Game Rules

In Blood Red Roses, participants physically portray characters in the fictional setting of Algundy, improvising their characters’ speech and movements like actors in improvisational theatre.


Each player each has their own predefined character with associated skills, strengths, knowledge and even disadvantages. Players often play the same character over a number of Blood Red Roses events, developing them over time and adding depth to the setting and the character’s personality and knowledge.

Non-Player Characters (Crew)

Non-player characters, or NPCs, facilitate the plot line by playing a variety of roles. These roles can be anything from well-defined characters who interact with the players to being part of a ravaging hoard of undead. Crew frequently change character many times in one day.

“In Character”

Players are in character from the moment time in is called and remain so until time out is called. During this period, crew also remain in character if they are visible to the players. If it is necessary for players or visible crew to act out of character during this time (crew for example may need to pass players en route to another area), they may demonstrate the fact by raising one arm in the air. In dialogue, it is also possible to use the phrase “out of character” to prefix out of character dialogue.

Combat is a large part of the game, safety is as well so read the in game calls below as they are very important. In combat we need to keep excitement and action balanced with the safety of the individual and the group.

To achieve this the following ground rules are in use in this system: All weapons must be inspected by a referee before the start of a game, weapons will be checked for safety with the referee having the right to store any weapon that fail safety until the event is over. All attacks are to be pulled, full strength attacks are not permitted, blows are never to be aimed for the head, the throat or genitalia. For a hit to count the weapon used must be swung the full length of the blade, in the case of stabbing weapons they must travel at least 30cm for the attack to count. TOUGHNESS, WOUNDS and DEATH In Bloods Red Roses there are two types of damage Hit Points (or toughness) and Wounds. Hit Points are the number of hit you can take in any given location before you are reduced to 0 in that location.

For example Bill has one extra hit point meaning he has two hit points in each location, that means he can be hit twice in each location before that location is at 0 and is knocked out. Locations at 0 get no worse over time but will require the attentions of a herbalist to bring it back to use.

Wounds are what happens beyond 0, hits taken that take a location into real bloodied damage. Wounds are bad news, they bleed. A wound gets on level worse every 60 seconds and you only have extra wounded levels available to match your extra hit points. If you run out of wound levels in any location due to bleeding you have ‘bled out’ and its time to create a new character. You can stanch the bleeding (in effect stop the clock) from a wound with no skill but you can not close the wound, closing a wound requires a Churgan of lvl 1 or better. With every wounded location you must make a bead draw to see if infection or complications have set in.

There are many different types of weapons in use at this time in history. We will give you a board sweep of what you can expect and the rules for such.

Martial Weapons The classic weapons of war are very much in use in Blood Red Roses. All martial weapons do one point of damage when swung one handed. Weapons of more than 3-feet in length swung two handed do two points of damage. All martial weapons damage armour on point for point basis. Unless the player has a writ of exemption or is a noble it is a capital (hanging) offence to carry Martial weapons in Algundy. E.g. Daggers, Short-swords, Swords, Axes, War-hammers and Pole-arms etc…
Non-Martial Weapons Or peasant weapons are made of wood, bronze iron or steel and are predominantly tools of one kind or another. Because they were not designed for warfare they damage metal armours on a two for one basis. However they damage leather armour and un-armoured targets on a one for one basis. All peasant weapons do only one point of damage, regardless of length. E.g. Spades, shovels, carpenters’ tools, knives, etc…
Bows The ability to strike form range has always been the most treasured secret of mankind. In Algundy the art of the bow has been refined with the Algundian Long-bow. This bow is so powerful that it punches clear though all types of armour except for Bound Shields. A hit from a Algundian long bow does one point of though armour damage, it also knocks down it’s target. A limb hit with an arrow must be treated with the appropriate skill before it can be used again. All bows in this system should be treated as Algundian long bows unless otherwise stated. Non-Algundian bows do one point of damage at range with no special effects.

Armour adds extra hit points to the location it covers, the values for armour are shown below, different types of armour can be layered to a maximum of two layers.

Armour Value Xp
Leather armour 1 point -
Thick leather (5mm minimum) 2 points -
Leather with metal studs 2 points -
Large Ring Chainmail 3 points 5Cp
Chainmail 4 points 10Xp
Brigadine 4 points 10xp
Plate 5 points 20Xp

Metal armours, (4 points or greater), have an added advantage, against improvised weapons, knives, sticks, tools, etc, they double their armour value. A set of chain mail will count as 8 points of armour against a man with a knife. Against weapons designed to weapons, spears, swords, axes, etc they have no specific advantage.

