View Full Version : Original System Cities & Traitors (A low fantasy 3.P-ish system) WIP

2014-06-24, 06:29 PM
Cities & Traitors

Before anything else i would like to mention that i've had a lot of help with this from friends. The only reason that i'm posting it as "my own work" is because this is "my version" of the system, and i haven't checked with any of the others that have worked on it before posting it here. I have made a lot of changes and made up a lot of new stuff, but far from all of the ideas are mine. This hardly matters to any of you people reading this, but it would be down right narcissistic to not mention it.

Ok, so this is a new gaming system that me and some friends have been designing. It should be noted that the only other system that I really know the rules of is pathfinder, and that naturally a lot of the rules are similar to that and it is what i will be comparing it to. If I seem to think that something in the system is self evident it is most likely because I refer to something that works in the same way as it does in pathfinder, but I shall try to be specific about what aspects follow the pathfinder rules.

The idea is basically to make a system more fitting for a low fantasy adventure (again, in comparison with pathfinder), but more specifically I want the system to be suited for playing characters that aren't necessarily adventurers. I love pathfinder but it is designed mostly to play through paizos adventure paths and modules and other adventures that are similar to those. This is an increadibly fun way of playing but sometimes I would like to play an adventure where one of the characters is a barbarian warrior, another is a wine merchant and another is the log lady from twin peeks, and they all feel like their specific talents and ways of doing things are equally valued by the game system.

More concretely the system will have an overall higher degree of realism (although the degree of abstraction is still fairly high). Here are some hopes/facts about the system:

- Characters will not have classes, leveling up will work in a much more free flowing way with a certain amount of realism in how you learn things. Training, studying and having the experiences necessary to learn something will be a part of the game experience.

-The system is constructed so that a player will feel drawn towards creating a character that has a broad range of abilities, rather than specifies in one thing (this is partly because it gives a good, more realistic feel and also to make it easier to balance the broader choices of characters social roles when they do not have to be adventurers).

-Magic will be a strange and incomprehensible thing that cannot replace either fighting or skill use, but instead gives someone completely new options and possibilites, also, using magic will often require a lot of roleplaying and skill use.

-The system will hopefully be such that it would feel weird to “powerplay” within it, although I hope that the system is still fun enough to work with that it will feel fun to make a build and learn the rules.

Okay, this is a little long for an intro text now, but just a few last points. I am going to be creating a fantasy world together with the system, and when more specific things such as feats and such are created they will sometimes refer to this world (I don't know much about the world yet, thereby the current lack of references).

While I want the system to be as easy to learn as possible I have basically given up on the idea that it will be easy or uncomplicated, I just don't work that way.

It's possible that a lot of things will be unclear at the moment, i put this document together very fast. I will be checking through it as time passes and make things clearer, but still, please comment if you notice something that you don't understand (you will).

Ok, think that's it, hope you like it and provide feedback.

Skills: A skill check is made by adding together whatever number of ranks you have in a skill, plus an ability score modifier and any other bonuses, and add this to a d20 die-roll. In other words, it works as it does in pathfinder. In many ways, the skill system in Cities & Traitors is different though.

An important difference in how skill checks are made is that a skill does not have a single ability score that it is based upon. Your characters skill bonus consists of his/her ranks in that skill and sometimes some other bonus, and while an ability modifier is always added to a skill check, which ability score modifier it is differs from situation to situation.

For example, the heal skill uses wisdom as an ability score modifier when used for long term care and attempting to determine a patients symptoms or where it has been damaged, but it uses intelligence as an ability score modifier when used for knowledge about the human body or when producing a medicine and it uses dexterity as an ability score modifier when used to give fast care to a patient on a battlefield.

Which skill uses which modifier in which situation will be written in the rules of the skill, but can also be changed on the fly by the game master in case a situation comes up that isn't handled by the skill rules. It should be noted that several skills are in effect single ability score dependent. The dodge skill, for example, basically uses dexterity only. However, there could still always be a situation where the ability score is supplemented, such as using charisma instead of dexterity to dodge to represent a more luck based avoidance.

Perhaps the biggest change to the skill system from the pathfinder system is that in Cities & Traitors skills are used for everything. As mentioned above, dodge is a skill that exists, that represents physically avoiding something. This skill replaces the reflex save from pathfinder and can also be used in combat to avoid an attack. The use of a weapon is also a skill, as is the use of a shield and to some extent armor. These “combat skills” are slightly different from other skills in that a character adds his/her base attack bonus to them (se level advancement and combat).

The idea with this is partially to make the game more about skill use and less about combat (although there of course has to be a big, specific combat system for it to work at all) and also to make even a character with weak base attack bonus capable of surviving in combat, or even being quite good at it in a limited way. It Is supposed to give you more choice in who your character is, and how he/she fights.

The last change to the skill system from pathfinder (except for individual rules for individual skills and which skills exist) is how a character gains skills when he/she levels up. Each character has a number of skill ranks per level gained according to his/her progression choice (see character creation).

