Interworld Basic Rules
Rodford E. Smith 730 Cline St. Frankfort KY 40601-1034
The Interworld rule set is a generalized role-playing game system, designed to be used in any genre. It is a compromise between the realism needed to provide a convincing fiction and the
convenience of simplicity, and it attempts to provide enough detail to satisfy without slowing the play of the game.
Many systems get bogged down in details, usually in an attempt to provide ways of
handling the complexities of life - including combat - in a precise manner. They present tables for everything from the character's blood type to modifiers for shooting an Elvish warbow while
riding sidesaddle on a charging unicorn in full barding during a driving rain of volcanic ash. This can make completing the simplest gaming task a time-consuming chore, leaving little opportunity
for actual role-playing.
Other systems are so simplistic that it is difficult to take the adventure seriously. All
weapons do the same damage, and non-combat situations are ignored.
Interworld presents a basic, easily understood system to be used as a framework for role-playing games. It has enough detail to avoid such problems as the same size atomic blast doing anything from giving someone a tan to destroying half a continent, but should be simple enough to play smoothly and quickly. The players and referee can concentrate on the events unfolding instead of thumbing through the manual, trying to find the right reference table.
Most good referees modify whatever game they run, customizing it to answer their own
needs. The problem with this is that some players insist that such changes are cheating, and that everything should be done "legally," as written in that sacred tome of gaming, the manual. Interworld provides guidelines, examples and information to be used in creating a viable fictional world. It is designed to allow a referee to spend his creative energies fleshing out his own unique vision of what the campaign should be, instead of wasting time trying to make the play of the
game conform to some arbitrary standard. The players should therefore realize that it is intended by the author that the referee make changes.
In the Interworld rules, a great many simplifying assumptions are made to enhance playability. For instance, it is assumed that an average human has a score of 10 in each physical and mental characteristic and that Player Characters and the primary Non Player Characters will be above average. Also, weapons are handled in a way which makes it easy to determine what
damage is done by them, but which also reflects actual degree of injury and chance of death that occurs from combat in the real world. Finally, most rolls to accomplish tasks are made with percentile dice, since the base chance of success is given as a percentage, and the modifiers are added or subtracted percentage points. Note that these are the basic rules. Additional rules for specific campaigns are presented in separate modules. These range from sword and sorcery games
to hard science fiction adventures. Other modules contain additional information on such subjects
as magic use, heavy weapons and armor and the physics of space flight, for those who need more
detail than is presented in the basic rules.
Creating A Character
It is assumed that the average capacity for a physical or mental characteristic in humans is represented by a score of 10 on a linear scale. Scores greater than 10 are possible, with no limit in some genres. Someone with only half normal strength would have a rating of 5, while someone
with a score of 20 would be of twice average strength. A creature or machine with a strength of 100 is ten times stronger than an average human. There are three types of Characteristics: Rolled Characteristics, Player Determined Characteristics and Calculated Characteristics. Rolled Characteristics range from 0 to however high the maximum is for the type of Character being defined. For Player Characters, these scores are generated by assuming a starting value of 10 in
each category (except for Special Talent, which starts at 0), then rolling 4D6 for additional points. (Player Characters are considered to be above average by definition.) Each of these points equals
one Characteristic point, and the total may be divided among the Characteristics or saved to buy skills, though skills are primarily bought with the points from an additional 4D10 roll. (See Skills section.)
In the basic game, no normal human may have a score of more than 30 or less than 5 in
any of these Characteristics, with Special Talent being the exception. Each point in the Characteristic of Special Talent allows a 10% chance at a roll on the Special Talent table. The players, besides adding the points rolled, may also trade points between Characteristics, within the
range of 5 to 30. If you roll low, don't be too concerned; you don't need to have a high score in everything. Remember, what you have is less important than what you do with it.
Player Determined Characteristics are chosen by the Player, with the approval of the
Referee/Game Master/GM. Calculated Characteristics are determined from the Rolled
Characteristics and Player Determined Characteristics, as detailed below. Personality is
determined by how the Player runs the Character, and it is the duty of the Player to make this consistent from session to session.
The Characteristics are described in more detail below. If the Player is attempting to define himself or herself as a Player Character, it is up to the GM and the Player to cooperate in creating a realistic game version. Be honest, especially when assigning Special Talents and skills. Note
that most gamers have far more skills than can be bought with the allowed roll of 4D10. These additional skills are accounted for (within limits) using the "environment" rule. (See the skills section for an more detailed explanation.)
Intelligence Data handling ability; memory and cognitive speed and reliability
Will Mental strength and determination
Perception Awareness of surroundings
Strength Physical strength
Agility Physical maneuverability and flexibility
Fitness Physical stamina
Speed Physical quickness; how quick the Character's reflexes are
Special Talent See table below
Player Determined Characteristics
Gender Age #
Height (In centimeters) Mass (In kilograms) General Appearance
# See skills section for extra skills for Characters older than 20. Note that past age 50,
characters without access to some means of delaying the aging process will loose 1 Characteristic point per 5 years from each of the Characteristics of Perception, Strength, Agility, Fitness and Speed. (This is for humans. Other species may have different life spans.)
Carrying Capacity (CC) (ST/10) X Character's Mass
Endurance (END) ST X FT
Hit Points (HP) ((WL + FT) / 2) + (Mass / 50)
Actions (ACT) Speed / 6 (round up)
Throughout these rules values are given for a "typical Character." This is a male human, 74 kg in mass and 175 centimeters in height, with all Characteristic scores except for Special Talent equal to 10.
Overloading: In an emergency, any one Rolled Characteristic has a 1% chance per point of
Will to be temporarily increased by 10. If this roll is successful, the Calculated Characteristics determined by this Rolled Characteristic will also temporarily increase. There are modifiers to this roll. For instance, people with the skills of Martial Arts or Meditation add 5 percentage points per level; the Special Talent of Self Control adds 30 percentage points. Additional bonuses are listed under the applicable Special Talent or skill. These additions are not cumulative; only one may be applied. After the emergency is over, the Overloaded Characteristic will be reduced to one-half normal until the character has rested the amount of time needed to recover 1000 Endurance Points.
Note that athletes generally must overload to set a record.
Dying Blow: This allows a character a chance to perform an action after receiving fatal
damage. The character must have more than -5 Hit Points left. The chance of making a dying blow and the modifiers for success are the same as for Overloading.
Characters receive 1 point per week while actively adventuring, and 1 point per year during normal activities. These may be spent in the same way as the points from the initial die
rolls, to purchase Characteristic points or skill levels, but skill levels bought with points earned during an adventure may not be used until the opportunity exists in the game for learning them.
1-5 Absolute Direction Always knows where north is
6-8 Absolute Pitch Can identify notes relative to other notes. There is a 20% chance the
Character will have Perfect Pitch
9-11 Heightened Agility + 1D10 to Agility (to species maximum)
12-15 Ambidextrous Can use both hands with equal facility
16-18 Berserker + 30 percentage points to chance of Overload for Strength; the Character
does not suffer from shock while berserk
19-21 Charisma + 20 percentage points to rolls which concern getting along with or
22-24 Concentration Able to ignore distractions; + 20 percentage points to appropriate rolls
25-27 Fast Heal Recovers at twice normal rate from injury or illness
28-30 Heightened Fitness + 1D10 to Fitness (to species maximum)
31-35 Genius + 1D10 to any one skill, to a maximum level of 20 (Note: this is twice the
normal maximum skill level.)
