The Sun has waged her campaign of genocide for longer than anybody can remember. Oceans boil under her luminous wrath, cities fall to her armies of flaming seraphim. Oasis Rim is one of the last standing human settlements. Its adobe spires point heavenward like defiant middle fingers raised to blaspheme against the mad goddess.
Yet all is not well in this “City of Towers.” A cult of sun worshipers now lurks in the streets and in the royal court with one goal: to make the city an altar and its citizens a living sacrifice to the demented goddess Lady Sun.
Moon’s grave is a table-top RPG where you play B movie action babes fighting religious extremism in a world that looks suspiciously like the Californian desert.
Things you’ll need to play are:
- Special Surge Dice, or just regular six-sided dice if you don’t have any
- Coins or poker chips for “follower tokens”
- This document
- At least two other people
You want this game if…
- You like crunchy rules that are also concise
- You want to wear a chainmail bikini (either in character or IRL – we won’t judge)
- People in your regular RPG canceled a session last minute and the remainder of still want to play something that requires little prep
To play, select one person from your group to act as Game Mistress (GM) while everyone else is a Player. Players each build and control a single character and the GM controls all the rest of the world, including enemies, allies, innocent bystanders, cosmological superpowers, etc.. If this were a video game, the GM would be like the computer.
The heart of game-play is a conversation where the GM describes to the players what their characters are experiencing, then the players describe to the GM what their characters do about it, and the GM describes the consequences with inspiration drawn from these rules.
If you’ve never seen a table-top RPG before, we feel deep pity for you. Hopefully, the fact that you’re reading this means that your life is about to get much better.
Since the rise of the solar cult, kidnappings and murders have run rampant throughout the city. Anybody appealing to the government to solve this problem is arrested – or worse. Though many in positions of power want to solve this problem, they simply don’t know who they can trust.
That’s where you come in. You’re clever enough to pull off an investigation, you’re bad-ass enough to survive a tussle, and you’re disposable enough that if you get caught, your employers can easily disavow you and your actions.
Creating a character involves the following steps:
You’re going to have to appreciate the delicacy of this situation. From your employer, you will get cash and information. Anything more puts this whole operation – this whole city – at risk. Your goal is simple: Find out who is a cultist, give compelling evidence, and if so instructed, kill them. Don’t attempt to contact your employer. Unless she attempts to contact you, pretend you do not exist.
Your employer is a powerful aristocrat or government agent that needs your services. You begin character creation by selecting an employer from the list below:
- Director Hillana
- Izibeth, the Magekin Princess
- Kendritha, the Lich Witch
- Oathkeeper Antoinne
- Sheriff Tilda
- Tarsha, the Fire Tail
Each employer has her own reasons for wanting a discrete and powerful investigator and each has her own set of benefits to offer those that can do these dirty deeds without getting caught.
Also known as “the Queen’s Underhand,” or “Mistress of Spies,” Hillana is the head of the royal intelligence agency. Her many secrets make her unpopular but there’s one thing that has never been a secret: She hates the solar cult.
Hillana revels in others' open suspicion of her. She never hides the fact that she hires freelance operators (like you) but she’s always been good at obfuscating why and who she hires. The few times either of those details were revealed, it was also clear that the work was for the betterment of the city. So far.
If any political enemies could prove that Hillana was investigating solarists, they’re sure to use that against her – Even if they, themselves, are doing the same thing.
When you select Hillana as your employer, it comes with the following benefit:
- Eyes and Ears Everywhere: Hillana needs everyone she works with to be the most alert and attentive they can be. If she hires you, it’s because she saw those traits in you. You start with a
+1increase to your Awareness stat.
Izibeth and her followers are relative new-comers to Oasis Rim. She stumbled upon the city during a pilgrimage that went awry. These Magekin left their home seeking powerful magical artifacts but ran out of water and were on the brink of death when they arrived.
Queen Margareth welcomed them with open arms and accommodated their very costly needs. These refugees have very weak immune systems that require them to aggressively fumigate their districts then enclose the sterilized area in domes to keep out any germs. To regular citizens, hulking magical robots spraying sterilizing chemicals was horrifying enough that Izibeth earned the nickname “The Princess of Ecocide.”
Though accepted as citizens, the Magekin long to return to their home. Izibeth hires spies (like you) to look for ways to achieve that. She’s come to suspect in recent years that some solar cultists may hide the magical tools necessary to facilitate a pilgrimage back to their own lands.
If you select Izibeth as your employer, it comes with the following benefit:
- One Step Ahead: Izibeth’s people have had to learn to be quick and wily to avoid the dangers of life and she’ll want her contractors to be able to keep up with them. If she hires you, it’s because she thinks you can handle yourself in a fight. You start with a
+1increase to your Grace stat.
Founder of an undead empire alleged to be eons old, Kendritha is famous for her hatred of gods. Her followers say she’s killed a few herself. This made her a pariah until Lady Sun began cooking the planet to kill off humans. These days, many sympathize with her.
The Queen is grateful to Kendritha for using her necromancy to save the city on many occasions. In spite of this – and the fact that it’s illegal to persecute an undead citizen – Kendritha’s minions are resented if not outright abused.
An ancient being with long vision, Kendritha has ignored municipal affairs until recently. Maybe it’s because she’s plotting to kill the Sun Goddess. Maybe she wants to usurp the throne and rule Oasis Rim herself. Maybe she’s worried about solar cultists obliterating the city. Whatever the case, The Lich Witch wants spies (like you) to look into the happenings around town.
If you select Kendritha as your employer, it comes with the following benefit:
- Transcendent Mind: Kendritha will not suffer fools. If she’s willing to work with you, she believes you’re capable of making informed decisions. You start with a
+1increase to your Cunning stat.
Every surviving city relies on dragons to survive. Oasis Rim is no exception. Lady Sun seems to have some kind of treaty with dragons because they’re the only species she’ll avoid hurting in her crusade to kill humans. Antoinne is in charge of tending the city’s resident Mother Wyrm and her brood.