A character can put a number of ranks in a skill equal to his/her level plus half his/her skill ranks per level.

In addition to his/her skill ranks per level, a character gains a number of bonus skill ranks equal to all of his/her ability score modifiers. However, these bonus skill ranks can only be used to put ranks in certain skills. Within the rules of each individual skill, there is written which ability score modifiers that can be used as bonus ranks for this skill. This is usually all the ability score modifiers that can be used to modify this skill, but not always. For example, while the heal skill can be modified by dexterity as mentioned above, being very dextruos does not help you to get better at healing, therefore you can not use the bonus skill ranks that you gain from dexterity to put ranks in the heal skill.

An example: Linda has a dexterity score of 16, and a strength score of 12, giving her 3 bonus skill ranks per level from dexterity and 1 bonus skill rank per level from strength. She wants to put three ranks in the climb skill. While the climb skill is usually strength based, there are situations where dexterity is used to modify it, and the climb skill can take bonus skill ranks from both strength and dexterity. She uses her bonus skill rank from strength and two of the bonus skill ranks from dexterity to put three skill ranks in climb.

If a character has a negative ability score modifier, this means that he/she gains a penalty to his/her skills per level equal to this negative modifier.

At level 1, a character gains four times his/her usual number of skill ranks, including the bonus skill ranks from ability score modifiers. When an ability score modifier increases, a character does not gain additional bonus skill ranks for previous levels, only from the level when the increase happens and beyond.

Feats: In Cities & Traitors, everything that isn't skills is feats. Each feat represents a character learning something that is more specific than a skill, and that can indeed modify the use of a skill. Also, many skills require a feat for a character to even be able to put a first rank in them.

An example: the skill knowledge (fey), cannot be used by just anybody. The character must have learnt about the fey from someone who posesses this rare knowledge, and taken the Fey Learning feat, to be able to start putting ranks in the skill.

All magic use is also dependent on feats, and the magic use skill is one of the skills that you cannot put ranks in without the right feat. Basically, feats represent everything that in pathfinder would be either a feat or a class feature.

To learn a feat, a character must do two things: meet the prerequisites for the feat and pay the feats cost in feat points.

Each level, a character gains a number of feat points equal to his/her ability score modifiers. Each modifier gives a different sort of feat point (strength points, dexterity points and so on). Each feat has a cost that has to be paid in points, for example, a feat could cost 2 dexterity points and 3 constitution points. If a character has a score of 12 in both dexterity and constitution, then he/she would gain one of each points every level, and that character would have to wait three levels to pay the price of that feat, after which he/she would have 1 dexterity point over.

However, a character also gains a number of feat points determined by his/her progression choice (see character creation). These points can be spent as if they where any type of points, meaning that if a character has a weak feat point progression, gaining 2 bonus feat points every level, he/she would actually have to wait only two levels to take the above mentioned feat, and end up with a number of points to spare.

While feat points are gained when gaining a level, a character can gain a feat at any time, as long as he/she has met the prerequisites for it and has the needed points. This is because many feats have in game prerequisites that have to be met, to represent training or other experiences.

One feat could have as a prerequisite that the character has to train at a task at least one hour per day for at least two weeks for example. That character could save the points gained when leveling up and take the feat when the two weeks have passed.

A character can also choose to spend the feat points before the prerequisites are met and gain the feat when meeting them. This is often useful when attempting to learn a feat that has a longer period of training involved, since the game master can allow the character to gain certain benefits of the feat, or half the benefits, when the training is only partially complete. A good example of this would be to understand parts of an overheard conversation made in a language that you are currently trying to learn.

On the point of training it should be mentioned that the time periods given in the prerequisites of a feat are often rather vague, usually saying something along the lines of "you must train every day for two weeks", without giving any indication of how long you should do this every day. This is because these periods should vary according to the situation that the character is in. If the character has an unusually good tutur then the time might very well be cut by half, or a third. The same can be said if the character takes a break from everything else and focuses everything on training, or if the character simply cares more about learning this particular thing than anything else in the world. Usually it is expected that a character trains at something while simultaneously going about his/her regular business, so the time indicated will be no more than an hour or two every day. This can indeed also be changed by the gm if he/she feels that it is needed. Basically those sorts of prerequisites are suggestions, although a character should never magically learn these things without any time spent.

Unspent feat points never go away, and usually a character will have some points over after each level, meaning that the number of feats gained every level is very uneaven. A character should still be able to gain at least one or two feats every level however.

If a character has a negative ability score modifier in one ability score he/she does not really gain a “negative point”, however, when using bonus points to buy a feat that costs points of that ability score, the price increases by an amount equal to the negative modifier if it was positive. So, if a feat has a cost of 1 charisma point, and a character has a charisma score of 8, giving him/her a -1 charisma ability score modifier, that character has to spend 2 bonus feat points to buy that feat.

