Dark Era Roleplaying Game

System Summary

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The Core System

Dark Era uses a simple 3d6 (3 six sided dice) + Attribute Rank + Skill Rank
versus a Difficulty Target Number (DTN) for a test resolution.


3d6 + Attribute Rank + Skill Rank vs DTN



You gain an Edge for every 3 points your test result is above the Difficulty Target Number up to your Skill Rank


Edge = DTN + 3


Task Difficulty Summary

Task Difficulty Difficulty Target Number Combat Range
Effortless 6
Simple 9 Near (1m)
Average 12 Easy (<5m)
Hard 15 Intermediate (<30m)
Challenging 18 Long (<100m)
Extreme 21 Away (Over 100m)

Example of Edge

Jen is trying to crack open a mechanically locked door. She is using her Innovation Skill and mechanical tool kit to do so. The GM sets this a Average (DTN 12) test. Jen’s player rolls 3d6, adds her Mental Attribute Rank of 1 and Innovation Skill Rank of 2. She also has +1 from her tool kit for a total of +4.  Jen rolls 11 on the dice and scores a total of 15, Edging the result by 1. The Game Master says she finishes the task in half the time it would have normally taken.


The Dark Era Pyramid


Primary Attributes


Mental covers all things such as thinking, reasoning, calculating, remembering, deducing and analysing.

Mental & Physical create your Resilience derived attribute.
Mental & Social form your Action Points and Awareness.


Physical covers strength or stamina, hand eye coordination, sports and fitness, weapon use.

Mental & Physical create your Resilience derived attribute.
Physical & Social forms your Initiative derived attribute.


Interacting with others whether through persuasion, leadership or trickery and conning.

Mental & Social form your Action Points and Awareness.
Physical & Social forms your Initiative derived attribute.

The 3 circles next to the attribute name are the Rank indicators for that attribute. Attributes can have 0 ranks (untrained), 1 rank (trained), 2 ranks
(Expert), 3 ranks (master) which is the highest rank for any attribute or skill any player character can have.


Derived Attributes

Derived Attributes are related to the three (3) primary attributes. Each corner of the Pyramid has a Derived Attribute that is a combination of your ranks in the adjacent Primary Attributes.

Derived attributes are equal to the sum of the two adjacent attributes.

  • Resilience, for example, is made by combining your Mental and Physical attributes.
  • Initiative is made by combining Physical and Social.
  • Action Points is made by combining Mental and Social.


Resilience is a measure of how easy it is to Recover from Conditions.


Initiative is a representation on how quick you are to recognize danger or take opportunity.

Used in any Conflict situation to determine who acts first. The higher the better.

Action Points

Action Points (APs) are used to determine what a character can do in a conflict situation.

The more APs you have, the more you can do. Anything from inspiring troops to firing a gun to countering an argument can be done through Action Points. Action Points can be changed during the game by some Conditions and some Actions themselves.

Action Points also control how many Acquisition Tests you can make per session to acquire equipment or services and represents your character’s available time (most characters are assumed to be employed).



Next to or in the case of Social, under, each Primary Attribute are the skills associated with that attribute.

In Dark Era, it is very likely for a player to use a skill with a different attribute – and that is perfectly alright and encouraged. One could for example choose to use Physical with Leadership when intimidating someone by brute strength or force.

Under or next to each Skill are 3 skulls that mark your ranks in that skill.

Like attributes you can only have up to 3 ranks in a skill.
0 = Untrained
1 = Trained
2 = Expert
3 = Master

Special Skills


Awareness starts at a rank equal to your Mental plus Social Attributes and can be modified by Traits and Flaws.

Awareness is used just as a Skill, but gains no additional attribute bonuses.

Mental Skills


Your ability to think creatively. Thinking outside of the box, creating things etc. If you are trying to make a physical thing then this is your skill. It greatly benefits craftsmen, scientists, business managers, military strategists and creative artists.


Your ability to think logically to analyze, deduce a theoretical result as well as attention to finer detail. Examining a crime scene, cracking a mechanical code (ie pin numbers), and driving a car are all examples of Reason use.


Your skill at working out complex formula and algorithms as well as more generalized knowledge. Accountants would use Sciences just as much as the inventor of a nuclear warhead. Sciences is the academic pursuit while Innovation can be thought of as the physical invention.



Physical Skills


Your physical training, fitness and the like. Swimming, climbing, running and jumping are all examples of Athletics. Any physical sport could also be added here so if you want the college jock who is an up and coming football star, then Athletics is your skill.


Any form of melee attack. Unarmed, with a small weapon or a large pole. Even a chair or broken bottle falls under Melee. Most uses of this skill involve a physical weapon and as such there are little uses for tool kits or workshops. The manufacture of such weapons would fall under Innovation.


Any ranged attack where you shoot or fire something at another character or target. Firing a gun, shooting a laser beam are examples of Ranged skill use. Throwing however falls under Athletics.

Social Skills


Persuasion is an important ability for salesmen, lawyers and reporters. It includes nearly everything involving interaction with another character. From getting a guard to look the other way to closing that sale.


Where persuasion is about getting a better deal, Leadership is about your direct ability to lead others and get them to follow your orders or ideas by words, example or threats. Teaching a class, Singing, calming an angry person or intimidating a suspect are all examples of Leadership.


Trickery is about pulling the wool over others eyes, conning them and the like. Using trickery can be dangerous especially if discovered. Bluffing your way past a guard or cop looking at your identity, getting into a nightclub as a teen or swiftly taking someone’s wallet are all examples of trickery.


Traits in Dark Era are what set you apart from other similar characters.

Traits fall under 4 tiers. Untrained (or None), Trained, Expert and Master

You must have at least the required rank in order to get that Trait.

Traits costs 3 Experience and you must have all the requirements before taking a trait.

There is no limit to how many traits you can have. For example if you have a Mental Rank of 1, you could have 1 untrained trait and 3 trained traits, but would have to increase your Rank to 2 to gain any Expert Traits.

Traits and Flaws Bonuses/Penalties

Traits grant bonuses and sometimes penalties to certain things. For example, a trait that says +1 to Running means you get +1 to any tests involved with Running.

There is no limit to additional trait bonuses a character can have and unless otherwise stated, bonuses will stack together.

Changing Traits

The GM may allow you to Change Traits. Changing a Trait lets you recover 2 Experience Points you spent on the original Trait.


Flaws are like negative Traits, effectively having an effect against your character during play.

Characters can take Flaws to gain additional Experience (2 per Flaw) at start of play.

Flaws must be confirmed and approved by the Game Master.

Flaws gained during play do not grant Experience unless the Player is choosing it based on in game actions or role-playing. GMs discretion.