The city’s reliance on dragons grants Antoinne a lot of leeway to do whatever she wants. Even the Sheriff tolerates the vigilante police force that the dragon cult has formed to protect the hatcheries. Districts they control live under a kind of martial law where anything the dragons say goes. People put up with it because dragons are worth the price.
Antoinne has remained apolitical during her tenure as the Oathkeeper but when solar cultists began kidnapping her own people, and the city refused to investigate or prosecute the matter, she has become suspicious and seeks spies (like you) to figure out what, if anything, she can do to protect against this threat.
If you select Antoinne as your employer, it comes with the following benefit:
- Ally in every Roost: Antoinne is only interested in hiring people who demonstrate strong leadership skills. If she hires you, it’s because she believes you have the wit and charisma to organize well. You start with a
+1increase to your Beckon stat.
If you ask her, Tilda’s main job is to give the Queen peace of mind. A distressed queen is unable to use her magic to summon rain clouds and causes drought. Law enforcement is incidental to this goal.
A personal friend and loyal supporter of the Queen, Sheriff Tilda would never dare utter criticism or suspicion of her majesty. She has said often that the royal cabinet and the Queen are the same. If they swear in the name of the Queen that solar cultists are not a threat and are not to blame for disappearances and murders in town, that’s the whole truth.
Of course, Tilda’s not stupid and she cares for the well-being of her friend on the throne. She’s not legally allowed to use her office to investigate the matter but that doesn’t mean she can’t use her personal funds to pay private investigators (like you) to collect information and maybe rescue a few kidnapees.
If you select Tilda as your employer, it comes with the following benefit:
- Tough and Sharp as Nails: Tilda has no patience for women who can’t hold their own against the rigors of life. If she hires you, it’s because she believes you’re a force to be reckoned with. You start with a
+1increase to your Power stat.
The deserts are patrolled by a tribe of lizard-folk who hunt solar cultists and pillage any city that doesn’t pay them for the service. Oasis Rim is special because the Queen’s frequent rain clouds have earned the tribe’s admiration and respect.
The tribe has fiercely loyal human members recognizable by the ornate tribal tattoos all over their bodies. Tarsha is one venerated human “firetail” tribal member who runs a trade business while also serving as the tribe’s liaison to the city.
As information about a potential solar infestation spreads, Tarsha sees the need to hire more help (like you). She’s grown to enjoy living in Oasis Rim and would regret calling in the Tribe to sack the city but she will if the solar cult gets out of control.
If you select Tarsha as your employer, it comes with the following benefit:
- Desert Hardened: Tarsha had to undergo a grueling ritual to prove her worthiness to enter the tribe and prefers to do business with people who show similar grit. If she hires you, it’s because you’ve shown yourself to be resilient and stalwart. You start with a
+1increase to your Endurance stat.
Once you’ve selected an employer, it’s time to tell us more about your character. Firstly, what are her natural abilities?
You have six Core Stats which have numbers associated with them. The higher that number, the better you are when using that stat. This number is called the stat’s Level.
The stats are:
- Awareness: Your ability to notice things.
- Beckon: How willing people are to die for you.
- Cunning: Your ability to think quickly and clearly under pressure.
- Endurance: Mental and physical fortitude.
- Grace: Agility and quick of reflexes.
- Power: Raw strength and athletic energy.
All but one of these stats starts at a level of
2. The special exception is the stat increased by your employer’s benefit – which starts at level
At character creation time, you’ll have
30 Build Points to buy increases to any of your stats. Increasing a stat by
+1 costs as many build points the target level (current level plus one).
Any build points not spent at character creation time are converted into Experience Points which can be spent later as explained in the Character Advancement section.
If your Awareness is at level
2, it will cost
3build points to raise it to level
You must raise a stat one level at a time, paying the cost in build points each time.
Example: If your Awareness is at level
2 and you wish to raise it to level
4, you must spend a total of
7 build points: First spend three build points to raise from
3, and then spend four build points raising it from
Stats are used to calculate your character’s Talents which are described below:
Talents are derived from Core Stats and used as the primary means of determining your chances of success in die rolls. Each talent is associated with two Core Stats. Just like Core Stats, talents have levels which are equal to the lower of the two associated stat levels.
Talents and their associated stats are…
|Your ability to...
|Shoot ranged weapons
|Fight up-close and personal
|Withstand a beating
|Avoid getting hit
|Hit with mêlée weapons
|Preempt enemy maneuvers
|Cast and resist magic
Talents can be used in one of the following ways:
- If the talent applies when you are rolling dice, you may roll as many dice as the talent’s level
- If the talent applies when somebody else is rolling dice against you, the difficulty of that roll is equal to the talent’s level.
In all cases, it’s best to have the highest talent levels possible.
Throughout the game, you’ll have a collection of minions to do your bidding. They’re not the brightest or most useful souls but they are loyal and eager to help. When they do help, they’re always at great risk of hurting themselves or even dying along the way. It’s best not to get too attached. Replacements inevitably follow.
If you assign a follower to perform some task, remove at least one token from your character sheet (more if the task requires more effort, attention or is more risky). This represents the fact that some of your followers are dedicating attention to that task and can’t do anything else. Those same followers may never return. They may get bored after doing their job and go find some other cause to dedicate their lives to. But they’re probably dead.
Tokens come back when a rule says to “gain” a follower token. Unless stated otherwise by some other rule, you can’t have more Follower Tokens than your Beckon level.
Your character class indicates your preferred method of problem solving and comes with strengths and weaknesses unique to that class.
Each class grants special perks (explained in Assign Perks below) and other benefits that no other class can have and makes use of talents in different ways.
The three character classes are:
When you select a character class, you’ll also be able to select which types of followers you get. For the rest of the game, any follower tokens you have are considered to be followers of that type. The types of beings (not always people) that follow you leads to fun, diverse ways to build your character.
The assassin weaves through the battlefield unseen, orchestrating confusion and death with mind games and unexpected strikes. All assassins gain the following benefit:
- Invisible Threat: If you haven’t taken a turn yet this round and are being attacked, you may spend a Follower before the attack roll to add your Guile as a bonus to your Evasion talent when determining if the attack hits.
When you’re an Assassin, your followers may be people you’ve blackmailed, strangers you can manipulate, or loyal allies who share your goals and your total lack of empathy.
In addition to the universal perks, you may select from the following perk list:
- Between the Ribs : You are considered to have been attacked (and missed) a number of times equal to your Guile talent level.
- Cause Mayhem : If the enemy loses a follower via your perk, gain
- Decoys Everywhere : Spend a follower to either add your Guile as a bonus to your Parry talent level or reduce this Parry defense roll’s difficulty by your Guile.
- Diversions Abounding : If the attacker’s Guile is less than yours, adjust the difficulty of this attack or defense roll
- Enfilade Shots : If the target of this Bow attack has attacked you this round, the target loses a follower.
- Hilt Deep : If this Knives attack is your only planned action, it has a
- No Backup : Perks that force an enemy with no followers to lose a follower inflict
- Seprent in Shadow : Your Hilt Deep damage bonus is the number of times you have been attacked and missed this round.
- Skirmish Archery : If this Accuracy attack is your only planned action, the enemy loses a follower if it hits.
- Striking Serpent : If this Strike attack is your only planned action, it has a
+1bonus to hit.
The mystic knows how to make reality her bitch. She keeps reality in a kennel and uses it to produce reality puppies. Pure bred supernatural manipulation of the forces that drive existence starting with the following benefit:
- Gathered Energies: The maximum number of Follower Tokens you may have during combat is increased by your Willpower talent level. After combat, if you have more Followers than your Beckon, discard the excess.
When you’re a Mystic, your followers can be ghosts, the avatars of rebel deities, or uppity young magicians aspiring to be your apprentice.
- Ethereal Flow : If there are at least two dice in this roll with values of
- Holy Retribution : If this attack hits an ally, the attacker suffers
- Holy Shield : Re-roll a die in this enemy’s attack or ally’s defense roll (re-rolled dice can not surge or trigger perks).
- Immolation : The defending enemy suffers damage equal to the number of followers you have. (This is separate from the damage inflicted by attacks)
- Incantation : Spend any number of followers to immediately trigger one of your perks with a cost equal to the number of followers spent.
- Mantra of Protection : Spend a follower to trigger one of your perks with “Shield” in its name a second time.
- Painful Summoning : If this attack hits the enemy, you will have exactly
2followers after damage is inflicted.
- Shield of Compassion : Remove a die from this attack roll if it hits the defending ally (this changes the margin but can’t make the attack miss).
- Soul Siphon : If this attack hits the enemy, you may forego all damage to gain
- Spirit Swarm : This Willpower attack has a bonus to hit equal to the number of followers you have.
The warrior understands that violence is never the answer. It is the question and the answer is “yes.” Very few problems in life persist when you hit them hard enough.
- Walking Arsenal: When making an attack, roll an extra die if you haven’t previously attacked this turn with the same type of weapon as your active weapon.
Followers that accompany a warrior are lackeys, thugs who admire your martial prowess, and disciples hoping to absorb some of your greatness by your presence.
- Arrayed for Battle : After this attack hits, declare any of your weapons your active weapon.
- Bloodbath : This attack has a
+1bonus to damage for each hitting attack you’ve made this turn.
- Bloodied Rage : This attack has a
+1bonus for each soak track you have marked.
- Bloody Toolbox : This attack has a
+1bonus for each different weapon type you’ve used this turn.
- Cannon Fodder : Spend a follower to give this attack a
+1bonus to hit.
- Culling Swathes : If this attack hits, the defender loses a follower for each soak track you have marked.
- Heedless of Pain : Clear your Impolite soak track.
- Pin ‘em Down : Spend a follower to give this attack a
+2bonus to hit.
- Pissed Off : Your impolite soak track has a
+1bonus for each soak track you have marked.
- Target Rich : This attack has a
+1bonus to hit for each hitting attack you’ve made this turn.
Acquiring tools and materials in Oasis Rim isn’t 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 be inferior to the ones you get here at character creation.
During character creation, you may select one of the following gear packages:
- Armor and a magical artifact
- Armor and a weapon
- One weapon and one magical artifact
- Two weapons
When you select gear at character creation time, it may come with some free associated perks that represent the fact that you’ve also trained with that gear. If, during play, you obtain new gear, that does not come with the perks. You will have to purchase the perk associated with that gear during Character Advancement in order to become trained with it and use its perks.
When taking armor at character creation time, you gain not just the gear but the training that goes with it. This will grant you a single perk (as specified by the armor) for free that can be used whenever you are wearing your armor.
There are two major types of armor:
All suits of armor have a Heat Value associated with them. Heavier armor protects more of your body but also heats you up – which can be dangerous if the sun is up.
The three suits of day armor are…
- Chainmail Bikini Heat Value: 0. You gain the Chainmail Armor perk.
- Leather Corset: Heat Value: 0. You gain the Leather Armor perk.
- Ringmail Miniskirt: Heat Value: 0. You gain the Ringmail Armor perk.
Night armor is worn at night because of the risks these suits pose their wearers when under sunlight. See the Aftermath section for more information on these risks.
- Twilight Armor: Heat Value 2. You gain the Breastplate Armor perk.
- Midnight Armor: Heat Value 3. You gain the Full Plate Armor perk.
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 works and you know how to use it. You might also be the only person in the world who can.
When you take a magical artifact, it comes with a free perk that does not count against the limit of perks you can take at character creation time.
The artifacts are as follows:
This jewelry imbues your weapon with some ambient effect like purple flames, arcing lightning, or a soft, red glow. Though not illegal, the authorities assume anybody with one of these is up to no good.
- Furious Smite : Each ★ Boost you roll or each ☠ Drag the enemy rolls in this attack that isn’t used to trigger a perk forces the enemy to lose
This ornate, silver, jewel-studded headpiece grants its wearer the psychic power to tell if anybody is lying, under the influence of narcotics, or mind control. Any dragon who sees you wearing this will treat you with suspicion.
- Dragon’s Mind : Spend a Follower to give one of your Soak Tracks a bonus equal to your Willpower talent level. (Bonuses granted by perks go away after the roll and all its consequences are resolved)
A piece of white, pitted rock alleged to be a piece of the dead moon god’s body. Should anybody from The Magekin Colonies see this necklace, they will stop at nothing to take it.
- Ether Storm : Select one of your perks with the word “Holy” or the word “Spirit” in its name. This perk copies the effects of that perk.
A golden ring etched with a gaudy skull and rubies for eyes. It grants its wielder the ability to summon ghosts from one of the few surviving afterlives and command them to attack someone.
- Hungering Ghosts : This Willpower attack has a
+1bonus to damage for each Follower you have.
Each weapon is associated with a pair of talents: An attacking talent and a defending talent. When you attack with that weapon, identify your level in the attack talent and roll that many dice. Identify the target’s level in the defense talent for your weapon and use that as the difficulty for the roll.
When you take a weapon at character creation time, you’re not only gaining the weapon but the training that goes with it. You may also take one free perk with that weapon’s name in its title.
Consult the Universal Perks or the perks for your character class for available weapon perks.
Perks are extra special abilities that you might be able to activate while rolling dice or when dice are rolled against you (such as when you’re attacked). Perks can come from equipment your character’s carrying or from training she has accumulated.
For more information on how perks work, see the Rolling Dice section.
Your character gets
5 free perks at character creation time. You can choose any perks from the Universal Perks list as well as any perks from the list for your character’s class. These five perks are in addition to any free perks you may have obtained with your gear.
Each perk title has an adjacent number in square brackets
[X]. This is the perk’s “trigger cost.” The larger the trigger cost, the harder it is to gain the benefits of that perk.
Universal perks can be selected by anybody at character creation time or during Character Advancement. For convenience, these perks are divided into categories:
Armor perks represent your training and expertise in fighting while wearing your armor. Each of these perks is associated with one specific suit of armor (explained in the Armors section). Purchasing these perks represents your training with the suit.
These perks can only be triggered while wearing the associated armor.
- Breastplate Armor : One soak track receives a
+2bonus to its soak value and enemy perks cannot inflict direct damage unless they do so by heat (they can still give bonuses to this attack’s damage).
- Chainmail Armor : One soak track receives a
+1bonus to its soak value or a
+2bonus if you’re defending against this attack with Parry.
- Full Plate Armor : Re-roll a die in this enemy’s attack (re-rolled dice cannot surge or trigger perks).
- Leather Armor : One soak track receives a
+1bonus to its soak value or a
+2bonus if you’re defending against this attack with Evasion.
- Ringmail Armor : One soak track receives a
+1bonus to its soak value or a
+2bonus if you’re defending against this attack with Tactics.
These perks represent your training and expertise while using the associated weapon. A perk is considered associated with the weapon if the weapon’s name appears in the perk’s title. You can only trigger these perks while the specified weapon is your active weapon.
- Cleaving Axe : Remove all dice in this attack roll with values of
- Crossbow Volley : This crossbow attack gains a
+1damage bonus if the target has not taken a turn this round.
- Hidden Knives : Use your target’s Parry in lieu of Evasion for this Knives attack.
- Impaling Spear : If this Spear attack hits, an ally with no followers gains
- Live by the Sword : This sword attack has a
+1bonus to damage for every attack you’ve made this turn.
- Vengeful Bow : If this attack misses you while your active weapon is a Bow, the attacker loses a follower.
- Disengaged : If your active weapon uses Accuracy, the difficulty of this Brawl attack has a
+2bonus or the difficulty of this defense roll suffers a
- Heavily Engaged : In this Brawl attack, dice with values of
0grant this attack a
+1bonus to damage.
- Loosely Engaged : This Strike attack has a
+1bonus to hit.
- Kill-fu : This corps à corps attack has a bonus to its maximum damage equal to your Initiative.
- Field Medic : Re-roll a die in this Bandage action roll (re-rolled dice can not surge or trigger perks).
- Lightning Reflexes : If this Initiative roll ties, you win instead.
- Mage Killer : This Brawl attack has a
+1bonus if the target’s active weapon uses Willpower to attack.
- Miraculous Recovery : If this Bandage action roll beats the difficulty by a margin of
5or more, clear the patient’s
Impolitesoak track as well.
- Unencumbered : If you’re wearing no armor, re-roll a die in this enemy’s attack (re-rolled dice can not surge or trigger perks).
- Born Leader : If this Rally action is successful, gain
- Charismatic : If this Rally action is successful by a margin of
2or more, gain an extra follower.
- Get to Safety : Spend a follower token to remove the defending ally from combat.
- Give Ground : Spend a Follower to add
+1to the difficulty of this Brawl attack.
- Heroic Sacrifice : Spend a Follower to re-roll a die with a value of
-1(re-rolled dice cannot surge or trigger perks).
- Noble Sacrifice : Spend a Follower to add
+1to the difficulty of this Strike attack.
- Pincer Attack : Spend a Follower to give this attack a
+4bonus to damage.
- Running Interference : Spend a Follower to raise the enemy’s cost to trigger perks by
+1for this roll.
- Selfless Sacrifice : If this attack deals exactly
1damage, spend a Follower to reduce it to
- Take Cover : Spend a Follower to add
+1to the difficulty of this Accuracy attack.
The finishing touch for your character is some sort of flaw to help give her personality. We’re not talking about mechanical weaknesses but personal shortcomings that give you something to aspire to. When you take a flaw, it comes with a
+1 increase to a specific core stat. This increase is applied after allocating your core stats and thus, could save you tons of build points if used well. Available flaws include (but are not limited to)…
|Other people, their petty concerns, maybe even their survival are beneath your notice.
|You have a powerful presence and have a hard time knowing when to shut up
|Anything and everyone that isn't an increase in knowledge is boring.
|When it comes to getting money, you have fewer reservations than most
|Anything said with enough authority and gusto can convince you.
|It's not that you think of others as inferior. You just know you're better.
|You have very high standards for yourself and expect the same of others.
|You can't help but want to mess with people. It's too fun.
|You don't always understand what's going on and don't feel a need to.
|You might hesitate in the interest of triple-checking to see if your chosen course is correct.
|You wanna kill. Anything else is an irritating waste of time.
|You've done something that haunts you. It may drive you to be better or it may sap your will to live.
|You're always looking out for _numero uno_ and expect others to do the same.
|Your timid air makes it hard for you to connect to others -- or even want to
|Getting along matters more than being right or keeping your word.
|Expressing your own independence -- even on trivial matters -- is more important than getting along.
|Once you've made up your mind, it'll take broken bones to convince you to change it.
|In some aspect of life, you're sure that you're just not good enough.
