Saga Machine is the flexible roleplaying game engine used by our Shadows Over Sol, Against the Dark Yogi, Dime Adventures and Age of Ambition game lines, as well as many of our upcoming games. It’s a rules-medium system with an emphasis on both ease of play and clever character options.
As we look to the future and consider the possibility of new editions of our games, we want to streamline and unify our mechanics in a way that supports our fans' preferences and makes it easy to go from one game line to another.
At its heart, Saga Machine consists of eight basic stats and two central mechanics, appropriately called the action mechanic and the consequence mechanic.
From there, the core is supported by numerous subsystems, each tailored to the specific genre and themes of the game in question. For example, Shadows Over Sol comes with both engineering and hacking systems, as befits as science fiction game, while Against the Dark Yogi has a system for channeling cosmic energies and Age of Ambition has systems for both inventing and climbing the social ladder.
“Love the Saga Machine system... Going to adapt the system to other RPGs!” James C., DriveThruRPG
There are eight central stats in Saga Machine, four physical and four mental. Each stat ranges from 1 to 10, with a 4 or 5 representing human average. Titanic monsters or demigods can have values reaching as high as to 20. The stats are as follows:
In addition to these eight stats, most Saga Machine games feature a skill list, with somewhere in the range of 18 - 25 skills. The individual skills vary with the genre and setting.
The first central system in Saga Machine is the action mechanic. By default this uses a standard deck of poker cards, although an alternative d10-based mechanic is included as an appendix in most games.
The mechanic is simple: Add the character’s stat, plus the value of the card flip, and compare this total to a target number. Higher is better.
When a skill applies, it will provide a modifier to this flip. Additionally, sometimes how much a player succeeded or failed by is important. This is known as the Margin of success or failure.
Every Saga Machine game features some sort of “luck” trait, variously called Karma, Edge, Moxie or Luck, as best fits the genre. This trait determines how many cards the player gets to hold in her hand. Cards can be played from hand to influence actions in different ways. Otherwise, a player making an action may always choose to play from the top of the deck.
All of the numbered cards, ace though 10 (aces are low) are worth the value printed on the card. How face cards - jack, queen and king - are handled depends on the game. In most recent games, they are worth a value based on the character's Luck. Finally, when a joker comes up, the action in question is a critical failure, but the player gets to refresh her hand!
Last but not least, Saga Machine makes use of card suits. In different games, suits may be used to either build flushes or certain actions may have a trump suit that provides a bonus. Card suits may also have other effects, including triggering different combat options or helping to determine damage.
The second central system in Saga Machine is the consequence mechanic. Consequences are Saga Machine's way of representing lasting effects in the system. These effects can be placed on either characters, objects or the scene itself. For example, tripping another character may result in a “prone” consequence for the target, setting a forest on fire results in an “on fire” consequence for that forest, etc.
Consequences come in two parts: an effect and a duration. This tells what the consequence does and how long it lasts, respectively. Consequences may apply modifiers to actions, deal ongoing damage, restrive movement or have other lasting effects.
Game: Shadows Over Sol
Geneline: Athlete Deluxe
Skills: Athletics 3, Awareness 3, Conspiracy 2, Crafts 2, Medic 1, Melee 2, Naturalist 3, Stealth 2
Game: Against the Dark Yogi
Paths: Archer / Raja
Skills: Animals 1, Archery 3, Awareness 2, Crafts 1, Lore 3, Socialize 1
Traits: Air of Authority, Constructive Archery, Quick Reload, Status & Power
The Against the Dark Yogi, Shadows Over Sol and Dime Adventures versions of Saga Machine are available for use by third parties under the Open Game License (OGL 1.0a). If you have any questions about this, please feel free to reach out to us using our contact form.
To the right (or below if you're viewing this on mobile) we have linked a high resolution version of the Powered By Saga Machine logo. To make legal use of the logo, you must include the following text:
Saga Machine™ is a trademark of Tab Creations, LLC. The Powered by Saga Machine logo is © Tab Creations, LLC and is used with permission.
Below is a quick look at the Saga Machine games released by Tab Creations, as well as several upcoming games that we still have in the works.
Against the Dark Yogi is a game heavily inspired by Vedic, and later Indian, myths. Taking place in the fantasy world of Bhurloka, the great Subcontinent stands at the precipice of disaster. In the east a sinister figure—the Dark Yogi—has risen to power. It is whispered that his forbidden sutra gives him the power to directly attack dharma, the very order of the universe, itself.
Tales of countless adventures in Bhurloka await the telling. Befriend the monkey-people, the vanaras. Face down the cruel rakshasa Ravema in his island fortress. Climb Mount Niru and visit the gods themselves. Treat with the naga tribes deep in the underworld, Patala. And much, much more!
Shadows Over Sol is a science fiction horror game, taking place in a hard sci-fi vision of our own solar system.
Two hundred years from now what should be the shining beacon of the future is instead cloaked in conspiracy and horror. Humankind has expanded throughout the solar system, and there discovered mysteries older than humanity. The culture has shattered into myriad subcultures; nation-states are the hollow shells of what they once were. Corporations and other groups wage small-scale wars in the streets or in space. Bioengineered horrors left over from these conflicts stalk the hulls of ruined stations and abandoned colonies. But for an enterprising team willing to brave the horrors, there’s always a profit to be made.
Dime Adventures is a pulp alternate history roleplaying game with over-the-top action and paranormal strangeness!
The year is 1904, but in a world that never was! Dinosaurs still roam forgotten corners of the land. Alien influences operate from the skies. Mystics wield ancient powers, while strange new sciences promise to change the world. The dead rise from the grave. All the while, modern movements sweep the globe, and bold explorers venture deep into the unknown or delve into forgotten ruins. The world is ripe for adventure!
Age of Ambition is a fantasy roleplaying game set on a world rapidly leaving behind the traditional fantasy milieu behind. It's the game of forward-facing fantasy! Where the heroes help guide the world into a brave new era of promise or peril. Invent new technologies or magics! Dethrone a tyrant king and usher in a republic! Make your fortune trading up and down the coasts! The world is changing, just be sure you can live through the consequences.
Masked Metropolis is a game of superheroic action in a world recovering from the aftermath of superhuman confrontation.
Several years ago the Showdown resulted in a climactic battle between numerous superheroes and supervillains, leaving many established names missing or out of commission. But crime never stops and time moves on. The world is in need of new heroes to step up, take back the streets and protect the Earth.
Nexus Endtime is an apocalyptic game set across numerous worlds, rife with conspiracies and the struggle to save reality as we know it.
The end of the world has passed. The world you knew was consumed by the Devourer. It was not just your world, but countless others. And you are your world's last lingering hope. Welcome to the End of All Worlds. From here the Retributers wage their ongoing struggle against the Devourer, its agents and its spawn, jumping between timelines and worlds. But another shadowy organization, the Preventers, stand in way, blaming the Retributers for the apocalypse. Can you avoid Oblivion?