36-38 Great Strength + 1D10 to Strength (to species maximum)
39-41 Heightened IN + 1D10 to Intelligence (to species maximum)
42-45 Keen Senses 1D6 for number affected, + 10% to perception for each, player chooses
46-48 Language Genius Learns languages at time and cost
49-51 Luck + 10 percentage point bonus to all rolls (The GM may wish to place limits
on this, such as a certain number of times it may be used in a single day.) 52-54 Math Genius Can work math problems 10-100 times faster than average
55-57 Mimic Able to imitate voices, speech patterns and mannerisms
58-60 Natural Athlete 2D10 to AG and FT, divided as player wishes (to species maximum)
61-63 Never Sick Subtract 50% from chance of infection
64-67 Perfect Memory 01-20: Remembers everything
21-70: Remembers everything seen or heard
71-00: Remembers everything read
68-70 Psionics See special Psionics table
71-73 Self Control Naturally able to control body and mind, +30 percent age points to
Overload chance, +20 percentage points to resist mind control and Domination
74-76 Heightened Speed + 1D10 to Speed, (to species maximum)
77-79 Time Sense Knows time to within 2D10 minutes (rolled each time), can measure
intervals to within 1D10%
80-82 Temperature Very tolerant of temperature extremes
83-85 Toughness + 1D6 to Hit Points
86-88 Way With Animals + 30 percentage points to reaction rolls for animals
89-91 Way With Machines + 30 percentage point when operating or repairing machines
92-94 Way With Plants + 30 percentage points for working with plants
95-97 Will of Iron + 1D10 to Will (to species maximum)
98-00 Roll an Extra Talent
With the exceptions as noted, no starting player will have overt psionic abilities. Something is required to activate most psionic talents, and they will lie latent in the possessor until awakened. In the Gateways game, passing through one of the interdimensional gateways will sometimes do this. The chance is equal to the person's Will times the number of stimulating events in percentage points (yes, it is intended to be cumulative). In the Gifted Saga game, becoming Gifted automatically rouses any psionic abilities. In the Ostland module, except for young characters (less than 20 years old) it is assumed that anyone with potential has been discovered and trained. The same is generally true for civilizations in the Outbound game.
Note that many psi abilities can be easily abused, and that some may even be addictive.
Careless or casual use will almost certainly backfire on the Character. This "temptation factor" may be applied as a disadvantage in modules where these are a factor. Once activated, the powers may be used in the same way as any other natural ability. When using many of these
abilities, the player must make a standard roll to hit. Skill in a particular talent will improve the chance to hit, the same as with weapons. The Endurance spent to use the ability is the same
whether the effort is successful or not. After a hit is made, the Psi is "locked on" and can continue without needing another "to hit" roll, unless something happens to break the contact. Except where noted, all effects take only 1 Combat Phase (ten seconds) for completion.
Exceptions: Blending, Empathy, Machine Rapport, and Warning Sense may act on a
subliminal level (10% chance for each ability) without activation. The PC should be aware that something is helping, but not what.
For more information on psionics, see the separate Psionics module, available from the
address listed at the beginning of this document.
Which abilities the PC gets is determined randomly. Roll 1D6 for the number of abilities, then roll for each on the following table.
01-05 Astral Projection
16-20 Cell Manipulation
41-45 Machine Rapport
46-50 Matter Manipulation
56-60 Probability Alteration
66-70 Remote Sensing
86-90 Warning Sense
91-100 Choose one
Astral Projection: The ability to project the consciousness to a distance from the body, and to perceive that distant area as if physically present. The range is equal to 3 X Will in kilometers. Endurance required is 3 points per Turn (one minute). This is somewhat more committed than
Remote Sensing (see below); for instance, mental attacks on the Astral form will injure the Psi as if they had been made upon his person. On the other hand, the ability may be coupled with any other Psi talent, which can then be used as if the Character were physically present. The Astral form may be noticed by anyone making a Perception roll at -45 percentage points. Those with the ability of Telepathy or the Special Talent of Keen Senses make their rolls without this added penalty.
Attack: A form of mental assault. This has a range of 2 X Will in meters, and costs 1
Endurance per point of Will per use. It does 1D6 points of damage per five points of Will used.
Blending: This allows the user a modifier of 40 percentage points against being noticed. It
has no range, but affects a volume of 1 meter in diameter per 5 points of Will. It costs 1 Endurance point per Turn (1 minute) of use.
Cell Manipulation: This ability allows the user to alter the forms of living things. The
mass affected is one gram per point of Will. The Endurance required is 10 points per gram affected. The power may simply move existing cells around (Level 1 difficulty), repair or cause
damage (Level 2 difficulty), or change cell type - I. e. fat into muscle - (Level 3 difficulty). Range is limited to touch. Although this power does not give the user any knowledge of biology, it allows
a feedback which, through experimentation, teaches the Psi how to make changes safely. The time required is 1 Turn per gram of matter affected, and distractions may result in an unintended result.
A somewhat different application of the same ability is DNA alteration. This is a difficulty
Level 4 task, and requires that all the DNA in an organism be altered at the same time. Since the
DNA is only a tiny fraction of the total body mass, this is within the limits of most psis with the ability. The Character working the change must understand the function of both the existing DNA
and the altered. Whether the changes will be expressed in the organism or merely passed on to the descendants depends on the nature of the change. For instance, coding a correction for the gene
that causes cystic fibrosis will halt the progress of that disease. Coding for blond hair won't show until the next generation, because the hair follicles have already been grown and are set for the life of the organism.
This is a very useful ability. Given time, a Psi with Cell Manipulation can completely
rebuild an organism, provided that all the intermediate steps are viable. Attacks may be made every Combat Phase. For attacks, the power does a maximum damage of 1D6 per 5 points of Will, at an Endurance cost of 5 per D6.
Defense: This is a mental barrier which allows the Psi to use Endurance to resist Attack or
Domination, and to conceal emotions and thoughts against Empathy and Telepathy. It costs one
point of Endurance per point of damage or effort deflected. Range is user only, and the ability can be set to operate automatically. For resisting Domination, each point of Endurance used reduces
the effect by one point. (See below.)
Domination: This allows the Psi to pit his Will directly against another's. Once a
successful "to hit" roll is made, subtract the (Psi's Will + (Skill Level) / 2) from the target's Will. If the remainder is between 10 and 6, the target is still aware and resisting, but can be compelled to perform simple acts which do not conflict with that person's morals or wishes. If the remainder is
5 to 1 the person is Dominated, and probably will not remember what he does, but will
unconsciously resist committing acts which are strongly counter to their morals or wishes. With a remainder of 0 to -4, the person is unconscious and fully compliant. For remainders of less than -4 the Psi is in complete Domination, possessing the target's body and sensing everything it senses. Endurance cost is 1 point per Turn for each point of Will used. Note that a powerful Psi, or a normal one attacking a weak mind, may conserve Endurance by using less Will than their
maximum. Range = Will in meters. (Used in conjunction with Telepathy, range is the same as for that ability.)
Empathy: This ability allows the Psi to perceive the emotional state of others. It has a range of 3 meters per point of Will and costs 1 Endurance per minute of use. The user can focus on an individual, or simply perceive the consensus, with exceptions standing out.
Healing: A very specialized form of Cell Manipulation, this allows the user to repair 1D6 points of physical damage per 5 points of Will. Cost is 5 points of Endurance per die of healing done. Range = Touch.
Machine Rapport: The Psi with this ability can tune in to the workings of devices, be they mechanical, electronic or other. The user will normally have an area of specialty, such as computers, automobiles or firearms, and will operate at a 50 percentage point disadvantage on
other types of devices. However, there is a 10% chance that the Psi has a general ability, and may use his power on any device without penalty. The advantages of this talent are a bonus of 5 percentage points per point of Intelligence when operating, repairing or modifying a device. Range is equal to however far away the Psi can clearly perceive the device. Machine Rapport costs no Endurance to use.
Matter Manipulation: This talent allows the Psi to change the structure of matter in various ways. The mass affected is 1 gram per point of Will, for an Endurance cost of 10 points per gram. The time required is one Turn per gram. Physical change - that is, altering the shape or form of something - is a Level 1 difficulty task; chemical change is a Level 2 difficulty task; elemental transmutation (a shift of one in any direction on the table of the elements) is a Level 3 difficulty task. (Mass remains constant for all changes.) Each Level of difficulty above 1 doubles the Endurance cost. Range = touch. While this offers a feedback similar to that which comes with
Cell Manipulation, anyone who uses this ability on a living thing will almost certainly kill it. When used as an attack, this ability does 1D6 per 5 points of Will, and costs 5 Endurance per use.
