RPG: Requesting Comments on my RPG...

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Jul 7, 1994, 1:38:54 AM7/7/94

I am posting an RPG that I wrote and have been using in my campaign for
the past two years, SPYCHASER: Fantasy (the strange title is explained

I am very interested in any comments that the readers of r.g.f.m.
have about these rules. I have tried to emphasis consistancy and ease
of play/learning in these rules. SPYCHASER: Fantasy makes no pretensions
to realism. I am very interested in any perccieved errors in internal
consistancey and logic. I am also interested in any ideas on how I can
make these rules easier to play and learn. I suspect the combat section
could use work (combat is my weakness as a GM).

No spells are listed for this game. We use a combination of homemade
spells and spells modified from other RPGs. SPYCHASER: Fantasy spell
descriptions are still under construction.

Thanks for any imput...

Legal Stuff:

This game is Copyright 1994 by James Carl Henderson. Anyone who wants to
may make copies (electronic or paper) for their own use, if they desire.
You may not sell this game or incorporate sections of this game in a for
profit product. This game may not be placed in an on-line archive. (I
plan to eventually let it be archived, but not until I am finished
tinkering with it.)


Third Edition; Version 3.2
Copyright 1994 by James Carl Henderson

Metarules and Introduction
Rule Zero - The purpose of this game is for everyone involved, players and
gamemaster, to have fun and to enjoy themselves. All other rules and
considerations are secondary to this.

Rule One - This is only a game. This is not the real world. Role-playing
is wonderful but keep the feedback from your character from affecting your
behavior. If the gamemaster or another player does something to your
character, it is not an attack on you. Do not treat it as such. Remember,
Spychaser: Fantasy or any other role-playing game is just an amusing
recreation, not a substitute for your real life. If you don't understand
the rationale behind this rule, then seek professional help. You shouldn't
be playing role-playing games until you get the difference between fantasy
and reality sorted out.

Rule Two - The gamemaster has the power to overrule any rule, precedent,
combination of rules, or dice rolls that he deems it necessary to, in any

Rule Three - When the rules and common sense conflict, common sense
prevails. The gamemaster is the final arbitrator of common sense.

Game Design Philosophy - Spychaser: Fantasy is a fantasy/adventure role-
playing game that stresses adventure and ease of play over "realism."
Spychaser: Fantasy is not intended to create a "realistic" simulation of
the life or adventure in a medieval setting. Realism and historical
accuracy are not the objectives of this system- fun is. Although
Spychaser: Fantasy is optimized for fantasy/adventure in a fantastic
medieval setting, Spychaser: Fantasy's rules can be easily applied to other
genres like science fiction, espionage, horror, or superhero. Indeed, the
Spychaser: Fantasy rules are adapted from a set of rules originally
intended for games in a contemporary setting, such as espionage, detective,
or horror campaigns (hence the title).

Input from the gamemaster and the players is necessary and essential to a
good campaign. These rules are intended as a skeleton to build your
campaign on. If a rule doesn't exist to cover a specific situation, the
gamemaster should apply common sense and come up with a ruling based on the
circumstances. If worst comes to worst and you can't come up with
something logical- roll percentile dice and fake it. Nothing wrecks the
flow of a game more than a break in the action to argue over some obscure
point of the rules, or even worse, stopping the game while the gamemaster
sifts through volumes and volumes of rulebooks, supplements, modules, and
magazine articles just to cover some never-before-seen and never-to-be-
seen-again situation.

Spychaser: Fantasy statistics consist of six basic and three derived
statistics. The range for human statistics runs from 0 to 10. A 0
indicates that the character can barely get by in that statistic; a 10
indicates that the character is one of the best in the world in that
statistic. As a comparison, most normal humans have all their statistics
in the 1 to 3 range. To represent statistics beyond the normal range of
human potential, three additional statistic levels beyond 10 exist- alpha,
beta, and omega. Statistics in the alpha, beta, and omega range are not
normally available to player characters.

Willpower - is a measure of the strength of a characters will, personal
power, and mental toughness. It is used to generating the derived
statistic of Power and is the defense against paranormal attacks that
affect the mind. Willpower also increases damage for some spells. All the
effects of alpha, beta, and omega Willpower are not explicitly defined.
However, alpha Willpower is treated as a 12 for power calculations, beta
Willpower is treated as a 15 for power calculations, and omega Willpower is
treated as a 21 for power calculations.

Perception - is a measure of a character's ability to notice things.
Throughout the game, the gamemaster will have characters make roll against
Perception to see if they are surprised or notice something that is less
than obvious. The effects of alpha, beta, and omega Perception are not
explicitly defined.

Luck - comprises half of the derived statistic of Hit Points and is the
statistic that saving rolls are made against in some certain death
situations. Additionaly, a player may re-roll one die roll per game
session, for each three points of luck his or her character has. Such re-
rolls are only allowed on die rolls made by the player, and not on rolls
made by the GM, or on rolls made by other players that happen to affect
that player’s character. A player must declare a Luck re-roll immediatly
after making the roll that he or she wishes to re-roll. All the effects of
a, beta, and omega Luck are not explicitly defined. However, alpha Luck
has a value of 12 for hit point calculations, beta Luck has a value of 15
for hit point calculations, and omega Luck has a value of 21 for hit point

Strength - determines how much a character can lift or carry. Strength
also increases damage in unarmed or melee combat. Divide the Strength
score by 3 and round down. (An alpha Strength yields a strength damage
bonus of 4, beta Strength yields a strength damage bonus of 5, and omega
Strength yields a strength damage bonus of 7.) Add the resulting strength
bonus to the damage for each effective hit. For each point of Strength,
the character is assumed to be able to lift 50 lbs. and carry 25 lbs.
While all the effects of alpha, beta, and omega Strengths are not
explicitly defined, consider this example: a Strength is Conan, beta
Strength is Hercules, omega Strength is Superman.

