By Marcus L. Rowland
Copyright © 2005, portions Copyright © 1993-2002

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This document is copyright, but you are encouraged to make copies and print-outs as needed. You may make modifications for your own use, but modified versions MUST NOT be distributed. If you find any of these files useful you are asked to register.

The first release of these rules was originally converted to HTML by Stefan Matthias Aust, to whom many thanks.

This copy of the rules has been split into several separate files. A version consisting of a single large file is also provided. These documents should be accompanied by several files including larger versions of the game tables and a short summary of the main rules for the use of players.


Characters And Rules

Forgotten Futures Character Record

Player Name

Character Name







Age ____ Sex ____





[   ]

[   ]

[   ]

[   ]





Notes and Equipment

Weapon Mult?EffectA   B   CNotes

Wounds   B[   ]   F[   ]   I[   ]   I[   ]   C[   ]

Each player will need at least one character, whose details should be recorded. You can use the HTML record form provided, one of the rather pretty .pdf record forms that were originally part of the printed version of the game, a spreadsheet template, or just write everything down on scrap paper. The example to the right shows the format that's generally used.

Players should record their names and the name (including any title or rank), sex, and age of the character. They may wish to give their characters aristocratic or military names and rank, academic honours, and the like; the referee must decide if this will cause problems.

Sex (Male or Female, and [optionally] sexual orientation) may be important in some game settings. Most scientific romances are based on ideas current in the early 20th century, and there are very few prominent female characters, apart from swooning maidens and an occasional competent scientist's daughter. It is rare to see a woman attain any influential business or academic status. In this setting a male adventurer is probably most useful. In a civilisation derived from a successful suffragette revolt women might have all the power, with men down-trodden or enslaved. In most scientific romance settings homosexual characters will encounter severe social problems.

Age is usually unimportant for adult characters; exceptionally young or old characters may be at a social disadvantage, otherwise there is no effect in game terms.

For "profession", write in something appropriate to the game setting; the referee should tell players if they have made an unsuitable choice. Since this game is based on a wide range of backgrounds almost anything might be useful.

Try to avoid professional ranks that will give players too much power, or restrict them too badly. A member of the Royal family is an example of both; someone accompanied by three or four detectives and a small army of servants can't personally be very adventurous. Wealthy characters are perfectly acceptable, but should not be able to buy their way out of every problem. Avoid occupations that restrict character freedom and mobility; an obvious example is a slave or a serf, but a clerk with no money, a businessman with a full work schedule, or a mother tied down by young children aren't much better off.

Example: Lady Janet Smedley-Smythe-Smythe
In a world whose science is based on H.G. Wells' "The First Men In The Moon", Lady Janet (shown, left, with her maid) is an eccentric explorer who defies the normal limits of her sex. She has participated in a series of daring interplanetary expeditions, using the latest model of Cavorite sphere-ship. She is single, 25 years old, and extremely rich. Her profession is recorded as "Immensely Wealthy Eccentric". The referee has no problem with this, because he wants the campaign to move between worlds, and sphere-ships are very expensive. Lady Janet and her adventures are used to illustrate many of the rules.

The next sections of the record are completed using character points.


Character Points

Give each player 21 points (17 if you don't feel generous, 25 or 28 for a high-powered game with unusually competent characters) which must be shared between the following options:
  1. Purchase characteristics

    Value 1  2  3  4  5 67*
      Cost (points)  02357 1014*
    * At the discretion of the referee ONLY.
    Example: Lady Janet Smedley-Smythe-Smythe (2)
    The player running Lady Janet buys
    BODY [3] = 3 points
    MIND [4] = 5 points
    SOUL [4] = 5 points
    Total 13 points. 8 points are left.
    The table to the right shows the cost of characteristics. Average human characteristics are 3 or 4. 5 is above average, 6 is very good (for example, BODY [6] might be a professional athlete), 7 is extraordinarily unusual and is available only at the referee's discretion.

    BODY (B) covers physical strength, toughness, speed, and dexterity.

    MIND (M) covers all intellectual capabilities, reasoning, and observation.

    SOUL (S) covers emotions, charisma, and psychic ability.

    See below for full details of the effect of characteristics.

  2. Purchase skills.

    ActorAvM&SAny form of stage performance.
    ArtistAvM&SAny artistic endeavour.
    AthleteBSwimming, running, etc.
    Babbage Engine  MUse also for computers, golems, etc.
    BrawlingBBoxing, wrestling, & improvised weapons. Free at base value
    BusinessMAny financial or organisational work.
    DetectiveAvM&SGood at noticing small details.
    DoctorM/2Knowledge and licence to practice.
    DrivingAvB&MAny ground vehicle.
    First AidMEmergency treatment to stop bleeding etc.
    LinguistMLinguist/2 languages (round UP) are initially known.
    MarksmanMUse of directly aimed projectile weapons.
    Martial Arts  AvB&S/2Any martial art. Allows multiple attacks.
    MechanicMAny form of engineering etc.
    MediumS/2A genuine medium, not a fake.
    Melee WeaponAvB&MAll close range non-projectile weapons
    Military ArmsMUse of field guns, explosives, etc.
    Morse CodeMKnowledge of Morse and telegraphy.
    PilotAvB&M/2  Use for aircraft, submersibles, etc.
    PsychologyAvM&SUse to spot lies, calm people, etc.
    RidingAvB&SRiding all animals, and training them.
    ScholarMDetailed knowledge of Scholar/2 related fields (round UP)
    ScientistMUse of any science.
    StealthB/2Hiding, camouflage, sneaking, etc. Free at base value
    ThiefAvB&M/2Pick pockets, locksmith, forgery, etc.
    This game uses very general skills; for example, Scientist covers everything from Archaeology to Zoology, Pilot covers everything from Autogyros to Zeppelins. Players may spend up to three points per skill during character generation.

    Skills are based on one or more characteristics, to which at least one point must be added. For instance, Actor is based on the average of MIND and SOUL, plus at least one point. A character with MIND [3] and SOUL [3] would get Actor [4] for one point, Actor [5] for 2 points, or Actor [6] for 3 points.

    Brawling and Stealth are available at the values shown without spending points on them. Naturally they can be improved if points are spent.

    See later sections for full details of the purchasing system and use of skills, and a more detailed explanation of each skill.

    Example: Lady Janet Smedley-Smythe-Smythe (3)
    Lady Janet doesn't bother to learn to fly her sphere-ship; that's what servants are for. Her hired pilot will be another player-character. She owns factories and other businesses which will need occasional attention, but her main interest is "collecting" (shooting) any alien animals she encounters. Obviously useful skills for this include Scientist and Marksman; she spends two points on each. For awkward situations First Aid, Athlete, Brawling and Stealth are useful; she has Brawling [3] and Stealth [2] for nothing, and spends a point each on First Aid and Athlete. Finally, any lady must be able to ride; how else does one fit into society? Ten points buy the following skills:
    Athlete [4] - 1 point
    Brawling [3] - 0 points
    Business [5] - 1 point
    First Aid [5] - 1 point
    Marksman [6] - 2 points
    Riding [5] - 1 point
    Scientist [6] - 2 points
    Stealth [2] - 0 points
    No points are left.

  3. Save for use in play.
    Points can be used to improve skills at a later date, or optionally to improve the odds in emergencies. If points are saved for this purpose, double them and record them as bonus points.

    Example: Lady Janet Smedley-Smythe-Smythe (4)
    Lady Janet has no points left, so gains no bonus points.

    At the end of an adventure the referee should give players bonus points for successes, for unusually good ideas, for unusually good role playing, and anything else that seems appropriate. Try to give each player 3-6 points per successful adventure, less if they blow things completely. Bonus points should be noted in the Bonus box on the character sheet, and deleted as they are used.

    For example, here is a genuine sample of dialogue that earned a player a bonus point:

    1st player: "I say, isn't breaking and entering illegal?"
    2nd player: "Don't be silly, we're gentlemen!"
    Special thanks to Nathan Gribble for this gem.

OPTIONAL RULE: Buying Advantages

Immensely Rich, Own Spaceship, Royalty
Rich, Own Airship, Aristocrat
Well off, Own car, Minor Title
3 points each
2 points each
1 point each
Optionally, give players extra points then charge points to buy unusual backgrounds and equipment, such as incredible wealth or a personal airship, as in the examples on the right.

Under this system Lady Janet would need to spend eight points to get her special advantages. Use it if players seem to want to take unfair advantage of the referee. Referees who can take care of themselves are advised to omit it! One of the appendices covers more options for character background and traits.

Equipment And Notes, Weapons, etc.

These sections should be completed when the character's characteristics, skills, and history have been decided. Players should simply say what they'd like to own, and describe any special status or background details; the referee should decide if this is reasonable, and if it would be useful (or much too useful!) in the game setting. It's reasonable to assume that characters in most campaigns have a home and enough money to live comfortably and pay normal expenses; at the referee's discretion characters may be rich if it will help to develop the campaign. All characters should note how much money they normally carry, remembering that it has roughly fifty times the purchasing power of modern money in most Victorian-derived and Edwardian-derived campaigns (prices in general are discussed in a later chapter, but may vary considerably in different game worlds).

