Flamepunk: Flamerunning

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Flamepunk:Main Page -> Flamepunk: Flamerunning

Overview of Flamerunning

This section describes rules for Flamerunning.


The Realm of Flames / Flamespace

The Realm of Flames is a world of elemental fire that is perceived by way of concepts, inhabited by demons, elementals and ghosts, and is governed by its own laws of metaphysics. It is a hostile environment, not entered into willingly by the non-Adept, but also the source of arcane energy that powers both sorcerous magic and the world's technology.

Society has evolved based on the manipulation of Flamespace energy, and the ability to control and manipulate Flamespace is one that gives much power.

Through the arcane science of Pyromancy, society has created a vast number of Obsidian Pathstones which allow access to Flamespace. Each Pathstone creates a single Node in flamespace, and are connected by a FlameWeb of Pathways that allow entities to travel between them.

However, the Nodes and Pathways of the FlameWeb do not cover the whole of Flamespace. Indeed, Flamespace itself is immeasurably vast, perhaps many times larger than the physical world itself, and the FlameWeb covers only a fraction of a fraction of its breadth. The uncharted and untamed Greater Realm of Flames is a place where no mortal can easily go, and is extremely hazardous even to the most adept Pyromancers.

Pathstones, Auras, Nodes and Pathways

A Pathstone is an arcane monolith, designed to allow Pyromancers access to the Flameweb. All Pathstones incorporate two physical components - an obsidian "heart" and a "living flame". The "heart" is a carved and rune-encrusted block of obsidian, which acts as a focus for pyromantic magic. The "living flame" can be any fire, supernatural or mundane, that is near to the obsidian heart. The living flame is not fundamentally any different from any other fire, but without one nearby the Pathstone will simply not function.

In physical terms, the heart of a Pathstone can be anything from a stone tablet that can be carried in one hand to a vast obsidian-laced pyramid, many hundreds of feet high. The greater the size of the heart of the Pathstone, the greater its power.

An area around the Pathstone's heart is designated its Aura. The Aura is the physical area which is within the Pathstone's area of arcane influence. Any burning fires within the Aura of the pathstone become living flames that allow the Pathstone to function. If all the fires within the Aura are extinguished, then the Pathstone will cease to function.

The size of the Aura is determined by the size of the stone, and also by the arcane craftsmanship of the builder. The handheld "decks" popular with flamerunners have an access range of 1 or 2 yards at most, ordinary man-sized Pathstones have an aura of a hundred yards or so, and the Grand Pathstones that are built into the greatest Cathedrals and guild Pyramids have an aura of ten to twenty miles.

Within Flamespace, each Pathstone creates a single self contained realm called a Node.

The appearance of a Node is determined by the Pathstone's designer, and is called the Videra. Videra vary greatly, and their size and complexity is very much dependent on the power of the Pathstone. For example, a blazer's deck might have a node that appears to be just a small fishing boat, afloat in a sea of flame, while the Grand Cathedral of Sardukar has a videra that is a vast gothic Paladin's Fortress, with spires rising in six different directions from a hexagonal planar core.

The Videra is little more than a visualisation, and size is important only as an indicator of the power of the Pathstone. Ultimately, everything within a Node can be affected from anywhere within a Node, and travelling within the boundaries of a single Node can be done withint he blink of an eye, simply by visualisation and imagination. For example, within the Node of the Grand Cathedral of Sardukar, it is perfectly possible to step off a tower's battlements and reappear anywhere within the fortress complex, and with mind's eye it is possible to perceive the whole Cathedral at once from anywhere in it.

Needless to say, for inexperienced Blazers this can lead to a few migraines...

A Pathstone can be designed so that it resonates with other existing Pathstones. To do this, identical Pathway runes must be inscribed or etched on the surface of both Pathstones, and the two will become linked. Within Flamespace it is then possible for entities to travel between the linked Pathstones via a Pathway, which will itself have its own Videra. Pathways are invaluable to Pyromancers, as they allow them to mentally travel from one stone to another, without having to travel through the dangerous Greater Realm of Flame.