Dexterity - represents quickness and agileness of motion, i.e. running,
dodging, as well as eye to hand and fine motor coordination. A character's
chance to avoid physical attacks is often a factor of his or her dexterity.
Dexterity is also the basis for the derived statistic of Speed.

Endurance - is a measure of the character's ability to take punishment and
to stand up to prolonged hardship. Endurance is half of the derived
statistic of Hit Points. Rolls versus Endurance are also made to determine
whether a character can push him or herself past normal limits (running,
exposure, holding breath, etc.). As before, all the effects of a, beta,
and omega Endurance are not explicitly defined. However, for Hit Point
calculations, an alpha Endurance has a value of 12, a beta Endurance has a
value of 15, and an omega Endurance has a value of 21.

No statistics are generated for characteristics such as charisma,
intelligence, or physical appearance. The Spychaser: Fantasy system
considers these to be purely role-playing matters, and therefore up to the
individual player.

Hit Points - are equal to twice Endurance plus twice Luck, plus Hit Points
purchased with experience. Damage sustained comes off the Luck-based Hit
Points first. After all Luck-based Hit Points have been exhausted, real
physical damage begins to accrue to the character. Luck-based Hit Points
return at a rate of Luck / 3, rounded up, per ten minute period.
Endurance-based Hit Points return at a base rate of Endurance / 3, rounded
up, per day, modified by the severity of the injury and the quality of
medical care received. Hit Points purchased with experience are treated as
Luck-based Hit Points. Unconsciousness occurs at 0 Hit Points and death
follows at -10 Hit Points. In most circumstances, when a characters is at
less than 0 Hit Points he or she will loose one hit point every action
until he or she receives medical attention, or reaches -10 hit points and

Power - is a measure of a character's total psychic and/or mystical power.
Only characters with skills that enable them to use specific paranormal
powers need to calculate a Power statistic. The Power statistic is equal
to Willpower, plus Endurance, plus total skill levels and spell or power
ranks in paranormal skills, plus any Power points purchased with

Speed - determines how many actions a character may take in a round, how
fast he or she can move, and his or her bonus to initiative rolls. Speed
is equal to Dexterity divided by 3, rounded down. An alpha Dexterity
yields a speed of 4, beta Dexterity yields a speed of 5, and omega
Dexterity yields a speed of 7.

The range for human character skills runs from 0 to 10. To represent
skills above the normal range of human potential, three additional skill
levels beyond 10 exist- alpha, beta, and omega (alpha, beta, and omega).
Skills in the a, beta, and omega range are not normally available to
player characters.

The higher the skill rating the better the character is at that skill. In
general, a skill level of 0 indicates that the character has some passing
competence/familiarity with the skill in question, while a skill level of 1
means a character has a basic level of competence/familiarity with the
skill, and a skill level of 10 identifies that character as one of the best
in the world with that particular skill.

When a character attempts to use a skill, the relevant skill rating is
cross-referenced with either an opposing skill, statistic, or gamemaster-
created task difficulty rating on the Spychaser: Fantasy universal matrix
(see below). The character then rolls percentile dice, attempting to roll
at or under the number indicated on the matrix.

Opposing Skill, Statistic
or Difficulty Rating

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 alpha beta omega

0 50 50 40 30 20 10 5 4 3 2 1 1 1 1
1 60 50 40 30 20 10 5 4 3 2 1 1 1 1
2 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 5 4 3 2 1 1 1
3 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 5 4 3 2 1 1
Character 4 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 5 4 3 2 1
Statistic 5 95 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 5 4 3 2
or 6 96 95 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 5 4 3
Skill 7 97 96 95 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 5 4
Level 8 98 97 96 95 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 5
9 99 98 97 96 95 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10
10 99 99 98 97 96 95 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20
alpha 99 99 99 98 97 96 95 90 80 70 60 50 40 30
beta 99 99 99 99 98 97 96 95 90 80 70 60 50 40
omega 99 99 99 99 99 98 97 96 95 90 80 70 60 50

Some guidelines for determining what statistics, skills, or difficulty
ratings to use in situations requiring a skill roll are described below:

Melee Weapon Skills - Cross-reference the attacker's skill with the weapon
with the defender's Dexterity. In melee weapon combat, a character may
defend with a melee weapon skill level rather than his or her Dexterity, if
the gamemaster deems it appropriate. These skills also increase weapon
damage. Divide the skill level by 3 and round down. (An alpha adds 4 to
damage, beta adds 5 to damage, and omega adds 7 to damage.) Add the result
to the damage for each effective hit.

Paranormal Skills - For skills that primarily affect the mind, cross-
reference the attacker's skill level with the defender's Willpower. For
skills that primarily affect the body, cross-reference the attacker's skill
level with the defender's Dexterity or Endurance, as appropriate. A
character may also defend against a magical or psionic attack with the
same, or a closely related, magical or psionic umbrella skill, rather than
with a statistic. The determination of whether two magical or psionic
umbrella skills are related closely enough for one to be used as a defense
against the other is entirely up to the gamemaster. The gamemaster may, at
his discretion, allow a skill to be of partial benefit as a magic or
psionic defense. For spell or power damages based on umbrella level, alpha
is considered as equal to level 12, beta is considered as equal to level
15, and omega is considered as equal to level 21.

