What is E.Lite?
For Game MastersE.Lite is a toolset designed to help you turn a setting of any scale into an RPG world tailored to the type of play which fits YOUR storytelling. It doesn't matter if you're starting with a rough idea or with tomes of lore—E.Lite guides you in creating a game which is fully your own, one in which you understand the justification for every mechanic and variable.
For PlayersE.Lite is a ruleset designed to be easy-to-learn and rewarding to master. The mechanics of action resolution and crafting, both of which use Fudge Dice, are simple at first. The abilities of the game allow for incredible agency and tactics in your choice by granting you in-character abilities and out-of-character dice control.
NarratorsEven the GM gets to play through the lens of the Narrator, an abstract character to roleplay and who plays against the Players during conflict.
BackstoryLearn the setting lore as you weave your PC into it using lifepath-style character creation. Create a story and stats at the same time!
PlotPlot combines experience and currency. Gain it from obstacles and spend it to grow skills, acquire abilities, upgrade gear, and more.
LevelingThe Party and Narrator level together, leading to a smooth growth in game complexity and difficulty.
ConflictConflict is resolved using Fudge Dice and simple math for quick, fast checks.
Party Dice PoolsYour unused dice affect the party, so plan accordingly! Teamwork has real rewards, so play, coordinate, and control your dice accordingly!
HealthTrack damage as a collection of wounds with effects instead of hitpoints. Triage status effects and face real consequences for damage.
SanityGain and make peace with the traumas of your adventures to become a seasoned, experienced, and wiser character.
CraftingIf it can be acquired, it can probably be built. Crafters add to the party by upgrading everyone's gear!
Custom GearTailor your armor, weapons, and tools by adding new parts and augments as you level. Your gear grows with you!
Helpful StructureGames are run in Beats, Chapters, and Books to help pace play so there's never an "uhh, now what?" moment while running a game.
Roleplay ReinforcingActivate abilities by playing to your character. Level faster for story development. E.Lite can guide any novice and min-maxer into roleplay.
And that's just the basics. We've got more underway, including: body augmentation, cooking, vehicles, vehiclar combat, planes of reality, weather systems, base building, disease and malaise, army management, and heists & chases! We are also working on a ton of starter settings, for those who don't want to implent their own! We've got 10 writers adapting E.Lite into their worlds!
That sounds pretty interesting, I want in!
E.Lite is very much a work-in-progress. Aspects of the system have yet to be fully fleshed out or made public yet. There is very little mentioned on this page that isn't at least in its first drafts, but if you cannot find it, that is because it is hidden for now while we work on it. Please bear with us and mind the dust!
Anyone interested in learning more, player and GM alike, is welcome to join our Discord server. We're happy to get you started in making your own E.Lite setting or putting you on the list for upcoming E.Lite sessions!
What do you need to play?
Dice: Fudge (Or Fate) Dice to be Specific. These Dice are 6 sided, with 2 , 2 , and 2 . E.Lite requires having 8 dice per player. (Amazon)
Character Sheet: E.Lite's character sheets are all available on World Anvil under the E.Lite RPG system, you can also print them out for use away from the computer. You can see an example of the E.Lite Sheet in use here!
Grid: This one is optional, but if you want to keep track of player and NPC positioning, a grid either on paper or digital can help. You can buy many sizes of grid paper online, or use a virtual table top service!
Reading This PageWithin this guide and all related pages are several different note types. Unadorned text, such as this text, is the text you need to read to run and understand the game. These notes each serve a different purpose:
Quotes provide narrative examples of play.
Narrators: You may already have a campaign and setting in mind that you are recruiting players for. In that case, complete this section on your own and fill out a Narrator Sheet so that players can review the Narrator and understand the game at a glance.
Group: Define the Campaign
In Ethnis, campaign and character creation is a group activity. Session 0 of every Campaign involves everyone working together to define what they want from the campaign and designing their characters. 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.
Game Master: Build the Narrator
Why should players get to have all the fun of having a character to roleplay? Game Masters don a Narrator Persona within E.Lite as well, as much for the joy of roleplay as to act as a guide-rail for how the campaign plays and feels. In a nutshell, a Narrator personifies the game becomes, and becomes a conduit for the tone of play. Start out by taking the Tones, Trials, and Themes from the previous step, and writing them down on your Narrator sheet.
Choose 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.
Build a Narrator PersonalityFrom this, build 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.
Now that you have your campaign prepared, you can start with character creation!
Full Narrator Guide
Below is a full guide on the expectations of the Narrator and how to make one, as well as a catalog of Narrator abilities. If this is your first time creating a Narrator, open it up and have a thorough read.
The composure with which the story is told. This affects things like the voice with the Narrator might speak and the music you would pair the game with.
The narrative arcs you would like to explore within a game. These are the emotional motivations of the story—for the individual, the character party, or the table itself.
The sorts of events the party would like to have happen. Not everyone wants heavy combat, not everyone wants politics.
Here's an outline for how character creation works in E.Lite. This may be adjusted per setting; it's the Narrator's responsibility to provide the players a guide to Character Creation for the chosen setting! If your group is ever uncertain of core mechanics, or needs pointers, Join the Ethnis Discord for clarification on items.