Finally, if the Auras of two Pathstones overlap in the physical world, it is possible to manifest temporary Pathways known as Portals. A Portal allows travel between the two Pathstones in Flamespace, but only so long as both Pathstones continue to have overlapping auras in the physical world, and only as long as both Pathstones are powered up with Living Flame. Portals are temporary, and can be closed at any time by their creators. There's no way of knowing from within Flamespace if Auras overlap in the physical world until a Portal is created, so creating a Portal usually requires some foreknowledge on the part of the Portal creator.

Needless to say, the Pathstones with the largest Auras (i.e. the largest ones physically) tend to have the most potential for Portals. This makes them the least secure, and also makes them good places for meeting other Pyromancers.

Game rules: The Aura of different Pathstones is described in the equipment chapter, while Pathwalking is described in the combat rules below. Note that anybody who can get into Flamespace can use Pathways, but to create Portals requires specific traits. Also, any entity can choose to "step off" a node into Flamespace itself, though this is not often a smart thing to do, and certainly not a practical means to travel from node to node.

Blazers and entering Flamespace

Individuals able to enter Flamespace are called Pyromancers, or in street parlance, Blazers.

To access flamespace the Blazer must physically touch the Obsidian Pathstone, and then psychically project himsself into it.

He doesn't actually physically enter Flamespace (its not even known if that is possible) instead projects his soul through the Obsidian, using the Pathstone as his focus.

The Pathstone must have fire (the "living flame") within its aura to allow the Blazer to use it, though this can be as little as a candle flame.

The Blazer's physical body is left behind - still alive, but paralysed and breathing only shallowly. Even involuntary biological functions slow down in the now-abandoned body, with metabolism of all sorts at one tenth of the usual rate.

The Blazer's mind, meanwhile, enters into the Node of the Pathstone and finds himself within its Videra. The Blazer himself has a fixed appearance within Flamespace that is known as his Avatar.

A Blazer's Avatar will appear the same every time he enters Flamespace, and he has no control over its appearance. He might appear as a knight in blackened armour, as a hundred-foot long limbless serpent, or just a shimmering cloud of light. The Avatar will usually reflect the Blazer's personality in some way, often laying bare darker aspects of his psyche that he would not normally choose to reveal. Ultimately the Avatar is just a projection and has little reflection of the Blazer's capabilities or vulnerabilities. In Flamespace, a Blazer who manifests as an inch-high winged elf, and a Paladin who manifests as a walking cathedral both have the same attributes - they are equally conspicuous to observers, likely equally strong, equally capable and equally mobile. Flamespace just doesn't work the same way as physical reality, and a Pyromancer is always recognisable as such, regardless of external shell.

Game rules: Note that ordinary people cannot enter flamespace by default. Entering Flamespace requires the appropriate trait: usually either Orthodox Pyromancer or Wild Talent Blazer. The process of entering flamespace is called flameleaping, and the rules for this vary according to chosen technique. See the Arcane Traits chapter for more on this.

Ghosts in the Fire

Flamespace is seemingly crowded with the spirits of the dead, who manifest as ghosts within it after their death.

It is not entirely clear if these ghosts are the souls of dead people (as the Church would have us believe) or merely psychic echoes impressed upon Flamespace by the passing life. Oddly, if a person's corpse is cremated, then their correspondent ghost will immediately cease to exist. The Church, who believe that for a soul to be condemned to be a ghost is a terrible cruelty, insist upon cremation as the default for the masses.

The Avatar of a Ghost is normally the same as their physical appearance on death, often with the marks of cause of death on them.

Ghosts are usually fairly weak in Flamespace, as they have little idea how to make sense of their environment or how to manipulate it. Those who were Pyromancers in life are the exception to this - they carry all the skills and talents they had in life into the afterlife, and will often also retain the Avatar of their living days.

Unskilled ordinary ghosts don't usually last too long in Flamespace. The natural predators of Flamespace will chase and devour them if they spot them, and ghosts will often come running to the Church for sanctuary. The Church, of course, is only interested in "laying them to rest", preferably by convincing them to reveal where their mortal remains are, and if possible, arranging cremation.

