Game Mechanics


Block by Block uses a modified version of the White Wolf system. I do not own the White Wolf system, or anything White Wolf…I just know the system.

Dice and Successes

This system is a 'd10' based system, and you roll 1d10 plus a few stats, which are specified by the GM:

1d10 + Attribute + Skill or Attribute + Misc. Bonuses = Result

The result, or total number, is then translated into the number of successes using the chart below:

Roll Result 8-10 11-13 14-16 17-19 20-22 23-25 26-28 29-31 32-34 35+
Successes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Some handy dice pools to keep in mind are:

  • Perception: Wits+Composure
  • Searching: Wits+Investigation (Fast) OR Int+Investigation (Slow)
  • Identifying Supernatural: Wits+Occult (Fast) OR Int+Occult (Slow)
  • Fleeing: Dex+Athletics
  • Mental Resistance: Resolve+Composure
  • Physical Resistance: Resolve+Stamina
Chance Die

When you pull (that's the number you're adding to the d10 roll) is zero or lower, you are rolling what's called a Chance Die. That means, in order to NOT fail whatever action you're attempting (or the GM is making you attempt) you MUST roll and 8, 9, or a 10 to succeed. 10s rolled on a Chance Die do not 'explode' (see below).


In nWoD (new World of Darkness) and in Block by Block's butchery of nWoD's system, 10s rolled gain the benefit of the 10-again rule, which is also called 'exploding.' This means that you get reroll the d10 (without bonuses) and add that to your result as well. So the dice rolling formula would look like:

10 (First d10 roll result) + Attribute + Skill or Attribute+ Misc. Bonuses = Result + 1d10

If you're lucky enough to roll a second 10 on the second d10 roll, great! This 10, however does NOT explode.

Rolling a One (Botches)

In BBB when the dice bot serves up a 1 on a d10 roll, the action tied to the roll automatically fails. This is called a botch. The final result does not matter, it is still an auto-fail.


Because we are using a dice bot in BBB, each player gets one Luck Reroll of the Day (tm) per session. Use this wisely!

Character Mechanics

1. Attributes

Attributes are the base states of your character. They are your smarts, your strength and your social skill at the most basic level. All attributes are ranked from 1 to 5, and the all start at 1. All characters have a Primary, a Secondary, and a Tertiary attribute category. This ranking determines how many points they get for each attribute category gets at creation. There are a total of nine Attributes, divided into three groups of three; Mental, Social, Physical:

Use Physical Mental Social
Power Strength Intelligence Presence
Finesse Dexterity Wits Manipulation
Resistance Stamina Resolve Composure

Attributes in the 'Power' row are used mainly in rolls for offense tasks or tasks that take a long time (such as hacking or investigation). Attributes in the 'Finesse' row are used mainly in rolls to accomplish something quickly. Finally, attributes in the 'Resistance' row are used in rolls dealing with defence and resistance. These are not absolute divisions, but it is a good way of understanding the attributes as a whole. Attribute rankings are defined:

Rank Talent
1 Poor
2 Average
3 Good
4 Exceptional
5 Outstanding

Below are the descriptions of the nine attributes.

Physical Attributes
  • Strength: Physical might. Sheer bodily power. The capacity to lift, strike, and damage.
  • Dexterity: Quickness. Response time. The capacity for quickness, delicateness, and accuracy.
  • Stamina: Sturdiness. Steadfastness. Physical resistance, toughness, and survival.
Mental Attributes
  • Intelligence: Raw mental power. Cognitive capacity. The inherent capability to digest, remember, and comprehend.
  • Wits: Quickness of the mind. Thinking on your feet. The ability to act under pressure, have an eye for detail, and absorb your surroundings.
  • Resolve: Focus and determination. Willpower. The capacity to stay on track and ignore distractions.
Social Attributes
  • Presence: Bearing. Stature. Assertiveness. Physical and social attractiveness.
  • Manipulation: Charm. Persuasiveness. Charisma. Social suave and influence.
  • Composure: Poise. Diginity. Calmness. Remaining unfazed in terrible situations

On your Primary attribute category you get 5 creation points. On your Secondary attribute category you get 4 creation points. On your Tertiary attribute category you get 3 creation points. Each new attribute level costs 7 XP

2. Skills

Much like attributes, skills are divided into three categories: Physical, Mental, and Social. These category are fairly self explanatory. Skills are ranked 1 to 5 and all start at zero.