Precognition: This is a very uncertain talent. While it is potentially very useful, it may also lead to great trouble, especially if the players use the information it provides at face value. Precognition shows what will most likely happen, not what will happen. The chance of a successful glimpse of
the near future is one percent per point of Perception. The maximum time range is one minute
ahead for each point of Will. The Endurance cost is ten points per minute ahead viewed.
Probability Alteration: This allows the Psi to subtly modify the chance that something will happen. It is similar to the Special Talent of Luck, except that it is selective and much more controllable. For each point of Will, there is a 1 percentage point modifier that things will happen the way the user wishes. The range is equal to the Will in meters. The Endurance cost is one per minute per cubic meter of volume affected, for each percentage point alteration. The maximum
volume affected has a diameter equal to the user's Will in meters. Range = Will in meters.
Pyrokinesis: The ability to start fires with the mind. This will also raise the temperature of nonflammable objects. For instance, a mass of water equal to the Psi's Will in grams can be
heated by 8 degrees C per 5 points of Will, at a cost of 10 Endurance points per 8 degrees. The temperature can be doubled by halving the amount of mass affected, and vice versa. In combat terms, and assuming there is something flammable to use the Power on, this ability can do a maximum of 1D6 points of damage per 5 points of Will, at a cost of 5 Endurance per D6. The range equals twice the user's Will in meters.
Remote Sensing: This involves being able to learn about an environment at a distance.
Roll 1D6 for the number of senses simulated, with a 6 indicating something special to be decided by the player and GM. The player then chooses which senses will be used with the ability. The range = 50 X Will in meters, and scans a spherical volume with a radius equal the Character's Will in meters. Cost is 1 endurance point per sense used per Turn (1 minute).
Telekinesis: This allows the Psi to manipulate 1 gram per point of Will. That is, someone
with a Will of 10 could just lift ten grams in a 1 g field. The range = 1 meter per point of Will, at a cost of 2 points of Endurance per gram per Combat Phase (ten seconds). As an attack this ability
does 1D6 per 5 points of Will, at a cost of 5 Endurance per D6.
A simple action, such as pushing or lifting a balanced object, does not require a skill role
for manipulation. However, lifting several objects has a 10 percentage point penalty for each
object to successfully move them as desired. Additional penalties must be applied for unbalanced objects and complicated maneuvers.
Telepathy: Reading surface thoughts will not alert a non-psi, and costs only 1 point of Endurance per point of Intelligence of the target per minute. Looking for a specific memory costs 5 points of Endurance per point of the target's Intelligence per minute, and will be noticed if the target makes a successful Perception roll. A deep probe costs 10 points of Endurance per point of the target's Intelligence per minute, and will certainly be noticed, unless the target is busy with something very important; then he will notice on a successful Perception roll. For all uses add 1 point of Endurance for each 10 kilometers range for each minute. Range = 10 X Will in
kilometers. Psi's have a 20 percentage point bonus to notice the intrusion. The degree of familiarity with the target and how cooperative the subject is both influence how easy contact is.
Teleportation: A very useful and potentially very dangerous talent. Range = Will in meters,
with horizontal movement counting as 1 and vertical movement two. That is, someone with a
Will of 10 could move ten meters on the level, go up or down five, or any combination that totals to ten. Cost is 20 Endurance points for the initial activation, plus 10 per horizontal meter and 20
per vertical meter teleported. Teleporting inside a solid or liquid will cause the Psi to bounce in a random direction and for a random distance (up to the Psi's maximum), taking 1D6 points of
damage per meter moved. This could easily be lethal.
Warning Sense: A limited form of Precognition, this automatically alerts the Psi to
imminent danger. Direction is known if the player makes a successful Perception roll. This talent costs nothing to use, is automatic, and range is irrelevant.
People who possess both this and regular precognition will sometimes have prophetic
visions or dreams, which warn of events perhaps years in the future.
One Turn takes place in one minute, and an average person may take up to ten simple,
unhurried actions in a Turn. A simple action is looking at a watch, pulling a knife out of a pocket, throwing something, pushing a button, and so forth.
A Combat Phase is ten seconds, during which an exchange of attacks may occur. Combat
Phases are also a handy way of partitioning time in non-combat situations which involve concentrated activity. Normally, only one attack may take place during a Combat Phase, though characters with high Speed ratings may use their other actions to improve their chances of hitting or avoiding being hit. This includes using actions to ready or position heavy or bulky weapons. The average Character has a base number of 1.6 actions in ten seconds, which rounds to 2. (It is assumed that during combat a Character will be operating at above normal capacity, so in a full Turn of combat an average human will have 12 actions instead of 10.)
Actions are divided evenly around the middle of the Combat Phase. All attacks take place during the Character's action closest to the middle of the Combat Phase. For example, someone
with a Speed of 15 and 3 actions is fighting someone with a Speed of 10 and 2 actions. The person with 3 actions goes first, closing the distance between them. The person with 2 actions then responds, either attacking, since both of his actions are equally distant from the middle of the Combat Phase, or taking some other action. In this case, he dodges. The first person then uses his second action to attack, against a dodging target. He misses. The second person then attacks, also missing. The attacker uses his last action this Combat Phase to move to his target's side, to provide an advantage for next Combat Phase.
An example is given below, with each asterisk (*) representing an Action. When
Characters have an Action mark at the same position, Agility determines the sequence order.
There is no initiative roll as such. The Characteristics determine who goes first. However, depending on the exact situation, there is always a chance of surprise attack out of combat time.
Speed 1 *
Speed 2 * *
Speed 3 * * *
Speed 4 * * * *
Speed 5 * * * * *
See the Sample Combat Sequences below for examples.
Activity Level: This is the rate at which you are using energy to perform a continuous activity. A sleeping Character is not actually using no energy, but the amount is low enough that it can be ignored. The Endurance cost for an activity is listed per minute, but this may be
Level Typical Activity
3 Brisk Walk
8 Carry Max Capacity/Average Run
9 Fast Run
10 Sprint/Fight*/Throw a punch/kick/strike
* Endurance for physical attacks is 1 point per point of Strength used. This is spent per
use, rather than per Combat Phase, and is in addition to the Endurance used for the Activity level.
The Endurance used in combat or other periods of intense activity is equal to the Activity
Level (AL) in Endurance per Turn (1 minute) plus the Endurance cost for each action taken. A
person with a Fitness and Strength of 10 would have 100 Endurance at the beginning of an activity. He could therefore run flat out or fight a pitched battle (though without making any attacks) for ten minutes before reaching 0 Endurance and collapsing from exhaustion. While some will object that most people could not make such an effort, this example is for a life-and-death situation, with the exhaustion at the end being total.
Characters who are exhausted (have 0 Endurance remaining) must make a successful Will
roll - see below for description of basic chance for a success roll and the modifiers - on a D100 each Combat Phase to continue to act. Any further Endurance costs will be paid from Hit Points, and all subsequent Will rolls will have a cumulative 10 percentage point penalty. Once Hit Points are reduced to 0 the Character must make the exhaustion roll to remain conscious, and may only
act if they make their Overload roll. If this is done, the Character automatically passes out after the action is completed, and must make a shock roll.
Endurance is recovered at the rate of: ((Fitness / 10) - Activity Level) points per minute. This may be divided into Combat Phases if circumstances require. A person with a Fitness of 10 would recover 100 Endurance after an hour and 40 minutes of uninterrupted sleep. The same
person would just about break even during a casual walk. Also, each two hours of sleep missed
from the normal eight hours per night reduces Fitness by 1 point.
Healing of injuries occurs at a rate of ((Fitness / 10) - Activity Level) per week. This healing rate may be doubled with proper medical care. Injuries beyond half the Character's Hit Points result in permanent damage, reducing all physical Characteristic scores by one point for each 5 points lost over half of the Character's total Hit Points. Advanced medical care, psionics, and magic can correct this. Training physical scores (increasing them through Experience) can counteract this type of deterioration.
