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ALT RPG

Core Rules

The ALT RPG is a simple, generic roleplaying game that lets you
experience adventure in any genre of play. All you need to play is paper,
pencil, and six-sided dice.

This booklet contains all the information you need to play.

Copyright 2015 LWM


For more information, email tenduril@gmail.com
This rulebook is FREE; if you paid money for it, you were not supposed to.
Do not sell or distribute this booklet without permission from the author A rules-light roleplaying game for any genre
Introduction Attributes Skill RA Description equal to 2 + Agility, or 2 + Fighting skill,
Acrobatics AG Jumping and somersaulting whichever is higher. A shield gives +1 to
This is the ALT RPG; a role-playing game Your character has four attributes: Strength, Archery AG Shooting a bow and arrow Defense.
meant for any genre of play. This can be Agility, Intellect, and Spirit. Awareness SP Seeing and hearing
Climbing ST Climbing Threshold
What is a Role-Playing Game? Your Strength represents your physical power Cooking IT Preparing meals
and stamina. It is abbreviated ST. Crafting* IT Making tools or other things Your character's Threshold is how much
A role-playing game can be thought of as Deception IT Lying, feinting in combat physical punishment it takes to seriously hurt
improvisational theater, with dice for the Your Agility represents your hand-eye Driving AG Drive cars or other vehicles him or her. It is equal to 2 + Strength, plus the
exciting parts. It combines acting, storytelling coordination and reflexes. It is abbreviated Fighting AG All hand-to-hand combat bonus from any armor worn.
and gaming. AG. Grappling ST Grabbing and wrestling
Hacking IT Breaking into computers Carry
At its core, role-playing is a conversation, Your Intellect represents your ability to think, Healing IT Treat injuries and illnesses
between two or more people. One is the learn, and remember. It is abbreviated IT. Influence SP Persuading or intimidating. This is how much weight your character can
Gamemaster, or GM, who controls the world the Inspire SP Inspiring and rousing allies carry comfortably. It is a number of pounds
characters inhabit. The other players each play a Your Spirit represents your willpower, intuition, Knowledge* IT Knowledge of different areas equal to 20 x your Strength. If you carry more
character in that world. and presence. It is abbreviated SP. Perform* SP Any kind of performance than your Carry, you get -1 to Movement for
Piloting AG Piloting aircraft each additional 20 pounds you carry.
As the game is played, characters narrate their Each attribute has a score, between 1 and 5: Profession* IT Doing a job or occupation
actions. This is where the GM comes in, to Roguery IT Lock picking and trap finding Height and Weight
narrate the result of those actions. Usually, this 1. Below-average Running AG Sprinting, chasing on foot
is fairly straightforward. If a character looks in a 2. Average Shooting AG Shooting guns and crossbows You can make your height and weight whatever
drawer or box to see what is inside, the GM tells 3. Good Stealth AG Sneaking and hiding you want them to be, but for a random height
them what is inside. Simple as that. But 4. Great Survival IT Surviving in the wild and weight (for adult humans), start with a
sometimes, there is an element of risk involved. 5. Prodigious Swimming ST Swim, or tread water height of 4'6 for females, or 5'0 for males.
Maybe a character wants to jump a gap as he Throwing AG Throwing weapons Add 3d6 inches to this total, for height. For
flees from enemies. Or try to pick a lock. This is You get 10 points to put into your four Tracking IT Follow or identify tracks weight, multiply the 3d6 roll from above by a
where the rules and dice come in. attributes; effectively, they must add up to 10. roll of 1d6+1, and add it to 90 pounds.
Attributes can't be higher than 5 or lower than 1. * You must pick a subtype for this skill.
Dice Roleplaying Information
Skills Traits and Flaws
This game uses six-sided dice, notated as d6. If Come up with some background for your
you see 3d6+4, that means to roll three six- You get a number of skill points equal to 4 + Traits and flaws are optional ways to customize character. Where is he from? Who were her
sided dice, add them up, and add 4 to the total. your Intellect score. So if you had Intellect 3, your character. You don't need to have any traits parents? How did she learn her skills? Who are
1d6+10 means roll one six-sided die, and add you would have 7 skill points to spend. or flaws; you can skip this step if you wish. her friends? Does he have any enemies? What is
10. 1d6x2 means to roll 1d6 and multiply the he like in person? Is she warm and friendly, or
roll by 2. You can put up to 2 points in any one skill at Each flaw and each trait has a value. For each cold and callous? What are her hobbies? What
character creation. Each skill also has a relevant trait you take, you must take flaws of equal has her life been like up until this point?
