Adventuring is the heart of SagaBorn. Venturing into the unknown is exciting and rewarding. The goal of Sagaborn is for the StoryGuide to lead the group into a rich and fulfilling quest and story. In the following chapter, we outline some of the basic ideas and rules for the hero’s journey.
There are two movement scales, as follows:
- Tactical, for combat, measured in feet per round.
- Overland, for getting from place to place, measured in miles per hour or miles per day.
Tactical movement takes place during combat. It is represented by 5’5×5’ “squares.” It is detailed more in the Combat Chapter.
Long Range Overland Movement
|One Day (Overland)||Speed|
|15 ft||20 ft||30 ft||40 ft||50 ft||60 ft|
|Walk (On a flat road)||12 mi||16 mi||24 mi||32 mi||36 mi||45 mi|
|Walk (Trail, hilly, or mountainous)||9 mi||12 mi||18 mi||24 mi||30 mi||36 mi|
|Walk (Difficult terrain: no path, steep, swamp)||6 mi||9 mi||12 mi||18 mi||24 mi||30 mi|
|One Hour (Overland)||Speed|
|15 ft||20 ft||30 ft||40 ft||50 ft||60 ft|
|Walk (On a flat road)||1.5 mi||2 mi||3 mi||4 mi||5 mi||6 mi|
|Jog (On a flat road)||3 mi||4 mi||6 mi||8 mi||10 mi||12 mi|
|Walk (Trail, hilly, or mountainous) 75%||1 mi||1.5 mi||2 mi||3 mi||3.5 mi||4.5 mi|
|Walk (Difficult terrain: no path, steep, swamp) 50%||0.75 mi||1 mi||1.5 mi||2 mi||2.5 mi||3 mi|
Distances are not strict in SagaBorn. Hiking times and travel depend very much on the character and land. Maps are often inaccurate, as well, so the SG can lengthen or shorten travel times to work with the story.
Mounts and Vehicles
|Mounts||Speed||Per Hour||Per Day|
|Light Horse, Sarap||60 ft||6 mph||45 mi|
|Heavy Horse, Light Warhorse, Thundrom||50 ft||5 mph||36 mi|
|Dog, Heavy Warhorse, Pony||40 ft||4 mph||32 mi|
|Mule, Orillot||30 ft||3 mph||24 mi|
|Ank||20 ft||2 mph||16 mi|
|Vehicles||Per Hour||Per Day|
|Cart||2 mph||16 mi|
|Sailing Ship||2 mph||48 mi|
|Galley||4 mph||96 mi|
A character’s Strength determines their Carry Capacity. This is how much equipment and goods a character can carry before becoming encumbered. Characters who are encumbered with a Medium or Heavy Load have their Movement and Dexterity Bonus limited.
Carry Capacity Chart
|Strength||Light Load||Medium Load||Heavy Load||Lift over Head||Lift off ground||Push or drag|
|-2||23 lb or less||24-46 lb||47-70 lb||70 lb||140 lb||350 lb|
|-1||30 lb or less||31-60 lb||61-90 lb||90 lb||180 lb||450 lb|
|0||38 lb or less||39-76 lb||77-115 lb||115 lb||230 lb||575 lb|
|+1||50 lb or less||51-100 lb||101-150 lb||150 lb||300 lb||750 lb|
|+2||66 lb or less||67-133 lb||134-200 lb||200 lb||400 lb||1000 lb|
|+3||86 lb or less||87-173 lb||174-260 lb||260 lb||520 lb||1300 lb|
|+4||116 lb or less||117-233 lb||234-350 lb||350 lb||700 lb||1750 lb|
|+5||133 lb or less||134-266 lb||267-400 lb||400 lb||800 lb||2000 lb|
|Load||Max Dex Bonus||Speed|
As long as you move 10’ on foot before you jump, you may jump a number of feet equal to Str + Jump bonus.
|Base Movement||Jump Bonus|
In some circumstances, your SG might allow you to make an Athletics skill check to jump farther than you normally can, or to overcome an obstacle.
You can make a vertical jump that is equal to 3 plus your Str as long as you move 10’ on foot before you jump. A standing high jump is only half that height. In some circumstances, your SG might allow you to make a Athletics skill check to jump higher than you normally can.
When attempting to reach an elevated space with your hands, you may reach as high as 1.5 x your character’s height + your jump height.
A character can climb a rough vertical surface at 5 ft. per round. The SG may adjust this DC to match the specific circumstances of the climbing surface.
|ClimbDC||Example Surface or Activity|
|0||A slope too steep to walk up; a knotted rope with a wall to brace against.|
|5||A rope with a wall to brace against; a knotted rope; a rope affected by the rope trick spell.|
|10||A surface with ledges to hold onto and stand on, such as a very rough wall or a ship’s rigging.|
|15||Any surface with adequate handholds and footholds (natural or artificial), such as a very rough rock surface or a tree, an unknotted rope, or pulling yourself up when dangling by your hands.|
|20||An uneven surface with narrow handholds and footholds, such as a typical wall in a dungeon or ruins.|
|25||A moderately rough surface, such as a natural rock wall or a brick wall.|
|25||An overhang or ceiling with handholds but no footholds.|
Swimming requires a DC10 Athletics check. On success, a character can swim at one quarter their movement speed as a Move Action. If they fail, they do not move. If they roll a 1, they go underwater. On their next action, a successful swim check will negate going underwater.
A character can hold their breath for a number of minutes equal to their Con score. After that time, a character begins to drown and takes 1d8 HP per round.
Difficult circumstances can add to the DC, and swimming for long periods of time should require another Endurance save starting at DC10 and increasing by 2 with each required roll.
A skill challenge is a narrative way to handle a non-combat encounter and allows the players to use their character’s skills to overcome obstacles. It can be used as a way to describe traveling, handling large social encounters, or events like a chase scene.
The SG will set a DC, and the players must roll skill checks to beat the DC. The SG will choose a certain number of skill rolls needed to overcome the challenge. The resulting numbers of successes and failures define the outcome of the challenge. More successes mean the players have an easier time with the encounter, and more failures mean a harder encounter.
