How to Play

The Flow

The typical flow of a Super-Fantasy game is as follows:

1. The GM describes the setting and tells the players what's going on. He might tell the players where their heroes are if entering into a tense scene. Or he could ask them what they're doing at the base on a Wednesday night.
2. The players describe what they want their characters to do. If they just infiltrated a room, they might rummage through drawers, keep an eye on the door, or check the walls for secret panels. If they're all at the movies they might decide what they're watching and who's sitting by whom.
There aren't any turns in this portion of the game. The GM can work with one player at a time or a group carrying out the same action. If a player wants his character to open a drawer, it might be as simple as that. Or the drawer could be locked or booby-trapped. That's up to the discretion of the GM.
3. The GM describes what happens, often leading the player to make another decision, and we're back to step 1.

Whether the heroes are negotiating with an extradimensional prince, trading blows with some god of myth, exploring a derelict starcruiser, or patrolling the streets by night, this is the pattern of the game. Most of the time the flow of the story is very loose.

Combat is the most tightly structured portion of the game. In combat, chases, and other high-action scenes, the players take turns.

The Dice

The Super-Fantasy game relies on polyhedral dice. You can find dice like these in game-shops, bookstores, or online. In fact, online you can order polyhedral gaming dice, or you can find an online dice-roller or an app.

A specific dice referred to by the letter d and its number of sides: d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20. When you need to roll dice, the rules tell you how many of what type to roll. Before the d will be instructions on how many dice to roll. So, 1d4 means that your roll a single four-sided die. 4d8 means that you roll four eight-sided dice.

Anytime the outcome of an action in uncertain, the game relies on the result of a d20. Ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws are the most common d20 rolls. Does Prince Charming convince the bouncer to let him in? Roll a d20. Does Sky-Song kick Cyber-Goth in the face? Roll a d20. Does Red Sabre dodge the security cameras? You get it by now.

There are also some dice you'll need to roll that don't actually exist. A d2 is a way to decide between one and two. Most players select a dice and use odd results to represent 1 and even to represent 2. You can also flip a coin. To roll a d3, use a six-sided dice. Results of 1-2 count as 1, 3-4 count as 2, and 5-6 represent 3.

Percentile dice, or d100 generate a number between 1 and 100 by rolling two d10. One die (designated before you roll) gives the tens digit, and the other the ones digit. If you roll a 2 and a 7, for example, the number rolled is 27. Two 0s represent 100.

Remember that whenever you roll a dice for a result that isn't clearly stated by the dice itself, you must state before the roll how the results will be determined.

  • I'll flip a coin and heads is 1, tails is 2.
  • I'll roll a d6 and divide the result in half and round up.
  • The blue d10 is the hundreds place, the red one is the tens place.

Modifiers: When you roll a dice, you often add a modifier. This is either a positive or negative number determined by your ability score, skill and tool proficiencies, and other in-game factors. These are explained in detail in the rules. For now, just keep in mind that modifiers are expressed in the rules after the dice with a + or - followed by the number. So, 2d6 + 4 means that you roll two six-sided dice and add four to the result. 1d6 - 2 means that you roll a single six-sided die and subtract two.

Every creature in the game has physical and mental characteristics defined by six ability scores: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. Most characters and creatures have a score in each ability ranging from 1 to 20. Animals have an Intelligence score of 3 or lower, and some monsters have abilities as high as 30.

Roll a d20: When you roll a d20 to determine the result of an ability check, attack roll, or saving throw:

  1. Roll the d20 and add a modifier. Roll a d20 and apply the modifier. The modifier is derived from one of the six ability score. It may also include a proficiency bonus determined by a power, skill, or tool.
  2. Apply circumstantial modifiers. A power, a class feature, a piece of equipment, or the circumstance the character is in might grant a bonus or penalty.

3. Compare the total result to a target number. If the total result equals or exceeds the target number, then the ability check, attack roll, or saving throw succeeds. If not, it fails. The rules help the GM determine the target number, and she tells the player whether his roll succeeded or failed.

