Introduction to the I Ching SystemEdit

Silk, Steam, and Steel runs off the I Ching System, a randomization mechanic very loosely based on traditional Chinese coin divination.

Whenever a character wishes to do something at which may fail - outrun an assassin, convince a wealthy widower he is her long-lost nephew, and so on - a skill check is rolled. The player will toss a number of coins equal to the total number of points in the relavent skill, and read each as tails or heads: failure or success. Yin or Yang. Tossing a set of coins in this manner is referred to as a throw.

For every coin that lands heads (Yang) side up, one success is gained, with total heads being the number of successes. For example, if a player throws eight coins and five turn up heads, he would count that as five successes. The number of coins he missed does not matter: Whether it's five out of five, five out of eight, or five out of twelve is irrelevant.

In most cases, players will be rolling checks opposed by NPC's, who will be throwing either the same skill or a complimentary one. For example, in a gunfight, Sharpshooting is usually opposed by Evasion; in the argument that triggered the gunfight, Bravado is opposed by Bravado.

The player and Narrator will each throw a number of coins for their respective characters; the one with the more successes wins. Thus, if the player gets five successes on his Sharpshooting roll and the NPC only gets four successes on his Evasion, the NPC has been shot, and damage will be rolled.

In the event of ties, the Narrator will flip a coin, with the player callling heads or tails.If the player calls it correctly, he wins; if not, the NPC wins.

Combat Mechanics Edit

The Combat Round Edit

The combat round is fairly simple, and generally consists of two phases: a movement action and an attack action.

A movement action may simply be running across the room to strike your foe, or may be a more elaborate maneuver; scaling the side of a building, leaping over a rooftop, jumping off of your horse and onto your antagonist's horse, and so on. In some cases, movement actions might may require a skill check, such as making an Acrobatics check to scale the side of the building in a single round.

An attack action represents a single attack; the thrust of a sword, a gunshot, a flying kick. Certain talents (such as Gungslinger and Double Strike) allow combatants to make multiple attacks in a single round.

Movement Actions Edit

Action sequences in S3 are meant to be dynamic and mobile, with combatants moving and changing position rather than merely standing and trading blows. Whenever there is a question of whether or not a character can reach a given destination in a round of combat, a movement check should be made.

Acrobatics: The acrobatics skill is primarily for vertical movement of feats of agility - jumping, climbing, falling, tumbling, and so on. For every three successes on an Acrobatics check, a character can ascend the equivalent of one vertical story (roughly ten feet) in a single movement action. Similarly, for every two successes, they may safely fall one story without hurting themself.

Example: Blind Eagle is perched on a second story rooftop with a rifle, taking pot shots at the heroes. Flying Fox is getting pretty sick it, decides to scale the building. Because Flying Fox has the Spider Climb talent, she can cover five vertical feet with every success, meaning she needs four successes to scale the building. She rolls acrobatics, and gets six in total; leaping off of a rain barrel, onto an awning, climbing a window sill, and finally vaulting herself over the edge of the roof, she ascends the building in the blink of an eye, and makes her attack against Blind Eagle.''

Athletics: The Athletics skill covers running, swimming, lifting, and other feats of combined speed and endurance. Athletics checks are typically opposed rolls; if one character is trying to flee from or chase after another, they both roll Athletics, and whoever rolls highest is successful.

Stealth: In the heat of combat, attackers may attempt to disappear into the fog of war to sneak up on a foe or flee the scene unnoticed. Making such an escape requires a suitable distraction (such as a smoke bomb, or part of the roof collapsing), or the Fleeting Shadow talent.

Example:' Yet another gunfight has broken out in the White Dragon Inn, this time with the Golden Bell Gang. Jade Butterfly wants to move in for a sneak attack. Drawing the straightsword concealed within her parasol, she drops behind the bar while one of her foes is distracted. She rolls her Stealth, and he rolls his Awareness; she gets seven successes, and he gets five. Creeping along the edge of the bar while bullets fly through the air, she is able to maneuver directly behind him, and stabs him through the back with her straightsword. She rolls her attack, plus the bonus for the Sneak Attack talent.