Two skills are involved in armour repair: Craft: Armourer which covers the repair of rarer Metal armours such as chain and plate and Craft: Leather-worker which covers the repair of common leather and fur armours. Due to the comparatively simple nature of the materials used in these types of armour it takes half as long to repair. E.g. For a level two leather-worker it will only take one hour to repair two points of leather or fur armour. Armour repair times are as follows:

Skill Rank Hours Per Point
1 2
2 1
3 1/2

Note: Because you only have one pair of hands you can only repair one piece of armour at a time.

Shields are free to use with no points cost but still come under the category of armour. This means that anyone of Freeman status or lower without guild membership or a ‘Letter of Mark’ from a noble is in danger of braking the law. There are two types of shield, Bound and Unbound.

Bound shields are ‘bound’ in iron or steel re-enforcing their structure. Bound shields are proof against all but the most powerful martial and ranged attacks. Larger black powder weapons can be used to destroy even bound shields, these however are very rare. A call of strength used with an appropriate martial two handed weapon will destroy a bound shield.

Unbound shields are made solely of Wood or Stretched-hide. Unbound shields are proof against normal martial attacks however they will not stop black powder shot or Algundian Longbow arrows, these punch through the shield hitting the arm behind the shield, knocking the target down (and in most cases out.) A call of strength with a one handed weapon will destroy an unbound shield. The unbound shield is the choice of almost all low ranking and savage peoples.

SHIELD REPAIR All shields can be destroyed as stated above. When this happens you might want to get it fixed. All shields are considered to have 5 armour points for the purposes of repair. Using the table under armour repair you can repair your shied with one of these three skills: Bound shields: Armourer. As stated on armour repair table. Unbound Wooden Shields: Carpentry. Half all repair times due to the simplicity of construction. Unbound Stretched Hide: Leather Worker. Half all repair times as with leather armour.

A recent invention, black powder weapons are loud, messy and occasionally devastating. Caps obtained from the referees power all black powder weapons, each powder charge or cap is individually wrapped in tin foil to keep it dry and to slow down the reloading process. Caps without such a wrapping should be considered to have been used and should be discarded. Unwrapping caps at any point beforehand is considered cheating as the unwrapping is part of the point. Black powder can be obtained prior to game from the referees, or can be found/stolen/bought in game from players or from NPCs.

Initially a player with an appropriate weapon starts with 10 shots. A man portable black powder weapon does 1 point of damage and ignores all armour; it will literally kill an ordinary man outright if they are shot in the chest. Even a person or creature with multiple hit points will be knocked off their feet and remain prone for 20 seconds by the impact and noise of an Aquebuse or Flintlock.

A character with at least Grade 2 in alchemy can produce shots for a weapon. They must be a member of the Alchemists Guild as its recipe is a guild secret. At grade 2 the character can make one shot per hour of work at a cost of 2 pennies per shot for raw ingredients. At Grade 3 the greater knowledge of the alchemist allows the production of 2 shots per hour of work at a cost of 1 penny per shot for raw ingredients. At grade 4 a character can produce 4 shots per hour of work at a cost of 1 penny per shot for raw ingredients.

Weapon Range
Derringer style weapon 5 feet
Flintlock pistol 10 feet
Arquebuse 20 feet
Cannon 50 feet (see referee for damage)
Bombard Siege ranges (see referee for damage)

N.B. Over Loading… Or ‘proofing’ as it is known in the trade is the method by which a firearm is tested for safety. To proof a firearm you load twice as much powder into the shot as normal and fire it, preferably from a safe distance. This double load when used in the field will give you half again as much range. However overloading the weapon makes it much more likely to blow-up. Call double load in the field and talk to ref.

Healing, Herbalism, Churgery and Game mechanics

HEALING Wounds and injuries are the unavoidable consequence of combat. Healing unassisted is a slow perilous business, wounds take months to knit, bones may heal crooked, and more commonly death follows from the wound going bad resulting in blood poisoning. For these reasons healing with assistance is the path of choice for most people.

Herbalism The most common form of healing is that practised by the herbalist, every community has someone who has some knowledge of the healing properties of plants. By applying herbs to a wound and bandaging the affected body part the natural process of healing can be accelerated. Herbs quickly lose their potency after gathering, herbs used for healing that are more than a day old cause the herbalist to be treated as a rank lower in the skill than they actually are, grade 1 herbalists cannot store herbs in this fashion and must gather daily. Herbalists would be wise to carry a writ from their lord stating that they are medical professionals and not travelling poisoners.