Creating a Character attribute; if you have a 4 or 5 in that attribute, value to balance out the benefit the traits give
add 1 to your skill for free. you. You may have up to two flaws. Also think about your character's appearance.
To create a character, first think about the type How long is his hair? What color is it? How is it
of campaign he or she is going to be part of. On the next page is a list of skills, along with the You may not take the same trait or flaw more styled? Any prominent facial features? Eye
Will it be a space opera? Heroic fantasy? A real- relevant attribute for each, and a description of than once, unless the trait or flaw specifically color? Facial hair? Skin color? You should be
world mystery game? A horror game that only the kinds of tasks it is used for. Keep in mind states otherwise. able to describe what your character looks like.
lasts a couple sessions? Talk with the GM, and that some skills might not be appropriate in
the other players, about what kind of characters certain campaigns; for example, the Piloting Movement Think about ways to make your character
you want to play. Most roleplaying games are skill might not be appropriate in a medieval distinct and memorable. Quirks and habits,
cooperative; you want to make sure to create a fantasy campaign. Your character's Movement is his or her favorite sayings, or intriguing motivations, can
character who will fit in well with the other sustainable pace, in miles per hour. It is equal to all make your character more interesting.
characters. For skills marked with an asterisk, you must 2 + Agility.
pick a subtype, such as Science for Knowledge.
Each subtype counts as a separate skill. Defense

Your character's Defense is his or her ability to


ward off blows in hand to hand combat. It is
Equipment Some ranged weapons fire from a magazine, Depending on how much you succeeded or
which must be reloaded (requiring 1 round) once Explosives: Explosive weapons deal damage to failed by, the GM might say you performed the
Consult with the GM for starting equipment, as all the bullets are used up. The magazine holds a all in a radius around them. They use standard task more quickly than normal, or better than
it will depend heavily on the setting and type of number of shots given under the Mag column. ranged attacks to hit, against TN 5. One that normal, or to try again if you didn't fail by a lot.
campaign. A good rule of thumb is to allow a misses, lands 1d6 feet away, in a random
character a character 100 value of items, and to A ranged weapon's rate of fire is how many direction. The Exploding Die Rule
give each weapon a value equal to its maximum times it can be shot per turn. A ranged weapon
possible damage x 5, and each armor a value with ROF 3 or more has automatic fire, and can Explosive Damage Radius Range Whenever you roll a 6 on the die for any roll,
equal to its bonus x 20 (with shields being 20). be shot 3 or more times per turn, but each shot is Flask of Acid 1d6+1 5 ft. 10 ft. the die explodes. This means that you roll the
Good benchmarks for mundane items are a at a -2 penalty to hit. Each attack roll on Alchemical Bomb 2d6 10 ft. 10 ft. die again and add it to your total. Do this again
backpack (5), a flashlight (2), or a used car automatic fire uses 5 bullets, or the equivalent. Molotov Cocktail* 2d6 10 ft. 10 ft. if the second roll was also a 6.
(100). Hand Grenade** 3d6 15 ft. 10 ft.
Weapon Damage Range ROF Mag C4 Explosive 8d6 20 ft. Automatic Failure
Melee Weapons Sling 1d6-2* 30 1 RPG Rocket 5d6 10 ft. 500 ft.
Javelin 1d6-1* 20 1 No matter how skilled you are, success is never
Each melee weapon deals a certain amount of Throwing Axe 1d6-1* 10 1 * Molotov cocktails burn for 2d6 rounds. certain, even if you are an expert. If you roll a 1
damage. If you have Strength of 4 or higher, you Shortbow 1d6 50 1 Anyone who enters the area takes damage as on a check, roll again. If you roll a 1 on the
deal +1 damage with melee weapons. Longbow 1d6+1 70 1 normal, and might catch on fire (see Fire under second roll, you automatically fail at, regardless
Crossbow 1d6+1 50 1 Additional Rules). of your skill.
Two-handed weapons cannot be used with a Musket 1d6+2 70 0.5 ** Most hand grenades have some time before
shield as they require both hands to use. .308 Rifle 2d6+2 100 1 5 they detonate; those in the blast radius can make
.357 Revolver 1d6+3 40 1 6 Agility checks at -2 to run for cover within 10 Cooperative Checks
Weapon Damage Special .45 Pistol 1d6+3 30 1 7 feet.
Unarmed 1d6-3 - 9mm Pistol 1d6+2 30 1 15 At the GM's discretion, two or more characters
Dagger 1d6-2 - MP5 SMG 1d6+2 30 3 30 Rule Zero may work together to try to accomplish a task.