Sample Character Record

Player Name
Character Name  
Eric Jones
Lady Janet Smedley-Smythe-Smythe
Incredibly rich eccentric explorer



Age 25 Sex F


Business [5], Scientist [6], First
Aid [5], Marksman [6], Athlete [4],
Brawling [3], Riding [5], Stealth [2]

Notes and Equipment
Owns numerous factories, houses, flats, cars,
Cavorite sphere-ship. Carries £50 gold,
£1500 gems, Derringer, laudanum,
smelling salts. Keeps shotguns, rifles, and
other supplies aboard sphere-ship and
in some of her homes. Laboratories in
mansion and sphere-ship.
Hunting Rifle
Large Shotgun
Large Shotgun
Max 2
Max 2

1 barrel
2 barrels
*Short range only

Wounds   B[   ]   F[   ]   I[   ]   I[   ]   C[   ]

Example: Lady Janet Smedley-Smythe-Smythe (5)
In addition to the sphere-ship, Lady Janet owns factories (the source of her wealth), an ocean-going yacht, a stately home, jewels, furs, several houses and apartments, and numerous cars and horses. Most of this stuff stays in the background, or is mentioned as it is needed. For example, when she wants to go to Rome she says she'll stay in a villa she owns; since this won't affect the game the referee has no objection. The referee does ask for a list of items she regularly carries on her person; these include a Derringer pistol, gold and jewellery (enough to make her a high priority target for any thief, although the referee doesn't mention that), and small flasks of laudanum (a powerful opium-based anaesthetic) and smelling salts. She wants to add a powerful rifle and shotgun; the referee rules that they might be kept in her sphere-ship, or carried when she's in the wild, but aren't routinely carried in more civilised areas. He also accepts that she has her own laboratories (mainly used for dissection) aboard the sphere-ship and in her mansion.

The weapons section is used to record weapons that the character routinely carries. The columns list the weapon's name, whether it is capable of multiple attacks, the Effect number which determines how much damage it can cause, and the results of any damage caused. For now it isn't necessary to worry about the use of this system; it's explained in the section on combat below. Weapons are also listed below.

Example: Lady Janet Smedley-Smythe-Smythe (6)
Lady Janet has several weapons; her hands and feet, and the guns she owns. These need to be recorded on the character sheet. The only hard part of this process is calculation of the Effect number for some weapons, which may be dependent on BODY or one or another skill. Lady Janet uses the Brawling skill to fight with her hands and feet. For these attacks the Effect number is equivalent to her BODY, 3. She has several firearms; all of them have fixed effect numbers determined by the size and speed of the bullet.

The section marked "Wounds" is left blank for use during play. Note that this is the wound chart for humans and animals of roughly human size and toughness; some animals use different charts.



Characteristics are three numbers which are used to determine the general physical, mental, and spiritual nature of characters.

BODY represents general physique, well-being, stamina, and speed. If characters expect to spend a lot of time in combat, or performing manual labour, BODY should be high. Inanimate objects also have BODY. BODY is NOT necessarily indicative of size or weight; it's possible for something to be physically small or light and still have high BODY (e.g. a bantam weight boxer, a steel key), or big and have low BODY (e.g. a fat invalid, a greenhouse).

MIND covers all mental skills and traits including intelligence, reasoning ability, common sense, and the like. Anyone in a skilled job probably needs high MIND. MIND is also important in the use of most weapons.

SOUL covers artistic abilities, empathy, luck, and spiritual well-being. If SOUL is low the character should be played as aloof, insensitive, and unlikeable (as in the phrase "This man has no soul"); if high, the character does well in these areas. It is also used for other forms of human interaction, such as fast-talking, acting ("A very soulful performance"), and other arts (including martial arts). If your SOUL is low better not try to con anyone, and forget about learning baritsu or karate.

Normal human characteristics are in the range 1-6, with 1 exceptionally poor, 3 or 4 average, and 6 very good, the top percentile of normal human performance. Player characters may have characteristics of 7 at the discretion of the referee ONLY; this is freakishly good, far better than normal human performance. For example, a gold-medal Olympic athlete might have BODY [7], a Nobel Prize winner MIND [7].

Characteristics cannot normally be improved; under really exceptional circumstances changes might be allowed, but this is a once in a lifetime event. For example, someone discovering the fountain of eternal youth might gain extra BODY, but there should be a price to pay; reduced MIND or SOUL, hideous deformity, and the like. In the unlikely event of an increase in any characteristic, any skills already derived from it (see below) should be recalculated and (if necessary) improved.

Characteristics may sometimes be reduced. For instance, someone crippled after a fall might lose BODY, someone suffering a severe head injury might lose MIND. SOUL might be damaged by insanity or drug abuse. If any characteristic is reduced, recalculate the values of all skills derived from it.

Using Characteristics

Depending on circumstances, characteristics may be used against other characteristics, against skills, or against an arbitrary "Difficulty". Skills give an edge in most of these situations, as explained in later sections, but it's occasionally necessary to use them directly. For this, and for all other use of characteristics and skills, roll 2D6 on the table below:

Skill, Effect, etc.
Defending Characteristic, Skill, or Difficulty

If the result is below 12 and less than or equal to the number indicated on the table, the attempt succeeds. A dash (-) indicates that there is NO chance of success, otherwise 2 is ALWAYS a success and 12 is ALWAYS a failure.

If you prefer to do without the table a little mental arithmetic can be used as follows:

To do anything roll 2D6:
  • Add the characteristic, skill or Difficulty to be overcome.
  • Subtract the skill or characteristic used.
  • If the modified result is 7 or less it's a success. However:
    • A roll of 2 always succeeds if the skill etc. to be overcome is 8 or less.
    • Any roll of 12 ALWAYS fails, regardless of modifiers, and may have additional unfortunate consequences.

Optional Rule: For both methods, to improve the odds very slightly assume that any roll of 2 is a success, regardless of Difficulty. This means that there will always be at least a 1 in 36 chance of success.

Whether the table or mental arithmetic is used, the referee may prefer to keep the target value a secret, and simply tell the player if the result is a success or failure.

For both methods, if the result is EXACTLY the number needed to succeed, the attempt has come very close to failure; referees may want to dramatise this appropriately. If the number rolled is much lower than the number needed to succeed, the referee should emphasise the ease with which success was achieved. Similarly, a roll just one above the number needed for success should be dramatised as a very near thing that came within an ace of succeeding, a very high roll as an abject failure. These dramatics aside, any success is a success, any failure a failure.

Example: Breaking down a door
Fred (BODY [4]) wants to break a household door (BODY [6]). The first attempt is a roll of 7.
  7 (the roll) + 6 (the door's BODY) - 4 (Fred's BODY) = 9
The kick's a failure, and the door rattles but stays shut.
  After a brief rest Fred kicks the door again. On a 2 the lock breaks. The referee dramatises this by describing the wood splintering and the knob flying across the room and shattering a priceless Ming vase.

Example: Arm Wrestling
Fred (BODY [4]) and Nigel (BODY [2]) are arm wrestling. In each round each should roll BODY as attacker with the other character's BODY as defender.
  Round 1: Fred and Nigel both roll 10, much too high to succeed. Nothing happens, apart from a slight flabby quivering of opposed muscles.
  Round 2: Fred and Nigel both roll 3, and succeed. Again, nothing happens. Since both succeeded this is described in terms of bulging muscles, a clash of titans.
  Round 3: Fred rolls 10 and fails, Nigel rolls 2 and succeeds. Nigel smashes Fred's arm to the table and wins the match.

All other feats of strength should use BODY to attack BODY. If several characters want to co-operate in a feat of strength, take the character with the highest BODY and add the BODY/2 of each additional person aiding.

This system isn't perfect. For example, a man with BODY [3] theoretically has a 1 in 36 chance of lifting a BODY [10] elephant; in practice the referee should make this task much harder. Referees should be firm if players want to do something that's physically impossible, or make them tackle the job in smaller chunks. "Pass the saw, I need to cut up this elephant..."

Example: Excuse Me, Where Is The British Consul?
Lady Janet has been captured by Venusian savages who have decided that she is their long-awaited god (her gender isn't obvious to Venusians). They have no common language. The referee decides that her SOUL [4] must be used against the native chief's SOUL [5] to make her manner sufficiently forceful, and ensure her release. On a 2 the natives build a sedan chair to carry her back to the sphere-ship.
Note: Sadistic referees might prefer to make players act out scenes like this...

Example: It's Up His Sleeve!
On their way back to the ship the native witch doctor decides that Lady Janet's charismatic presence undermines his authority. He challenges her to a duel of magic (actually conjuring), using his skill Acting [6]. She must use her MIND [4] to spot his tricks. He begins by making a fruit "disappear"; on a 3 she notices that he's tucked it into a fold of his loincloth, and points out the bulge to the audience. This causes so much lewd merriment that the duel ends in his abject defeat.