Game mechanics: The base time for healing without assistance is one month per point of damage, more serious wounds such as those from a two handed weapon may take longer. To use the skill effectively the person doing the healing must apply the herbs to the wound and bind them there, usually this is done with a cloth wrap in the form of a poultice. The wounded person must then rest for the appropriate amount of time in order for the wound to heal properly. Any vigorous movement (such as walking) that puts strain on the wounded area will reset the healing time, player character healers should make a note of their patients movements to help the refs keep track of this. For example, someone with a wounded arm could quite easily walk with the arm strapped down and have it heal as they travelled, however they could not lift anything or fight with it without resetting the healing time. If on the other hand it was a leg or the torso that was injured then while the poultice would prevent the injury from becoming more serious, it would not start healing again until the character stopped moving and got some rest. Also, the healing time would become reset and fresh herbs may need to be applied. The healing time for the wound is dependent on the level of the herbalist’s skill:

Grade Healing Ability
Grade 1 herbalist Healing time is 4 hours per point of damage. Grade 1 Herbalists cannot prepare dried herbs.
Grade 2 herbalist (Restricted unless you have Mentor Advantage) Healing time is 2 hours per point of damage. They can also prepare dried herbs which will heal as per the grade 1 skill (4 hours).
Grade 3 herbalist (Restricted unless you have Mentor Advantage) Healing time is 1 hours per point of damage. They can also prepare dried herbs which will heal as per the grade 2 skill (2 hours).
Grade 4 herbalist (Restricted unless you have Mentor Advantage) Healing time is 1/2 hour per point of damage. They can also prepare dried herbs which will heal as per the grade 3 skill (1 hours).

If two herbalists of the same level cooperate to gather and then subsequently apply herbs to patients then the level of their skill may be treated as one higher than it actually is. See below to learn how to get the best use from your herbalism.


Although herbs are amazingly useful in the healing process, they cannot set bones, nor will they greatly reduce the chance of infection or permit the removal of an arrow fragment from deep within a lung. To achieve these and other miracles of healing, the new science of Churgery must be used. Taught in Medical schools and the newly founded Universities, this is the scientific approach to healing, or wounding someone more in order to heal them.

Churgery introduces the idea of cleanliness into dealing with injuries, it will reduce the chance of initial infection and once stitched will also greatly lower the possibility of any secondary infections. Cleaning a wound carefully is important because the continued presence of Shot, shrapnel, arrowheads or quite simply dirt in a wound can lead to life long and indeed life limiting complications. The benefits of each skill grade are shown below but Churgery is a science still very much subject to circumstance. Churgans would be wise to carry a writ from their lord stating that they are medical professionals and not traveling necromancers.

Game mechanics: In simple rules terms the Churgeon’s skill offsets or eliminates your bead draw for nasty injuries. If more than one Churgeon of the same skill grade works simultaneously on the same patient then they may treat it as if they have an operating skill one grade higher. For example, two journeymen churgeons collaborate to try and remove a pistol shot from the chest of their companion, they both only have grade 2 Churgery but that gives them an effective grade one higher, greatly improving their companion’s chances of escaping this potentially fatal wound unscathed. Unfortunately a Black bead is ALWAYS a black bead and is always lethal. A week later one of the journeymen is left alone with two apprentices for the day and a man is brought in with a broken arrow in his back, he gathers the apprentices (grade 1) and they all make an effort to do what they can. Sadly though the skill of the journeyman (grade 2) plus that of the apprentices (both grade 1, which does make a 2nd grade 2) is not enough, since the grade does not scale up again, to meaningfully improve the victim’s chances of a full recovery. Note: Without the co-operation of a Churgeon with Grade 2 Churgery or higher then broken bones will begin to set but may not be set correctly leading to lifelong crippling injuries.

Grade Healing Ability
Grade 1 churgeon This basic level teaches cleaning, treatment and stitching of an injury. Can remove foreign bodies such as shrapnel, arrows and bullets within body (without this an additional point of damage is caused removing item in addition to bead draw if negative hit points)
Grade 2 churgeon (Restricted unless you have University Educated Advantage) Broken bones can be set and dislocated limbs mended as well as removing foreign bodies. Also reduces the chance of infection meaning healing bead draws are one stage better.
Grade 3 churgeon (Restricted unless you have University Educated Advantage) Effects as level 1 and 2 but in addition better practice further reduces the chance of infection meaning bead draws are two stages better.
Grade 4 churgeon (Restricted unless you have University Educated Advantage) The churgeon’s almost godlike ability allows the attempt to heal wounds to the head and delicate wounds to the body. The master churgeon can almost achieve modern surgical feats (consult ref for extreme cases) and due to expertise Infection is eliminated.

