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Adjudicating the Rules

    As with all games, Legends of Kralis has rules, and it is your job as the GM to interpret these rules to determine an outcome during play. This means that you need to know the rules, you are not required to memorize the rulebook, but you should have a good picture of the rules so that when a situation comes up that requires a ruling, you have an idea of where to look in the rules.


    Often situations will arise that are not explicitly covered by the rules. When this occurs, it is your job to guide how it should be interpreted and resolved. Look to any similar situations covered by the rules; if you have to make something up, stick with it as a house rule. When there is a doubt, remember that granting a +10 to +20 bonus (or +1 or +2 successes) is considered favorable and unfavorable conditions result in penalizing rolls by the same amount.


    So long as you remember Rule #1 during your interpretation of the rules, then your decisions about the rules, the rules questions by players and the decisions you make in the implementation of these rules should be pretty straightforward. The rules provide the structure of how Legends of Kralis interprets the real world, sometimes very effectively, other times not so much, and they cannot cover every possible action or outcome, though they try. As the GM you must be familiar with these rules and be ready to make the call when the players go left and you expected them to go right. And players will do just that.


    As the referee your job is to make sure that the rules are applied fairly and equally.


The Game

    While the Legends of Kralis Players Guide is centered on rules for players on skills, spells, abilities, species and character creation, there are certain rules left out of that book that you as a GM need to be able to access to adjudicate the game itself. Some events and circumstances arise that will require you to think about and resolve before they become too disruptive or bog the game down with “Why?” questions.


    There are some basic rules as a GM you should adhere to:


        1. You are the Game Master and the Final Judge of what happens in your campaign. You have the right exercise common sense and are permitted to supersede the rules and the players when either would ruin enjoyment and fair play. But remember, do not  excessively overuse this basic rule.


        2. If the rules of the game are getting in the way of  your enjoyment – change them. These rules are nothing more than guidelines. It is suggested that you follow them, but you don’t really need to. There are no rules.


        3. Cheat. (but remember FUN is more important than any rule)


    While most issues can be resolved easily in the rules by applying the above-listed guidelines, there are several that need to be addressed directly.



Secret Rolls

    Throughout the game, it will be a good idea to make certain checks and tests in secret, away from the player's eyes, so that they do not necessarily know the results. A hidden roll can help preserve the mystery of what is happening, or you don't want the player to know how good or bad the check was.


    These rolls are done for any sort of roll or check where the character(s) does not immediately know if they succeeded. Most often, these tests are black and white, succeed or fail. Other times failure, does not necessarily mean they failed outright (See Soft Failures).


    One of the best ways to make these types of checks, other than rolling dice (which can have its effect on the players) have a list of random rolls pre-generated in advance. So when you need to make a secret check roll you can mark off one of the results, this way the players do not even know that you just made a secret check for them.



Dues Ex Machina Rules

    Terrible things can happen in a game simply because of a bad dice roll. Things start great, the players are holding their own, and the next turn, all hell breaks loose, half of the party is down and the other half may not make it through to save their friends. If everyone dies the campaign will end right there. While death of a character is going to happen, it should happen in a fair way.


    So do you cheat? The real answer is that the GM cannot really cheat. As the rules judge and umpire what you say goes. As such you are within your right to sway things to keep players happy or keep things running smoothly. It's no fun to lose a long-term hero because of poor dice; however, death is not off the table if he or she was doing something stupid within the game world..


    Fudging the Dice: It will happen more often than not. A situation will arise where the dice have rolled badly for the character or characters, and while many players will accept the fate of the “merciless dice” or the hard facts of the dice, it may be a situation where the dice result will ultimately ruin the story or the fun. While it is your job as a judge to be impartial and fair, there are these times where the single roll of the dice would result in an unfair ending to your campaign or result in the death of a character despite them taking all the proper precautions or doing everything right. Should you need to fudge a roll, do not tell your players that you did and rob them of the magic of roll. Keep this information to yourself, as it could make the players feel that their actions in the game do not matter.


    The Talarius Gaming System has a built-in “Cheat System”: Heroic Luck. In these situations, players can use these to alter the situation somewhat, including ignoring bad dice or giving a bonus to their own dice attempts.


