Base Ruleset

Base Ruleset

Black & Gold Tokens

Tabletop RPGs are a social game, built around a story. However, not all narrative is happy, and each of us comes the table with our own personality and experience. To help facilitate an enjoyable, safe game, we strongly suggest the use of the following two tokens. Either can be used by any player at any time.


On picking up the black token, whatever subject is being played in the story is ends immediately, no questions asked. Inspired by the X-card, by John Stavropoulos. This is designed to allow players to be able to stop the narrative venturing into areas that they personally would rather not go. Everyone should be comfortable with what's being played.


On picking up the gold token, the person holding it gets to speak uninterrupted. Not everyone is an outgoing extrovert, and quieter players can get shouted down in the excitement and heat of the moment. This token allows those who are less comfortable forcing their way into the conversation to have a moment to speak their piece.


How to Play

Triumvene is a tabletop role-playing game, or TTRPG for short. At its most concise, that means it's a game of cooperative story-telling, where a gamesmaster (known as either the GM or DM) sets up interesting situations for the players to engage with. Think of it as creating a shared film or book, where each player controls a character, and the group together discover what happens, and how it plays out.

This book acts as a framework of rules to ensure fair play, and to give a structure to that play. Describe what your character does, and the outcomes you're aiming to achieve, and your GM will use that to create and guide the story, creating a world where everyone is in charge of what happens from moment to moment.

Off-Camera Action

Each time a new session starts, all players roll a d12. For groups of 3 or fewer, pick the highest rolling player, for larger groups, the top two. The chosen players then tell a story of something that happened off-camera in the last session, which the group can explore and ask questions about. This reflects the time the characters spend outside the table narrative talking to each other and learning about each other.


Whenever players try and do something in the world where there's a chance of success or failure, they roll to see what happens.

Ability Rolls

Tasks you attempt based on your abilities exist on a scale of 0-48, where 0 is something extremely basic, and 48 is almost invariably impossible. Most rolls fall into this camp.

Roll a d12 and add the relevant stat (Talent, Skill, Profession, Combat / Physical Manipulation levels...), and Trait if relevant, then tell the GM the total. Rolls for Skills and Professions add their base Talent. If the role is greater than the roll target (or RT for short), you succeed.

Narrative Rolls

Narrative rolls exist for when a player attempts to do something based not around their character's abilities, but around influencing the world. For example, rolls for if they know anyone in a location, their capacity to do something in which they have no relevant stat, and other similar occasions. They're also used for all Combat rolls.

Roll a d12. For any roll of 11+, you succeed in what you're trying to do. For a roll from 7-10, you succeed but something unintended happens. For any roll of 6 or less, you fail.

Failed Rolls & Defiance

Any time you fail a roll, you may choose to roll again, at the cost of the GM gaining Defiance. For every three Defiance the GM has, they can choose to make a roll fail. Advantage and Disadvantage still apply to any roll made using Defiance.

Every time the GM uses Defiance, the player opposed can roll to try and advance an ability. See Progression later in the chapter for how this works.

Roll Targets

  • 4: A child could do it
  • 8: Easy under normal circumstances
  • 12: Moderately complex, but fine
  • 16 : Challenging for a normal unskilled person
  • 20: Fairly easy for a talented person
  • 24: Challenging for a talented person
  • 28: Complex for a specialist
  • 32: Challenging for most specialists
  • 36: Very difficult, even for a talented specialist
  • 40: Requires luck and brilliance
  • 44: Normally impossible, even for the very best
  • 48: Impossible under any normal conditions

Advantage & Disadvantage

If you're given a roll with advantage, roll two dice and pick the higher number. Disadvantage works the same, but takes the lower number of the two. Advantage occurs when the player has a greater than average chance of succeeding at the roll, thanks to other players helping, a reasonable length of time to complete the task or other similar situations. Disadvantage occurs for the opposite reasons - performing the action under a particularly challenging conditions, a highly compressed timespan, and so on.


Lyneth: I'd like to open the door and see what's in the next room.

GM: You walk over to the door and try and open it, but discover that it's locked. However, the wood feels a little flimsy.

Lyneth: I shoulder-charge into it to break it down.

GM: Roll a Fitness check please.

The GM decides that this has a roll target of 12. Lyneth has Fitness at level 7, meaning the roll required is 5 or greater.

Lyneth: {rolls a 9} 16 total

GM: No worries. You charge into the door and as you hit it, it tears from its hinges.

