Burn Up

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					                                Burn Up
                       Universal Dice-Less Role-Play Game System
                             Adventure is calling your name.
                                      By Lewis Flanagan

Table of Contents:
       How to Make a Character…………………………….. 3
              Species………………………………………... 3
              Generating Primary Scores…………………… 6
              Calculate Secondary Scores………………….. 7
              Skills……………………………….…………. 9
              Altering the Skill List…………….…………... 11
       Using Skills and Making Checks……….……………. 13
       Items………………………………………………….. 16
       Improving Your Character…………………………… 19
       Combat……………………………………………….. 24
       Everything Else………………………………………. 28
       Making Monsters…………………………………….. 28

        Pen and paper, or table top, role-play games bear aspects of several things.
They're called games, but they really aren't games in the usual sense. They are a little like
an improv troupe putting on a play. They also have some things in common with writing
a novel. If you like any of those activities, then you could be a pen and paper role play
game fan in the making.
        How is a pen and paper role play game like a game? It has rules which define
what a given player can and can not do. It has goals: slay the dragon or save the village
from the evil menace. On the other hand, there is a story that is being told and the rules
can and should be thrown out if it would benefit that story. Furthermore, there is no way
to win a pen and paper role-play game. Rather, you may have victories from time to time
but the story keeps going, as long as you want it to.
        How is a pen and paper role play game like an improv troupe putting on a play?
In a pen and paper role play game each player has a character. This character is a literary
creation and may have a personality different from the player controlling it. The player
portrays what the character does, usually by describing the actions aloud. Since the
character’s environment is, in part, the other players’ characters, the player must make up
her character’s responses to the other players’ actions on the spot.
        There is also a participant called the game master. The game master’s job is to
provide the world the characters live in as well as to referee the player’s actions.
Generally, the game master doesn't have a special character like the other players. She is
also the one with the authority to throw away the rules, if she thinks it would improve the
story or would make the game more fun for everyone.
        How is a pen and paper role play game like writing a novel? It is like writing a
novel especially for the game master. The other players create and act out their characters
but the game master has to make up settings, scenery, minor characters, villains and the
plot. Unlike an author writing a novel, the player’s characters are the main characters of
the story and the game master can’t control them. It isn’t uncommon for a game master to
scrap a whole plot line because the players did something unexpected. Additionally, the
game master has to worry about keeping the game fair and interesting for the people in
the story, otherwise the main characters are going to get bored and leave.

How do you play in a pen and paper role play game?
        Pen and paper role play games are played something like this: The game master
describes what your character’s surroundings are. This could include buildings, items of
interest, other people, etc. Given this information, you tell the game master what your
character is going to do. Picking up items, talking to people, investigating something for
more information, attacking a monster or trying to pocket something that doesn’t belong
to you are all valid options. The game master may ask for some specifics regarding your
character to help decide whether you succeed. For instance, how strong your character is
or how good she is at picking up on details. Then you repeat the process with the game
master telling you about your character’s up-dated environment.

What is Burn Up?
        Burn Up is a set of rules designed to facilitate a role-play game. It contains a way
to record a character on paper as well as important gear your character may find during
her adventures, spells the character can cast, etc. It also provides a way of fairly deciding
whether or not your character succeeds at various things that she might try. Bear in mind,
rules are only necessary when there is some reasonable doubt whether a character will
succeed at a task.

Why is this section blue?
         Burn Up was written for game masters who use a new world for each role-play
game they run, or at least change world fairly often. Many rule systems for pen and paper
role-play games are designed for a specific world and have specific themes. So long as
you stick to the sort of games the system designers had in mind, they work well enough.
         There are also universal systems. Universal systems attempt to provide support
for all, or at least a large subset of, role-play games. The problem universal system
designers face is how to offer the same utility as a setting specific system. A specific
system can have all of the right rules in it and no unnecessary ones. Additionally, the way
it handles those rules can add to the mood of the game. For example, a game about
vampires will feel very different if the rules say feeding on a human does permanent
damage rather than saying that the effects are temporary.
         Burn up is a universal system that is designed to be easy to modify. That’s why
this section is in blue. Many systems have a game master’s guide and a player’s hand
book to separate the information the players need from the information intended for the
game master. The blue text is Burn Up’s game master’s guide. However, we do not
publish a player’s hand book. Instead you get to copy paste the sections from this
document that you want to use into your own player’s hand book. By doing so, you create
a version of Burn Up that is right for your game. We recommend printing a copy of the
player’s hand book for each of your players. If they can take it home and read it, they can
learn the game, which will make life easier for you.
        In addition, we have plans to publish modules of rules that will give you even
more options beyond this document, assuming we get around to it.

How to Make a Character:
Step 1: Choose a Species for your character:
        What species you choose for your character determines the default level for the
character’s primary scores as well as the range they can be adjusted to during character
creation. A character’s primary scores are strength, agility, toughness, wit, awareness,
charm, and luck and will determine the type of things a character is good at. The higher a
primary score, the better a character is in that area. A character’s species can also give
other advantages and disadvantages.

Humans: The denizens of contemporary earth; people like you and me.

       Strength:       range: 10 – 30         average: 20
       Agility:        range: 10 – 30         average: 20
       Toughness:      range: 10 – 30         average: 20
       Wit             range: 10 – 30         average: 20
       Awareness:      range: 10 – 30         average: 20
       Charm:          range: 10 – 30         average: 20
       Luck:           range: 10 – 30         average: 20

The following is a collection of species that make good characters for players. It is up to
the game master to decide which species are available in her game. More species will be
made available in supplementary rule modules, if we get around to making them.

Fantasy Player Species:

Elves: In most modern fantasy tales elves are humanoids that inhabit woodlands. They
are generally smaller then humans but with sharp reflexes and senses which make them
deadly archers. They can be aloof by human standards which may be related to the
extremely long life spans elves enjoy. In some stories, elves do not age at all.

       Strength:       range: 10 – 30         average: 17
       Agility:        range: 15 – 35         average: 24
       Toughness:      range: 10 – 25         average: 17
       Wit             range: 10 – 30         average: 20
       Awareness:      range: 20 – 35         average: 24
       Charm:          range: 10 – 30         average: 18
       Luck:           range: 10 – 30         average: 20

       +20 to athletics when climbing trees
Dwarves: In modern fantasy tales, dwarves are short and stout humanoids that spend
much of their time deep underground. Generally an underground settlement of dwarves is
there for the purposes of mining, though it could also be for defense. With metals in
supply, many dwarves become great smiths. Visitors to dwarven communities may find
them a bit insular. This accounts for many dwarves seeming unfriendly or even
xenophobic but by the same token, dwarves generally have one another’s backs. Dwarves
often live for several hundred years.

       Strength:       range: 15 – 30          average: 22
       Agility:        range: 10 – 25          average: 17
       Toughness:      range: 15 – 35          average: 25
       Wit             range: 10 – 32          average: 22
       Awareness:      range: 10 – 30          average: 17
       Charm:          range: 5 – 30           average: 17
       Luck:           range: 10 – 30          average: 20

       +10 to observation indoors and underground

Giants: Giants are on average eight feet tall but are otherwise human in appearance. Like
humans, Giants have built great empires and cities and have seen them fallen with time.
Because of their size, giants can be ungainly and often don’t notice small details. It is not
uncommon for a giant to live for two hundred years.

       Strength:       range: 20 – 35          average: 25
       Agility:        range: 10 – 25          average: 15
       Toughness:      range: 10 – 35          average: 25
       Wit             range: 10 – 30          average: 20
       Awareness:      range: 10 – 25          average: 15
       Charm:          range: 10 – 30          average: 20
       Luck:           range: 10 – 30          average: 20

       +30 to carry weight

Goblins: Goblins are often primitive compared to other playable species. They are often
considered little more then vermin. On average, a healthy goblin only lives about forty
years with the oldest making it to around sixty. However, most goblins live in crowded
warrens and don’t make it to twenty-five. The species makes up for this by having a
proportionally high birth rate. Goblins also have lower average scores then other races.
On the other hand, goblins have a much larger range that many of their scores can fall
into. As a result, the outliners of the goblin population can easily compete with members
of other species. For example, a single goblin with a knack for engineering and the charm
to make work sound like fun could turn a warren into a deadly siege brigade in no time.

       Strength:       range: 5 – 25           average: 15
       Agility:        range: 10 – 35          average: 23
       Toughness:     range: 10 – 30          average: 20
       Wit            range: 8 – 35           average: 15
       Awareness:     range: 10 – 35          average: 20
       Charm:         range: 8 – 35           average: 15
       Luck:          range: 5 – 35           average: 22

Sci-Fi Player Species:

Grays: One of the most commonly used alien types in sci-fi. Grays are generally shorter
than humans, though, occasionally they are taller and extremely thin. They have no hair
and extremely large eyes. The grays gained the ability to travel space centuries before
humans and have visited earth many times, stories of them spread by those they choose to
examine. In your game, the grays could either be a menace to humanity or a benevolent
and curious people.

       Strength:      range: 5 – 25           average: 15
       Agility:       range: 10 – 25          average: 20
       Toughness:     range: 5 – 25           average: 15
       Wit            range: 20 – 35          average: 27
       Awareness:     range: 10 – 35          average: 23
       Charm:         range: 5 – 35           average: 20
       Luck:          range: 5 – 25           average: 15

       + 15 to Computer Science
       + 15 to Repair
       - 10 to Athletics

Cat People: Cat people are exactly what you would expect: part human, part cat. On
average they are a little smaller than humans. The most likely explanation for them is that
they were once humans that have been genetically engineered to have cat traits, though in
some science fiction, these creatures have evolved independently of life on earth. Cat
people characters have higher average primary scores then most playable species but the
ranges those scores can fall into are smaller.

       Strength:      range: 12 – 28          average: 22
       Agility:       range: 16 – 32          average: 24
       Toughness:     range: 10 – 30          average: 20
       Wit            range: 10 – 26          average: 16
       Awareness:     range: 22 – 32          average: 25
       Charm:         range: 12 – 26          average: 18
       Luck:          range: 10 – 30          average: 20

       Cat people have claws that count as an unarmed skill weapon with the following

        Claw               Accuracy: +0         Damage: +5            Sequence: +30
         Range: No

The argument for pointy ears and rubber masks:
        When humans do encounter aliens, they will likely be more bizarre then anything
sci-fi writers can come up with. We will probably have so little in common with them
that cultural exchanges will be outright impossible. However, while making bizarre aliens
may be more realistic, there is something to be said for the mostly human aliens of
popular Sci-fi. In order to write a humanly appreciable story, the characters need to be
human like. Likewise, in order for your friends to role-play alien characters, they need to
associate with those characters. In the end, populating your game with aliens that are
basically human except with pointy ears and an odd ability or two, will probably result in
more fun then creating the most bizarre creatures you can think of.

Making New Player Species:
        As far as rules are concerned the most important factor in making new player
species is making sure that they are fair. It could easily kill a game if one species is better
or worse then the others. Burn Up has room for a great deal of variation when it comes to
player species as you are manipulating 3 variables for each score. However, this also
means there are more ways to make species unbalanced.
        The first two variables are the ends of the score’s range. Think of them as the
ends of a bell curve. Having a large range is an advantage for a species. Obviously, if the
upper end of the scale is too high, then it will allow players to increase that score beyond
what is good for the game. Less obviously, if the lower end of the range is too low, it
allows players to take more points out of that score and use them to boost other scores.
As such, raising the lower end of a range can help bring a species back into balance by
forcing a player to spend more points on that score.
        The other variable is the average of a score. This is the top of the bell curve. If
you move an average toward one end of a range you move the majority of characters that
will be made with that species toward that end. For example, dwarves have an awareness
range of 10-30, the same as a human. There are dwarves with awareness to match the best
humans. However, the average for a dwarf is 17, thus most dwarves don’t have as high an
awareness score as most humans.

Step 2: Primary Scores
        Primary traits represent a character’s general capabilities. On the character sheet
for Burn Up there is room for each primary score and a space for the half-score of that
primary score. The half-score is, as you might guess, equal to half the corresponding
primary score rounded down. Half-scores are used to help calculate secondary scores
quickly. Throughout the rules, full primary scores are referred to in all caps while half-
scores are referred to by the same name in all lower case. The seven primary scores are

       STRENGTH                - the ability to generate physical power.

       AGILITY                 - the ability to move with speed and grace.
       TOUGHNESS              - the ability to withstand physical hardship.

       WIT                    - the powers of the conscious mind. It includes quick
                              thinking, problem solving and mental endurance.

       AWARENESS              - attention to detail and strength of senses.

       CHARM                  - ability to manipulate, persuade or just be liked. It also can
                              represent physical attractiveness.

       LUCK                   - the amount of favor the universe has for a character. It can
                              also represent how energetic a character is.

        On a piece of scrap paper write down the average of each major primary score for
the species you choose for your character. Also take note of the range given for each of
those scores for your character’s species. During the following process you must keep
each score with in its legal range. Once you have the averages written down you may
customize them by the following methods. You may use any combination of them to
customize your character. However, the numbers of times you can use each method are
limited: The methods are:

               A) You may add 1 to each of any three primary scores and subtract 1 from
               each of any three other primary scores. You may do this once.

               B) Add 1 to any primary score. You may do this five times.

               C) You may shift 1 point from any primary score to another. You may do
               this up to five times.

               D) You may subtract 2 from any two primary scores and add 2 to a
               different primary score. Since this entails a net loss of 2 points, you may
               do this any number of times.

        When you are done, record the resulting values on your character sheet in the first
column after the name of each primary score. Next record the half-score of each primary
score in the second column. The half-score is, as you might guess, equal to half the
appropriate primary score rounded down. Half-scores are used to help calculate
secondary scores quickly.

Step 3: Secondary Scores:
Energy: LUCK x 5
       Energy can represent how much force of will a character has as well as a
measurement of how far luck will carry her. A given character can only spend so much
energy a turn as described below. Energy can be spent in the following functions:
       A) A character can spend energy to momentarily increase a skill score in order to
       complete some task. For example, a character with an Athletics skill score of 40 is
       trying to jump a fence. The Game master informs the player that the difficulty of
       jumping the fence is 50. Hence the character can jump the fence by spending 10
       energy. Bear in mind that a character can only spend energy on a task if she is
       aware of what’s going on. For example, if one character sneaks up behind a
       second character during a fight and tries to put a knife in her back, the first
       character would have to beat the second character’s avoid skill in order to
       succeed. However, the second character couldn’t increase her avoid skill with
       energy because she is unaware of the first character.

       B) A character can spend 10 energy once per round to buy an extra action.

Energy per turn: LUCK
        This is how much energy a character can spend during a round. It resets at the end
of a character’s turn. Hence a character can spend all her energy for the round on her turn
and still be able to spend energy in response to other character’s actions in the following
round. Of course, this will reduce the amount of energy she has left for her next turn.

Recharge Rates:
          A character has two recharge rates. One is for long rest and one is for short rests.
The recharge rate for a long rest is 80% of your full energy, rounded down. The recharge
rate for a short rest is 40% of your full energy, rounded down. A long rest should be a
couple of hours possibly coupled with food and drink such as a stop at a tavern. A short
rest could be a fifteen minute sit down between fights or a relaxing activity such as
looking through the contents of a recently acquired treasure chest. Rests are not
accumulative. If a character takes a fifteen minute rest and then another fifteen minute
rest, it does not restore 80% of her energy. As a rule of thumb, a character must spend at
least as much energy as she gained in her last rest before being able to take another rest of
that sort.
          An interesting way that one could develop the mood of a game would be to edit
the amount of energy gained from short and long rests. For example, if the game setting
is post-apocalyptic and the player’s main goal is survival, reducing the values might add
to the feel that survival is not a given. Furthermore a game master might require the
players to consume food or water in order to regain energy.

