This page overviews the primary concepts of Orrery, a game I am currently creating.

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Articles About Orrery

What is Orrery?

Orrery is a tabletop roleplaying game built on deep character customization, simple, powerful rules, and improvisational freedom. I hope you enjoy your journey through the Orrery, overseeing a grand adventure as a World Master, or both.

In Orrery, players craft a character with a unique, meaningful ancestry, a charged background, and a path through a vast skill tree. The choices a player makes as they build their initial character maintain lasting impacts, but their improvements and legend is far from complete. Beyond character creation, a World Master acts as the land and people around the characters. As the characters discover formidable relics, gain mysterious boons, and form their legend, the World Master fosters this growth and creativity with tales legendary and respectable.

Please enjoy and remember: this is an evolving game. Any feedback is appreciated.

The Holy Twenty-Sided Die

Nearly every important roll in Orrery uses a twenty-sided die. Attack rolls utilize the d20. Saves against sinister effects like a doomgaze’s petrification ray or a red dragon’s fire breath use the d20. The ultimate Constitution save against death includes rolling a fateful d20. It’s everywhere.

Orrery uses other polyhedral dice as well, including a d4, d6, d8, d10, and d12.


Most social and exploration encounters are freeform in Orrery. However, battles are structured around the concept of actions and action points. Each character wields a set number of action points they can use on a wide variety of actions on their turn.

Basic actions like attacking a creature, moving a certain distance, or using an item only cost one action point. Other powerful and advanced actions may cost more. For example, the Radiance action costs two action points, while casting divine ire uses up all a character’s action points at once. Characters may gain or lose action points based on their decisions in-game.

The balance between what actions to use and when can be an intricate dance or quite simple. The best part, though, is the parity between cool actions that can be used by both martial and/or mage characters.

The Orrery

There are no classes in Orrery. Instead, every character begins at first level in the center of the Orrery: a vast skill tree of limitless customization. As a character gains levels, adventures in the world, and obtains artifacts, they gain Orrery Points. With these Orrery Points, the player blazes their character’s own trail through the Orrery. Essentially, a player can design their own class or travel through nodes tied to a specific archetype.

The Orrery is built by small, passive bonus orbs and character-shaping keystones. 

Orbs provide simple bonuses to a character: +1 to attack rolls, +1 to armor class, +8 to hit points, +5 feet to movement, et cetera. These bonuses are small, but they build up as a character progresses in power and Orrery Points. 

Keystones grant powerful passives and actions to a character that define their playstyle. The Steady Aim keystone allows a character to elect to stay still during their turn. In exchange, they gain +2 on all attack and damage rolls during that turn. The Lifebringer keystone grants +8 to hit points and allows a character to double their amount healed using one action point a number of times equal to their Wisdom modifier. Each keystone is entirely unique. Some of them can create fascinating and/or deadly effects when combined.


In Orrery, encounters include an escalation die. This die shifts the scene in some way, transforming what might have been a simple combat into a dramatic battle or a quiet conversation into a heated political discussion.

Usually, the escalation die begins as a one on a d4. After each round or big moment in the encounter, it changes. In combat encounters, if the escalation d4 sits on a one, everyone gains +1 to attack and damage rolls. Once everyone has had their turn, the d4 rises to two. Now, everyone gets +2 to attack and damage rolls. Social and exploration encounters may also use an escalation die as the World Master desires. A conversation with a queen might take sour turn if the die on a d8 hits six, while a deepstone delve might break into combat when it hits eight.

Some keystones on the Orrery or granted by artifacts allow players to affect the escalation die. Perhaps they can raise or lower it, make it only affect allies, or destroy the die altogether!

Specificity Always Wins

Every general rule or idea outlined in Orrery will likely be broken by a specific rule or idea at some point. In these cases, specificity always wins against general.

Always Round Down

When calculating the result of a die or shift of some statistic, if necessary, always round down to a minimum of 1.

Want to Support Orrery's Development?

As always, thanks for reading. Please send all inquiries to rjd20writes@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

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