In role-playing games, time is a relative concept. A week-long journey can be
played out in a matter of minutes, supposing that nothing interferes. The GM
keeps track of what the approximate time is, and will tell you occasionally,
if there's a clock or sun nearby to tell you.
On Savagea, minutes, hours, days etc. are used to measure time; this to avoid
confusion. In scenes with a lot of action, the unit of time is the round.
A round takes about five seconds, during which time each character can
perform his or her action.
Sometimes you have to test for something you're trying to do. This is done
by taking the score in the relevant attribute or skill and adding the result
of a 2d6 roll (that is, two six-sided dice). The sum of score and dice is
the result of the test. Sometimes this result is modified by the situation,
for instance when you're trying to run fast on a slippery ground, you'll have
to subtract some points from your running test result.
Another important factor is your health: if your life is at half its maximum
or below, you must subtract one from all your tests. If your life is at
one quarter or less, you subtract one more for a total of two.
Dependent on the result of the test, the GM tells you whether you succeeded
or not. Occasionally a test can have a little or a lot of success, depending
on how high the result was.
But, regardless of circumstances, there are three special cases. A natural
roll of twelve is called a critical success, or critical. It counts as a
seventeen, and often has spectacular results. On the other hand, a roll of
two is called a fumble. This means your result is zero regardless of
modifiers, and your action fails with equally spectacular results. Exact
results are up to the GM and can be surprising or humiliating. Finally, a
roll of three is considered a failure but not a fumble.
In certain cases you are directly opposing somebody else with your action.
A nice example is a tug-of-war, as only one of the parties can win the tug.
For these cases, both parties make a test on the relevant attribute or
skill. This might be different skills for both sides, and either side can get
a bonus because of some advantage they have. The highest result wins. In case
of a tie, ignore the dice and the one with the highest rank wins. If this is
also a tie, it's a temporary standoff.
In case of the tug-of-war, a marginal difference might mean the stronger
party gains a pace or two. If the difference was larger, or the other party
rolled a failure or fumble, it might be an instand win. If both parties roll
a fumble, something detrimental occurs, for instance the rope breaks.
Sometimes you will want to do two or more things at the same time, or are
forced into it by the situation. To a certain level this is normal and has
no influence on the game - for instance you can walk a couple of yards and
try to avoid blows, whatever you're doing at the time. If you want to do more
difficult things at the same time, for example lighting a torch while running,
or attacking with two weapons at the same time, you'll have to split your
Make an average (15) test on your concentration skill (or on intelligence if
you don't have the skill). If you make it, you have a -1 penalty to both
actions. If you fail, the penalty is -2. A fumble means you screw up somehow
and you can't perform either action. You must make this test each round
you're trying to do multiple things.
Doing more than two things is theoretically possible and most often used by
magicians for casting or maintaining multiple spells. The third action adds
a -3 penalty to all actions (including itself), for a total of -5; the fourth
adds a -4, for a total of -9, etc. If you succeed in the concentration test,
these penalties are halved (round up). Often these rolls become ridiculously
difficult, and you may run out of limbs to act with.
Sometimes an action runs askew and you become hurt. For instance, fire does
1d6 points of damage per round, and falling off ledges (or rather, the
landing that follows it) does 1d4 damage per ten feet. This damage is
subtracted from your current life. Firstly this has a negative influence on
your tests (you have a -1 penalty on all tests if your life is at half its
maximum or below, and a -2 if it's at one-fourth or below), and secondly you
pass out if your life drops below one.
In the latter case your friends had better help you quick or you might bleed
to death. If you're in a city there's usually a friendly temple nearby where
the priests can heal you, possibly for a fee. In the wilderness this is
obviously not the case, so most adventuring parties take a priest with them
for these cases.
It's also possible for you to break limbs, catch a disease or become poisoned.
These things usually don't affect your life rating, but they do modify other
scores. For instance, you can barely walk on a broken leg, and if you're
seriously ill you're too weak to walk around with a heavy backpack for long;
this might temporarily halve your endurance.
Usually you'll have to wait until these conditions cure naturally. This may
take anywhere from a couple of days to a month. If you have good contacts in
a city, a high priest might come to aid you. Very powerful priests can even
resurrect fallen comrades, but don't count on them performing these favors
for just anybody.
Life is easiest to regain. Firstly everybody regains a point of life
after a night's sleep, but only if you do sleep and eat enough. If you take
whole days of rest, this process is even faster. Secondly, in most cities you
can buy healing potions, and there are often priests willing to cure your
wounds, but often only for payment. Maybe you can even heal yourself. A final
option is buying adrenalin for experience, then taking life from the
adrenalin (2 experience = 1 adrenalin = 4 life).
