This system is essentially designed from Fallout 2 and Jason Mical’s SPECIAL system. It is intended to be simple and easily adaptable. It is best in campaigns that tend to de-emphasize dice in favor of roleplaying, while still trying to be a solid and balanced ruleset.
1. Character Creation
Your character’s basic attributes are the main thing that makes your character, well, special! The default stat names stick with the SPECIAL system, but all can be renamed with little consequence. However, as Fallout is the “Default World,” used for world-specific information examples (except magic), SPECIAL is the default stat scheme.
By default, each of your stats starts at 5, and you get 5 unassigned points and the ability to reassign points from your stats at character creation. However, some games may have the Gifted trait required, which means you are given 6 points in each stat to distibute as you will. (It is discouraged to allow the Gifted trait to one character without giving it to all of them.)
You cannot go above 10, or below 01 in any stat at character creation. Scores may be raised to above 10 in-game, but this only effects skills and opposed rolls, as a 10 on a stat check is always a failure.
Every stat has some skills that it determines the starting level for.
Here are each of the primary statistics.
Muscle power, raw physical force. The essential stat for melee users, and damn useful for anyone who likes hoarding weapons, or using REALLY big ones. Melee Weapons and Unarmed Damage, Carry Weight, and Weapon Strength Requirements are the key things this stat effects.
In roleplay, a strong character can have a range of attitudes, but it’s common for them to “think with their muscles” to some extent, favoring brute force options over finesse. A Narrator may decide to give a bonus to Speech for intimidations and interrogations for a high strength stat.
25 lbs. + 25 lbs. per point of strength.
STR: 04 = 125
STR: 05 = 150
STR: 06 = 175
STR: 07 = 200
Bonus Hand-To-Hand Damage:
Strength – 5, minimum of 1
STR 4 = 1
STR 5 = 1
STR 6 = 1
STR 7 = 2
STR 8 = 3
Equally important for gunslingers and witches; measures acuity of the physical senses, but also mental sharpness(as it relates to perceiving the environment) and the sort of knowledge that intelligence doesn’t cover, things like streetsmarts and common sense. In fantasy settings, can effect one’s ability to notice, and therefore repel, mental attacks. All of the mental stats can be used as the basis for magic systems; perception works excellently in “mystical” magic systems, and in psionics that relate to extrasensory abilities.
In combat, it effects your ranged distanced modifiers, and it can effect the turn order in certain battles (like random encounters, or ambushes : it wouldn’t effect a battle where both sides were prepared, however.)
But it is essential outside of combat. The Narrator is likely to ask you to check perception to see if you notice something important in your environment, sometimes fairly regularly. It can also effect what the Narrator reveals to you in NPC interactions. Many skills are based on it, and many Perks have a high PER requirement. Don’t underestimate this stat, even if you are focusing on melee.
In roleplay, a character with a high perception might be the party’s voice of reason, particularly in combination with a high intelligence. A character with low intelligence but high perception might be bad at book learnin’ and understanding technical concepts, but excellent at surviving the streets. Likely to effect tact: a perceptive character is more likely to be tactful, even if they aren’t particularly charismatic.
Wastelander Note: Strength no longer effects hit points, it is now only based on Endurance.
Endurance is how well you can take damage, resist hazards, and go without basic needs. It also reflects how long you can exert yourself. Effects hit points, Poison and Radiation resistance, and healing rate.
In roleplay, a character with high endurance is likely to be interested in physical challenges, and throw themselves into the fray of combat, when a low endurance character is more likely to be a sniper or long-distance mage, not cowardly, but cautious.
Hit Points: 15 + 3 x Endurance
HP Per level: Endurance/2 + 2
Exactly how important Charisma is depends on the Narrator, but it’s very likely you’re playing with one who utilizes it a lot. Doesn’t effect combat – excepting certain perks – but is the ruling stat of NPC interaction (Intelligence is almost as important, but not quite). The Speech skill, which is based off of Charisma, can get you through most things a gunfight can with a lot less waste of bullets.