In the next room, the party encounters a locked safe.

Lyneth: I'd like to try and force the safe door open.

Breaking into it with brute force is given a Fitness test of 42, making the roll target 15, so Lyneth can't manage it.

GM: You strain, but can't make it budge. It's a good lock and strong metal casing.

Caius: I'd like to give it a go with my crowbar.

Caius is the strongest member of the party, playing a Lurniage with strength 12, and a +2 bonus thanks to his people, and a relevant Skill at Grand Master, giving an extra +12 bonus. Even with this base of 26 however, they're still limited to a total possible roll of 38. However, the crowbar adds a bonus, which the GM has pegged at +7, making it challenging but possible.

Caius: {rolls a 9} I've got an 8, for a total of... 41

GM: You take the crowbar and start levering away on the door. It creaks and warps slightly, but still resists you. You worry pushing any further would break the crowbar.

Caius: I'll give you a Defiance point to re-roll. {rolls an 11} That's an 11, for a total of 43?

GM: The lock groans and shudders, your muscles straining as you apply massive force to it. Finally, with a loud bang, the crowbar hammers down, your fists smash into the floor, leaving two small dents, and the door flies open. Inside you see a note...


Once you've taken damage, you'll need time to recover. Any time you rest for eight or more hours in a 24 hour period, you recover all your used HP and Cohesion. Resting for less than 8 hours means you only recover a part of each. In that case, roll 2d12 for both HP and Cohesion. The total rolled is what you recover.


When your HP reaches 0, you fall unconscious. Should it ever reach negative your full HP, (so if your HP is 10, then -10) your character then dies.

For example, if you have 17 max HP and you take damage over the course of the fight. With a mighty blow from your opponent, you fall to 0HP, and are knocked unconscious. If you fall to -17 HP in that state, you're then killed.

Physical Manipulation

Changing the world comes at a cost - only those who've experienced the very highest peaks of emotion gain the ability to break the rules of the universe.

Using manipulations costs Cohesion; this is the measure of your ability to hold yourself together whilst bending the universe to your will. It increases over time, as your body becomes more attuned to its abilities.

Cohesion can go below 0, so when under that you can still cast, but bad things can start to happen. For more detail on this, consult the Physical Manipulation section of the book.


There's various ways to get around in The Imperial System. Base speed is given by the People your character comes from. The usual top speed of a character of any given size is:

Large: 12m/s
Medium: 8m/s
Small: 5m/s


GM determined, based on race and conditions. Generally 4x normal.


2x standard, although GM discretion applies

Stealth / Swimming / Climbing

½ speed / ¼ speed / ⅛ speed with Fitness check


Fitness check, with target of 2x feet jumped

Low Gravity / High Gravity

1.5x speed / ¼ speed with a Fitness Check. Failing is bad

Zero Gravity

¼ speed with a Fitness check to land safely. Roll targets are:

  • Short distance: 8
  • Mid distance: 16
  • Long range: 24


½ speed, unless the area is very well known or the character has exceptional night vision.


Progression in TIS is triggered through two mechanisms:

  1. The GM uses three Defiance to make a roll fail, or
  2. The group complete an act in a campaign.

In either case, the player can then roll to improve stats. If triggered by Defiance, roll against one stat. If it's a campaign act completion, then roll against three.

In either case, the roll is against value of the stat at the moment. If the rolled value is higher, then it improves.


Combat in TIS is built to be a part of the narrative, rather than battle simulation. Players narrate what they'd like to do and achieve, much like the rest of the game, and the GM narrates what happens as a result of their aims and intentions, and the opposing combatants, as it plays out. Think of it as simultaneous resolution of turn-based combat.

In combat encounters, two phases are used and repeated: Command and Execution. If any group comes from a position of stealth, they get a free Command and Execution round first, otherwise play runs normally.

There's no traditional Initiative order; players state their objectives and during the Command phase. Once everyone's happy with their objectives, the GM runs the Execution phase and tells the story of what happens. This roots the combat more in story and narrative, whilst allowing players time to act intelligently in combat and avoiding the problems caused by traditional initiative systems.

A complete Execution phase covers a maximum of 12 seconds of combat, as run by the GM.

After that a new Command phase is automatically called. At any point in between, a new Command phase can be called, but actions run or running during the Execution phase still stand. As a result, if someone swings an axe at you, you can't suddenly call a Command phase and dash out of the way. You still have to defend, before you can say you want to flee.


