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Hero's Guild d10 Player's Handbook

Welcome to the Hero's Guild role-playing system. Whether you are new to tabletop role-playing or a veteran, it is our hope that you will enjoy your time here. The creation of this system was based on a few core principles after years of tabletop gaming and playing multiple other tabletop games. The first of these principles is that any game should primarily be focused on the player having fun. To do that, we have designed this system to be as streamlined, simple, and versatile as possible to create, play, and grow the character they have always wanted to play. There are virtually no limitations to the extent at which a character can be customized and grow through the story. This also means there has been almost no focus placed on the elusive concept of "balance".

Story. That is the second major principle. We wanted to develop a role-playing system, not a roll-playing system. We have been there when the dice too often failed us at critical moments. Moments that could have been spectacular stories, but the dice had other plans. As your character grows into the skills they use, the dice become less of a master and more of a small bonus to add on to the already epic action your character is capable of. Though there is still an element of chance in the presence of dice, the more your character grows, the more remote failure is and the more likely heroic actions become.

That brings us to the third principle, failure is just an opportunity for the character to learn from their mistakes, or more fiercely, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. In this game system, characters who do fail at attempts to do things that are just too hard for them, grow in that ability so that next time around they may succeed.

This handbook is not intended to teach you how to role-play. Resources abound with vocabulary such as Dungeon or Game Master, Player, NPC, and the like. Encyclopedic volumes have been written about good storytelling, adventuring, and how to manage or play in a campaign. We may interject some of our own philosophies from time to time as they seem relevant, but for now, we'd like to get started on the core mechanics of the game. To do that, we will jump right into dice mechanics and character creation.

A final note to GMs. While there will eventually be a more extensive GM guide to follow, there are a couple of basic things that should be covered here. Everyone has their own style of play, their own style of GMing. This rule system is designed around a more cooperative style of play where the Game Master is seen as a storyteller whose primary purpose is to entertain their listeners, to make the game fun for all. There is a lot of freedom in this game that will, of necessity for your particular game world, require the GM and the player to agree to certain story-based limitations to character creation and character development that the mechanics don't limit. This will be noted from time to time in the PHB.

Dice Mechanics

The dice mechanics of the Hero's Guild system is simple. The player rolls 1 or more 10-sided dice. The higher the roll, the better. Many times, there is only 1 die to roll and then bonuses are added based on characteristics, skill, and equipment involved. Dice are rolled from two perspectives: active and reactive. Ties always go in the player's favor. In Player vs Player rolls, ties go to the reactive roll.

Typically, damage, healing, or other effects are determined by a difference in opposed rolls or against a Difficulty Score (DS). If the active roll is higher than the reactive roll or the DS, then the difference is how much damage is dealt or how potent the effect is based on descriptions of the various skills.


Every action taken by a character requires a simple 1d10 roll. This roll, along with appropriate bonuses, determines the success of an action. Most of the time, players will make the roll, but sometimes the Game Master will need to roll for the player (else they might give away a surprise).


As skills advance, players may choose to sacrifice certain skill bonuses for risky extra dice. For every 5 points of bonus deducted, an additional d10 may be added to the roll along with any remaining bonus. Equipment bonuses may not be deducted for extra dice.

Main Roll

When rolling as an action for any kind of skill, the first roll is the main roll. This determines the amount of success or failure of a roll. Main rolls might be opposed to another character's reactive main roll, a difficulty score, or just to determine the magnitude of effect such as critical successes or failures.

Effect Roll

Effect Rolls are made after the Main Roll if the Main Roll was successful. The Effect Roll determines the actual result of a successful Main Roll. This might be damage from a magical weapon, healing from a spell, or intensity of social success like bartering. Some skills have effects determined by the Main Roll so that an Effect Roll is not needed. Each skill will state such in the skill description.

Rolling a 10

In addition to the difference in rolls providing greater success, the heroes (and the villains) have the capacity to do some amazing actions by rolling a natural 10 on the dice. A natural 10 is when the 1d10 actually turns up as a 10 before any bonuses are applied. When a roll for a check turns up as a natural 10, the player may add 10, roll the dice again and add the new roll to the check as well. This may be done every time the check roll turns up as a 10 no matter how many times it happens. This mechanic is commonly referred to as 'exploding dice'.

For example, Thean rolls an attack roll against a Guinenkey and rolls a natural 10. He rolls again and scores another 10. His final roll turns up as a 3. He gets a roll of 23 plus his attack bonuses against the Guinenkey which likely leads to greater damage dice.

Calculating Damage

Unless otherwise stated in the text of a skill, skills that result in damage are always the difference between the active Main Roll and the reactive Main Roll of the defender or the DS of the target. If the defense is equal or higher, no damage is incurred. Weapons and certain skills may include bonuses to damage which are added to this difference only if damage is dealt without it.

For example, Ethaniel attacks with his longsword and rolls a 22. The Voidwrought skeleton he strikes rolls an armor check of 20 for a difference of 2 in Ethaniel's favor. However, his longsword is imbued with special power against Voidwrought that does an additional 2d10 of damage. He rolls an 8 and a 4 for a total of 12 and adds that to the 2 he already has in the way of damage. The skeleton takes 14 total damage. A second strike with the longsword is only a 17 and the skeleton rolls a 19. Since this normally results in no damage, the additional 2d10 of damage does not get applied.

Quick Character Creation Guide


The Hero's Guild d10 Roleplaying Game generally, this page, and all other pages linked to it are copyrighted (© January 2017) by Ernie Laurence, Jr. and Hero's Guild Publications. The Player's Handbook (PHB) is free to use and may be distributed for free as long as copyright and a link to this page are included in the printing. Subsequent suplements produced by Hero's Guild Publications are not free to distribute, copy, or otherwise violate standard copyright protection and violators will be prosecuted.