A character reduced to 0 or fewer Hit Points is in full arrest and requires immediate
medical aid to survive. The chance of revival is equal to the basic success roll for the appropriate skill being used, with a 20 percentage point penalty for each Hit Point below 0. A person in arrest - whether from damage, poison or whatever - will loose one Hit Point per minute. Below -5 the
person is irreversibly dead. Note that some technologies, psionic powers and magical effects can delay the deterioration that occurs during arrest, giving more time for attempts at revival. Note that in most genres use of medical skill does not repair damage; it keeps the patient alive until the body can heal itself. Advanced medical technologies, psionic powers and magical effects which
actually repair damage are described individually.
Typical movement rates are listed below. These assume a person with average (score of
10) Characteristics. For each doubling of Fitness increase the distance moved by 50% of base.
Walking 10 meters per Combat Phase
Running 45 meters per Combat Phase Jumping 2 meters*
Swimming 5 meters per Combat Phase
*This assumes a standing start. For a short running start multiply by 1.5. For a long, running start, multiply by 2. The Endurance used in jumping = (Character's mass in kilograms + distance in meters) / 5. Each 10 Kg of mass over 74 reduces the length of a jump by 1 meter.
Height of a vertical jump is found by taking the cube root of the horizontal jump length. (i.
e. a running horizontal jump length of 8 meters would give a running vertical jump height of 2 meters.)
Example: A typical human with a Fitness of 10 can run (sprint) at 45 meters per Combat
Phase (10 seconds). A casual athlete with a fitness of 20 can run (sprint) at 67.5 meters per Combat Phase. A top athlete with a Fitness of 30 can run at 101.25 meters per Combat Phase, which equates to about 10 meters per second or 36 kilometers per hour. How long a Character can run at this speed depends on their Endurance rating.
The base chance of success = (Average of Appropriate Characteristic(s) + (Skill Level X
5) + Modifier + 50)%.
For instance, to perceive something, a Character must use his or her Perception Characteristic, along with Will if there are distractions. The basic percent chance for someone with a Perception and Will of 10 to notice something = 60%. If the same Character is actively
looking for a specific object, add 25 percentage points. Other modifiers are the same as for hitting (see below). The chance of noticing a surprise attack before it erupts is the base chance minus 25 percentage points, plus or minus any other appropriate modifiers.
Normal actions - standing on a ladder properly, plugging in a dishwasher, driving in light traffic and good weather - don't require rolls. However, if a person is standing on a chair instead of a ladder when changing a light bulb, the GM would be justified in requiring a roll. In this
example, the success chance would be base. If the chair were rickety, include a penalty, perhaps
ten or twenty percentage points. If the Character thinks to take precautionary measures, such as positioning the chair so that the back can be used to brace the legs, steadying the person, include a bonus.
The base chance to hit something = ((IN + AG) / 2 + (Skill Level X 5) + Modifier)%. If
the target is dodging, subtract ten percentage points from the chance to hit per point of Agility. Similarly, subtract ten percentage points per ten kph of steady speed difference. This doubles for
active evasion. Each level of skill in something appropriate (such as Acrobatics or Martial Arts) provides a bonus of 10 percentage points. (It is very hard to hit a moving target.)
The skills in fighting - with or without weapons - give Characters some special bonuses,
above and beyond improvements to the chance to hit and the damage done. A Character with appropriate combat skills (boxing, karate, fencing, etc.) may use an active defense, which involves a block or parry. The base chance of success is the same as for hitting, though there may be different modifiers. Success reduces the chance of getting hit by (Skill Level X 5) percentage points. This may be added to any dodge bonuses and the action does not count as an attack. A Character who is aware of an attack may attempt to dodge, block or parry even if they have no actions left in that Combat Phase.
In addition, a Character with Martial Arts may use the special attacks of throw, lock and
choke. Throw does the same damage as a kick (-50% to the damage if the Character being thrown
also has Martial Arts) and also requires the target to make an Agility roll to stand up afterwards during the same Combat Phase. Lock does the same damage as a kick, plus the target's strength damage to himself if he struggles. Chokes can either do the same damage as a kick, or can merely
be used to render the target unconscious (see Stun rules, under Shock). This latter function takes 1D6 Combat Phases, minus one Combat Phase for every four levels of skill in Martial Arts, to a minimum of one Phase (10 seconds).
Keep in mind that each Character - whether PC or NPC - is unique. The same skill may be
applied differently by each. Be flexible, but consistent.
Base Hit Modifier Tables
Object Modifier Damage #
Hand + 30 1D6
Foot ## + 20 2D6
Light Melee Weapon + 10 2D6 ###
Medium Melee Weapon - 10 3D6 ###
Heavy Melee Weapon - 20 5D6 ###
# These values are for a Character with a Strength of 10. The equation for calculating basic hand-to-hand damage is [([Carrying Capacity / 80])^1/2]D6. Kicks do twice this much damage.
For melee weapons, use [([(Carrying Capacity - 80) / 80])^1/2]D6 as a bonus for those with a Strength greater than 10 (this assumes that the weapon is sturdy enough to take such abuse).
## Kicking requires that the Character make an Agility roll to keep from losing his
balance. Characters with skill in a fighting art which uses kicks are exempt from this.
### Use for undefined weapons.
As a general rule, 200 joules applied to a small area (less than 1 cm^2) in 1/10th of a second or less will do 1D6 of damage. For additional details, see the Major Damage module, available from the address at the beginning of this document.
Condition Modifier *
Side shot +10
Back shot +20
Target surprised +10
Cover, light -10
Cover, medium -20
Cover, heavy -30
Rain, light -10
Rain, medium -20
Rain, heavy -30
* Interpolate as needed.
Range Modifier *
Within reach +10
2 meters to 3 meters 0
4 meters to 6 meters - 5
7 meters to 12 meters -15
25 meters to 48 meters -20
49 meters to 96 meters -25
97 meters to 190 meters -30
191 meters to 380 meters -35
381 meters to 770 meters -40
* Interpolate as needed.
Type Weight Class Damage #
Bastard Sword Medium Heavy 4D6
Club/Medium Staff Medium 3D6
Dagger/Hunting Knife Light (2D6)-1
Great Sword Heavy 5D6
Heavy Club/Heavy Staff Heavy 4D6
Light Staff Light 2D6
Long Sword Medium 3D6
Short Sword Medium Light 2D6
# The strength-dependent damage modifiers are described above, in the Base Hit Modifier Tables section.
Add 1D10 per 50 kilometers per hour of velocity difference.
Type Range Damage (1)
Light bow (2) 50 meters (2D6)-2
Medium Bow 100 meters 3D6
Heavy Bow 200 meters 4D6
War Bow 200 meters 7D6
Light Handgun 50 meters (2D6)-2
Medium Handgun 100 meters 3D6
Heavy Handgun 150 meters 4D6
Very Heavy Handgun 150 meters 7D6
Super Heavy Handgun 150 meters 10D6
Very Light Rifle 100 meters 3D6
Light Rifle 100 meters 7D6
Medium Rifle 200 meters 10D6
Heavy Rifle 400 meters 16D6
Very Heavy Rifle 600 meters 26D6
Super Heavy Rifle 600 meters 29D6
Shotguns (See Below)
(1) Base damage. Special types of projectiles - such as barbed arrow heads or hollowpoint
bullets - increase damage. See table below.
(2) The damage applies to all forms and styles of bow, including the crossbow.
Shotguns create a problem when it comes to assigning damage in a game. Their effect varies widely with gauge, choke, shell length, number and size of shot enclosed, range, and even the type of clothing or hide the target has. The table below is a much-simplified guide for assigning damage based on gauge, range and type of projectile. Note: .410 is a bore diameter, not a gauge.
Gauge Range (in meters)
0-3 3-25 25-50 50-100 Birdshot
.410 1D6 1D6 N/A N/A
20 2D6 1D6 N/A N/A
16 2D6 1D6 N/A N/A
12 3D6 2D6 1D6 N/A
10 4D6 3D6 2D6 1D6
.410 2D6 1D6 N/A N/A
20 3D6 2D6 1D6 N/A
16 3D6 2D6 1D6 N/A
12 4D6 3D6 2D6 1D6
10 5D6 4D6 3D6 2D6
For a target with heavy clothing or tough hide, use the next farthest range class. For slugs, use the Buckshot damage for 0-3 meters at all ranges. For medium choke, use next nearest range class. For tight choke move two columns closer on range class. For magnum loads add 1D6.
