DS Rule Mechanics


When it’s not certain whether a character’s action will succeed or not, the player has to roll the dice to make a check. The check value of a check is equal to the sum of the attribute and the ability that are most closely related to whatever the character tries to do. If your roll on a twenty-sided die (d20) is less or equal than the check value then the check was successful.

Example: The dwarven fighter Gruffneck (Body 8, Strength 2) declares he wants to kick down the door behind which some goblins are hiding. The gamemaster decides that the check value is the sum of the Body attribute and the Strength ability. Gruffneck will be able to force the door open if his player successfully rolls 10 (= BOD 8 + ST 2) or less on a d20.


Bash in doors: BOD+ST
Climbing: AGI+ST
Dancing: AGI+AU
Decipher script: MIN+RE
Disarm traps: AGI+DX
Flirting: MIN+AU
Jumping: AGI+RF
Knowledge: MIN+RE
Lighting a fire: MIN+DX
Open locks: MIN+DX
Open secret doors: MIN+DX
Perception: MIN+RE
Pick pockets: AGI+DX
Read tracks: MIN+RE
Resist poison: BOD+TO
Riding: AGI+AU
Sneaking: AGI+RF


Sometimes the circumstances will make it harder or easier for a character to succeed in his actions. This is simulated by modifiers to the check value. E.g. balancing on a tight rope over a deep chasm is much more difficult (extremely difficult -6) than hopping on one leg (routine +6), but you have to make a check on AGI+RF in both cases.

The following modifiers should give the gamemaster some guidelines on how to modify check values according to the difficulty of the task at hand:

routine +6
very easy +4
easy +2
normal +0
difficult -2
very difficult -4
extremely difficult -6

//Example: Jherrant wants to examine some tracks.

As an elven scout, Jherrant (MIN 4, RE 2, his talent Hunter II grants another +2 bonus) is a skilled and experienced tracker, so the GM decides that it’s a very easy (+4) task for him, raising the check value from 8 to 12 (= MIN 4 + RE 2 + Hunter II + Very Easy 4).//


Even the most improbable task can succeed and even the easiest action can fail miserably, which is simulated by critical successes and critical failures:

Everytime a player rolls a 1 the check is successful disregarding all modifiers and when determining the check result, you act as if the highest possible value has been rolled. This is called a critical success.

When a 20 is rolled, it’s considered to be a critical failure even when the check value was 20 or higher!

Example: In a combat against goblins, the dwarven fighter Gruffneck (Melee Attack 12) rolls a 1 when trying to hit! That’s a critical success! Since the result of a critical success is always the highest possible value, his check result is a decent 12.


When a check value is higher than 20, you make an additional check.

The check value of the second roll is the original check value minus 20 (e.g. when the check value is 25, you are entitled to two rolls: one with a check value of 20 and a second one with a check value of 5).

Successful check results are added together for the final check result.

//Example: The mercenary Laros (Melee Attack 30) fights a fearsome troll. He attacks the monster and rolls two checks - one against a check value of 20 (yes, you have to roll, since a result of 20 is still a critical failure), the other is made with a check value of 10.

He rolls 16 and 9 which means both checks are successful and the troll gets hit with a result of 25 (=16 + 9).//


Combats are divided into several combat rounds (each round lasts 5 seconds), which are divided into the following phases:


The order in which the combatants act in is determined by their Initiative (AGI + RF).

If two combatants have the same Initiative, a roll decides who may act first. The one with the higher roll wins the initiative for the whole battle.

If one side was able to surprise their opponents they get a +10 bonus on Initiative.


If it’s a character’s turn, he may move up to (AGI/2 +1) meters and perform a single action, like engaging in close or ranged combat, dodge or cast a spell.


Awake an unconscious character
Bash door
Cast a normal spell
Cast a targeted spell
Change active spell
Concentrate on a spell
Draw/switch weapons
Melee Attack
Open a lock
Quaff a potion
Ranged Attack
Run (double move)
Stand up and/or draw weapon
Take some healing herbs


As the result of a successful attack check (regardless if it was a Melee or Ranged Attack or a Targeted Spell) the damage gets subtracted from the target’s current hitpoints.

