Getting Started

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Content

New to Tabletop RPG?

Elysiums’ Door is all about creating magical adventures with friends, just like the make-believe games we played as kids. In these imaginative worlds, anything can happen! Unlike pure imagination games, tabletop role-playing games give you a structure to shape the story. You use dice rolls to see if your character succeeds in battles, climbs cliffs, avoids lightning bolts, and more. It’s all about chance, which adds excitement. When you play this game, you become an adventurer – a warrior, a healer, a rogue, or a spellcaster (we have character profiles to help you start). With your friends and some creativity, you’ll go on epic quests, facing obstacles and creatures. You or one of your friends will be the Game Master (GM), often referred to as the Storyteller, Referee,(or whatever cool name you want), that tells the story based on outcomes of the characters’ actions and keeps things in order. They create adventures, and you decide where to explore. In this game, there’s no traditional win or lose. The goal is to have fun with your friends and create epic stories. Sometimes, an adventurer might meet a tragic end, but that’s okay. You can try to revive them with magic or start a new character. Even if you don’t complete the adventure, as long as you had a good time and made a great story, everyone wins!

Getting Started on the game

If you’re new to this tabletop RPG, start here for the basic rules. It contains the fundamental rules necessary to start playing the game.

The first is to have fun with your friends and tell a story together!   

Set aside 3 to 4 hours for the game, order some snacks, and maybe a pizza, along with a few beverages and drinks. Don’t forget: you will need character sheets (we’ve already made some for you, if you’d like) and a set of RPG dice. We suggest using physical dice, but you can also use a dice app.

For your first game, you’ll need a Game Master (GM). Since you’re reading this, you’re a suitable candidate for the role of GM. (If your friends know the game, you can ask one to be the GM or to help you out.) If you are GMing, after this section, check the first pages of the adventure manual for GM responsibilities and RPG basics.

Then, skim the rest of this guide. You don’t need to memorize everything now, but know where to find rules during the game. Once you’re familiar with the adventure, gather your friends.

You can make a new character, or pick one of the five characters we pre-made for you guys. You make them unique by giving names, appearances, and personalities.

We’ve also created a starting adventure for you to play! You can run it in your game, or simply use it as inspiration! Here is the link to the adventure: The Flickering of the Eternal Flame!

Session Zero

Before starting the game, it is always good to set a couple of rules to ensure everyone is on the same page. 

Respect: A crucial aspect of TTRPG (Tabletop Roleplaying Game) games is respect, both in and out of character.

Set Some Boundaries: Always ask if there are any themes or sensitive topics that should be avoided in the game. Don’t make assumptions—simply ask.

Game Etiquette: There are a couple of things that help improve the game atmosphere. Try not to interrupt the GM when they are describing a scene, as it can disrupt the flow of the game. Also, allow other players to shine. Avoid dominating the game or stealing attention.

Engagement: Pay attention to the GM and other players, and try to contribute to the roleplaying. Avoid using your phone during the game; treat it like a movie.

Set the Theme and Tone of the Game: Like many other forms of entertainment (movies, books, games, etc.), there are various styles, such as horror, adventure, comedy, action, and many more. Before starting the game, ask yourself and your players: ‘What do we want to play?’ You don’t have to stick to one style forever, but this provides a nice guideline to follow.

How to play the game?

As we talked previously, in Elysium’s Door, you and your friends play as characters in an exciting adventure led by the Game Master (GM). Together, you’ll craft a story using resources from the adventure manual, pre-written stories, or a world created by the GM.

Here’s how it works: 

1 – Setting the Scene: The GM paints a vivid picture of where you are, what’s around, and presents the initial range of choices available. This could encompass details like the number of exit doors in a room, items on a table, the patrons in a tavern, and so forth. You can ask questions to understand your surroundings better. Players can seek clarifications by asking questions to ensure they grasp their characters’ perceptions.

