Ethnis Lite RPG
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We are going to make Ethnis no matter what, but the love and resources given to us by our fans drives us and makes Ethnis a reality sooner.
Starting the Adventure
What do you need to play?
DiceFudge Dice to be Specific. These Dice are 6 sided, with 2 sides blank, 2 sides with '-', and 2 sides with '+'. Ethnis Lite requires having at least 8 of these dice.
Character SheetEthnis Lite's character sheets are all available on World Anvil under the Ethnis Lite RPG system, you can also print them out for use away from the computer.
A GridThis one is optional, but if you want to keep track of player and npc positioning, a grid either on paper or digital can help.
Creating the Narrator Character
1: Collaborate DesiresTo create a Narrator, first gather everyone and review what Themes, Tone, and Trials everyone wants to see in the game. Have everyone, Narrator included, write a prioritized list of three things they want from each, then discuss. Combine the lists together and pare them down to 2 Tones, 3 Themes, and 4 Trials—this will become the basis of how the Narrator approaches the design of the Campaign.
2: Narrator AbilitiesNext, comb through the Narrator Abilities and choose 3 of the Abilities which align with the Tones, Themes, and Trials everyone has agreed upon. Announce which abilities you have taken.
3: PersonalityFrom this, built the personality of the Narrator. This determines how they approach scenarios and what they can do to interact with the party. Personifying your Narrator helps you fall into the role of Game Master, and brings you into the act of play as well.
ToneThe tone of the story is the composure with which it's told.
Upbeat • Grim • Gritty • Hopeful • Somber • Melodramatic • Subtle
ThemesThe themes are the sort of narrative arcs you would like to explore within a game. They are the emotional motive of the story.
Sacrifice • Family • Expression of Self • Exploring the Unknown
TrialsThe sorts of events the party would like to have happen. Not everyone wants heavy combat, not everyone wants politics.
Combat • Puzzles • Negotiations • Survival • Dungeoneering • Vehicular Combat
Player: Creating your CharacterA Character is born a Sophont within a Provenance, raised by Banner and bearing a Mantle. It is this background which informs the Stats they grew up with, and what Gear they utilize.
1: Building Your BackstoryChoose a Sophonce, Provenance, Banner, and a Mantle from those available to the setting you're playing in.
Narrator: Higher-Level CampaignsIf you want to start off the Party with more history and power, give them more Leveling Tokens to spend.
Have the Players tell a small story for each Level Token Spent; a Level represents experience, make them tell you about their experiences!
SophontWhat Sophont you choose affects your starting Attributes, Traits, and Abilities, and may change how characters in the world view and treat you.
ProvenanceYour Provenance is where you hail from. Hub worlds are the most common, but space stations and colonies crop up as well. Your Provenance determines a starting Ability and Value.
BannerYour Banner is the major societal influence you grew up within. Each comes with its own unique societal codes and philosophies. Your Banner determines a starting Ability and Value.
MantleYour Mantle is your chosen Profession. There are many to choose from, from the laborious, to the dangerous, to the academic. Your Mantle determines some of your available Abilities.
StatsEvery Character is given a selection of Skill Points to spend on Skills and Attributes. These complement their Abilities and are how they make their Skill checks to complete actions.
GearEvery Character is given a selection of Plot Points to spend on acquiring Gear. Gear includes weapons, armor, vehicles, and augments, and affects all aspects of play.
2: Calculating Your StatsYour stats are calculated from your Attributes. Here is the attributes and what they do.
Damage ResistLowers the damage of incoming attacks
Vitality (Minimum 0)
FatigueThreshold before exhaustion affects checks
VIT + UBS + LBS +RFX
SanityHow much mental strain you can handle
10 + NRV
EncumbranceWhat you can carry overall, and in hand
UBS + LBS
MetaYour reserve of meta
2*MTP (Minimum 0)
Determining Turn OrderTurn order is determined by RFX from highest to lowest. If two Belligerents have the same RFX, players take precedence. If all else fails, settle by dice, coin toss, or fist fight.
RoundsEach round is 5 seconds long. Each active participant—those can can make actions and choices, regardless of whether or not they are a player—is a Belligerent. Their turns are resolved first, then the Narrator takes the remaining dice for their own turn.