Ranged Weapon Hit Modifiers
Modifying Condition Bonus or Penalty
Open pistol sights +20
Open rifle sights +30
Telescopic sight * +50
From the hip (pointed without aiming, -50
from the hip, etc.)
Snap shot -20
Set ** +20 Braced # +50
Shotgun, cylinder choke +50
Shotgun, medium choke +20
* Assumes magnification and field of view are appropriate for use.
** Using sling, shooting stick, etc.
# Using a secure shooting posture, such as prone or leaning against a solid support.
Many of these bonuses and penalties are cumulative. Others are mutually exclusive.
Weapon Damage Modifiers
Extra Blades +1D6
Expanding # (Light and Medium
Handgun and Light Rifle Bullets) +1D6
Expanding (Heavy Handgun and Medium
Rifle Bullets) +2D6
Expanding (Heavy Rifle Bullets) +3D6 #
Expanding projectiles include hollowpoint or soft lead bullets, as well as any other design feature intended to produce a wound channel larger than the initial diameter of the projectile.
The damage from explosions can be estimated using the table below.
Explosive Damage per 100 grams
Crude black powder 1D3
Modern black powder 1D6
Low-nitro dynamite 2D6
High-nitro dynamite 3D6
Modern civilian explosives 2D6
Modern military explosives 3D6
The base radius of an explosion equals the square root of the number of dice of damage, in
meters. Inside this radius full damage from the explosion is felt. The damage decreases rapidly with distance. For each additional radius of effect distance from the center, take that root of the base damage minus one to determine the number of D6. That is:
([(Base Damage) ^ (1 / #radii)] -1) D6.
A person who is standing two radii from the center will take the square root of the base
damage minus one in D6. At three radii, he will take the cube root minus one; and so on.
For those who want more detail on determining explosive damage, see the separate module
Assuming a 1g field, each meter of height fallen onto firm ground (such as a lawn) produces one D6 of damage. This can be reduced by 1D6 (rolled each time) for each 10 points of Agility and each level in applicable skills, such as Acrobatics. The Character is assumed to be
positioning themselves properly to land on their feet or to roll or slap out of the fall. (Characters with skill in a Martial Art which involves throwing may subtract one D6 for each two levels.) Reductions are cumulative, but the total maximum number of D6 which can be rolled to reduce
damage is 10. The Special Talent of Luck allows the Player to re-roll one of the modifying D6. For hard surfaces such as concrete driveways and asphalt parking lots use D8 on the
falling damage, but continue to use D6 on the damage reduction. For jagged surfaces, such as rocky ground, use D10 for the falling damage. For water, use the rule for firm ground but with 2 fewer D6.
Skills and Damage
Every level of skill with a weapon allows the user to re-roll one damage die. This takes
into account the fact that a more skilled fighter is better at putting an attack where it will do more damage. The Special Talent of Luck allows an attacker to re-roll one damage die, and also allows
a defender to do the same.
This rule is optional. It was created to better simulate real-world conditions, and results in
realistically deadly combat. For those GMs who want a little more leeway in combat, this rule may
Skills and Hitting
To review material presented above: Each level of skill with a weapon allows an attacker a
five percentage point bonus to hit. Every 1 point of Agility over or under 10 provides a one percentage point modifier, for either an attacker or a defender. For example, someone with an
Agility of 20 would add 10 percentage points to their chance to hit, as compared to an average person. Someone with the Special Talent of Luck has a ten percentage point advantage. These are cumulative.
Drugs and Poisons
Many drugs are poisonous in large doses, and many poisons have medicinal properties, so there is considerable overlap in the way they are handled in the Interworld system. The primary distinction from a game viewpoint is that while poisons are generally administered to harem someone, due are normally used in an attempt to prevent harm. At worst, the intent with drugs is to avoid harm while performing some other function, such as rendering someone unconscious or
causing them to tell the truth. Because of this, poisons are rated according to potency only, while drugs are rated by both potency and safety. Potency is rated as the number of dice of effect per gram, and refers to the ability of the poison or drug to perform the desired task with a given amount.
Safety is determined by how much harm a drug does at dosages high enough to perform
the intended task. This can very largely depending upon the drug and the task. Enough alcohol to numb someone for minor surgery is unlikely to kill them. Enough to make them unconscious for major surgery has a good chance of being lethal. Safety is ranked as follows:
Very Safe: Does less than 1% of Drug Effect Points in Hit Points at working doses
Moderately Safe: dose 1% to 10% of DEP in damage
Unsafe: 10% to 50%
Dangerous: 50% to 100%
Very Dangerous: Over 100%
This material is covered in greater detail in the Major Damage module, which gives
specific ratings for a larger number of substances. Where appropriate, a drug's rating for several typical applications will be given. In order to render a Character unconscious, a number of Drug Effect Points (or DEP) equal to their Hit Points must be administered. These DEP are recovered at the same rate as the Endurance recovery rate for the same Character when unconscious. A
Character who receives DEP equal to their Hit Points must make a (Will + Fitness) / 2 success roll to remain consciousness. Each additional DEP adds ten percentage points to the difficulty.
A Character rendered unconscious by a drug or poison may not make any rolls to awaken
without outside assistance until they recover enough DEP to equal their Hit Points. Once this occurs the Character may make a Fitness success roll to see if they regain consciousness. For each Drug Effect Point less than the Character's Hit Points there is a ten percentage point bonus to regain consciousness.
Note that a drugged person will also take physical damage equal to the DEP times the
safety rating / 100. The time a drug or poison requires to begin working varies greatly. Also, the time to maximum effect may not be proportional to the speed with which it begins working, or to the degree of effect. Some poisons start to work quickly but take a long time to kill. Others show
little or no effect for days, then act within minutes. Each drug or poison will therefore have both an onset time rating and a maximum effect time rating.
The damage done by poisons comes in two varieties. The first is short term, caused by the
direct interference of the poison with the biochemistry of the victim. This wears off at the same rate as described above for drugs. Curare is a good example of this type of drug. The second type of damage is physical, due to a poison actually damaging the organs of the body. This heals at the same rate as other physical damage. Heavy metal poisons - such as cadmium and its compounds typically cause this type of effect, though these may also cause short-term damage.
Drug/Poison Use Method Potency Safety Onset* Maximum Short Long
of Rating time * term term
Arsenic 1 1 3D6 N/A 30 m 5-24 h 3D6 N/A
(Typically, arsenic trioxide)
Aspirin 2 1,2,5,6 1D6 1 20 m - 6 h 6-24 h 1D6 N/A
Belladonna 3 2 5D6 10 1 h - 4 d 2-4 d 5D6 N/A
Chloroform 4 3 4D6 5 Immediate 1-10 m 4D6 1D6
Codine 2 1,5,6 5D6 5 15-20 m 2-4 h 5D6 N/A
Curare 5 5,6 5D6 10 0 - 1 m 1-2 h 5D6 N/A
Cyanide 6 2,3,4 5D6 N/A 1 - 15 m 1-30 m 3D6 2D6
(May be found as hydrocyanic acid, potassium cyanide, sodium cyanide, hydrogen cyanide, or prussic acid)
Ether 4 3 4D6 5 0 - 10 s 1-10 m 4D6 1D6
Morphine 2 1,5,6 5D6 10 20-40 m 12-24 h 5D6 N/A
Strychnine 7 2,3,4 5D6 N/A 10-30 m 1-12 h 5D6 N/A
*Time notation: s = seconds, m = minutes, h = hours, d = days
Use: 1) Insecticide; 2) Analgesic; 3) Medication for neurological disorders; 4) Anesthetic; 5) Muscle relaxant; 6) Fumigant; 7) Rodenticide.
