Journey System (Formerly Heresy's Basic Storytelling System)

Thread Starter - Word Associaton

Journey System
These rules are intended to be adaptable to any universe.
[Core Mechanic]  
All Actions that require effort or would have a consequence for failure are made with 1d10.
Every check has a “difficulty” which is the number needed to successfully accomplish the task being attempted. WHile these are always decided by the GM, some examples are as follows:  
TRIVIAL (2): Remember the name of your mayor.  
EASY (4): Push open a stuck door that is not locked or barred.  
NORMAL (6): March for a day without having to stop.  
HARD (8): Remember the eye color of someone you’ve only seen once, and briefly.  
CHALLENGING (10): Play a piece of complicated music without error on an instrument with which you are familiar.  
PUNISHING (12): Maneuver a vehicle through a heavily bombarded warzone without being hit.  
BRUTAL (14): Balance on a high wire.  
UNBELIEVABLE (16): Lift a heavy crashed cart off of a trapped man which it is crushing.  
INSANE (18): Survive falling off a very high cliff without protection.  
HERCULEAN (20): Run at a full sprint for 20 miles without stopping or tiring.  
NIGH IMPOSSIBLE (22): Magically pull a city and its inhabitants out of the prime material plane after a week of preparation.
Whenever your action is opposed by a person, rather than an event or a circumstance, both parties roll, instead of there being a fixed chance of success.  
Whichever party rolls higher has a success. If both parties receive the same result, the situation remains unchanged (which means that, yes, an attacker who gets the same roll as a defender misses.)
A save is similar to a check, but whereas a check is active, a Save is reactive, and usually defensive. Rolling to dodge or parry or resist an effect is a save. Nearly all toughness rolls are saves.
Whenever a check or a challenge is made, certain circumstances might cause a character to have a significantly better (or worse) chance at succeeding in the action. In these cases, the character receives a modifier. This is a number which they either add or subract from their roll.  
A modifier which adds is called a bonus, and a modifier which subtracts is called a penalty.
Degrees of Success and Degrees of Failure:  
When a character succeeds or fails either a challenge or a check, they may do significantly better than needed, or significantly worse. The GM may, and should reward multiple degrees of success, wherever possible, and punish multiple degrees of failure with equal glee. Every number higher or lower than the required number is one degree of success/failure.
Extended Checks and Challenges:  
Some actions may take more effort and longer concentration than an ordinary action. In these cases, a character may need to roll multiple successes over a period of time. When a character is making an extended check he must focus his attention on it until his task is completed. If a character abandons an extended check, except in rare cases, they must start from the beginning again. Examples of Extended Checks and Challenges include the casting of long rituals, duels and battles against powerful opponents or many enemies, or doing complex repair work on a machine.
Luck Check  
When something is completely based upon chance, a Luck Check should be made. This is a completely unmodified roll of d10, with the GM deciding the difficulty.
[Character Creation]
To create a character, follow the following steps:  
  1. Choose Attributes  
  2. Choose Focuses  
  3. Choose Flukes
    These are traits which measure how well a character holds up in generally challenging situations.  
    There are several levels for each attribute, each of which provides a bonus or penalty to all checks and challenges made with that attribute:  
    HOPELESS (-5): The character’s ability is worse than nearly everyone else’s.  
    AWFUL (-3): The character’s ability is significantly worse than most people’s.  
    WEAK (-1): The character’s ability is worse than most people’s.  
    ORDINARY (0): The character is neither particularly strong in an attribute or particularly weak.  
    STRONG (1): The character has abilities which exceed most people’s.  
    PRODIGIOUS (3): The character has abilities which are significantly better than most people’s.  
    ASTONISHING (5): The character’s ability is better than nearly everyone’s.
    Attribute Descriptions:  
    TOUGHNESS: How well a character can stand up to physical and mental punishment.  
    SOCIAL: How good a character is at understanding living things, how good at interacting with them, and how magnetic their personality is.  
    STRENGTH: How powerful a character’s muscles are.  
    DEXTERITY: How easily a character can move their body, and how much control they have over their body.  
    INTELLECT: How good a character is at remembering, identifying, and learning things.  
    PRESENCE: How aware of their surroundings a character is, and how quick-thinking.