There are rumours of a community of ghosts hidden deep within Flamespace, far from the Flameweb. This fabled Isle of the Restless is not easy to reach by any means, if it does truly exist, but many Ghosts will try to seek this place out, reasoning they have nowhere else to turn. Certainly, no-one who has ever set out for the Isle has ever returned, and the Church's official line is that the Isle simply does not exist, and the rumour is nothing more than a demon crafted lure to draw the ghosts into their hungry maws.

Game rules: Ghosts function in the same ways as blazers in Flamespace, albeit normally without the requisite traits to be able to attack or defend. Ghosts have the same traits as when they were alive.

Elementals and Demons

Flamespace also has native species, who exist only within its reaches.

These are dubbed elementals and demons.

A demon is a wild spirit, that has evolved and exists within the reaches of the Greater Realm of Fire. Demons vary greatly in intelligence, some with complex (but alien) agendas, and some no different from mindless beasts. Little is known about the ecology of demons in general, save that they see Pyromancers and the Flameweb as an intrusion onto their home realm, and are universally aggressive to these interlopers from physical reality. Demons vary massively in strength - most are about as puissant as neophyte blazers, but some are of much greater levels in power. Over history, the Church claims to have fought and defeated primordial terrors that are a match for entire armies, though incursions by such beasts are thankfully rare. The Church denies that demons have any sort of society or civilisation, though some blazers whisper that there are entire kingdoms out there in Flamespace.

An elemental is simply a tamed demon. Over the centuries the church has become adept at capturing and enslaving demons, and now even breeds them in captivity. Certainly some breeds of demons are more amenable to this than others, and even the most placid tamed elemental has a degree of fieryness to it.

Game rules: Demons and Elementals are described more fully in this Chapter.

Using Flamespace

Roleplaying and Flamespace

Flamespace is a great place for a GM to really cut loose with his imagination. As a primordial realm driven by elemental forces, and visualised through concept and emotion, it allows for many vistas and scenes you could not depict in ordinary physical reality.

When roleplaying Flamespace scenes GMs and players should recall that the place does not work by the ordinary laws of physics, and that willpower and passion are more important than physical form or apparent environment. A blazer with the Avatar of a shimmering energy cloud could run into a paladin with the Avatar of a floating fortress, and form the image of a sword out of his hatred of authority, then launch it to inflict psychic harm on his enemy. Equally, the paladin could call up an army that represents his iron discipline to deflect away the attack, and equip them with shields made of his contempt.

Also, Flamespace is so called because it is aflame. GMs should describe the sky as being bright with rolling flames, and pretty much everything in flamespace is alight. Fire doesn't burn fire though, so flames act as little more than the mercurial substance of the realm.

Flamespace Combat

Flamespace Combat is described below in detail, and fundamentally works in a very similar way to physical combat. However, in Flamespace Combat the swords and arrows are made of emotion, and damage inflicted is psychic, bruising the egos and determination of the enemy rather than their actual physical body. That's not to say it isn't dangerous...

Initiative and Combat Rounds

Time and Flamespace Combat

A single round of flamespace combat is equal to a quarter of a second, or thereabouts. Flamespace combat is fast and furious, with pyromancers and other entities flinging thoughts and emotions at each other at a far faster rate than physical blows could be cast.

Note that time perception still occurs at the same speed in Flamespace as it does in physical reality, its just that without the constraints of physics it is far easier to move and act quickly in Flamespace than it is in the physical world.

Order of Action

The same rules for determining initiative are used in flamerunning combat as for physical and social combat:

  • Actions are declared then immediately resolved when it is a character's turn.
  • The character with the most dice left in his action dice pool acts next.
  • If action dice pools are drawn, then players act before non player characters.
  • If players are drawn in action dice pool, then they can decide who goes first.
  • If the above factors do not tell you who goes next, the GM arbitrarily decides, taking into account drama and expediency.

A character can choose not to act when his turn comes round by "setting aside" one or more dice. These set aside dice cannot be used for the rest of the round, but are returned to the player's dice pool at the end of the round.

