Most rolls in the game of Scath use a D20, a twenty – sided die. Only magical powers and damage determination can use different dice.
The basic roll, or "check", that will be happening for most of the game, is either a skill check or an attribute check. They both work according to the same procedure. The game master tells you which skill or attribute to roll against, you roll a D20 and try to roll below or equal to the number (from 1 = very poor to 20 = godlike ability) of said skill/attribute.
Example: Paul's character wants to attempt a "Speed" – check. His speed is 12. He rolls a 9. Success!
Should you roll over the number of the specified skill/attribute your character has failed whatever task he attempted to do.
There are six main attributes. They are mainly used for rolls that are not covered by any skills. They also determine several resources used in the advanced rules of Scath.
- Brawl: Your skill in close combat, both defensive and offensive.
- Speed: Agility and dexterity, the speed and precision with which your body moves.
- Brawn: Strength and toughness, the power of your muscles and your stamina.
- Mind: Willpower, intelligence and perception, your brain and your senses.
- Charm: Your social capabilities, both active and passive.
- Mystic: Your magic sense, ability to cast spells and activate other supernatural powers.
Skills are derived from attributes and are raised with a specific level of training.
The rulesystem of Scath uses a system of 20 basic skills. Some of them are magical in nature (e.g. the “Arcane” - skill), some are physical (e.g. the “Climb” and “Sneak” skills), some are mental (e.g. the “Heal” and “Knowledge” skills). Finally, there are also social skills (e.g. “Empathy” and “Diplomacy”).
Feats are special abilities that allow a character to break some of the general rules (e.g. the “Lifeblood” feat allows a character to regenerate health at a much faster rate than normal), do certain actions that would not be possible to him otherwise (e.g. the “Reaver” feat gives a character access to all the brutal offensive attacks of the Reaver combat style) or grant him certain bonuses to skills or attributes in various circumstances (e.g. the “Light-footed” feat gives a character a +2 miscellaneous bonus to all his “Stealth” skill checks).
In the world of Scath combat is fast and deadly. It is also based on Action Points. Nearly every action you can perform in a fight costs either one or two AP. Starting characters have two action points per turn available to them. More experienced fighters might have three or even four AP per turn.
The combat system gives you 10 basic actions which every character can perform. These include simple attacks (melee and ranged), movements, defensive manoeuvres like dodging, disengaging, aiming, charging head – on etc.
It also gives you over 20 advanced actions, special types of movements and attacks that only experienced fighters can perform. These actions include stunning or disarming an enemy, pushing him backwards, attacking unarmoured parts of his body, sacrificing attack power for defence and vice versa, and finally different types of “boosts” for your character's magical powers.
If you throw in a Chosen's “Grants”, spell – like abilities that can also be used in combat, into the mix, you can see that there are a lot of different combinations that can be attempted with your two AP per turn. It might seem a bit overwhelming in the beginning, but soon you will know what combination of actions works best with the things your allies can do, and which actions are most efficient against which types of enemies.
This whole system turns combat into not only a deadly, fast – paced action scene, but also into a game of tactical decision making, where you do not have much time to think and mistakes can be fatal for every participant.