Fantasy SAGA

These rules are an adaptation of the SAGA game rules from Dragonlance Fifth Age produced by TSR. Unless otherwise specified, the rules from Book One of theDragonlance game apply.

Hero Creation

Go through the following steps to create a hero:

Step One: Concept

Come up with a concept for the hero. Choose the hero’s Nature and Demeanor.

Step Two: Abilities

Divide 64 points among ten abilities: Status, Quests, Physique (Fighting & Strength) Coordination (Dexterity & Agility), Intellect (Reason & Perception),and Essence (Spirit & Presence). Heroes may have only one ability of 10, a maximum Status of 9, and up to 6 Quests at the start of the game.

Step Three: Race

Choose the hero’s race, making sure he meets the minimum and maximum requirements.

Step Four: Skills

The hero has as many skills as his starting Hand Size. If the hero is a spellcaster, he has two fewer starting skills. Heroes can have no more than four skills for each ability pair.

Step Five: Magic

If the hero is a spellcaster, calculate the hero’s starting Spell Points (Quests times Reason or Spirit) and choose a number of starting spells equal to twice the hero’s Quests.

Step Five: Details

Choose the hero’s equipment. Give the hero a name, description, and background.


In SAGA, skills represent things a hero is really good at. Skills improve a hero’s chances at certain actions. If a hero has an appropriate skill, he adds +4 to his action total for actions involving that skill. Heroes gain a new skill each time they increase their Hand Size. Note that ability scores show what the hero is generally good at, skills reflect a particular area of specialization. For more information about skills, see TSR’s Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game.

Physique Skills: Axes, Brawling, Climbing, Clubs, Hammers, Jumping, Knives, Running, Spears, Swimming, Swords, Wrestling

Coordination Skills: Acrobatics, Archery, Contingent Attack, Crafting, Disguise, Escape Artistry, Riding, Sailing, Sleight of Hand, Slings, Stealth, Throwing, Thievery

Intellect Skills: Administration, Espionage, Lore (each type is a seperate skill), Medicine, Observation, Survival, Tracking, Trivia

Essence Skills: Animal Handling, Art, Etiquette, Intimidation, Leadership, Manipulation, Merchant, Performing, Politics, Taunting, Teaching


A hero speaks a total number of languages equal to half his Reason score, rounded up. This includes the hero’s native language, so a hero with a Reason of 3 speaks one additional language, while a hero with Reason 9 speaks four additional languages. Being literate costs one language “slot” and is manditory for sorcerers. This affects all the hero’s languages.


Characters in a SAGA story have abilities and skills, just like heroes, but they do not take actions of their own. Instead, the heroes take actions which affect the characters. Because of this, characters do not have hands of cards. They have an additional ability known as Health, which equals (Hand Size -1) times 5. Characters subtract from their Health rather than discarding cards when they suffer damage. Unknown characters have a Health of 0, any successful attack takes them out. Archetype characters have a Health of 40. The Narrator sets the Reputation for characters in the game.


Doing something important in SAGA is called an “action.” The following section demonstrates how most important actions work in the game. Narrators should always feel free to vary the difficulties given below to suit the needs of the situation and the story.

Fighting Actions (Swords)

Fighting is a hero’s skill in melee combat, either unarmed or wielding weapons. It is used for all actions involving attacking or defending with a weapon, along with unarmed combat. It is also used for actions involving the hero’s knowledge and skill in warfare, like tactics.

Dragonlance Narrators should note that most creatures (as opposed to characters) have Fighting scores equal to their Coordination rather than their Physique. This makes their attacks somewhat easier for the heroes to avoid, but no less deadly. Use their normal Physqiue and Damage for determining the effects of their attacks.

Disarm (challenging, opposed by Strength). If you succeed, you knock your foe’s weapon out of his grasp.

Parry (average, opposed by Fighting). An armed hero can parry any melee attack, an unarmed hero can only parry unarmed attacks. If you succeed, you avoid the foe’s attack.

Strike (average, opposed by Fighting or Agility). If you succeed, the amount you succeeded by is added to your base damage (Strength + weapon bonus).

Strength Actions (Helms)

Strength measures a hero’s muscle power and endurance. Heroes use Strength to perform feats of strength like lifting and breaking objects, climbing, jumping, enduring pain and fatigue, resisting disease and poison, and so forth.

Grapple (average, opposed by Strength). If you succeed, you get your foe in a hold and do bashing damage equal to your action total.

Dexterity Actions (Arrows)

Dexerity is a hero’s skill with his hands and hand-eye coordination. It’s used for feats like shooting or throwing ranged weapons, picking locks, sleight of hand, and so forth.

Shoot or Throw (average, opposed by Agility). If you succeed, the amount you succeeded by is added to your base damage (Dexterity + weapon bonus).

Agility Actions (Shields)

Agility represents gross coordination and nimbleness. Heroes use it to dodge attacks and perform feats of mobility and acrobatics like riding, sneaking, swinging from ropes or chandeliers, and so forth.

Dodge (average, opposed by attacking ability). If you succeed, you avoid the attack completely. If you fail, the amount you failed by is added to the base damage the attack inflicts.

Maneuver (average, opposed by Agility). Success allows you to change the range between you and your target by one level (from Near Missile to Melee, for example).

Reason Actions (Moons)

Reason is the hero’s raw intelligence, used to figure out puzzles, solve riddles, remember important facts, organize information, and use sorcery.

Use Sorcery (average, opposed by appropriate ability). Success makes the spell happen. Failure means nothing happens, but you spend the spell points anyway. Living beings resist magic using the ability appropriate to the spell.

Perception Actions (Orbs)

Perception is the hero’s awareness of his surroundings. It’s used notice things, avoid ambushes, pick up clues, find things, and follow tracks.

Avoid Surprise (average, resisted by Agility). If you fail, your opponent surprises you and gets one free attack against you.

Spirit Actions (Hearts)

Spirit is the hero’s willpower, courage, and convictions. It’s used for actions involving strength of will like resisting temptation, ignoring or overcoming distractions, resisting magic that affects the mind or spirit, and using mysticism.

Use Mysticism (average, opposed by appropriate ability). Success makes the spell happen. Failure means nothing happens, but you spend the spell points anyway. Living beings resist magic using the ability appropriate to the spell.

Presence Actions (Crowns)

Presence is the hero’s force of personality and charisma. It is used to influence people in various ways; charming, persuading, intimidating, leading, commanding, and so forth. Generally the hero makes an average action opposed by the target’s Spirit. If successful, the target does what the hero wants.


The damage inflicted by an attack is reduced by the target’s armor. A hero must discard cards to equal or exceed any remaining points of damage. Helm and Heart cards count as trump. Damage comes in two types: bashing and lethal. Bashing damage is reduced by the target’s Strength plus any armor bonus. A hero reduced to no cards by bashing damage is unconscious. Bashing damage recovers at a rate of one card per hour. Lethal damage is more dangerous, it is reduced only by the target’s armor bonus. A hero reduced to no cards by lethal damage is unconscious and dying. Lethal damage recovers at a rate of one card per week. Magic can speed the recovery of either form of damage.


Heroes can follow one of two magical traditions: sorcerer or mystic (they cannot be both). Sorcerers gain their magic through study and use Reason to cast spells. Mystics cast spells using inspiration (and sometimes divine intervention) and use Spirit.

Spell Points: A spellcaster has Spell Points equal to (Quests x Reason or Spirit). Spell points recover at a rate of 1 per hour of waking activity and recover completely after a night’s rest.

Spells: Spellcasters can only cast spells they have learned. A spellcaster knows a number of spells equal to twice his Quests, and gains two new spells after each Quest. The player designs his hero’s spells using the normal rules from Book One, but spellcasters are considered to have access to all effects (schools and spheres). The only exception is the Healing sphere, which is available only to mystics.

A spell may have one variable set by the caster when the spell is cast. For example, a Heal spell may heal a variable amount of damage, while a Sleep spell may affect a variable number of targets, and a Magic Missile spell may inflict a variable amount of damage. The other statistics of the spell are fixed. Armor protects against spell damage. If a damaging spell ignores armor, the cost of its effect is doubled.

Casting a spell requires an average Reason or Spirit action. Spells cast on unwilling targets are resisted; the resistance ability is chosen when the spell is created. Most damaging spells are resisted by Agility or Perception, while most other spells are resisted by Perception or Presence.