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The ABDE Role Playing System

Copyright 1996-2002 David Allan Finch, All rights reserved.

Character Description System

Action Resolution System

Character Creation System

Character Advancement system


 Designer: David Allan Finch with help from Pete Nash

 Basic Rules
 Warhammer Rules
 Bushido Rules
 Explora Rules

The Rules


The ABDE system owes a lot to the systems Aftermath, Bushido and DareDevils designed by Paul Hume and Bob Charrette in the early 1980 and published by Fantasy Games Unlimited. There original rules have been modified over the last few years by Pete Nash and myself as most rule systems are, to create our house rules. This was to allow for us to uses them with other genres; make them more realistic; and use modern gaming concepts. It has become increasingly apparent that this system is no longer just our interpretation or house rules of there system but a new system of rules in there own right, hence this system.

The name ABDE was chosen to show that the system comes from Aftermath, Bushido, DareDevils plus Explora and can be pronounced in anyway that you can get your tongue round it. The Explora RPG was my own fantasy background and system that I designed many years ago and I might one day continue with it, some of the original Explora system ideas and goals has made it into ABDE but not a lot, after all that was a long time ago now.

One of the objects of this write up of these rules is an attempt to format them so other can understand them, this is unlike the original Hume & Charrette rules that required a certain level of determination and anal-retentiveness, to get over the War Game feel that was the style back in the 1980's. They not so much as hide there gems under a bush, as burred them on a dark and stormy night somewhere up the Amazon in the early 16th century and then lost the map. This was a shame as the Hume & Charrette system was really quite good and I hope we have not thrown out the baby with the bath water with this new version of there rules.


ABDE is a generic set of rule which can be used to play a role-playing game set in a specific genre. It does not attempt to be a completely general genre-free set of rule which will work under all conditions and scales because this is probably impossible to write.

Basic Terms

All role-playing games uses a lot of terms which to a new player can seam difficult to understand, it is unlikely that I will be able to explain these any better that your referee so I will only put a basic outline and hope that you can find someone to fill in the gaps for you.

Like any game, a role-playing game has Players. These Players work in a cooperative fashion to interacted in the world of the Referee. It is a bit like being the character in a play but unlike a normal play, you write the lines and actions for your character, as do the other players and the referee like a writer/director does the lines and actions for everyone else.

It is the job of the Referee to create an interesting and challenging world for the character to interact with, after all a drama about the normal day of an office worker might be a worthy dramatic endeavor it is not normally the stuff of great passion or excitement and hence there are not that many action films about it.

Example of Play

Several friends have gathered around at Harett's house for an evening game. The following is an artificial attempt to show what might happen. Harriet is the host for the evening but one of the group, Carol, is the referee. The other people there are Bill and Tom they are also Players like Harriet.

Carol: (showing the map of the area) You are currently at (points to) Mainbridge just south of Turnhouse. It late afternoon and it is overcast and looking like it will rain soon. Mainbridge is a small hamlet of 5 or 6 houses by the remains of an ancient bridge across the river. The river is normally crossed via the ferry.

(insert Map?)

Bill: Agothan, gets out his raincoat and puts it on, is the ferry there.

Carol: It will take you a minute or so to get out your raincoat, the ferry is on the other side of the river. There is a post with a bell on the jetty where the ferry normally moors ...... (the continuing and exciting adventure) .....

Basic Rules

Character Description

To simplify things a character is described with a series of Values.

These values come in several types:
    1. Attributes
    2. Skills
    3. Scores
    4. Stats.

Attributes are unlearnt or innate abilities of the character. They normally have a value between 1 and 20. Low values show a deficit in that area and high vales show an aptitude. There are 14 number of standard Attributes: Strength, Speed, Health, Wit, Willpower, Charisma, Combative, Communicative, Aesthetic, Mechanical, Natural, Scientific, Magical. They will be described in detail latter in the character generation section. If your character, fot example, has a Strength of 17 this would mean it would exceptionally strong.

Skills are learn abilities they also normally have a value between 1 and 20. A low value means the character is unskilled in the area covered by the skill and high means that the character is well trained and probably good at.
If your character had Climbing skill of 16 he would be reasonably good at it.

Scores represent a pool a resources the character has in the area covered.

Stat are

Dice Rolls

ABDE uses three types of dices and uses them in specific and consistent:


All success and fail rolls are called Tests and you must roll under or equal to your value on a twenty sided dice.

A Test is required by the Referee for the Character to jump across a ravine, this would require the Player to roll a twenty sided dice and get a number less than or equal to the Character skill plus any modifiers for a running start say.


All situation that require a value to be created are called Effect rolls. Values are generated by roll a number of six sides dice equal to the Effect Level.