1) Belligerent Turns
Everyone indicates how many dice they will throw by placing that many dice before them. Once everyone had committed, they throw their dice together. These dice become their check pool for the rest of the round, and will be used for actions and reactions. You Ante even if the Scenario resolves in a single round. Action
Starting with the Belligerent with the highest Reflex and working to the Belligerent with the least, everyone takes their Actions and the Narrator resolves them. You may choose to Hold your Turn instead when yours comes around. While holding, you may interject at the beginning of another Character’s Turn and take yours first, so long as their Reflex is lower. You do not have to play your entire pool, but if you are targeted you must use your dice in defense.
PartialsInvoking Abilities • Reloading • Restoring Charge • Using Items • Swapping Weapons• Communication
ChecksCasting • Movement • Attacking • Analyzing Evidence • Climbs • Using Complicated Objects
SavesSpell countering • Parrying Attacks • Dodging Traps • Veiling Motive • Shrouding a Spell
2) Player Upkeep
After all Belligerents have taken their turn, Players move their unused dice to the center of the table. This becomes the Narrator's Pool, which is used to invoke their abilities in their turn.
3) Narrator’s Turn
The Narrator uses the Narrator's Pool to take their own actions. These actions are the Abilities they purchased during Narrator Creation and whenever they have leveled up. These allow them to spice up the encounter with bonuses or maluses.
Enemy belligerents do not take their turn at this time. Their turn was during the Belligerent Turns.
4) Round Upkeep
All dice are returned to their owners and the next round begins with the same turn order.
Resolving ChecksThe Ethnis Lite Ruleset uses Narrative Dice to resolve Conflicts. Before you make your check you must first determine the Factors—the things which may affect the check for the better or the worse. This includes: Environmental Factors, Skill Factors, and Oppositional Factors.
- Environmental Factors come from the outside world and extenuating factors.
- Skill Factors Skill factors or how the Players Skills may add-to or detract from the check.
- Oppositional Factors are the Skill checks opposing the person making the check.
A Bonus is any positive adjective which can be applied to the description of a situation
|+8||Blessed||Nothing short of a miracle just occured, shutting down the opposition.|
|+6||Enthusiastic Push||A weakness is exploited, a great call is made. Massive Progress is achieved.|
|+4||Gain Momentum||Substantial progress towards the goal is made. Introduce a Bonus which cannot be removed.|
|+2||Gain Ground||You make no progress on your goal, but introduce another Bonus to the situation.|
|0||Gridlocked||You make no progress on your goal, except perhaps to stall the effect of it another round|
|-2||Lose Ground||You make no progress on your goal, and introduce another Malus to the situation.|
|-4||Solid Setback||The goal is pushing back, careful planning is needed to recover. Introduce a Malus which cannot be resolved.|
|-6||Devastating Blow||Your goal plays against your strength, causing massive setbacks and making recovery difficult.|
|-8||Cursed||A terrible set of circumstances has played out. The goal is cursed, mortal threats loom.|
It is inevitable that your adventures will take their toll, leaving you exhausted, wounded, or insane. These, collectively, are known as Trauma. How these affect you, how you handle them, and what the long term effects are will differ per character, per trauma, and per situation. Make your choices wisely and invest into your safety, as a bad turn of events can can end in broken limb, shattered mind, or catatonic exhaustion. Read about Health, Sanity, and Stamina to learn more.
The toll of adventure is carved from the minds and bodies of its adherents. Everyone, from faceless commoner to mighty Sovereign, bears the scars of their trials. Some trials punish the body with loss of flesh and limb, others punish the mind with the scars of trauma.
DowntimeDowntime is broken into half-hour chunks during which the party Travels, Rests, or works on Projects. This is also a good opportunity to look more closely at your character and consider spending Plot on upgrades if you're in a good position to do so.
TravelIn all adventurers it is inevitable that there is a bit of travel that needs to be done.
Whether it's a quick drive across town or a massive trek through the stars, travel is what tends to be the limiter on how much downtime you have.
RestAs described in the Stamina article, you can take this as an opportunity to kick up your heels and catch some much-needed shut-eye.
Whether it's a few minutes or a few hours, it can make all the difference to success.
ProjectsProjects are undertakings of Skill and resources done to create, upgrade, or repair something.
Projects are extended Checks played similarly to normal Contests, and can take anywhere from five minutes to several days ingame.
Spend PlotYou can take this time to spend Plot on Levels and Gear. For more information on how to do that, read the next section!
Remember, in order to spend Plot you have to tell a small story justifying whatever you've purchased. Use those creative juices!