As a general rule, if a feat has a very hard in game prerequisite its cost is a bit lower, for example, learning a language will be a feat that takes a long time in game, but it will not cost too many actual points.

Many feats also have technical prerequisites, such as having a certain base attack bonus or a certain amount of ranks in a skill.

Here are some example feats. While i like most of them they are put here more to give an idea of how feats will look like than to be any sort of finished products.



Cost: 4 con points, 1 cha point

Prerequisites: Bab +2, You must have lost all of your physical stamina and at least some of your physical health in battle at least two times.

Benefit: When your physical stamina is at zero, you do not loose a standard action every turn, instead, you can act normally. You still need to make a constitution check every round to stay conscious.

Forger's Memory

Cost: 4 int points

Prerequisites: Forgery 6 ranks, Improved Memory, You must have forged at least 2 documents and made some sort of successful use of your forgeries in the world.

Benefit: You have an uncanny memory for handwriting and signatures. You can successfully memorize a signature as a standard action with a dc 18 intelligence based concentration check and successfully memorize someones handwriting in one minute with the same dc. You can then forge these as if you had the signature or handwriting right next to you.

Hardened Hands

Cost: 3 con points, 1 wis point

Prerequisites: Willpower 5 rank, You must have been damaged by holding something (like a sharp knife edge, a burning torch, a piece of coal, a slipping rope) at least three times, or spent at least a month of your life working in a forge or a kitchen.

Benefit: You can hold on to something even if it hurts your hands. Anything that deals 2d6 or less damage to your hands when you hold it you can hold onto without fail for two rounds. After that you have to start making willpower checks as normal.

Improved Memory

Cost: 2 int points, 1 cha point

Prerequisites: Concentration 5 ranks, You must have made at least 4 successful concentration checks to memorize something with a dc of at least 18 and gained some sort of benefit from doing so.

Benefit: When using the concentration skill to memorize something, you only spend half the time that you normally would and in this time you can memorize twice as much.

Learn Language

Cost: 2 int points, 1 wis point

Prerequisites: You must have spent time every day learning the language for a number of months equal to 6 minus your intelligence modifier (minimum 1). During this time, you must have had regular opportunties to speak the language with a native speaker. This does not teach you to write in the language, but if you are litterate, you can spend two extra months during this training and add one int point to the feat cost to also learn to read and write in the language, if you have a reasonable opportunity to train at this.

Benefit: You learn a new language, and can communicate in it fairly well. You still have an accent however, and nobody would guess that you are a native speaker unless you make an intelligence based disguise check with a dc of 25 (opposed by a perception check) every minute that you are speaking.

Lucky Bastard

Cost: 6 cha points

Prerequisites: charisma 17

Benefit: You are unusually lucky, and can use your luck to supplement your skills. Once per day, you can make any one skill check charisma based.

Over the Table

Cost: 2 con points

Prerequisites: Constitution 15, You must have gotten drunk every day for five days straight at least three times and succeeded on a majority of the willpower checks and concentration checks made to not embaress yourself during these times.

Benefit: It takes a lot of alcohol to bring you over the limit, and you easily defeat a normal person at a drinking contest. You count your constitution modifier as being twice as high for the purpose of calculating when you become drunk.

Pickpocket Know-how

Cost: 2 dex points, 2 wis points, 1 int point

Prerequisites: Steal 7 ranks, bluff 4 ranks, You must have failed at picking a pocket at least two times

Benefit: When you attempt to pick someones pocket and you fail the check to do so, you can immediately make a bluff check opposed to the opponent's sense motive to pretend that you where merely bumping in to him/her or similar. If this check is successful, you fail at retreiving any of the victim's items, but you are also not discovered.


Cost: 2 str points, 2 con points

Prerequisites: Strength 16, Constitution 14

Benefit: You can lift something that weighs more than your usual maximum carrying capacity for a heavy load. You can carry 10 pounds more than your maximum capacity for every point of constitution modifier that you have. Every round that you carry something of this weight you loose 1 point of physical stamina.

Wine taster

Cost: 2 wis points, 2 charisma

Prerequisites: perception 4 ranks, You must have trained yourself or been trained by someone else every day for at least a month in recognizing different types of wine. You must have spent at least 800 gold pieces on wine during this time period.

Benefit: You can distinguish as many as 100 different types of wine depending on taste, color and smell. This is considered very impressive in some social circles. You also gain a +10 bonus to perception checks to notice something different about wine, such as if it has gone bad or been poisoned.

Character Creation: Characters have the six classic ability scores (strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom and charisma). These scores mean roughly the same things as they mean in pathfinder or dungeons and dragons and uses the same number system as those systems, meaning that you have an ability score and an ability score modifier. The standard system to give a character ability scores is to use a point buy system, in the pathfinder way. My guess is that the suggested standard of this will be a 20 point buy, but i'm not certain yet.

When creating a character, the player gives the character skills and feats and ability score increases according to what level it starts at. At level 1, a character gains four times his/her normal skill ranks. I also plan to add a background system to give the character extra feats at level 1, but I haven't quite figured out how this will work.

