Rising Legends - The Core Rules

Here's my umpteenth crack at a rulesbrew for me to use at home. I've designed it in a way that I think will make it easy for non-gamers to run, has clear depth, and remains out of the way for most people. BTW, I AM taking name suggestions.


Rising Legends is a game where you play as characters with nothing who try desperately to become something by putting their lives on the line.

To play, you need a d20 and a d6.

First, create your character. In order to do so, you follow three simple steps:

  • Roll for 2 keywords that describe your character, or choose them.
  • Write down your three attributes (Savvy, Athletics, and Weird), and assign each one of the following numbers: 12, 9, and 6.
  • Choose your starting supplies.
The referee of the game runs the world and obstacles. They will also provide the lists of keywords and starting supplies. Future blogposts/supplements will provide pre-made worlds and sagas, complete with their own lists of keywords, starting supplies, obstacles, adventure locations, additional rules, and other useful materials for running a game.

The referee describes the game world, and the players describe what they want to do. If they are doing something dangerous or difficult, the referee may ask you to roll under one of your attributes with a d20. If you roll equal to or lower than your attribute, you succeed. If you roll 10 under your attribute, you succeed with style, and the referee describes a bonus you get in the situation.

Keywords are words or phrases that represent your character. If your keyword applies to a roll, you can roll 2d20 instead of one and take the better result. If both keywords apply, you still only roll 1d20. 

As a character goes on adventures, they will find gear, magic, and helpers that will aid them. These should be notated by a player who receives such a bonus. Additionally, when a character finishes an adventure, they gain fame.

Fame is a number that represents how well known the character is in the wider world. At every increment of 10, your character will find themselves rewarded with something special . This can range from someone wishing to apprentice under them, to potentially gaining ownership of beautiful palaces, or even training which increases your attributes. Additionally, after every adventure, your character gains a new keyword. This keyword will either come from the earliest list, or be tailor made to fit your character.

If your character successfully rises to 100 fame, they become a Legend. At this point, they somehow leave the world, perhaps in a tragic twist of fate, or by being whisked away by holy powers, or even retiring to become the ruler of the land for a time after. 

Karl Sisson

During an adventure, your characters will come face to face with obstacles. An obstacle comes in one of three categories: Monsters (anything that the party encounters, including mundane things like bandits or lions), Hazards (which range from deadly traps to dangerous poisons), and Weirdness (such as horrible curses or strange powers). Every obstacle has a number associated with it, the Obstacle's Danger, which ranges from 1 to 10. When the referee says that a player must make a roll forced by an obstacle, they add the obstacle's danger to their roll.

Occasionally, an obstacle will somehow harm a player. This damage, represented by a 1d6 + the obstacle's danger, is dealt to one of the player's attributes. For example, a bandit's serrated dagger will deal 1d6 + 1 damage to Athletics, while a warlock's wicked hex will deal 1d6 + 3 damage to your Weird. If a number falls to 0, the players character is taken out until the obstacle has been overcome, the party flees, or everyone loses. Damage to an attribute can be healed with medicine (or similar means), or through rest. Every day of rest restores 1 point of damage to an attribute. Some gear, magic, or specially made tools can reduce damage taken.

While taken out, your character cannot do anything and is effectively unconscious on the ground (or in the case of Weird being reduced to 0, is rendered immobile by some strangeness). Once the obstacle is no longer present, the player rolls 1d6 for their character and consults the following table for their character's fate.
  1. Scarred! The character bears a distinctive scar from their encounter, but is otherwise fine.
  2. Traumatized! The character has been traumatized by the obstacle. For the next 2 game sessions, the player adds 3 to any rolls they make.
  3. Crippled! The character has been crippled in some way by the obstacle. The referee chooses a relevant attribute to be reduced by 3 permanently.
  4. In debt! Your character should have died, but has made a deal with Death itself in order to live. The referee comes up with a condition (such as "You must pay respects to me through blood sacrifice at midnight every night!") If the condition is not fulfilled at any point during the rest of the character's life, they die.
  5. Spiritless! The character has lost their spirit for adventure. They wander off, seeking a quiet place where they can retire.
  6. Dead! The character succumbs to their wounds and dies.
When trying to overcome an obstacle, you must reduce its danger to 0. This can be done through a number of ways, such as subduing it, killing it, banishing it, disarming it, and so forth. To overcome the obstacle, the referee will ask how you do so, and then tell you which attribute to roll under. The amount you rolled under is how much the obstacle is reduced by. Always use popcorn initiative--or the person whose turn it is deciding who goes next--to decide turn order. After everyone has went, the last person to go now goes first.

Beware! Many obstacles cannot be reduced through conventional means; a dragon cannot be killed with simple sword strikes, no more than a spear will scare away a ghost. If your described plan doesn't work, the referee will tell you that you automatically fail and describe how. 

Jakub Rozalski


  1. Hey there,

    Hey there, I have a blog (thebluebard.com). I am doing research for interesting draconic ideas and stumbled on your blog posts about the City of the Dragon Wives. Your style feels a bit stream of consciousness. Rather more dream-like than like a compendium of game reference material. Was there a final form that material took, or some source material in actual mythology you based your ideas on?

    1. So, there is no source material other then the ideas I drew on from the time. However, I do plan on compounding and rewriting all of that material into an RPG book sometime in the future!