Shortsword 1d6-1 - M-16 Assault Rifle 2d6 70 3 30 They all must make the same kind of check, and
Longsword 1d6 - AK-47 Assault Rifle 2d6+1 60 3 30 The GM's ruling on any situation is final, as he in some cases, characters can't help each other.
Broadsword 1d6+1 Two-handed M249 Machine Gun 2d6 50 4 100 or she is in control of the game world. If the
Spear 1d6 Two-handed 12-gauge shotgun** 3d6 20 1 5 rules are unclear, rely on the GM for a ruling. Opposed Checks
Club 1d6-2 - .50cal Sniper Rifle 4d6 200 1 5
Quarterstaff 1d6-1 Two-handed, +1 Defense Laser Pistol 3d6 40 1 20 Task Resolution If two characters are competing to do
Greataxe 1d6+2 Two-handed, -1 Defense Laser Rifle 4d6 80 3 50 something, they each make a check, and
Mace 1d6 - Laser Machine Gun 4d6 50 4 200 Whenever a character wants to perform an whoever rolls higher wins. In the case of
Rapier 1d6-1 - action that has a chance of failing, the GM can detection-based opposed checks (like Stealth v.s.
Crowbar 1d6-1 - * If you have Strength of 4 or greater, you deal ask for them to roll a check. Awareness) a tie goes in favor of the active
Machete 1d6 - +1 damage with this weapon. character (the one sneaking, lying, etc).
Chainsaw 1d6+2 Two-handed, -2 Defense ** Shotguns get an extra +1 to hit, but deal -2 Only important actions require checks. Driving
Bayonet 1d6-1 - damage per range increment past its first. down a straight road on a clear day would not, Attribute Checks
Laser Sword 1d6+3 - for example, require a check. Driving down a
Armor narrow alleyway to escape pursuers, however, Sometimes you will have to make an attribute
would require a check. check, such as a Strength check or a Willpower
Ranged Weapons Armor adds to your Threshold, making you check. To do so, roll 1d6 and add your attribute.
harder to kill. How to Make a Check The TN for this check is always 7.
Each ranged weapon has a range increment,
given in feet. Out to that distance, ranged attacks Armor Bonus Special To make a check, roll 1d6. If you have a skill
with that weapon take no penalty. Past that, they Leather +1 relevant to the check, you may add it. Your total
take -1, out to double their range increment, past Chain Mail +2 -1 Movement must be equal to or higher than the target
which they take -2, and so on. Breast-Plate +3 -1 Def., -2 Movement number (TN) to succeed.
Full-Plate +4 -1 Def., -2 Movement
For example, a handgun has a range increment Kevlar Vest +2 +4 against bullets. The standard TN is 6, and represents an average
of 30 feet. Shooting at someone up to 30 feet Power Armor +8 +2 Strength, Movement task in a stressful situation. For a harder or
away, it would get no penalty. Shooting at a easier task, the TN might be lower or higher.
target 31 to 60 feet away, it would get -1 to hit. Shields: A shield gives a +1 bonus to Defense. A However, if a TN is not specified in the rules, it
Shooting at a target 61 to 90 feet away, it would shield used as a weapon deals 1d6-2 damage, defaults to 6.
get -2 to hit. And so on. but does not give its bonus while used as such.
Combat Incapacitation and Death: At 0 Wounds, you hit. If you hit, your opponent must make a
If it is equal to or higher than double the target's are incapacitated, and die after 1d6 minutes Strength roll or get -1 to Movement for 1
Turn Order: Combatants act in order of highest threshold, the target loses 2 Wounds. If it is (starting the round you go to 0 Wounds). There hour. Multiple hits to the leg are
to lowest Agility. If there's a tie, roll opposed equal to or higher than triple the target's is a 50% chance they will go unconscious. At cumulative.
Agility checks to resolve it; or, in the case of threshold, the target loses 3 Wounds, etc. negative Wounds equal to your starting Wounds, Charging: A character may charge at an
allies, one character may simply let the other go you die instantly. So if you have 3 Wounds, and enemy, by moving up to double his Movement
first. The GM should keep a record of the For example, if a soldier has Threshold 8, then 8 went to -3 Wounds, you would die instantly. x 5 feet in a straight line, ending adjacent to
players' Agility order, so that combat order can or more point of damage would cause him 1 his foe. The defender first gets a single melee
be determined quickly without breaking the Wound. 16 or more damage would cause him 2 You can try to stabilize a dying character with a attack, at -2 to hit. After that, the charger
tension of an combat encounter. Wounds. 24 or more damage would cause him 3 Healing check. This check requires 1 minute to attacks, and deals +2 damage if he hits.
Wounds, and so on. attempt, and can be retried. You need first aid Charging requires two actions.
