Rules#

The following chapters discuss the general rules of the system. Once you understand a couple of core concepts, the system become easy to understand.

It will quickly become clear how you can adapt the system to different genre’s and settings, and how you can use it in interesting ways to tell your stories.

Tip

Before you start reading through the rules, check that you have the following.

  • A single twenty-sided die (1d20) called the Drama Dice. This help to inject drama into the scene. You will only ever need one.

  • Rank Dice are the dice you will use for the different attribute and skill nodes in the game. These are d4, d6, d8, d10, d12. It’s best to have two or more of each of these dice (except for the d4), since it is common to roll multiple of the same type during skill checks.

  • Extra Paper, pencils and eraser to make notes and keep track of things.

Characters#

In Nemron, we define characters by their twelve attribute nodes and any combination of skill nodes.

Attribute Nodes#

Attributes embody the raw, natural capabilities and health of your character. We group them into three attribute lines, Body, Mind and Spirit.

Body Line#

Power (A)#
Type
Active

Any action that relies on physical power will use this attribute. It includes things like melee combat, certain athletic tasks, like lifting heavy objects, etc.

Agility (A)#
Type
Active

This attribute is for any action that relies on a certain amount of finesse and accuracy in movement. It includes tasks that require the entire body or, tasks that require finer motor skills like the dexterity to play a piano or guitar.

Constitution (A)#
Type
Active

This is the attribute that describe your physical fitness and resistance to physical ailments.

Constitution is the upkeep attribute for any long-lasting physical activity.

Mind Line#

Intellect (A)#
Type
Active

This attribute describes your intellectual prowess, how quickly you can think on your feet and how well you learn and retain information.

Awareness (A)#
Type
Active

Your awareness of your surroundings, objects or people.

This attribute also informs how well you are capable of reading the emotional state of an individual and how well you can read the social mood.

For this reason awareness is often used for rolls that involve accurate interpretation during social interactions.

Willpower (A)#
Type
Active

This attribute describes how well you can resist any mental distractions or temptations, as well as your ability to rationalize difficult situations, so they don’t lead to extra distress.

Willpower is the upkeep attribute for any long-lasting mental activity.

Spirit Line#

Control (A)#
Type
Active

This attribute informs how well you are capable of controlling your own nervous system, fine motor movement, emotional state, and social interactions etc.

Depending on game settings, Control also describe your connection to magic or cybernetic implants, and your ability to activate and “control” those domains.

Sense (A)#
Type
Active

Similar to control, this attribute informs how well you are able to sense or read minute changes within your nervous system.

Depending on the game setting, Sense also describe your connection to magic or cybernetic implants, and your ability to detect or “sense” changes within those domains.

A cybernetic implant that give you night vision for example, will use this attribute instead of Awareness (A).

Focus (A)#
Type
Active

This attribute informs how well you can maintain focus on actions that involve the nervous system or spirit line.

Focus is the upkeep attribute for any long-lasting actions using the spirit line.

Energy#

Energy is the resource that every character has. Characters spend energy for special abilities or any activity that requires high amount of exertion.

Energy (E,R)#

Type
Effect, Resource

The energy pool is the total amount of energy you have when rested and healthy. Any activity that require high amounts of exertion, will spend this resource.

The maximum amount for this resource node depends on the other Spririt nodes.

\({MaxEnergy} = {Control} + {Sense} + {Focus} + 5\)

Spending Energy

  • Spend 1 Energy for every hour of hard physical effort, like jogging, hiking up a mountain etc.

  • By using a skill that has energy requirements (magic, technomancy etc.)

Recovering Energy

  • When resting, energy will recover by 1 point for every hour of rest.

  • Depending on the game genre or setting, there may be items or abilities that either, speed up energy recovery or, give the character an instant boost of energy.

