How to Play
The core mechanics of Meskellian operate on a 3-die pool where rolling higher is better. It mostly uses d4, d6, d8, d10, and d12, but extraordinarily powerful entities (like gods and Arches) can potentially be working with d20s and d100s. Actions, turns, and rounds are how time is tracked in tactical situations, and characters have pools called resiliencies which protect them from serious damage.
Checks are how you determine the success of actions which have a reasonable chance for failure. When it’s determined that a check is necessary, you must roll Eminence + Aptitude + Skill and add the results together. Rolling higher is better.
Sometimes, a check may call for an aptitude but not a skill, or a skill but not an aptitude. This is called a “raw” check, for example a “raw Violence check”. In these cases, just roll two of the associated aptitude or skill die. For raw Eminence checks, three Eminence dice are rolled.
Some abilities may give you additional dice to roll. Unless you have disadvantage, you take the highest three dice rolled.
Common target rolls:
Incompetent checks generally require a roll of about 5+.
Competent checks generally require a roll of about 10+.
Proficient checks generally require a roll of about 15+.
Expert checks generally require a roll of about 20+.
Master checks generally require a roll of 30+ or higher.
Advantage and Disadvantage
Various environmental factors or abilities might give a character advantage or disadvantage. They both add another Eminence die to the pool, but if you have disadvantage you must take the lowest three dice rolled instead of the highest three like normal. If you have both advantage and disadvantage, they cancel each other out on a one-for-one basis. For example, a character who has two sources of advantage and one source of disadvantage ends up with one advantage and no disadvantage.
If you roll the max value on the three dice used for a roll (highest three normally, lowest three if you have disadvantage), you gain a Luck die equal to your Eminence. This die may be spent to add to any roll before your next long rest.
There are two alternatives to rolling for a check; to “Settle for Less” or “Keep at It”:
Settle for Less
If you’re competent in a check and you’re not in a stressful or distracting environment (like combat or a dense crowd), you can Settle for Less. This takes the same amount of time as normal, and just represents you carefully not screwing it up. Instead of rolling, you take half the die number of each die in your pool.
Keep at It
Unless you’re in a stressful or distracting environment (like combat or a dense crowd), or there are consequences for failure, you can Keep at It. This can take anywhere from ten times to a hundred times as long depending on the task, and represents trying over and over until you succeed. Instead of rolling, you take the maximum roll of your die pool.
Ranging from d4 (schmuck) to d12 (legend), Eminence is how much the universe itself cares about you, and it will increase as your character becomes more experienced. Achieving your ambitions, gaining renown, and leading others all help increase it. It adds to all tests.
Ranging from d4 to d12, characters have four aptitudes: Violence, Trickery, Curiosity, and Trade. They each govern broad ranges of skills.
Ranging from d4 (incompetent) to d12 (master), skills are specific areas of competence and are usually associated with an aptitude. They are rated by competence, starting at incompetent with a d4. Competent is d6, proficient is d8, expert is d10, and master is d12.
Specialties are narrow areas of a skill, and having a specialty grants you one die step higher on applicable checks. All skills have set lists of specialties, but certain traits from a species, archetype, background, or class may provide unique specialties.
Actions and Initiative
Many times, either how long something takes to do will matter and/or opposing parties will want to take actions at the same time. Meskellian uses actions and initiative to handle this.
Once opposing parties both want to take actions, or if someone wants to take an action before someone else, initiative must be rolled. Everyone involved makes a Trickery check (Eminence + Trickery + Trickery), and the results are ordered highest to lowest. Ties are resolved by rolling a d10 and appending the roll after the decimal. Characters take turns in the order of initiative, each turn lasting about six seconds in the game world and happening roughly simultaneously. Once all turns have been taken, the round is over and initiative starts over from the top.
Unless stated otherwise, characters can move up to their speed and take an action on their turn. Movement may include interacting with up to one object, such as opening a door or drawing a weapon. Some abilities may allow for bonus actions, one of which may be used per turn. Some abilities may also grant reactions, one of which may be taken per round, and may be taken on other character’s turns (after an action).