Example: I Can Take It...
The wily witch doctor has persuaded the chief that Lady Janet must be tested again. This time it's a test of endurance; she must put her hand into a jar of stinging insects. Their stings are extremely painful but do no permanent damage. Lady Janet must use her MIND [4] to attack an arbitrary difficulty of 8.
This is a tough test; on a 6 she fails, pulling her hand out before the test ends. Fortunately she has the sense to grab a handful of insects and throw them at the witch doctor; he also fails, and starts to scream as they sting him. The chief decides that nothing has been proved.
Incidentally, the referee might instead have asked for a roll of AvB&M, rather than just MIND, to check if the character has the will-power and endurance to overcome the pain, or SOUL to check if the character has the courage to endure it.

BIG Numbers

If attacking and defending values are both above twelve, divide both by a number which reduces them both below 12. For really large numbers (Godzilla versus New York, an H-Bomb versus the Rock of Gibraltar) division by 50 or 100 may be needed, but in most cases dividing by a smaller number (such as 2,3,4,5, or 10) should do the job. Round numbers up if the result is a fraction. In any campaign with ships, spacecraft, land ironclads, or dirigibles this system may become important in combat.

Example: Tom Sloth And His Pneumatic Coveralls (1)
Tom Sloth, the brilliant but somewhat misguided engineer, has developed a mechanical exoskeleton which can be worn over normal clothing. It looks like a pair of silver coveralls, and will theoretically let him lift things as though his BODY (normally 5) is 30. He decides to test it by lifting an elephant at the zoo. The exoskeleton attacks with BODY [30], and the referee has decided that lifting an elephant will be difficulty 20. Neither number is under 12, so he divides both by 3 to make them fit. Now the attacking force is 10 and the defending BODY rounds up to 7.
  On a 3 Tom lifts the elephant; unfortunately its weight is now attacking his ankles and wrists, which aren't boosted by the power of the coveralls... BODY 10 is attacking Tom's unmodified BODY 5; the weight will cause him serious harm on an 11 or less!

Improving The Odds

At the discretion of the referee ONLY players may spend bonus points to temporarily modify an attacking or defending value as appropriate. Players must declare that they are doing this, and mark off the point(s) used, before the dice are rolled.

Example: She's Buying A Stairway To Heaven...
Lady Janet and the Venusians are being chased by a huge predator, and want to take to the trees to avoid it. The Venusians are natural climbers, and sprint up the trees without any trouble, leaving Lady Janet stranded four feet below the lowest branch. She tries to jump (Athlete [4] attacking difficulty 5) and fails on an 8. The predator roars and pads toward her. Before trying again she spends two bonus points to temporarily boost her Athlete skill to 6. Propelled by a sudden surge of adrenalin she zooms up the tree, passing the Venusians before they're half-way up.

This rule does NOT mean that you can spend points to perform the physically impossible. No matter how many points are spent, a BODY [1] weakling will not lift an elephant single-handed. Regardless of points spent, a 12 is still a failure.

Common Characteristic Rolls

Something that will probably happen anyway  1-3
Something that will happen if things go well4-5
Something moderately difficult6-9
A "million to one shot"10
Lifting an elephant20
Here are a few more examples of the use of characteristics. Use the table to the right to choose the difficulty number for the roll.

All of the above situations have something in common; they should not occur frequently, and must not be an essential stage in an adventure. There must always be an alternative which does not rely on the luck of the dice. Sometimes players get unlucky in situations where their characters should succeed; in one play-test five adventurers failed to hear something at difficulty 3, and an extra clue was needed to put them back on the right track.

Example: It's Behind You...
A Venusian predator has chameleon-like camouflage abilities. One is about to pounce on the witch doctor's son, and Lady Janet is the only person with a chance to spot it. She must roll MIND against difficulty 6 to notice. On a 3 she succeeds and yells just in time to save his life, finally earning the witch-doctor's friendship. The referee might instead have had her roll against the creature's Stealth skill.



Most actions probably relate to a skill. Driving a car is use of the Driving skill. Splitting the atom is use of the Scientist skill. Skills in this game are VERY broadly defined; for example, Acting covers light comedy, tragedy, juggling, singing, and human cannonball acts!

Skills are initially calculated from one or more characteristics, with the number of points spent added to the result. For instance, Marksman (the use of all forms of hand-held firearm and other hand-held projectile weapons such as crossbows) is based on MIND. Acting is based on an average of MIND and SOUL. Skills may be raised to a maximum value of 10.

Example: Buying Skills
While generating Fred (MIND [4], SOUL [2]) a player adds two points each to the skills Acting and Marksman, and one to Linguist.
Marksman will be rated at MIND +2.
Acting will be rated at the average of MIND and SOUL +2.
Linguist will be rated at MIND +1, with his native English and Linguist/2 other languages known.
This is recorded on his character record as Marksman [6], Acting [5], Linguist (Modern Greek, German, French) [5]

Characters automatically have two skills at their basic values without spending points: Brawling and Stealth. Naturally points can be spent to improve them. Optionally additional skills may be made available at their basic values; see Free Skills, below.

Using Skills

If characters have skills the referee should assume that they are reasonably competent. For example, someone who has learned a language should be able to use it under normal circumstances without bothering to roll dice. This applies even if the skill rating is low; someone with Linguist [2] and knowledge of Yugoslavian will still be able to read, speak, and understand it under all normal circumstances, but doesn't sound like a native. Referees should decide for themselves the skill level needed for total fluency; Linguist [7] or better sounds about right.

Example: It's All Greek... (1)
Fred has the skill Linguist [5] and knows Greek. He is buying a box of matches in a shop in Athens. No dice roll is required.

Example: ...If Gills Are Green Go To Section 6b...
Lady Janet wants to identify Venusian foods that are safe to eat. Her backpack contains a copy of the Oxford Guide To Extra-Terrestrial Vegetables, and she is using its key to identify a curious warty fungus. This is routine easy use of her Scientist [6] skill and no roll is needed.

Dice rolls should be made if the character is working under unusual or difficult conditions, under stress, or in immediate danger. They are always used in combat. Usually a skill is used against one of the following:

  1. An opponent's characteristics, e.g.MIND, BODY, SOUL
  2. An opponent's skills, e.g. Business, Martial Arts, Acting
  3. An arbitrary difficulty number set by the referee (usually when dealing with inanimate objects, puzzles, combination locks, and the like.

Example: Trouble At T'mill
On her return to Earth, Lady Janet finds that one of her factories is on the verge of bankruptcy. She travels to Lancashire to investigate, using a series of Business skill rolls to overcome the Business skill of a crooked manager who has been bleeding the company dry.
  Once the villain is unmasked she should theoretically use her Business skill to unravel years of tortuously complicated accounts and restore the factory to prosperity. In practice, she uses the skill to weigh up the merits of several candidates and hires another manager.

Example: It's All Greek... (2)
Fred is still in Athens, and wants to buy a box of silver bullets, ten crucifixes, a certified genuine saint's relict, and a Mk 4 Carnacki Electric Pentacle. When the police arrest him as a suspected lunatic he will need to make several Linguist rolls against Difficulty 6 to explain his need for these items, and at least one Acting roll at Difficulty 8 to persuade them to let him go.

Bonus points can usually be spent to improve skill rolls, exactly as they are used to improve characteristic rolls.

Temporary Skills

Characters may occasionally want to use skills they don't possess. This is allowable, if it will keep characters alive or the game moving and there is some way to justify it. The character uses the skill at its lowest possible rating, but must roll for all actions including routine easy jobs, and the Difficulty of all actions is doubled.

Example: What If I Press This Button?
Lady Janet's sphere-ship is hit by a meteor. Her pilot is knocked out, and the ship is veering wildly off-course. No-one else aboard has the pilot skill; the referee decides that Lady Janet has been in the control room often enough to have a sketchy idea of piloting techniques. She will use the skill at AvB&M/2, or Pilot [2]. Normally the roll to restore the ship to its correct course would be against difficulty 4; because she isn't properly trained, the referee changes that to difficulty 8. On a 2, she just succeeds.

Bonus points may not be used to help in this situation.


The skill rolls above are used to resolve short-term problems. Sometimes characters become involved in long projects, such as the creation of a work of art or development of a new invention, which should not be determined by a single roll of the dice.

Some projects simply require routine use of a skill for a prolonged period, with any failure extending the time. For example, the creation of an average quality monolithic sculpture might need five Difficulty 6 Artist rolls at intervals of a month; any failure leads to major revision of the work, extending the time needed by two months. The project is completed when the fifth successful skill roll is made.

Sometimes practice is all that is needed. This is especially true when learning languages.

Example: Que..?
Fred doesn't understand Spanish. During an adventure in Spain he tries to learn the language; since he already knows some related languages the referee rates this as difficulty 8 after a week, Difficulty 7 after two weeks, and so forth. A lucky roll of 2 allows Fred to learn the language in a week, and it's added to the list on his character record.