Methods of administration: 1) Absorption through mucous membranes (stomach, nose, etc.); 2) Ingestion; 3) Inhalation; 4) Through skin; 5) Injection: Intramuscular; 6) Injection: Intravenous.
Injury often causes shock (% chance = accumulated points of damage divided by the total of the
Character's Fitness and current HP). Paranormal creatures or those with the Special Talent of Toughness ignore shock. Shock incapacitates the victim for (1D6 + points of damage - level of medical care) hours. Without medical treatment the chance of death for someone in shock is the same
as the original chance of shock, though death will not occur until (Fitness - 1D10) hours after the injury. If someone is dying from shock, it will be obvious to anyone who makes a medical skill
(First Aid, Paramedic, Doctor, etc.) that the patient is getting worse and will die without proper treatment.
An optional rule is to have an additional roll for Stun. If this is used, a Character who makes a successful Shock roll must also make the same roll to avoid being stunned. If this fails, the Character
may do nothing for 1D6 actions (see Time section, above). A Character has as many Stun Points
Hit Points. Stun damage greater than the Character's Stun Points is converted to Hit Points. It is therefore possible to kill something with Stun damage if too much is applied. At 0 Stun Points the Character is unconscious. Stun is recovered at the same rate as Endurance.
Shaking Off Punches
Blunt damage, such as from punches, clubs and explosion shock waves, may be resisted with a Character's Strength. For each two points of Strength, one point of damage may be ignored. There
an Endurance cost of one point per point of damage resisted. This takes one action. If the optional Stun rules are being used, the Character takes the full Stun Points. The Character may again use Strength to fight this, but only those points of Strength in excess of those already used to shake off the
initial physical damage from the blow. Thus, if a very strong Character or Creature completely
off the effects of a blow using less than full Strength, the excess may be used to combat being Stunned.
An associated ability is rolling with punches. To successfully roll with a punch the Player must
make the Character's Agility roll. Appropriate skill modifiers may be applied. This takes no Endurance, but costs an action.
To simplify the use of these abilities in a beginning campaign, assume that few people have
as starting Characters. They are generally learned by participating in actual combat, during the
of the game. One exception would be a Character with the skill of Martial Arts.
Covering fire: Divide normal chance to hit by three. Persons with the Special Talent of Luck
10 percentage points. Multiple targets: This is used where an attack can reasonably affect more than one target. For instance, fragments from a grenade have a chance of hitting everything within
sizable radius. Even certain types of blows during melee can be used for multiple strikes. For attacks
which would naturally affect an area, such as explosions, the base chance to hit is unchanged, and
applied equally and individually to all targets in the affected area, modified by cover. For attacks such
as sweeping strikes or a spray of something, there is a 20 percentage point penalty on the roll to hit
the first target; for each 5 percentage points by which the roll is made an additional target is also affected.
Optionally, the Player may roll for a hit on each potential target which the sweeping attack
reasonably affect, with a cumulative penalty of 5 percentage points for each target in addition to the
Many attacks will cause their target to recoil from the force used. As a rough guideline, blunt
from a physical strike or explosion will propel a 50 kg object 1 meter per ten points of damage received; a Character so affected is also knocked this distance, regardless of whether or not he is able
to roll with the attack. (See "Shaking off Punches" above.) Halve this distance for each additional 50
kg, and double it for each halving of the base mass. Cutting, hacking or slashing attacks will propel
a 50 kg object 1 meter for each 20 points of damage. Stabbing attacks will not generally cause this reaction. For impacts which do less than the amount of damage needed to propel something one
the knockback can generally be ignored.
Living things which are struck must make their Agility roll to remain standing, with a 10 percentage point penalty for each meter more than one which they are propelled. If the person or animal fails this roll, they must make another Agility roll to come to their feet during the same Combat Phase (Combat Phases are the ten-second periods into which time is divided during
activity). This takes one of the actions a Character has during a Combat Phase; if a Character has no
actions left he must wait until the next Combat Phase before trying again. If the Character tries and
fails, but still has some actions left, he can try again during the same Combat Phase.
Material Damage Resistance
(to penetration per 1 cm thickness)
Material Base Structure Points Armor Points
Heavy cloth/hide 5 1
Soft Wood 15 1
Hard Wood 25 2
Ice 25 5
Silk 30 5
Iron/Kevlar 40 5
Case-Hardened Iron 40 10
Steel 60 10
Armor Steel/Ceramic 60 30
Buckytubes 150 30
Pre-stressed Diamond-Whisker Composite 515 8
Ring Carbon 6217718 101817
Determine damage normally, then subtract any Armor Points. Remaining damage is subtracted from base Structure Points. If damage is less than Armor Points, no damage is done to the base Structure Points. If damage is less than half the Armor Points, the armor is not damaged; otherwise, subtract the amount of damage greater than half the Armor Points from the Armor Points for subsequent attacks.
Any damage over the total of Armor Points and base Structure Points penetrates to damage the target.
Flexible armors prevent penetration but not impact. The Armor Points for these are used only to determine whether the armor itself is damaged. People or items inside flexible armor can be
damaged even if the armor is not penetrated. See below for additional details.
Examples of Typical Personal Armor
Armor Base Structure Points Armor Points
Light leather 5 1
Medium leather 10 1
Heavy leather 15 2
Light chain 10 5 *
Medium chain 20 5 *
Heavy chain 30 5 *
Light plate 20 5
Medium plate 30 5
Heavy plate 40 10
Light ballistic 15 1 *
Medium ballistic 20 2 *
Heavy ballistic 30 5 *
With reinforcing plate (add) 10 10 *
The Armor Points for soft (i.e. flexible) armors are used only to determine whether the armor itself is damaged. Since this is flexible armor, subtract only the base Structure Points from the damage done to the wearer. Also, penetration is reduced much more than the force of a blunt
blow. Transmitted impact will do damage even if the armor isn't penetrated. Against a blunt blow the total points of protection are only = (Base Hit Points / 3). Optionally, the full points can be used, but applied to stun the target. See above for the Stun rules.
To review, hard armor ignores a certain number of points of damage. Ordinary damage above
value is subtracted from the Armor Points. Once all Armor Points are gone, damage is subtracted normally from the Structure Points. Armor-penetrating bullets ignore 1D6 of Armor Points for
and Medium Handguns and Light Rifles; 2D6 for Heavy handguns and medium Rifles; and 3D6
Heavy Rifles (rolled each time). (See Material Damage Resistance table, above.) Similar modifiers can be applied to the arrows launched from war bows.
For additional rules which supply more realistic methods of dealing with armor, see the
Major Damage module.
Generally, animals will have physical abilities in proportion to their size, relative to humans, except
that they will have twice the Strength, Speed and Agility of an average human and the appropriate damage capability and movement rates. Animals half the size of humans will have ten more points
of Agility than those of human size, and those twice human size will have their Agility halved. Tough
animals, such as bears and cape buffalo, will have twice the Hit Points expected for their size and the
Special Talent of Toughness. A few, such as elephants and rhinoceroses, will also have Armor Points,
due to the bulk or resilience of the tissue that must be penetrated.
The base chance to hit something = ((IN + AG) / 2 + (Skill Level X 5) + Modifier) %.
Base Hit Modifier Tables
Object Modifier Damage #
Hand +30 1D6
Foot ## +20 2D6
Light Melee Weapon +10 2D6 ###
Medium Melee Weapon -10 3D6 ###
Heavy Melee Weapon -20 5D6 ###
# These values are for a typical Character. The equation for calculating basic the number of dice for basic hand-to-hand damage is the square root of the Carrying Capacity divided by eighty, or: [([Carrying Capacity / 80])^1/2]D6. Kicks do twice this much damage. For melee weapons, use [([(Carrying Capacity - 80) / 80])^1/2]D6 as a bonus for those with a Strength greater than 10
(this assumes that the weapon is sturdy enough to take such abuse).
## Kicking requires that the Character make an Agility roll to keep from losing his balance. Characters with skill in the martial arts are exempt from this.
