21, Mr Tims rolls 2 (+6+8)=16. Mr Tims goes first.

He declares that he is going to bop the Don on the head. The Don opts to block with his arm.

Mr Tims rolls his skill on his Strength. He rolls 2d10 and gets a 9 and a 4 – one success.

He rolls damage 1d10 minus 3. He gets an eight – 5 points of damage.

Don Smits tries to block. He rolls 2d10 on his Athleticism and gets a 7 and a 1. He has succeeded so the damage is reduced to three.

Don Smits loses three health boxes, and the GM rules that he has fractured his forearm – if it takes any more stress it could easily shatter.

Don Smits takes his turn. He declares that he is going to shoot Mr Tims in the torso, Tims opt to dodge. The Don rolls his skill on his Athleticism and gets a 7 an 8 and a 9 – three successes.

Tims rolls against on his Athleticism and gets a 9 and a 5 – one success, reducing Don Smits roll to two successes.

Don Smit now rolls damage. He gets two dice, plus one from his attack roll. He rolls a 1, a 5, and an 8.

Mr Tims chose to dodge rather than block and so loses 8 health boxes. The GM rules that, for the sake of poetic justice, his kidney gets blown out and he is at +3 to all target number from the pathos.

As a result, Don Smits easily wins the next initiative roll and splatters Mr Tims cerebellum all over the formica.

Armour

Armour works as an additional modifier on the damage roll, subtracting from the final damage score. Although there are no specific rules for wear and tear on armour, the GM should begin to impose penalties if the armour takes significant damage.

Simultaneous Action

If two combatants roll the same initiative score then they have acted simultaneously. They must choose whether to attack, block or dodge without knowing what the other will do. To do this, they play paper-scissors-stone. Scissors means attack, paper means dodge, stone means block.

Dramatic Wounds System

The standard combat system is intended to be realistically deadly i.e. if you get shot and don’t get out of the way, chances are you’re going to be crippled or die. However, some games with appropriately powerful characters may require a lot of combat to occur without killing or maiming half the group every skirmish, so for them there is an optional extra feature to the damage system.

Each character has a number of additional health boxes equal to half their normal number rounding up. These are their ‘grind wounds’. When a character loses a health level under ordinary circumstances, instead of crossing off their standard health boxes, they will cross off grind wounds. Each time they lose their last grind wound, they lose a standard health box and the grind wounds reset. If, however, the wounds are lost under appropriately dramatic circumstances (e.g. fighting the end-of-season boss, rather than just his random thugs) then the GM can rule that the damage inflicted is deducted from the standard health boxes instead of the grind wounds.

Flange Points

Characters have [M: 10, H: 20, A: 30] Flange Points to spend to further increase their stats. The price for increasing stats is listed below. Flange Points should also be used to buy game-specific special powers (e.g. Magic)

Stat:Flange Point Cost

Reduce Attribute Target Number by one:6

Add a dot under a new skill heading:4

Add a dot under an already-used skill heading:2

Add a generalisation dot:8

Add an Edge Point:3

Edge

Edge is there to give the players an extra edge in crucial tasks. It can be used in three ways:

Edge Points can be spent to gain an extra dice on a roll on a one-for-one basis.

Edge Points can be spent to reduce the target number on a dice roll on a one-for-one basis, to a minimum of 5.

A single Edge Point can be spent to re-roll a dice roll. This can only be done once for a single task, and the new result must be accepted.

Once an Edge Point has been spent, it cannot be used again until the GM says so.

Rules System

Foundation EI Hammerhydra