Every time a character suffers damage he makes an automatic Defense check (this does not count as an action). If successful, the check’s result is used to reduce the damage taken.

//Example: The dwarven fighter Gruffneck (Melee Attack 12) hits an orc warrior (Defense 15) with a roll result of 9. Then the orc makes his defense check. He succeeds by rolling a 4. The orc now loses only 5 (= 9 - 4) hit points instead of the initial 9.

Instead of making an attack, a character can choose to Dodge which lasts until it’s his turn again. When a dodging character is hit, he can reduce the damage he suffers by the result of a successful Dodge check in addition to his Defense roll.

//Example: The elven scout Jherrant is under attack by two skeletons who also have higher Initiative. When it’s his turn, Jherrant decides to dodge.

At the beginning of the following turn, both skeletons score a hit and he makes a Dodge check against each of these. The result of each Dodge roll is subtracted from the damage he takes in addition to his normal Defense.


When making Ranged Attacks with ranged weapons or Targeted Spells, the attacker gets a -1 modifier per every 10m of distance from his target.


Weapons and armor can grant bonuses to checks, too. E.g. the Weapon Bonus (WB) and the Armor Value (AV) directly modify a character’s combat values.

There are also weapons and armor that modify other aspects of the character wielding or wearing them (e.g. like raising Initiative) or they reduce the enemy’s Defense when striking.

Certain weapons like two-handed swords and longbows are unwieldy for dwarves, so they are not able to wield them.

Every character is allowed to wear one helmet, one suit of armor and one set of bracers and greaves at a time. Many types of armor reduce a character’s Speed because of their weight.

Fighters may wear all kinds of armor. Scouts may wear every armor except plate armor.

Spellcasters are limited to cloth armor with the exception of healers who are trained in the use of leather armor.

Every character class may use shields but only in conjunction with one-handed weapons.



When a character’s hitpoints drop to 0 or even lower, he falls unconscious. An unconscious chararacter comes to after d20 hours or when awoken.

Example: An orc chieftain hits Laros (28 hp) for 30 points of damage. The mercenary botches his Defense roll and goes to the floor, reduced to -2 hp.


When the current hitponts are lower than the negative value of his Body attribute (e.g. -9 hp with BOD 8) the character dies.

Example: If Laros’ (BOD 10) hitpoints had been reduced to 18 before being hit for 30 damage, he would have died.


Injured characters regenerate damage on a successful BOD+TO check every 24h. The amount of damage healed is equal to the roll result. Every 4h of bed rest grant a +1 bonus to this check.


Bandages, herbs, potions and magic healing can be purchased from merchants or at the local temple.


In some settings resurrection by magical means is not uncommon.

When a character is resurrected (by the spell Ressurection for example) he loses 1 point of Body permanently. Characters with Body 1 cannot be resurrected.


There are two types of spells: (N)ormal spells and (T)argeted Spells.

Usually a successful check is sufficient to cast a spell, but sometimes the check’s result is important.

Where Targeted Spells are concerned the check result is equal to the damage dealt by that spell, like in non-magical combat.

//Example: The black mage Miroslav casts a ray of fire (targeted spell) at the elven healer Lios.

The successful check’s result of 14 is equal to the damage dealt, which Lios can resist by making a Defense check.

After that Lios casts Sleep (normal spell). The spellcasting check is successful and Miroslav goes down sleeping.//


Spellcasters can only have one active spell at any given time, but they can cast their active spell as often as they like.

The only limitation is a spell’s cooldown (see below). To exchange the current active spell with another spell from his repertoire, a character has to make a successful MIN+RE check. This counts as an action.

Example: After having overpowered Miroslav, Lios wants to heal himself. So he makes a MIN+RE check, succeeds and changes his active spell from Sleep to Healing Hand, which he can use every round from now on.


After a spell has been cast successfully, the caster must wait a certain amount of time equal to the spell’s cooldown time before he can cast it again.

He can still choose to cast other spells in the meantime.


A spell’s level indicates at which level (if at all) a spellcaster may learn it.

This level can differ for the various schools of magic.

The level is indicated in the respective columns (e.g. B for black mage, H for healer and W for wizard) of the spell list (e.g. a 2 in the column H means that this spell can be learned by healers of 2nd level or higher).