The science of Churgery is so new that few people have experimented; many of the procedures player characters will perform will be never have been performed before. A good living can be made lecturing or publishing once enough skill has been developed and once the character is famous for that skill. Non-physical wounds such as those caused by the uncanny powers of the forces of Evil cannot be treated with churgery. No, you can’t cut out spiritual corruption with a knife, no matter how sharp it is, not that people haven’t tried.

A writ is a letter of permission granted by someone in a position of authority such as a Noble, Guild Master or a high ranking member of the Clergy and the use of forgeries is severely punished. Writs are carried for many reasons but most commonly as proof of rank or position within an organisation such as a guild. Writs are also often carried by travellers as proof that they have the right to possess or do something that is usually restricted by law.

Writs are hand written and although there is some variation, writs all contain the same important information and are usually laid out in a similar fashion: At the top there is a title to the writ briefly describing the purpose. Beneath that is written the name and rank of the bearer, the details of what they are being given permission to do or carry and the signature, titles and seal of the person who is giving their permission.

Here are two simple examples:

Writ Of Exemption

In light of recent troubles on the road, Peter the Miller is hereby granted permission by Lord Roland Ashcroft to bear arms and carry a sword in defence of his Lord’s grain and flour.

Signed: Lord Roland Ashcroft

Writ Of Guild Membership

I, Guild Master Francis Morley of the Churgeon’s Guild, declare that Peter is a Journeyman of the Churgeon’s Guild. He is in good standing and is properly trained with permission to practice the art of Churgery under guild law.

Signed: Francis Morley

All magic in the game world has its origins in Evil. To practice magic all that is required is knowledge of the ritual and a familiarity with the words and gestures required to active the spell. A spell requires no magic points, it could be cast thousands of times per day with no loss of power. Instead whenever a spell is cast, the caster draws a bead from the Bead Bag, (in the possession of the referee), depending upon the colour of the bead drawn is the effect on the caster.

Some beads will have no effect, others might result in temporary nausea or similar detrimental effect, a few may lead to permanent changes in the character, mutations altering appearance or behaviour. Once drawn the effects of the bead are immediate with the exception of physical alterations which require the use of prosthetics or props, these can be assumed to have taken effect by the next game.

None of the magic in the game is instantaneous, it relies instead on gathering energies and the correct performance of ritual. Once you have decided to perform a spell either inform a referee who will advise you as to the results, (and provide the Magic bead bag), or failing the presence of a referee, perform the ritual and advise a referee at the soonest possible convenience.

Please note that magic isn’t a precise science, on some days the energies flow easier than on others, a certain colour of bead drawn on one day could have a better or worse interpretation the following day.

Time In/Out Signals the beginning and end of the game.
Time Freeze Close your eyes, plug your ears and hum, The Imperial March seems to be quite popular. The refs are about to insert, remove or change something in your immediate environment.
Have a Care Open your mouth and don’t plug your ears, something very loud is about to happen.
Man Down If you or someone you can see is injured then shout ‘Man Down’, If you hear a cry of ‘Man Down’ then you should also shout it. Play stops until the situation is resolved and a shout of ‘Time In’ is herd.
Paralysis Upon a solid armoured hit the target takes one hit and is rendered instantly motionless for 60 seconds.
Fear Upon call of “Fear” target flees for 10 seconds.
Terror When “Terror” is called Target is paralysed by fear for 30 seconds after which the target must flee for 10 seconds.
Strength A Call of Strength implies use of Strength of the Bull as listed under advantages.
Subdue If subdue is called whilst attacking with an appropriate weapon then all damage is temporary and target is rendered unconscious instead of dead.Note: you cannot call subdue while hitting someone with the blade of your sword in full combat, also many of the lost are immune to being subdued as the biology of a knockout condition is no longer possible for them.
Iron Will A call of Iron will implies use of the Iron Will advantage as listed above. In most cases it’s best to find a characterful way of making the call. For example “The faith of the lady protects me.”
Courage A call of Courage resists Terror and Fear effects.