VERS -> Gameplay
The following sections discuss in greater detail how the game works. Much of this information has been hinted at above, but is relayed in greater detail here. This will include rules for conflict, exploration, and investigation.
This is the section of gameplay that many people have the most interest in. However, VERS does conflict differently than most. Conflict in VERS can be mental, physical, or social, and any of the above can be used to defeat enemies, or for your enemies to defeat you.
All conflict is resolved in essentially the same way, however, so this section will cover the general flow of this resolution. After, there will be any special rules for specific aspects of conflict.
All conflict rolls are, at their heart, contests. Because all rolls are made by the player, attacks are made as a skill roll with a penalty based on the opponent’s defense, while if a player character is being attacked they roll their defense with a penalty based on the opponent’s attack skill. Any degrees of success on the roll can be spent on Stunts (see below for more information). Defense rolls take a cumulative -1 penalty for each additional attack defended against in a turn.
The only real change from a normal contest roll is that a successful attack does something additional. It affects the character in some way. Normally this is damage, but these same rules cover ability use as well, and that can mean many different types of effect. The good news is that it doesn’t really matter. All effects work off the same basic framework.
All effects are measured by an Effect Value (EV), which typically consists of the power attribute plus a bonus from a weapon or ability. When an attack is successful, this EV is compared to the target’s Resistance Value (RV). This is typically just their armor or an ability, although in the case of unarmed physical combat or social or mental conflict, this will be the target’s respective resistance attribute.
If the RV is higher, then there is no effect, however if the EV is higher, the difference, or net EV, determines the condition slot this effect takes. Effects always apply a condition at the highest slot it qualifies for. If the slot that it should take is already filled then it upgrades to the next highest slot.
For instance, if the EV is 5, and the RV is 3, then the net EV is 2, which would mean the effect qualifies for only the lowest level condition slot (0-2 net EV), so it goes there. If it had been an EV of 6, however, then it would have applied to the next level up (3-5) instead.
Conditions can only be recovered by taking a Recovery Action. A Recovery Action is a 3d6 roll against the respective resistance attribute TN, although the roll is penalized based on the severity of the highest level condition. Success removes the highest level condition, with additional conditions removed based on degrees of success (see Stunts). Characters get one recovery action per day, typically after sleeping or other lengthy rest.
Certain Skills, such as Meditation and First Aid, allow a character to take a Recovery Action at other times or get bonuses on them.
Exploration is both journeying between settlements and investigating ruins and other adventure sites. The majority of these rules deal with handling environmental dangers. Also note that certain genres, such as historical and fantasy will use these rules more than modern and sci-fi games.
Poisons and other Chemicals
|Chemical and Poison: EV over Time|
|Dilute||1 EV, per hour||2 EV, per hour||4 EV, per hour|
|Moderate||1 EV, per min||2 EV, per min||4 EV, per min|
|Concentrated||1 EV, per turn||2 EV, per turn||4 EV, per turn|
Venomous snakes, poison dart traps, and enchanted pools that suck your soul out of your body. No matter what their form, poisons and chemicals are a frequent danger in the wilderness areas that characters often find themselves in. Poisons and chemicals have three major defining features: Concentration, Potency, and Vector.
Concentration determines how much of the harmful agent is present in the substance and can be dilute, moderate, or concentrated. This determines how often the damage is applied to the target. Potency is how strong of a reaction the harmful agent produces, and can be weak, moderate, or strong. This determines the base EV of the substance. Vector is how the harmful agent has to be applied to a target to take effect, and can be contact, inhaled, ingested, or injected.. A substance only harms the target if the target encounters it by one of its Vectors. A substance can have multiple Vectors
The substance affects the target once on the action in which they first encounter it, and then again after every time period indicated by the Concentration, unless they have successfully removed it (GM discretion). In addition, this EV doubles with each passing period, gradually becoming worse and worse. The following chart describes this in greater detail.
The only special caveat to this is that poisons (including drugs and alcohol) must be administered in a high enough dose at one time, or have the effective dose administered before the system metabolizes the poison. This dose is generically set to double the Potency within a number of hours equal to Stamina, although the GM may determine unique dosage rules if desired for each poison.
When subjected to extreme heat or extreme cold, survival becomes increasingly difficult. Humans are able to exist easily in only a very narrow band of temperatures, roughly 10ºC up to around 30ºC can be experienced for long periods without specialized garments or equipment. However, for every 10ºC above or below that range, the character is in increasing danger.