After you select a flaw, you may need to recalculate your talents.
If none of these character flaws strike you as appropriate, you should work with your GM to create one that fits your character. The GM will decide which of your core stats gets an increase from this flaw.
Your character’s flaw is the main way you collect experience (the currency used to increase your stats and buy new perks). Once per session, whenever your character’s flaw leads to a fun, dramatic event in the game, the GM can ask the other players at the table if they want to grant you an Experience Point for the drama. If all players at the table agree, you’re rewarded with the Experience.
Hunting down solar cultists requires you to go out in the day but there’s a catch: Oasis Rim has a strict curfew. Citizens are to be indoors at least thirty minutes before sunrise and remain in shelter until thirty minutes after sunset.
Since day time is miserably hot and large groups can attract seraphim, most people are happy to obey this curfew.
It’s possible to obtain a “work license” that allows you to go out while the sun is up as long as you can …
- Demonstrate a professional need to work after sunrise
- Identify a licensed company as your employer
- Attend a course on how to treat sun stroke
- Swear an oath that you will respond to a “call to arms” should the Queen need your help defending the city
You and your friends have jumped through the necessary hoops to form a company and obtain licenses from the Ministry of Diurnal Affairs. You may have bribed your way through the process. Everyone does.
Though the Ministry suspects that 90% of “water purification contractors” are just drug dealers, they don’t bother to check because day-work companies still muster when called to arms and going out in the day to investigate is hot and miserable.
With your company now established and legitimized in the eyes of the city, it’s time for each of you to go about your real business. Even though you and your teammates may all have different employers, you share a common goal: Investigate and destroy cells of solar cultists.
Moon’s Grave uses special dice called “Surge Dice”. You’ll typically need about six to eight of them per group. If you don’t have Surge Dice, you can use common six-sided dice (often called “D6’s”) as substitutes by using the following chart:
On the faces of these dice, there are numbers and sometimes either ★ or ☠ symbols. The numbers are the most important part of rolling.
Whenever you try to achieve something that isn’t certain to succeed, the GM will call for a dice roll to resolve the outcome.
Dice rolls are annotated in these rules as
X vs Y where
X is the number of dice you roll and
Y is the difficulty of the roll. These amounts can be set by specific rules or by GM fiat.
The difficulty number denotes how much skill is needed to succeed. The number of dice rolled indicate how likely you are to overcome that difficulty and is usually set by some talent.
Take the specified number of dice, and roll them. Add up the numbers found on each die (icons that aren’t numbers count as zero here). If the total of all those numbers meets or exceeds the difficulty, you are successful! If the total is less than the difficulty, you fail.
Tactics vs 3 means that you roll as many dice as your Tactics talent level against a difficulty of
3 – hoping that the total value of those dice is
3 or better.
When a die comes up with the
2+ face, it’s special. Not only does it count as a
+2 to the total roll, it also counts as a “surge.” Whenever a die shows up with this face, you must immediately roll an extra die and treat it as if it were part of that initial roll.
Dice brought in by surging that also turn up with
2+ must also surge, bringing in even more dice than before.
Resolve all surges before you proceed to trigger perks.
Rolling dice does more than just settle whether you succeed or fail at something. Dice rolls can also allow you to trigger (make use of) your character’s Perks.
Some die faces have special icons that look like this:
- ★ (AKA: Boost) which allows you to trigger perks
- ☠ (AKA: Drag) which allows your enemy to trigger perks
Every perk has a trigger cost associated with it. In order to gain the benefit of that perk, you must pay its trigger cost. Your ability to pay for a perk’s trigger cost is equal to the number of ★ Boost faces you see in your roll. Thus if a single ★ Boost is showing, you can pay for any perk with a trigger cost of
1. Having two such dice allows you to pay for a single perk with a trigger cost of
2 or for a pair of perks with a trigger cost of
1 (but you’ll have to trigger them in sequence).
Enemies who are in some way affected by your roll (such as when you’re attacking or otherwise antagonizing them with an action) can also trigger perks based on your rolls. Each ☠ Drag visible on the rolled dice will pay
1 toward the trigger cost of a perk.
Once you’ve used a die to trigger perks, you cannot reuse that same die to trigger perks for the rest of the roll (and the same is true for your enemy).
You can only trigger a perk once per roll. The benefits of the perks triggered are cumulative.
The character rolling the dice gets the first chance to trigger a single perk. After taking or forfeiting that chance, the enemy involved with the roll has a chance to trigger a perk. Both characters will alternate triggering individual perks until they can not or refuse to do so.
Bonuses granted by perks go away after the roll is determined to be a success or a failure.
Game state modified by perks (damage dealt, followers added or removed) persist until changed by some other rule. Such state does not reset after the roll is over.
Here are some key terms used in perk descriptions:
- Ally: Whenever a perk refers to an “ally,” that is only the combatant that the perk’s owner is protecting as with the Protect action.
- Enemy: Whenever a perk refers to an “enemy”, that is only the combatant that is rolling the dice or having the dice rolled against her.
- Foe: Whenever a perk refers to a “foe”, that is any combatant that the perk owner doesn’t like.
- Independent Damage: Whenever a perk deals damage independently of attacks, that means the damage is dealt regardless of whether an attack hits or misses or and regardless of whether an attack is happening at all. It must be soaked as its own damage event.
- Spend a Follower: Whenever perks say to “spend a follower,” you must have a follower available and you must remove that follower token from your sheet in order to gain the perk’s benefits.
:Whenever perks refer to “this attack” or “this roll,” they are referring to the roll that triggered the perk. Further clarifiers may appear. e.g.: “This Strike attack” means that the perk must be triggered by an attack roll using Strike as its attacking talent.
