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What Lies Below Core Rules By: Troy M.

. Costisick Copyright 2012 Chapter 1: Introduction What is this game about? What Lies Below (WLB) is all about tactical problem solving in a fantasy universe. This game hearkens back to the early days of RPGs where ingenuity and setting design were regarded as essential roleplaying skills. Expect to be challenged. Expect to triumph. Expect defeat. Expect glory, riches and heartache. Most of all expect to have fun as you plumb the depths of Underearth. This game is about exploring underground networks full of evil monsters, insidious traps, and untold riches. Play is very focused on this single aspect of adventuring. There are no rules for exploring the wilderness, hobnobbing with lords in their castles, or exploring the astral planes. This game is about dungeon delving: pure, simple, and fun. Each major delve into an underground lair is called a campaign. The campaign will begin at a fortress where the characters can rest and resupply before traveling beneath the world to throw themselves again the forces of evil once more. Campaigns can be strung together, if the characters survive them, to form an epic narrative of adventure and courage. What do the players do? There are two types of participants in What Lies Below. The first and largest group is the players. Players will greater a Troupe of characters that all belong to a guild of guardian adventurers. Players will choose a single character from this Troupe to portray as his or her main character. Players will then guide their characters through the lairs of the Accursed: wicked creatures who inhabit the Underearth, seeking fame fortune and safety for their country. While playing WLB, players will be given several extra responsibilities. One player will be assigned as the mapped, another as the backup mapped, and a third as the party leader. These responsibilities should rotate among the players each session. Creating the maps and organizing the group's tactics are Jobs important to everyone, so they should be shared by everyone. The full natures of the mapped and leader roles will be explained later in the Player Roles section. The second group of participants consists of a single person called the Game Master. The Game Master (GM) actually has a lot of responsibilities in this game. First, the GM is the one charged with creating the lairs the characters will explore. Second, he is the referee and arbiter of disputes among all participants. Third, he will portray all the non-Player characters (NPCs) and roll for them when necessary. Finally, the GM must push the game forward by pressuring the Players and their characters to explore, fight, steal, and innovate. The full nature of the Game Master role will be further detailed in the GMs Guide section. As the GM is expected to be familiar with all the rules for What Lies Below, GMs are encouraged to read each of the manuals contained in this game. What do the characters do? Characters in WLB are guardians of light. The PCs are descended from the freedom fighter who bought with their blood and tears a chance to rebuild the world. They are heroes, not ordinary men and women. Their bodies are stronger, faster, and bigger than the average peasant. Their minds are keener and more cunning than the various scribes and artisans hired by the Guild. They spend their lives protecting the civilized world that

lives on the surface from the chaotic evil world that lives beneath it. They are charged with delving deep into the underground network of tunnels, dug out by abysmal forces, and destroying all remnants of the evil races that plagued their people for centuries. Each session, player-characters will enter the caves near their guilds keep. They must create maps, smite enemies, steal treasure, and return to their guild leaders with full reports on the enemies numbers, movements, and plans. Life is simple for these characters. They only have one rule they have to follow down in the lairs: try your best not to die! Unfortunately, thats a hard rule to follow. The mortality rate for PCs in this game is going to be high, probably higher than other games you may have played. Thats okay. Remember, each player is given a Troupe of characters to play, so if a few die here and there, there will be another to replace it. If the PCs manage to avoid death for a particularly long period of time, they may begin to attract followers who want to learn from them. When that happens, it may be time for the PCs to leave their guild and star out on their own. High level play in What Lies Below shifts from dungeon delving to crisis management as the player characters take over leadership of a guild. The higher in level the characters become, the more their fame spreads. As a result, they are given more responsibility from those who are in power. Eventually, PCs will accumulate enough followers and prestige to start their own guild. This will be covered in greater detail in the High Level Play chapters in the Player and GM sections. Why are there so many different books? There are five books that guide play for What Lies Below: the Core Rules, the Players Guide, the Game Masters Guide, the Character and Guild Creation Handbook, and the Lair Creation Handbook. Each one serves a specific purpose. The Lair Creation Handbook and the Character and Guild Creation Handbook are meant to be exclusively used before play. The rules in these books are for creating aspects of the setting for the game prior to actual play beginning. Once play starts, you will only need them on the rare occasion if at all. The Core Rules has all the descriptions for the setting, mechanics for resolving conflicts and tasks, and useful reference charts that will likely be used during play. This information is important to the GM and the players and will likely have to be passed back and forth among them during play. The Players Guide contains all the other information important to the players like how to advance characters, how to make magic items, how much equipment costs, what various pieces of equipment can do and so on. This book will be kept by the players and likely referenced exclusively by them during play. The GMs Guide is sort of the same thing but for the Game Master. It has information on monsters, traps, riddles, non-player characters, random lair creation tables, and so on. The GM is probably the only person who will need to use this book during play. So as you can see, each book has its own special purpose. Many games would just lump all of these books into one giant tome thats both heavy and inconvenient to pass during play. What we tried to accomplish in What Lies Below is to make a streamlined system where rules that arent important to a particular person at a particular time are set aside, out of the way. This way, handling time and reference time during play is minimalized. Who wants to be fumbling with a 200 page manual right in the middle of combat? Thats no fun. Instead, What Lies Below divides the rules up so they can be quickly referenced and then put down so the everyone can devote more time and attention to actual play. What is the current situation? Play begins in WLB just ten years after the end of a great war. Elves, Men, Angels, and many other races banded together to liberate themselves from an alliance of Demons, Sphinxes, and Undead. The agents of light freed their homelands from these terrible scourges and drove them underground into an ancient network of tunnels. The Accursed (as the enemies of light came to be known) hollowed out this aged network even more, built underground strongholds, and have been quietly regrouping their forces for a counter attack.

In response to this mounting thread, the Council of Fire (the ruling body formed by the surface dwellers following the war) had conscripted thousands of able-bodied young men and women into guilds. These guilds built powerful keeps near the entrances of the Underearth. Guild members now travel daily into the dark, interlacing lairs of the Accursed foiling their dark plans and retrieving the valuables that were looted from churches, treasuries, and mead halls toward the end of the war. Times are getting desperate. The Council knows that the Demons are anxious to renew hostilities. However, they arent sure how eager their allies are to take up arms. As a result, the guild members are pushed to go deeper into the Underearth and gather all the knowledge, treasure, and armaments they can in case there is a sudden onslaught of doom from below. What is the immediate setting for this game? All characters will start out at their guilds keep. There is a generic keep map in the Players section that can be used, or they can create their own using the Guild Creation rules. The keep will likely be set in on some raised area near a coast, mountain range, or forest. Within the surrounding landscape will be dozens of openings into the ground. These are the entrances to the Underearth. The Underearth is where most of the action in What Lies Beneath will take place. Each complex of tunnels and caverns is called a Lair. This is where goblin slaves farm iridescent fungus to feed their overlords. Where corrupted halflings make a living as thieving parasites on adventurers and Accursed ones like. Where vampires plot there revenge. Where sphinxes scheme. The GM will create the Lairs for the PCs to explore. There is a small, sample Lair included in the GM section. This will give you a good idea of what the a typical setting for conflict in What Lies Beneath will look like, but a large part of this game is about celebrating the skills of setting creation. It was once very common for Game Masters to have to create original challenges for the players to face. This practice is not as prevalent as it used to be, but What Lies Beneath embraces this ancient methodology. Game Masters will find plenty of tools to help them and players will find plenty of challenges to keep them entertained. [THIS PARAGRAPH FEELS OUT OF PLACE] Civilization is sparse where Guild Keeps are located. It is far too dangerous to establish a town or city near openings to the Underearth. If a large city is nearby, it would surely still be at least a weeks journey from the keep. Some brave farmers, miners, or villagers may try to eke out some type of living in these wilderness areas. These stout folk understand the importance of the guild and have been known to offer small amounts of aid to adventurers to need rest and shelter. What is needed for play? You will need several supplies before you start playing What Lies Below. First, you will need copies of the character record sheets located at the end of the Guild and Character Creation Guide. I recommend making more copies than you think your group might need. I have found that its always handy to have a few extra lying around in case someone wants to start over or makes a mistake. Second, you and your friends will need two sets of six-sided dice. These will hence forth be referred to as d6s. They can be picked up in hobby and game stores. Ive also found them at teacher stores. I also recommend having at least extra just in case, and having multiple sets of 3d6 may be a welcome convenience. This game does require the use of maps so you and your group may find props like graph paper, miniatures, and writing utensils useful during play. Whats Next?

If you are a player, your next move is to find the Guild Creation Guide and start creating your Troupe. Youll be making several characters, inventing a guild, and formulating what type of campaign you would like to play. If you are a GM, you will need to ready to assist the players as they go through this character creation process. You should keep your GM Handbook and the Core Rules nearby for easy reference in case any questions come up. Once the Troupe, Guild, and Campaign are settled, all participants may want to return to examining this book to learn how to use the rest of the system. Chapter 2: Equipment and Fatigue If you are reading this chapter while making your character according to the rules in the Character and Guild Creation Guide, here is the equipment table mentioned there (rules for Fatigue and Encumbrance follow after): Fatigue Points Every heavy object that a character wears or carries has the potential to wear the character down or get in the way during challenging maneuvers. These items are rated with Fatigue Points (see Equipment Table above). Fatigue Points (FPs) represent the physical toll carrying equipment and doing work takes on a character. Characters accumulate FPs by carrying gear, moving, and fighting. As long as the number of FPs a character has is less than his or her Body Stat, the character does not suffer any penalties. However, if the number of FPs a character has accumulated is ever greater than the Body Stat, the character is considered encumbered. For each FP over the characters Body Stat, the Default Difficulty for any action is increased by 1 for the next round (rounds are 5 second increments of time in which characters take action). So if Ryan the Paladin has a Body Stat value of 6 and is carrying eight items with a total FP value of 10, he the target value (called the Default Difficulty) he must roll against to swing his sword, Parley with an adversary, disarm a trap, use a cleric power, or anything else that requires a roll is increased by 4 the next round. Rolling to complete actions is discussed in the next chapter: Resolution. For now, just remember that having more FPs than your Body Stat means your character will have some penalties as he or she tries to act. Fatigue Points are not cumulative from round to round. So if Johnny the Thief has 4 FPs in round 1, he will only have 4 FPs in round 2, round 3, and so on. The next few sections in this chapter talk about how various objects and actions can add or subtract Fatigue Points from your character. Containers Containers use the bodys natural carrying capacity to offset the tiresome drudgery of having to lug gear through the uneven caverns in the Underearth. Each container has a certain capacity. The characters can fill the container to capacity without adding any additional Fatigue points to what the container ordinarily has. So for instance, a Backpack can contain six items. It can be any six items you want regardless of their size and weight. However, once you go one item over the containers limit, that item then counts against the total amount characters Body Stat can handle. A characters Body Stat is what his or her carrying capacity is. So if the number of containers plus items outside containers is greater than the characters Body Stat, you add a number of Fatigue Points to the characters total equal to that objects FP value. Characters may have only one of each container on their person. So they could wear one backpack, one quiver, one left belt pouch, one right belt pouch, one satchel, etc. Containers may be loaded up beyond their capacity within reason. The GM will decide whether or not something can fit inside a container. Also, just because a container can hold one item, doesnt mean it can hold any item. You cant stuff a claymore into a scroll case for instance! When in doubt, defer to the GM on this matter. Items

Items are any objects that cant contain another object unless it is very small. Each item has a Fatigue Point value. Consult the Equipment Table on Page XX. If the characters come across some item that is not listed on that table, the GM should use the Equipment Table as a reference for assigning the new object an FP value. Once an FP value is established for an object, that will thence forth be the FP value for all objects of the same type and size. Small objects such as coins and gems do not count as items for the purposes of Fatigue. They are explained in the next section. Coins, Gems, and Pellets Very small objects do not have individual FP values. Objects like coins, gemstones, and small ammunition like stones or pellets for a sling only give FPs if there are 100 or more of them. For every 100 small objects (total) a character is carrying, that character adds one Fatigue Point. So a character with 388 coins would have 3 Fatigue Points. A character with 138 coins, 29 gems, and 45 stones for his sling would have 2 Fatigue Points. Slowing You Down For each item a character carries beyond the capacity of his or her containers and his or her body, the maximum movement rate for the character is reduced by one. So, for instance, if Melinda the Wizard has one item more than her carrying capacity can handle she can no longer Retreat (see character record sheet and Movement section below). If she has two more items than her carrying capacity, she can no longer Sprint. If three more, then she cannot Run. No matter what, however, a character can always crawl. Fatigue from Movement Moving around causes fatigue just like carrying objects. On the character record sheet you will notice a movement table on the right hand side. There are seven speeds at which a character can move: Crawl, Creep, Walk, Jog, Run, Sprint, and Retreat. Each has an associated Fatigue Point value. These are added to whatever Fatigue Points the character has accumulated through any other means. Fighting also causes fatigue. Each round of fighting gives the character 3 Fatigue Points. HOWEVER, like all Fatigue Point values, these are not cumulative. The maximum amount of FPs a character can ever have from fighting is 3, no matter how many rounds the fight takes. To review, for each FP beyond a characters Body Stat that he or she accumulates, the Default Difficulty is raised by 1. So if Harris the Human Thief has 8 FPs and a Body of 5, the DD would be raised from 13 to 16. Lack of Rest If characters do not get rest daily, they will tire out. Humans, Half-Elves, Half-Dwarves, and Ogres require 8 hours of sleep every 24 hours. Elves, Dwarves, and Satyrs require 4. Angels require 2. If a character does not get his or her daily allotment of sleep, then he or she gain +1 Fatigues Points for each day without sleep. So if Maxine the Human Fighter has gone three days without sleep, she has 3 Fatigue Points added to her total. These points will not go away unless the character gets his or her allotment of sleep PER POINT. So in Maxines case, she would need 24 hours of sleep to eliminate her 3 FPs from lack of rest. Things that Dont Give Fatigue Points Clothing, jewelry, tattoos, hair, spectacles, and other small adornments do not give fatigue points unless the character just loads up with it. The GM has the authority to decide if someone has enough bling to warrant a fatigue point or two. Getting Rid of Fatigue Points

Getting rid of Fatigue Points is fairly simple. If a character has FPs from gear he or she is carrying, then the character just simply needs to drop the gear, and the points will disappear after the next round. If the character has FPs from lack of sleep, the character needs to sleep. If the character has FPs from walking, running, or sprinting, then the character just has to stop moving and the FPs go away after the next round. Special Equipment As you read over the equipment list on page XX, you probably noticed several that an (*) after them. Items marked with an (*) are items that have special rules because their uses may not be obvious or they have tactical implications during combat. Each of these items is described below along with how to use the special rules that make them fun and useful down in the depths of the Underearth. Bear Trap Bolo Bow Caltrops Candle Cologne Crossbow Grappling Hook Helmet Holy Symbol Holy Water Lantern Lantern Oil Mule Shield Snare Net Torch Chapter 3: Resolution The resolution system in What Lies Below is simple and a bit unique. When in a contest, whether it is against another person, an inanimate object, a supernatural power, or a force of nature, the player must draw upon the resources their characters have at hand and make a roll to achieve success. All rolls use three six-sided dice (3d6) unless otherwise stated. The exact process is detailed in this chapter and then further expanded in the next chapter on Combat. Deciding What Counts as a Contest Not everything the characters try to do should require a roll. The characters trained heroes and so are generally capable people. The Game Master is the person who will decide if a roll is needed or not, but there must be a compelling reason for a roll. Is there something important at stake? Is an action a character wants to perform particularly difficult or meaningful? If so, then the GM should call for a roll; otherwise, the GM should just say, Yes, you succeed and then move on. Simple tasks such as walking in a tunnel, opening an unlocked door, lighting a fire, sharpening a weapon, and the like should never require a roll. Deciding What Type of Contest It Is If you notice on the Character Record Sheet each character has three Stats: Body, Mind, and Soul. These are the three arenas in which all contests will take place. When the player-character enter some sort of challenge where a roll is called for, that challenge must be labeled by the GM as a physical, mental, or spiritual challenge.