Attack Actions Edit

Attacking: When one combatant attacks another, he rolls his appropriate attack skill (Melee, Sharpshooting, etc.), plus whatever equipment/otherwise bonuses he has. The defender rolls the appropriate defense skill; either Evasion to dodge, or Hand to Hand/Melee to Parry. If the attacker hits, damage as dealt according to the table below.

Example: One-Eyed Ogre and The Living Asura are fighting in the streets of Hong Kong. One-Eyed Ogre extends the collapsing hook swords he had hidden in his boots, and Living Asura draws a pair of hatchets from his belt. One-Eyed Ogre rolls his Melee skill to attack, plus the finesse bonus of the hook swords, for a total of ten coins. Living Asura rolls his melee skills to parry, plus the finesse bonus of the hatchets, for a total of eight coins. One-Eyed Ogre gets seven successes, and Living Asura gets five. One-Eyed Ogre traps and sweeps the hatchets out of the way with one hook, leaving his foe wide open for a stab to the neck with the pommel of the other hook.

Tripping, Throwing, and Pushing: Rather than dealing damage, a combatant may choose to hurl his opponent to the ground, through the air, off a cliff, or otherwise somewhere he doesn't want to be. Generally speaking, this is done to make use of the environment in some way; tossing foes off over balconies, out of windows, and so on. Trip attempts are made via the Hand to Hand (or in some special cases, Melee) skill. If the attackers goal is only to deal damage rather than to reposition his foe (ie, suplexing someone through a dinner table), resolve as a normal hand to hand attack, and assume the defender recovers his feet.

Example: Sanguine Clarity and Burning Blade are dueling on the deck of an airship over the skies of Shanghai. Sanguine Clarity has maneuvered Burning Blade to the edge of the airship, and decides to throw him off. They make an an opposed Hand to Hand check, in which she gets seven successes, and Burning Blade gets six. Sweeping his foot up to off balance him, she seizes him by the pant leg and collar, and tosses him off the railing. The slain assassin lands in some unfortunate soul's living room in the city below.''

Pinning: A combatant may also attempt to restrain another via a pin, joint lock, or otherwise grappling hold. To do so, make a Hand to Hand check, opposed by Evasion/Hand to Hand. If successful, your foe is successfully pinned, and the only action they may take is attempting to break free via a Hand to Hand check on their round, opposed by your initial successes. So long as a foe is pinned, they subtract the successes of the Pin attempt from any defense rolls they make, making them an easy target.

Example: Doctor Hu and Flying Fox are in combat with the deadly assassin Iron Claw. Enacting the strategy of “I'll hold his arms while you hit him”, Doctor Hu attempts to pin Iron Claw. They roll an opposed Hand to Hand check; Doctor Hu gets six success, and Iron Claw gets five. Doctor Hu twists both of Iron Claw's arms behind his back, immobilizing with a double shoulder lock. Iron Claw attempts to escape on his round, but only rolls four successes, and is thus still pinned. On Flying Fox's round, she decides to finish Iron Claw off with a flying kick to the throat. Iron Claw can still attempt to dodge, but his Evasion is reduced from it's normal eight to a measly two, thanks to Doctor Hu's six successes on the pin. He rolls both, and gets one success. Flying Fox, conversely, rolls seven successes on her attack, scoring a critical hit against Iron Claw's trachea. Ouch.

Strangulation: A player may wish to, instead of damaging a foe normally, attempt to choke him into unconciousness. To strangle a foe, player must typically either be unarmed or wielding a flexible weapon. Strangulation can be seen as a sort of delayed-action all or nothing attack. To strangle a foe, they must pass two successive checks on two rounds, using their Grappling value (if unarmed) or Attack Value (if using a flexible weapon). The first established the chokehold, and is opposed by a normal Dodge or Parry roll. The second finishes the chokehold, and is opposed by Fortitude. During the opponent's round in between, he may either attempt to break free, or attack his foe. Being stunned or losing the use of a relevant limb/weapon breaks the hold. We know that sounds confusing, but bear with us.

