Qerth for Cinemechanix

Category: Cussin' In Tongues
Created on Friday, 10 November 2017 Written by Steve

Next week we’ll be releasing The Comprehensive Soldier, our first new PDF in a while and our first Qerth supplement in about a decade. I mentioned it a year or two ago (when we thought it would be coming out much sooner), but here’s a recap: The Qerth Apprentice Level Rules only take characters through Rank 3. Literally tens of people have requested the rules for higher-level characters. We’ve had those written for years, but they were supposed to be in the Journeyman Level Rules, Master Level Rules, etc., which at one point we honestly meant to write. The problem was that to keep up the satire, each of them would require us to write a bunch of tedious nonsense about vision distance and movement rates and other shit we barely care about even when the fickle Qerth muse is gently caressing our ballsacks. 

A few years ago, we had a brilliant idea: Why not just pretend we wrote those books and “reprint” the necessary information in a “Comprehensive Splat” series for each character Job? That way players have their level tables and spells and whatnot, but we don’t have to waste a bunch of time writing rules for overland movement rates and castle construction costs. The Comprehensive Soldier does just that, plus introduces entirely original game concepts like  Competencies (Non-Weapon Proficiencies like Field Butchery and Mongering) and Skins (Kits like the Cheese Guardian and Warrior-Poet). There’s also a big list of stuff, a massive monster checklist (make sure you kill ‘em all!), new Soldier names, and much more! Look for it next week. 

For one of my GenCon games, I decided to convert Qerth to Cinemechanix, which required me to come up with some conversion rules. For those of you who want to try Qerth as a Cinemechanix game, here they are: 

Character Concept

  • All character names must be determined using the random Qerth name generation tables from the rulebook or the Qerth Name Generator (please consult your GM before engaging the Lemmynator). 
  • Role is replaced by Character Class. 
  • Backstory is replaced by Secondary Skill, which should be determined by rolling on the table in the Qerth Apprentice Level Rulebook. This trait represents the character’s previous employment, apprenticeship, family business, or past-life recall. 
  • Fatal Flaws are optional. A player who chooses to take a Fatal Flaw can still earn Acclaim for role-playing the Flaw well.  
  • All characters must choose a Class-appropriate Allegiance.
  • Characters also have a Rank (title) based on their Class and Hero Factor. 

Ability Scores

Instead of Trademarks and Drawbacks, Qerth Characters have 6 Ability Scores: Thews, Reflexes, Health, Intellect, Wits, and Pizzazz. These are rated -3 to 3 and give the character that number of Boosts (for positive scores) or Drops (for negative scores) on rolls governed by the appropriate ability. In addition, some Ability Score boosts or drops apply to specific types of rolls:

  • Characters get Boosts or Drops and a Damage Bonus (or Penalty) equal to their Thews score for all melee attacks and muscle-powered missile attacks. 
  • Reflexes Boosts or Drops are added to all missile attack rolls and the character adds his Reflexes Score to Defense.  
  • In addition to Human, his Allegiance language, and any languages he speaks because of his Class, a character knows 2d4 + Intellect additional languages. 
  • Boosts or Drops from Health are added to Stamina rolls and all rolls to resist poison and disease. 
  • A character adds his Boosts or Drops from Wits to rolls to resist magical effects. 

There are about a dozen different ways that stats can be determined, but you’ll have to wait until we write Qerth 23rd Edition (coming in 2021, maybe) for those. For now, you’re stuck with Method 1: Roll 3d2-3d2 seven times, drop the lowest, and distribute as desired. 

To Convert an existing character, use the following rules:

  • Divide the character’s Body by 2 (round down) and distribute the points in any way the player wishes between Thews, Reflexes, and Health. 
  • Divide the character’s Brain by 4 (round down) and distribute the points in any way the player wishes between Intellect and Wits. 
  • Divide the character’s Nerve by 4 (round down) and distribute the points in any way the player wishes between Wits and Pizzazz. 
  • A character with a Body, Brain, or Nerve of less than 10 can take a negative score in an ability that stat converts into and add the same number of points to a different ability of his choice. 