    EXAMPLE ATTRIBUTES: Sergeant Ceglan Varl is well-known for being sociable and witty, as well as being a tough bastard. However, he is also somewhat clumsy, and a bit thuggish. He has STRONG Social and Presence, and PRODIGIOUS Toughness, and WEAK Dexterity and Intelligence.
    Focuses represent the abilities which a character has trained, and usually trains regularly. Every focus has a level, and an association with an attribute. When a check, challenge, or save is made that the focus applies to, its level will add a modifier, in addition to the existing modifier for its related attribute.  
    AMATEUR: A character has taken an unprofessional interest in this focus, and has fairly little expertise. They get +1 to any rolls in which they are an AMATEUR.  
    TRAINED: A character has the necessary knowledge, but may not yet be sure of his ability in his focus, and still has room for improvement. They get +2 to any roll in which they are TRAINED.  
    FAMILIAR: A character knows what he is doing in his focus, and is fairly confident. They get +3 to any roll in which they are FAMILIAR.  
    CONFIDENT: A character is practiced and comfortable with their focus. They get +4 any roll in which they are CONFIDENT.  
    WIZARD: This character has nearly a lifetime of experience in their focus, or is so good it seems like they must. They get +5 to any roll in which they are a WIZARD.
    Subdisciplines: In some cases, a player may wish to or must specify that their character is trained in a particular subdiscipline, rather than being good at the overall focus. In such a case, they list the focus on their character sheet as Focus (Subdiscipline). If a character is focused in a particular subdiscipline, they gain +1 to checks which use that subdiscipline, and -1 to other checks using that focus. However, this penalty does not stack, so if a character is trained in two subdisciplines of a focus, they receive the additional +1 to both focuses, and still only receive a -1 penalty for checks outside that subdiscipline.
    Focus Descriptions:
    Courage: A character’s ability to react well in the face of terror.  
    Grit: A character’s ability to continue functioning in spite of pain and injury.  
    Stamina: A character’s ability to keep going in spite of fatigue and exhaustion.  
    Commerce: A character’s ability to barter and trade.  
    Intrigue: A character’s ability to fool others with their behavior and speech, and notice the deceptions of others.  
    Charm: A character’s ability to endear others to them.  
    Persuade: A character’s ability to convince others of their position.  
    Intimidate: A character’s ability to inspire fear or coerce another.  
    Handle Animal: A character’s ability to work with beasts and control them.  
    Gather Information: A character’s ability to learn information from gossip and casual conversation.  
    Leadership: A character’s ability to inspire and command followers.  
    Athletics: A character’s ability to run, jump, swim, and throw.  
    Demolish: A character’s ability to properly and safely break or destroy hard objects.  
    Heave: A character’s ability in lifting and moving heavy objects.  
    Fight: A character’s ability in hand to hand combat. There are numerous subdisciplines of fighting, but the most common are listed here: Unarmed, Blade Weapon, Blunt Weapon, Piercing Weapon, Power Weapon  
    Acrobatics: A character’s ability to tumble, leap, dodge, roll, and flip.  
    Stealth: A character’s ability to move quickly and quietly.  
    Deftness: A character’s ability to work cleverly with their hands.  
    Operate: A character’s ability to use a complex tool or instrument.  
    Drive: A character’s ability to control a vehicle. There are numerous modes of transportation, but the most common are as follows. Riding Animal, Automobile, Locomotive, Aeroplane, Airship, Steamship, Voidship.  
    Aim: A character’s ability in ranged combat. There are numerous disciplines, but the most common are as follows. Projectile Weapon, Bullet Weapon, Ray Weapon, Thrown Weapon.  
    Common Lore: A character’s knowledge of a subject, typically one available from easily accessible sources. Common subdisciplines are as follows: Geography, Politics, Culture, Races, Beasts, Plants  
    Scholastic Lore: A character’s knowledge of a subject which typically requires formal training. Common Subdisciplines are as follows. Mathematics, Classical History, Philosophy, The High Sciences, The Low Sciences, Aetherology, The Arts.  
    Weird Lore: A character’s knowledge of obscure, occult, or forbidden information. Common (or uncommon as the case may be) subdisciplines are as follows. Divine, Arcane, Spirits and Fey, Cults and Secret Societies.  
    Search: A character’s ability to conduct an ordered investigation.  