Hit Points: TOUGHNESS + toughness
       Hit points are a classic part of almost every role-play game. They represent how
much physical trauma a character can take before falling over. However, hit points are
never directly used in Burn Up. Rather, they represent a character’s natural ability to
withstand physical trauma before putting on armor.

Effective Hit Points:
        If a character is wearing armor it effectively increases a character’s hit points.
Each piece of armor in Burn Up has a score called an armor factor. This is the percentage
that a character’s hit points are increased while wearing that armor. The new total hit
points is called effective hit points. Characters that do not wear armor also have effective
hit points; they are just equal to normal hit points.
        When a character takes damage, that amount is subtracted from her current
effective hit points. When a character’s effective hit points falls to zero or below, she
falls over, unconscious. The GM may allow a fortitude check which, if the character
succeeds, allows her to remain conscious but unable to stand or fight.
        By this system, armor reduces the damage from each blow a character takes with
out requiring any additional math during combat. The draw back is that when characters
take off or change their armor while injured, it can produce some complex math.
However, characters in role-play games can often go for years without changing or taking
off their armor so it’s generally worth it.

Effective Healing Rate: toughness% of Effective Hit Points
        A character’s healing rate shows how fast a character can heal wounds. Each day,
given sufficient rest, a character heals damage equal to her healing rate. The base healing
rate for a character is toughness% of full effective hit points, rounded down. For
example, an average human with a toughness half-score of 10 would heal 10% of her
effective hit points every day.

Speed: AGILITY / 4
         This score is the number of paces a character can move in an action. A pace is a
distance of about 5 feet. However, paces aren’t supposed to be a precise measurement,
after all, who brings a tape measure to a sword/gun/laser fight?

Step 4: Skills
        Skills are the most important aspects of a character in Burn Up. They determine
what a character can and can not accomplish during play. Once you have your primary
scores down on your character sheet, calculating your base skill scores is a matter of
adding together primary scores and half-scores as prescribed below.

       Avoid:          AGILITY + awareness
       This skill shows a character’s ability to physically remove one’s self from the way
       of harm. This could include dodging a sword or diving for cover from an
       Fortitude:      TOUGHNESS + strength
       This skill represents a character’s ability to shake off physical trauma. This could
       include not dieing from shock and blood loss after taking a bullet or failing to fall
       over after ingesting a poison.
       Will:           WIT + charm
       This skill shows a character’s ability to withstand mental and emotional stress.
       This could include resisting mind control or trying to stay awake while sleep
       Sequence:               AWARENESS + wit
       This shows a character’s ability to react quickly to events happening in one’s
       environment. Sequence can be used to determine which of two characters can
       react faster to an event, such as the start of combat. When events in the story are
being kept track of in rounds, characters with higher sequence can take more
actions per round. See the section on combat for more detail.
Melee: STRENGTH + agility
This skill shows a character's ability to use and maintain melee weapons such as
swords or sledgehammers.
Unarmed:         TOUGHNESS + strength
This skill shows a character's ability to fight without weapons. There are,
however, weapons, such as brass knuckles that make use of the same techniques
as fist fighting and therefore use this skill.
Shooting: AGILITY + awareness
This skill shows a character's ability in shooting, handling and maintaining
ranged weaponry from long bows to energy rifles.
Throwing: AGILITY + strength
This skill shows a character's ability with thrown weapons such as throwing
knives, grenades or rocks as well as the characters ability to handle and maintain
those weapons.
Mounted Weapons: AWARENESS + wit
This skill shows a character's ability to operate stationary weapons or weapons
mounted on vehicles such as ballistae, cannons, the gun on a tank or ship to ship
Athletics: strength + agility + toughness
This skill shows a character's ability to perform physical activities such as
running, swimming, jumping and climbing.
This skill shows how much weight, in pounds, a character can carry around
before she starts receiving penalties (presumably in a backpack, a sack flung over
a shoulder, or something similar). If a character picks up more then this, the
game master makes up any such penalties as seem appropriate. This skill can also
be used to make checks to see if a character can pick something up.
Computer Science: WIT + wit
This skill shows a character’s ability to use computers. This includes
programming, hacking and information technology services.
Disguise:                CHARM
This skill shows a character's ability to alter her appearance to seem like
something or someone he or she is not. It is generally compared with an
adversary’s observation skill to determine success or failure.
Medic: WIT + awareness
This skill shows a character's ability to treat wounds and other medical problems.
By it self this skill does not allow a character to heal wounds instantly though this
can be done by combining this skill with supernatural abilities or high-tech
equipment. On its own, this skill can be used to stabilize patients and facilitate
mundane recovery over time.
Observation:         AWARENESS + wit
this skill shows a character's ability to detect things in her environment. This skill
relates to all the senses. This skill can be used to see a secret door or the sweat
on a man’s brow when he is lying.
       Outdoors: TOUGHNESS + wit
       This skill shows a character's ability to get along in the outdoors. This includes
       gathering food, finding shelter, getting along with animals and tracking enemies.
       Pick Lock:       WIT + awareness
       This skill shows a character's ability to open locks without using a key.
       Pick Pocket:       agility + charm
       This skill shows a character's ability to remove objects from other character's
       persons with out their knowing. This skill is generally used in a check against the
       other character's observation skill. This skill can also be used to perform other
       small tasks with out being noticed.
       Pilot:           AGILITY + awareness
       This skill shows a character's ability to operate vehicles common to the world
       that she lives in.
       Repair:                          WIT + awareness
       This skill shows a character’s ability to repair broken machinery. At high levels
       this skill can also be used to build replacement parts, completely new systems or
       improve existing ones with parts to spare.
       Ride:       AGILITY + charm
       This skill shows a character's ability to use and care for living means of
       transportation like dragons or horses.
       Scholarship:             WIT + wit
       This skill shows a character’s knowledge of academia and arcane subjects and
       her ability to apply them.
       Sneak:       AGILITY
       This skill shows a character's ability to avoid detection. It is generally compared
       with an adversary’s observation skill to determine success or failure.
       Speech:                  CHARM + wit
       This skill shows a character's ability to use words including using them to
       manipulate, barging or lie.

Determining your Character’s Starting Skills:
       During character creation, after you calculate your character’s base skill level,
you may increase a few skills of your choice. For each of your primary scores, with the
exception of luck, you may select a skill that uses that score. You may permanently
increase that skill by the half-score value of that primary score. You may only increase a
given skill once during character creation.
       In many games there will be no skills based on luck, however, if there are and you
wish to increase one of them using the luck half-score, then you may do so. However,
you must choose another primary half-score not to be used.

Altering the Skill List:
       The list of skills presented above is by no means written in stone. Game masters
are encouraged to alter this list to suit the needs of their individual games. However,
Avoid, Will, Fortitude, and Sequence should always be included unless you really know
what you’re doing. Some suggestions for alternative skill lists include:
      In place of melee weapons, unarmed fighting, shooting, thrown weapons and
mounted weapons you could use the following:

       Gentlemanly Martial Arts: AGILITY + wit
       This skill shows a character's ability to fight using the weapons and methods
       accepted in polite society. Such weapons include rapiers and dueling pistols.
       When fighting with a rapier a maneuver with the blade that bypasses your
       opponent’s defenses is seen as skillful. Tricking your opponent into turning
       around and stabbing him in the back is simply not done.
       Military Weapons:               strength + toughness + agility
       This skill shows a character's ability to use and maintain weapons used by the
       military or the police. These could include rifles, pistols, spears, swords, axes etc.
       depending on the times.
       Street Fighting:                STRENGTH + charm
       This skill shows a character's ability to fight in the style of the streets. Weapons
       of choice include clubs, fists and knives. Tactics do involve striking your
       opponent’s back when they’re not looking or aiming for sensitive areas.

      If you are running a game where the players spend a lot of time concealing things,
you might consider breaking down the sneak skill into the following skills:

       Stealth:       AGILITY
       This skill shows a character's ability to hide herself from detection. It is generally
       compared with an adversary’s observation skill to determine success or failure. It
       could also be used, with a penalty, to hide a companion who is within arm’s
       reach of the character.
       Concealment:       agility + wits
       This skill shows a character's ability to hide small items on her person. For
       example this skill could be used to smuggle a gun past guards. It is generally
       compared with an adversary’s observation skill to determine success or failure.
       Hiding Places:      WITS + awareness
       This skill shows a character's ability to use her environment to hide something.
       For example this skill could be used to “loose” a room in ones house so that it
       can be used to hide refuges. Another use would be to find someplace to dump
       stolen goods when on the run from the police. This skill can also be used to find
       the hiding places of others.