In addition to this, the player also makes one choice about how the character will level up, called a progession choice.

The progression choice is the closest to a class that the system has and it has to do with three categories: Skills per level, Feat points per level and Base attack bonus. Each of these categories have three stages: weak, moderate and strong. A character is either strong in one of the categories and weak in the other two, or moderate in two of the categories and weak in the third.

With skill ranks per level the stages are weak=6. Moderate=8. Strong=10.

With feat points per level the stages are weak =2. Moderate=4. Strong=6.

With base attack bonus the stages are weak=+5 at level 20. Moderate=+7at level 20. Strong=+10 at level 20 (see level progression for more information).

Obviously, things such as the characters background story, appearance, height, weight and name is also choosen at creation. At the moment, I think I am not going to include any playable races other than humans in my workd, so race will probably not be a choice.

After these choices are made, the player calculates things like the characters initiative, physical health (see hp) and so on.

Combat: I have thought a lot about the combat system, but it is not really tested yet, so anything and everything can change about it. I've tried to design it partially to address some realism issues that have annoyed me about pathfinder and partially to make for battles that are shorter and that are more made for fighting against a few enemies. This is all to make battles feel more real and simultaneously as a slightly smaller part of the game.

The biggest change from pathfinder is how the action economy works, how defending against an attack works and how the damage system and critical hit system works.

The only actions that exist are standard actions, swift actions, immediate actions and free actions.

A standard action is primarily used to make an attack, move up to your full speed, and to block or avoid an attack.

A swift action is very powerful and can be used for various purpouses, for example to combine with a standard action to charge, or combined with a standard action to make two attacks instead of one (but with a -2 penalty).

An immediate action is used primarily to defend against attacks that you don't use a standard action to defend against.

Free actions are used for various purposes, such as turning around or taking a five foot step. All of these actions have many other uses as well.

An attack is made as a standard action with a skill check. The skill used is usually a weapon skill, or the brawling skill to make an unarmed strike. All skill checks made to attack are dexterity based. If the opponent wants to try to avoid the attack then he/she has many options (if he/she doesn't try to avoid it, then he/she is bleeding). An opponent can attempt to dodge the attack or block it with a weapon or a shield or absorb the attack with his/her armor. To do this, the opponent makes an opposed skill check against the attack roll (using the dodge skill or a weapon skill or the shield skill or the armor skill).

To avoid an attack, one of two things must be done. Either, you must spend a standard action on your turn to prepare to avoid an attack, in which case you can attempt to block, dodge or absorb the attack when it is made without spending any additional actions or physical stamina. Blocking generally gives you a higher bonus (see items) than dodging or absorbing an attack by armor.

The other way to avoid an attack is to spend an immediate action to initiate a defense, during which you can attempt to dodge or absorb any number of attacks directed at you. However, each attempt to avoid an attack in this way costs one physical stamina, and of course it eats up the swift action that you would have gained on your next turn.

When attacking, you choose which part of your opponent you attack. You can attack either a leg, an arm, the torso or the head. If the opponent is not wearing armor on the part that you are attacking, he/she cannot choose to absorb your attack using the armor skill. If you hit the part, two things happen: one, you roll damage using your weapons damage dice and adding your base attack bonus and your strength modifier (or one and a half times that, in case of a two handed weapon). This damage is given to your opponents physical stamina (see hp and saves) and you then roll on a table to determine the effect of the attack.

This is a roll that you make on one of the effects tables. There are 12 effects tables, three for each part of your opponent (arm, leg, torso, head) depending on what damage type your weapon deals (blunt, piercing, slashing). When making an effects roll you roll a d100 and add the damage that you dealt to your opponents physical stamina. An example of how an effects table could look like is the following:

Table: slashing; arm
1-30: no additional effect
31-45: the opponent gains 1 point of bleed damge
46-60: the opponent gains a -1 penalty on all skill checks made using the arm.
61-70: the attack also deals damage to physical health
71-80: the opponent receives a 1 bleed damage for each 5 damage he/she received to physical stamina
81-90: the opponent receives a -1 penalty for every five damage he/she received to physical stamina to all skill checks using the arm
91-100: the attack deals double damage to physical stamina
101-110: the attack deals double damage to physical health
111-115: the opponent drops whatever he/she is holding in the arm.
116-: the opponents arm is severed and can never be used again

The table would work by the opponent receiving the effect that your roll reached as well as all effects below on the table. This system is meant to replace critical hits as well as shorten battles and give a higher feel of realism to the system.

Other things to mention about the combat system is that a character starts with two standard actions every turn, and then gains another every three points of base attack bonus he/she gains. A characters base move speed is 20, and it increases by 5 feet for every points of dexterity modifier he/she has. Initiative is your dexterity modifier plus your base attack bonus. Armor gives damage resistance, and successfully absorbing an attack by armor means doubling your damage resistance against that attack (this reduction is made against the initial attack damage against physical stamina, if it reduces the attack damage to zero, the opponent does not roll on the effects table). A facing system will be used, meaning the direction of your character will matter (greatly) in combat, i don't know exactly how i'm gonna do this yet though. There will also be additional rules as part of different skills to grapple, disarm, et cetra. There will also be a system for acccidentally hitting people or obejcts around you when you miss.

