Minerva - Introduction

What is a Roleplaying Game?

A roleplaying game like Minerva is cooperative storytelling. Part game, part theater, you and a group of friends create a story through the events of the game. More specifically, each player assumes the role of a character, while one individual assumes the role of the Game Master. The Game Master, referred to throughout the text as GM, plays secondary characters and steers the story along by presenting his or her friends with in-game challenges.

Every group eventually figures out their own quirks and peculiar methods. Generally, the players will create a character following the rules in this book while the GM creates a story centering on these characters. Sometimes the GM alone creates a story path which the players follow, but other times the story may emerge on its own through the complex social interactions and choices of the players and GM. There is no right or wrong way to play Minerva, only what is most enjoyable for your group.

What You Need to Play

Minerva is not a board game, nor is it a console roleplaying game. It is merely a framework through which you and your friends play a game of your imagination. The plot, the characters, and the setting are completely up to you. However, to use this ruleset, you'll need a few things.

  • A copy of this book. The Minerva rulebook contains all the rules and information you'll need to reference while playing the game. Extras of this book, whether as physical or digital copies, is encouraged but not strictly necessary.
  • One copy of the character sheet per player. These sheets are specially designed to organize and contain character-specific information you will need to reference while playing. Minerva veterans or those who are dropping into a game can survive with notes scratched on notebook paper, if needed.
  • Dice. These are the most important tool in the game and are used throughout the system. You will need a variety of dice, though gaming stores often sell these dice as a set. You will need a four-sided die (called the d4), a six-sided die (d6), an eight-sided die (d8), a ten-sided die (d10), and a twelve-sided die (d12). Each player may want to have his or her own set, and having two sets of different colors can speed up certain aspects of rolling.
  • Paper. Not strictly necessary, but a scratchpad can always be useful, especially as a map to act as a visual aid so everyone is on the same page during a complex combat encounter.

There are a lot of other considerations to the gaming experience, but most of them depend on personal preference. Music might be good to set the mood, but some people may find it distracting. Food and drinks are also good for games that may go on for several hours.

Basic Rules

Minerva uses a standardized dice rolling system to determine the success or failure of tasks, whether your character is trying to fight off bandits with her sword, climb up a flying dragon's tail, pilot an airship through a rocky canyon, reshape reality on a whim, or create an enchanted axe to cut a branch from the Tree of Life to save a dying god:

1d10 – 1d10 + modifiers

You roll two ten sided dice, subtract the second result from the first, then add or subtract all relevant modifiers. The positive die is called the shi-die, and the negative the wu-die. If you have multiple d10s, you can use different colors to represent each die so you can roll them at once, such as a white one for the positive and a black one for the negative. Both die “explode.” Exploding die allow you to roll again on that same die whenever you roll the maximum amount and add the next result to the first. For instance, if you roll a 10 on the shi-die, you roll again and add the result to the 10. Exploding dice can explode repeatedly, so if you roll a 10 on the shi-die, then another 10, then an 8, the result for that die is 28. Most dice in Minerva are exploding dice.

Game Concepts

There are many terms and concepts in Minerva that may not be familiar to you, even if you are familiar with other roleplaying games. This list serves as a glossary and primer; the concepts are explained in more detail in the appropriate sections and chapters. You can use this list as a quick reference guide or an overview to start you off.

Attribute. One of eight numbers that define a character’s innate talent or aptitude. The eight attributes are Strength, Stamina, Toughness, Dexterity, Agility, Reason, Intuition, and Personality.

Bonus. A positive modifier.

Class. An archetype that defines how easy or difficult it is for the character to learn certain skills. The Soldier, the Druid, the Marksman, and the Necromancer are examples of classes.

Modifier. A number added to (or subtracted from) a die roll. Usually static.

Penalty. A negative modifier.

Tag. A tag is a word or phrase, presented in brackets, that associates the tagged creature, power, or item with certain rules and traits. [Dragon], [Undead], and [Bolt] are examples of tags.

Target Number (TN). The minimum number required for a skill roll to succeed. If the result of the roll meets or exceeds this number, the skill succeeded. Otherwise, the skill failed.

Skill Roll. A dice roll used to determine the success or failure of a particular attempt at using a skill. It uses the standardized dice rolling system (1d10-1d10+modifiers) and is the most common type of dice roll. Rolled against the Target Number. “Skill” is interchangeably prefixed by or substituted for the skill being used (Blades skill roll, Perception roll).