Roger Bell_West

Table of Contents

1 Character generation

Torg characters are larger-than-life heroes. Start with 300 points (maximum -100 from disadvantages). Default campaign TL is 8.
Reality is a power talent (10/level) and a 10/E skill; having at least one level in each is necessary to be possibility-rated (P-rated hereafter).
Possibilities cost 1 point each, and a starting character should typically expect to have about 10.
Luck and Unluck are not available.
Miracles generally require Power Investitute (and True Faith does no harm), and have a limited effect list; magic needs Magery. Spells and Miracles, in general, are Threshold-Limited Magic (Thaumatology pp. 76-79) using the standard spell lists. The local threshold value equals twice the Magic or Spirit axiom, as appropriate, and daily recovery rate is half the axiom. Spells are learned normally and individually (no prerequisites for Miracles). A character using this system may pay one Possibility for an immediate day’s worth of Tally recovery under the local axioms (not modified by Rapid/Slower Magical Recovery).
Wildcard skills are definitely available, and while they’re not always good value they can certainly be handy for e.g. a vehicle specialist. See the list on GURPS Supers pp. 36-37.
Cultural Adaptability wouldn’t hurt. Major Cultural Familiarities are Western, Oriental/Chinese, Japanese, Indic, Islamic and African — plus at least one per invading cosm.

1.1 Rules for the Realms

1.1.1 Core Earth

1.1.2 Living Land

Starting characters should have Low Technology (TL1) and must have Survival (Jungle). Many will have Absolute Direction.
Living Land miracles include Berserker (usable only on self, can be delayed up to 24 hours after casting, wears off if not activated by then), Strike Blind, Pain, Strike Deaf, Watchdog, Great Healing, Seek Water, Boost Dexterity, Keen Hearing, Keen Vision, Keen Taste/Smell, Keen Touch, Boost Strength, Boost Health, Fear, Dullness (works only on animals), as well as some special cases:
Simple Spear has a cost of 2, and causes a brockt shoot to sharpen itself until it is usable as a normal spear. This lasts until the spear is broken or re-planted, and evades the taboo on use of dead equipment.
Blossom Spears has a cost of 4, and works much like Simple Spear, but when the spear does damage it grows thorns. If it is left in the wound, on the next round it does 2d cutting damage, ignoring armour; anyone other than a Jakatt who pulls it out does an additional 1d+2 damage, again ignoring armour. Once the spear has done damage, it is no longer useful as a weapon unless re-enchanted.
Make Stela is a special-purpose Enchantment.
Pain Sacks is learned and cast as Flame Jet, but creates a one-use Temporary Enchantment of Flame Jet (which is buried in living earth, and triggers when someone steps on it).
Reverse Emotion works like Emotion Control, but requires a pre-existing strong emotion, which is reversed for the duration of the miracle.
See Through Mist is cast as Mage Sight, but lasts 24 hours. The subject gains the ability to see through the Deep Mist as though it were not present.
Sensory Explosion is cast as Madness, but is generally cast on willing targets; the madness takes the form of senses so hyperacute that data from them cannot be processed, and all the target’s actions are penalised by an amount equal to the normal fatigue cost of the spell.

1.1.3 Aysle

Starting characters must have at least Magery 0 and should have Low Technology (TL4).
Designing spells (long and tedious) and improvising (monstrously dangerous) both require magical skills — which are variants of Thaumatology, IQ/H and boosted by Magery, consisting of Alteration Magic (changing stuff), Apportation Magic (moving stuff), Divination Magic (knowing stuff) and Conjuration Magic (making stuff), plus further Arcane Knowledge skills.

1.1.4 Nippon Tech

Characters may have High Technology (TL9), but are probably deeply involved with the invaders if so. They may in any case buy TL9 equipment freely.

1.1.5 Cyberpapacy

Starting characters have +3 Will (only against friendly persuasion, -60%) and -3 Will (only against unfriendly persuasion, -60%). They should have High Technology (TL10), and may buy TL10 equipment, including cybernetics, freely.

1.1.6 Orrorsh

Starting characters should have Low Technology (TL5). Orrorshan characters may have Medium.
Orrorshan miracles (the Sacellum faith, a fire-and-brimstone sort of Christianity) include weapon enchantments, Burning Death, Create Animal (harmless swarms only), Flesh to Stone (actually Flesh to Salt), Mystic Mark (permanent, visible to all, causes reaction penalties), Rotting Death, Spider Silk (with unpleasant special effects), Strike Blind, Storm, Total Paralysis.
Orrorshan Occult abilities are improvised effects working off Orrorshan Occult skill (learn as a variant of Occult). An occult effect is specified in the form of one or more sentences describing preparations and results; for example “I will find a piece of my enemy’s flesh; that flesh will give me clues under analysis; those clues will lead me to books; those books will contain a ritual involving a drop of my blood, a sword, and a furnace; I will obtain these items and perform the ritual; the sword will slay my enemy”. Each item that can be brought in as a prop (increasing preparation time) gives a +1 to the Occult roll. The GM adjudicates difficulty. The more powerful the effect, the greater the risk of corruption even if it succeeds.
Orrorshan characters may learn Path/Book Magic, which also works off Orrorshan Occult; Path of Elements and Path of Gadgets are not available. This is Effect Shaping.