Anything else? This feels like the most confusedly described part of the system to me at the moment. Please ask if there's anything you don't understand, or comment if you don't understand anything.

Magic: The magic system is in many ways the easiest system to describe in Cities & Traitors, because there is no magic system. There are a number of smaller effects that you can achieve by using the magic use skill, and many other effects that you can learn to use by way of feats. Each “spell” has its own set of rules, often demanding lots of preparation to perform and often being affected by the world around it, such as the place, the time of day, et cetra. Many spells cost mental stamina or health (see hp and saves) or physical stamina and health to cast.

Basically, I want magic to feel weird, incomprehensible and symbolic. In the world, people often talk of white magic and black magic, naming the magic they don't like as black and that which corresponds with their personal philosophy as white. While this may be true, there is no rule based difference between white magic and black magic, each person can learn almost any sort of magic. There are certain strains of magic that cannot be contained within the same person simultaneously, but usually the only restraint on what to learn is set by the characters own morals and ethics. A usual way for a spell effect that targets a person works is for the magic user to make a magic use check and for the person affected to make an opposed willpower check. That is just a general rule though, and some magics can demand other check alltogether, or no checks at all.

But this is rather vague. Here's an example of how a spell might work, in the form of an example feat:

Vermin Vision:

Cost: 4 charisma points, 2 intelligence points

Prerequisites: Magic use 2 ranks, knowledge nature 2 ranks, the character must have studied insects closely for over 24 hours, constantly writing or talking about them, drawing them or reading about them, until he/she begins to hallucinate about insects for a longer period of time. This demands an intelligence based concentration check with a dc of 18.

Effect: To use this feat, you must first manage to sneak insects into a persons food without them noticing. This can be over any amount of time, using as small parts of the insects as you choose, but the person must eat at least one full insect for the feat to work. When the preparations are complete you can spend an immediate action to make the person have a hallucination containing all of the insects that he/she has eaten, as long as you can see the person. This can be anything from the insects crawling out of their lovers mouth to their wine goblet turning into a cluster of cockroaches. The hallucination lasts only for one or two seconds, but this should be enough for the person to react on it as if it was true (by dropping an item, screaming, et cetra). If the opponen has seen you feed him/her the insects the effect does not work.

This spell should give a good example of how magic can work, with it demanding lots of work beforehand and being somewhat dirty and dark. This is not always the case though, some magic feats give you permanent abilities or changes your body. As previously stated there are no rules.

That said, here are some general rules about magic.

1. Magic is ineffective. This does not mean that it does not work well, but that it requires lots of work or risk or sacrifice for what is often a very short payoff. It can of course allow you to do the impossible, and there is no replacement for that, but it usually demands a lot more energy intake than output.

2. Magic changes a person. This can mean that the person becomes less than human, sacrificing the very quilities that makes him/her him/herself. It can also mean that the person becomes basically better, more enlightened and smart or good, but also more detatched from the world around him/her.

3. People generally do not know of the rules above. Often the greatest power a magic user has is the belief by the people around him/her that he/she is all powerful. Magic users are scary.

Level Progression: There are 20 levels in total. You reach the next one by receiving exp points, given to you by the game master. The numbers are yet to be descided, and really they don't matter too much.

At each new level you gain feat points, skill ranks and a possible increase to your base attack bonus, as determined by your progession choice. The following are table for base attack bonus progession:

lev 1 +0
lev 2 +0
lev 3 +0
lev 4 +1
lev 5 +1
lev 6 +1
lev 7 +1
lev 8 +2
lev 9 +2
lev 10 +2
lev 11 +3
lev 12 +3
lev 13 +3
lev 14 +3
lev 15 +4
lev 16 +4
lev 17 +4
lev 18 +5
lev 19 +5
lev 20 +5

lev 1 +0
lev 2 +0
lev 3 +1
lev 4 +1
lev 5 +1
lev 6 +2
lev 7 +2
lev 8 +3
lev 9 +3
lev 10 +3
lev 11 +4
lev 12 +4
lev 13 +5
lev 14 +5
lev 15 +5
lev 16 +6
lev 17 +6
lev 18 +7
lev 19 +7
lev 20 +7

lev 1 +1
lev 2 +1
lev 3 +2
lev 4 +2
lev 5 +3
lev 6 +3
lev 7 +4
lev 8 +4
lev 9 +5
lev 10 +5
lev 11 +6
lev 12 +6
lev 13 +7
lev 14 +7
lev 15 +8
lev 16 +8
lev 17 +9
lev 18 +9
lev 19 +10
lev 20 +10

At level 2, and every even level thereafter, the character also gains an increase to an ability score of the players choice by +1.

