Here's the basic rules you'll need to play a game using TIS. We've tried to keep it short and simple enough that you can learn basically everything you need inside a few minutes, and let the complexity come through your play and the story.
Tabletop RPGs are a social game, built around a story. However, not all narrative is comfortable or cheery, 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 mechanics. 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 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.
Whenever players try and do something in the world where there's a chance of them not succeeding in what they're trying to achieve, they roll to see what happens. If the player rolls a 9 or above, they succed. When they roll less than a nine, the roll Complicates, and either they don't manage to do what they're attempting, or they succeed with a proviso.
All rolls fall into one of two camps - narrative or ability. Narrative checks exist for when a player attempts to do something based not around their character's abilities, but around influencing the world. For example, checks for if they know anyone in a location, their capacity to do something in which they have no relevant stat, and other similar occasions.
Ability checks are the opposite side of this, where the character tries to do something based around using or acquiring Knowledge; relying on their Fitness; their ability to use Diplomacy; their magic and Manipulation skill or finally Combat. Most checks fall into this camp.
Complications & Defiance
Any time a player roll Complicates, they may choose to Defy the complication, creating an automatic success. However, the trade-off is that the GM gains a Defiance point. For every three Defiance points the GM has, they can choose to make a future roll Complicate, with no ability to Defy.
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.
Damage & Recovery
If your character gets hurt or uses magic, they'll need time to recover. Luck and Cohesion reset between sessions or after 24 hours in game, whichever happens first.
Luck is your ability to avoid plot-based harm. Every character has 5 Luck. Each time you wish to avoid damage, you use one Luck. If you run out of Luck, damage is taken as would make sense given the nature of the situation and injury, so falling from a couple of yards up might cause a sprained ankle which takes time to heal, where falling from a small building might cause broken bones. If the character still had available luck, then instead they might fall but have their fall broken by things in the way, or a soft object to land on.
Unconsciousness & Death
In combat, when you run out of Luck and you suffer an attack, you'll either be wounded or killed, depending on what makes sense in the situation. For example, if you're shot with an arrow in the leg, you might just be wounded, but if you take a heavy axe blow to the chest, you're definitely going to die. GM's are encouraged to kill characters when they run out of Luck.
Every time you need to avoid something which would be fatal in combat, you use one of your Luck.
Outside of combat, it's entirely possible to do something which would likely cause damage, unconsciousness or death, such as falling from a height. As such, it can also be imposed as required by narrative.
When your character dies, roll a d12. The resulting number is the length of time in hours it'll take for your character to recover and return to life. Death for the player characters is never permanent. However, death for anyone without manipulations is always permanent. As such, if an NPC dies it's very likely that they're going to stay dead.
This is designed to facilitate a form of narrative and combat where the survival of a player character isn't as important as the completion of the objective at hand.
Manipulations & Magic
Changing the world comes at a cost - only those who've experienced something profound gain the ability to break the rules of the universe. As such, they're generally either the perfect people to have such power, or the absolute worst.
Using manipulations costs Cohesion; this is the measure of your ability to hold yourself together whilst bending the universe to your will. Every time you use your abilities, it uses one Cohesion.
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, click here.
There's various ways to get around in The Imperial System, but movement is considered generally to be something to be considered for narrative, rather than mechanics. As such, there's no fixed speed people move at; instead, the characters are considered to move at any reasonable speed for how they're travelling. The GM can use their judgement where needed, but generally people move at the speed the plot requires.
Progression & The World Economy
Characters do not improve stats over the course of the game. Instead, the game uses an in-game economy to allow characters to gain and exert influence where required. The currency consists of gold, silver and bronze coins. 12 bronze equates to one silver, and 12 silver to one gold.
As you complete tasks in the campaign, you'll be paid for your help. 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, such as 12 Gold. On the other hand, should your labour be in the service of major noble household or royalty, you may well be gifted sums large enough to significantly increase your status, purchase entire villages, or raise armies.
All characters belong to the Guild of the Undying. The Guild act as peacekeepers and diplomats around the world, and occasionally to the Second and Ancient Peoples, when required. You can think of them a bit like Jedi.
The Guild is part of the Court of Law, one of the Courts of the Morund Collective, based in Begureu. The Court takes 10% of everything you earn in service to others to fund its activities, and support the upkeep of Begereu. You can also feed back income from your private wealth, in order to increase your standing, gain access to higher levels of society, and participate in campaigns around the world.
Your status is defined by the title you hold as a member of the Court of Service. Every character begins as a Knight or Dame, and over time, as you gain influence and wealth, you can rise through the ranks. Status is awarded based on the level of income you contribute the the guild each year.
The order of status in the Guild runs:
- Archduke/Archduchess (1,920 Gold)
- Grand Duke/Grand Duchess (768 Gold)
- Duke/Duchess (384 Gold)
- Princeps Elector (256 Gold)
- Margrave/Margravine (144 Gold)
- Count/Countess (96 Gold)
- Viscount/Viscountess (48 Gold)
- Baron/Baroness (24 Gold)
- Baronet/Baronetess (12 Gold)
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.
Guild status will be built into the system in Q3 2022.
Combat in Triumvene is built to be a part of the narrative, and resolved in semi-real time. Players move and then either attack or use manipulations, and the GM narrates what happens as a result of their actions, and the opposing combatants, as it plays out.
All actions for both the players and non-player characters are resolved at the same time, given what makes sense in the narrative and the actions given. 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.
Any time a player is going to take damage, they're asked how they'd like to defend against it. That triggers a Defence check, potentially with advantage or disadvantage, and based on the outcome, they either take damage or not.
Damage to NPCs and enemies happens is based on what is happening in the narrative and in the battle. The damage that makes sense given the situation is the damage done. If you sneak up on someone and stab them in the back, they die. If you're fencing with someone and they manage a slashing cut to your arm, you might take a small cut, but you're not going to die from it. 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:
The target is knocked 1d12 feet straight backwards. On rolling a 10 or higher, target suffers 1d6 blunt damage.
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.
Any Fitness checks suffer disadvantage for the next turn in combat, or for the next five or so minutes in game time.