Movement Speed#

Movement speed is the distance that a character can cover for every Action Point (AP) spent. We measure this in meters per AP.

\[{MoveSpeed} = {Agility} \times 2\]

Note

Generally, we don’t ask a player to roll dice for movement, but there is still an implied roll happening in the background, governed by an attribute-node. This is why movement cost 1 AP.

The implied roll for normal movement is Agility = 1 AP.

If you wish to move even faster by running or dashing, you need to add an extra boost of power. The implied roll for this is Agility Power = 2 AP, and so you move twice the range (once for each AP spent).

Or, if you want to move 3 times the range, use your experience in athletics as well: Agility Power Athletics = 3 AP

Skill Nodes#

Every character can have a number of skill and item nodes, which represent the background, training and experience for the character.

In Nemron, skills do not exist in isolation. We allow characters to use multiple skills in combination, so long as the player and GM agrees that the skill is relevant to the dice check.

See our skills add-on for a list of starter skills you can adapt to your game settings.

Skill Checks#

Whenever a character attempts a task that might fail or might have some side-effect, the GM might ask them to make a “skill check”.

Rolling for Checks#

When making a skill check, the character will build up a dice pool by combining at least one Attribute Node, with any number of skill and item nodes, so long as the skills and items relates to the test in some way.

Every node has a rank, and each rank has an equivalent dice.

Rank/Level

Dice

0

1d4

1

1d6

2

1d8

3

1d10

4

1d12

  1. The GM chooses sets a difficulty for the test. The normal difficulty is 1-10. For especially difficult tasks, the DC can go to 11-12.

Difficulty

Description

1

A simple every day task, like walking up the stairs.

2

3

Task requires a bit more focus but still easy on average.

4

5

Hard, but not unattainable for those with novice training

6

7

Hard, but not unattainable for those with adept training

8

9

Hard, but not unattainable for those with master training

10

11

Hard, but not unattainable for grand-masters

12

Even grand-masters struggle to attain this level consistently

  1. The player tell the GM which attributes and skills they want to add to their dice pool. GM and player need to agree that the skill choices contribute to the check in some way.

  2. The player rolls the entire dice pool, and keeps the highest result. If the player rolls exactly the target difficulty, it will count as a success of one. Every additional point increase this bonus. This bonus value may become relevant in some checks (like combat checks).

  3. The player rolls a separate 1d20 (Drama Dice). This roll will determine the drama outcome for the skill check. Drama only happen when the player rolls either 1 or 20 on Drama. See The Drama Dice for details.

    Tip

    You can roll the drama dice together with your main dice pool to save time, but make sure you don’t accidentally use it as part of your dice pool result.

  4. The GM describe the result. Depending on success or failure, in combination with the outcome of good or bad drama, the GM will describe the outcome.

Tip

Skill Combos

In the following example, Brandon Ross is attempting to evade the path of a falling tree. He has both evasion and acrobatics skills. Both of these provide experience that can help with the current scenario.

So the Brandon can build the dice pool in the following ways:

  • Agility (1d6) = 1 AP or,

  • Agility (1d6) Evade (1d8) = 2 AP or,

  • Agility (1d6) Acrobatics (1d6) = 2 AP or,

  • Spend more Action Points and use experience in both evasion and acrobatics; Agility (1d6) Evade (1d8) Acrobatics (1d6) = 3 AP

As you can see in the example above, the player has the option of just using the attribute node Agility by itself without any extra skill nodes. This does reduce the chance of success, because he is only rolling one dice, but it does cost less Action Points.

He can also use combined experience in evasion and acrobatics, which will give him three dice in his dice pool, but will cost more Action Points.

Roll for Rank#

In some cases the outcome for a roll will determine the rank for something (some skills, boons and conditions use this mechanic).

Roll

Resulting Rank/Level

3

1 Rank

4

2 Ranks

5

3 Ranks

6

4 Ranks

Boons and Penalties#

Boons & penalties affect a character’s dice pool in either a positive or negative way.