Special Effects

Special Effects are replaced by Class Traits and are determined by Character Class and Hero Factor. 


  • Qerth does not use the seasonal storytelling structure. Instead, characters increase their Hero Factor by collecting Adventure Points for killing things and taking their stuff. 
  • Acclaim works normally. 
  • Stamina is determined differently for each Class (the same rolls used for Health Points in regular Qerth). 
  • Each character has a Combat Die determined by his Class. This die is added to all Attack and Defense rolls. 
    • Soldiers, Crusaders, Woodsman, Elves, Dwarves, and Half-Orqs start with a Combat Die of d6. It increases to d8 at HF3, d10 at HF6, d12 at HF9, d12+d4 at HF12, and d12+d6 at HF15.
    • Clergymen and Half-Elves start with a Combat Die of d4. This increases to d6 at HF4, d8 at HF8, and d10 at HF12. 
    • Godis start with a Combat Die of d6. It goes up to d8 at HF4, d10 at HF8, and d12 at HF12. 
    • Rabbis begin the game with a Combat Die of d4, which increases to d6 at HF2, d4 at HF4, d10 at HF6, d12 at HF8, d12+d4 at HF10, d12+d6 at HF12, and d12+d8 at HF14. 
    • Scoundrels, Murderers, Troubadours, Halfbits, and Knomes start with a Combat Die of d4, which increases to d6 at HF5, d8 at HF10, and d10 at HF15.
    • Magic-Men and Diviners start with a Combat Die of 0. Their Combat Die increase to d4 at HF10
    • Cheese Makers start with a Combat Die of d2, which increases to d4 at HF4, d6 at HF8, and d8 at HF12..  
  • All characters have a Defense score that starts at 0 + Reflexes for an unarmored man. Defense works just like a creature’s Soak ability, reducing damage taken from attacks. 


Each weapon has a Damage Bonus that is added to Effect for successful attack rolls. This Damage Bonus is equal to the weapon’s Damage in regular Qerth. 

Armor and shields increase Defense. The increase is equal to the armor or shield’s Armor Rating in Old School Qerth. 

Story Information

Don’t worry about any of this crap unless you feel like it. You’re here to kill things and take their stuff, not talk about your feelings. 

Plot Points

Since Qerth characters doesn’t use the season model for Leveling Up, plot points take effect immediately and are permanent unless negated later in the story. 

General Rules

  • Qerth characters are extremely specialized. Because of this, they are not allowed to roll their Hero Die when rolling for any ability that is not governed by Character Class. Characters attempting to use a weapon or wearing armor not permitted by their Class also lose their Combat Die. In addition, armor may interfere with other Class abilities (for example, Magic-Men can’t use spells and Scoundrels can’t sneak around when wearing unapproved armor). 
  • All attack and defense Boosts increase the character’s Combat Die, not his Hero Die. If Drops cause the Combat Die to drop to zero, any remaining Drops affect the Hero Die. Like the Hero Die, a Combat Die of d12 that gets a Boost “rolls over” to d12+d4. 
  • Qerth ability bonuses that work like Skill Bonuses in QAGS translate to Boosts on a 2:1 ratio, so a +2 = 1 Boost, +4 = 2 Boosts, etc. Always round down. 
  • Qerth effect bonuses remain the same, so a +2 Damage Bonus is still a +2 Damage Bonus. 

New Stuff from The Comprehensive Soldier

  • Competencies work just like Trademarks in standard Cinemechanix. Having a Competency gives the character 1 Boost. The character may spend additional Competency Slots to increase the Boosts. 
  • The abilities associated with Skins mostly work according to existing rules (giving the character bonus Competencies or Special Effects). When in doubt, make something up. 

You can find some sample characters, along with numerous spells and magical items converted to Cinemechanix rules (as well as a brief intro to Qerth) on my website.

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