### Use for undefined weapons.
Side shot +10
Back shot +20
Target surprised +10
Cover, light -10
Cover, medium -20
Cover, heavy -30
Rain, light -10
Rain, medium -20
Rain, heavy -30
Range Modifier *
Within reach +10
2 meters to 3 meters 0
4 meters to 6 meters -5
7 meters to 12 meters -10
13 meters to 24 meters -15
25 meters to 48 meters -20
49 meters to 96 meters -25
97 meters to 190 meters -30
191 meters to 380 meters -35
381 meters to 770 meters -40
* Interpolate as needed.
Sample Combat Sequences
The combat system in Interworld is designed to be simple and easy to use, but many parts are unconventional. Therefore,
two example exchanges are described in this section.
Example 1: Louis is in his back yard, splitting wood with a maul. He is preoccupied with his work, focused on the steady rhythm of the operation. Nearby, Ted watches from the underbrush.
He sees Louis as an easy victim, and begins creeping up behind him, pulling out his hunting knife
as he moves. Ted works his way unnoticed to within striking distance and stabs at Louis with the knife. Ted has a Agility of 20 and an Intelligence of 10, plus a skill level of 4 with knife, giving him a base chance of ((20 + 10) / 2 + (4 X 5) + Modifier)%, or 35% plus whatever modifiers the
Since the attack is from behind and Ted is using a light melee weapon, the bonus to hit is +30 percentage points, so that Ted has a 65% chance to hit. Louis is moving, but in a steady rhythm, so if Ted thinks to time his attack there will be no penalty. With his Intelligence of 10 and no combat experience, Ted has a chance of (INT + 50)% or 60% to do this. Ted rolls 73 on percentile dice, and fails. Therefore, the GM applies the same penalty as if the attack were being made
against a dodging target, or -(10 X Louis' Agility). Louis has an Agility score of 12, so Ted has a 120 point penalty. It is therefore impossible for Ted to hit under the existing conditions. Since Ted has no combat experience, he doesn't realize this and stabs at Louis anyway. He rolls a 12, ripping Louis' jacket as the wood splitter turns to reach for his maul.
Louis now sees his attacker. He must make a roll of (INT + 50)% or (13 + 50)% or 63% to react intelligently. Louis rolls 43, making it easily. He doesn't panic, and instead chooses an appropriate course of action, in this case completing his grab for the maul and spinning around to face his attacker. The ambush ends with two armed combatants facing each other. Now the action goes to
Combat Phases. Ted, with an Agility of 20, has 3 actions per CP. Louis, at 12, has 2. Ted spends
his first action recovering his balance and turning to face Louis. With his high Agility this is easy, and the GM does not require a roll. Louis decides to attack with his maul, in the simplest and
most direct way, by swinging it vertically overhand, downward at Ted.
Louis has no skill levels in using a maul as a weapon, but has level 6 in using it to split wood.
The GM decides that since Louis is going to use the same motion he uses when splitting wood, all
of this skill applies to the attack. His chance of hitting is ((13 + 10) / 2 + (6 X 5) - 10), the modifier being the penalty for using a medium melee weapon. This gives him a 32.5% chance,
which rounds to 33%. Louis rolls a 28; since Ted is just standing there, looking menacing, this hits. Club damage is 3D6, but since the maul has an edge (though not a particularly sharp one) the GM rules that it should do 4D6. Louis rolls 13 points of damage, the GM deciding that his skill with maul does not allow him to re-roll any of the dice. However, Louis is a husky guy, with a
Strength score of 22 and a mass of 76 kg, giving him a Carrying Capacity of 167.2, resulting in a damage bonus of ((CC - 80) / 80) D6 or 1D6. Louis rolls a 2, for a total damage of 15. Ted has ((WL + FT) / 2) + (Mass / 50) or ((10 + 15) / 2) + 73/50) or 13.96 (rounds to 14) Hit Points. Ted therefore has minus one HP left. Since his score is now negative, a shock roll is irrelevant.
The GM rules that rolling with the strike is impossible, due to the nature of the attack and since
Ted has no combat experience; also, he has already ruled the maul to be an edged weapon. Ted
has a (Will)% chance to make a Dying Blow. With his Will of 10, which gives him a 10% chance.
He rolls a 47, which fails, and falls to the ground, dying.
Example 2: Jan and Tom are having an argument. Both have Characteristic scores of straight 10. Tom finally loses his temper and strikes at Jan. His chance is ((IN + AG) / 2 + (Skill Level X 5) + Modifier)% or (12 + 11) / 2) + (4 X 5) + 30)% or 61.5% (rounded to 61%), the bonus being
for using his hand as the weapon. He rolls a 58, hitting, and doing 1D6 or 3 points of damage. Since he has the default level of skill of 4 in Unarmed Combat he could choose to re-roll the die, but decides not to. Additionally, he uses his open hand in a slap, instead of punching. This means the damage counts as Stun only, so Jan must roll over ((3 / 21) X 100)% or 14% to avoid being stunned. She rolls a 62.
Now, Jan swings at Tom. She must also roll at or under 61 to hit, and does, with a 52. Jan, fed up with Tom's domineering ways, uses her fist, and rolls 5 points of damage. She could re-roll the die, since she has four levels of skill, but decides not to. There is a ((5 / (21 - 10)) X 100)% or 45% chance Tom will be in shock from the blow. He rolls a 48, and is not in shock. However, he
must now make the same roll to avoid being stunned for 1D6 actions. He rolls a 12, failing, and follows this with a 2, for two actions lost. He can do nothing but stand there while Jan wheels around and stomps out.
Note that combat in the Interworld system tends to be short and brutal. This is intentional, reflecting actual combat in real life. Rarely will the cinematic duel between two evenly-matched opponents take place, with a prolonged exchange of attacks, dodges and parries. About the only time such battles will occur in the play of the game is during combat between two expert swordsmen, two martial artists or so forth.
These rules assume the use of Natural Magic, based loosely on the works of Henry Cornelius
Agrippa von Nettesheim. They assume that magic is a natural energy, controllable through
- if difficult - means. Just as the flap of a butterfly's wing can lead to a hurricane, so can microvolt changes in electrical potential inside the human brain begin a similar cascade of events. That is
secret of magic. The words and gestures are meaningless in themselves, but they cause patterns of activity in the brain which lead to the desired effect.
Following are guidelines for the use of the magic in the Gifted Saga. They may also be used for
Gadgeteers and Alchemists. For more detail, see the Gifted Saga modules and the Rules For
None Practiced Components * Everything Ready
Required X 4 X 2 X 2 As below
Chance -40% -20% -10% As below
* Components: The specific spell needed for job, and the appropriate tools and material
ingredients needed to perform it. This includes a focus for those magical types who use these.
Normal Gifted Spellcaster* Endurance
Required X 2 X 1.5 As below
Chance -40% -20% As below
* A Spellcaster is someone who receives the specific ability to work overt magic as part of their Gift, or who has taken Magic as their main field of study. If the art is learned later in life, the bonuses of Spellcaster do not become available until Level 8 skill in magic is reached. Difficulty Level
Level 1: Duplicate a simple, direct effect, such as lighting a room or projecting an energy blast or a force field, or duplicating a single psionic ability or Gifted Saga Power.
Level 2: Combine two simple effects or duplicate one complex effect. (A complex effect is something such as using a single psionic ability or Gifted Saga Power in other than the basic way,
or altering the way a Power works in someone else.)
Level 3: Combine three simple effects or one simple and one complex.
Level 4: Combine four simple effects, two complex, or a complex and two simple. Level 5: Combine five simple effects, three complex or two complex and a two simple.
Note that the complexity of an effect has little to do with the energy it requires.
Embedding a one-shot spell in an appropriate object (amulet, staff, etc.) adds one level of difficulty. Embedding a spell in an inappropriate object (piece of steel, a living creature, etc.) adds two levels of difficulty. Making an embedded spell repeatable adds four levels of difficulty.
Making a spell permanent adds six levels of difficulty. The base number of uses for an embedded
spell equals the Level of Difficulty of the effect divided by 6. (Level of Effect / 6.) This number can be doubled with an increase of one in the final Difficulty Level.
Each additional spell embedded in an object doubles the level of difficulty.