       If, in your game, you would like to spend more time on social interactions,
consider removing the speech skill and adding the following:

       Negotiate:                     WIT + charm
       This skill shows a character's ability to use reason or, failing that, the other
       party’s biases, to guide someone’s thinking on an issue from the commonly
       known facts to the conclusion desired by the user of this skill.
       Analyze Expressions:           AWARENESS + wit
       This skill shows a character's ability to read beyond the words spoken in a
       conversation and guess at whether the other party is telling the truth or what
       emotions they are feeling at a given time. If this skill is included in a game, it
       takes over this function from the observation skill.
       Intimidate:                    AWARENESS + charm
       This skill shows a character's ability to get another party to agree with the
       character on some issue using threats, veiled or otherwise.
       Impress:                       CHARM + awareness
       This skill shows a character's ability to influence the way others perceive her.
       For example this skill could be used to pass a job interview by convincing the
       interviewer that the character has more smarts then she really does. Alternatively
       it could be used by someone who wants to keep a low profile by convincing
       everyone at a party that she is no one of interest.
       Convince:                      CHARM + wit
       This skill shows a character's ability to convince another party that the facts in a
       situation are a certain way without having to produce evidence. Often, this skill is
       used to lie convincingly. However it should be used whenever the other party is
       not inclined to believe the character.

       If you plan to have sailing vessels as the primary means of transportation in your
game and plan to have your players spend a good deal of time around them, you might
want to add the following:

       Sail:     STRENGTH + awareness
       This skill shows a character's ability to maneuver a ship that uses a sail for
       propulsion. It can also be used to perform routine maintenance on ships and to
       use smaller boats that are propelled by oars or paddles since these things are
       likely to be picked up by a sailor.
       Navigation:      WIT + awareness
       This skill shows a character's ability to plot a course using a map and compass or
       by the stars or by other instruments. In order for a ship to cross large distances,
       especially beyond the sight of land or in unfamiliar territory, this skill is a must.

Using Skills and Making Checks:
         Skills do most of the work in Burn Up. If you want to attack some one, you use a
skill to swing the sword at their head. If you want to not be hit by some one else’s attack,
you use a skill. If the game master wants to see if you spot a secret entrance to an
underground crypt, she asks what one of your skills is. If you want to jump across a ten
foot wide tank full of sharks with lasers on their heads, guess what… you use a skill.
         The difficulty of doing something is represented by a score called a difficulty
score. A difficulty score for a particular task is determined by the game master. In order
to successfully complete that task a character must have a corresponding skill score equal
to or higher than the difficulty score. When you compare your skill score to a difficulty
score to check if you succeed at a task, it is called making a check.
         Of course, Burn Up wouldn’t be that interesting if static skill scores determined
success and failure at everything. This is why Burn Up has energy. A character can spend
her energy to increase a skill score to beat a difficulty score. For example:
         Agent James Huntsman is indeed trying to jump across a ten foot wide tank full of
sharks with lasers on their heads. The game master decides that this task requires an
athletics check and has a difficulty score of 75. James has an athletics skill of 49 and can
spend 22 energy each round. James really doesn’t want to land in the tank with the
sharks so he puts all his energy into the check. 49 + 22 = 71, so no, James doesn’t make
it. He lands in the tank with the sharks.

        Often the margin by which a check succeeds or fails by is important. In the
previous example, James only missed making the check by a few points so the game
master decides that he is with in arms reach of the other side. As a result, the sharks only
get one round to maul James before he can climb out.
        Still there will often be tasks that a given character can not succeed at within the
rules as so far described. In these situations, characters need to get creative and do
something to get the game master to give him a bonus to the check. The game master
always has the option of assigning bonuses or penalties to a check. These represent
factors in the characters environment that either aid or hinder the character. Often the
game master will account for these factors when making up difficulty scores but it can be
useful to think of them separately.

        For example, a masked villain is trying to escape down a dark underground
passage. The villains avoid skill score is 50 and he is getting a +40 bonus from the near
total darkness. With Agent James’s shooting skill of 65 and 22 energy per turn, James
can fire down the hall all he wants and not hit anything. James tries lighting a match but
that’s not nearly bright enough. The game master says James can only make out some
debris in the corridor. James’s player asks the game master if any of it looks flammable.
The game master sees no reason to stifle this creative jump and responds that there is an
old pram beside him which might suffice. James throws the match in the pram, which
quickly bursts into flame. Now the villain’s bonus to avoid from the dark is only 10 and
James can take the shot.

        The example above raises another important way that checks can be used. In this
case the skill score of one character is used as the difficulty score of a check for another
character. This is useful in situations where one character tries to achieve something over
another character. One of the more common examples is when one character tries to hit
another with a weapon and the other character attempts to dodge. However, this method
of making checks can be used for many things, such as one character who is trying to get
a lie by another.
        Similarly, if two characters are competing in someway, for example, if they’re
each trying to convince a judge to rule in their favor, the game master can have them both
make a check without a difficulty. Whichever character makes the higher check wins the

        Here are some other ways checks can be used to resolve issues that often arise in
role-play games:
        Agent James Huntsman gets pushed off a roof. The game master feels that James
is probably going to take some damage, maybe even severe damage. On the other hand,
the game master figures that someone who is trained in falling or just really lucky might
be able to land without hurting themselves. The game master asks James’s player for an
athletics check and sets the difficulty at 90. Any amount that James misses the check by
will be turned into damage.

        Checks where the amount a character misses by translates to damage are useful
for representing traps, poisons, car accidents, etc.

        James Huntsman has dived into the water to avoid incoming gun fire. The GM
asks for James’s fortitude score and James’s player replies that it is 36. The game
master figures that the first round spent underwater only requires a check of 0 to stay
conscious. The game master decides that the difficulty will increase by 5 each round. By
that logic, James can stay underwater for 7 rounds without problems. Each of these
rounds, James can concentrate his energy on swimming to safety. At round 8, James must
use some of that energy on passing the fortitude check, and his ability to swim starts to
fade (he can’t spend all his energy swimming). The problem increases on round 9 and so

        Checks that have to be made each round and grow steadily more difficult are
good for representing any situation were a character’s endurance is a factor (though not
necessarily physical endurance).

        The girl sitting at the bar isn’t about to go home with anyone. It would take a true
master to pick her up in one pass. Most guys couldn’t do it with an entire night of trying.
The game master sets the difficulty at 200. James, with a speech skill of 84, figures he
might be up for the challenge. Obviously, James isn’t going to get it in one round, but the
game master doesn’t see any reason why he couldn’t chat her up over an extended period
of time. He lets James’s player role-play for a while and then asks how much energy he’s
putting into it. Then the process repeats. James will have to spend a total of 116 energy
before the girl will agree to come back to his place. However, since James’s player is
role-playing well and the seduction sounds realistic, the game master gives him bonuses
each round base on how well he’s doing. After spending 55 energy, James gets the girl.
However, since all his energy was directed on her, he didn’t notice the man watching him
from the corner.

        A good way of dealing with a task that should take an extended period of time is
to give it a high difficulty score and then having a character spend energy on it over
multiple rounds.

        Now James and his friend Herman Elks are stuck in a locked room, in a burning
building. They decide to work together to break down the door. The game master decides
that breaking down the door requires an athletics check with a difficulty score of 100.
Herman Elks has the highest athletics score of the two of them at 70. Since James is
working with him, however, both of them can spend energy toward the check for breaking
down the door.

