Making Characters and Play Rules

Sam W

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Here is where I document the base rules for the fantasy adventure games I want to run.

If you like these, just save the webpage. It is standalone (but does require an internet connection to render).


Come up with characters’ personal details, either through a preconceived character concept, or rolling on the Cairn tables. Alternatively, use any other generation of personal details (e.g. other games). You may assign specific traits that describe your character and would be relevant to adventuring.

Come up with the items and equipment the characters have. They may have armor, weapons, exploration gear, or things particular to their backgrounds. A usual character can carry around 6 non-worn items in a rucksack or similar. You may find lists of gear in many different other games and supplements: see Cairn, Skorne, Maze Rats, etc.

Start your character with 4 hits. Add or reduce this based on physique and/or armor. This probably shouldn’t exceed 8.


In general, you should discuss the factors contributing towards and hindering success of risky actions. You may consider the particulars of the situation at hand, the background and experience of the characters.

If the success of the action is unclear, agree to roll. Before rolling, determine what success looks like and what failure would entail, if not already clear. Then roll 2d6. A high roll gives an astounding success, and a low roll results in dire failure. Between these two extremes the referee decides the result.

If a trait would benefit or hinder an action that is being rolled for, use 3d6 and take either the highest or lowest two results.


Damage is dealt in hits. See Skorne for guidance regarding how many hits are dealt and can be taken.

When a player is reduced to 0 hits, the referee will dictate their incapacitation, grave injury, or death. What ultimately happens is dependent on the situation and opponents’ intent.


Magic comes may appear in several forms: innate powers, scrolls and spellbooks, magical items, or rituals. These have different abilities and restrictions.

The common feature of using magic is a variant of GLOG Magic Dice. The procedure is as follows:

Magical effects are generally limited in use: scrolls are depleted, and magical items use up charges. Regaining the magical abilities requires something extraordinary: a sorceror’s expertise, a ritualistic deed, or a divine miracle.

Final Thoughts

I would recommend many supplemental materials. Lists of spells, lists of gear, random encounter tables, etc. The referee should use all tools at their disposal to ease the game.

Plenty of thoughts taken from Arneson Gaming.