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.

Black

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.

Gold

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.

Narrative

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 guide acts as a framework of rules to ensure fair play, and to give a structure to your games. 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. The player with the highest roll tells a story of something that happened to either the group or a character in it during the last session, to expand on an event or detail. This serves to refresh the group as to what happened in the last session, and give the ability to expand on something which happened in more depth. It also allow for the introduction into the game of the time the characters spend outside the table narrative talking to each other and learning about each other.

Rolling

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

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.

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

Ability Rolls

Tasks players attempt are tested by rolls on a d12, and operate similar to Narrative rolls but with modifiers, in the form of Knowledge, Fitness or Diplomacy, Manipulation skill or a Combat type. Most rolls fall into this camp.

Roll a d12 and add the relevant stat, then tell the GM the total. On a 13+ the player succeeds, 8-12, they succeed but something unintended happens. For any roll of 7 or less, the roll fails.

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 any roll fail. Defiance negates advantage and disadvantage rolls.

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.

Example

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.

Lyneth has Fitness at level 3, meaning the roll required is 5 or greater to succeed at some level.

Lyneth: {rolls a 9} 12 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 going to be challenging. As such, the GM decides this is impossible with any fitness roll.

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 Fitness 3, and a +1 bonus thanks to his people, and a relevant Profession as a Master Warrior, giving an extra +2 bonus. Given the addition of the crowbar, and this base of +5, the GM decides it's possible but unlikely, so calls for a Fitness Check with disadvantage.

Caius: {rolls a 9 and a 5} I've got an 9 and a 2, so the lowest is 2 plus 3 plus 1 plus 2... Seven.

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 and a 6} That's a 6, for a total of 11?

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...

Recovery

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 half of each.

Unconsciousness

In combat, 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.

Outside of combat, it's entirely possible to do something which would likely cause unconsciousness, such as falling from a height. As such, it can also be imposed as required by narrative.

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.

Movement

There's various ways to get around in The Imperial System. There's no fixed speed people move at, in the way DnD for example has it. Instead, the characters are considered to move at any reasonable speed for walking or running. Use your judgement, but generally people move at the speed of plot.

When moving by anything other than walking or running, use the following assumptions for increasing or decreasing speed:

Flight/Gliding

GM determined, based on race and conditions. Generally 5x normal pace.

Mounted

2x normal pace, although GM discretion applies

Stealth / Swimming / Climbing

½ speed / ¼ speed / ⅛ normal pace

Stealth and climbing impose a Fitness Check to see if they succeed at all.

Low Gravity / High Gravity

1.5x speed / ¼ speed with a Fitness Check. Failing is bad in interesting ways the GM wishes.

Zero Gravity

¼ speed with a Fitness Check to land safely.

Darkness

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

Progression

Characters do not improve stats over the course of the game. The character you build is the character you stay with. If you wish to improve your odds in any situation, use the items and equipment you carry, or what's around you in the environment to do so.

Combat

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.

Command

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.

Execution

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 Ability 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.

Flanking/Stealth

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. This check can be boosted by any profession where being stealthy is normal, having an armour with camouflage, or other similar bonuses.

When flanked or being attacked from stealth, roll with disadvantage. When attacking from stealth or a flanked opponent, roll with advantage.

Damage

Damage is given in a flat number based on the type, size and quality of weapon used. The details for the numbers are given here. This is designed to keep combat fast paced and flowing.

Certain attacks may have effects, depending on the weapon and situation. There's a complete list which you can find here for the GM to use, but these are some of the more common ones you might encounter:

Knock-Back

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

Hurl

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

Stunned

Any Fitness related rolls suffer disadvantage for the next turn in combat, or for the next five or so minutes in game time.

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

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

Status

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.