To determine how much damage a Character receives when it has been hit would require a Effect roll. Say the weapon has a Effect Level of 7 then 7 six sided dice would be rolled and added. This would be a numeric value that represent the damage inflicted.


There are times when there are a limited number of option which could happen with simple probability, some of these rolls are so standard that there a tables of result already worked out. These are called Checks (don't like this). When these are required then a hundred side dice is rolled and the value is checked against the table or compared to the probability.

The referee thinks that there is a 25% chance that the guard will walk into the room whilst the character is climbing down the air vent. A hundred sided dice is thrown and if it less than or equal then the guard walks in. Another example would be a check against the Hit Location table to see where a blow landed.


All Test which are against another character are called Challenges. In such Tests both the Attacking and Defending character rolls a Test.


Test which are not instancantious are called Tasks.

Character Creation


There are two methods of creating a character. The first is for General genre non-specific characters and allows characters to be created of almost infinite variety. The second is decided for specific sorts of characters that are appropriate for a specific genre. The method used will either be specified by the Referee or can specified by the Player.

General Method

To create a character you should follow this sort of procedure.

    1. Describe what sort of character you want, Name it and create it's background.
    2. Allocate Attribute points.
    3. Select the skills appropriate with your character, and allocate Skill points.
    4. Calculate it Scores.
    5. Calculate it Stats.
    6. Genre Specific Method
......... stuff ............... Attributes All character have a set of Attributes which represent the characters basic abilities these describe the character range in game world values: Strength, Speed, Health, Wit, Willpower, Charisma, Combative, Communicative, Aesthetic, Mechanical, Natural, Scientific, Magical.

Attribute Descriptions

Strength (STR): Strength is a measure of the character's relative raw strength. A strength of 2 is about equal to a 4 year old child and value of 18 is a world class weight lifter.

Deftness (DFT):

Speed (SPD): This value shows how quickly a character can react to an event and how long they take to do the action.

Health (HLH): The general health of the character and its ability to recover from wounds.
A health of 2 is a sickly individual that is always ill and catches every bug around. A character of 18 is the pinnacle of fitness and health, this sort of individual would put doctors out of business.

Wit (WIT): This is a value which represents the character ability to comprehend the information it is getting from its senses. A Wit of 2 is about equal to the (relative) IQ of a 4 year old child. It finds the concept of lies difficult to understand) and 18 is a University Professor (I.E. The world is just an concrete implementation of the abstract model of the inaction of diverse variable elements on an orthogonal vector representation of the possible worlds in the set of all worlds.

Willpower (WIL): Willpower is the intrinsic mental strength of mind of the character. A character with a willpower of 2 does not have the self control to sit still let alone listen to the teaching of the a master tutor. Mean while a character with a 18 can quite happy sit and watch paint and concrete dry and probably enjoy it.

Charisma (CHR):

Combative (CMB):

Communicative (COM):

Aesthetic (AST): This attribute represents the character's ability to manipulate the abstract concept of art and design. A character with a score of 2 can not perceive art or beauty at all and a character with a 18 sees the whole world as part of a continuous design in which it art can only enhance it.

Mechanical (MEC): Mechanical ......
Natural (NAT): This attribute measures the characters oneness with the physical world.

Scientific (SCI): This attribute shows the character's ability to understand the rational view of the universe.

Magical (MAG): This attribute determines the ability of the character to understand the mystical view of the universe.

Attributes Value Each character has attribute values between 1 and 20. A normal human has most of their attributes between the range 6 and 14 for a random human this is produced by rolling 2d6+3. For a normally Player's Character a point allocation system is used. Each PC has 170 point to split amongst the 14 Attributes but only 5 Attributes may have a Value outside the 6 to 14 range and none may be outside the range of 2 to 18.

Attribute Value

2 6 10 14 18 Strength 4 year old Weakling Average Strong Weight lifter Deftness Clumsy Non-dexterous



Quick Lighting-fast Health Sickly

Robust Paragon Wit 4 year old Slow Mundane Smart Genius Willpower Unstable Weak willed Balanced Strong willed Like a Rock Charisma

Combative Introverted Passive Balanced Aggressive Psychotic Communicative


Mechanical Finds cutlery hard Uses but have no idea how to make it

Greasy Thumb





Base Action Phase (BAP)

This is the highest phase in a Detail Turn that the character can react at. It is equal to the characters Speed.