For every hour they spend exposed to those temperatures they are subjected to a cumulative 1 EV of damage per 10ºC. In other words, the first hour at 0ºC is a 1 EV, the second hour is 2 EV, the third is 3 EV, etc. This damage affects all three conditions, but is resisted by their respective resistance attribute (Resolve, Stamina, or Composure). A wet character is considered to be experiencing 10ºC colder temperatures than the actual thermometer reads.
The character cannot recover from these conditions until they are out of the elements.
Thirst and Starvation
A character can go a number of days without water equal to their Stamina +1 (minimum of 1 day). After this point, the character takes a cumulative 1 EV damage to all three trackers per day without water, resisted by the respective resistance attributes. This means the first day would be 1 EV, the second would be 2 EV, the third would be 3 EV, etc.
A character can go a number of days without food equal to their Resolve + their Stamina +2 (minimum of 2 days) before the damage begins. Otherwise it progresses like thirst. That said, they are two separate processes (as are exposure) and so each must be accounted for individually.
Like with exposure, a character cannot recover from these conditions until they have drank and/or eaten.
A character outside of conflict can hold their breath for a number of minutes equal to half their Stamina (minimum 30 seconds). At this point, they must succeed on a Discipline roll every Turn or take a cumulative +1 EV Focus attack. They do not get their Resolve against this damage. This roll takes an additional -1 penalty every Turn. Once the character loses all of their Focus, they automatically gasp and begin drowning or breathing in noxious fumes, etc. In the case of fumes, they are now being affected by whatever that poison is, per the poison rules. In the case of lack of oxygen, they instead keep taking damage, although it changes to Injury. The EV does not reset, and Stamina is not used as an RV. Once their last Injury condition is marked the character has suffocated or drowned.
In combat or when doing strenuous activity (GM discretion), the character has considerably less time. Instead of minutes, the character can hold their breath for a number of Turns equal to their Stamina (minimum 1) before having to make Discipline rolls. At this point the situation progresses largely the same.
A character making a controlled fall (i.e. they jumped or dropped purposefully) faces 1 EV per meter fallen, although they can make an Athletics roll with a -1 penalty per meter to halve that. The character can apply Stamina as their RV, but armor does not apply. Other abilities may add to the RV at GM discretion. An uncontrolled fall is much more deadly, with an EV of 2 per meter fallen. The character can still make an Athletics roll, but starts with a -4 penalty and still takes the -1 penalty per meter.
If the character is in a dark environment, they take a penalty on their vision based Perception rolls according to the amount of light available. For reference, a modern city street would give a -2, while an ancient city or modern rural area would give a -4. Wilderness with a full moon would be a -5, and wilderness with full cloud cover would be a -6. A cave or inside a building with no windows is impossible. Weather can also affect perception, with light fog or moderate rain or snow giving a -1 penalty to sight, hearing, and scent per zone away. Moderate fog or heavy precipitation gives a -2 penalty to sight, hearing, and scent per zone. Heavy fog gives a -3 penalty per zone. Weather related penalties also apply to Survival rolls.
Investigation means things like searching for clues, trying to solve a mystery, or simply looking for secret passages or treasure. There are not any specific rules for this type of gameplay, but a small amount of advice. First, for players, always be specific when telling the GM you are investigating. The GM cannot know if you will find the clue if you are not specific in your intentions. Also, do not tell the GM you are making a roll to investigate. The GM will tell you what to roll, if anything, after you have made clear your intentions. The reason is that not every action needs a roll, and only the GM can decide when that is the case.
For GMs, remember that not all actions need rolls. If the character is an expert in ancient latin, then they should just be able to read the ancient latin inscription. Also, a character who is a mathematician should be able to recognize geometric symbols, etc. Remember, only make the player roll if there is both a chance to fail, and the failure would be interesting.
As mentioned back in the Basics chapter, rolls in VERS are not just about determining success, but also giving variation to the levels of success. Every roll generates Degrees of Success which can be spent on Stunts, earning the ability to further define the way the success looks or by gaining specific advantages. For more information, see the Stunts section.
|VERS Playtest v20.7 - Online Rule Reference|
|Making a Character||Character Profile - Mechanical Aspects (Attributes - Skills - Abilities - Gear)|
|Gameplay||Mental Conflict - Physical Conflict - Social Conflict - Stunts|
|Optional Rules||Not Yet Complete|
|Gamemastering||Not Yet Complete|
|Storytelling and Drama||Not Yet Complete|
|Advanced Techniques||Not Yet Complete|
|Appendices||Example Abilities||Fantasy - Psionics - Superheroes|
|Example Gear||Prehistoric to Dark Ages - Medieval to Renaissance - Modern - Sci-Fi|
|Example NPCs||Animals - People - Fantasy - Horror - Sci-Fi|