Restitutor Orbis uses the rules from Fate Core to put you in the place of a fifth century Romano-British warrior, the historical antecedent to one of King Arthur’s knights. Every game of Fate Core features certain tweaks and changes to adapt it to the game’s setting. The rules in this wiki apply the rules of Fate Core from the Fate SRD with the changes made for this game, to present a cohesive ruleset in one place.
What You Need to Play
You will need:
Between three and five people. One of you is going to be the gamemaster (or “GM” for short), and everyone else is going to be a player.
A character sheet, one per player, and some extra paper for note-taking. (GMs, any important characters you play might have a character sheet also.)
Fate dice, at least four, preferably four per person. Fate dice are a special kind of six-sided dice that are marked on two sides with a plus symbol (+), two with a minus symbol (-), and two sides are blank (0). You can get these dice from many hobby and game stores, often under their original name, Fudge dice. (For Fate’s purposes we’ll continue to call them Fate dice, but call them whatever you like!) Fate dice can be purchased at your friendly local game shop or online.
Tokens to represent valor. Poker chips, glass beads, or anything similar will work. You’ll want to have at least thirty or more of these on hand, just to make sure you have enough for any given game. You can use pencil marks on your character sheet in lieu of tokens, but physical tokens add a little more fun.
Index cards. These are optional, but they’re very handy for recording aspects during play.
If you’re a player, your primary job is to take responsibility for portraying one of the protagonists of the game, which we call a player character (or “PC” for short). You make decisions for your character and describe to everyone else what your character says and does. You’ll also take care of the mechanical side of your character — rolling dice when it’s appropriate, choosing what abilities to use in a certain situation, and keeping track of fate points.
If you’re a gamemaster, your primary job is to take responsibility for the world the PCs inhabit. You make decisions and roll dice for every character in the game world who isn’t portrayed by a player — we call those non-player characters (or “NPCs”). You describe the environments and places the PCs go to during the game, and you create the scenarios and situations they interact with. You also act as a final arbiter of the rules, determining the outcome of the PCs’ decisions and how that impacts the story as it unfolds.
Both players and gamemasters also have a secondary job: make everyone around you look awesome. Restitutor Orbis is a collaborative endeavor, with everyone sharing ideas and looking for opportunities to make the events as entertaining as possible.
When you need to roll dice in Fate, pick up four Fate dice and roll them. Each + adds one to your roll, and each - subtracts one from your roll. This will give you a result between -4 and +4, with most rolls falling between -2 and +2.
Here are some example rolls:
- -0+0 = 0
- --+0 = -1
- +000 = 1
The result of your roll isn’t your final result, though. Usually you’ll be rolling with a skill, meaning that you can add your skill rating to the roll’s results. You’ll also usually be able to invoke aspects using your valor, or take stress or consequences to increase your result. Restitutor Orbis really deals less with success and failure on a roll than success and how much you’re willing to sacrifice for it.
Restitutor Orbis uses a ladder of adjectives and numbers to rate many things in the game, including rolls.
When you roll the dice, you’re trying to get a high enough roll to match or beat your opposition. That opposition is going to come in one of two forms: active opposition, from someone rolling dice against you, or passive opposition, from an obstacle that just has a set rating on the ladder for you to overcome. (GMs, you can also just decide your NPCs give passive opposition when you don’t want to roll dice for them.)
Generally speaking, if you beat your opposition on the ladder, you succeed at your action. A tie creates some effect, but not to the extent your character was intending. If you win by a lot, something extra happens (like doing more harm to your opponent in a fight).
If you don’t beat the opposition, either you don’t succeed at your action, you succeed at a cost, or something else happens to complicate the outcome. Some game actions have special results when you fail at the roll.
When you beat a roll or a set obstacle, the difference between your opposition and your result gives you shifts. When you roll equal to the opposition, you have zero shifts. Roll one over your opposition, and you have one shift. Two over means two shifts, and so on. Many parts of the game allow you to spend these shifts to achieve something. The most common example is an attack, where your shifts become the damage that your enemy takes.
Your character has a pool of valor points. Like the knights of Arthurian legend, your character will call upon her valor to overcome temptation, to persevere through trial, to stand her ground against terrifying foes, and to push herself a little bit harder to snatch victory from imminent defeat. Valor is not a skill, though, that will reliably grant you its power. It is a pool within one’s soul from which one draws. Even the most valorous knight only has so much valor to call upon. Valorous warriors know this, and cultivate that pool carefully.
You can spend valor to invoke aspects, to declare story details (benefitting from good fortune), to active certain powerful stunts, or to refuse compels.
You gain valor by accepting a compel on one of your aspects — whether that means indulging yourself or facing adversity.
Invoking an Aspect
Whenever you’re making a skill roll and you’re in a situation where an aspect might be able to help you, you can spend valor to invoke it in order to change the result.
Narrate how the aspect comes into play to help you. The GM will decide if the invocation is tenuous, relevant, or perfect.
- Tenuous: A tenuous invocation applies only tangentially to the situation, like using your Expert Swordsman aspect in a negotiation to say that you intimidate the other person. This invocation will let you re-roll your dice. This can be very helpful if you roll a -2 or less on the dice, but if you roll higher than that, your odds of rolling something better become less likely.
- Relevant: A relevant invocation applies directly to the situation, like using your Expert Swordsman aspect when you’re fighting someone and you’re armed with a sword. You can use a relevant invocation to:
- Re-roll your dice
- Gain a +2 bonus to your roll
- Give a +2 bonus to another character’s roll, if it’s reasonable that the aspect you’re invoking would be able to help
- Add +2 to any source of passive opposition, if it’s reasonable that the aspect you’re invoking could contribute to making things more difficult. You can also use this to create passive opposition at Fair (+2) if there wasn’t going to be any.
You can spend more than one fate point on a single roll, gaining another re-roll or an additional +2, as long as each point you spend invokes a different aspect.
Declaring a Story Detail
Sometimes, you want to add a detail that works to your character’s advantage in a scene. For example, you might use this to narrate a convenient coincidence, like declaring that you just happen to have brought your father’s signet ring, showing up at a dramatically appropriate moment, or suggesting that you and the NPC you just met have a mutual friend.
To do this, you’ll spend a valor point. You should try to justify your story details by relating them to your aspects.
GMs, you technically have the right to veto such story details by giving the player back her valor point. Use this option sparingly, though. Look for ways that odd details might actually make sense rather than dismissing them. Give particular weight to any story detail that a player can back up with an aspect.
Much of Restitutor Orbis flows from those situations where the aspects in play complicate your character’s life and create unexpected drama. When that happens, the GM will suggest a potential complication that might arise. This is called a compel.
Sometimes, a compel means your character automatically fails at some goal, or your character’s choices are restricted, or simply that unintended consequences cloud whatever your character does. You might negotiate back and forth on the details a little, to arrive at what would be most appropriate and dramatic in the moment.
Once you’ve agreed to accept the complication, you gain a point of valor. If you want, you can pay a valor point instead to prevent the complication from happening, as you resist your urges or tendencies or take extra attention, care, or effort to prevent that trouble from arising.
Players, you’re going to call for a compel when you want there to be a complication in a decision you’ve just made, if it’s related to one of your aspects. GMs, you’re going to call for a compel when you make the world respond to the characters in a complicated or dramatic way.
Anyone at the table is free to suggest when a compel might be appropriate for any character (including their own). GMs, you have the final word on whether or not a compel is valid. And speak up if you see that a compel happened naturally as a result of play, but no valor points were awarded.