Basic Resolution Rules
Here we cover the core game mechanics of the Nightmares Underneath. Like other D&D-derived games it uses a d20-sided die as its primary means of task resolution, with natural 1s and 20s auto-failing. Instead of hit points there is Disposition, representing willpower, luck, and resilience. Damage beyond that causes more grievous Wounds which can maim and even kill if enough are accumulated. Unlike most OSR games it is possible to suffer temporary damage to one’s attribute scores, which lower the score by a certain number until the character receives rest and/or medical treatment barring some debilitating permanent results. A few classes also have Psychic Armour (not to be confused with the regular Armour Rating score), which act as a sort of “bonus hit points” against all forms of mental and magical attacks and are detracted first before Disposition and Wounds.
Overcome Attempts represent opposing and contested actions, where the “overcomer” must roll a d20 + an appropriate attribute modifier equal to or greater than the opposition’s relevant attribute score; some situations allow one to add the level of a relevant profession* to the d20 result. We have a half-page worth of common Overcome results, ranging from spotting someone sneaking (overcome their Dexterity with your Intelligence modifier), Intimidation (overcome their Willpower with your Ferocity modifier), and even attack rolls (overcome their Armour Rating [a non-attribute exception] with your Ferocity or Dexterity modifier depending upon melee or ranged attack).Edit:
You add your level on top of the attribute score modifier when the former would apply as a bonus.
Saves represent unopposed task resolution where the performer rolls equal to or under a relevant attribute score with a d20. Attempting something beyond one’s normal capabilities rolls against half the attribute, rounded down.
*TNU’s term for character class.
Advantage and Disadvantage are imported from 5th Edition D&D, and more or less work the same. But unlike 5e there is no Inspiration mechanic to grant advantage on a roll, and ‘vantages can even be applied to non-d20 rolls in a few special cases such as random tables, damage rolls, and determining Disposition. In cases where more than one dice are being rolled already, the ‘vantage rolls an extra die and discards the die with the most/least favorable result.
There are more specific examples and cases provided for the above rules: saving throws against spells and traps give the offending effect a level to determine if you save vs your normal or halved attribute (if its level is greater than yours), while saves for risky and dangerous skills determine if you save normally or halved depending on whether you’re skilled or unskilled and if you have a good set of tools at hand (being unskilled and lacking tools is an auto-fail). In the latter example, advantage and disadvantage applies for exceptionally superb/terrible tools or significant assistance/hindrance regarding the task. Finally, there are broad teamwork rules for various things, resolved as either an individual being aided or via a group collective effort.
The Nightmares Underneath’s core system is brief and broad, but the scope of it is capable of covering plenty of ground without frequently forcing GM Fiat. One interesting thing that I’ll note is that when advantage is applied on a random table where the player’s rolling, the best or worst result is chosen in the case of good/bad results, but in the case of results that don’t denote gradations of fortune the player can pick in the case of advantage. ‘Vantages are not applied on the part of players for GM-centric tables.Edition Changes:
In lieu of Overcome Attempts, 1st Edition had a much simpler Contest/Outcome Resolution where all participants rolled 2d6 and added appropriate modifiers against a static DC or opposing roll. Additionally, advantage/disadvantage did not used to apply to random tables.
Chapter 3: Brothers and Sisters in Arms
This chapter covers all of the relevant character creation info. It is similar to OSR character generation in that you roll 3d6 for your attribute scores, choose your class, alignment, and such, although there are some differences. First off, the six attribute scores
are slightly different: There’s no Strength score; instead there’s Ferocity which measures your overall capacity to inflict violence and adds to your to-hit rolls for melee and to all physical damage roll
both ranged and melee. Health, which is akin to Constitution, determines your carrying capacity on top of how many Wounds you can suffer before death. Dexterity does not add to your Armour Rating but adds to your initiative modifier, surprise rolls, to-hit with missile weapons, and one’s Speed rating (how many squares you can move per round) plus everything else said score usually does. Intelligence also covers perception and surprise rolls as well as general knowledge and “dungeon navigation” stuff. Instead of Wisdom we have Willpower which is more or less your mental fortitude in trying times. Charisma functions more or less the same, but can be used to reduce a community’s Resentment and people with high scores are often believed to be blessed by magic and/or the divine. Certain Professions use one of three mental attributes to determine bonus spells they start with at character generation. Attribute scores have a universal modifier, which becomes more meaningful the lower or higher it is from the 9-12 standard (ex. 6-8 is -1, 4-5 is -2, and every point lower subtracts to 1 at -5), and can go up to 20 (which has a +5 bonus).
