Feel free to read the system below, or watch the Youtube video that Shunned House made of our system brief. The video doesn’t contain explanation of our latest system call; ‘Safe Word’.

Your character will have three statistics- Health, Sanity and Strength.You will have two Skills – Melee Combat and Ranged Combat.You may also have the Escape, Medicine or First Aid skills, and you will have two Permanent Coping Strategies.

E reading her character sheetYou will not have any other listed skills; your written background will cover this instead. Therefore, please make sure that you read the whole character sheet carefully, because that passing reference to topiary may just be important!

If you think you should have a skill which isn’t directly referenced in your background, you may be able to blag it – consult a ref.The Art of Blagging

If playing within the Warzone Rules in addition to your character sheet, you will be given a Wound Table. (If the Warzone Rules are being used this will be explicitally stated, they are additional to the standard rules and not assumed to be in use.)



Room Thirteen runs a non-contact system, so any combat should be mimed in a slow and safe manner. The only time physical contact is acceptable is within the Surprise Attack rules.

Slow and Safe Manner

Every character has a rank in both combat skills, even if they are entirely untrained.

Melee Combat:

Your Melee Combat skill indicates how many times you have to throw a punch for one of them to hit.

FisticuffsTherefore, if your Melee Combat skill is 1, you’re aces and will hit every time. If your Melee Combat skill is 3, you will miss twice before you throw your connecting punch. These misses represent your punch going wide, being dodged or being deflected by the other combatant.

In combat, when you throw a missing punch you should mime it going wide and call “Miss!”

When you throw your connecting punch you should mime it and call your damage. This damage is applied directly to your Health (if playing within a Warzone this ignores your Wound Table).

Damage is based on your Strength.

If you are unarmed and untrained, your damage is just your Strength score.

If you have an improvised weapon, your damage is your Strength score plus one. These will cause weapon damage so long as they are an appropriate choice. In other words, a cushion will not work.

If you have an actual weapon, your damage is your strength score plus two, and this is weapon damage, see below.

Weapon damage will always require medical attention of some kind. If you do not get medical attention (either medicine or first aid) then every two hours until you recieve medical attention you will lose one point of damage. Once you get medical attention you will not lose further points from that wound.Medicine

If you receive first aid or medicine, then your damage is counted as normal damage.

If you are incapacitated (reach 0) in a combat situation where you take weapon damage, you do not recover until you receive medical aid. If you are knocked unconscious, you regain consciousness after the stated five minutes but remain incapacitated until you receive medical aid.

If such aid is not supplied within thirty minutes, you die. Unless you are unconscious during this time, you may call for help. Feel free to wail like a banshee.


The average human will have a health score of 8.

When your health score reaches 0, you are incapacitated or knocked out.

If the blow that takes you to 0 was to your head, you will be knocked out for approximately five minutes. If a character wishes to continue to hit you when you are on 0 health it will take them two minutes of pummelling you brutally to kill you.

If the blow was to any other part of your body, you are incapacitated in an appropriate way for at least fifteen minutes. This means you cannot move effectively under your own steam. There is nothing to stop you wailing like a banshee/squealing like a stuck pig. This should be roleplayed.Taken to 0

After this recovery time, you will still be showing effects of the unconsciousness or incapacitation – for example, you may be unsteady on your feet after being unconscious, or you may be left with a limp if your leg was incapacitated. This again should be roleplayed.

If a character’s Health score is reduced to 0 by weapon damage then they are dying. Unless another character with First Aid or Medicine attends to them within 30 minutes then they will die. If a character’s Health score is on 0 when they receive further weapon damage then it is treated as a Coup de Grace and they will die.

Self-first aidA character with First Aid can spend five minutes tending to the character and binding their wounds to restore 1 point of Health unless the wounded person is on 0 in which case they remain on 0 but are treated as if they have taken normal damage. You cannot use first aid on the same wound more than once.Medical Doctor

A character with Medicine can spend an hour performing surgery on a wounded character to restore 2 points of Health.

Health points lost from normal damage can be recovered by a good night’s sleep. Health points lost from weapon damage are not recovered in this way.

Surprise AttacksSurprise Attack

If you can take somebody completely unawares, you do not have to count out your misses and may hit with one blow. This does your normal amount of strength damage but it will be an instant knockout; the victim will be unconscious for approximately five minutes. To make a surprise attack, call “Surprise Attack” and state your normal damage whilst placing your hand on the victim’s shoulder. If you are attempting a Surprise Attack with a firearm then please see Coup de Grace rules.


