Gallant is an easy to learn, quick to play role-playing game system suitable for all skill levels. Usable for any genre in any milieu, with variable complexity and detail – and able to cater for as many players as you can handle.

I’ve been a role-playing game fan for many years, starting a long time ago with Dungeons & Dragons and working my way through many of the major systems up until 2010. As a group, we occasionally had evenings when someone was unavailable, and the scenario couldn’t be continued without them.

Around 1998 I had an idea to allow those who turned up to get their RPG fix regardless.

The concept was simple: think of any film, usually an action film. The setting is sketchy, with characters you can empathise with but know little or nothing of depth about. The plot is a simple ‘do something’ with variations of ‘running battle’, ‘key problem’, ‘apparent defeat’, ‘sudden resolve/enlightenment’ and ‘big finale’.

I started off scribbling a tiny role-playing system onto a side of A4 to handle that. Over the following 12 years, it was playtested and refined (while we had a lot of fun). Eventually I realised other people might be interested in this compact, flexible system. After some formatting, I released Gallant (version 4.1) under a creative commons licence in 2011. (It’s been stable at version 4.8 since 2014.) It is, and always will be, free.

If you’re in need of a plot, borrow one from a film you’ve seen but your players may not have. Either let the players quickly put together characters (should take about 15-20 minutes), or do the character creation beforehand and give each player one (at random is even more challenging). Each participant will also need two six-sided dice (d6), a pen, and at least one sheet of paper.

I’ve done two versions of the rule set, one standard, and one in the OpenDyslexic font (OD). Click on a title to open the related downloadable PDF.



The entire rule set is reproduced below, so you can also access it directly from your preferred device.


Gallant banner image

• To play Gallant well, it is a good idea to have at least one person experienced with paper-based role-playing systems.
• You will need a few of sheets of paper (at least one sheet per person), two six-sided dice and enough pens or pencils for everyone to have one.
• One six-sided die is noted as 1d6, two as 2d6 and so on. 1d2 is achieved by rolling 1d6 and dividing the result by three, rounding up. For 1d3, divide the result by two and round up.
• The Director may decide that Power is inappropriate for the setting. If so, ignore Power and all references to said.
• Characters have 7 points to allot between Physical, Mental and Power (refer to Statistics for limits). Luck starts at 1.

• Physical and Mental have a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 7. Power has a minimum of 0 and a maximum of 5. Luck has no limit.
• A character will have (1d6 + Mental) skills that may be as detailed or as generic as is appropriate to the character’s background and the setting. All skills should be discussed with the Director, and inappropriate skills revised to an acceptable compromise.

Attributes: HEALTH / ENERGY
• Health is equal to (2d6 + Physical). Energy is equal to (2d6 + Mental). Power is divided evenly between the two with any remainder being added to Health.

• All actions are rolled on 2d6 and a total equal to or greater than the target number is a success. This is a Task roll. If the character has an applicable skill, the roll has the relevant Statistic added to the dice total. Thus the Task roll becomes a Physical roll (2d6 + Physical), a Mental roll (2d6 + Mental) or a Power roll (2d6 + Power).
• Actions have a standard target number of 8, but can range from 4 to 15 depending on the difficulty of the action and the conditions it is being attempted under.
• Regardless of Luck use or target number, a roll of 2 (double 1) will always fail and a roll of 12 (double 6) will always succeed.
• Any character may attempt to avoid an action that is ‘aimed’ at them. They add their Physical or Mental (as appropriate) to the attacker’s target number.
• If two people are contesting (resisting) an action, both make task rolls modified for their skills if applicable. The highest wins; ties either go to the defender, or produce no change in the situation.

• 1 Luck is gained whenever any double, except double 1, is rolled on a Task, Physical, Mental or Power roll.
• 1 Luck can be used to convert a failure into a success. (Except for a roll of 2.)
• 1 Luck can be used to avoid a fatality. An event that would kill the character instead leaves the character unconscious with 1 Energy, 0 Health and 0 Luck. At the Director’s discretion, a character with no Luck to use may be saved by other characters in the group expending 2 Luck in total (i.e. One other character expending 2 or two others expending 1 apiece).

• This is the character’s supernatural capability, be it magic, psionics, etc. The character should define the general nature of the abilities, and the desired results from their use. The Director will then decide the amount of Energy expended and the target number for the Power roll, possibly varying them for each ability.
• Minor usages of a character’s capability may be done with no Energy cost at the Director’s discretion.
• Damage to Health or Energy may be done at the rate of 2 in any combination (2 health, or 2 Energy, or 1 of each) for each Energy spent.
• The base range is touch. Being able to perform an effect at range costs 1 Energy per 10 metres (Imperial: 30ft) and makes the Power roll an aimed action – which may be avoided (refer to Actions for details).
• If a character is out of Energy, they may draw from their Health at the rate of 2 Health for 1 Energy.

• This is always divided evenly between Health and Energy, with any remainder being subtracted from Health.
• A character with zero Energy is extremely tired. A character with zero Health is unconscious. When both attributes are zero, the character will die. If an attempt to revive the character is made, a single Luck roll (see below) with a target of 10 is permitted. If successful, the character is alive with 1 Energy, 0 Health and 0 Luck.
• Characters with a Physical greater than 4 add 1 damage per point of Physical above 4 when in unarmed or melee combat.
• Cutlery and related small items cause 1 damage. Brawling actions cause 1d2.
Trained unarmed combat (martial arts etc), small guns, short or hunting bows and daggers cause 1d3.
Automatic small guns, big guns, shotguns, crossbows, longbows and medieval melee weapons cause 1d6. Automatic big guns, grenades and medieval two-handed weapons cause 2d6.
Light artillery and similar weapons cause 3d6.
Bombs and other ‘demolition class’ destructive devices cause a minimum of 4d6.
• Furniture, vehicle impacts and falling cause a minimum of 1d6, increased by weight, speed and/or distance travelled. As a rough guide, it is 1d6 for every 25kg, 15kph or 3m. (Imperial: 50lb, 10mph or 10ft).
• Drowning, poisoning and similar forms of slow death reduce Health and Energy by 1 point of each per minute.
• Fires and related nastiness (acid, intense cold etc) depend on ferocity: 1d3 for a gas fire, up to 6d6 for escaping an inferno.
• All damage is cumulative.

• Characters heal at the rate of 1 attribute point per hour unless the Director deems that the injury requires a longer recovery time.
• Supernatural abilities can be used to restore Health (3 for each Energy used), Energy (1 for each Energy used) or any Statistic except Luck (1 for every 5 Energy used).

• To decide who goes first in a situation, use 1d6 + (Physical or Mental as appropriate).
• To determine if a character notices or realises something, a Perception roll (2d6 + Power + Luck) is used. Base target is 10.
• The Luck roll (2d6 + Luck) is used for those moments when only chance can decide a character’s fate.
• The lack of a structured turn/time base is deliberate. The only preferred one is a real time count to enhance tense situations.
• Characters have luck points. Only major opponents should have that privilege.
• If a roll that fails gains a luck point, the point gained can be used immediately to change that result to a success. As this is considered succeeding by ‘sheer luck’, the Director may be creative in granting the positive result.

• Having ‘Dodge’ or a similar skill (’Evade’ etc) can be dangerous. It changes the opponent’s action from a raised target number to a contested roll.

Gallant RPS – Version 4.8 – September 2014
Banner art (except Gallant text & Lizards of the Host image) by Simon J. Mitchener ( All rights reserved.

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Gallant RPS by Julian M. Miles is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available. To enquire, email me.