Winter of Wolves is a Rule-based RP, but that doesn't mean we want players to have to crunch numbers and learn the whole system to play. Pretty much all of the game can be played with basic rules, for which you only need to know the information written out here. Sometimes, there will be advanced rules which can be handled back stage by the GM, whenever you see text Written like this, these are advanced rules and you can feel free to ignore them if you don't want to get into the mechanics of the RP. The only exception to this is the following page, since it's all advanced rules!
Characteristics and Skills
Characteristics are the most basic mechanic and determine how good or bad your character is at something. They are the total sum of your characters abilities and they are the following;
Strength - Your character's physical strength. Endurance - Your character's physical resistance and stamina. Dexterity - Your character's speed, balance and finesse. Intelligence - Your character's smarts and capacity apply logic to situations. Perception - Your character's ability to sense their surroundings and apply intuition to situations. Charisma - Your character's looks or ability to read and interpret others.
Each characteristic is represented by a number, the higher the number, the better the character is at that given thing. Characteristics are usually subdivided into 6 WoW - Skills, which are specific actions that characteristic relates to, so for example, the Strike and Forge skills both use the Strength characteristic as a base, but a character may be specialized in one or the other depending on their background, traits, etc.
Characteristic, Skill and Opposed Tests
Winter of Wolves is played using six sided die, referred to as d6. Whenever your character attempts something that the GM feels they might fail at, the character does something called a Test. Tests are composed of two elements, a target number and a difficulty.
The Target Number is determined by how competent your character is, so for example, a character with Strength 8 attempting to jump over a chasm will have a Target Number (TN) of 8. The objective is to get the same number as the TN or less when you roll your dice.
The second element is the Difficulty of the test. The more difficult the test, the more dice you have to roll (making it harder to get less than your TN). The different difficulties are as follows;
Trivial - 1d6 Easy - 2d6 Normal - 3d6 Difficult - 4d6 Very Difficult - 5d6 Impossible - 6d6
Let's say for example that the character Zee is trying to jump over a small chasm, this is the first kind of test and it is called a Skill Test, the Jump skill is related to Strength and Zee's strength is a solid 8. That would make Zee's Jump skill an 8, that becomes the target number (TN). The GM determines this to be an easy jump, so the player rolls 2d6 and gets a 5 and a 2. Added together these make a 7, since the result is less than the TN, Zee makes the jump successfully. Let's say Zee tries to jump off a chair onto the floor, the GM deems this to be a Trivial test and, since there's no way Zee could fail it (no way to roll more than 8 in a single six sided die), the character automatically succeeds.
Now let's say Zee wants to sneak by Ace. In this case, the difficulty of the test would depend on Ace's ability to notice Zee, this is called a Challenge Test. The Sneak skill is related to Dexterity and, since Zee's Dexterity is a 6, that becomes her TN. On the other hand, Ace uses the Notice skill, this depends on her Perception, which is a 9. The GM then consults the following table:
Test Difficulty by Skill
Since Ace's Notice skill is 9, this makes the test Difficult, and Zee needs to roll 4d6. The player rolls and gets a total of 10, which is higher than the TN of 6, and fails. Zee fails to sneak past Ace, who notices her and stops her.
The last type of dice roll is the Opposed Test. An Opposed test takes place when two players are in direct competition to do something and the difficulty is always considered Normal for them, meaning 3d6 are rolled. In an opposed test, each player uses their own skill as the TN. If both characters succeed, then the player with the highest roll wins the test. If both character fail, then the player closest to their TN wins the test. If one character succeeds and the other fails, the character who succeeded obviously wins the test.
Note that the highest a characteristic can normally go without mechanic or supernatural aid is 9, and the highest a skill can normally go is 12.
Finally, in very rare occasions, the result of the dice rolled will match the Target Number exactly, this is considered a Critical Success. A Critical Success will always beat a regular success and might include extra effects dictated by the GM.
Next up we'll talk about Combat and Guile, which are important parts of the game and, in many times, they will be used to resolve conflicts between parties in one way or another. Whereas combat is used when two characters battle with weapons and muscles, guile is used for battles fought with words and wits.
We'll explore combat first.
Whenever combat starts, the first thing is to determine who takes the initiative, a character who can react and perceive threats around herself faster will always act before everyone else in combat, this is done by adding a character's Dexterity and Perception characteristics and the characters with the highest scores will go first in the fight.
Fighting depends heavily on Opposed tests, that means, tests in which the difficulty is dependent on the enemy's skill. Whenever battle starts, the GM will post a map of the battle area with coordinates, these allow your character to move. When it's your character's turn, she can attempt to do several things, however, everything she does consumes actions. Every turn, your character has two actions to use, so if she attempts to do something that requires four actions (for example, reloading a firearm) that means she has to spend two full turns at that. Some things are also limited, for example, attacking someone always finishes your character's turn.
