Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Honan, the Way of the Warrior




In order to enter training, a prospective character should average these four statistics and add this number to a d20 roll. If the character wins a d20 roll off with the DM vs. 15, he may enter training. This roll off requires 5 non-refundable experience points to make; if the roll-off is made, the 5 points are applied to the Honan discipline.

Characters may attempt this roll off 3 times. Points from previously failed rolls may be applied towards Honan training once a successful application roll is made. If all 3 rolls are failed, these points may be applied to STR, AG,

Honan Fighting Style

Difficulty 7 Base: 10

(Standard: Empire of Man, Aquilia, Ancient Lands)

includes Sword, Combat Position, Acrobat per level

Missile Weapon, Flourish, Missile Dodge per odd level

Martial Punch, Martial Kick per even level

Variant: Honan Archer - Missile Weapon (Bow) is learned per level, Sword is learned per odd level

Easy Aim (Bow) is substituted for Flourish at odd levels


COST: 35 points for Level (0+1)

Focus (Diff: 4)

Literacy (Giantish)


Survival (Mountains)


Attentiveness (Honan maximum Attentiveness level is 7)

Wilderness Stealth

Mountain Climbing

At levels 4, 7, and 10, Honan gain +1 to the result of all dice rolls when checking for collapse due to Pain

For 10 points, Honan may also train at any or all of the following skills with Level 0+1 :

Breath Control, Base: 6 Diff: 4

Easy Aim/Weapon, Base: 3 Diff: 4

Shoot Twice, Base: 2 Diff: 4

Weaponmaster/Martial Punch/Martial Kick/Sword, Base: 2 Diff: 4 (each are separate skills)

Wearing Armor, Base: 0 Diff: 6

Quickdraw, Base: 1 Diff: 2

Honan warriors must be level 4 or higher at the Honan Fighting Discipline, Focus, and ALL Honan Package skills except Literacy in order to graduate. They must be Level 3 at Literacy. Honan must have mastered the use of at least their Acumen score in Honan Disciplines before starting play.

The origins of "The Way of the Warrior" are shrouded in mystery. Little is known of this strange fighting society, except that they will do anything for a price, although that price is usually exhorbitant. Closemouthed, inscrutable, and fanatically devoted to a strict and eccentric Code of Honor, the Honan warrior is the most feared, deadly, expensive, and sought after soldier for hire in any area where humans dwell in ordered society. A master Honan warrior can command virtually any price for his or her services.

Honans are known to exist in every area of human settlement in the World. Although their numbers in each area are always relatively small, and training styles can widely differ from one land to another, their Code and their distinct and recognizable uniform are always the same. Only an ignorant fool or a complete lunatic would risk the wrath of the Honan by wearing any outfit that might be remotely mistaken for that of one of this elite and secretive society.

Although Honan sometimes are associated with a group, they always fight alone in combat. To come to a Honan’s aid in combat is considered a grievous insult by the Honan. For multiple opponents to gang up on a Honan is considered a deadly offense; unless the Honan is killed, they will make a priority of killing anyone who dares to do such a thing. Honan also believe in absolute honourable loyalty to a client or mission once that client or mission has been accepted. Honan rarely accept more than one definite task at one time, but once the Honan has been paid (always in advance) he or she will pursue their mission with every bit of skill and tenacity that they possess. A Honan is not required to die in order to fulfill a particular quest (although this is considered the height of Honan honor) but a warrior should be absolutely certain that continuing with this mission will directly cause his or her demise before reneging on a client. If a Honan should ever choose to withdraw from a particular task, all monies paid must be refunded and the Honan warrior is obligated to perform, gratis, some other service for the client instead. A Honan who violates this code and is found to have done so by the Honan masters will be disowned, dishonored, and hunted down by all other Honan warriors who have an opportunity to do so.

Once personal combat is joined, absolutely anything goes. A Honan warrior feels that not only is a refusal to do certain things to win a fight foolishly limiting, but it is also condescending and contemptuous to one's opponent. Anyone who faces a Honan one-on-one, weapon-to-weapon, is considered a worthy opponent and is deserving of far too much respect to be insulted by a refusal to fight with anything less than the Honan's full resourcefulness. A Honan will, in general, refuse to interfere in another one-on-one combat; once such a fight is joined, it should be resolved by the two combatants. If a Honan feels he must help an outclassed friend or client, he will try to fight the enemy by himself, not as part of a team.

From time to time, a Honan may be contacted by the Honan Masters and given a task to perform. These should be done unquestioningly, and death is the only excuse for failure... there is no excuse for withdrawal or refusal. This is a very rare occurence, though, and shouldn't concern a PC overmuch.

Honan are extraordinary rare in any particular area; there are probably no more than a few hundred fully qualified Honan warriors in any one human domain. However, their reputation as deadly fighters of fanatic loyalty is known throughout the World to all warriors and men of power. To command a Honan warrior is quite a status symbol. To be a Honan warrior is to be respected, feared, and sought after.

Honan are expected to pay 20% of all monies and fees received for their martial services into a special account at the Temple of Silver and Gold. Much of this goes to the mysterious purposes of the Honan Masters, but this is also an emergency fund that Honan may, at great need, apply to for relief.

Honan serve no interests save for the client of the moment and their Honan masters. They give no allegiance to any king, Temple, Jhareesh, or political organization; they do not consider themselves to be citizens of any nation or followers of any deity. They do not join Clans or societies of any nature, and give their loyalty only where and for as long as it is bought. This does not preclude them from forming friendships, but close affairs and/or pair bondings are discouraged unless the Honan plans to retire from the field, for these tend to interfere with the typical Honan disregard for anything but the job he's being paid to do. Honan are the archetypical loners, and will generally ask for help only as a desperate last resort.

Honan are not required to help other Honan unless hired to do so; in fact, a Honan would probably assume that another Honan would be insulted by an offer of help. Often, Honan serving different masters end up battling each other; such occasions are cherished as rare tests of a warrior's true combat-worthiness.


Acumen + (2 x FOCUS level)

Any disciplines done in combat will cause a -3 to Attack and Defense and will automatically give initiative to the opponent for the amount of time that the Honan is casting them. If the Honan is hit that round, the discipline is disrupted and goes away. If a Honan tries and fails a certain discipline, he should spend at least 20 minutes studying the discipline to refresh himself on it before trying it again. If he doesn't want to (or can't) he may try the discipline again at a cumulative +5 to the difficulty. If a Honan fails a discipline roll-off by 10, he has done something horribly wrong and must roll on the DMs dreaded Psionic Fumbles chart. This can be very bad to do in combat...

ARMOUR A telekinetic force field of sorts, this gives as many points of armour as a Honan can conceivably put up. Takes 10 rounds to perform, lasts for as many hours as the roll is made by but subtracts 1 from Attack/Defense/Initiative and 2 from TM per 4 points of armour protection given. COST: 5 DIFFICULTY: 10 (base) + 2 for each point of armour protection.

A field effect that protects the Honan warrior from any witchcraft affecting him from another source. Requires 1 round, lasts the amount in hours the roll is made by. Precludes the Honan targeting any witchcraft on any exterior target while this is in effect.


This discipline gathers available bioelectrical energy in the area into a coherent ball of lightning and allows the Honan to hurl it at a target within 30yards. Damage = D3+ 1 per 2 roll is made by, d6 + 2 per 1 roll is made by if metal focus is used to intensify the energy. This is then thrown as a missile weapon and may be missile dodged; it takes half a round to form and has a missile initiative of -10, and an accuracy modifier at its only range (within 30 yards) of +7, +10 if the target contains a high concentration of conductive metal (chain or plate armor, for example). COST: 6 DIFFICULTY: 16

This forms a cutting field around the the blade of the sword that makes it virtually invincible; a blade so treated will cut through almost anything. This requires 10 rounds to cast and will last only 1 round of use, after which the blade’s s normal damage will be reduced one die size until sharpened (sharpening requires 1 hours time per damage dice done by the weapon).


This forms a cutting field around the blade of the weapon that increases its damage. This requires 1 round to perform and lasts the amount in rounds that the roll is made by. COST: 6 DIFFICULTY: 14 + 2 per extra damage point

This adds +1 for every 1 roll is made by to a missile attack rating. Requires 1 round to perform. COST: 4 DIFFICULTY: 14

This allows the Honan to repair some of the damage done to himself after a fight is over. Usable only on himself, this allows the Honan to heal as many minuses as he has the ability for. Requires 1 hour of meditation for up to -5, +1 hour for every additional minus.

COST: 7 DIFFICULTY: 11 (base) + 4 for each minus removed.

Allows the warrior to increase both Attack and Defense by +(1/2 Focus level) or either by + (Full Focus level). This requires 10 rounds to perform and lasts the amount in MINUTES the roll is made by. COST: 5 DIFFICULTY: 25

Mentally "images" surroundings; useful in fog or darkness or if totally blind. Requiring 10 rounds, this lasts for the amount in HOURS that the roll is made by. COST: 5 DIFFICULTY: 14

This discipline comes in three flavors of steadily increasing intensity:

PUNCH: A mild telekinetic smack; this does a d3 + (1 per 2 roll is made by) in damage. Requires 1 round to perform. COST: 5 DIFFICULTY: 12

A somewhat more vigorous telekinetic thumping; this does a d4 +( 1 per 2 roll is made by). COST: 5 DIFFICULTY: 14

Like getting hit with a telekinetic sledgehammer, this does a d6 + (1 per 1 roll is made by). COST: 6 DIFFICULTY: 15

Each discipline requires 1 round to perform. For an additional +6 to the difficulty, the Honan may specify where he would like to hit the target (face, generally). Otherwise, location is rolled randomly. All damage is considered to ignore armour, except for plate, which gives full protection (aim for face).

PROJECT This causes the Honan's opponent to believe the Honan is doing something completely different from his true intentions next round. For that round, the opponent will be considered FAKED, BOUND, and FORCE FUMBLED by Swashbuckling rules. Takes 1 round to perform, lasts 1 round.


Allows a Honan to sensitize an object so that it will return to his hand via telekinetics. Permanently sensitizing something requires 3 points, temporarily sensitizing something takes 1 round and will last for the amount of rounds that the roll is made by.

COST: 4 DIFFICULTY: 13 to sensitize, return automatic once sensitized for 1 exhaustion.

SHIELD Adds 15 + (2 per 1 roll is made by) to missile defense/target rating. Requires 1 round, lasts amount in rounds roll is made by.


Lets the Honan know what his opponent is going to do before he does it; although opponent will still go first if he has initiative. Effective starting round after cast for as many rounds as roll is made by, takes 1 round to perform.


(character generation) Attributes

Attributes are various and sundry characteristics taken by a Player to provide more definition to the Character being played. Most attributes come in two types (Positive and Negative) of three classes each (as is, very, and extreme). Positive attributes are beneficial and desirable to the Character; attributes such as Hardy and Attractive are examples, and are bought by expending positive attribute points. One could buy Hardy, Very Hardy, or Extremely Hardy depending on available points and the amount one wants to spend. Negative attributes are detrimental to the Character and are bought with negative attribute points. However, for each negative attribute point spent, one gains a positive one. Thus by giving a Character a few detrimental attributes, you can balance the character by giving him/her more positive ones.

The list of attributes below should not be considered complete. If the player comes up with an attribute that is not on the list and wants to take it, ask the DM about cost and availability. (There is always the possibility that the DM may, for reasons of game balance, decline to allow certain suggested attributes to be taken.) The three numbers listed beside each attribute are costs for the attribute "as is", "very", and "extremely" variants.



Ages Well (4-8-12) Character's physical age is 10% per level less than their chronological age.

Alert (3-5-9) +1 to all Attentiveness roll-offs for each level of this attribute.

Ambidextrous (10) An exception to the general rule, this attribute has only one level. Does the obvious.

Attractive (2-4-8) Makes a character aesthetically pleasing by their society's general standards. For each level of this attribute, there is a +1 bonus to all Sex Appeal 2d6 Reaction rolls.

Berserk (8/-4) Both a positive and negative attribute, this attribute costs positive points, but automatically takes up negative points as well, generating more positive points. The character has a tendency to go into a berserk state under stress. See Moving Finger #15 for details.

Better Statistic (4-8-12) This attribute will add, at base level, +2 to the desired stat; at the level of "much better statistic" it will add +4, and at the maximum level of "awesomely better statistic" will add +6. If this attribute is used to increase any statistic over normal dice maximums, multiply its total cost by (the amount over dice maximum +1).

