Introduction - Hero Creation - Adventures - Battles
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Adventures are quests or missions that your heroes embark upon.

Every standard adventure is designed for four heroes. If there are less than four players then one or more players need to play more than one hero.

Every player has a token that represents their hero.

Adventures are made up of interconnected Areas. To progress through the adventure the heroes move through one Area to the next and sometimes even need to go back to previous Areas. Sometimes the heroes need to do something in an Area before they can proceed to another Area while sometimes they don't.

Heroes are free to move to whatever location they would like so long as the GM informs them that they are able to do so.

All Areas have a description that must be given by the GM when the heroes first enter them. Areas might also have things the heroes can examine more closely with descriptions of their own, and they might contain people to talk to or objects with which to interact.

When a hero arrives in an Area they place their hero token in it on the map.

Every Area to which the heroes have been is placed on a map. The size of the Area on the map must at least be big enough to hold all four hero tokens.

Areas that are connected to one another have a line between them. An Area can have any number of other Areas connected to it.

When heroes travel from one Area to the next a certain amount of time can be said to have passed. This time depends on the distance between the Areas. However, the GM is free to not keep track of time at all if it's not important.

Some or many Areas have Events in them. Events are additions to the adventure's story and are triggered in some way, perhaps even by simply arriving in their Area. The adventure will describe how Events are triggered.

When an Event is triggered the GM reads its content to tell the players what has happened. Until that time players are free to roleplay in an Area as they desire.

Some Areas contain Plot Forks in them. Forks are like Events except that the players can decide or otherwise affect the outcome in some way. That is, they're like Events with multiple possible endings. Forks can change the course of an adventure!

A good adventure usually has a decent number of Forks since they allow the players to truly put their personal stamp on the adventure.

When players encounter a Fork they should be told that this has occurred, and they should also be told in some way what all their potential choices are.

Some Areas might contain special adventure-related Items for the heroes to find and carry. These are always Items that matter to the adventure in some way such as perhaps being integral to the plot.

Some Areas have Trials in them. These are challenges that test the heroes, and involve dice. They might be something like walking a tight rope across a ravine, or trying to engage in diplomatic relations for the sake of persuasion. Either way Trials work as described below.

At the beginning of a Trial the GM reads its description and goal, says what Ability is being tested, states the Trial's Difficulty, and what failing it entails.

Some Trials can be Plot Forks as well.

By default, Trials only involve one hero, and the difficulty descriptions found below reflect this. (See "Trial Teamwork" below.)

To resolve a Trial:

> The GM and acting player each roll 1d6.
> The GM adds a bonus to their roll based on the difficulty of the Trial:

Very Easy
Very Hard
-3 to -4
-1 to -2
+1 to +2
+3 to +4
+5 to +6

(This table does not take into account PA and IA. To find the equivalent difficulty for a character with positive or negative ranks in these, add or subtract the PA and/or IA from the numbers on the table.)

> The player adds their appropriate Ability rank to their roll. (And also any PA and/or IA rank they might have.)
> If the player rolls equal to or higher than the GM, the Trial succeeds.

It might be possible to lose Focus during a Trial, but any lost Focus is always restored at the end of the Trial.

If Focus drops to 0 or lower during a Trial, the Trial is considered failed.

Usually failing a Trial in a standard ORBA adventure does not bring the main plot grinding to a halt, but in certain instances it can. In these instances the Trial must simply be tried again until it succeeds. In all other cases the penalty for failing the Trial occurs in-game. For example, failing a Trial might cause heroes to not gain a certain useful Item, not get to fight a special battle, have to fight a special battle, or can even act as a Plot Fork and somehow change the course of an adventure. (Therefore the failure of one hero might affect all of them.)

That GM may rule that some Trials cannot be attempted by someone without an appropriate Skill. After all, for example, what would your chances be at performing successful brain surgery with no training at all?

In certain circumstances the GM might consider splitting Trials into different stages, with each stage essentially being a Trial in itself. Individual stages don't have to be the same difficulty, of course, and neither do they even need to test the same Ability. All stages must be successful for the whole Trial to be successful.

If the GM allows it (and it could be reasonably done), two or more heroes can attempt the same a Trial to increase the chance of success. In this case all the heroes add their rolls and bonuses together against the GM's single sum.

At other times the GM may declare that a Trial cannot be successful unless two or more heroes are involved. In this case the GM has each hero involved take the same Trial, and they all must succeed for the Trial to be successful.

If a hero has a Skill that could reasonably help in a Trial they're about to undergo, they might gain a great advantage! Using a Skill might cause a Trial (or Trial stage) to become much easier.

At the beginning of a Trial (or the beginning of each Trial Stage), roll 1d6. If the roll is equal to, or greater than, 3, then the hero gains a bonus to their Trial (or stage) roll equal to their mastery +1.