Overall the six scores are still of relative importance despite their changes. Dexterity not applying to AC anymore makes it less god-tier than it usually is, but is still a pretty strong option. Charisma’s still strong in its use for hireling loyalty, but the increased emphasis on community goodwill in the system makes it even stronger. Folding carrying capacity into Health makes sense thematically, but Ferocity is still like Strength in that it is rather situational to certain characters. Intelligence has been broadened in that languages known are more or less a flavor choice, but it’s useful for about half the classes with spellcasting capabilities (Assassin/Champion/Scholar/Wizard) and covers “dungeon perception/navigation capabilities” which are pretty important in the otherworldly nightmare incursions. Given that Wisdom in most OSR games was most useful for gaining Experience Point bonuses, dropping it for Willpower as an all-purpose “mental defense” was a good idea given that Primary Attributes cover Wisdom’s original role as detailed under Professions.
But that’s not all! Attributes can potentially increase as you gain levels. Every level up you choose two of them (one of which must be your Profession’s Primary Attribute) and you roll a d20 and compare it to the (normal, non-damaged) score. If you rolled higher you increase said attribute by 1 if it’s 13 or higher, 2 if it’s 9-12, and 3 points if it’s 1-8. Rolling equal to or lower has no effect, unless it’s a Primary Attribute in which case it increases by 2 points if 1-8 or by 1 if 9-12.
I like this: it allows for a sense of progression, and makes it easier to shore up weaker attributes should the player wish to focus on improvement. Thus a mere score of 5 or 6 isn’t a total lost cause.Professions
are TNU’s class equivalents, and we have eight of them representing broad archetypes. Each profession has two Primary Attributes (one for Thieves) which determines how much bonus Experience Points one gets for having high scores in related fields (but you’re penalized for having a low score). They also have Hit Dice ranging from 1d4 to 1d8, which not only determines Disposition at the start of a day* but is also used as the primary damage die for wielded weapons: two-handed weapons can deal damage one die higher, but poor-quality, improvised, and unarmed weapons deal damage one die size smaller. This means that a mere dagger in the hands of an Assassin or Fighter can deal more damage than a polearm-wielding Wizard. Classes that deal automatic bonus damage under certain circumstances have a unified progression: +1d8 at levels 1st thru 3rd, +1d10 at 4th thru 5th,** and +1d12 at 7th to 9th.Edition Changes:
The automatic bonus damage cases merely rolled normal damage on a miss, but double the dice on a proper hit. In 2nd Edition said option gets stronger as you increase in level, given that there are no profession with Hit Dice greater than 1d8. It was also possible for casting classes with negative modifiers in their relevant mental attribute score to begin play knowing no spells, but in 2nd Edition you don’t “lose” spells beyond your base number due to having a low score.
*that’s right, your “hit points” aren’t set in stone.
**This seems to be a repeated typo, and I take it that +1d10 is meant to be 4th thru 6th.
A few classes also have restrictions, where their special attributes cannot be used if wearing weapons or armor too “heavy” for them, and all classes have automatic proficiencies in related Skills for purposes of saving throws and general knowledge.
All PCs use the same experience progression and the “level cap” is at 10. Well technically 10th, but at that point you have “won the game” and you either continue playing as though you’re 9th level or retire to a location with meaning to your PC. Their chosen location is never plagued by nightmare incursions again, and depending on the campaign’s accomplishments may be as large as a kingdom or as small as a farm or single neighborhood.Edition Changes:
2nd Edition added a sort of subclass system for half of the professions in a customizable choice of a unique attribute, represented by a specific order or discipline. Each profession has around 3 options, and the Fighter gets 5. Scholars and Wizards have no subclasses, while the Champions and Cultists already have customizable options in the form of their cause and/or faith.Assassins
are part of secret orders that waged subtle warfare against their patron’s enemies. Their history dates back to the Age of Chaos, and they now find their influence dwindling in the Age of Law. Still, there’s always a use for their talents, and a few even ply their trade against the forces of nightmare. They cannot be of Good alignment or wear plate armor, but they have a huge amount of automatic Skills and deal bonus damage (even on a miss) against foes they attack by surprise or from behind. They add their level to overcome attempts involving sneaky stuff, physical attack rolls, and attack first when charging foes even if said foe has a longer-reach weapon. Their subclasses represent unique assassin orders, and have overall good choices: adding level to base Armour rating when unarmored, begin knowing and can learn spells, or is never surprised and adds level to initiative rolls.
Overall a pretty strong class.Bards
are a party’s heart and soul, keeping their spirits up where others may fall. They cannot be of Evil alignment or use plate armour, and their automatic Skills veer mostly towards the performative and social as well as “bardic knowledge” picked up from stories and news. They can transfer their own Disposition to allies on a 1 for 2 basis (lose 1, grant 2) as a simple action, add their level to overcome rolls for performances, and allies gain advantage on re-rolling Disposition in their presence during rest periods. Their subclasses are quite diverse: begin knowing and can learn spells, add level to initiative rolls and a few roguish/thief-like Skills, and add their level to physical attack rolls.
The Bard’s rather different in that the default class is more of a morale-based healer, and it’s Skills are better-used in the community than the dungeon.Champions
are the setting’s Paladin equivalent. But they’re closer to 4th and 5th Edition D&D’s interpretation of the class, which can hold ideals besides Law and Good. They cannot be of Neutral alignment or use their special attributes while hiding their Alignment (defined as keeping quiet and avoiding displays of religious/ideological symbols upon their person). They don’t have many Skills, their automatic ones in regards to the tenets, rituals, and talking points of their cause plus a single hobby at GM discretion. Their base special attributes include granting advantage on Disposition or Psychic Armour rerolls to companions who share their Alignment, can auto-detect those who share their Alignment, auto-detect the presence of magic that requires or targets their Alignment, and advantage on all saves against magic that targets their Alignment. They add their level to physical attack rolls and social overcome attempts to defend the tenets of their Alignment.
Overall a rather situational class best used in parties of a shared worldview. But their subclass options open them up to the meat of choices. Their bonus class features, secondary Primary Attribute, and free equipment is based on whether they champion Chaos, Evil, Good, or Law. Champions of Chaos gain spellcasting capability but cannot cast spells of the Law school, Evil deals bonus automatic bonus damage even on a miss with a certain subclass of weapons (axes, bows, swords, pole arms, etc) chosen by the PC, Good allows the laying of hands to restore lost attribute score points and removal of Wounds, and Law can transfer Disposition to allies much like a Bard can.
The Champion is a good combat-heavy class, although it’s a bit mixed in practical play. I’ll talk about Alignment proper later, but Champions of Chaos and Evil are in a sticky situation in that their ideologies can easily generate increased Resentment in communities and as such make things harder for the rest of the party. In Chaos’ case you’re either a pagan worshiper or, if secular, some variety of radical that wants to overthrow the feudal social order. For Evil, you just like to hurt people and spread suffering. In the case of Law you literally follow the principles of the Divine’s Law given that a copy of said holy text is part of your bonus starting equipment. While spells are still an attractive option, about half of the subclasses are much easier to insert into typical adventuring parties right out the gate.Cultists
are the Clerics of the setting, but what makes them different is that they serve the pagan gods of old and thus their faiths are illegal. They cannot be of Lawful alignment, and must ‘tithe’ half their earned XP to their cult and ‘buy back’ this lost XP via donations of cyphers (TNU’s gold piece equivalent) towards advancing their cult’s cause. They can use shields and light armour and can choose two types of weapon groups in which to be proficient, but lose their special attributes when using other kinds of weapons and armour. Their automatic Skills include those particular to their religion, how to hide their religious affiliation, as well as one mundane occupation. They add their level to physical attack rolls with proficient weapons, can know and learn spells, chooses one “privileged school” of magic particular to their faith,* and can choose one creature type which they can “turn” much like a normal Cleric. As there are only six creature types in this system (beasts, dwellers in the deep, faeries, golems, humans, undead), the choices are broad in that there are no real bad options.
*meaning that when randomly rolling for known spells at chargen, they can roll on a more limited table of relevant spells rather than the entire table.