When making a skill challenge check, no player can go twice in a row, and no player can use the skills already used, until at least 3 separate skills have been used. A player must explain how that skill is used to overcome the challenge.
- Standard DC for a moderate skill challenge is DC 13-15
- A standard number of rolls is 3 or 5; choosing an odd number, so there is always a tiebreaker.
All adventurers must rest, gaining back health and mana based on the type of rest they get. An adventurer who does not get at least 4 hours of rest (2 for elves) within a 24-hour period becomes tired, and all rolls suffer a -1 penalty until a long rest is taken. An additional -1 penalty is accrued for each 24-hour period without full rest after the initial 24 hours.
Rest is considered 20% relaxation (sitting, reading, cooking, or uninterrupted watch, as examples) and 80% sleep.
Once per day, an adventurer can take a short rest, which takes one uninterrupted hour. They gain back HP equal to 1d6 + their level + their Con bonus after a short rest. A spellcaster gains back mana equal to their level.
An adventurer gains back HP equal to their HD + their Con bonus after 8 hours of rest. A spellcaster recovers all spent mana after a long rest.
Ailmaar is a level 5 fighter. After a long rest, he gains back 5d10 (his level and fighter class HD) +3 (his Con bonus).
An animal companion is more than a pet. It is a bonded creature that understands its companion. They can share thoughts, vision, and more.
Animal Companion Advancement
|Level||Base Attack Bonus (BAB)||Level Bonus*||Special|
|1st||+1||Starting HD (max HP for base creature), +1 Skill, +1 Talent, Natural Armor Bonus +1||Link|
|2nd||+2||+1 HD, +1 Skill|
|3rd||+3||+1 HD, +1 Talent, +1 natural armor bonus, +1 to Str and Dex||Evasion|
|4th||+4||+1 HD, +1 Skill|
|5th||+5||+1 HD, +1 Talent, +1 natural armor bonus||Share Vision|
|6th||+6||+1 HD, +1 Skill, +1 natural armor bonus, +1 to Str and Dex|
|7th||+7||+1 HD, +1 Skill, +1 Talent|
|8th||+8||+1 HD, +1 Skill, +1 Talent, +1 natural armor bonus, +1 to Str and Dex||Share Mind|
Link: There is a link between an animal companion and its partner. A player can suggest an action to their Animal Companion as a Free Action, and there is a favorable understanding and bond between the two.
Evasion: If an Animal Companion makes a successful Reflex save against an attack that deals half damage, it takes no damage.
Share Vision: The player can see through the eyes of their Animal Companion at will. There are no distance restrictions.
Share Mind: The player and companion share a strong mind link, and both gain a +4 bonus against mind-influencing spells and effects when the adventurer and the Animal Companion are within 100’ of each other.
Choosing your Animal Companion
Animal Companions are standard creatures. It is between the player and SG to find an appropriate one for your campaign. Animal Companions start with all the same stats as the base creature, save for those listed on the chart above (HD, base attack, saves, Skills, Talents, and natural armor bonus). An Animal Companion adds the Str/Dex bonus to its standard Str and Dex as it levels. It gains levels to match the player character’s level.
Suggested Animal Companions:
Bat, cat, dog, eagle, hawk, horse, kira, night cat, pseudodragon, owl, raven, snake, spider (tiny to medium), thundrom, vorg, wolf.
For stronger companions, the character must take the Advanced Animal Companion Talent.
Advanced Animal Companions have all the special abilities of the base creature, but use the base animal companions chart for HD, BAB, Skills, Talents, and natural armor.
Animal Companion Talents
Animal Companions can only have certain Talents. The following are base Talents:
Agile, Alertness, Blind Fight, Cleave, Dodge, Expanded critical, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Over-extended Attack, Parry, Power Attack, Powerful, Run, Sidestep, Stealthy, Survivalist, Tenacity, Weapon Dexterity, Whirlwind Attack
Leveling occurs at the discretion of the SG. While Challenge Ratings (CR) are used to aid the SG in gauging the difficulty of encounters, experience points are not used. Instead, levels are awarded after a number of challenging combat, environmental, and socially oriented encounters. The number of encounters is up to the SG, using the table below as a general guideline. The character’s Saga should also play a role in leveling (see “Adding to Your Saga” below).
|Character level||Number of encounters per level for advancement|
An SG may instead choose to level the characters at the end of an adventure arc, or after important milestones are reached.
An encounter is any scene where the characters actively make decisions, face challenges, roleplay, or have combat. This is intentionally loosely defined. The SG should have the players level at a rate that makes both groups happy.
We’ve found that most games with 3 hours of gameplay average four encounters per session. This means after level 5, it should take about six sessions to level. If you play long games weekly, this may seem very fast. If you play monthly, this can seem slow. That’s why we leave final decisions on leveling to the SG.
Hit Die (HD)
This is the type of die a player rolls to determine the amount of HP gained upon leveling.
Hit Points (HP)
A character gains max HP with each increase in level. The appropriate HD is rolled and the result is added to the previous total. A character also gains additional HP equal to their Con score at each level, as well as any class or level bonuses.
Example: Roe ascends to level 4 in the Archeon Class. The Archeon HD is a d10. A d10 is rolled, revealing an 8. Roe has a Con of +2. At level 4, archeons gain a class bonus of +2 HP. In total, Roe gains 12 HP.
Base Attack Bonus (BAB)
All character classes share the same BAB progression. A character’s BAB is the sum of current levels (in the case of a multi-class, the levels are added together).
As they level, characters gain abilities that make them extraordinary. Below is the chart of Heroic Abilities they receive as level bonuses. This information can also be found on the far right of all class level charts. In the case of a multi-class, use the sum of all class levels.