The target number for an ability check or a saving throw is a Difficulty Class (DC). The target number for an attack roll is an Armor Class (AC).

Advantage and Disadvantage: Sometimes the rules state that a d20 roll has advantage or disadvantage. This means that when you roll 2d20 instead. If you have advantage, you use the result of the higher roll. If you have disadvantage, you get the result of the lower roll. You still apply your other modifiers, good and bad, to the roll.

Red Sabre is hiding in the shadows behind one of Mind-Mage's minions and wants to knock him out. He has advantage because the minion doesn't know he's there. Tony (Red Sabre's player) rolls 2d20. One results in a 7, the other a 14. Tony uses the 14 for Red Sabre's attack, adding his attack modifier and landing a solid hit.

Bug-Boy wants to sneak up behind one of Mind-Mage's minions who's guarding the door to try the same thing. Unfortunately, his armored exoskeleton is bulk and gives him disadvantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks. Abram (Bug-Boy's player) rolls 2d20 and uses the lowest result. He rolls a 3 and an 18. Abram uses the 3 and adds his modifiers, but the guard hears him.

Round Down: When you have to divide a number, like a proficiency bonus or damage, round down to the closest whole number. Fractions don't add together.

Specific Trumps General

Keep in mind that many racial traits, class features, powers, special items, and other specifics alter the general rules. If a specific rule contradicts a general rule, follow the specific rule.

For instance, as a general rule, characters are affected by poison, but a robot is not. As a general rule, characters can't fly, but someone with the flight power can.

What You Need to Play

An active imagination and a thirst for story and heroics are the basic ingredients of an adventure role-playing game. But, there are a few more things you need to get started.

  • Players: The game requires at least two players and can be played by six or even more. One player is the GM, who serves as the writer, director, and judge. All other players control the actions of the heroes. The number of players affects the style of gameplay. More players creates a diverse and social experience, while fewer players leads to a more intimate and immersive story.
  • The rules: You're looking at them now. These will help players create and play their characters, and help the GM design and run adventures. Players should understand the rules of character design, equipment, finances, and action. The GM should be familiar with all the rules. He doesn't need to memorize them, but he should understand the basics and know where to find rules on specific topics to help him run a solid game in a fair, fun fashion.
  • A character sheet: You’ll find various styles of blank character sheets to print as PDFs. Feel free to make multiple copies or even design your own.
  • A pencil and paper: Many times word processors and drawing programs can accomplish the same thing, but it's good to have pencil and paper if possible for quick notes, maps, or illustrations.
  • A set of polyhedral dice: These are the dice with varying numbers of sides. You can find them at your friendly local game-shops, hobby shops, some bookstores, or online. It’s best for each player to have at least two four-sided dice (d4), four six-sided dice (d6), one eight-sided die (d8), two ten-sided dice (d10) that you can tell apart (for rolling percentiles or results of 1-100), a twelve-sided die (d12), and two twenty-sided dice (d20). There are also online dice rollers and dice apps for portable devices.

Things You Might Want When Playing

There are other tools which aren't necessary, but can be helpful when trying to keep track of actions.

  • Tokens: You may want a token to represent your character in the game. These can be helpful to note where characters are in scenes when it can be unclear (like battles). Miniatures are great, and can be found in the same places you find dice. But be warned – building a large collection of miniatures can get expensive. You can raid board games or toy boxes and use action figures or chess pieces to accomplish the same thing. There are even printable game pieces you can find online for cheap or free. Not all gaming groups use miniatures, and the pros and cons of miniatures are covered in the Miniatures section.
  • A Ruler: If you're using miniatures, you'll also need a ruler with inches or a playing surface marked off in one-inch grids. (We usually use an old bottle-rocket stem, a wooden coffee stirrer, a piece of string or yarn, or a chop-stick, marked off in inches.)
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