VDS "Fantasy" with Hacker's Core



Really like the VDS hackers core. thinking about how I would make it more “heroic fantasy” themed like ICRPG without changing too much.

Spend RESOLVE to ignore hits without armor. No RESOLVE , No ARMOR = dead

Maybe even an action ratings system like Blades in the Dark!

Serpent (1,2,3) = 1
Swords (4/5) = 2
Ax (6) = 3

GOING CRITICAL 6 or more (instead of 12 or more)

EDIT: changed category to VDS


I think a lot of us are working thsi same problem, me included, as we speak!


I’m curious. What stops it working for fantasy as is?


I like the RESOLVE idea for absorbing HITS. I added a WOUNDS stat to my hack. Humans have one and dwarves two. After that, death.


Nothing in particular. Aligning vocabulary to setting or tweaking some things like the idea of a pool of hitpoints might better align to “traditional” fantasy.

We may see the potential, but I have to help my players see it, too.


I have always been a fan of WOUNDs. Not injury tables or another mechanic to mess with. I can visualize a character covered in WOUNDs hacking their way through a horde.

How does recovery work? On a rest like RESOLVE?


I am using RESOLVE as a wound pool in addition to using it RAW. But only when they have no armor. They typically receive a wound from the added hits beyond ARMOR (broken arm, punctured lung, etc.), but they don’t die. Unless they are out of RESOLVE points, then well…

Here is the rule:

Mark off RESOLVE for any hits when no armor is equipped.

(I have thought about allowing it as a SKILL or GEAR special ability as well.)

This is usually a last ditch effort for the character.

Game On!


Ok, so characters other than Dwarves have a single WOUND they can take. It recovers with magic, or with a full nights rest in safety.


Why did you redo the stats? What do these new stats, or names, contribute?


In my Symbaroum hack using VDS, we use Resolve to avoid Temporary Corruption. Permanent Corruption reduces by 1D the Max Resolve. When you suffer Temporary Corruption and Current Resolve is 0, then you get a Permanent Corruption. When Max Resolve is 0, you take a random Stigma. At your third stigma, you die. A PC can wear only 1 piece of armor + shield. The armor works as a dice pool too, you can mark off one armor hit to ignore damage from a single source (just like in TBH, after a rest you can try to amend your armor). Every PC has 10HP; when there are no HP left, the PC die. We use HP instead of the normal armor as in VDS, to let the healers do their job and to use sources of damage that ignore armor (poison, magic damage, etc.). As for getting better, I normally award 1D-3D per session per PC. With 1D you can get a new skill. If you want to level up in that skill, you have to spend SKILL_LEVEL+1 dice. So far we like this way better than original Symbaroum rules >_<


Aesthetics. Personally, it would break my immersion to say AIM in a fantasy world. Plus, STATs are an easy reskin to change the flavor without affecting the mechanics.

The STATs in VDS sound to me more like actions. A general idea of what you are doing rather than a specific number representing STR or INT. I really like action based STATs and often treat the traditional six in that way.


This feels like a contradiction to me. What am I missing?


Poor word choice on my part.

Action based attributes describe how something is being done rather than having a discreet purpose for a STAT. Blades in the Dark uses these “action ratings” as the core mechanic of the system. Skirmish, Hunt, Sway. These describe broad narrative actions which gain context outside of their mechanical benefit. STR, DEX, CHA provide little more than a mechanical bonus. Proficiencies provide a tad more context.

Neither is wrong or right. I find the vocabulary of Prowling or Commanding more immersive than I make a DEX or CHA check. That being said, with some flexibility, the core six can be treated the same way. Making a finesse attack with a battle axe requires DEX. Making a salient argument to a professor can use INT instead of CHA.


I think I think along many of the same lines. I don’t like the old 6 stats, and have my own list, which I think more reflects the qualities people tend to think about heroes possessing in greater or lesser measure.


I know I’m late to the party, but I still wanted to respond.
I’m really excited about playing this game. I’ve been an ICRPG fan for years.
I haven’t ran VDS at my table, yet.
When I do, I’ll run as is.

But, my hacking brain is already working on a Viking death squad/blood and snow/fantasy themed game.

This is my idea, but I’m totally open to advice and guidance.
The Imperium has pierced Urth’s iron heart with its flying death coffin, releasing an Ancient One (Yog?) from its slumber/imprisonment.
This has sent Urth, the once high-magic and high-tech Mecca of the system, into a death spiral: magic is sporadic, all Urth’s metal rusts and corrodes, the decomposers (bugs and fungi, etc) are now the macro fauna and macro flora, and the Winter Elves from the north bring an ice age wherever they conquer.
The qualities needed for survivor are: PWR, VSN, SPD, HRT, MND, WLL. (Power, vision (or SNS (senses)), speed, heart, mind, will).

Will your heroes survive the WR PGS, WNTR LVS and a dying RTH?


How do you differentiate between:



Essentially, MND is Int, and WLL is Cha. But, for simplification at my table, a character’s MND modifier determines how many spells a character can memorize. The spell is gone forever on a natural 1.

WLL modifier is the spell casting bonus: 1d20+WLL. Also, WLL would be rolled against Insanity, which I envision as part of this world.

Professor DM has a cool system for corruption. With the world dying, I like the idea that the universal psyche is also corroding away, leaving very few sane people left on Dying Urth.

HRT is Constitution

Essentially, it’s the six normal stats, but I like the idea of spelling things without vowels. haha

This would be for a group of new people who don’t already have the standard six stats indoctrinated into their minds.


I don’t know, because I also like the idea of how VDS uses spell stones. After playing VDS, I might have a change of heart and make MND and WLL a WTS stat and completely divorce it from spell casting.
We’ll see. I haven’t even played VDS at the table, yet. I’m trying not to even think about home brewing and hacking too much right now.


My only Q here is why you need that differentiation. One of the things I love about VDS is how the stats are put together, but at the same time neatly separated.

POWER and AIM serve to attack. POWER may have a slight function otherwise, but most of the time that’s it.

SPEED, WITS, GUTS cover your “DnD skills and saves”. I think VDS skills are much on the ‘feat’ side if we’re making that comparison.

RESOLVE is your booster pack. It helps the rest. Simple and effective.

Decompounding these stats into more stuff… not my cup of tea.

Also, for spellcasting, check out my latest posts here. I’m working on a spellcasting system for VDS fantasy too.


I’m also working the problem, in my own way.

I’m making a dark-ish fantasy hack and setting, and the first problem I tackled is spellcasting. Not wanting to add another rolling system to the VDS Core, I ended up modifying Skills with my Grimoires, and also changing the character’s survivability just a bit by adding the Bloodied condition, half-inspired by the 4e mechanic.