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This section details SPURG's resolution mechanics and the general rules of play.

Resolution Mechanics

Verdict Rolls

At the core of any roleplaying game are its resolution mechanics — methods the Game Master uses to determine the outcome of a scenario where the result is not immediately obvious, and for which there is something narratively at stake, meaning there are story-related consequences tied to the outcome. Examples of this might include whether a character slips and falls while trying to scale a wall, or how accurately a character is able to loose an arrow at a target 50 yards away. Most roleplaying games have resolution mechanics which involve some degree of random chance, most often utilizing dice, and SPURG is no exception.

SPURG is designed to use common six-sided dice (abbreviated as d6) for its primary resolution mechanic: the Verdict Roll. A Verdict Roll is made to determine whether the outcome of a given scenario is positive or negative, whether a character’s attempt at something succeeds, or to determine which character is the winner in a contested action. In general, a Verdict Roll is appropriate whenever something significant is at risk or if something substantial is to be gained; for inconsequential tasks, or for occasions where the result is immediately obvious (like if a character tries to do something impossible) no roll is necessary — the GM simply determines the outcome.

To make a Verdict Roll, the GM or the player rolls three six-sided dice (3d6) and adds the sum of them together. The result of the roll will range from 3 to 18. For Verdict Rolls, a lower result indicates a more positive outcome. The result of the Verdict Roll is compared against a Target Number. If the result is equal to or less than the Target Number, the attempt is a success; if the result is higher than the Target number, the attempt is a failure.

In addition to making Verdict Rolls on behalf of non-player characters, there are a number of occasions where it is appropriate for the GM to make a Verdict Roll on behalf of a player’s character. A few examples are when the character cannot be immediately certain whether something they attempted was successful or not, such as when they try to conceal something, or when the character isn’t aware of what’s going on, like whether the character hears someone sneaking up on them.

Target Numbers

Target Numbers are determined ultimately by the GM. In most cases, the Target Number will correspond to either a character’s Ability Score or Skill Level. This number will often be modified to accommodate for circumstance — for instance, a character aiming their pistol at a target will have a range modifier applied to their Guns (Pistol) skill. The resulting number becomes the Target Number which the Verdict Roll is compared against. It is important to remember: modifiers are never applied to the Verdict Roll, only to the Target Number.

Margins of Success and Failure

In some cases it is important by how much the Verdict Roll was higher or lower than the Target Number. The amount by which the Verdict Roll is less than the Target Number is called the margin of success; likewise, the amount by which the Verdict Roll is greater than the Target Number is called the margin of failure. When applicable, the margin of success or failure can be used by the GM to determine how positive or negative an outcome is.

Critical Successes and Failures

Rolling particularly low or particularly high will result in a critical success or a critical failure, indicating an appropriately positive or negative result.

Critical successes always occur on a roll of 3 or 4, while a roll of 5 is a critical success if the Target Number is 15 or higher, and a roll of 6 is a critical success if the Target Number is 16 or higher. Sometimes rules exist that indicate what happens when a critical success occurs, but even if no specific rule exists, GMs are encouraged to determine an especially positive outcome.

A critical failure results on a roll of 18, and on a roll of 17 if the Target Number is 15 or less. Additionally, any roll higher than 10 above the Target Number is automatically considered a critical failure. Like with critical successes, sometimes rules indicate an outcome for when a critical failure occurs, but even if no such rule exists, GMs should determine an especially negative outcome.

Contested Actions

If an action is contested — for example, if two characters grasp at a diamond ring at the same time — a Verdict Roll is made for both characters separately, and compared against their own respective Target Numbers. If only one character’s roll is equal to or less than their Target Number, that character is the victor. If all rolls are less than their respective Target Numbers, the victor is determined by which roll had the better margin of success; likewise, if all rolls are higher, the victor is determined by which character had the least margin of failure. If the margin is the same for all characters participating in the contest, it indicates a draw, or no winner.

For scenarios where the result of the competition is not immediately resolved, such as when characters compete for results over a period of time, such as in a foot race, the Verdict Roll operates in much the same way as above, except that margin of success or failure is ignored. Instead, no character is victorious until their roll is equal to or less than their Target Number, and all others in the competition have rolled higher than their Target Number. If no winner is determined as described above, the contest is considered to be going back and forth with no clear winner (yet). Rolls continue until there is a winner or until all participants drop out of the contest. The GM determines how much time passes between each roll. Note that it is common for modifiers to be applied during a contest as time goes on to indicate characters growing more exhausted, losing focus, or as a result of the environment changing around them. The modifiers need not affect all characters equally.