    Logic: A character’s ability to draw conclusions from information, and solve puzzles.  
    Medical: A character’s ability to treat and care for the injured or sick.  
    Profession: A character’s ability to do a job which will earn them money on a day by day basis.  
    Spellcraft: A character’s ability to craft and cast spells, and use magic.  
    Notice: A character’s ability to spot details, hear quiet sounds, and smell or taste small differences in the environment.  
    Navigate: A character’s ability to find his way using navigational tools, his senses and the environment.  
    Arcaniscience: A character’s ability to sense magic and distinguish between different types.  
    Survival: A character’s ability to find food and shelter and track things in uninhabited places.
    NOTE: Characters who are almost certainly going to be involved in combat ought to take at least one Fight or Aim Focus. For more cerebral parties (i.e. Mystery solvers) this might be one to three members. For more down and dirty parties, this could potentially be every character.
    EXAMPLE FOCUSES: Varl is a notorious gamer, and is effortlessly charming. As well, he is a decent shot with a lasgun, and can hold himself up in a fight.  
    He is FAMILIAR with the Logic, Charm, and Fight focuses, and TRAINED in the Aim focus. He has an AMATEUR interest in the Commerce, Operate (Augmetics), and Profession (Woodcutting) focuses.
    These are features which are more of an “on-off” setting - either a character has them, or he hasn’t.  
    Whether a fluke is a disorder, a single “schtick” or merely an unusual but striking attribute (like being adopted), they typically provide either some sort of nasty disadvantage, or enjoyable perk to a character in situations.  
    Most flukes provide a situational modifier, and are usually single tricks which a character is capable of replicating without much effort. As such, they are usually triggered by an event or a circumstance.
    Alert: This character is constantly tensed for surprises. He receives a +3 bonus to Saves made for quick reaction.  
    Disinterested: This character has no hobbies. They may not take any focuses as an amateur.  
    Easily Distracted: This character must make a PRESENCE test (difficulty determined by the GM) in order to focus on any task which they do not have interest in.  
    Fascinated: This character learns a lot at random. They may choose three additional focuses in which to be to be AMATEUR.  
    Freakish Loner: This character hates being near others. He receives a -2 penalty to all checks and challenges while he is in adjacency with any individual.  
    Hide in Plain Sight: This character is good at disappearing suddenly. If they are not being observed by someone looking for them, on a successful NORMAL DEXTERITY check, they hide and anyone searching for them must succeed an extended search check (Three successful CHALLENGING) to find them.  
    Lacks Social Empathy: In spite of at least understanding social activities, this character has no interest in other people, and has a very difficult time relating to others. Whenever this character (who must have a SOCIAL of at least STRONG) attempts a roll which relies on relating to people (CHARM, some DECEIVE checks, most COMMERCE checks), they receive a -3 penalty.  
    Lead Legs: This character has poor reaction time. They receive a -3 penalty to Saves made for quick reaction.  
    Liar: This character suffers no guilt from deceiving. They may substitute their PRESENCE for their SOCIAL when rolling to deceive another.  
    Opportunist Attacker: This character is excellent at ganging up on enemies. If there is at least one friendly combatant adjacent to an enemy this character is attacking, the character may reroll an unsatisfactory result.  
    Arcane Furnace: This character’s soul burns with terrifying magical energies. He gains a +3 whenever making a spellcraft check involving fire.  
    Uncanny Dodge: This character has insane luck while being shot at. The first ranged attack made against this character in an encounter automatically misses them. On succeeding a NORMAL PRESENCE check, they are alerted to the location of their shooter.  
    Valor: This character is unusually brave. He always receives +3 to Courage checks.
    EXAMPLE FLUKE: Augmetics: Ceglan Varl lost an arm in the war, and it has been replaced with a mechanical arm and shoulder. He gains a +1 to all Heave checks, Atheltics checks which involve throwing, and Fight checks, but gets a -1 to any Dexterity check which requires he use his hands. Hardened: Varl is completely dauntless. He gains a +3 to all courage checks made against supernatural sources.
