Rapture Roleplay System

System Reference Document (SRD), v.3.0

Introductions The Fundamentals Terminology


Below there is a list of common terms (often) shared with other games, some not, which will prove useful to know before starting a game powered by the Rapture Roleplay System.

Actions. Player actions (as defined below) include: Challenges, Checks, Contests, and Tasks. Player actions are classified according to their time and effort to completion (see Playing the Game for details).

Advantage. This simply means a character is facing a given action with advantage on their side. For dice rolls, this means a player might be given an extra die or special modifier to help them succeed.

Archetype and Pathway. These are used in lieu of traditional character classes and subclasses, and these offer roleplaying possibilities that are squarely in the hands of the players to decide.

Attributes. Those core abilities are seen in a character, such as Mind, Body, and Soul.

Attribute Ratings. Each attribute, Mind, Body, and Soul, measures between zero (0) or normal and four (4) or super-heroic, but attributes might exceed this range maxing out between five (5) and ten (10). However, attributes can fall below zero (0), and they can fall as low as minus ten (-10).

Backgrounds. Backgrounds are those descriptors, accompanied with bonuses and penalties, that make a player character unique. These include, but aren’t limited to, Ancestry, Beliefs, Culture, Personal History, and Social Class.

Burdens. Are those difficult challenges facing a character. They are often inconvenient and ever-present in a character’s life. Characters can be compelled to deal with their burdens. Failure to deal with a burden means a descent into madness. Success means a character progresses forward and gains either fortune or resolve in return.

Catch Your Breath. To leave combat, or any other intense moment, altogether, players can opt to use “Catch Your Breath.” However, the consequences of doing so might be just as dangerous and unforgiving as combat itself. This helps reset physical health and Fortune, among other things.

Ceiling. The notion that dice rolled plus additional modifiers cannot exceed maximum (ceiling) of thirty (30) when added together.

Challenges. Those player character actions that require a concerted effort to achieve success. Players are asked to roll to whittle down a Challenge Rating (CR), using successful skill rolls (4+ on any die).

Challenge Rating (CR). A challenge’s difficulty, rated between zero (null) and a hundred (100). Challenge ratings must be whittled down by rolling successful skill rolls (or other appropriate rolls). Once successful a moxie roll (see below) is applied to the CR, whittling it down toward zero (0). If a player manages to cut a CR down below five (5), referees can choose to say the challenge has been successfully conquered by the player.

Checks. Those actions in which players, and their REF, are quickly able to determine failure, complication, or success of a given player character action. Checks are used to quickly test Attributes, Skills, Knacks, and Stunts.

Compel(s). A compel is issued by a Referee, or another player, who wishes to challenge a player’s character in a deep and meaningful way by facing their burdens. Players who accept a compel from their REF are likely to see great rewards and challenges ahead.

Contests. These are actions in which two (2) or more parties act in opposition to one another.

Disadvantage. This means a character faces a given action at disadvantage and is penalized in turn, meaning they are less likely to succeed in tackling the challenge in question.

Discord. This is the chaos that comes from leaning on one’s Fortune in-game. Discord always follows good and bad fortunes as well. Every time Fortune, Grit, or Resolve is used, Discord comes into the picture, somehow, someway: It may be immediately after, or months or years afterwards. in-game.

Fortune. Is a type of manipulator that allows players to spend up to three (3) slots, which may be represented as d4 dice, to sway the results of a given dice roll and/or roleplaying situation. Represented by poker chips or pennies, Fortune is a finite resource that ebbs and flows with gameplay. All players start with three (3) Fortune. Every time Fortune is used, this means Discord is likely to follow.

Gasping. Players have the option to break combat or the action, for a short period, by gasping to refresh a stunt, a knack, or rejuvenate one (1) unit of health. This adds further complications, which are narrated and determined by the referee and the larger group.

Grit. A character’s ability to resist physical damage to their body after having survived near death, death, or serious injuries. Most characters start with a Grit of zero (0). Grit caps at twenty-five (25). Using grit means you are welcoming discord somewhere down the line.

Health. The physical well-being of a player character (PC). Starting characters are given ten (10) starting health. This will increase to d4+10 when they level up at Level One: Then again at levels four (4), eight (8), twelve (12), sixteen (16), and finally at twenty (20). Health and sanity cap at 10+d20, with a possible of thirty (30) total in health.

Knacks. Those abilities that aren’t quite skills, nor are they stunts. They are the quirky, trivial abilities unique to each character. For example, a knack might be for Sally’s character the way she cleans her weapon, making it more efficient and less likely to jam with extended use. Knacks follow the RULE OF THREE for determining success, and they are usually rolled on a d6 or, in some contexts, a d8.

Modifiers. The best analogy for the modifier is the foot wedge among amateur golfers. Officially, the foot wedge isn’t condoned by professional golfers. Unofficially, for non-professionals, amateurs, if you will, it is meant to soften the hard edge of the game, adding or subtracting from the dice results.


Referee (REF). The player who portrays characters not controlled by the other players helps make up the story and setting for the game, with other player feedback and serves as the mediator and interpreter of dice rolls, rules, rulings on rules, and consequences in-game.

Reputation. This measures a character’s social standing. A character’s reputation is worth a line of credit, helps with securing contracts, and secures certain rights in different societies, organizations, and entities. Reputation grows through roleplaying, exploration, interaction, and achievement, the Four Pillars for Roleplaying Games. A referee (REF) might add a short descriptor to help describe one’s reputation in-game.

Resolve. A character’s ability to overcome serious mental health crises. All characters start with a Resolve of zero (0). Resolve caps at twenty-five (25). Using Resolve means you are welcoming discord somewhere down the line.

Rule of Three. The rule of three is as follows: 1–3 on the dice are considered failures; 4–9 are considered complications; and 10+ results are considered successes (or resounding successes, depending on the context). The higher the roll the better the results.

Sanity. The mental well-being of a player character (PC). Starting characters are given ten (10) starting sanity. This will increase to d4+10 when they level up at Level One: Then again at levels four (4), eight (8), twelve (12), sixteen (16), and finally at twenty (20). Sanity caps at 10+d20, with a possible of thirty (30) total in sanity.

Stunts. Those superheroic actions, originally pulled off during a skill check, that a character does when no one expected or knew they could pull off. Stunts are a shortcut inspired by that skill check where (say) a character used an improvised weapon, a soup can, to knock out an enemy combatant, without killing or injuring them seriously. A given stunt is unique to the character, and, when it is used, it is a spectacular feat. The referee, along with the other gaming group members, will need to determine if a stunt is simple (d12) or complex (2d12) in nature. They follow the RULE OF THREE for determining success.

Tasks. Those actions in which players, and their referee, can quickly determine the outcome through roleplaying, problem-solving, and creative, critical thinking. Almost always, with some exceptions, a task will be successfully completed without needing to bring in the dice.

Introductions The Fundamentals Terminology