Parry - If a character attempts a parry as one of his or her actions,
cross-reference the defender's skill with the parrying weapon against the
attacker's skill with his or her weapon.

Persuasion Skills - For any skill involving attempts at persuasion, cross-
reference the appropriate skill of the person attempting to persuade with
the Willpower of the intended target (and modify the target number heavily
for good or bad role-playing).

Projectile Weapon Skills - Cross-reference the attacker's skill with the
weapon with the defender's Dexterity. All weapon skill levels are based on
short range. For point blank range, add 1 skill level. For medium range,
subtract 1 skill level. For long range, subtract two skill levels. In no
case, however, can the resulting adjusted skill level be less than 0 or
greater that omega. These skills also increases damage in combat with
weapon. Divide the skill level by 3 and round down. (An alpha adds 4 to
damage, beta adds 5 to damage, and omega adds 7 to damage.) Add the result
to the damage for each effective hit.

Skill to Skill Contests - To judge a situation where two characters are
contending against each other using the same skill, cross-reference the
attacker's skill level with the defender's skill level.

Stealth Skills - For any skill involving stealth, cross-reference the
appropriate skill of the person attempting stealth with the Perception of
the victim.

Unarmed Combat or Martial Arts - Cross-reference the attacker's skill level
with the defender's Dexterity. In unarmed combat, a character may choose
to defend with his or her unarmed combat skill (and in some rare cases, a
weapon skill) rather than his or her Dexterity, if the gamemaster considers
it appropriate. These skills also increases damage in unarmed and melee
combat. Divide the skill level by 3 and round down. (And alpha adds 4 to
damage, beta adds 5 to damage, and omega adds 7 to damage.) Add the result
to the damage for each effective hit.

Other Skill Rolls - With most other types of skill rolls, the gamemaster
can simply establish a difficulty rating of 0 to omega for any attempted
action and cross-reference the relevant skill or statistic of the character
with that rating.

Unopposed Use of Skills and Powers - Many uses of skill or powers by a
character will be effectively unopposed. In cases like these, no roll is
made on the Spychaser: Fantasy universal matrix to determine the success or
failure of a character's action. He or she will automatically be

Unopposed use of skills and powers will generally be possible whenever a
character's use of the skill or power in question does not occur during a
combat, or in any other situation where success or failure is of critical
game importance.

Zero Level Skills - A character is assumed to have skill level 0 in any
skill that has not been taken, but that the gamemaster can be convinced he
or she should logically know due to background and/or training. Zero level
skills cost no points either during character development or later.

Use of a 0 level skill is generally assumed to be successful in unopposed
skill use situations. If a character attempts to use a 0 level skill in an
opposed skill use situation, he or she will have a very small chance of
success and a greatly enhanced chance of fumbling.

Criticals and Fumbles - Some exceptionally high skill rolls are criticals,
where the attempted use of the skill is achieves very good or extraordinary
results. Conversely, some exceptionally low skill rolls can be fumbles, a
case where the attempted use of the skill is botched very badly, perhaps
catastrophically. The chance that a particular roll is a critical or
fumble is based on the difference in the attacker's and defender's skill
levels and is given in the table below.

Difference in Critical Scored on Fumble Scored on
Stat or Skill Levels Less Than or Equal to Greater Than or Equal to

+9 or greater 11 00
+7 to +8 10 99
+5 to +6 09 98
+3 to +4 08 97
+1 to +2 07 96
0 06 95
-2 to -1 05 94
-4 to -3 04 93
-6 to -5 03 92
-8 to -7 02 91
-9 or less 01 90

For most general skill rolls, when a critical is indicated, a d100 is
rolled. The lower the score on the d100, the better the result of the
critical. Likewise, when a fumble is indicated, a d100 is also rolled, and
the higher the score on that d100, the more damaging the fumble. Tables
containing specific critical and fumble effects are given below for combat
skills and for paranormal skills.

However, it is important that the gamemaster use some common sense in
implementing these tables. On some occasions you will have to adjust these
effects for unusual spells, psionic powers, or weapon types. For example,
a critical hit with a whip or a lasso is not likely to severe a limb, and a
fumble with a healing spell should not result in critical effect that does
300% of normal healing to a friendly target.

Combat Skills Critical Table
01 Decapitated (immediate death; where applicable).
02 Throat slashed (immediate death; where applicable).
03 Spine severed or crushed (immediate death; where applicable).
04 Heart pierced (immediate death; where applicable).
05 Spinal or skull injury (total paralysis).
06 Spinal or skull injury (partial paralysis and/or motor damage; roll
d100 for severity).
07-09 Leg severed or severely maimed (triple damage; level 10 roll vs. EN;
-4 to DX).
10-12 Primary arm severed or severely maimed (double damage; level 8 roll
vs. EN; -3 to DX).
13-15 Secondary arm severed or severely maimed (double damage; level 8
roll vs. EN; -3 to DX).
16-30 Triple damage.
31-33 Blinded (150% normal damage; reduce PR and DX by 1/2).
34-35 Maiming or severing of sex organ (150% normal damage; level 8 roll
vs. EN).
36-38 Solid strike to the head (150% normal damage; stunned 1-3 actions).
39-41 Leg immobilized (150% normal damage; -3 to DX).
42-44 Primary arm immobilized (150% normal damage; weapon dropped; -2 to
45-47 Secondary arm immobilized (150% normal damage; drop any item
carried; -2 to DX).
48-50 Abdominal injuries (150% normal damage; death from infection in 1-6
days unless healed).
51-75 Double damage.
76-00 150% normal damage.

