Adventuring and Exploration
Adventurers face all sorts of dangers in their travels. Terrain, weather, and traps can all add new challenges of their own.
Drowning and Suffocation
Under ideal circumstances, you can hold your breath for 90 seconds plus 20 seconds per point of Vitality without risk of suffocation. While exerting yourself swimming or in combat, every second holding your breath counts as 4 seconds. Once you reach the end of this time, you are forced to take a breath if possible. If you cannot breathe, you instead take a light wound and make a Vitality check. The result is how many seconds before you take another light wound and must make another check. This continues until you either take a breath or die. If you ever take a moderate or heavier wound from suffocation, you fall unconscious.
Falling is a constant threat to many adventurers, whether it be from pit traps, traversing dangerous ledges, or slipping while climbing a treacherous cliff. Creatures of different sizes treat falls differently. Your fall height is equal to 5 - half your Size (minimum of 1 foot). If you ever fall a distance greater than or equal to double this value, you are subject to falling damage. A fall deals one severe wound for each multiple of your fall height you have fallen, but you can reduce or eliminate these wounds with a special wild Acrobatics (Dex) check. You have a pool of points to spend equal to half your check result, and you may reduce wounds at the rate of 1 point per wound level, divided as you choose.
Creatures with a Size of -20 or smaller do not take falling damage.
Poisons and Toxins
Venomous creatures, noxious gasses, unscrupulous assassins, and other dangers all pose a similar threat in the form of poisons and other toxins. Strictly speaking, a poison is a toxin that takes effect when ingested or touched by the victim, while a venom is one that a creature injects through fangs, stingers, or other means. For simplicity, all toxins are referred to as poisons within these rules.
There are countless varieties of poison, each with its own effects, but there are some rules common to all. Common rules are given an entry in each poison's description. These include delivery method, onset, effect, and treatment.
The delivery method of a poison indicates how that poison typically enters the body of the victim. Possible delivery methods are ingested, inhaled, injected, and contact. An ingested poison is typically swallowed and takes several minutes before it begins to affect the victim, sometimes an hour or more. Ingested poisons can often be distilled to create versions that work through injection and are faster acting, but in their normal forms injection is usually not very effective if even physically impossible. Inhaled poisons are gasses that must be taken into the lungs to have effect, and can often act almost immediately, reaching vital internal organs in a matter of seconds. Injected poisons are typically delivered directly into the bloodstream or muscles of the target and act within a few minutes. Some take effect almost instantly. They can be delivered through bites and stings as well as on bladed weapons. Injected poisons that are instead swallowed have double their normal onset time but otherwise function normally. Contact poisons are potentially the most dangerous, and require only that the victim touch the poison with their skin in order to take effect. Obviously, these are also fully effective if used as injected or ingested poisons.
The onset time of a poison indicates how much time passes before a poison's effect takes place. This can be anywhere from instantaneous to a few days, though anything longer than an hour is rare. Until this time has passed, the victim suffers no ill effects from the poison.
The effects of poisons can vary wildly. Many poisons drain stamina over time or cause wounds. Others reduce your attributes temporarily. Some cause paralysis or unconsciousness. These effects are often applied for long periods or repeatedly over time.
Most poisons have some form of effective treatment. Any means of removing the poison or countering its effects will be listed here, as will natural recovery methods. Generally, the Treat Injury action can be used to treat a poison, with TNs listed in the poison's description.
Below are a few sample poisons. Others are included in monster descriptions.
Giant Spider Venom
Onset: 2d4 × 5 counts
Effect: The poison has several stages to its effects, with the first stage beginning as soon as the onset time is ended. Starting in the first stage, you must make a TN 15 Vitality check every 30 counts. Each time you fail the check, the poison advances to the next stage. In stage two, you begin to lose 1 stamina every 10 counts. If this would reduce your stamina below 0, the poison instead advances to the next stage immediately. In stage three, all action times and stamina costs are doubled, and your movement rate is halved. In stage four, you are paralyzed and no longer make Vitality checks due to the poison, but you continue to lose 1 stamina every 10 counts until it reaches 0.