Rounds and Actions: A round lasts six seconds, supplies (if you don't have them, you get -2). A Cover: If your target has cover (such as behind
thus ten rounds to a minute. During his turn, a stabilized character is no longer dying, but is a rock or tree, or a large shield), ranged attacks
character can take up to two actions. Actions still unconscious, and might still need further against him get -2 to hit. Superior cover, such
include moving, attacking, casting a spell, medical attention. as shooting through a narrow window or slits
drawing a weapon, or something else. Some in a fence, gives -4 to hit. If your target is
things a character might do, such as reloading a Natural Healing: A wounded character can roll completely invisible to you (prone or crouched
gun, take a full round (2 actions). If an action is Strength once per day for natural healing. For behind a wall so that nothing is visible, you
not explicitly covered here, it is up to the GM each success, one lost Wound is restored. cannot attack them at all.
whether it is a free action (no action), regular Darkness: Dusk or similar dim lighting gives
action (1 action), or full round (2 actions). Special Combat Rules and Actions -1 to hit, and limits visibility to 150 feet.
Aim: You may spend an action aiming when Regular gives -2 to hit and limits visibility to
A character can delay their turn, or ready an using a ranged weapon. If you do, you may 50 feet. In pitch-black darkness, combatants
action to act later if certain conditions are met roll twice on your next ranged attack roll and cannot see each other at all; they must attack
(such as shooting as soon as a door opens). take the best result. areas rather than individual targets, and if they
Readying an action costs an action, and the All-Out Attack: Sometimes, landing a blow on do manage to locate an actual opponent, their
readied action is lost if the round ends before the your opponent is all that matters. You may attacks are at -3 to hit.
condition is met (but you can ready the same make an all-out attack against an opponent, Defend: You may forgo all attacks during your
action again the next round). getting +1 to hit on your melee attacks this turn to get +1 to Defense until your next
turn. However, you get -1 to your Defense action.
Moving: A character can move up to his until your next turn. This action cannot be Penetration: You can try to shoot through
Movement x 5 feet as an action. A character can combined with Charging (see below). cover to hit an opponent. Such an attack is at
take this action twice per turn if he wishes. Area Fire: A character using an automatic -2 to hit if you cannot see through the
weapon might try to do suppressive fire, or substance you are trying to shoot through. The
Attacking: A character can attack before, after, shoot through smoke or brush at an enemy he substance negates a certain amount of damage
or during his movement, but he can only make can't actually see. Such an attack uses two based on the material and its thickness; the
one attack action. A character might roll more actions (the character cannot move that turn), rest is dealt to the target normally. Some
than one attack roll per turn (such as fighting and at least thirty shots. The character may fire different materials are listed below, along with
with two weapons, or when using an automatic at any number of unseen targets within 30 feet how much damage they negate.
weapon), but all those are a single attack action. of each other, making a single attack roll Concrete: 5 per inch of thickness.
against each at -4 to hit. Also, characters who Glass: 2 per inch of thickness
Melee Attacks: Melee attacks are Fighting are shot at by this attack must make a
checks made against the opponent's Defense. Wood: 3 per inch of thickness
Willpower check or get -1 on their attack rolls
You can only melee attack an enemy within 5 Metal: 7 per inch of thickness
for 1 round.
feet of you, unless you have a reach weapon, Prone: You can drop prone for free at any
Called Shots: You may aim at a specific body
which allows you to attack out to 10 feet. point during your turn. Being prone gives -2
part. The attack is resolved as normal, and
Defense, and costs 2 Movement to get up
deals damage as normal; but there is a penalty
Ranged Attacks: Ranged attacks are Shooting from, but can allow you to drop behind cover
to hit based on where the attack is aimed.
or Throwing checks, against the standard TN of and be completely invisible to enemies, if
Arm: An attack against the arm gets -2 to available.
4. Cover, range, or other factors can modify the hit, but if you hit, the target must make a
attack roll. Push: You can try to push an enemy. You make
Strength check or drop whatever they are
opposed Strength rolls: if you win, the
holding.
Damage: If you hit, roll for damage. If the defender is pushed back 5 feet.
Head: Attacks against the head are at -4 to
damage is equal to or higher than the target's Shooting into Melee: If you miss a ranged
hit, but deal +4 damage if you hit.
Threshold, the target loses 1 Wound. attack against an enemy engaged in melee
Leg: Attacks against the leg are at -2 to
with an ally, you must roll again to see if you Additional Rules without resting. Each extra hour traveled, a Vehicles do not have a Defense score; hitting a
hit your ally. character must make a Strength check, or gain 2 vehicle in melee is against TN 2.