  • Lesser Boon = Add a 1d8 to your dice pool – Keep Highest Result

  • Greater Boon = Add a 1d12 to your dice pool – Keep Highest Result

  • Lesser Penalty = Add a 1d8 to your dice pool – Keep Lowest Result

  • Greater Penalty = Add a 1d4 to your dice pool – Keep Lowest Result

Boons and penalties do not stack, but they will cancel each other out. So you can never have more than one boon or penalty per roll.

Greater boons or penalties always cancel out lesser boons and penalties.

Fixed Rolls & Difficulties#

The following are special terms used to indicate a fixed roll or difficulty based on the maximum roll potential for a skill, action or dice pool.

  • Fixed-Medium refers to exactly half of the maximum number possible for the skill/action dice pool.

    So if the dice pool is 1d6 1d10 1d8, and the skill description state that the difficulty is; “… the Fixed-Medium for the skill”, then the difficulty will be 5; exactly half of the d10, since that is the maximum roll potential.

  • Fixed-Maximum refers to the maximum number possible for the skill/action dice pool.

    So if the skill pool is 1d6 1d10 1d8, and the skill description state that the difficulty is; “… the Fixed-Maximum for the skill”, then the difficulty will be 10, the maximum of the d10, since that is the maximum roll potential.

Intentions#

Characters perform actions with a specific goal, outcome or intent in mind. In the Nemron system we facilitate this through our “Intentions” mechanic.

Intentions can have one of 4 categories of outcomes;

Different skills, weapons and items can grant the user access to different intentions.

See the Intentions Reference for more information on how to use intentions in your games.

Untrained Skill Rolls#

Characters can use skills without training, but the following rules apply:

  • If the skill doesn’t require special training (like evading an attack, or running up stairs), then the player just roll the most applicable attribute node.

  • If the skill requires specialized training, then the player rolls the most applicable attribute node, with a greater penalty.

Contested Rolls#

If two or more contested rolls occur, and characters roll the same amount, then follow these rules:

  1. When both of the actors have the same boons, the player characters will always win vs. NPC’s.

  2. Actors with a greater boon will win the contest over an actor that has a lesser boon or no boons.

  3. Actors with a lesser boon will win the contest over an actor that has no boons.

  4. Actor that used more nodes in their pool will win.

  5. When none of the actors have any boons, and they have the same number of dice nodes in the pool, then the player characters will always win vs. NPC’s.

The winning side will always count as succeeding by 1 point.

Node types#

The Node types form one of the core pillars of the system. By just understanding the different node types, you can easily figure out some core rules for more complex skills and actions.

Every node type will have two recurring properties

AP Cost

Action Points is a resource used in event sequences (like combat).

If a node has an AP Cost, then the cost to add that node to the dice pool is always 1 AP.

Dice Pool

This tells us if we can add the dice for the node rank to our dice pool or not.

Active (A)#

AP Cost

Yes

Dice Pool

Yes

This is the most common type of node for skills. This represents a skill or action that is actively used.

Passive (P)#

AP Cost

No

Dice Pool

Yes

Passive nodes represent a passive bonus that the character get without needing to put any effort into it. You can add the node to your dice pool, without needing to spend any AP.

Ability (AB)#

AP Cost

Yes

Dice Pool

No

Ability nodes modifies the action, skill or item.

Effect (E)#

AP Cost

No

Dice Pool

No

An effect is something that has either a temporary or permanent effect on a character or item.

Effect nodes normally have a fixed rank, but in some cases the rank can change if;

  • The rank can increase if it stacks in intensity, like some boons and conditions.

  • The rank can decrease if it has decay, like most boons and conditions.

  • In some cases the GM may increase or decrease the rank of an effect on the character, based on the narrative in the story.

Resource (R)#

AP Cost

Depend on node combo

Dice Pool

Depend on node combo

Resource Nodes represent expendable abilities or resources. Each rank represents a single available “charge” or “use”. Resources can stack higher than the usual node maximum of four.