        Having two or more characters spending energy toward the same check is a good
way to represent team work. During a game, however, it is often better to break down a
task in to several easier subtasks that can be tackled by different characters or even the
same character at different times. This helps add detail to your game and creates
opportunity for role-playing. Say a group of characters is trying to repair an old car. This
is a single repair check but it could be broken down into a repair check to fix the tires,
another to add new oil and another to fix the catalytic converter. This is much more
interesting than finding the highest repair score of the group and then adding everyone’s
energy to it.
        It is up to the game master to decide whether or not to tell a player what the
difficulty score of a task is. There are cases where either telling the player or not can be
appropriate. If a character is lifting a heavy crate, the game master might decide that the
character can feel how heavy the crate is and thus know the exact difficulty score.
However, if a character falls off a cliff and makes a desperate athletics check to try to
catch herself, it may be appropriate not to tell the player the difficulty score.

       Examples of Difficulty Scores:
        Difficulty Score:             Description:
        30 or below                   Something the average
                                      person can do without
                                      trying. (usually doesn’t
                                      require a check)
        30 - 60                       Something a trained
                                      individual could do without
                                      trying or an average person
                                      could do with some effort
        60 – 80                       Something that a trained
                                      person can do with some
        80 - 130                      Requires significant
        130 and higher                Requires a great deal of

          Check with your game master before selecting items. She probably has a specific
list of items that will be available in the game that she is running. The game master will
also have a method for obtaining these items during character creation. This could be
giving each player a certain amount of cash to spend on items with any remainder ending
up as pocket money. Other options might be to just let you pick a reasonable inventory,
have a set amount of gear issued to you or have you start with out any gear at all.
        The following is a list of generalized weapons, shields, and armor that can be used
in any game. Match the items you want to give your character up with the general items
listed here. Also bear in mind that this list is designed to for the greatest number of
settings. The game master may wish to alter it to suit her game. For example, in a modern
game, shooting weapons might have a +5 bonus to accuracy and +5 to damage to
represent how dominant these weapons are and to encourage players to use them. More
items will be published in supplementary rules modules, if we get around to it.

         Weapons modify character’s attacks. In Burn Up, weapons have three scores. The
first is accuracy which is a bonus or penalty added to checks the character makes with
that weapon in order to hit a target. Then there is the damage score. If the character using
the weapon succeeds at hitting an opponent, the amount of damage dealt is equal to the
weapons damage score plus any margin the attack check succeeded by. Finally, there is
the weapon’s sequence score which modifies the character’s sequence score while she is
using the weapon.
         For each weapon your character will use, it is a good idea to record these values.
This will save you the trouble of doing math multiple times. Instead of just recording the
accuracy score of a weapon, combine it and your character’s related martial skill and
record the result. Do the same for sequence.
         In addition, weapons can have range. It is up to the game master to decide if any
given opponent is within range of a given weapon. If the game master thinks that an
opponent could be hit by a weapon but the shot would be difficult, the game master
should give the attacking character a penalty to the check.

Unarmed Skill Weapons

Fist                      Accuracy: +0         Damage: -10             Sequence: +30
Range: No
Special: +15 damage when used to knock out an opponent.

Kick                      Accuracy: -5         Damage: +0              Sequence: +30
Range: No

Melee Skill Weapons:

Small                     Accuracy: +0         Damage: +5              Sequence: +10
Range: No

Medium                    Accuracy: +0         Damage: +12             Sequence: +0
Range: No

Heavy                     Accuracy: -5         Damage: +20             Sequence: -20
Range: No

Ranged Skill Weapons:
Small                     Accuracy: -5         Damage: +5              Sequence: +20
Range: medium

Medium                    Accuracy: -5         Damage: +10             Sequence: +10
Range: medium long

Heavy                     Accuracy: -5         Damage: +15             Sequence: -10
Range: medium long

Throwing Skill Weapons:

Small                     Accuracy: -7         Damage: +4              Sequence: +30
Range: thrown

Heavy                     Accuracy: -10        Damage: +8              Sequence: +20
Range: thrown

        Shields have two scores. The first, avoid, modifies a character’s avoid skill while
using the shield. The second is sequence which modifies a character’s sequence while
using the shield.

Buckler         Avoid: +5          Sequence: +0

Small Shield    Avoid: +10         Sequence:-10

Large Shield Avoid: +15            Sequence:-20

        Armor in Burn Up has two scores. The first is the armor factor, which effectively
increases a character’s hit points when worn and is described in detail above. The second
score is sequence which modifies the character’s sequence.

Light                          Armor Factor: 30%               Sequence: 0

Medium                         Armor Factor: 60%               Sequence: -15

Heavy                          Armor Factor: 120%              Sequence: -40

Example Tools:

Fishing Hook and Line
Gives a + 10 to outdoors checks for gathering food.

Gives a +5 bonus to outdoors checks for navigating.
Lock Picks
One can not make a Lock Picking check with out at least an improvised set of these.
Sets of lock picks that give bonuses to checks can be found.

Tool Set
Gives a +10 to repair checks

First Aid Kit
Gives a +10 to medic checks.

Gives a +30 to outdoors checks for finding shelter.

Sleeping Bag
Gives a +15 to outdoors checks for staying warm.

Gives a +20 to observation checks over long distances.

Magical Items and Prototypes:
        Magical items are a standard thing to find in many role-play games. These are like
normal weapons, shields, armor or gear but they have something special about them.
Generally they are better then the normal item. In games where magic doesn’t exist,
prototypes or alien artifacts might fill a similar role. A prototype might be a special item
that was made by some research and design group to demonstrate a concept before
putting the item into mass production. Often these items are watered down to make them
more affordable before being sent to the market, or are never put into mass production at
all. As result, a prototype might be more powerful than any thing on the common market
and something very cool for the players to have.
        There are no set rules for making a magical item or prototype in Burn Up.
However, the process isn’t difficult. Simply take the normal item that you want to make a
special version of and raise its scores a bit. You don’t have to raise them much; players
will probably be overjoyed to get a mere +5 bonus to checks with that item. If you want
to create an especially powerful item, in order to avoid unbalancing your game, you
might want to consider giving the item a down side.

Improving Your Character:
       In Burn Up, after you have made your character and have started playing, you will
have two opportunities to improve your character. The first opportunity is when you level
up. Leveling up is an award that the game master gives to characters when they have
moved the plot line along sufficiently to warrant it and have accomplished enough in the
game that they have grown from the experience. Leveling up also means that the game
master can throw more challenges at the characters.
        The other opportunity you will have for improving your character will be through
character points. Character points are given out for good role-playing, creative thinking
and, in general, doing things that add to the fun around the table. In general this number
is between one and three per entertaining action. The game master should use character
points to reward behavior that she likes.

Leveling Up a Character:
       When a character levels up, she receives the following benefits:

       -Hit points and current hit points are increased by the characters' toughness half-
       score. Recalculate effective hit points and effective healing rate.

       -Energy and current energy are increased by the characters' LUCK score.
       Recalculate recharge rates.

       -Energy per Turn is increased by half the luck half-score, rounded down.

       -The player can choose any three of her character's primary half-scores. For each
       of those, you may add that amount to a skill that uses that primary trait in its base
       calculation. You may only choose a given skill once per level.

Spending Character Points:
       If you have been given character points by the Game master, you can spend them
to purchase knacks. A knack gives your character a new ability or lets your character do
something better. Some knacks you can buy, their costs, and what they do is listed below.
You can purchase a knack multiple times unless the knacks description says otherwise.

Energetic (15 Character Points)                   even if the action itself was not used to
Character gains 10 extra energy points.           move.
Energy recharge rates are adjusted
accordingly.                                      Weapon Specialization (20 Character
Hyper Active (15 Character Points)                Character gains a +3 bonus to damage
Character’s energy per turn is increased          and a +5 bonus to sequence with a given
by 3.                                             type of weapon. Examples of weapon
                                                  types include long swords, short swords,
Extra Hit Points (15 Character Points)            rapiers and pistols. It is up to the game
Character gains 5 extra hit points.               master to determine if a given weapon
Effective hit points and healing rates are        qualifies for a type.
adjusted accordingly.
                                                  Dodger (12 Character Points)
Bonus Move (15 Character Points)                  Character gains a +3 bonus to avoid
Every time a character with this knack            skill.
takes an action, she may move an
additional pace. She may move this pace           Action Boy/Girl (20 Character Points)
Character gains a +10 bonus to                benefit to taking this knack multiple
sequence.                                     times.