Combat Skills Fumble Table
01-19 Stumble and recover (loose one strike next action).
20-29 Drop weapon (level 8 save vs. DX to avoid or loose strike next
action and DX roll to recover).
30-39 Weapon knocked away (save against ST of opponent to avoid; distance
away 3-18 feet).
40-49 Slip and fall (loose next action).
50-59 Wrist, arm, or shoulder sprained or pulled (loose one strike next
action; -1 to DX for 1-6 days).
60-63 Weapon knocked away (no save; distance away 3-18 feet).
64-67 Weapon breaks (enchanted weapons gain roll to avoid breakage).
68-71 Bad fall (loose next action; level 8 save vs. DX or stunned for 1-3
72-75 Hit self for normal damage.
76-79 Hit friend for normal damage.
80-83 Wrist, arm, or shoulder broken or dislocated (drop weapon; loose
strike next action; -2 to DX ).
84-87 Bad fall (no save; stunned for 1-3 actions).
88-91 Hit friend for maximum damage.
92-95 Hit self for maximum damage.
96 Weapon broken (no save for enchanted weapons; possibility of magical
97 Severe fall; knocked unconscious.
98 Critical hit on friend.
99 Critical hit on self.
00 Roll 3 times and apply all sensible results (ignore other rolls of 00).

Paranormal Powers Critical Table
01 Perfect spell or power effect; (instant kill; total heal, permanent
effect; etc.).
02 Empowerment; 200% normal effect, plus caster permanently gains 3d6
points of Power.
03 Mana surge; 200% normal effect, plus a random object in area is
04 Inspiration; 200% normal effect, plus new insight on the paranormal
(3 bonus experience points).
05 Mana surge; 200% normal effect, plus every mage or psionic in the
area is restored to full Power.
06-08 Mana surge; 200% normal effect, plus caster is restored to full Power.
09-11 Mana surge; 200% normal effect, plus random magic or psionic object
in area gets extra power.
12-20 Spell or power operates at 300% normal area of effect, range,
duration, or damage (as appropriate).
21-50 Spell or power operates at 200% normal area of effect, range,
duration, or damage (as appropriate).
51-00 Spell or power operates at 150% normal area of effect, range,
duration, or damage (as appropriate).

Paranormal Powers Fumble Table
01-30 Power drain; spell or psionic power’s cost in Power is expended; no
31-40 Power drain; twice the spell or psionic power’s cost in Power is
expended; no effect.
41-50 Random irrelevant spell effect.
51-55 Power drain; three times spell or psionic power’s cost in Power is
expended; no effect.
55-59 Miss of target; spell or power affects the wrong enemy target.
60-62 Critical miss of target; spell or power scores a critical effect on
the wrong enemy target.
63-65 Shaken; magical or psionic energy backlash (unable to use spells or
powers for 1-6 actions).
66-68 Power drain; caster expends 50% of remaining Power.
69-72 Miss of target; spell or power affects a friendly target.
72-74 Backfire; caster takes full effect of the spell or power.
75-77 Temporary loss of spell or power used (1-6 days).
78-80 Psychic exhaustion (subtract 1-3 points of WP for 1-6 days).
81-84 Temporary neural damage (subtract 1-3 points of DX for 1-6 days).
84-85 Stunned; magical or psionic energy backlash (stunned for 1-6
86-87 Knocked unconscious; magical or psionic energy backlash (knocked out
for 1-6 minutes).
88-89 Power drain; caster expends all remaining Power.
90-91 Random destructive spell effect.
92 Comatose; magical or psionic energy backlash (comatose for 1-6 days).
93 Temporary loss of use of the umbrella skill that the spell or power
used came from (1-6 days).
94 Permanent loss of the spell or power used.
95 Permanent neural damage (subtract 1 points of DX).
96 Permanent psychic damage (subtract 1 point of WP).
97 Temporary loss of use of all spell or powers (1-6 days).
98 Critical miss of target; spell or power scores a critical effect on
a friendly target.
99 Critical backfire; caster takes critical effect of the spell or power.
00 Rift, mana flow, or mana sink created.

Possible Character Skills - An (a) notation after a listed skill indicates
that skill comprises an entire subset of skills. Each of these skills must
be taken individually. For example, if you take a skill of 6 Projectile
Weapon (longbow), you do not automatically have the skill level of 6
Projectile Weapon (crossbow), as well. However, there is generally some
overlap between subsets of skills. At the gamemaster's discretion, a skill
may cascade down (i.e., a character may have a portion of his or her skill
level in one skill of a set of linked skills, as his or her effective skill
level in other skills in that set). To refer back to our example above, a
character with a 6 in Projectile Weapon (longbow) might be ruled to have an
effective 3 in Projectile Weapon (crossbow).

Any skill agreed on by the gamemaster and the player is possible. A list
of some possible skills is included below. The skills listed are by no
means the only skills that may be taken. Feel free to use your

