Geoza uses a modified or streamlined version of the Aria rules system.  It uses a simplified Attribute system similar in some ways to the ICON game system developed by the former Last Unicorn Games (as in Star Trek: TNG and Dune), but keeps the degrees of success and d10 from the Aria rules.

The resulting hybrid is easier to use (no more calculating Expertise Bases) yet retains the graduated levels of success and 1-10 range of traits from Aria, allowing for the rest of the rules (especially the Reality chapter) to remain essentially unchanged.
Development point costs have changed as well, due to the change in Attributes and Skills.  Geoza skills are very similar to those found in ARIA, but have been modified to work with the Geoza streamlined system.


The following table outlines the attributes used in the Geoza streamlined rules, along with the corresponding "Edges" (similar to those found in the ICON system) and a cross-reference to the closest corresponding Aria Attributes.  Personas will automatically have ratings in Physique, Coordination, Intellect, Charisma, and Aura.  Personas may or may not have ratings in Faith or Insight.  Those Attributes are typically developed through religious or ideological experience, or through specialized magical studies.
Geoza Attribute Geoza Edge Aria Attribute
Physique Strength Strength
Constitution Endurance, Hardiness
Coordination Dexterity Agility, Manual Dexterity
Quickness Quickness
Intellect Perception Perception, Intuition
Logic Logic, Intelligence
Charisma Presence Appearance, Communication, Presence
Willpower Willpower
Aura Empathy Empathy, (Wisdom)
Insight Source Insight
Faith [Object] Conviction Faith
As the above table indicates, each Attribute has two corresponding Edges.  For example, Physique is the base Attribute for both the Strength and Constitution Edges.  Attributes and Edges are commonly annotated as [Attribute (Edge) N (+-M)] or, as an example: Physique (Constitution) 3 (+1).  This example indicates that the persona has an overall Physique of 3, but for tests which apply to Constitution, her effective Physique is a 4 (adding the +1 Edge to her base Physique).  A persona can have more than one Edge for an Attribute.  The example persona just mentioned might also have a Coordination (Dexterity, Quickness) 4 (+1,+2).  This indicates that her base Coordination is a 4, but her Dexterity is effectively a 5, and her Quickness is effectively a 6.
Note: in this modified system, a Geoza attribute is roughly comparable to twice its rating in Aria terms.  A Coordination of 4, for example, would be the equivalent of an Attribute of 8 in the Aria system.  There are some associated changes to other characteristics.
Attributes are important, because the effective Attribute rating is the number of d10's rolled for any given test (ignoring 0 and 1, and keeping the highest).  In summary, an Attribute rating of 2 is average for a human, and an Attribute rating of 6 is the maximum possible for a human without supernatural aid (and even a 6 cannot be achieved without a special background trait).  An attribute rating of 5 is the normal maximum for most humans.  A human with a Physique (Strength) of 5 is equivalent to a champion body-builder or weight lifter, for example.


Each test has a Difficulty assigned by the Mythguide, based on the nature of the test, the circumstances surrounding it, etc.  Difficulties are generally expressed as one of six levels, each level having a range of numerical ratings associated with it.
Rating Difficulty Median Rating
2 Automatic Success - No Roll Needed
3 - 7 Routine 5
8-12 Moderate 10
13-17 Challenging 15
18-22 Difficult 20
23+ Nearly Impossible 25 or more
Each Difficulty level has a median rating - this can be thought of as the "default" rating for that level (for example, the median rating for a "Challenging" test would be 15).  The actual rating can be slightly higher or lower than that, depending on the Mythguide's judgment, situational modifiers, etc.


