Burn Up Universal Dice-Less Role-Play Game System Adventure is calling your name. By Lewis Flanagan Table of Contents: Introduction……………………………………………1 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 Introduction: 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 scores: 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 explosion. 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 deprived. 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 weapons. Athletics: strength + agility + toughness This skill shows a character's ability to perform physical activities such as running, swimming, jumping and climbing. Carry Weight: STRENGTH + STRENGTH + TOUGHNESS 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 competition. 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 on. 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 effort. 80 - 130 Requires significant training. 130 and higher Requires a great deal of training. Items 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: 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: 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: 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. Compass 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. Tent Gives a +30 to outdoors checks for finding shelter. Sleeping Bag Gives a +15 to outdoors checks for staying warm. Binoculars 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 Points) 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) 100%. 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. Points) Whenever this character isn’t wearing Sniper (25 character points) armor, she gains a +5 bonus to avoid. The character gains the following ability: 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. AWARENESS. 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) 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. Points) 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 story. 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. Combat: 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 actions. 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 utility. 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. Damage: 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 shadows. 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.