Damage Rolls

A Damage Roll is a different kind of roll made to determine how much harm is done to a character or object as a result of an attack, accident, or some kind of physical trauma. Unlike a Verdict Roll, a Damage Roll can use any number of dice. Damage Rolls can also have static numbers added to the result — an object might take 2d6+3 damage, for example, indicating that two dice are to be rolled, and 3 is added to the sum. How much damage a character or object ultimately takes can also be modified by the type of damage dealt, and by what kind of protection against the source of harm exists, such as armor. More details about damage are available in the Combat section.

Demeanor Rolls

Rules of Play

These rules describe how RPGs created using SPURG can be played.

The Game Master

People playing RPGs created with SPURG are divided into Game Masters (GM) and Players. A GM also plays the game in a way, but instead of controlling a single character for them to focus on, they also create and describe the world, scenarios, and environment the characters exist in. Characters played by the GM are referred to as Non-Player Characters (NPCs).

Every player in your RPG is important, but GMs play a special role in tabletop RPGs, as they are usually the most experienced with RPGs and rules, and are most likely the players who ultimately decide to play your game. GMs are generally considered to have the "final say" in matters of rules, and are relied upon like referees to interpret the results of Verdict Rolls and contested outcomes.

Digital Game Masters

If you are creating a video game there may be no human Game Master to make rolls and decisions. In this case you will need the game program to take its place. You can choose to have dice-based chance mechanics appear transparently by having the "rolls" show up exactly as such when they are called for, but just as easily you can hide these mechanics "under the hood" so to speak by only displaying the outcomes — both methods appear frequently in computer RPGs. If you choose to hide dice-based mechanics from player view, it is strongly suggested for balance purposes that random chance be calculated the same way as if using six-sided dice, as SPURG rules have been generated and tested using a probability distribution curve using this model, rather than a "flat" distribution curve where each number in a given result range has an equal probability. For more on this subject, query "3d6 probability" in your search engine of choice.

Player Characters

Each of the other players in a tabletop RPG generally control a single character which they focus on. The mechanics of SPURG are designed with the expectation that Player Characters (PCs) are bound by the same rules as NPCs with few exceptions.

What can characters do?

The rules below describe the limits of what ordinary humans can do. Extraordinary humans, super-human, or non-human characters will use these rules as the baseline by which their capabilities can be contrasted. Expert training, special abilities, and powers are represented by Skills and Benefits.


One of the most basic things a character can do is strike an object or person. How much force they can bring to bear when doing so is determined by their Might (MGT). Damage dealt by attacks that make use of a character's mass and muscle power alone, like a stab from a dagger or a jab from a fist, deal a character's thrusting (TH) damage. Attacks that gain the damage amplifying advantage of leverage, such as a blow from a truncheon, deal a character's swinging (SW) damage.





Encumbrance and Weight

Encumbrance describes how weighed down a character is by what they are carrying. Larger, stronger characters can carry more weight than smaller characters, and as a result, the amount of weight a character can carry is determined by their Might. Penalties are applied to a character's Speed (SPD) as they become more encumbered. A character's Speed governs how quickly they can move, and is expressed by an approximate number of yards (or meters) a character can move each second. Speed also affects a character's ability to Dodge out of the way of incoming danger (including attacks), and determines which character acts first when combat begins.

Encumbrance is measured in four levels. Each level of Encumbrance is determined by how much a character can Lift as described above. Each level of Encumbrance reduces a character's Speed by 20% (rounded down). Characters are not Encumbered until they are carrying more than what they can Lift.

  • Encumbrance 1: Lightly encumbered. The character is carrying up to twice (2x) what they can Lift. Their Speed is reduced by 20%.
  • Encumbrance 2: Moderately encumbered. The character is carrying up to three times (3x) what they can Lift. Their Speed is reduced by 40%.
  • Encumbrance 3: Heavily encumbered. The character is carrying is carrying up to six times (6x) what they can Lift. Their Speed is reduced by 60%.
  • Encumbrance 4: Extremely encumbered. The character is carrying up to ten times (10x) what they can Lift. Their Speed is reduced by 80%.



Starvation and Dehydration

Falling and Collisions


Damage Types
Healing and Recovery
Serious and Mortal Wounds
Unconsciousness and Death