Each skill has a corresponding default Attribute or Edge.  Under most circumstances, that is the Attribute or Edge to use when rolling a test for that skill.  Roll a number of dice equal to the effective rating of that Attribute or Edge, and keep the highest die.  Add that die to the skill of the persona making the test, and compare the result to the assigned Difficulty rating.  The difference between the result of the die + skill rating and the Difficulty rating determines the Degree of Success, according to the following chart: 
Degree of Success Result - Difficulty Difference
Mythic Success +11 or better
Extraordinary Success +7 to +10
Superior Success +4 to +6
Complete Success +2 to +3
Marginal Success +0 to +1
Marginal Failure -1
Complete Failure -2 to -3
Serious Failure -4 to -6
Miserable Failure -7 to -10
Catastrophic Failure -11 or worse
This is slightly modified from the standard Aria chart, to reflect changes in Difficulty levels and the altered probabilities of the Geoza Attribute system.  Note: unlike the ICON system, there is no "Drama Die" in the Geoza system.  Instead, note all of the dice rolled, and and increase the Degree of Success obtained by one level for every "0" rolled.  Every "1" rolled cancels out the effects of a "0."  If there are more 1's than 0's, then the Degree of Success is reduced by one level (no matter how many 1's are rolled, the Degree of Success is only reduced by one level).
For example, if a persona has a skill of 6, and rolls four dice against a Difficulty of 4, the result of rolling (1, 1, 5, 0) would be an Superior Success, not an Extraordinary Success.  The persona would keep the 5 as the highest die rolled (setting aside the 0 and 1's for now), and add that to her skill of 6.  The result of 11, minus the Difficulty of 4 is 7.  Ordinarily, that would be an Extraordinary Success.  However, she rolled more 1's than 0's, and so her Degree of Success is reduced to Superior.
This modified system allows for a pseudo open-ended result system, without having to roll dice more than once.  These changes also encourage quicker character creation and quicker action resolution, but still retain the 1-10 ranges of the Aria skill system.

Characteristics Changes

Several other Aria characteristics need to be altered as a result of the changes to the attributes.  Charisma, for example, is no longer a derived trait, and  Faith is now an attribute.  
Insight remains an independent attribute, but its range will now be from 1 - 6, just as the other attributes.  Skills based on Insight function just as other skills, rolling a number of dice equal to effective Insight, etc. 
Some physical traits have also changed.  Frame is now a derived trait, equal to twice the Physique of the persona, plus one point per Edge with a positive value (i.e. add one point to Frame if one Edge has a +1 or +2, add two points to Frame if both Edges have a +1 or +2.  Similarly, subtract one point from Frame for each Edge with a negative value).  Various Heritage Groups may have Frame modifiers, which are added to the results obtained from the persona's Physique.  Most humans, for example, add 2 to their Frame if they are males, or add 1 to their Frame if they are females.  Hsytha (a Hssuga Heritage Group) by contrast add 4 to their Frame, male or female.
The Height trait remains unchanged, as are the various formulas for deriving Weight and Trauma Resistance.
The Aria Physique Trait is now called "Somatype" and is slightly altered.  Modifiers to attributes become modifiers to Edges instead.  Use half the suggested Aria modifier, rounded up, as a modifier to the appropriate Edges.  For example, an Obese persona would have a -2 Edge modifier to Quickness and Dexterity.  Assuming the persona had no previous Edges for a Coordination of 2, they would now have a Coordination (Dexterity, Quickness) of 2 (-2,-2).  Effectively, whenever Dexterity or Quickness are applicable (almost always), the persona's effective Coordination would be zero.  Essentially, they are only able to perform the most routine physical movements.  Anything that would challenge a less obese person, even slightly, they would find impossible, unless they are able to substitute another Attribute (such as Physique) in the test.

Persona Development

Because of the simplified Attribute and Test systems used in Geoza, persona development must function differently as well.  Most aspects of Aria persona development remain, although some are much simpler. 
Background Development Costs
Attributes 3 points
Edges 1 point
Skills 2 points
Specializations 1 point
Renown 3 points
Background Aspects variable (default 1 point)
Aria "Expertises" are now simply Skills, and there is no distinction between Talents, Abilities, or Disciplines.  There are two types of skills - untrained and trained.  Untrained skills are noted with a "U" in parentheses after the skill name in the skill listing.  Untrained skill tests may be attempted without any actual skill - even if the persona lacks any skill rating whatsoever, he may still attempt the skill.  Trained skills, in contrast, require a skill rating of at least 1 to even attempt the test using that skill. 
Each persona starts with an appropriate Heritage Template.  This establishes his base Attribute ratings (perhaps with an Edge or two), and possibly some base skills as well.  Additional physical and social characteristics are listed, and recommended or innate Background Aspects are also listed.
The persona also has a number of Development Points (DP) to allocate.  The amount of DP a persona has available depends on their age and the Mythguide's choice.  Generally, personas will have 7 DP per year of age at the start of the game.  The number of DP per year of age may be increased or decreased by the Mythguide according to his preference.  Alternatively, the Mythguide may establish a base number of DP, regardless of age, plus a reduced amount per year of persona age (80 DP + 3 DP per year of age, for example).  Such a method may encourage younger personas, or at least not overly reward older personas by comparison.
The player may now spend additional DP to raise Attributes or Edges, purchase Background Aspects, Vocational Templates, Renown, Insight, etc.  DP may also be spent to increase Skill ratings.  Unfavorable Background Aspects will grant additional DP (unless such aspects are acquired as a result of a Heritage or Vocational Template).

Myth Points

Myth points are special points that players can spend to improve the results of a persona test.  Most personas have a pool of 3 Myth points, but some may have a greater or lesser pool as a result of Background Aspects.  A player can spend as many Myth points as their persona has available on any test, but once they have been spent, they are gone.  Personas may regain additional Myth Points by spending experience points, at the cost of one experience point per Myth Point.  Personas may not purchase more Myth Points than the size of their Myth Pool.  The Mythguide may also award Myth Points to a persona for some especially dramatic or significant action or role playing event - this may temporarily increase the persona's Myth Points above their pool limit, but should not remain so after that game session (i.e. if such an award raises their Myth Points above their pool limit, they must use the award in that same session or lose it).
Each Myth point spent on a test improves the Degree of Success for that test by one.  If a persona has just achieved a Marginal Failure on a test, for example, by spending one of their persona's Myth points, they could improve that result to a Marginal Success (or, by spending two Myth points, they could improve it to a Complete Success).  Typically, the Mythguide will attribute the change in resolution due to Myth points as being the result of luck or some external coincidence or influence.  The result should be dramatized as much as possible, given the circumstances, because the expenditure of Myth points represents a significant event, even if the test would otherwise have been routine.  Myth Points represent a tremendous investment in persona experience, and should be used wisely.
Note: Myth Points as described above function differently from the standard Aria Myth Point rules given on pages MC96-97.



Personas will gain experience through the course of the game, and may improve their abilities according to the following experience development costs: 
Experience Development Costs
Characteristic  Experience Cost
Developing a new skill (rank 1) 3
Improving an existing skill 
to rank 2  2
to rank 3 3
to rank 4 4
to rank 5 5
to rank 6 6
to rank 7 7
to rank 8 8
to rank 9 9
to rank 10 10
Developing a new specialization (at a rank equal to the current skill) Skill rank
Improving an existing specialization 
to rank 2  1
to rank 3 2
to rank 4 2
to rank 5 2
to rank 6 3
to rank 7 3
to rank 8 3
to rank 9 4
to rank 10 4
Improving attributes 
to rank 2  3
to rank 3 5
to rank 4 7
to rank 5 9
to rank 6 11
Improving edges  4 per point
Developing a new Background Aspect or improving an existing Aspect (requires dramatic resolution) 3 per rank
Reducing or eliminating a negative Background Aspect (requires dramatic resolution) 4 per rank
Developing Insight or Faith (to rank 1)  2
Myth Point 1



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Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Paul Briscoe
Last modified: April 04, 2003