Moving an injured partyGrapples are based on your Strength; if your Strength score is higher than the person you are grappling, they will be pinned. Several people can combine their strength scores to help pin someone- this is restricted based on how many people could actually get a decent grip on the person being pinned.Pinning the Suicide Risk

If you wish to help a person being pinned by multiple people then you can grapple one of them and this will become a separate grapple, thus helping the initial person being pinned.

Remember, this is still non-contact so you should never actually physically grapple another player; mime it with respect to the other player’s boundaries.

The Escape skill allows you to escape from a successful grapple once; to do this call “Escape!” and move away from the player or players grappling you.

If you do not move away, they can grapple you again.


The last stand of Miss Scarlett

If you move towards another player who wishes to grapple you, they may do so.

If you are grappling somebody who uses the Escape skill, you must give them the opportunity to move away before you may attempt a new grapple.

If you have the Escape skill, it will be ranked; this score is the number of times you can use the Escape skill in one day- it will be refreshed by a good night’s sleep.


In order to strangle a person, you must first grapple and pin them. You must then announce that you are strangling them and maintain the grapple. After twenty seconds (slow counted with Mississipis) the victim will be unconscious; every twenty seconds after that their health drops by one. Unless their health reaches 0 this is counted as normal damage. If you strangle them until their health drops to 0, this is counted as weapon damage and they will require medical attention to recover.

If you strangle them for a further two minutes from this point, they will die.

Make sure that the struggle is roleplayed properly and does not make your victim unduly uncomfortable. The victim may thrash about and make strangled sounds but they are unable to shout/scream for help.


Though you can phys-Rep garrotting someone you should only actually hold the garrotte wire in one hand.

Strangulation Rules still apply with a garotte but after the victim falls unconscious you’re doing Weapon damage at a rate of 2 per 20 seconds. It still takes two minutes after unconsciousness to kill them.

If it’s a surprise attack then it’s a surprise attack with a weapon and those rules apply. It is not a coup de grace as it is not done with a firearm.


Though there may be all kinds of setting information useful for your roleplay on different poisons they essentially come in 3 different forms:
Poison 1, Poison 2 and Poison 3.

If you have poisons you will be issued with a number of small stickers labelled, 1, 2 or 3 depending on the type and/or amount of poison you have. Your phys-rep for putting the poison in someone’s cup is to place the sticker upon the bottom of the cup. You must tell a ref that you have done this.
If you are attempting to poison more than one person at once you must place two stickers upon the bottom of the relevant bottle/container. Again, tell a ref that you have done this. It is possible to try and poison solid food but this will be detectable to anyone tasting the food and the sticker should be placed as obviously as possible if this is done. Players can make the decision to suicide by poisoned food if they wish – let a ref know if you are doing this.

If someone drinks all of the poisoned liquid then they have been sucessfully poisoned, if they drink some or most of it then a ref will let them know what happens. Players who see the stickers have only done so ooc and should not react in character.

Poison 1 will cause you to lose 1 hit point every 30 minutes and this is counted as weapon damage. This should be roleplayed appropriately, if you’re not certain what you’ve been poisoned with and thus how to roleplay – ask a ref. This can be treated as usual by Medicine and First Aid.

Poison 2 will cause you to lose 2 hit points every 30 minutes and this is counted as weapon damage. This should be roleplayed appropriately, if you’re not certain what you’ve been poisoned with and thus how to roleplay – ask a ref. This can be treated as usual by Medicine and First Aid.

Poison 3 will immediately reduce you to zero hit points and is counted as weapon damage. Feel free to fit, thrash about and roleplay similarly. This can be treated as usual by Medicine and First Aid.

There are also Antidotes;
Antidote 1, Antidote 2 and Antidote 3.

Antidotes 1 and 2 may be administered at any point before death and will immediately prevent the relevant poison from doing further damage as well as restoring up to 3 points of damage. (If you’ve only lost 1 point due to poison it will only restore 1 point, antidotes do nothing for damage taken from fists).
However Antidote 1 will only do this for Damage taken by Poison 1 and Antidote 2 will only do this for Damage taken by Poison 2. They have no effect if Antidote 2 is administered to Damage taken by Poison 1 and visa versa.