Example: Doctor Hu is prowling through an enemy base. He sees a guard, and sneaks up behind him. He snatches the guard in a chokehold, rolling his Hand to Hand against the guard's. Hu rolls higher, and succesfully established the chokehold, wrappling his arms tight around his foe's neck. On the guard's round, he pulls out a knife, and attempts to stab Doctor Hu through the arm. He rolls his attack, and Hu rolls his Parry value. The guard hits and rolls damage: he gets a 4 for damage, and Hu gets a 5 on his Fortitude. Though he is injured, he has not lost the use of his arm, and can continue the stranglehold. On his next round, Hu rolls a second Grappling check, this time opposed by the guard's Fortitude. Hu deals 5 points of damage versus the guard's 3 Fortitude, and the guard sinks into unconciousness. 

Initiative and Turn OrderEdit

Turn order works somewhat differently in S3 than in most RPG's. Each set of actions (attack and movement) by a player or an NPC is referred to as a Turn. When every player and relevant NPC has completed a Turn, this is a Round.

Regardless of the number of combatants in an action sequence, each -side- of the melee takes the same number of turns per round, with that being the number of players participating. Thus, if six player characters are fighting an army of a hundred, only six of the enemy soldiers will attack each round. Conversely, if those same six players have surrounded the army's general, he will take six actions each round, one for each of them. 

You may be familiar with this phenomenon from martial arts films - the so-called Inverse Ninja Law, wherein the strength of a foe is inversely proportional to the number of foes present. While it's not realistic, it is far better storytelling, allowing heroes to quickly wade through waves of faceless henchmen while having dramatic, protracted battles with major villains. 

The turn order should oscilate from PC to NPC, forming a framework of attack and counterattack. Initiative is rolled each turn to determine who acts first.

Turn order amongst PC's is less important, so long as each PC is taking a turn each round. The Narrator should try and assign turns in whatever makes narrative flow most smoothly - if one player initiates combat, typically that player (and their antagonist) will take the first turn.

Example: One-Eyed Ogre, Devil in the Wind, and Sanguine Clarity  have cornered crimelord Jin Baiyu in his luxurious offices. Having grown weary of his bullshit, One-Eyed Ogre draws his pistol and shoots him. Since Jin is outnumbered three to one, he will be taking three actions every round, one for each PC he is facing.

For the first turn (One-Eyed Ogre versus Jin), Ogre gets a three on Initiative and and Jin gets a five. Even though Ogre initiatived combat, Jin has the initiative; with lightning speed, he leaps from his couch and disarms Ogre via a Hand to Hand check, disarming him of his pistol. Modifying his original plan, One-Eyed Ogre instead attacks via Hand to Hand, kicking Jin across the room.

The second turn is Sanguine Clarity verus Jin. Sanguine Clarity charges at Jin, meaning to cut his hand off; JIn levels the stolen pistol at her to fire. They roll initiative; four for Sanguine Clarity, six for Jin. He fires and hits. They resolve damage as normal (see Damage below), with the end result being Sanguine Clarity losing her action.

The third turn is Devil in the Wind against Jin; this time, Jin rolls a three for Initiative, and Devil in the Wind gets a four. In the dust of the melee, Devil slips from Jin's attention via a Stealth check as a movement action, and stabs him in the back as his attack action. They resolve damage, and the blow proves fatal.

Variant: Fast MeleeEdit

In close quarters (that is, Hand to Hand and Melee) combat, turns will often play out like this: PC rolls melee to attack. NPC rolls melee to defend. NPC rolls melee to attack. PC rolls melee to defend.

In order to expeditite gameplay and keep things fast paced and dramatic, you can instead use a single roll for a given combatant's attack and parry, instead of one roll to attack and a seperate one to parry. Thus, turn order instead plays out like this: PC rolls melee to attack and defend. NPC rolls to attack and defend. Whoever gets higher both hits their foe and avoids being struck.