NOTE: This considerably underestimates the difficulty of learning a new language. Linguistic problems are not usually much fun to role-play, unless you particularly want to inflict an unreliable translator on characters, and most scientific romances either ignore them completely or assume that their heroes will easily teach the natives English! The Astronef stories, in FF II, are a little more honest; after weeks of contact with the cultures of Venus and Ganymede, the hero and heroine remain completely ignorant of the native languages. In The Lost World (FF III) the heroes spend weeks with an Indian tribe without learning much of their language.

Research projects, such as the development of a new invention, are resolved a little differently. The referee should decide how difficult the work will be, and how long it will take, then require a series of skill rolls of gradually increasing difficulty, repeated until the final difficulty level is reached. The same procedure might also be used for creation of an artistic masterpiece.

Example: What Goes Up...
Lady Janet's colleague Professor Polkington wants to develop a new antigravity paint and smash the Cavorite monopoly. The referee decides that this project will start at Difficulty 5, but will eventually be Difficulty 10, and each stage of the project will take 1D6 months; initially 4 months.
  At the end of 4 months the skill roll fails. Polkington has achieved nothing, apart from shutting off a few dead ends. The referee rolls 1D6 again, and determines that the project will stay at Difficulty 5 for another 3 months. This cycle is repeated until there is a success, then the difficulty is raised to 6 for the next round of attempts. Difficulty continues to escalate until Polkington eventually overcomes difficulty 10 to complete the synthesis. Most of this occurs off-stage between adventures, but occasionally it impinges on the game; for instance, the referee might tell players that Polkington must spend the next 48 hours in his laboratory to finish the current round of experiments, depriving them of his skills at a vital moment, or that he will need a rare chemical or manuscript for the next step. Finding the missing ingredient might be an adventure in itself.

The referee need not say that characters are attempting the impossible, but it's advisable to drop a few hints if serious amounts of time are being wasted on a completely fallacious idea.

Improving Skills

Bonus points can be spent to attempt to improve skill ratings (to a maximum of 10, representing near-perfection). These improvements are assumed to have been acquired by experience or by training. Each improvement costs as much as the new value of the skill.

To try to improve a skill use the relevant characteristic(s) to attack the current skill rating:

Example: You Must Read My Latest Monograph...
Lady Janet wants to upgrade her Scientist skill from 6 to 7, reflecting her detailed study of Venusian anthropology, Zoology, and Botany. This will cost 7 points, and she must roll her MIND [4] against difficulty 7 to gain the improvement. On a 3 she succeeds.
  After another adventure she tries again, spending 8 points for the next improvement. Unfortunately the dice roll is 12; she is beginning to encounter concepts that she doesn't understand, and will never raise the skill past Scientist 7.

Characters with the Linguist skill may add extra languages by practice during the campaign, as described above, or by spending one or more Bonus points per extra language for training between adventures (most will cost one point, something particularly obscure will cost more). Only one language may be added per adventure. Improving the Linguist skill itself costs the new value of the skill, e.g. 5 bonus points to raise Linguist [4] to Linguist [5], as above.

Characters with the Scholar skill may only add new areas of knowledge by improving the skill.

Adding Skills

New skills can be purchased, using the roll described above, but costs are increased.

The referee should decide if a new skill is appropriate for the character; for example, a priest shouldn't normally be allowed to buy the Military Arms skill without a good reason. The new skill is acquired at its lowest possible value.

An attempt to add a new skill costs DOUBLE its rating; eg, an attempt to add a skill with rating 5 costs 10 bonus points. This represents the considerable investment in time and money needed to learn a completely new skill.

To try to acquire a new skill use the relevant characteristic(s) against the first rating the skill will have:

Example: I Want To Be An Engine Driver...
Gordon (MIND [4], BODY [3]) has decided that he wants to be an engine driver. This skill (actually Driving) begins with a rating of 5, so it costs ten bonus points. To gain the skill he must use the average of MIND and BODY (4) against Difficulty 5. Unfortunately he rolls a 7, a failure. After his next adventure he pays another ten points, representing more training, succeeds on a 3, and adds Driving [5] to his skill list.

The referee may make things easier for players if a new skill is a natural result of events in the game:

Example: Klatuu Barada Nichtu, My Dear Chap...
Lady Janet has spent several months on Venus, and the referee agrees that she has probably picked up some of the language, and thus earned the Linguist skill. She has MIND 4, so this skill will begin with a rating of 5. Normally an attempt to learn the skill would be a roll against difficulty 5, costing ten points; because of her experience the referee reduces the difficulty to 3 and the cost to six points. On a roll of 4 it's an easy success, and she adds Linguist [5] (Venusian aboriginal) to her skill list. Since this is a new skill, she initially knows no other languages, but this can be improved by experience.

Example: If I Had The Wings Of An Angel...
Gordon, a glutton for punishment, has decided that he also wants to be a pilot. The referee warns him that he must spend several months of his spare time in training (see difficult skills, below). After several adventures the referee finally lets him roll the dice; on a 12 the instructor has a nervous breakdown after a few flights with Gordon, and he is permanently barred from the training course. The points he spent are wasted.

Difficult Skills

Some skills are based on half characteristics (Martial arts, Doctor, Medium, Pilot, Stealth, Thief) so that they are difficult to buy at a high level during character generation. Unfortunately this means that it is easy to acquire them at their lowest level at a later date. The remedy is simple; only let characters have them after intensive training and/or an incident which explains how they have suddenly acquired the skill. They cannot suddenly be acquired between adventures.

Doctor: Needs several years of training at a medical school.
Martial Arts: Needs years of training and a suitable instructor.
Medium: Cannot be acquired after character generation unless events in the game somehow trigger psychic sensitivity.
Pilot: Needs several months of training.
Stealth: This skill is automatically given to all characters.
Thief: Needs months of training and a suitable instructor; referees may optionally wish players to make luck rolls to avoid arrest while training.

Adding Skills Below Base Values

Under the rule above, additional skills based on high characteristics cost more than skills based on low characteristics.

Optionally the referee may allow adventurers to add skills at less than base value with an appropriately reduced bonus point cost. By the time the skill reaches base value it will cost much more than the usual method, but this allows players to spread the cost over several adventures.

For instance, a character with MIND [5] might add Marksmanship at a low level; just enough to shoot for the pot, not to shoot for the British Olympic team. In this example the player might choose to take Marksmanship [3] for 6 points, not Marksmanship [6] for 12 points. Once acquired such skills can only be improved by the normal process, and one point at a time. Referees are also advised to limit the number of below-base skills acquired to MIND/2; once skills are up to the usual base value they don't count towards this limit. The "difficult skills" described above may not be acquired this way.

Free Skills

Referees may want to make some additional skills available to all characters without the normal points cost, on the assumption that they are so common that anyone can use them. For example, in a campaign set in real 1990s America it would be reasonable to assume that every adult can drive. If taken, these free skills are automatically received at the values shown below without spending any points.

Example: Everyone's Jumping...
In a world based on a revival of ancient Greek customs, it's customary for every citizen to participate in the Olympics or face ostracism. All characters should have the Athlete skill automatically at BODY; extra points push it to BODY+1 etc.

Skill List

This list does not represent every possibility; it is just a selection of the most useful skills. Please feel free to add more, to change values and costs, or otherwise mess things up, but DON'T distribute modified versions of this file!

Skills are listed in the following format: Name, basic value (to which the points spent should be added), and explanation. The following abbreviations are used:

B = BODY, M = MIND, S = SOUL, Av = Average, / = Divided by
For example:
AvM&S= average of MIND and SOUL (round up)
M/2= MIND divided by 2 (round UP)
AvB&S/2= average of BODY and SOUL divided by 2 (round UP)
Skills marked with an asterisk are automatically acquired at their basic values.

Actor — Basic Value: AvM&S

Any form of stage performance. If more than one point is spent you are good enough to earn money from one specialised type of performance, such as Operatic Tenor, Conjuror, Ballerina. This skill is also useful for confidence tricks. E.g. Actor (Juggler)

Artist — Basic Value: AvM&S

Any artistic endeavour, also useful for forgery. For more than one point add a specialisation, such as Sculptor, Chef, Tattoo Artist, at professional level. E.g. Artist (oil painter)

Athlete — Basic Value: B

Swimming, running, etc. The advantage of training over brute strength. For more points mention a speciality such as Skiing, Surfing, Marathon, performed at championship level. E.g. Athlete (Rock climbing).

Babbage Engine — Basic Value: M

Use for control of any type of mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic, or electric computer (including player pianos and card- or roll-controlled looms and organs), also for commanding androids, golems, zombies, etc. E.g. Babbage Engine (Navigation engines)

Brawling — Basic Value: B *

Any form of unarmed combat, apart from martial arts. See the combat rules below. E.g Brawling (Boxing).