1: Build A Backstory
Character creation begins when the Narrator supplies the Players with Backstory options tailored to the setting. The Players pick one option each from that setting's equivalents to Sophont, Provenance, Banner, and Mantle.
|Sophont||Encapsulates your physiological features|
|Provenance||Encapsulates your upbringing and morals|
|Banner||Encapsulates your cultural norms and ethics|
|Mantle||Encapsulates your primary occupation|
Once you have chosen a Sophont, Provenance, Banner, and a Mantle you may move to the next step!
If multiple Players choose the same options, they should consider tying their Backstory together on that overlap.
For example, if you share Sophont you might be related, or if you share a Provenance you might have grown up together!
2: Spend Plot
Plot is your currency for advancement. It's how you get Materials, Gear, Abilities, and Mantra. It's an abstract currency which represents the experiences and potential outcomes of your actions
For any Plot you spend, relate it to the character by making up a one or two sentence story justifying the acquisition.
Read Leveling and Progression for more.
|Attributes||Upgrade attributes to increase different aspects of your character.|
|Skills||Upgrade and purchase skills to increase your ability to succeed in checks.|
|Gear||Purchasing and upgrading Gear can help keep you safe and prepared!|
|Mantles||Mantles serve as your 'classes' so purchasing and upgrading them can affect your abilities and skills.|
The suggested starting Plot for the party without much experience is 20 Plot, but your Narrator may adjust this up or down, or provide other limitations, to fit the intent of the story.
3: Calculate Stats
Next, calculate your Stats. Here is a table of the different Stats, what they do, and how to calculate them.
|Stat||Effect / Usage||Calculation|
|Damage Resist||Lowers the damage of incoming attacks||VIT|
|Stamina||Threshold before exhaustion affects checks||VIT + UBS + LBS + RFX|
|Sanity||How much mental strain you can handle||10 + NRV|
|Encumbrance||What you can carry overall, and in hand||UBS + LBS|
|Mana||Your reserve of mana||2*MTP|
Attributes Vs. Skills
Attributes such as UBS, LBS, VIT, etc. are never used in checks. Attributes are used for calcuations such as damage done, weight carried, health, sanity, etc.
Conflict is how Ethnis handles scenarios of danger, discord, and disagreement. Whenever a challenge rises—a long voyage through a lush jungle, a firefight between space pirates, a fiery debate over the fate of a prisoner—the outcome is determined through Conflict.
Conflict is resolved using the Fudge Dice and Narrator Discretion.
Conflict is broken into Rounds wherein each Actor is a Belligerent. Players Ante first, then all Belligerents act in order of highest RFX score to lowest, and finally the Narrator takes their turn. Once the Conflict is resolved, the final Round continues until all characters have acted.
Rounds are approximately 5 seconds long
Belligerents act in series, not parallel
Belligerent turns are ordered by their RFX
Turn Order Ties
If two Belligerents have the same RFX, players take precedence. If all else fails, settle by dice, coin toss, or fist fight.
Every player who elects to Act this round places between 1 and 8 Fudge Dice on the table. This is their Ante.
All Actions are played from your Ante, you spend your dice to complete them. You are helpless once you've used up your Anted dice, so consider how many you Ante. A larger Ante means more dice for Actions, but it also means a higher risk of peril!
Once everyone has placed their Ante they roll together. The dice do not change for the rest of the Round.
2) Belligerent Actions
Starting with the Belligerent with the highest RFX and working to the Belligerent with the least, everyone either Holds or takes their turn. On your turn, you declare your Actions and the Narrator resolves them.
NPC Belligerents do not use Dice. Instead, the Narrator resolves each according to their Statblock. All NPCs have fixed values for Skills, Attributes, and Behavior to guide the Narrator on how to handle them.
PC Belligerents may use any number of dice for their Actions, but must use at least one per action. You may only declare Checks during your turn, but may React to anything which Targets you on any turn.
Once all Belligerents have taken their turns, The Narrator takes all unused PC dice. This is the Narrator's Pool.
3) Narrator Actions
The Narrator uses the Narrator's Pool to invoke their Abilities or the Abilities of any Belligerent NPCs in play. This can be beneficial or detrimental to the players, depending on what dice they left at the end of a turn. The Narrator must use up as many of the dice as possible.
All dice are returned to their owners and the next round begins with the same turn order.
Even if a Conflict is a single, unopposed PC doing a single action, follow the above format. Declare an intent, place down an Ante of Dice, make your check, resolve it, and give the Narrator the remaining dice.
If something Targets you first, such as a surprise attack from a Belligerent or trap, RFX determines if you are able to React. If your 1/2 of your RFX is greater than the Belligerent's RFX or the trap's danger rating, you may Ante and React as though it has taken the first turn.
Your Speed is 1 Space per point of LBS, so if you have 3 LBS your Speed is 3 Spaces. You first movement is a partial action unless there are Check Factors. Beyond that, you may move as many spaces as you like, but each divisible of your Speed adds another Malus.
