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OSR+ Quick Reference

Core Rules Glossary

Below is an archive of mechanical terms used throughout the OSR+ Core Rules.
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Abilities help you perform tasks. The seven types of abilities in OSR+ are: talents, techniques, stances, deeds of valor, skills, attributes, and kits.

Absorbed (Poison)

Absorbed potions must be absorbed through skin contact (as in a lotion or liquid).

Abstract Time

The opposite of narrating turn by turn is skipping large gulfs of time through narration. "Nothing eventful happens while you rest. The next morning..." Here you're narrating in abstract time, skipping over stuff that's not interesting to play through. Similarly, when players montage or journey and you resolve their action, you're also narrating in abstract time. You always want to give players an opportunity to interject before you opt to narrate in abstract time, in case they want to do something before you skip ahead.


An action refers to what you do in the fiction when the spotlight is on you. In encounter mode, this is what you do when it's your turn to act in the initiative round.

Activate (Magic Item)

Some magic items need to be activated in order to be used, while others provide a passive, spell-like effect if worn or possessed. If a magic item describes you taking action in order to activate the item's ability, then it requires an action to use. Magic items will use the word "activate" in some form to indicate this explicitly.

Active Stance

You can use an active stance once, then you have to rest before using it again.


This refers to each of the rolls required by a scene check. A scene check either has 1 act (a single-act scene check) or 3 acts.

Adjacent Skill

An adjacent skill is thematically related to a skill in question, but has a different related attribute. For example, Domain Knowledge (Diplomacy) is adjacent to Influence, even though Diplomacy uses Smart and Influence uses Mighty. If you are proficient in both skills, the GM may allow you to roll Smart when making an Influence check.

Administering (Poison)

Poisons can be administered one of five ways: absorption, inhalation, ingestion, injection, or contact.


When you have advantage, roll two d6 and take the highest result. Disregard the other die. If the result is a natural 6, explode the die; if it's a natural 1, confirm a critical.

Adventure Hook

Adventure hooks are narrative clues that "hook" the players into exploring other scenes. They create incentives for players to explore the content you designed for them, giving your scenes a natural fictional "gravity," because the more hooks they uncover that point to a scene, the more "presence" the scene has in their minds.


Altruism is an exis of Ethos that means your character thinks it is good to have a genuine concern for the welfare of others.

Arcana Skill

In OSR+ Core Fantasy, there are three specialty skills known as Arcana. These skills are Arcana (Psionics), Arcana (Sorcery), and Arcana (Thaumaturgy), but for simplicity's sake they are represented as individual skills rather than specialty skills.


An archetype is similar to a kit or class, in that it imparts a special ability you can use in the game. Archetypes are usually genre-specific and introduced by the campaign setting afforded by a World of OSR+.

Area of Effect (Spells)

For 1 MP, the spell has a personal area of effect (unless it says otherwise). For 2 MP, the spell's area of effect is a melee space; for 3 MP, an encounter space. Each additional 3 MP adds another encounter space.

Armor Class

Armors are distinguished by class: Padded, Piecemeal, Light, Medium, Heavy, Partial Plate, and Full Plate.

Armor Points (AP)

Your armor has its own form of hit points called armor points (AP). Whenever you receive lethal damage, subtract from your AP before subtracting from your HP. Some tactics and sources of damage may specify that they "bypass armor"; in this case, your AP is unaffected and the damage reduces HP instead.

Armor Type

Mechanically, there is no difference between types of armors within a class—the choice is purely cosmetic.

Army Unit

An army is a unit made of 500 men that occupies a single hex on the map.


Astral creatures originate from otherworldly realms within the Astral Veil. Such beings include monstrous extradimensional phase spiders, shadows, and elementals made of fire or ice as well as superintelligent celestials and demons.

Astral Parity

Summons must maintain astral parity with you to remain on the material plane, unless the spell that summons them requires you to concentrate. If a summon leaves your line of sight for more than 1 round, it becomes unsummoned and must be reconjured by whatever means were necessary to conjure it in the first place. This is not the same as if it is slain, however, as some abilities will specify what happens when a summon is slain. For example, if the summon "requires 24 hours rest" to be reconjured when it is slain, then you may immediately reconjure the summon if it becomes unsummoned due to its leaving your line of sight for more than 1 round.

At Will

This means there is no limit to the number of times you can use the ability, but no more than once per round.


An attaché is an NPC you can attach to an army to provide the army with an additional special ability.


An attack is any attempt to deliver harm via your weapon or maleficence (or other means). Note that the rules may sometimes refer to an “attack” in the context of a character taking an action to attack, but in general an attack refers to the fictional thing you do when you make an attack roll.

Attack of Opportunity

If you're trying to move away from an opponent you are currently in combat with (within a personal space), the GM may allow your opponent to attack you out-of-turn, if they have an attack available to use in the round. Additionally, the GM may grant you a roll (such as a Reflexes check) to break out of the engagement without triggering this attack of opportunity. Attacks of opportunity only factor in if it's already been established that your opponent has cornered you and is capable of attacking you.

Attack Roll

An attack roll is a d6 plus the attribute tied to your weapon's class, and if you are proficient in the skill of the weapon you're wielding, you add a +2. Blunt weapons, for example, use Mighty, while Light weapons use Deft.


The three attributes in OSR+ are Mighty, Deft, and Smart, which represent a mixture of your natural ability and your adventuring experience. They range from values as low as 0 and as high as 11. No attribute may start higher than 6. These attributes form the basis for your ability to solve problems in the game.