Heroic Abilities Chart
|1||Starting HD (Max),1st Legacy item, 10 Skill points, +2 Expertise, 2 Talent points|
|2||+1 HD, +1 HP, +1 Skill, +1 Expertise, Legacy items gain power|
|3||+1 HD, +1 Skill, 1 Talent, +1 Expertise|
|4||+1 HD, 2nd Legacy item, +1 Ability, +1 Skill, +1 Expertise, Legacy items gain power|
|5||+1 HD, +1 Skill, +1 Expertise|
|6||+1 HD, +1 Skill, 1 Talent point, +1 Expertise, Legacy items gain power|
|7||+1 HD, +1 Skill, 3rd Legacy item, +1 Expertise|
|8||+1 HD, +1 Skill, 1 Talent point, +1 Ability, +1 Expertise, Legacy items gain power|
Ability points: A character gains an additional ability point to spend at 4th and 8th levels.
Bonus Hit Point: A character gains +1 HP at level 2 in addition to any other HP gains from class features.
Legacy items: A character gains a new Legacy item (an item that grows in power with the character) at 1st, 4th, and 7th levels.
Skill points: A character receives 10 points to spend on Skills at level 1 and gains one point per level thereafter.
Talent points: A character receives 2 points to spend on Talent points at level 1 and gains an additional point at 3rd, 6th, and 8th level. If using Master Levels, additional Talent points are awarded.
Optional Master Levels
After level 8, the character is a master of their class, but may yet continue to grow by gaining Master Levels from 9 to 16.
As you level past level 8, class or spell-specific abilities no longer grow in power, but you gain more Talents and occasionally HP and Skill points.
Eley is Level 14. She gained 8 Levels in luminar and 6 Master Levels. When she casts Mage Bolt, she gains an additional Bolt per 2 caster levels up to Level 7, making the damage 4d4+4.
|Master Level||Bonuses||Encounters per level|
|9||+1 Talent point||24|
|10||+1 Talent point||24|
|11||+1 Talent point, +1 Skill point||24|
|12||+1 Bonus HD, +1 Talent point||24|
|13||+1 Talent point||24|
|14||+1 Talent point, +1 Skill point||24|
|15||+1 Talent point||24|
|16||+1 Bonus HD, +1 Skill point, +1 Talent point, Capstone Talent||24|
Bonus HD: A character gains 1d6+ Con bonus in HP.
By level 16, characters should “retire,” becoming NPCs of the world who have left their mark and may appear in future stories. Start a new saga! Make new characters!
An archeon can send his Spell Shield out to an ally within 30 ft.
All allies within 40 ft of the bard gain the bonus from their perform talent.
Once per encounter, a companion of the berserker can share their rage for 2 rounds.
A fighter can move to the aid of an ally within 20 ft as a free action.
Healing spells affect all allies within 30 ft.
All party companions gain your favored enemy and terrain bonuses.
As long as a companion of the rogue is within 20 ft of an intended target, the rogue has the ability to sneak attack them.
The wylder’s chaos wave does no damage to companions.
A character may level multiple classes on the same character but cannot choose multiple paths within the same class. You can be a fighter/rogue, but not a ranger/rogue.
Each time you level, you may apply it to whichever class you choose, adding that class’s HD, Skill advancement, and so on.
Character Level: is the total number of Levels a character has gained. Multiclass characters use the sum of all Class Levels. This is the number used for Level-based abilities (listed above in the Heroic Abilities Table).
Class Level: is the number of Levels an adventurer has in that particular class.
Hit Points (HP)
A character gains 1 HD upon gaining a new Level (specified in class descriptions). A character also gains their Con score in HP each level and any class or level HP bonuses.
Base Attack Bonus (BAB)
All character classes share the same BAB progression.
A multiclass character gains ability modifier increases based on Character Level, regardless of individual Class Levels.
When spells are affected by Level, it refers to the Mage Class Level, not the Character Level. So a Level 3 Ranger / Level 2 Wylder would be Level 2 for spell usage.
|Optional: Multiclassing Mages|
Most mages in Atheles begin their careers as wylders. Later, they might find training in the Arts and become a luminar.
When a wylder begins training as a luminar and has gained one Level, they can retroactively change their previous Levels as a wylder to luminar Levels.
When this happens, the character must accept both the benefits and consequences of the change, including an adjustment in HP.
Certain items gain power as the adventurer levels. These items are a part of the adventurer’s story. The famed sword, the lockpicks of luck, or the rope their mother gave them before they left home.
There are four types of Legacy items:
- Attack (up to 3)
- Defense (only 1 item allowed)
- Magical foci (only 1 item allowed)
- Wonderous item (up to 3)
Legacy items, while having magical abilities, do not detect as magic to spells or scrying.
Below are basic guidelines for Legacy items.
|Level||Advancement for Melee Weapons|
|2nd||Critical hit range: 19-20.|
|4th||+1 to one Legacy weapon. Weapon damages as if made of cold iron/magic.|
|6th||Critical hit range: 18-20.|
|8th||+2 to one legacy weapon. Weapon damages as if made of Tritium.|
|Level||Advancement for Ranged Weapons|
|2nd||Critical hit range: 19-20.|
|4th||+1 to one Legacy weapon, Ammo damages as if made of cold iron/magic.|
|6th||Critical hit range: 18-20.|
|8th||+2 to one legacy weapon. Ammo damages as if made of Tritium.|
|Level||Advancement for Armor|
|2nd||+1 to armor|
|4th||1 Damage Reduction (DR)|
|6th||Imbued with a tier 2 ability (see below)|
|8th||+2 to armor|
|Level||Advancement for Magic Focus Items (Usable Only by Mages)|
|2nd||Imbued with a 1 mana spell. (Buff spells self target only. No spells with dice pools.)|
|4th||Imbued with a 3 mana spell. (Buff spells self target only. No spells with dice pools.)|
|6th||Item can be called to its owner at any time. Imbued with a tier 2 ability (see below).|
|8th||Imbued with a 5 mana spell. (Buff spells self target only. No spells with dice pools.)|
|Level||Advancement for Wonderous items|
|2nd||Imbued with a 0 mana spell. Tier 1 ability or +1 to 1 skill.|
|4th||Imbued with a 1 mana utility spell or tier 2 ability (see below)|
|6th||Imbued with a Tier 3 ability (see below)|
|8th||Imbued with a 3 mana utility spell or tier 4 ability (see below)|
Gaining new Legacy items
On average, the SG should plan for each character to gain a new Legacy item at 1st, 4th, and 7th level. There are several options for doing this.