Two-Weapon Fighting: A character can fight Falling: A character who falls takes 1d6 damage fatigue tokens. These tokens are removed by a No attributes; vehicles either use the skill of
with two weapons, getting 2 attacks per turn, per 10 feet fallen. A character can intentionally good night's sleep. their pilot or driver to hit, or have a to-hit
but each attack gets -2 to hit. jump down 10 feet without suffering any bonus listed under their statistics.
Unaware: If you sneak up on an enemy, and damage; a character who jumps further suffers Complex Skill Checks: Sometimes, a single Threshold and Wounds are based on vehicle
attack when they aren't aware of you, you get fall damage as normal. skill check feels anti-climactic. For more size; see the table below. Multiply the
+2 to hit and +2 to damage. important, dramatic tasks, establish a number of thickness of armor in inches by 2 for bonus to
Fire: Characters who enter an area that is on fire successes needed to succeed, and a number of Threshold from armor.
Miniatures: Miniatures can be a great gaming must make Agility checks each round they failures needed to fail. The GM should narrate Vehicles similar to airplanes must maintain
aid. You do not have to use miniatures to play remain in the area to avoid catching fire. A the results of each roll to add flavor and build forward momentum to stay aloft. Such a craft
the ALT RPG, but they can help to visualize character who is on fire takes 2d6 damage per tension. may not move less than half its movement.
combat, determining relative positions, and round, until he extinguishes the fire by either Turning a ground vehicle 45 degrees costs 1
allowing characters to see the layout of the immersing himself in water, or succeeding on For example, a character might have to struggle action. Turning can be done at any point
battlefield. A 1 inch = 5 feet scale is another Agility check to put it out. Rolling on to repair a spaceship while his allies defend it during a vehicle's movement. For larger
recommended. You can use a grid map with 1 the ground gives +1 to this check. from alien attackers. Each round, the repairing vehicles, it might cost more. Each vehicle has
inch squares, or simply use a tabletop, with a character makes his check. He needs 5 total a turning time listed, for how long it takes it to
ruler to measure movement and ranges. Fatigue: Starvation, cold, long travel, and other successes to succeed, but only 2 failures to fail. turn 45 degrees.
hazards can inflict fatigue. Fatigue is measured If he gets 5 successes and 1 failure, he makes it
If you do not want to use miniatures, assume in tokens, which have effects as detailed below. just barely. If he gets 3 successes, then a failure, Size of Vehicle # of Wounds Threshold
that an area attack (such as a grenade or bomb) Fatigue tokens from different sources are then a success, then another failure, he almost < 1 ton 1 8
with a damage radius of 10 feet or less catches cumulative in their effects, but you might want succeeds, but at the last minute, something falls 2 5 tons 2 10
1d6-1 opponents, a damage radius of 15 or 20 to keep track of the different sources separately, apart, leaving the characters at the mercy of the 6 10 tons 3 12
feet catches 1d6 opponents, and a damage radius as some can only be removed by certain means aliens. 11 20 tons 4 14
of 25 or 30 feet catches 1d6+1 opponents. The (fatigue tokens from travel can only be removed + 10 tons +1 *
GM can make a ruling for how many targets are by rest, fatigue tokens from hunger can only be Mass Battles: Sometimes you may wish to
caught by a larger area of effect. removed by food, etc.) resolve a mass battle quickly. To do so, give one * Threshold does not increase after 20 tons, and
side a number of dice, each die representing the is only modified by armor past that point.
Fatigue Effect closest multiple of 10, and the other side a
16 number of dice proportional to that. For
79 -1 on all checks, -1 Strength, -1 example, for an army of 30,000 versus an army
Agility of 70,000, give one side 3 dice (one for each
10 14 -2 on all checks, -2 Strength, -2 10,000 soldiers) and the other side seven dice.
Agility Also figure out how good each army's soldiers
15+ Unconscious, dead after 2d6 hours are, and set a number they have to roll equal to
or higher than to succeed. For example, for a
Hunger and Thirst: You need 3 meals per day, battle between cavemen and aliens, the cavemen
with adequate fluids for each. Each time you might need a 6 to succeed, whereas the aliens
miss a meal, you must make a Strength check. just need a 2 or higher. Now, for advantages and
On a failure, you gain a fatigue token. Each disadvantages, you can give each side more or
meal you eat (with adequate fluids) removes 1 fewer dice (such as a successful raid by the
fatigue token; sleep or other rest cannot remove player characters giving -1 to the enemy side).
fatigue tokens gained from hunger or thirst.
