Basics of the Game


In this game the players take turns to tell the story of their Legendary Heroes by describing their actions and reactions to situations presented by the GM. He/she is the player responsible to arbitrate the rules, to play the role of all the other characters of the story and to make sure that the Heroes are challenged by interesting enemies, dangers and plots. The game is just a conversation between the players and the GM, in-character or not, telling the story until things become important, dangerous and uncertain and they decide to roll the dice to see what happens next.

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Roll the dice!

When it’s time to roll, grab a bunch of dice from the TRAITS of your Hero: each Trait is rated either as D6, D8, D10 or D12, and you add a die with that many faces to your pool. For example, if your Hero is a DANGEROUS WARRIOR D8 armed with a SPEAR D6 and you roll to make him attack an enemy, you grab a D8 (eight-sided die) and a D6 (six-sided die) and roll em together!

The die that rolls higher is your result: if you roll a 7 and a 3 your result it the 7. Compare it to your enemy roll (he grabs dice in the same way as you) and if your’s higher you win

Effect: size matters

The “size” (number of faces) of the winning die (the one who rolled highest, if there are two or more you choose which exactly) is important because your effect (for example the damage of your attack) depends on it: dice with more faces are considered higher and generate greater effects and damage.

Difficulty Rating & Potential Effect

When you make a roll, the GM sets a Difficulty Rating and a Potential Effect.
The Difficulty Rating (DR) is the number you have to score to win a roll, and is based on your position in the story, what you are doing and how difficult and/or dangerous it is. Are you at advantage? Are you in a bad spot? Depending on these factors, the GM sets you a difficulty between Easy (DR 6), Standard (DR 8), Hard (DR 10) and Epic (DR 12), and this also sets the Effect for the opposition (a die with a number of faces equal to the DR).

The potential effect is usually standard (which means that you just use your effect die if you win), but it can be Limited (reducing both your effect die and its narrative effect) in the case you are using sub-par things to what you are doing, for example using improvised tools to open a safe, or Increased when you have an advantage (for example attacking a sleeping enemy).

GM roll

The DR of a roll can be in uenced by the skills of an NPC, hostile Scene Traits, Consequence on the Hero, Shadow Dices or even just fate. All these things are represented by the GM ROLL, for which the GM creates a pool of dice by adding together several things, from NPC and Scene Traits, to Shadow Dice he decides to spend to make things more difficult for the Heroes.

Then he rolls: if any Die rolled higher than the DR, its result becomes the new DR, and it also becomes the new Effect Die (if higher than the previous one).

This die is then set aside to check the remaining dice: any that rolled a 5+ increases the DR by a further +1. The final result is the effective DR that the Hero must achieve in order to win the roll


Another core concept of rolls is the MOON and SUN dice: all dice that roll a “1” become MOONS die and are BAD for you and your group, while all die that roll “5” or more become SUNS and give you a +1 boost to your result (for example raising your 7 in the previous example to a 8 if the other die rolled a 5+).

Hero Dice

Hero Dice are the “currency” of the game and represents the potential for extra heroism of your character. They can be used to:
– Add them directly to rolls (with an appropriate narrative explanation) or to add more Traits.
– Activate some of your special abilities (Talents).
– Create some narrative effects without rolling, creating “automatic successes” for some non-opposed actions
– Counter the Shadow Moves (special moves) of the GM’s characters and monsters

What about Moons?

We said that MOON dice are bad news, do you wanna know more? Well, then know that the GM uses the Moons that you roll to do nasty things to your Hero, your group or the situation: wounds, complications, new enemies coming on the scene when you thought it was all over, etc. It’s also fun and challenging, because it lets the GM flow the story without too many rolls, and what victory can be epic without threats arising everywhere?

And if the GM rolls MOONS? Well, that’s good for you because then you gain HERO DICE to do special epic things

Character sheets

If you want to see how a Shadow Lords character sheets looks, click here: Cassandrae Hero Sheet