Players are encouraged to give the GM their input as to which type of challenge they think it is, but in the end, this is done totally at the GMs discretion. One the GM decides what Stat will be used, the player will roll. These rolls are called Stat Checks or Ability Checks. Game Masters are not locked into using the same stat for the same type of challenge every time. For instance, say Galadin the Elven Cleric wants to woo one of the barmaids at the Keep. This could be considered a romantic challenge which could mean the Galadins player must use Galadins Body Stat for the roll. Later, if the relationship between them deepens, the GM could tell Galadins player to use his Spirit Stat instead. Initiating and Completing a Contest Once a player has decided on an action for his or her character, that decision must be communicated to the Leader (see Chapter 2 in Character and Guild Creation Guide). The leader will then declare it to the GM. Once the GM accepts the declaration, the player will roll three six-sided dice. If the result plus all modifiers (see below) is equal to or greater than the target number for the contest, the character succeeds. If it is less, the character fails. On a success, the player can describe how the character succeeded or the payer can defer to the GM and allow him or her to describe the success. On a failed roll, the GM always gets to describe the effect. Calculating the Duration of a Contest Most actions are short. They can be completed in a single round (5 seconds). However, some actions take longer. They can sometimes take a few rounds, or they can sometimes take a few days. The GM will determine what duration the players will use when attempting one of the three classifications of an action: Short Actions, Tasks, and Projects. Short actions are things like swinging a sword, tying a knot, casting a spell, shouting a sentence, or picking something up off the ground. These will always take one, 5 second round. Tasks are more complicated things like picking a lock, arranging a bookshelf, covering your tracks, setting a trap, or sharpening a sword. Unless it is a thief with a specific skill (such as Pick Pocket, Set Trap, Read Languages, Pick Lock, etc.) it will take longer than one round to complete. In these cases, the GM should roll 3d6. The total is the number of rounds it will take to complete the action. The final classification of contests is Projects. Projects are what you would expect: the PC is making something. This might be a weapon, a piece of clothing, a magic item, or a gift for a lover. Again, the GM should roll 3d6. However, in this instance, the result will tell the number of days it will take to complete the project, not the number of rounds (assuming the character works 10 hours per day). Once the duration is determined, the player may roll to see if his or her character succeeds. Calculating the Difficulty of a Contest All contests, regardless if they are mental, physical, or spiritual challenges, are given a target number that the player must try to meet or beat with their roll. The starting target number for all contests is 13. This is called the Default Difficulty. There can be modifiers to the default difficulty that raise or lower the number the players must roll equal to or over. The next few section detail the most common modifiers and how the GM and players can use them. PC Stats A player-characters Stats lower the Default Difficulty. So if Johan the Templar has a Mind of 6 and he is trying to cast an arcane spell, the number his player must match or beat with his 3d6 roll is a 7. NPC Stats

Sometimes two characters will square off against each other. If so, the others Stat actually adds to the Default Difficulty. So in the above example, Johans player had to roll a 7 to cast. But lets say he was casting his spell on Mathias the Orc. Mathias has a Mind Stat of 5. Therefore Johans new number to beat is 12. The GM will tell that players what their opponents Stats are in a contest (GMs see the Game Masters Hand Book for more details about NPC Stats). The important thing to remember is that all combatants in a contest must use whatever Stat the GM chose set as the arena for the contest (Body, Mind, Soul). You should never have a Body vs. Soul contest or a Mind vs. Soul contest. Tier Modifiers As the player-character get deeper into the Underearth the power of evil grows. This translates into modifiers that raise the Default Difficulty. For each tier below the third tier of a Lair, the Default Difficulty is raised by 1. So if we continue with the above example, Johan the Templar was casting a spell on Mathias the Orc in the sixth tier of a Lair, the target number he must meet or beat with his Stat Checks becomes 15. It is important to note: the Tier Modifier only applies to characters from the surface worlds. Denizens of the Underearth are unaffected by Tier modifiers. Terrain Modifiers The Game Master is also allowed to add modifiers to the Default Difficulty based on the terrain in a lair. Terrain modifiers are only minor inconveniences for the character and not seriously threatening to their safety. These modifiers cannot exceed the Tier Modifier in a Lair (remember that modifiers do not come into play until after the third tier). So lets say that in the above example there were a lot of echoing noises that disrupted Johans concentration. The GM may assign anywhere from a +1 to +3 modifier to the Default Difficulty. Johans GM decides the echoes are only a minor annoyance and assigns it a +1 modifier. Johans player now must meet or beat a 16 on his roll. Here are some example environmental conditions that are common in the Underearth which GMs can use to generate modifiers along with the arenas they might modify: Echoing Sounds (Mind) Hexed (Body, Mind, Spirit) No Light (Body, Mind) Noxious Fumes (Body, Mind) Uneven Ground (Body) Unhallowed Ground (Spirit) Very Low Light (Body) Wet Floor (Body) The exact nature of each of these terrain modifiers is further detailed for the GM in the Lair Creation Guide. Special Modifiers Some modifiers are caused by things that are rather uncommon. Unlike GM Modifiers or Tier Modifiers, the penalties and bonuses from Special Modifiers can apply at any time and in any tier. Difficult Maneuvers Sometimes players will want their characters to pull of some spectacular yet complicated maneuver. Thats terrific, but it shouldnt be something characters can do at a whim. They should have to earn it. A GM may apply a +1 to +3 penalty to the Default Difficulty according to how difficult he judges the action to be. For instance, a Mike might announce that his character, Jax the Dwarf, is going to slide under a trolls legs to get

through the door on the other side. For a dwarf, this wouldnt be too hard. Mikes GM gives it a +1 penalty. Later, Mike announces that he wants Jax to quickly scramble up a nearby wall, jump to a stalactite, and attack a skeleton from above with his warhammer. The GM wisely assigns this a +3 penalty in addition to any other penalties that might apply. Professional Skills The player-characters are trained heroes. They know how to explore, fight, and protect. They dont know how to forge a sword, transcribe a scroll, or cut a gemstone. Any action taken by a player that the GM feels falls outside the scope of a hero and within the scope of a trained artisan can be assigned a penalty by the GM. The penalty can range to +1 to +7 to the Default Difficulty depending on how difficult or intricate the GM believes the action to be. Characters can receive training from an artisan on a particular skill if he or she so desires. Artisans will charge for their tutelage though: usually 20-50 silver pieces (SP). Once the character is trained in the skill, he or she can use it without penalty any time the appropriate tools and resources are handy. There are certain things, though, that a Game Master should not consider professional skills. These include maintenance and simple repair to weapons and armor, making improvised traps and tools, and performing basic reading, writing, speaking, or mathematical skills. These are endemic to the hero profession and all playercharacters are well versed in them. Magic Items As lairs get deeper it is likely that the PCs will find that magic items make their way into their loot bags. Magic items will often provide a bonus to some Ability Stat or to weapon damage. There are two types of magic items: those you use and those you wear. We know this is intuitive, but just in case: examples of items you use but dont wear are things like weapons, tools, books, and orbs. These must be held in your hand and actively used in order to provide their bonus. A sword with a +1 to Body bonus only gives that bonus if you are using it against an enemy. A lock pick with +1 to Thieves Lock Picking Ability only gives that bonus if the thief is using it to pick a lock. Examples of magic items you wear but do not use are clothing, armor, jewelry, imprints (magical tattoos), and accessories. Magic items you wear always give their bonus. So a belt with +1 to Body will always provide that bonus so long as the character is wearing it. A circlet with +1 to Thieves Lock Picking Ability always gives that bonus so long as the character is wearing it. Shields, Holy Symbols, and Helmets There are some items that arent magical but still provide conditional bonuses. Shields, holy symbols, and helmets can help protect a character from harm by giving bonuses on defense. Shields provide a +1 bonus to Body if the character is the target of a physical attack (i.e. defending). Helmets provide a +1 bonus to the Mind Stat if the character wearing is the target of some kind of mental attack or arcane spell that affects his mental capabilities. Holy symbols provide a +1 bonus to Spirit if the character is the target of an attack by some supernatural force or cult figure who is trying to corrupt the characters soul. Tactical Advantage The GM may assign bonuses to any character who has some type of significant tactical advantage over his target. This could be during a debate, during courting, or during a fight. The bonus can range from +1 to +3 depending on the situation. Certain tactical advantages (such as Flanking and Rear Attack) can also increase the