Only food and water can remove them. Once you have applied all modifiers, each side
rolls its dice, and each die that comes up equal
Chases: Generally, in a chase, the highest to or higher than the number needed to succeed,
Movement wins. In a case of a tie, however, inflicts one casualty on the opposing side. After
opposed Agility checks can be made each round. each round of battle, remove casualties, and the
The winner gains 5 feet on the other, plus two sides can either attack each other again, or
another 5 feet for each additional success by one side can retreat, or surrender, or some other
which the winner beats the loser. outcome.

Travel: A character can travel a number of miles Vehicle Combat: Vehicles act much like
per hour on foot equal to half their Movement. creatures do in combat, with a few differences.
Generally, characters can travel 8 hours per day,
Advancement rule, getting hurt on purpose to get extra XP. Adding to the ALT RPG a certain amount of XP to spend on
advancements. Then, begin play, with leftover
Over, characters grow in skill and ability. At the When you advance in a skill, you might wonder You can use the ALT RPG for any type of role- XP kept as normal for later.
end of each gaming session, the GM awards 1-3 what it really means. The bullet points below playing game you want to run. However, the
XP to each character. These points can be spent show what each level in a skill means, in real- traits, flaws, skills, spells, and even rules Skill Flaws: As an optional rule, your character
in between sessions in the following ways: world terms. presented here are just baseline suggestions. may choose up to two skills that he or she is bad
Feel free to add skills if you want a skill that is at; whenever they are relevant to a check you are
To improve an attribute: It costs XP equal to x1: An experienced novice not covered by the list. Feel free to create your making, you get -1 to the roll. For each skill you
10 x the new value of the attribute to improve x2 to x4: A professional own traits and flaws, and spells (in fact, you will choose to be bad at, you may learn an additional
an attribute. For example, to go from Strength x5: Among the best in the region likely need to supplement these with your own.) skill. Keep in mind that your GM may disallow
2 to Strength 3, would cost 30 XP. You can x6: Among the best in the world you to be bad at skills that are irrelevant to the
improve an attribute only 1 point at a time (i.e. x7: Superhuman Optional Rules Character Creation campaign.
you can't go from 3 to 5 for 50 XP, you would
need to spend 40, then 50). These are optional rules for characters in the
To learn a new skill: It costs 10 XP to learn a ALT RPG. Consult with the GM before using
new skill. You must have some sort of in-game any of these, as the GM decides what rules are
training or exposure to a skill in order to learn in effect in his or her campaign. Feel free to
it. invent your own rules and mechanics for the
To improve a skill: You may improve a skill type of game that you want to play; the ALT
you already have for 20 XP. Write x2 next to RPG is intended to be expanded upon.
it. That skill now gives +2, rather than +1. You
may spend 30 XP to improve a skill from x2 to Races: Your character might not be a human.
x3, giving a +3 bonus when it is relevant, and Different races and species have different
so on, spending a number of XP each time capabilities. A race gives +1 to one attribute, and
equal to 10 x the new value of the skill. As -1 to another. It might also grant some minor
with attributes, you can only go up 1 point at a ability. Below are some example races for a
time. fantasy setting.
To gain a new trait: It costs 10 x the value of Elves: +1 to Agility but -1 to Strength. Elves
the trait XP to gain a new trait. For example, have low-light vision, which allows them to
gaining the Fencer trait (value 2) would cost see twice as well in dim light or at night.
20 XP. Dwarves: +1 to Strength but -1 to Charm.
To remove a flaw: If your character could Dwarves have infravision, which allows them
conceivably overcome a flaw in real life (such to see in black and white in complete
as Illiteracy, through learning to read), you darkness.
may spend XP equal to 10 x the flaw's value to Orcs: +1 to Strength but -1 to Intellect.
remove it. Half-elf: +1 to Charm but -1 to Strength.
To add to your Wounds: You may gain +1 Catfolk: +1 to Agility but -1 to Willpower.
Wound for a number of XP equal to your new
number of Wounds x 5. For example, to go Starting Specialized: You might want your
from 3 Wounds to 4 Wounds would cost 4 x 5 character to start out better at a skill; maybe he
= 20 XP). It is recommended that the GM focused almost exclusively on sword-fighting,
disallows this type of advancement in a more more so than most characters. For a starting
realistic campaign, but it is great for heroic or character, you may choose to give up one of
pulp games. your starting skills, to start another a x2. For
example, if you had Intellect 3, instead of
Players should track their total XP, spent or starting with 3 skills, you could start with a skill
unspent. at x2, and another skill at x1 as normal.