Attribute Check

Any roll that adds your attribute to the total is considered an attribute check. Roll a d6 and add your relevant attribute score.

Attribute Damage

When you suffer attribute damage, your attribute is reduced by the amount of damage you receive. The source of the damage will indicate what attribute is reduced. You do not recalculate any other scores when your attributes are reduced (for example, if you lose Mighty or Deft, you do not recalculate your HP or defense). At 0 Smart, you cannot cast spells. If a relevant attribute is reduced to 0, you do not gain a +2 from any skills relevant to it, nor can you use weapon tactics that rely on that attribute. If your Mighty is reduced to a score that is less than your armor's Mighty requirement, you lose the benefit of its AP and soak, and so on. If all your attributes are reduced to 0, you are put on death's door. Only by recovering at least 1 attribute point of damage can you be stabilized when on death's door with 0 in all attributes. Attribute damage cannot be recovered except by spells like Restore or Remove Curse, or magical consumables like a Potion of Restoration.

Attribute Score

An attribute score ranges from 0 - 11 across the three attributes: Mighty, Deft, or Smart.


Balance is an axis of Ethos that means your character might take a middle ground between Faithfulness and Bravery as a basis of moral action.


A “big bad evil guy” is usually the adventure's main villain, much more powerful than a boss. BBEGs are meant to be a recurring element throughout the adventure, so you shouldn’t throw a BBEG at the PCs directly, unless you’re prepared for them to die accidentally. BBEGs are constructed in the same way as a PC and have additional perks and stances that go above and beyond other NPCs. They have wounds and experience death’s door like PCs.

Bleeding Status

While bleeding, you suffer 1 HP damage on the next round, and each round thereafter, until you are healed or the bleeding is otherwise stopped.

Blinded Status

When your vision is blocked, you cannot target opponents unless your target betrays its position by one of the other five senses and you spend a round to discern them using that sense; only then can you target them with disadvantage. Opponents have advantage against you on all rolls.

Bond Tag

A bond tag is a tag you can invoke once (then it's gone) that confers advantage on any action you or the character bonded to you take.


A bond is a type of story hook that describes what relationship a PC shares with another PC in their backstory.

Bonus Spell

When you take a bonus spell as a perk, you learn an extra spell.

Bookend Scene

Bookends are unique in that they do not contain adventure hooks. These scenes serve as conclusions to one-shots or shorts, but they can alternatively yield rewards that enhance the PCs' progression through the adventure. For example, finding the secret ritual chamber of the villain in Monsters in Merovia better equips the PCs with tactical knowledge to use against him/her, but the scene that contains the ritual chamber provides no other adventure hooks to other scenes, and of course is gated because it's secret. Similarly, a random encounter without adventure hooks can be thought of as a bookend scene that "floats" throughout the adventure.

Boss (NPC Type)

A boss is usually one-of-a-kind and the strongest NPC in the encounter. They should be at least as powerful as the combined levels of the party (so a 4th level party affords a 4th level boss and an 8th level party affords an 8th level boss). Bosses behave more strategically than their allies; they're more likely to use weapon tactics, defensive actions, and the environment against the PCs. You can also give a boss a few stances relevant to its role in the encounter to make it more challenging. You can decide whether your boss goes down at 0 or uses wounds, but generally stick to 0 if a BBEG is also present.


Brave is an axis of Ethos that means your character always considers the consequences as the basis of moral action.

Broken Armor

If your armor is reduced to 0 AP, then it is considered broken. Such armor provides no soak (or any other abilities, if it has any) until it is repaired.

Bulky (Slot)

Bulky items occupy 7 slots in your inventory. Examples: Wagon wheel, cauldron, barrel, bathtub.

Burning Status

While burning, if you do not spend a turn putting yourself out in the round after being subject to the source of flame, you suffer cumulative 1 damage per round. (Three damage on the second round, 6 on the third, 10 on the fourth, and so on.)

Cache Unit

Caches are units like perils, except they provide a benefit when recovered from the map.

Called Shot

A called shot means you intend to target a specific part of your opponent's body with your attack, or make an attack that requires great precision. When you make a called shot, you must declare what you're targeting before you roll. This confers disadvantage to your attack roll. If you want to attack a vital part of the body (head, eye, heart, etc) and deal fatal damage, roll at disadvantage and confer a -2 to hit. It's up the GM whether you can deal enough damage with your attack to confer a fatal peril.


A campaign is a sustained, evolving, and open-ended series of interconnected adventures that takes place over an undetermined number of sessions. Campaigns can involve many adventures made up of many scenes, both linear and nonlinear. Campaigns tend to come to a natural conclusion when all the PCs have resolved their conflicts. Overworld play can help shepherd the evolution of the campaign outside players' individual PCs, and players can level up their PCs all the way to level 10 if adventuring time permits.

Campaign (Adventure Hook)

These type of hooks indicate a scene in an adventure outside the web of scenes they're currently exploring. Such a hook does not reinforce awareness of scenes in the current adventure. For example, suppose after an encounter with a bounty hunter, the PCs discover documents indicating they are wanted dead or alive. The document may point to a particular bounty hunter guild in a completely different area of the game world (and perhaps this guild constitutes a scene in an adjacent adventure the GM has ready to go).

Character Concept

The kernel of narrative fulfillment at the heart of a character's design.

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