amount of damage dealt by weapons during combat. These are explained further in the combat chapter that follows this one. Fatigue Points As mentioned in the Equipment and Fatigue section in the previous chapter, the Default Difficulty is raised by 1 for the next round for each Fatigue Point a character accumulates beyond his Body Ability Stat. So if Quellus the Elven Bard has a body of 10 but has accumulated 12 FPs this round, the DD for all his Stat checks will be increased by +2 next round. Starvation or Dehydration If the PCs run out of food and/or water, they begin to suffer penalties. For each day they go without one or the other, apply a +2 modifier to the DD. So if they are out of food and water for one day, all DDs will be modified by +4. For three days of no food, the modifier would be +6. If the PCs go five days without water or ten days without food, they die. Cramped Quarters Sometimes the PCs will walk through very tight spaces in a lair or have to crawl to get from one place to another. In these cases, a +3 modifier will be added to the Default Difficulty and all damage from weapons will be halved. Armor still protects as normal and damage from spells and special capabilities such as feats or secrets will work as normal. Reactions Up until now, we have only presented you with circumstances where players make a roll when their characters are actively doing something. However, these are not all the types of rolls that will be used in What Lies Below. There is another type called Reactions. These types of rolls are made when something unexpected or unwanted happens to a character, but he or she has enough awareness to try to do something about it. There are several common instances when Reactions come into play. For instance, say Angel the Dwarven Thief accidentally set of a trap where the floor caved in from under her. As long as she was not asleep, unconscious, or incapacitated in some other way, she may make a Reaction roll. Making a Reaction roll is just like any other roll. The Default Difficulty is 13. Penalties and bonuses for Lair Tier, Stats, Magic Items, Terrain Modifiers, etc. still apply. So in this case, Angel would make a Body Reaction Roll. She could apply her Body Stat (which is a 5) to lower the DD to 8. If her player rolls an 8 or higher on 3d6, then she catches herself on the edge of the pit and doesnt fall in. If the roll fails, then she falls in and suffers whatever damage or inconvenience is associated with the trap. Any time a character casts an Arcane spell on another character, the target of the spell may make a Mind Reaction. It would work just as above. The DD would be 13, all modifiers include the NPCs Mind Stat would apply. The roll would have to meet or beat the modified DD. If the Reaction Roll succeeds, the character does not suffer the effects of the spell (including damage). Same goes for Cleric Powers, except the Spirit Stat is used. There may be other instances when Body, Mind, and Spirit Reaction rolls are made due to conditions in the Lairs or abilities of the NPCs in the Underearth. The GM is charged with letting the players know which Stat is in play and why a Reaction roll is needed. Rolling Triples On very rare occasions, a player may roll the same result on three dice. For instance, he or she may roll a 4, 4, 4 on 3d6. If the roll would produce a success the character gets a triple result. The GM will describe what the

triple result is and the player may offer suggestions or modifications to what the GM describes. The player may always decline some or all of the triple result if he or she desires. If the roll would produce a failure, then the character suffers three bad things. The player may not decline any part of a failed triple roll. The GM is at liberty to kill the character if it would follow logically that a failure at whatever the character was doing at the time would produce a lethal result. Example: Rushana is having James her Satyr Thief attack Mix the Kobold. She rolls a 5, 5, 5, which is a success. The GM says, you deal triple damage. Rushana accepts. Example Two: Rob is having his Ogre Fighter jump from one ledge to another. He rolls a 4, 4, 4 which is a success. The GM says, you can jump triple the distance. Rob looks at the map and notices that triple that distance would put his character into the middle of another chasm. Rob replies that he will have his Ogre jump only twice the distance instead to the third ledge in the succession. Example Three: Ellen is having her Human Templar make the same jump as Rob. She rolls a 1, 1, 1. Thats a failed roll. In consequence, the GM declares that her character missed the ledge. If there were another character near the ledge Ellens character missed, the GM should allow that character to make a Body Reaction to see if he or she can grab Ellens character. If no one is there to help, the character would then plummet to his doom. A single effect may only be tripled (or doubled) once. If some other ability, rule, roll, or effect would triple a roll or result again, ignore it. For instance, there are several combat options presented in the next chapter that double or triple damage on a successful strike. If a player rolls triples while using one of those abilities, damage is not multiplied by a factor of 9. It will only be multiplied by 3 (or two as the case may be, the GM will make the call). Chapter 4: Combat Combat in What Lies Below is really a sub-section of the Resolution mechanics. It works in much the same way: the Default Difficulty is 13, its modified by the defending NPCs Body Stat, your characters Body Stat, Tier modifiers, terrain modifiers, and so on. However, there are many additional rules for combat relating to tactical decisions players may make. These tactical decisions are what really bring the combat in WLB to life. They are the heart and soul of the classic dungeon crawl. The following sections discuss many common circumstances that will come up during combat as you play. It isnt possible to create rules for all conceivable situations the players and GM may encounter, so if you ever find yourself in some tactical situation not covered by the rules, discuss it amongst the group and submit it to the GM for a final decision. Ideally, everyone will come to a consensus on how to treat the situation, but the final choice is left to the GM in such matters. The Combat Round All rounds in WLB are five seconds long. In that five second span of time, characters will move, dodge, parry, feint, and look for openings to attack. Each character will usually get one opening to attack per round. The order in which these attacks are resolved becomes very important when characters get so few actions. The combat round is broken up into X steps. Each one has its own unique set of rules that govern what can and cannot be done. Step 1: Declare Intents Each player declares what his intentions are for his or her characters action that round. Players are encouraged to coordinate their actions with each other in order to form a coherent attack strategy. Once the players have decided what they want their characters to do, they will tell the player who is designated as the Leader for that

session (see Chapter 2 in the Character and Guild Creation Guide). The Leader will then inform the GM of the players plans. Step 2: Initiative Unless it is an ambush round (which is covered in a later section), the player-characters will always go first in combat. The Leader will designate what player-characters first, second, third, and so on. The Leader may opt to hold a character in reserve until all other characters have gone. If so, the character in reserve goes at the very end of the combat round, even after the non-player characters controlled by the Game Master. Step 3: Execution In this step, characters will make their attack rolls. All physical attacks are treated as Body Stat Checks. PCs always go first. Each player will roll in the order the Leader communicated to the GM. Rolls for attack use the Body Ability Stat. Calculate the target number each player has to roll applying all modifiers to the Default Difficulty of 13 like NPCs Body Stat, PCs Body Stat, Tier Modifier, Terrain Modifier, Shields, and so on. Once the number is properly calculated, roll. If the result is equal to or higher than the final target number, the attack succeeds. The weapon deals damage according to its type (see Weapon Damage below). Once the PCs have all completed their attacks, the NPCs may counter-attack. Once all characters involved in combat have had their turn, move to step 4. Step 4: Effects After damage has been dealt, compare the amount of damage a character has taken to his or her Body Ability Stat. If the damage is equal to or greater, then the character falls unconscious. A character that is unconscious because of combat damage can be killed with an additional attack roll. The unconscious characters Body and other bonuses such as shields and magic items do not apply toward the Default Difficulty for such a roll. Step 5: Repeat as Necessary If the combat is not ended after the first round, return to step 1. Repeat this process over and over until one side has retreated or been killed. What a Character May Do in a Combat Round During a combat round, a character may make take one action and perform any number of movements. Actions are gross uses of the body that may take a character a moment or two to set up. Such things are not limited to but do include making an attack, moving the characters full movement, using an ability/power/feat, casting a spell, reading a scroll, drinking a potion, moving at creep speed or faster, or activating a magic item. Movements are fine uses of the body such as drawing a weapon, aiming, looking from side to side, talking, moving at crawl speed, and whistling. If there is a dispute over whether something is an action or a movement, the group should discuss it and try to come to a consensus. If no consensus is possible, the GM will make a ruling that will be in effect until a consensus can be reached after the session. Combat Tactics Attacking ones enemies is a major part of play in What Lies Below. There are any number of innovative ways players can go about planning the demise of their foes. A few are listed in this section with accompanying rules. These rules cover most situations in combat you will find yourselves, but if a situation comes up that is not covered here, the group should try to come to a consensus as to how to resolve that situation. If the group cannot, then the GM is empowered to make a final decision for that session. Participants are then encouraged to

