Core Mechanics


What is Unchained Heroes?

Unchained Heroes is a tabletop role playing game (RPG) based on a new game system called the Real Time Combat Engine. As a tabletop RPG, this game requires 1 person to play as the Gamemaster (GM) that acts as storyteller/referee/arbiter and 1 or more people known as Players that will create Player Characters (PCs) to play in the game. At its heart, a tabletop RPG is a bunch of friends getting together to experience a shared story, narrated and controlled by the Gamemaster, with the Players acting as active participants. The combat and roleplaying rules of the system are united in the Core Mechanic, but are separated at an ability level so no one needs to make sacrifices for one aspect over the other. Combat mechanics and abilities are built to reward players for exciting combinations of actions and tactical thinking. Roleplaying mechanics are meant to give guidance, offer examples, and encourage creative ways to solve problems.

Core Mechanic

As you play a Tabletop RPG, you will make decisions, and act out the story; calling for many occasions where you are asked to make dice rolls to determine the outcome of your action. The method used to determine success or failure is called the Core Mechanic. The Core Mechanic is based on simple F20 principles:

  • Roll a 20-sided dice (d20) then add a modifier (mod) to the roll

Compare the result of your roll to an arbitrary value that depicts the difficulty of the task known as the Difficulty Factor (DF). This entire process is called a Skill Check or Skill Roll. If you meet or exceed the value assigned for the tasks Difficulty Factor (DF), you succeed in what you are doing. These values range from 10 to 40 or higher. The 20-sided dice is used to add an element of chance and the mods are used to account for expertise and skill.

All Skill Checks involve Skills. Your Skills are the foundation of modifiers you add to your dice rolls, the higher your Skills, the more likely you are going to complete a task. There are two types of Skills: Battle Skills and Character Skills. Battle Skills are most often used in combat (swinging a sword); while Character Skills are used out of combat (searching for a book).

Character Skills

The Battle Skills are: Attack (ATK), Defense (DEF), Power (POW), and Willpower (WILL). Attack and Defense are used for physical actions and Power and Willpower are used for magical actions. You will use your Battle Skills when you are making an attack, determining if you are getting hit, casting a spell, or resisting a spells effects.

The Character Skills are: Arcanology, Athletics, Crafting, Education, Engineering, Influence, Medicine, Natural Lore, Perception, and Subterfuge. The Character Skills are your areas of expertise and natural talent for performing a task. Any action you perform will fit into one of the areas covered by these Character Skills and can be modified by them. If you are climbing a wall, you may be asked to roll an Athletics Check with a difficulty of 20. That means you roll a 20-sided dice and add your Athletics score to the value. For example, if your Athletics Character Skill was 15 and you rolled a 10, that would mean your total Skill Check was a 25 and you exceeded the difficulty of 20 that was assigned to the task; you would have been successful!

Types of Skill Checks

Skill Checks fall into one of three Categories: Standard Skill Checks, Opposed Skill Checks, and Extended Skill Checks. These help you determine the right way to calculate success or failure for each action that is performed.

A Standard Skill Check has been described already in the Wall Climbing example. It’s a basic roll against a DF. If you meet or exceed the DF listed, it’s a success and if you fall below it, it’s a failure.

An Opposed Skill Check is testing your abilities against another person, object, or thing. Both you and your opponent perform Skill Check rolls and the one with the higher roll wins. If there is a tie, the attacker wins. A good example of this might be an arm wrestling competition.

An Extended Skill Check is just like a Standard Skill Check, but it occurs over an extended period of time with multiple rolls. The best cases for its use are when you need to draw out the suspense or the task is too important to hinge on a single dice roll. An example might be crafting a magical item or a suit of armor. Each Skill Check roll is added to the next to get a total result. For example, Crafting a fine suit of chain mail might take an Extended Crafting Skill Check. It requires 5 Crafting Skill Checks over the course of a 3 day period that must meet or exceed at least 80. Each of the rolls is a Standard Skill Check, but it is added to the previous roll until all rolls are completed and a final result is tallied.

All the Skills involve the Core Mechanic, but that is just the tip of the Iceberg. If you are interested in more about Unchained Heroes check out these posts: