These are the core rules. These will receive more information and structure as time passes. Some rules may involve more complicated math than normal, and thus Mathway is recommended for expedient calculations to complicated problems.

All rolls in the game except when otherwise noted use twelve sided dice (denoted as d12). Often multiple d12s are rolled, with the results creating successes, nil results, or failures.

Additional Rule pages:

Ability Scores

Characters have different ability scores which are typically determined by their species, or are assigned in the case of monsters and other creatures.

  • Strength: Your measure of physical prowess.
  • Dexterity: Your hand-eye coordination and nimbleness.
  • Agility: Your speed and ability to coordinate your balance.
  • Vitality: Your toughness and physical resilience.
  • Intellect: Your smarts and problem solving skill.
  • Drive: Your will and ability to resist mental illnesses.
  • Intuition: Your wisdom and common sense.
  • Charm: Your charm and wit, encompassing both charisma and rhetoric.

When creating a character, you must roll for their ability scores according to their Species, however sometimes these rolls may not come up as you may have wanted. As is the case with random chance. Due to this, all characters, unless otherwise stated, can reallocate up to 2 points from their ability scores to other ability scores. This can be 1 point from two different scores contributing to one score, or 2 points from one being allocated into another.

GMs can increase this point reallocation limit or even just award bonus points to be spent anywhere instead of relying on reallocation.

If your luck in rolling your attributes is simply abysmal - for example, rolling a Human with no stats higher than a 4, you can choose to reroll three ability scores you want, and take average on all other attributes rolled under average. Using the human example from before, a Human could choose to reroll Dexterity, Agility, and Intellect while everything else is set to 5 (all Human attributes are 2+1d6, so 2 + half of 6).

Dice Rolling

Dice rolls are accomplished by rolling d12s typically, relying on one's ability score and skill rank. Different skill ranks and their listed bonuses are on the Skills page.

For example, if you wanted to roll a skill check which requires Strength and you're Learned in that skill, you roll a number of d12s equal to your Strength.

Die Roll Result
1 Remove 1 success
2 - 7 No successes.
8 - 11 Add 1 success.
12 Add 2 successes.

These die rolls are made against a Target Number (abbreviated as TN) and if you have a number of successes equal to or greater than the Target Number, you beat the test. If you get under however, this is a failure. Rolling more successes on your skill than the Target Number can be used to gain additional benefits or effects on your roll, from minor bonuses to being able to disable limbs.

If you are Untrained in a skill and attempt a roll, 12 results don't grant 2 successes and only grants 1 success as normal.

If you Mastered a skill and attempt a roll, 1 results don't remove any successes anymore and merely don't add successes.

Derived Attributes

Derived attributes are attributes which rely on math, usually from the character's ability scores, to determine.

Hit Points

A measure of your life force, and how much of a physical beating you've taken. Hit Points (also sometimes called "Health") tick down from the maximum, until they reach 0 or negatives.

Hit Points are determined by your species' Hit Point value with a number and a die result, the number being the max result of the die roll and the die roll being extra HP added to that.

In addition, the Vitality ability score adds to your Hit Points.

Characters when brought to 0 HP or lower their body enters a state of shock and collapses to the ground, in pain or otherwise disabled. If they reach negative HP equal to their total Hit Points they are considered slain, though may be able to be revived (see Back from the Brink). If they reach negative Hit Points equal to double their total Hit Points, their body is considered too badly damaged or irreparably destroyed, preventing any attempts to come back from a close brush with death.

Back from the Brink

If you would die in battle (being reduced to negative HP equal to your total HP) you can choose to have survived but are instead badly wounded, and can be brought back with proper medical attention. This can only be done if logic dictates it could be - for example, if you get dissolved by acid or are shot execution-style in the back of the head after having been tied up. These situations should be rare however, especially since this is most likely to come up in the heat of combat.

Coming back from near-death doesn't always go smoothly, and the more brushes with the reaper you have, the more difficult doing so is going to become. You can use "Back from the Brink" 3 times per character with no repercussions, coming back no worse for wear after some medical attention. For every time after the third "freebie" you use this however, complications start to arise. Consult the table below for details.

Number of Uses Complication
4th & 5th Suffer a +1 TN to all checks for a day.
6th Suffer a +2 TN to all checks for 1d4+3 days.
7th Suffer a permanent -1 to a single ability score.
8th Suffer another permanent -1 to an ability score.
9th Lose a hand (randomly decide left or right)
10th Lose an arm (randomly decide left or right)
11th Lose a leg (randomly decide left or right)
12th Lose your other leg…
13th You're permanently dead, and your revival attempt fails.


Your main form of defense against whether or not something affects you is your character's "Defenses", categorized as such: Avoid (ability to evade attacks), Resilience (ability to overcome physical ailments), and Grit (ability to overcome mental ailments).

Avoid is equal to half of your Agility ability score.

Resilience is equal to half of your Vitality ability score.

Grit is equal to half of your Drive ability score.

Sanity & Morale

Engaging in battle is a rough affair on the psyche - and the more brutal the fighting gets, the more difficult it is for a person's mind to justify it. Normal people struggle to deal with the brutality man can inflict on other men, and even those engaging in such brutality often suffer from it.

Characters begin the game with Sanity equal to 5 + the average of the player's Intellect, Drive, and Intuition.

Minor loss of sanity is often easily shaken off, resulting in a brief moment of shock, disgust, fear, anger, or other impulsive emotions. Moderate to major losses however start to adversely affect the mind, resulting in more long term effects.

Minor Sanity Effect: A "minor loss" of sanity is where your sanity is still at half or greater but is not maximum. If this occurs, you suffer one of the following effects. Roll a 1d4 to see which effect is used:

  1. You stare dumbfounded or in shock. Increase the TN of all Sense checks by 2, and all other checks by 1 until the end of your next turn.
  2. You stumble back in fear of what you've seen. You immediately move back one hex and fall prone to the ground.
  3. What you see enrages you as much as it disgusts you. If the enemy who caused the sanity damage is still a valid target, you must attack them on your next turn.
  4. Everything's gone numb as your body refuses to process this. 1 minute after your sanity damage, you crumble to the ground - wracked in fear, guilt, sadness, or a mix of the three.

Major Sanity Effect: A "major loss" of sanity occurs when your sanity is below half, but has not yet reached zero or lower. When this occurs, you suffer one of the minor sanity effects (as seen above, rolled randomly) as well as one of the major sanity effects. Unlike the minor effects, these major effects last for 24 hours. Roll a 1d6 to see which effect is used:

  1. You are wracked with fear and/or disgust from what you've seen. It was horrible, and you can't imagine what it'd be like to happen to you. You take a -1 to your Grit, or a -2 if the effect would reduce sanity further.
  2. Feeling nauseous, you puke from the sight of what caused you to lose sanity, and for the rest of the day you suffer a -1 penalty to Resilience.
  3. From the immense fear or shock, your bowels or bladder evacuate, causing you to soil yourself. The embarrassment causes you to increase all Social skill TNs by 1.
  4. Your heart is racing, and not in the good way. Adrenaline pumping has left you in a state of high alert, and panicky. You roll an additional +1d12 on all Combat rolls, but are jumpy and prone to startle responses - if you would be in any way surprised or caught off-guard, you attack before realizing your mistake.
  5. You feel immensely lightheaded, a combination of nausea and disbelief overtaking your senses. You fall unconscious until the beginning of your next turn, after which you're able to get up - but feel incredibly tired and lethargic. Increase all Combat and Physical TNs by 1.
  6. Teetering towards the brink, you feel broken inside - like your humanity is being withered away. While affected by this, you cannot receive any emotional or mental benefits from your allies, however you're still able to be patched up with first aid and the like.

Sanity Break: When reaching zero or lower sanity, you experience a "sanity break" - the constant stress has pushed you over, and you've been permanently adversely affected. Someone who has suffered from a sanity break is immune to minor or major sanity effects unless they manage to cure their sanity break, after which they become vulnerable to the minor forms of sanity effects again. An individual can suffer from sanity breaks still, even if they're immune to minor and major sanity effects, however they must be brought to zero or lower sanity again.

Sanity breaks result in (mostly) permanent mental illnesses, which now have taken root in your mind. Multiple mental illnesses can appear from such trauma, and are often spurred on by seeing such brutality.

In order to determine which sanity break you receive, unless the ability or effect which dealt the sanity damage already specifies, roll a 1d12 to see which effect is used:

  1. Seer: Suffering from auditory and/or visual hallucinations, characters suffering from the seer disease are often staring off into space or interacting with things that aren't really there. GMs are encouraged to include hallucinations for the player to interact with. In addition, they increase the TN of their Sense checks by 1 when attempting to discern a hallucination from reality.
  2. Crazies: Known to us as schizophrenia, characters have confused and erratic behavior which unsettles others, meanwhile inwardly they suffer from the voices of others who aren't themselves speaking to them. Those suffering from the crazies disease who enter into a stressful situation (such as combat or an argument) their façade of normalcy starts to break down as confusion overtakes them. If they remain in combat or an argument for a number of rounds equal to or greater than the character's Drive, they fly into a confused rage - either attacking the source of their confusion (or whoever is nearest), or run away.
  3. Mutes: Also called aphasia, characters suffering from the mutes disease struggle to speak and can't articulate their thoughts. They are unable to speak any spoken languages they know, but are capable of writing, reading, and using sign language or other non-verbal languages (such as certain cants).
  4. Copycat: Called 'echopraxia' by doctors, is the "copycat disorder" where the character unintentionally copies the actions of another. When in a stressful situation (such as combat) on the first round, choose another character at random. After that character's turn, the sufferer's own turn will consist of them repeating their action (if possible), or attempting to mimic it in any way possible.
  5. Wordy: A form of aphasia known as logorrhea, this involves overcomplicating sentences - sometimes to the point of inconsistency or incomprehensibility. Characters suffering from this increase the TN of their Social skill checks by 2.
  6. Canny: Shortened form of 'cannibal', canny refers to autophagia, where the individual attempts to bite and chew their own limbs in order to try to eat themselves. If the character engages in a stressful situation (such as combat) their first instinct is to try eating themselves, taking unarmed (or bite if they possess a bite attack) damage.
  7. Manic: Also known as "bipolar" or "mania", manic disorder sufferers often experience extreme emotions. Every 4 in-game days, roll 1d12 - 1 to 5 is a depressive mood, 6 to 7 is a normal mood, and finally 8 to 12 is a euphoric mood. On depressive or euphoric periods the character will take actions with no regards for risks - either because of overconfidence (from euphoria) or lacking regard for their own well-being (from depressive).
  8. Melancholy: Depression is a common mental illness characterized by an intense feeling of emptiness , loneliness, or sadness. Those suffering from the melancholic disease often refuse to take many stressful actions unless pressed, and suffer a -2 penalty to Grit.
  9. Wanderer: Another name for "dissociative fugue", these characters find themselves momentarily disoriented and losing track of where they're moving. When choosing to move in combat, for each hex they wish to move roll a 1d8 with 1 being directly to the north of the grid map (or just north if no map is used), and the result is where they end up moving.
  10. Bellyacher: Scientifically called "hypochondria", these individuals believe themselves to be ill or grievously injured from even the most minor of injuries. These characters will attempt to recover wounds, no matter how small, or attempt to recover from status effects or other penalties they may suffer except for that of mental illnesses or other sanity effects. If they do not have a way to recover their injury, they suffer a -1 to Grit, Avoid, and Resilience from their panicking until healed or cured.
  11. Headcase: More appropriately known as "dissociative identity disorder" or "multiple personality disorder", these characters have multiple personas within themselves - all believing they're living the same life, and denying the existence of one another. Characters suffering from the headcase disease have 2d4-1 personalities (min. 1) within them, and whenever they wake up from sleep or unconsciousness they roll randomly to determine which personality they take. For the first hour of their new personality taking hold, their memory is foggy and act strange, increasing the TN of Knowledge and Social skills by 2.
  12. Shell-Shocked: Also called "post-traumatic stress disorder", after highly traumatic or stressful events an individual may regress into a state of shock or anger when faced with stressful scenarios. When in a stressful situation, the character is unable to act for the first round of combat. If not in combat, they don't act for at least 1 minute before they are capable act (such as in an argument).

(The names of the mental illnesses here are the colloquial names the characters in the setting refer to them by, the more proper name is included in the description.)

Space & Carrying

Characters, creatures, and vehicles all come in a variety of sizes which affects their weaponry, how many hexes they take up, and how heavy they may be.


Creature sizes, and the rules that accompany them.