Whenever you take damage, even so much as one measly point of it, that damage can and will kill you unless you soak it.
You have a series of Soak Tracks which can be used to absorb incoming damage. The most common way to soak damage is by shouting profanities. The first three soak tracks allow you to soak damage this way:
- Impolite (Soaks
- Offensive (Soaks
- Profane (Soaks
The more damage you’re soaking with curses, the more creative and profane the curse ought to be.
Damage that can be soaked by cursing has no detriment beyond the fact that it exhausts one of your soak tracks. The next soak tracks won’t let you off so easy. Just because the damage won’t kill you doesn’t mean you are free of consequences. These soak tracks are handicaps that come with long-lasting negative effects for as long as that soak track is marked as exhausted.
- Rent Clothes. You can’t trigger Armor perks. (Soaks Durability)
- Broken Bones. Your perks cost
+1to trigger. (Soaks Durability)
- Bleeding Out. Fumble Risk
+1per soak track marked. (Soaks 2 x Durability)
If you use a soak track and it doesn’t eliminate all the incoming damage, you may use an additional track to make up the difference. It is possible for damage to be severe enough that it exhausts all your tracks at once.
You can choose to use any available soak track at any time (though, obviously, it’s better if you use the curses first as they have no lasting effects).
If the soak track you use soaks more damage than you have incoming, the excess soakage is lost. Try to be efficient.
Once a soak track is used, mark its checkbox. This makes the track unavailable for subsequent uses. This track remains exhausted until you’ve cleared its checkbox during Recovery or by some other rule.
Moon’s Grave is meant to be an action-packed game with lots of danger and killing. Why bother wearing a chain mail bikini if you’re never going to fight?
A fight is divided into Rounds. Each round has the following phases:
During the planning phase, it’s advantageous to go last.
Starting with the Lowest Initiative and climbing up, each combatant declares how many actions they intend to take and which weapon they wish to be your active weapon. This plan is declared aloud so everyone at the table can hear. They may plan to take any number from zero to infinity actions.
- Full Defense: If you plan to take zero actions for the round, you will have a
+2bonus to the difficulty to be hit.
When Initiative talents are tied, the tying combatants all secretly commit to their plans by writing them down on a piece of paper. When everyone is ready, they reveal plans simultaneously.
During the execution phase, it’s usually advantageous to go first.
The GM will begin this phase by asking who wishes to take a turn. If you wish to vie for a turn, declare your intent to do so. Other combatants may do the same.
If you are the only vying combatant, you win and take your turn.
After you find that others are also vying for the turn, you may withdraw your bid for the turn and allow the other(s) to win the turn.
If others are also vying a turn and you do not withdraw, the one with the highest initiative wins and takes the turn.
If your Initiative ties with that of other vying combatants, you can choose to spend followers to add a
+1 bonus to your Initiative for each follower spent (this bonus goes away after the turn is secured). The other vying combatants can do the same. If this does not break the tie, each vieing combatant rolls their Initiative talent and the highest roll wins.
Once you take a turn, you can not take another turn for the rest of the round.
After your turn ends, the GM will repeat this process, offering additional turns to the combatants who haven’t yet taken a turn. This process repeats until nobody tries to take a turn (either because they can’t or won’t).
Once execution is over, perform the following steps:
- The radiance of the sun is dangerous. If the sun is up, everyone suffers as much damage as the Heat Value of the armor they’re wearing. All male combatants have a minimum heat value of
1at this time.
- If your Bleeding Out soak track is marked, roll a die (which will surge as usual). Suffer
1damage for each ☠ rolled.
On your turn, you may take combat actions to affect the battle.
Throughout your turn, you will have a number called Fumble Risk which represents how stressful and tricky your turn is going to be. Your Fumble Risk depends on how many actions you planned to take during the planning phase. The higher your Fumble Risk, the greater risk you have of screwing up your whole turn.
Fumble Risk starts at
0 and increases
+1 for each action you plan to take beyond the first.
Any time you roll dice during your turn, the difficulty of dice rolls is increased by the turn’s Fumble Risk.
All combat actions will have a dice roll associated with them. Rolls with difficulty of zero need not be performed unless the fumble risk raises them above zero.
If you fail any die roll during your turn, you fumble and your turn is immediately over. Any subsequent planned actions are lost.
|See the Attacking Rolls section.
|Clear an ally's Bleeding Out track.
|End turn now.
|See the Protecting Allies section.
|Gain +1 Follower
|Kill an enemy Follower.
|Make one of your weapons active.
If you fail any of the associated rolls with an action, you do not gain the benefits of that action:
- Damage from failed attacks is never inflicted.
- Failing the Bandage roll does not clear the ally’s soak track.
- Failed protect rolls do not allow you to select a protected ally.
- Rally attempts will grant no followers if the roll fails.
- You cannot slaughter enemy followers with a failed roll.
- You cannot choose a new active weapon with a failed swap roll.
When you declare an attack, it is with the active weapon you declared during the Plan Phase or with the last action you declared active when performing the Swap action. If you have no active weapon, you will be performing a corps à corps attack.
When performing an attack, identify a combatant as your target. This target is the defender and the enemy for the purposes of triggering perks during the attack.
If you are attacking with a Sword, roll as many dice as your own Strike talent level. The difficulty for the roll is equal to the target’s Parry talent level. If your Strike talent is
3and the target’s Parry is
2, you roll three dice and hope to get a total of
2or higher. The three dice come up
0for a total of
4 > 2, you hit and because
4-2=2, you deal two extra damage for a total of
3to the target!
Your active weapon specifies a pair of talents: The attacking talent and the target’s defending talent. Roll as many dice as your attacking talent’s level. The difficulty of the roll is equal to the target’s defending talent level. Fumble risk increases this difficulty as usual.
If the roll is a failure, you miss the target and fumble out of your turn (can’t take any more actions).
If the roll is a success, you hit and the target suffers
1 damage. If your roll exceeds the difficulty to hit, the attack deals extra damage equal to the margin.