This stat should effect roleplay heavily. If your character has a low Charisma, stuttering and poor word choice would be good reflections. A high Charisma character is going to be smoother, and know the right thing to say at the right time. The highest Charisma character should do a lot of the talking, especially if Charisma or Speech rolls are likely to be made. A charismatic character might even be able to talk down hostiles, as long as the first shots weren’t fired yet… A character with high charisma and low intelligence is very good at bluffing their way through things beyond their actual understanding. A character with high perception, intelligence, and charisma is a boon to any group; someone who can think their way through anything, and talk their way through the rest, is an invaluable asset.
Intelligence is the basis of the most skills. It rarely effects combat skills, but it does form the basis for your skill point total, so even a combat-focused character benefits from it. It may be the best stat for a generalist-type character.
In roleplay, intelligence is your second most important statistic. Even an uncharismatic character can impress with the right knowledge. Some NPCs might even respond badly to low intelligence, condescending or ignoring your character because of their witlessness. A character with high intelligence and low perception is likely to be the absent-minded professor type, stumbling into genius and harm with equal likelyhood. The addition of low charisma is likely to make the insufferable genius, the kind of person who is brilliant but lacks social ability.
Agility describes speed, nimbleness, and reflexes. Everyone needs it in combat, as it dictates action points, and is also the basis of many weapon skills. A high agility also makes you harder to hit, conversely, a low agility makes you easier to hit.
In roleplay, a high agility character is likely to favor tests of speed. It’s also a defining trait of roguish characters, those who rely on finesse and stealth abilities over strength.
Luck is a difficult trait to describe. Its only consistent appearance is critical hits. Critical chance is equal to your luck score; if you roll within that range, you roll luck to determine whether you have gotten a critical hit. A 1 is an automatic critical success. Additionally, on a roll of 100, you must make a luck roll to avoid a critical failure.
Additionally, the Narrator may call for a luck roll at any time. For a high luck character, this is more likely to be to reverse a failure, or to add a serendipitous event. For a low luck character, this might reverse a success, or run them into trouble… However, even a character with bad luck can be benefited by these rolls!
Random encounters are effected by the average luck of your party members.
In roleplay, a character isn’t as likely to be aware of this stat unless it is closer to one of the extremes.
Action Points: Action points dictate how many actions you can take in battle. Each action you have access to takes a number of action points, like 1 per 1 hex of movement, or 5 pts to fire a handgun. It’s equal to 5+(agility/2).
If you are rolling the success of an action, it’s likely that you’re making a skill check. Your level in a skill is equal to your likelyhood of success in a related action before modifiers are applied. Rolling skills is the “basic mechanic.”
A skill roll is a percentile roll, with a success being under your skill level with any relevant modifiers applied. A 1 is always a success; a 100 is always a failure.
Critical successes and critical failures are also possible. Your critical success range is equal to your luck; if you roll under this number, you make a luck roll to determine if it is a critical success. A roll of 100 leads to a luck roll to determine critical failure.
Opposed rolls are more commonly stat-based, but opposed skill rolls work the same. The magnitude of success – distance from the success threshold – determines the winner.
At character creation, you tag three skills. These skills gain 20% at character creation, and each point added boosts the skill by 2%.
Your skill in a combat skill is equal to your unmodified To Hit chance with the weapons covered. While most worlds are likely to have weapons specific to them, there are a few which should be available in most settings:
The old adage that you shouldn’t bring a sword to a gun fight isn’t always true. A competent melee fighter can hold their own against most projectile weapons, though only the truly devoted or gunless tend to pursue this path over guns.
This also represents a knowledge of melee weapons; the party member with the highest Melee is the most likely to know that sword is a Wakazashi, not a Katana.
This skill covers everything from bar brawling to kung fu. Determines your ability with all body parts and fist weapons, as well as natural weapons like claws and teeth where applicable. New attacks are added as the skill progresses, with a higher damage range.
At 50% and 100%, unarmed gives a +5% difficulty modifier on enemy to hit rolls with Melee or Unarmed.