That should be it as far as level advancement goes.

Hp and saves: Unlike pathfinder, a characters physical health is not described by one number, but by two of them.

A character has a physical stamina score, which is equal to four times his/her constitution score plus his/her base attack bonus. This represents how physically exhausted the character is. The character also has a physical health score, equal to double his/her constitution score. This represents the characters actual physical well being, how close he/she is to death.

When your physical stamina becomes zero, the character must make a constitution check each round to not pass out with a dc of 5 plus how much damage the character has taken to physical health. Also, any damage that would normally be given to physical stamina is given to physical health instead and the character looses one standard action every round.

When your physical health becomes zero, you die.

Another thing that does not exist in Cities & Traitors is saving throws. They are partly represented by skills, with willpower basically replacing a will save and dodge basically replacing a reflex save. But they are also replaced by the existance of mental stamina and mental health. These are scores that have the same numbers as physical stamina and health, but instead of constitution they are based on charisma.

Your mental stamina represents how concentrated you are and when it becomes zero you cannot make concentration checks and you take a -10 penalty on all skill checks modified by mental ability score modifiers. Also, when you are not moving and have zero mental stamina, you must make a wisdom modified willpower check with a dc of 15 + your negative mental health every minute (without the -10 penalty) to not fall asleep, and all damage that you would normally take to mental stamina you take to mental health instead.

Your mental health represents your temporary mental well being and when it reaches zero you have a mental breakdown. This can manifest itself in a panic attack or in running away or becoming catatonic. When you have a mental breakdown you cannot do anything that you would want to do, except remain passive or run away. It is not always your choice how you are affected by a mental breakdown, you cannot, for example, descide that it affects you by making you run away just because you are in the middle of a battle, although your gm might very well descide that because it is reasonable. When your mental breakdown has lasted for 10 minutes, you regain 1 point of mental health.

It is important to note that neither physical or mental stamina are meant to represent your long term physical or mental well being. You can be a fully healthy person who is it the moment bleeding to death, and you can be a completely sane mentaly healthy person who is just inches away from a mental breakdown. Long term effects to your physical health can be afflicted by combat (such as loosing an arm or an eye). Long term effects to your mental health are not really described in the rules (except possibly as part of certain magic feats), but is instead part of how you play your character.

Items: Magical items are increadibly rare in Cities & Traitors and when they exist they usually have the same strange flavour as the rest of the system's magic. Non-magical equipment is very important however, and affects a lot of the gameplay.

Weapons all give bonuses and penalties to various things, and have their own little rules as part of them. A greataxe, for example, might give a -2 penalty to hit someone's head, and a -2 penalty to block attacks, but a +3 bonus to damage. An important part of a shield is that it always give a bonus to blocking, with even the smallest shields giving as much as a +3 bonus, and a large, steel shield giving as much as a +6 bonus (perhaps). Another possible rule is that a special dagger made for slashing might have as a rule that unlike other slashing weapons it cannot sever a limb, but any times it deals bleed damage it deals +1 extra, and so on. Weapons can also require different action types to draw, you can draw a dagger as a swift action, but a greatsword requires two standard actions, and so on. A weapon of masterwork quality gives a +1 bonus to everything the weapon gives a bonus to, and gains no additional or greater penalties.

Another important part of weapons is that they all have a required strength score to be able to wield effectively. While this prerequisite is a mere formality with a dagger it makes it impossible for a weak little thief to grab the greatsword from the wall and start hacking away at his/her enemies.

Armor is very important, and most characters will want to wear one whenever they can. Armor also have strength prerequisites and gives an armor check penalties to any skill check modified by dexterity, (except for weapon skills and shield). However, the world is such that it is not socially acceptible to wear armor when walking about in a city. The same can be said for most weapons. This waries from city to city of course, and from person to person (in many cities, a nobleman is basically expected to wear a sword, et cetra).

Besides these, there are many many other items that give bonuses to other skills or that enables a character to use skills in ways that would otherwise be impossible. Many useful items are increadibly expensive (a well made heavy armor for example), other useful items can be made in an hour after forraging through a forrest. Some items are so rare that you either have to make them yourself (if you have the feats and skill ranks to do so), or travell through half the world to get them.

Items will be important, is what i'm saying...

2014-06-25, 06:44 PM
Ok, i've added a couple of example feats to hopefully give an idea of what they will look like, and here is a preliminary list of skills with short descriptions of what they do. I'm sure that some skills will be added and perhaps some will be taken away or combined with another skill or seperated into two skills. Every skill has a number of ability scores written within brackets. These are the ability scores that can be used to put ranks in the skill when gaining bonus skill ranks from your ability scores. All combat skills also have an asterisk next to them.

Acrobatics (Str, Dex) Used to balance, jump and perform acrobatic feats such as backflips or swinging on a rope. Is modified by dex for balance and precise, stylish actions, and by str for jumping high or long. It can also be modifier by cha for using acrobatics as a performance.

Appraise (Int, Wis) Used to determine the value of an item or service, and also to turn perception into numbers, determining how much something weighs in pounds, how many soldiers are down in the walley, et cetra. Usually it is modified by int, but very direct translations from perception such as how much something weighs or how long something is can be modified by wis.

Armor* (Str, Dex, Con) Used to absorb attacks with your armor to increase your damage resistance against that attack, and also to don armor by yourself and fast. It is modified by con when absorbing an attack and by dex when donning armor.

Bluff (Int, Wis, Cha) Used to lie and hide the truth. Modified by cha for lying with voice or body language, and by int to come up with a good lie that will be locical and believable, wis can be used to modify bluff when used to hide your feelings and reactions.

Brawling* (Str, Dex, Con) Used to fight unarmed, either by a direct attack such as a punch or a kick or by grappling or tripping your opponent, it is also used to avoid maneuvers made by other unarmed fighters and to block attacks made by unarmed strikes or certain light weapons. It is modified by dex for making a direct strike, by strength for grappling or getting out of a grapple and by con for blocking certain attacks and maneuvers.

Climb (Str, Dex) Used to climb on a curface or structure or over obstacles, and to move through very thick undergrowth. It is modified by strength when the climb has to lift your entire body, such as when climbing up a rope, and by dex to perform certain specific manuevers while climbing, such as switching your position or dodging an attack.

Concentration (Con, Int, Wis) Used to focus on a task, ignoring distractions such as loud noises or a fire, and to do certain things faster, like reading a book, and to memorize something. It is modified by con when used to ignore distractions that are physically harmful or uncomfortable, such as an ice cold storm or pain, and by wis when ignoring things that are mentally uncomfortable, such as the sound of screams, and by int when ignoring things that are confusing and distracting, like the sound of a crowd or a large flock of birds and when used to memorize something or to read fast.

Craft (Dex, Int) This is actually many different skills, each representing a specific craft, such as woodworking or leatherworking. I don't really know how i will fit this into the system yet, especially how these skills will be obviously different from the profession skills.

Diplomacy (Int, Wis, Cha) Used to influence people's attitudes, inspire people and speak in public. When influencing someone's attitude it is modified by charisma, as well as when inspiring people, but if you wanna influence someones attitude all the way so they become your friend then you also need to do a check or two that are modified by wis, to show some insight and understanding about the person. It can be modified by int when used to write a speach or similar.

Disguise (Dex, Int, Cha) This is used to create disguises and to impersonate someone, change your body language or voice or pretend that you do not have an accent. When used to create disguises it is modified by int or dex for the actual crafting process, when used for impersonations and changing your body language it is modified by cha and when used to speak in the way of a different person (word choices and such) it is modified by int or wis.

Dodge* (Dex) Used to avoid physical things, like attacks and traps. It is basically always modified by dex.

Escape Artist (Str, Dex, Con) Used to get out of shackles, ropes or other confinements, and to squeeze through small spaces. It is modified by dex to wriggle out of ropes and cuffs, and by str to break confinements, and by str, dex or con to push yourself through small spaces, depending on the situation. At the moment, this feels like a very narrow skill to me, since brawling is used to get out of grapples and such, but i do feel that there is still a place for it, but if there is a good possibility for it i would like to combine it with some other skill.

Feint* (Dex, Cha) Used to feint in combat, and to create a distraction. It is modified by dex when used to feint in combat by moment, such as a false jab, and by cha for other combat feints, like pretending to have an opening, and to create a distraction outside of a combat situation. I'm not sure about the "create a distraction" part of this skill, but i do feel that there is a need for that, and that bluff isn't quite it.

Forgery (Dex, Int) Used to forge documents, signatures, sigills and other more complicated items, although many of those will require a seperate craft check as well. It is modified by int to descide the wording of a forged document and to know what to add to it, and by dex to do the actual work of copying handwriting and such.

Handle Animal (Str, Wis, Cha) Used to give commands to an animal, force it to do something and to tame an animal. It is modified by cha when giving commands to an animal and by str when forcing certain animals to do something, when taming an animal, checks modified by both cha and wis are needed.

Heal (Int, Wis) Used to stop bleeding and close wounds, as well as treat disceases, poisonings and give long term care to wounded patients, it is also used to diagnose a sick or wounded person and to examine how a corps died and to know things about the human anatomy. It is modified by dex when giving fast care like stopping bleeding and by wis when giving long term care and when giving a quick diagnose or examining a dead body, it is modified by int to diagnose a very rare discease or poison and for knowledge about anatomy.

Improvise (Dex, Int, Wis) Used to create simple items like tools and weapons very fast and build simple contraptions from what you can find around you. It is modified by int to design a contraption like a trap or alarm system and by wis or int to choose the best item around you for a tool or weapon, it is modified by dex to quickly build an item or contraption, or by str, if it is a simpler but more physically demanding job, like breaking a large piece of tree in half to make an improvised club. This skill is my own little idea and i really like it, my hope is that since items are very important in Cities & Traitors it will feel useful and fun, even though the items created by it will basically always be of sub par quality.

