Introduction

Javeth: Welcome, stranger, to Oasis Rim. It’s good to see new faces. Means there are still survivors out there. With how grouchy the Sun has been lately, I’d started to wonder.

Javeth: Like everywhere, we’re struggling to get by. Not a lot of food or space for people to live. Two things we have a lot of: People and water. Which means you probably won’t find many jobs unless…

… you’re crazy enough to work in the day.

Moon’s Grave is a light-hearted table-top RPG designed for quick setup and crunchy play. Things you’ll need to play are:

Character Creation

Javeth: The minister of diurnal affairs is a hard-ass who thinks her office duties include being the morality police of the world. Just say “yes, ma'am” to every demand she makes and get your license as quick as you can.

Character creation involves the following steps:

Core Stats

Javeth: You’ll have to take some aptitude test where they rate you in five areas…

You have five Core Stats that represent your basic capabilities. From these core stats you’ll derive your talents that make the basis for dice rolls. The core stats are:

Each will have a number associated with it called its “level” which starts at 4 and can be increased as high as 16 by allocating points to each. The higher the level for a core stat, the stronger you are when using it.

You have 12 points to distribute among your several core stats, increasing the stat +1 for every point applied.

You could go nuts and dump all 12 into a single stat, giving it a level of 16 (but that would be a mistake). You could distribute your points more evenly and have level 6 in most and an 7 in two others.

Beckon

Javeth: Day-workers command a lot of respect and having the respect of some, can win the respect of others. It’s a handy cycle if you know how to use it.

As a natural born leader, your sixth stat is special. It represents how much of a crowd of disciples you can accumulate just by walking into the room. This stat starts at level 4 as well but can not be increased like the others.

Resource Stats

Where your core stats are stable representations of your abilities, resource starts are values that fluctuate more frequently.

Followers

Javeth: Once you get your license, you may find yourself followed by groupies and adoring fans. Kids in this town think day-workers are the hottest thing since solar flares and will crawl out of the woodwork to try helping you in your adventures.

Followers are a representation of how many people are in your presence who are desperate to help you in some way. You’ll start each game session with as many followers as your Beckon stat level.

You may never have more followers than your Beckon stat level.

For each follower you have, place a token on the Followers area of your character sheet. When followers get hurt or killed for serving you (as they inevitably will), remove a token from the sheet.

Threat

Javeth: The streets are tough in the day. Some people think that just because the Sun kills people every day, that they can murder folks and nobody will notice. Sad thing is, they’re right.

Threat level is an abstract representation of how much danger you’re in because of your current position. Standing in daylight, being down range of a bunch of archers, and frolicking at the mouth of an erupting volcano are all examples of things that could increase your threat level.

For each +1 Threat that you take, place a token on your character sheet in the appropriate place.

Talents

Javeth: The minister’s going to lecture you on all the things she “will not tolerate in the streets:” theft, assault, gambling, prostitution, drugs – her list goes on. Just remember that every thing she lists – everything but one – is going to be exactly the sort of thing day-workers get paid for.

Talents are a kind of “secondary stat” that put your Core Stats to work. Your talents are divided into two groups:

Each talent is composed of two different Core Stats. Like core stats, talents have “levels” that represent your general aptitude in that talent’s area.

Talent Ability to... Category
Initiative...act often and quickly in Combat Active
Maneuver ...move safely around the battlefield Active
Precision ...shoot or throw weapons accurately Active
Strike ...hit accurately with a mêlée weapon Active
Subterfuge...sneak around and do spy stuff Active
Talent Ability to... Category
Dodge ...avoid getting hit by ranged attacksPassive
Durability...resist Physical Damage Passive
Parry ...avoid getting hit by mêlée attacks Passive
Tactics ...resist Chaos Damage Passive
Willpower ...resist Mental Damage Passive

Active Talents

When Active Talents are used, they help determine how many dice you are allowed to roll in a Success Measurement.

To calculate an active talent’s level, identify the lower  of the two core stats associated with it. Take that number and divide it by 2 (rounded down). The quotient is the level of that talent.