2 – Player Actions: The players tell the GM what your characters want to do. You can act as a group or individually. The GM listens to everyone and decides how things play out.

3 – Outcome Narration: The GM tells the consequences of the adventurers’ actions. Often, this narration leads to another decision point, effectively looping the game back to step 1.

This structure applies to all situations, whether you’re exploring ruins or negotiating with a cunning noble. Sometimes, like in a battle, things get more structured, but most of the time, it’s flexible, adapting to the unfolding adventure’s circumstances.

Frequently, the adventure’s action unfolds entirely within the players’ and GM’s imaginations, with the GM’s verbal descriptions setting the stage. Some GMs enhance the atmosphere by using music or art to set the mood, and many players and GMs use different voices for characters. Occasionally, maps and/or miniatures help you visualize the scene and keep track of positions.

Dice Mechanic

We use a few different dice in this game, and they’re labeled like this: d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20. For instance, a d6 is a six-sided die. 

Sometimes, you’ll need to roll several dice. For example, if it says to roll 4 six-sided dice, it’s written as 4d6. The number before the ‘d’ tells you how many dice to roll. So, if it asks for 2 eight-sided dice, it’s 2d8.

Stats

In this game, your character has six stats: Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma, and Luck. Each one does something special. Let’s dive in and see what they mean for your character: 

  • Strength is a stat that reflects how physically strong your character is.
  • Dexterity represents your character’s speed and agility.
  • Intelligence represents your character’s intellectual abilities.
  • Wisdom represents how aware and intuitive your character is.
  • Charisma represents your strength of character and power of persuasion.
  • Luck represents the fortune that your character has.

Skills

Skills are a fundamental mechanic of this game and represent your character’s proficiency in various areas.

They range from your weapon attacks to persuasion and arcana skills.

Some skills are very important for the life of an adventurer, like Endurance and Reflex, and so, they are called Essential Skills. This means that every character always has the maximum amount of skill points allocated to them automatically, with those points not counting towards the total number of skill points available.

You will notice that some skills can be linked to more than one stat. Those are Versatile skills, and when rolling, you can choose which of the linked stats to use, as the scene calls for them!

Skills Rolls

When a player does something, the GM might ask them to roll on a skill to determine if you succeed or not. There are 3 types of skill rolls: Checks, Saves and Attack rolls. You use skills for all 3 types of Rolls. 

Take the Brawling skill as an example:

  • Check: During a Martial Arts training, you could make a Brawling Check
  • Save: If you try to escape a Grapple, you make a Brawling Save
  • Attack: If you try to punch someone, you make a Brawling Attack

Check Rolls

art by @victhelion

When your character tries something, the GM might ask for a Check roll. So you roll a d20, add your skill bonus, and if the total is equal or higher than the Check Difficulty Class (DC) set by the GM, you succeed. If the result is lower than the DC, you fail. 

The Check DC is set by the GM, but they usually are based on the Check DC table:

Check DC Table
Difficulty Check DC
Very Easy
5
Easy
10
Medium
15
Hard
20
Very Hard
25
Almost Impossible
30

Save Rolls

art by @wellpassoni

Some game abilities might make you do a Save to resist their effects.  

Here’s how it works: Roll a d20, add the required skill bonus, and if the total is equal or higher than the Save DC, you succeed and resist the effect.  If the result is lower than the DC, you fail and get affected. Remember, you can choose to fail a Save if you want to.

The Save DC can be set by the GM or calculated like this: Save DC = 8 + your skill bonus.

Example: My ability says a creature needs to make an Endurance Save against my Arcana. If I have an Arcana bonus of +5, this means that the creature needs to roll for Endurance with a Save DC of 13 (8 + 5), succeeding if the total result is 13 or higher.

Attack Rolls

art by @rafaellam

During combat, your character will probably Attack. 

