Generic system with the stated design goals of simplicity, comprehensiveness and invisibility.

There is also a cinematic version of the rules, which has fewer skills, no secondary attributes or essence and simplified combat.

  • One central game mechanic for everything
  • Focus on story rather than rules

Character Creation

Point-buy system.

  • Attributes: Human range is 1-6. Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Perception, Willpower
  • Secondary Attributes: Calculated from attributes.
    • Life Points: hitpoints, human range 18-58
    • Endurance Points: fatigue, human range 14 to 59
    • Speed: running speed, human range 6-36 kph (4-24 mph)
    • Essence Points: magical energy, human
  • Skills: Divided into regular skills and special skills which cost more to learn.
  • Qualities and Drawbacks: List of advantages and negative traits which cost and gain points respectively.
  • Metaphysics: Spiritual or magical ability

Task Resolution

Success if Attribute + Skill + 1D10 + Difficulty Modifier is nine or greater (cards can also be used). Also has tables for degree of success that can give bonuses. It is emphasised that rolls should only be made when they have an impact on the Story and encourages the Chronicler (GM) to ignore or alter rolls that disrupt the plot.

There is also a story-driven version where the Chronicler (GM) judges the outcome. If a character's skill + attribute is greater than the opponent or difficulty number it succeeds, otherwise it fails. If the roleplaying part of the action is good enough the numbers are ignored and the action is an automatic success.

  • The Rule of 10: On 10, roll again, subtract five, if above zero add to result. Open-ended.
  • The Rule of 1. On 1, roll again, subract five, if negative replaces first roll. Open ended.
  • It must be decided which attribute is used with a skill each roll (there are defaults)
  • When no skill is applicable the attribute alone is used. It is doubled for simple tests, but not for difficult tests.
  • Unskilled attempts rely on the attribute and take a penalty according to the complexity.
  • There are simple rules for fear tests that usually mean the character freezes but can be resolved on a fear table.

Combat Resolution

Combat is divided into turns of 1 - 5 seconds, stated as "enough time for a normal person to perform one combat task". In a turn intentions are declared, initiative determined by the Chronicler or randomly. Then performances (attack, defence, etc.) and damage is resolved for all the characters.

Damage is determined by the dice (D4, D6, D8 or D10) multiplied by strength or a fixed number for the weapon. Damage reduces a character's life points, which impose a flexible penalty of -1 to -5 at 5 life points. Knocked down, stunned or semi-conscious at 0, but a willpower+constitution test can be used to get back up. At -10 or worse the character must make a survival test rolling willpower and constitution with a penalty of -1 per 10 life points below 0. If failed the character dies, otherwise another roll must be made in a minute with a cumulative -1 penalty unless stabilized with first aid. If less than zero, life points are regained at 1 Life Point per Constitution level per day of rest under medical care. If zero or higher life points are regained at 2 per day. First Aid regains 1 Life Point per Success Level.

In the story-driven version damage is either assigned from fixed values listed with every weapon or the Chronicler (GM) assigns wounds which are either light, serious or critical to suit the dramatic needs of the game.

There are also rules for endure point loss, including during combat. Loss of endurance points leads to dizziness and eventually unconsciousness.

  • Characters may perform one attack and one defence task in close combat. Additional tasks take a cumulative -2 penalty.
  • Optional detailed close combat rules:
    • Defensive posture +3 bonus but no attacks
    • Aggressive posture +2 bonus but no defence
    • Feinting grants +1 to next attack per success level
  • Ranged fire must be dodged by jumping behind cover. No other actions can be taken, and so it is easy to become pinned down behind cover.
  • Aiming delays the attack to the end of the Turn, but adds +1 bonus per success level.
  • Specific body parts can be targeted, but rules are included for dramatic purposes not to be used as standard combat rules.
  • Armour values are expressed like damage, with a die roll and multiplier that determines how much damage was absorbed. Wearing armour imposes an encumbrance penalty based on class of armour.

Social Interaction

There are no special rules for social interactions and a handful of social skills: intimidation, haggling, cheating, questioning, seduction, smooth talking and storytelling.

Character Development

Characters are rewarded experience points at the end of each session which can be used to improve attributes, skills, specialities, qualities, essence, remove a drawback or learn magic (for example invocations, powers, necromantics and inspired miracles in WitchCraft).

  • An attribute can only be raised one level, and if above a threshold value doubles in cost.
  • To learn or improve a skill or attribute it must have been used in previous game sessions or time spent practicing it.
  • Changes to Qualities, Drawbacks and Metaphysical powers requires events or circumstances to support the change.


Disclaimer: This is how magic works in C.J. Carella's WitchCraft and it may work differently in other Unisystem games.

Magic involves the channeling of essence. Essence is "pure potentiality", a chaotic force that can spawn matter and energy in violation of know physical laws. Magic is done by weaving essence into the right matrix using invocations and rituals. Essence must be dismissed with a successful invocation, otherwise it will repeat the effect chaotically and out of control. Invocations and powers are listed under lesser invocations, the sight, necromancy and divine inspiration.

There are also rules for essence pool loss, which is usually only for magic use, but can also be drained by emotional stress or supernatural attacks. Essence loss leads to depression, mental drawbacks and can lead to death.

  • Essence Sources: Self, Ambient Essence, Times and Places of Power, Stored
  • Invocations must be learned as skills and are words and signs that "remind" the magician of a pattern he has learned to weave essence into a desired shape.
  • An invocation consists of gathering essence, focusing it and dismisisng it.
    • Gathered essence can be sensed at a distance that increases with the amount of essence points gathered.
    • After an intial 10 minutes + willpower, summoned essence lowers one mental attributes by 1 every fives minutes. If any is reduced to zero the magician collapses and the essence is released randomly.
    • Gathering essence can take seconds, minutes, hours or days depending on the method used. No roll is needed.
    • The focus and dismissal is resolved as a single task. Any target may resist.
  • The Crowd Effect details how great numbers of mundanes can unwittingly neutralize essence points to ruin or diminish an invocation.
  • There are simple rules for:
    • Random Essence Effects (when failing to dismiss essence)
    • Rituals
    • Places of Power
    • Times of Power
    • Symbols of Power
    • Group Magic: a group of 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 or 13 gains an increase in essence

Publishing Company

Eden Studios



  • C.J. Carella


System Analysis

Story focused and simple system, but still has more rules for combat than any other aspect.


  • Simplicty
    • Could be a good system to introduce someone to roleplaying games
  • Generic
  • Rules and rolls can easily be scaled back to focus on story-driven gaming
  • Metaphysics system (as presented in CJ Carella's WitchCraft) is interesting
    • How essence works is innovate (for example how essence must be gathered and dismissed).
    • Group Magic with magic numbers is great, although this is likely specific to the setting.


  • Overdesigned Combat: For a system where one central mechanic is supposed to resolve everything, with focus on story rather than rules, combat is too complex while social conflict is neglected.
  • Endurance: With up to 59 endurance points for a character, keeping track of endurance points can add a lot of book keeping. Also rolling D4 for how many points of endurance are lost each turn of close combat is likely to slow down combat resolution. While endurance could have genuine game uses, in its current format it seems more likely to be ignored.
  • Life Points: A posh word for hit points and with all the flaws that come with hit points.
    • A wound that does 20 damage is no more serious than being hacked 20 times for one point of damage.
    • The survival roll seems like a very random way to decide if a character gets to live or die.
  • Rule of 10 and Rule of 1: Not a major problem, but seem overly complex.

House Rules


This writeup was done by reading the rules as written in CJ Carella's WitchCraft, along with information from wikipedia and edenstudios websites.

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