continue discussing the situation after the session to see if a consensus can be built in case the situation comes up again. Weapons and Armor In What Lies Below there are there types of weapons and three types of armor. Weapons are divided into three categories: Light, Medium, and Heavy. Light weapons are small, concealable weapons that dont do much damage in a fight but can be deadly in the hands of assassins. Weapons that fall into this category are things like daggers, pistol crossbows, short bows, darts, slings, boot knives, clubs, short swords, knuckle dusters, and throwing knives. Light weapons deal 2 points of damage on a successful hit. Medium are heavier and deal more damage. They would include broadswords, long swords, hand axes, maces, morning stars, composite bows, throwing axes, light crossbows, rapiers, and javelins. Medium weapons deal 4 points of damage on a successful hit. Heavy weapons are large and melee varieties require two hands to wield. For instance, claymores, battle axes, flails, pole arms, and spears fit into this category along with heavy crossbows and longbows. These weapons deal 6 damage on a successful hit. Similarly, armor is divided into three categories: Light, Medium, and Heavy. Light armors prevent 1damage from weapons that successfully hit. Light armors are things like heavy cloth armor, soft leather armors, and rigid leather armors. Medium armor prevents 2 damage and includes armors such as splint mail or chain mail. Finally, heavy armors like field plate, full plate, and composite plate prevent 3 damage from successful weapon strikes. Ambush Rules In the first part of chapter 4 the basic combat round was explained, but it may be very rare for some groups to have both sides in a fight aware of each other when combat begins. More often than not, one side will be surprising the other. Surprising your enemy is called Ambushing. When a character or characters ambushes an enemy, they get one full round of attack before starting the first combat round. In other words, that character or group of characters gets to make one attack before the GM starts an official combat round. If the group doing the ambushing was the player-characters, they will- in effectget two attacks before the NPCs get to attack. If the ambushing party was the NPCs, they will get a swing before the player-characters can respond. The target of the ambush is still able to use his or her defenses (such as shields, helmets, and armor) and make Reaction rolls so long as they were conscious and so equipped when the ambush began. Making a Charge Attack Normally, a player has to make a choice between a characters full movement or a characters chance to attack once per round. However, these can be combined into a single action. A character may jog/run/sprint his or her entire movement in a round and make one attack. This is called a charge attack. The target of a charge attack gets once chance to attack the charging character first if he or she has not attacked anything else that round. Damage to a character making a charging attack and damage from a charge attack is doubled. Death from Above Lairs are three-dimensional spaces. As such, attacks can come from almost any direction. One tactic that can prove devastating in an enclosed area is leaping down from a high point onto an enemy and striking hard with your weapon. In order to pull this maneuver off, more than likely your character will have to climb to a higher spot. This requires a simple Body Stat Check. Once there, you will have to make two rolls to attack. The first roll will be leaping accurately down to attack your enemy. This roll is not modified by the targets Body

Ability Stat. The second roll is a standard attack roll. If either roll fails, the attack fails. If both rolls succeed, then the attack deals double damage to the target. Ranged Weapons Certain weapons can be used from a distance to strike an opponent. These are called ranged weapons. All bows, crossbows, throwing axes, throwing knives, slings, and javelins are considered ranged weapons. Ranged weapons have an effective range based on their type (Light, Medium, and Heavy). Light weapons have an effective range of 30. Medium ranged weapons have an effective range of 100, and large ranged weapons have an effective range of 200. The range for bows (but not crossbows) is halved in a Lair unless the GM designates it has a high ceiling. Most tiers in most Lairs have high ceilings, but not all of them. Ask your GM if you are unsure if a tier your character is exploring has a high ceiling. Reload Time Ranged weapons need to be reloaded. Some reload faster than others. Thrown ranged weapons like throwing knives, throwing axes, javelins, and spears can be launched every round. Bows like the short bow, composite bow, and long bow can be fired every other round. Crossbows can be fired once every three rounds. Firing a Weapon into a Crowd Sometimes it may be necessary to fire a ranged weapon into a melee. If a character does, then there is a chance that the ranged weapon misses its intended target and hits something else. If an attack roll fails, it hits a random target of the players roll came up even. If the roll came up odd, it misses everything. The GM will determine which random target is hit by rolling an appropriate number of d6s. Retrieving Ammunition Arrows, stones, and bolts can be retrieved from a corpse or from the ground most of the time. If your character is using a ranged weapon, look at your attack roll. If there is a 1 on any die, then the ammunition shattered on impact. However, if you do not roll a 1 on any die, the ammo may be retrieved and reused. Multi-Shot Attacks It is possible to load two or three stones, bolts, or arrows into a weapon and then fire it. However, the accuracy really drops off quickly. If you want to try a multi-shot attack, roll one few die for each additional stone/bolt/arrow you have loaded. So if you put two stones into your sling, roll 2d6 to attack rather than 3d6. If you put three arrows into your bow, roll 1d6 to attack instead of 3d6. If the attack succeeds, then your character deals the full damage to a single target for each round of ammo he or she used in the attack. Dual Wielding Some characters may want to use two light or medium melee weapons rather than a heavy melee weapon or a light/medium melee weapon with a shield. If so, that character may make one additional attack each combat round. However, the player must divide the Body Ability Stat the character has between the two attacks. For instance, say Xarb that Dwarven Paladin wants to attack with two broadswords. He has a Body of 5. He decides to assign 4 of his Body bonus to his first attack and 1 of his Body bonus to his second attack. That would mean he would have to roll a 9 or better for his first attack and a 12 or better for his second attack before other modifiers are applied. Parrying

Going into a situation with swords blazing isnt always the best course of action. Sometimes, the best offense is a good defense. Players may sacrifice some of their characters bonus from his or her Body Stat on offense to help on defense. This is called parrying. A player must declare his or her character will parry during the Declare Intentions phase of a combat round. The player must also declare how much of the characters Body will go toward defense instead of offense. For every 2 points of Body the player sacrifices on offense that round, the characters Body Ability Stat is raised by 1 on defense for that round. So if Amilee the Satyr Bard has a Body of 5 and her player, Jenna, declares that Amilee will put 4 Body into parrying that round, then anyone making a physical attack on Amilee will have the DD raised by an additional 2 points for that attack. However, when Amilee goes to make a physical attack, she will only get to lower her Default Difficulty for the attack by 1 due to Stat bonus since her Body Stat on offense is now reduced to 1. Raging Raging is the opposite of parrying. Like parrying, the player must declare if a character will rage that round and how much Body will be used. But instead of being a defensive maneuver, raging is offensive. For every 2 points of Body the player sacrifices on defense, the character gains +1 to his or her Body on offense. So this time, Jenna declares that Amilee will rage for 4 points of Body this round. That means on offense Jenna will treat Amilees Body as if it were actually 7 and on defense if it were actually 1 that round. In a pinch, when everything is on the line, raging can be a very useful tactic. Called Shots Combat in WLB assumes that combatants make a strike at whatever body part is most vulnerable at the time. Sometimes, however, it may be beneficial to attack a certain part of an enemy. For instance, you may just want to disarm or handicap your foe rather than kill him or her. So you might aim for an arm or a hamstring. You may want to attack the head of an enemy for a quick kill or cut a chain that holds a locket or jewel around an opponents neck. If you want to make a called shot, apply the following modifiers to the Default Difficulty: Targeting a Limb: +3 to DD Targeting a Small Object (worn): +4 to DD Targeting a Handheld Object: +5 to DD Targeting a Head: +6 to DD If a strike succeeds, the targeted are is severed in half or, in the case of an object, knocked to the ground. If the target was a limb, the victim will bleed to death in 1+1d6 rounds without medical attention. During that time, however, the victim will be able to attack, move, and cast spells. If the target was a head, the victim is killed instantly. Healing (Natural and Mystical) Heroes bodies recover from wounds quite quickly in What Lies Below. Down time is boring, so it has been reduced in this game significantly. There are two ways in which a character can be healed: natural regeneration and mystical powers. Natural Healing: When you made your characters, each one had a ROH. This was equal to one-third of your characters Body Ability Stat (rounded up). For each hour of complete rest-that means no walking, reading, researching, repairing, playing, singing, or much beyond talking really-the character heals 1 damage. So if Horus the Human Fighter has taken 8 damage, it will take him 8 hours of rest to recuperate. Rest does not necessarily mean sleep. Characters can be awake while resting and converse with other characters. There is no healing

bonus for being asleep. However, just as a reminder, characters that go without sleep accumulate fatigue points (see Chapter 2 in Core Rules). So sleeping while you rest is not a bad idea. Mystical Healing: Many classes have access to spells, powers, feats, or songs that can help remove damage from a character. Each one has its own unique properties. When one of these mystical abilities is used, follow the guidelines described in the Players Hand Book. Character Death Characters are going to die in What Lies Below- a lot. The heroes are up against almost impossible odds. The Underearth is filled with fearsome monsters; all of which are seeking bitter revenge for their displacement as overlords of the surface dwellers. They have barricaded themselves in, trapped every hallway, trained their bodies to withstand pain, and their minds to inflict harm in the most devastating ways. Heroes do not fear death. They embrace it. When a character (a player-character or a non-player character) takes damage equal to or greater than his or her Body Ability Stat, that character drops unconscious. Killing that character is then a simple matter. The opposing character must make a Body Stat Check that is unmodified by anything except the Dungeon Tier (For NPCs, the Dungeon Tier modifier does not apply). If the check succeeds, the character dies. There is little coming back from a death in What Lies Below. No cleric or wizard possesses the power to bring someone back from the other side. It is rumored that diamonds may hold the key to bringing a soul back to its mortal form, but diamonds are ever so rare and desperately guarded by the people who live in the deep. Chapter 5: Spells, Feats, Abilities, Songs, and More Many classes in What Lies Below possess mystical qualities that give them access to special capabilities they can use in the Underearth. While a few may share certain special abilities, most classes are unique and work in unique ways. Each type of special power is described below. Players can examine the Special Capabilities Appendix in the Players Hand Book for lists of spells, powers, feats, etc. along with explanations of how they affect the game. The Core Rules just presents how to use these exceptional features. IMPORTANT: aside from Arcane Spells and Thief Skills, all Powers, Songs, Feats, and Secrets may only be used once per session unless otherwise noted. Also, the range for all of these special capabilities is Line of Sight. As long as the PC can see the target, the target is considered in range. Arcane Spells Bards, Elementalists, Templars, and Wizards all cast Arcane Spells. Spells are described in the Magic chapter in the Players Handbook and the GMs Handbook. Casting an Arcane Spells requires a Stat Check using the characters Mind Stat. If a spell is being cast on another, unwilling character, then the Default Difficulty is modified by the targets Mind Ability Stat. So, for example, Jelinda the Elf Wizard wants to cast the Slow spell on Herria the Halfling. Herrias Mind Stat is 4, Jelindas is 7. So the target number Jelinas player must roll is a 10, barring any other modifiers. Arcane Spells require mana to cast. Each spell has a mana cost associated with it. Each time a character casts an Arcane Spell, he or she must subtract that amount of mana from his or her mana pool. As long characters have enough mana left in their mana pools to cast a spell, the spell can be used. Characters cannot have negative mana in their pool. Cleric Powers

Cleric Powers work similarly to Arcane Spells, except they are cast using the characters Spirit Ability Stat instead. Cleric Powers dont use mana, but they can only be utilized once per session unless the GM grants otherwise. These special abilities are very powerful. Use them wisely. Thief Skills Thieves and bards have special abilities that enable them to do things that other characters would find impossible. When a thief wants to use a skill, the player must roll 1d6. This is not a Stat Check. The roll is not modified by the Lair Tier, the targets Ability Stats, Shields, Magic Items, or anything else. On a roll of 1, the ability succeeds. Each thief starts with three skills and bards start with one. Each has the opportunity to learn new ones and advance the number on which they succeed as he or she advances. Character Advancement is explained further in the Advancement chapter in the Players Handbook. Songs In addition to Thieves Abilities, bards can sing magical songs. These songs have can affect anyone within earshot of the bards voice. To start a song, a bard must make a successful Spirit Check. The character may continue singing as long as the player wishes. However, after every hour of singing, the bard must make a successful Body Check to maintain his voice and stamina. Bards may perform other actions while singing such as running, fighting, crafting, or other activity that does not involve his mouth or voice. Bards are not affected by their own songs, only those who are listening. Beastmaster Feats Beastmasters gain feats as they advance. These feats help them control, heal, protect, and train their animals. To use a feat, the Beastmaster must make a successful Spirit Check. Feats may only be used once per session unless the GM grants otherwise. Ancient Secrets A very select few species and classes gain access to Ancient Secrets. These abilities come from ancient times when magic was more powerful and the inhabitants of the world were much closer to nature. Ancient Secrets are incredibly powerful and rare. They should not be used lightly. Ancient Secrets require a successful Spirit Stat Check to activate. There can be no Reaction Rolls if a character (PC or NPC) is targeted by an Ancient Secret. If the check is successful, it automatically works. Chapter 6: Perils of the Underearth Moving around in the lairs is difficult. Little natural light can be found. Vicious monsters and insidious traps are everywhere, and finding solace is a luxury few expeditions ever experience. There are three aspects that the players should beware of as they explore: vision, resting, and sudden death. Limits of Vision Most player-characters cannot see in darkness. Only Angels, Elves, and Dwarves are blessed with such sight. As a result, the others will need some sort of light source. There are three common types of light sources PCs can choose from: candles, torches, and lanterns. These objects are explained in the Players Handbook that you read as you bought your equipment, but to review, candles light a 10 radius, torches light a 20 radius, and lanterns light 40 in front of a character and one foot behind the character holding it. While a character is making a map, he or she must have a light source of some kind or be able to see in the dark.

Rest and Recuperation At some point, the PCs will have to spend time resting and/or sleeping in the Underearth. This is necessary, but very dangerous. Every hour there is a chance that a monster will come wandering by. Characters need to take precautions to either protect themselves from attack or conceal their presence from casual observers. The Game Master Handbook has rules for how to handle wandering monsters. While in the Underearth, the PCs heal 1 damage or regain 1 mana point for each point in their Rate of Healing (ROH) per hour just like they do at the Keep. Sudden Death The most common way for a character to die in What Lies Below is through combat. Orcs, Dark Elves, Goblins, and Halflings would love nothing more than to cut your characters down, one by one, and use their corpses to fertilize their subterranean farms. However, there are some things below the earth that can kill a character instantly or, at least, nearly instantly. Magma and Myconid Caps Deep below the mountains run veins of blood-red magma. This molten rock can be useful as a light source or heat source. At the same time, it can be fatal. Any character who falls into magma or becomes covered in magma by some type of trap instantly dies. No Body Reaction is possible. Myconids are a humanoid species of fungus. They live in the damp places of the Underearth. Tehir bodies are nutritious to most other species, but their caps are deadly. Anyone surface dweller who ingests even the smallest amount will die an immediate and painful death. Dark Elves often use Myconid caps to execute prisoners since they, like all other denizens of the lairs, are immune to its toxin. Drowning and Falling Traps and hazards infest the tunnels in the Underearth. Many of them try to kill interlopers by dropping them into a deep pit filled with sharp debris or dank water. When it comes to falling, for every 10 a character falls, he or she suffers 1 damage. If the surface the character hits upon landing is lined with sharp objects, the damage is doubled. If the character lands in water, the damage is halved. When it comes to drowning, a character can hold his breath for 3 rounds per point in his or her Body Ability Stat. So if a character has a body of 10, he or she can survive under water for two and a half minutes without air. For every round after that, the character suffers 1 damage. Chapter 7: Optional Rules The rules presented in the four books of What Lies Below are considered the standard rules for play. However, during playtesting some rules that were initially part of the game were eliminated- not because they werent fun, but because they didnt nail the style of game we were going for. We did not want to include them in the regular rule set because delivering a consistent and reliable rule set was our first priority. Despite that fact, though, we felt that these misfit rules might appeal to many people who try What Lies Below. As a result, we have included an optional rules section in the Core Rules. Optional rules provide a different play experience from the standard rules. Each group should discuss if they will be using any optional rules or not before character creation even begins if possible. Any optional rules up for consideration should be read aloud to the group and the floor should be open for comments and questions. Finding a consensus is important. Some people will not like a campaign that is more deadly or having to keep track of multiple characters at once. All participants who have concerns about an optional rule should be