Blessed (20)
One of the gods has bestowed a (randomly rolled) mighty benediction on your character. Unless Exotic Background is taken, your character will be baptized by this god, and your character will be considered to have a Total Duty to that Temple and deity. You do not get extra points for this Duty!

Blooded (5) This attribute means your character is somewhat hardened to brutality and normal hardship. He or she may add +6 to all morale rolls, and during certain gut-wrenching or utterly disgusting situations (entering the scene of a brutal battle, exploring the sewers, searching a rotting corpse, etc) the DM will allow a Blooded character to proceed without the Willpower roll off he would mandate for a normal person. Blooded is an attribute that can be acquired during play by succeeding in a learning roll in certain situations as listed above.

Cheerful (1-2-3) +3 per level to Morale roll offs; you're generally an upbeat kind of person and its harder for you to be depressed. This should also be roleplayed!

Choose Birthplace (v) A character may choose where in the World he would like to be from. The more exotic a birthplace you want, the more it will cost.

Choose Sub-race (8-15) Choose a mundane human race for 8 pts, or one of the rare races (halfbreed, Romaine, zuma, atros, Swamp Man) for 15.

Cold Resistant (2-4-8) This attribute makes a person more resistant to the effects of cold and frostbite by giving a +1 to any roll-off per level.

Comrade (8-15-20) An NPC Comrade is your faithful companion; they will never betray you. Your character is considered to have an overwhelming bond with this NPC, you will never betray or abandon them. If something happens to them, your morale will suffer; if they die, your morale may cause permanent minuses to your performance. A first level comrade is a randomly chosen (by DM) pre-generated NPC of up to 200 EP, a second level is the same as above, up to 500 EP. You may choose what type of NPC this is from the available types; if human, you may choose its mundane sub-race. A third level Comrade is rolled up exactly like a PC, you may choose the Comrade's age and mundane human or non-human race. If a Comrade should die or something else should happen that will cause a character's irrevocable separation from their Comrade, they will suffer the effects of Grief, as rolled on DM's Grief Chart.

Contacts (2-4-8) The character knows some important folks in his/her town, generally in his/her own particular area of expertise. This attribute may be bought multiple times for multiple areas. +1 per level to Scrounging rolls.

Deft (2-4-6) +1 per level to character's chance to save from physical Fumbles.

Die Hard (2-3-5) For each level taken, a character has one full minute after taking an Instant Kill critical hit, or any other kind of instant death trauma that would not cause instantaneous brain death, to perform dying actions at no further minuses to what they had prior to the mortal trauma occurring.

Disease Resistant (2-4-8) +1 per level to any relevant roll-offs.

Don't Get Seasick (1) The person does not get seasick.

Drug Resistant (2-3-4) Makes a character resistant to drugs and poisons by adding a +1 per level to all relevant numbers.

Exotic Background (9-16-25) The character had very unusual beginnings, how unusual depends upon the level of the attribute. Have the player work out and present his/her idea to the DM. Also necessary for certain skill areas and/or training packages. The character may take up to two Exotic Skills per level of this attribute taken.

Famous (4-8-12) The person did something wonderful that people will know him/her by. The higher you take this attribute, the more wonderful it will be and the more people will know about what you did. The player will make something up to be approved by the DM.

Fast Runner (2-4-8) For every level of this attribute, the character may add 4 to his/her tactical movement when running, and 6 to his/her tactical movement when sprinting.

Fast Learner at Skill (6-8-10) Each level of this attribute modifies a character's chance of learning a specific skill by +1. For character generation only, it reduces the base difficulty of the specific skill by half and the difficulty of the skill by 1.

Fatigue Resistant (12) The Fatigue Resistant character may spend up to 4 Exhaustion per round. The character need not roll off vs Recovering until -10 in Exhaustion.

Fearless (7) The character has no phobias, not even the normal minor Mortal Fear all characters otherwise have.

Gifted at Skill (1-2-3) Adds +1 per level to pertinent Skill ratings. May only be used for skills which have a rating, may not be taken for Weapons skills.

Gifted at Everything (25) Adds +3 to all Skill ratings. Characters with this attribute may have no other "Gifted"s.

Good Balance (3-6-9) The character may add +2 to all acrobat roll-offs and +1 to all Combat Maneuvers roll-offs per level of this attribute.

Good Death Curser (5-10-20) At first level, you may roll for a Death Curse and also roll for Divine Intervention, with a +5 to your Death Curse chance. At second level, you receive a +10 to your Death Curse chance. At Extremely Good Death Curser, you automatically get off a Death Curse instead of D.I., or you may roll for both with a +15 to your Death Curse chance.

Good Direction Sense (1-2-3) This attribute allows a person to make a roll-off (reasoning vs. 10, 5, or 0) to prevent him/her from getting lost.

Good Eyesight (3-6-10) Good Eyesight adds +1 per level to all visual roll-offs.

Good Hearing (3-6-10) Good Hearing adds +1 per level to all hearing roll-offs.

Good Jumper (2-4-8) Each level of Good Jumper adds +1 to total distance for standing jumps and +2 to total distance for running jumps.

Good Leader (2-4-8)The person may add +1 per level of this attribute to all Leadership 2d6 reaction rolls.

Good Liar (2-4-6) The person has the ability to fabricate the truth while maintaining a straight face. +1 per level of the attribute.

Good Memory (4-8-12) At the first level of this attribute, the person gets a +4 to the intelligence vs. ? memory roll-off when a player forgets something. At the second level, the person gets a +8. At the third level, the person has a photographic memory and automatically makes the roll-off. At this level, entire written pages may be memorized. +1 per level of this attribute to chance of Learning any skill based on Reasoning.

Good Night Vision (3-6-10) "Good Night Vision" adds +1 per level to all attentiveness rolls at night and reduces all dark penalties by one per level. DOES NOT help in total darkness.

Good Voice (3-6-9)+1 per level to Singing roll offs. Other skills requiring speech (Storyteller, Leadership, Persuasion, Acting, etc.) receive +1 per level. Extremely Good Voice adds +1 to Sex Appeal ratings.

Good Tutor (4-8-12) A character with this attribute has some sort of tutor or instructor while maturing who gave him/her intensive training in some skill or skill area. If taken at the first level, this attribute gives a character level 2, of any group of logically related Skills where total difficulties are less than or equal to 5, for free. At "Very Good Tutor", it gives the character level 2 of any Skills group with difficulties totalling 10 or less for free. At the level of "Extremely Good Tutor", it gives a character a group with difficulties totalling 15 or less at level 2 for free.

Good Time Sense (1-2-3) Gives a person +1 per level to a RSG roll off to know what time it is or how much time has passed.

Hardy (3-8-15) This attribute adds +1 per level to a character's damage resistance.

Heat Resistant (2-4-8) The person is used to warm weather. +1 per level of this attribute to resist sunstroke and the like. At Extremely Heat Resistant, the character may wear armour at above 86 degrees and take only 1/4 normal effects.

High Alt. Resistant (2-4-8) The person is used to higher altitudes and thinner air. -2 per level of the attribute to all exhaustion penalties incurred by thinner atmosphere.

Holds Drink Well (2-4-8) +1 per level to Fortitude for Drunkenness roll offs, also acts as Pain Resistant when checking for collapse due to Drunkenness.

Industrious (4-8-12) +1 per level to your chance to get 2 skill points per skill roll.

Left handed (6) You are. +1 to attack and defense, +2 to Combat Maneuvers against right handed warriors. Against another lefty, you are both -2 to your Defense. Unless you take this or ambidextrous, you are right-handed.

Light Sleeper (2-4-8) This attribute adds +1 per level to the person's attentiveness roll-off to wake up and +1 per level to the chance that person is not asleep at the time (normally a 1 on a d10).

Likeable (2-4-6)
+1 per level to 2d6 Reaction rolls for Persuasion and general character reactions. Likeable does not modify Leadership, Courtly Graces, or Sex Appeal.

Linguist (8) As per "Fast Learner" but applied to all spoken and written languages.

Long Stride (2-4-8) +1 to a person's tactical movement per level of this attribute.

Lucky (4, 8, 12) Players whose characters possess this Attribute at first level may make any Luck roll required by the DM twice, and choose which result will apply to their character. For each succeeding level of Lucky, a character may choose another specific type of dice roll -- a d20 roll off for a specific skill, d30 attack rolls in Combat, saving rolls from Fumbles, etc -- to be rolled twice each time it is made, under the specified conditions. Thus, a character with Extremely Lucky, such as any Jeopard, may make all required Luck rolls twice, choosing whichever result is preferred, and in addition, may have up to two different specific types of dice rolls that they may roll twice for. This attribute does not count for Group Luck Rolls unless everyone has it.

Magickal Aptitude(10) The basic attribute required to be a Mage. A rare attribute seen in perhaps one in a thousand, Magickal Aptitude allows a character to learn to manipulate reality on a basic, quantum level through the force of their will. Without it, Magic cannot be learned.

Massive (4-8-12) Adds 10% per level to a character's normally figured body mass.

Needs Little Sleep (5-12) This attribute allows the person to consistently require only 6 hours of sleep per night. If a person has "Needs Very Little Sleep", then he or she only needs 4 hours of sleep a night, even after a long, hard day. Notice that there are only two levels of this attribute. The hours thus gained may be use for Learned Abilities Enhancement Purposes.

Non-Human (all) The character is considered to have made his % roll for non-human origin. Taking this requires that the character expend every single positive attribute point they rolled, and allows them to roll as if they had rolled a natural 98-99 (the more mundane non-human chart).

Pain Resistant (4-8-15) At first level, this attribute adds +1 to a character's pain level. At "Very Pain Resistant" it allows a character to subtract 1 from any pain minuses due to injury or other trauma. At "Extremely Pain Resistant", it adds another +1 to the Pain level and allows a character to roll a d8 to check for collapse due to pain instead of a d6.

Quick Healer (3-6-10) At each level, Quick Healer allows a person to take 10% off total necessary Healing Times.

Quick Thinker (3-6-9) Adds +1 to Initiative (the secondary stat) at each level. Will also give 2, 5, or 10 minutes (real time) for player to think through PCs options in a crisis, split-second decision situation. In a combat situation, characters receive an additional 30 seconds to decide their options per level.

Random Attribute (2) Allows the character to take a positive attribute at random. Random attributes may be raised levels by rolling 4-6 on a d6, the attempt costs 1 point. If a character has a racial attribute that conflicts with a random attribute, the random cancels the racial (i.e., if a Sothark character rolls Ugly randomly, the Sothark loses his level of Attractiveness). If a random attribute conflicts with an attribute bought with attribute points, even another random, the random attribute is re-rolled. If an attribute is rolled that the character already has, the attribute is raised to a higher level, even if it is a racial attribute. This attribute costs only 1 point if immediately followed with a Random Negative Attribute worth only 5 points.

Reroll (4) Allows you to reroll any statistic, including Attributes, Age, and Birthday, in the character generation system, at 4 points per re-roll.

See Astral (10) Allows characters to see disembodied spirits and the essential aura of others. Those who can do this may learn to read other’s emotions at Difficulty 3.

Shock Resistant (2-4-8)
Each level of this attribute adds 10 to the results of all rolls against going into shock following injury.

Skill Points (special) For every attribute spent, a person may add 3 skill points to his/her initial skill points.

Torture Resistant (2-4-6) +4 per level to WP for purposes of resisting Questioning attempts.

Unusual Background (4) Like "Exotic Background" but not quite so dramatic. Many skill packages (Mercenary Background, etc) require this attribute. It can also be taken if one wants to learn one Exotic Skill.

Well Organized (4-8-12) At each level of this attribute, a character may perform one Day to Day Living activity without sacrificing any actual time--they are absorbed into his normal routine.

Windfall (7) The character has, at some point, legally acquired a sum of money equal to % x 100 local dollar equivalents. This attribute may be taken up to three times per character.


Ages Poorly (5-10-15) Physical age is 10%/level higher than chronological age.

Addiction (8-15-28) If a person has this attribute, then he/she is has a physical dependency on some substance which must be satisfied with one dose per level per day. The most common addictive substances known are alcohol and dream sugar, each of which cost $10 per dose. Either of these will also cause a -1 per dose taken per day to normal functioning. If doses are not taken, Addicted character will begin to suffer withdrawal at -2 accumulating per dose missed. When a withdrawal minus occurs, Addicted characters must make an immediately roll off of ½ WP vs 8 + the withdrawal minus number not to immediately go out and take a dose (if possible). Minuses taken from withdrawal will incapacitate when Pain level is reached, at which point, character must begin making FRT roll offs vs. The number of minuses they are under. They must make these FRT rolls off every time they take a new Withdrawal minus until 1.5 x their Pain level in minuses is reached. For any of these rolls failed, the character takes a permanent -1 to their Constitution, Strength, and Dexterity. Once 1.5x their Pain level in minuses is reached, withdrawal is complete. The character will begin to recover at a rate of their FRT in minuses per day. Once they are no longer incapacitated, they must begin making ½ WP roll offs not to become re-addicted at the DM’s discretion.

Altruistic (2-4-8) Whenever someone in need of help is encountered, character must roll off 1/2 WP vs. 5, 10 or 15. If failed, Altruistic characters will unhesitatingly do whatever is necessary to aid the person, regardless of the attendant risk and/or outright stupidity of their actions. Altruistic is considered to include the attribute Nice. Altruists are considered to be friends to all for purposes of Persuasion roll offs.

Bad Liar (2-4-8) Opposite of "Good Liar".

Bad Limp (3-6-9) This attribute gives a person -1 to tactical movement and -1 to agility per level.

Bad Night Vision (3-6-10) Opposite of "Good Night Vision".

Bad Temper (3 6 9) A character with Bad Temper must roll off half their Willpower vs. 5, 10 or 15 whenever they are placed under any sort of threat or stress not to verbally or physically lash out at the source of stress, or, if unavailable, at whatever or whoever is closest. Characters who lose the roll off by 10 or more must physically attack something, although any physical attack (punch, slap, shove, kick) that actually connects will suffice.

Blind in One Eye (8) The person is blind in one eye, causing a restricted field of vision and poorer depth perception. All missile weapons used at medium range are a -4, and at long range are a -8. All attentiveness rolls that are side based are reduced by 2.

Branded (4) You have been branded on the cheek for some crime or another. People will generally distrust you and will prefer to deal with others. Being branded on the shoulder costs only 2.

Clumsy (3-6-9) +1 chance to fumble per level on all physical rolls where fumbling is possible.

.Code of Honor (5, 12, 20) This attribute means your character has at least a few principles that they will never break without a huge WP roll off and huge Morale minuses as a result. At first level, your character will have two of the below listed restrictions on their behaviour; at second, they will have four, at third, they will have eight.

* Will never take unfair advantage of a foe.
* Will never break his sworn oath, will always accept the sworn oath of others who could be honorable.
* Will always accept a dare. (Can't stand to be called a coward!)
* Will always avenge an insult, to himself or beloved object/person (choose, if both, counts as two).
* Will never ask for or accept any kind of help.
* Will always defend/protect/avenge a comrade.
* Will never steal.
* Will never cheat or lie.
* Will never give up or back out of an agreement/commitment.
* Will always act "civilized", will never break the law.
* Will always help/support others in need.
* Will never surrender or accept final defeat until dead.

In order to break any of these restrictions, roll off WP vs. 20. If successful, you may break your code in one specific instance immediately, but you will afterwards suffer a -4 to all rolls for 10x your WP in days.

1 extra point per randomly rolled point of honor.

Color Blind (3) You are totally color blind.

Curious (3 6 9)
A curious character has to find out! No matter how stupid or dangerous finding out will be, the curious character can’t stand not knowing something. He/she will peek behind doors, open packages, follow strange people to sinister destinations, taste unknown liquids, and just generally make a terrible nuisance of themselves. Anytime the player would prefer to control his character’s curiosity, the character must roll off half their WP vs. 5, 10 or 15 (depending on level taken). If failed, they must open the door, follow the sinister stranger, eavesdrop on the conspiratorial conversation, step into the dark secret passage, taste the unknown fluid, or do whatever other idiotic thing the situation demands. DM will dictate when roll offs must be made, at his discretion.

Cursed (5-10-20) Character pissed somebody off whom he/she never thought could do anything like this, and has been afflicted with some sort of random nastiness. The higher the level of this attribute, the worse the curse.

Dead (25)
You are. This causes large minuses to all roll-offs, but on the other hand, is easily roleplayed.

Dependent NPC (6-12-20)
Unlike a Comrade, this is an NPC companion who is actually a hindrance rather than a help. Such NPCs cannot be skilled at much of anything useful, and are dependent on your character for their continued survival. Your character is committed and devoted to the NPC, and will under no circumstances neglect, harm, or allow them to come to harm. If such harm should come to them, your morale will be devastated. At first level, your NPC can have 2 useful skills (non-combat) and 2 positive attributes of your choice, and may fulfill some moderately useful function (cook, sexual companionship, etc.) that has no actual system function beyond Morale. They may not clean your weapons, fight, heal, practice magic, pick pockets, or do anything else that is more useful than cooking. At second level, they may have one useful skill and positive attribute, and may still be functional. At third level, the NPC has no positive attributes, no useful skills, and does absolutely nothing to be of any use to you at all (an aged parent or a baby are good examples of this). These NPCs will generally not deliberately put you in harm's way, but may anyway, out of greediness or stupidity. All Dependent NPCs receive a d10 + (2 per level) Negative Attributes, rolled randomly.

Detailed Background (4) All detailed BGs are subject to DM approval and must be given to the DM before the character will be allowed to begin play. Detailed BGs must be a minimum of 200 words long.

Dislikeable (2-6-10)
The opposite of Likeable.

Duty (4-8-12)
A character with a Duty owes allegiance to another character, organization, or general group, and will be called upon by he/she/them periodically to perform services for them. At first level, the Character need only perform one service per season, and can "buy off" services by substituting other services or monetary offerings once per year. At second level, the Character owes two services per season, and would hesitate before trying to "buy off" his obligations; roll off 1/2 WP vs. 10 in order to do so,and you may only do so once per year. At third level, the character has a Total Duty and would never even consider trying to squirm out of any obligations. Players who try to avoid their PC’s Duties will be considered to be playing out of character and will be penalized at DM’s option. Virtually all Special Trainings (Tengish Knights, Kinship, Priesthoods, etc) convey a Total Duty to the organization and possibly others... Tengish Knights owe Total Duty not only to the Knighthood, but also to the Realm of Ona Tengu, for example.

Easily Seduced (2-4-6)
-4 per level to WP roll offs vs. Sex Appeal.

Fat (special)
For every point spend on this attribute, the person has his/her weight increased by 10%, and exhaustion, constitution, and agility reduced by one (1). Fat also decreases encumbrance capacity and increases chances of heart failure when making Age rolls.

Frail (3-8-15)
Opposite of "Hardy".

French (400)
You worship Jerry Lewis, rarely bathe, speak no intelligible language, and hate anyone who isn’t also French. The DM will blast you with lightning within moments of the beginning of play, so no more need be said.

Generous (3-8-15)
A character with this attribute must make 1/2 WP roll offs whenever he would normally spend money in order not to spend more than necessary ("Keep the change, for your trouble") or whenever an opportunity to spend money on a good cause comes along. If he fails the roll off, he will spend 1% more per 1 failed by for purchases, and will contribute up to 1/10 of his current money/worth towards good causes.

Greedy (5-9-14) You must make a ½ WP roll off vs 5, 10 or 15 per level taken to pass up any opportunity to enrich yourself. If failed, you will do whatever is necessary to get the bucks, regardless how obviously stupid, moronic, or short sighted it may be. Cash, gems, jewelry, and anything else with an obvious and immediate resale value will engage your avaricious interest. This attribute at any level gives a character, during Character Generation only, Fast Learner at Recognize Value.

Gullible (4-9-15) Roll off ½ WP vs. 5, 10 or 15, depending on level, to disbelieve anything anyone tells you. Roll off vs. 5 less to not go along with "friendly" advice or suggestions, or to refuse any offer of friendship or aid that seems honestly meant. A Gullible character is also -1 per level to any WP roll offs versus Persuasion or Sex Appeal.

Heavy Sleeper (2-4-8) Opposite of "Light Sleeper". The Heavy Sleeper will also take longer to come fully awake (+1 round per level) and has -1 per level to Sleeping Alertness rolls.

Hard Drinker (3 6 9) The Hard Drinking character is not an alcoholic, but when in town he/she will spend most of their free time drinking. Any time the character is not training or adventuring, they will be under some sort of minus due to inebriation (DM will require Drinking roll offs to determine these minuses when appropriate). Hard Drinkers will spend money on drink until they run out; if a player wants his PC to stop spending money, the PC must roll off ½ WP vs. 5, 10 or 15 to do so. If the roll is blown by 10, the PC must attempt to borrow money or cadge drinks somehow. Hard Drinkers will also be at Hangover minuses each day following a night out, said minuses equal to a d20 - (Frt + Level of Holds Drink Well), min -2.

Hard of Hearing (4-8-15) At first level, all hearing based attentiveness roll-offs are reduced by 4. At second level they are reduced by 8, and at third level the person is completely deaf.

Heat Susceptible (3-6-10) At above 86 degrees, the character suffers a -1 to all roll offs per level of this attribute. At Extremely Heat Susceptible, the character takes a d4 + 1 pain minuses per hour spent under such hot conditions. These minuses will halve after one hour and disappear after (15 - FRT) days of recovery out of the heat.

Hunted (4-9-18) If you are hunted, the character has performed some action against an individual or group (player discretion) and they're really mad at you. At first level, the person (or group) will actively seek revenge only if you happen to be handy (in the immediate area). If you take Hunted at level two, the person hunting you will actively do so as long as he or she feels you are accessible to revenge. At third level, that's it... You've angered someone bad enough for him to constantly hire assassins, post rewards, summon demons, release tailored viruses, you name it, to pursue you to the ends of the world and kill you like the cringing dog that you are. Entire family fortunes are spent to track you down at this level. For considerably less points, second and third level Hunteds may be taken in which only the character's capture, humiliation, imprisonment, or excruciating agony is desired; see DM for details.

Inattentive (3-5-9) Opposite of "Alert".

Infamous (4-9-14) Just like "Famous", but you did something really mean and/or stupid that people know you for and that you will NEVER live down.

Lazy (5-12-20) Roll off ½ WP vs. 5, 10 or 15 once per day before making any skill rolls. For every 1 roll off is failed by, lose 1 hours training. If blown by 10, for every 1 after 10 roll is blown by, lose 1 Day to Day Living Activity (you're too lazy to clean your weapons or write in your journal). For starting characters only, add 1 to all Skill difficulties the character attempts to Learn.

Lean (v) Like Fat, for each point spent on this attribute, a person subtracts 10% from their normal figured body weight. Lean people, unlike Fat people, cannot do anything to adjust their Leanness. Lean people cannot be fat, and you cannot take more than 4 levels of Lean.

Lousy Voice (4-8-12) The person not only can't carry a tune in a bucket, but also has a voice that is just unpleasant to listen to. -1 per level to all roll offs requiring speech (Leadership, Singing, Persuasion, Acting, Storyteller, Seduction, etc.)

Miserly (3-7-11) The character hates to spend money. Upon any attempt to part with money or valuables, the character must make a roll off of 1/2 Willpower vs 5, 10, or 15( depending on level taken) to do so. If failed, the character will absolutely refuse to relinquish the goodies. The character may roll again if a new, lower price is set after a successful Persuasion roll.

Modest (2-4-6) If a person is modest, he or she may not speak of their personal exploits unless a successful ½ WP roll off vs. 5, 10 or 15, depending on level, is made. This same roll off must be made for the character to speak up in their own defense if they feel that someone else is taking credit for something they have done.

Mute (12) The person is unable to speak.

Needs More Sleep (8) When out adventuring, either you don't stay up on watch, or you train for two hours less every day, or you operate under a permanent -3 because you're so damn tired all the time. In town, you always get 2 hours less training than anyone else because if you can get enough sleep, you will.

Negative Physical Characteristic (3-6) Rolled randomly for 6 points, or chosen from a list for 3, this is one of several deformities, ranging from rather minor ones - webbed fingers - to fairly serious ones - hunchback, non-functional sex organs, etc.

Nice (2-4-6) One level down from Altruistic. Nice characters will suffer great inconvenience or discomfort to help someone in need, but will not risk actual bodily harm or death. Altruistic is considered to include this. Roll off ½ WP vs. 10, 15 or 20 not to render aid in a situation as described above. This does not mean you have to give people money whenever they ask (see Generous) but you will if it is for something they need. Nice characters are considered to be friends to all for purposes of Persuasion rolls.

Outlawed (4-8-12) You have been booted out of your homelands; if the law catches you near them again, they'll hang your ass. For every level a character takes this, the more loathed, despised, and well-known they are back wherever they came from, the larger the area they've been kicked out of, and the more likely they are to be recognized if they ever go back. Taking this at maximum brings up the chance of someone actually maybe coming after you. This attribute includes "Branded" unless the points are halved.

Overconfident (5-10-15) The overconfident character feels he can handle anything that comes his way. Any time a task or challenge presents itself that they player would prefer not to undertake, the overconfident PC must roll half his WP vs. 5, 10 or 15. If failed, he will undertake the challenge with great enthusiasm. Taking Overconfident in combination with Altruistic, Nice or Truthful will double those attributes' values, but also doubles WP roll off difficulties for them. Overconfident characters will also attempt to talk their comrades into undertaking tasks and challenges on failed roll offs, and may have to be sedated, gagged or beaten unconscious before they'll desist!

Packrat (5-9-15) Character must roll off ½ WP vs. 5, 10 or 15 once a day when in town, whenever he wants to discard something, or whenever he sees someone else discard something. If failed, the character grabs the discard, or cannot discard the item, or buys a random piece of useless bricbrac. This will take up a d4/4 spaces and weigh a d4/4 pounds. If left undefined, a Scrounging or Tinker roll off vs. 24 can be made to find some odd function for it in a specific situation. If defined, you can use it if you can convince the DM you can (good luck!).

Pain Susceptible (4-9-16) At first level, this attribute subtracts 1 from your PC's pain level. At second, it adds 1 to every pain minus you take. At third, you roll a d4 instead of a d6 to check for collapse.

Phobia (4-10) If a person has a phobia, then that person will tend to act unreasonably when exposed to the object or situation that causes it. If a person is "Afraid of ...", then a person is -4 to all ratings when exposed to that situation. If a person is "Very Afraid of ...", then the person is a -8 to all ratings and must make a willpower roll-off vs. 10 or freeze. The phobia is rolled randomly. If the player picks it then the cost is (3-8).

Poor Balance (3-6-10) Opposite of "Good Balance".

Poor Eyesight (3-6-10) Opposite of "Good Eyesight".

Poor Memory (8-10-12) Adds +1 per level to chance of losing skill points during Learning rolls, i.e., someone with Very Poor Memory would have a chance to lose skill points on 18, 19 or 20. As a starting character only, player may choose to either increase all skill difficulties by 1 or to fail all skill rolls on a 1-2.

Poor Swimmer (1-2-3) Character is -1 per level to all swimming roll offs; an "extremely poor swimmer" not only can't do it, but tends to panic and/or go down like a rock upon being immersed.

Random Negative (9) As in Random Attribute, only this generates negative attributes which go up on a 3-6 on a d6, which must be rolled for each negative taken this way. If a Random Negative is rolled that duplicates or conflicts with attributes already taken, the attribute is re-rolled.

Sheltered (6-12) A sheltered character has little or no experience with the "real" world. During play, they must make roll offs as if Very Squeamish, Very Altruistic, and Very Gullible. However, each time a roll off is failed, the roll off difficulties will be reduced by one to represent the character's gradual "hardening". For the lower value, roll offs are eliminated when the difficulty reaches zero. For the higher value, roll off difficulties are only ever reduced to 1, and then these attributes become a permanent part of the character; the character will always be a little soft-hearted. The player should have a good rationale for why his character is like this.

Shock Susceptible (3-6-10) The opposite of "Shock Resistant".

Skill Points (special) For every negative attribute point spent, a person may subtract three skill points.

Slow Healer (5-10-20) Adds 10% per level of attribute taken to all Healing times.

Slow Learner (Skill) (8-10-12) The character has a -1 to Learning rolls per level at a random skill. The character fails ALL skill rolls on a 2 or less during character set up.

Slow Thinker (3-6-9) -1 to Initiative per level. At each level, the character is given only 3, 2, or 1 minute(s) to make crucial decisions. In combat, the character has only 20, 10, or 5 seconds to decide options before Pausing.

Slow Runner (2-4-8) Opposite of "Fast Runner".

Smart Ass (3-6-9) The Smart Ass character must roll off 1/2 WP vs. 5, 10 or 15 per level not to make a snide crack at times when doing so would be inadvisable.

Squeamish (4-9-15) -1 per level to Attack and Initiative, as you don't want to make a mess. Fortitude vs. 5, 10 or 15 depending on level not to be violently sick at gory sights. Extremely Squeamish characters must make this roll at the sight of anything vaguely disturbing--blood, scars, open sores, etc. If blown by 10, the character faints for d10 minutes.

Susceptible to Cold (2-4-8) Opposite of "Cold Resistant".

Susceptible to Disease (2-4-8) Opposite of "Disease Resistant".

Truthful (4-9-15) Roll ½ WP vs. 5, 10 or 15 whenever you want to lie. You must succeed by 10 to tell an utter fabrication; success by less will allow you to attempt to mislead without actually out and out lying. If the roll is failed, you must tell the complete truth, regardless of the possible consequences.

Ugly (3-6-9) Opposite of "Attractive".

Unlucky (5-10-15) At first level, the Unlucky character must make all required Luck roll offs twice and take whichever result is less favorable to the character. For each additional level, the DM will assign a specific type of roll that the Unlucky character must roll twice whenever such roll offs are required, again taking the worst result. DM is not only allowed, but required, to be truly vicious in choosing these types of dice rolls; if your character has any combat skill at all, you can bet he’ll be rolling his attack d30s twice and taking the lowest, and if a PC takes this three times, you can assume the third dice type will probably be whatever roll the PC makes to utilize his most useful skill. This attribute does not count for Group Luck Rolls unless everyone in the group has it.

Vain (3-6-9) Vain characters are -1 per level to all WP roll offs versus flattery based Persuasion. Vain characters must also take the skill Grooming at 2x the level of the attribute, and whenever they feel they are disheveled, they must make a ½ WP roll off vs. 10, 15, or 20, depending on level, not to immediately Groom themselves, regardless of how inconvenient, inappropriate, or outright stupidly dangerous it might be in the current situation. Vain characters always carry a mirror, and suffer -1 to their Morale when their mirror and grooming equipment is lost or taken away.

Worse Statistic (v.) 1 point per 1 taken off any Primary Statistic.

Calendar, Ancient Lands

The Ancient Lands is the name of a large geographical area that was once the domain of the Samaqel. Roughly in the center of the Ancient Lands is a geographically unique super-river valley known most commonly to its local inhabitants as the Tharkis River, with the surrounding political areas most often being referred to as the River Republics.

This region encompasses several diverse peoples and cultures, who have settled in the Tharkis River valley through several separate diasporas taking place over a course of several thousand years. While each culture originally had its own particular manner of reckoning the passage of days, seasons, and years, over the course of millenia, a common geographical backdrop has led to some standardization of calendar techniques. Even relatively aloof and unique cultures, like that of the Sottle race, have come to make use of the ‘common’ calendar for most purposes.

The Riverish calendar is seasonal, rather than lunar, operating around the fairly regular turning of four separate seasons instead of the unreliable fluctuations of the moon. Wind, precipitation, the growing season, and especially seasonally changing river currents are matters of life and death for everyone on the River, especially the mobile population that travels the length and breadth of the titanic waterway aboard various different sorts of ships. Thus, the Riverish yearly calendar is split into quarters:

Chekkuru Vriddi, The Time Of Quiet Skies, or Autumn

Marvutasha Vriddi, The Time Of Deadly Storms, or Winter

Sashaya Vriddi, TheTime of Renewal, or Spring

Marinyatola Vriddi, The Time of Industrious Hands, or Summer

For the most part, Riverish folk simply refer to the time of year by the generic seasonal name, i.e., Autumn, Winter, Spring, or Summer. Each quarter of the year is 90 days long.

In addition, there are five days of the year set aside for the propitiation of the Powers of the World. These are mysterious entities, whose origin is unknown to mundane humanity, although only priests and scholars really care, anyway. Most people believe the Samaqel created the Powers to perform some function or other, although a few learned greyhairs opine that they are, in fact, opposed to the Samaquel, but helpless to intervene against Its will. Whatever the case may be, the Powers are known to mankind, and have enough power to manifest it in noticeable ways on one special day set aside for each of them throughout the year. On these days, Riverish people may celebrate, or perform rituals of propitation, or even hide in their homes and hope fervently to be spared the notice of that particular Greater Power and its minions.

The five Sacred Days of the Riverish Calendar are:

Day 1 - The Day of New Beginnings

The first day of the year, dedicated to the Power known to most Riverish as the Mother (although Sotharks refer to her as Winter Woman) who watches over all living, sentient creatures and is an especial patron of pregnant women, young children, and those who care for them. Children born on this special day tend to be fortunate, interesting people who eventually have a great many children of their own. On this day in general, sick and injured people tend to rally somewhat, if only for the day. Chirurgeons and physickers find the act of healing to be much easier. Childbirth is easy and uncomplicated, and fertility seems to be increased too, as a great many children are born three seasons later, on or about the Day of the Dancing Flame.

On the River, this tends to be a day of celebration and ritual. Durshis celebrate with gift giving between parents and children. Durshi lovers who seek children often give small ritual gifts to each other, or make small offerings to the Mother. Ulvane, Northarks, Sotharks, and Jeopards declare a holiday for the purpose of staying home and impregnating their mates. Urban Riverish get drunk and potential suitors give gifts to those they wish to seduce. Traditionally, this is also a day for adults to honor their mothers with gifts.

Day 92, between Autumn and Winter - The Day of Eternity

Dedicated to the Power known as the Eldest, this is a strange day, upon which no one ever dies of old age, and time seems to stretch out endlessly. No one ever gets lost or arrives anywhere late on this day. Because of this, it is a day of enthusiastic celebration for all cultures on the River, with contests of skill, sporting events, craft displays, and various other forms of celebration (including lots and lots of drunken revelry). A few boring scholarly types perform various rituals, ceremonies, and render offerings to the Eldest, but who cares about them.

Those born on the day of Eternity seem to be very farsighted people, who plan everything far in advance and never show up late for appointments. On this day, it is impossible to hit anyone born then with any sort of missile, and they themselves never miss when aiming at anyone else.

Day 183, between Winter and Spring - The Day of The World

Dedicated to the Power known alternately as the Hunter (to Jeopards and most Riverish) Grandfather Wolf (to the Ulvane) and Father Sky (to Sotharks and Aven), this is one day when all of nature dwells in harmony with itself, according to its own laws. It is very dangerous for sentient beings to intrude on the natural course of things on this day, so most cultures that live close to nature -- the Durshi, the Sothark, the Northark, the Ulvane -- declare this day a holiday and spend it resting and feasting and making offerings to the Power of Nature. No reaping, plowing, sowing, hunting, fishing or harvesting of any kind is to be done today. Fires may only be kindled using dead wood. Lightning strikes, earthquakes, sudden stampedes, maddened beasts, insect hordes, killer winds, tidal waves, and other natural disasters have been known to occur abruptly and without warning to anyone showing disrespect for Nature on this day. Any meats to be cooked should not be slaughtered on this day. If hunting, burning, gathering, farming, or any other such activity has to be done, a proper offering should be made to propitiate the Hunter first... and then one should be careful not to push one’s luck.

Those born on the Day of the World tend to love nature and be very uncomfortable in urban environments. They tend to disparage wealth and technology. They are usually gifted animal handlers, farmers, and/or hunters.

Day 274, between Spring and Summer - The Day of the Dancing Flame

This day belongs to the Dancer in the Flames, the power that governs Fire and, to a lesser extent, Beauty. On this day, nofire should be lit without the proper ritual and offering, or it is certain to rage out of control and consume everything around it. Those in sympathy with this Power gain great beauty on this day, and many beauty contests are held. For this reason, the Durshi and Northark peoples schedule many wedding ceremonies on this day, with the groom first seeing his bride unveiled during this holy time.

Those born on this day tend to be great dancers, and are often possessed of great natural beauty.

Day 365, the last day of the year - The Day of Death

This day belongs to the grimmest of Powers, who is known by many names... the Prince of Worms, Lord of Hell, the Pale Rider, the Warrior of the White Spear, or, most commonly, simply the Rider. It is a day when the sun rises, but is shrunken and puny, transformed to nothing more than another full moon. The undead walk freely during this dark period, and it is said that for this time, the doorway between the world and Hell stands open and the shades of the dead can return for a time to bedevil the living whom remember them best. Spirits of those most hated or best loved can travel the path of the living’s still strong feelings, and make evil mischief for those whose thoughts they still remain in, sometimes even luring the living back through the Door toHell with them. For this reason, this is a time of horror for nearly everyone on the River -- generally, people scribe protective symbols on their doors and windows, festoon themselves with wards and charms, and stay inside, refusing to invite anyone into their sanctuaries until the sun shines once more outside. Any wounds inflicted on this day will fester, unhealed wounds will have a good chance of worsening and old wounds hurt. Bleeding only stops on a 10% roll, and no injuries heal.

For necromancers who have a pact with Death, as well as the living who worship Him, though, this is a time of rare opportunity, as necromantic spells and unholy rituals have enormous power on this day.

Those born on this day tend to be inhumanly strong at night. They tend to be excellent black magicians or priests, and are often friendly with dark entities. Their curses have power. They are often immune to poisons, diseases, and infections. They are usually unnaturally pallid and do not prosper in the direct sunlight. They see perfectly without light.

Riverish have no real term for any time period between a day’sduration and a seasons. If they need to, they’ll refer to ‘tomorrow’ or ‘in a few days time’. Some more precise Riverish use blocks of ten days in conversation, as in ‘I’ll give you three ten-days to pay the loan back’ or ‘you can borrow my quiver for a ten day’. It’s also common to say things like ‘a third-season’ (30 days) or ‘a half season’ (45 days). However, generally, if a Riverish person says "I’ll havethat for you in a season"or "I’ll keep it for a season", this is understood to mean "until the start of next season" even if next season is only a fewdays away.

Riverish divide the day up into ten roughly equal units called ‘fingers’ of time. First finger is generally taken to be dawn, and fifth finger is sunset. The units are usually around two and half hours long, as there is not so much seasonal variation in the length of day and night as in the real world. Thus, ‘I’ll meet you at two fingers’ wouldmean ‘around twoand a half hours after dawn’... usually anywhere from 7 to 9 AM. ‘Three fingers’ is commonly accepted to be midday meal time, around noon. ‘Four fingers’ is the middle of the afternoon. ‘Six fingers’ and higher are generally accepted to be evening/night time hours.

Temples have elaborate, Frodd built time keeping devices and generally they synchronize these together and strike gongs on each ‘finger’.

Riverish refer to years as Cycles, and to a stretch of 10 years as a Great Cycle. The Riverish calendar used most commonly does not assign numbers to years, but names. The Cycle runs as follows:

1. The Year of the Rat

2.The Year of the Fox

3.The Year of the Bison

4.The Year of the Goat

5.The Year of the Cat

6.The Year of theMonkey

7.The Year of the Serpent

8.The Year of the Spider

9.The Year of the Bear

10.The Year of the Wolf

Ulvane and Jeopards use the same general cycle, but have different names for each year, as follows:


1.Year of the Weasel/Year of the Wolverine

2.Year of the Hyena/Year of the Leopard

3.Year of the Grass Wolf/Year of the Plains Lion

4.Year of the Timber Wolf/Year of the Catamount

5.Year of the Lame Pup/Year of the Sabertooth

6.Year of the Jackal/ Year of the Panther

7.Year of the Ferret/Year of the Snow Tiger

8.Year of theCave Wolf/Year of the Jaguar

9.Year of the Dire Wolf/Year of the Great Tiger

10.Year of the Pack Leader/Year of the Dwarf Cub

For reasons unknown, those born into each year seem to conform to broad but discernable personality types, with seasonal variations that are also distinct and easy to distinguish between.

For most Riverish, a year is simply known by its name, and, if in a past Great Cycle, as ‘theYear of the Goat two cycles ago’ or some such. Such a simple method of description is very serviceable for the vast majority. For scholars and such who wish something more precise, there are several different dating systems used.

The River College employs two separate methods for counting years. The majority of scholars there claim that it is currently the 3,031rd year since the Founding of the River College. A small minority of purists insists on dating Riverish years since the first landfall on the Tharkis River, and they say this is the year 3,079. A very very few claim that human history should be dated since the Creation of Humanity by the Samaqel, and thus they declare that it is the year 5273, by the classic Samaqelian calendar.

Sottle scholars use their own counting system and refer to this as the year 23,467, or occasionally 7465. However, no one knows what they’re counting from in either case, as humanity itself has only existed for a little over 5,000 years. Durshi traditionalists claim that this is the year 7452, and according to them, this is dated from the time of their people’s first coming to the River from some mythical distant land.

The Church of the One True God, both Reformed and Holy, claim it is the year 117 from the birth of Miriam Orishna.

In addition to all this, the Realm of Ona Tengu has founded its own calendar, with years counting from the founding of the Realm by Queen Jeressa in RC1 of 3003. By Tengish standing, this is Year Zero, and it is currently Year 28. Even this gets complicated, however, as it is also Year 12 of the current Redknight Dynasty.

Thus, it is currently:

The Year of the Cat

3031 by RC1 (River College, Primary Calendar, dated from the founding of the River College)

3079 by RC2 (River College, Minority Calendar, dated from the discovery of the River)

5273 by Samaqelian dating, dated from the creation of humanity

23,467 or occasionally 7465, by Sottle dating, for reason the Gods only know

7452 by the traditional Durshi calendar, dated supposedly from their first settlement of the River

Year 117 by the standards of the Church of the One True God

Year 28 OT (Ona Tengu) and year 12 of the Redknight Dynasty

The River

Monday, February 9, 2009

(character generation) Skills

What is a skill? A skill represents a character's learned ability to do something (or some combination of some things). There are no such thing as character classes; a PC in the World of Empire can learn--or attempt to learn--any area of human knowledge and endeavor. Even without the necessary skill, a PC may attempt to perform any action within the reasonable bounds of human ability (a PC can, for example, flap her arms and try to fly, but no amount of dice rolling will allow her to do so... unless, of course, she is either an Aven, a Pixie/Nixie, or a skilled witch--in which cases, she wouldn t need to flap her arms). Let's examine the parts of a skill. Usually, a skill has four parts: Name, Difficulty, Rating Base, Skill Base.

The Name of a skill is a succinct term for what the skill is about.

Difficulty is an abstract measure of how difficult a given skill is to learn in comparison to another. A skill may be easier for a character to learn if they have Fast Learner (see Positive Attributes) at that skill.

Rating Base - your ability at most skills is represented by a number, which is equal to your Rating Base (normally a Secondary Stat) for that skill plus twice your level with that skill (generally).

Skill Base is a representation of how long it takes to acquire the rudiments of a skill. Some skills, like Close Combat, are somewhat instinctive and have no extra cost. Other skills, such as physicker, require more extensive study before level 0 is reached. The skill base is what must be payed to reach Level 0 of a skill, without which a character cannot proceed further. If a skill has no skill base, it is not assumed that your character automatically has Level 0. However, it takes so little to reach level 0 that to list it would be meaningless, and it is assumed that your first few points towards level 1 will actually take care of this initial starting level for you.

Once a character is generated and placed in play, he will continue to evolve and, hopefully, advance. This process is represented by his earning of skill points through training and practice (see Learned Abilities Enhancement System). Each skill point earned by practice at a certain skill accumulates towards earning the next level of that skill.

To find the number of skill points needed to learn a level of a skill, multiply that skill's difficulty by the level the character is trying toattain. For example, to learn level 1 of the Painting skill (difficulty 3) would require 3 x 1 = 3 points. To learn level 2 of that skill would require an additional 3 x 2 = 6 points.

The following is a rough guideline to what the different levels mean for most skills.
0 Rudimentary Knowledge
1-3 Beginner / Apprentice
4-6 Competent
7-9 Expert
10+ Master

Level 0 is an important concept for players to understand. A Character who has paid the total base cost of a skill, but has not yet reached level 1, or, if the skill has no base cost, who has put points towards the skill but has not yet reached level 1, is considered to have level 0 of the skill. This means that, when attempting to use the skill, he may use the full Rating Base of the skill (generally one of his Secondary Stats). Characters who do not have even level 0 of a skill may still attempt to use the skill, but they must subtract 2 from the Rating Base. This is to simulate the fact that someone who knows even a little about, say, picking locks will have an easier time doing so than someone who is utterly ignorant of the skill.

For most applicable skills, Competent is the stage at which most people can make a decent living. Most career military men have reached Competent status with one or more weapons. A person who is an expert at a skill can usually make a cushy living at it (although starving artists are just as common in the World of Empire as they are everywhere else). A master at a skill will normally be well known throughout both his local region to the general public and throughout the general area of play to fellows in his particular profession.

Choosing Skills

Before you choose skills for the person you will be playing, you should consider what kind of person he or she is to become. For example, if you wanted to create a Forester, you might want to consider giving him such skills as Hunting, Wilderness Living, and Tracking. If, on the other hand, you wanted to create something such as a Mercenary, most of the skills will probably be combat oriented such as Weapon & Shield, Combat Position, Missile Deflection, etc. Remember, you can create the kind of person you want, but within the limitations of your skill points. A starting character will not be proficient at everything; after all, the person being played has just started his chosen profession, or has most limited experience.

When choosing your skills, there is one limitation you must follow and that is you must buy at least (Skill Points/10) skills, rounding fractions down. Native languages, "free skills" the DM may award due to unusual background, or any other skill the PC does not actually spend points on, do not count towards this number! Also, some skills may be easier or harder to find depending on the area you came from.

Once a character has been generated and is placed in play, they will gain points that they may use to buy new skills or increase ones they already have through Training, Practice, or Study (see the Learned Abilities Enhancement System). However, a somewhat different, although related, system is used to generate the skills that a character will begin play with.

First, a player should figure their character's number of starting skill points according to the simple formula given at the start of the book. There are three things about skills that are of importance to a starting character: Base Cost, Difficulty, and Level. A skill's Base Cost represents the amount of time and effort required to learn the necessary background to the skill. A starting character should simply pay this amount, subtracting it from his starting skill point total. Once this is done, the character is ready to attempt learning actual positive levels of the skill. This is done by paying skill points for random dice rolls that determine whether or not the character has learned the skill level he/she is trying for. This is to simulate that, although a character may invest time and effort in trying to learn to do something, other factors may interfere: the PC may have been distracted, tired, hurt, ill, or just feeling lazy, and the skill was not learned despite the investment of points (time/effort).

The mechanics of this are simple: once the base is paid for, a character should spend the skill s Difficulty in skill points for each dice roll. Different sized dice are rolled for each level, with the player needing a result of higher than 1 (or higher than a 1-2 in event Slow Learner is taken). The dice sizes rolled for each level are as follows:
Level 1 d10
Level 2 d8
Level 3 d6
Level 4 d4
Level 5 d3
Level 6 d2

Dice for each level may be rolled any number of times until the level is successfully learned. Thus, a player can keep rolling for a particular skill level for as long as the PC s skill points hold out.

Note: the higher a numbered skill level is, the more skilled and learned in that area a character is; for example, a level 7 artist is more skilled than a level 4.

Combat Position 3 (2) Initiative

The above example shows exactly what the numbers given with each skill means.
The vast majority of skills function very simply--each level of the skill adds 2 to the Skill s Rating Base, to generate the total Skill Rating which is added to a d20 roll when trying to perform or accomplish some feat. In other words, most skills simply have a Rating, which is equal to the Skill s Rating Base (usually a Secondary Stat) plus 2x skill level.

However, certain skills are an exception to the above simple rule. Such skills are explained below.

Skills that are italicized are rare and difficult to obtain training in; some sort of specialized training or Exotic Background must be taken to learn them.

Skills marked with * may not be attempted by those without any knowledge of the skill... they are skills that are exotic or difficult enough that there is effectively no way for the ignorant to duplicate their effects.

Skill List


Archery3(5) Dexterity/2

Block Pain4(6)* Fortitude
This skill allows the PC making a successful roll off to ignore the effects (minuses) generated by the pain from damage, exhaustion, fatigue, drugs, and other effects. In order to accomplish this, the PC must successfully roll off his/her rating vs. 8 + (the Pain minus being ignored). Making this roll off normally requires 10 rounds of intense concentration; for ever round subtracted from this time, 1 is added to the difficulty (thus, to do it at only -6 Initiative--in a second--, the PC would add +10 to the total difficulty rolled off against).

Breath Control4(6) *
This skill allows a PC using it to spend less Exhaustion than they normally would. For every level of this skill taken, a character may roll a d10 every round; if their level or less is rolled, they spend -1 Exh that round, if half their level or less is rolled, they spend -2 Exh that round. Note that characters with this skill may Guard (see Combat Options), spending no Exhaustion, and on a successful roll, actually recover Exhaustion that round! Characters should roll this d10 at the beginning of the Combat Round, for, if they are successful, they can spend up to 4/5 Exhaustion that round, as they will actually only be spending 3.

Close Combat3(0) Might
This skill does not generate a rating; rather, it is used to figure Attack, Defense, and Initiative for Close Combat; which is basically any combat where the opponents are actually grasping each other from round to round (see Close Combat rules, in Combat)

Combat Position 3(3) Initiative
While this skill does have a normally figured rating, used for various things in Combat (see Combat) it also has two other functions. At odd levels (starting with Level 1) it adds 1 per odd level to Base Defense. At even levels, it adds 1 per even level to Melee Initiative (any Melee Initiative, Armed or Unarmed). Fumbles in Combat can be saved from by rolling half Combat Position level or less on a d12.

Easy Aim4(3)*
For each level of Easy Aim a character has--usually taken as Melee Weapon, MIssile Weapon, or Unarmed Easy Aim--they may subtract 1 from all Aiming modifiers when attempting to hit a specific target area. Most organized Unarmed Combat Disciplines--Jonasism, Shoito, Lao Nyess, Genga K Pow, zumai, etc.--require all unarmed attacks to be aimed at a specific area, but also give Easy Aim per level.

Flourish2(2) Dexterity/2

Horsemanship3(1) Coordination
In addition to simply being the skill for riding a horse, Horsemanship also allows the skilled character to fight from Horseback. Normal modifiers for fighting from Horseback are -10 to Attack, Defense, and Initiative. A trained Horseman may add 2x his Horsemanship level to these modifiers; thus, at level 5, a Horseman fights at no modifier, while at level 6, he fights at +2 Attack, Defense and Initiative. Level 7 is the maximum level Horsemanship can be taken for purposes of Combat Modifiers. Fighting from Horseback has the additional advantage that any movement (Charging, etc.) costs the horse exhaustion, not the character. Also, mounted fighters can only be Swashbuckled (see Combat Position) at -10 to their opponent s rating, except by other mounted characters, and such Maneuvers are at the same penalty as Attack, Defense and Initiative.

Imperial Swordsmanship6(4) Speed*
This fighting style, originating in the mysterious and hated Empire of Man, places far more emphasis on quickness and grace than on sheer brute force. Both Attack and Defense are based on Speed, and Imperial Swordsmanship adds 1.5 (rounding down) per level to Attack, Defense and Initiative. Imperial Swordsmanship requires a sword with at least a +4 Initiative modifier.

Imperial Two Weapons7(8) Speed*
This style, developed for the exclusive use of the dreaded Imperial Dragoons, combines the speed and precision of Imperial Swordsmanship with a peculiarly formidably Two Weapons style. This fighting style makes the following attacks possible:

  • Tegir Attack/Noli Parry: Performed in a skillfully integrated fashion during the round, this dazzling combination of offense and defense allows the Dragoon to attack with his tegir at -1, while adding +6 to his normal defense (+4 for Parrying, +2 for noli defensive modifier) for 1 exhaustion. The Dragoon may, on a 1-2 on a d6, also thrust with the noli, for +1 Exhaustion. This is the Dragoon s standard offensive posture.

  • Tegir Attack: Acts as a normal attack with normal modifiers. The Dragoon gets no defense bonus over and above his normal Imperial Swordsmanship and tegir modifiers, but may attack normally once, twice, or thrice for normal exhaustion and attack/defense modifiers.

  • Tegir Attack/Noli Attack: The ambidextrous Dragoon can swing simultaneously with both weapons, getting no defense modifier but attacking at normal attack modifiers for either weapon, and getting his full defense modifier as under Tegir Attack. As the noli is slightly slower than the tegir, the noli attack will strike after the tegir. This costs the Dragoon 2 exhaustion. The noli s Attack is +1, it s Defense (N/A for this attack) is +0, its Initiative is +2, and its Damage (Thrusting) is a d8 +2 (base, without class modifiers).

  • Noli Attack: Only rarely would a Dragoon who was not severely hallucinating use this attack posture, as he gets no defensive modifiers from either Parrying or his tegir, and he gets only his Two Weapons level, rather than 1.5x level, to his Attack, Defense, and Initiative, since a noli cannot be used for Imperial Swordsmanship. However, this 1 exhaustion maneuver is useful for delivering a thrusting coup de grace to a beaten opponent.

The Teachings of Jonas are actually a series of skills, taught as in integral part of a school of philosophy based on the stated beliefs and ethical practices of the revered (perhaps divine) Master Jonas. However, most. River dwellers think of Jonasism as the unarmed combat discipline taught by the Great One, which is actually Karadalan Shoito (see Shoito variants).
For more information on the Teachings of Jonas, see Moving Finger #14.

Missile Dodge3(2) Initiative*

Quickdraw (Location)2(1) Speed
Quickdraw is taken, not per weapon, but per location, as the motions necessary for swiftly readying a bastard sword from your back are very different from those required for getting a throwing dagger out of a wrist sheathe. Quickdraw can even be taken "from the ground", meaning you have practiced recovering dropped weapons quickly. In order to successfully quickdraw, a character must roll off their Quickdraw rating vs. a chosen difficulty, ranging from 6 to 12. If they choose 12 and succeed, they will ready their weapon at -4 to Initiative that round and have an unmodified Attack and Defense. For every 1 under 12 they reduce their difficulty, they take an additional -1 to Initiative, Attack and Defense. Minimum Quickdraw difficulty is 6. Quickdraw modifiers for Missile Weapons are doubled (i.e, a -4 to Attack becomes -8, etc.) The base -4 initiative modifier for quickdrawing can be eliminated by cut-down quickdraw sheathes for some weapons. Such quickdraw sheathes are expensive, and cause +1 Fumble chance while quickdrawing.

Thrown Weapon3(v) Dexterity/2

Two Weapons6(6)*See Combat for details as to Attack, Defense and Initiative modifiers.

Unarmed (Fist)3 (0)

Weapon (Category)4(2)
Skill at nearly all individual weapons also conveys nearly the same skill at other weapons in that Category. Thus, a fighter who is skilled with a Shortsword is nearly as skilled with any other sword. Specifically, a character is one level off (with appropriate minuses for your Weapon Style) using a weapon from his category that is not his normal weapon. To switch "normal" weapons, a character need only put 1 point to familiarizing himself with any other weapon from his main weapon s category, after which the new weapon becomes his "normal" weapon.
Most weapon categories also convey a certain amount of skill at other weapon categories, as well. Specifically, a character skilled in one category (Sword, Polearm, Axe and Mace) fights at half level with another category. Thus, a not yet competent (less than level 4) fighter is nearly equally skilled with all weapon categories (i.e., not very--if he is level 3 with a Broadsword, he s level 2 with any other sword, and also with Polearms and Axes and Maces).
The only exception to the above among Melee Weapons is the Miscellaneous Category. These weapons are too unique to belong to any category (and have nothing in common with each other, either). Thus, they have no crossover value, but they are also one difficulty less (Difficulty 3 instead of 4). These weapons are Quarterstaff, Knife/Dagger, and Punch and/or Kick.
Melee Categories do not cross over at all to Missile Weapons, and most Missile Weapons are unrelated to each other (Thrown Knife has no crossover to Bow--or anything else. Thrown Rock might crossover to Thrown Spear--at four levels of difference.)
Note: In order to use a Spear s listed B2 modifiers (see Weapons) the Quarterstaff skill must be taken.

Weapon and Shield5(4)
See Combat-Fighting Styles for details.

The secret of the above technique is jealously guarded by those adept at it, as it allows the initiate to be devastatingly effective in combat. At odd levels of this skill (starting at level 1) the Weaponmaster receives +1 per level to weapon damage. At even levels, the Weaponmaster receives -1 per level to the number he has to hit by to score increased levels of critical damage. For example, a level 4 Weaponmaster adds 2 to his normal damage with his primary weapon, and needs only hit by 8 or 28 to score +1/+2 critical levels of damage (see Combat-Basics). Weaponmaster is taken per Weapon, not per Category.

Weaponwise5(6) Precision
The rating of this skill is equal to Precision + level. This rare and secret skill allows its adepts to spot weaknesses in a foe s weapon or grip on his weapon, making a Strike to Break Weapon or Strike to Disarm much more effective. At level 4, the Weaponwise fighter may choose whether he strikes to Disarm or Break Weapon rather than rolling a d6. When Striking at Weapon, add Weaponwise rating to Manipulation if striking to Disarm, or to Weapon Damage if striking to Break Weapon. Weaponwise is taken per Weapon Category.

Wearing Armor6 (0)
The Wearing Armor skill does not have a rating, and has a maximum level of 4. At odd levels, Wearing Armor will subtract 1 per level from armour s Attack modifiers, at even levels, it subtracts from Defense modifiers. Each level of Wearing Armor subtracts from Initiative modifiers. Wearing Armor never subtracts from Movement or Exhaustion penalties (no matter how comfortable you are in your armor, it still has a certain weight and bulk that slows you down and tires you out). Armor also takes a certain amount of time to don, equal to 5 x its Bashing protection in rounds for non-metal armor, 10 x its slashing protection in rounds for non-segmented metal armour, and 5x its Bashing protection in minutes for segmented (plate) metal armour. Wearing Armor subtracts 20% per level from this time. Thus, a warrior with Wearing Armor level 4 can don Heavy Chainmail in 14 rounds, rather than the 80 rounds it would take him if he were unskilled.

Entertainment and Art Skills

Acrobat2(2) Speed
In general, Acrobat is the skill that allows one to perform gymnastic maneuvers. Acrobat is not considered to be useful in combat, as Acrobats do not train in performing their art while people are swinging weapons at them with deadly intent. Acrobat is useful for walking narrow ledges or on wires, performing cartwheels and handstands, swinging on ropes in non-combat situations, etc. To perform Combat Gymnastics, the skill Combat Maneuvers (Swashbuckling) should be taken.Acrobat is also very useful as the only skill that allows a character to take less damage from a fall. Standard break fall difficulty is 12; if a character makes a successful Acrobat roll against that difficulty, falling damage is halved, and damage will go to an extremity, rather than a vital area. If the Acrobat roll is made by 10, fall damage is quartered.

Acting2(2) Charm

Calligraphy2(4) Precision

Chakal2(4) Fortune
A mixed game of different sized dice and wooden playing cards that is the most common game of chance on the River. The cards feature five suites -- Spiders, Serpents, Swords, Suns and Moons --- each containing 15 named mortal cards -- the Boy, the Girl, the Father, the Slave, the Slaver, the Merchant, the Ship Captain, the Shaman, the Singer, the Player, the Wizard, the Warrior, the Thief, the Farmer, and the Boss -- and 5 Greater Power cards -- the Dancer, the Rider, the Huntress, the Mother, and the Grandfather.

Dragondance3(3) Reasoning
A game of scholars, merchants, and other intellectuals on the River, in which counters of differing colors and values are moved on a patterned board divided into two different halves by a length of silken cord which is dropped at random across the board at the beginning of each game.

Dancing2(4) Speed

Darts2(0) Dexterity/2

Drawing2(3) Precision

Gambling2(4) Fortune

Juggling2(0) Dexterity/2

Mimic4(4) Reasoning

Musician [Instrument]2(4)* Precision

Painting3(2) Precision

Pillowing2(0) Acumen

Poetry2(2) Eloquence

Singing2(0) Presence

Storytelling2(0) Insight

Woodcarving2(2) Precision

Personal Training

NOTE: each characteristic may only be raised a maximum of 10 times.
Personal Training adds I per level to the appropriate Statistic. There is no Skill Base or Rating Base.

Outdoor Skills

Animal Handler3(4) Charm
Boating2(2) Acumen
The skill for handling small boats or rafts requiring oars. For large ships or any ship with sails, Seaman should be learned.

Hunting3(4) Acumen
The skill for finding food animals; one still needs to make successful Stealth and/or Weapons rolls of some sort to actually kill the critter. Roll off Hunting Rating vs. [22 - (# of hours hunting for that day)]. For each +1 character makes roll by, character rolls +1 encounter on Fauna Chart.

This skill adds to your daily travel time. For each level of Marathon taken, a character may add 1 to their TM for purposes of figuring how many miles they can travel on neutral terrain in ten hours (one day s standard traveling time) without suffering fatigue. For example, a character with a TM of 12 and Marathon level 3 can move 15 miles in a normal day s movement without suffering fatigue minuses.

Mountain Climbing3(4) Manipulation

Naturalist3(3) Reasoning

Navigation3(3) Reasoning

Seaman3(2) Acumen

This skills allows a character to move faster at a dead run. For each level of Sprint a character has, they may add 1 to their base TM, before multiplying for Sprint total distance. They only get this benefit when they are actually sprinting (i.e., spending 2 exhaustion per round of movement and moving at 3x their Base TM). For example, a character with a TM of 11 and Sprint level 7 would have a Base TM of 18 when Sprinting.

Swimming2(2) Coordination

SurvivalV(v) Acumen
This skill is Terrain Specific. The Terrain Types are as follows:
Frozen Waste3(3) - Sotharka
Steppe/Veldt/Marsh2(2) - some areas of Abandoned Lands, Northern Fens, Jeopard Tribal Lands
Tropical Jungle/Swamp4(4) - Northarka
Rain Forest (Semitropical)3(4) - Ona Tengu
Temperate (Deciduous) Forest3(3) - Abandoned Lands, Holy Lands, Sottli Ban, Jeopard Forests
Eco-Active Semi-Desert3(4)
Dead Sandy Waste4(0)
The DM will allow little, if any, crossover between Terrain Types (there is none between Dead Sandy Waste and Frozen Waste, for example, but DM might give a four level difference between Tropical Jungle/Swamp and Temperate Forest.)
DM will judge as to whether a given character might need an Exotic Background to start with Survival in a certain Terrain Type (it s unlikely that a Riverish PC would ever learn Dead Sandy Waste Survival).

Tracking2(2) Insight

Wilderness Stealth4(4) Acumen
Wilderness Stealth is assumed to include normal Stealth, on the assumption that, if you can move silently in the Wilderness, you can do it anywhere. Wilderness Stealth also covers such things as hiding your camp, covering your trail, etc.

Mercantile Skills

Armorer3(10) Manipulation
Blacksmith3(8) Manipulation
Brewer2(8)* Acumen
Carpenter3(4) Precision
Commerce3(6) Insight
Cook2(2) Acumen
Engineer3(12)* Intelligence/2
Farmer2(4) Acumen
Fisherman2(4) Acumen
Glassblower3(6) Precision
Jeweler3(8) Precision
Miller3(4) Reasoning
Potter2(3) Acumen
Recognize Value2(2)* Insight
Shipbuilder3(12) Reasoning
Silversmith3(8) Precision
Tailor2(6) Precision
Tanner2(4) Acumen
Tinker2(2)* Insight
Weaponsmith3(10) Manipulation

Scholarly and Aristocratic Skills

Chirurgeon 2(6) Precision
Courtly Graces2(6)* Eloquence
Like Sex Appeal, Persuasion, and Leadership, this skill is based on its Rating Base (in this case, Eloquence), plus 1 per level (instead of 2) plus a 2d6 Character Reaction roll that is made every time this skill is attempted. This 2d6 roll represents exactly how positive an impression your Character is making at the moment to this particular target. This 2d6 roll is modified by Grooming, if successful and applicable, or by the Attribute Likeable. Generally, Courtly Graces is the skill used for Persuading those in high office, to whom manners and propriety and graceful words actually mean something.

Leadership3(0) Presence
Like Sex Appeal, Courtly Graces, and Persuasion, this skill is based on its Rating Base (in this case, Presence), plus 1 per level (instead of 2) plus a 2d6 Character Reaction roll that is made every time this skill is attempted. This 2d6 roll is modified by Grooming, if applicable, or by the Attribute Good Leader. Leadership is used to give commands that can be followed instantly, without conscious thought. While it is a great aid to a would-be leader for people to consent to his/her leadership, a skilled leader can snap out orders to strangers--or even opponents--and have a chance of being obeyed. To give commands, a Leader rolls off Leadership rating vs. WP of the target. If successful, the person will obey the command instinctively and unthinkingly.
If characters accept a Leader s dominance, they receive only 1/2 Willpower to resist Leadership. However, a group with an acknowledged leader can work together; the entire group will function at their best member s skill rating; in some efforts, the group gets a bonus for every additional person helping. In combat, a group with an acknowledged Leader adds his/her Leadership level to individual melee initiatives (the Leader only adds half his/her level to their own initiative).

Magistracy3(7)* Eloquence
Mathematics2(3) Intelligence/2
Physicker4(12) Insight
Scholar4(12)* Learning
While Scholar does have a rating, the rating is only very rarely used--for example, a Scholar roll off might be made to locate certain materials in a large Archive in a limited time. The normal function of Scholar, however, is to generate a chance of a character knowing something about a given subject.
For every level of Scholar a character has, there is a 1% chance of them knowing something about any given subject. At level 4, a Scholar Specialty must be declared (Giantish History, for example, or Ancient Lost Treasures). The character then, in addition to the normal % chance, has a 10% chance per level (normally rolled on a d10) of knowing something about their specialty.
Additional Scholar skills after the first need pay only 1/2 the base cost (6) and learn the first three levels towards their next specialty at difficulty 1. Level 4 and above are learned at normal difficulty, and as usual, a specialty must be declared at Level 4. DM reserves the right to refuse to allow Scholar specialties he considers too broad or general--a character would not be allowed to specialize in Interesting Knowledge, for example, or Riverish History.

Scientist4(6)* Precision
This skill is a general catch-all for every kind of scientific, laboratory procedure. Used primarily by alchemists.

Stewardship2(8) Eloquence


Theological Studies2(8) Learning
Taken per god/religion, this skills functions identically to Scholar. Complicated religions may require more than one Theological Study (the Ancient Pantheon of the Nurr yk Gods, as worshipped primarily by ethnic Durshi and Northarks, would require more than one skill, while the Winter Gods would require only one).

Veterinarian4(8) Reas. & Precision

Sneaky Skills

Ambush2(0) Acumen
This skill is generally used by groups to ambush single characters or other groups--when an individual tries to attack a single character without warning, Strike from Surprise is used. An individual could use Ambush to attack a group, but this would rarely happen.
Because generally only groups do this, the group must have a Leader to work together cooperatively. The group assigns a difficulty to the Ambush attempt, and rolls off against this (see Skill Function). The target then rolls Attentiveness vs. the chosen difficulty. If the Ambush succeeds by less than 10, the target(s) are at -10 to their Initiative in the first round. If the Ambush succeeds by 10 or more, but less than 20, the target(s) are at -30 to their Initiative for that round. If the Ambush roll succeeds by 20+, the target(s) may spend no exhaustion and make no skill rolls for that entire round of initial attack/combat; they ve been taken completely by surprise!

Attentiveness4(2) Acumen
The catch all skill for noticing things you d really like to, and that in general your opponent doesn t want you to. This skill can only be taken at maximum level of 4 unless for some reason your character has a special dispensation.

City Knowledge1/city(1/city) Reasoning
Taken per City, this skill allows a character to find their way around If you don t take it, you get lost.

Climbing2(0) Manipulation

Disguise2(5) Insight

Familiar w/Undrground2(6) Fortune

Hypnotism5(7)* Presence

Lip Reading4(2) Insight
Maximum level 4, and can only be used to gain a "gist" of a conversation.

Lying 2(3) Eloquence
This is the skill used for convincingly telling untruths, or just for (verbally) making someone believe something that isn t true. Not Persuasion. Not Acting. Not Non-Verbal Communication. If you want to Lie (well), take Lying.

Pick Locks3(3) Precision

Pick Pockets3(0) Dexterity/2

Questioning3(0) Charm

Ropes2(1) Manipulation

Scrounging 2(1)* Fortune
This skill allows characters to locate useful items in urban environments. The successful Scrounge can turn up what you need in virtually any city, simply by knowing where to look or who to talk to. Successful Scrounging does not mean you actually have the item, but you will know where to get it. The attribute Contacts adds +1 per level to Scrounging rating.

Sex Appeal2(3) Charm
Like Persuasion, Courtly Graces, and Leadership, this skill is based on its Rating Base (in this case, Charm), plus 1 per level (instead of 2) plus a 2d6 Character Reaction roll that is made every time this skill is attempted. This 2d6 roll represents exactly how positive an impression your Character is making at the moment to this particular target. This 2d6 roll is modified by Grooming, if applicable, or by the Attributes Attractive or Unattractive.
A form of Persuasion based on the unspoken flaunting of sexual charms, a successful Sex Appeal roll will allow a character to convince another character to do just about anything not obviously hazardous to their life and limb. While a successful Sex Appeal roll certainly means a character can sleep with their target if they want to, they do not have to. Sex Appeal rolls cannot be made on targets that do not feel sexual attraction for the character attempting the skill.
Easily Seduced and Lecherous characters are especially susceptible to Sex Appeal rolls.
If a Sex Appeal roll is unsuccessful, a Persuasion roll may still succeed, but the target who has successfully resisted Sex Appeal will have to actually be offered something for it to work (i.e., you may actually have to deliver the goods instead of just seem likely to... or at least, you ll have to offer).

Sleight of Hand2(0) Speed

Stealth3(0) Precision

Strike from Behind4(4) Precision
This skills allows a character to either Strike to KO or Strike to Kill. In order to Strike to KO, a bashing weapon is necessary. To Strike to Kill, a thrusting weapon is preferable, but a bashing weapon can be used , with the limitation that +1 crit levels will not be generated when Striking to Kill with a bashing weapon. Slashing weapons are useless for these sorts of attacks.
To perform these actions, the target must have a d10 only of Defense, i.e., the target must be unaware of the attack. To accomplish this, the attacker must previously have made a successful Strike from Surprise or Stealth roll off. The attack is then made, using whatever Weapon the attacker chooses (within the given limits), with the Attack Value modified by - [20 -2x Strike from Behind Level].
If the Attack hits, damage is done at +1 level (except if a bashing weapon is used to Strike to Kill). Hitting by 10 or 30 also adds normal critical effect levels. For every critical level of damage done to the target, there is a 20% chance of instantly causing the desired effect (i.e., Kill or KO). If this roll is failed, the target simply takes the normal damage effects of the strike (although, since all Strikes from Behind using proper equipment do +1 Crit Level of Damage, such strikes will always be more effective than a normal attack if they hit, even if they fail to instantly Kill or KO the target).
Targets that are successfully Struck to Kill are, well, dead, and presumably no further pragmatic problem. Targets that are successfully Struck to KO are actually considered to be unconscious for % minutes - their Fortitude, min 10.

Strike from Surprise4(3) Initiative
Rolled off vs. the target s Attentiveness rating (see Skill Function), this skill, if successful, allows an unexpected attack to be made against a d10 of Defense. This cannot be done in combat unless the target opponent has already been Faked (see Combat Position options). If done in Combat, the attacker must specify an unorthodox and unexpected kind of strike to be used (kick in the groin, throw dirt in the eyes, quickdraw hidden knife and stab in the heart, grab around throat, trip, etc.), which generally must be aimed at a specific location. If the Strike from Surprise roll fails, the person must still carry through with the unorthodox attack.

Traps3(4) Precision
This is the skill used for setting and disarming Traps. Attentiveness is used to actually spot traps set by someone else, although every level of this skill after level 3 adds 1 to Attentiveness ratings when traps are deliberately looked for.

Everyday Living

Grooming2(2) Precision
For a roll off of Grooming rating vs. 10, a character can add +2 to 2d6 reaction rolls where being well groomed would help (i.e., the Queen of Ona Tengu will be impressed, but Barnacle Bill the Sailor would probably think you were a wussy.) If the roll is made by 10, +4 is added.

Packing2(2) Precision
A roll off of Packing rating vs. 6 + # of extra spaces desired is necessary. Subtract total luggage spaces/4 from the difficulty (rounding down, i.e., if your luggage has 3 spaces, you get no bonus).

Communication Skills

Non-verbal Communication4(0) Insight
This skill is primarily used to detect Lies, and is the rating used in roll offs against that skill. This skill can also be used to try and get an idea of what a person is feeling, i.e., "Is the Queen nervous or frightened?". Non-Verbal Communication works best on beings of the same race and social background as yourself (i.e., humans find Jeopards hard to read because their features are inhuman and they re covered with fur, while a Sottle might have difficulty reading an Ulvane due to cultural differences--when an Ulvane bares his teeth in a "smile", it s a deadly challenge). Thus, the DM will generally add to Non Verbal Difficulties when such situations arise. Of course, the true master of Non-Verbal Communication is so skilled that such trivial things don t matter.
Non-Verbal Communication can also be used to try and communicate things to someone without words for a similar roll off. Finally, Non-Verbal communication will help a character lie if they re very good at it; for every level of Non-Verbal after Level 6, add 1 to Lie ratings.

Persuasion 3(0) Charm
Like Sex Appeal, Courtly Graces, and Leadership, this skill is based on its Rating Base (in this case, Charm), plus 1 per level (instead of 2) plus a 2d6 Character Reaction roll that is made every time this skill is attempted. This 2d6 roll represents exactly how positive an impression your Character is making at the moment to this particular target. This 2d6 roll may be modified by Grooming or the Attribute Likeable.
This is the skill used to get someone to do what you want without using force. Successful rolls can cause characters to perform quite complex tasks. However, only people who have a positive emotional bond (friends, in other words) can use Persuasion on each other without offering something in return (i.e., characters do favors for friends just because they re friends). To Persuade a relative stranger, or someone who just doesn t have any particularly warm feelings towards you, something must be offered in turn, i.e., the character must be made to feel that they will gain something from doing this for you.
Nice and Altruistic characters (see Negative Attributes) are always susceptible to Persuasion rolls as if they were everyone s friend. Note that those suffering from these Attributes will have to make WP roll offs not to do what is wanted anyway, before a Persuasion roll is even necessary!


Spoken Diff Written Diff Base Cost Maximum Level

Riverish/Tharkish 4 4 (2) 4
Durshi 4 4 (2) 4
Sothark 2 * (0) 4
Northark 3 * (6) 4
Hiss-Snarl-Hiss (Jeopard) 5 * (8) 4
Imperial, High 4 4 (6) 5
Imperial, Base 2 * (0) 3
Giantish 4 5 (8) 4
Wild Frodd 4 * (6) 4
Ulvane 3 * (2) 4
Romaine 3 4 (6) 4
Sottle 5 5 (8) 5
Samaqelian 4 4 (6) 5
Ancient Samaqelian 5 5 (8) 5
Squawk-Awk (Aven) 4 4 (8) 4 -
-Aven listed for purposes of completion only... only Aven may speak Aven

There are only five levels of written and spoken skills. The first level indicates you know important phrases ( "I want food","I Surrender", etc). At second level you know the language, but poorly. It's quite obvious you're a foreigner. At third level you speak the language as well as the average native but with your native accent. At fourth level you've pretty much lost any foreign accent and understand the language, idioms, and general native slang. At fifth level you are a master of the language. You have a rather large vocabulary, consisting of words the average native will not recognize or barely know the meaning of.

Several of the listed languages are actually oversimplified. For example, "Jeopard" is actually simply a "common tongue" most Wild Jeopards speak.as an intertribal lingua fraca. Each Jeopard tribe actually has its own distinct dialect. "Aven" is also similarly subdivided by Aven "nesting clans", but since only an Aven can actually speak Aven recognizably, it s a moot point

Humans can only speak Jeopard at level 3, although the Cats all say they do so with an atrocious accent. There are also many different dialects of Durshi, Sothark, and Northark; the listed difficulties are for the "common tongues" most outsiders think of as those languages.

Riverish (more properly called Tharkish ) is a mixture of tongues both human and non-human grafted on to an unknown root language. It is an argot/patoit, and it evolves quickly from generation to generation. Its written characters are different from both the 38 letter Giant language, the cursive pictogram/hieroglypsh of Sottle, the elaborate phrase symbolsof the Durshi lexicon, or the convoluted modified iconography of Samaquelian. Due to the brutish, squalid culture (or lack thereof) that has shaped the language s evolution, Riverish is a tongue conducive to insult, invective, vulgar and sadistic pornography, and detailed descriptions of atrocity. The standard honorific in Riverish is scum , which is not regarded as an insult within the Urban Riversih culture, but israther used generically in the way an American might call someone mister or fella .

Other human languages on the River have tended to remain relatively stagnant. For this reason, the small body of scholars within the Riverish population learns not only Tharkish literacy, but also Durshi and Giantish literacy, which many ancient texts are written. There are four major respositories of knowledge on the River -- the Libraries of the River College on Dour Island, the Grey Archives of the Giants in the Giant Mountains,the Cathedral of Sacred Wisdom, in the city of Miria, and the Golden Vault of Knowledge in the Secret City in Sottli Ban. As Sottle is a secret language not taught to outsiders, scholars do not study it, despite the fact that it is probably the most stable of any known human tongue.

In general, literacy is looked down upon on the River, as the vast majority of people think of it as something that destroys the vision, damages long term memory, and generally weakens the body and the mind.

Skill Packages

All skill packages require the Attribute Unusual Background. They all also have minimum stat requirements. These requirements must be met naturally, without skill-based stat raises.

Level (0+1) at listed packages for listed cost:

Mercenary Experience Requires STR, CON, AG 13 50 pts (0+1)

Weapon Category and Crossbow
Weapon and Shield
Combat Position
Must be at least Quickdraw Weapon
19 years old Seaman
Jeopard OR Giantish
City Knowledge - Jampora, Jeressa, Sottli Ban, Tharkis City, Jennaru
Former Mercs also receive either a minor Windfall (d30 +d20 gold) or an equipment package consisting of:
Backpack Leather armour 1-H Weapon or Crossbow
Sleeping fur mess kit wineskin good boots

Traveling Bard Requires INTU, DEX, CHA 13 40 pts(0+1)

Musician (Instrument) - must be level 4
(all instruments after first learned at 1 difficulty less as starting character only)
Singing - must be level 4
Survival - Choose Terrain
Medium/Hard Language (difficulty 3 or higher)
Easy Language (difficulty 2 or less)
Choose 1 - Persuasion/Non-Verbal Communication/Seduction /Scrounging/Marathon
Choose 1 - Acrobat/Acting/Juggling
Includes 1 musical instrument, backpack, beltpouch, 1 set traveling clothes.

Wandering Scholar Requires IQ, WP 15 40 pts (0+1)

Scholar (must be taken at least level 4)
Hard Language (Difficulty 4 or higher)
Hard Literacy (" " ")
Medium Language (Difficulty 3)
Medium Literacy (" " ")
2 Easy Languages (Difficulty 2 or less)
(can be Spoken and Written of same Easy language)
Choice of 2
Magistracy / Courtly Graces / Mathematics / Stewardship / Naturalist / Engineer / Recognize Value City Knowledge
Includes 1 blank book, 1 quill and ink, one text in Scholar specialty, backpack, beltpouch, 1 set traveling clothes.

Professional Swindler Requires INTU, CHA, LUCK 14 40 pts (0+1)


Choice of 3
Seduction / Scrounging / Sleight of Hand / Gambling / Lip Reading / Strike from Behind / Strike from Surprise / Stealth / Pick Locks / Familiar with Underground / Disguise / Recognize Value / Non Verbal Communication

Includes choice of 1: 1 set lockpicks, 1 blackjack, 1 knife in holdout/quickdraw sheathe, 1 comb and silver backed mirror, 1 disguise kit, 1 set marked cards & loaded dice, 1 traveler s shirt w/hidden pockets up sleeve, d30 gold.

Tengish Militia Requires STR, CON, AG 11 50 pts (0+1)

Spear/Halberd OR Short Sword & Buckler
Sling OR Crossbow
Combat Position
Survival, Rain Forest (Semitropical)
Hand Signals
Wearing Armor
Former Militia also receive either Mustering Out Pay of their [Luck+WP] GP, or they may keep:
Backpack Leather armour Weapon & Missile Weapon used (includes buckler if taken)
Sleeping fur mess kit wineskin good boots
Camouflage traveling robes

Tengish Marine Requires STR, CON, AG 11 50 pts (0+1)

Short Sword & Buckler
Combat Position
Wearing Armor
Former Marines also receive either Mustering Out Pay of their [Luck+WP] GP, or they may keep:
Backpack Leather armour Weapons Rope
Hammock mess kit wineskin oilskin cape

Skill Function

When a character sets out to do something there is almost always some skill pertinent to the particular thing he wants to do. That skill usually has a rating, based on a particular Secondary Stat plus 2x the character's level at the skill. This rating is used as the basis for a roll-off system that works one of two different ways:

When a character is pitting his skill against that of another character, he assigns his own initial difficulty. In other words, he tells the referee exactly what difficulty he wants to make his initial skill roll against. This difficulty can be anything from 0 on up. The referee will roll a die (generally a d20) and add it to the chosen difficulty; the character attempting the feat will roll a die and add it to his pertinent skill rating.

If this initial die roll is failed by the character, the attempt has failed. This does not assume that he has no further chance at doing this; only if he failed the roll by 10 or more does the person he was attempting to do something to notice, since this indicates a fumble, which is always bad. If he did not fail by 10 or more, he may make one more attempt, at +10 to whatever his previously chosen difficulty was. If he fails this one, he can make no more attempts and it is assumed that the other character has noticed his action.

If, on the other hand, he succeeds in this initial die roll, he still has not succeeded in his chosen action. Although he is doing as best he can, he may still have underestimated his opponent. Now his opponent rolls off his pertinent rating (for example, to notice a Pick Pocket attempt, a character would use his Attentiveness rating) against the chosen difficulty of the character. If the character initiating the roll off is 1-3 levels better than his target at the appropriate skill, +4 is added to the target's difficulty (see below). If 4-6 levels better, +8; if 7-9 levels, +12, if 10 or more levels better than the target, +20. If the opponent fails the roll, the character has succeeded! One further note: if the character attempting the feat succeeds in his initial roll by 10 or more, +10 is added to the chosen difficulty for the opponent to roll against.

Garth Butterhead, journeyman thief, is attempting to pick the pocket of Reuben Goober, hick from Hovair. Butterhead assigns himself a difficulty of 5, figuring this hayseed will be an easy mark. His Pick Pockets rating is 13; he rolls a d20 and generates a 9 for a total of 22. The referee rolls a d20 and adds 5. He rolls a 7, generating a total of 12. Garth has succeeded in his initial roll. He's doing everything right, just as he was taught, in fact, he's done so well that +10 is added to Reuben Goober's difficulty of 5 for spotting Garth's larcenous little fingers. However, Reuben Goober is really an undercover Captain of the Confederation High Patrol and has an Attentiveness Rating of 26. He rolls a d20, adds it to 26, and has a 37 total (he rolled an 11, which is average). The referee rolls, adds to 15, and has only a 28 (he rolled slightly better than average). Despite the fact that Garth is doing well, he grossly underestimated his opponent and didn't try hard enough.

As the full regard of Confederation justice drops on Garth like a large, weighty stone, let us turn our attention elsewhere: If a character is attempting to perform a feat that does not involve interaction with another character, like climbing a wall or successfully negotiating a field filled with nasty little pits full of sharp pointy sticks, he simply rolls off against a difficulty assigned by the referee. This difficulty will take various factors into account, such as how accomplished the character is at this particular skill (a character who is competent will have an easier time than a character who is still a beginner), conditions under which this skill is being performed (it's harder to pick locks underwater with your left leg being eaten by a crocodile than on dry land with no one bothering you) and various other things that might make the feat more difficult. If the character succeeds in this roll off, he did it! Hooray! If he fails, well, that's a bummer. He may continue to attempt it (unless he dies or something) at +5 to the difficulty, accumulative, for each succeeding attempt.

If, while making such a roll off, the character should roll a 1 on his d20, he has Fumbled. This is always bad. It makes no difference what the characters total is, on a 1 he fumbles. However, unlike Fumbling against another character (which happens when you blow the roll by 10, remember) here there is a chance to avoid the Fumble. A character may attempt to roll 1/2 his pertinent skill level or less on a d10. If he does it, he still fails in the roll but nothing utterly awful befalls him (and the DM pouts). If he doesn't, ha ha ha ha ha HA, you fool, now you're MINE!!!!