Business — Basic Value: M

Any form of financial or organisational work, man-management, politics, etc. Also useful for preparing forged papers and the like. E.g. Business (Union politics)

Detective — Basic Value: AvM&S

Trained in the art of observation; good at spotting small details, noticing faint scents, little clues, unusual behaviour, etc. Can be used as an improvement over normal observation rolls, and sometimes in place of an Idea roll, or in place of the Psychology skill. Specialities might include forensics, interrogation, etc. E.g. Detective (Bertillon identification system)

Doctor — Basic Value: M/2

A detailed knowledge of medicines, minor surgery, etc., and a licence to practice. If more than one point is spent, the character has knowledge of a speciality (such as surgery) and the appropriate qualifications. See the rules on injuries below for use of this skill. This skill may NOT be acquired in the course of play, unless several years pass between adventures. E.g. Doctor (Dentist).

Driving — Basic Value: AvB&M

Any ground vehicle (car, land ironclad, railway engine, tractor, etc.). This skill does not apply to exotic vehicles (such as aircraft, Spacecraft, submersibles) whose operators require a high degree of training. Specialities might include horse-drawn wagons, steam cars, etc., e.g. Driving (Railway engine)
Car chases and other vehicle pursuits should be resolved by using the skill of the chasing driver to attack the skill of the fleeing driver. Attempts to follow cars should be resolved by use of the tailing driver's skill to attack the observational ability (or Detective skill) of the lead driver. The performance of the vehicles may also be a factor, of course.

First Aid — Basic Value: M

Emergency treatment of wounds. See the rules on injuries below. Specialisations might include nursing, midwifery, etc. E.g. First Aid (Resuscitation)

Linguist — Basic Value: M

The ability to learn, read, speak, and write languages. Initially characters know Linguist/2 languages. More languages can be acquired very easily: see above. Characters automatically know their own native language, and need never roll to use it, without buying this skill. Specialisations are the languages known, e.g. Linguist (German, Russian)

Marksman — Basic Value: M

Use of directly aimed projectile weapons (e.g. gun, crossbow, throwing knives, spears, etc.) but not field guns or other specialised militaria. See the combat rules below. E.g. Marksman (Crossbow)

Martial Arts — Basic Value: AvB&S/2

Use for any Oriental martial art, also for Savate, quarterstaff combat, etc. See the combat rules below. Allows multiple hand-to-hand and melee weapon attacks in a single combat round, and can increase the Effect number of some attacks. E.g. Martial Arts (Ju-Jitsu)
    This is by far the most powerful unarmed combat skill in this game, and is not necessarily appropriate to the scientific romance genre (although Sherlock Holmes was a master of Baritsu, an obscure Oriental martial art; see the article The New Art of Self-Defense on the FF CD-ROM). Players should only be allowed to take the more obscure martial arts at the referee's discretion, and only if they can devise a background to explain acquisition of this skill. Referees can make it a little less useful by adopting one or both of the following optional rules:
    1. Martial artists may not use firearms and Martial Arts simultaneously.
    2. Martial artists must choose to specialise in unarmed or armed combat, but not both; to gain these advantages with both, the skill must be purchased twice.

Mechanic — Basic Value: M

All forms of mechanical and electrical work, engineering, building, plumbing, etc.; this covers work on existing machinery and the like, and the use of machine tools and other production equipment, but not innovative equipment design which is covered by the Scientist skill. E.g. Mechanic (Time machines)

Medium — Basic Value: S/2

A genuine medium, or otherwise psychically gifted, not a fake. Fake mediums use the Acting skill instead. This skill may not work in all campaigns; if it does, it can be used for contact with the spirit world, séances, and premonitions of impending doom: "I have a bad feeling about this..." E.g. Medium (precognitive).

Melee Weapon — Basic Value: AvB&M

Use of any non-projectile weapon, such as a dagger, sword, or axe. See the combat rules below. E.g. Melee Weapon (Machete)

Military Arms — Basic Value: M

Use of field guns, mortars, explosives, and other specialised military weapons, but not hand guns and other simple portable weapons. E.g. Military Arms (Explosives).

Morse Code — Basic Value: M

This skill is simply knowledge of Morse code and basic telegraphic and signalling techniques, including simple equipment repairs and adjustments. It also covers semaphore and other common codes. E.g. Morse Code (Heliograph operator).

Pilot — Basic Value: AvB&M/2

Use for aircraft, spacecraft, submersibles, digging machines, and other vehicles which require a high degree of skill and concentration. Includes the use of parachutes and systems such as radios, sonar, navigation, and meteorology. E.g. Pilot (Bathysphere)

Psychology — Basic Value: AvM&S

Use to spot lies, calm hysteria, notice tension, and so forth. This skill may also be used for hypnosis; use the skill level against the MIND of the target - if the roll is made successfully for a number of rounds equivalent to the MIND of the target, the victim is hypnotised. This can only be done if the psychologist and target are talking face to face in a non-hostile situation. Specialities might include a particular school of psychology or a specific application, e.g. Psychology (Mesmerism)

Riding — Basic Value: AvB&S

Riding any animal, from a pony to a diplodocus. Also used for training animals including lion taming, dog handling, or running a flea circus. E.g. Riding (Muleteer).

Scholar — Basic Value: M

Expert knowledge of specific fields such as archaeology, history, philosophy. Scholar/2 related areas of knowledge are known; for example, Scholar [5] might include knowledge of Archaeology, Antiques, and Ancient Egypt. The skill cannot be taken twice to give mastery of two unrelated areas of knowledge, but the term "related" can be interpreted as loosely as the referee permits. For example, expert knowledge of Cats (but not veterinary skills) might be added to the list above because the Egyptians worshipped cats. e.g. Scholar (Antiques, Medieval Art, Medieval History).

Scientist — Basic Value: M

Use of all sciences. Most scientific romances make little or no distinction between sciences; for example Professor Challenger (in The Lost World, FF III) has knowledge of anthropology, biology, geology, and palaeontology, and in later stories displays profound knowledge of physics, chemistry, astronomy, and psychic research. E.g. Scientist (Biochemist)

Stealth — Basic Value: B/2 *

Hiding, camouflage, sneaking, etc. e.g. Stealth (Disguise) might be an alternative to Actor (Disguise); an Actor tries to look like someone else, while the aim of the Stealth skill is to look inconspicuous and go unnoticed.

Thief — Basic Value: AvB&M/2

Picking pockets, locksmith, forgery, etc. E.g. Thief (Safebreaker).



Each character and NPC has a Wounds record, which indicates the general severity of wounds taken. It is possible (and sometimes easy) to go from "uninjured" to "dead" as the result of a single wound.

Wounds B[ ] F[ ] I[ ] I[ ] C[ ]
For humans and human-sized animals, humanoid aliens, etc. the Wounds record usually has five boxes, indicating the extent of damage:

WoundBODY  Recovery  
Bruised-1 Day2Purple marks etc.
Flesh Wound  -11 Week4A nasty cut etc.
Injury-21 Month6Broken bones etc.
2+ Injuries-41 Month8 per injury  Humans cannot fight or run, other species may
be less seriously affected
CriticalN/AN/A8Unconscious, dying.
Knocked out-6D6 min4May be additional to other wounds e.g. B + KO
Note that some weapons, and some other forms of damage, have two additional results possible. "KO" means knockout; the victim is knocked unconscious for a few minutes, but isn't necessarily permanently harmed. There is no need to record this since it is a temporary effect. Record bruises instead if appropriate. "K" means "Kill". For obvious reasons there isn't any need to have a tick box for this!

The table shows the effects of wounds. Temporarily reduce the value of BODY and BODY-related skills by the value shown, but not below a minimum of 1.

Example: It's Only A Flesh Wound...(1)
During a visit to a German Duke's estate, Lady Janet takes part in a boar hunt. During a sudden storm she is separated from the rest of the hunters, and loses her gun in a thicket.
  As she trudges home she disturbs a boar and is badly cut by one of its tusks. In the next round she tries to fend it off by beating it with a fallen branch. Normally she would use her Brawling [4] skill for the attack; because she has a flesh wound this is reduced to Brawling [3].

Medical Skills, Recovery, and Death

First Aid stabilises wounds and prevent them getting worse. On a successful roll against the recovery Difficulty of the wound, there is no possibility of deterioration. For example, this might involve splinting a broken leg, disinfecting and bandaging a wound, or putting cold tea (a common Victorian remedy) or ice onto a burn. Multiple wounds must be treated separately; for instance, someone with a Flesh Wound and an Injury, or with two Injuries, would need each treated separately.

Without first aid the wound may eventually deteriorate; roll the recovery Difficulty against the patient's BODY, if the result is a success the wound will get worse. Flesh wounds become Injuries and Injuries become Critical (usually as fevers and illnesses such as gangrene) if they get worse.

The Doctor skill acts like First Aid, and also speeds healing. If a successful roll is made recovery time is halved. Since the Doctor skill usually begins at a lower level than First Aid, devoted healers may wish to take both skills.

