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IMP sample characters
IMP basic rules
IMP basic rules

Below you'll find the basic rules for the IMP roleplaying game.

These rules are provided free, and may be copied for personal use only.


the malevolent fantasy rpg

imp is a role playing game that uses a fantasy - mediaeval Britain as its' setting. this is a Britain
where strange beasts roam the hills, malign faeries inhabit the forests and imps attempt to cause misery and strife to the people of the land.

the player characters portray the imps, struggling to survive and acquire malefic power. imps must regularly perform malevolent deeds in order to retain their powers, and may only become stronger if they are very successful in this regard.

the imp rpg uses standard six sided dice.


imps are malevolent creatures spawned within the pits of hell. they are short (rarely above 1.5 metres), with lithe bodies and spindly limbs. imps have grey skin and dark hair. their faces are narrow, with hooked noses and sly, dark eyes. imps have long fingernails and pointed, canine-like teeth. many have short, thin tails and a few have stunted horns. unclothed, an imp cannot pass for human. with concealing clothes, and keeping to the shadows, an imp is sufficiently disguised to hide his true appearance.

characters are defined by their experience (X) attribute.
this represents their overall aptitude, confidence, willpower and ability.

imps also possess a malevolence (mal) attribute, which measures their malefic potency.
mal is used to fuel an imps malefic powers (known as hexes). should mal fall to zero, the imp loses the ability to use his malefic powers.

imps aim to increase their mal until it reaches the score 666, when the imp becomes a demon.

to increase mal an imp must perform malevolent deeds, such as theft, trickery and so on.

characters also begin with a 'talent', representing a particular skill or area of knowledge they have acquired. tests involving activity covered by a characters talent are easier; the player rolls one extra die (see tests).


this generates a score of between 2 and 6, with 4 typical.


this generates a value of between 2 and 12 (with a score of 7 being typical)


for example, a character with X4 starts with 3 hexes.


some typical talents include sneaking, hiding, tracking, trapping, blacksmithing, evaluating goods, carpentry, literacy, weapon use (specify a weapon type, such as 'knives', 'swords', 'bows' etc), begging, singing, lockpicking and so on.


actions with an uncertain outcome are resolved using tests.
to make a test a player rolls a number of six sided dice equal to his characters X score.
each EVEN number counts as one success point. odd numbers are ignored.
the total number of success points must exceed the difficulty number chosen by the GM.

the standard difficulty numbers are 1 or 2.

easy actions have a zero difficulty,

tough actions have a difficulty of 3 or more.

lucky 6

a roll of 6 in a test is worth TWO success points. thus, a player whose character has X4 rolls four dice for tests. if he obtained the results 2, 3, 1 and 6
the result would be THREE success points. if he had rolled all 6's, the result would be EIGHT success points!

dice limit

to limit the number of dice rolled for characters with high X scores, players can opt to convert some of a characters X score into automatic successes. this works by assuming that every 3 levels of X counts as 2
successes. thus, a character with X7 gets 4 successes and a roll of one die, or 2 successes and a roll of four dice if preferred.


combat is resolved using the test procedure. rolls are made for both combatants and the winner of the turn of combat is the one who scores most success points. a tie indicates that neither combatant managed to hit that turn. damage from an attack equals the success points in excess of the opponents result, plus a bonus amount based on the weapon in use.

example: Goate the imp (X3, armed with a dagger which grants +1 damage) gets into a fight with a tavern thug (X4, unarmed). Goates' player rolls 3 dice and
scores 5, 1 and 6 for two success points (because a 6 counts as two points).
the GM rolls four dice for the thug and gets 3, 4, 5 and 5 for one success point. this means Goate has hit, and scores two points damage to the thug (one point in excess of the thugs result, plus one for his dagger).

when facing multiple foes, make one roll for the outnumbered character and compare the outcome to the results of all of the foes. the character may injure only one foe, whereas each foe could injure the character.

once total damage to a character exceeds twice their X score unconsciousness may occur. a test is required against a difficulty equal to the excess damage.
failure indicates that the character falls unconscious for a number of minutes equal to the total damage. once unconscious, a second test is made against the same difficulty. if this test also fails, the character has died from his wounds.

example: Goate the imp has sustained 8 points damage. this is 2 points in excess of the total damage he can sustain (Goate has X3, so can withstand 6 damage). a test is required against a difficulty of 2. if the test fails, Goate is knocked out for eight minutes (the total damage) and may die...

damage heals at the rate of one point per day. characters can bandage their wounds, which immediately heals 1 point damage, but this can be done once only until another wound is received.


unarmed attacks have a +0 damage bonus.

small weapons such as knives, cudgels, rocks, whips, chains, bottles etc. have a +1 bonus

medium weapons such as swords, axes, maces, staves, picks, sickles, bows etc. have a +2 bonus

large weapons such as polearms, spears, pitchforks,
scythes, two-handed swords etc have a +3 bonus


armour reduces the damage sustained from each hit.
light armour (leather, studded etc) reduces damage by 1 point. heavy armour (chain, plate) reduces damage by 2 points. shields reduce damage by 1 point, (in addition to worn armour).


imps increase their power through the use of mal.
by sacrificing mal points an imp can increase his X attribute score, or acquire additional talents and hexes. the costs are as follows:-

to increase X by one level costs mal equal to the current score times 2.

to acquire an additional hex or talent costs mal equal to the current number known.

for example, a character with X4, 1 talent and 3 hexes would need to sacrifice 8 mal to gain X5, 1 mal for an extra talent and would need to spend 3 mal to acquire a new hex.

gaining mal

imps gain mal by performing deeds related to those acts covered by the seven deadly sins. each time an imp performs a deed which satisfies this criteria, one or more points of mal are acquired.