This elimates mutual hits and mutual misses, ensuring that one fighter emerges the victor that round. More importantly, it reduces the number of rolls involved in a turn of combat, speeding up the pace of the game.


Devil in the Wind and Captain Nathaniel Blackthorne are having a sword duel on the bridge of a crashing airship. They charge towards another, sword in hand, and both roll their Melee check. Devil in the Wind gets a seven, and Captain Blackthorne gets a six. Parrying his hated foe's sword aside, Devil in the Wind drives his own blade home, stabbing the Captain through the chest. They resolve damage as normal.

Distance and RangeEdit

Weapons in Silk, Steam, and Steel are broken into three general categories - close range, medium range, and long range.

Close Range: Close range weapons require immediate physical proximity to use. Swords, spears, chains, and all other melee weaponry, along with unarmed combat, are considered Close Ranged weapons.

Medium Range: Medium ranged weapons are projectiles with limited range.If  the target and the attacker are in the same general combat zone, they are considered within medium range. Throwing knives, pistols, and grenades are medium ranged weapons.

Long Range: Long range weapons, conversely, are projectiles that can strike from as far the attacker can see. Bows, rifles, and rockets are medium ranged weapons.

Sidebar: Medium vs Long Range: As you may have noticed, these distance categories are somewhat nebulous, and often come down to narrator discretion. When determining whether a target is too far away for a medium ranged attack, ask yourself this: is a the shooter at a "sniping"distance? If so, then the distance is considered Long Range. For example, shooting a foe from across the deck of an airship is medium range; shooting a foe from across the deck of a different airship is long range.

Mounted Combat Edit

Frequently, heroes may find themselves doing battle against foes whilst mounted on horses or autocycles (or both). For mounted combat sequences, we recommend the narrator structure it such that all combatants on both sides are mounted; perhaps the heroes are given chase to foes fleeing on horseback, perhaps they were ambushed by an autocycle gang on the mean streets of Beijing.

In mounted combat, it can be easy to get overly bogged down in details of speed and distance. As such, rather than keeping track of where everyone is and how fast they're going, assume all combatants are moving at close to the same speed (typically 35 to 40 miles per hour, the top speed of both a running horse and a steam-powered autocycle), and keep track of their relative position to each other.

Movement actions are thus a matter of repositioning oneself to set up the next attack. Repositioning generally requires a Piloting/Animal Handling check, opposed by the target's. Examples include catching up to a foe you are chasing, gaining ground on one who is chasing you, or pulling ahead of a foe who are you side by side with. Players may also wish to leap from vehicle to vehicle, which requires an Acrobatics check.

Attack actions are generally the same as on foot, with the added factor of being able to dismount foes. To pull someone off of a horse (or autocycle) is resolved the same way as trip attempt in foot combat.

Repositioning: A combatant may attempt to move ahead of, pulling up alongside, or drop behind another combatant to set up an attack. To do so is a movement action, and requires an opposed Piloting/Animal Handling check.

Example: The Red Pheonix Gang and White Tiger Gang are at war in the southwest corner of Beijing. Shooting Star, the leader of the Red Pheonix gang, is being chased through the streets by several members of the White Tigers.''

Ripper Zhang wants to catch up with Shooting Star and attack her with his signature weapon, a whirling chainsaw-like blade. The narrator makes a piloting check for Ripper, and Shooting Star makes one as well; Ripper gets five successes, Shooting Star only gets four. As such, Ripper is able to gain ground to get close enough to make his attack, gunning his engine to tear across the city streets. He rolls his attack, and Shooting star rolls her Evasion; Ripper only gets three successes, to hit, whereas Shooting star gets six. Leaning off to the far side of her bike, Shooting Star dodges the deadly blow.''

Dismounting: A combatant may attempt to pull his a foe from his vehicle, knocking him to the ground. Doing so is resolved as a Trip attempt (see above). Generally speaking, a dismounted foe is considered out of the combat, left in the dust.

