Core Rules

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The following are the main and essential rules that emphasize the entire DBU system. You will learn how each of these rules affects general and specific game functions. The better you comprehend and absorb them, the easier it will be working within the DBU engine. Every rule on this page will always be applied to every instance during game play unless explicitly stated otherwise. Remember, as stated in the Core Concepts, specific rules will also supersede general rules in nearly every case.

While reading the rules you will come across many terms. There are cases where some terms might not yet be defined. In these situations, we will provide bracketed references that will direct you to noted pages for more information.

We will start with the three-step ‘how-to-play’ guidelines – the fundamental framework for everything that happens in the DBU system.

How to play. These simple steps apply for all situations, whether you are cautiously searching for an artifact, monologuing with a villain, or in a pitched battle against a gang of saibamen. 

1. The Architect describes the environment and the world – The Architect tells you about your surroundings, your characters, and what is near you, presenting a basic variety of options for you to choose from.
2. You decide and describe what you want to do – Maybe a party leader speaks for the whole group, “We’ll attack the target on the left,” as an example. Sometimes, different characters might do different things; while you might attack a close enemy, your friend might move to protect a critical person of interest. You don’t need to take turns during typical role-play events, however during a Combat Encounter (See – Actions & Combat), an Architect will use Initiative Order to resolve actions.  Encounters are where actions are more structured and you (and the Architect) will take turns choosing and resolving each action as it occurs, in order. This is called the Initiative Order. However, most of the time, play is fluid and flexible, adapting to the conditions of the scenario.
3. The Architect narrates the results of action – The results of one action often will lead to another decision or action, which brings you back to step one.

Your actions take place in your group’s and the Architect’s imaginations, relying on the ARC’s verbal imagery. Some Architects might use music, objects, sound effects, and other means to set the mood. An ARC might also use different voices for different villains, monsters and other characters. Additionally, an Architect might use a grid map and miniatures to represent each character involved in a scene to help keep track of events taking place.

Dice

The Dice. The DBU game uses polyhedral dice – you can find these types of dice at nearly any game store as well as a lot of bookstores. The game uses a specific number-sided dice in all instances. A die is referred to as a d6 or a d10, where the letter ‘d’ stands for die and the numerical value stands for the number of sides it has. For example, when asked to roll 3d10+1d4 you will roll three ten-sided dice and one four-sided dice.

When rolling dice for any reason you are always entitled to at least 1d10. As an example, if you are rolling 1d10+1d6 and are subjected to Penalization Dice you would keep the natural result of the d10 and lose the d6 result. However, if you were rolling 2d10+1d6, you would lose one of the d10s.

Dice Types. There are several dice types in the DBU, described below:

  • Natural Result (NR) is the face-up numeric value shown on the dice after it is rolled.
  • Dice Score (DS) is the total value of all Natural Results from a specific roll, plus any additional bonuses or modifiers.
  • Extra Dice (ED) are additional dice added to a roll. There are rules, such as Tier of Power (See – Below), which will grant you Extra Dice. In these cases, the bonus will be described as +xdn, where x is the amount of dice you roll and n is the number of faces present on that dice.
  • Dropped Dice (DD) are dice removed from a specific roll. BEFORE you roll, you remove a designated number of dice. 
  • Penalization Dice (PD) are dice removed from a specific roll. AFTER you roll, you remove a designated number of dice. The value of the rolled dice is removed from the Dice Score. Typically, a rule will specify which dice would be removed.
  • Repeat Dice (RD) are dice that are re-rolled. When asked to re-roll a die, separate the previous roll from the Dice Score and re-roll the associated dice, then add the new result onto the Dice Score. The second result is always kept and you can NEVER re-roll a die that has already been re-rolled.
  • Solid Dice (SD) are dice that can NOT be removed from a roll by any means; both Critical and Botch Results will turn a die into Solid Dice. Solid Dice cannot score Critical or Botch results.