    EXAMPLE CHECK: Sergeant Varl is confronted by a Bloodthirster of Khorne, a beast so terrifying that he must succeed an INSANE (18) check or run screaming in terror. Varl applies Toughness, as he’ll need all his willpower to beat this, for a +3 bonus. Next, he applies his focuses - he isn’t trained in the Courage focus, which is what he’d need, so no bonus. However, his Hardened fluke gives him +3 against supernatural terrors, so he can add that as well. He also holds a GRUESOME TALISMAN on his person, which gives him a further +2. Finally, Varl is in front of his whole platoon, who will be willing to back him up, though it’ll be a hard battle against a bloodthirster. The GM gives him another +3 circumstancial bonus, as more than a couple dozen men on your side can be quite the boon for courage. Altogether this adds up to a +11 bonus, meaning he’ll need to roll a 7 or higher to succeed.
    As characters take wounds, they typically become less able. These damage levels should be “awarded” (and removed) at the GM’s discretion.
    Unwounded: The character has taken no physical damage, and is in the best health they can be, as far as cuts and smashes are concerned.  
    Bloodied: The character has taken some physical damage, but they are well enough to keep fighting. They get -1 to all rolls.  
    Battered: The character has taken much physical damage, and is in bad condition – they may have a nasty wound, have taken a blow from a very heavy object, or may have a wound or two from which they are bleeding. They may suffer ill effects if they are not treated for their wounds. They get -2 to all rolls.  
    Critical: This character has taken profuse physical damage, and is probably bleeding heavily from multiple wounds, heavily bruised, and potentially with a broken bone or two. Without immediate medical assistance, they will succumb to their wounds. The character gets -4 to all rolls.  
    Dying: This character is so badly damaged that they lie dying. Without appropriate first aid and intensive care, they will die. The character may not make any roll that is not a save, and they do not receive focus bonuses.
    EXAMPLE: In battle against a horde of cultists, Varl fails his fight check, and is hit hard. He THEN badly fails a grit check, taking heavy damage, and becomes Battered. Even so, his team manages to win. He goes to visit Doc Dorden, who succeeds at a Medical check, and manages to heal him back to Bloodied condition.
    As characters expend energy, they grow more tired and less able to function. As damage, levels of Fatigue should be increased and removed at the GM’s discretion.
    Fresh: This character has not exerted himself strenuously enough for it to affect him negatively. He suffers no penalties.  
    Taxed: This character is straining himself. He may be experiencing some discomfort, and is probably sweating lightly. Perhaps he has spent the day doing a task which didn’t require very much effort, but tired him slightly anyway. He receives a -1 to all checks.  
    Winded: This character is tiring himself out, and would benefit from rest. He may be out of breath, and is probably experiencing discomfort in the parts of his body that he has been using. Or, he may have been working all day at a moderately difficult task. He receives a -2 penalty to all checks.  
    Exhausted: This character is on the verge of collapse, and should rest immediately. Perhaps he can barely breathe enough to stay up, and his muscles are burning for a rest. Perhaps he has merely been doing hard work all day long and his body cannot stay awake much longer. Either way, he receives a -3 penalty to all checks.  
    Unconscious: The character has fallen asleep. Perhaps he is resting naturally after a day’s work – alternatively, he may have collapsed, out of energy, his body refusing to go any further. Either way, the character cannot make any roll that is not a save, and receives no focus bonuses.
    EXAMPLE: Varl has to climb a high cliff by hand, a task which even his augmetic arm might not be up to. He fails his Stamina check, in spite of his hardy nature, and is Winded by the time he reaches the top. The rest of the day is uneventful, and the next morning he wakes up Fresh.
Thread Starter - Word Associaton

Updated to v1.2
Changed Dexterity Description slightly, and put Social next to Toughness for thematic purposes. Added Attribute Categories for thematic purposes.
Thread Starter - Word Associaton

Updated to v1.3
Got rid of the Combat System the way I had it. It felt clunky, and not quite as free-form as the rest of the system. Combat will still be play by play, but not quite as structured. Probably will keep turns.
Thread Starter - Word Associaton

Updated to v1.7
Changed Subdisciplines and Core Mechanic. You now roll 1d10 instead of 2d6, and subdisciplines now give a specific bonus and a general penalty, and are optional for all focuses that offer them.
Thread Starter - Word Associaton

Updated to v1.10
Elaborated on Subdisciplines for clarity, renamed Deceive skill to Intriuge, removed STANDARD character creation rules, for refurbishing.
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