Abilities are gained through Backstory or adventure and broaden the capabilities of your PC. Some Abilities are Passive and Some are active—read each for info on how to invoke it, and read the Abilities section for more information
Your PER is a constant Passive for noticing things, but if you want to be more thorough, declare an Investigation Check using one of your Skills.
The most important part of any RPG is understanding how to do anything. In E.LITE, this is handled with Actions. An Action is declared against a Target or in Reaction to a threat. Actions use the Dice you rolled during Ante. Once you have spent all your Dice on Actions, you may not take any more Actions that round.
Follow these steps to Declare and Resolve an Action.
When you want to accomplish an outcome, or react to something, declare your intent to do so. Tell the Narrator what you want to do and which Skill you will attempt it with. Don't forget to roleplay!
2: Resolve against Factors
E.Lite uses Fudge Dice to resolve Conflicts. All Actions are affected by Factors, which either make a situation harder or easier. Factors are divided into Maluses and Bonuses.
The three types of Factors are Environmental, Skill, and Oppositional, and they are applied and Resolved in the following order:
Environmental Factors come from beyond the control of a Belligerent
Skill Factors are how the Acting Belligerent's Skills affect the Check
Oppositional Factors are the Skill Checks opposing the Acting Belligerent
1: Environmental Factors
Once you have declared your Action, the Narrator will present any known Environmental Factors which may affect the Action. They will present it as a Dice pool of Maluses and Bonuses. This is the Action Pool.
2: Skill Factors
Spend Dice from your Ante against the Action Pool with the aim of negating all Maluses. and negate each other. You also gain additional against the Action Pool equal to your Skill Level.
Once you have finished, the Narrator then reveals and applies any hidden Environmental Factors.
3: Oppositional Factors
When your Action opposes the Saves or Outcomes of any other Belligerent's Action, that Outcome becomes an Oppositional Factor. Invert their Outcome—so all become —and apply it to the Action Pool. Whatever remains is the Outcome of your Action.
3: Interpret the OutcomeIf there are any in the Outcome, the Action fails. How are used in various ways depending on the type of Action—they may represent additional damage, secondary attack effects, craftsmanship, and more.
Actions are your interactions with the world. They are resolved during the Action Phase. You cannot take more Actions than your Ante.
Takes no thought, so requires no Dice. Some Abilities grant Free Actions.
Takes no skill, but still requires attention. Partials require an .
Made on a Target or towards a specific outcome. Has a risk of failure.
Made as a response to being the Target of an Action.
You may use any dice for a Check or a Save; a
Dice represent your Actions, Spending a dice represents focusing on something to Act on it.
Negative dice have a negative bearing
Neutral dice have no direct bearing
Positive dice have a positive bearing
Abilities are gained through Backstory or adventure and broaden the capabilities of your PC. Some Abilities intentionally contradict base rules.
Active Abilities are Triggered and Depleted. Read each to determine how it works, what it effects, and how to Trigger it.
Passive Abilities are in effect so long as their conditions are true. If there are no listed conditions, they are always in effect.
Triggering an Ability
You may trigger an Active Ability whenever all of its conditions are met. Using an Active Ability Depletes it, and it cannot be used again until Refreshed.
Full Abilities Guide
The Toll of Adventure
It is inevitable that your adventures will take their toll, leaving you exhausted, wounded, or insane.
These, collectively, are known as The Toll.
How these affect you, how you handle them, and what the long term effects are will differ per character, per Toll, and per situation.
Invest into your well-being! 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.
Downtime is broken into half-hour chunks during which the party Travels, Rests, or works on Projects.
Downtime is a good opportunity to break between sessions, and offers you the opportunity to manage and upgrade your Character.
Whether it's a quick drive across town or a massive trek through the stars, travel is an inevitability, and tends to be the limiter on how much downtime you have.
As described in the Stamina article, you can use your downtime to catch some much-needed shut-eye.
Projects are undertakings of Skill to create, upgrade, or repair Gear. They may take between five minutes and several days to complete.
You can take this time to spend Plot on Levels and Gear. For more information on how to do that, read the next section!
There is no strict level system in E.Lite. Your character is an amalgamation of skills, backstory, abilities, mantles, and gear.
During downtimes you can spend your gained plot to level up these different aspects of your charater, allowing you to grow more powerful as you advance.
Discuss all purchases with your narrator first!
They should approve your purchases and determine if there are any discounts/mark ups depending on narrative context.
You may spend four plot to upgrade any Attribute by 1. An Attribute may never exceed 5.
You may spend four points to either upgrade an existing skill by + (up to a maximum of +++) or pick a new Skill to take. A Skill may not exceed +++.
Refer to the cost of Gear. You may either buy Gear, upgrade existing, or buy an component to attach to the gear.
You may spend six plot to upgrade a Mantle or take a new mantle. Mantles typically grant a skill and an ability.
While it isn't required, we organizing your game into Beats, Chapters, and Books. It is a helpful way to think about your Campaign, keep things moving, and provide an ebb and flow on how you give your tables rewards. It only really works if your Campaign has a goal.