1.1.7 Nile Empire

Starting characters should have Low Technology (TL6), and may buy cinematic traits freely. All characters must have the Good or Evil inclination, a zero-point feature.
Cinematic Gadgeteer is expanded by Roger’s article in Pyramid 46, for which the Nile Empire was the informal inspiration. Weird Science is likely to be a key skill.
Superpowers include: high Attributes, Acute Senses, Animal Empathy, Clinging, Damage Resistance (Force Field), Discriminatory Smell, Doesn’t Breathe (Gills), Elastic Skin, Enhanced Move (Water), Growth, Illusion (Powers p. 94), Innate Attack, Insubstantiality, Mind Control, Mind Reading, Obscure (Vision), Penetrating Vision, Shrinking, Super Jump, Terror, and Warp.
Nile Empire astrological magic uses Magery (Nile Empire) and spells are capped by the Astrology (Nile Empire) skill. It does not use prerequisites. Available standard spells are: Beast Speech (crickets only), Charm, Control Zombie, Create Spring, Detect Magic, Fireball (this is actually a sound-based effect, doing crushing rather than burning damage), Find Weakness, Great Healing (affects everyone of the same inclination within 15 yards, but can only be cast outdoors and with a clear sky), Hawk Flight (only move 20, but lasts 3 hours), Mass Zombie, Pentagram (applies to all beings of opposite inclination), Reptile Control (only on the banks of the Nile, but controls unlimited crocodiles), Reshape (only gems, needs the Artist (Lapidary) skill), Ruin (base duration 1 day, effect is 5 years/day), Seek Water, Zombie, and Zombie Summoning; all Zombie spells work only on properly embalmed and mummified bodies, needing the Religious Ritual skill and many hours to prepare. The Contemplation spell (cost 6, 10 seconds) allows the player to draw four Drama Deck cards to his hand, then keep any four. Divination (Oneiromancy) is cast on another character, and allows him to prepare for something he’s likely to face in the next 24 hours (+3 to his action if it transpires).
Nile Empire engineering works similarly, capped by Engineer/TL1 (Civil). Available standard spells are Divination (only for matters related to a building the caster is inside), Enchantment, Inspired Creation (only for lifting and construction gear), and See Secrets.

2 Play

Possibilities may be converted to experience points one-for-one.

2.1 Skills

Charm (increasing someone’s reaction state relative to you) and Persuasion (getting them to do things) are effects that can be achieved with any influence skill.

2.2 Spending Possibilities

Each possibility spent gets you +5 to your effective skill and thus to margin of success. You can normally spend only one actual possibility per round, though in Nile Empire reality you can spend as many as you like.
If you rolled a critical failure, spent at least one possibility, and your margin of success is now no lower than 0, you avoid any critical failure effects. If you rolled a normal success, spent at least one possibility, and your margin of success is at least +10, you get any effects of a critical success.
You can do the same thing in reverse to the attacks and defences of non-P-rated foes. (Reduce margin of success to 0 to avoid a critical success, to -10 to induce a critical failure.)
Flesh Wounds and Miraculous Recoveries are also available, but the Possibility (unspent character point) score may never become negative.
A P-rated character may detect when a P-rated foe in combat with him is spending a Possibility, and may spend one to counter it, as a free action.
A Possibility may be spent to produce a Reality Bubble for 15 minutes, during which the character’s powers, abilities and equipment work as though he were in his native cosm. (This includes vehicles the character is personally operating.) This also affects anyone in the same hex as the character (e.g. in close combat).