Overall Cultists are decent fighters much like their standard OSR class, although they have more versatility in that their choices for weapon proficiency, turning, and even spells can be customized. They do have a bit of a role-playing challenge like the Champion in that being an illegal faith means that they can get in trouble with the law and generate Resentment more easily.Fighters
are exactly what you think, and have absolutely no restrictions for their class. They get a decent amount of automatic Skills related to manual labor, wilderness survival, and generic ‘soldier things’ plus bonus hobby/background Skill(s) at the GM’s discretion. Their special attributes include automatic bonus damage on all physical attacks, can increase their Disposition to their level whenever they start a fight if their current value is lower, and add their level to all physical attacks and overcome rolls involving intimidation. Their five subclasses represent various cultural traditions and fighting styles, and have some good options: advantage on rolls in finding and hiring martial retainers, add level to initiative, grant advantage to ally’s attack roll vs. a target (or group of related targets) you hit, armour is technically weightless for carrying capacity as long as you wear it, or can fight unarmed at no damage penalty and attack first when charging even if a foe has a longer-reach weapon.
The Fighter is rather straightforward in what it does. Their automatic bonus damage is a real killer, in that unlike the Assassin’s ‘sneak attack’ they are dealing this bonus damage all of the time. An Evil Champion may hit said the same ratio of damage with the same frequency, but only with a single weapon type, whereas the Fighter is a threat with any non-magical attack. I was a bit surprised that the class is also a very suitable Ranger-type, in that none of the other professions have Skills related to wilderness survival (sans the Bard but for “travelling”).Scholars
are the jack-of-all-trades class. They are learned folk who seek to apply their knowledge in solving the world’s problems, be that in a laboratory, the courts, or the nightmare incursions. They cannot be of Chaotic alignment, use their special attributes when wearing non-magical plate, and gain no damage die bonus for non-magical two-handed weapons.* Their automatic Skills are all avenues of law, medicine, and philosophy plus an additional academic field or non-academic hobby or job. Whenever they spend a Turn searching, they always find hidden things in a dungeon of their Level or lower and always save against their full Dexterity score when searching a dungeon regardless of its level.** They also have Psychic Armour and roll their Hit Die (1d4) to determine its value just like Disposition, can use any magic item and its benefits regardless of whatever restrictions it may normally have, and begin knowing and are capable of learning spells. They can roll on more specific tables for spells depending on their alignment should they so choose: Battle for Evil, Healing for Good, Law for Lawful, but Neutral has to do the full d100 randomized results.
* a rather unique call-out in that other classes don’t specify the magicness of restricted equipment.
**this means that they’re great trap-detectors.
Scholars also restore twice as many attribute score points and Wounds as normal whenever treating someone’s injuries, and can auto-restore attribute points/Wounds equal to their level provided their patients haven’t been injured for more than a day. The Scholar can only do the latter once per patient until said patient suffers another injury, and can only tend to a number of patients equal to their level (and can select themselves for self-healing).
Despite the lack of subclasses, Scholars already have a lot of things going for them. They aren’t very good in combat, and in D&D terms are akin to a triple-classed cleric/thief/mage (or cleric/thief if they’re Good). They have a bit of a different role than Bards or Lawful Champions, in that they are healers but for the more long-term and debilitating conditions.Thieves
cover all manner of criminal professions that require cloak and dagger skullduggery, but aren’t as martial as Assassins. They cannot use their special attributes while wearing plate, and have a Skill list near-identical to that of the Assassin’s. They add their level on initiative rolls and overcome attempts regarding sneaky stuff and social trickery, can search an area faster and more in-depth than other Professions which normally require a full Turn. Thieves also automatically find something hidden in a dungeon of their level or lower if they spend a full proper Turn searching. Like Scholars they save vs their full Dexterity in higher-level dungeons. Their subclasses represent specialized crimes: advantage on perception/search/research for a place they plan on breaking into, advantage on persuasion and social rolls involving deception, advantage on rolls for finding and hiring retainers in the criminal underworld, and advantage on rolls when calling upon favors and contacts among criminals.
The Thief, much like the Fighter, is good at what it does. Comparisons to the Assassin will be inevitable; they are much better at finding hidden things and (barring one of the Assassin’s subclasses) can act quicker when it comes to initiative. However, the Thief is like the Fighter in that it’s the one of only 2 classes that cannot start with and learn spells, either by default or via subclass, and the Assassin is overall a better fighter in combat.Wizards
are #notlikeotherspellcasters. Whereas a Cultist, Scholar, or other profession can delve into the mystic arts, they typically do so in the pursuit of an unrelated cause. Wizards dedicate themselves fully to the study of magic as an end in and of itself. Their restrictions more or less mandate nothing heavy: can’t be encumbered, cannot wear plate armour, and cannot use a shield if they hope to use their special abilities, and gain no damage bonus from two-handed weapons. Their automatic Skills include science, letters,* magical knowledge, and other hobbies and jobs at the GM’s discretion. Not only do they have Psychic Armour like a Scholar, they begin play knowing spells and can cast spells better than others. If they fail to control a spell they can lose 1d4 Willpower to avoid miscasting,** and if they are at risk of having a spell become corrupted or a formula being destroyed they can prevent this via a successful Willpower save. Furthermore, when rolling to determine what spells they start with, they can choose for each spell whether they roll on the full spell table or the table of a specific school of their choice. This allows them a more tailored variety of spell options than other classes.