Example: On her turn, Shooting Star decides she wants to remove Ripper Chang from his bike. Unraveling the chain whip from around from her waist, makes a Trip attempt against Ripper. She rolls her attack, and gets seven successes, where as Ripper only gets five on his parry roll. Though he attempts to intercept the whip, it wraps around his neck, and with a jerk Shooting Star pulls him from his bike. At this juncture, the Narrator gives Shooting Star the option to drop the whip and let Ripper go, or take a -2 penalty on Piloting checks to drag him behind her bike and deal damage. Shooting Star, being the vindictive sort, chooses to deal damage. Not wanting to complicate things further, the Narrator sets the damage value of being dragged behind a motorcycle via chain whip as the same as Shooting Star's normal attack damage for the chain whip.''

Damaging Vehicles: As an attack action, a combatant may attempt to damage his foe's vehicle. A damaged autocycle or injured horse is no longer capable of moving, and is rapidly left behind. In some cases, it may even lead to a spectacular crash. The defender rolls Animal Handling (if riding a horse or animal driven cart) or Piloting (if piloting a mechanical vehicle) to defend. It is generally not necessary to roll damage; a flat tire is a flat tire, and an injured horse won't run.

Example: Now that she has dealt with Ripper Chang, Shooting Star moves on to dealing with the next member of the White Tigers. She successfully repositions herself (as described above), to get right next to the boiler on Thunder Hand's autocycle. Pulling a hand grenade from her belt, she sticks in the pipes of his bike. She rolls Explosives for the attack, and Steel Tiger rolls Piloting to maneuver his bike away. She gets eight successes, and Thunder Hand only gets four. The grenade goes off seconds later, detonating the boiler in a massive explosion that leaves Steel Tiger badly injured and his bike completely trashed. He is no longer a participant in this combat.

Switching Vehicles: As a movement action, a combatant may make an Acrobatics check (opposed by Animal Handling/Piloting) to board another vehicle, leaping onto a foe's mount or into the cab of a moving truck for close-quarters combat.

Example: There is only one White Tiger left; their leader, Steel Lion. On his past round, Steel Lion successfully shot out Shooting Star's tires, and her bike is rapidly coming to a halt. As Steel Lion moves in for the kill, Shooting Star leaps from her autocycle onto his, brandishing a saber. She rolls Acrobatics, and Steel Lion rolls Piloting to avoid her. Shooting Star gets five successes, and Steel Lion gets three; with a war cry, she lands perched on Steel Lion's handlebars, Saber in hand, ready to strike. She swings for his neck, and the attack is resolved normally. ''

Stunts Edit

In Silk, Steam, and Steel, players are cast in the roll of both tactician and choreographer. As such, players should be encouraged to execute actions in exciting and clever ways. These actions are called Stunts. A stunt operates by linking two or more skills into a single task. For each secondary skill added, the player spends a point of Breath. When executing a Stunt, the player rolls for each skill involved, and then takes the highest roll as the overall result.  Equipment bonuses, when relevant, are still added to the end result, regardless of the skills in question.

Example: Tetsuo Hideyoshi, the Devil in the Wind, wants to sneak up behind an unaware guard and stab him in the back. He spends a point of Breath, and rolls both his Stealth (for the sneaking) and Melee (for the stabbing). He gets 7 successes on his Stealth, and 3 successes on his Melee; he disregards the lower roll, and takes the 7 as the result for the attack. Since the action was an attack in nature, he adds in his equipment bonus for his sword. 

There is no upper limit to the number of skills that may be linked for a Stunt. For each secondary skill, an additional point of Breath is required.

Example: After killing the first guard, Devil in the Wind sees a second guard, whom was previously his jailor. He really, really wants to kill this one. He sneaks onto a catwalk (Stealth) drops down onto the guards shoulders (Acrobatics), stabs him with a sword-pistol (Melee) and pulls the trigger on the pistol (Sharpshooting). He spends three points of breath, and rolls all four skills. Between his four skills, he get's a 3, a 5, a 7, and a 9; he takes the 9 as the end result. Because it's an attack action, he still adds the equipment bonus for the sword.