Talent Composing Stats
InitiativeEndurance, Grace
Maneuver Cunning, Power
Precision Awareness, Power
Strike Grace, Power
SubterfugeCunning, Grace

Passive Talents

When others take actions against you that may include dice rolls, you Passive Talents are used to reduce the chance that those dice rolls succeed by setting the Roll Target for Success Measurements equal to your appropriate talent level.

Your passive talent levels are equal to the lower  of the two associated stats.

Talent Associated Stats
Dodge Awareness, Cunning
DurabilityEndurance, Power
Parry Awareness, Grace
Tactics Cunning, Endurance
Willpower Awareness, Endurance

Character Class

Javeth: So you get your license and you’re ready to start day work. The three most lucrative jobs are…

Your character’s class tells us how you like to solve problems and draw your paycheck. There are three different classes:

Class Description
Assassin Sneaky types that focus on one foe at a time.
Mystic Freaky types who use destructive magic.
Warrior Beefy types who smack stuff around really well.

Your character class gives you a special ability called a “Class Benefit” which is something that no other class can do. It also grants you special Perks which give a little extra help for all die rolls relevant to you (both when you roll dice, and when others roll dice to hurt you)! See the Perks section below for more info.

Assassin

Javeth: Because large armies are expensive and likely to die of thirst before they get into battle, city-states don’t wage war the way they used to. They’ll never admit it but the assassin has become the primary means of eliminating enemies – not just for governments but for everyone else, too.

The assassin weaves unseen through enemy ranks, orchestrating confusion and death.

Class Benefit:

In addition to the Universal Perks, you can take any of the following when perks are granted:

Mystic

Javeth: Mystics come in two varieties: Those that hate gods and religion (and after what the Sun has done to the world, can you blame them?), and those that remain so loyal to their gods that they get extra special blessings.

Mystics are capable of profound destruction or benevolent protection of their friends.

Class Benefit:

In addition to the Universal Perks, you can take any of the following when perks are granted:

Warrior

Javeth: Day-workers value subtlety and conniving but those are no substitute for raw brutality. Every team needs its bruiser to help end fights quickly so you can get out of the Sun.

Warriors can endure damage well and yield good damage with every hit.

Class Benefit:

In addition to the Universal Perks, you can take any of the following when perks are granted:

Perks

Javeth: Before you go gallivanting off to a day job, I have be clear: You gotta be more than just clever, you gotta be more than just tough. To survive in this industry, you gotta be amazing and you gotta be willing to do the sorts of things that nobody else would even dream of doing.

Perks are that extra little something that makes you special. They might be special abilities that only you have, or they could represent a tendency for things to just go your way sometimes. If your life were a piece of literature, perks might be interpreted as deus ex machina or plot armor .

On your character sheet, perks are recorded in “Perk Slots” which are numbered 1 through 10.

At character creation time, you are granted five perks which you may select either from the Universal Perks list or from the perks list associated with your character class. Put them in the first five perk slots (numbered 1 through 5) in any order you wish.

As your character advances, you’ll gain more perks which can fill subsequent slots (6 through 10 in that order).

Perks are handy because they make it possible for some things to go your way even if dice rolls fail or even when somebody’s stabbing you in the face.

Universal Perks

The following perks are available to all characters whenever perks are granted:

Gear

Javeth: In your line of work, you’re going to have to be extra choosy with your equipment. It’s gotta be top quality if you want to survive.

Acquiring tools and materials in Oasis Rim isn’t usually hard. The exceptions are weapons, armor, and magical artifacts. You’re pretty much never going to run into those and even if you do, they’ll probably be inferior to the ones you get here at character creation.

During character creation, you may select one of the following gear packages:

Selecting Armor

There are two kinds of armor:

Day armor gets its name from the fact that you can wear it any time during the day without negative consequences.

Each suit of day armor provides a constant bonus to some of your talent levels while worn.

Armor DodgeDurabilityParry
Banded Mail Teddy +1 +2 +0
Chainmail Bikini +0 +1 +2
Leather Corset +2 +1 +0
Ring Mail Skirt +1 +0 +2
Silk Chemise +2 +0 +1
Steel Plated Bra +0 +2 +1

Night armor is bulkier and more protective but its big metal plates also act as an oven in under the scorching heat of the Sun.

