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Fédia's Rules

Here are the rules. (MS Word .doc, french, updated 04/11/09.)

Here is the equipment list. (MS Excel .xls, french, only currency, armors and weapons done, updated 19/10/09.)

Quick History

I wrote a number of house rules for AD&D2, many related to character creation, and a couple simplifying things, before I realized that truly D&D wasn't my kind of rules.
I was using AD&D2 because it was popular and so most players knew the rules. That made it easy to have players and allowed everyone to get into the game quickly.
The problem however, was that learning the rules was far from easy, so whenever a new player came by, we had to go through extensive explanations even if he read the book, because the system is simply too complex for anyone to get it in one read (or two :p).
That's most unfortunate, considering that rules are only secondary in a Role Playing Game. The main point is to play the character you wish, and live great adventures, it's all about playing a role, and rules only kick in when you need to evaluate the outcome of a difficult action.
(Simple actions don't even need dice rolling.)

In the end of the 90's, the RPG did get more world specific rule systems, that would encourage role playing. (I'm thinking about the world of darkness RPG here.)
The first RPG, such as D&D, were using classes, clearly wargame inspired, which would define the role of a character to some extent, restricting they way you could play them. A fighter is a guy with a sword and an armor, a wizard cast spells but has no armor and so on.
The systems that came later were skill based, meaning that instead of getting a complete character package when picking up a class, you could just create your own custom character based on whatever you felt like playing.
Added flexibility also meant simpler rules to some extent, as there was no more special powers, but generic skills, making the system much easier to learn.
(No need to read a lenghty description to understand what dodging means, neither investigate.)

The problem with the skill based system however, is that it's easy to create an unbalanced character, where classes had known strength and weaknesses, it was much more difficult to spot the extent of your weaknesses with a skill list.
Many games also let the player decide to chose advantages and weaknesses, which, although they were making the character even more custom, unfornately also made it a little more unbalanced.
Even then, finding the outcome of an action with those systems could mean rolling a fair number of dice (Star Wars D6 system comes to mind, ShadowRun was rather heavy too).

In the end, I decided to write my own rules to address most of the shortcoming of those systems. I don't want classes, as I find those too limiting. (Why wouldn't a wizard know a lot about martial arts, or why wouldn't a warrior also cast some spells ?)
I remember that my first ruleset was called "Home System Rules", and was very DnD inspired. (Given I lead AD&D2 games for years, that's no surprise.) The next, which is still the root of the current ruleset in its 4th iteration, was based on Legend of the Five Rings. The current one is re-using concepts from L5R and also borrowing ideas from "Qin, the role playing game", and some elements of PlaneScape (best universe from TSR ever) for the magic system.


I did a lot of work on the combat systems, the first was using a timeline already, instead of turns or rounds, to make the battle smoother. I did test it, it worked rather well, but the battle options made it slow.
You could parry, dodge, attack, parry after failed dodging, leading to a fair number of dice rolling per action... Detailed fights for sure, but nothing fast.
Oh, and the test system was broken ^^ (Really stupid mistake I made designing it, it came out on the first game run.)
My next move was to reduce combat to the minimum. I know that a lot of players don't like that too much, but detailed battles are long, and really not the heart of the game to me. Some players may use more rule centric/detailed systems.
I returned to turns, and did limit actions per turn to one. (I tried to have a variable number of actions per turn at a time, was still too slow.)
I also changed the test mechanism, on 3rd version, you rolled a D10 and added it to your trait + skill and compared it to the difficulty level.
I did keep the "no roll for damage", deciding that the success (or failure) margin would represent the quality of the success (which is familiar to most role players), and so to use it to find out damage.
Armors are 'soaking' damage (unlike DnD, but like many other systems), and so their protection level is substracted to incoming damage, and weapons have a maximum damage level.
The idea is that the weapon doesn't deal damage, it's the wielder that does, but the weapon's size, shape and weight can only deal so much damage. (Can't hurt someone as badly with a dart as with a sword.)

Then came Qin, and its nice Yin/yang dice roll. Throw one white and one black D10, one is yin the other is yang, substract the higher from the smaller to find out the score.
In case of equality, the dice are indicating your score, and you get a critical success, except on double 0 which is a critical failure. That makes 9% chances of critical success and 1% of critical failure. Nice !
I did take that as-is.
Combats are rather simple, you basically have actions (attacking, defending, casting spell, moving, other), each telling you how to find your attack and defense ranks.
It's really making fights simpler and much faster. Choose your action for the turn, roll dice, you're done. (Well you just have to do some calculus to find what happened, but no other rolls.)

Also taken from Qin for a good part, but coming from L5R too are the special actions. Each turn, you can select an action that will increase your difficulty level, but do something different. (Stunning, projecting, targeting the head...)
The good thing is that it's only a modifier (no extra roll), and it gives the players a lot of choice, and they like it :) (so do I ;) )


I decided long ago to move away from the usual spell per *whatever* (encounter in D&D4, day in AD&D2) and spells altogether. At the same time, I also found that an army of undead in DnD wasn't much of a big deal, and one of the reasons was that Player's Character wouldn't weaken during a fight, neither by fatigue nor injury.
The solution to both the new magic system issues (how to restrict spell casting if there are no spells per unit of time ?), and the player's fighting 24/7 w/o a problem, was to simply add fatigue.
With fatigue, (and injury penalties) the warriors will stop being careless and concentrate on killing and not getting hit, and the spell casters will be limited in their ability to use magic.
In the end, every action costs 1 point of fatigue, except spell casting, which costs the number of runes you gather in that turn.
The wizards are mastering skills (it's a skill based rule system after all), each being a rune of an element (air, earth, fire, water) having a number of effects.
If you want to create a wall of fire you'll use the Fire Rune, for a tornado or flying, the Air Rune. You want to build a wall ? Use the Earth Rune !
It's really that simple, and make my elementalists/wizards very different from most out there.
The number of runes accumulated for the spell are to be split between area of effect and power. The range at which you can cast is based on a skill.
With such a system, the wizard is free to cast whatever he wants at any given time (if he's not too tired that is), no need to memorize spells for the day, no restrictions on their number and level either (fatigue takes care of that).
Since fatigue is used for all characters, there's no special rule for wizards, and so the game doesn't turn into a class based system in disguise.
A potential undead army would be very deadly, as the deads don't suffer from injuries (they keep on fighting without penalty) and they never get tired (no fatigue). In fact there's no chance you can win against such an army without some serious help. (Credit to KULT for undeads w/o fatigue.)
The wizards amusingly, aren't more powerful, but they get flexibility, and are, in my opinion, much more impressive, mastering the elements.

Druids are something I spent a lot of time considering.
I didn't want them to be just wizards with different powers, and I wanted them to be servants of nature.
Since I read Dark Sun, I wanted to reuse their life powered magic idea, and I found it to be fitting my druids perfectly.
That even opened the druids to be in different groups, a bit like jedis from the light or dark side.
Currently their are three groups of druids, a small one does help humans living in harmony with nature, a large one doesn't care or like humans as they try to live in their own world, outside the boundaries of the "true" world (nature), the smallest group think that humans not living in harmony with nature, and trying to submit it to their will, are insane and the worst evil, who they must destroy.
The first group uses its powers to teach humans how to live with nature (modeling it a little to their use), the second would rather have humans learn how to live in nature, and the third don't give them a choice at all.
Only the third group does use their ability to channel life forces to steal humans lives, and then use the energy to kill more humans.

Last Updated : 19/10/09


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