Acrobatics Acting Administration
Alchemy Animal Handling Animal Husbandry
Animal Identification Architecture Area Knowledge (a)
Armorer Art History & Lore Assassination
Astrology Astronomy Bartender
Beggar Biology Blacksmith
Blind Fighting Bowyer Brewer
Bribery Bureaucracy Butcher
Carpenter Cartographer Chandler
Chemistry Civil Engineering Climbing/Rappelling
Cobbler Cooking Counterfeiting
Courtly Graces (a) Cryptography Culture Knowledge (a)
Demonology Find and Disarm Traps Disguise
Drawing/Painting Embalmer Escape
Farmer First Aid Fisherman
Fletcher Flying Mount Forgery
Gambling Games (a) Geography
Geology Glassblower Heraldry
Herbal Medicine History Horsemanship
Hunting Jester Jewelrysmith
Language (a) Law (a) Leatherworker
Literature Lockpicking Logistics
Magic Spells (a) Magical Lore Magical Properties
Magical Theory Mason Mathematics
Medicine Melee Weapon (a) Memory
Midwife Miller Miner
Mountain Climbing Musical Instrument (a) Nature Studies
Naval Engineering Naval Tactics Navigation
Net Maker Numerology Occult Knowledge (a)
Pathfinding Performance Dance Persuasion
Philosophy Physical Sciences Pickpocketing
Plant Identification Poison Making Poison Use
Politics Potter Projectile Weapon (a)
Psionic Lore Psionic Theory Psychic Powers (a)
Quick Draw Religious Ritual (a) Research
Rope Maker Rope Swinging Running
Sailing Scribe Sculpture
Seduction/Sex Set Traps Ship Administration
Siege Weapon (a) Singing Skiing
Sleight-of-Hand Social Dance Social Philosophy
Spelunking Stealth Strategy & Tactics
Streetwise Survival (a) Swimming
Tailor Tarot Teaching
Theology/Mythology Tracking - Urban Tracking - Wilderness
Trading Trivia (a) Unarmed Combat (a)
Value Estimation Weaponsmith Weaver
Vintner/Distiller Woodworker Writer/Poet

Character Generation
Determining Character Statistics and Skills - Beginning character
statistics and skills are determined by the player and the gamemaster. The
gamemaster will give each player a pool of character points (equivalent in
value to experience points) to build their character with. For starting a
campaign with relatively inexperienced characters, a pool of 150 to 180
character points, per character, is recommended.

Cumulative Cost of Statistics and Skills - To buy a statistic or skill, a
player pays the cumulative cost, in character points, appropriate for the
statistic or skill level that he or she wants for the character:

Statistic or Skill Value Statistic Cost Skill Cost
------------------------ -------------- ----------
1 1 1
2 2 2
3 4 3
4 7 5
5 11 7
6 16 9
7 22 12
8 29 15
9 37 18
10 46 22

It is not normally possible for a character to start with a skill or
statistic in the alpha, beta, and omega range. Since the average human
range for most statistics and skills runs from 1 to 3, a character will
likely be above average in many of his or her statistics and skills,
anyway. And remember, statistics and skills can later be raised using
experience points. All available character points do not have to be spent
during the character generation process. Some may be saved and used at a
later date, just like experience points.

Players should avoid placing most or all of their character points in a few
very high statistics or skills. While such a such a character may be an
efficient combat machine, he or she will certainly lack vital skills for
getting along in the world. To eliminate such artificially distorted
characters, the gamemaster has the power to require players to choose
certain skills that are needed for consistency with their character’s
background, or to simply reject any character he or she doesn’t want in the
campaign. By the way, all characters start with a skill level of 6 in
their native language and culture at no cost.

Character Background - The player and the gamemaster should get together
and create a history for the character that is consistent with the
character's goals, motivations, personality, and skills. Creation of a
character background should not be an afterthought to the character
generation process, but rather, it should be at the core of that process.
Remember, Spychaser: Fantasy, is a role-playing game, not a roll-playing
game. Use some discretion, however; let's try to keep the first-born sons
of kings to a minimum.

Character Special Abilities - All characters will have some sort of special
ability, to be determined by the gamemaster and the player. This special
ability should be based upon or linked to the character's background. The
special ability is above and beyond any skills or powers selected during
the character generation process. The gamemaster has an absolute right of
disapproval over character special abilities.

Non-Human Characters - Characters from fantasy races such as elves, orcs,
centaurs, dwarves, or gnomes are constructed normally. Unless race is
taken as a character's special ability, any specific racial skills or
magical powers that the player wants will cost character points, as would
any other skill or power.

Character Equipment/Possessions - Equipment and possessions held by
character should flow naturally from the character's personality, skills,
and background. There are no real rules here. Equipment and possessions
should be worked out between the player and the gamemaster and will vary
wildly depending upon the circumstances of the campaign and the individual
character. An interesting and balanced character is more important than an
arbitrary number of starting money points, or similar game mechanic.

Armor - Any type of armor worn serves to reduce damage taken by the
character by a number of Hit Points equal to the value of that armor.
Armor value is subtracted from each effective hit scored over areas covered
by the armor. However, no matter how much armor is worn, any effective hit
always scores at least 1 hit point of damage.

Armor is not an unmixed blessing; all but the lightest of the normal armors
serve to reduce Speed. (Note, however, that reductions in Speed due to
armor worn cannot reduce Speed below 1.) In Spychaser: Fantasy, normal
armor is classed as either heavy, medium, or light, as below.

Armor Type Armor Speed
Value Reduction
---------- ----- ---------

Heavy Armor 9 2
[Full Plate, Plate Mail, Field Plate]
Medium Armor 6 1
[Ring Mail, Banded Armor, Scale Mail, Chain Mail]
Light Armor 3 0
[Leather, Studded Leather]

Magical or psionic armor, or items that provide armor-like protection, also
serve to absorb damage. Such items may or may not have an associated Speed
reduction, depending upon the specifics of that item.

Cumulative Value of Armor - Different items of armor (magic, psionic, or
mundane) and armor-giving spells or psionic abilities are partially
cumulative. You get full value from your highest armor value; to that, you
add half of your next highest armor value (rounded normally); one-third of
your next highest armor value (rounded normally); and so on.