Sometimes a Trial seems fun or even necessary despite it not having been originally intended by the adventure's author. The GM should feel free to allow such Trials, within reason. However, the GM should also be very wary about the adventure "derailing" on account of such Trials.

Adventures designed for general audiences and not for specific heroes are likely to contain Trials that may or may not test the Skills held by the heroes. That can take a lot of the fun out of a game! GMs are encouraged to custom-tailor published adventures for their heroes, making each Trial have generally the same goal as the publisher intended but testing Skills held by the heroes.

Remember, however, that Trials in published adventures labeled "Unskilled" are meant to be done without any Skills.

A hero can die only on account of a lost battle, and only if all the heroes arrive at 0 Focus. See the next chapter for more information. (Heroes can of course also die if their players wish them to do so, but that's different.)

All heroes have their battles. See the next chapter for rules.

Adventures begin on Chapter one and at a certain point the heroes reach a new Chapter. Adventures can have up to ten Chapters in them. Each chapter should take around two hours to complete.

Beginning with an adventure's second chapter, when the heroes start a new Chapter their Devotion increases by 1. Each chapter thereafter heroes get the following increases:

+2 Peace Ability ranks
+1 War Ability rank
+1 Attack Form grade
+1 Defense Form grade
+1 Skill rank

In addition, every even Devotion (2, 4, 6, 8, and 10), a hero gains a new Tech at rank 0. And at every odd Devotion (3, 5, 7, and 9), a hero gains +1 maximum Focus.

Ranks may be distributed as desired within the appropriate category. For example, +2 Peace Ability means +1 can be put into two Peace Abilities, or +2 can be put into one.

See also "Tech Ranks" below for more advancement information regarding Techs.

Adventure designers should note that if there is some sort of period that allows for some real rest in the adventure, it should probably be treated as the end of a Chapter.

Remember, Devotion increases are not permanent! They do not represent actual increases is proficiency, but an increase of faith and zeal toward completing the adventure.

Old Techs gain ranks as new Techs are discovered or learned. When a hero gains their second Tech, the first Tech gains a rank and is now rank 1. When the hero gains their third Tech, their first Tech goes to rank 2 and their second Tech goes to rank 1, and so forth.

Higher ranked Techs have a greater chance at being successfully used.

Certain Events in an adventure might be taken very personally by a hero. These cause Devotion spikes: Devotion temporarily increases by +1 or more!

If and when a hero has completed ten Chapters (whether in one adventure or between more than one) the following occurs:

+1 Proficiency Adjustment (PA) on one Peace Ability.
+1 Proficiency Adjustment (PA) on another Peace Ability, or the same one.
+1 PA on one War Ability.
+1 PA on one Skill.

No PA may ever exceed +7 on a single trait.

The player should determine what exactly has made the hero permanently more proficient: perhaps heavy training, a new weapon, a new tool, a new power, etc.

Every adventure comes to an end. When the end comes, the following occurs:

> Devotion returns to 1.
> Focus returns to 3 and is refreshed.
> All Ability and Skill ranks return to 0.
> All Attack and Defense Forms but one of each return to a grade of "F".
> Usable Techs return to none. All Tech ranks return to 0.
> The "A"-ranked Form can change between adventures if desired.
> New Techs may be created for use in the next adventure if desired.

ORBA is not a game about acquiring loot. If an object is not predefined as being important to the adventure then picking it up should not be able to have any consequence on the adventure for good or ill. Players are free to pick up miscellaneous objects and carry them as an act of roleplaying but not for any other purpose.

Heroes might get new equipment during an adventure but it does not affect their Abilities, Skills or Techs. It is purely plot-related or just for fun or roleplaying purposes.

In a "sandbox" style game there is no pre-made adventure. The entire setting is open to the heroes at any time, and the GM's goal is to provide suitable - but largely improvised - adventures for the players based on their choices. This presents not only a challenge to the GM in terms of their workload, but also to ORBA itself, as its Devotion/Chapter system is not inherently compatible with sandbox roleplaying.

Nevertheless, the system can be tweaked slightly to allow for a sandbox experience. In a sandbox game, the GM takes note of whatever adventure-like goal the heroes are presently pursuing. Chapters pass based on progress toward that goal, and success or failure should come in no more than ten Chapters.

Abandoning a goal means resetting Devotion to 0. However, if the players ever return to an abandoned goal, they might be able to take up some measure of their former Devotion for it. The level of Devotion that can once again be taken up depends on how many Chapters were spent pursuing one or more other unrelated goals in the meantime. For every Chapter spent pursing another goal, an older goal's potential Devotion drops by 1.

Note, having no goal at all counts as a goal in this context. Within ten chapters of wandering players need to find a goal, or one must be put on them by force.

From here, the GM and players must consider two sub-styles of sandbox roleplaying. Do the players want a dangerous, unforgiving sandbox that might be too much for them to handle, or do they want the game's sandbox to never present a challenge too great for them? It's up to the GM and the players to decide.

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Introduction - Hero Creation - Adventures - Battles