Base Number of Actions (BNA)

This is the unmodified number of actions a character can do in a Detailed Action Round. The NNA is equal to the current Deftness divided by seven and rounded up.
BNA= Up( SPD )

Base Damage Level

This is the unmodified number of damage die (d6) that a character will do when hitting a target. The DBL is equal to current STR divided by seven rounded up. BDL = Up( STR/7 ) Base Movement Allowance (BMA) BMA=aver(STR+SPD) Stats Max Damage Potential (MDP) Max Psychic Energy (MPE) Base Healing Rate (BHR) Standard Test Spotting Hidden aver(WIT,NAT) Reacting to a surprising event aver(WIT,SPD) System Shock aver(HLH,WIL) Spotting a magical event aver(WIT,MAG) Dodging aver(DFT,SPD)


Skill Learning Rules

Each skill has a Base Learning Rate (BLR), a set of three Attributes it is based on, a Learning Difficultly, a Score and a Base Chance of Success (BCS). The BCS is the score divided by 5 and rolled against on a d20 to deturm success or failure in the action. The BLR of a skill is calculated from the Sum of the three Attributes divided by it Learning Difficulty Value (LDV). The LDV is derived from the following table:

Learning Difficultly LDV Simple (S) 5 Easy (E) 10 Average (A) 15 Hard (H) 20 Impossible (I) 25 IE the following skill from below. Skill Name Learning Difficultly Skill Equastion Charisma (Seduction) Average CHA+COM+WIT the BLR for Seduction is the Sum of Charisma, Communication and Wit divided by 15. If a character has CHA=10,COM=8,WIT=7 then then it would have a BLR in seduction is 1.67. The Score is increase by the BLR divided by the sum of (Learning Rate Modifiers + 1) for each Effective Training Week (ETW). Reason Learning Rate Modifiers Score>60 +1 Score>80 +1 Score>90 +1 Score>95 +1 So our example character will take 36 ETWs to get a Score of 60 (or BCS of 12) and additional 24 ETWs to get a Score of 80 (or BCS of 16). Each Campaign week only counts as an ETW if there is a Teacher in the skill which has a higher BCS in the skill after the training is over. (IE your teacher must still be better than you after the training has finished). Two Campaign weeks of training without a teacher counts as one ETW. Five Hero points and a nights rest counts as one ETW (see Experience). Each Teacher can train a number of students upto there BCS divided by 2 and for each week of training they would be expect to receive: Learning Difficultly Charge per week of training Simple (S) 8ss Easy (E) 16ss Average (A) 32ss Hard (H) 3gc Impossible (I) 7gc Each training day with a teacher only takes up about 1/3 of the day and hence a character can learn 3 skills a day (If they can afford it). Due to the hardship of physical skills only one can be learn in one week. No skill can be trained in more than once per week. So a good teacher with a BCS of 16 in a Hard skill can teach 8 students, three times a day and would expect to receive 72GC per week. If a teacher is willing and the character can pay for it they can get private tuition. This will cost the normal change multiplied by his max no of students. The ETW is multiplied by the teachers BCS / 5. So private tuition with our example teacher would cost 72GC per Week and the ETW would become 3. Hence the example student in Seduction above would take 12 campaign weeks to get to 12 BCS not 36. If the character could not find a teacher (very likely with seduction) it will take 72 campaign weeks to get to 12 BCS. New Characters Stating Skills Base Skills Each race startes with a small set of standard skills. Starting Skills Each character starts out with 200 ETW to spend on skills.

Combat Resolution

General Procedure

On each Participants' Action Phase one of several types of action can be attempted. Movement, Attack and Parry, Full Defense, Cast a Spell, or a attempt a complex multi-round action.


Each round is 15 seconds and is made up of a number of phases equal to the higest Base Action Phase (BAP) of all involved in the encounter.
The Phase count starts at the higest BAP value and works down to zero when the next round starts.

Each character has a BAP and a Max Number of Actions (MNA). Each action happens evenly distrubuted in the round. IE if a characters BAP is 12 and MNA is 3 then the character's actions are 12,8,4.
Some actions like loading a gun, crossbow, normal bow or puting on armour take multiple phases, but most only take one. All actions are assumed to have been taking place before the action phase but are resolved at the action phase. Changing from Running to Walking is one action. Changing from Walking or Standing to kneeing or Prone is one action. A character can move 2 meters each of there action phases whilst fighting or 5 meters not engaged. Any character using a weapon which they do not have the strength to use loses one action from there MNA. Overall Combat Defence (OCD) The OCD of a character is made up of the sum of three parts Combat Dodge Ability (CDA), Combat Parry Skill (CPS) and Passive Defence Bonus (PDB). The CDA is equal to DFT + SPD + CMB / 18 and represents that characters inate dodge ability. The CPS is equal to the characters Base Chance of Success (BCS) in the skill they are currently using divided by 4 rounded down. The PSB is derived from having a shield or some other form of defense IE magical. A target shield has a PSB of 1 and a large shield of 2. Magical forms of defense are specified under the spell or item. Combat Action The attacker rolls a 1d20 and if they can get less than or equal to there Combat Skill BCS minus the defenders OCD then the attack hit. If the miss is equal to or less than the defenders OCD then the attack has been parryed. (some skills allow a free action on parryes, ie foli) A failed roll by more than 10 is a Daze Special Effect on the attacker. A success my more than 10 is a Daze Special Effrect on the defender A daze special effect means that the character then rolls a Health Saving Throw if it fails it misses its next action phase and loses there CPS part of there ODS Roll Result -inf to -10 Attacker Daze Special Effect -9 to -(OCS+1) Normal misss -OCS to -1 Parry 0 to 9 Normal hit 10 to inf Defender Daze Special Effect On a Hit next roll for the location hit on the following table. Combat Damage Each character has a Base Combat Damage (BCD) this is equal to the characters Strength stat divided by 5 and rounded up. The BCD is modified by the type of attack vs the defenders armour type.