For example, let’s consider a character with a Personal TK Shield at level
8, Bracers of Armor: AV 6, a Ring of Armor: AV 3, and a Feathered Cap of
Defense: AV 1. Normally, that character’s adjusted armor value is 8:

6 (for his Bracers- full value)
2 (for his Ring- half value, rounds up)
0 (for his Feathered Cap- one-third value, rounds to 0)

But if that character happens to have his Personal TK Shield up, his armor
value jumps to 12:

8 (for his TK Shield- full value)
3 (for his Bracers- half value, rounds up)
1 (for his Ring- one-third value)
0 (for his Feathered Cap- one-quarter value, rounds to 0)

As should be obvious, adding extra armor is useful, but one quickly reaches
a point of diminishing returns.

Time and Movement - A combat round is equal to 10 seconds. Each combat
round is subdivided into ten 1 second segments.

To determine initiative, all characters involved in a combat roll d6's and
subtract their Speed, minus one, from their initiative roll. A character
with a Speed of 1 would have no modifier to his or her initiative roll, a
character with a Speed of 2 would subtract 1 from his or her initiative
roll, and a character with a Speed of 3 would subtract 2 from his or her
initiative roll. The rolled initiative score, minus the Speed
modification, is the segment that the character begins his or her actions.

Initiative scores below 1 are considered to be 1's. In situations where
characters have tied initiative scores, and it is critical to know which
moves first, a roll-off, known as a micro-initiative roll, should be made
between them. For a micro-initiative roll, the characters involved roll
d6's and subtract their Speed from the score, just as in a normal
initiative roll. The character with the lower micro-initiative roll moves

To judge when character actions take place, divide the segments in the
round that remain after the character's initiative score, by the
character's speed, rounding normally. For example, a character with a 2
speed and a 4 initiative score will begin his or her first action in
segment 3. (4 initiative score - 1 for speed modification = segment 3.)
The remaining action will begin in segment 7. (10 segments - segment 3 = 7
segments; 7 segments / 2 speed = 3.5 segments; rounds to 4; segment 3 + 4
segments = segment 7.)

Characters only make one initiative roll per combat. The spacing and
sequence of the segments where a character has his or her actions will
carry over from round to round throughout the combat. If one of a
character's actions is delayed the character voluntarily holds his or her
action, all of his or her subsequent actions in that combat will be shifted
forward the appropriate number of segments.

Under normal circumstances, a character can run a number of yards equal to
his or her Dexterity during one action. Also, drawing a readily accessible
weapon generally consumes one strike out of an action.

Weapon Damage and Range - Damage is done according to weapon type, adjusted
for skill or statistic modifications, and is subtracted from the defender's
Hit Points, less his or her armor value. All damage rolls are based on
d6's. Damage and ranges for many typical fantasy weapons are listed in the
tables below. No pretensions of realism are made.

Weapon Type Damage
----------- ------
Light Melee Weapon 1d6
[Dagger, Rapier, Handaxe, Foil, Shortsword, Shield Bash, Staff]
Medium Melee Weapon 1d6+2
[Longsword, Sabre, Broadsword, Mace, Flail, Axe, Scimitar]
Heavy Melee Weapon 2d6
[Two-Handed Sword, Great Axe, Bastard Sword, Halberd, Lance]
Light Projectile Weapon 1d6-1
[Sling, Shortbow, Shuriken, Throwing Knife]
Medium Projectile Weapon 1d6
[Composite Bow, Crossbow, Throwing Axe, Spear]
Heavy Projectile Weapon 1d6+2
[Longbow, Heavy Crossbow]

Class Weapons Range
------ ------- -----

Reach All Melee Weapons PB>5'
Short Sling, Shuriken, Throwing Knife & Axe PB>10', S>25', M>40', L<40'
Long Composite & Shortbow, Crossbows, Spear PB>25', S>50', M>100', L<100'
Very Long Longbow PB>50', S>100', M>200', L<200'

Unarmed Combat Damage and Range - Unarmed combat or martial arts strikes do
a base 1d6-1 points of damage. All unarmed combat or martial arts strikes
are considered to have a range of reach. Skill and strength bonuses apply
to unarmed combat just as they do to melee and projectile weapons.

Strikes per Action - The table below shows the number of strikes (attempts
to hit) allowed per action according to a character’s skill level with a
weapon or a fighting style. This table covers most melee and projectile
weapons, as well as unarmed combat. Some melee and projectile weapons may
have a physical or paranormal bonus or limitation to their frequency of
use; skills with such weapons will not use this table. For example, many
types of crossbows may take too long to recock to be allowed multiple
strikes per action, or some magical weapons may be enchanted to allow
swifter motion than normal.

Skill Level Attacks/Action
----------- --------------
Skill Level 0 1 attack / 2 actions
Skill Levels 1-3 1 attack / action
Skill Levels 4-6 1 attack / action and 1 parry / action
Skill Levels 7-9 2 attacks / action and 1 parry / action
Skill Level 10 2 attacks / action and 2 parries / action
Skill Level alpha 3 attacks / action and 2 parries / action
Skill Level beta 4 attacks / action and 3 parries / action
Skill Level omega 5 attacks / action and 3 parries / action (minimum)

A character using two weapons or a weapon and a shield gains a free strike
or parry attempt with that secondary weapon or shield each round. This
extra strike or parry attempt may be taken at anytime during the round.
Normally, any secondary weapon used must be no heavier than Light Melee
Weapon class.

Special Combat Conditions - The combat rules all assume normal fighting
conditions, i.e., the target knows you're there and doesn't want to get
hit. Attacking from surprise is generally at a +2 shift to skill level.
Also, in a surprise situation the target defends with his or her Luck
rather that his or her Dexterity or appropriate skill.