Mana: the same options apply as for life: sleep, potions and adrenalin
can recharge your mana. Regaining mana is faster than regaining life; each
night you regain an amount equal to your faith rank minus five, or half
(rounded up) of your best rank in the magical disciplines. Take the highest
result of the two; for non-spellcasters both can conceivably be zero or
negative. This regaining is done by meditating or prayer, so if you're
incapable of either (you might be in coma) you won't regain your mana. On
the other hand, if you meditate for long periods, or make sacrifices to your
deity, you can gain more mana. Some other options include using the discipline
of Arcanus to extract mana from opponents and using a magical focus if you
have one. Certain areas may cause your mana to recharge quicker, slower or
not at all. See the chapter on magic for details.
Psyche is most difficult to restore. Luckily it doesn't drop as fast
or as often as life and mana. There are two basic ways to regain psyche. The
first is asking a high priest for aid. He won't necessarily aid you,
especially if you're of a different faith, and certainly not for free.
The second way is by development. As psyche is a measure of your spiritual
state of mind, you can regain it by regaining your peace of mind after a
period of turmoil. Roleplay it out, and expect it to take a while. A
temporary solution is using experience to increase your faith or knowledge,
but this gets expensive real quickly. Remember that you can't use adrenalin
to obtain psyche, and that your character is permanently insane and out of
play if your psyche ever hits zero.
As mentioned before this is meant for emergencies. If you're in serious
trouble, you can use adrenalin to save your skin. Usage of adrenalin is
instantaneous and costs nothing else. You may only use one point per round,
and must indicate so before rolling any tests for the round. Remember that
you won't get it back unless you buy more for experience points.
The first option is to exchange a point of adrenalin for four points of
life, mana or a combination of both. The second is to exchange it for six
bonus points, which you can assign to any tests you roll in this round and the
next five rounds. For instance you can assign +2 to one test, and +1 to four
others, for a total of six points. Most often you'll want to assign all +6 to
a single test to ensure you'll succeed in it. You can also use it to increase
the amount of damage done by an attack, but you must indicate this before
testing for the attack, and if the attack fails, the points are lost.
This score indicates how difficult it is to hit you in a fight. Your basic
score is eighteen, modified for reflex, empathy and the armor you're wearing.
Each rank of reflex or empathy below four lowers your defense by one; each
rank above six raises it by one.
For example, if you have reflex 8, empathy 4 and are wearing metal armor,
your total defense is 18 + 2 (reflex) - 0 (empathy) + 2 (armor) = 22.
Furthermore you temporarily gain two points of defense if you spend the
entire round dodging the attacks. On the other hand, if you are unaware of
the attack you lose two points of defense for the time being. For instance
if you're ambushed or stabbed in the back. If you're asleep, paralyzed or
defenseless for any other reason, your defense doesn't count.
An attack with a melee weapon is determined by your agility and your rank in
said weapon. For missile weapons, substitute perception for agility, and for
unarmed combat and martial arts, substitute strength. By the way you cannot
use a missile weapon when attacked in melee, because you won't have the time
or chance to aim.
It is not necessary to have a rank or skill in a weapon to use it; if you
know how to use a similar weapon, you can use that rank (see the chapter on
character creation for details), or if you have none, pretend you have rank
Your attack score can be modified according to the situation. When you're
trying to shoot a bow, the distance to your target is important, and your
score drops if there's a heavy fog.
In some cases, for example for magical spells, it is enough to touch the
opponent physically, even if that touch wouldn't normally injure him. Also,
certain weapons, such as a flaming sword, pass through metal unhindered. In
these cases the opponent's armor doesn't count towards his defense.
Make a test for the weapon. If the result is at least your opponent's defense
rating, you have scored a hit. Weapons do a certain amount of damage (see
the chapter on equipment); roll for this. If you roll a critical (natural 12)
the attack does two more points of damage. Certain heavy suits of armor
absorb an amount of damage; subtract this absorption from the damage.
Melee weapons do damage dependent on your strength. Add one point of damage
for each rank in strength above six, or subtract one for each rank below
four. This doesn't count for missile weapons. If any damage remains, subtract
it from your opponent's life. If the life hits zero, he is eliminated.
Example: you hit with a battle axe, which does 1d4+4 damage. You roll a three
on damage. Also you're very strong, rank 8, so you add two more points. But,
your opponent is wearing chain mail, which absorbs a point of damage. Your
total damage done is 4 + 3 + 2 - 1 = 8, which would cripple the average human.
Often it's worth trying to do something spectacular for an attack. Use your
fantasy - jump on a table, swing from a nearby rope, trip your enemy with a
long staff, disarm him by surprise, pin his clothes to the wall with a
well-aimed arrow, etc.
This kind of actions often give you a penalty to the attack score, or use the
rule for performing multiple actions at the same time. An example is parrying
with a sword or other weapon; this will give you +1 to your defense, but it
counts as two simultaneous actions so you'll get a -1 or -2 penalty to your
attack. If you use these techniques well you can often turn the situation to
your favor; in the above case it's a good idea if you're attacked by multiple
enemies. If you want to use a certain stunt often, it can even be
rewarding to take a skill in it.