The above example is rather a bit of overkill, and probably spends more Breath than it's worth. But utlimately, it's up to the player.

Defensive Stunts

Stunts can be done while defending, as well as while attacking; otherwise, the balance of the game falls strongly in the favor of whoever has the offense. 

For example: It turns out, that second guard was no slouch. When Tetsuo makes his diving sneak attack, the guard rolls Reflex (to dodge the blade) as well as Awareness (to notice the falling assassin), and Hand to Hand (to grab him by the wrists and throw him to the ground). He spends two points of Breath, and rolls all three skills; he gets a 4, a 6, and a 10. Despite his best efforts, the guard was successfully able to counter Tetsuo's death drop, and the two face off in melee.

Non Combat Stunts

Not all stunts deal with combat; any time a player is making a skill check, they can make that check into a stunt.

Example: After Tetsuo fails in his diving attack, he immediately launches into a grand speech about how he is a prison inspector from the capitol, and he was merely testing the alertness of the guards, and he is not all pleased with the conditions of the prison. Because he is supplimenting his outlandish lie with threats and intimidation, he spends a point of Breath and rolls a combined Deception/Bravado check. He gets a 3 on the Deception, but an 8 on the Bravado; the guard is suspicious of his story, but too worried about his career to call out his attacker.

A Magician Never Does the Same Trick Twice

Because Stunts exist largely to facilitate dynamic gameplay, the same Stunt cannot be used twice in the same scene. Going off our above example, after assassinating the first two guards, Devil in the Wind could not do another Melee/Stealth to stab a third guard in the back. However, if he were to instead strangle the third guard with his grappling hook, he could again derive the bonus, even though this is another Melee/Stealth stunt, as he is using a different weapon and a different tactic.

Primary Skills and Secondary Skills

When performing a stunt, their will typically be a primary skill, and one or more secondary skills. Compare the difference between using a smoke bomb to vanish from view, and throwing a grenade at an unsuspecting foe from cover. Both involve the Stealth and Explosives skills, but in the first, the Explosives are being used to facilitate the goal of the Stealth check (vanishing from sight), and in the second, Stealth is being used to facilitate the the goal of the Explosives check (blowing someone up).

Stunts and Equipment

Sometimes, a stunt will involve multiple pieces of equipment. Say, a Melee/Piloting drive-by attack from the back an autocycle, or a Melee/Sharpshooting stabbing someone with a bayonet while also stabbing them. Equipment bonuses apply to their relevant skills; so for the first stunt, the Speed of the Autocycle would be added onto the Piloting check, and the Offense of the weapon would be added to the Melee.

The only place it gets tricky is when calculating damage with combined weapon attacks. With the Bayonet stab, do I use the damage of the Bayonet or the Rifle? The answer is, whichever yields the higher total result. If you roll an 8 Melee and a 7 sharpshooting, but the bayonet only has a +1 damage bonus (total 9) while the rifle has a +3 damage bonus (total 10), the attack would deal 10 points of damage.

Similarly, armor penalties apply to relevant skills. If you make a combined Sharpshooting/Acrobatics roll to dive through a window while shooting a bow and arrow while wearing heavy armor, the armor penalty would apply to the Acrobatics roll, but not the Sharpshooting.


Some skills are natural pairings, and a character may wish to specialize in them. To this end, they may learn Techniques. A technique is a pre-dertimined pairing of skills that may be used for combined stunts without paying the Breath cost. Techniques may be learned in place of Talents, using the characters eight Talent slots at character creation. A list of example Techniques is presented in the Talent section.

For example, Tetsuo's player realizes that he is probably going to be sneaking and stabbing in conjuction frequently for combined Melee/Stealth stunts. He takes Melee/Stealth as a Technique, and calls the maneuver "Mantis Strikes from Shadows", because Chinese martial arts are little without their flamboyant nomenclature.

Damage Edit

When a character is struck in combat, they take damage. Damage has two effects: a wounding effect and a stunning effect. firstly, it inflicts wounds that slow a character down; everything is harder to do with a broken leg, whether it's fire a gun or fix an engine. Secondly, it can stun or debilitate characters, removing their capacity to act.

When dealing damage, the attacker rolls his Damage coins and the defender rolls Fortitude. Based on the difference in the results and the type of damage being inflicted, the defender takes wounds of varying degrees.

Wounds: For every three points of damage inflicted, the target suffers a wound. The extent of the wound is based solely on the amount of damage dealt, irrespective of the target's fortitude, according to the following table:


Wound type




No penalty

1 to 3


-1 penalty to all throws

4 to 6


-2 penalty to all throws

7 to 9


-3 penalty to all throws

10 or more


-4 penalty to all throws

A character who's wound penalty exceeds his total Fortitude is considered disabled, too wounded to keep fighting.

Example: One-Eyed Ogre is being shot at by the Golden Bell gang. One bullet strikes him for three coins of damage, inflicting a light wound, and a second hits him for five points of damage, inflicting a moderate wound. As a result of his cumulative wounds, he now suffers -3 to all throws, until he receives medical attention.

Stunning: Whenever a character takes damage, he rolls a Fortitude check opposed by the amount of damage he took. character who has failed his Fortitude check is stunned for the next round, still capable of defending himself but unable to take action as he picks himself up off the ground or attempts to halt the bleeding from his wounds. However, by spending a point of Breath, a stunned character may gather himself and take a single action. A character who's Fortitude check is less than half the damage dealt is disabled, as described below.

Damage Effect
Less than Fortitude Result No effect
Greater than Fortitude Result Target Stunned
Greater than twice Fortitude Result Target Disabled

Is in all cases, ties are decided by flipping a coin.

Example: One-Eyed Ogre throws his Fortitude coins, getting a four and a three. He is not stunned by the first bullet, but he is stunned by the second. Gritting his teeth to fight through the pain, he spends a point of Breath to take an action, leveling his own firearm to shoot back at his foes.

Disabled: A character can be disabled in two ways: by critically failing a Fortitude check, or by accumulated wounds. If the character's fortitude is equal to or less than half of the damage dealt (for example, rolling a four after eight coins of damage have been inflicted), he is disabled. Additionally, if a character's total wound penalties equals their total Fortitude (ie, if someone has a -5 due to wounds and has 5 total Fortitude), they are also disabled.

A disabled character has been critically injured, knocked unconscious, or slain, and is no longer capable of action. The lethality of the disabling blow is a narrative decision, dependent on the intent of the one dealing the blow. Thus, whether an NPC is shot dead or merely crippled by the blow but still breathing depends on whether or not the gunman was shooting to kill.

Some weapons deal bonus damage that only applies to stunning or wounding. In this case, these bonus coins should be rolled separately, or using a different type of coin from the primary damage.

Example: One-Eyed Ogre's strikes his foe for seven coins of damage. The Golden Bell member throws fortitude, and only gets three successes. He is disabled, and may be dying.

As a rule, the Narrator should not kill PC's. Player character's who are disabled in combat are critically wounded and may need immediate medical attention, but flat-out killing the players should only be done with prior planning of the player and the narrator together, as a way to advance the story.

Special Damage typesEdit


When a character has been damaged with a incendiary attack (such as a flaming sword or an incendiary grenade), they are On Fire. A character who is on fire takes damage equal to the successes of initial attack every round they continue to be on fire, at the end of their round. A character who has been lit on fire may attempt to "Stop, Drop, and Roll" to extinguish themselves via making an Evasion check on their round as a movement action. The difficulty of the Evasion check is the same as the damage of the fire. Even they fail, the damage is reduced by a number equal to the successes of the Evasion check.

Unless specifically noted, armor does not protect against fire attacks.

Example: Dragon's Breath has shot One-Eyed Ogre with a flamethrower: he rolls ten coins of damage, and gets six successes, giving One-Eyed Ogre six points of fire damage. On his round, One-Eyed Ogre decides to keep fighting, ignoring the flames. Dragon's Breath throws six coins, and get's four successes; One-Eyed Ogre takes another four points of damage from the continued burning of the initial attack.

