Core System Rules

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Tesseris uses a dice system called the Adaptable Dice System (ADS). In concept, this is somewhat similar to a modified version of a dice pool system. ADS uses a special configuration of a 10-sided die (d10) that is referred to as a dT. As with other dice pool type systems, success or failure is determined how well a player rolls on a number of dice, in this case dTs. In order to succeed in an attempted roll with a number of dT, a player must get a total number of successes as determined by the GM, or beat an opponent's opposed role as appropriate.

dT Dice

How a dT Works

A dT is essentially just another 10-sided die where a player needs to roll above a certain number on the die in order to achieve a success, similar to many dice-pool based systems. On a dT, a roll of a 6 to 10 will result in a “Success” (+1).  A roll of a 9 or 10 also results in an “Explosion” and allows another dT to be rolled. Additional dT rolled from explosions may also explode, resulting in additional potential explosions and so on. Rolls ranging from 1 to 5 have no effect on the current roll (+0), but are re-rolled first in instances where re-rolls are allowed; these are commonly referred to as “Duds.”

A number of dT to be rolled together will generally be written with a number in front of it indicating the number of dT that should be rolled.  “3dT” for instance would indicate that three dTs should be rolled together and all successes from the three dice should be totaled together and added to any additional modifiers, such as skill rank, to find the total number of successes for the roll.  Further sections will explain when and how to use these rolls.

Re-rolls

Re-rolls are commonly provided by equipment and are a regular part of many Skill Tests (see below).  As mentioned above, when a player is allowed re-rolls on a particular roll, Duds are re-rolled first. On rare occasions, a player may also wish to re-roll regular successes in the hopes of getting an Explosion. A player may do this in addition to or in place of re-rolling Duds, provided they have enough available re-rolls.  No single dT may ever be re-rolled more than once and re-rolled dTs explode as normal. Explosions take place before re-rolls, meaning an additional die that was granted by an explosion may be re-rolled if there are enough available re-rolls. A character may never take more rerolls than the number of original dice they rolled.

Alternate Dice (d6s)

As an alternative to using d10s as the base for the dT, GMs may instead opt to use six-sided dice (d6s). When using d6s, a success should be counted as any roll of a four or greater (4+) but only explode on a roll of a natural six (6). Statistically speaking, this does slightly lower the chance of an explosion from 20% on a d10 to roughly 18% on a d6, which may be preferable for a GM's playstyle. A GM might also choose to do this simply because d6s are a more common die, and players are more likely to a larger quantity of physical d6s available to them.

dT Success Odds

See the Meta: dT Odds page for information and discussion regarding the statistical odds of success on dTs.

Skill Tests

Any roll called for by the GM to determine the success or failure of an attempted task will generally require a Skill Test. Nearly every task attempted in the Adaptable Dice System has an associated Skill that governs it.  That skill will likewise have an associated Characteristic that governs that Skill.  Additionally, there may be other miscellaneous modifiers that increase or decrease the end result and total number of successes achieved on the test.

On a Skill Test, a character's relevant Characteristic determines the number of dT they may roll for an attempted Skill Test. A character may never roll more than 10dT on any one test, no matter how high their relevant Characteristics or any other factors which may increase the number of dT rolled, explosions notwithstanding.  Characteristics above 10, or other factors which would result in the character having more than 10dT to roll, will treat any dT in excess of 10 as re-rolls for that test, in addition to any normal re-rolls they may have, up to 10 re-rolls.  

A character’s Skill Rank is a static number of successes that is added directly to the total number of successes on the rolled dT.  Miscellaneous modifiers also add or subtract a static number of successes from the end result.  A common Skill Test roll may look something like this: [4dT + 3 re-roll 1]. This would mean that the relevant Characteristic grants four dTs to be rolled, the relevant skill rank is +3 which grants three automatic successes, and there is one re-roll to one of the 4dTs that the character can make after the initial roll is made.

For more in-depth explanation of how skills work, see the Skills section.

Skill Test Durations

Outside of combat, there is typically no need to track time in an exact fashion. As such, how long a skill test takes to complete can vary depending on narrative purposes. As a general rule though, a typical skill test should only take between a few minutes to around an hour or so. If it matters, it's up to the GM to make the determination on how long a skill test takes, however for actions that take longer than an hour or so, GMs should consider making the action an Extended Skill Test; see the Skills section for more information on Extended Skill tests.

Defaulting on a Roll

In situations where a character has plenty of time to deal with a task, and there is no significant penalty for failure, their player may opt to take a "Default Roll" instead of rolling. There are three types of "Defaults" which may be taken: Quick, Normal, and Diligent. GMs should take care to limit the ability of players to default only to appropriate situations, and only the appropriate types of defaults for the time available. Generally speaking, characters should not be able to "Default" during combat, though there may be certain circumstances where this is allowable at the GM's discretion.

Quick Defaults

  • dT/2 + Rank x1 + RR/3

Quick Defaults take up to three (3) times the normal amount of time as a regular action; just slow enough to ensure a consistent result, while still working quickly. When using a Quick Default, a character may take one (1) success for every two dT they would normally roll, rounding down, one (1) success from every Skill rank they have, and one additional success for every three (3) re-rolls they would normally have. All normal modifiers that would apply to a roll still apply to the Quick Default, including bonuses from Talents, etc. For instance, if a character with a Characteristic of 5, a Skill rank of 2 and 3 rerolls would normally roll [5dT+2 re-roll 3] for a particular skill test, when taking a Quick Default they may take an automatic 5 [5/2+2+3/3= 5] successes instead.