listened to carefully. If a consensus cannot be found, it is probably best to not include the optional rule in question. There are three different sets of optional rules. They are explained below. Playing Multiple Characters at Once After making ones troupe, players are instructed only to play one character at a time. They are free to switch out characters at will, but they can only portray one at a time. Under this rule, characters may portray any number of characters they made during the character creation process both in the Keep and in the lairs. The Game Master is at liberty to set a new limit on the number of characters players may use at once. For instance, Frank the GM may opt to only allow his players to use three at once. If this optional rule is adopted, the Game Master should adjust his lair calculations accordingly (See Creating your Lairs in the Game Master Handbook). Players must designate which characters will be their starting characters. When calculating the EXP per level, the GM should add together ALL the EXP/Level values for all the starting characters, not just the players main character. This rule is especially beneficial to play groups that have only one or two players and a GM. Such groups are very small and thus the lairs created by the GM are greatly constrained. Allowing the players to control multiple characters at once will give the GM more freedom to design challenging and creative dungeons. Conversely, these optional rules are not at all recommended for larger groups of six players or more. Coordinating the actions of six people in a cramped dungeon is hard enough. Having to figure out what to do with twelve to eighteen characters would take a very long time. Thus, the enjoyment that normally comes from playing out a combat and planning a groups tactics would likely be diminished for everyone. Making a Campaign More Lethal and Challenging Starting characters in What Lies Below are very capable heroes. They arent farmboys plucked off the ranch and pressed into service. They know what they are doing and can hold their own against smaller foes. For some people, though, this aspect of play in WLB is not in the spirit of early dungeon delving in the 1970s. So, if the group can come to a consensus, players should replace Step 4 in the character creation rules in the Character and Guild Creation Guide with the following: Look at the Character Stats section. Just to the right of the Total you will see a column marked Base. These are the minimum amount your stats can ever be reduced to by any spell or effect. Each character begins with a 0, a 1, and a 2 for his or her Stat Bases. You may choose to arrange these values in any order you like. So for instance, Cindy who is playing Makinna the Elf Wizard chooses to put a 1 in Body, a 0 in Soul, and a 2 in Mind. Robert who is play Grayson the Dwarf Paladin decides to put a 0 in Mind a 2 in Body and a 1 in Soul. For a hint at which stats are important to a character, see where he or she got her Stat Modifiers from his or her Class. Generally speaking, those stats will be the most important to have a high value. You may not combine these values into a single stat nor trade points from one stat to another during this step. There should be a 0, a 1, and a 2 on the first page of each of your character record sheets under the Base column for Stats. Ask your GM for assistance if you need it. Facing There are no official facing mechanics in the standard rules for play. However, many games in the past have included such rules, and players who enjoy more tactical options in a game might like to include such mechanics. If the group agrees to adopt Facing rules, they may use the following paragraphs along with all other rules in the Combat Tactics section of chapter 4.

Flanking Characters may maneuver into a flanking position during combat. Putting yourself into a situation where you could attack the left or right of an enemy adds an additional +2 to the Default Difficulty. This maneuver may only be performed if there is another character engaging the target as well. For example, Keriss the Human Fighter and Warren the Dwarf Fightr are taking on Merrina the Goblin. Kerisss player wants her to flank Merrina. The Leader must then inform the GM that Warren will engage Merrinas front while Keriss attempts to attack the flank. Merinna has a Body of 4, Keriss has a Body of 8. Flanking adds 2 to the Default Difficulty, so Kerisss player must roll an 11 or better to hit Merinna on the flank. If Kerisss hit succeeds, she will do double damage. Up to two characters may flank a single target per round unless the target is unusually large like a dragon or a sphinx. In those cases, up to six characters may flank. Backstabbing Backstabbing works just like flanking except the modifier to the DD is +6 instead of +2. Also, there must already be at least 3 characters engaging the target before a backstabbing attack may be made. If a backstab attack succeeds, the damage is tripled. Only one character may make a backstab attempt per round, regardless of the size of the target. These rules are good to use with the above rules for making a campaign more lethal. The facing mechanics increase the players options during combat as well as the GMs since both can use facing. If you and your group really like fast and deadly combat, then including both sets of rules will deliver the kind of game you want. Making a Campaign More Epic If character death is not something your group wants to be a major part of the campaign, then you can adopt a more epic style of character creation. Replace Step 4 in the character creation rules in the Character and Guild Creation Guide with the following: Look at the Character Stats section. Just to the right of the Total you will see a column marked Base. These are the minimum amount your stats can ever be reduced to by any spell or effect. Each player should roll 3d6. Examine the results. Place one die next to each Stat, then write that value in under the Base column. You may arrange these dice in any order. For example, Mark who is playing Kyvin the Elementalist rolls a 2, 5, and 6. He choose to put a 6 in Kyvins Mind Base, a 5 in Kyvins Spirit Base, and a 2 in Kyvins Body Base. For a hint at which stats are important to a character, see where he or she got her Stat Modifiers from his or her Class. Generally speaking, those stats will be the most important to have a high value. You may not combine these values into a single stat nor trade points from one stat to another during this step. Ask your GM for assistance if you need it. Using a Dry Erase Board To make mapping more efficient, the GM may opt to use a dry erase board to sketch out and quickly label the section of tunnel the PCs can see. The mapper and backup mapper (if there is one) may then copy the GMs design. Once they are finished, the GM should then erase his drawing. A section of the lair drawn in this way should not be redrawn for the players. They have one chance to get it right. That is enough. These rules may be helpful for GMs who have trouble communicating exactly what they want or for new GMs who are just getting used to the idea of drawing and describing subterranean maps.

Moral Dilemmas Rampaging and trashing the Underearth is great fun, and tactical challenges have provided gamers with endless entertainment for over 100 years. But have you ever stopped to think about the cultural toll heroes may be taking on the Underearths inhabitants? Some groups enjoy the combat when necessary, but they also enjoy examining the moral complications dungeon delving can inspire. Is it right to attack an orc clan just because its there? If another group of heroes touched off a war between the kobolds and goblins because of a misunderstanding, is it right to not intervene and let them kill each other over nothing? If the halflings are massacring myconids and destroying the underground ecology, should the PCs step in to help them even though the Myconids likely consider them enemies? How can the PCs balance their duty to the Guild, their allegiance to other surface dwellers, and the imperative for bloodshed below? These and other moral question can easily crop up during play. For some groups, its a non-issue, and thats fine. For others, it can be an incredibly fun line of play to pursue. If moral dilemmas are going to be introduced during play and seriously examined, then the entire group needs to be on the same page about it. Be sure to discuss the ramifications of adventuring in that type of campaign versus a more traditional campaign with everyone before starting. Quickplay If you want to get down to the bare bones of this game and start playing as fast as possible, you and your group can use the quickplay rules. The character creation rules instruct each player to make 1 + 1d6 characters. Eschew that. Each player should make one character instead. Dont Also, players should skip the guild creation rules and use the sample guild in this book. GMs, if you know that youll be using the quicklplay rules, you can go ahead and make several smaller lairs prior to the players making their characters. Use a rough estimate of 1600 EXP per Double Tier (see Lair Creation Guide) when designing your lairs. Alternatively, you can use the random lair creation tables in the GMs Guide to make up a lair as you go. If you employ these rules, you should have the campaign up and running in less than half an hour after character creation begins. Making Extra Maps The standard rules for play suggests that there should only ever be two maps in existence to which the PCs have access: the one made by the mapper and the backup mapper. There are times, though, that this could be horribly inconvenient and not very realistic. If the group agrees, players can make extra maps to leave with idle characters at the guilds Keep. This way, if a spare character is ever needed due to another characters death or capture, the new character will have a good idea of how to catch up. Also, if the map should ever be destroyed by fire or water, the PCs will not have to start over from scratch. For some groups, this optional rule would ruin the visceral experience of map making. For others, it is a hassle saving device. Each group will have to decide for itself. Trading Characters The standard rules for play provide no option to trade or loan characters. However, it is possible that a player might run out of characters during the campaign. If the group ascents, then players may trade or loan characters freely amongst themselves at any time. This may mean that one players characters arent played for a session or two, and that is fine if the group agrees to it. Some groups believe that the players should be empowered to