There are two types of Night Armor:

The following is true for both kinds of Night Armor:

Magical Artifacts

Javeth: Whoa, that looks like no ordinary bling! I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything like that! What’s it do?

Though countless magical artifacts from bygone eras litter the streets, the vast majority of them are useless. You’re special in that you have an artifact that actually works and you know how to use it. You might also be the only person in the world who can.

If your gear package includes an artifact, you may select any of the following:

Selecting Weapons

Javeth: Everyone in this town is armed and there are arms dealers on every street. If you want the good stuff, I’ll tell you who you can trust…

There are two kinds of weapons:

Each weapon has a damage bonus that is applied to all physical damage dice inflicted by that weapon. Weapons also have unique abilities that make them more effective in certain situations.

Name Type DamageAbility
Axe Mêlée +2This weapon's damage bonuses increase by +2 (for a total of +4) when hitting a combatant who has already suffered at least one drag this turn.
Bow Ranged +1When you're mêlée attacked, sink -4 an initiative die to give the attacker +1 threat.
KnivesBoth +1After you hit with this weapon, you may change your Engagement Level.
Spear Mêlée +2When you hit with this weapon, bounce +1 an ally's initiative die.
Sword Mêlée +3It's a sword. What more do you want?

Rolling Dice

Dice are used in this game to determine the results of uncertain actions such as whether you successfully hit somebody in combat or how much damage you inflict when you do.

This game uses twelve-sided dice exclusively (usually called d12’s by gamer culture). A roll involves tossing one or more dice all at once to generate random numbers.

Throughout this document, whenever you see a number prefaced with an “at symbol” (@), that refers to a die’s face value.

Die Die Die
@1 =1@5 =5@9 =9
@2 =2@6 =6@10 =10
@3 =3@7 =7@11 =11
@4 =4@8 =8@12 =12

Whenever you see the word “inside” used in reference to die values, it’s a numerical comparison that means “less than or equal to.” The numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all inside 4.

There are two kinds of dice rolls in this game:

Spiking Dice

Immediately after you roll dice (either for a Success Measurement or for Pooling), check to see if any of them turn up @12. Those are called “Spiking Dice” and are special for the following reasons:

Extra dice that get rolled-in after spiking can also become spiking dice if they turn up @12 – allowing you to roll even more dice. Repeat this process until you stop rolling @12’s.

Success Measurements

The most common type of dice rolls is a Success Measurement. It’s used to determine if you successfully pull off some amazing act while pressed for time.

When called upon to perform a success measurement, the GM will tell you how many dice to roll. After rolling those dice, check for spiking dice and for triggered perks (see Triggering Perks below) before comparing each of those dice to a Roll Target.

The Roll Target is a number that represents how difficult your task is. The higher the Roll Target, the harder it is to succeed. Compare each individual die’s rolled value to the Roll Target. Each die that meets or exceeds that Roll Target is called a Scoring Die. More scoring dice means more success.

This chart gives you a rough idea of how to interpret your scoring dice count for any given roll:

Result
0 Couldn't achieve your goal in time.
1 Did a sloppy job to meet the deadline.
2 Finished barely before it was too late.
3 Met your goal and got something extra.
4 Sane people can't work this precisely this fast.
5+Sane people are pathetic.

Triggering Perks

When performing a roll, each die might trigger one of your perks. Compare the die’s rolled value to each of your perk slots. If the slot’s number matches that die’s value, you may choose to “trigger” the perk under that slot – gaining its benefits.

Perks trigger in ascending order (so the perk on slot #1 trigger before the perk in slot #2).

When dice are rolled “against you,” you may also trigger perks with the dice that you did not roll. The GM is responsible for telling you when a roll is “against you” but it’s safe to assume that if you’re attacked, the attack roll is “against you.”

Whenever a perk grants a bonus to a talent, weapon, or similar stat, that bonus lasts until the end of the action.

Floating Bonuses and Penalties

If you gain any floating bonuses for a roll, each one allows you to identify a die and consider that die to be +1 higher than its rolled value when comparing it to the Roll Target.

When dice are rolled against you, you might also be able to apply a -1 floating penalty to those dice in the same way.