Option 1: An item the character has used in their adventures gains power, becoming a Legacy item.
Option 2: Legacy items are worked into the storyline by the SG so that each character gains one somewhere around 4th level. It could be an item taken from a foe they bested. Or maybe an ancient item unearthed from a long-forgotten horde.
Option 3: For characters who are training at a church, the mage tower, or under a guild, the Legacy item may be bestowed upon them by their teacher upon reaching a certain level of mastery. Within the storyline, this could require a test of skill or a quest of some sort and might be bestowed in a formal ceremony.
Option 4: Any item can become a Legacy item. The SG and players are free to come up with something entirely different so long as the character acquires an item. They should work together to define the powers of these items, and it fits into your story.
Tiered Legacy Item Abilities
Legacy items acquire abilities. You cannot stack the same ability, so be sure to choose multiple abilities as new Legacy items are acquired.
Example: Toryn’s Boots of Agility give him +1 to Initiative. When he gets another Legacy item, he cannot choose an Initiative bonus again because they will not stack. At later levels, he may give it +2 to Initiative, but that will override the +1 rather than adding to it. Beneficial changes in Legacy items should be worked out between player and SG.
1st Tier Abilities
+1 to Initiative
+1 to one of the following saves: Earth, Fire, Water, Ice, or Electricity
+2 to Heroic Actions for a specific Ability
2nd Tier Abilities
+2 to Initiative
+1 to a specific Skill expertise. Examples: sneak/hide, pick locks, swim, jump, climb.
+2 to one of the following saves: Earth, Fire, Water, Ice, or Electricity
Climb speed of half base speed
Swim speed of half base speed
3rd Tier Abilities
+3 to Initiative
+3 to a specific Skill use. Examples: sneak/hide, pick locks, swim, jump, climb
+10 ft. to movement speed
Climb speed equal to base speed
Swim speed equal to base speed
Warns of a specific danger, ex: ambushes or traps
4th Tier Abilities
+1 to an Ability
+4 to Initiative
Half damage from: (Choose one) Earth, Fire, Water, Ice, or Electricity
Regeneration: 1 HP per round unless damaged by fire or acid
Adding to your Saga
After each adventure, the players retell their most heroic moment, which is added to their Saga. It is up to the SG to determine Level advancement, but a player should add a line to their Saga for each level.
The Saga is the story of each character within the storyline the SG has crafted. What the heroes do within that storyline is what makes them legendary. A Saga could be more than just heroic battles. It could be a fumble so awkward that it is miraculous that anyone survived. Or the time a silver tongue was more powerful than a sword in saving the party from certain doom. Your Saga is what makes this your game.
When a character does something amazing, succeeds or fails at a daring Heroic Action, or makes the other people at the table gasp in awe, the SG may award them a Saga point.
Saga Points can be used to adjust any dice roll. You can use them to fix that natural one you rolled, or adjust a low damage roll. You can spend it to help another player (if they accept the reroll). It can also be used to adjust a foes roll as well. The player spending the Saga Point can determine which of the two dice rolls is the one that counts.
A player always starts a game session with at least 1 Saga point.
In SagaBorn, a combat turn may consist of up to 4 actions of these types (in any order, or sometimes simultaneously):
- 1 Move Action
- 1 Standard Action
- 2 Free Actions
- 1 Full Round Action
- Heroic Action
- Interact with an object or person
- Cast a spell
- Heroic action
- Interact with an object or person
- Skill Check
- Say, shout, or whisper something
- Switch weapons
- Other quick actions specified under Talents and Spells
Full Round Action:
- Put out a fire
- Difficult spells and spellcasting abilities
- Use a healing salve
A gnoll busts through the dungeon door brandishing a wicked short sword. Ruhm pulls his great axe free from its sheath. Both roll Initiative. Ruhm rolls 14+3 and the gnoll rolls 8+2. Ruhm goes first. The gnoll is 15’ away, so Ruhm uses his Move Action to get within melee distance. He uses a Standard Action to attack with his great axe and rolls 18+4 for a total of 22. The gnoll’s Armor Class is 15, so this is a hit. He rolls 11 damage, which is enough to disable the gnoll before it even has a chance to attack.
Example (Heroic Action):
Perren sees Ratty run for the tavern door. Perren bursts into action (on his Initiative) and uses his Move Action to run 30’ to Ratty. He then uses a Heroic Action (which is a Free Action) to try to pin him against the wall. He rolls 9 + 4 for his Dex, and Ratty rolls 8 + 3 for his Str. Perren wins and Ratty is Grappled. Ratty then uses another Free Action to yell “I got him, he was trying to escape!” Perren’s turn is now over.
Attack: See melee and ranged attacks.
Base Attack Bonus (BAB): The bonus added to your d20 attack roll.
Critical Hit: When a natural 20 is rolled in a combat or magical attack, all damage is doubled. You roll your damage dice twice, with all applicable bonuses.
Damage: Damage is based on the weapon. Melee weapons, thrown weapons, and compound bows add a character’s Str modifier.
Disengage: A character may leave a threatened space without provoking an Attack of Opportunity by Disengaging. This is a Full Round Action.
Full Round Action: The character must use their entire turn to complete a Full Round Action. A character can still do one Free Action while attempting a Full Round Action.
Heroic Action: When a character wants to do something different from a standard attack, such as tackle their opponent, they must succeed at a Heroic Action. A Heroic Action is a player vs. SG roll. Each rolls a d20 and adds the appropriate Ability (for a roll against the environment, the SG adds a default +2). The highest roll wins. Heroic Actions can also be used for any non-combat actions that would be contested by another creature.
Magic Attack: Mages use their BAB+Int when rolling to attack with a spell.
Melee Attack: An attack from a threatened space (often adjacent). Roll a d20 + BAB + Str + bonuses.
Move Action: The player can move up to their full capability. Movement Actions may be split by another available action. For example, a character may move, then attack, then move again, so long as the total movement distance does not exceed the character’s capability.