To recover from wounds without medical help, roll BODY against the recovery difficulty - AFTER the minimum recovery period. If the result is a success, the wound is healed. If the result is a failure, the illness drags on for another period before the roll can be made again.

Example: It's Only A Flesh Wound...(2)
Lady Janet has a flesh wound. She bandages it herself, using First Aid [5] against recovery Difficulty [4]. On a 9 she doesn't do a good enough job of cleaning the wound and applying pressure to prevent further bleeding.
  She rolls BODY [3] against Difficulty [4]. On a result of 10 the wound gets worse; by the time she reaches help Lady Janet is bleeding severely, and must spend some time in bed. Her doctor fails to help, so her first roll for natural recovery is made after a month. Fortunately she succeeds and finally heals.

Death is death, and is usually permanent. In some settings there may be some rationale for reanimation or resurrection, but in most games there is no recovery. The referee should explain if this applies.

Some examples of common forms of injury follow the combat rules below; they are clearer if you understand some details that are introduced in the combat rules.



The combat rules take up a large chunk of this file; this does NOT mean that they are the most important aspect of the game - it just means that they are a little more complicated than other sections. DON'T make the mistake of thinking that every adventure must involve several fire-fights!

These rules borrow an idea that is found in some war games. All the events in a combat round occur simultaneously. If ten people are firing guns, all of them fire BEFORE the results are assessed. You can shoot a gun out of someone's hand, but he will have a chance to shoot you before he loses it. Attacks are usually a use of skill against a defence; if the attack penetrates the defence, the damage is determined by use of the attack's Effect against the BODY of the target. All of these concepts are explained in more detail below.

Combat Rounds

A combat round is a period of approximately five seconds in which combat occurs. In this time punches might be exchanged, shots fired, and so forth.

The following things can be done in a combat round

  1. Movement.
    A normal human can walk about ten feet, or run twenty. On a Difficulty 6 BODY or Athlete roll, or on expenditure of a bonus point, this can be pushed to thirty feet.
  2. An action, such as ducking for cover or opening a door.
    Referees may OPTIONALLY allow two actions, or an action and a movement, in a round; for instance, opening a door and diving through.
  3. An attack, or several attacks with some weapons and skills.
  4. Wounds take effect.
If you don't want to move or perform any action apart from the attack itself there is a bonus on the attack, but you do NOT fire first.

Anyone taken completely by surprise CANNOT fight, move, or dodge in the first round of combat, but CAN perform a simple action. For example, intruders would have a round to attack someone who was standing a few feet from an alarm button; he would not have time to get to it first. They could not stop him pressing the button if he already had his hand on it. By definition, someone with a weapon in his hand pointed at an attacker is NOT taken by surprise!

Resolving Attacks

Attacks are resolved in the following stages:
  1. All players should state who or what they intend to attack; the referee should explain who NPCs are attacking. This should be done before any attacks are made.
  2. Each character and NPC attacks the chosen target. Roll the attacking skill or characteristic against a defending skill, or against a difficulty number of 6 if there is no better defence available. There are various modifiers for distance etc.
  3. If the roll to hit succeeds, the Effect of the attack is used to attack the BODY of the victim. Damage is calculated according to the success of this roll.

Rolling To Attack

SituationModifier  Notes
Attacker hasn't moved+1 
Target is immobile/inanimate+1
Target is twice man sized or more+1
Target is very close+1Projectiles only
Using a fully automatic weapon+1Machine guns
Firing both barrels of a shotgun+1
Target is TOO close-1NOT brawling
Target is running/moving fast-1
Target is half man sized or less-1
Target is distant-1Projectiles only
Target partially hidden / camouflaged  -1
Attacking two or more targets-2
Attacker is ducking or dodging-1
Target is ducking or dodging-2
Attacking for limited damage-1See below
Attacking for minimal damage-2See below
The bonuses and penalties shown on the right are available, and should be added to the attacking skill if appropriate (to a maximum of 10) or subtracted (to a minimum of 1).

One modifier may need explaining, since it is frequently misunderstood; machine guns are a little less accurate than other firearms, but more than make up for it by firing LOTS of bullets, increasing the chance of a hit over that for a normal gun. This is the main reason why automatic weapons are used. The idea that machine guns rarely hit and do less damage than other firearms is a myth. Even when used for single shots they are no less accurate than other weapons of similar size.

Example: Collecting A Specimen (1)
Lady Janet (Marksman [6]) wants to "collect" a Ganymedan lion. The lion isn't defending itself, so she must fire the shot against a basic difficulty of 6. The lion is immobile (+1) and large (+1), so her skill would normally be modified to 8; unfortunately it's a long way off (-1), and has skin coloration that makes it harder to see (-1), so the skill stays as Marksman [6]. On an 8 the shot misses; the lion is startled and runs away.
  In the second round the lion is moving (-1), but Lady Janet didn't move (+1). The lion is still big (+1) and isn't trying to dodge or hide, and is no longer camouflaged, but it's still a long way off (-1), so Lady Janet uses an effective Marksman [5] for her next shot. On a 4 it's an easy hit.

Example: Take That You Cad! (1)
Bobby and George have decided to settle their differences in a boxing match. Both have BODY [4] and the Brawling [5] skill.
  In the first combat round Bobby dodges and weaves (-1) then tries to punch the immobile (+1) George; George stays still (+1) and tries to hit the dodging (-2) Bobby when he gets close.
  In this round Bobby has an effective skill of Brawling [5], George an effective skill of Brawling [4]. On a 3 Bobby easily breaks past George's guard, but on a 2 George also hits Bobby.

Some attacks can be used via two or more skills; for example, a longbow might be used via the Marksman or Martial Arts skill, a club via the Brawling or Melee Weapons skill. Use whichever skill is best. If all else fails weapons may be used via characteristic rolls; these are usually poorer than skills.

Defences may also be based on skills or characteristics; for example, someone might try to avoid an arrow by ducking (BODY versus the attacking skill), by hiding (Stealth skill), or by use of the Martial Arts skill to catch it! If no better skill is available, the basic defending value is 6.

If the result of any attack is a success, some damage occurs. Roll for damage as described below.


Roll NeededColumn A
if result
Column B
if result
Column C
if result
Roll to cause damage, using the Effect of the attack (see below) against the victim's BODY.

All attacks have an Effect number. For hand-to-hand weapons, martial arts, and other unarmed combat skills it is either the skill level or the user's BODY plus a bonus; for example, a club gains most of its power from the user's strength, and has an Effect equal to the user's BODY +1. A fencing foil, like all swords and daggers, has an Effect equal to Melee Weapon skill. For firearms the Effect number is usually intrinsic to the weapon, and thus independent of the user's skill or BODY.

Damage is determined by using the Effect number to attack the target's BODY. The result of this roll will sometimes be a failure; this is interpreted as minimal damage for the weapon, from column A of the weapons table. While this is always preferable (for the victim!), many weapons have a flesh wound or worse as their minimal damage.

If the result is a success, but more than half of the result needed for a success, check column B of the weapon table.

If the result is a success, and the dice roll is less than or equal to half the result needed for a success (round DOWN), check column C of the weapon table. If in doubt, use the table to the right to calculate which damage column is used.

Example: Collecting A Specimen (2)
Lady Janet's hunting rifle is recorded as follows:
Weapon Multiple Effect Damage
Big RifleNo8F   I   C/K
This means that it does the following damage:
  A: Flesh wound
  B: Injury
  C: Roll the Effect against BODY again; if the result is a failure the injury is critical, otherwise it's a kill.
Effect [8] attacking BODY [8] succeeds on a 7 or less.
  If the result is an 8 or more the lion suffers a flesh wound.
  If the result is 5-7 the lion is injured.
  If the result is 2-4 the lion is critically injured or killed.
On 4, then 6, the lion is killed.

Example: Take That You Cad! (2)
Both combatants are using fists, which are rated as follows:
Weapon Multiple Effect Damage
FistsNoBODYB   B   KO
There is no reason to modify these results, so both must use BODY [4] against BODY [4].
On a 9, George just grazes Bobby. On a 2, Bobby catches George with a perfect right hook and knocks him out.

Machine guns use a special rule for Effect. If they are used on more than one target, the Effect is reduced by 2. The attacker must roll separately to hit each target, and to damage the victim if the attack is successful. It's easy to abuse machine guns; players often say that they are trying to shoot at victims in two or three different areas, which should not be allowed. Shooting at several targets in one direction (such as a group of men running along a corridor) is acceptable, but the targets in front will conceal those behind, or at least reduce the Effect. They are powerful weapons, but not all-powerful.

Example: Budda Budda Budda.... oops
Arnie, with Marksman [6] and a submachine gun, stumbles into a German trench during the First World War. Despite Arnie's cry of "Eat hot lead, you scummy krauts!", the referee accepts that they are surprised; Arnie will get one free attack before they can shoot back. There are five Germans, and he tries to shoot them all. His Marksman skill is raised to 7, because he is using a machine gun, but reduced to 5 because he is shooting at multiple targets, and the Effect is reduced from 9 to 7. Arnie succeeds in hitting and injuring three of the Germans, but there are no critical injuries or kills. All five will be able to shoot back in the next round!