- Bonuses to Hit: Some perks grant attacks a “bonus to hit” which means you add that bonus to the roll’s value when comparing it to the difficulty to determine the hit. If you hit, however, bonuses to hit do not add to the margin for extra damage.
- Bonuses to Damage: Some perks grant bonuses to damage. These bonuses only apply if you hit. The amount of damage dealt is increased by the bonus.
- Bonuses to Attack: Some perks grant bonuses to an attack generally (or to an attack roll). Such bonuses are added to the dice roll and therefore increase both the chance to hit and the margin for extra damage.
- Corps à Corps: With any weapon or no weapon at all, you may attack by rolling your Brawl talent level against the target’s Evasion talent level. Without the aid of perks, the maximum damage corps à corps may do is
3even if the attack roll’s margin exceeds that number.
Your GM has a lot to worry about and may not want to add dice rolls to the list of troubles. When an enemy attacks you, the GM may have you roll the dice for that attack in the form of a Defense roll.
It works the same as any dice roll: Identify the weapon (or similar attack source) that is being used against you. Take a number of dice equal to that weapon’s defending talent. Roll those dice against a difficulty equal to the attacker’s appropriate talent. If you meet or exceed the difficulty, the attack is a miss. If you roll less than that difficulty, you are hit and suffer
1 damage for every point of difference there is between your roll and the difficulty.
When performing the Bandage action, you’ll need to do so quickly and in a way that doesn’t put you or your patient in danger. Roll your Tactics talent against a difficulty of
3. If successful, the patient’s Bleeding Out track is cleared and can soak damage again. If you fail, the patient is still bleeding and you will have fumbled out of your turn.
If you take the Finish action, your turn immediately ends. You take no more actions. No rolls are needed and no fumble has taken place but any actions that you could have taken are immediately lost.
Select one willing combatant to protect. When you do, you are no longer protecting any other combatants. For the rest of the round, if that protected ally is attacked, you may trigger your perks as if you were the defender. Using dice to trigger does not preclude any other combatants from also using those same dice to trigger.
When you take the Rally action, roll your Beckon talent against a difficulty of
3 (increased by the fumble risk as always). On success, you gain a follower.
When you take the Slaughter action, identify a combatant with followers. If you’re taking more than one action this turn, you’ll have to roll your active weapon’s attacking talent against a difficulty equal to your fumble risk. If you have no active weapon, roll your Brawl talent. On success, that enemy loses a follower.
Identify a weapon that you possess that isn’t your active weapon. If you’re taking more than one action this turn, you’ll need to roll with that weapon’s attacking talent against a difficulty equal to your fumble risk. Upon success, the desired weapon becomes your active weapon as if you’d declared it so during the plan phase.
As your character works, she’ll accumulate Experience which you can spend as a currency to add perks and increase core stats. You will gain experience for the following reasons:
- You didn’t spend all your Build Points during Character Creation.
- The GM wants you to have it for any arbitrary reason.
- The group agrees that you’ve role-played your character’s flaws in a fun and compelling way.
Experience points can be spent to do any of the following:
Whenever you spend Experience, record the total amount you’ve spent in the “Spent” field on your character sheet. This helps you keep track of your character’s degree of awesomeness so you can brag about it.
Buying a new perk costs
5 experience points. After you spend those experience points, you can trigger that perk whenever your rolled dice (or an enemy’s rolled dice) meet the trigger cost thereof.
Increasing core stats costs works the same way as with Build Points in the Character Creation section. You can give a
+1 increase to any core stat you choose by spending an amount of experience points equal to that new target level.
When you increase a core stat, you may need to recalculate talents as well.
The rest of this document is dedicated to the GM. If you’re a player, uninterested in playing as a GM, you don’t need to know any of the content that follows.
As the GM, you’ll guide players through their adventures, presenting the challenges that they must overcome to complete their jobs. Though you do control all antagonistic characters, you are not an adversary to the players.
In RPG’s, “winning” is defined as having a good time and wanting to play more. “Losing” is having a bad time and wanting to quit. You’re not there to defeat the players but you must make defeat a real possibility so when they prevail, they know they’ve earned it.
As GM, you’ve got too much to think about. You don’t want to manage full-fledged character sheets for every single character. Thankfully, we have a simple system to make this easy.
All NPC’s will have a number surrounded by parenthesis next to their names. This number represents the default level for all of that NPC’s talents. Thus
Deputy (3) represents a deputy character that has a level
3 in all talents.
NPC’s only get one action per turn.
NPC’s share their followers in a common pool with all friendly NPC’s. That pool starts with as many follower tokens as highest beckon between them and has no maximum. Any NPC may use those followers and each is considered to have that many followers.
Keywords can also be listed with the NPC stats in the last line. They will be comma separated like so:
Giant Scorpion (2)
Some NPC’s won’t have any perks. If they do have a perk, it’ll be listed as a line under the NPC’s name with its trigger cost written in brackets like so:
 If enemy has 0 followers, enemy suffers 1 damage
If this captain triggers her perk, she could inflict damage on the enemy even if she isn’t attacking this roll.
All NPC’s can perform corps à corps attacks unless explicitly stated otherwise. Some NPC’s may have additional forms of attack which will be listed as a line with the name of the attack (or the weapon that grants this attack), followed by the attacking and defending talents for the attack separated by a slash and surrounded by angled brackets.
 If enemy has 0 followers, enemy suffers 1 damage
If the attack’s name happens to match the name of a weapon, the NPC is considered to have a weapon of that type which the players may scavenge off the dead NPC.
When NPC’s attack each other, dice rolls are pointless. If the attack stat meets or exceeds the defense stat of the target, the attack is a hit and deals damage equal to the margin
+1. Weaker NPC’s that have not attacked yet may combine to attack tougher ones, summing the relevant stats up for the comparison. Thus three separate
Haunt (1)’s can attack a
Deputy (3) and hit for a single damage.
Members of the royal cabinet have been slowly cutting back on their staff. The official reason is “budget constraints” but that doesn’t seem to add up. In spite of this, the city still maintains a very large guard force and intelligence agency (mostly due to the fierce lobbying by the Sheriff and Director of Intelligence).