(Image Source:

Size SpaceY Reach
Miniscule 0 hexes 0 hex
Diminutive 0 hexes 0 hex
Small 1 hex 1 hex
Medium 1 hex 1 hex
Large 3 hexes 2 hexes
Massive 6 hexes 3 hexes
Immense 9 hexes 4 hexes
Enormous 12 hexes 5 hexes
Titanic 15 hexes 6 hexes

Y The "Space" section of the table refers to the outline of the hexes the creature takes up, not the total amount of hexes they take up.

Weapons in the game are designed for Medium creatures typically, and unless otherwise specified weapons are assumed to be the Medium weapon's attributes. Vehicles and vehicular weapons typically are counted as being made for the size of the vehicle, and have their own rules listed on their page.


Characters within a hex take into account which direction they're facing, and usually this is done to determine reactivity as well as whether any bonuses due to attacking one's flanks or back may grant. Changing which direction you're facing is a free action on your turn.

When determining which direction a character is facing, choose one of the six faces of the hex to serve as that player's "front". Once chosen, the opposite face is the "back" of the character, while the rest of the hexes adjacent are regarded as the "flank" of that character. Measuring out further from the adjacent hexes of the character is trickier, however use the examples below for references of whether it's attacking the front, flank, or back.


Attacks coming from the front offer no bonuses or penalties.


Attacks coming from the flank are slightly harder to notice - and thus avoid properly. You suffer a -1 to Avoid against attacks to your flank.


Attacks to your back are exceptionally difficult to avoid, and are capable of catching you off-guard easier. You suffer a -3 to Avoid against attacks to your back. Attacking enemies from your Back without turning to face them increases the TN of the attack roll by 2.


Carrying Capacity

Characters can carry a set amount of weight as determined by their attributes and size, and carrying more than their allotted carry limit can result in moving slower and struggling to maneuver. These are separated into Burden Limit and Carry Limit.

Burden Limit: This is the character's limit to how much they can carry without much effort and needn't struggle or be impeded by. A character's Burden Limit is equal to their Strength and Vitality added together, then multiplied by 5.

Carry Limit: This is how much the character can carry period, with weights above this resulting in them having to push, pull, or drag the thing in question…if they even can. A character's Carry Limit is equal to their Burden Limit multiplied by 5.

Characters who are above their Burden Limit increase the TN of all skill checks which rely on Strength, Dexterity, Agility, or Vitality by 1 for every 20 pounds over their limit they are (minimum of +1 TN).

Characters who reach their Carry Limit cannot physically lift the object and must set it down. If they are unable to or the object lands upon them instead, they are knocked prone with the object. Depending on the situation, the GM may choose to have the object landing on the character deal damage.

Taking Action

Players take actions during combat encounters, each of which are split into different categories which the character may take. Only one of each action type can be taken per turn unless otherwise specified below.

The following are the types of actions player characters are able to take;

  • Major Action: Attacking, interacting with objects or scenery, and many more fall under a major action.
  • Movement: As the name implies, movement actions are spent moving.
  • Minor Action: Minor actions are quick and require little effort such as drawing a sheathed weapon or opening an already unlocked door. Characters can take two minor actions per turn.
  • Free Action: Actions which take no turn to perform. This includes talking (while on your turn), looking around, shifting footwork, dropping a weapon, and so on. As many free actions as one wants, within reason up to the GM, can be taken per turn.
  • Reactions: Reactions are actions which can be taken outside of the own character's turn. This includes raising a shield to try to deflect an attack for example.

Target Numbers and Rolls

Rolling dice versus a Target Number (TN) encapsulates the majority of the gameplay for Curse of Man. In the case of gaining a bonus to a roll, often it will state "+1 die", as the die rolled is going to be a d12 unless otherwise needed to be specified. In addition to this, in the cases where a Target Number increases (such as from taking a hindrance or from situational penalties) it mentions to increase the TN by the amount (for example, +1 TN to all Social checks).

Even if a Target Number is reduced to negatives due to penalties, a minimum of 1 success is needed to count as succeeding at the check. Thus, you can't have a Target Number of -1 and reduce your dice (for example from a critical hit) down to 0 and still count as hitting. Roll results of 0 successes or lower are misses.

Bonus dice and penalties don't stack if they come from the same source unless otherwise specified.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License