Playing a Game

Types of Players and Characters

During a game, one player should be selected to take the role of Game Master. The Game Master (or GM) is responsible for describing the world the characters are moving through and playing the parts of any non-player characters, creatures and monsters they encounter.

The Game Master should familiarise themselves with the maps and locations for the game and have all stat blocks for non-player characters and other encounters available to them during play.

At the start of the game, the Game Master describes the initial location as well as any people and options available to the characters. It is then over to the other players to describe what their characters do, where they go and what they say.

Together, the Game Master and other players then recount the story of the travel and adventure of the characters through the fantasy world.

Games may run for as long as those playing want them to. At the end of a session a game can be “paused” ready for the next session, at which the Game Master should recap the events of the last game ready for the story to resume.

Ability Checks

During the story, a player may describe their character as doing something particularly strenuous, either physically or mentally. At these moments, the Game Master may call for an Ability Check.

In this case, the player should roll a d20 and add their Ability Modifier for the named Ability to the result, giving the total to the Game Master.

A few examples …

  • A Rogue may wish to run up a sheer hill or cliff edge to get a better view, this would be a Dexterity Check.
  • A Magician may be trying to convince someone to let them in to look for a magic item, this would be a Charisma Check.
  • A Healer may be trying to understand a set of instructions for preparing a potion, this would be an Intelligence Check.
  • A Fighter may be trying to force open a door by barging into it, this would be a Strength Check.

In any such case, the result must be the same or greater than the Difficulty Challenge (or DC) of the task at hand.

The Game Master will decide the exact number based on the situation however as a general guide, you can use the following list …

  • Simple (DC 5)
  • Easy (DC 10)
  • Normal (DC 15)
  • Hard (DC 20)
  • Expert (DC 25)
  • Impossible (DC 30)

Remember, an Ability Check should only be made where there is a possibility of Success and also a possibility of Failure. If a character could easily complete a task (such as walking down a path) then no check is needed. Likewise, if a character could never possibly complete a task (such as flying) then no check is needed.

Skill Checks

Similar to Ability Checks, a Skill Check will come up when a Character is attempting to complete a task where there is a possibility of success and a possibility of failure. Skill Checks should be performed where the task at hand could be achieved using a learned skill.

A few examples …

  • A Rogue may wish to track an animal through the forest. This would be a Nature Check.
  • A Magician may wish to learn a spell from an old book in a strange or archaic language. This would be an Academia Check.
  • A Healer may be trying to discern whether their patient is being honest. This would be an Intuition Check.
  • A Fighter may be trying to haggle for a better price at a tavern. This would be a Persuasion Check.

In this case, the Game Master will say what difficulty the Skill Check is and the player should then roll a dice accordingly. If the roll is the same or less than the Character’s level in that skill then they succeed.

  • Simple (roll a d4)
  • Easy (roll a d6)
  • Normal (roll a d8)
  • Hard (roll a d10)
  • Expert (roll a d12)
  • Impossible (roll a d20)

Ability or Skill?

In some cases, it can be argued that a check could be either an Ability Check or a Skill Check. For example, forcing a door could be a Strength Check or a Brawn Check. Likewise, convincing someone could be a Charisma Check or a Persuasion Check. In these cases, it is ultimately up to the Game Master to decide which to use.

When choosing one or the other though, remember that a Skill Check is binary, either it succeeds or it fails. Whereas an Ability Check can be tiered, with higher results leading to a greater or fuller success (e.g. understanding more, pushing harder or getting a greater discount).

Competitive Skill Checks

If a skill is being used to counter another active skill (e.g. using Nature to track someone hiding using their Stealth skill, or using Brawn vs. Brawn in a tug of war or an arm wrestling competition), the difficulty is set by the level of the opponent.

A character attempting to avoid being tracked must roll their Stealth check based on the highest awareness of their opponents. 0-1 Nature is Simple Stealth, 2 Nature is Easy Stealth, 3 Nature is Normal Stealth, 4 Nature is Hard Stealth, 5 Nature is Expert Stealth and 6+ Nature is Impossible Stealth.

Likewise, a character attempting to track someone hiding rolls Nature based on the Stealth of their opponent. 0-1 Stealth is Simple Nature, 2 Stealth is Easy Nature, 3 Stealth is Normal Nature, 4 Stealth is Hard Nature, 5 Stealth is Expert Nature and 6+ Stealth is Impossible Nature.

Unconsciousness and Death

During the game, a Character may lose Hit Points as a result of combat, poisoning or dangerous activities. If their Hit Points drop to 0, they are then unconscious. At this point, they do not necessarily take any further damage however they cannot do anything until they are healed to at least 1 Hit Point again.

If a Character’s Hit Points drop to -20 then they are dead and their player may make a new character to play as.

Damage and healing may be actively applied to an unconscious character, modifying their hit points accordingly. Any attacks made on an unconscious creature gain Advantage on the roll.

Movement and Actions

During gameplay, if combat begins or if a task becomes time-sensitive, players should begin describing their Character’s decisions in a series or 6 second blocks known as Rounds.

There are three parts to any Round …

  • Movement
  • Action
  • Bonus Action

These sections may be described / enacted in any order.

Humans, Elves and Goblins can each move 10m per round. If they choose to, they may Dash as their Action for that round and double this distance to 20m.

All available Actions are as follows …

  • Attack (melee or ranged)
  • Use an ability (e.g. pull yourself up onto a ledge with a strength check)
  • Use a skill (e.g. hide with stealth or treating an injury using a Surgeon’s Bag)
  • Cast a Spell
  • Dash (move another 10m)
  • Help (give another character advantage on the roll for their action)
  • Ready an Action (for a given trigger)

A readied action happens the given trigger, chosen by the player, happens. A readied action must happen if the trigger occurs before the Character’s next turn regardless of whether they would have changed their mind since.

An example of a readied action might be “I will stab whoever comes through that door next as soon as I can see them”

In this case, the trigger is: as soon as someone comes through the door and is visible to the character. Once this happens, the player for that character should roll an attack and, if successful, damage.

Possible Bonus Actions may be described in Feats or Magic Spells and can be used accordingly.

In a fight between a character with a ranged weapon and another with a melee weapon, once the combatants are within 2m of each other the melee combatant gains advantage on their attack as their opponent is not defending against it with a melee weapon of their own.


If gameplay enters combat, both sides should roll for Initiative to determine who goes first. Initiative is rolled as 1d10 for each side (players should take it in turns for each combat encounter). In the event of a tie, the players go first.

Rounds then alternate between allies and foes, with the individual characters taking their turns based on the initial proximity order from their opponents.

Advantage and Disadvantage

Sometimes an Ability Check, Skill Check or Attack Roll may be more or less likely to happen. Examples include: another character used the Help Action to assist, or perhaps the Character knows this particular place well.

In these instances, the Game Master will say to roll with Advantage or with Disadvantage. For either case, the roll should be made twice. For Advantage, the better outcome is used. For Disadvantage, the worse outcome is used.