*unsure if they mean the writing of letters or the written word in general.
**which is sort of like a critical fumble in that something bad happens depending on the results of a random table.
The Wizard has no subclasses, but it doesn’t really need any. They are defined by their spells, and have a lot of versatility in this area. The only area they can’t fill in for is being anything other than a fragile glass cannon. They aren’t great as mundane skill users beyond a few “smart things” which the Scholar is better at.
After the Professions proper we have miscellaneous details, including reiteration of common rules and stats in one location as well as a d100 table of every spell in the book, separated into ten schools of magic with ten spells each. I will cover the spells in question and said schools proper in Chapter 5.Alignment
gets a one page write-up, and is a bit different in TNU in that it still has the good/evil/law/chaos axis axiom, but is different in that you can only be one: if you’re Good, you cannot also be Lawful. Alignment represents the highest ideal for a character rather than a mixture of traits. Good and Evil are pretty much the same as in normal D&D, although in the case of Evil it mentions that said individuals are capable of ‘being nice’ or having friends but are all-consumed with a desire to hurt people. They may or may not be able to channel these urges into specific venues, aka a hated group vs. wanting to hurt everyone in general. Chaotic people are individualists and believe in non-coercive and non-hierarchical social structures...although this makes one ask how this factors into pagans and Cultists, who tend to pledge allegiance to a higher power. Neutral characters care mostly about personal gain and/or their own close social circles as opposed to following a greater cause. Law are those who wish to maintain societal harmony, and in the Kingdoms of Dreams often goes hand in hand with following the tenets of the Divine’s Law.
This alignment system is bound to raise questions like any other; this section implies that foreigners unknowing of the Divine’s Law can still be Lawful, although the Champion’s bonus equipment being a written copy of the Law seems to tie said alignment to an objective cosmic order. The association of Chaos and paganism elsewhere in the book also hints at this, but Chaotic people (and Champions of Chaos) can also be advocates of secular ideologies. I can see an Evil PC being potentially doable in the vein of a Dexter Morgan who learned to channel their sadism against socially acceptable targets such as monsters and the nightmare incursions. Although like with any gaming group, this requires some Session 0 talk and proceeding with caution.Money, Equipment, & Social Class
rounds out this chapter and is quite lengthy in covering a lot of material. In the Kingdom of Dreams, cyphers are the main currency and represent a variety of metal coins so named for having royal cyphers, seals, and other designations stamped upon them in mints. Paper money in the form of bank notes exists, and coins can be broken up into smaller pieces for fractional costs. PCs start play with 3d6x10 cyphers plus clothes befitting their social station and a home or a job for free. Alternatively they can roll for a random set of starting gear depending upon their Social Class.
Carrying capacity is simplified in comparison to D&D. All items are divided into Tiny Items (carry as many as you want provided you have enough pockets and bags), Small Items (anything you can fit into a pocket), Regular Encumbering Items (strapped to body or carried in one hand), and Large Encumbering Items (require 2 or more hands to carry proficiently). You can carry a number of Small Items equal to your Health score and a number of Encumbering Items equal to 4 + your Health modifier, although Large Encumbering Items count as 2 Regular Encumbering Items past the first Large one of its type and 3 for every item thereafter. When your number of Small and/or Encumbering Items exceeds your limit, you become Encumbered.
In most cases equipment is on a table and has no description unless a special rule calls for it. Much like OSR D&D, armour is affordable for most PCs barring the heaviest varieties. Unarmoured has a 10 for your AC/Armour Rating, whereas Light and Heavy Armour are 13 and 15. Shields and Tower Shields add +1 or +2 respectively, while plate armour is a hearty 17 but at 1,500 cyphers is well out of a starting PC’s price range. Barding exists for animals but is much more expensive than their bipedal counterparts.Edition Changes:
Being mounted used to give you +1 Armour Rating vs attacks from the ground, but no longer. The Armour Rating of more nimble animals such as dogs and horses is lower (now 12, used to be 13). Barding now gives either a default Armour Rating, or increases the base value by +1 or +2 depending on whichever value is greater.