Antidote 3 only effects Damage taken by Poison 3 and can only be administered up to 2 minutes after Poison 3 has been ingested.

If someone who has been poisoned is unconscious then they cannot ingest an antidote and need someone with Medicine to administer it to them. Someone with First Aid cannot do this.

Ranged Combat

Point and FireYour Ranged Combat skill indicates how long it takes you to aim and fire a gun, in seconds. The lower your score, the better shot you are.

To use a gun, hold it up, aim it at your target and count down your score. We recommend using “Mississipi” to make sure you don’t count too fast. When you reach zero, you may pull the trigger, and if the cap goes off you may call the name of your target. If the weapon being fired is larger than a handgun, it is helpful to shout the damage of the weapon as well.

For instance, a character fires an M16 at a gibbering monster. They would call “Gibbering monster thing! Eight!”. The fiend from beyond the stars would then take eight points of damage.

If the cap does not go off, your gun misfired. We suggest you run like buggery.

You do not have to count loudly enough for everyone to hear; however we (the refs) should be able to tell you are counting. Therefore you should either whisper it or mouth it out very clearly.

If you have a high score, you may find your target moves while you are aiming. Your target must be in line of sight when you pull the trigger.

Whatever your score, you may choose to pull the trigger without aiming; this is for roleplay purposes only and is highly unlikely to hit what you want it to hit- a ref will tell you if you have hit anything.

Gun Damage

Readying his gun

Readying his gun

A gun will cause an amount of weapon damage (if playing within a Warzone it will move the targets down its Wound Table). The damage comes off the target’s health score unless the Wound Table records a Miss. If the Wound Table records a Hit then it should be used to roleplay the location of the wound.

A sidearm, will do six points of damage.

A rifle or shotgun will do seven points of damage as standard; if the damage is not standard a Referee will inform you prior to the gun’s use.

Anything larger will be explained by the Referee. The location of a gunshot is to be at players discretion unless it is a Coup de Grace.
Coup de Grace
Coup de Grace AKA The Headshot

If a target is unmoving (grappled or unconscious) or otherwise incapacitated and unable to defend themselves, the attacker may call a ‘coup de grace’. This is phys-repped by standing a few feet away from the target or within melee range and striking/shooting them.

The affected target immediately dies.

This can only be attempted with a weapon.


Ammunition will be represented by caps. This is the same for any handgun being used during the event regardless of IC calibre.
Shotgun Ammunition will be represented by caps sitting in cartridges – these must not be exchanged with handgun caps.


The blast radius of an explosion from a landmine, hand grenade or other explosive device will be represented by confetti.
A small explosive will be represented by yellow confetti, a large explosive by pink.
For each of a player’s body areas covered in yellow confetti, that character loses a point of Health, for pink they lose 2 points per body area. This is considered weapon damage.
(Body areas are right leg, left leg, torso, right arm, left arm, head)


The Hollw ManA character’s sanity is a value which runs from 1 to 5 with five being stable for that character.

Sanity Effects are rated as 1 to 3 or Purple 1 to 3. If a player is exposed to a normal (not Purple) Sanity Effect then they immediately lose that amount of Sanity and must react appropriately. During the day players may see and interact with situations which they feel may effect their particular character, they should feel free to make use of their Coping Mechanisms and Insanity as appropriate.

Sanity may be restored by indulging in one or more of your Coping Mechanisms. By using a Coping Mechanism you regain a point of sanity. If you get a good night’s sleep then at ref discretion you may regain up to one point in addition to your use of Coping Mechanisms.

Love Your ShoesEach character has two Coping Mechanisms, an active and a passive one. You may only use one Coping Mechanism per Sanity Effect. Coping Mechanisms should be roleplayed for an appropriate length of time, if this is not indicated on your character sheet please roleplay appropriate to the mechanism.

For example, a player witnesses a brutal murder. That might be enough to shake their faith in humanity and would be a one-point Sanity Effect. They are shaken but indulge their Coping Mechanism of ‘A Stiff Drink’ and recover that lost point.