Here’s how it works: Roll a d20, add your skill bonus for that attack. If you roll equal to or higher than the target’s Armor Class (AC), you hit and deal damage. If it’s lower, your attack misses, and there’s no damage.

When you hit, you deal damage to the target, subtracted from their Posture or Health Points (HP). The amount of damage dealt is determined by the type of Attack made, and the target’s AC is determined by the armor they are wearing.

Some armor have Armor Power (AP), which reduces the damage by that amount. So if you have an armor with 2 AP, and you took 5 damage, you only actually take 3 damage.

Example: If you Attack with a sword (needs Martial Weapon skill), roll a d20, add your skill bonus. If the target’s AC is 14 and your total is 16+, your Attack hits, dealing 1d10 slash damage. If you roll an 8 on the d10, you deal 8 slash damage.

A roll of 20 is a Critical Hit, adding 1d6 + your Luck stat to damage. Depending on your Luck, you can also roll a Critical Fail on certain low rolls. Critical Fail always misses and you must roll on a Fumble Table’s to see the consequences. You’ll find this here.

Special Check Rolls

Some situations may require specific Checks to see if a task is successful or not.

Luck Checks

Whenever there’s a chance of a rare event happening or if there’s a chance for a rare item to appear, your GM might ask for a Luck Check to determine if you were lucky enough to experience that rare opportunity. 

Luck Checks are the only type of check that doesn’t use any skill. Instead, you just add your Luck stat to the roll.

When there are random encounters, the players decide who is going to roll the Luck Check. However, that player can only roll a Luck Check again after all other players have rolled.

Skill Challenges

When all the characters are trying to flee from a Combat, or if they are in a very tricky social situation, or when they simply try to pull off any type of crazy plans, your GM might declare a Skill Challenge. 

In those cases, just a simple Check roll is not enough to deal with complicated situations. In this case, your GM might declare a Skill Challenge! When a Skill Challenge is declared, your GM will ask for a number of successes before 3 failures. 

All the characters involved in the Skill Challenge can make Check rolls, or use any other ability that they see fit to contribute with the Challenge. As long as the GM allows it, your character can be creative enough to use any skill, spell or anything really, to contribute with the Challenge.

If a character succeeds on the Check roll to contribute, the GM adds one success to the Challenge. If a character fails to contribute, the GM adds one failure to the Challenge. Some effects can automatically succeed on a Skill Challenge, but it’s up to the GM to determine those effects.

Once the number of successes were met, the Skill Challenge was successful and the characters were able to deal with that situation. However, if 3 failures were met before the successes needed, the characters failed the Skill Challenge and weren’t able to deal with the situation.

The number of successes needed is determined by the GM, but they will normally follow the pattern of the Skill Challenge Table.

Difficulty Number of Successes needed
Easy
3
Medium
4
Hard
5
Very Hard
6
Almost Impossible
7

Skill Contests

If two or more creatures compete with each other, they make a Skill Contest to see who wins. Each of those creatures choose an appropriate Skill for the Contest, and then each creature makes a Check roll with the chosen skill. 

In case of a tie, the creature with highest Luck stat wins the contest. If they have the same Luck stat, then the creatures roll a Luck Check instead and whoever rolls higher wins.

Example: My character and a goblin are racing against each other. We are making a Skill Contest to see who wins. I chose the Athletics skill for the Contest, since racing involves running. The goblin, on the other hand, chooses the Agility skill for the Contest, since he’s able to move fast. I have an Athletics bonus of +5 and the goblin has a Agility bonus of +4. We both make the chosen Check rolls. I rolled a 12 which results in a 17 (12 + 5) and the goblin also rolled a 12, but their total result was 16 (12 + 4), so I won the race.

Group Checks

When two or more characters attempt to do the same thing, your GM may call for a Group Check. In this case, each creature makes the same Check, and if at least half of them (rounded up) succeed, then the entire group succeeds. 