Primary Score Increase (35 Character          Melee Parry (20 character points)
Points)                                       Character can expend an action and,
Increase one of the character’s primary       until the end of her next turn, she may
scores of your choice by 2. Likewise          use her melee skill in place of her avoid
that half-score will increase by 1. This      score for the purpose of deflecting
does not alter the current value of the       incoming blows. This only applies to
character’s secondary scores, including       attacks that are made with hand to hand
skills, though the new value of the           weapons. (In other words, no parrying
primary score and half-score will be          bullets)
used for all future level ups.
                                              Unarmed Parry (20 character points)
Fast Healing (15 Character Points)            Character can expend an action and,
Character’s healing rate is increased by      until the end of her next turn, she may
5% of her max hit points.                     use her unarmed skill in place of her
                                              avoid score for the purpose of deflecting
Fast Recovery (20 Character Points)           incoming blows. This only applies to
Character’s recharge rate for both short      attacks that are made with hand to hand
and long rests is increased by 5%. This       weapons. (In other words, no parrying
can not increase a recharge rate to over      bullets)
                                              Back Stab (30 character points)
Pack Rat (10 Character Points)                Whenever this character catches an
Character gains +10 to carry weight           opponent in a situation where they can’t
                                              defend themselves, for example, if they
Quick Loading (15 Character Points)           don’t know that the attacking character
It takes one less action for this character   is there, character gains a bonus to
to reload a given type of weapon (cross       damage equal to her agility half-score.
bows, hand guns, etc).                        The size of the damage bonus is
                                              increased by her agility half-score each
Unarmored Combatant (15 Character             time this knack is taken.
Whenever this character isn’t wearing         Sniper (25 character points)
armor, she gains a +5 bonus to avoid.         The character gains the following
Two Weapon Fighting (35 Character             Energy Cost: 5
Points)                                       Time Required: Two Actions
Character can fight with two weapons at       Effect: First the character must choose a
the same time. This grants her a free         target and spend the energy. Then the
action which she can only use to attack       character spends the two actions aiming.
with the second weapon. During rounds         On the character’s next action, she
where the character uses this technique,      receives a bonus to damage against the
she suffers a -5 penalty to all attack        target equal to AWARENESS. If the
checks with either weapon. There is no        target moves more than a pace after the
character started aiming, the bonus is       Resilient (20 Character Points)
lost. If this knack is taken multiple        Character gains a +2 bonus to each of
times, the bonus increases each time by      avoid, will, and fortitude.
                                             Good Looks (12 Character Points)
Whirlwind Attack (25 character               Character is good looking. This is handy
points)                                      because people respond better to good
The character gains the following            looking people. Character gains a +5
ability:                                     bonus to checks where she can take
Energy Cost: 15                              advantage of this.
Time Required: Zero Actions
Effect: On the character’s next action, if   Alert (25 Character Points)
that action is used to make a hand to        This character receives a +10 bonus to
hand (melee or unarmed) attack, that         observation checks to detect a hidden
attack is made against all adjacent          danger, such as an ambush. If the
opponents. The character only needs to       character fails to detect the hidden
make one check. Each opponent dodges         danger, she is still faster to respond then
individually.                                anyone would expect. She gains +20 to
                                             sequence when confronted by something
                                             she didn’t see coming. If this bonus to
Ki Strike (25 character points)
                                             sequence gives the character an extra
When character attacks a target using
                                             action, it applies only for the first round
her unarmed skill, she can opt to
                                             of the situation.
subtract any damage she does from the
target’s current energy score rather than
                                             Wealth (20 Character Points)
from current hit points. If she chooses to
                                             This character has more money then she
do so, she receives a bonus to damage
                                             needs to lead a normal life. The first
equal to TOUGHNESS. If this knack is
                                             benefit of this knack is that all the
taken multiple times, the bonus
                                             character’s basic needs are assumed to
increases each time by TOUGHNESS.
                                             be covered somehow. Maybe she
                                             inherited money, owns a lot of stock or
Knock Out Blow (15 Character Points)
                                             has rich parents. In addition, the
Whenever character attempts to knock
                                             character has enough money to splurge
out an opponent, she receives a +10
                                             once in a while. This could be taking
bonus to damage for the purposes of
                                             someone out to a really nice restaurant
doing so.
                                             or renting a really fast car. Activating
                                             this ability costs the character 64 energy.
Fists of Iron (20 Character Points)
                                             Each additional time this knack is taken,
Character gains a +5 bonus to damage
                                             this energy cost is reduced by a quarter.
with unarmed skill weapons
                                             Authority (25, 80 or 200 Character
Endurance (12 Character points)
Character gains a +4 bonus to fortitude.
                                             This knack grants some type of
                                             authority to a character, either in a
Stubborn (12 Character points)
Character gains a +4 bonus to will.          particular type of situation or over some
                                             minority of the population. There are
three different levels of this knack          that would cause her to loose her
representing different levels of              memories.
authority. The 25 point version could
represent the authority of a street cop or    Speak Language (10 Character Points)
a tribal elder. The 80 point version could    Your character can speak one additional
represent the chief of police for a town      language.
or a minor noble with a few dozen men
under his command. The 200 point              Frightening Vestige (15 Character
version represents the type of authority a    Points)
general or a prince might have, with the      Character looks scary. In any situation
ability to access resources or order          where she is trying to intimidate
people around through out an entire           someone or make herself seem tough,
nation. If a character has a lower version    she gains a +10 bonus to appropriate
of authority, the character points spent      checks. This knack also imparts a -10
on it counts toward gaining a higher          penalty to trying to not seem
level. Hence, going from the 25 to the        threatening.
80 point version costs 55 points. Before
taking this knack, check with your game       Innocent Vestige (15 Character Points)
master to see if the type of authority you    Character looks harmless. Character
want for your character is appropriate to     receives a +10 bonus to all checks made
her game.                                     to convince someone that she is not a
                                              threat or that she has good intentions
Know It All (15 Character Points)             toward them. This knack also imparts a -
This character should really be on a quiz     10 penalty to trying to seem threatening.
show. She gains a Know It All skill
equal to LUCK + wit. The character can        Empathic (12 Character Points)
make Know It All checks against               Character is good at reading other
difficulties set by the game master to see    people. She receives a +5 bonus to all
if she knows any odd fact that comes up.      checks made to determine what
                                              someone is feeling or what they are
Photographic Memory (15 Character             thinking.
Character has outstanding memory              Medicine Man/Woman (25 Character
recall. When recalling something she          Points)
has read, she can generally recall it word    This character is adept at making
for word. This extends to other things        wounds not seem as bad as they did a
such as details in paintings or the           minute ago. The character gains the
location of an item in a room. She gains      following ability:
a Photographic Memory skill equal to          Energy Cost: 10
AWARENESS + wit. The character can            Time Required: One Action
make Photographic Memory checks               Effect: Target is healed a number of hit
against difficulties set by the game          points equal to X times the targets
master to see if she can recall a fact that   healing rate, were X is equal to the
she has been exposed to. This doesn’t         medicine man/women’s medic skill
protect the character from any affects        divided by 40, rounded down. This can
                                              only be done once per patient per day. If
this knack is taken multiple times, then           patient per day. A character can use this
it can be used that many times per                 knack on her self.

Knacks during Character Creation:
       If a character’s background story justifies it, the game master can grant a
character a knack or two during character creation. The game master should not be
tempted to give a character knacks just because a background story says a character can
do something. Rather, knacks should be granted based on the quality of the background
       The above list of knacks isn’t set in stone. The game master is encouraged to add
or remove knacks from the list to suit the particular game she is running. Additional
knacks will be provided by supplementary rule modules, if we get around to it.

