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 4 rounds without any risk. Each round of strenuous activity counts as 2 rounds. Once you reach the end of this time, you are forced to take a breath if possible unless you succeed on a TN 10 Willpower check. This check must be repeated each round with the TN increasing by 2 for each prior check. If you do not breathe, whether by succeeding on your check or having no choice, you lose 1d4 stamina at the start of each round until you take a breath, or 1d8 stamina if you are performing strenuous activity. Once your fatigue equals your normal maximum stamina, you immediately fall unconscious and breathe if possible. At the end of each round in which you fail to breathe while unconscious like this, you take a moderate wound.
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 in feet (minimum of 1 foot). If you ever fall a distance greater than or equal to 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 Dex [Acrobatics/Tumbling] check. If you intentionally jump down or otherwise fall in a controlled manner, you can choose to make a passive check instead. You have a pool of points to spend equal to your check result, and you may reduce wounds at the rate of 2 points per wound level, divided as you choose among all wounds received.
Creatures with a Size of -20 or smaller do not take falling damage.
Extremely long falls may take multiple rounds. In the first round, you can fall up to 2000 feet, at which point you reach terminal velocity. Each round thereafter, you fall another 3000 feet. In reality, these values would vary slightly based on the size, shape, and weight of the character, but for simplicity, you can assume most objects fall at the same rate.
Preventing a Fall
If an effect moves you into the air but within reach of a ledge (generally 1 yard), you may make an attempt to grab the ledge before you fall by using a reaction (Speed Class 2) and making a Dex [Reflex/Interruption] check against a TN 12. Similarly, you may try to catch an adjacent person or object before it falls by using the same reaction. If you succeed, you are prone and the target is hanging from your grasp. You are both considered grappling. If you succeed by 5 or more, you may both remain standing with the target in your grasp leaning over the edge. If you attempt to catch an unwilling target, the target may use their Power or Agility defense in place of the normal TN to catch them if it is higher.
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 recovery.
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 possible. 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. If this time is measured in rounds, the round on which the poison is applied counts as round one, with the poison taking effect at the end of the specified round.
The strength determines the TN of any checks made to resist or treat the poison. If only a single dose is given, the TN is equal to the lowest number in the range. For each subsequent dose, the TN is increased by the listed modifier, up to the maximum in the range. For example, a strength of "15-20, +1" means that the poison starts at TN 15 and increases by 1 with each additional dose to a maximum of 20. If a time is listed, then any dose administered after that much time has passed counts as a separate instance of the poison rather than increasing the TN of the previous instance. Otherwise, as long as the poison is active, all doses apply to the same check.
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 Condition action can be used to treat a poison.
Below are a few sample poisons. Others are included in monster descriptions.
Giant Spider Venom
Typically delivered directly through spider fangs, this venom causes a rapid loss of energy and vigor, leading to complete paralysis of the victim.
Onset: 1d4 rounds
Strength: 15-20, +1
Effect: The poison has three stages with cumulative effects, beginning in stage one. At the end of each round while not at stage three, you must make a Fortitude check, with the poison advancing to the next stage on a failure. In stage one, you lose 1d6 stamina at the end of each round until your stamina is 0. In stage two, your movement rate is halved, the speed class of all actions is doubled, and all stamina costs are doubled. In stage three, you are paralyzed.
Recovery: You may use the Treat Condition action to revert the poison to the previous stage, or end its effect if it is in stage one or still in the onset time. If you treat the poison during the onset time, you gain a +3 bonus to the check. Without treatment, the poison lasts 2d6 × 10 minutes before regressing backwards through the stages for 10 minutes each until the condition ends.
A single berry provides one dose of this poison. The strong smell and extremely bitter taste make it obvious unless thoroughly diluted. If diluted in a normal-sized drinking glass, it can be noticed with a TN 15 Perception check, and once detected can be identified with a TN 15 Lor [Nature/Plants] check.
Onset: 1d6 days
Strength: 10-20, +1 (1 day)
Effect: You must make a Fortitude check. On a failure, your Vitality is reduced by 1 for 4d6 days. If your vitality is reduced below -5, you die.
Recovery: Spending the full day in bed rest reduces the duration of the effect by 1 day. If someone else tends to you all day while you are resting and succeeds on a TN 13 Lor [Healing/Toxins] check, the duration is reduced by another day. A single check applies to all active instances of the poison.
|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.