Example: If four players want to make a Stealth Check to avoid detection, a Group Check is made. All four of them make a Stealth Check, and if at least two of them succeed, then the whole party succeeds.

There is no need for everyone on the party to participate on the Group Check. If only 2 player’s want to make a Group Check, they could do so if possible while the others wait.

Advantage & Disadvantage

Sometimes when you roll, you may have either advantage or disadvantage. This is determined by the GM or by an ability your character or another creature may have. 

When you roll with advantage, you roll 2d20 and choose the result that you want.

When you roll with disadvantage, you roll 2d20 and use the lower result.

Advantage and disadvantage do not stack. If you have 2 instances of advantage or disadvantage on the same roll, you are affected by only one.

However, advantage and disadvantage cancel each other out. If you gain advantage on a roll, but then some other effect imposes disadvantage on the same roll, the advantage and disadvantage cancel each other, resulting in a normal roll.

If you reroll a result that was made with advantage or disadvantage, you still use the same advantage or disadvantage for the reroll.

Combat

Combat is a chaotic situation where multiple creatures fight with multiple abilities at the same time. To represent this chaotic scene, combat is organized in rounds, with each round taking about 6 seconds. 

During each round, every creature that is participating in the combat takes one turn. During your turn, you can move, take actions and bonus actions, and even reactions. You can’t do anything during other creatures’ turns, except by using your reaction.

Once a round ends, a new round starts with the same turn order as the first round. Combat ends only if all hostile creatures are either defeated or surrendered, or if a creature tries to flee from the combat. In that case, your GM will probably declare a skill challenge.

Initiative

So, how does combat start? With Initiative, of course!

At the start of combat, every creature involved rolls a special check called Initiative. Typically, you roll a Reflex Check for Initiative, but there can be situations where you could use a Stealth Check if you were hiding, or Athletics if you were running when the Combat starts. The GM will always determine which skill is going to be used for Initiative when the Combat starts.

In case of a tie, the creature with highest Luck stat goes first. If they have the same Luck stat, then the creatures roll a Luck Check instead and whoever rolls higher goes first.

AC & AP

All creatures have an Armor Class (in short AC), which represents the difficulty to hit the creature with Attacks. 

When you make an Attack, roll a d20 and add the skill bonus required for the Attack. If the result is equal or higher than the AC of the target you attacked, you hit the Attack. If the result is lower, you miss the Attack and deal no damage.

A creature wearing good armor gains extra protection.

Before they receive any slash, strike or thrust damages, they reduce the damage by their AP first

Example: If a creature has 3 AP and takes 10 Slash damage, the damage is reduced by 3 to a total of 7.

Shields

Shields offer an extra protection against attacks and are a great way of making your character more defensive.

They can offer a Passive AC and/or Active AC. 

Passive AC adds to your normal AC while you are wielding the shield.

Active AC is added when you use your Reaction to defend from an Attack with the Shield.

Shields need at least one hand to be used. You cannot benefit from the effect of two shields at once. If you are wielding two shields, the shield that grants the higher Passive AC takes place.

Posture & HP

All creatures have Posture and Health Points (HP), which represent their total capacity to remain in a fight. 

When your character takes damage, you first reduce its Posture by the amount of damage it took. While Posture is being used, your character is not being wounded. It is just evading attacks which drains its energies.

Once the Posture is reduced to 0, you then start to reduce the HP. Any excess damage you take after your Posture is reduced to 0 is subtracted by your HP. When the Posture is broken, one creature within reach can also make a Melee Attack of Opportunity against it.

Once your HP is being drained, it means that your character is being wounded.

Keep in mind that Bleed, Brain and Poison damages ignore your Posture, directly reducing your HP.

What to do in Combat?

Here is a small list of everything you can do in combat:  

Actions

Bonus Action

Reaction

Free Action

For more details, you can check the Quick Sheet here to see every detail. We also suggest to print a couple of the Quick Sheets for the table, they are pretty handy.