Ranged Attack: An attack from a distance. Roll a d20 + BAB + Dex + Bonuses. If using a ranged attack while in an enemy’s threatened range, you suffer -2 to your roll.
Reaction: Some abilities are marked as Reactions. These can be performed as a reaction to another’s action.
Rolling a 1: Rolling a 1 on a d20 always fails. Rolling a natural 1 on a skill or combat roll grants the player a Saga Point. This point can not be used until the next round.
Rolling a 20: Rolling a 20 on a d20 always succeeds. In combat, a natural 20 triggers a Critical Hit.
Round: A round consists of 1 turn for each engaged being. A round represents 6 seconds in the game world.
Skill checks: Most skill checks are against the standard DC 15. The SG can add modifiers based on different situations.
Stabilize: A Standard Action to stabilize a disabled character on a DC12 Survival check.
Standard Action: A Standard Action is one action that takes a limited amount of time. Examples: Opening a door, flipping a table, unlocking a lock.
Touch Attack: When someone uses a Touch Attack, the defender loses their armor bonus.
Turn: In a round, each creature receives 1 turn in order of Initiative.
How to attack another creature
To hit, roll D20 + BAB (Base Attack Bonus) + Ability Modifier (Str for melee, Dex for ranged). If the total exceeds the target’s AC, your attack hits, and you may roll damage.
Using two weapons:
If a character attacks with two weapons, they may attack with both in a single Standard Action, but they suffer a -4 penalty to each attack.
Small and medium-sized creatures may only dual-wield light or medium weapons.
Criticals and fumbles
Rolling a 20 is always a Critical Hit. For some weapons, a Critical Hit is triggered with a natural 19-20. You may also expand your Critical Hit possibilities by choosing the Expanded Critical Talent.
Critical Hit: If you manage to roll a Critical Hit, you may roll your damage dice twice, with all applicable bonuses, and add the rolls together for the total damage inflicted.
Fumble: Rolling a natural 1 during any attack or action causes the character to miss and fumble. The consequences of a fumble are up to the SG, but we suggest it causes the character to have some negative effect, like dropping their weapon, tripping when charging, or saying something incredibly offensive during a diplomatic negotiation. Rolling a natural 1 on a skill or combat roll grants the player a Saga Point. This point can not be used until the next round.
Your Armor Class (AC) represents how hard it is for your enemy to land a damaging blow. An attack roll is made on a d20, with all appropriate modifiers added, and is successful if the result is equal to or higher than the target’s AC.
AC: equal to 10 + armor bonus + shield bonus + Dex modifier + size modifier + natural armor + Dodge bonus.
Flat-footed AC: equal to 10 + armor bonus + shield bonus + Dex* + size modifier + natural armor
*If your Dex is a negative number, it is considered a penalty and counts against your flat-footed AC.
Touch AC: equal to 10 + Dex modifier + Dodge bonus
Table: AC Size Modifier Chart
Movement in Combat
Tactical movement in combat is measured with a “square.” This is a reference to using a printed or digital battle map with squares. If you are not playing with a grid, a square is defined as a 5’ x 5’ space on the ground that the character occupies.
You can move freely through a square occupied by a friendly character unless you are charging. The other character does not provide you with cover.
You cannot move through a square occupied by an opponent, unless the opponent is incapacitated, in which case you may move through the space without penalty. Some creatures, particularly very large ones, may present an obstacle even when helpless. In such cases, each square you move through counts as 2 squares.
Ending Your Movement
You can’t end your movement in the same square as another creature unless it is incapacitated.
Diagonal movement through squares is the same as moving straight through a square.
Terrain and Obstacles
Difficult terrain hampers movement. Movement through difficult terrain takes double the standard movement. You cannot run or charge across difficult terrain.
If you occupy squares with different kinds of terrain, you can move only as fast as the most difficult terrain you occupy will allow.
Flying and incorporeal creatures are not hampered by difficult terrain.
Like difficult terrain, obstacles can hamper movement. If an obstacle hampers movement but doesn’t completely block it, each obstructed square counts as 2 squares of movement. If you don’t have sufficient movement to cross the barrier and move into the square on the other side, you can’t cross the barrier. Some obstacles may also require a skill check to cross.
On the other hand, some obstacles block movement entirely. A character can’t move through a blocking obstacle.
Flying and incorporeal creatures can avoid most obstacles without penalty.
Size and Reach
A size modifier is applied to a creature’s Armor Class (AC). A creature’s size also determines how far it can reach to make a melee attack and how much space it occupies in a fight.
|Creature Size||Size Modifier||Space||Weight||Height or length||Reach|
|Fine||+8||6 in. or less||1/8 lb or less||½ ft||0 ft|
|Diminutive||+4||6 in. – 1 ft||1/8 lb – 1 lb||1 ft||0 ft|
|Tiny||+2||1 ft – 2 ft||1 lb – 8 lb||2½ ft||0 ft|
|Small||+1||2 ft – 4 ft||8 lb – 60 lb||5 ft||5 ft|
|Medium||+0||4 ft – 8 ft||60 lb – 500 lb||5 ft||5 ft|
|Large||-1||8 ft – 16 ft||500 lb – 2 tons||10 ft||10 ft|
|Huge||-2||16 ft – 32 ft||2 tons – 16 tons||15 ft||15 ft|
|Gargantuan||-4||32 ft – 64 ft||16 tons – 125 tons||20 ft||20 ft|
|Colossal||-8||64 ft or more||125 tons or more||30 ft||30 ft|
While mounted, you move at the speed of your mount. You only get one melee attack while your mount is moving or your full attack if the mount is still. All melee attacks from a mount are +1 to hit.
All ranged attacks from a mount are at +1 to hit. You can take your full ranged attack while mounted.
Most animals are not trained for battle and will disobey the rider to avoid combat. A rider must make a DC 20 Acrobatics check each round to keep a normal mount in battle. War mounts, however, are trained for combat and do not require a skill check to ride into battle.
If a creature is at least 50% hidden behind an object, or has the ability to duck behind cover, then the defender gains +2 to their AC. If a creature is fully Concealed but still attacking, the defender gains +4 to their AC.
