Variant Rules

RoA uses a handful of variant rules. These are listed below.

Vitality and Wounds

Instead of the standard hit points that Pathfinder generally uses, RoA utilizes the Vitality and Wounds system. Its essential function is very similar, with some notable exceptions.

Vitality Points
Vitality Points represent nicks, scrapes, and near-misses. It is your character’s ability to turn a vicious stab wound into a glancing blow. It may draw blood, but it won’t draw lifeblood. Your character has starting VP equal to the number of hit points he would start with under standard rules. Each level, he gains new VP based on his class’s hit die (d12 for barbarians, d10 for fighters, d8 for rogues, d6 for wizards, etc.), and adds his Constitution modifier as normal.

When your character reaches 0 VP, his luck has essentially run out, and he is unable to avoid blows anymore. Further damage goes directly to Wound Points.

Wound Points
Wound Points represent your character’s actual physical condition. When he runs out of VP or suffers a critical hit (see below), the nicks and scrapes become solid and potentially lethal blows that are instead taken out of WP. Your character has WP equal to twice his Constitution score. He does not gain any new WP when he gains levels, but any change to his Constitution score also affects his wound points. (For example, a barbarian gains 8 WP when raging, and a rogue suffering 1 Con damage from poison loses 2 WP until the damage is healed.)

Damage and Critical Hits
When a character suffers damage, he reduces his Vitality Points by the appropriate number. When he is reduced to 0 VP or less, damage is instead applied to Wound Points. A target suffering from even a single point of Wound damage is fatigued. Furthermore, any strenuous activities (such as attacking or casting a spell) causes him to suffer another point of Wound damage as his wounds are aggravated. When he reaches 0 WP, he dies.

Critical hits deal damage to Vitality Points just as it would to Hit Points. However, the critical hit also deals Wound Point damage equal to the weapon’s multiplier (2 WP damage for a x2 weapon, 3 WP damage for a x3 weapon, and so on). If the target has no VP left, all remaining damage is dealt directly to the target’s wounds.

When a character exactly reaches his WP Threshold, he is staggered. Once a character suffers WP damage beyond his Threshold, he falls unconscious and begins dying.

Every round on his turn, the character must make a Constitution check or suffer another point of Wound damage. The DC of the check is equal to 10 plus the number of WP damage beyond his Threshold he has suffered. If he succeeds by less than 5, he does not suffer damage but does not recover, and must make the check again next round. If he succeeds by 5-9, the character stabilizes and does not need to make another check. If he succeeds by 10 or more, he returns to exactly his Threshold in Wound Points, is awake, and is staggered.

Magical Healing
For all healing from spells, spell-like abilities, and magic items, WP damage is always healed first, followed by VP.

Recovering Naturally
VP is recovered naturally at the rate of 1 VP per character level per hour. WP damage is more serious. A character recovers 1 WP per eight hours of rest. If a character spends a full day in bedrest, he regains 2 WP for the day. If someone with the Heal skill aids in this recuperation, the amount of WP recovered increases by 1.

Note that a character cannot regain any Vitality Points while his Wound Points are at or below half their maximum. He must heal more than half his WP before his VP begins to recover.

Vitality, Wounds, and Nonlethal Damage

Because Vitality Points measure a person’s vigor and ability to avoid or shrug off blows, nonlethal and lethal damage have no real bearing on Vitality Points. Nonlethal damage only comes into play when dealing damage to Wound Points. If a character suffers enough nonlethal Wound damage to reach his Threshold, he is knocked unconscious. Any damage beyond his Threshold is considered lethal damage. Nonlethal Wound damage is healed at a rate of 1 WP per character level per hour.

Class Defense Bonus

In RoA, characters gain a Defense Bonus to their Armor Class based on their character class. Defense Bonus works similar to Armor Bonus, but it also works against touch attacks. In most ways, Defense Bonus is superior to wearing armor. Armor also does not grant as much armor bonus as it does in other settings. The upshot to wearing armor, however, is that it grants damage reduction (see below). When wearing armor, your character loses his or her Defense Bonus to AC.

Your character’s Defense Bonus depends on his class. Each class uses a different category of Defense Bonus progression, as shown below. If your character has levels in multiple classes using different Defense Bonus categories, he uses the highest bonus granted by his classes—they do not stack. For example, a level 2 rogue/level 4 fighter would gain the Defense Bonus of a level 4 fighter.

If your character has multiple classes using the same Defense Bonus category, their levels stack to determine his total Defense Bonus.


Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
A 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 5 6 6 6 7 7 7 8 8 8
B 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 5 6 6 6 7 7 7 8 8 8 9 9 9
C 4 4 5 5 5 6 6 6 7 7 7 8 8 8 9 9 9 10 10 10
D 6 6 7 7 7 8 8 8 9 9 9 10 10 10 11 11 11 12 12 12

A: Sorcerer, wizard, monk, witch, and pugilist.
B: Rogue, bard, alchemist, magus, summoner, gunslinger, and ninja.
C: Cleric, druid, inquisitor, oracle, barbarian, and ranger.
D: Samurai, Fighter, Paladin, and Cavalier.

If a class does not appear on this list, the general rule is that classes who receive proficiency in light armor use Category B, classes who receive medium armor proficiency use category C, classes who gain heavy armor proficiency use category D, and classes who receive no armor proficiency use category A. Your DM may use a higher or lower category based on the class’s concept, so check with them first.

Armor as Damage Reduction

Armor in RoA does not give as high of a bonus to AC as it normally does (generally it is half the normal bonus; see the table below). However, armor grants damage reduction against physical attacks. The list of armors and their DR are shown below.

Light Armors

Armor Bonus Damage Reduction
Padded +1
Leather +1 1/-
Studded +2 1/-
Chain Shirt +2 2/-

Medium Armors

Armor Bonus Damage Reduction
Hide +3 1/-
Scalemail +3 2/-
Chainmail +3 3/-
Breastplate +4 2/-

Heavy Armors

Armor Bonus Damage Reduction
Splint Mail +4 3/-
Banded Mail +3 4/-
Half-Plate +4 4/-
Full Plate +4 5/-

When armor is magically enhanced, the enhancement bonus is applied to both the armor bonus and the Damage Reduction. Damage Reduction from armor stacks with DR from other sources (such as a barbarian’s damage reduction).

Variant Rules

Realms of Acadecia DM_Apoc