YAOSC (Yet Another Old School Clone)
While YAOSC is by its nature full of numbers, there are a few that form the backbone of play, both in and out of combat. Three of these in particular — Hit Points1, Endurance2, and Stability3, represent a character’s physical and mental reserves. Each is accompanied by a meter representing depletion of those reserves, with varying consequences when the wear and tear exceeds the character’s capacity to withstand it. In addition, each character has a set of saves, and a basic to-hit roll for combat.
1 Hit Points (HP)
- Hit points represent a character’s ability to carry on despite damage, pain, poison, and similar harmful effects.
- HP are determined by rolling a die as determined by class plus4 the character’s Con modifier. Dwarves gain a bonus each level.
- Sorcerers begin with 1d4 HP, Priests and Specialists begin with 1d6 HP, and Warriors begin with 1d8 HP.
- After all adjustments are made, change any results of 0 or below to 1: nobody can start with a non-positive value for HP!
- Each time a character gains a class level through level 10, they roll the appropriate die and add the result (plus or minus their Con modifier) to their HP total, although this number cannot be negative. Sorcerers add 1d2, Priests and Specialists add 1d3, and Warriors add 1d4. After 10th level, all classes gain one HP per level.
- The accompanying depletion stat is damage.
- Damage comes in two varieties: “major” (representing serious injuries) and “minor” (representing bumps, scrapes, and anything similarly quick to heal).
- When the sum of major and minor damage (including situations with only minor damage) matches or exceeds HP, the character has a -2 penalty to all actions due to pain, and any further minor damage is treated as major.
- When major damage matches or exceeds HP, the character drops and must check to see whether they survive the experience.
- Damage is reduced by time (with appropriate rest and recuperation), by the Medicine skill, or by supernatural aid.
2 Endurance Points (EP)
- Endurance points represent a character’s ability to carry on despite starvation, sleep deprivation, heavy exertion, or similar afflictions.
- EP are determined by species, plus4 the character’s Str modifier.
- Elves begin with 2d4 EP, humans and halflings with 2d6, and dwarves with 2d8.
- After all adjustments are made, change any results of 1 or below to 2; this is the minimum for a starting character.
- Characters get extra EP at intervals as they gain class levels, depending on the class.
- Sorcerers who survive the rigors of magic and warriors who survive the rigors of combat gain one EP every other level (starting with level 1). Specialists and priests gain one every three levels (again, starting with level 1).
- The accompanying depletion stat is fatigue.
- When fatigue matches or exceeds EP, the character is exhausted and must check to see whether they remain conscious and how long it takes them to recover.
- Fatigue is reduced by time spent resting or by supernatural aid. Stimulants may temporarily increase one’s supply of EP, but may apply a penalty in fatigue when the effect wears off.
3 Stability Points (SP)
- Stability represents a character’s ability to carry on despite psychological stresses such as violence and magic use.
- SP are determined by both class and species, plus4 the character’s Wis modifier.
- Dwarves begin with 2 SP, elves and humans with 3, and halflings with 4. Sorcerers and Warriors add 1, Priests add 2, and Specialists add 3.
- Stability does not automatically increase as the character advances. Instead, the value of the character’s Concentration is added to Stability; as the character’s ability to concentrate improves, so does their resistance to strain.
- YAMs who want a lower-stress campaign may allow players to also add the value of their highest-level skill (just the points invested, without any modifiers) to their Stability to reflect the control and confidence that come with mastery. If Concentration is the highest-value skill, use Concentration plus the second-highest rather than Concentration twice. Usually there will be several skills at the maximum allowable level, so this will not be an issue.
- The accompanying depletion stat is strain.
- Strain comes in two varieties: “major” (representing long-term psychological scarring) and “minor” (representing the stresses, slings and arrows of outrageous fortune).
- When the sum of major and minor strain (including situations with only minor strain) exceeds SP, the character is distracted and takes a -1 penalty to all actions, and any further minor strain is treated as major.
- When major strain matches or exceeds SP, the character breaks and must check to see how their mind responds to the pressure.
- Strain is reduced by character-appropriate activities (usually peaceful relaxation), by major accomplishments, or by supernatural aid. Appropriate drugs may give a temporary boost to SP, but need to be renewed on a regular basis or they may become ineffective.
- The character has the option of “shaking off” or suppressing their strain at any time. To do so, roll a psychic save (with a -1 penalty to the roll for each point by which strain exceeds Stability, if greater). Reduce major strain by as many points as the save succeeded by, and eliminate all minor strain. However, a success permanently reduces Stability by 1, and a failure triggers an immediate break roll, so this option should be used sparingly.
4 Note that while this says “plus,” negative modifiers will decrease these stats!