Although Forest of Doors has a great many abilities and spell mechanics, most of them are “internal” and need not be learned by every player. However, there are quite a few taglines that players will run into, and knowing the rules behind them—even in a “quick and dirty” way—will make the game run more smoothly.
Attacks and spells have taglines that let players know what effects are attached to them. Taglines must be spoken before the attack hits or the spell packet is thrown. This list is included to make players familiar with the various effects of the game, and is abbreviated for ease of memory.
Basic Attack Taglines
Attack taglines can be called with either melee or ranged strikes and must be called before the attack is made. Attack taglines are always out of play, technically, but if you hear them called you can assume that you hear the sounds of battle, and can thus react to them.
Advanced attack taglines are rare enough that they are not thumbnailed here. Please refer to the Combat section for them.
“Power Strike X”
Does X damage.
Defense = Parry, Block (take 1 damage to shield arm), Deflect, Dodge
“Poison/Disease/Blindness/Stillness Strike X”
Does X damage. If you take a wound, you suffer the stated Persistent Condition at a level equal to the damage you took. May be defended against as a Power Strike.
“Fire/Ice/Lightning Strike 2”
Does 2 damage of the stated element. May be defended against as a Power Strike, or if the defender has a special resistance or defense against that element.
Does X damage that only effects those creatures that are Accursed. May be defended against as a Power Strike.
Destroys all Resilience and causes a torso wound.
Defense = Parry, Deflect, Dodge
This attack is not delivered by a weapon. Shield Bash can only be used if you hit someone’s shield and they activate this power in response. You are disarmed of the attacking weapon. Heavy weapon users are not disarmed, but still take damage. No player should actually strike at another with their shield!
Defense = Recover, Dodge
If this attack hits your shield, you take 1 damage on the arm holding it.
Defense = Parry, Stonewall, Dodge
If struck by this attack, which does 1 damage, you are Stunned as a Mental effect for 1 minute. Stunned characters may not move from where they stand, (they may turn around and such) attack anyone with weapons, speak, or cast spells for the duration. Both mundane defenses and defensive combat maneuvers are unaffected by stunning, however. If this effect is resisted, both the damage and the Stun are negated. Stunning Blows ignore Threshold.
Defense = Parry, Deflect, Dodge
An attack from behind delivered to an unaware target as a pommel tap (with a close weapon that has 1” of open-cell foam on its pommel) to the upper back or shoulder; causes the target to go unconscious for 5 minutes. Perceptive characters and characters with helmets are immune to Subdual. Thrown Subdues need only strike a target on the torso, from behind, but otherwise are restricted just as normal Subdues.
Defense = Dodge
If struck by this attack, which does 1 point of damage, you are inflicted with Knockdown: you are knocked off your feet (sit or take a knee) for 1 minute, and cannot move from where you are. A Feat of Strength can be used to resist the damage and Knockdown. Sweep Attacks ignore Threshold.
Defense = Parry, Deflect, Dodge
If your weapon is hit by this “attack,” it is Broken. Heavy weapons are immune to this effect.
Defense = Withstand, Dodge
Invocations are innate magical effects produced by supernatural creatures or enchanted items. All battle invocations are delivered by gray packets and called in the following way: “Invoke (name of effect) (level of effect)!”
For example: “Invoke Ice Breath 5!” You take 5 ice damage to whichever location is hit.
Note that some invoke effects do not have levels, such as a bind, shackle, slow, etc. Invokes may be resisted like any magical spell:“Invoke Spirit Binding!”You suffer a Bind effect.
Invoke effects can also deliver Persistent Conditions (Poison/Disease/Blindness/Silence):“Invoke Poison 4!”Unlike the spells described above, they do no damage; you just take the condition at a level equal to the number called.
Ignore the last statement the character who just called this made. This can also be used as a question (Etiquette?), and a marshal or qualified player should explain (softly) to the character (out of play) what the proper or expected action would be for the current social situation.
The character using this skill may ask out of play questions about your condition. You must answer them to the best of your ability.
“Healing: Basic/Intermediate/Advanced Aid”
The character using this ability begins to heal you, and the count for being Critical stops. You are Stable when they complete this effect, and will heal entirely in 1 hour, 30 minutes, or 15 minutes, respectively.
“Healing: Treatment X”
A character using this ability cures you of all persistent effects (such as Disease and Poison) which are of a power X or less. Any higher than X are unaffected.
“Healing: Coax Life”
This is an attempt to revive you from the brink of death. Coax Life works if your body is in good condition, your soul has not passed on, and you were not Diseased, Poisoned, Plagued, or inflicted with Quick Venom. Other effects may prevent such. If you come back, you become Stable and will fully heal in an hour. No healing enhancement will accelerate this process.
Hearing this tagline allows you to restore an expended feat if you paid attention to, and gave approval for, the actual performance that preceded it.
Although technically not an activated skill or power, this tagline may be called when you are present while another character attempts to Conceal themselves. If you hear the tagline for concealment (Concealing 1, Concealing 2, Concealing 3) and actually see the person, you can stop the process by calling “Reveal.”
If you take this effect, you become Prone and cannot stand without aid; you must lie down, sit, or kneel. The only way you can move from your position on your own is by crawling on your hands and knees. You may attack and defend from this position, as normal. After 1 hour of being Poisoned, you die. May be resisted by a Feat of Toughness.
Roleplaying requirement : you must act as if you are in terrible pain.
If you take this effect, you become Prone and cannot stand without aid; you must lie down, sit, or kneel. The only way you can move from your position is by crawling on your hands and knees. You may attack and defend from this position, as normal. After 1 hour of being Diseased, you die. May be resisted by a Feat of Toughness.