Pulling Punches & Aiming To Wound

Sometimes players may want to do less than the maximum amount of damage with an attack. They should say what they are trying to do BEFORE rolling to hit, and adjust the attacking skill as follows: In other words, there is an increased chance of missing if you are pulling your punches or aiming to wound, because the attack is trickier.

It isn't possible to limit damage with shotguns, machine guns, or area effect weapons such as explosives or flame throwers, or with ANY attack on multiple targets.

OPTIONAL RULE: Hit Locations

Arms-1-13 Right, 4 Left
Players may sometimes wish to aim at a specific part of the body. To do so, modify the attacking skill and the damage Effect as on the table to the right. This makes it harder to hit if you are aiming at someone's limbs or head, but increases the likelihood of serious damage from a head injury.

If it is used, someone who rolls to hit a target without trying to hit a specific area should roll 2D6 for a random hit location as indicated above, and modify the Effect accordingly.

It is not possible to attack a specific hit location with machine guns or area effect weapons such as grenades, or while performing any form of multiple attack. Damage from these weapons should attack random hit locations.


Bulletproof vest-4projectile and blade attacks
Kevlar Body Armour-6projectile and blade attacks
Bullet Proof Glass-4projectile attacks
Medieval Plate Mail-4melee weapon attacks
Medieval Chain Mail-2melee weapon attacks
Motorbike Leathers-2impact weapons (eg clubs)
WW1 Steel Helmet-3attacks to head ONLY
Crash Helmet-2impact damage to head ONLY
Armour isn't often worn in the stories on which this game is based, but may occasionally become important. It can reduce the Effect of weapons, but doesn't modify the roll to hit; in fact, someone wearing heavy armour should theoretically be slower and easier to hit.

The list to the right includes some modern armour as well as equipment that might be available in the late 19th century. The level of protection depends on the type of armour. Naturally only the area covered by the armour is protected; for example, motorbike leathers cover the torso, arms, and legs, but don't protect the head. A full-face crash helmet protects the head only. Similarly, body armour doesn't protect limbs or the head.

It's possible to imagine heavier armour, possibly as part of a powered suit, but generally speaking if it gives much more protection than this it should be treated as a building or a vehicle, not as personal armour. A good example of heavier armour is the steel plate legend ascribes to the outlaw Ned Kelly, which could allegedly resist rifle fire, but must have restricted visibility and mobility and restricted skills. The photograph of Ned Kelly's real armour, to the left, makes the legend seem somewhat suspect; a more realistic assessment would give it a -2 or -3 Effect modifier.

Remember also that armour is usually heavy and conspicuous, especially in a modern city. It will soon attract attention, both from the public and from the authorities.

Example: Tom Sloth And His Pneumatic Coveralls (2)
Tom Sloth's mechanical exoskeleton lets him lift things as though his BODY (normally 5) is 30. He decides to add some armour and use it to fight crime. The referee decides that plate mail will have a point of BODY for each point of Effect it stops, double that if it is going to be effective against bullets as well as simple impact forces. Tom wants to stop all bullets; the referee decides that this must mean it must reduce Effect by at least 10. The rebuilt suit will have 20 BODY in armour plate, reducing Tom's effective BODY (for lifting things etc.) to 10.
  It's good armour and performs as specified. However, it hampers Tom considerably - he won't be very good at wrestling, dodging, etc., and has his vision severely restricted by its bullet-proof glass eye-slits. And he can forget any idea of using Stealth or disguises, swimming, or walking on any surface that won't support several hundred pounds of weight...


FFlesh Wound
M.Arts  Martial Arts
Use the tables below to determine the capabilities and effects of combat skills and weapons. Where damage results are shown (eg C/K), roll the effect against BODY again; if this roll fails the first result is used, otherwise the second result is used.

Some of the weapons shown have very high effect numbers, which go well off the "attack versus defence" table. This usually indicates an attack which will do maximum damage unless a 12 is rolled, or the effect number is somehow reduced; for example by distance (e.g. explosives), by the damage being spread to cover several targets (mini gun), or by armour.

Note that most unarmed attacks and some weapon attacks don't show death as a possible outcome; it simply isn't very likely in the course of a fast-moving fight. Referees should feel free to ignore the suggested result in unusual conditions; for example, if someone is attacked by a mob, while unable to resist, or is completely outmatched by his attacker.

Melee Weapons
Effect is based on BODY or skill.
FistNo [1]BODY [2]BBKOSee above
KickNo [1]BODY [2]BBFSee above
WrestlingNoBODY [2]BKOKO / ISee above
Animal BiteNoBODY+2FICSee above
Animal ClawNoBODY+1FICSee above
Animal HornsNoBODY+2FIC/KSee above
[1]Using the Martial Arts skill it is possible to perform one fist and one kick attack in a single round against one target, or against two targets that are close together. Against two targets the attacks are at -2 Effect.
[2]Users of the Martial Arts skill can use BODY or Martial Arts for Effect in these attacks, whichever is better.
ClubMax 2 [3]BODY+1FFKO/KEg. Cricket Bat
SpearNoMeleeFIC/Ke.g. bayonet on rifle.
SwordMax 2 [3]Melee+1FIC/K
DaggerNoMelee+1FII/KEg. flick knife
Broken bottleNoBrawling+1FFI
NunchuksMax 2 [3]M. ArtsBFKO/KMartial arts skill ONLY
StaffMax 3 [3]Melee+2FIKO/C
[3]Targets must be within 5ft. Multiple attacks are at -2 Effect. Multiple attacks are available with the Martial Artist skill ONLY.
RangeFor all melee weapons, targets are TOO CLOSE if they block effective use of the weapon; within a couple of feet for swords and axes, within 6 ft for whips (a lousy weapon, despite Indiana Jones), and so forth. If unsure, give players the benefit of the doubt.

Projectile Weapons
Effect is usually based on skill (for thrown weapons), on BODY (for longbows and thrown axes), or on the weapon rather than the user for firearms etc.
ShurikenMax 3M.Arts ONLYBFFThrown
Cricket BallNoMarksmanBFKO/IThrown
LongbowNo [4]BODY+1FIC/KHunting bow
CrossbowNo7FIC/KMilitary bow
[4]Maximum 2 targets if attacking with Martial Arts skill.
Small handgunMax 2 [5]6FIC/Ke.g. .22 revolver
Big handgunMax 2 [5]6IIC/Ke.g. .38 revolver
Huge handgunMax 2 [5]8IIC/Ke.g. .45 revolver
Small rifleNo5FIC/Ke.g. .22 rifle
Big rifleNo7FIC/Ke.g. Winchester
Huge rifleNo9ICKe.g. Elephant gun.
Small ShotgunMax 2 [5]4FIIOne barrel
Small ShotgunNo [5]8* / 4
* short range ONLY
IICBoth barrels
Large ShotgunMax 2 [5]7FIC/KOne barrel
Large ShotgunNo [5]14* / 7
* Short range ONLY
ICKBoth barrels
Machine pistolYes [6]7FIC/Ke.g. Schmeisser
Submachine gunYes [6]9FIC/Ke.g. Tommy Gun
Machine gunYes [6]11FIC/Ke.g. Gatling / Maxim Gun
HarpoonNo15ICC/KNon-explosive whaling
HarpoonNo25CCKExplosive whaling
[5]Hand guns can be used to fire at two targets, or twice at one target. If firing at two separate targets each attack is at -2 to hit. If firing two shots at one target there is no modifier. Each attack is resolved separately. Shotguns can fire twice at one target (no modifier to hit, small effect), fire at two different targets (modifier -2 to hit, small effect), or fire both barrels at once (+1 modifier to hit, big effect at SHORT range ONLY). In all but the last case the two shots are resolved separately. The doubled Effect of firing two barrels simultaneously is felt at short range ONLY!
[6]Reduce Effect by 2 if fired at additional targets
AmmunitionPlayers will undoubtedly have their own ideas about the number of rounds in their weapons, and usually keep track without prompting. If you don't want to bother with bookkeeping it's perfectly acceptable to ignore the matter. As a rule of thumb six shots for all rifles and handguns, and three bursts or twenty single shots for machine guns, should satisfy most players. Gatling guns (including chain guns, rotary cannon, and mini-guns) cannot fire single shots, but the referee may wish to allow many more bursts to be fired.
RangeNormal range for all hand-thrown weapons, handguns, machine pistols, and submachine guns is 10-20 ft; normal range for bows, rifles, machine guns, and mini guns is 50-100 ft. Anything closer is at short range, anything further away at long range. Targets are too close if they are closer than the end of the weapon!