On One-Eyed Ogre's next round, he decides to stop fighting his foe and put himself out; he rolls his Evasion check, but only scores two successes. He has doused the flames, but not entirely; at the end of his round, he'll take two coins of damage from the continued burning. With his remaining action, he shoots Dragon's Breath with his hand cannon, still mad about being lit on fire.


Poison's delivered via gasses or the blades of edged weapons takes time to seep into a target's system before taking effect. Poison's deal damage the round after they are administered. Thus, the target gets one round of unimpeded action before the poison sets in.

Poisons delivered directly via hypodermic needles, conversely, take effect immediately.

Poisons delivered via food and drink typically take several minutes to several hours to take effect, depending on the intent of the poisoner.

Called Shots Edit

 There are a variety of maneuvers which can target a subject's limbs, such as hand to hand joint breaks, targeted shots with weapons, or poison's that effect vision. For gameplay, purposes, we have broken down targeted injuries to three types: disabled arms, disabled legs, and blindness. The penalties are as follows:

Disabled Arm: The target has lost use of one arm, either via muscles being severed, joints being dislocated, paralytic neurotoxins, acupressure meridians being blocked, or some other method. With a disabled arm, the target suffers a -2 penalty to the following skills: Hand to Hand, Melee, Sharpshooting, Explosives, Sleight of Hand, Acrobatics, Athletics, Engineering, Medicine. Two-handed weapons can still be used one-handed, though they incur an additional -2 penalty.

A target who has lost use of both arms may be incapable of many actions, such as wielding weaponry or piloting motor vehicles.

Additionally, any objects that were being held with the targeted limb are automatically dropped (thus, a cut to the sword hand causes a warrior to drop his sword).

In some cases the Narrator may wave the penalty (ie, an explosives check to set a bomb rather to throw a grenade), or add to other skills (ie, a piloting check for a vehicle primary operated with the hands).

Disabled Leg: The target has lost use of one leg, either via muscles being severed, joints being dislocated, paralytic neurotoxins, acupressure meridians being blocked, or some other method. The target suffers a -3 penalty to the following skills: Hand to Hand, Melee, Evasion, Initiative, Stealth, Acrobatics, Athletics.

A target who has lost the use of both legs will be rendered incapable of many actions, such as running or jumping.

In some cases the Narrator may wave the penalty (ie, a Stealth check to stay hidden rather than to sneak or find a hiding place) or add it to other skills (such as a piloting check for a vehicle with elaborate foot pedals).

Blinded: The target has lost partial use of their vision, either via bright flashes of light, chemical weapons, or being struck in the eyes. A target who has been blinded suffers a -4 penalty to the following skills: Sharpshooting, Explosives, Initiative, Awareness, Piloting.

Characters who have been struck by blinding attacks are still considered to have rudimentary ability to locate foes and obstacles, either via limited vision or compensating with other senses.

When making a called shot, one is sacrificing stopping power in exchange for more extreme wound penalties. Thus, the stun damage table now looks like this:

Damage Effect
Less than Fortitude Result No effect
Greater than Fortitude Result Limb Disabled
Greater than twice Fortitude Result Limb Disabled and Target Stunned

Wound penalties are still accumulated as per normal.

Example: Doctor Hu is battling his arch nemesis, Doctor Yue. Yue has repeated slid through his grasp, and Hu wants to slow him down. He traps one foot behind his own and stomps down on the villain's knee, using his combined knowledge of kung fu and medicine to to snap the joint. Hu rolls Hand to Hand, getting seven successes, and Yue rolls evasion, getting only five. The blow lands. Doctor Hu rolls his damage, getting eight successes. Yue rolls Fortitude, getting only three. As the result is less than half of Hu's damage, Yue is both maimed and stunned. Not only does Hu inflict a Severe Wound, he also leaves Yue with a broken leg, and the pain of it is such that Yue loses his next action.

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