Deputy (3), Beckon 0
Captain (5), Beckon 2
Agent (3), Guile 5
 If the enemy has lower Guile, this attack has a +1 bonus to damage
 If the enemy has lower Guile, this attack has a -1 penalty to damage
 Enemy must lose a follower or take 1 damage
 If enemy has lower Guile, enemy must lose a follower or take 2 damage
Tilda, the Sheriff (8), Beckon 5
 Spend any number of followers to increase the enemy's cost to trigger perks by +1 for each follower spent
Those that dwell inside the sterilized districts of the magekin will occasionally have cause to leave their domes. When they do, they will wear Moon Shard Necklaces which emit enough protective magical energy to keep them from dying on first contact with regular germs.
Shard Hound (2)
 Gain +1 FollowerShard Bearer (3)
Moon Shard Necklace <Willpower/Willpower>
 Enemy loses 2 followers
 The attacker for this Strike attack suffers 2 damage
 Mark a soak track to give this Bloodletting attack a damage bonus equal to triple the marked track's value
Izibeth, the Princess of Ecocide (8), Parry 6
 Clear a soak track for a Construct
Though they’ve grown accustomed to harassment, undead citizens have recently had to deal with mobs and arson by Solar Cultists. Other parts of the city are coming into contact with zombies fleeing the mayhem and it’s causing even more strife between them and the living.
 Enemy loses a follower: If at least 1 is lost, to gain a follower
Skeleton Archer (3)
Brain Eater (3), Willpower 5
 Reduce this attack's damage to 1
Ghoul (4), Willpower 6
 If the enemy has lower Tactics, the enemy suffers 1 damage
Mummy (5), Willpower 8
Strangling Bandages <Willpower/Tactics>
 Spend a follower to give this attack a +3 damage bonus
Necromancer (6), Willpower 7
Soul Siphon <Willpower/Willpower>
 Trigger a perk on a friendly Ghost or Zombie
 Gain +1 follower
 If this is a Brawl attack, the enemy suffers 1 damage independently of the attack
 If this is a Brawl attack, the enemy suffers 2 damage independently of the attack
Shade (8), Brawl 3
 If this enemy attack misses, gain a follower
Kendritha, the Blaspheming Queen (9), Willpower 11
Spectral Dagger <Strike/Evasion>
 Spend a follower to reduce this attack's damage to 0
Many outside of The Draconic Oath look on its adherents with unease or even scorn. An uncomfortably staid society with strict rules of etiquette, dress, and conduct, who seem judgmental of everyone else who isn’t willing to willingly jump into a dragon’s mouth to feed the beast. Most are glad the Wyrmsworn exist (because dragons are necessary for survival) but that doesn’t make them seem any less weird.
Oathsworn Adherent (2)
Clutch Matron (4), Parry 2
 Gain +1 follower
Psychic Blast <Accuracy/Willpower>
Electric Bite <Willpower/Evasion>
Dracovenom Blade <Strike/Parry>
 Enemy loses a follower to clear a willing dragon's soak track
Adolescent Wyrm (9), Evasion 6
Psychic Rending <Willpower/Willpower>
 This psychic rending has a bonus to damage equal to the target's follower count
 A willing dragon can soak damage for this attack
 The attacking enemy suffers damage equal to the number of followers that attacker has. This damage is independent of any attacks.
The tribe often camps around the walls of the city and wait for the Queen to summon rain clouds. They lay out enormous skins to trap the water as it falls miraculously from the sky and once they’ve had their fill, they’ll pack up and march off to patrol the desert. Occasionally, they’ll send human “firetail” tribesmates into the city to purchase supplies.
Battle Boar (2), Beckon 5
Novice Firetail (3)
 Spend a follower to inflict 1 damage on the enemy that is independent of any attack
ReptileIrontusk (5), Tactics 10
 This Club attack gains a +1 bonus to damage for each Reptile present
Elite Firetail (6)
 Spend a follower and select two foes with lower Tactics. Those foes each suffer 1 damage independently of any attack
Raid Chief (7), Evasion 6
 Spend any number of followers to force as many foes to lose a follower
Tarsha, the Lizard Liaison (8)
 Spend a follower and choose a foe with lower Tactics. That foe suffers 1 damage independently of any attack
Serpent Mistress (7), Parry 5
Serpent Steed's Fangs <Willpower/Parry>
 Foes with no followers have a Tactics of 1 for this roll
 All foes lose a follower
Runda, the Pillaging Queen (9)
 A foe with Tactics of 5 or less suffers 1 damage independently of any attack
The simple truth is that Lady Sun will inevitably drive the human race extinct. Those who serve her will have the luxury of dying of old age instead of being burned alive. To join the solar cult, you must have no living progeny – either by abstinence or murder. It’s all the same to the Sun Goddess. Solar cultists can be identified by abdominal scars that show their commitment to the goal of human extinction.
Solarist Eunuch (2), Beckon 0
 Enemy loses a followerSolarist Acolyte (3)
 Spend a follower to give this attack a +1 bonus to hit
Spit Flames <Willpower/Evasion>
 Gain +1 follower
 Gain +2 followers
Sunspawn (6), Beckon 0
Lash of Flame <Strike/Evasion>
 The enemy suffers damage equal to the Heat Value of any armor worn
 If the enemy has lower Tactics, the enemy suffers 1 damage
The Avatar of Lady Sun (10)
Solar Flare <Willpower/Tactics>, damage source is heat
 The enemy suffers damage equal to the Heat Value of any armor worn
 All combatants not loyal to Lady Sun suffer 1 damage
 Spend 4 followers to create a Sunspawn
- Q: Can I play a man?
- Q: What if the GM is a dude? Is he still the “game mistress.”
- Q: Can I play a solar cultist?
In an expansion, maybe. Maybe your GM will homebrew one.
- Q: If I use Living Sacrifice to trigger Divine Retribution, how many followers must I spend?
- Q: If the GM is making me roll to defend (instead of having the NPC roll to attack), what does Unencumbered do?
If the defender rolls dice, perks that increase difficulty of the attack allow the defender to roll an extra die into the roll. However, the new dice added by a perk do not surge and can not be used to trigger perks.