Rank Talent
1 Poor
2 Average
3 Good
4 Exceptional
5 Outstanding

Below is a complete list of skills.

Physical Skills

Physical Skills can be used untrained at a -3 dice penalty

  • Athletics: Anything from running to parkour, from rock-climbing to dodging. Also covers improvised weapons.
  • Brawl: Unarmed combat. Can be specialized (i.e. Dirty fightin')
  • Drive: Skill behind the wheel.
  • Firearm: Skill with guns
  • Larceny: Go to thieving and breaking in skill
  • Stealth: Sneaking and hiding
  • Survival: Surviving outside of normal life (i.e. in the woods). Also includes navigation
  • Weaponry: Skill with close-combat weapons. Can be specialized (i.e. Swords)
Mental Skills

Mental Skills can be used untrained at a -1 dice penalty

  • Academics: General Knowledge and research ability. Usually pertains to an area your character specializes in. (i.e. artifacts)
  • Computers: Computer use. This includes hacking.
  • Crafts: General building skill. Usually pertains to an area your character specializes in.
  • Investigation: Solving mysteries and puzzles. Usually pertains to an area your character specializes in. (i.e. artifacts)
  • Medicine: Fairly self explanatory.
  • Occult: Knowledge and experience with the world's various legends and lore about the supernatural. Often specialized (i.e. Fae)
  • Politics: Both knowledge of political procedure and who to call in a given situation.
  • Science: Characters' understanding of the physical and natural sciences. Often specialized (i.e. biology)
Social Skills

Social skills can be used untrained at a -1 dice penalty

  • Animal Ken: Communing and reading with animals and non-verbal supernaturals
  • Empathy: Detectining and understanding emotions
  • Expression: Preforming something to an audience. Usually specialized (i.e. lectures)
  • Intimidation: Fair self explanatory
  • Persuasion: Lying and cheating
  • Socialize: Schmoozing in society
  • Streetwise: Knowledge of the streets. Drugs, rumours, gangs and whores.
  • Subterfuge: Detecting lies and faking emotions.

On your Primary skill category you get 11 creation points. On your Secondary skill category you get 7 creation points. On your Tertiary attribute category you get 4 creation points. Each new skill level costs 3 XP ALL Bureau agents, with the exception of people playing newbies begin with 2 free ranks in either Firearms OR Weaponry.

Skill specialties confer a +1 bonus to a roll. It is up to the player rolling to ask if their specialty applies. Each special costs 1 XP. New characters get three free Specialties at creation. You may not apply Specialties to an untrained skill.

3. Traits

Traits are a representation of character enhancements and special abilities possessed by your character. They are everything from a borderline supernatural ability to avoid death, to a representation of your character's above average wealth. Traits are fairly open ended, but are subject to GM approval. You enter play with 3 traits. If you wish to be a supernatural creature you must give up 2 traits. New traits cost 2 XP each.

Traits can be 'bid' on a roll for a +2 bonus on that roll. You maybe only 'bid' each trait once per session, unless the GM says otherwise.

4. Tech

Where would a monster hunter be without her trusty ghost detecting lantern, or a tesla coil that reveals hidden trails. Tech, like traits, allows players to create something for there character that is there own. It doesn't have to be a gun, or something else offensive, in fact, the best tech is often not a weapon at all. A tech has three parts, excluding a name:

  • Power Source: This could be anything from a rare crystal from the fourth layer of Hell to the beating heart of a child. This MUST be supernatural in some way.
  • Ability: What does it do?
  • Catch: Tech require a small sacrifice from the user. Is it a droplet of blood or perhaps a year of the user's life?

All tech is subject to GM approval. You enter play with 1 piece of Tech, and each new piece costs 4 XP.