These rules also assume aimed strikes or missile fire. Unusual combat
conditions such as darkness, foul weather, cover, firing from moving
objects, etc. will modify the effective skill level used for an attack
roll. Attacks against extremely large or slow-moving targets may be at a
positive shift to effective skill level. Conversely, attacks against
extremely small or fast-moving targets may be a negative shift to effective
skill level. Attacks against unconscious, sleeping, or restrained targets
almost always hit; the Gamemaster may not even require a roll to hit in
such circumstances.

Paranormal Skills
In most cases, the Spychaser: Fantasy rules treat all the various
paranormal skills the same, whether they be psychic powers, magical spells
or rituals, etc. The gamemaster has absolute and total control over what
paranormal skills or powers are allowed in his or her campaign. The
gamemaster will base such decisions on the power level and atmosphere that
he or she desires for the campaign.

Depending upon the metaphor for the character's paranormal skills, they may
require a wide variety of materials, rituals, casting time, or conditions.
The specifics of each paranormal skill a character learns will be supplied
by the gamemaster. The gamemaster may take into account a variety of
factors such as emotional/physical conditions, weather, sunspots, falling
tea leaves, etc. when judging paranormal skill use and modify the required
roll or power used, accordingly.

Paranormal Umbrella Skills - A character wishing to have paranormal skills
first should take an umbrella skill in a specific area of the paranormal.
Specific skills (magical spells, psionic powers, etc.) taken underneath the
umbrella skill then cost one, two, three, four, or five experience points,
depending upon their relative power. The cost in experience points of a
paranormal skill is also known as that skill's rank. Rank zero paranormal
skills also exist. Rank zero paranormal skills are very minor magics
(cantrips) or psionic powers that may be used at will. They may be used in
any area of the paranormal that the character has a umbrella skill level of
at least 1 in. The use of rank zero paranormal skills consumes no Power.

A character who wishes to learn only a few spells or powers from an
umbrella skill area may choose to take those spells or powers as separate
skills, as long as those spells or powers are of rank two or less. In this
case, the cost of the spell or power is equal to its rank. (Rank zero
spells or powers cost 1/2 an experience point each.) If a character ever
wishes to be able to use that spell or power at a higher skill level that
its rank, he or she must either buy higher levels with it or purchase and
raise the appropriate umbrella skill. Some typical magical and psionic
umbrella skills are listed below along with brief descriptions:

Magical Umbrella Skills
Air Magic Air, gas, and wind magics; conjuration of air
Common Magic Set of minor useful spells from all areas of magic;
ranks one and two, only
Creation & Enchantments of transformation of shape and substance;
Transformation alteration and creations
Death Magic Death magic, necromancy, command, control, and
creation of undead
Divination Informational magics; detects, divinations, magical
sensing and analysis
Earth Magic Earth and stone magics; conjuration of earth
Enchantment Magic of the mind and soul; charms, deceits,
insanities, and mind control
Fire Magic Fire, smoke, explosion, and heat magics; conjuration
of fire elementals
Illusion Creation of illusions; sight, sound, and color magics;
Life Magic Healing, regeneration, curing disease; creation of
plants and animals
Magical Energy Bolts, blasts, and defenses of magical energy; spells
affecting magic
Magical Force Force shields and force constructs; magical lifting
and motion
Nature Magics Magic of the natural world; plant, animal, weather,
and forest magics
Space-Time Magic Teleport, time manipulation, dimension traveling, and
space warping
Summoning & Binding Conjuration, dismissal, binding, and command of extra-
planer entities
Theurgy Invocation of the power of deities; miracles; magic of
priests and holy men
Water Magic Liquid, sea, and water breathing magics; conjuration
of water elementals

Psionic Umbrella Skills
Clairvoyance Mental sensing and gathering of information
Empathy Sense, influence, and of control emotions; healing of others
Telekinesis Mental manipulation of matter, energy, and space-time
Telepathy Mental communication, influence, and attack; healing of the
Telurgy Psionic mastery of the body through the power of the mind

The paranormal umbrella skills listed above are by no means the only ones
that may be exist. Any paranormal umbrella skill agreed to by the
gamemaster and the player is possible.

Paranormal Umbrella Skill Level and Spell Ranks Usable - In order to use a
paranormal skill of a certain rank, one must have an associated umbrella
skill of at least twice the rank of the paranormal skill in question. For
example, for a character to use the rank five space-time magic spell
Temporal Stasis, he or she must have an umbrella skill level of at least 10
in space-time magics. A character gains the ability to learn spells of
various ranks according to the chart below:

Skill Level Spell Ranks Usable
----------- ------------------
1 0
2-3 1
4-5 2
6-7 3
8-9 4
10 5

No matter what rank a paranormal skill is, it is the level of the
overarching umbrella skill that is cross-referenced with the appropriate
statistic or difficulty rating to determine the chance for the spell or
power's success.

Casting or Activation Time - The time required to cast a spell or to
activate a psionic power is based on the rank of the spell or power.
Normal casting or activation times for spells and powers of various ranks
are given in the table below:

Spell or Power Rank Casting or Activation Time
------------------- --------------------------
0 1 segments
1 1 segments
2 3 segments
3 5 segments
4 7 segments
5 9 segments

A spell or power requiring only one segment is effectively instantaneous
and can easily be used in a combat situation. Under combat conditions,
spells or powers requiring longer than one segment to cast become
progressively more likely to be interrupted, and therefore ruined.
However, for some specific spells and special circumstances, the gamemaster
may set casting times that are either longer or shorter than this general

"Standard" Spell Effects - The ranges, areas affected, damages, armor
values, and durations listed below apply to many spells or psionic powers
(especially the combat spells). However, quite a few spells will have
considerably different characteristics. Consult the gamemaster if you are
unsure about details of a specific spell or psionic power.