Ending the Round

Once all characters in the combat have no dice left in their action pool, the round ends.

Each character moves all set aside dice back into their action dice pool, then recharges a number of action dice equal to half their Focus rounded up.

For player characters this will generally be three action dice.

A player's action dice pool cannot exceed their Focus from this.

Tactical Positioning


Flamespace is divided into discrete areas called Nodes. In the physical world, a Node will be represented by a single Pathstone. As noted previously, Pathstones have a certain "aura zone" within which a blazer can Flameleap and within which the world can be affected by Flamespace Manipulation.

Within Flamespace the Nodes are represented by single places, which may vary in representation according to how they were initially visualised. This area is deemed the Videra of a Node, and any entities within this Videra are presumed to be able to interact with each other.

Moving within a Node can be done in the blink of an eye, even by the most inexperienced of entities and blazers. The character simply imagines his Avatar to be over there, and suddenly he is there.

Movement and Range

Because of the unusual nature of Nodes and Pathways, Flamespace distances work a little differently.

  • Coterminous is in the same Videra. You can only make attacks against entities who are coterminous to you.
  • Proximal is one node removed, no more than a single Pathway away. You can automatically sense the presence, nature and avatar appearance of any entity in a proximal node, but you can't attack them or interact with them.
  • Distal is two or more nodes removed, with more than a single Pathway needed to be traversed to reach the target. You cannot sense any entities distal to you, nor can you attack or interact with them.

It takes a single action to travel down a Pathway to move to a Proximal node. The Hit Target of this check is usually the default (5 or 6), and the Dodge Defence of this check depends on the circumstances (for example a clear and easily accessed pathway has no defence, a conceptually difficult (or temporally sinusoidal) pathway might have one to three points of dodge defence, whereas one laden with arcane countermeasures might have four or more points of dodge defence).

A failure on a move action indicates that you fail to traverse the Pathway, and must stay where you are at present.

Outside of the Flameweb the Greater Realm of Fire is far less structured. There are only two distances used:

  • Here is next to you, where you are. You can only make attacks against entities who are Here, and can only perceive entities who are Here.
  • Not Here is not where you are. You cannot attack, detect or perceive entities who are Not Here.

Leaping from a Node into Greater Flamespace is ridiculously easy, and counts as a 1-dice automatic action.

Getting from Greater Flamespace to the Node you left is very difficult - it is a 6 dice action, that has a Dodge Defence equal to the number of rounds since you were last at that Node.

Getting from Greater Flamespace to any Node other than the one you just left is pretty much impossible, unless you have specific Traits that allow you to do so.

Moving around Flamespace is easy too, but as you are pretty much moving from Here to another Here, there's rarely any purpose to such movement save for getting more lost.

Think of leaping off the Web as akin to leaping off a moving speedboat into a stormwracked ocean of fire - Smart Blazers stay on the Web.

Attack Rolls, Defences, Damage

The system for taking actions in combat is the same as in the basic rules with a few variations.

Attack Rolls

An attack roll in combat will vary in Hit Target according to what sort of attack is being made, and the level of training of the attacker.

There is no default untrained attack - to make a Flamerunning attack requires special training. Consult the Arcane Traits for details.


Defence applies after the action roll, just as in the basic rules.

There is no default untrained defence - to make a Flamerunning attack requires special training. Consult the Arcane Traits for details.


Damage is usually equal to the success level of the attack roll.

Other factors may apply:

  • Some attacks (via certain advanced Traits) have special effects that increase the damage on a successful hit. The most common effects will be "if this attack hits, add +X to the damage" or "if this attack hits, multiply damage dealt by X", but there are many different special effects depending on the attack.
  • Some effects (via certain advanced Traits) will affect the damage of hits against you. The most common effect will be "when an attack hits you, deduct X from the damage dealt, to a minimum of 0 damage dealt", but there are numerous different special effects with different abilities.

Damage is applied directly to the receiving character's Will Points. When a character is reduced to 0 Will, he has been taken out of action. He suffers the consequences of being taken Out of Action, according to his type.