Attacking another character - 1 action
Walk (a number of squares equal to your dexterity) - 1 action
Climb up/down (1/4 of your dexterity) - 1 Action
Prepare to defend - 1 Action
Prepare to dodge - 1 Action
Swim (1/4 of your dexterity) - 1 Action
Run (3x your dexterity) - 2 Actions
Attacking with two weapons - 2 actions
Attempting to break something - 2 actions
Stand up/Crouch down - 1 action
Pull out/Put away an item - 1 action
Use a skill - varies
Draw a weapon - 1 action
Reload a Bow - 1 action
Reload a Crossbow - 2 actions
Reload an advanced weapon - 3 Actions
Reload a Firearm - 4 Actions
Pick a lock - 6 actions
Reciting Magic Formulae - 2 Actions per formulae
Actions like attacking, attempting to break something, running, swimming and Climbing also drain Stamina. If your character runs out of Stamina, he can choose to not act for one or more actions and regain the same number in Stamina or continue fighting with +1 Difficulty to all their actions.
Hitting and Wounding:
Combat in Winter of Wolves is brutal and fast. Don't expect your character to be able to take more than one or two direct blows without being incapacitated. In order to hurt an enemy character, however, you'll have to hit her first. To hit an enemy character, you must do a Challenge test against the opponents Block or Tumble skill. Depending on the type of attack you're doing, you might use several skills to pull it off, weapons can also help or hinder you and they might have special modifiers for different types of attack.
Hitting with a melee weapon - Strike or Finesse vs Block or Tumble.
Hitting with a missile weapon - Aim vs Block or Tumble.
Hitting with a thrown weapon - Aim or Throw vs Block or Tumble.
If the character is successful in the Opposed test, they must now attempt to get through the enemy's armor and wound her with a Skill Test. For this, they use two modifiers. All clothes and armor have an Armor Value ranging from Easy to Impossible, this represents how difficult it is to get through that armor. All weapons melee weapons have a Power modifier ranging from -3 to +3, which represents how hard the weapon hits. You add the power modifier to your character's strength and do a test with the difficulty of your opponent's Armor Value. In the case of ranged weapon, they have a Power Score instead of a modifier, which is used instead of your character's skills. If the test is passed, you've successfully hurt the enemy!
The amount of damage a weapon might deal to the enemy is written under the Damage section of the weapon description. Any critical success the character might get while trying to hit or wound an enemy will mean one point of automatic damage received by the enemy.
In combat, the amount of damage a character can take is determined by the character's Endurance stat. If a character takes an amount of damage equal to their Endurance, they fall unconscious and are unable to continue fighting. A character that has fallen unconscious is hit by all attacks automatically, but the enemy still has to roll a test to wound her. While unconscious, a character will receive an extra point of damage every turn until it stabilizes (Difficult Fortitude skill test). Whenever a character gets 10 points of damage over their total endurance, they are dead.
However, this does not mean a character can fight perfectly fine while they take damage. Every time a character takes damage, he or she receives an injury. An injured character gets penalties depending on the type of injury they receive. Whenever a character receives half of their Endurance worth of damage, they are considered wounded, and get an even heftier penalty. Both Injuries and Wounds take time to heal, but whereas the former can heal in a few days, the latter can take weeks or even months.
It's entirely possible for a character to have no damage on them but still be affected by old wounds that are still healing, and these can begin to stack, so be careful. For a physically frail character, a single blow can be the end of a fight, and even for a tough and experienced one, the first strike can mean a handicap for the entire fight. Combat in Winter of Wolves is fast, brutal and must be taken seriously.
Be it in combat or any other situation that requires strenuous physical activity, characters can get tired depending on their Stamina skill. Every time you use a Strength, Dexterity or Endurance skill (other than simply walking) during your turn, your character will consume a point of Stamina. Additionally, you may consume extra stamina to give yourself a bonus to the action you're undertaking (+1 bonus for every point of stamina spent). If you run out of Stamina, however, your character will get a penalty (+1 difficulty) to all their actions until they've had a second to catch their breath. Stamina recovers naturally at the rate of 1 point per turn of combat (or round of posting) unless it's currently at 0. A character might also chose not to act during one round of combat (or round of posting) to recover 1 extra point of stamina, this works even if the character's stamina is currently at 0.
Characters in Winter of Wolves develop over time, they may gain new abilities and improve their skills by acquiring experience. Whenever your character performs a successful test or when they achieve something through role-playing. Experience is usually awarded in amounts ranging between 1 and 5 points. Experience cannot just be used universally, though. It would make little sense if a character gained a lot of experience from reading books on magic and suddenly got stronger. Experience will be awarded to a particular characteristic (Strength, Endurance, Dexterity, Intelligence, Perception or Charisma) and can only be spent within that same characteristic.
So for example, a character might have experience points accumulated in the strength characteristic and he might spend it improving any of their Strength related skills or getting a new strength related proficiency.
The cost of improving a skill will always be 3 x the current skill level. So for example, if you want to get your Strike skill from 3 to a 4, you'd need 9 experience points. The cost of a new proficiency is 10 XP plus 10 for each proficiency of the same kind. So for example, if a character has 3 strength proficiency and wants to get a fourth, strength-related proficiency, he'd have to invest 40 experience points (The minimum for a new proficiency in a characteristic is 10 experience points).
Remember that skills cannot normally be improved above 12, though they can be improved further with the help of clockwork prosthetics or magic.