Core System

Dice pools are formed from a pair of attributes (Strength, Dex, Con, etc.) and skills (Melee, Magic, Diplomacy, etc.). Roll a number of d6s. 5’s and 6’s count as successes, 6’s are rerolled. Any and all penalties are applied as dice subtracted from the roll (defense works the same way). If at least 1/2 of the pool comes up as 1s, it is a critical failure.

Combat starts with an initiative roll. Players roll 2d6 and add their Dex and Wis scores. Characters act in initiative order, highest to lowest. In combat, characters can take one standard action and one minor action each turn, as well as any number of free actions. During combat, the area is divided into a number of abstract zones. An encounter might take place at a inn for example, and have several zones: Outside the front of the inn, the lower lobby and serving area, the kitchen, and upstairs. Moving from zone to zone is a standard action that doesn’t require a check unless the zones involved are somehow obstructed or treacherous (heading up a shattered staircase might require an athletics check).

To make an attack, use a standard action and gather a pool equal to the appropriate ability and skill (usually Str+Melee or Dex+Ranged), and the rating of your weapon. So a genasi with strength 3, melee 4, wielding a scimitar (a 3L weapon), who has a specialty with scimitars has (3+4+3+1) 11 dice in her pool. Before she rolls, she subtracts a number of dice equal to the defense and armor of her target. Successes on this roll are applied as damage to her target.

A character has a physical defense equal to their lowest physical attribute (Str, Dex, Con), and a mental defense equal to their lowest mental attribute (Int, Wis, Cha).

A character has a number of health equal to their Con+Cha+10. There are two types of damage, subdual and lethal. When a character takes damage, they cross off one box for each damage taken. Subdual wounds are marked with a / lethal wounds are marked with an X. As injuries of different severity are suffered, lesser wounds shift right. A character who has no boxes free from subdual damage takes -2 penalty on all rolls, and must roll Con+Ath to change zones in addition to any other rolls required. A character who has no boxes free on lethal wounds falls unconscious until healed. A character may spend one Will per turn to remain conscious,but still takes the -2 penalty to rolls. A character who takes (Con+Cha) damage while their wound track is full dies.

Attacks that inflict conditions have a persistence equal to the successes rolled. At the end of each character’s turn, they can roll [appropriate stat]+Resolve. Each success reduces the persistence of one condition by one. Conditions reduced to 0 this way dissipate.

Characters start with 3 templates, race, class, and faction. Race and faction give free dots and base abilities when taken, and provide optional upgrades that cost xp. Class is similar, but comes in levels (with optional upgrades). Class levels separately. Players get 2-4 xp/session to spend on general upgrades, or upgrades from any template (Class, Race, Faction, Advanced Class) they have. Characters also level up in their class and unlock new options at the end of each story arc (~4 or 5 sessions?)

Characters have two special resources, Edge and Will.

Edge is an encounter resource. It evaporates at the end of a scene. Each class gains edge in their own way. Additionally, any character can get edge by describing their actions in combat in an especially entertaining or vivid way, or by trying something particularly novel tactically. Some abilities allow you to go into Edge debt. While you have edge debt, you may not spend Edge, nor go further into edge debt. Edge debt fades at the end of the scene if not paid off. Characters should generally get approx 1 edge every round in combat.

Will is a longer term resource. It does not evaporate, it sticks around until it is spent. Each faction generates Will in their own way. Any character can gain Will by playing their character particularly well. Will can always be spent in order to raise a characters defense by three against a single attack, to remain conscious for one round when that would be ordinarily impossible, or to add three dice to a single roll. Factions often allow other uses of Will.

Characters should get between 3-4 xp per session, with a small bonus for closing out a story arc, or defeating a particularly impressive enemy. In addition, every 4-5 sessions, when dramatically appropriate, often after a small victory, the DM should allow each character to gain one level in their class. After 5th level, characters may ‘Dual Class’ and start taking levels in a new class, starting at one. They may also take an ‘Advanced Classes’ they qualify for, instead of continuing on in their current class.

XP Chart
Ability: New Dots X 5
Skill: New Dots X 3
Combat Skill: New Dots X 4
Specialty: 3xp
Combat Specialty: 4xp

General, Racial, Faction, and Class options have their costs lists there.

Core System

Planescape: The Next Generation JamsMastodon