However, the same player later witnesses a police phonebox disappear before his eyes. Such a thing defies any law of physics and the character’s world is turned upside down. This would be a 3-point Sanity Effect and no matter how many times the player uses his Coping Mechanism, he can never restore more than 1 of those lost Sanity points. The player may also decide that his Coping Mechanism of ‘Obsessive Compulsion’ is more appropriate to the situation than ‘A Stiff Drink’ (possibly because he finished his flask due to the murder earlier).10704077_10152387881769220_3719343409665879899_n

Each character trends towards a form of insanity as described on their character sheet. These are left deliberately broad for the player’s intepretation based upon the horror they are faced with. The lower a character’s Sanity becomes the more pronounced their derangement is. At zero Sanity a character is deranged and must act out their insanity to the fullest. If you have lost one point of Sanity and regain that point by using a coping mechanism you do not need to roleplay your Insanity.

The exception to roleplaying through your Insanity is when faced with a Purple Sanity Threat, these are usually attached to unseen Sanity Threats which will be described by a ref, the player can choose to use their Coping Mechanism in order to cope with the threat but if they choose not to use their Coping Mechanism then rather than play through their Insanity they will play through a specific urge/insanity/etc. which the Ref will give them.

19243839199_3ec44066bf_oFor example a player is walking down an apparently empty corridor when a ref informs them that for the briefest instant non-euclidean shapes appear on the inside of their retina and they have the urge to create an entirely spherical environment in which to live. This is a level 1 Purple Sanity Threat. The player decides to have a Stiff Drink and the urge becomes a passing memory.

Later that same player is walking in the deserted garden and sees nothing but(as the result of a purple ref note) gets the urge to talk excitedly about meteors from outer-space. This is a 2 point Purple Sanity Threat and he opts not to make use of his Coping Mechanisms. He goes inside and talks about the wonders of meteors to the other players for a good quarter of an hour.

System Calls

There are six system calls, four of these are only to be used by refs, the Man Down call may be used by anyone within the game and the Safe Word call can be used by players at anytime.

Time In This is a ref call and means that the game has started. In a small play area it is usually only called once but across a larger area it may need to be shouted a few times to let all players know time in has occured. This will also be shouted after a Time Freeze call to let players know to unfreeze.

Time Freeze This is a ref call and means that players must freeze, ideally close their eyes and wait for the refs to call Time In. Please do not communicate with other players during this time; if you need clarification on instructions, then you can talk to the Ref delivering them. The Ref Team might use this opportunity to describe something which will happen to all players on “unfreezing”, or the Ref Team might use this opportunity to move something into position without being seen. Time Freeze ends when a Ref calls Time In!. Characters should continue with what they were doing as though no break had occurred.

Drop This is a ref call and will be called at specific players meaning that they should drop to the floor and await specific instruction from the ref. This is not a time freeze and other players may roleplay around them appropriately though if not in Drop then they should ignore what the ref is telling the player who is in Drop.

Man Down This call can be used by all participants. It is to be used to raise an alarm that a person has been injured or is suffering a medical emergency. If you hear this call, please stop what you are doing. First Aiders should respond to this call by heading to the call’s location. First Aiders are in charge during a Man Down call and will give instruction if they need assistance.

Safe Word This call may be used by players at any point during the game. It is to be used to indicate to the nearest ref that the player is distressed and needs to be taken out of the in-game situation. If possible other players should continue to roleplay, disregarding the character’s absence, if not possible treat this as a time freeze. Refs will time you back in.

Time Out This is a ref call and means that the game has ended. As with Time In it may need to be called several times in a large game location.


Warzone Rules:

These are not in use as standard. A scenario using them will explicitly state it is using them.Double Checking

To represent the frenzied and frantic nature of gunfights, the location struck by a ranged attack is random unless it is a Coup de Grace. This is what the Wound Table is used for.

Wound Table:

Each player will be issued with a Wound Card. This is a list of effects to be applied if you are shot at. You will never need to remember more than the next two or three numbers on the list as the system is designed to be as easy as possible.

Some of the effects will be ‘Misses’ which means you do not take any damage or effect from the attack. Others will be ‘Hits’ which will have a location attached. Please roleplay your hit appropriately.

An example Wound Card would look like this:

Nurse McHelpful


2. Miss

3. Hit Left Arm

4. Hit Right Arm

5. Hit Head

6. Miss

7. Hit Chest

8. Hit Chest


A player moves down this track each time that they take damage. It does not matter how much damage you take in any one hit, they only move to the next line down on the wound table.

Modification to Gun Damage:

The damage comes off the target’s health score unless the Wound Table records a Miss in which case the target’s health score is not effected. If the Wound Table records a Hit then it should be used to roleplay the location of the wound.

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