Umbrella Base Psionic Duration Armor Value / Mass
Level Range Range Damage Bonus Affected
-------- ----- ------- -------- ------------- --------
Level 1 10' 50 miles. 1 minutes 1 50 lbs.
Level 2 25' 100 miles. 5 minutes 2 100 lbs.
Level 3 50' 250 miles. 0 minutes 3 250 lbs.
Level 4 75' 500 miles. 15 minutes 4 500 lbs.
Level 5 100' 1000 miles. 20 minutes 5 750 lbs.
Level 6 150' 2000 miles. 30 minutes 6 1000 lbs.
Level 7 200' 4000 miles. 1 hour 7 1500 lbs.
Level 8 300' 6000 miles. 1 1/2 hours 8 2000 lbs.
Level 9 500' 8000 miles. 2 hours 9 3500 lbs.
Level 10 1000' 10,000 miles. 3 hours 10 5000 lbs.
Lv. Alpha 2000' 20,000 miles. 5 hours 12 10,000 lbs.
Lv. Beta 5000' 50,000 miles. 10 hours 15 20,000 lbs.
Lv. Omega 10000' 100,000 miles. 24 hours 21 50,000 lbs.

[Notes: Psionic range applies to powers like telepathic communication or
clairvoyant remote viewing; normally, psionic attacks are limited to base
range. The armor value/damage bonus column applies to spells or psionic
powers providing armor-like protection and to the base damage per level of
combat spells or psionic powers. There are quite a few exceptions to the
numbers given in the mass affected column. For example, Teleports use 1/2
the listed base mass, while Levitates use twice that base mass.]

Combat Spell Damages - The term “combat spells” covers the various balls,
bolts, blasts, etc. that most paranormal skill areas offer at ranks 1
through 4. Whatever their special effects, these spells all deliver a
standard amount of damage, either to a single target (spell ranks 1 to 3)
or to multiple targets (spell ranks 2 to 4), according to the formulas

Combat Spell Class Damage Formula
------------------ --------------
I 1d6 + Umbrella Level + Willpower Bonus
II 1d6 + 2 x Umbrella Level + Willpower Bonus
III 0 + 3 x Umbrella Level + Willpower Bonus

The Willpower damage bonus to combat spells is equal to Willpower divided
by 3, rounded down. An alpha Willpower yields a damage bonus of 4, beta
Willpower yields a damage bonus of 5, and omega Willpower yields a damage
bonus of 7.

Power Expenditure - When a paranormal skill is used, the character may use
any amount of Power up to the character's umbrella skill level covering
that paranormal skill. Use of an a spell or power at an a skill level
requires 12 points of Power, use at a beta skill level requires 15 points
of Power, and use at an omega skill level requires 21 points of Power.
But, if a character uses a paranormal spell or power in an unopposed skill
use situation, the Power cost is only equal to the rank of the spell or
power used. The amount of Power used is both the skill level that is
cross-referenced with the appropriate statistic, skill, or difficulty
rating to determine the chance for the spell or power’s success, and a
factor in determining that spell or power’s effects.

Whether a paranormal skill succeeds or fails, the character's Power total
is reduced by the amount of Power he or she used. If a character thinks he
or she can handle it, is possible to attempt to channel extra Power into a
paranormal skill. Be warned, this is very dangerous. Also, some extremely
powerful spells may require a permanent sacrifice of Power.

Power Recovery - Expended Power points are recovered at a rate of 16 per
hour during sleep or meditation, at a rate of 8 per hour during normal
rest, at a rate of 4 per hour during light activity, and are not recovered
at all during strenuous activity. Some drugs or rituals can provide a
temporary boost of Power, but there is usually a cost associated.

Experience Points - Experience points are handed out by the gamemaster at
the end of every adventure and/or game session. Experience points come in
two types: assigned experience points and discretionary experience points.
Assigned experience points are awarded by the gamemaster for use of
specific skills and must be added to those skills. Discretionary
experience points may be used however the player chooses- either to raise selected skills or selected statistics.

Cost to Raise Skills - Discretionary experience points convert into skill
points according to the following chart:

Skill Level to be Attained Experience Point Cost per Skill Level
-------------------------- -------------------------------------
0 0
1 - 3 1
4 - 6 2
7 - 9 3
10 4

Raising Skills and New Skill Acquisition - No matter how many experience
points the player has accumulated, no skill may be raised more than one
level in any one game session. All new skills must start out at skill
level 1. If there is no logical way a character could have picked up a
skill during the period covered by the current experience point awards, the
gamemaster may choose to disallow that skill or skill increase. If this
occurs, the player may use his experience to buy levels in a different
skill, or hold the experience points until such a time as there is a chance
to gain the skill he or she desires. Skills may not be raised into the
alpha, beta, and omega range without special permission from the

Raising Basic Statistics - Discretionary experience points may also be
converted into basic statistic points. It costs a number of experience
points equal to the current statistic score to raise a statistic one point.
Raising statistics is expensive; it is possible to have a super- strong,
fast, and tough character, but he or she may not be able to do much else.
Statistics may not be raised into the alpha, beta, and omega range without
special permission from the gamemaster.

Raising Derived Statistics - Discretionary experience points can also be
used to raise the derived statistics of hit points and power. Hit Points
may be purchased, at a cost of 2 experience points per hit point, up to
human maximum (40 hit points). A player may also choose to buy Power, at a
cost of 1 experience point for every 2 points of power purchased.
Discretionary experience points, however, can not be used to raise Speed.

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