Recovery: If the onset time has not ended, you may use the Treat Injury action against TN 12 to remove the venom before it takes effect. Once the victim begins making checks, the TN increases to 15 and a success reverts the poison to the previous stage. A success while the poison is in stage one ends the effect. Without treatment, the poison lasts 2d6 × 10 minutes, then moves backwards through the stages, one every 10 minutes, until it is healed. You do not make further Vitality checks once the poison has started to heal naturally.
|Flat roads, open fields||1|
|Tall grasslands, scrub, rocky desert||1½|
|Light forest, sandy desert or beach||2|
|Heavy forest, jungle||4|
Traversing long distances is as much about endurance as it is speed. Your overland movement rate in miles per hour in optimal conditions is equal to the total of 10 + your Size + your Athletics + the worse of your Speed or Vitality, divided by 4. A typical day of travel consists of no more than 8 hours at this pace plus time for rests, setting up and taking down camp, sleeping, and so on. Thus, for a traveling party, your daily distance traveled will be equal to the slowest member's movement rate times 8.
It is possible to travel at a faster pace. You may use the higher of your Speed or Vitality instead of the lower to calculate movement rate, but take 1 fatigue for each hour spent traveling this way. It is also possible to travel more hours per day by taking 1 fatigue per additional hour over 8. If you gain more than 5 fatigue in a single day from any combination of these two methods, you become exhausted.
Terrain has a tremendous impact on travel speed. Each mile of terrain costs a certain number of miles of movement as listed in the table to the left. Hills and mountains act as multipliers to the base cost.
Active and Passive Perception
Adventurers frequently come across hidden passages or traps, disguised assassins, lying merchants, or other situations where a keen eye or mind may be able to notice something unusual. If the players specifically focus on the unusual area or activity, then they may make a Perception check using any appropriate skill or specialization to notice what is out of place. The GM may also choose to make this check instead, keeping the result hidden from the players, so they do not know whether they failed to notice something or if there was nothing there to notice at all. If the players do not focus specifically, the GM makes secret Perception checks for each character, but at a -3 penalty, since they are only casual observers. These checks may be standard or passive, at the GM's discretion.
Vision and Light
Adventurers often have to deal with different types and sources of light, and varying levels of light or darkness. Certain abilities allow characters to treat light sources as one or more steps brighter than normal, or to increase or decrease the actual brightness of an area. Brightness levels are defined below, along with what special effects, if any, are applied to characters in such an area.
There is absolutely no light. You are treated as blind.
There is only a very faint light, equivalent to a moonless night. Most colors and other details are generally indistinguishable, and writing cannot be read unless it is especially large with high-contrast shades. You have a -4 penalty to Defense, attack rolls, and sight-based checks.
There is low light, equivalent to a full moon. Colors are difficult to distinguish, and normal handwriting can only be read with great effort. You have a -2 penalty to sight-based checks.
There is sufficient but not impressive light, equivalent to a cloudy day. There are no modifiers.
The area is well-lit, as if at noon on a cloudless day. You have to squint or shade your eyes to avoid being temporarily dazzled by the brightness. You have a -2 penalty to sight-based checks for the first minute you are in the light and for 1d6 minutes after leaving the light.
It is too bright to see anything beyond vague shapes and colors. You are treated as blind while in or looking at the light and have a -2 penalty to Defense, attack rolls, and sight-based checks for 1d6 minutes afterwards.
It is as bright as if staring directly into the sun. You are treated as blind and must make a Vitality check upon leaving the light to avoid becoming permanently blind. The TN is equal to half the time spent in the light in seconds. If you succeed, you are still treated as blind for a number of minutes equal to the TN of the check, and have a -2 penalty to Defense, attack rolls, and sight-based checks for 1d6 minutes afterwards.