This covers every non-powered ranged weapon, from rocks and spears to modern crossbows. Throwing
Not ubiquitous, but common:
The primary guns are the Small Guns, which include Pistols, SMGs, Shotguns, and Rifles. This is also the skill for Big Guns, which includes miniguns and similar heavy weapons.
Big Guns are not user-friendly, and it takes a good working knowledge of weapons to use them well. At 60% in this skill, one gains the ability to use Big Guns without additional penalty; before this, each -1% below 60% adds a penalty of an additional -1% to hit. This penalty is not applied to any other skill role, such as identification of a rare weapon; nor is it applied in the case of mounted weaponry.
As well as being able to aim and shoot competently, this skill represents a knowledge of guns, including various models and basic weapon maintainance (But not repairs.)
Each 10% in this skill grants +1% to Repair when used on a gun.
What you know how to do is going to dictate how you interact with the game world. Noncombat skills are used in most events and actions outside of combat.
The scope of this skill changes depending on the setting, but the application does not. Represents your abilities at first aid, long-term care, and disease treatment. In high tech settings, it’s likely to include surgery and pharmacology, where a low tech setting might use herbal medicines. Some settings may include basic magical healing.
First aid rolls work more like combat rolls; a success check, followed by a damage check. The damage healed increments increase with the skill level.
20% + (1%xaver. of Perception&Agility)
Covers lockpicking and disarming of mechanical traps. Someone in a high tech setting may also apply this to electronic security of some types, and magic settings use this for magical security devices.
What this covers is greatly dependent on the world, but even someone finding undiscovered technology has a better understanding if they have a working knowledge of machines or materials.
At high tech levels, it may be appropriate to call it Engineering, as it would cover a lot more than the name Repair implies.
In a world where the scientific method isn’t present, Science is based on a character’s own analysis and observation of things, and an intentional rejection of superstition. In a more high-tech environment, education in the physical and social sciences is implied. Any science-related activity – except those that fall under Repair – are rolled on this skill.
The ability to find all basic needs, like food, water, and shelter, in both urban and rural environments. Also is rolled to determine whether you detect an approaching creature. Can be rolled as a Track skill, usually at a penalty.
Represents your ability to surpass notice, and avoid other humans. It covers stealth and pickpocketing abilities.
Unless you’re planning to be the only sentient living, you may find yourself with a need to convince, deceive, inspire or distract. This skill affects any time an NPC is spoken to, but particularly in more difficult social interactions.
Narrators are encouraged to allow roleplaying to supersede this skill; a brilliant remark shouldn’t need to be checked. However, the players must balance this with roleplaying their characters accurately; your INT 4, CHA 3 melee fighter shouldn’t be a master of wit.
Example World-Specific Skills:
This skill reflects your competence in both Laser and Plasma weapons.
From military technology to things of stranger origin, Energy Weapons are a rarer, but prominent aspect of the wastes. The powerful models are difficult to find, but an astute trader shouldn’t have much of a problem tracking down a laser pistol or two in the larger settlements.
Every 10% of Energy Weapons adds a bonus of +1% to repair rolls on Energy Weapons.
This covers all offensive magic, that which is used against a target in combat. Many combat spells in this world have effects other than damage, but are rolled under this skill. The Keeper chooses 1 + (PE-5) spells at 15% increments. Spells are primarily different in damage type and damage level, though some have a hit malus as part of their nature.
(Spell choice and base skill level works differently in different settings. This only provides an example. However, combat magic and noncombat magic are usually seperate skills.)
Covers any use the Keeper can think of for magic outside of combat, within the scope of their abilities. Also reflects several in-combat actions, like shields and distraction. The keeper chooses 1+(IN-5) spells at 15% increments, but many uses of this skill are not covered by specific spells.
The perk list will vary wildly based on setting, but some work for every world:
“You are more likely to notice details about people. Awareness will give more detailed information about them. The perk tells you the target’s hitpoints, its weapon and ammunition count. It does not indicate which limbs, if any, are crippled.”