If a character who gains a flaw through in-game Starting More Experienced: The characters
events (such as One Eye or One Arm), the GM you create for the ALT RPG are generally
might award the character compensatory XP assumed to be novices with some training. Your
equal to the value of the flaw x 10. This is not a group might want to start out with more
required rule, but it is a suggestion to keep one powerful and skilled characters than normal. To
character in a group from being far less capable do so, each player should make a character
than the others. Do not let characters abuse this normally. Then, before play, give each character
Flaws Shaky Aim (2): You get -1 to ranged attacks. Traits is required. You can advance a spellcasting
Slow Learner (2): You gain XP half as fast. trait (such as Arcane Spellcasting II, Arcane
Below is a list of flaws. You may have up to two Slow (1): You get -1 to Movement. Below is a list of traits. You may take traits of a Spellcasting III, etc.) by spending 20 XP to
. You may not select the same flaw more than Slow Healer (1): You get -2 on Strength rolls total value equal to the total value of the flaws purchase the trait as normal. See the Magic
once. to heal lost Wounds. you took. You may not select the same trait more supplement booklet for more information on
Truthful (1): Must make a Willpower check to than once. spellcasting (included with this booklet).
Absent-Minded (1): Must make Willpower willingly tell a lie. Tough (2): You get +1 to Threshold.
checks to remain focused on tasks requiring Unskilled (1): You start with one fewer skill Armored Caster (1): You may cast spells while Unbreakable Will (1): When you make a
concentration. wearing armor. Willpower check, you may roll twice and take
Blind (3): You cannot see. You get -4 on all Attractive (1): You get +1 on Befriend and the higher result.
Fighting, Shooting, Awareness, and Acrobatics Persuasion checks with the opposite sex.
checks, and any other checks that require Block Arrows (1): You may make a Fighting
vision. You also cannot make called shots in check against a ranged projectile fired at you.
combat. You automatically fail sight-based With a shield, you get +1. If you roll higher
Awareness checks. than the shooter's attack roll, you deflect it.
Charitable (1): Presented with the opportunity Dead Shot (2): The Aim action (see Special
to help others, your character almost always Combat Rules) gives you +2 damage in
does so. He must succeed on a Willpower addition to its other benefits.
check to refuse someone help, even in minor Dual-Wielding (2): May wield two weapons
situations. without penalty (-2 each normally).
Colorblind (1): You cannot discern colors. You Elderly (0): Your character is older, more than
get -1 on Awareness skill checks. half the normal lifespan for his or her race.
Cowardly (2): Whenever outnumbered, or You get -1 Strength and Agility, but +1
badly wounded (having lost more than half Intellect and Willpower.
your Wounds), you must make a Willpower Fast (1): You get +1 Movement.
check, or do your best to flee. Fast Healer (1): You get +2 on your Strength
Deaf (2): You cannot hear, and get -2 on checks for natural healing.
general Awareness checks. You automatically Fencer (2): You get +1 to Defense when using
fail a hearing-based check. a rapier and no other weapon or shield.
Frail (2): You get -1 to Threshold Finesse (1): May add Agility to melee weapon
Illiteracy (1): You cannot read or write. damage instead of Strength, provided that
Non-Combatant (3): Your character is not weapon deals 1d6-1 or less base damage.
meant for combat. You get -1 to Defense, and Heavy Armor Focus (2): Reduce penalties to
cannot take the Fighting or Shooting skills. Defense from armor by 1.
Obese (1): Your character is significantly Iron Fists (2): Your unarmed damage is 1d6
overweight. Multiply your weight by 1.5, and rather than 1d6-3. Still add Strength 2 to this
reduce your Movement by 1. total.
One Arm (2): In addition to equipment-based Repairman (1): You can repair damaged or
effects (cannot carry a sword and shield, or a broken machinery or vehicles in half the
two-handed weapon), you also get -2 on all normal time.
tasks that require both arms. Sharpshooter (2): Using the aim action (see
One Eye (2): You get -2 to all Acrobatics, Special Combat Rules) also gives +4 damage
Awareness, Shooting, and Throwing checks, on next ranged attack (if it hits).
as well as any other checks that require depth Skilled (1): You know an extra skill.
perception. Sneak Attack (2): When attacking an unaware
Paranoia (1): You get +1 to Awareness, but foe, you get +4 to hit and +4 to damage,
there's a 1 in 6 chance (GM rolls secretly) that instead of +2 in each case.