Resource nodes are always used in combination with another node type, which means that their AP Cost and Dice Pool depends on the node combination.

The boon Inspired (P,R), for example, is a Passive (P) and Resource (R) combination node. So when spending the Inspired you may add the node to your dice pool, and it will have no AP cost.

Armour#

The purpose of armour is to absorb damage. It’s not a necessity but can greatly increase a character’s chances of surviving an attack. At the same time, the armour can also reduce freedom of movement.

The armour rank is the total amount of damage that the armour can absorb.

Action Sequences#

An action sequence is a sequence of events where activities happen in a pre-determined order.

An example action sequence is combat.

Todo

Show a sequence of steps to determine and work with action sequences.

Initiative#

At the start of an action sequence, every character needs to roll for initiative.

This is a Dice Pool consisting of Agility Awareness Sense. The character with the highest result goes first.

Tip

Drama is optional when rolling initiative.

Action Points (AP)#

When using actions or reactions, characters needs to spend action points. If they don’t have any action points available, then they cannot take any reactions.

The number of AP that a character has is equal to their initiative fixed-medium.

The number of AP required depends on the type and number of nodes used in the dice pool. Every node type will specify if it has an AP Cost for using the node.

Players should remember to update the AP for characters when they take actions.

At the start of a new round, AP for all characters in the action sequence, will reset to their initial values.

Note

AP Cost Cannot be less than 1

If for some reason your have an ability or skill that reduces the AP cost for certain skills, then you must remember that AP Cost cannot be less than 1.

Reactions#

Actors can react to something happening to themselves or, something happening within their melee range, so long as they have Action Points (AP) available.

Holding Actions#

On their turn, an actors can choose to hold their action. If they do this, they can spend their action at any point in the event sequence. So long as they have AP available.

AP Cost for Simple Actions#

Some actions may feel simple and you may wonder what the AP Cost would be.

A simple rule to remember is that every action always originates from a primary attribute. So, even though some of these skills don’t require a roll, there is still an implied roll behind the scenes.

Some examples:

Action

Implied Dice Pool

AP Cost

Normal Movement

Agility

1 AP

Running

Agility Power

2 AP

Equip/un-equip a item

Agility

1 AP

Reload a weapon

Agility Agility

2 AP

Speaking or issue commands

Control

1 AP

Note

Reloading a weapon uses 2 AP, because it consists of two different tasks. First you need to remove the old clip, magazine or shell, and then you need to insert the new one.

Action Sequence Intervals#

During an action sequence, some abilities or evens my repeat at a specific interval or cycle. Intervals can repeat in the following ways.

Action

Happens every time that any character uses an action.

Turn

Happens every time that any character has a turn. This happens regardless if the character actually does anything during their turn. Note that a new round does not reset events that activates every turn.

Round

Happens every round, usually at the same initiative as when the action, ability or event started.

Combat#

Combat is an action sequence, so all participants need to roll initiative at the start of combat. Make sure you understand the action sequence basics before going on with this section.

Attack Rolls#

The attacker makes a normal attack roll and if applicable, can add their weapon rank to their dice pool.

There is always a base difficulty for attack rolls. This base difficulty is the fixed-medium of the weapon used.

Defending against attacks#

In Nemron, we use an “active defence” mechanic, meaning a character must actively use an action or reaction and spend AP, to actively defend against an attack.

Defensive actions can include evasion, parry, block etc. Characters make these rolls just like any other roll.

Combat Damage#

There are no rolls for damage.

  • The weapon rank is the total amount of damage dealt.

  • Unless stated otherwise by the weapon or damage type, damage will usually apply or increase the Wounded (E) condition.

Taking Cover#

Minimal-cover

Attacker gets a lesser penalty for their attack.

Half-cover

Attacker gets a greater penalty for their attack. For area attacks you may mitigate half of the damage.

