The Game Master or GM (sometimes Dungeon Master, DM) is the leader of the campaign. They write the story, make all the maps, play the part of the NPCs and have the final decision on what players can, or cannot do.
Dice are the key decision makers. In RPGs, many polyhedral dice may be used, so a special notation has been adopted:
[Number of Dice] d [Sides of Die]
Thus “2d6” would mean to roll 2, 6-sided die (which usually gets added together). Generally, die are also referred to singularly using the same notation. Instead of saying “roll a twenty-sided die” most players will just say “roll a d20.”
While the GM does have the final decision, he/she usually defers to the dice via Difficulty Class (DC). This is a value that the player must beat to complete said task. If the roll of a die or dice, together with the player’s modifiers (statistics, buffs, etc.) beats the DC, the action is deemed successful. This process is called making a check.
Checks are how we test to see if actions are completed successfully. When a player wants to do anything that could fail (I.E. opening a normal door wouldn’t warrant a check, but picking a lock would), they roll a d20 and add in their respective modifiers.
For example: The GM sets a DC of 15 (hard) for a player to jump over a ditch. It’s a wide ditch. The player rolls a d20 (most common for skill checks) for a 12, and adds in their acrobatics skill of 6 for a total of 18. 18 beats the DC of 15 so they succeed in making the jump.
Critical successes and failures happen when the player rolls a 1 (failure) or 20 (sucess) on the d20 while making a check.
If the player rolls a 1, no matter how high their skill is when making the check, the action fails and something bad happens at discretion of the GM (for example: a bow breaks on an attempted attack and the arrow lodges into a party members leg.)
If the player rolls a 20, the player rolls again. If that second roll with their skill added in succeeds, something great happens, also at the GM’s discretion. This second roll is a critical check, and if it fails, the action is still successful, you just don’t get the “extra special good thing.”
An encounter refers to when players enter combat. The game shifts to a turn-based system to allow players to plan their actions much like a turn-based RPG video game. The order of play is defined by initiative and each player completes the following on their turn (all of which is explained below):
- Free Action(s)
Initiative is a value used to determine the order of combat when in an encounter. It is equal to your character’s reflex statistic and only changes when reflex changes in CoRPS. However, it is possible for buffs to modify your initiative and not affect reflex.
Health is a value of a player’s relative condition. When a player’s health reaches zero, they are unconscious. If their health reaches negative half their health, they are dead and must make a new character. Some campaigns may make health into a “slider” type system where relative health is a word such as “battered” or “healthy.”
Speed is the number of spaces a player can cover in the move portion of their turn during an encounter. Each block on the map is 1 unit, diagonal movement is allowed.
Abilities are just that: abilities. They may be offensive, defensive or non-combat. Each has a name, description of what it does and a specific charge rate (immediate, encounter, daily or number of turns.)
An action is the main part of a encounter turn. Most abilities, basic attacks and any feat that takes more time than a free action count as a regular action. You only get one per turn so choose wisely: attacking is an action, so using your action for some other purpose means you cannot attack.
Free actions are simply small actions that can be taken during an encounter turn such as dropping a bag, or unsheathing a sword. You can make multiple per turn as long as they don’t conflict with each other, in which case you can still do them, but you must use your regular action for that turn instead.
A basic attack is a strike or projectile skill check based on your current weapon. Attacks take a regular action and work as follows:
- The player rolls a d20 and adds their projectile skill (for ranged weapons) or strike skill (for melee attacks.)
- If this value beats the enemy’s defense (talked about in the next section) they are hit for the weapon’s damage.
- Based on the weapon’s code (talked about later), a critical success may increase the damage done. As you probably already figured, a critical failure is bad, thus something bad will probably happen.
Defense is like an attack DC. When a player attacks an enemy or vice versa, the attack must beat the opposition’s defense to hit. Armor, abilities and other types of buffs all may affect defense.
In an attempt to make weapon descriptions simpler, CoRPS implements a code system much like the notation used for dice:
[Damage] , [Attack Bonus] , [Critical Multiplier] , [Critical Modifier]
- Damage is how much basic damage the opponent takes on a successful attack.
- Attack bonus is a basic bonus that gets added to the player’s basic attack roll, improving their odds of hitting the enemy.
- The critical multiplier is how much the damage is amplified on a critical success.
- The critical modifier is the minimum value that must be rolled to initiate a critical success.
For Example: A Rapier with 3, + 1, x3, 19 + does 3 damage, adds 1 to the players attack roll, does a total of 9 damage on a critical and may critical on a roll of 19 or 20 (remember that criticals must be rerolled and succeed again to count or they are only basic successes.)
Conviction is like a currency that can be spent at anytime to retry bad actions or boost abilities. It’s much like the “luck” statistic seen in many other RPGs, however the player gets to control when it is used. It is distributed by the GM and can be used in almost any situation. With such power, don’t expect to earn much of it.
This is a module not included on the basic character sheet. GMs may rename conviction to something more fitting to the campaign.
Wealth is a relative value of a player’s current worth. It has a max value of 20 and when purchasing something, the player makes a charm/charisma check (whichever is higher). Depending on how well they beat the shopkeeper’s haggle DC, they will lose a certain amount of wealth.
For Example: When trying to buy basic items, a high charm/charisma check may only cost the player 1 wealth point where a critical failure may cost them 3 or 4.