The first phase of combat is the Command phase. In this part, players state what they're going to have their characters attempt to do. These are set as character goals, and include movement, targets to be attacked or defended, items to be moved/picked up/thrown away, and anything else that a player character might want to do. There's no limit to how many of these you can aim to do, but you only have a maximum of 12 seconds of combat time for these to be executed, so you're limited in that sense.

The GM notes these down and at the end of the phase, checks with the players to ensure everything is correct.


In the second phase, the GM plays out the actions defined in the Command phase in real time. This may require any roll for challenging things, such as disappearing into a hiding place to stealth, attempting to climb on things, peering from behind cover to shoot and so on.

All rolls in combat are Narrative Rolls, as detailed at the top of the page.

Any time a player is going to take damage, they're asked how they'd like to defend against it. That defence is then rolled for in the same way, and based on the outcome, they either take damage or not.


A character is considered flanked when in melee combat with more than one opponent. To move stealthily, simply say that you wish to move stealthily. A Fitness check will be required, against an opposing Stats value. This check can be boosted by the Stealth skill, having an armour with camouflage, or other similar bonuses.

When flanked or being attacked from stealth, roll targets to defend are increased by 2. When attacking from stealth or a flanked opponent, roll targets are decreased similarly.


Damage is given in a flat number based on the kind of attack with the weapon. This is designed to keep combat fast paced and flowing. Damage stats are given in the format Blunt/Slashing/Piercing.

Certain attacks also have effects. There's a complete list which you can find here, but these are some of the more common ones you might encounter:


The target is knocked 1d12' straight backwards. On rolling a 10 or higher, target suffers 1d6 blunt damage.


The target is knocked 1d12' in a direction specified by the GM, and 1d12' into the air, suffering the height value in blunt damage. On rolling a 12 on either dice, causes the target to be stunned.


Any Fitness related rolls suffer disadvantage for the next turn.

Financial Affairs

As you complete tasks for people of power, you'll be rewarded in money and potentially status, which together confer influence. Work in the service of a minor noble or simply someone you come across along your travels might result in a minor sum of money changing hands. On the other hand, should your labour be in for a major noble household or royalty, you may well be gifted lands, villages, towns... Even entire cities.

These things enable you to gain entrance to higher places in society, allow you to raise funds and armies, and even wage war.


Money has various uses in game. In earlier campaigns, you won't require much of it. However, as your Status and therefore income increases, you'll be able to spend that money to add to your capabilities. For example, if you need to lay siege to a town, you'll need an army and the supplies to outlast the target. If you wish to trade for rare items, you'll need the finance to be able to purchase them or goods to trade form them.

TIS allows for management of one's estate. Through careful management of your affairs will you be able to influence the very highest levels of society, and complete your goals more easily. The average wage varies by profession and status. The lists below give examples of professions and standard wages, as well as costs for things in-world for a medieval/industrial revolution setting.

Profession - Salary
  • Aristocrat: £75,000
  • Baron: £25,000
  • Knight: £15,000
  • Gentleman: £7,000
  • Sea Trader: £7,000
  • Lawyer: £5,000
  • Yeoman: £3,000
  • Naval Officer: £2,400
  • Artist/Scientist: £1,800
  • Military Officer: £1,800
  • Clergyman: £1,500
  • Shopkeeper: £1,350
  • Tenant Farmer: £1,200
  • Artisan: £1,000
  • Seaman: £600
  • Labourer: £450
  • Soldier: £400
Item - Cost
  • Sword: £5
  • Pistol: £15
  • Suit/Dress: £20
  • Musket: £40
  • Horse: £40
  • Hunting Dog: £40
  • Small House: £2,000
  • Rectory: £7,000
  • Small warship: £24,000
  • Large warship: £96,000
  • Normal house: £5,000
  • Large house: £25,000
  • Great house: £200,000+
  • Month at siege: £150,000
  • Minor war: £10m
  • Major war: £80m


Your status is defined by the titles you hold. These can range from Knighthoods and government titles, to barons, viscounts, earls, marquessates, and dukes. The higher one rises, the more land and wealth one is likely to have. There is no reason why you cannot start out at any level of status you'd like in TIS.

In addition, greater status will convey access to areas of society one might otherwise not be able to move in. Beyond a certain level you will be expected to own land and property, from a single house to a vast estate covering dozens of villages.

Incomes, costs and estate values are given by the GM, based on the setting you're playing in.