Dice Rules. When rolling a die, there are certain rules that need to be remembered, described below:

  • Critical Result. When you roll a d10 and the Natural Result is a 10, you score a Critical; a Critical allows you to roll 1 additional d10 and add its Natural Result to that Dice Score. Only d10s can score a Critical Result and a Critical die cannot score another Critical – no exploding dice.
  • Botch Result. If you roll a d10 and the Natural Result is a 1, you score a Botch; a Botch reduces your total dice score by 5. Only d10s can score a Botch Result.
  • Keep the best. When a rule directs you to roll multiple dice and keep the highest or best result, roll these dice separate from your regular roll and add the Natural Result back in. For example, if you were to roll a 1d10+1d6 but you had a trait that allowed you to roll a 2d10 and take the highest instead, you would roll the 2d10 and take the higher Natural Result in the place of the 1d10.

Checks

Rolls and Checks. Does your punch hurt a Saibaman, or simply miss? Will the Time Patrol officer believe an outrageous bluff? In all cases where the outcome of an action isn’t clear, the DBU engine relies on dice rolls to determine the success or failure.

Attributes and their Modifiers are the basis for nearly all dice rolls. Ability Checks, combat rolls, and Saving Throws are the main kind of rolls you will make – these types of rolls form the core rolls of the game:

  • Ability Checks are rolls that use your Attributes or Skills – making them the most varied types of rolls,
  • Combat Rolls are the Strike, Wound and Dodge Rolls you make in combat,
  • Saving Throws are the special rolls for avoiding an effect or pushing through some form of barrier.

Roll the dice and add any modifiers. Roll a d10 and add the relevant modifiers and additional dice. You may receive additional dice from your Tier of Power, Talents, Racial Traits or any number of reasons. If you are to apply them to a specific roll, then roll those dice before you apply any Modifiers. Modifiers are derived from one of the seven Attributes and any other bonuses that give a flat number. Modifiers can also come from a multitude of rules that you are entitled to or that are imposed onto you.

Compare the dice score to an opposition target. A Passive Opposition is an obstacle that is fixed, meaning something that isn’t actively trying to oppose you. It could be anything, such as lifting a heavy object, climbing a cliff, or any otherwise unchanging hindrance. The Target Number of this opposition is static and will be determined by the Architect or a rule.
An Active Opposition means the obstacle is actively attempting to oppose you. This can be an enemy combatant or any other hindrance with a varying quality. The Target Number of this type of opposition changes and will be rolled in accordance with a rule.

Target Number. The Target Number (TN) is a numeric value that represents how hard an action is to do. When you check to see if an action succeeds, you will roll dice and add any relevant modifiers or subtract penalties, then compare the Dice Score to the TN.

If the Dice Score is equal to or higher than the TN, the roll is a success – you succeed and complete the task. However, if the Dice Score is lower than the TN then it’s a failure. This means you do not overcome the objective or make any progress toward completing the task – your ARC might even give setbacks to a future task for the failure.

When you reach a new Tier of Power, the standard static (Passive Opposition) Target Numbers increase – Each Tier of Power increases the passive Target Numbers by +3. This includes every difficulty level of target number from “very easy” to “nearly impossible.”

DifficultyBase TN
Very Easy3+
Easy6+
Medium9+
Hard12+
Very Hard15+
Nearly Impossible18+

Proficient Roll.  When making an Ability Check or Saving Throw with an aptitude that you are proficient with, decrease the Natural Result requirement to score a Critical Result by -1. Your Critical Result requirement can’t become lower than 7. Additionally, increase your Dice Score by +1(T) when making an Ability Check or Saving Throw you are proficient with.

Base Roll. Sometimes, a roll may refer to the ‘base’ version of an aptitude. When this is the case, it means a roll that is only boosted by your Attribute Modifiers. For example, the Super Full Power Legendary Trait has the Invincible Trait, which allows you to double your base soak value. You would apply this effect before any other effects, such as the Durable Form Aspect that the transformation possesses.