Noble Sacrifice

After you roll dice but before you compare them to the Roll Target, you may choose to have one of your followers leap to your aid. Doing so will result in some kind of harm to that follower and you’re encouraged to describe in gruesome detail what horrible thing happens to that follower as you remove a follower token from your character sheet.

Doing this grants you a +1 floating bonus to the roll.

When dice are rolled against you, your followers can also leap to your aid and apply a -1 floating penalty to the roll.

Pooling Dice

When you’re pooling dice, there is no “success” or “failure” state. You’re simply building up a collection of dice that can be used as a resource. Dice in this pool are called Initiative Dice and they represent your ability to focus on the myriad of important things during combat or during similarly stressful situations.

Place each die that you roll in front of you on the table in a place where they won’t get jostled. Keep them all at their rolled values as those will become relevant later.

Sinking Dice

One of the ways that you can use your pooled dice is to “Sink” their values. Some actions require you to “sink” a die’s value. This means that you pick the die up and change its facing so the number shows a lower value than before.

To Sink -2, you will reduce the die’s value by 2.

Any action that requires you to sink a die as a cost requires that die to have a value at least equal to the amount you sink. To Sink -2 a die, you must choose a die valued @2 or higher.

When sinking is a consequence rather than a cost, you can sink a die’s value any amount. If sinking would reduce the die below 1, that die is removed from the pool.

To “Totally Sink” a die, that means you remove it from the pool entirely.

Bouncing Dice

Bouncing is the opposite of sinking dice and its value always has a plus sign followed by some number. To bounce a die, change its facing so it represents an appropriately higher number.

Bounce +1 means that you change the die to a value one higher.

If a bounce would increase a die above it’s highest possible value of @12, set the die’s value to @12 and ignore the excess.

Combat

Javeth: Day-workers may have a reputation for breaking the law but there are two that they all respect: 1) When the sheriff calls you to defend the city, you do it. 2) don’t provoke the Sun or her minions. If you obey that first, or are dumb enough to break the second, you’d better be ready to fight.

Trying to keep track of all the details of specific locations and exactly when and which projectiles and blades are flying in which directions would be insane. In combat, we zoom out to a more abstract representation of timing and location.

The core concepts of Combat in this game are…

Engagement Level

At the start of each fight, you select one of two Engagement Levels (abbreviated EL) and you may change it as an action on your turn. Each EL has its own strengths and weaknesses.

EL DefenseID Bounce
Heavily Engaged+0 +3
Disengaged +2 None

Heavily Engaged

Being Heavily Engaged mean’s you’re less concerned with being safe and more interested in wrecking faces.

When you start your turn Heavily Engaged, one of your Initiative Dice receives a +3 bounce (see Bouncing Dice above).

Disengaged

When Disengaged, you’ll pass up some opportunities to shoot or smash an enemy in favor of not exposing yourself to as many attacks.

While you’re at this EL, both your Dodge and Parry talents receive a +2 bonus.

Initiative Dice

As explained in the Pooling Dice section, Initiative Dice are a resource that you can use to perform extra combat actions and to fuel extra powerful perks. They’re also used to determine how quickly you can act in combat.

At the start of every fight, roll as many dice as your Initiative. All rolled dice enter your pool as Initiative Dice. If you’re wearing Night Armor, their values will immediately sink by an amount specified in the armor’s description.

Fortifications

Though combat doesn’t track you specific location on the battlefield, there are times when the space you control can have significance. If it does, your space is tracked as a “fortification.”

Fortification can represent something like hiding behind an overturned table, or exploiting one of the municipal guard towers (technically illegal).

When you occupy a fortification, other combatants may not attack you with mêlée weapons unless they also occupy that fortification. You can only mêlée attack those who share your fortification or those who occupy no fortification. Ranged attacks have no such restriction.

Some fortifications also come with special actions that you may perform on your turn if you occupy them.

Combat Rounds

Rounds represent the ebb and flow of combat actions. They do not represent a fixed interval of time. Each round has two phases:

Execution Phase

In the execution phase, each combatant is allowed to take a Turn. In your turn, you can take actions such as shooting a bow or entering a fortification.