Weapons are a bit odd in that we have a table of different types and prices. However, the specifics of weapons are much less important on account that the damage die is guaranteed to be the same due to keying off of a profession’s Hit Die. Basically if it specifies it can be wielded 2-handed, or is a polearm (for changing and guarding against charges) the weapon in question doesn’t really matter. Things are different when it comes to ranged weapons: each entry gives an approximate range in yards, and bows shoot farther than crossbows and firearms. Crossbows and firearms need to be reloaded via one round’s worth of action. On the plus side, crossbows tend to be cheaper, while a bandolier of holstered pistols can be packed together as a single Large Encumbering item. What this means is that regular bows are overall a superior choice unless you’re on a budget.
Social Class is an optional rule. Depending on the GM, the 3d6 result of someone’s starting money result is their Social Class, which is a 7th attribute score. Or the GM can allow players to choose their Social Class if they’re feeling generous. This attribute replaces Charisma when dealing with legal and social institutions and also on first impressions when meeting law-abiding people of the Kingdoms of Dreams. The middling results (6 to 15) cover a wide range of peasants, middle class, and community figureheads ranging from slaves, laborers, and criminals of varying degrees of “respectability” to knights, wealthy merchants, and barons at the upper end. The outliers (4-5, 16-17) cover most slaves and financially destitute people or nobility and community leaders. The terrible 3 means that you’re a homeless vagrant, an expendable slave, or deemed innately “spiritually unclean” by virtue of birth. 18 means that you’re royalty or belong to a powerful noble house. Being privileged has its privileges. A score of 13 or higher grants you one free piece of non-armour equipment as a family heirloom.
Random Starting Gear is divided into a set of tables for each relevant Social Class modifier. And they do a good job of giving balanced, relevant options even if you’re of low ranking. A few results even given unique options that you cannot buy, like a magic item or some special relic with an implied adventure hook. Each table also has automatic free starting equipment based on your class and whether or not you know any spells. I’m not going to go over each of the results, but showcase some interesting options. Barring a few exceptions these are not results in and of their own, but often come with other equipment:
A pistol that fires the concentrated anger of a forgotten civilization’s people and never needs reloading.
A magical cloak that has the protection of heavy armour and lets one sneak around like a thief.
The good will of an innkeeper who can grant the PC free room and board.
Rivalry with a noble house that prevents the PC from rising in status.
An official deed to an empty piece of land gifted to the PC by their elder sibling.
A piece of treasure gained from tomb-robbing: the player tells the GM the name of one person who died on the expedition and why their PC misses them, and the GM then tells the player what item it is.
A ring that makes one immune to acid, cold, or heat based damage (player chooses one) when worn.
A letter from the nightmare realm offering the PC a crown of their own should they betray their royal kin.Thoughts So Far:
There’s quite a bit of changes to a few D&D traditions ruleswise, but in most cases they’re either for the better or better reflect the base setting. I do like the peculiar touch of a world where “arcane magic” tied to science and learning is praised, but religious “divine magic” is distrusted. Each of the 8 Professions have their strong points, and there’s a good bit of options for customization. The compromise between a full skill system vs OSR minimalism is a nice touch too.
Breaking off classes from pre-selected spell lists while giving them options to roll on specialized tables, is another “compromise option” between restriction vs. pure versatility. Between that and subclasses, TNU professions are overall broader in scope than their OSR counterparts yet still manage to emulate the functions of said roles in a recognizable way.
I have some mixed feelings about a few things. In most OSR games various classes had different “to-hit” progressions in the form of confusing matrices or descending AC. TNU is closer to 5e in having an ascending defense score, which I like. But adding one’s level to physical attacks for the martial classes or for “favored weapons” makes said classes noticeably stronger in a straight-up fight than others as they gain levels. Even a Thief, who is less frail than a Wizard, isn’t going to be hitting any more accurately if both of their Dexterity/Ferocity scores are the same. I’m also a bit unsure whether I like Social Class or feel that it’s an unnecessary complication. Royal status doesn’t count for much when all you have is your party and retainers while out in the wilds or deep in the dungeons, but it does provide some minor yet notable advantages and/or disadvantages and I do like the Random Gear Charts.Join us next time as we cover community support, social institutions, and other Sims-like rules in Chapter 4: Carousing in the Kingdoms of Dreams!