Sequence, Rounds and Turns:
         In combat, how fast and in what order things happen can be of cataclysmic
importance. In order to make the chaos of battle manageable for the game master and the
players, combat is broken down into rounds and turns. A round is the amount of time that
it takes the average person to do one meaningful thing, maybe two if she is really
hurrying. During a round, each character gets a turn in which to take some number of
         At the start of combat, the Game master will ask for a sequence check from all the
characters involved. The character that makes the highest check goes first, followed by
the character that made the second highest check and so forth.
         During each round, each character gets some number of actions as determined by
sequence. Characters with a sequence score greater then 0 and less then 100 get one
action per round. However, if a character has a sequence score of 100 or more, she gets
two actions. If a character has a sequence score of 200 or higher she gets three actions
and so forth. On the other hand, characters with sequence score is 0 or less must spend an
action getting ready before they can do anything else, if a character has a sequence below
-100 she must spend two actions getting ready and so forth. Energy can not be spent on
sequence to gain additional actions.
         Note: if a character is gaining an action buy virtue of a bonus to sequence from a
weapon or other item, then that extra action must be taken using that item. Similarly, if a
character looses actions from using some item, he can take actions as if she weren’t using
that item but must spend the required number of actions getting ready before she can use
the item in question.
         It is possible for a character to take an action out of turn if something happens that
the game master feels that the character should have a chance to respond to. This is
something a game master can offer a player; a player can not just choose to take an action
during someone else’s turn. The player, however, is free to choose not to take the action
out of turn. If the game master feels that a character should have a chance to act out of
turn, but isn’t sure if the character is fast enough, a sequence check might be called for.
Any actions taken this way count against the total number of actions the character can
take that round. Hence a character that took an action out of turn in the last round will be
able to take one less action on her next turn.
       During each character’s turn, that character can take any actions she has
remaining for that round. A character regains any spent actions at the end of her turn.

What Can Be Done With an Action?
         With each action a character takes, she can do one interesting thing. The most
typical is to attack something. Another is to move a number of paces equal to the
characters speed. Other actions could include throwing levers, picking up items,
switching weapons or doing nothing. Ultimately, anything the game master feels should
take one action, takes one action. It is also possible to combine actions to perform more
complicated tasks. For example, one might take multiple actions to try to disarm a bomb
in combat.
         In general, characters can talk to each other while in combat without needing to
spend actions to do so. On the other hand, the game master might feel that only uttering a
few words a round, unless actions are spent on talking, is more realistic. If the Game
master uses this option, taking an action to try to coordinate team mates could hold much
         Making an observation check does not take an action. If a character turns a corner
in a dark alley, she doesn’t need to spend an action to have any chance of seeing the man
hiding behind a dumpster with a knife.

Attacking and Dodging in Combat:
        Combat is, for the most part, a series of attacks and dodges by characters against
each other. Each attack is a check made with an appropriate skill. The skills intended for
this purpose are unarmed, melee, shooting, throwing and mounted weapons. The check is
modified by the accuracy score of the weapon the character chooses to wield. The
difficulty of the attack check is generally an avoid check made by the defender. If the
defender is aware of the attack, she may spend energy on this check. If the attack check
beats the avoid check, the attack hits. Make note of any margin by which the attack check
succeeded by.
        In combat it is generally best to declare how much energy is spent on the attack
first and then let the defender decide how much energy to spend. However, a player
might wish to make a disguise check (or possibly another skill) against the opponent’s
observation score to hide the values of his attacks. This takes an action but if a player
does so, the defender must declare his avoid check before hearing the attack score.

        If a character succeeds at hitting an opponent, the amount of damage dealt is
equal to the damage score of the weapon being used plus any margin the attack check
succeeded by. This amount is subtracted from the target’s effective hit points. Throw in a
gory description to preference.
        If a character is reduced to 0 hit points or below, the game master sets a difficulty
for that character to avoid bleeding to death. In order to avoid dying, the character must
make a successful fortitude check or another character must make a successful medic
check with in the next several minutes. Energy can be spent on this check even when the
character making the check is unconscious. Team work between the injured character and
the medic is possible. If the check is successful, the character becomes stable and begins
recovering hit points equal to her healing rate each day.
        This rule could be applied to characters that are above 0 hit points but have
suffered particularly grievous wounds. Failure on a fortitude check could cause the player
to loose hit points from bleeding equal to the margin the check failed by. Whether or not
a wound is particularly grievous is up to the game master.
        In either of these cases, the difficulty of the check to avoid bleeding to death
varies based on the type of wound(s) the character has taken. If a character has taken
many small wounds, the check to stabilize is probably relatively easy. On the other hand,
if a character has taken a single, gaping wound, the check should be relatively hard. If a
character was reduced to below zero by fire, the wounds may be cauterized and the
difficulty of the check could be very low.

Bonuses to Damage:
         In addition to being able to give out bonuses and penalties to attack checks,
another tool in the game master’s tool box is to give bonuses and penalties to damage.
This option should be used when a character does something that could increase the
potential harm to an opponent but not increase the likelihood of the character successfully
hitting the opponent. For example, if one character spends an action charging in a straight
line toward an opponent and then attacks on her next action, the game master might rule
that the character gains a +10 bonus to damage.

Knocking an Opponent Out:
        Character’s can choose to try to knock an opponent out rather then kill them. To
do this, the character makes an attack as usual. Damage is calculated the same way but
instead of subtracting it from the target’s effective hit points, it becomes the difficulty
score for a fortitude check the target must make. If the target fails, they fall unconscious
for an amount of time convenient to the plot. Certain weapons might give bonuses to
damage when used this way, such as fists.

An example of Combat:
        Agent James Huntsman is about to enter a gun fight with the mysterious man in
black who has been following him. They are about 25 paces apart in an alley way with
warehouses on either side. The game master calls for a sequence check from both
characters. James spends 10 energy on his in the hopes of giving himself the edge. The
man in black spends no energy. The totals are 70 for James, who is using a heavy hand
gun, a medium range weapon, and 118 for the man in black who is using a smaller hand
gun, a small range weapon. Before James has his gun all the way out of the holster the
man in black is already firing two shots his way.
        The man in black spends 15 energy on both shots and has an attack score of 62.
Hence both shots have a total attack check of 77. James spends his remaining 12 energy
for the turn on dodging the first shot but that only gives him an avoid check of 58. The
man in black succeeds with the first shot with a margin of 19 and on the second with a
margin of 31. The damage from the light hand gun is +5 so James takes 19 + 5 = 24 and
31 + 5 = 36 for 60 damage total. Fortunately, James was wearing light armor giving him
70 effective hit points total, so he’s still standing with 10 left.
        James puts 12 energy into his return shot which, with an attack score of 65 gives
him a total attack check of 77. The man in black, spends 10 energy dodging, which gives
him an avoid check of 77. James’s margin of success is 0 and the damage value of his
heavy hand gun is 13 including 3 points from James’s weapon specialization knack. The
man in black takes 13 damage which brings him down to 35 effective hit points. James
knows that he can’t take another round of this so he spends his remaining 10 energy for
the round to buy a second action and runs into a side alley way.
        The man in black gives chase, moving with both of his two free actions and buying
a third one to do the same. He covers 18 paces of ground. James, on his turn, buys a
second action and uses both to run down the alley way. The alley way meets another
alley way in a “T.” James chooses to go left and finishes his movement just around the
corner. James’s player asks the game master if there is anything down this back alley.
The game master replies that there are only some old trash cans. On the man in black’s
turn, he takes three actions, turns the corner and starts down the alley that James just
left. James moves behind the trash cans and buys another action to hide with. He spends
his remaining 12 energy for the round on a sneak check giving him a check of 48.
        During the next round, the man in black makes it to the last corner, peers around,
and spends 5 energy on an observation check. That gives him a 47, so he doesn’t see
James. He then moves to the other branch of the “T” that James could have gone and
makes a similar observation check that way. Now, the man in black has his back to James
and is unaware of him. This means that the man in black can’t spend energy to dodge
James’s next attack. James pours all 22 energy for his current turn into the attack and
gets a total of 87. The man in blacks base avoid score is 67 so the attack hits with a
margin of 20. 20 + James’s damage score of 13 equals 33 leaving the man in black at 2
hit points.
        The man in black turns, buys a third action for 10 energy, and fires off three shots
putting 10 energy into the first two and 3 into the last one. This gives him attack checks of
72, 72 and 65. The game master rules that since James is still behind the trash cans, he
gets a +15 bonus to avoid giving James a total of 61 avoid. He spends 12 energy to
dodge the first shot completely, spends his last six points of energy (he is now completely
out of energy, not just for the round) to dodge the second attack and just takes the third.
The second shot has a margin of 5 and the third shot has a margin of 4. The man in
black’s damage bonus is 5 so we have 10 and 9 damage. This puts James down to -9.
James goes down. The man in black decides to vacate the area with out taking time to
finish James off, limping off and leaving a trail of blood behind him.
        The game master decides that only someone of significant fortitude could stabilize
from James’s wounds without medical aid. The difficulty score for stabilizing is set at 60.
James is not someone of significant fortitude and has no energy left to make the check.
The game master rules that James will bleed to death in about 15 minutes. Fortunately,
the other agents in the area heard the gun shots and arrive before that. James is saved.
As for the man in black, there is that trail of blood…