make the best tactical decisions at all times. That includes taking the most effective collections into the lairs to strike an enemy. Making Extra Characters after the Campaign Starts Somewhat related to trading characters, a group might allow players to make extra characters if all of their original ones die. This will happen, especially if a player rolls low during Step 1 of character creation. Ignoring Fatigue Some play groups do not like having to keep up with a characters encumbrance and fatigue. For them, it is too much bookwork for too little reward. Fatigue is a balancing mechanic that forces the players to think ahead about what gear and weapons they will need to tackle an encounter. Having to economize ones possessions is a facet of good play. However, if the entire group feels that the fatigue point rules are too arduous to keep up with, then they may be replaced by GM fiat. GM fiat in this instance means that the GM, at his or her own discretion, may deem a character overburdened. If the GM does, then the character needs to lighten his or her load before moving on. The GM may opt to never deem a character overburdened. However, the GM should apply his or her discursion uniformly among the characters. Putting Inactive Characters in Danger If the group agrees to this, the inactive PCs in the Troupe can be fair game for the GM. Inactive PCs can be kidnapped, involved in Keep intrigue, or threatened with assassination by the Accursed. Involving the inactive player-characters in this way can open up new avenues for quests and investigations by the main characters. It can add a sense of urgency to the exploration of a dungeon or uncovering of a plot within the guild. This is one of the more high risk/high reward optional rules presented within this text. Participants who are new to WLB might want to forego using this optional rule until they get more experience with the standard rules for play. Chapter 8: Creating Magic Items Wizards, Templars, and Bards all gain the ability at some point to create magic items. Creating a magical item is fairly straightforward. There are recipes and procedures that have been perfected by alchemists for hundreds of years. If your character can gather these components, get access to a workshop or alchemists lab, and make the necessary skill checks, he or she can quickly and easily create a basic magic item. There are two types of items that your characters can make: utility items and weapons/armor. Each is described in its own section in this chapter. Utility Items Utility items are items that can cast spell-like effects. These items have charges that are expended, and once expended the item cannot produce the effect anymore. It takes both the right components and the right process to create a magical utility item. The Components There are two things that are needed for item creation. First, you will need a gemstone, and not any gemstone, but a specific type of gemstone. So far, alchemists have discovered only thirteen gems that possess magical properties. These gemstones range in price from a few bronze pieces to an entire fortune! Below is a list of the gems, their powers, and their cost if you were to buy one from a merchant or alchemist. Amethyst (50BP): Heals 2 damage per use. Turquoise (75BP): Cures any single poison or disease per use.

Topaz (150BP): Heals 4 damage per use. Garnet (400BP): Grants +3 to a single stat for 24 hours per use. Amber (800BP): Deals 6 damage to a single target within line of sight per use. Peridot (1200BP) Heals 6 damage per use. Pearl (1500BP): Grants the target one extra action per round for five rounds per use. Emerald (2000BP): Removes all magical properties from a single magic item per use. Ruby (3000BP): Deals 8 damage to a single target within light of sight per use. Sapphire (5000BP): Grants the target two extra actions per round for ten rounds per use. Jet (7000BP): Gain control of target monster with an EXP value of 100 or less for 5 rounds per use. Opal (10000BP): Deals 10 damage to all Accursed within line of sight per use. Diamond (20000BP) Brings a character back from the dead with his/her stats all reduced by 2 per use. Gemstones are found in lairs. Sometimes they can be dug from the walls, but usually they are within the treasure horde of some kind of monster. Finding one is rare, but once you have a gemstone, it can last a lifetime. Next, you will need some type of metal to affix the gem. There are five metals that can provide charges for your magic item. The gems tell you what effect can be provided; the metal decides how many times you can use that effect. Below is a list of metals that are naturally charged with magic and how much a unit of that metal would cost: Bronze (5BP per unit): Holds 1 charge. Silver (50BP per unit): Holds 2 charges. Gold (500BP per unit): Holds 4 charages. Platinum (5000BP per unit): Holds 10 charges. Mithril (50000BP per unit): Holds 25 charges. As a metal expends charges, it degrades to the next lower. So after you spend 6 charges on a platinum object, it degrades into a gold object. Once you spend two more charges, it degrades to a silver object. Once all charges are spent, the metal turns to lead. This is why, for so many years, alchemists searched for ways to turn lead into gold. They needed ways to recharge their magic items. Finally, after centuries of secret research, they discovered it. For a price equal to one fourth of the metals value (round up), any alchemist and restore it to its original state. So if you bring an alchemist a lead wand that once was made of platinum, he will charge you 250BP. If you pay him, he will restore your wand to platinum and it will have a full 10 charges once again. Only alchemists can do this. The Process Creating a magic item requires hard work and concentration. A character must successfully make three Ability Stat Checks. The first check is a Body check to form the metal. The second check is a Mind check to cut the gem. The third is a Spirit check to infuse the item with magic. If the first check fails, the metal is mangled and useless. You can sell it for half-price and start over with new material. If the second check fails, the gemstone is crushed. It loses all its magical properties permanently. If the third check fails, the item disintegrates into its component parts. You must start over from the beginning, but you may reuse these same materials. There are seven different types of magic utility items a character can make. Each requires a different amount of metal. Below is a list of these items with how many units of each metal they would take to create. Ring: 1 Unit Necklace: 3 Units Bracelet: 5 Units

Circlet: 10 Units Wand: 20 Units Pommel/Handle: 30 Units Staff: 50 Units Remember, each unit can hold a charge according to its metal type. So a bronze staff could hold 50 charges. A silver staff could hold 100. Magic Weapons Infusing weapons with magical properties works in a similar way to utility items. You need to have the right components, the right workstation, and the requisite stat checks. The Components Weapons require units of magic minerals to be enchanted. There are three types of magic minerals: magnesium, cobalt, and adamantium. Each has its own cost and bonus to a single stat. Magnesium (50BP per unit): +1 to any single Ability Stat. Cobalt (500BP per unit): +2 to any single Ability Stat. Adamantium (2000BP per unit): +3 to any single Ability Stat. It only takes one unit of mineral to enchant a weapon, regardless of the size. The Process The process for making magic arms is nearly identical to utility items. The character must make a successful Body check to create the item, a successful Mind check to add the mineral into the object, and finally, a successful Spirit check to infuse the weapon with magic. Magic Armors and Containers Components Light armor and containers can be made from the skins of specific Accursed from the Underearth. Dire Bats, Orcs, Trolls, and Dragons all have hides that can be used to create magic items the PCs will no doubt find useful while delving. Below is a brief chart for each hide detailing its resale value and bonuses. Dire Bat Hide (10BP per unit): Increase armor protection by 1; reduces FP value of items it holds by 10%. Orc Hide (40BP per unit): Increase armor protection by 2; reduces FP value of items it holds by 25%. Troll Hide (100BP per unit): Increase armor protection by 3; reduces FP value of items it holds by 50%. Dragon Hide (1000BP per unit): Increase armor protection by 5; reduces FP value of items it holds by 90%. Round up all fractions for FP values for containers. All armors made from these hides give Fatigue Points like light armor. Below are the number of units of each hide required to make a container or armor. Backpack: 20 Dire Bat units, 10 Orc units, 5 Troll Units, 1 Dragon Unit Change Purse: 4 Dire Bat Units, 2 Orc Units, 1 Troll Unit, 1/2 Dragon Unit Large Bag: 15 Dire Bat units, 8 Orc units, 3 Troll Units, 1 Dragon Unit Left Belt Pouch: 4 Dire Bat Units, 2 Orc Units, 1 Troll Unit, 1/2 Dragon Unit Left Scabbard: 8 Dire Bat Units, 4 Orc Units, 2 Troll Unit, 1/2 Dragon Unit Left Sheath: 4 Dire Bat Units, 2 Orc Units, 1 Troll Unit, 1/2 Dragon Unit

Medium Bag: 6 Dire Bat Units, 3 Orc Units, 1 Troll Unit, 1/2 Dragon Unit Right Belt Pouch: 4 Dire Bat Units, 2 Orc Units, 1 Troll Unit, 1/2 Dragon Unit Right Scabbard: 8 Dire Bat Units, 4 Orc Units, 2 Troll Unit, 1/2 Dragon Unit Right Sheath: 4 Dire Bat Units, 2 Orc Units, 1 Troll Unit, 1/2 Dragon Unit Satchel: 6 Dire Bat Units, 3 Orc Units, 1 Troll Unit, 1/2 Dragon Unit Small Bag: 4 Dire Bat Units, 2 Orc Units, 1 Troll Unit, 1/2 Dragon Unit Suit of Armor: 30 Dire Bat units, 15 Orc units, 7 Troll Units, 1 Dragon Unit The Process Much like making a magic item, there are three Ability Stat checks a character must make to create a magic container or suit of armor. First, the PC must make a Body check to successfully harvest the best piece of hide for the armor. Second, the PC must make a Mind check to successfully stitch together the hide units. Finally, he or she must make a successful Spirit check to infuse the item with magic. If the first one fails, the hide unit is ruined. If the second fails, half the hide units are ruined (round up). And if the final check fails, all the hide units used to make the item disintegrate into dust. Chapter 9: Sample of Play Chapter 10: Sample Guild and Keep