+What is YAOSC?
YAOSC is Yet Another Old School Clone. The name is a joke; the important thing to know is that this is an adventure game of wilderness exploration, dungeon bashing, and perhaps a little social climbing in a late-antiquity fantasy milieu. One player, the Yet Another Master (YAM), generates a setting, stocks it with interesting things for the other players to discover and interact with, and adjudicates rules issues. Everybody else controls one or more characters each, through which they explore the setting, have adventures, and act out whatever dramas interests them. It’s a group activity, to be enjoyed with friends.
+What is “dungeon bashing”?
A dungeon is an enclosed space for adventuring in, as popularized by “Dungeons and Dragons.” Dungeons are often underground and filled with treasure – guarded by monsters, traps, and puzzles that must be avoided or overcome. While wealth may be found in the wilderness, dungeons represent an opportunity for high-risk, high-reward adventuring. This adventuring may be colloquially referred to as “bashing,” presumably to the usual focus on breaking down doors and fighting monsters.
+What is “late antiquity”?
A time before plate armor or gunpowder were in widespread use; a time when high-quality steel was a guarded secret and all science was, essentially, magic in the mind of the common man. Be aware, though, that this is a fantasy version; even if some of the assumptions or assertions of the setting you play with are different from real-world history, don’t let it bother you too much.
The dice are the agents of fate in your game. When you need to depend on them to produce randomized results, you use one of three kinds of rolls:
A check is rolled when an action’s success depends mainly on the skill of the character, modified by impersonal environmental factors. Many skill rolls are checks; “saves” to escape dangerous situations are checks; a Strength-based roll to open a stuck door is a check, and so on.
- On checks you do well by rolling at or below a target number. Bonuses raise the value of the target number, making the roll more likely to succeed, and penalties lower it.
- The difficulty of a check is reflected by the number of faces on the die to be rolled. So a relatively easy check might be rolled on a d6 (a cubic die with six faces), while a more difficult one might use a d20 (an icosahedron). There are probably more kinds of dice available than you’d have thought.
In contrast, the roll is called a challenge when the action is directly opposed by another character. The most common challenge roll may be an attack against another character’s defense in combat. Note that some competitions between characters may call for checks when the opposition is indirect. For example, in competitions of strength, arm wrestling would be a challenge (one character must defeat the other in order to win, and each is working to push the other’s hand back), but a bench-press competition would be a comparison between checks (the contest for each participant is between themselves and the weights).
- Challenges use 2d10; bonuses are added to the result of the die roll, and penalties are subtracted. High number wins.
Unlike checks, challenges have no additional measure of difficulty, and no target number. Instead, the higher of the two results wins.
There are actually a few other kinds of rolls that don’t fall into either of these categories: character creation starts with a series of 3d6 rolls, and sometimes you may roll on a table to determine a random result. But these are rare and specialized exceptions. The vast majority of rolls made during play will be checks or challenges.