"Out of Action" in relation to Flamespace Combat

A character who is taken Out of Action will suffer various effects, according to what type of being he is.

Blazers will be Banished. A banished character immediately disappears from Flamespace, and his conscious mind returns to his physical body. If he is still at the Node which he entered Flamespace by, there is no harm from this. If he is one or more Pathways removed, he loses 1 Wound for each Pathway he needs to traverse to get home. If he is adrift in the Greater Realm of Fire, or if there is no longer any Pathway home, then he is instantly killed, and in the physical world his body will spontaneously combust. Smart Blazers don't wander too far...

Ghosts will be Discorporated. A discorporated character ceases to exist. Sometimes, if eaten by a Demon or Elemental, a ghost will instead be Digested, though from the ghost's point of view this isn't much of an improvement.

Demons and Elementals will be Combusted. Their Avatars simply dissolve into flame, and that flame becomes part of the realm of fire again. Some believe that Demon consciousness can survive this process, and that they reform elsewhere in the Greater Realm of Fire, but there is little more than anecdotal evidence for this.

Note that Demons can eat Blazers as well as Ghosts, but the Blazer will normally be "defeated" by the process and will be banished back to his body before he can be digested.

System Permutations


As noted above, a Blazer or entity can move from a node to an adjacent node via an action (that requires a roll). With consecutive actions it is possible to move again, and again, and again for as long as the Blazer wants to keep fleeing.

As characters can sense adjacent nodes but no further, a character who is able to traverse pathways more rapidly can quickly lose a pursuer, but one who flees at the same rate as he is being chased can be tracked fairly easily.


Ordinary combat doesn't allow much time for aiming, but it can be done.

To aim an attack, you must select your target and spend 3 dice as an automatic action. Then, as long as you don't take any other action (even a reflexive action), and don't lose sight of your target, you are considered to have aimed.

The next attack you make against that target is an aimed attack. Aimed attacks are exactly the same as normal attacks, but you can choose to reroll any number of dice after the roll, but before defence is applied.

No Stacking Defences

As stated in the basic rules, you can only make a maximum of one reflexive action in response to an action against you.

Essentially, this means that if someone attacks you, you can dodge, or you can parry, or you can use another defence, but you can't do more than one of those things. Also, you can't "stack" the same defence - you can't, for example, declare three dodges against a single attack.

Don't forget also that unless you have an appropriate Trait ability, you can't defend yourself at all in Flamerunning combat.

Note that some paths to avoiding psychic injury don't count as reflexive actions, so can be used freely. Surge buffers, for example, are the psychic tech equivalent of armour, takes no action to use, so will reduce damage in addition to any defence you use.

Smart characters will look out for these "non-action protections" and use them.

Special Effects and Non-Injuring attacks

In addition to just doing damage, some attacks will inflict special effects.

This will almost be explicit from the rules, and described under the relevant trait or equipment.

Fighting to Subdue

The default assumption is that characters are seeking to blast apart the opposition's Will, through injurious psychic attacks. It is not usually possible to seek to subdue or capture an opponent through Flamespace attacks.

Certain specialised traits do allow exactly that, however, and their rules are described under the Traits sections.

Social Combat and Flamespace

It is possible to engage in social combat in Flamespace, but Blazers will not normally do this as talking runs on such a slow timescale in comparison. Why try to talk someone down over the course of minutes when you can shatter their will in seconds instead?

For Ghosts and other entities unable to make Flamespace attacks, of course, Social Combat is far more of a valid option.

While in Flamespace, being reduced to 0 Will Points via social combat is just as dangerous as being reduced to 0 Will by Flamespace attacks, and the combat outcome is as listed above.

Flamespace Manipulation

Flamespace Manipulation is what you do once you are there in Flamespace unopposed. This page doesn't really look into this in detail, as Flamespace Manipulation abilities are entirely dependent on the traits of the manipulator. See the Arcane Traits section for the sorts of things you can do with the right knowledge. Flamespace Manipulation takes place on a much slower timescale than Flamespace Combat: generally you need to get the battles over and done with before you even think about manipulating flamespace.

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