Awareness also makes one more likely to notice things in the environment, even bypassing Perception rolls when the Narrator deems it appropriate.
Req: PE 5
Action Boy / Action Girl
Each level of Action Boy/Girl gives you additional Action Points to spend every combat turn. You can use these generic Action Points on any task.
This will increase your Strength by 1 when you drop below 50% of your max hit points.
St < 10
Bonus HTH Attacks
You have learned the secret arts of the East, or you just punch faster. In any case, your Unarmed attacks cost 1 AP less to perform
This is actually two perks, with the variation chosen when the perk is taken. Each gives you +2 to damage per perk level.
This Perk gives +2 damage to Guns, Explosives and Energy Weapons
This perk gives +2 damage to Melee and Unarmed
Both require an AG of 8,
Bonus Rate of Fire
This Perk allows you to pull the trigger a little faster, and still remain as accurate as before. Each ranged weapon attack costs 1 AP less to perform.
PE 6, IN 6, AG 7
The Artful Dodger
As an experienced thief, you’ve devoted an awful lot of your time to avoiding people when necessary. It wasn’t terribly difficult for you to apply some of those skills to combat. Any enemy targetting must you is given a penalty of -5% for the first 10% of your Thief score, with an additional 1% penalty for each 10%
Req: AG 7, PE 6, INT 5, Thief 60%
Primarily a roleplaying perk. Allows you to get more information about an NPC’s reaction, and how they might react to various statements. Might give a bonus to some forms of magic or medicine.
Doctor checks for healing gain a bonus of 1d10 healed hit points, min 2.
PE 7, IN 5, AG 6, Doctor 40%
+5 to damage against living creatures (all combat skills)
+5 to damage against mechanical/robotic enemies
A luck roll is rolled on all hits with the gun skill. A success on the luck roll changes the hit to a critical hit.
LVL 18, PE 8, AG 8, 80% guns
Using the sneak skill against a concious target removes situational penalties.
AG 8, Thief 80%
An additional skill is tagged, providing a +20 automatic bonus and doubling the value of all points added to this skill.
Perks can also be gained through gameplay, and the Narrator is encouraged to make up lots of interesting ones specific to the campaign.
The amount you can do during combat is dictated by AP. Each combat skill takes a number of AP to use, as do moving, reloading weapons, and using items.
To attack a target, you first roll To Hit. Your To Hit success threshold is your weapon skill with any relevant modifiers applied. If successful, you then roll damage, which is a d10 roll on a damage table specific to each weapon (or spell, or attack).
This is essentially all combat is. Rather than dodge rolls, dodge penalties are applied to To Hit rolls. Melee or Magical combat might have opposed stat rolls in between attacks to determine who gets the upper hand, applying bonuses or maluses to the next attack as appropriate, but this is optional.
Aimed Attacks usually give a penalty to To Hit, but change the critical chance and critical effect table.
Burst fire – (More info needed)
Chems, healing potions, etc should cost 1 ap to use.
Damage resistance, armor damage negation, etc: After damage is calculated, armor provides a percentage negation, and natural DR usually takes off a numerical amount, though the best armor does both.
Magic rules depend far too much on the world to say too much about them, but the sample spells later on should give you an idea how they work.
Single (AP: 5, R: 25)
Aimed (AP: 6, R: 25)
ammo type: 10mm
ammo capacity: 12
min. Strength: 3
hands req.: 1
weight: 3 pounds
Damage Type: Concussive
Single (AP: 5, R: 35)
ammo type: Small Energy Cell
ammo capacity: 12
min. Strength: 3
hands req.: 1
weight: 4 pounds
Damage Type: Energy
Swing (AP: 3, R: 1)
Thrust (AP: 3, R: 1)
min. Strength: 3
hands req.: 1
weight: 5 pounds
Damage Type: Piercing
Min. PE: 5
Damage Type: Energy
Sample Nonoffensive Spells:
adds a 10% to hit penalty to any enemy attacking you for 2(per-5) rounds.
Makes you aware of all living things in the area.