Disclaimer: I only own the books in my native language, so my wording might be a bit off when mentioning exact skill names. It should still be clear what I'm asking.

Just recently, my character was hit by a fear effect while on a roof. To escape, I decided my character would jump off the roof. That was a choice, he could have just run along the roof or stood still. We looked up the rules and they said that you only take falling damage if the height is more than 3m. As it would be boring to take a auto-success action in response to an enemy success, we decided the roof would be 4m from the ground.

So my character decided to jump down 4m. And then... we failed to find any rules on this.

There is falling damage. The rules are clear. However, my character was in full control. He was not pushed or otherwise impaired. He looked down, said "I can do that" and jumped down. He was not "falling".

Looking up all the athletics skills, we found out there is one that explicitly covers "jumping down from any height". Free-falling. But there is no single rule for it. It just says "This covers jumping down from any height." That's it. No difficulties given, no mentioning of what a success does.

Can anybody clarify the rules or point me to the paragraph I missed that covers jumping down?


1 Answer 1


Your confusion is understandable. The section on active physical skills (page 133 of the Core Rulebook) does not go in-depth into discussing how fall damage works in combination with the Free-Fall skill. The next page (134), however, under the section on Climbing Failures and Glitches refers you to page 172 for Falling Damage.

Falling Damage

When a character falls more than three meters, he takes Physical damage with a DV equal to the number of meters fallen, with an AP of –4. Use Body + Armor to resist this damage. The gamemaster should feel free to modify the damage to reflect a softer landing surface (sand), branches to break the fall, and so on. Falling characters drop 50 meters in the first Combat Turn, 150 meters in the second Combat Turn, and 200 meters every Combat Turn after that. Terminal velocity for a falling body is about 200 meters per turn.

Again, no guidance is given in using the Free-Fall skill. So the GM needs to apply their own discretion. Here's how I do it assuming that the character doesn't have any gear designed to help them overcome falls such as grappling hooks, parachutes, etcetera.

  1. Since Body is the linked attribute for Free-Fall, the dice pool for the Free-Fall test is Body + Free-Fall. Note that Free-Fall allows characters to default (see page 130) if they don't have any ranks in the skill, using Body - 1 as the dice pool for the test. Since the pool is derived from an attribute and a skill, a limit applies. Seeing as it's a physical skill, it makes sense to use the character's physical limit.
  2. If the distance the character is falling is 50 meters or less, the test is a simple success test. If the distance is greater than 50 meters, the test is an extended test with an interval equal to the number of combat turns that it will take for the character to hit the ground.
  3. If it's a simple test, the threshold is two successes. Once that has been met, each additional success acts as the Light Body adept power or Rolling Cloud martial art technique reducing the effective distance of the fall by one meter when calculating the character's falling damage. This effect stacks with Light Body and Rolling Cloud.
  4. If it's an extended test, the threshold is equal to the number of combat turns that it will take for the character to hit the ground squared (4 successes for 2 combat turns, 9 successes for 3 combat turns, 16 successes for 4 combat turns, etcetera). Once that has been met, each additional success reduces the effective distance of the fall by five meters when calculating the character's falling damage. This effect stacks with Light Body and Rolling Cloud.

The "Break-Fall" Free-Fall specialization is applicable to this test, granting a +2 dice pool bonus to characters attempting to break a fall.

The reason that I increase the threshold quadratically is to represent the fact that the greater the fall distance (and thus more time spent falling), the more speed gets built up and the harder it is to successfully break the fall.


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