Full-cover

Attacker cannot attack unless the character reveal themselves, in which case it becomes half-cover. Area attacks can still damage you however, with the same damage reduction as the half-cover rules above.

Complete-cover

Same as full cover, but now also apply to area attacks.

Range Indicators#

Many actions, abilities and skills will have a range, distance or reach. We identify these ranges as, Melee, Near, Far and Distant.

Range

Classifier

Description

< 2 meters

Melee

Within a single lunge or swing of your weapon

2 to 8 meters

Near

Within movement range

8 to 30 meters

Far

Outside of movement speed

30 to 100 meters

Distant

Falling Damage#

Falling damage count as a weapon, where;

The damage type depend on the surface that you collide with. The following damage types are just guidelines. The GM should feel free to bend these rules as fit the scenario.

  • Water, sand dunes, grass or flat ground: Kinetic Damage (E)

  • Concrete or smooth rock: Generic.Damage.Crusing

The damage rank (amount) depend on how far the character fell before they collide with a surface. The damage is 1 rank for every 5 meters fallen.

Todo

from 4 onwards apply a long lasting condition like crippled

5-9 meters = Condition like crippled etc at scaling ranks 1 to 4 10+ meters wounds at 1 wound per rank.

So a 15-metre fall onto flat ground will result in 3 wounds and could potentially also apply Dazed (E) or Staggered (E,F) conditions.

Falling damage ignores armour, unless the armour specifically protects against it.

PCs may still use damage mitigation to reduce falling damage.

Note

We intentionally kept the damage on a linear scale. The reason for this is that we want to favour ease-of-use, over super realism.

The Drama Dice#

This is an optional mechanic, but if used, it can make for more interesting games.

Imagine your character is falling off a cliff and your belt hooks on a tree branch, saving you from the inevitable fall to death.

Or, you have to shoot a charging bull. It’s an easy shot, and it will land the final blow to bring the beast down; But your gun misfire.

The drama dice introduce this kind of randomness to all rolls.

With every roll, players also roll an extra 1d20. This is their “drama dice”.

This extra dice is NOT part of the dice pool, and does not contribute to your roll. It only determines the outcome of drama.

Drama only happens when the players roll 1 or 20 on your drama dice.

1 on Drama (Bad Drama)

The character will get either:

  • -2 to the final roll or …

  • … this might result in automatically failing the roll or, the GM may decide on something dramatic that has a negative outcome.

20 on Drama (Good Drama)

The character will get either:

  • +2 to the final roll or …

  • … the character gain 1 point of Luck or …

  • … this might result in an automatic success or, the GM may decide on something dramatic that has a positive outcome.

Tip

Drama outcomes are ultimately in the hands of the GM, but we would caution not to make things feel unfair.

The purpose of drama is to inject random, high impact, and memorable events into the scene. Something that players will talk about weeks later.

Drama should never make players feel punished for something they have no control over.

Drama Dice Example#

Orrian tries to shoot the opponent standing next to her friend Rhalf. She rolls really high for her attack, a good shot; But she rolled 1 on drama.

The GM realize there are a couple of options that can add a dramatic flair to this scene:

  1. Orrian hits Rhalf by accident. A perfectly acceptable outcome, but maybe not dramatic or unique enough. Moreover, it doesn’t reflect the fact that she had a good, accurate attack roll to begin with.

  2. Since Orrian had a good attack roll against the opponent, the GM factors this into his drama decision.

    GM decides that Orrian will hit the intended target as normal, but that the shot hit a grenade attached to the target belt. The grenade explodes, damaging everyone around him as well.

    This is a dramatic outcome and can be devastating to Rhalf and the team.

  3. The second example may be too devastating for the team, so GM may decide that the shot hit the enemy, but that the blood from the wound splatter into Rhalf’s eyes, giving him obscured vision.


Author(s)
  • Andre Engelbrecht