Normal Defaults

  • dT x1 + Rank x1 + RR/2

Normal Defaults represent the pace that a character would typically work at in an unrushed, steady fashion. Normal Defaults take ten (10) times the typical amount of time as a regular roll, but confer more significant bonuses over a typical roll. When taking a Normal Default, a character may take one (1) success for every dT they would normally roll, one (1) success from every Skill rank they have, and one additional success for every two (2) re-rolls they would normally have. All normal modifiers that would apply to a roll still apply to the ‘Defaulted Roll’, including bonuses from Talents, etc. For instance, if a character with a Characteristic of 5, a Skill rank of 2 and 3 rerolls would normally roll [5dT+2 re-roll 3] for a particular skill test, when taking a Normal Default they may take an automatic 8 (5+2+3/3= 8) successes instead.

Diligent Defaults

  • dT x1 + Rank x2 + RR x1

Diligent Defaults represent the pace that a character works at taking extra time, focusing on details, taking breaks, and doing research or engaging in other activities that will greatly improve the end result. Diligent Defaults take 20 times the typical amount of time as a regular roll, but confer considerable bonuses over a typical roll. When taking an Diligent Default, a character may take one (1) success for every dT they would normally roll, they may take one additional success for every one (1) re-roll they would normally have, and skill ranks count for double (x2). All normal modifiers that would apply to a roll still apply to the Diligent Default, including bonuses from Talents, etc. For instance, if a character with a Characteristic of 5, a Skill rank of 2 and 3 rerolls would normally roll [5dT+2 re-roll 3] for a particular skill test, when taking an Diligent Default they may take an automatic 12 (5+2*2+3/3= 12) successes instead.

Characteristics Only Tests

There may occasionally be instances where an action is not covered by a skill or the GM feels that a skill test would not be appropriate. In these instances a Characteristics only test may be taken. The GM should choose the two characteristics most relevant to the situation. Roll a number of dT equal to the sum of both characteristics and determine successes as normal. In these instances, the GM may allow the player to roll more than 10dT if their character would have more than a 10 in the combined characteristics. If the GM feels that there is only one relevant Characteristic, the GM may choose to have the player instead roll a number of dT equal to twice the relevant characteristic, following the same general rules.

Burning Wounds

The ability for Player Characters to 'Burn Wounds' is a key component during many combat scenarios. Wounds are the key to a character's survivability during Combat, but 'Burning' them at the right time can provide significant advantages.

Burning a Wound allows a player to:

  • Gain a +2 bonus on any roll made during combat, provided the wound is burned before the roll.
  • Re-roll the entirety of a roll that was just taken during combat. The GM should limit the ability to burn a wound for a re-roll to a reasonable amount of time, ideally before moving onto the next event or action in the course of gameplay.

Thematically, players can think of burning a wound in a variety of different ways. It is fair to think of burning a wound as a character expending more effort than is safe to do something, as an act of desperation in dire circumstances resulting in a minor injury, or perhaps drawing on more arcane or psychic power than is safe, which results in either mental exhaustion, or actual physical harm to the character depending on the situation. As not all wounds are physical, burning wounds need not have a visual tell for the damage they inflict.

As one might imagine, taking the temporary bonus or getting a re-roll provided by burning a wound should be balanced against the danger of acquiring Wounds in the first place. As wounds are longer lasting damage than typical Stamina damage, players should carefully consider the potential harm incurred by burning too many wounds. Wounds as they relate to a character's survivability in Combat are discussed in full detail in the Combat section. Burned Wounds can be healed normally as any other wounds.

NPCs Burning Wounds

As a general rule, NPCs should not be able to burn wounds for bonuses or rerolls. Important or boss NPCs might be given the option to do so where thematically appropriate, or to help provide an appropriate challenge for a significant battle.

Leveling and Experience Points

In Tesseris, experience points are used to purchase improvements to a characters Skills and Characteristics. Once a character has spent enough Experience Points, they increase in Level. **Blah blah blah**

Levels

In Tesseris, characters gain levels by spending Experience Points. Each level grants a character new Powers, Feats, and Talents.

Powers, Feats, and Talents

In Tesseris, characters gain new powers or abilities as they level up. These are broken down into three types: Powers, Feats, and Talents.

Powers

Powers are core abilities that grant access to whole classes of options for a character, or the most powerful of individual abilities.

Feats

Feats are major abilities that grant a character new or expanded abilities. Some Feats build upon Powers while others grant major abilities directly. In other systems these might be powerful feats or class features.

Talents

Talents are minor abilities and are less powerful than Feats. Many Talents build upon Feats or Powers by either expanding their abilities or further specializing them. Some feats are also minor abilities unto themselves. In other systems they are comparable to feats or minor class abilities.

Misc. Basic Rules

Rounding Fractions

In general, all fractions are rounded down to the nearest whole number.  There may be certain exceptions to this, as explained in those specific instances.