Combat and Character Points:
        Burn Up does not condone giving out character points for killing or otherwise
defeating opponents. On the other hand, defeating opponents, or even losing to them in
entertaining ways, is worth a few character points. Hence it is possible to get a bunch of
character points for beating up a goblin creatively and get nothing for defeating a dragon.

Everything else:
        There are many other situations that your group will want to use the rules to
resolve. We refuse to provide individual rules for specific situations. This is to stop
groups from wasting time looking them up. The game master is free to deal with them in
any manor she chooses. However, generally the best way to deal with a situation not
explicitly in these rules is to turn it into some kind of check.

Making Monsters:
         Monsters can be obstacles for the players to get past, plot objects or just
something that’s fun to kill. Making a monster is similar to making a character but with
much more freedom. If you feel that a score should be higher or lower, you can just
change it. You can round off all the scores to make things easier for yourself. If you feel a
monster should have a knack or some other ability that isn’t covered in the rules, you can
just give it to the monster.
         Here is a walk through for creating a monster called a shadow hound. The shadow
hound is a dog like creature that can blend into shadows with supernatural expertise. At
low levels, a single shadow hound should be a good challenge for a group of players.
Once the players reach higher levels, packs of shadow hounds might become standard
minions of evil.
         The first step in creating the shadow hound is figuring out its primary scores. To
do this, we must consider the attributes we want for the shadow hound. The shadow
hound excels at stealth, can leap from the shadows to its victim’s throat and can make it
back to the shadow without taking much damage. This suggests a creature with very high
agility, possibly higher then what’s allowed for humans. Let’s give the shadow hound a
32 in agility. By the same token, the shadow hound should not be soaking up large
amounts of damage, plus we want to balance out that 32. Let’s give the shadow hound a
16 in toughness. The shadow hound is strong but it relies on speed more then strength. A
question to ask yourself is, if the average human succeeded in grapping hold of one,
could it pull away? Let’s give the shadow hound 18 strength. The shadow hound is good
at finding its prey in the night so we’ll give it 25 awareness. A shadow hound is smart for
an animal but below human intelligence so 8 in wit. As for charm, shadow hounds do
interact with their own kind and we don’t want them to have too low a will score, so 15.
The shadow hounds are not particularly lucky or unlucky so we’ll give it a 20 in luck.
         The next step is to determine what skills a shadow hound is likely to use. There is
no need to calculate every skill for the shadow hound. A great deal of them don’t make
sense for a dog and some of the others we’ll never use anyway. Avoid, will, fortitude and
sequence are always important. We can use the melee skill for the shadow hound’s bite.
Other skills the shadow hound will probably use are athletics, observation, outdoors and
sneak. First we calculate these skills normally for a first level character. This gives us

       Avoid: 44
       Will: 15 + 7 (charm/2) = 22
        Fortitude: 25
        Sequence: 41
        Melee: 34 + 9 (strength/2) = 43
        Athletics: 33 + 8 (toughness/2) = 41
        Observation: 29 + 12 (awareness/2) = 41
        Outdoors: 20 + 4 (wit/2) = 24
        Sneak: 16 + 16 (agility/2) = 32

       Since we want this monster to be a challenge for a group of players, let’s give it
another level.

        Avoid: 44 + 12 (awareness/2) = 56
        Will: 22
        Fortitude: 25
        Sequence: 41
        Melee: 43 + 9 (strength/2) = 52
        Athletics: 41
        Observation: 41
        Outdoors: 24
        Sneak: 32 + 16 (agility/2) = 48

        Now, the goal here is to come up with something that is interesting for the players
to fight, so we can adjust the scores to facilitate that. Besides, the skills are set up for how
human like creatures do things and might not accurately represent an animal. For
example, the outdoors skill is much lower then it should be for an animal. Let’s pump
that up to 40. We want the shadow hound to have a powerful attack so let’s round up a bit
with melee and make it 55. Will and fortitude are also both a little lower then we would
like so we can make them 25 and 30 respectively. Then, to make things easier for
ourselves, let’s round to the nearest 5 for each skill. This gives us:

        Avoid: 55
        Will: 25
        Fortitude: 30
        Sequence: 40
        Melee: 55
        Athletics: 40
        Observation: 40
        Outdoors: 40
        Sneak: 50

        The shadow hound’s weapon is a bite. We can handle this by thinking of the bite
as a weapon such as a player would wield. In other words, we give the bite accuracy,
damage and sequence scores. With accuracy, we all ready have a skill score were happy
with and only have one attack so we can just make that 0. Since a shadow hound only has
one attack open to it and it’s neither particularly fast nor slow, sequence can also be 0.
Getting hit with a shadow hounds bite, all other things being the same, is probably about
as bad as being hit by a dagger. Hence we’ll give the bite a damage score of +5.
         Moving on to the shadow hounds secondary scores, most of them are fine. The
one exception is speed which is set up for two legged creatures and we want the shadow
hound to be fast. Let’s give the shadow hound an extra +2 paces per round to speed. Also,
we don’t really need a healing rate or recharge rates for a monster which will probably
die at the end of combat.
         Now, let us consider any special abilities we would like the shadow hound to
have. First of all, the shadow hound as a supernatural ability to blend into shadow. To
represent this within the rules, let’s say it gains a +25 bonus to sneak and doesn’t need to
spend an action to hide when surrounded by shadows. Secondly, the shadow hound
excels at striking from hiding and dropping an opponent quickly. Let’s give it the back
stab knack. One more trick: let’s give it the ability to create an illusionary double of
itself. This illusion moves around like the shadow hound but can’t touch anything. The
shadow hound can create this double anywhere it can see. However, the double only lasts
for three rounds. Additionally, since we only want the shadow hound to use this ability a
couple times in an encounter, the ability cost 20 energy to activate. To keep things simple
for ourselves, the illusory double can’t spend energy.

Shadow Hound:
Strength: 18 / 9                                Avoid: 55
Agility: 32 / 16                                Will: 25
Toughness: 16 / 8                               Fortitude: 30
Wit: 8 / 4                                      Sequence: 40
Awareness: 25 / 12                              Melee: 55
Charm: 15 / 7                                   Athletics: 40
Luck: 20 / 10                                   Observation: 40
                                                Outdoors: 40
                                                Sneak: 50
Effective Hit Points: 32
Energy: 120
Max Energy Per Turn: 25
Speed: 10 paces
      Bite: 55 accuracy, + 5 damage, 40 sequence
      Back Stab: Whenever the shadow hound catches an opponent in a situation where it can’t
       defend itself, for example, if it doesn’t know that the shadow hound is there, the shadow
       hound gains a + 16 bonus to damage.
      Blend with Shadow: the shadow hound gains a +25 bonus to sneak when surrounded by
      Illusionary Double: The shadow hound can create an illusionary double of itself. This
       illusion moves around like the shadow hound but is incorporeal. The shadow hound can
       create this double anywhere it can see. However, the double only lasts for three rounds
       and cost 20 energy to create. The illusory double can’t spend energy.

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