5. Flaw

Because of the nature of character's interaction with the supernatural in Block by Block, all characters gain a supernatural Flaw that hinders them in their day to day work. A flaw can be something as simple as 'repelled by the ringing of church bells' or something a little bit more awful 'cannot see anyone wearing an inside-out article of clothing.' Flaws must be something that can come up during plot, and GMs might award additional flaws based on character actions.

Combat Mechanics

Combat in BSAA is turn-based, and follows a set series of steps:

  1. Initiative: Every character in the combat rolls 1d10 + Dexterity + Wits. Any ties must be broken.
  2. Combat: Each combatant, starting with the one who got the highest Initiative roll, acts in turn until combat ends.


  • For an unarmed attack, roll 1d10 + Strength + Brawl + Misc. (Traits, bonuses/penalties). Dexterity cannot be rolled for this.
  • For an armed melee attack, roll 1d10 + Strength + Weaponry + Misc. for blunt objects or simple stabbing, when the force of the attack is key.
  • For an armed melee attack, roll 1d10 + Dexterity + Weaponry + Misc. for slashing attacks or other situations where making enough contact is key.
  • For a thrown item, roll 1d10 + Strength + Athletics + Misc. for when the force of the object itself is relied upon for damage, or when great distance is involved.
  • For a thrown item, roll 1d10 + Dexterity + Athletics + Misc. for when having high accuracy is the key factor.
  • For a ranged attack, roll 1d10 + Dexterity + Firearms + Misc. (even if it's not technically a firearm).
  • For a power-based attack, refer to the mechanics in the Powers section above.

If the roll is botched (see above), the attack does not connect. Defence need not be rolled. Depending on the situation, the GM might add other consequences for failure.


  • For moving out of the way of an attack, or blocking and deflecting the force of the attack, roll 1d10 + Dexterity + Misc. (Traits, bonuses/penalties).
  • If a character has a power that can be used to defend somehow, they can make the appropriate roll for that power.

Passive defence mechanisms, like armour or a force field, are counted as bonuses in this situation. If the roll is botched, the attack connects automatically.

If you feel that the standard attack or defence is not appropriate for a given situation, please talk to a GM.

Damage and Health

The success of an attack is calculated as follows:

# of attacker's successes - # of defender's successes = # Damage Successes

The number of successes is then translated into damage dealt as follows:

Successes Damage Description
1-2 1 Trivial wounds
3-4 2 Minor wounds
5-6 3 Moderate wounds (For balance reasons, player characters cannot deal more damage than this, no matter what they roll)
7-8 4 Severe wounds (For balance reasons, NPCs in player-run plot cannot deal more damage than this, no matter what they roll)
9-10 5 Extreme wounds.

Characters have a total number of health points equal to 10 + Stamina. Any damage dealt is subtracted from this total. Once all of a character's health points have been lost, that character falls unconscious and starts to bleed out. There are three ways to recover from this state:

  1. The character succeeds on a Stamina roll (1d10 + Stamina). One success is needed to 'stabilize'. If a character is damaged after stabilizing, they fall unconscious again.
  2. Another character succeeds in healing the unconscious character with a power. Reviving an unconscious character requires at least two successes (one success to represent that the power has worked and one success to revive the character).
  3. Another character succeeds in stabilizing the unconscious character with an Int + Medicine roll of at least one success. If a character is damaged after stabilizing, they fall unconscious again.

Characters that fail three consecutive stabilization rolls die.

Example Combat
Lin tries to hit Sam with a hammer. She rolls to attack:
     1d10 + 3 Strength + 4 Brawl = 16 ==> 3 successes.

Sam defends by trying to knocking Lin's hand out of the way:
     1d10 + 4 Dexterity = 11 ==> 2 successes.

Damage is calculated:
     3 - 2 successes = 1 success ==> 1 damage.

Sam is still hit and takes 1 damage.


XP is awarded at a rate of 2 per run a character completes with the possibility of earning an extra 1 XP for good roleplay. Asking for the good roleplay XP is an easy way NOT to be awarded said bonus.

Certain plots will award more XP than others. The GM will inform you of that at the end of the plotkit.

XP is to be noted on the character sheet, and it is the players responsibility for doing so.

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