None Leather Ridged Leather Chain Plate Impale +4 +0 -1 -1 -4 Slash +2 +1 +0 -2 -3 Crush +0 +0 +0 +0 +0 Energy +0 -2 -2 -1 -1 Physical +0 -1 -2 -1 -2

There are also other modifies for special weapons and skills.

Atacker BCS > 16 then +1 Weapon is 2 Handed then +1 Attacker strength less than min to use weapon then -2 Physical attack is from non-matial trained skill -1 The total of BCD and modifiers is called the Modified Combat Damage (MCD). If an attack sucessfuly hits then the damage done is equal to the roll of MCD number of d6. If the total damage rolled is equal or greater than half the targets Hit Points, then the target has recieved Critial Damage to that location.

Critical Damage

Environmental Damage


<i>Terminal velocity is about 60 m/s (about 135 mph). This velocity is reached
in 6 seconds, making a falling table look like this:

 Time:    Distance:   Velocity:
  1 s            5 m        10 m/s
  2 s          20 m        20 m/s
  3 s          45 m        30 m/s
  4 s          80 m        40 m/s
  5 s        125 m        50 m/s
  6 s        180 m        60 m/s
  7 s        240 m        60 m/s
  8 s        300 m        60 m/s

Etc. So the maximum difficulty of a roll would be 600 (180 m = 600').

A few things to consider: A heavy character (e.g., a giant or in platemail) will have a higher terminal velocity, and will impact harder (energy = g * m * h, so the damage should be proportional to the product of distance and mass).

        US Airborne troops practice the landing technique a great deal.  It
is effective for dropping more than 15 feet safely, but I'm not certain how much more. I learned it from a friend fresh out of Airborne School, and I saw him drop from more than 15 feet onto asphalt safely. One doesn't need to be dropping at an angle, either; in fact, he avoided dropping at angles because it was easier to maintain form when dropping straight down.

    "Falls from heights are a safety problem in industry and in homes. At least
three hundred people a year die in simple falls from ladders. Ladders account for about 100 thousand injuries each year. The distinction between ladder accidents and elevated fall accidents is blurred in accident statistics. We know the effect of falls. A person falling from any height will accelerate until he hits a fixed object. The results will depend on several variables, but, statistics show that in a fall of eleven feet or more, 50 percent of victims will die.(2) </i>




Damage Healing and Recovery

Hero Points


The total number of Hero Points a character has ever received is called the character's Experience Points. At each 100 Experience Points if a Character has correctly followed it God the God may give a gift.


The current number of unspent Hero Point up to 8 that a character has is called its Luck. These points can be used in a session to change dice rolls one step.

Hero Point Cost Effect 1 change: Critical Failure to Failure Failure to Success Success to Critical Success You can only use your luck to change die rolls that effect your character. I am going to be loose on this interpution until I see how it is used in reality. Luck can also be used on a Nd20 role, for good/bad things to happen to your character. Where N is equal to the difficulty. Improvement Current unspent Hero Points can be spent to improve a character at the following rates: Hero Point Cost Effect 5 1 Week Training in a Skill or study in spells etc 10 remove 1 Chaos Taint or Insanity Point attribute * 4 + 1 Attribute Point upto race max attribute + 1 Attribute Point upto race max + 2 (gift from a God etc) IE normaly it takes 40HPs to go from 10 to 11 but a druid with a gift from a spirit can do it for 10HPs. Gaining Hero point are gained for: Hero Point Gain For 1 each hour of role-playing the character. 1 each email of worth in the PbEM?. N Doing something important from your characters perpective, IE destroying a Chaos plot for good guys or getting a way with one for the bad guys. N is propotional to the difficulty

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Last edited December 15, 2002 5:41 pm by DaveF (diff)