2.3 Reality

A usage roll of 16+ when using an item or power that exceeds either home or current axiom levels, or a roll of 14+ if it exceeds both, causes a disconnection. (If the item wouldn’t normally need a usage roll, make a Reality roll instead.) Disconnection prevents all Reality use including acquiring and spending Possibilities, with one exception; it may be repaired with a Reality roll modified by the character’s home cosm and present location.
from Core Earth +5 -7 -3 +0 +0 -1 +0
Living Land -6 +5 -4 -5 -5 -4 -4
Aysle -4 -7 +5 -5 -2 +0 +0
Nippon Tech +1 -7 -4 +5 -1 -2 -2
Cyberpapacy -1 -7 -2 -2 +5 -1 +0
Orrorsh -3 -7 +0 -4 -1 +5 +1
Nile Empire -2 -7 -1 -3 +0 +1 +5
To calculate for new cosms: for each axiom, score +2 per point the character’s home is above the current location, +1 per point below. Double this score, take the square root, round to nearest integer, and subtract from 5.
Getting an ability or equipment item to work at range, when the power exceeds the local axioms, requires a Reality check, penalised by the axiom difference between power and character/cosm (whichever is worse, if it exceeds both); each point of failure causes a loss of one FP, but this doesn’t prevent the ability from working. This applies only when there’s something complex about what happens at range: a bullet or laser shot doesn’t need a long-range check, but a grenade (with fuse and explosive) does.
A P-rated character may invoke a Reality Storm against a P-rated character from another cosm. This is a highly dangerous process, which will end with one of the characters stripped of all Possibilities. No other character may communicate with or assist the involved characters.
The storm is initially five yards across and has an effective Reality skill equal to that of the invoker. Each round, roll a Quick Contest of Reality skills (+3 for a character in his home cosm). If both succeed, the loser loses one Possibility; if both fail, the storm continues; if one succeeds and one fails, the loser loses half the margin of success. If this loss is 3-4, the storm doubles in size and gains a Reality level; if 5-8, it becomes a Maelstrom, which will no longer grow in size or strength, but allows the winner of the contest in future rounds to gain Possibilities rather than strip them from his opponent; if more than 8 and the storm is not a Maelstrom, the losing character is transformed to the winner’s reality, and five Possibilities (or however many he has left, if fewer) are transferred to the winner. The loser then makes a Reality check; on a 16+ he is physically transformed into a being native to the winner’s cosm.
When one character reaches zero Possibilities, further loss is taken from his Reality skill bonus; when this hits zero, he is transformed to the reality of the other combatant.
Other characters within the storm’s area are subject to bizarre effects, with effective skill equalling the storm’s Reality level. The storm also contests its Reality against theirs, and they can lose possibilities as described above.

2.4 Axioms

For this conversion Torg’s native Axiom values remain in use.

2.4.1 Tech

Conversion between GURPS TLs and the Tech Axiom is rather non-linear and not always precise. (For example, the Nile Empire at Tech 21 has some TL7 firearms, but not nuclear fission or jet engines.)
GURPS TL Tech Axiom
0 0-6
1 7
2 8
3 9-13
4 14-15
5 16-19
6 20-21
7 22-23
8 24
9 25
10 26-29
11 30-31
12 32-33

2.4.2 Magic and Spirit

Spell-based magic and miracles have an axiom level equal to the prerequisite count of the spell (Thaumatology) plus five.
Path/Book magic has an axiom level equal to the casting penalty plus five.
Orrorsh occultism has a magical axiom level of 20 (except in Orrorsh, where it just works).
Each two points by which the spell’s axiom exceeds the local magic axiom gives a -1 to the casting roll.

2.5 Rules for the Realms

These apply to everyone under a particular realm’s reality — anyone visiting there who isn’t in a reality bubble, and any native elsewhere who is.

2.5.1 Core Earth

Law of Hope: once per scene, a party including a Core Earther can Seize Initiative as the card.

2.5.2 Living Land

Deep Mist/Compass Curse: vision is reduced to 20-30 yards, 10 at night, and magnetic fields are twisted. Navigation is by following known paths, or Absolute Direction.
Lanala’s Love of Life: anything formerly alive that has died in the Living Land will rot quickly unless it is sealed away.
Law of Lost Items: non-living objects get lost easily, often without being noticed.

2.5.3 Aysle

Law of Honour: a character with a Code of Honour can be seen to have it.
Law of Corruption: when people commit evil acts, the land reflects this.

2.5.4 Nippon Tech

Law of Intrigue: Stealth is at +2; Perception is at -2. Fast-Talk (using lies), trickery, bribery, Disguise, are all more likely to succeed. Any large organisation will contain spies and traitors.
Law of Profit: things are cheaper if you’re richer. (If Wealthy or above, 10% off the cost of everything.)
Law of Vengeance: if you are personally wronged and take personal revenge for it, you will be rewarded.

2.5.5 Cyberpapacy

Law of the One True God: only Cyberpapists can perform miracles.
Law of Heretical Magic: magic is more difficult to cast, but more powerful when it is cast.
Law of Ordeal: formal trial by combat or ordeal actually does favour the right.

2.5.6 Orrorsh

Power of Corruption: if you do something unnecessarily evil, you get an automatic Possibility’s worth of extra success. Each time you do this, you become more corrupted, and this will eventually lead to physical changes (e.g. Disturbing Voice, negative Appearance, becoming a monster).
Power of Fear: creatures with Terror prevent PCs opposing them from invoking reality storms or playing cards from their hands, until the Power of Fear is overcome — by research, by defeating the creatures, or when PCs try to deal with the horrible consequences of the creature’s actions.

2.5.7 Nile Empire

Law of Morality: everyone is either Good or Evil. Going against this costs a Possibility.
Law of Drama: everything keeps moving quickly. If things slow down, a guy comes through the door with a gun in his hand.
Law of Action: you can spend as many possibilities in a turn as you like.