you notice something that's not really there. Spellcasting (2): Requires Intellect or
Phobia (1): Pick a phobia, such as heights, Willpower 3 or more (depending on type
wasps, or the sun. Whenever you encounter it, chosen). Pick a type of spellcasting: Arcane,
you must make a Willpower check or flee. Divine, Druidic, or Psionic. For Arcane or
Ruthless (1): Never takes prisoners or leaves Psionic, Intellect is used, and a score of 3 or
enemies alive. Must make Willpower check to higher is required. For Divine or Druidic,
spare an enemy's life. Willpower is used, and a score of 3 or higher
The Gamemaster to find someday? Hint at his location, or plant Using Margins of Success and Failure: If a should give out 1-3 XP to each player. For an
other adventure hooks. Nothing motivates the character succeeds by 4 or more and gets an average session, 2 XP is a good benchmark. For
As the GM, you have a very important job; characters more than their own motivations! extra success, what does that mean? It is left a short session, or one where the characters did
guiding the players through their adventures, to the discretion of the GM, but it is assumed not accomplish much, award only 1 XP to each
creating the world their characters exist in, Motivate Character Development: Set up that the character succeeded more quickly, or player. Likewise, for a long or very successful
portraying all of the non-player characters scenes where players have opportunity to flesh accomplished the task extra well. For example, a session, award 3 XP to each player.
(NPCs) that they interact with, and helping the out their characters. For example, a character character makes an Awareness check to hear a
characters create an engaging story. loyal to his friends, but with a strong moral noise upstairs. A normal success might mean the Also, if a player role-played a flaw very well,
compass, might encounter conflict when his character has heard the noise, but an extra had a very good idea, or did something else
Rulings, not Rules: The ALT RPG is a rules- friends do something he perceives as wrong. success might mean that the character heard the outstanding, you might consider giving that
light system; that means that, unlike some other Such a character might have to choose between noise, and can tell what room upstairs it issued character an extra 1 XP for that session. Be
games,you're going to find the rules lacking two strong influences. Such situations make for from. An opposite example is a character who careful about giving out bonus XP too often, or
sometimes. This is intentional; it's meant so that fun role-playing, though they should only occur gets a 4 on his Acrobatics check to jump a gap, giving too much to one player, as it could
these situations are covered by your own occasionally, to keep them from losing their when the TN is 5. Because he only failed by 1, unbalance the characters in the group.
creativity, rather than dense blocks of rules you impact. the GM might allow him an Agility check to
must constantly pore through. If one of your catch the other edge just barely, then pull
characters wants to do something not covered, himself up with a Strength check. In this way,
make something up on the fly. Use common you can make skill checks more interesting than
sense, and be consistent. The Yes, but and simple success or failure.
circumstantial modifiers below are tools to help
you make rulings on situations. Inventing Traits and Flaws: You might want to
create traits and flaws for your own worlds and
Yes, but....: This rule has helped campaigns. Your players might want to as well.
Gamemasters for years. One of your characters For example, in a campaign featuring shape-
wants to attempt something unexpected that you shifters, you might want to create different traits
hadn't planned for. Do you say no and leave that allow characters to transform into different
that character disappointed? The better option is types of creatures. A few guidelines:
to allow the character to try what they want to A trait should never give a straight bonus to a
do, but they must roll to succeed. With a good check. For example, a trait giving +1 to all
enough roll, even an unlikely solution can Shooting or all Acrobatics checks, would be
succeed. unbalanced. A trait giving a situational bonus
(such as a bonus to Fighting checks when
Circumstantial Modifiers: If a character wants you're next to a wall) is okay, but should be
to swing from a chandelier, or jump down from balanced. For combat traits, a situational
a table to attack an enemy, the rules don't bonus of +1 to damage is better.
provide a bonus for that. Similarly, if your Traits should (usually) not modify attributes
characters are shooting at something with the directly. The Old trait is an exception to this,
sun in their eyes, there are no rules for that because it increases two attributes but
either. Here, you can give circumstantial decreases two others. Keep in mind that traits
modifiers; usually a +1 or -1, but sometimes are usually much cheaper than attribute or skill
more. increases, so an attribute that mimics the
effects of those advances, is unbalanced.
Be a Fan of the Characters: This doesn't mean As for flaws, it is best if they have at least
let them succeed easily at everything that they some sort of mechanical penalty or
try to do; if that happened in our favorite books complication. A fully role-playing flaw (no
or movies, we'd feel let down. We admire when mechanical effects) is certainly acceptable, but
characters in stories go through adversity; should almost never have a value greater than
expose the characters to it as much as you can. 1. A Willpower check to resist a behavior
They'll feel accomplished for overcoming (such as the Willpower check required to face
something difficult. a Phobia, or the Willpower check required to
deny someone help, as per the Charitable
Use Character Motivations: If your players flaw) can help the player better role-play the
provide you with back-stories for their flaw.
characters, use them to your advantage! A
character has a missing brother who she wishes Giving Experience Points: Each session, you