Challenge Rating (CR)
A monster’s CR is an estimate of the average level of a party required for the encounter to be moderate difficulty.
Ability Drain and Damage
Ability Modifier Loss
Some attacks reduce the opponent’s score in one or more abilities. This loss can be temporary (ability damage) or permanent (ability drain).
While any loss is debilitating, losing points in an ability modifier can be devastating.
When an ability is reduced to -5, there are serious consequences.
Strength -5: The character cannot move at all. They lie helpless on the ground.
Dexterity -5: The character cannot move at all. They stand motionless, rigid, and helpless.
Constitution -5: The character is dead.
Intelligence -5: The character stands or lies in a catatonic stupor, helpless.
Wisdom -5: The character withdraws into a deep, helpless sleep filled with nightmares.
Charisma -5: The character stands or lies in a catatonic stupor, helpless.
Having a score of -5 in an ability is different from having no ability modifier whatsoever. For example, undead creatures and constructs have no Constitution score.
Some spells or abilities cause ability modifier reduction in the opponent, which is different from ability modifier loss. Any such reduction disappears at the end of the spell’s or ability’s duration, and the ability modifier immediately returns to its former value.
If a character’s Constitution score drops, they lose 1 HP per HD (Hit Die) for every point by which their Constitution drops. HP cannot be reduced by Constitution damage or drain to less than 1 HP per HD.
Points lost to ability damage return at the rate of 1 point per day (or double that if the character gets complete bed rest) to each damaged ability. The spell restoration restores ability damage as per the spell.
This effect permanently reduces a living opponent’s ability modifier Points lost to ability drain, is permanent, though restoration can restore even those lost ability modifier points.
Generally, when you are subject to an unusual or magical attack, you get a saving throw to avoid or reduce the effect. Like an attack roll, you roll a d20 and add bonuses based on your skills.
Base Save Bonus
Saving Throw Types
The three different kinds of saving throws are Fortitude, Reflex, and Will.
Fortitude is equal to your Endurance Skill. These saves measure your ability to stand up to physical punishment or attacks against your vitality and health.
Reflex is equal to your Acrobatics Skill. These saves test your ability to dodge area attacks.
Will is equal to your Survival Skill. These saves reflect your resistance to mental influence as well as many magical effects.
Saving Throw Difficulty Class
The DC for a save is determined by the attack itself. Examples: The poison Konk requires a DC 12 Fortitude save to resist. A 5 mana Elemental Blast requires a DC 16 Reflex save to take half damage.
Automatic Failures and Successes
Rolling a natural 1 (regardless of bonuses) on a saving throw is always a failure and might cause damage to exposed items. Rolling a natural 20 (before bonuses) is always a success.
Death and Disabled
When a hero drops to or below 0, they become disabled. If a hero is disabled, they can not move, attack, communicate, or cast spells. When disabled, a character loses one hit point per round until they stabilize.
Stabilizing a Disabled Character
As a Free Action, a character must succeed at a DC12 Endurance check to stabilize. If they become stabilized, they revert to 0 HP, no longer lose hit points per round to being disabled, and they may do one limited action per round. A limited action can be: move at 1/2 speed, cast a spell, use a skill, or attack an adjacent creature at -5 to hit and damage. A hero keeps these disadvantages until they are healed or they naturally gain back enough HP to put them over 0 HP.
During combat, they may make a single Endurance check each round on their turn. Out of combat, they may make a check each in game hour at a +5 bonus.
A character who fails to stabilize may choose to take an injury in order to succeed on either roll that failed.
Stabilized/Disabled Injury Check
01-75 Minor Injury
76-99 Major Injury
00 Permanent Injury
When your character’s current hit points drop to -10 or lower, they’re dead. They cannot be healed, and barring some kind of miracle, they cannot return to the world.
Characters that are SagaBorn may choose to take a Dying Injury Check rather than die. The character is considered dying and may not check to become disabled, stabilized, or mobile. The character has one hour before their wounds cause death. If they receive healing and care in that time they may live. Alternatively, a dying character may choose to risk another Injury to become disabled.
Dying Injury Check
01-50: Major injury
50-00: Permanent injury
(d10) Minor Injury
1 Break a Finger. You have -2 to Thievery checks and Dexterity checks to use fine tools (such as thieves’ tools) using the hand with the broken finger. The injury heals if you receive magical healing. Alternatively, the injury heals after someone sets the finger with a DC 10 Survival check and you spend ten days doing nothing but resting.
2-3 Ringing Ears. You have -2 to Awareness checks checks that rely on hearing. The injury heals if you receive magical healing. Alternatively, the injury heals after you spend three days doing nothing but resting.
4-5 Blurred Vision. You have -2 to Awareness checks that rely on sight and a -1 on ranged attack rolls. The injury heals if you receive magical healing. Alternatively, the injury heals after you spend three days doing nothing but resting.
6-7 Limp. Your walking speed is reduced by 5 feet. You must make a DC 15 Acrobatics Check after using the Run Talent. If you fail the save, you fall prone. Magical healing removes the limp.
8-9 Open Wound. You lose 1 hit point every hour the wound persists. The injury heals if you receive magical healing. Alternatively, someone can tend to the wound and make a DC 15 Survival check once every hour. After ten successes, the injury heals.
10 Minor Scar. The scar doesn’t have any adverse effect, but it makes you mysterious and sexy.
(d10) Major Injury
1 Lose a Finger. You have -2 to Thievery checks and Dexterity checks to use fine tools (such as thieves’ tools) using the hand with which you lost the finger. If you lose all five fingers from one hand, then it functions as if you had lost a hand.
2 Broken Arm or Hand. You can no longer hold anything with two hands, and you can hold only a single object at a time. The injury heals if you receive at least 10 points of magical healing from a single source. Alternatively, the injury heals after someone sets the bone with a DC 15 Survival check and you spend thirty days doing nothing but resting.
3 Broken Foot or Leg. Your walking speed is halved and you must use a cane or crutch to move. You fall prone after using the Run Talent. You have a -2 on Acrobatics or Dexterity checks made to balance. The injury heals if you receive at least 10 points of magical healing from a single source. Alternatively, the injury heals after someone sets the bone with a DC 15 Survival check and you spend thirty days doing nothing but resting.
