How to Play

The Imperial system, or TIS for short, is a d12-based tabletop RPG system. It aims to facilitate games with collaborative, co-created lore and history, built from a limited description of the world. It's also designed to explore the concept of challenge in games, where death isn't permanent. When faced with challenges, solving the puzzle of how to achieve the objective is more important than whether or not your character survives, since they'll never stay dead. However, everyone else in the world isn't so lucky.

As such, players should feel free to describe friends they know who can help with challenges faced, to fill out the details of a treaty between two peoples which can aid them in a situation, or describe how their personal history influences the story. When death isn't the ultimate obstacle, everything else becomes more important.

TIS favours open-ended, exploratory campaigns, with players being given significant creative freedom. This is created through three features:

  • The ability to re-roll any failed roll (at the cost of the GM building up points to change a future roll),
  • A system of magic which encourages players to be more creative with a small number of abilities, and
  • A simple dice rolling mechanic, where rolls either succeed or not.

If you want to get started in a hurry, we have a find the Player Quick Reference, covering the most common things you'd likely want to know. The detailed rules are covered over in the base ruleset. Character creation and the character sheet detail can be found here. Here's how combat & warfare works, and for GMs, here's some information on encounters & building NPCs.

Magic, known as Manipulation in the system is a little different than you might be used to, with characters having very few abilities. As such, you might want to spend time learning how they work. The overview on the magic system can be found here. You're also going to want to take a look at the list of things you can do. There's six different classes of magic, which enable different abilities, which are: