New Stalker RPG



I’ve been planning a STALKER RPG for a few months, and I ran the first session on Saturday. The ruleset is a simple d100 system (roll under your stat to pass the test, get bonuses based on your actions, skills and equipment). It plays similarly to Dark Heresy, but with more of a focus on adventure, combat and loot.

As it is set in our home city after a terrible accident, I asked the players to submit 4 ideas for places, factions, encounters or monsters. This built the setting and gave them a stake in the story. The players must enter the Zone of Alienation and face dangerous anomalies, mutants and bandits. Only your quick wits, fast talk and sharp eyes can bring back the swag, and make you rich.

Health, Radiation and Sanity.
You start with 10 hitpoints. Every character has a sanity meter as in Dark Heresy: psi attacks will reduce your sanity, along with seeing horrific things. You will also need to manage radiation:
Your dosimeter which will tell you how much radiation you have absorbed. You have 3 levels: singed, cooked and fried. At “Singed”, you take a -5 to your stats and test against vomiting. At “Cooked”, you take a -10 to your stats and test against bleeding and diarrhea. You will also take 1 damage per hour. At “Fried”, you will die within 24 hours unless you get treatment. You fall into unconsciousness.
You can drink a bottle of vodka to cool off from being Singed but will be drunk for the next 30 minutes (-10 to fine motor skills and awareness, +10 to willpower and charisma).
You will need 3 bottles of vodka, or 1 dose of anti-radiation drugs to cool off from Cooked.
Only anti-radiation artifacts or anti-radiation drugs can take you from Fried to Cooked.
Character Generation
Your character will need a high-concept description and a trouble. These will become your skills and talents in game. For example:
  • A former inhabitant of Mosney who seeks revenge against a monster that killed other refugees. His trouble is trauma from his powerlessness at that time.
  • A civil servant turned stalker who uses his infrastructure knowledge to move unmolested through the Zone. His trouble is naivety – he is trusting and overshares info when he should not.
Once you have a character concept, pick a stat block. Then roll a ten-sided dice and add it to one stat. ZONE is a special stat, assigned by the GM.

Add 1d10 to one stat once you’ve picked your background.
Pick your primary weapon:
  • Over-under shotgun and 10 shells. (1d10 damage, 30m range, minimum 5 damage. 2 shells in barrel.)
  • Hunting rifle and 2 reloads of 5 (.303) rounds (1d10 damage, 100m range, minimum 2 damage, Aimed Shot, armour pen 2, 5 rounds in magazine)
  • SMG and 2 reloads of 30 rounds. (1d10 damage, 50m range, autofire for 3 shots, using 10 rounds. 30 shots in magazine.)
  • large hand weapon  2d10 damage in close combat
Pick your backup:
· Pistol and 1 reload (1d6 damage, 30m, 7 shots)
· knife (1d5 damage)
· prototype anomaly/artifact detector and Geiger counter. These beep in the presence of hazards and treasure.
Starting Armour: A leather jacket which gives 1 Armour point against melee damage. No protection from firearms or anomalies.
Your gear in a backpack:
  • Bag of bolts for detecting anomalies. You have a bunch of small screws and nuts, and 3 large nuts wrapped in a cloth. You can throw these to check an area for lethal anomalies – this takes time and skill.
  • Your PDA – it tracks any info you get, and lets you know if any stalkers with PDAs are in the area. Can send and receive messages.
  • Medkit (heal 5 wounds and stop bleeding), 3 bandages (heal 1 wound and stop bleeding), bottle of vodka for radiation sickness.
  • Gas mask against radioactive particles and chemical anomalies.
  • Swiss army knife. Binoculars. Maps. Canned food for 1 day.
Choose your extra gear. If you want to have an alternate package, let me know:
  • A smoke grenade, fuel and 2 pipebombs filled with nails – can be set as traps
  • Stalker Suit (2 armour against melee and bullets, 1 armour against anomalies)
  • Guitar with drugs of your choice hidden in the body.
  • Radiation-hardened laptop, access keys, hacking kit.

This is filled into the character sheet, which is modified from the Roadside Picnic RPG:

  • Fighting – a combination of shooting, melee and tactics.
  • Awareness – passive and active perception.
  • Fitness – your strength and toughness.
  • Agility – fine motor skills and balance.
  • Charisma – your charm and ability to lead, negotiate and lie.
  • Intellect – your ability to think on your feet or perform complex technical tasks.
  • Willpower – resist pain, fear and psychic attack.
  • ZONE – allows you to re-roll that many dice per session, and also governs your luck and intuition in the Zone.


The next post will cover some specifics of the game world we have created.


3 thoughts on “New Stalker RPG

    1. I really like the STALKER videogames, and I was keen to run an RPG based on the setting in Ireland. So the concepts aren’t unique – the game also takes a lot from the novel Roadside Picnic.

      The “game” itself I designed based off what I’ve liked in the past: a system that makes storytelling easy. Everything should immerse the players in the world and give them meaningful interactions.
      I designed the radiation rules myself. I was looking for a clear, fun system that that didn’t abstract radiation into “hitpoints.”

      The character generation I also thought of myself. The stat blocks makes these skilled adventurers easier to play, while giving players the chance to improve a weak stat or be really good at something. I designed the game with a high amount of lethality, so the easy character generation makes death less of an issue.

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