Tier of Power

Tier of Power. Tier of Power is a fundamental concept in the DBU system. Whenever a bonus has a (T) involved, it means to multiply what was before it by your Tier of Power. For example, if you see a bonus of +2(T), that means that at Tier of Power 1, it’s a +2, at Tier of Power 2, it’s a +4 and at Tier of Power 3, it’s a +6. If you see a bonus of +1d6(T), it’s a bonus of +1d6 at Tier of Power 1, +2d6 at Tier of Power 2 and +3d6 at Tier of Power 3.

For each Tier of Power after the first, you gain something known as Tier of Power Extra Dice. These are added onto all rolls you make, with the exception of rolls with their own specified dice (for example, the Barrage Maneuver. You roll Strike normally, which means that at Tier of Power 3, you would roll your conventional 1d10 but due to your Tier of Power, you’d add an additional +1d8. However, as you are specifically informed to roll a 2d10 to calculate damage instead of a typical Wound Roll, you do not add your Tier of Power dice).

As an interesting side-note, if you reach a d10 with your Tier of Power dice, it is able to score Criticals or Botches like your usual d10.

To help remember what Tier of Power Extra Dice you’d use, see the table below:

Power LevelTier of PowerExtra Dice
1-41
5-92+1d4
10-143+1d6
15-194+1d8
20-245+1d10
25-296+1d10+1d4

Price of Power. The Ki Point cost of Signature Techniques and Magical Abilities increase by +1/2 of their base cost for each Tier of Power after the first. For example, if your Signature Technique had a cost of 10 Ki Points, it would cost 15 Ki Points at Tier of Power 2 and 20 Ki Points at Tier of Power 3. Most other abilities have a (T) beside their Ki Point Cost, letting you know to increase it when at higher Tiers of Power.

Size

Size. The size of your character is important and can affect your Attributes and Aptitudes. Your race will give you the typical, average size that your character will be, but you can always elect to make your character smaller or larger than average to give a unique and interesting degree of creativeness. Your character can be Small, Medium or Large – check with your ARC to discuss changing the average size of your character.

SizeM Threat RangeSpeed ModifierDodge ModifierSoak ModifierSquares Occupied
Tiny (Example)Adjacent-3+3T-2T1
Small(Example)Adjacent-1+2T-1T1
Medium(Example)Adjacent+0+0T+0T1
Large(Example)Adjacent +1 Square+1+0T+1T2×2
Enormous(Example)Adjacent +2 Squares+3-1T+2T3×3
Gigantic(Example)Adjacent +4 Squares+5-2T+3T4×4
Size penalties can NOT reduce any aptitude lower than 2.

Punching Down. When attacking a target(s) that is 2 or more size categories smaller than you, increase your Wound Rolls by +1d8(T). Moreover, if the target(s) is 3 or more size categories smaller than you all Standard Damage counts as Direct Damage.

Punching Up. When attacking a target(s) that is 2 or more size categories larger than you, increase your Strike Rolls by +1d4(T). Moreover, if that target(s) is 3 or more size categories larger than you, you do not suffer penalties when using the Called Shot Maneuver.

Death

Afterlife. While your character is deceased but has retained their body in the afterlife, typically marked by a halo floating above their head, there are certain factors that come into play. Characters can be given a special permission to enter the living world despite being dead, either for great deeds they’ve accomplished or due to a state of emergency. You can only remain in the living world for 24 hours, if you have been given that permission. After that time, you are automatically returned to the afterlife.

While dead, reduce all of your Stress Tests by -1(T) and reduce all Lethal Damage you would suffer from your own traits by -2(T), this effect can reduce Lethal Damage from sources that cannot typically be reduced.

If you would lose Ki Points through the Draining Aspect, reduce the reduction by 1/2. If you transform into a transformation or stage of a transformation with the Draining Aspect while in the living world, reduce the amount of time you can remain in the living world by -2 hours for each level of the Draining Aspect that transformation has.

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