    However, this still does not solve the entire problem. As a GM you are not bound by the rules, and like a judge in a courtroom, your ruling is the final law. Do not feel bound by the exact rules or the dice if either get in the way of fun or the continuation of the plot. Adjust the results or creatively interrupt the results.


    Intervention: Perhaps the most disastrous event to occur in a game session is to have a “divine intervention”. It is catastrophic in the idea that it renders the actions of the characters meaningless. These interventions occur when the party or characters are faced with an impossible situation that you as the GM have created, either by accident or by purpose. You must change the situation so that it doesn't render the suspension of disbelief moot. Yet, the use of interventions can be used as a campaign tool. After all, having to repay a divine being can be an adventure in itself. As a general rule, it is often best to avoid situations where divine intervention is needed or, worse, even relied upon.


    Fiats: As the GM, your rule as a judge is final and is the law. There are many rules within the game, and many house rules that will be created to deal with specific situations within your group. It is easy to get hung up on arguments and debates within a game about a specific rule. Most issues will arise from interpretations of a rule and how it applies to the situation. To not bog down the game, quickly review the rule in question or listen to the player's interpretation and make your decision. Generally, it is best to decide in favor of a way that helps the story move along.


    If a problem arises from a bonus or penalty issue, you may wish to grant a +10 or -10 bonus to any roll. This is roughly equal to giving a +1 success bonus or penalty.


    PC Death: Inevitably, a character is going to die. This occurs through bad luck, poor choices, or even a failed dice roll. Unless the player has Heroic Luck or you intervene or fudge the dice, the character is dead. (For more information, see Character Death)


    When a player character dies, the player no longer has any say in what occurs within the game until they creates a new character and you can introduce that character in a way that does not interrupt the flow or feel of the game.


    When this event occurs, there are two ways you can handle this: 1) have the player create a new character during the gaming session, and you may be able to introduce them then or 2) have the player create a new character before the next session on their off-time and meet with you before the next game to go over the new character and make any adjustments as you see fit. When the character is created they must be created within three ranks below the current party ranks, if the average party rank is 5th, the lowest the new character rank should be 2nd, but it is preferable to be 4th or 5th. See Character Death for more information.


    Dice Rolling: Most of the time, you will want to keep your dice rolling results secret from the players just in case you need to fudge the rolls for or against the players. Other times, you may not care if they see the result of an attack, but you must always keep rolls that surround information gathering attempts or secret rolls that only NPC’s would need to know about, such as locating a player or hiding from a player, etc.


    Some GMs prefer to setup a pre-rolled sheet of dice rolls to easily refer to in a game and mark them off as they use them. As a GM, you may wish to permit your players to pre-roll dice and write them down (if you trust them) or have them roll traditionally.



Rules and Reasoning

    Running a game of Legends of Kralis requires a lot of logic rather than a full understanding of the rules for every situation or possible situation. There is a lot to the rules of the game. But using your reasoning more than always relying on the rules will help keep the players in a suspension of disbelief.


    There are only two times when your use of reasoning over rules will be the wrong way to go:


    1. Breaking of Disbelief. When your answer (or the rules) breaks the players' suspension of disbelief, your reasoning is wrong. If an ability grants protection from fire, it would follow, unless it is expressly written, that the same protection would apply to heat as well.


    2. Inconsistency. When your reasoning for the same concept varies from application to application, the answer also breaks the players' suspension of disbelief. If players cannot rely on your consistency with your reasoning, then they might not trust you with the rules.


    While Legends of Kralis has a number of rules, the game is written with the assumption that the GM does not need to fall back on to the rules all the time. However, in case she needs to back up her thoughts, these rules are there for her, and they also give plenty of options.


    There are no rules that indicate that a player could wear a full plate mail with larkev armor to get double protection, but it makes no sense. This is where your reasoning comes into play.


    Using your reason in most situations frees you as the GM to make more judgment calls of what appears to be appropriate and makes sense. Hence you can focus on the narrative elements of an adventure more than the true mechanical portions. With this thinking, you can be more improvisational with the story.



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