The base chance of successfully casting a spell is calculated using the standard success
equation. In addition to the usual modifiers, each level of spell difficulty reduces the chance of success 10 percentage points. Casting a spell requires (1 minute per Level of Difficulty - 1 Combat Phase per Skill level) to a minimum of 1 Combat Phase.
In general, where magic works anyone can work magic. The difference between someone who
knows a few spells and a true magic user comes in bringing about exactly the result desired. Someone who knows magic can create a spell to do precisely what they want, with the chance for success being based on their skill level. Others must use existing spells, which they have learned or can look up.
Chance of a Spellcaster creating a spell = ([(Intelligence/Difficulty Level) X 10] + (10 per Skill Level) - (20 per Difficulty Level)) % per attempt; each attempt requires - hour per Difficulty Level minus 1 minute for each point of caster's Intelligence, with a minimum of one Turn required.
To obtain the points needed to buy skills, roll 4D10 and total, adding any points left over from
Skill Level Education Equivalent
2 Grade School
3 Grade School
4 High School
5 High School
7 Bachelor's Degree
8 Master's Degree
10 Renowned Expert
To help understand the levels of ability embodied in each Skill Level, the example of driving a car is used:
Level 0: Doesn't know what a car is.
Level 1: Knows what most types of motor vehicles look like and can usually start a car and put
it in gear. Any attempt to steer or drive at above idle speed is likely to result in an accident. Level 2: Can steer a car over level ground and around obstacles at low speeds without trouble.
Level 3: Can drive a car in light traffic.
Level 4: Can drive in normal conditions without trouble, but has some problems in very heavy
traffic or during emergencies.
Level 5: Competent driver, can handle most traffic situations without problem, including minor emergencies.
Level 6: Very competent driver, can handle nearly any roadway hazard without much effort. Level 7: Minor expert, can perform such difficult maneuvers as bootlegger turns.
Level 8: Amateur race or stunt driver.
Level 9: Professional race or stunt driver.
Level 10: World champion on the racetrack.
Skill levels above 10 are only attainable through the Special Talent of Genius. Such people are capable of expanding and developing a skill beyond what is currently known, advancing the state
of the art.
Everyone is assumed to have a High School (Level 4) competence in skills appropriate to their environment, such as driving, cooking and swimming for a contemporary campaign. Note that
the knowledge contained in a skill depends on the environment in which it is learned. A champion race car driver of the 1920s, suddenly confronted with an ordinary sports car of the 1990s, would
find it difficult just starting the thing! Similarly, a hot rodder from the 1960s would have a devil of a time with a family car from 2020, since the vehicle won't do over 25 kilometers an hour under
Basic Skill success rolls (% Chance of Success) = [(Skill Level X 5) + (IN) - (Degree of Difficulty)].
Degree of difficulty: Basic difficulty of problem, ranging from 0 for simple problem to 10 for
something which advances the state of the art. Additional modifiers include environmental
conditions and the physical and emotional status of the person making the attempt. Referees
should avoid trying to take every factor into account and instead should assume an overall level of difficulty for the task and the circumstances. Also, this roll should only be used where there is a reasonable chance of failure. Ordinary tasks, such as making lunch in a familiar kitchen, can be assumed trivial.
The grouping of a skill can be changed. Astronomy is normally listed under Higher Education,
but it could also be bought as a Career skill. In this case, the Character has a somewhat more general knowledge of the profession, including such things as whom to contact in Italy to ask for confirmation of a new supernova. The trade-off is that the Character will know a little bit less about actual Astronomy.
If Astronomy is bought as a General skill, the Character not only knows about current
astronomical practices in all the fields, but also about the history of the study, and has significant hands-on experience with building a using telescopes.
Please remember that these are examples. The list is not all-inclusive, and certainly not definitive.
It is possible to increase the effective level of ability in a skill by specializing in one or more areas covered by a skill. Someone with a Level 10 knowledge of Physics will have an excellent
overall ability with the field, and would probably be ideally educated to head something like the Manhattan Project. This person would not be nearly as good at actually building a fission bomb as someone with a Level 6 skill in Physics: Atomic Fission.
Specialization gives a bonus when making a roll in the area of specialty, but at the cost of having a penalty for any roll in that skill outside that area. The exact amount of bonus and penalty will vary with the situation. It is not possible to specialize with a General skill.
Some skills can aid others. Someone with Mapping would find Drawing useful. A skill for
singing added to a skill for performing would be useful in finding employment.
Note that except for Career and General the groupings of these skills are somewhat arbitrary. The basic 4D10 skill points obtained when creating the Character are for someone who is 20
years old. For life experience beyond this, the starting Character has 1 experience point per year. These life experience points may be added to Characteristics, on a one-for-one basis, or used to buy skill levels. Special bonuses may be allowed by the GM for a PC with an adventuring
(These skills are learned from use, rather than taught formally.)
(Character must choose an area of specialty past level 5)
Art, commercial Banking
Corporate management Cosmetology
Criminal investigation Diplomacy
Domestic trade Entertaining
Health care Interior design Journalism
Labor relations Marketing Military Negotiation Nursing
Physical therapy Politics Psychology Psychiatry Public speaking Publishing Religion
Retail science Secretary
Assassination Concealment Disguise Espionage Extortion Guerilla tactics Lock picking Murder
Stealth Streetwise Surveillance Terrorism
(These cost 2 points each.)
Civil engineering Earth sciences Life sciences Mechanic
Military sciences Music
Physical sciences Social sciences Space sciences Sports
Technology Vehicle operation
Abnormal psychology Administration Agriculture
Anatomy Anesthesiology Anthropology Archaeology
Astronautics Astronomy Astrophysics Atmospherics Audiology
Chemical engineering Cinematography Circuit design Community medicine Computer modeling Computer science Criminology Cryptology Cybernetics
Data analysis Dentistry
Education Electronics Exobiology
Force field physics Forensics
Fusion technology General medicine Genetics
Language, foreign Law
Materials testing Mathematics Metallurgy Meteorology Oceanography
Orbital dynamics Pathology Pharmacology Philosophy Photonics
Psychology Political science Psionics
Temporal science Theater arts Topology
Veterinary medicine Warp physics Zoology
Artistic expression Domestic technology Driving
Armed combat Armorer
Bomb disposal Combat pilot
Combat training Commando training Grenade weapons Heavy weapons, fixed
Heavy weapons, mobile Interrogation Leadership
Military engineering Military orientation Scouting
Security procedures Small arms
Sword fighting Tactics Unarmed combat Physical
Archery Barbering Blade fighting Boating
Boxing Brawling Calligraphy Carousing Child care Climbing
Crude weapons Cuisine Dancing
Emergency medical care Fabrication
Heavy equipment Horsemanship
Law enforcement Lifesaving
Make musical instrument Mountain climbing Orienteering Photography
Play musical instrument Singing
Sleight of hand Survival
Animal husbandry Aquatics
Aquatic vehicles Archery technology Ballooning
Blade weapons technology Ceramics
Computer operation Computer programing Computer systems Corporate structure
Data management Demolition
Electrical engineering Electronic engineering Environmental engineering EVA
Force field systems Glider technology
Mechanics (Must pick area of speciality) Mechanical diagnosis
Microwave technology Mortuary science Music technology Navigation
Nuclear weapons technology Pilot, FTL craft
Pilot, ground vehicle Pilot, heavy vehicle Pilot, jet aircraft Pilot, light aircraft Pilot, rocket craft
Pilot, rotary wing aircraft Pilot, time machine
Pilot, water craft Power technology
Projectile weapons technology Repair
General skills give +1 to all HE or T skills in that category.
A level of skill with a specific weapon type (i.e. a certain style of dagger) gives one level of expertise per point spent. A level of skill in a weapon class (i.e. revolvers) gives 1 level of expertise
per 3 points spent. Each level of expertise counts as one skill level when determining chance to hit and damage modifier.
This and other products are available by mail order from the address at the beginning of this
module. Write for a list.
All original materials contained within this document are Copyright Rodford Edmiston Smith