Intimidate (Str, Cha) Used to scare people and make them feel bad. It is modified by cha in most cases, but can be modified by strength in certain situations, especially in battle. In very specific situations it could also be modified by int, by for example dryly describing what this particular torture implement does to the human skin or similar.

Knowledge (Int) This is actually several skills, each representing a different area of knowledge. Used to know things and to do research on something. Knowledge skills are usually done automatically, to see if you know about something, and they can generally not be retried. They are modified by int when used to know something and by int when used to research something. I find it pretty hard to see a situation where another ability score would be used for them, but who knows.

Magic Use (Int, Wis, Cha) Used to do magic in various ways, often used against someone who makes an opposed willpower check. It is usually modified by cha, but certain feats and magical paths require more intellectual approaches and can demand checks modified by int or wis. I could see a check modified by con or dex for certain feats, but since i haven't come up with them yet i won't make any promises.

Perception (Con, Wis) Used to notice things and to see, hear, smell and taste well. It is modified by wisdom to notice things around you by being perceptive and by con to represent having actual good hearing or sight, to hear a scream far away in the distance for example. It could perhaps also be modified by int to notice a pattern somewhere.

Perform (Str, Dex, Cha) This is several skill, each representing a certain form of performance, like dancing or playing the violin. It is modified by dex, or sometimes strength, to do technically difficult things inside the performance, like a long ballet jump or a tricky solo on the violin, and by cha to make an actual good performance that makes the audience feel something.

Pick Locks (Dex, Int) Used to pick and sabotage locks and to disable traps, alarms and other devices. It is modified by int to see understand how the lock or device works, and wether or not is has any traps or similar built into it, and by dex to to the actual picking and disasembling.

Profession (Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha) This is actually several skills, each representing a different profession or job. I'm not sure what to do about these skills, nor how to combine them with the craft skills and perform skills where there is an obvious overlap.

Ride (Str, Dex, Wis) Used to control a horse, mount a horse and perform tricks or maneuvers from horseback. Modified by dex to perform tricks and maneuvers and control and mount a horse, and sometimes by str to control a horse that is wild, and by wis to calm a horse down.

Sense Motive (Wis, Cha) Used to tell how a person is feeling, if a person is lying and to get a hunch about a person or situation. Modified by wis to tell if a person is lying and how they feel, and by wis or cha to get a hunch about a person and by cha to get a hunch about a situation.

Set Traps (Dex, Int, Wis) Used to construct traps and hide them. It is modified by int to figure out how to set a trap somewhere and by dex to set the trap fast and correctly and by wis to hide the trap.

Shield* (Str, Dex, Con) Used to block attacks using a shield, to attack an enemy using a shield and to push someone away using a shield. It is modified by dex to block an attack and by con to defend against something very large and powerful like the attack of a large monster, and by str to use it to push enemies away from you.

Sleight of hand (Dex, Int) Used to pick someones pockets or to steal in combat and to hide objects on yourself or around you. It is modified by dex to steal and pick pockets and by int to find good hiding places.

Stealth (Dex, Wis) Used to hide yourself and to move silently. It is modified by dex to quickly hide and move silently and unnotices and by wis to find a good hiding place.

Survival (Str, Con, Wis) Used to find your way in nature and to track people or animals and to find food and survive in nature. It is modified by wis to find your way through nature and to track, and by wis to hunt for food and by str, int or dex to hunt for living animals.

Swim (Str, Dex, Con) Used to move through water as effectively and nimbly as possible. It is modified by str to swim fast and to swim upstream and by dex to perform certain maneuvers in the water, like turning fast or avoiding an attack.

Throw (Str, Dex, Int) Used to throw objects as far and as precisely as possible. This is not primeraly used for throwing weapons, but can be used in combat to throw rocks or other items at an enemy. It is modified by dex to throw a small object and by str to throw a larger, heavy object. It could be modified by int to calculate how something will bounce when you throw it, to throw around a corner, perhaps.

Weapon* (Str, Dex) This is actually several skills, each representing proficiency with a group of weapons, swords for example, or clubs. These skills are used to hit an opponent with a weapon and to block an attack with a weapon, as well as to perform various other maneuvers with a weapon, like tripping someone or similar. It is modified by dex to hit and block, and basically it is always dex that is used. Of course it uses strength for damage, so it is still a very important skill.

Willpower (Con, Wis, Cha) Used to resist certain magic and to make yourself do something you instinctively don't want to do, like holding on to a rope that is painfully tearing your hands or to refrain from doing something you instinctively want to do, like act normally while you're drunk. It is modified by wis or cha to defend against magic and by wis to do something that would be mentally unpleasant, and by con to do something that is physically unpleasant and by wis to act normally while drunk or while under emotional stress.