The GM begins the phase by offering a turn. If you wish to take the first turn, declare your intent to now. If other combatants also wish to act on the first turn, resolve the contest in one of the following ways:

Once the turn is awarded, the combatant that wins the turn will take actions. After that turn is over, the GM offers a second turn in the same way. If you’ve already taken a turn, you may not take another one for the rest of the round.

The GM continues to offer turns until all combatants either can not or choose not to take a turn. Then the Execution Phase is over and the Aftermath Phase begins.

Aftermath Phase

When Aftermath begins, do the following:

  1. Increase your Threat Level +1.
  2. If you are in direct sunlight, increase it +1 again.
  3. If you’re wearing Night Armor and in direct sunlight, increase it +3.
  4. If your Threat Level exceeds your Maneuver talent level, you suffer as much Chaos Damage as your Threat Level.

Taking Your Turn

Turns are key moments in the fight where your constant running, dodging, slashing and shooting may pay off. In each turn, you may take one of each type of action:

You may also take extra actions of either type by totally sinking your Initiative Dice. The values required on the sunk dice vary between the kinds of actions you’re taking:

Action TypeMinimum die value
Small @5+
Big @10+

Thus, on your turn, you may take one Small and one Big action for free, then take an additional Small action by totally sinking a die with a value @5 or higher. You could take an extra Big action by sinking a die with a value @10 or higher.

When you can not or choose not to take any further actions, your turn is over.

If you ever start your turn without Initiative Dice, you can not take actions that turn. Instead you roll Initiative Dice into your pool.

Small Actions

Small actions require less dedicated focus and precise timing to execute. Here is a list of possible small actions:

Big Actions

Big actions are tasks that require more focus and timing to pull off successfully. They include…

Damage Dice

You’re going to get countless bumps and scrapes that we don’t bother tracking. Damage dice are used to represent the risk that some damage becomes severe and lasting.

Suffering damage is a Success Measurement using as many dice as the amount of damage inflicted and using one of your passive talents as the roll target.

Damage comes in one of three varieties:

Damage Type Roll Target
Chaos Damage Tactics
Mental Damage Willpower
Physical DamageDurability

Each scoring die in the damage roll inflicts one drag. Record drags by filling in the “drag” box next to one of your perks. While that perk is dragged, you can not trigger that perk and you can not drag it again.

If all of your filled perk slots are dragged, you are knocked out and you’ll wake up some time later in your team’s base with bandages all over your body. You’ll have to decrease one of your Core Stats -1 and recalculate all derived talents to denote how you were burtalized by those events. If doing so would drop a core stat to level 0 or if you simply don’t want to deal with that penalty, you may declare your character dead and make a new one.

If none of the damage dice in a roll score, you were dazed by the hit but no lasting harm was inflicted. The dizzying effect of the damage did, however, distract you so you will take +1 Threat.

Chaos Damage

This damage is caused by the random thrashing that goes on in a fight. It could be from shrapnel of an explosion, a stray throwing knife, or shattered glass from a nearby window.

It’s tough to see Chaos Damage coming and so the best way to avoid it is to be prepared and hold a location and stance that prevents it in the first place. That’s why the roll target is set by your Tactics talent level.

Mental Damage

Mental damage is psychological trauma inflicted by horrific experiences, many of which are supernatural.

The roll target for mental damage is equal to your Willpower talent level.

Physical Damage

The most common type of damage. Physical damage is lacerations, broken bones, concussions, and anything directly, deliberately detrimental to your physical health.

The roll target for physical damage is equal to your Durability talent level.

Drag Recovery

Recovering from drags requires long periods of total rest. If you’re in the middle of a job, recovering drags requires you to quit the job (thus forfeiting its payment) and let yourself heal. When you leave to recover, you might be abandoning your team mates in their time of need!

Character Advancement

As your career progresses, you’ll hone your skills and increase your capabilities. Your experience is tracked in the form of Boosts. If you walk away from a job, you’ll gain one boost. If you also completed the job, you’ll get a second boost.

Record your boosts by filling in one of the three “boost boxes” on your character sheet. You may spend your boosts to improve your character in one of the following ways:

You can never have more than three boosts at a time. If you have filled all three boost boxes and gain an additional boost, you must spend boosts to make room for the new one.