Area Effect Weapons
All explosives damage everything at full effect inside the radius shown, at effect -1D6 to double that radius, at effect -2D6 to three times the radius, and so forth. The effect of these weapons is not reduced if there are multiple targets.
Stun Grenade6 ft8BKOI+KO
Hand Grenade10ft10FIC/K
Dynamite10ft10FIC/K+2 Effect per additional stick.
Mortar Shell10ft12ICK
Howitzer Shell10ft15ICK
Anti-tank mine10ft20ICK
Car Bomb20ft15ICK
Truck Bomb20ft20ICK
Flame Thrower10ft10ICKNo damage outside 20ft radius.

Exotic Weapons
Things that might conceivably come into play in a campaign, in no specific order.
Radium gunNo8FIC/KBurrough's Mars
DisintegratorYes [6]15ICKMost SF
Mini gunYes [6]8ICKTerminator II
Stun Gun3ft8BKOKOMost SF
Heat Ray75ft30CKKWar of the Worlds
Black Smoke500yd10CKKWar of the Worlds
Hydrogen Bomb1 mile40CKKNot recommended!

While this game tries not to over-emphasise combat, this period produced some extremely odd weapons, as might the circumstances of a campaign. More detail is sometimes useful. Here are examples from FF VI and FF IX, the first historical and the second fictional:

Non-Combat Injuries

Cause of
Car crash (inside car) 1+1/10MPHFIC/K
Run over2+2/10MPHFIC/K
"Micky Finn"8KOKOC/Kknock-out drops.
A small amount of strychnine6ICK
A lot of cyanide10CKK
A tiny amount of arsenic3-IC/KSee below
A lot of arsenic6ICKSee below
It is possible to build up an immunity to some forms of arsenic with repeated small doses, reducing the Effect of large doses. It is also possible to kill yourself trying this stunt.
Cobra venom8ICKBite must hit first.
Chloroform or ether6+1/roundKOKOC/K
Martian Gas5+1/roundFCKSee FF II
Chlorine (WW1 poison gas)7+1/minuteICK
Coal gas filled room3+1/roundFCKNot natural gas.
Electric Cattle fence4-BF
110 V6FIC/KUS mains
220-240 V8FIC/KEuropean mains
Electric fence (5000 Volts)15CKK
Drowning / suffocation1+1/30 secIIC/KSee main text
Exposure to Vacuum6+1/5 secFIC/KSee main text
Candle flame2+1/roundFFF
Petrol bomb7+3/roundICC/K
Blast furnace10+10/roundCKK
Volcano20+10/round CKK
Combat is the main cause of wounds in most RPGs, but characters occasionally run into other problems that can cause damage. For instance:


Animal, Vegetable, Mineral

What's the BODY of a door? Of a bottle? Of the Queen Elizabeth? How much damage can a rabbit take (or dish out); a rhino; a blue whale? This section contains data on a range of common and uncommon objects, plants, and animals, which characters may conceivably encounter in the course of play.


BODY [1], MIND [1], SOUL [1]
Brawling [1]; Bite, Effect 1, Damage A:B, B:B, C:F
Wounds: Any wound kills
BODY [1], MIND [1], SOUL [1]
Brawling [1]; Kick, Effect 1, Damage A:-, B:B, C:B
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] C[ ] (Any Injury result is Critical)
Domestic Cat
BODY [1], MIND [1], SOUL [1]
Brawling [4]; Claw, Effect 2, Damage A:B, B:F, C:F
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] C[ ] (any Injury result is Critical)
Small Dog
BODY [2], MIND [1], SOUL [1]
Brawling [3]; Bite, Effect 4, Damage A:B, B:F, C:F
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] I[ ] C[ ]
Big Dog
BODY [3], MIND [1], SOUL [1]
Brawling [5]; Bite, Effect 5, Damage A:B, B:F, C:I
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] I[ ] I[ ] C[ ]
BODY [4], MIND [1], SOUL [1]
Brawling [7]; Bite, Effect 6, Damage A:F, B:I, C:C
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] I[ ] I[ ] C[ ]
Note that the stealth of animals (especially small animals) is often considerably higher than BODY/2. Customised dogs and canine adventurers are discussed in an appendix below.
BODY [2], MIND [1], SOUL [1]
Brawling [6]; Poison, Effect 8, Damage A:I, B:C, C:K
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] I[ ] C[ ]
BODY [6], MIND [1], SOUL [1]
Brawling [7]; Wrestle, Effect 8, Damage A:I, B:I, C:C
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] I[ ] I[ ] C[ ]
Lion or Tiger
BODY [7], MIND [1], SOUL [1]
Brawling [9]; Bite, Effect 9, Damage A:F, B:I, C:C/K
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] I[ ] I[ ] C[ ]
BODY [7], MIND [1], SOUL [1]
Brawling [4]; Kick, Effect 7, Damage A:B, B:F, C:I/C
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] I[ ] I[ ] C[ ]
BODY [8], MIND [1], SOUL [1]
Brawling [10]; Horns Effect 10, Damage A:F, B:I, C:C/K
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] I[ ] I[ ] C[ ]
BODY [8], MIND [2], SOUL [2]
Brawling [10]; Claws/Bite, Effect 10, Damage A:F, B:I, C:C/K
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] I[ ] I[ ] C[ ]
Armour thick fur -1 Effect
BODY [9], MIND [1], SOUL [1]
Brawling [10]; Horn, Effect 10, Damage A:F, B:I, C:C/K
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] I[ ] I[ ] I[ ] C[ ]
Armour thick skin, -2 Effect all attacks
BODY [10], MIND [2], SOUL [2]
Brawling [6]; Tusks, Effect 10, Damage A:F, B:I, C:C/K
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] I[ ] I[ ] I[ ] C[ ]
Armour thick skin, -2 Effect all attacks
Alligator or Crocodile
BODY [8], MIND [1], SOUL [1]
Brawling [8]; Bite, effect 8, Damage A:F, B:I, C:C/K
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] I[ ] I[ ] C[ ]
Armour thick skin, -3 Effect all attacks
Dolphin or Porpoise
BODY [8], MIND [3], SOUL [2] *
Brawling [8]; Butt, Effect [8], Damage A:B, B:I, C:C/K
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] I[ ] I[ ] C[ ]
Killer Whale
BODY [15], MIND [3], SOUL [2] *
Brawling [12]; Bite, Effect 15, Damage A:I, B:I, C:C/K
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] I[ ] I[ ] I[ ] C[ ]
Armour thick blubber, -2 Effect all attacks
Blue Whale
BODY [25], MIND [3], SOUL [2] *
Brawling [10]; Butt, Effect 20, Damage A:I, B:C, C:K
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] I[ ] I[ ] I[ ] I[ ] C[ ]
Armour thick blubber, -3 Effect all attacks
* If dolphins and whales are intelligent in your campaign, you may wish to change MIND and SOUL ratings and add more skills, such as Linguist or Actor (singer).
BODY [15], MIND [1], SOUL [1]
Brawling [15]; Bite, Effect 16, Damage A:I, B:C, C:K
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] I[ ] I[ ] I[ ] C[ ]
BODY [20], MIND [1], SOUL [1]
Brawling [15]; Butt, Effect 16, Damage A:B, B:I, C:C/K
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] I[ ] I[ ] I[ ] C[ ]
Dinosaurs are discussed in considerably more detail in the worldbook for FF III.


BODY [1]
BODY [3] **
Young tree
BODY [8] **
Large tree
BODY [10-20] **
Giant redwood
BODY [30-50] **
Giant flytrap
BODY [8], Bite Effect 6,
Damage A:B, B:F, C:I
** Axes attack a portion of the BODY of a tree equivalent to the Effect of the weapon. For example, an axe with Effect 6 attacks 6 BODY of the tree, succeeding on a 7 or less. If successful, that much of the BODY of the tree is destroyed. Some trees have thick bark which may act as armour, or other defences.

Everything Else

Internal Door
BODY [6], lock Difficulty [4]
Street Door
BODY [8], lock Difficulty [5]
Church Door
BODY [12] Lock Difficulty [8]
Piggy Bank
BODY [1], Lock Difficulty [2]
Household Safe
BODY [10], Lock Difficulty [10]
Bank vault
BODY [20] Lock Difficulty [15]
BODY [20]
BODY [75]
BODY [200]
Household Table
BODY [6] (wood)
Household Chair
BODY [3] (wood)
BODY [4]
Garden table
BODY [8] (iron)
Garden chair
BODY [8] (iron)
Park bench
BODY [8] (wood & iron)
BODY [1]
BODY [4] (1900s)
BODY [10]
BODY [15]
BODY [20]
BODY [25]
Armour reduces Effect all attacks -8
BODY [100]
BODY [50]
BODY [100]
Many of the Forgotten Futures collections describe vehicles including dirigibles (FF I, FF VII), various types of spacecraft (FF II, FF IX) and flying machines (FF II, FF III, FF VII, FF IX), and time machines (FF IX). Usually these descriptions add considerably more detail!

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Revised and converted to HTML 23/4/98, Revised and updated 1/2005 - If you have any queries or comments on these rules please contact the author.