4 Punctured Lung. You can take either a Standard Action or a Heroic Action or your turn, but not both. The injury heals if you receive at least 10 points of magical healing from a single source. If you puncture both lungs your hit points drop to 0 and you immediately begin dying.
5 Teeth Knocked Out. You have -2 on Persuasion checks. The injury heals if you receive at least 10 points of magical healing from a single source.
6 Skull Fracture. Whenever you attempt an action in combat, you must make a DC 20 Endurance Check. On failure, you lose your action. The injury heals if you receive at least 10 points of magical healing from a single source or if you spend thirty days doing nothing but resting.
7 Internal Injury. Whenever you attempt an action in combat, you must make a DC 15 Endurance Check. On failure, you lose your action. The injury heals if you receive at least 10 points of magical healing from a single source or if you spend ten days doing nothing but resting.
8 Broken Ribs. This has the same effect as Internal Injury above, except that the Endurance Check DC is 10.
9 Festering Wound. Your hit point maximum is reduced by 1 every 24 hours the wound persists. If your hit point maximum drops to 0, you die. The injury heals if you receive at least 10 points of magical healing from a single source. Alternatively, someone can tend to the wound and make a DC 15 Survival check once every 24 hours. After ten successes, the injury heals.
10 Painful Scar. You have a scar which gets painful whenever it rains, sleets, hails, or snows. Whenever you attempt an action in combat and your scar is giving you pain, you must make a DC 15 Endurance Check. On failure, you lose your action. The injury heals if you receive at least 10 points of magical healing from a single source.
(d10) Permanent Injury
1 Lose Nose. You have -2 on Persuasion checks (unless using intimidation then a +2) and -5 on Awareness checks that rely on smell.
2 Lose an Ear. You have -2 on Persuasion checks (unless using intimidation then a +2) and -5 on Awareness checks that rely on hearing.
3-4 Lose a Foot or Leg. Your walking speed is halved and you must use a cane or crutch to move unless you have a peg leg or other prosthesis. You fall prone after using the Run Talent. You have a -4 on Acrobatics checks made to balance.
5-6 Lose an Arm or a Hand. You can no longer hold anything with two hands, and you can hold only a single object at a time.
7-8 Lose an Eye. You have -5 on Awareness checks that rely on sight and can only make ranged attacks at short range. If you have no eyes left after sustaining this injury, you’re blinded.
9-10 Horrible Scar. You have -2 on Persuasion checks but a +2 to Intimidation.
When a character wants to do something out of the ordinary, such as tackle their opponent, they must succeed at a Heroic Action. A Heroic Action is a player vs. Story Guide roll: each rolls a d20 and adds the appropriate ability modifier (for a roll against the environment, the SG decides the Difficulty Class). The highest roll wins. Heroic actions can be used for any non-combat actions that would be contested by another creature or against challenge DC. A tie in a Heroic Action goes to the player.
A Heroic Action can be anything that both the SG and player agree on. A character can perform two Heroic Actions: one as a Move and another as a Combat. Some special abilities act like Heroic Actions and their rules may override this rule.
Example of a double Heroic Action:
Kad uses a Heroic Action to kick the leg of the goblin, hoping to knock it prone. A d20 is rolled with a result of 13 + 3 for Kad’s Dex bonus. The goblin rolls and gets 5 + 2 for its Dex. The goblin loses and is knocked prone. As his Standard Action, Kad tries to pin the goblin using another Heroic Action. Kad rolls 10 +3 for his Dex bonus and the goblin rolls 10 but loses its Dex bonus since it is prone. Kad has pinned the goblin and it is considered grappled.
There are many things you could do as a Heroic Action, but here are a few. Don’t be limited by these and come up with your own!
- Grapple an opponent
- Trip a target
- Push a target 10’
- Taunt an enemy
- Grab an item from an opponent
- A called shot or specific target in melee, ranged, or magic attacks.
- Using the environment to your advantage.
When a player succeeds at a Heroic Action, the SG should always reward them with a small bonus even if there is no stated rule for it. Example: Langy succeeds at a Heroic called shot to the hand. The enemy’s weapon flies away and lands 10 feet behind them.
Attempting a Heroic Action is one of the many ways a player can earn a Saga point.
A character can choose to use nonlethal (or subdual) damage during combat. Nonlethal damage accumulates with standard damage. If nonlethal damage exceeds the opponent’s current HP, they fall unconscious.
Sometimes a group will surprise another group and may ambush them. This means everyone in their party gets one Standard Action before Initiative has been rolled.
Conditions of the same type do not stack, but they can extend the time it lasts.
- Anxious: The character suffers anxiety and takes -1 to all rolls.
- Bleed: A creature that is bleeding takes the amount of damage listed at the beginning of its turn. Bleeding can be stopped by a DC 10 Survival check, a successful Heal (Talent) check, or through the application of any spell that cures hit point damage
- Blinded: The character cannot see. They take a -2 penalty to Armor Class, lose their Dexterity bonus to AC (if any), and move at half speed. Any target they attack gets a 50% chance to dodge the attack.
- Broken: If an item is broken, it can not be used until it is repaired.
- Confused: A Confused character’s actions are determined by rolling d% at the beginning of his turn: 01-10, attack caster with melee or ranged weapons (or close with caster if attacking is not possible); 11-20, act normally; 21-50, do nothing but babble incoherently; 51-70, flee away from caster at top possible speed; 71-100, attack nearest creature (for this purpose, a familiar counts as part of the subject’s self). A Confused character who can’t carry out the indicated action does nothing but babble incoherently. Attackers are not at any special advantage when attacking a Confused character. Any Confused character who is attacked automatically attacks its attackers on its next turn, as long as it is still Confused when its turn comes.
- Cower: The character is frozen in fear and can take no actions. A Cowering character takes a -2 penalty to Armor Class and loses their Dexterity bonus (if any).
- Dazed: The character or creature loses one action.
- Dead: A character or creature below -10 hit points.