Roleplaying requirement : you must act as if you are terribly nauseated and/or suffering from a hacking cough.
While Blinded, you cannot run, nor may you attack anyone with weapons or packet- based spells. You may defend yourself mundanely or with defensive abilities, as normal. Blindness lasts 1 hour and can be resisted by a Feat of Will.
Roleplaying requirement : you must act as if your vision is almost entirely gone.
While Stilled, you cannot run, nor may you attack anyone with weapons or packet- based spells. You may defend yourself mundanely or with defensive abilities, as normal. Stillness lasts 1 hour and can be resisted by a Feat of Will.
Roleplaying requirement : you must act distant and nearly emotionless, speaking only in soft whispers.
Quick Venom can only be resisted by a Greater Feat of Toughness, and after 5 minutes of suffering its effects, you die. Otherwise it acts exactly like poison in its debilitating effects and it prevents Coax Life. Poison resistance/reduction/immunity does not apply.
Plague can only be resisted by a Greater Feat of Toughness, and after 5 minutes of suffering its effects, you die. Otherwise it acts exactly like Disease in its debilitating effects, and it also prevents Coax Life. Disease resistance/reduction/immunity does not apply.
Paralysis can only be resisted by a Greater Feat of Will. If Paralyzed, you are completely incapacitated and cannot move in any way. The condition is permanent until cured, but during its duration you may slip instantly into death, at will. If you die while Paralyzed, your soul immediately passes onward. Blindness resistance/reduction/immunity does not apply.
Caging can only be resisted by a Greater Feat of Will. If Caged, you are completely incapacitated and cut off from the outside world. The condition is permanent until cured, but during its duration you may slip instantly into death, at will. If you die while Caged, your soul immediately passes onward. Stillness resistance/reduction/immunity does not apply.
These effects have numerical levels associated with them, which affects how easily they are cured. That is, someone inflicted with Poison 10 must have that number reduced to zero before they are cured of it.
What follows is an index of various effects, categories, and mechanics that all players should understand.
Accursed creatures are beings of death, suffering, decay, or other unholy forces. They can be damaged by specific effects.
Resilience granted by wearing armor
A mysterious enchantment that benefits the dead in the afterlife.
Effects target objects. Broken items cannot be used, but can be repaired using magic or the Craft skill. Some well-made objects can resist Break effects.
A unit of magical power used to fuel spells.
Concealment is represented, for characters, by arms crossed over the chest. Concealed objects will be noted as such with an obvious tag or sign. Both concealed objects and concealed characters should be treated as Out-of-Play. A Feat of Perception can be used to end a single character or object’s Concealment. Regardless, a Perceptive character in the presence of concealed items/people (assuming they actually see them out of play) will have an odd feeling about the general area, though they may not indicate where the concealed are, in any way, unless they use a feat.
A character who is bleeding to death or dying of injuries. After 5 minutes of bleeding out, a Critical character will die.
Destroy effects target objects. Destroyed objects are gone forever.
A Ritual that is Fouled cannot be used until a specific action is taken to purify it.
You are immune to Mental effects, but you may not rest (Vitality and Prowess do not reset) or use rituals. As with Intoxicated, players must roleplay their hallucinating state.
You cannot be chased by anyone not also under a Haste effect, nor can you be blocked from leaving an area. You must call “haste” with every stride, or the effect ends. Attacking, using skills, or stopping will end the effect.
Immaterial states are represented by hands clasped to one’s chest, index fingers pointing upwards. Immaterial characters should be treated as Out-of-Play unless your character is Empathic, or you are also in this state.
You act drunk. Although it has no mechanical effect, players must roleplay as if they are deep in their cups.
Invisibility is represented by holding one’s hands, palms together, over the head. Invisible characters should be treated as Out-of-Play. Perceptive characters know “something is not right” when someone invisible is nearby, though they don’t know where they are, at all. Feats of Perception are useless on invisible characters.
A magically conjured substance that spirits covet.
If you are Unconscious or Critical, someone may finish you off by placing the business end of their weapon on your torso, and then loudly saying “Killing Blow 1, Killing Blow 2, Killing Blow 3.” Killing Blows must be at least 3 seconds long, and if interrupted by someone attacking the killer or striking their weapon, the effect is aborted.
A character’s magical power. Mastery is used to calculate the power of a character’s spells.
You can ignore a single mental effect.
If you are already dead, someone may desecrate or dismember your corpse by placing the business end of their weapon on your torso, and then loudly saying “Mutilating 1, Mutilating 2, Mutilating 3.” If this effect is not disrupted (as a killing blow), your soul immediately passes on.
Something or someone that is not a part of the game at the moment. Players who are out of play must hold a clenched fist or weapon on their head to indicate such, or they may wear a white headband. Players should be out of play only when absolutely necessary.
Resilience granted by magical effects.
A character’s combat aptitude. Prowess is “spent” to fuel combat abilities.
A combination of Armor, Protection and Vitality. This is the amount of damage you can take before taking a wound. Armor is lost first, then Protection, and then Vitality, but otherwise they are all treated the same.
Shattered items are unusable and can only be repaired using production actions.
This mental effect causes you to become unconscious.
A wounded and formerly Critical character who is healing. As soon as a character is stabilized, they become conscious. Moving at more than a slow crawl (or aided walk), fighting, or casting spells will cause them to go Critical again.
An constant ability or one-time use effect that negates any damage equal to or less than its value. Some effects ignore Threshold.
Resilience granted by the Tough Trait