AVARICE: imps gain mal for the theft of money or valuables, or for succeeding in a profit making scheme.

ENVY: imps gain mal if another individual displays, through deed, their enviousness of the imps wealth or position. thus, if someone tries to steal an imps treasure the imp may acquire mal, even if the attempt fails.

GLUTTONY: imps gain mal for excess. this includes indulgence at lavish banquets, drinking copious amounts of wine or acquiring rare and expensive delights.

LUST: imps gain mal for satisfying their perverse, carnal desires. this includes such activities as seduction of the landlords daughter, a visit to Sister
Lustia's house of whips, seduction of the landlords dog and so on...

PRIDE: imps gain mal for acquiring status, displays of power and position, for foiling the schemes of a rival and other acts of arrogance.

SLOTH: imps gain mal if they can achieve things through the manipulation of others. thus, persuading someone to perform a nasty deed, rather than doing
it oneself, can grant mal.

WRATH: imps gain mal for allowing themselves to act with impulsiveness and anger. if an imp must fight, they must carefully balance the benefits of a rational,
tactical approach with one of cruelty and rage.

mal is awarded by a GM on a case by case basis; - there are no set amounts, but mal awards of 1 - 3 points are typical, occasionally more if the deed is spectacular.

GMs may wish to grant a standard award of 1D points of mal at the end of a scenario or major session of the game.


the malefic powers of an imp are known as 'hexes'.
each hex produces a specific effect, and it takes an imp one turn to evoke its' power.

a hex costs one point of mal per use, and will generally affect a target or area within sight. the duration of a hex is either momentary or else minutes equal to the imps current mal score. this is evident from the hex description.

hex descriptions

RAT conjures a large black rat which will attack foes as directed by the imp. the rat has X2, bite +0 damage with a 2 in 6 chance of transmitting a disease to anyone bitten.

SIGIL burns a pentagram onto a target, who suffers 1D3 points damage automatically.

BRIMSTONE fills a room/small area with noxious fumes which cause choking to all nearby except the imp himself.

GROTESQUE adds boils, warts, scabs and a sickly pallour to a targets skin

GAUNT causes the imp to take on a horrible appearance likely to cause fear and loathing in onlookers.

MASK causes imps to appear human-like, completely disguising their true nature.

PESTILENCE fills a room/small area with loathsome flies, wasps, maggots and so on which writhe upon and sting all those nearby.

ASHES fills a room/small area with swirling dust and ashes, causing visibility to become severely limited.

ROTTEN causes food (about a sack full) or liquid (about a keg full) to spoil. if consumed, it is likely to cause illness.

PORTAL locks or unlocks a door, chest or similar mechanism, as if the imp were using the correct key.

SPLINTER fractures a small area (a 2"/5cm) of wood, loose brick, pottery or similar material causing it to become susceptible to breakage (a 3 in 6 chance).

WILT causes an area (about 5m radius) of plants, or a single large tree, to wither and fade so that it is easily cut away.

CAUL creates a shadow cloak around the imp, who gains +2 dice to tests involving sneaking and hiding

BARB adds ethereal barbs to a weapon, increasing the damage it causes by +1

WEAVE conjures an ethreal spider which spins a web over wounds, healing 1D3 points damage

ENSHROUD covers a single target with eerie black mists, causing drowsiness so that a test is required by the subject (against dif 2) to avoid unconsciousness

HAUNT causes strange occurrences in a room/small area, such as draughts, slamming doors, cold spots, candle flickers etc, -as if it were haunted

BAT allows the character to navigate in total darkness and gives a +1 bonus to tests involving perception and awareness.

RAVEN conjures a large black raven which will attack foes as directed by the imp. the raven has X2, peck +1 damage.

HOUND conjures an ethereal hound which will lead the imp to a single location known to the character (such as the imps home) with an effective X score of 8, -for navigation purposes.

WORM causes the imps body to become supple and malleable, allowing the character to squeeze through small gaps and hide inside narrow nooks.

APE enhances an imps agility, adding a +2 dice bonus to climbing and balancing activities

TARNISH makes several small objects (such as coins, trinkets etc) or a large item (such as a chest, sword, armour etc) to appear to be worn, rusted and worthless.

MUD causes a large patch of earth (around 100m area) to become muddy, making travel across it awkward, slippy and slow.

PLAGUE causes a single target to be affected by a disease. the target must test each day against difficulty 2 to avoid 1 damage. the disease lasts for days equal to the imps mal score upon using the hex. others have a 1 in 6 chance per day of catching
the disease if they spend time near the victim.


when imps are sent from the underworld by their demon overlords they have little material goods.
typically, imps find themselves in a dank cave somewhere in the wilderness with nothing more than clothing and a standard, hell forged black - bladed
dagger (+1 damage bonus). usually, it is the imps first task to find food, money and some sort of shelter (typically a dilapidated cottage, forgotten
crypt or ruined tower).

character detail

imps have three sexes; male, female and unknown.
imps are created in pits as the servants of demons. they are usually despatched to the surface world after 1-6 years of service (after the demon has become bored with the imp, because the imp is deemed worthless or because the imp needs to be
punished). while an imp may have existed for only a few years, they usually appear to be adults (unless the demon wanted a child-like imp).

imps have a basic understanding of the surface world. they know, for example, how humans live, about human society, about religion and so on. subtleties, such as etiquette with regards to nobles or how to act benevolent, may cause a new imp some difficulty but can be learnt over time.

IMP by syn 2003