- Deafened: A Deafened character cannot hear. They take a -4 penalty on Initiative checks, have a 50% chance of failure of Awareness checks, and a 20% chance of spell failure when casting spells. Characters who remain Deafened for a long time grow accustomed to these drawbacks and can overcome some of them.
- Difficult Terrain: Movement through difficult terrain takes double the standard movement.
- Disabled: A character or creature at or below zero (0) hit points. No actions, communication, or movement allowed.
- Distracted: The character’s focus is so intent that they are unaware of other actions around them.
- Energy-Drained: The character gains one or more negative levels, which might permanently drain the character’s levels. If the subject has at least as many negative levels as Hit Dice, they die. Each negative level gives a creature the following penalties: -1 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, ability checks; loss of 5 hit points; and -1 to effective level (for determining the power, duration, DC, and other details of spells or special abilities).
- Entangled: Being Entangled impedes movement, but does not entirely prevent it unless the bonds are anchored to an immobile object or tethered by an opposing force. An Entangled creature moves at half speed, cannot run or charge, and takes a -2 penalty on all attack rolls and a -4 penalty to Dexterity. An Entangled character who attempts to cast a spell must make a Concentration check (DC 15 + the spell’s level) or lose the spell.
- Exhausted: An Exhausted character moves at half speed and takes a -3 penalty to Strength and Dexterity. After 1 hour of complete rest, an exhausted character becomes Fatigued. A Fatigued character becomes Exhausted by doing something else that would normally cause fatigue.
- Fatigued: A Fatigued character moves at half speed and takes a -1 penalty to Strength and Dexterity. Doing anything that would normally cause fatigue causes the Fatigued character to become Exhausted. After 8 hours of complete rest, characters are no longer Fatigued.
- Flanked: A Flanked character has two enemies on opposite sides threatening them. They lose their Dex bonus to AC (Armor Class).
- Flat-footed: A Flat-footed character loses their Dexterity bonus to AC (if any).
- Grappled: If you are grappled, you can not move, do not threaten any spaces around you, and lose your Dex modifier to AC.
- Helpless: A Helpless character is Paralyzed, held, bound, sleeping, unconscious, or otherwise completely at an opponent’s mercy. A Helpless target is treated as having a Dexterity of 0 (-5 modifier). Melee attacks against a Helpless target get a +4 bonus. Ranged attacks gets no special bonus against helpless targets. Rogues can Sneak Attack Helpless targets. (Optional) As a full-round action, an enemy can use a melee weapon to deliver a killing blow to a Helpless foe. An enemy can also use a bow or crossbow, provided he is adjacent to the target. The attacker automatically hits and scores a critical hit. A rogue also gets their sneak attack damage bonus against a helpless foe when delivering a killing blow.
- Immobilized: The character or creature cannot move, but can perform any other action.
- Incorporeal: The character or creature has no physical body. Incorporeal creatures are immune to all nonmagical attack forms. They can be harmed only by other Incorporeal creatures, +1 or better magic weapons, legacy weapons, spells, spell-like effects, or supernatural effects.
- Nauseated: The character or creature experiences gastric distress, and may also vomit up the contents of their stomach. Nauseated creatures are unable to attack, cast spells, concentrate on spells, or do anything else requiring attention. The only action such a character can take is a single Move Action per turn.
- On Fire: Things that are on fire take 1d6 fire damage per round until the fire is put out. It takes a full round action to put out flames.
- Panicked: A Panicked creature must drop anything it holds and flee at top speed from the source of its fear, as well as any other dangers it encounters, along a random path determined by the SG. It can’t take any other actions. If cornered, a Panicked creature is also considered to be Cowering. The character or creature takes a -2 penalty to all rolls while Panicked.
- Paralyzed: A Paralyzed character is frozen in place and unable to move or act. A Paralyzed character has effective Dexterity and Strength scores of 0 and is helpless, but can take purely mental actions. A winged creature flying in the air at the time that it becomes Paralyzed cannot flap its wings and falls. A Paralyzed swimmer can’t swim and will drown. A creature can move through a space occupied by a Paralyzed creature, regardless of whether it is an ally or an opponent..
- Prone: A character knocked down is considered Flat-footed and does not get their Dex bonus. Standing up from being Prone is a standard movement action.
- Scared: The character or creature flees the source of their fear in a direction of their choosing. They use any abilities that aid in escape. If they can not move at least 40’ away from the source of their fear, they are considered Cowering. The character or creature also takes a -2 penalty to all rolls while Scared.
- Shaken: The character or creature takes a -2 penalty to all rolls.
- Sickened: The character takes a -2 penalty on all attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.
- Stressed: The character takes a -3 penalty to all rolls.
- Stunned: Unable to take any actions.
- Unconscious: Unconscious creatures are knocked out and helpless. Unconscious characters can be awakened with a full round action.
Attacks of Opportunity
When a character moves out of the threatened area of an enemy, they provoke an attack of opportunity.
Making an Attack of Opportunity
An attack of opportunity is a single melee attack, and you can only make one per round. You don’t have to make an attack of opportunity if you don’t want to.
Reach and Threatened Squares
You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even when it is not your action. Generally, that means everything in all squares adjacent to your space (including diagonally). An enemy that takes certain actions while in a threatened square provokes an attack of opportunity from you. If you’re unarmed, you don’t normally threaten any squares and thus can’t make attacks of opportunity.
Most creatures of Medium or smaller size have a reach of only 5 feet. This means that they can make melee attacks only against creatures up to 5 feet (1 square) away. However, Small and Medium creatures wielding reach weapons threaten more squares than a typical creature. In addition, most creatures larger than Medium have a natural reach of 10 feet or more.
Note: Small and Medium creatures wielding reach weapons threaten all squares 10 feet (2 squares) away, even diagonally. (This is an exception to the rule that 2 squares of diagonal distance is measured as 15 feet.)
Coup de grâce (Optional)
As a full-round action, you can use a melee weapon to deliver a coup de grâce to a helpless opponent. You can also use a bow or crossbow, provided you are adjacent to the target. You automatically deliver a critical hit.